Thursday, August 27, 2015

Qwist of Fate

This yarn. This pattern. They were meant for each other. A beautiful halo that just makes you wanna reach out and touch it. Then the texture? When you do reach out and touch it, because you couldn't help yourself, you're gonna keep running your hands back and forth over it. It's borderline inappropriate.

The just debuted pattern Qwist by one of my faves Melanie Berg, on the new base Sno by Woolfolk Yarns in color 1/2 is such a beautiful marriage. 1/2 a very low contrast marled colorway, and the stronger contrast ones may lose a bit of the visual on the texture. I had just ordered the yarn and then the pattern collection Texture is the New Black was released serendipitously within days. I can't wait to knit a few of these up in Pepperberry cashmere.

The pattern is designed for Malabrigo Yarn Finito, but I have loved Woolfolk since I first got my hands on a skin of Får about a year ago, and it was already in my stash. Barely.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Peanut Butter Oat Bars

When I had Stella I was overwhelmed by the number of friends who dropped by with a meal or a treat, along with their company, outside of the schedule arranged by the local mom's group. One afternoon my friend Carol came over to meet Stella and brought with her an after-school snack for the kids in addition to dinner. Those granola bars were so tasty, and I'm sure more so because I was so recently post-partum and I was starving constantly, both for food and contact with my friends. For the uber-health conscious, it should be disclosed that these are more treat than snack. Just the way I like it. Be glad they don't have corn syrup. (except in the m&m's).

Today was the first day of school for the big boys, so I pulled out my recipe binder when I got home from dropping them off, hoping I still had the card. I've tweaked the recipe each time and I think I nailed it today. Originally from the food blog, Garnish With Lemon, these chewy granola bars with peanut butter easily satisfy that craving for sweet with a hit of salt. I'm listing my rendition; for the original, click the above link.

Peanut Butter Oat Bars

Spray 8x8 or 9x9 pan with nonstick spray

3/4 c. peanut butter (heaping)
3 T coconut oil
1 1/2 T butter
1/2-3/4 tsp salt (depends if your pb has salt in it)
1/3 c. honey
3 T brown sugar
1 t vanilla
3 c. old fashioned oats
3T m&m candies (mini's would be perfect, but I have the big daddies in the hopes that I'll eventually get to use them as potty training rewards for Jackie John Jones; #diapersforlyfe )

mini chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, (reese's pieces would probably be fantastic!)

Pulse 2 c. oats in a blender or food processor until finely ground and add to a bowl with the remaining 1 c. oats. (I like this ratio better than the 1:2 ground:whole in the original). In a saucepan over medium heat combine peanut butter, oil, butter, salt, honey and brown sugar until melted, remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Pour mixture over oats and stir until combined. There should be no dry oats outside of the liquid mixture. Add your optional treats (or leave them out for a marginally healthier treat) and press firmly into pan. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen and turn out onto a cutting board. I cut mine into 20 portions by making three cuts vertically and four horizontally. With the age of my kids, not all of them need a full bar when added to fruit or whatever else we have after school. The originally recipe simply cuts them in half and then makes five cuts for twelve (12) servings.

Store in the refrigerator, at room temperature, or in your belly.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fringe Hatalong No. 4 Laurus

The fringe hatalong has been a fun way to find new hat patterns and use yarns from my stash that have been waiting for the perfect project. It's a series of free patterns, using different techniques and a great way for a beginner knitter to get support in trying something new, or for practiced knitters to change things up. With a pretty huge stash to dive into, it's been fun to see what a difference changing up the suggested yarn in a pattern can do. 

Last night I fell down the rabbit hole of the Amazon show Transparent, and by the end of a few episodes I was casting off my Laurus! It's a simple colorwork hat that can be knit fitted or slouchy and with three different brim sizes. A beautiful intro to chart reading, it's a six-stitch repeat, and only 7 rows long. The rest is ribbing for the brim and then straight stockinette, followed by a really clean decrease.  So, if you've been anxious about trying colorwork, this is the one. 

I used YOTH yarns Big Sister in Poppy Seed for the main color and the darkest green from an OOAK gradient stick for the contrasting color.

Dianna Walla of Paper Tiger designed this hat for the hatalong, and her blog provides so much information on colorwork. When I knit the Pinebough Cowl last year (also by her) the one piece of advice that she offers that is really helpful, is which color to hold in which hand. If you hold your contrasting color in the left hand, that color will sit on top and the colorwork will pop instead of sinking back into the fabric and getting lost. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Bradway MiniKAL

She's done it again. Shannon Cook of Very Shannon published another pattern that I loved knitting. A couple weeks before she published the Bradway Shawl she put out a couple of teasers with yarn requirements and a mini knit-along that would be launched on the day the pattern went live. I saw the call for Brooklyn Tweed and I was sold.

I had been itching for a chance to try Brooklyn Tweed yarns since I learned they were moving back to the PNW. Aside from having loved his patterns for some time, it's fun to have a local connection.  Jared Flood is a Portland native who started Brooklyn Tweed as a blog in 2005 when he was a newer knitwear designer and had just moved to, wait for it, Brooklyn. Brooklyn Tweed yarns are the result of a passion for American wool from sheep to skein and is a targhee-columbia blend from ranches in Wyoming. I love to use really soft and luxurious yarns, but I was so incredibly impressed with the experience of knitting with Shelter. It's a rustic wool yarn, minimally processed so you do have to pick out the occasional piece of 'salad' (bits of hay, grass and other flora) from the finished yarn as you knit, but it knits up into a fabric that is both sturdy and soft and the color options are absolutely gorgeous.

Sap, Fossil and Nest make up the trifecta of color for my Bradway shawl
The textural changes throughout Bradway serve only to enhance the hand-feel of this yarn and I can't wait to cast on another. One thing that I love about Shannon's patterns is that they're very accessible. From the graphic lace of Schwimmen to the chunky texture of Bradway the results are stunning, but the instructions are clear and concise and I think that advanced beginners could knit any one of her patterns. I started on Monday morning and bound off Sunday at lunchtime. I even took it with me to knit poolside when it was 112 degrees out, and I am the sweatiest of sweaty girls, so you know it was an addictive knit!
texture for days...

I'm waiting on blocking wires to get the final result, but even without a soak to make the fibers bloom and blocking to define the stitches, I love, love this shawl. I can't wait for these 100+ degree temps to drop so that I can wrap up in it! What are you working on right now that makes you dream of cooler days?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Me and My Arrow

I can't believe I didn't post about my test knit for Hometown Knits! In my defense, baseball is in full swing and the days have seemed awfully short and speedy. After alluding to it in my last post, I left you hanging...since I know you were waiting with bated breath. Anywho; Me and My Arrow is another pattern with the gorgeous combination of Pepperberry Knits and Spincycle Yarns.

I got to choose my color combination and I love how they look together; Granny Smith (PBK) and Kimono (SY) were the perfect balance to each other and it almost makes me want to speed through summer to the crisp fall days when I can be swathed in cashmere. 

Knit in the round and grafted together with kitchener stitch to finish, this knit is seamless. It's also more than a little bit hypnotic. I've found that I really enjoy colorwork, and the best part-no purl stitches

I had already purchased yarn to make her colorwork cowl Dynastid, so when Simone sent out the call for testers, I jumped on it! 

Hop on over to my ravelry page for more photos, but here are a few. I really, really love it and hope you cast on too! 

whoops! See on the left that I forgot to put the extra rows in the last repeat? 

I LOVE the color changes of Dyed in the Wool!

I have some more goodies in the works right now, and will try to share them in a more timely manner.