Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Some say frittata

It has been snowing for days and days, so I have been reluctant to leave the house. Today we had a window of a few warmish hours ( before more slush fell!) so I shoveled a bit and got ready for a visit from my knitting buddies. I had promised them lunch, so I opened the fridge and decided to use the eggs I bought at the farmer's market and make a frittata. This is like a quiche but without the crust, and can be varied as desired. It turned out to be so delicious that I thought I would write up the recipe!

 So here goes: Some Say Frittata:
Ingredients:
2Tbs olive oil for skillet
6 eggs
1/4 cup low fat milk
1/4 cup low fat mozzarella cheese,
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese,
handful of cherry tomatoes,
handful of spinach,kale, 1/2 a zucchini, 1/2 an onion, .
Salt, black pepper, oregano,parsley to taste
butter for greasing 8X8 pyrex  ovenproof pan

Preheat oven to 400 deg F. Place 2Tbs of oil in skillet, and saute vegetables until soft. Meanwhile, grate cheeses and mix together. Beat the eggs with spices and the milk.
Grease 8x8 glass pan with butter. Arrange vegetables into bottom of pan and sprinkle cheese on top.Pour beaten egg mixture over top of veggies and cheese. Bake at 400 deg F for 45 minutes, or until edges are browned and eggs are set. You can stick a knife into the center to see if eggs are cooked thoroughly. Turn off oven and let sit for 10 minutes, or remove from oven and let sit for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 3
This can be varied easily by using different vegetables, or adding meat or other delights.

Even Shadow approved!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Mittens and kittens

With the frigid and snowy weather we have been having, my hands have been really cold. I made a pair of felted mittens last week, as you know, but needed to make alpaca liners to have that extra layer of warmth. So, here they are:

It was very warm to knit with cats cuddled up next to me on the couch, and we all are hoping our feral kitten Shadow, will join us, but she prefers to run around. She is furry enough, it seems!



In other news, I knit another cowl, to test the lace design, and I think I like the first design better.But both are lovely and warm! Pattern is Blackbird Cowl, and I'm looking for testknitters, so let me know if you'd like the pattern!

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Felt like new mittens..

This winter
has been very cold, and my old favorite gloves are getting worn out. I've tried many kinds of glove and mitten configurations, but the ones which worked best for my Raynoud's syndrome ( painful cold fingers with exposure to cold) seemed to be alpaca mittens inside of polar fleece mittens. So I wondered if putting alpaca mittens inside felted mittens might do the trick also. I knit some huge mittens from one skein of Cascade 220, following this pattern: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/stockbridge-felted-mittens, and felted them as directed twice in the washing machine. They shrunk very nicely:

 
Above are the "before" photos, and here is the "after":
My plan was to line them with alpaca mittens, but I haven't made them yet. A friend gave me some lovely polar fleece, and I made liners for them, but the combination was too stiff, so I plan to knit some alpaca ones soon. Unfortunately the thumbs are a little too long, but that is fine. Meanwhile, I have more cowls on the needles!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Knitting in circles

I've always loved knitting in the round for many reasons: no seams, no need to worry about end of row issues, and being able to knit until you use up all of the yarn. The ease of circular needles makes it portable and fun, and the amazing variety of needles available now means there will be a needle available for any project.
This winter I joined the BadCat Infinity group, where Andrea is leading us on a merry journey knitting moebius scarves and cowls, with a bit of fractal math joined in. You can see her project details on her blog here:
http://badcatdesigns.blogspot.com/2013/11/in-to-infinity.html
As is typical for me, I get all excited and then my mind runs to the various alternatives I can see, so with my newly learned enjoyment of moebius knitting, I had to play with the concept and design my own moebius cowl.The trick here is to create a stitch pattern that is nearly reversible, because you will see both "sides" of any stitch pattern with this method of knitting. I had heard about the legendary Cat Bordhi's magic Moebius cast-on many years ago, but had not had the urge to try it before. Luckily, there is a You Tube about it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVnTda7F2V4   It is magical indeed, and the video explains it very well.
 Above is my first attempt at using a reversible leaf lace to work the body of the cowl. I loved using this blue yarn, A Hundred Ravens' Aesir, which is a sock weight superwash yarn dyed in the most glorious colors. This is the "Tardis" colorway, and it is heavenly.
Here I worked a slightly different leaf lace at a bigger gauge in Madeline Tosh "Vintage", and I am trying to decide which stitch pattern I like more. The first one has more texture, and springs back after blocking into a more bumpy effect, while the bottom pattern is a smoother look.The edgings are the same, and I love the pointy edges. Blocking a moebius is tricky, because there is a twist in the cowl, and so you can't block the whole thing as easily as you can block a simple tube, but you do get both edges in the same go, so it has that advantage. When you are done, you are done. The trick I found was to let it mostly dry flat, except for the area of twist, and then re-position the whole thing, spray water only on the part that had been twisted and let that part block like the rest of it. Here is a blocking photo from the first cowl:
Another fun "twist" on knitting in the round!

Monday, January 06, 2014

Snow Fun




It has been a very snowy season already! As someone who does not ski, snowboard,sled or skate, I dread each snowstorm and think only of the terrible road conditions, scary hills, endless shoveling and being trapped in the house or stuck on a hill in my car. On the other hand, it is a good excuse to stay home and work on projects, read, cook or knit, but sometimes one needs a bit of exercise or a reason to don boots, gloves, hats and coats besides the effort of shoveling, which I have to do very carefully because of my neck and arms, which are often in pain and are needed for other things like sewing and knitting! This year I hired a snowplow service for the driveway, but there was still the deck and the walkway to do.
But it sure is pretty.
Recently I ran across the amazing snow art of Simon Beck: https://www.facebook.com/snowart8848 ,
who spends many hours creating his precise and elegant masterpieces. I got to thinking about my huge back yard, and the flat expanse of snow outside, and thought it would be fun to try my hand at “snow quilting”.I had to clear off the deck so I could get to the back yard, and by the time I did that I was pretty tired, but the lure of design was strong, so I envisioned a big flower and set out to “quilt” the snow. I used the big tree as a center, and started walking the design. Ithe snow was a foot deep, and pretty soon it became apparent that running in the snow was easier than walking,because of the effort to pull each foot out of the snow was less at a run. I thought about the line I was creating and that it might be better to walk toe to heel, but worried I would fall down. Then I decided I was stitching the snow, so it was fine to leave space between footprints, so I started running. It was exhilarating to canter through the snow but rapidly exhausting, and I had to stop and rest a lot. As it was 34 degrees out, I quickly became overheated, and sweaty, but I was determined to finish the outline of the design and see what happened before I had to leave for an appointment.
My first design was rough, and messy, but I could see the possibilities, and it was a lot of fun. Finally a winter sport I could enjoy!
Today it has warmed up a lot, and the grass is poking through the melted snow, so the daisy shows up even more:
It is funny, but I find myself captivated by this idea, and the possibilities, and actually looking forward to the next storm, as I now have a way to interact with the snow that pleases me. As long as I take it in short bursts, I might be able to get good at this! And it is less boring than being on the elliptical machine. Last night I had to sleep for 12 hours, and I'm sore, but it was interesting and enjoyable to be outside. As an impermanent and evanescent art form, I suppose it is philosophically interesting, but it supplies a few needed factors: winter exercise, creation of unique designs,infinite possibilities and transient results, which is good because it does not add to my stash and clutter my house. Plus, it is free! Now I am eager to see the snow fall again!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Now that the end of 2013 is upon us, I realize I have been neglecting my blog and I can't believe it! My New Year's Resolution will be to blog more frequently!
So much has happened this year, and the next one looks like a year of change also. Through it all I've knit steadfastly through all crises, as Elizabeth Zimmerman recommended.It has been helpful! I released my pattern for the above vest, called "Vestborough" in December,on Ravelry here:
 http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/vestborough
 and I have enjoyed knitting this myself in several different colors and yarn weights. You can knit it also, if you wish, and I would love to see your results!
Meanwhile, I spent many months trying to ameliorate the diabetic condition of my cat, and after six months of PZI insulin injections and blood sugar checks, it seems that for him, the solution was to feed him Fancy Feast Classic catfood ( zero carbs) exclusively, 4 times a day, ( every 6 hours!)and no other food except occasional dried chicken breast treats. After months of this, his sugars were all normal, and we cautiously tapered off the insulin. His neuropathy resolved, and he is back to jumping up on the table and playing with the kittens. No more dry catfood for him!
So we are very relieved.ANd looking forward to a new year!
Wishing all of you Happy Holidays!

Friday, August 02, 2013

Summer Fun

Oh, I have been an absent blogger. I do apologize. With the flurry of Facebuke,Ravelry,email and other sources of communication, it has been my experiment to have a presence there instead, but I find I miss this organized, intimate format more than I had thought I would. The last few months have been busy with so many things, as cats, children ,knitting and life took center stage.
1.

As our 8 year old cat Sha came down with Diabetes, we have been struggling to regulate him with insulin, blood sugar checks ( ear pricks) , dietary manipulation and exercise. He is tough to regulate, and the discipline of shots and worry has been stressful for him and for us. But he is much loved.
2. Because of missing our cat Cinnamon, we have been considering adopting new kittens, and on Father's Day we happened to be in our local pet store when the Guardian Angels Cat Rescue group www.guardianangelscatrescue.org had an adoption day event. We spent 2 hours there, holding the cats and kittens and talking to the rescue folks,and finally escaped with (only) two adorable 12-week old kittens.

They are certainly keeping us busy. Michael named the kittens: the grey one is Pepper, and she is a very peppy and fearless kitten. Shadow is more timid, having been feral when rescued ( Pepper was born in captivity) but she is warming up, and often shadows Sha, who is amused and sometimes plays with the kittens when he is feeling up to it.
3.Knitting has been my constant comfort and I was thrilled to release my pattern for Raglan Circular Sweater http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/raglan-circular-sweater  on May 1st, after a wonderful group of testers knit it and helped make  the pattern easy to follow. I am working on several new ideas, and hope to release patterns sometime soon...If you would like to be a test knitter, just send me an email!
4. There's so much more, but I think that will have to go in another post. Happy Summer, and thanks for reading!