One of the techniques I had to master for the caston/back neck of my condi-something sweater was a clean edge on garter. I knit 10-12 rows of garter, pick up and work half the edge stitches I need for the front edge finish, turn and pick up the other half melding the two sets of stitches onto one needle. Yeah, yeah, this is a total “show me”. I’ll get there. This produces a beautifully flat transition from back to front without bumps or the appearance of a seam. TRULY flat. And which stitches you pick up changes the appearance. Want a bit of a ridge or a line of stitches? You can do it! So, on to what I learned.
To make this work I needed a clean edge on my garter caston/back neck. After much inspection/testing, I’ve finally got it! Woot! The trick is to hold the yarn on the purl side of the stitch being slipped. Yup, it’s that simple! No learning to do this or that. Work the last stitch, turn your work and slip the stitch while holding the yarn on the purl side of the slipped stitch. Do this and you’re golden! I don’t like to remount stitches so I make sure to build for the mount I want. Play with it a bit and see what works for you.
I don’t like leaving long tails when I’m knitting. I’m only going to work in an inch, maybe and inch and a quarter and all the rest of that yarn is tossed. Ugh. I just hate the waste . . . and the fact the longer ends are always in the way is an unnecessary irritant. I like leaving an end that’s about 3″ long, maybe a bit less.
This of course, causes problems when it comes to working the ends in. I can use a crochet hook and that works great but it’s a bit tedious, I can rethread the needle after each stitch or I can work with a really short needle! So . . . really short needle needed to be tested but I’m NOT cutting off the needle I inherited from my mother. Not, just not.
The inevitable happened and I put my darning needle away in a really safe place (rolls eyes at self). After spending some time using a crochet hook to work in ends I bought a tube of cheap Chinese made darning needles in a variety of sizes to fill in until my inheritance resurfaced. It appeared within two days of getting the new supply. I bet you guessed that part.
Given the short ends I like working with, this new supply gave me the opportunity to try a really short needle for working in ends. Cheap Chinese made . . . no loss if it didn’t work, right?
Picking one of the medium sized needles, I snipped most of the shaft off, chucked the foreshortened needle into our cordless drill and rubbed the spinning needle tip on sandpaper until I had the right shape. Then I used progressively finer sandpaper until it was smooth. The whole process took about five minutes. Next was the test, working in ends and it’s perfect! I can thread my yarn and do my weaving end and snip off less than an inch (I leave a 1/2″ long tail on the garment). I have no long dangly ends to deal with, no unnecessarily wasted yarn, color me happy!
To store the needle I put a gourd pin through the eye and hang it on a hook so it doesn’t get lost. If I can lose a regular one I’m absolutely certain this shorter version would vanish forever only this time I have backups!
I made a robe out of fleece. I didn’t like the fit of the top (pretty standard for me), the fact that it had sleeves, pulled on the back of my neck . . . the usual. So I knit a yoke and it fits great! Uh, except the fabric has some sort of synthetic in it. If I sweat at all I break out in a rash. Ugh. Fail. I’ll pull the yoke and put it on something else.
I’m working on a . . . heck, I don’t even know what to call it . . . for my sister (the near one, not the far one). I saw a something I thought would be an interesting base (Sheltered), a kind of poncho thing with a hood. Rather than knit it up in pieces and sew it together (you KNOW I hate that) I thought I’d knit it top down and make the changes I wanted made. So that’s what I’m working on. It’s turning out to be a very interesting project. The big sloppy fit is intentional, I just need Mindy to test fit it to see if it’s going to work. My icord end grafting is getting better!
I got wild and spent $180 on hand dyed bamboo cotton yarn. It came and the colors were truly glorious . . . and the weight was WAY too heavy for me to wear, a dk weight closer to worsted than to sport. Picture me crying. So, I knit a shrug and sent it to my sister. She loves the idea, loves the colors but has trouble with the fit. <sigh>
This project has the distinction of being the most frogged completed project. I’ve made things and gotten right to the end and frogged them (one big frog). No this project. OMGosh. Frog, knit, frog, knit, frog, knit. I was so glad to get done! It came out fabulous but . . . OMGosh.
I’m still playing with the “just guessing” design. I like it a lot and there’s lots to play with.
This is my latest effort along those lines. I frogged it a couple times to get the mosaic and armhole/sleeve increases to play nicely together.
The yarn is Bamboo Pop (my favorite for sweaters) in Royal (the solid), Orchid Smash for the wide divider stripe, black and On Parade (discontinued . . . I’m crying over this one) for the mosaic.
I’ve finished playing with my conti-something shoulder. I know, I know, famous last words. This summer I’m going to try to produce a series of videos on how I build the sweater top down to the armholes, all the math, all the sneaky bits, what makes it fit so well . . . all that stuff. We’ll see how I do.
I’ve been making day dresses to wear around the house, loose, sleeveless knitted tops with commercially knitted jersey skirts. On cool mornings I can add a sweater and I’m comfy. To get the skirt for these dresses I’ve been diving into a bin of clothing I couldn’t part with . . . dresses I loved but no longer wear because the tops don’t fit quite right or have sleeves or the wrong cut neck opening or not big enough through the bust . . . ugh. So I cut the top off the dress, add a knitted yoke paired the skirt with a top that’s comfortable. Win win!
I had a crepe dress with glorious colors, pink, orange and blue on a light cream background, really pretty. So I made a day dress and it came out perfect . . . except the skirt was a bit tight over my bottom. Being crepe, I knew that wasn’t going to work. My sister’s a size smaller and she loves flowers and blue and it was a perfect match.
I gave two piles of stuff to Wadly, venerable spouse, one to mail off to Beth and one to drop at the local charity shop. Can you see where this is going? Yup, you guessed it. Beth’s day dress is now someone’s lovely comfortable find. Wadly felt very badly but I’m a huge believer in what will be will be. I still need to make Beth a day dress. I’ll get there. Eventually.
I haven’t been posting when I should be posting . . . apologies. That doesn’t mean I’m suddenly going to change my ways, just that I acknowledge the lack.
I’ve done a lot of knitting since I posted last and learned lots of new things . . . which is always a good thing.
This is Amanda’s sweater. It was originally intended for someone else but she moved to the other side of the country so fitting wasn’t an option. The sweater is knit in superwash wool using Poem, Glazz, Paintbox and probably one other. Wool of the Andes? Yeah, maybe that.
The helix knitting was a lot of fun. The Truly jogless stripes technique worked brilliantly. This Helix knitting technique is a fabulous thing and works brilliantly. Paired with the jogless stripe technique for starting and finishing a helix section and it’s even better! The location of changes is truly invisible if you’re mindful of your tension. The easy way to keep it invisible is to knit to within two stitches of the change, bring your working yarn to the front, slip the two stitches and knit off with the new yarn. That keeps the tension right and because the changes are staggered by two stitches it’s truly invisible.
I also made Amanda a tank top. It hasn’t been blocked yet in the picture so doesn’t hang properly but I have a photo! Woot! She loves it, it’s her colors and it fits her perfectly. That’s the best tri-fecta!
I used Kitchener to close the icord into a single loop. I’m not a Kitchener expert. The way Carol Brunette describes it works best for me and that’s the tutorial I used. Even then it took three or four tries to get an acceptable join on the first icord caston (yoke for a day dress for my sister). Good quality yarn and perseverence saved the day!
I use bone broth all the time. If a recipe calls for liquid (assuming we aren’t talking dessert) and it’s not milk, I use bone broth. If I can add nutrition and flavor, you know I’m going to!
The only problem is the time it takes to slow cook bone broth. Enter Instant Pot! Bone broth in 2 hours! Okay, I lied. First I have to roast the bones (an hour), then I have to fill the Instant Pot with bones, drippings, spices, whatever veges I want for flavoring, wine or apple cider vinegar, water . . . so let’s say I’m being efficient and I manage all that in two and a half hours . . . even though we both know it actually takes longer. For me it works best if I can wait on a natural release of the pressure in the cooker (close to an hour). Regardless of whether it’s two and a half or four hours, that’s SO much better than two days. So much better. I can make and use bone broth all in the same day! Plus it gives me an additional fillip! I can tailor a batch of bone broth to me OR us!
Yesterday I made bone broth with leeks (the coarse green bits no one eats), turnip, parsnip and carrot, kosher salt, bay leaf, peppercorns and Korean red pepper! The smell when I popped it open last night was amazing! Three of the five pints are going into the freezer for “just for me” cooking.
I really need to get some good gluten free rice noodles . . .
I love food with a plethora of tastes and textures. Being a celiac and needing to eat low FODMAP hasn’t stopped me for creating some awesome meals. Okay, awesome to me. Wadly isn’t a huge fan of some of the stuff I cook. He’s not into mushrooms or peppers or any cheese except America eaten cold . . . or vegetables or spices or foods with lot of ingredients. And there, in a nutshell, is why we might share one meal a day. For us, it works.
Today’s breakfast, a loaded, stuffed to the max, frittata. Ground sausage (mild), red and green peppers, green onion, shiitake mushrooms, fresh farm egg and milk, extra sharp cheddar, home cooked black beans, tomato. OMGosh SO good! Wadly would eat it and be entirely NOT a fan.
I sauteed the green onion, mushroom, red and green pepper. Then I added the sausage to reheat (cooked earlier) and the black beans (also cooked earlier). I added that mix to the egg/milk, added the cheese, stirred, poured it into a hot/buttered 6″ cast iron frying pan and stuck it in the oven on 350 for 10 minutes. Diced tomato on top and oh so good!
So let me tell you the dog door story. We got an ancient pug. The young man who had her couldn’t keep her any more so she came here. This is not the first oldster we’ve taken in and we make adjustments to accommodate. This girl was very nearly blind but such an awesome personality. So, we rebuilt our dog door to glass it in (visibility) and updating the ramp so she was easily and happily going out to do her business without us opening the door. We had literally just finished it and she died. Yup, THE NEXT DAY. She vomited on the carpet followed immediately by a seizure. Then she flopped over, dead pretty much instantly. Not fun. Fast, for which I’m thankful but not fun.
Want the world’s easiest recipe for hot cocoa? SO easy. 2 tbsp choc chips, 1 cup milk. Warm until chips melt. DO NOT over-heat. Once steam starts rising off the milk, STOP. Scalding the milk changes the flavor in a not-favorable way.
Want to make it beyond awesome? Once you finish heating, pour it into a cup and stir in 2 tbsp peppermint schnapps. If you’re a no-alcohol person let it sit for 2 minutes before drinking. The heat will burn off the alcohol.
BEST DRINK EVER.
If cocoa upsets your stomach, consider this. Buy organic/gluten free/soy free/non-GMO chips (I use Enjoy choc chips) and use low FODMAP (lactose free) milk. You’ll never see hot cocoa the same again! Wadly says the lactose free milk tastes like a milk shake. To me, it just tastes like milk . . . really good milk!
OMGosh! Dinner was so good! I made a pork stir fry. I wasn’t intending to but . . . I picked the last of the tomatillos. I was going to make a dipping sauce for pork I was going to deep fry and . . . well . . . uh . . . you know how I cook. When I veer of course it’s usually a pretty thorough affair. This was a deliciously thorough affair. Tomatillos, tomatoes, green onions, peppers (red & green), shiitake mushrooms, butter, cilantro, gochugaru (Korean red pepper), salt, bone broth and chopped up pork. OMGosh! SO good!
Problematic food . . . I developed a recipe I call “Nacho Beans”. OMGosh! It’s REALLY hard to not eat it all at once. I make it to add to things like soup and stir fry and . . . stuff. But it’s SO good!
1/2 cup black beans. Soak the HECK out of them. Soak and drain until they no longer produce any dying of the soak water. Soak overnight, rinse and resoak . . . clear water after soak means they’ve been adequately soaked.
Beans (soaked as above)
handful of diced bacon ends
1/4 tsp hing (get the good stuff, the resin lumps. Run through blender/grinder before use)
I really enjoy using older kitchen equipment. I have an old KitchenAid K5-A fixed stand mixer I use often. I bought it used in an inoperable state and repaired it. I use it to mix bread and cookie dough a couple times a week. I have a Universal 2 meat grinder (just got it! Woot!) I use for making pork patties, and that’s just the start of what I’ll use it for. SO exciting, the possibilities! I have an old manual WearEver food processor I use pretty much daily for grating cheese (nachos) and vegetables for soup. I only have two of the five cylinders (fine and coarse grate) but will definitely be hunting down the others.
Having such a nice variety of old tools expands my cooking.
We don’t eat a lot of potatoes. They make Wadly’s joints ache and they’re a bit difficult for me to digest, so they’re eaten just a couple times a month as a treat. That means more frequent meals like chowder, fries and hash have got to have remakes to make them great menu choices. I’ve got the chowder figured out (it’s truly awesome, one of our favorite meals), fries are in the works and hash is now having it’s day in the sun! OMGosh, SO good! I will fix this menu item regularly, it’s that good!
So, this morning I’m having breakfast hash. OMGosh. This is a keeper recipe! No boiling vegetables, not a lot of chopping or dicing! Fast AND easy, my favorite kind of recipe!
In an iron skillet add butter, freshly ground pepper, coarsely grated (not diced, equal amounts of) parsnip, turnip and carrot, chopped green onion (low FODMAP, no white parts), finely chopped red pepper and bacon. Throw all of those in the pan and cook on medium high, stirring often, until tender. OMGosh! SO good! The true challenge with this dish is to not eat it all by yourself! Please note I’m practicing great restraint to leave Wadly some for his breakfast.
One of our family staples growing up was an awesome clam chowder. As a family, it was a favorite. Made with a roux, it was rich, creamy, tasty and filling. It was also fairly high in carbs and high FODMAP due to the addition of onions. Today, for us, that’s a total ouch. I do best when my meals are low FODMAP, low carbs. I just don’t have a way to put the carbs to productive use. After much experimentation, I’ve finally got a chowder recipe that’s every bit as good as the one I was raised on without the carbs and high FODMAP ingredients.
Finding a bacon we could eat was a challenge. Most bacon has high FODMAP ingredients, usually garlic and onion, sometimes wheat. As much as I love bacon, eating it and living with the resulting gastrointestinal distress is not my thing. It’s like getting stung. After a time or two, you avoid the beasties causing the pain. Our local Safeway carries Hempler products which are perfect for our needs, GMO free, gluten free, free of this, that and whatever that horrid other thing is. Hempler’s bacon is fab. Wadly started buying the package of bacon trimmings which work perfectly diced for chowder. If you’re cutting it into little bits anyway, it doesn’t matter what size or shape it was when you started.
Replacing the potatoes in chowder was the next challenge. I love potatoes but I don’t digest them well and they cause Wadly’s arthritis to flare up. My stomach tells me the next day I shouldn’t have eaten them however much I love that potato-y goodness. A 50/50 turnip/parsnip balance is a really nice replacement! Not kidding! I grate them fine and get great taste and texture with no carbs. Win/win!
The onion also had to go. Onion is ridiculously high FODMAP. There’s no point in adding something that gives me indigestion. I tried leeks, cutting away the white portion but with leeks there’s so much waste. Most of the green stuff is too tough to eat so with discarding the white parts, I’m throwing away half the leek! Ugh! Instead, I switched to using green onion. They’re readily available from the grocery store all year round and the white part is a relatively small portion of the plant and I don’t feel guilty discarding it! Super win! I split the base lengthwise, cut in 1/4″ lengths and I’m good to go!
I’ve tried using heavy cream (supposed to be low FODMAP) and my tummy just wasn’t happy. Now I buy organic half and half and add lacteeze. After 48 hours it’s ready to use. AND my tummy likes it! I’m back to having it in my coffee! OMGosh! And home made ice cream! Go me!
So, here’s low carb low FODMAP, fabulously tasty, creamy, full of super good nutrition chowder.
Finely grate equal amounts turnip, parsnip and carrot (coarse grate). The combination of finely grated white veges (potato replacement) and coarsely grated carrot (nutrition, flavor and sweetness) gives the resulting chowder a really nice texture.
Prep green onions (wash, remove white part, trim previously cut ends, split the solid part lengthwise and cut into 1/4″ lengths)
In a sauce pan add butter (a fair amount) and bacon. Once the bacon is cooked, add green onion and stir. Add carrot and stir. After a couple minutes of cooking, add parsnip and turnip and stir. Cook for a minute or two.
Add liquid (bone, chicken, fish or vege broth). The liquid should not cover the veges. Add the liquid until you can see it peeking up through the veges. I use home made bone broth. It’s a natural tummy healer/soother, full of vital nutrition and even though it tastes like bone broth (not really appetizing), the taste, added to the other flavors, enhances the flavor of the chowder. If you aren’t a bone broth maker, use vegetable broth or chicken broth. Either will work. Watch the salt content if you’re using a commercial product. They are enhancing the “taste” by adding salt, not nutrition, which is not a healthy option. If you’re trying to stay low FODMAP, make your own broth. Many commercial broths have celery which is an “avoid” item.
Add salt and pepper. If you’re using a commercial broth consider skipping the salt until the very end. Taste test before adding more salt. If you prefer, add a couple teaspoons of fish sauce to enhance the seafood bit of the chowder.
Simmer until the turnip and parsnip are close to falling apart.
Add raw seafood. Our current favorite is shrimp. I use shell-on, peel and cut them into chunks. Sometimes I use minced clams when I can get fresh (seasonal). I may try a seafood chowder with a selection of in-shell little necks, shrimp, orange roughy chunks and minced razor clams. I think that would be really good.
Once the chowder has just started to simmer, add enough half and half to cover the other contents. If you like your chowder on the runny side, add more half and half.
Continue to heat until the chowder starts to simmer. Turn the heat off and let the chowder rest.
This chowder is awesome but it’s even better the next day.
I love this sweater! It’s SO simple, for all the apparent drama! It’s knit in stockinette, four rows of solid, four rows of matching variegated, four more rows of the same solid followed by mosaic in two rows of solid, two rows of contrast, two rows of the same solid. Take those two sets and repeat two more times! Truly, it was that simple! The sequence will work on any base, raglan, pieced, whatever.
I knit this sweater in all Bamboo Pop. The light blue on the yoke is Ocean, the dark blue is Ink with a matching variegated in Blueberry Swirl. The green is Clover with a matching variegated in Jungle Life. The purple is Royal with a matching variegated in Orchid Smash. The mosaic stripes are black and (top) Winter Blue, (middle) Coral, (bottom), Darling Pink.
The body is a helix knit of Graphite and Hot Spot.
This is top down conti-something, the base I use for my sweaters. If you’ve got a base you like, try it!
The first is a wool sweater for our mail lady. I started it as a vee neck and it wasn’t coming out to gauge. I’m going to frog it back and restart. Instead of a vee neck I’m going to do something different. I saw this sweater on one of my Facebook groups and I think it would be perfect for the yarn and the recipient and I can do it in conti-rag.
The second sweater is a scrappy one I find really appealing. I will use up the Bamboo Pop I have left over from a number of other projects. There are a number of people on the list who are interested in this sweater. I’ll see how much I can share to help their projects.
I had an epiphany this morning. Here’s where it started.
I had an excess of chicken. I cooked the last of it yesterday, frying two pieces for Wadly snacks and baking two pieces with leeks, halved russet potatoes and butter (really good stuff). Normally I break up the potatoes, pour the chicken/butter/leek juice over the potatoes, dice up the chicken to go on top and it’s an awesome meal, simple, filling and flavorful.
But at this point in the “what’s for dinner” cycle I’m running a little low on groceries. It turns out I’m out of potatoes. I didn’t realize that until I thought about using some of the fried chicken to make chicken pot pie for dinner . . . which can’t happen without potatoes. So . . . time to improvise.
That’s when the epiphany hit. I do the same thing with knitting as I do with cooking! I look at what I’ve got to work with and improvise. So tonight’s chicken pot pie will be sauteed carrots, frozen corn, leeks and the chicken and potatoes I baked with all the associated juices. I’ll dice the chicken and potatoes and add some bone broth for additional liquid. It will be awesome served with home make biscuits, a simple, fast and delicious result.
Here’s the “step back and punt” half as it relates to knitting.
I bought two balls of Sublime Evie Prints in blue for socks. When it arrived I realized it was totally unsuited for that and let it set while my brain worked out how to use it.
I’ve always thought there should be an adult version of those cute little girl dresses where the top is knitted to an empire waist and a cloth skirt is added. One of those for running around at home would be perfect on cold February days. So now I’m playing with a knitted yoke for a navy sweatshirt fabric skirt. I bought the sweatshirt fabric on EBay to make a run-around-the-house full length sweatshirt. If I knit a yoke, extend the sleeves and create the skirt I bet I can get two or possibly three out of the fabric I bought. Because of the way my conti-something base fits, the softness of the yarn and the coziness of the sweater shirt fabric, this could be a really good thing!
My first attempt didn’t go so well. The neck was smaller than I wanted and I ran out of yarn before I got anywhere near having the real estate I needed to match my plan. Digging through my meager stash I came across a navy bamboo cotton of the same weight to use for neck edge and sleeves. At this point I am most of the way through what looks like a varsity (sleeves and trim one color, body another) themed yoke. I don’t think I’m going to make it to anything resembling an empire waist. I may get to the bottom of the armscye which would be great. I can work with that. Stay tuned. I’ll post pictures soon.
I finished my Bamboo Pop Cables today and I love it. I learned new things, did new stuff and the result is lovely. I’m wearing it. I’ll get Wadly to take pics when he’s up (he’s running late today).
So, I’ve been working on plans for my next sweater. I have lots of Bamboo Pop left over from various projects. This lot includes Blueberry Swirl, Orchid Smash, On Parade, Brilliant Blues, Graphite, a small amount of Nightshade and a microscopic amount of Ink Blue. I want to meld all those into a sweater (waste not, want not) so today I’m looking at color blocking.
I continually struggle dealing with neck pain. Some days are really bad. Other days are “life is good, smiley face” days. I seem to sway back and forth between the two. I am fighting to increase the things I can do. It’s a daily struggle. I have a bit of a terrier personality and refuse to give in/give up.
One of the activities I miss is cordwaining (shoe making). I see shoes I’d love to wear (bear in mind, I wear a mens 3FF, not a size that is commercially available) and think . . . I could make those! Today, on Pinterest, I ran into these beauties.
I think I’m going to have to try and make them. They are just too fabulous.
My most favorite of brothers introduced me to a Chinese made sewing machine designed to stitch layers of leather. I’m going to have to get myself one of these. I’m viewing it as a must have. It solves a lot of the problems I have with cordwaining. I cannot do the stitching by hand so must have a way to do the stitch that is not by hand.
I have the leather. I have the vision. I must have the way to do the stitching!
There was a terrific sale on Bamboo Pop a couple months ago. I bought enough yarn for three sweaters plus balls of variegated accent yarn. I love this yarn for a number of reasons. It has terrific drape, it’s lovely to work up, it comes in 40 colors and it comes in balls that are twice the size, almost 300 yards of yarn. The regular price is somewhere in the $8.50 range. When it’s on sale it’s a huge steal. So . . . yeah, three sweaters worth plus. I’ve got Ink Blue on the needles. Once the cable threads connect I’ll take a pic and post it. I’m only ~25 rows out from that event. And while I’m knitting I’m thinking about the next sweater in Graphite.
I had an “aha” moment for the Graphite Bamboo Pop. Latvian braid has been enticing me for a while. I’m still testing . . . and pondering but this might be just the thing. Here’s my current sampler. It’s going to get bigger as I try different things.
The bottom two tests are the same thing, just different colors. Nope, this method is both overly complicated and messy.
The top right is doubled yarn. It’s too heavy, though it may have been alright if I had matched the colors in the strands . . . uh . . . maybe.
The top left is really really nice, smooth, clean, even . . . but a slightly heavier yarn might be that perfect middle ground. I’ll keep adding yarn to my test to see what I like best. I’m pulling scraps out of my stash and trying them. I may want to do random weights and colors, each row one accent yarn. I’m liking how it’s working up. I’ll have to find the happy middle for spacing of accent stitches, background stitches and rows.
This will be an awesome way to use up short pieces of yarn. I have a bunch of those. I think most of us do.
Wadly (venerable spouse) noticed I wasn’t spending much time knitting. This is why. It’s boring. I’m not doing a single thing interesting. It’s stockinette in the round which, by its very definition, is boring. The end result will be nice but for now . . . yeah, pretty darned boring. There’s nothing here to catch my interest. I’ll put it away until the new audiobook on my pre-purchase list comes out. I *will* finish it as it’s a sweater I’ll want to wear . . . I just need to power through the week of boring, boring, boring. A new audiobook by one of my favorite authors should do the trick. Shattered Bonds comes out on the 29th.