Posted in Cooking, Current Projects

Mmmm, Tamales (Oh and knitting, too!)

Tamales last night turned out to be a success! I think next time I need to use just a bit more liquid in the dough because they stuck to the husks a bit. I noticed that when I added more liquid about halfway through, the dough was easier to spread on the husks and didn’t stick nearly as much. Another thing I would do a bit differently, is to roll them within the husk before sealing up. I didn’t realize I should have been doing that until after. Oops! The recipe I used was Grandma Salazar’s Tamales from Delicious Days blog. Even only making a half of a batch, I ended up with enough leftovers to freeze for three more meals. They are a bit labor intensive if you’re doing it by yourself like I was, but totally worth it, I think! There’s some more pictures of the whole process here.

All Cooked
Tamales. Yum!

I was worried Matt wouldn’t like the tamales because they weren’t flavorful enough or something (a common complaint with him and Mexican food), but much to my surprise, he really enjoyed them! πŸ™‚

AND ENJOY!
Matt Approves

I took a picture of my Brandywine Shawl last night to share. It hasn’t seen much progress since I started it this past weekend, but I think I can get it done by the end of the SAL/KAL. The Camber Cardigan has been my #1 priority, so I’ve put things aside to work on that for the most part. I do break it up and knit a few rows here and there on other projects, though. Gotta have a little knitting variety. πŸ˜‰

Brandywine Shawl
Brandywine Shawl

I may have fibbed that I put aside the Textured Circle Shrug yesterday. I ended up going home and working a few more rows of it. Knitting with bigger needles after so long of using US size 4 and below was strange! My hands seemed a bit more tense when I started on it, but loosened up a bit after a few rows. Still, they felt better when I put it aside to work on the Camber Cardigan on US 4’s.

Textured Circle Shrug
Textured Circle Shrug

Nothing interesting for dinner. Thinking the last two brats and pasta salad are on the menu. Nice and easy for the lovely weather we’re having today. Tonight is knit night! Yay πŸ˜€

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Posted in Completed Projects, Cooking, Current Projects, Gardening

Project Updates, Garden Updates, and Tamales

After saying I felt like I haven’t been working on much in my last post, I now feel like I’ve got a lot I’m working on! Funny how that ends up working. πŸ™‚

Sunday I finished up a little case for my phone. I was tired of the one I was using because it was difficult to dock my iPhone, so I stopped using it. Then I was worried it would get scratched up in my purse and decided it needed a pretty case.

iPhone Cozy
bHive iPhone Cozy

Pattern: bHive (My Ravelry project page. <– Non-Ravelry users can see this now!!)
Started: March 20, 2010
Completed: March 29, 2010
Yarn: Wollmeise 80/20 Twin in Lowenzahn and Malabrigo Sock in Violeta Africana (small amounts of each)
Needles: US 1 (2.25mm), Knit Picks Nickel DPNs
Notes: This was a easy knit, but was one that I started and put aside for a week, then finished. It could have been knit in one day… I’m just easily distracted! I changed the bottom to be garter stitch instead of stockinette and I did 2×2 ribbing instead of 1×1 (personal preference, I’m not a fan of 1×1 ribbing). If I were to do this again, I would do a total of 5 repeats of the color pattern, which would leave very little garter stitch to do at the bottom to finish it off. I think I might add a flap or button to it. I keep thinking it’s going to fall out because the yarn is rather slick!

iPhone Cozy
bHive iPhone Cozy

iPhone Cozy
bHive iPhone Cozy

I’m still busy working on Camber. I’m up to the waist increases and I’m betting by this weekend I’ll be on the sleeves! Here’s an updated progress shot (though the color is a bit off).

Camber Cardigan
Camber Cardigan

I started the Brandywine Shawl with my handspun from my last post. I think I really need to make my niddy noddy smaller. The skein was too big for my swift and it ended up in a horrible tangled mess that took me THREE HOURS to untangle. No progress photo of the shawl yet, but I’ve done the first chart and 2 repeats of the second chart. So far I really like how it’s working up. I’m glad I ended up changing my mind on the pattern. I think this one suits the yarn much better.

I’ve been feeling the cast-on itch lately and yesterday Karen (who now BLOGS! hehe) queued the Textured Circle Shrug. I mention that I wasn’t really feeling Rogue anymore (Rogue #2 in green Cascade 220), but I really liked that shrug and was thinking of frogging it to make the shrug instead. Being the evil enabler that she is, she talked me into a mini KAL. I swatched last night and cast on. I’m only about two rows in right now and I’ll be putting it aside so that I can get Camber done. Sometimes you just need to cast something new on!

Textured Circle Shrug
Textured Circle Shrug Beginnings

We’ve been busy working on the yard recently. Two weekends ago Matt’s dad and brother came over and the three of them pulled out all the bushes in the front yard. There were 11 of them!

No more bushes
Here they are hard at work.

With those gone, the front of the house has looked a bit empty. Over the weekend, I purchased two pots of flowers for the porch. Still a lot I want to do, but it’s a start!

Plants on porch
Front Porch Flowers

Flowers
Tulips, Lilies and Hyacinths

Tonight I’m going to attempt to make tamales. I cooked up the beef for them yesterday.

Tamales!
Beef, Onions, Garlic, and Water for TAMALES!

Wish me luck – I’ve never made them before! I’ll report back with how they turned out. πŸ™‚

Posted in Completed Projects, Current Projects

Camber Cardigan, Spinning, and Matt’s Socks

I feel like I haven’t been working on much lately, though I’m sure that’s not entirely true. I think it’s more that I’ve just been focused a small number of projects. I did finish the first Skew sock and the first plain vanilla sock (in Vesper’s “Summer Breeze” club yarn). No pictures of either, yet. Both were put aside when I started the Glorious Cabled Mitts and now I’m working on another test knit – Camber Cardigan. Well, I was actually working on both for a while, but now that the mitts are done, I’m focusing on the Camber Cardigan.

The Camber Cardigan was designed by Jesh and I was lucky enough to be a test knitter for this sweater thanks to Twitter! πŸ™‚ Here’s a link to a photo (for non-Ravelry folks) and the pattern is already up for pre-order on Ravelry here. I’m up to the waist decreases and now that I’ve split off the sleeves, it seems to be going quite a bit faster! I suppose taking those sleeve stitches out of the row helps with that as it does with every top down sweater. πŸ˜‰

Camber (pre sleeve split)
Pre-sleeve Sparation

Camber (post sleeve split)
Post-sleeve Sparation

I still haven’t decided on buttons, though I’m not really a “decide on buttons before knitting” kind of person. I do have an idea in mind of what I’d like the buttons to be, but that depends on what I can find! I’ve been looking. I just haven’t found the right buttons for it yet. So far I’m totally loving this pattern and cardigan. The light weight will make it perfect for spring and even when the seasons change from summer into fall. I think it’ll also be great for my office when it gets cold once they crank up the AC come summer. I wouldn’t be surprised if I knit up a few more of these to match my entire wardrobe! I’m using Knit Picks Palette in Huckleberry Heather, which makes this a super affordable knit, and I really like how it’s knitting up for a sweater (this is my first time using Palette for a sweater). The recommended yarn is also quite affordable. I love seeing patterns that have recommended yarn doesn’t scare me off of by the price! I know I can always substitute, but I think it’s nice to not always have to.

I finally have some finished spinning to show! I finished spinning the fiber for the SAL/KAL going on in the Zarzuela’s Fiber Junkies group. I ended up with about 627 yards of fingering weight yarn. I decided not to ply because I really liked how the singles turned out and it left me with more yardage to work with for a shawl.

Merino/Silk/Mohair Yarn
Zarzuela’s Fibers Luxury Sock Batt all spun up!

I decided on the Brandywine Shawl (Ravelry link). I think the yarn will work nicely with the pattern and the construction will allow me to use up as much of this as I possibly can. Great combination, I think!

A while back I mentioned finishing Matt’s socks, but I never got around to posting a picture of them finished. I think my cell phone picture will have to do. At the rate I’m going, I’ll forget about posting the finished details and he’ll have worn holes in them! If I ever do get around to doing a photo shoot with him, I’ll be sure to post pictures, though.

Matt's Finished Socks
Matt’s Socks

Pattern: My own toe-up ribbed sock (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: January 20, 2010
Completed: February 27, 2010
Yarn: Wollmeise 80/20 Twin in Lowenzahn
Needles: US 1 (2.25mm), Knit Picks Nickel DPNs
Notes: These started out as the Mock Cable socks, but all those little cables were taking me a really long time and I thought the yarn was pooling a little too much for the pattern, so I decided to make these ribbed instead. He has worn them a TON since I finished them, so it’s fair to say they’ve been a success and he’ll likely get another pair sometime.

Off to get some errands done and dinner taken care of before knit night tonight!

Posted in Completed Projects

Glorious Cabled Mitts

I’ve been all about test knitting recently. Today, I’m sharing one test knit that I recently finished and I’ll share another that I’m working on very soon (gotta get those pictures edited and uploaded first).

My friend Karen asked me to test knit her Glorious Cabled Mitts. A number of us in the knitting group had been after her for quite a while to write up the pattern. I pointed her in the direction of Intwined Pattern Studio after seeing an ad for it on Ravelry and it wasn’t long before she had the first draft of the pattern ready to test knit. I have to say, test knitting isn’t for everyone. Sometimes it means a lot of bumps in the road, while other times you don’t run into any issues. I admit, I’m the kind of person that wants consistency and clear directions in a pattern. I’m also the kind of person that will likely give a lot of detail in something written down so that there’s no confusion or questions about what the next step is. I blame it on writing a lot of Standard Operating Procedures while I was in the military! I think this helps in test knitting. While I totally understood the directions, I could see where there might be confusion for someone else. A few drafts and revisions of the pattern, two weeks, a pair of fingerless mitts and a photo shoot later (*squee* the photos in the pattern are ones I took!), the pattern is now up for everyone to have and knit! It’s available on Ravelry here.

Glorious Cabled Mitts
Glorious Cabled Mitts, modeled by Karen

Pattern: Glorious Cabled Mitts (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: March 4, 2010
Completed: March 16, 2010
Yarn: Malabrigo Sock, colorway Violeta Africana, a little less then half of a skein
Needles: US 0, Knit Picks 32″ circular
Notes: No real notes on this. I followed the pattern exactly as written. The yarn is squishy and lovely to work with and the semi-solidness of it works really well with the cables. I would definitely would knit these again and I think a few knit-worthy recipients in my life might be in need of a pair!

Glorious Cabled Mitts
Thumb Gussets

Glorious Cabled Mitts
Mmmm… cupcake!
Oh! And look at those mitts!

Posted in Completed Projects, Current Projects

Skew, Snapdragon FO and Sweater Knitting

I know I’ve said before that magic loop really isn’t my thing and that I’m 100% a DPN lover, especially when it comes to socks, but I might be changing my mind! I started Skew this past Saturday after finishing up Matt’s socks (pics coming soon). The pattern notes said this was better worked magic loop or with two circulars because you get up to just over 100 stitches at the heel, so I decided I’d give this magic loop thing another go. I swear this sock is going much faster then on DPN’s, though I’m not really sure how since I feel like I spent a fair amount of time untangling the cable and yarn before I got a semi-decent flow going. I certainly don’t hate the magic looping now, but I’m also not sure that I’m a total convert yet. We’ll see how I feel after finishing both socks!

Skew - Top of sock
Skew Sock

My TLE swap buddy received package number 2 a while back and I was waiting for her to post pictures of the package before posting the FO (so I could get a picture of the whole box because I forgot to take a picture of everything), but it’s been a few weeks since it was received, so I’ll go ahead and share the hat I knit for her.

Pattern: Snapdragon (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: January 20, 2010
Completed: January 24, 2010
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted, colorway Verde Esperenza, a little less then 1 skein
Needles: US 6 bamboo circular (ribbing), US 7 bamboo circular and DPNs
Notes: Followed pattern as written. As always, Ysolda’s patterns are very well written and I found this to be an easy knit for me. I liked how the hat turned out and hope my swap partner likes it and gets a lot of use out of it. πŸ™‚

Gretel
Snapdragon – Flat

Gretel
Snapdragon – Crown

As I suspected, I didn’t get the spinning done for the Ravelympics. Ah well, I didn’t really think I would anyhow. I didn’t even spin all weekend! Stupid back/hip was giving me some problems, so I decided it would be best to just let my body rest. Still plan on having it done by April 1st for the SAL/KAL, though! Considering keeping it as a single for more yardage, but I’ll decide once I’ve got it spun up.

Matt’s socks are finally done and he likes them! I haven’t taken pictures yet, but he’s been wearing them to bed the last few nights and he’s been bragging about how I knit socks for him to people. πŸ™‚

Once these Skew socks stop hogging up all my knitting attention, I’ll be getting back to Rogue, which I started just before the Ravelympics (and don’t have pictures of yet). I really liked knitting the February Lady Sweater and I’m itching to make another one now!