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Category Archive for: ‘FOs’

Friday Roundup: We Have Blocking!

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What I’m Knitting

The baby blanket is blocking, woohoo!

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And let me just say that wet-blocking a blanket at 38.5 weeks pregnant is not for the faint of heart, yo. But I managed. I’m soooo happy to have the knitting and finishing done on this one. I only ended up using about 5.5 skeins of Malabrigo Rios, which is about what I’d use for a sweater, but somehow it seemed like so much more.

My little model should be along within the next few weeks, so expect modeled pictures sometime in the near future. :-)

What I’m Cooking

This week’s meal for a crowd was something I haven’t tried for a while: enchilada casserole (also known as Mexican lasagna). I tried a new recipe that came out really, really well! Pardon the craptastic phone picture, but trust me—it was delicious.

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I also made some banana/oat/blueberry muffins. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of these.

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What I’m Reading

I’m focusing on writing middle grade fiction right now (for roughly ages 8-12), so I’m trying to read some of the more popular MG books I’ve missed over the past few years. I started Princess Academy last night and am enjoying it so far! The setup is great.

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Friday Roundup: Hoot Sweet Hat and Mitts!

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What I’m Knitting

I had a pattern (actually, two) released in a magazine this week! This is the Hoot Sweet Hat and Mitts, published in Love of Knitting, Fall 2016 issue:

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Photo by Carmel Zucker

The magazine is available for purchase online here.

Since this set is sized to fit toddlers to big kids, it’s worked in an easy-care yarn, Berroco Vintage Chunky. I’ve worked with this yarn before and love how soft it is! I think the owl motifs look so cute in the chunky yarn, and as a bonus, these accessories are really quick to knit.

These were some of the secret projects I was working on at the end of last year. It’s so nice to finally be able to show them off! I still have at least three more waiting in the release queue, so stay tuned…

What I’m Cooking

I missed getting pictures of the yummy curry I made for my weekly meal for a crowd this week, but I did manage a shot of these banana/walnut/oatmeal cookies. I don’t usually make an effort to bake gluten-free treats, but these were quite good! My son liked them a lot, although he refused to believe that they were cookies and insisted on calling them muffins.

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What I’m Reading

I’m about to start The Morrigan’s Curse by Dianne K. Salerni. It’s the third book in a series I’ve really enjoyed so far, so I have high hopes!MorrigansCurse_REV cover

Friday Roundup: Hat FO!

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What I’m Knitting

I finished the cabled hat and even managed a photoshoot! (It was a bit of a chore to go through and crop out the 6-months preggo belly on all the pictures, though!)

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Here are the specs!

Pattern: My own, currently titled “Tierney Hat,” although that may be subject to change. I have it up for testing now, so hopefully I’ll have the pattern released in about three weeks.

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh DK in Jade. I looooove this colorway. It’s probably one of my top three desert-island colors. And the Tosh was so nice to work with that I didn’t even mind all that purling!

Notes: My original concept was for a mostly simple and basic hat with a pop of visual interest (and interest for the knitter!). I had to fiddle with the closed-loop cable a bunch to get it to work out the way I wanted, but I’m really happy with the way it came out!

I’m back to working on secret projects next week, but hopefully I’ll have something I can show off by next Friday!

What I’m Cooking

Some overripe bananas inspired me to make these tasty banana-walnut muffins this week (sometimes I think 90% of my baking is inspired by overripe bananas, haha):

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And although the picture is nothing to write home about, the Pad Thai I made for my weekly meal-for-a-crowd came out awesome! I finally got the timing just right so the rice noodles were perfectly done, something I’ve had trouble with in the past.

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What I’m Reading

I finished the second book in the Masterminds series last night. This one ended on a huge cliffhanger just like the first one, grrr! So since I have to wait for the next one to be released, I picked up another Gordon Korman book from the library, one that I’ve seen recommended quite a bit as being a very funny middle grade novel.

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Friday Roundup: FO Fail

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What I’m Knitting

I wanted to do a quick project this week, so I whipped up this cute little owl hat for my son.

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He loves owls and loves wearing hats, so it should have been a surefire hit, right? But it turns out he HATES it. That picture was taken right before he ripped the hat off his head and refused to put it on ever again. He even went so far as to throw it violently across the room while yelling, “No hat! No hat!”

Toddlers, man.

IMG_2702Anyway, here are the general specs on the FO:

Pattern: Chouette by Ekaterina Blanchard (Ravelry link)

Yarn: This is a lovely rustic wool my sister-in-law bought me as a gift in England a few years back. It’s labeled “Pure Lleyn Lambswool” and says “Knit as Chunky” on the label, although I found that it knit up much better at an Aran gauge (and had to adjust the pattern accordingly).

Notes: A well-written, easy to follow pattern. It’s definitely not the designer’s fault that my son took an immediate dislike to it. :-P

I also got a picture of my current progress on the baby blanket. I have three squares knit up, although only two of them are blocked:

IMG_2711I was happy to find that I was able to get these three squares out of two skeins of Malabrigo Rios. That means I should have enough to do my originally planned nine squares with the six skeins I have. Yay for not having to buy more yarn!

What I’m Cooking

This potato casserole is one of my favorite easy vegan dishes. We ate all the leftovers within two days—yummy!

IMG_2695And I also made a chickpea/veggie curry, served over rice. The sauce for this is SO GOOD. You could almost just eat it with a spoon.

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What I’m Reading

So I was contemplating going back to young adult books after I finished the third book in the Thrawn trilogy… but I couldn’t help myself, so I started the first of the duology that follows those books. I promise, I’ll go back to other things when I’m done with these two books!

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“Friday” Roundup: Brain Break

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(I know it’s Saturday, but the day got away from me yesterday! So if everyone reading this would just pretend it’s still Friday for a minute, that’d be great.)

What I’m Knitting

Hey look, something I can show you! I mailed off the big commissioned sample (yay!) and immediately got to work on a little neckwarmer for my son.

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It’s just a super-simple 2×2 rib in the round in a skein of soft Knit Picks Swish Worsted I had lying around, but it’s already gotten a lot of use! I tuck it under his jacket and pull it up around his ears to block wind. We went to the zoo a few days ago in 25 degree weather (I know, I know), and he was snug and warm with his handknit mittens, hat, and neckwarmer.

I have to say, too, that it was really nice to knit such a simple item after lots and lots of more complicated knits. Everyone needs a brain break now and then!

What I’m Cooking

I actually cooked something fancy this week! Homemade vegan alfredo sauce with spring peas and asparagus over pasta, which was really tasty. But… I forgot to take pictures. I used this recipe from Minimalist Baker (one of my favorite recipe sources). I’ve tried a lot of vegan “cream” sauce recipes, and this was definitely one of the best!

What I’m Reading

Um, a potty training book. Ah, parenthood.

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Friday Roundup: Another FO and Tasty Soups

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What I’m Knitting

I have another FO from the Indie Design Gift-A-Long this week!

IMG_1429_mediumThese felted mittens are to match Ronan’s aviator hat I showed off last week. Here’s what they looked like pre-felting (along with the yarn I had left—that was some serious yarn chicken with a hand-dyed, irreplaceable yarn):

image_medium2Here are the specs on the mittens:

Pattern: Snow Day Mittens by Melissa Metzbower

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted, hand-dyed by my husband!

Notes: This pattern was clear and easy to follow, and I love that it includes sizes from teeny baby to large adult! I made the 24 month size for Ronan. They’re too big even after I felted them to within an inch of their lives, but that’s okay—with luck, he should be able to wear them next year, too. And he doesn’t mind that they’re big:

IMG_1422_medium IMG_1426_mediumA few days ago, I received the yarn for three(!) secret deadline projects, so I’m afraid that’s probably going to be all of my Gift-A-Long knitting for this year. But I really enjoyed knitting other people’s patterns for a change. I can’t wait for next year!

PSA: if you aren’t sure what the Gift-A-Long is, come check it out in the Ravelry group! It runs all the way through New Year’s Eve, so there’s plenty of time to get in on the fun.

What I’m Cooking

I knocked out two cookbook challenge recipes this week. First up was this chef’s salad, featuring baked tofu, breaded cauliflower, and eggplant bacon. The salad itself was good (if a little too labor-intensive and fiddly for a salad), but the vegan “ranch” dressing recipe that went with it—OMFG. It tastes virtually identical to dairy-filled ranch! My husband and I practically drank it out of the bowl. Definitely a new favorite!

IMG_0899For my weekly dinner for a crowd, I tried the smoky split pea soup from the cookbook. The smoked paprika that gives it the sort of ham-like flavor turned the soup brown rather than green, but it tasted great.

IMG_8464I also made my favorite beefless-beef stew recipe. This stew often gets “Whoa!” comments from carnivores who aren’t expecting something that tastes so much like the beef stew they’re used to. I used the wine called for in the recipe this time instead of my usual veggie broth substitution, which made it that much richer and better.

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I’ve decided to make a huge amount of cookies for a holiday party I’m attending this weekend—so tune in for next week’s Friday Roundup for the results of that!

What I’m Reading

I picked up the first book in a long-running YA series, Margaret Peterson Haddix’s The Missing. It skews a little young, maybe, but it has a bunch of elements I like in my books—adventure, mystery, sci-fi, and good writing.

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Friday Roundup: A Whole Lotta Knitting

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What I’m Knitting

Thanks to the Indie Design Gift-A-Long (still in full swing until the end of the year!), I’ve finished several projects this week!

First, this adorable aviator hat for my son. Seriously though, I don’t know how this kid is so adorable. I had about 12 unbelievably cute photos to choose from here.

IMG_0853 IMG_0859Here are the specs on the hat:

Pattern: Jules for Aviators and Explorers, by Gabrielle Danskknit

Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted Bare, hand-dyed by none other than my husband! He gave me this yarn a few years ago as a present and I was saving it for a special project. I was worried Ronan would find it too scratchy, but he doesn’t seem to care at all! He loves the hat and keeps insisting on wearing it around the house. Mommy knitter win. :-)

Notes: This is a great pattern—very easy to follow. The designer has a whole range of adorable aviator hats in different styles and yarn weights in her Ravelry store, so it was hard to choose just one! This might be my new go-to gift for baby showers, since the finished hat is so darned cute and the earflaps make it practical for fall and winter babes.

I also finished two more projects this week, from the same pattern. I had decided that the GAL was a great opportunity to try a technique I’ve been avoiding for years—steeking! I started out with two yarns I thought were both 100% wool and knit up this coffee cozy:

IMG_8409It looks all innocent there, but it almost fell apart completely! Turns out one of the yarns I used, despite being exactly the same color as a 100% wool yarn I have in my leftovers stash, was actually mostly acrylic. So when I crocheted the reinforcement and cut the steek, the slippery yarn ends started popping right out of the crochet steek. I only managed to salvage it by stitching all the ends down:

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Not pretty.

So, determined to get this steeking thing right, I tried again with actual wool. This time it worked very well!

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I need to work on doing the crochet reinforcement properly on the cast-on/BO row so my edges are a little funky, but the ends stayed secure! And it looks a whole lot better on the inside:

IMG_0896The pattern I used was Bucket List Coffee Accessories by Michele Bernstein. I’m happy to have steeking checked off my own knitter’s bucket list!

I’m working on one more GAL pattern, and then I need to switch over to a commissioned secret design project that yarn just arrived for. But hopefully I’ll have another FO to show off next week!

What I’m Cooking

The next recipe up in my Appetite for Reduction cookbook challenge was a roasted root vegetable Thai-style curry. It called for rutabagas and parsnips, which I never use, but I was surprised to find that I quite liked them both. An even bigger surprise—my son LOVED the roasted rutabaga pieces. He probably ate a quarter of the rutabaga all by himself.

IMG_0887I went off cookbook for my weekly meal-for-a-crowd. This is a spaghetti squash lasagna, made with a totally delicious tofu and basil based vegan ricotta. It came out really, really well! I love the idea of using spaghetti squash to healthify lasagna when I’m craving comfort food, so this is definitely going in the “make again” file.

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What I’m Reading

I started a new young adult series this week. I’ve read the author’s previous series and I liked them a lot, so it’s no surprise that I’m already halfway through this one and enjoying it!

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Friday Roundup: Thankful

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What I’m Knitting

As promised, I’m knitting away on other designers’ patterns for the Indie Designer Gift-A-Long! I finished my Cascada Mitts—didn’t they come out beautifully?

IMG_0778_mediumI was planning to keep them for myself… but the stash yarn I chose just happens to be my sister-in-law’s favorite color, and I think she’d love these. So they’re going to her, and I’ll just have to knit another pair for myself.

Here are the FO specs:

Pattern: Cascada Mitts by Karen Troyer Ladman

Yarn: Cephalopod Traveller in Finger Lakes, about 1/2 of a skein (left over from my Concord Vest)

Notes: This is my favorite kind of gift knitting—simple enough so the pattern is easily memorized, but complicated enough to keep the interest and attention. I didn’t even have second mitt syndrome on these!

I’ve also discovered that Magic Loop is my absolute favorite way to knit mitts, although I tend to prefer DPNs for sleeves. Separating the mitt into two pieces (instead of 3 or 4 with DPNs) tends to work better, since there’s usually patterning on the back and stockinette or a simpler pattern on the palm.

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I’ve started the next pattern on my Gift-A-Long list, an adorable aviator hat for my son. More about that next week!

What I’m Cooking

Whew, a whole lot of stuff, thanks to US Thanksgiving being yesterday and us hosting dinner for 15 people! I did manage one recipe from my low-fat vegan cookbook challenge, but then all bets were off when the big day rolled around, haha.

Here’s a cauliflower ricotta lasagna from the cookbook (forgot to get a pic while it looked all pretty, oops):

IMG_0760And the few things I managed to get pictures of on Thanksgiving Day (there was a lot going on!):

For an appetizer, I made tiny deviled potatoes. I bought a cheap pastry bag and tip to pipe in the filling, and they tasted as good as they looked:

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I made roasted balsamic Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, and zucchini gratin for the main meal, which you can kind of see in this pic of my plate (along with my mom’s fantastic marinated fake meat turkey loaf!):

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And for dessert, I made two kinds of apple pie, which went perfectly with the four other kinds(!) brought by other guests:

FullSizeRender-1 FullSizeRenderIt was a fabulous meal and a fun night with family and friends. We’re still enjoying delicious leftovers. :-)

What I’m Reading

My friend Amy Reichert’s book released this summer and I’m finally getting a chance to read it! Lots of fun and yummy food so far.

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Friday Roundup: Lace/Cable Hat FO!

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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!

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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.

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Friday Roundup: A Finished Vest and a Ridiculously Cute Model

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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