Friday, April 30, 2010

Knit & Crochet Blog Week - Friday

Knit & Crochet Blog Week

Location, Location, Location

Where do you like to indulge in your craft? Is your favorite arm chair your little knitting cubby area, or do you prefer to ‘knit in public’? Do you like to crochet in the great outdoors, perhaps, or knit in the bath, or at the pub?

I craft a lot at the computer. It's is convenient and the chair has a good back so I don't sit all hunch over. Although I prefer when it gets nice outside to sit on the balcony and craft. I find it more inspiring to craft outside. The lovely air, colors, etc.

When we use to have to go to a laundry mat down the street instead of knowing about the one that existed in our apartment building, I would take some crafting stuff and sit outside on the sidewalk and knit, crochet, sew. The concrete was usually not so comfortable, but I think it is more fun to craft when you put yourself in situation to continue the creativeness.

Like being in the crafting zone can help you notice other creative or unique things around you. Like the placement of a pocket on someone's sweater, the embroidery pattern on someone's bag, a knit stitch used on a sweater, etc.

Chicken Enchiladas

I decided to finally make some enchiladas that I can eat. Basically switching to a gluten-free sauce and using corn tortillas instead of flour.

I used this gluten-free Enchilada Sauce. It was good, basically like a salsa. Only thing I would do differently is I would blend the sauce smooth before using it.

I made some rice in the rice maker. This was the rice I used, because it was what I had, it's a favorite. I made one dry cup of rice.
Chicken Enchiladas

I boiled up 3 chicken breasts and then shredded them.
Chicken Enchiladas

I sprayed each pan with PAM and then put down a generous amount of the enchilada sauce.
Chicken Enchiladas

One tablespoon refried beans.
Chicken Enchiladas

About the same in rice.
Chicken Enchiladas

A sprinkle of chicken.
Chicken Enchiladas

Small amount of cheese. It'll ooze into everything anyways.
Chicken Enchiladas

Fill each pan. We made 24 corn enchiladas and ate them the rest of the week. Hey, I am weak and LOVE enchiladas and leftovers. :)
Chicken Enchiladas

Put a generous amount of sauce on top.
Chicken Enchiladas

Sprinkle a light layer of cheese.
Chicken Enchiladas

I add sliced black olives and fresh chopped up tomatoes.
Chicken Enchiladas

Bake at 325 for approximately 30 minutes. I forgot to take a picture after they were done . . . sorry, was hungry!

Thoughts on this:
~As I said, I would blend the sauce, just a preference to help the sauce cover things better.
~I need to learn how to use corn tortillas as they cracked once I set them in the pan while making more.
~About twice as much beans would probably be perfect.

It was delicious. I have to admit, it still surprises me when I alter a dish to make it gluten-free and it is good. I still expect it to be such a pain to be gluten-free. I am definitely being proven wrong. :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Knit & Crochet Blog Week - Thursday

Knit & Crochet Blog Week.

A New Skill

Is there a skill related to your hobby that you hope to learn one day? maybe you’re a crocheter who’d also like to knit? Maybe you’d like to learn to knit continental, knit backwards, try cables or attempt stranded colourwork.

There are definitely related things I would like to learn.

Related Crochet thing:
I would really like to spend more time with hairpin lace, which can create some lovely things. Such as this shawl or you can look HERE if you are a Ravelry member. Or this top, HERE is the Ravelry link.

I just think it is another lovely thing to experiment with. I have attempted once, but never really gave it a good effort.

Related Knitting thing:

I would like to learn how to do more color work.

Something like Eunny Jang's Deep V Argyle Vest, HERE is the Ravelry link.

I have never done Double Knitting Color Work and would like to try that too. Maybe I would start out with something small like these potholders. I find it interesting to knit both the front and the back at the same time, while making the designs in opposite colors.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Knit & Crochet Blog Week - Wednesday

Wednesday's Knit & Crochet Blog Week.

One Great Knitter

Write about a knitter whose work (whether because of project choice, photography, styling, scale of projects, stash, etc) you enjoy. If they have an enjoyable blog, you might find it a good opportunity to send a smile their way.

It says knitter, but I am going to name a crochet designer. I am a big fan of most of Robyn Chachula's work. Also check out her Ravelry account.

Here is a few of her designs that I like:
~Calla Lily Cowl
~Zany Tunic
~Sunflower Jumper
~Dream Motif Tunic
~Spider Shrug
~Reticella Vest
~Szechuan Sweater
Elinor Cardigan
~Stellar Motif Tunic

I think she has great talent and I love her work with motifs.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Knit & Crochet Blog Week - Tuesday

Knit & Crochet Blog Week. Tuesday's:

An Inspirational Pattern

Blog about a pattern or project which you aspire to. Whether it happens to be because the skills needed are ones which you have not yet acquired, or just because it seems like a huge undertaking of time and dedication, most people feel they still have something to aspire to in their craft. If you don’t feel like you have any left of the mountain of learning yet to climb, say so!

Let's see, since I both crochet and knit, I'll do both.

For crochet:

I am working on one of the the things I think fall under this. Crochet socks. I love the thought of crochet socks, but there are not a lot of good crochet sock patterns out there, especially for people with large feet, like myself. So I am making my own, to fit my feet as perfectly as possible. It is taking a lot of patience and learning new techniques, but it is fun.

I also love filet crochet and would love to make filet crochet curtains. It is such a huge undertaking though that I don't know if I would ever finish something like that. I have never tried because I haven't come to a place where I think it is something I would finish and I don't want to start it until I feel like I will put my heart into it.

For knitting:

Knitting is harder for me to choose something, because I am more fearless with knitting. Not sure why. I would really love to become comfortable enough with knitting and myself to make my own patterns. Especially tops. I love the prospect of it and have ideas. I sketch, figure out math and all that. I am always just so unsure about myself.

I also would love to knit myself a pair of stockings in some lacy pattern with delicate lace. Honestly, I'd love to knit any stockings. I use to love tights and think knitted stockings would be wonderful. I think of it as such a huge undertaking though. The closest I've ever got to even starting is my knee-highs I am randomly working on.

Knit & Crochet Blog Week

I saw tonight on a few people's blog Knit & Crochet Blog Week. I think this is a nifty idea, especially to find out more about the bloggers we read. So I am going to do it too. I know it is technically it is already Tuesday, but here is Monday's. I will do Tuesday's later today.

Starting Out

How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?

I don't even remember how old I was when I learned to crochet. My mother taught me and my sisters when we were very young to sew, crochet, and knit. I never took to knitting. As far as I was concerned, why did I need to fiddle around with two sticks if crocheting only needed one. At first I made little purses and shirts for my dolls. Basically rectangles and squares that were then crocheted together. As I got older I made blankets. I crocheted off and on . . . more off than on.

Then when I moved to Ithaca, NY. I ended up having a job a candy store where there was a lot of down time. We were allowed to read, craft, whatever when customers were not in the store. There was an A.C. Moore a few stores down in the mall, so one time at lunch I walked down there, picked up some plastic hooks, light green, dark green, and tan yarn. I used the blanket pattern on the back of one of the yarn labels to work on a blanket.


I continued to crochet large baby blankets for co-workers who had babies.

Around the end of 2005, I started to notice all the knitting hype. I became interested because it seemed like there were so many more things you could do with knitting. Also, because it was so big at the time, there were plenty of books and information in general to find, which wasn't always so easy with crochet. So I figured, I can do this. I knew from my Mom's attempt to teach us when we were little, that I couldn't do metal needles, so I bought some bamboo needles and some acrylic yarn to practice stitches out of a book I bought, Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns. Only I bought the hard back. I still have it and still use it.

My Mom found out I was learning to knit, so when she came out to visit we went to the LYS down the street. She picked a pattern and some yarn for some gloves she wanted. This would be my first knitting project:

Gauntlets - trim close-up


Pattern: Gauntlets from a Lana Grossa Pamphlet.
Yarn: Tofutsies
Needles: US 2

Yes, my first project was on size two bamboo needles and was in the round. I think this is part of the reason that I love dpns so much. :)

I still knit and crochet. I have been slowly trying to improve my crochet skills. I find more and more things that I think if they can be done in knitting, I should be able to do them with crochet too. I am a bit stubborn.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Getting ready

I haven't disappeared quite yet. Thursday at 4am I am leaving for the airport to go back to Washington State to see one of my little sisters get married. I have spent the last few days and will spend the next few days getting everything all set.

I am quite excited. We went in reverse order in my family. My littlest sister got married first, now the middle one will be getting married on May 1st, and then I will get married sometime in the hopeful near future.

I have a few things I am finishing up that I am bringing with me. Plus the boy will be left alone for about 5 days. So I am making sure the apartment is all clean, laundry done, and everything is easy for him to find. We wouldn't want to make his time alone too complicated. :)

I am also getting all LOEP stuff prepared as I plan on finishing up the rest of the embroidering on my plane rides there and back.

Tomorrow I will show a few pictures of the new Baker's Dozen square I am working on for May.

And you'll never believe it, but I actually found my regular foot to my sewing machine!! You know the one I have been looking for since we practically moved to Buffalo. I have been sewing with the zipper foot instead. I found it in my box of safety pins!! Who would've thunk??

Friday, April 23, 2010

Chili Cream Pasta

After I made the roast, I had about 2/3rds of the chili sauce left. Before that recipe, I don't think I have even cooked with Chili sauce before. Since my previous pasta experience worked out so well, I figured I would wing my own. Scary, huh? :)

First dice 2-3 small garlic cloves.
Chili Cream Pasta

Chop up 1/2 of one small onion. Add a small amount of olive oil and saute.
Chili Cream Pasta

After lightly browned and soft, sprinkle on a generous amount of black pepper.
Chili Cream Pasta

Also add about 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper. Cook together for 1-2 minutes.
Chili Cream Pasta

Add 8oz of Heinz Chili Sauce. I have never had any other kind, so not sure of result, probably fine though.
Chili Cream Pasta

Cook on med until small boil. About 5 minutes.
Chili Cream Pasta

Turn burner low and add approximately 1/2 cup of heavy cream.
Chili Cream Pasta

I also added a small handful of Parmesan cheese, about 1/3 cup cheese.
Chili Cream Pasta

Separately I roasted in the oven mushrooms and asparagus. I used about 5 medium mushroom, but I am a huge mushroom fan. Cooked at 425 in the over for about 10 minutes.
Chili Cream Pasta

In separate pan, 3 small chicken breast cubed fried up with some bacon grease. Yes, I use bacon grease, it's a lovely added taste.
Chili Cream Pasta

For myself I cooked up some rice noodles(regular pasta for the boy) then topped them with the sauce, mushrooms, and chicken. It was really good. A tad spicy for the boy, but still good.
Chili Cream Pasta

I was surprised it worked out. Not because it was anything complicated, but because cooking is not a natural talent of mine and I am not very confident unless using a recipe.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Working on Potholders

Worked some on my potholders for the Great Sewn Potholder Swap of 2010.



A teaser of the sewing I did. I am excited about these. This involves a lot of firsts in sewing for me. Also, I think I am actually beginning to enjoy ironing after ironing open so many seams. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dyeing to Weave

I decided I would like to be doing a little weaving again. I got some lovely Pima Cotton a little while ago when someone was destashing. I didn't want to work with just one color . . . so I decided to use some of my cotton dyes (Jacquard Procion MX).

Here are a couple group pictures. I attempted to dye: red, blue, yellow, orange, purple, and green. I have only red, yellow, and blue powder dye so the secondary colors had to be mixed.
Pima Cotton

It's a little difficult to tell the orange and the red from each other in the pictures. In this second one, the orange is in the middle.
Pima Cotton

I only had a small annoyance in the dyeing process. I think there might have been something wrong with my blue powder mix. It was used to dye the blue and then mixed with either red or yellow to make purple or green. All three of these have a variegated look. The red, orange, and yellow all dyed perfectly. Otherwise all of the dyeing process was the same for every color. I will try again in the future . . . buy might order different bottle of blue first.

Pima Cotton

Pima Cotton

Pima Cotton

All of these colors are going to be worked onto the loom, which I have just barely started dressing:

Towel Warp

The warp is the same Pima Cotton, but not dyed by me, color is natural.

I figure I will make one or two practice kitchen towels.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Crocheted Socks

I have been slowly working on these while working on the other socks. I blame this on the Crocheted Socks on Ravelry.


Because I have been on Ravelry more due to being a mod in one of the Bakers Dozen groups. I have been catching up on some of the groups I joined a while ago.


The Crocheted Socks group has rekindled my desire to make nice crocheted socks. I am determined to figure it out to the best of my ability. I have looked at crocheted sock patterns, knitted sock patterns, and different crochet stitches. I did the toe so far about 4-5 time to get it right. I did like with the knitted socks for me I am working on and specialized the toe section to fit per my specific feet.


Now I am trying a toe up heel. :) So far I am liking how it is working.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Piecing her together . . .

Well, Catherine Bear is now closer to be a real toy. According to Ravelry, I started her in December of 2008. All of her pieces have been done for a while. It took me about 6-7 hours the other night to sew up all her pieces and stuff her. Next time I will figure out how to do her mostly in the round. :)

Catherine Bear

Now I just need to embroider her face and piece her together. I will admit, she turned out to be quite a large bear. I don't think I checked her size before I made her. :)

Point of consideration though. . . Since she is knitted, should her clothing be sewn?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Food Friday

Being at home more has definitely made it possible for me to try a few new things. This time I wanted pasta. . . I will admit, even before I knew the gluten thing, my stomach was always the worst when I ate pasta. But I do love the taste of the sauces. :)

The Pioneer Woman's Pasta with Bacon and Mushrooms sounded delicious.

I made it exact to the recipe, except I didn't use any parsley, I used gluten-free chicken broth, and for my serving I used rice noodles instead of regular pasta.

Mushroom & Bacon Pasta

It was extremely delicious, even the boy liked it and he's not the biggest fan of mushrooms. I will be making this again in the future. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

LOEP progress

I have made quite a bit of progress even with the learning curve slowing me down. I have a few more lowercase letters to do and then onto the capital letters.


For each stitch now, I am using just two stitches:



This simplifies things and works out better on the felt. Still working on the other sets, will post more soon.

Bakers Dozen

I am a member of a new group on Ravelry called Bakers Dozen. It breaks members off into groups of 13 and each month a Member Of the Month gets squares from the other 12 members. I use to do a square swap back on Live Journal, but this seems much better organized.

Any who, our first Member Of the Month gave everyone pretty much free reign on what kind of squares to send her. So I looked at her page for inspiration. I got the impression she liked lace, vintage and she stated she liked vibrant colors. So, off I went:

First I chose the vintage yarn:
Beehive Scotch Fingering, 3ply
Color is Beige

Then the vintage stitch:
Madeira Mesh from A Treasury of Knitting Patterns by Barbara Walker. The description of the stitch says it is a Spanish pattern of great antiquity.

Needles: US 2/ 2.75mm

That got us to here:
A not so 12x12 inch square . . . don't worry, I did gauge swatches before I started.

With a lace pattern that can't be seen very well before blocking.

Obviously beige is not a vibrant color, so we had to remedy that:

Enter Wilson's Icing Dye, some vinegar, water, and a microwave.
I used a 2:1 ration of Kelly Green:Golden Yellow.

First out square to be a nice soak.

In the end, we have this:

A 12x12 inch block which has been blocked overnight.

A lace pattern with a lovely amount of drape.

This picture shows the lace beautifully . . . coincidentally it also makes me think this stitch pattern would make lovely curtains. :)

All in all, loved working with the Beehive Scotch Fingering yarn, I am thinking about making some socks out of some of the rest I have. The lace pattern ended up looking even better than I had thought. It was nice to do some dyeing again. So far I am very glad I joined this group.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Admitting Defeat or Knowledge?

I was simply going to title this post, Admitting Defeat. My goal to try to applique all the letters with different embroidery stitches is not working. Being new to applique and to embroidery, I did not understand how many stitches would not work well. The stitches either detract from the letter being appliqued or the intricacies of the stitch disappear into the soft felt.

I don't take this negatively though, just a misjudgment from my lack of knowledge. I am still continuing with the alphabet, but using more traditional applique stitches. I will post some pictures tomorrow, as I forgot to take some today.

Since I am still learning, I am taking it all in stride. Though this does really make me want to start crazy quilting so I can do some work with these stitches. I think once I am done with my LOEP projects, I will immediately begin crazy quilting.

I also have another project I finished to share with you tomorrow. It's still soaking in the dye though. :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tangy Spiced Roast

Food Friday, is Food Monday for this post.

The Tangy Spiced Brisket recipe at Smitten Kitchen sounded wonderful to me. However, brisket is a little expensive at the grocery store we shop at, so I bought roast instead, after all, I still wanted to try the recipe. Since my roast was smaller than 8-10lbs, I just halved the recipe. I was sure I would like it and the boy would think it was okay.

Tangy Spicy Roast

However, the boy loved it and I thought it was okay! Quirky the way things work out. :)

Also with dinner that night I made Rosemary seasoned potatoes. Now I am sure most of you are thinking, "so what?!?". Well, I personally hate the texture of rosemary. It gets between my teeth, ugh, I just don't like it. I love the taste of Rosemary though. A new spice store opened up two blocks away from my apartment, called Penzeys Spices. They sell Powdered Rosemary! I had never seen this before and bought some to try. It is a marvelous thing!

Tangy Spiced Roast

A nice dinner it turned out to be. I used the leftover roast to make quesadillas . . . boy were they delicious! (Yes, sometimes I cheat and eat gluten . . . I am still working the kinks out, I might try corn tortillas next time though.) Will definitely use this recipe again.