Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Frontwards Cabled Pullover

This was my first completed pullover, one that I finished in August, but for some reason, I've been dragging my feet about posting it here, mostly because I'm not really happy with my blurry pictures but not motivated enough to retake them! I hate taking pictures of myself by myself because of all the running back and forth. I swear I'll pick up a remote for my other camera.

The Backwards Cabled Pullover (frontwards for me!) pattern is from Wendy Bernard's most excellent book, Custom Knits. I decided to make the pullover face frontwards instead of backwards because people wouldn't put it past me to unintentionally wear my clothes inside/outside/upsidedown, and I don't feel the need to perpetuate the stereotype of women engineers, thankyouverymuch.

The cable design that flows down the front of the sweater is gorgeous. It is also much easier to knit than it looks, always a nice plus!

I especially love how the main cable morphs into the 2x2 baby cable ribbing at the bottom of the sweater. Yes, this is the sweater that started my baby cable obsession.

The yarn I chose, Fresco by Classic Elite Yarns, is really lovely to knit. I was worried about the cables not popping due to the yarn's halo, but the stitch definition turned out to be excellent. I do find this sweater a little itchy, so I have to wear a shirt underneath it.

Like always, I had to knit the pattern smaller than the smallest size due to being a shorty, but changing the pattern was inevitable since I chose a different yarn than the one in the pattern. Knitting sweaters is a case where being short has its advantages - faster to finish and less yarn to buy! So, the next time someone cracks a short joke, instead of thinking how dull witted that person is and snapping back, I'll think of my knitted sweaters, take the high road, and not give them the satisfaction of a response. So there.

The Dirty Details
Pattern: Backwards Cabled Pullover by Wendy Bernard, Custom Knits
Yarn: 3.75 balls of Classic Elite Yarns Fresco, colorway mallard blue
Needles: Hiyahiya interchangeable circulars, US Size 6

More details on my Rav page.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Baby Cabled Baby Slouch

The Tilden Park Scarf is an easy ruffled and ruched infinity scarf that adds a feminine touch to any outfit.

My fertile friends are starting round 2 of baby season, and that means more hand knits for all! Baby season is coinciding with a time that baby cables are etching themselves into my brain, resulting in this Baby Cabled Baby Slouch. Why are baby cables on my brain? Well, because you don't need a cable needle for them since these cables are really cheap impostors, resulting in a quick, portable knitting project!

As you can see, Mr. Ball gets to do the honors of mimicking a baby between the ages of 3 to 6 months.

Don't forget to check out my other free patterns listed on the sidebar!

• 140 yards (less than1 ball) Rowan Calmer

• 1 US size 5 16 inch circular needles OR needle size needed to achieve gauge.
• 1 US size 7 16 inch circular needles OR needle size needed to achieve gauge.
1 US size 7 circular needles, any length, OR needle size needed to achieve gauge (US size 7 DPNs may also be used instead of 2 circular needles)
• 1 stitch marker
Row counter
• Tapestry needle

Special Skills Needed
• Knitting in the round

• 4.5 stitches = 1 inch on US size 7 needles in stockinette stitch

Finished Measurements
Finished hat circumference is 16 inches. Supposedly, this fits a 3-6 month old baby. Mr. Ball has a 16" head circumference, for reference.

[ ] repeat instructions between brackets
co cast on
k knit
kbl knit stitch through the back loop
k2tog knit two stitches together
k2togtbl knit 2 stitches together through their back loops
MIP make one purl-wise
p purl
p2tog purl two stitches together
rt right twist. Knit two stitches together, but do not remove the two old stitches from the left needle. Insert right needle knit-wise into the first stitch again on left needle, knit it, and now slide old stitches from the left needle. Is this confusing? If so, there are numerous "right twist" videos on YouTube that are fantastic.
sts stitch(es)

CO 72 sts onto the smaller 16 inch circular needle. Join to knit in the round, placing a marker at this point so you know where your round begins.

[k2, p2] to end for 5 rounds.

Increase Rounds
Round 1: Using larger 16 inch circular needle, [k2, p1, M1P, p1] to end.
Round 2: [k2, p3] to end.
Round 3: [k2, p1, M1P, p2] to end.
Round 4: [k2, p4] to end.
Round 5: [k2, p1, M1P, p3] to end.
Round 6: [k2, p5] to end. (126 sts)

Baby Cable Pattern
Round 1: [rt, p2, kbl, p2] to end.
Rounds 2-4: [k2, p2, kbl, p2] to end.
Repeat Baby Cable Pattern until the hat measures 5.5 inches, starting your measurement from the cast on edge, ending on round 2.

Decrease Rounds
Note that decrease round starts on round 3 of the Baby Cable Pattern.
Round 1: [k2togtbl, p2, kbl, p2] to end.
Round 2: [kbl, p2] to end.
Round 3: [kbl, p2tog, kbl, p2] to end.
Round 4: [kbl, p1, kbl, p2] to end.
Round 5: [kbl, p1, kbl, p2tog] to end
Round 6: [kbl, p1] to end.
Round 7: [kbl, p2tog, p1] to end.
Round 8: [kbl, p2] to end. (54 sts)
Round 9: [kbl, p2tog] to end.
Round 10: [kbl, p1] to end. (36 sts)

Repeat rounds 9 and 10 2 more times. (16 sts)
[k2tog] to end. (8 sts)

Cut yarn, leaving a 6 inch tail.

Using the tapestry needle, thread the yarn tail through the 8 remaining sts. Pull closed. Weave in ends.

If you happen to knit this up for a trendy baby, please send me a picture of your finished object! I'd love to see how your slouch turned out!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Poison Cardigan

I have a backlog of sweaters to share, but I'll start with this one. It's based on Cameo, a pattern by Wendy Bernard from Custom Knits. In the spirit of the book, I tweaked the pattern by changing the neckline to a wide scoop, adding waist shaping, and knitting it in stockinette with baby cable ribbing for the button bands.

The bulk of this cardigan was knit while the boy drove us up the northern coastlines of California and Oregon, a lovely kayaking/camping/microbrew pub sampling trip I should share at some point. I even knit for hours while he was driving us on a 4x4 trail, hence my decision to knit this in stockinette!

I still think I prefer knitting top down raglans, but this may be influenced by my frustration at the set in sleeves, afterthought sleeves, on this pattern. The sleeve cap shaping wasn't hard, but it did require a little more concentration than I had available on "rip the sleeve" day.

Since I used 1/2" buttons, I used eyelets, yarn overs, for buttonholes. I just had to remember to k2tog on the next row. Sewing on the buttons wasn't as tedious as I thought it would be, thanks to wonderful tutorials such as this one.

Top down sweaters are nice for us tweaky types who knit on the fly! I'm hooked!

The Dirty Details

Pattern: Based on Cameo by Wendy Bernard
Size: XS
Yarn: 4 balls of RYC Cashsoft DK, colorway Poison
Needles: Hiyahiya interchangeable circulars, US Size 7 and 5

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Turkish Delight

Although I went to the Boonville fiber festival with a "I'm just looking" attitude, a Turkish spindle jumped into my bag and followed me home.

It's from Jenkins Woodworking. I have been stalking these spindles on their website, and it always seems like they are sold out of the Turkish Delights. So, when I spied these at the Henderson Creek Farm booth, I knew the marblewood spindle was destined to be mine.

Yesterday, I spun some fiber from Henderson (70% kid mohair, 30% Romney lamb) on my new toy. It was so easy to ply from the center pull ball! Aha! This is why Turkish spindles are way cool!

I have also been trying to spin on my wheel again, but I just wasn't feeling the groove. Spindle spinning has the perfect cadence to match my mood.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tidy Joes

Here in the Bay Area we're at the inflection point between summer and fall, which means that I spend a lot more time in front of the stove and oven. While I love summer dearly and still declare it my favorite season (long days mean a multitude of outdoor activities), fall is a close second because it means baking bread and simmering stews without cooking all the occupants of the house.

Last week, I decided I wanted to make sloppy Joes, but made with lamb instead of beef. Hence, tidy Joes were born. If you're a lamb lover like me, this beats that slop in a can by miles! I made these extra special by sacrificing some dry farm tomatoes and homemade ketchup and serving it on whole wheat sourdough fresh out of the oven.

Tidy Joes
Serves 8

1 medium onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 T olive oil
2 lbs ground lamb
1 lb tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c ketchup
3 T Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
3 T Habinero sauce (optional)

1. Heat a 12" skillet on medium-high. Add olive oil, swirl it around the skillet to coat the bottom, and then add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Saute until the onions begin to soften, about 4 minutes.

2. Add the ground lamb. Break the ground lamb into almond-sized chunks as you saute the meat and cook until no hints of pink remain, about 7 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer the mixture, uncovered, until it thickens, another 7 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you like spicy food, stir in the habinero sauce.

4. Serve the tidy Joes over a slice of bread. Just like stews, this tidy Joe mix will taste better the next day and it freezes well.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Cats Don't Need Ponchos

Right? Cats don't need or want to wear ponchos. An image of little red Greaseballhood just flashed through my mind, and it is all consuming. Talk me out of this!

Mingus, however, rocks the poncho. He doesn't care that ponchos are soooo last decade.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fiber Festival Time!

The lure of the Boonville Fiber Festival is too strong for me to resist. Yep, I'm going again this year, and if I can get through some of my spinning stash this week I can bring some fibery goodness home with me. Yay! This also means a visit to the Anderson Valley Brewery, which sports an excellent disc golf course, and my favorite winery, Navarro Vineyards.

Vespa and Mingus will also be coming with me since we're going to go camping after the festival. Since we all sleep together in a giant crate, the dogs think camping is the greatest treat ever. I cannot wait, even though we just returned from this area a few days ago. Hopefully, I can get some pics up soon.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Whole Grain Adventures

This looks like a mild mannered cabinet. Perhaps some 10th grader's first woodworking project?

Opening up the top reveals evil grinding stones!

These stones punish the innocent hard red wheat berries...

... and turn them into flour for my bread.

The boy balked at my idea of a buying a grain mill, insisting that his folks had one we could "borrow" somewhere in their garage. Well, after telling me this for 13 years, he found it.

I think this is a homemade grain mill because it has some scary features that can take skin off if you're not paying attention, like the overpowered electric motor with its exposed shaft that made me jump back 10 feet when I flipped the switch. It's also scary loud. Subsequent motor runs have involved earplugs and a long handled spoon. It's like a grain mill on steroids.

Now, we can have flour that is freshly ground. Sadly, my bread starter won't be ready for duty until tomorrow morning, so I'll have to wait to see if this flour makes a huge difference in taste. I'll report back.


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