I’ve done a lot of sweaters with something diagonal. Apparently I like that. Who knew? Yeah yeah, I’m rolling eyes at me too.
I had a thought . . . and it’s turning into something I think will be lovely and not boring to knit. I did the drawing and it pondered over enough times for it to get smudged with something. That’s always a good sign, interest captured. If I note down an idea and it’s pristine a week later, that’s a bad sign. It’s too boring to warrant much effort.
I have six balls of Bamboo Pop Midnight. It’s a lovely rich dark blue, definitely a “me” color. Finding a project for it has been the issue. I think this just might be the one.
So, test knit! A couple frogs later and this is what I’ve got. I tried just knitting the horizontal stripe but that was a big fail. I tried conventional Latvian Braid and it gave the right effect but was just too fussy. The answer is the Latvian Braid effect worked with a crochet hook after the row has been knit. I tried using a hook the same size as my needles and it caused a tiny bit of puckering in the work. I moved up one size and it seems to be as close to perfect as I think I can get.
So I’m off working on the sweater. The first attempt at Plaid! is a fail. So, the question is . . . switch the stripes to black? And the question is . . . don’t include any variegateds with a color similar to the base of the sweater? And the question is . . . start the first square above the fading saddle line?
I don’t think it’s possible to truly know a breed until you live with them. Case in point, I had no idea how happy and intelligent the pug is until we had a couple. Our latest is a 4-year old and she’s vastly entertaining.
So . . . the dog door story. We live isolated in the country. Our home is in the middle of 12 acres of south sloping pasture. Our dog pack swells and shrinks but it’s a gradual thing. Sometimes we have lots. When our Chow cross died we were down to just one dog, a lab mix rescue who is bitey.
Our dog door has a long runway on the outside to keep the weather out. It was cobbled together over time out of pieces of plywood and wood framing of wildly varying dimensions. For Buddy (young, athletic, good vision) it worked fine.
Our son had a friend who needed to rehome an aged pug. He could no longer care for her and we had room, time and love to spare so here she came! She was an absolute darling with cataracts. Dealing with the long dark tunnel outside our dog door was just too much so we rebuilt the run with a better base, glass roof and wall panels for visibility and a string of icicle lights for lighting at night.
The day the dog door run was finished she was happily using it without issue. Score!
Literally the next day, she died. I am not kidding, puked on the carpet, keeled over and DIED. That really sucked.
In less than a week another pug needed rehoming. It’s so funny how things come about. This one was young, just turned four. She had separation anxiety something fierce. She needs people 24/7, the more people the better. Because one of us is always home (or she can go with us if we leave together) it’s worked out really well. She’s vastly amusing, adores Wadly and is happy here with us. Score!
I ran into a sale of Bamboo Pop and got some colors I wouldn’t normally work with to use as accents. I am firmly of the motto there is no such thing as too many colors and I adore Bamboo Pop. Win win! You never know when odd colors are going to develop into interesting projects.
A while back I made a top down seamless tank for myself with no picked up stitches and I love the fit. Mindy tried it on and wanted it (NOT her colors) so over the last couple weeks I did a repeat of my tank pattern for Mindy in colors that highlight her particular beauty.
I didn’t have quite enough yarn in the necessary colors for the length Mindy likes so I added the dregs of Clover from Amanda’s latest tank and Hot Pink from something I was working on for me, both colors that are in the Happy Birdie variegated.
I’m really pleased with how it came out. I worked the top in Turquoise, started helix knitting adding the Happy Birdie. When the Turquoise ran out I switched to the little bit of clover I had left. When the Clover was done I switched to Hot Pink. I really wish I’d had enough to finish out the tank in Hot Pink. I was out and Mindy was fine with Turquoise. ‘Nough said. I think it gives the tank a layered look which isn’t a bad thing.
It’s 97 in the shade. Let me tell you firsthand, when our normal high is 80, 97 truly sucks. Wadly, in his grocery foray yesterday, got a two-pack of rib steak, my absolute favorite cut of beef. Last night was a really plain undecorated fry in butter and garlic oil. It was good but nothing compared to the innovation of tonight.
Usually the rib steaks we get are thicker than 1″. I put them in the toaster over for 30 minutes at 200 degrees, then sear them in butter/garlic oil. Good. Plenty good. Up until tonight this has been our standard.
This time there were two steaks that were about 3/4″ thick, not the norm for us. Simply fryint was good but . . . OMGosh, the innovation tonight is really better..
I put the steak in the toaster over (200deg for 20 min) and while it was preparing for a reverse sear, I put a couple tablespoons of red wine, a tablespoon of garlic oil, a tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce and a dash of salt in a flat dish. To prepare the pan I ground a 1/4 teaspoon of hing (asofoetida) and added that, butter and garlic oil in the (hot) pan, sloshing it around to ensure the flavor is well distributed. Quickly, so the butter wouldn’t burn (HOT pan) I gaive the wine/Worcestershire/salt/garlic oil a quick stir, drop the steak on it and flip it over to coat both sides and then dumped the steak into the frying pan to sear on both sides . . . OMGosh! I’m thinking this is a new favorite.
A sorting through of a pile of paperwork pulled up this beauty. Apparently at some point I took notes when knitting something. What? No idea. Do I have any idea what any of the shorthand means? Uh . . . Do I have a clue? Absolutely not.
I’m working on a tank top for Mindy and trying new stuff . . . love knit-from-the-hip . . . and things were not working out and intended. I got to Point C and my stitch count was WAY off. Not just a little bit but HUGELY off. Apparently, something was VERY wrong. Plus the shape wasn’t making me happy. Can you spell F R O G? Yeah, it is no more.
I love the colors, I love the basic idea . . . but the number have to work or the effort is pointless.
I can’t eat commercially canned tuna and I can’t rely on family to can it for me. They simply cannot can enough. I have a solution that works for me. Wadly buys frozen tuna steaks. As I need canned tuna I use my Instant Pot to “can” it. It’s not processed in a way that gives it a long term shelf life. I don’t need that. I need tuna I can make sandwiches out of now, today.
Because I like my salads with everything but the kitchen sink (exaggeration but you get my point), I add all sorts of things. Today’s favorite is green onion, radish, cucumber, olive slices, pimento and Sir Kensington Classic Mayo. SO good! I would have added grated carrot but . . . no carrots.
When I can tuna I pack the tuna in a half-pint wide mouthed jar, add a little salt to the top, add the lid and process it in my Instant Pot (9 minutes on high pressure, natural release, leave until cool) I usually start it in the afternoon or evening and leave it until morning.
Once the jar is empty of tuna I give it to our pug. She adores cleaning out the jar, picking it up and carrying it around to whichever spot suits her. Because her muzzle is so short it takes her quite a while and quite a bit of effort to get all the goodies out.
I’ve got a lot of different projects in the air. I’m making a cowl necked sweater for MIndy with slip pockets, a summer tunic for me (years long project), a summer tank for the young lady who cleans my house, a gradient sweater (still not sure where this one’s going) and a new project, a long sleeved duster using Louisa Harding’s Girandola (discontinued yarn).
The duster I’m envisioning is a complete “knit from the hip” effort on US7 needles. I’m making the collar and decorative facings/hems in Bamboo Pop Denim, a yarn I normally knit on US4. Denim is a colorway that almost exactly matches the blue in the Louisa Harding. The Bamboo Pop yarn knits up into is a bit heavier/thicker but a test knit resulted in a relatively compatible gauge with the Girandola on the selected needle size. The resulting fabric is very relaxed and flowy, perfect for a long duster.
I have the collar well started. I looked at the size and though it would be just too big . . . but a test fit shows it’s very close to, if not perfectly right on for fit.
I’ve got a new breakfast food love, a frittata with a hash brown hat. It’s so good!
This requires breakfast sausage. I make my own with fresh ground pork (store bought, Hempler and Smithfield both rock) with a seasoning mix my brother gave me. The rest is eggs and fresh veges and it’s very good!
We have farm grown eggs. Some of our hens are banty cross descendents which gives us big eggs from our new girls and bitty little eggs from our banty cross hens. I can do this frittata with one big egg or two little eggs. Much of my baking calls for big eggs so I’m perfectly happy to use the small eggs for my breakfast.
Dice green onion, mushrooms (I use shittake) and red and green pepper. Grate half a baked russet. I always have baked russet on hand. I use them for hash browns, fries and as a meal with chili, sour cream, butter and chives for a special occasion dinner. Using cold baked potatoes speeds the cooking and improves the flavor.
Cook the grated russet in butter, stirring fairly often. The goal is to lightly dehydrate and brown the individual gratings rather than turn it into one mass of hash browns.
In a separate pan cook the green onion, peppers and mushroom. When they’re close to fully cooked add the sausage. Stir the sausage in thoroughly breaking up any lumps.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg with a tablespoon of cream cheese, sour cream or yogurt. Add the cooked veges/sausage. Pour into a hot buttered pan (I use a small 6″ skillet). Arrange the hash browns over the top. Cover and turn the heat down to low. Once the egg sets it’s done. Serve with diced tomato.
I had a craving for chili. It needed to be flavorful without being hot and totally low FODMAP. And like just about everything I make, it had to use up stuff I had on hand. I’m out of red and green peppers or you know I would have added them as well.
1 pound hamburger
1/2 pound ground sausage (home made, really super mild)
tomatillos (small, about a dozen) – watch the big ones, they can be bitter.
tomato (1/4 large tomato)
green onion (3-5 depending on size)
1.5 cups nacho beans (instant pot cooked beans with gorugachu chili flakes, bacon and salt) – soak/rinse/soak/rinse the beans before cooking to make them low FODMAP
lactose free sour cream
Add a couple tablespoons of butter to a frying pan. Add a bit of garlic oil. Add chopped green onion. Once the green onion softens add the meat. Once the meat is browned add diced tomatoes and tomatillos. Add seasoning (1/2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp each of coriander, paprika, cilantro, chili powder (cayenne), dry mustard, salt, 1+ cup bone broth and a dash of red wine and a sprinkle or Worcestershire sauce.
Simmer until the tomatillos break down. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and tortilla chips.
It’s really good! It’s flavorful and super mild. AND it’s low FODMAP.
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). Not this project. OMGosh. Frog, knit, frog, knit, frog, knit. I was so glad to get done! It came out fabulous but . . . OMGosh.
I’m going to remake this in Bamboo Pop. Without the cardi bit. I don’t know why I thought doing this as a cardigan/shrug was going to work for me. I *hate* flappy clothing. The idea though . . . that was pretty stupendous. Definitely worthy.
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.