Monday, May 26, 2014

FO Roundup: Lacy Tanks/Tees

Whoops! I accidentally a whole year!
Here's some stuff I made. Unfortunately I don't remember all the exact details of issues I may have had/modifications I made.


Seaglass Shell from Interweave Knits Summer 2012, design by Daniela Nii.
Yarn: Madelinetosh Pashmina in Norway Spruce, 3 skeins for 3rd size.
I ran into some problems that required some minor fudging at the shoulders for my size. The serious problem was how enormous the hips run in this design. I was devastated when I tried the FO on and it looked horrible. I had to unseam a few inches of the front and back and then rip them out from the cast on edge for several inches to get rid of the excess fabric, then knit straight down and cast off again. It worked and looks great now. For anyone who isn't extremely pear-shaped, just cast on fewer stitches on all pieces to begin with and skip most of the decreases.


Low Tide Cardigan by Tincanknits
Yarn: SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock in Tourmaline, 2 skeins for 40" size (I was supposed to need 3 skeins).
This was fun and easy, interesting construction. I wasn't sure how much I would like the rolled, angled edge, but I do really like it. It looks super cute right now- I'll have to get some modeled photos.


Bertie from the Louisa Harding booklet for Colline yarn
Yarn: Louisa Harding Colline in the colors the book called for. I don't remember how much.
It calls for a size 7 needle and the largest size is a 38" finished measurement. Either I knit way looser in this stitch pattern than I thought, or it is stretchier than I thought, because I ended up needing to use a size 6 needle to fit 40-41". I added an extra stripe of each color before the armholes and it is still shorter than I would prefer. Other than that, I love it.


Bonnie from Tincanknits
Yarn: Madelinetosh Prairie in Forestry, 1 skein for size ML (about 5" neg ease)
The shoulders are a little wide/unfinished looking, but I'm pretty happy with it overall. I haven't gotten to wear it much at all, so I may have more thoughts later.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Recipe Roundup- Summer Fruits Edition

Here's some of what I've been doing with the fruit from my friend's backyard and from a trip to Gizdich Ranch this summer!

BBQ sauce for
       chicken wings
       ribs (see blackberry ribs recipe below for method)

pie - This is my old favorite pie recipe. This time, I used the gluten free frozen crust from Whole Foods. You can substitute almond flour or whatever gluten-free flour you have for the topping. If not using rhubarb (works just fine with just berries), you can use about half the amount of sugar it calls for.

peach cobbler - Also one of my old favorites. I used the all-purpose gluten free flour in the green box that     looks like this. I also subbed a buttermilk + water blend for the 1% milk. The batter got super fluffy from the acid in the buttermilk (I guess), but it turned out great!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

FO Roundup: Epic pink/purple edition!

I've got quite the backlog of projects to show here, and all of them are pink and/or purple!


First up, Old Forge by Steven West from the book Westknits 3.
Yet another bandwagon project...
I probably never would have given it a second thought if Teri hadn't made her shop sample in Madelinetosh yarns. The original (from Westknits Book 3) is super huge and rustic. There is a lace pattern that I omitted for several reasons- too rustic looking (although some people have changed it to stockinette instead of garter), not lined up correctly with the rest of the pattern (although there is a modified chart floating around that corrects this flaw). Instead, I kept going with the stripes, spacing them further and further apart. I really like the effect and it pretty much matches what I had going on in my head when I planned it. With everything all bunched up on the needle, I couldn't really tell if it was going to give the effect I was going for (sort of a pond ripples thing). The only problem was dealing with the jog at the beginning of the round. I think I did a pretty good job tidying it up with the loose ends as I wove them in. I can tell it's there, but it's not jarring.
I used Madeinetosh Tosh DK on size 8 needles in Vermilion, Opalline, and Duchess. I might make the Bedrock hat from the same book sometime since I picked up a couple of skeins of Terra in Black Walnut before we closed it out. Any other ideas?

Mudra Cuff

Mudra cuff (and necklace) by Laura Nelkin
This project is so much fun and it's been great fun teaching others the technique. Once you get the hang of it, you can make one of these in a couple of hours. I love the color combos Laura Nelkin came up with for these kits.


Snowflake sweater by tincanknits
We got a couple of sample skeins of SweetGeorgia Superwash DK before the main shipment showed up in the shop. We'd also recently started carrying tincanknits pattern, so I volunteered to make this adorable sample sweater! The 2 colors she sent us worked so well together, there are many customers using the same exact combo. I started making another one in my leftover Tosh DK in Opalline and Duchess from my Old Forge blanket. Maybe next winter I'll make a me-sized one.

Scalene by Carina Spencer
I resisted the Madelinetosh Merino Light for a while, but the Spectrum colorway came in soooo pretty and there was a great bright pink (Persian Rose) that the rep said was discontinued, so I went for it! The Scalene pattern is really cool and makes a super wearable scarf because the keyhole(s) keep it in place. This is definitely a piece I'll get a ton of use out of. I'm sort of considering making another one in different colors!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Recipe- Texas Style Spiced Pecans


My husband's family often sends us goodies from a local (Houston area) nut shop for the holidays. They mostly do sugary pecan concoctions, but they have a couple of savory varieties, too.
Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately cause now I figured out how to make them myself) they have hydrogenated sunflower and soybean oil.
The biggest hurdle is getting really really good raw pecans. I've been making my spiced nuts with Trader Joe's pecans after having a bad experience with a package from Whole Foods recently. I just discovered that the Collins St Bakery sells raw pecans online, so I may have to try those. I don't know if anyone outside of Texas is familiar with them, but they are a major player in the mail-order fruitcake business!

Anyway, here's my version-

8oz raw pecan halves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (I use Penzey's)
1/2 tsp onion powder (I use Penzey's)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (I use Penzey's)
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter), butter, or coconut oil

Preheat a skillet (I use my Le Creuset enameled cast iron) over medium heat while you blend all spices together in a small bowl (salt through cayenne). Dump the pecans into the hot skillet in a single layer to toast them, moving them around with a spatula to avoid burning. When they are warm and fragrant but not burnt, add the ghee to the skillet and stir until pecans are coated in melted ghee. Add spice mixture and stir until evenly coated. Dump spiced nuts onto cookie sheet to cool/dry.

Friday, November 30, 2012

FO: Berry Cute Hat & Pumpkin Hat

Pumpkin Hat

These are both Fiber Trends patterns that are ostensibly for kids, but have rather large sizing. They are constructed the same way and the berry hat has a really cool stitch pattern. It's not bobbles- it's a lot easier. You basically drop a stitch several rows then knit into the row where you stopped dropping. I realized that the same technique is used for this Madelinetosh cowl pattern that Susan (the new owner of Yarndogs) is working on as a shop sample. In 2 colors (as in the cowl), it looks even more complicated but is still incredibly simple!
About the sizing- the smallest size would fit a big kid at 19" around (probably 8-10 years old), and the largest easily fits most adults. When customers want to make a baby size, I've been having them buy DK weight yarn and size 4 and 6 needles and make the smallest size. The pattern calls for worsted and size 6 and 8. I used Madelinetosh Vintage for all my hats so far. (Moorland and Lolita for the berry hat, and Moorland and Terra for the pumpkin.)The berry one is a shop sample (in size small) that I had intended to go to a baby when it was done being a sample, but I'll probably need to make a smaller one. The pumpkin one is all mine! It's hanging out in the shop right now cause it hasn't really been cold enough to wear it much.

My Paleo Thanksgiving- Year 2

For breakfast, I made this pumpkin bread french toast from PaleOMG, which was completely amazing!
The other new thing I made this year was her carmelized onion & sausage stuffing.
I really like it, but Bryan thought it wasn't casserole-y enough. I realized that we have totally different eating styles (at least for Thanksgiving). I like to get a bit of everything on the fork, and he likes to completely finish one thing at a time.
Everything else was the same as last year-
roasted brussels sprouts & bacon
braised turkey legs
sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce from Paleo Comfort Foods
stuffed dates
pumpkin chai bars

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

FO: Big Snowy Owl


So this is the Big Snowy Owl from It's another one of those fads that was going around the shop and I really wanted to make one for some reason. The pattern calls for Blue Sky Bulky alpaca/wool, but I used Encore Mega instead. It was super fast and fun and cute, though I'm still not sure I need a huge stuffed owl around the house. Right now it's sitting on top of my crafty bookshelf. I know the eyes are crooked, but I'm not sure I care enough to go back and fix it. Maybe eventually.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

FO: Lamb by Susan B. Anderson


I've been wanting to make this little guy since Itty Bitty Toys was published several years ago. I love the pompadour hairdo! I was never quite sure what yarn I'd use for the body until we received the Rowan Purelife Sheep Breeds Fine Boucle at the shop a few weeks ago. This is a newer yarn that is thinner than the original Rowan Sheep Breeds Boucle (which I am not familiar with). Many people on Ravelry used the thicker Rowan boucle, but thought it was a bit too thick. This one worked out perfectly. This colorway is Masham stripe, with subtle stripes of the different natural colors of the Masham sheep. That's a breed I'd never heard of before!
The yarn for the legs and head is Blue Sky Cotton, and the whole thing is done on size 4 needles.

The legs are i-cord stuffed with drinking straws so the lamb can stand up on surfaces that aren't too slippery. I'm going to try sticking coffee stirrers through the straws and into the body to give more support so it can stand up on the tables at the shop. It was really fun and easy to make and very easy to sew together. Each piece is done seamlessly in the round or as i-cord, and the boucle texture hides any minor uneveness in the whipstitches use to attach the pieces to the body. I'll be teaching a class on this project several times this month.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Recipe Resource Master Post

Here's a quick guide to where I find recipes. You can expect these sources to be free of grains, soy, and legumes. Some of these sources may call for dairy in some recipes. If you are on a strict challenge (hi, CFWG buddies!) or are dairy-free, you can always substitute coconut oil for ghee or butter and you can usually substitute coconut milk for cream. Skip the cheesy stuff (sad, I know).

recipe aggregator with most of the popular blogs and some obscure ones (like mine!)
Try one or both of the following tags if you are completely avoiding dairy-

Nom Nom Paleo
This is the site that kind of started it all for me. She's a local Bay Area blogger, so a good place to get the scoop on restaurants and local markets too! She tends to do a lot of protein sous vide which I'm not currently interested in, but there are a ton of fantastic slow cooker (and pressure cooker) recipes and great side dishes. I don't have her iPad app yet, but I'm planning on getting it.
Top picks-
Roasted broccoli & bacon
Slow cooker Korean grass fed short ribs
Slow cooker roast chicken & gravy
Paleo krabby patties
Slow cooker kalua pig

The Food Lovers Kitchen
Tons of recipes from the authors of Make It Paleo. It looks like most of the recipes in the book are on this site for free.
They tend towards grilling, which is great if you have a grill. There's a ton of baked goods for all special occasions if you're into that.
Top picks-
Jamaican jerk salmon  (can easily be baked instead of grilled and you can experiment with other spice blends using the same method)
Smoky lime rib steaks
Dates stuffed with goat cheese (better than any baked good, IMHO)
Cinnamon coconut butter truffles (just coconut butter, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla!)

a little heavy on the treats sometimes, but always entertaining!
Top picks-
Pistachio pesto chicken pasta
Mexican-inspired burgers

Jan's Sushi Bar
I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't tried that many of her recipes, but I have most of them bookmarked!
Top pick-
Fig and chevre stuffed chicken breasts (utterly amazing!)


Well Fed (my current favorite)
Getting bored? This book has tons of fun stuff with flavors from all around the world. Highly recommended.
You can download a 30-page sample PDF here, and follow the author's blog here.
Top picks-
Chocolate chili
Bora Bora fireballs
Cinnamon beef stew with orange gremolata
Morrocan meatballs

Practical Paleo
This is way more than a cookbook. Really awesome resource. It just came out, but I'll be cooking my way through it in the coming weeks during the nutrition challenge at CrossFit Willow Glen.
Top picks-
pumpkin pancakes
spiced lamb meatballs with fig compote
lamb chops with olive tapenade
(I've been cooking a lot of lamb since I took the lamb butchery class at 4505 Meats!)

Make it Paleo
highly recommended if you have a grill and enjoy using it. May not be so useful otherwise.
Top picks-
Smoky lime rib steaks
Jamaican jerk salmon
dates stuffed with goat cheese

Everyday Paleo
lots of good stuff in here. don't expect perfect photography
Top picks-
shrimp tacos
Red curry beef stew

Paleo Comfort Foods
Spectacular for beginners who want to satisfy their cravings without wrecking their gut, people from the South and/or Texas , impressing family, and holidays.
Top picks-
homemade breakfast sausage (this has become my quick breakfast staple)
coconut flour tortillas (used this to make traditional Tex-Mex enchiladas)
sweet potato casserole
pork tenderloin p,b,&j
osso buco

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Recipe: Chicken No-tortilla Soup

Slow Cooker Chicken No-tortilla Soup
about 5-6 servings
This recipe is adapted from some recipes in a slow cooker cookbook I own. It leaves out the beans, corn, and tortilla chips from the typical tortilla soup and adds some other vegetables. This is incredibly easy to throw in the slow cooker before work!

3-4 chicken breast halves
2 15-oz cans Mexican stewed tomatoes or Rotel tomatoes
     (I used 1 can regular stewed tomatoes and 1 can tomatoes with green chiles)
1 cup salsa (I used a tomatillo-based salsa)
1 4-oz can diced green chiles
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1 cup green beans, cut into bite-size pieces (I used up some frozen green beans. You can add whatever vegetables you like.)

Combine in slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Check for seasonings when done. If you do not use tomatoes with Mexican spices, add 1tbsp each
chili powder
dried cumin

top with sliced avocado and cheese and sour cream if you do dairy.
Homemade root vegetable chips would be really cute as a topper, too, if you want something crunchy.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

FO: Mondo Cable Cardigan

Mondo Cable Cardi

I finished this Mondo Cable Cardi a few weeks back when there was still a little bit of cold weather left. It was another sort of impulse sweater I'd been considering doing one for a long time, and we got an especially nice dye lot of Dream in Color Classy in Gothic Rose in the shop. I alternated 3 skeins to make sure they were well blended. I was planning on doing a crochet edging down the front to cover up the sort of loose edge stitches from switching skeins, but I couldn't make it look very good. After blocking, the edge looked fine anyway. There are no buttonholes on this- just snaps with buttons sewn on top. Teri from the shop has the idea to use magnetic closures instead of snaps. I'm very curious to see how that turns out. I already made a hairline crack in one of my buttons from the pressure needed to snap the snap. This is the tallest collar option and I modified the ribbing at the bottom and cuffs to have more purl stitches for less tendency to roll than the original. I think that's the only change I made.

Mondo Cable Cardi

Friday, April 13, 2012

FO Roundup: Portland Hoodie Cowl, Tardis Socks, Shawl Collared Cowl

Portland Hoodie Cowl

I cranked out this Portland Hoodie Cowl in a couple of days after seeing it pop up on popular new patterns on Ravelry. Really simple and cute! It took 2 skeins exactly of Madelinetosh Tosh Chunky in Tart. I might just have to make another one in Opaline. (The batch we have right now is sooo pretty!) Now I have something for my black t-shirts that don't go with my purple set (more on that in a minute) and I can get some use out of my leather jacket maybe. Usually I just grab an actual hoodie.

Bryan's Tardis Socks

I finally finished the 2nd Tardis sock! More on the pattern and my modifications here.

Shawl Collared Cowl

This was done a long time ago, but I didn't get a pic of the buttons for a long time. It's a Shawl Collared Cowl (another recent Yarndogs favorite) in Misti Alpaca Chunky to go with my purple set- a Capucine hat in Aquarella and Maine Morning Mitts in Road to China. The buttons on the cowl reflect a pretty copper color that goes with the hat.

I'm still cranking along on my Spectra Scarf. It may be time for an in-progress blocking to see how much further I have to go. I was messing around with some 2-at-a-time socks for the first time in ages and of course I had to rip them out and start over because I had the wrong needles. My needle gauge lied! It may have been a little white lie (the next half size up in a different brand still made it through the hole) but still! So I picked up another languishing sock. I also picked up my Siamese mittens for a few rows and I'm about to start a Featherweight Wrap to Knit (really a cardigan, but not the more famous Featherweight Cardigan, but pretty similar) from Dovetail Designs in Blue Heron Bamboo Lace as a shop sample. Bryan's out of town and I've already done some damage at Sur la Table, so I should have plenty of knitting time this weekend!