Posted in Completed Projects, Cooking

German Stockings FO and Project Three

Finally have these German Stockings done and just in time. I finished these Saturday morning and really couldn’t be happier to get them off my needles after all the trouble (aka frogging) I had with them. In the end, they were worth the trouble. They turned out gorgeous and I love them. Now I just need to figure out when I can wear them and what I’ll wear them with.

I didn’t get a chance to blog about the issues I had with this sock last week. To sum it up, I ended up ripping back over 5 inches because I was doing the increase portion of the traveling row in the wrong place. I didn’t realize it until I was about to start the heel. I considered continuing on as I was, doing the increase in the wrong place, or leaving what I had done already and doing the increase in the correct place on the foot. After debating about it, I decided there was no choice but to frog it. If I’d done either, it would have looked quite a bit different from the first sock and I knew I didn’t want to just finish it to get it done on time because I know I wouldn’t want to go back and rip it out later on. I sucked it up, risked not finishing on time and fixed my mistake. Thankfully I ended up getting it done with a few days to spare!

German Stockings (Left Side)
German Stocking

Pattern: German Stockings by Cookie A. (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: July 15, 2011
Completed: August 13, 2011
Yarn: Socktopus Sokksu Original in Fontainebleau, 1.5 skeins, roughly 650 yards
Hook: US 1 (2.25mm) Knit Picks nickel circular
Notes: Didn’t change anything about the pattern. I wouldn’t say they were a difficult knit, I just seemed to have a difficult time following the pattern properly and reading the notes section (which I actually did do, but apparently missed the info I needed there). They turned out great despite the issues I had that caused lots of frogging. Had I not made so many mistakes, I think I could have had these done in about 2 weeks time. I’m just happy I got them done in time for Camp Loopy!

German Stockings (Motif)
German Stocking – Motif Detail

German Stockings (Back)
German Stocking – Back

You can see more pictures on my Ravelry project page.

Now that Camp Loopy Project Two is off the needles and a photo has been uploaded to The Loopy Ewe, it’s time to move on to other things… like Camp Loopy Project Three! Today is the starting day (and finishing day for Project Two). I’ve got my yarn and needles ready to cast on for Eadon. I think as long as I don’t have any major issues, I can get it done in less then 4 weeks, but depends on how busy I am between now and then. I knit my swatch on Saturday, measured it on Sunday and was happy to find that I got the right gauge the first time. Getting gauge on the first try seems to not happen often for me. I usually have to swatch 2 or 3 times!

I’m trying out some new needles on this project: ChaioGoo Red Stainless Steel cirulars. I’ve heard a number of knitters rave about these needles and particularly love the cable. I knit a swatch with them and so far I like them quite a bit. The cable is different then anything else on the market and the tips (regular ones, though they do make a lace circular) are somewhere between regular Addi’s and lace Addi’s. They’re pretty inexpensive, too. I paid $8.50 for the ones I bought through Grandma’s Hand Knitting Etsy shop. Shipping was pretty cheap and they arrived in a few days. Definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for something new to try that’s not too pricey. I’ll definitely be ordering more and really want to try the sock sizes.

I don’t think I mentioned it, but this past Friday, Knit Picks had a warehouse sale at their warehouse in Columbus, OH. I went with a few friends and scored some good deals. That experience deserves a whole post to itself, though, so I’ll share that next time. I may even have a little giveaway for one of the items I picked up! 🙂

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Posted in Completed Projects, Cooking, Current Projects, Sewing

OppAtt Socks, Little Christmas Tree, and Juneberry

It’s a week from Christmas and this year I have zero “must finish this by December 25th” things on my needles. It’s kind of nice, though it’s a little sad, too. I didn’t knit anyone a thing for Christmas. Last year, I knit things for 3 family members, but this year nothing really jumped out as me as things I should knit for so-and-so. I didn’t feel stressed about last year’s gift knitting since I started pretty early, so it wasn’t even that holding me back. I looked and looked at patterns. Thought about what those I’m giving gifts to might like from me (handknit or otherwise). The one thing I really kept coming back to is this: I don’t get asked for handknits from people I would knit for. That makes it hard to think of things they might like that I could knit and they’re all a bit difficult to buy gifts for (I realize I’m hard to buy gifts for, too). Ultimately I concluded that store-bought gifts would be what I would be giving this year.

So… that means I’ve been knitting merrily away on some things for myself since I last posted! I even finished two things.

First thing I finished was the Opposites Attract Mystery KAL Socks. Didn’t take me long to finish the socks after I finished the commissioned knits I did.

Side note about that: everything worked out well. I think it was a misunderstanding on my part about price or maybe I misheard what was said, but regardless, things turned out well. I have been thanked repeatedly and was told many times over that they knew they were getting a huge discount and the items are “worth hundreds!” I feel a bit bad for complaining and getting worked up about it. I’m just relieved that it all worked out well in the end and wasn’t as uncomfortable as I thought it might be.

Anyhow, back to the socks! I like how they turned out and I’m very pleased with the fit. I don’t often do mystery sock KALs and usually end up frogging them. This one kept my interest and as the design came out one clue at a time, I continued to like the pattern and kept on knitting.

OA Mystery Socks
Opposites Attract Mystery KAL Socks

Pattern: OppAtt Mystery KAL for Barking Dog Yarns by Jeannie Cartmel (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: November 3, 2010
Completed: December 12, 2010
Yarn: Barking Dog Opposites Attract, colorway George & Gracie, one skein
Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm) Knit Picks circular
Notes: No modifications to the pattern, knit as written for the 72 stitch sock.

OA Mystery Socks (Front)
Opposites Attract Mystery KAL Socks – Front

OA Mystery Socks (Back)
Opposites Attract Mystery KAL Socks – Back

The other item I finished was a little crocheted Christmas tree. It was pretty simple to do, though it did take some fiddling to get the leaves how I liked them due to me misreading part of the tutorial. Took just a little more then a day to finish. I still need to add ornaments to it, so I’m not calling it completely finished yet. Once I add ornaments, I’ll do an FO post for it. The tutorial for it can be found here.

Crochet Christmas Tree
Little Christmas Tree

A few posts ago, I mentioned wanting to crochet the Boteh Scarf. After finishing the Opposite Attract socks, I immediately started this, then lost a bit of interest when the I found the tree pattern above. It’s a pretty easy pattern and the first scarf I’ve ever attempted crocheting. It’s even helping me get the hang of crochet charts a bit. Not completely, but it is at least making some sense for a change. The yarn I’m using is Bigmouth Yarns Buxom Sock in “You’re Turning Violet, Violet!”

Boteh Scarf
Boteh Scarf

Around the same time that I started the scarf and crochet the tree, Sairy posted about buying yarn for the Juneberry Triangle, which I immediately went to queue and realized I already had! Suddenly I needed to knit it NOW, so I looked through my stash and found that the DK weight mink/cashmere yarn I bought from Great Northern Yarns a while ago had enough yardage and would work for the shawl. Didn’t take long before I had cast on and found myself not working on any other projects.

Juneberry
Juneberry Triangle

Juneberry
Juneberry Triangle – Close

I’m now halfway through chart D, which is the one with bobbles. I rarely pick projects that have bobbles, but I have no real reason for that or aversion to them. Just haven’t really knit many things with them. I was actually surprised to realize there were bobbles in the pattern. I either didn’t pay enough attention to the photos of the shawl or just chose to ignore the fact that they were there. I find them to be a bit fiddly and they usually don’t appeal to me in a pattern. I will say that being able to knit backwards really comes in handy when knitting bobbles. None of that turn, turn, turn stuff, which got on my nerves after the first row with bobbles. I can only do the knit stitch well backwards, but I am very thankful I learned that when I took my first knitting class at Knitter’s Connection a few years ago.

I’m hoping to do a year end wrap up post like I have the last two years with all my FO’s, though I’ll likely wait until after Christmas to do that to see if I can sneak in another FO before the year is out. In preparation, I’ve been browsing through some old posts, looking at the projects I’ve completed this year, and even re-reading the goals I set for myself at the beginning of this year. If I don’t get a chance to post again before Christmas, I hope everyone has a lovely holiday! 🙂

Posted in Cooking, Current Projects, Spinning

Cottage Garden, Featherweight Spinning, and Green BEAN Delivery

This past weekend gave me TONS of time to knit because we didn’t have a whole lot to do most of the weekend and it was Labor Day on Monday, so on top of not having a lot scheduled, I had an extra day off work. I’m always a fan of extra free time off work to knit! 😉

Cottage Garden is coming along nicely. I’m about a half inch from being done with the body. Thinking I’ll be able to finish it up tonight. I know a stockinette sweater isn’t that interesting to photograph, but here’s what it looks like right now.

Cottage Garden (Body)
Cottage Garden – Body

A while back, I mentioned the SAL/KAL going on over in the Zarzuela’s Fibers Junikes group on Ravelry. I’ve been working on the Targhee in Emeralds (which spins up so lovely!) and have the first 4 ounces plied up.

Emeralds
Targhee in Emeralds – Plied

I should check what my wraps per inch (WPI) is, but my guess is that it’s fingering weight. I’ve already started on the second 4 ounces and I’m about 2/3 of the way through the first bobbin. I’ve enjoyed working with Targhee and I’m glad I have more once this is finished! 🙂 Once I’m all done with this, I’m hoping I’ll have enough for Featherweight.

I’m not so great at estimating (or calculating) the yardage on my handspun. I’ve been working on getting a yardage counter put together, but I need a piece of wood to mount it on. I found instructions on the Hello Yarn blog: Make Your Own Yardage Counter. I have everything except something to mount it on. I didn’t want to buy a big 2 x 4 just for a small piece of it, but I may need to break down and do that. Anyone know if Lowe’s or Home Depot will cut it down for you?

I didn’t have a picture of the progress on my second Maelstrom sock last post, but I did get one this weekend. It hasn’t seen any progress since I started Cottage Garden. I figure I’ll pick it back up once I get done with the sweater. Rhinebeck sweater takes priority!

Maelstrom Sock #2 (Right)
Maelstrom Sock #2

In new and exciting news, this week we got our first delivery from Green BEAN Delivery (formerly Farm Fresh Delivery). I had been wanting to try them out for a while because I’ve grown increasingly tired of going grocery shopping and ending up having to go back multiple times per week for something that I forgot or suddenly need. This usually ended up being because of poor planning on my part, but regardless, I have grown to despise grocery shopping. Since moving to Cincinnati, I’ve been hoping for something like Amazon Fresh or Peapod. I first heard about Farm Fresh Delivery from an advertisement on the radio months ago. I was intrigued by the concept and was hoping to find someone I knew who had used the service before taking the plunge. Many people I knew had heard about it, but no one had used their service before. Finally, last week I caved and signed up. Just this week they changed their name from Farm Fresh Delivery to Green BEAN Delivery (this happened the day our first order arrived) and got a new website. I placed our first order under the old website, but I found the process to be really easy. I got to choose everything that ended up in our produce bin (there are defaults each week, but you can substitute any of the items), added a few other things we wanted, and it arrived in a green bin on our doorstep Tuesday evening.

Green BEAN Delivery
First Green BEAN Delivery

Aside from a few pieces of lettuce from the salad mix that were wilted (which I wasn’t surprised or worried about since that happens when I buy lettuce from the grocery store, too), everything was in great shape when I went through and inspected the box. This order we got 6 ears of sweet corn, 2 red grapefruits, a pound roma tomatoes, a pound fingerling potatoes, a yellow onion, a bunch of cilantro, a quart of strawberries, two pounds of green grapes, 5 black plums, 2 zucchinis, a head of lettuce, a pound of salad mix, red bell peppers, and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing from Farm to Kitchen. I just got an email notice that I can adjust my order for this week and I’m already looking forward to what will arrive in the next bin! Having to plan out what I want delivered last week made me think about what we’ll be eating for the coming week and planning meals accordingly. There are still things we buy that we can’t get from Green BEAN Delivery, so I will still need to go grocery shopping once a week for bread, lunch meat, and whatever other things we may need to supplement the delivery. We’ll also still go to Costco to buy the things in bulk we use a lot of. I’m interested to see if it’s any cheaper over time then what I’ve been spending at the grocery store each week. Of course there’s more then just cost to think about to decide if it’s worth it! After a few weeks of delivery, I’ll try and remember to update what I think about it and how it’s going.

Time to go make some salsa from the produce that was delivered Tuesday! 🙂

Posted in Completed Projects, Cooking, Current Projects, Sewing

Walden Shawl and Project Updates

This month has been flying by! I can’t believe it’s already the middle of June. This month has been pretty busy both at work and home, but I have been busy knitting and *gasp* CROCHETING. In fact, last week I finished a crocheted shawl!

I’ve been wanting to branch out and learn more crochet for a while. I’ve been especially interested in being able to read and follow crochet patterns. When I asked on Plurk what crochet pattern I should try, Leslie (of The Knit Girllls) suggested Walden. It seemed like a good pattern to get started with, so I started it right away and was finished a few days later.

Walden Shawl
Walden Shawl

Pattern: Walden (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: June 7, 2010
Completed: June 11, 2010
Yarn: 1 skein Scarlet Fleece It’s Tubular x2 colorway Coffee & Raspberry Pie
Needles: 5.0mm/H hook
Notes: I worked as many pattern repeats as I could before working the border, trying to use up as much yarn as possible. The skein was 420 yards and I think I had about 20 yards left. I probably could have added another row or two before the border, but I would have cut it pretty close I think! For a first crochet project that follows a pattern and isn’t a toy, I think this is a good one. It turned out bigger then I thought it would based on it’s pre-blocked size (it stretched a LOT) and it’s a decent sized small shawl. I would totally crochet this pattern again.

Walden Shawl
Walden Shawl – Front

Walden Shawl
Walden Shawl – Side

Walden Shawl
Walden Shawl – Back

On June 1st, I ended up casting on for the Diagonal Lace socks using the Campari Piccolo Wollmeise. I finished the first sock on June 5th and had knit the the foot of the second sock before I put it aside to work on Walden, but once that was finished, I picked it back up and finished the second sock last night. I don’t have a finished picture yet, but here’s what they looked like Sunday night.

Diagonal Lace Socks
Diagonal Lace Socks

After finishing Walden, I wanted to try another crochet pattern. I looked through Ravelry at all the patterns for tops/sweaters and decided on the Sweet Tea tank top from Everyday Crochet by Doris Chan. Luckily my library had an available copy, so Friday I picked it up from the library and started it in NatruallyCaron.com Spa (side note, why would a yarn be called “whatever.com”?). The yarn is a bit splitty to work with at first, but it’s getting easier as I go. I thought I had the whole crochet gauge thing worked out and thought that I had gauge. When I joined the top front and back pieces and worked a few rows, I quickly figured out that I didn’t have gauge and the top was going to be HUGE on me. When I’d finished the top back/front pieces and held them up to see if it would fit, they did (quite well actually), but when I had added the stitches between the pieces, it added 8 inches or so. Since I knew that without those extra stitches it seemed to fit, I ripped back to where I had joined the pieces and added the extra stitches and rejoined them without adding any stitches between. When I tried it on after crocheting a few rows, it fit! Now I’m sort of winging the rest of the body. Since I’m not doing any bust shaping, I’m not worried about having to adjust anything further in the pattern and it seems to be working out pretty good. I think I may have joined the two pieces with one on the wrong side, so there is a row that looks different/weird. I’ll probably rip it back to the join again tonight and fix it. The picture below is from when I joined it the first time with the extra stitches.

Sweet Tea Tank
Sweet Tea

I’ve been working on Daybreak and have 9 stripes done so far. This is what it looked like just after doing the first few stripes.

Daybreak
Daybreak

The Damsel Vesper socks have been put to the side. I’ll finish them eventually, but I think the colorway just doesn’t appeal to me when I knit it, so they keep getting put aside for other projects. I’ve at least started the second sock, though!

Damsel Sock 2
Vesper socks in Damsel

After finishing up the Diagonal Lace socks, I haven’t decided on a new pair to start, so I think I might try and finish these up before starting another pair of socks.

The weather has finally cooled off a bit and not been super humid and miserable outside. Last night we rode our bikes to music on the commons near our house and there was a nice breeze. They do music on the commons on Wednesday and Thursday, so I think I may ride down again tonight. It was nice to be outside, riding bikes, and listening to music. They even had a vendor with funnel cake! YUM!

Any fun weekend plans? We’ll be going to see the Cincinnati Roller Girls on Saturday night and probably working on cleaning up the basement the rest of the weekend. Oh and yard work. It definitely needs some attention. Needs a good mow and some weed whacking and pulling. Might finally try and get my raised beds set up, too. We’ll see. Right now all I want to do is just relax and knit all weekend! 😉

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! 🙂

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. 😉

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 😀

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

Posted in Cooking, Current Projects

Food, Knitting, and the Holiday Season

Wow! It’s been two weeks since I last blogged? I’d say I’ve been busy, but I haven’t felt very busy. I think I’ve just been go-go-go for a while with so many things going on, that when I finally had some down time, I just went with it and took some time off from keeping up with things online. Last week, I was pretty pre-occupied with Thanksgiving plans. I did a bunch of cooking and baking the weekend before Thanksgiving and even the day of. I was recently reminded of how much I love to be working in the kitchen when I spent most of the day baking a cake, making bread (rolls actually, but the process was about the same), and making lasagna.

326/365: Delicious Cake
Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

Rustic Rolls
Rustic Rolls
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

Lasagna with Meat Sauce
Lasagna with Meat Sauce
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

All three recipes turned out fantastic! The rolls were really hearty and not quite what I was looking for, so Monday I tried out a yeast roll recipe I found. Maybe the Best Yeast Rolls.

327/365: Yeast Rolls
Yeast Rolls

They were exactly what I wanted! SO GOOD. I highly recommend this recipe. I think the potato flakes really make it. I also made Apple Cake in a Cast Iron Skillet for Thanksgiving. It came out pretty decent. I ended up having to sub 1/3 cup whole wheat flour because I ran out of white flour. I’ll probably try it again, but cook the apples in the butter/sugar longer, possibly bake it a little longer, and use all white flour.

330/365: Apple Cake
Apple Cake in a Cast Iron Skillet
(Photo from before flipping it over and out of the pan)

I’ve been knitting, too! I started Liesl. I need an updated picture because I’m just past where you separate the sleeves off, but here it is with the first one I made.

316/365: More Then One
Liesl, Take Two (Long sleeve version)

I finished Multnomah. I’m hoping the sun will peek out again soon so I can get some FO photos to share.

332/365: Multnomah, blocking
Multnomah, blocking.

I started a scarf for Matt. He liked my striped Noro one and wanted one in “guy colors” for himself, so I picked out these two sock yarns. When I first attempted the scarf, I found that I needed to work it on size US 2 needles! That was not about to happen (scarf on 2’s? NO WAY). I finally got around to winding the yarn doubled up and started it on US 5’s. It’s moving right along and holding the yarn double hasn’t created any issues other then the occasional missing one of the yarns when knitting. So far, he likes it. 🙂

Matt's Scarf
Matt’s Scarf

There’s a few other projects I’ve been working on (only one that I can’t blog about), but I’ll save those to share next time. I also have a pattern I’m going to share and a few in the works! Stay tuned. 🙂

Hope your holiday season is off to a good start! I worked last Friday, so there were no Black Friday sales that I went to. I wouldn’t have gone even if I did have the day off. It was quite at work with so many people taking the day off, so it wasn’t too bad to be working anyhow. So far we have a few holiday parties in the works, but only traveling within the area we live and most of the gifts I’m giving are knit. What about you? Any plans for this Holiday season? Traveling? Knitting/making gifts?

Posted in Cooking

Making Past Sauce

Today, I have a food post for you. Many people don’t know this about me (some just don’t ever seem to remember, others it’s never come up), but I went to culinary school a few years back. I loved it and found a passion for baking while going through the 16 month program. Due to circumstances beyond my control (car accident), I never ended up getting my certificate because I was 40 hours short for my internship. I was let go after the car accident after I called out a few times despite being told they’d work with me. Anyhow… I found a love for cooking. Then, for a long while, I didn’t cook or bake often. My partner at the time was the one who did all the cooking and I just took a back seat. Slowly, I’ve been finding my way back to cooking a little at a time. More recently Matt and I have tried to “kick up” our dinner routine because we were getting a bit bored with it.

Last weekend, we made a trip to Findlay Market. There’s a new pasta place there that makes fresh pastas, sauces, and ravioli. We got two different kinds of pasta, pesto, and ravioli. Last night we planned on trying the tomato basil pasta that we bought with my homemade tomato sauce.

Pasta sauce is one of the easiest things to make, I think, yet I know few people who make their own sauce. It’s one of the things I never really made myself, even after culinary school! So, today, I wanted to share how to make pasta sauce which I started to do after finding the cost of my favorite jarred pastas to be too expensive. I buy the main ingredients from Costco (tomato sauce, tomato paste, and stewed tomatoes/Rotel), which brings the cost down quite a bit and all of the spices I use are all things I keep on hand.

Ingredients
Ingredients

Here’s what I use in my pasta sauce:

1 – 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 – 4 oz can tomato paste
1 – 10 oz can Ro-tel (tomatoes and green chillies – you can also use stewed tomatoes if you prefer)
Chopped onion
Emrils Origional Essence
Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil Garlic
Mrs. Dash Onion & Herb
Black Pepper
Italian Seasoning
Lawry’s Garlic Salt
Slap Ya Mama

My one “secret ingredient” is the Slap Ya Mama. I think it really adds some kick. I like spicy pasta sauce, though.

My Secret Pasta Sauce Ingredient
Secret ingredient: Slap Ya Mama

The first step is to put the Ro-tel (or stewed tomatoes) in a food processor. I love my mini food processor for this!

Rotel in Food Processor

Next, add all the spices to taste. My sauce is probably never the same because I don’t measure anything, but I’ve never been disappointed by it.

Add Seasonings

Now blend it all together!

Give it a whirl

Blended

Note: This step can be skipped if you like chunky sauce (or just pulse it a few times rather then blending it well) – I’m not particularly a fan of chunky sauce. You can also use crushed tomatoes instead if you don’t have a food processor.

Add the can of tomato sauce and the can of tomato paste to a medium sized sauce pan, then add the Ro-tel and spice blend and give it all a good stir.

Tomato Sauce & Paste
Tomato sauce and paste

Add in Rotel/spice mix
Add Ro-tel and spice blend

Give it a good stir
Give it a good stir.

Cook on medium low heat for as long as you can. The longer it cooks, the more the flavors blend. Sometimes this means I just heat it through, other times this means I cook it for 30+ minutes, depending on how much time I have and if I’m waiting on Matt to get home or not. Even on the nights it’s just heated through, it’s still quite delicious!

Last night I heated the sauce for about 40 minutes.

Heat on med-low

Cook your noodles and place in a dish…

Cooked Tomato Basil Pasta
We had fresh tomato basil fettuccini. YUM.

Top with sauce and Parmesan…

301/365: YUM - Fresh pasta and sauce
…and enjoy!

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m sometimes surprised how easy certain things are to make. Like pasta sauce! Throw a few cans together, add some spices, heat and enjoy. Plus, when you make it yourself, you never have to worry about the store not carrying your preferred brand anymore. 🙂

(We’ll be back to your regularly scheduled knitting tomorrow, but I think I can safely say – start expecting more food posts here!)

Posted in Cooking, Current Projects, Life

A Wool Gathering, Sweater Woes, and Cilantro Lime Chicken

This past weekend, we went up to A Wool Gathering. A fellow Raveler (Kate) was in Columbus for the weekend, visiting from overseas, and I offered to give her a lift to A Wool Gathering. It was fun! I do feel a little lame that I didn’t take ANY pictures while there and let Matt take care of that, so here’s some of the photos he took.

Sheep with Horns
We saw sheep while there (of course)

Small Balls - $2
And some small balls, for $2 each (that’s Kate holding them)

Comparing Skeins
Kate and I comparing some skeins of yarn outside the red of the tent.

Yarn Love
The one skein of yarn I came home with.
Here’s another picture, where you can see the yarn better.

We met some other knitters from my knit group there. It was quite a bit of fun! I was happily surprised that I only came home with one skein of yarn. I gave myself a small budget since I don’t really “need” any yarn, but I couldn’t go home without this one. It’s a skein of sock yarn from Creatively Dyed. I love the fun, happy, bright colors! I have to admit that I’m having a hard time not winding this up and casting on RIGHT NOW. Must knit that sweater first! Or finish some socks that I have on the needles. I already have 3 pairs on the needles, probably not best if I start another before something else is finished first. (I have more pictures from this past Saturday that we spent taking pictures, but I haven’t uploaded them yet. Next post!)

Last night I had a bit of a sweater disaster. I had been diligently working on the sleeve to my Starlight sweater all week and weekend. I even had a lot of extra time to because of the car ride to and from A Wool Gathering, so I was getting close to the top of the sleeve shaping. I measured and I finally hit 47 cm. Before I started the top shaping, I decided to double check my stitch count. I count 96 stitches. I check the pattern. It says I should have 106 stitches. Hmm… count again… nope, 96. Uh, oh. 😦

I look at the pattern and realize that I didn’t do the second set of increases correctly either (increased every 10th row instead of every 8th row). I must have read it wrong at some point. You know where this is going right?

IMG_6124
Sleeve at 47 cm (~ 19 inches)

::sigh::

The sleeve had to be ripped out back to the second set of sleeve increases. I now have all of 12 cm (4.5 inches) of sleeve done.

IMG_6127
What’s left of the sleeve

I’m feeling a little frustrated now that I wasted a week knitting this only to get back to where I was last Tuesday. I’m planning on having this be my Rhinebeck sweater, so I have some time to make up on it. I still think I should be able to get it done, just a little more stressed about it now.

For dinner yesterday we tried a new recipe: Cilantro Lime Chicken. It came out pretty good, but I don’t know that I’d make it like tacos again. Wasn’t quite what Matt was looking for when he asked for cilantro lime chicken, though it was still pretty good in it’s own right. It seemed like it needed something else. Matt suggested corn salsa and that sounds like a pretty good addition to me!

264/365: New Recipe
Cilantro Lime Chicken (tacos) with white rice.

It was fun getting in the kitchen and trying something new. I really must do that more often! We tend to eat a lot of the same things week after week because it’s “quick” or “easy”, but when I make something new, I remember how much I like cooking. I should line up more “new” things to make! Got a favorite recipe? I’d love if you shared it with me in the comments. 🙂

Posted in Completed Projects, Cooking, Life

Bellona Cowl, New Camera, and New Sock

It’s the month of crazy at work (aka fiscal year end). I haven’t been blogging nearly as much as I’ve wanted to lately, but I’ll get back there once all the crazy ends and I can go back to “normal” work days without quite so much crazy in them! I fully intended to blog about this FO last week, but you know how that goes when things are crazy. So, today I bring you the Bellona Cowl!

Pattern: Bellona Cowl by Didi (My Ravelry project page.)
Started: September 4, 2009
Completed: September 7, 2009
Yarn: Knit Picks City Tweed in Morning Glory (1.5 skeins)
Needles: US 4 bamboo circular
Notes: I did 7.5 chart repeats. I probably could have done more, but I’m really happy with the results. Hoping to get a pair of fingerless mitts out of the leftovers. The yarn is really nice to work with and the cowl ended up soft and drapey. I definitely want to make more things with this yarn at some point. The pattern was great and I love the way it turned out. Simple and interesting enough that I didn’t want to put it down! 🙂

Bellona Cowl, flat
Here it is laid out flat.

252/365: Bellona Cowl
Wearing it!

Bellona Cowl, up
Little more detail of the cables.

This weekend ended up being pretty busy, but the highlight for me was inheriting Matt’s old camera when he purchased a new one. I’m now the proud owner of a Canon Rebel XT. He also gave me the kit lens he got with his new Canon XTi since he already had some better lenses and his old camera bag (same as his new one, just smaller).

255/365: New (to me) Camera
Mine!

This weekend, my friends Karen and Lani had a booth full of bags they made at Oktoberfest. I stopped by Saturday and Sunday to help out and support them for a while. Alita had some of her HairWare and Stuff there, too. Matt got better pictures of all of that, but hasn’t uploaded them, so here’s the one I took of their booth.

IMG_5364

I managed to cast on a new sock this weekend. I wasn’t going to, but I needed something different. I had a plain sock on the needles and a colorwork sock on the needles. I was bored of the plain sock and the colorwork one really isn’t transportable since I’m also designing it, so I cast on Midsummer Night’s Dream from the new Knitty.

Midsummer Night's Dream
Midsummer Night’s Dream in Wollmeise Twin, Campari Piccolo.

I was going to make myself wait until I was done with Starlight to start anything new, but I’ve decided that’s silly. I’m a process knitter and my knitting usually goes on my whims. If it’s not interesting, I don’t want to knit it. I needed something portable that was also going to capture my interest RIGHT NOW, so new sock it is!

Sadly, I have to report that I lost one of my DPNs under the driver’s seat in Matt’s car. There’s no way it’s coming out unless they remove the seat and I really don’t want to go through all that hassle when I can get another set of Knit Picks nickel plated DPNs for $5. Still, this means that my colorwork socks are stalled because I had to borrow one of the needles. I suppose I could move the 5th needle between these socks and the colorwork ones, but knowing me that would either cause me to loose it or never have it when I need it! More DPNs are on order already. 🙂

Another busy week and weekend ahead, but this weekend is A Wool Gathering!! I’m pretty excited about that this year since I have a great group of knitters to go with. I’ll be there probably wearing my Ravelry shirt (“Daily dose of fiber”) and button with my username (mslindz, of course), so if you see me be sure to say hi! 😀