Friday Roundup: Mitts and More


What I’m Knitting

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long kicked off yesterday evening with a week of 25% off selected patterns from over 300 designers. (Check out all the details here in the Gift-A-Long Ravelry group.) After perusing the designer offerings, I settled on this cute cabled fingerless mitt pattern as my first knit-someone-else’s-pattern outing:


(Cascada Mitts by Karen Troyer Ladman)

Aren’t those adorable? I cast on last night and managed to get up to the point where I start the thumb increases on the first mitt:

IMG_0735It’s so fun not to have to worry about stitch counts or thumb placement or anything. I’ve already got two or three more projects on deck.

What I’m Cooking

I made two savory soups this week, but only managed to get a picture of one:

IMG_0731This tortilla soup definitely makes my top five recipes list from the Appetite for Reduction cookbook. It’s awesome.

What I’m Reading

I devoured the most recent Cameron Strike book in just a few days, in spite of my limited reading time. It was even better than the last two! This one ended on something of a cliffhanger, so I’m going to be waiting impatiently for the next one.





Friday Roundup: Greens and Browns


What I’m Knitting

I’ve doubled the progress on the sweater from last week:

IMG_0640It’s about to go on hold, though, because the Indie Design Gift-A-Long starts next week! (If you aren’t familiar with it, check out the Ravelry group for the annual event here. It’s awesome.) This is pretty much the only time of year I knit other people’s patterns anymore, so I’m really excited. I’ve already got a pair of yummy cabled fingerless mitts in my queue. I’m hoping to find a small pattern to try steeking for the first time, too!

Twenty of my patterns are included in the Gift-A-Long sale (25% off from Thursday, November 19th at 8:00 pm EST to Friday, November 27, 2015 at 11:59 pm), and all of my paid patterns are eligible to win prizes. Check out the details in the Ravelry group, and you can see the patterns I’ll be discounting with this direct link to my Ravelry bundle.

What I’m Cooking

For some reason, everything I cooked this week happened to be some shade of brown. It doesn’t make for very exciting photography, but everything was delicious nonetheless.

From my Appetite for Reduction cookbook challenge, this is a mushroom and cannellini bean dish flavored with wine and smoked paprika, served with caulipots (the author’s tasty mixture of mashed potatoes and cauliflower):

IMG_0622 (1)The leftover caulipots went really well with the next recipe, chili-lime rubbed tofu:

IMG_0629 (1)The tofu tasted really good, but it wasn’t crispy the way I like my baked tofu. I think it’s because I didn’t press the tofu to get all the water out before baking. I really have to remember to do that 20-30 minutes before I start the recipe.

And overripe bananas meant I had a good excuse to whip up some banana-oat muffins. I found this recipe that doesn’t have any refined sugar and used local maple syrup that we bought recently. They were SO GOOD.

IMG_0634 (1)

What I’m Reading

After completing my tour through Jane Austen’s world, I picked up the second book in the Cormoran Strike mystery series and just finished it last night. It was so good! Although this series (written under a pseudonym) is completely different from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, it still has a lot of the same compulsive readability. I’m hoping to grab the third book in the series sometime today.


Friday Roundup: Yummy Cables and Even Yummier Chili


What I’m Knitting

The dolman-sleeve sweater is well underway! I’m knitting directly off of the old sweater—which means the yarn is all kinked up and the stitches in the WIP aren’t quite as even as they’d usually be. But I know from experience that it’ll look just fine after blocking.


What I’m Cooking

I continued with my private low-fat vegan cookbook challenge this week. This chili stuffed with vegetables is quite possibly my favorite thing I’ve made thus far. It was SO GOOD. And its healthy aspect was much appreciated after some, uh, overindulgence in Halloween candy last weekend…

IMG_0590And this next one might be a contender for the prettiest dish I’ve made from the cookbook so far. It’s a sort of salad niçoise, although I used black olives because they’re the only kind I like, and a mashed chickpea mix stood in for the usual tuna.


What I’m Reading

Almost through Emma!


Friday Roundup: Beginnings, Sneak Peeks, and Comfort Food


What I’m Knitting

I finally got enough math done that I could cast on for the dolman-sleeve sweater I’m planning! I’m only a few rows through the ribbing, but look—photographic proof that I have an actual adult sweater on the needles:

IMG_0583We also went out yesterday into the chilly morning to attempt a photoshoot for the nautical-themed toddler sweater. My son did remarkably well, and I think we might have gotten the shots we needed! (Side note: wrangling a toddler on a lakefront path is extremely difficult, even for two people.)

Here’s a sneak peek:


What I’m Cooking

The weather turned chilly this week, which always makes me crave fatty comfort food! But I managed to stick to the low-fat vegan cookbook for three recipes.

This is tofu chimichurri (a herb marinade usually used on meat). It was yummy!

IMG_0165Broccoli potato chowder, in which I used parsnips for the first time ever (they’re pretty good!):

IMG_0175And Pasta de los Angeles, a Mexican-inspired pasta dish that was really tasty:

IMG_0167For my weekly meal for a crowd, I chucked low-fat out the window and whipped up a cashew-cream-laden potato corn chowder and homemade croutons to go on top. It was amazing. People couldn’t stop talking about it, even the non-vegans—I love it when that happens. :-)


What I’m Reading

Still making my way through Jane Austen’s catalog! I don’t know what it is about these books—I seem to be able to read them in half the time of other books of comparable size. This week I finished Northanger Abbey, started and finished Sense and Sensibility, and am most of the way through Mansfield Park. Just Emma and Pride & Prejudice to go (although I might skip P&P, having read it more often in the past…)


Friday Roundup: Lace/Cable Hat FO!


What I’m Knitting

We managed a photoshoot for the lace/cable hat, so I have an FO to show off this week!

Version 2Here are the specs:

Pattern: My own, to be released sometime in the next month, hopefully. I’m kind of stuck for a name—let me know if you have any suggestions!

Yarn: Frabjous Fibers March Hare in color Curiouser. Although the picture above is pretty accurate in terms of color, it doesn’t quite capture the subtle nuances of this colorway. It is gorgeous. I bought the single skein on our recent trip to Seattle because I absolutely couldn’t resist it. The yarn was lovely to knit with, too.

Notes: I’m really happy with the way this hat turned out! I wanted a longer hat to cover the ears, which took some finagling since the lace/cable pattern has a 16-row repeat (meaning length is harder to adjust to taste). But 2.5 repeats worked out nicely. I’m just finalizing the pattern writing and then will have it up for testing in my Ravelry group. Come check it out if you think you might be interested in test knitting!

IMG_0128 copy

What I’m Cooking

I made a truly delicious vegetable korma Indian dish this week, but I forgot to get pictures. Oh well. Trust me though, it was amazing.

I did get a shot of my latest recipe from my personal cookbook challenge, though. This is garlic broccoli and chickpeas:

IMG_0158I was kind of amazed by this recipe. It’s just  broccoli, chickpeas, and smashed whole cloves of garlic, roasted with a little olive oil and spices… but I couldn’t believe how flavorful it was! Just, uh, don’t make this one if you’re going to be in a small room with anyone for a while, if you catch my drift.

What I’m Reading

After finishing the Terry Pratchett book (sniff), I needed something to read on my phone while putting my son to sleep… so I started in on Jane Austen’s oeuvre! I reread her books every few years—there’s something so comforting about them. This week I read Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility, and I’m just starting in on Northanger Abbey.


Friday Roundup: Swatch City


What I’m Knitting

I finished the cable/lace hat from last week, but it needs a good blocking before it’s fit to see. So instead, I’ll show you the design swatches I’ve been working on! Here was my original swatch concept (this is for a dolman-sleeved Aran pullover):

IMG_9869I liked this swatch, but the more I looked at it, the more I realized I didn’t love it. The central motif is too small and a bit too plain for my liking (this is the cable on the left, which will be in the center of the pullover with the V cables arranged on either side). I also decided I wasn’t a huge fan of this yarn for this design—it’s on the thin side for a worsted weight, and the swatch had more drape than I wanted even with a needle size that gave a good fabric.

So I went stash digging… and made a decision. Remember this in-progress cardigan?


My Ravelry project page tells me I started it two years ago almost to the day—just a few days before I found out I was pregnant and went down the rabbit hole of baby knits! I tried to pick the cardigan up again, but I’m just not feeling it. Plus, I’m (ahem) a larger bust size now than I was, so it isn’t even going to fit me well when it’s finished.

Luckily, this yarn (Stonehedge Shepherd’s Worsted) turns out to be PERFECT for the new design I have in mind. It’s soft, tweedy, and has the body that the first yarn I tried was lacking.

After three swatches with this yarn and different cable patterns, I think I finally have a winner!

IMG_9871(You can see a bit of my design process in that pic—the second V is a little larger than the first, and I decided at the top I might like a slightly less tight rope cable to separate motifs.)

So now I just need to knit a few more inches of swatch, block it, and take some measurements. Then it’s designing time!

Oh, and since I’m lazy, I’m just knitting the swatch right off the sleeve:


What I’m Cooking

I knocked out two recipes from my personal cookbook challenge this week. First up, potato-spinach curry. It was pretty good, but my husband and I both agreed that we really missed the richness that some fat would have brought to this one. With some coconut milk in the sauce, I think it would have been awesome.

IMG_9861And then a less-guilty taco salad, which was delicious! The recipe used “guacamame” made with half avocado, half edamame to cut fat and calories. It tasted fine, and I liked that it also upped the protein content. The recipe said to layer the ingredients prettily and top with cilantro… but sometimes you just gotta throw everything together.


What I’m Reading

To my husband’s chagrin, I’m still working on The Shepherd’s Crown. A couple of early mornings with the little guy means I’ve been too tired to read before bed. But I should finish it within the next few days!

Friday Roundup: On the Road Edition


What I’m Knitting

By the time this gets posted, I’ll be on the road (yay for post scheduling!). We’re going on a weekend trip to the Washington, DC area—we’re planning to go to the National Zoo, spend some quality time with family, and lots of other fun stuff. And the 9+ hour drive means lots and lots of uninterrupted knitting time, hooray!

This is the current project on my needles:



This pic shows the strong wavy lines better—love!

It’s a hat (hopefully that’s obvious) that features a heavily modified version of a cable and lace pattern I found in one of my stitch dictionaries. I’m having fun knitting it, but it should only take me a few more hours to work out and knit the crown decreases… which means I need much more knitting for the trip!

I’m in mini-panic mode already, trying to figure out what to take with me. I might end up defaulting to a whole bunch of trial swatches… but then I have to take a whole load of stitch dictionaries. Hrm. Maybe I’ll figure out a quick toddler hat. My son’s hats from last year are all too small now, so he needs some new accessories before the serious cold weather hits. (Side note: am I the only one who would be completely mortified to let my son wander around in store-bought winter accessories? I mean, little hats only take like two hours!)

What I’m Cooking

This is actually from last week, but it turned out really well and I forgot to post a picture. Baked falafel in a pita with hummus and grain-free tabbouleh on the side. The tabbouleh recipe I found used bits of cauliflower instead of the traditional bulgur wheat, which I thought was pretty clever!

FullSizeRenderThis red Thai tofu and pineapple rice was my lone entry for my cookbook challenge this week:

IMG_9843And for my meal-for-a-crowd yesterday, I made a Mexican lasagna (also known as an enchilada casserole) with homemade guacamole on the side. I used my husband’s killer guac recipe—people were very impressed!


What I’m Reading

I’m still working on The Shepherd’s Crown. I’m dragging my feet a bit on finishing this one, to be honest. The author, Terry Pratchett, passed away earlier this year. I’m still coming to terms with the fact that this will be the last new book I’ll ever read from him, sniff.

Friday Roundup: A Finished Vest and a Ridiculously Cute Model


What I’m Knitting

I finished the vest, woohoo! I conscripted my son for a photoshoot and actually had a really hard time choosing which of these photos to use to show it off. Sometimes I can’t believe this adorable guy is actually my son and not a retouched Gerber baby, seriously.


IMG_9739 I’m really pleased with the way the vest came out! Sizing it will be a little bit of a challenge, since the cable pattern I used on the chest has about a 3.5″ vertical repeat, but I should still be able to offer it in at least 4-5 different baby/child sizes.


Here are the specs on the FO:

Pattern: My own, to be released in the (hopefully) near future!

Yarn: Good for Ewe Claddagh in Leprechaun Green, about 1.5 skeins. I was worried about running out of yarn, because most of the sport-weight vests I found on Ravelry called for 350 yds and up and I only had 328 yds. But somehow I still have a half-skein left. No idea how that happened.

Notes: I’m really in love with this construction. Knitting the cable strip is fun and easy, and it was so portable at this stage that I could just throw it in my purse and go. And since a third of the knitting had been finished, knitting down from the strip and then up for the top felt like they went ridiculously quickly.

What I’m Cooking

I started with some yummy oatmeal raisin muffins for Saturday morning breakfast:

IMG_9668And then some banana french toast, made vegan by using a flaxseed mixture instead of eggs since we don’t usually have eggs in the house. It was  delicious! I used this recipe. Totally making this again—I really like that it didn’t have any added sugar but was still nice and sweet from the bananas. We didn’t even need syrup.

IMG_9669On the cookbook challenge, I knocked out another two recipes this week. First up, lentil chipotle burgers! I had never made my own veggie burgers before, so this was kind of a challenge for me. But beyond them being a little crumbly, I did a pretty good job. And even the crumbly ones tasted delicious.

IMG_9674And finally, pasta with mushrooms, red onions, and edamame pesto. Very tasty. The addition of the edamame to the pesto means you don’t have to use much oil at all. Brilliant!


What I’m Reading

I’m on to the last book in the Tiffany Aching series, The Shepherd’s Crown. I have to hurry, because my husband is reading the series too and he’s only one book behind me!


Friday Roundup: Vest in Progress, Lots of Cooking


What I’m Knitting

Remember the mystery cabled strip from last week? Here’s the big reveal:

IMG_9663I loved the sideways, pick up stitches construction of my Keelback Hat, so I wanted to try a garment this way. I like it so far! The band is sticking out from the stockinette fabric a bit too far for my taste, but blocking will almost certainly solve that. Just the armhole edgings to go, so I should have an FO to show off next week!

What I’m Cooking

I was busy this week! We went to a Talk Like a Pirate Day party on Saturday (so fun! And if you ever want to see a roomful of grown people squeal, bring a one-year-old to a party in full pirate costume). I made potato boats to fit the theme (vegan, of course) and even managed to make up a few sails. They were a hit!

IMG_7718I plowed through three more recipes on the cookbook challenge, too!

Chana Saag over rice (yummy!):


Sushi roll salad (not so yummy… actually, I’m counting this as my first real fail from this cookbook. The hubby and I didn’t really like it, and it was SUPER fiddly to make. Think I’ll just stick with real sushi rolls in the future. But hey, at least it’s pretty…)



And roasted red pepper/tomato soup with sweet potato biscuits. My son LOVED the biscuits—I think they’re his new favorite food.

IMG_9651For my Wednesday dinner-for-a-crowd meal, I made quinoa-stuffed peppers. OMG, these were amazing. Somehow the quinoa, black bean, and corn filling with Mexican spices managed to be almost ground-beef like. I’d make these all the time, but it gets a little expensive with the peppers. I’ll have to keep an eye out for sales!


What I’m Reading

I finished the next two books in the Tiffany Aching series, Wintersmith and I Shall Wear Midnight. They were so good! This series, unlike so many others, gets better and better with each book. I can’t wait to read the new one, the last in the series.


Friday Roundup: Mystery and Tempeh


What I’m Knitting

After finishing the nautical baby sweater (still working on the pattern—and a good name that isn’t already taken!), I wanted to cast on for another baby/child garment. I have enough of this lovely yarn from a local Indiana company (Good for Ewe Yarns) for a vest if I’m frugal with the yarn. After several swatches, I finally hit upon something I like:

IMG_9627This is actually part of the garment itself, not a swatch! You’ll have to guess how this will turn into a vest. I just might spoil it next week, depending on how much progress I make.

What I’m Cooking

The next few recipes up on deck in my cookbook challenge were, again, ones I probably wouldn’t have made without this challenge. First up, blackened tofu (served with cauliflower/potato mash ):

IMG_9605It was really good! I’m not generally a fan of tofu unless it’s chopped up small or doused in savory sauce, but the Cajun spices worked so well here. Definitely making this one again.

The next recipe was Isa’s veganized, healthified version of her childhood favorite, Hamburger Helper. I think I only had it once or twice at friends’ houses, but I have to say, this tempeh helper did sort of remind me of it!

IMG_9612I also made a fabulous Arabian lentil soup from the cookbook this week, but I  forgot to get a picture. Gotta get better about that.

What I’m Reading

Due to an unpleasant lack of time to read (grrr…), I’m still working on Wintersmith. But I should be done by the end of the weekend!

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