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So summer flew by and I’m back in school.  Two weeks into the semester and I’m already swamped, but I promised myself I’d find time to show you all my new favorite FO.  Back at the beginning of the summer we got in some Madelinetosh Pashmina at Loop (and I just heard a rumor more is coming soon).  I’d been waiting and waiting for it to arrive and I knew just what it was going to be.  The pattern I’d earmarked was the lovely Mary Jane Tee by the ladies of Zephyr Style and published Winter ’08 twist collective.  And the result is as awesome as I’d hoped.  See below for my (somewhat silly) so-happy-about-my-new-sweater face.

Pattern: Mary Jane (ravelry)

Source: Winter ’08 Twist Collective

Yarn: Madelinetosh, Pashmina

Needles: US 2 & 3

Started: June 7, 2010

Finished: August 20,2010

Find it on Ravelry here.

The yarn is definitely a huge factor in what makes this sweater so special.  That brilliant blue is certainly not going to let my fly under the radar.  It is just an insanely beautiful color, which is of course we we all love Tosh so much.  But the base is impossibly good as well.  Pashmina is super soft and smooth.  It is full and springy.  It has the slightest halo, just enough to feel, but not so much that it obscures the brilliance of the colors.  It has lovely stitch definition, making it great for this pattern.  And while I’m normally a t-shirt under my sweaters kind of girl, I really just want to wear this against my skin.

The pattern of course, is the sweetest of sweet.  Especially, I think, when one chooses the second sleeve style option and goes for the cap sleeve.  The cap sleeve directions are not published in the Twist Collective version of the pattern, however I emailed Sarah from Zephyr style and she sent me the portion of the pattern, with the changes for the cap sleeve.  The ease of the exchange convinced me completely of the awesomeness of Zephyr Style.  That and the fact that the pattern is smart and easy to understand.

The construction is a pretty standard top down raglan, with the main difference being the openness of the neckline.  In general it’s a pretty simple sweater, but it’s made more interesting by the details and the bands of textural stitch patterning.  Some favorite details include: the garter ridge at the top of the sleeve, the subtly changing width of pattern bands, and the eyelets at the top of the hem ribbing.

Mostly I knit the sweater as written.  The one exception is a added a few decreases for shaping after the bust.  I didn’t want the tee to be skin tight, but I did want it to have a body conscious fit, and after trying it on as I went, it was clear that one me decreases were going to be required to achieve that effect.  In the end, I’m very happy with the fit.  It’s just what I wanted.  And I can’t wait for it to cool down a bit so I can wear this guy for more than just a Copenhagen photoshoot!

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After a long summer of asking myself “where the hell has my knitting mojo gone?” and “what are you doing with all your time?” (answer to both is pretty much summer school), I just thought I’d drop in to say “hi!” and show you the silly hat that brought my mojo back.

Pattern: Pikisi Hat (ravelry)

Source: Erica Knits

Yarn: Malabrigo, Worsted

Needles: US 7

Started: August 1, 2010

Finished: August 8,2010

Find it on Ravelry here.

IRL it’s not so red (iphone photo alert!) and the pom pom is sort of hiding in the picture, but this hat saved me from a knit-less life.  Ever since picking it up, I’ve been picking up old projects and new, and getting some real knitting done.  The pattern is silly, and easy and fun.  And I loved every second of it, even making the pom pom.

Ok so I know I promised that I would show knitting content soon, and I swear it is on it’s way, but first I just had to stop in to tell you about the amazing thing I made myself for dinner.  And while I recognize, that the following photo may look like a boring bowl of white mush it is actually a bowl of delicious summery awesomeness.  It is in fact, Quinoa and Sauteed Cauliflower & Zucchini with Ginger Lemon Sriracha Butter.  Yup, you heard that right.

My initial plan for the evening was to make the Tabasco & Asparagus Quinoa from 101 Cookbooks.  That is until I opened my fridge and realized my asparagus had wilted and I don’t own Tabasco (Srircha is the one and only hot sauce for me!).  So I had to revise my game plan.  And this is what I came up with.  Its is definitely inspired by the idea of the 101 Cookbooks recipe, but lots of changes were made.  Please bear with me on the amounts, as this recipe was largely improvised in progress and mostly not measured.

It makes about enough to feed me four times, so that would be about four people with smallish to normal appetites.  If you’ve got a lot of big, hungry men coming to dinner, you might need more.  I hope you enjoy!

Quinoa and Sauteed Cauliflower & Zucchini with Ginger Lemon Sriracha Butter

1 1/2 cups dry Quinoa

1/4 head of Cauliflower chopped into bit sized pieces & parboiled for 1 1/2 minutes

1 small Zucchini, sliced and rounds quartered

2 bunches Spring Onions chopped (ends only)

1 bunch Garlic Scapes chopped (ends only)

1/2 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature

juice of half a Lemon (squeezed but not pulverized)

walnut sized piece of fresh Ginger, peeled and grated

Salt & Pepper

First make the Ginger, Lemon, Sriracha Butter.  Whip room temperature Unsalted Butter until fluffy with hand mixer. Squeeze in juice of half Lemon.  Grate in fresh Ginger and add about 4 small squirts Sriracha.  Add small palm-full of salt. Whip again.  Set aside.

Cook Quinoa in your normal fashion.*  While cooking Quinoa, saute vegetables in about two large dollops of the Ginger Lemon Srircha Butter, saving the rest.  Add salt and pepper to taste while sautéing.

Once both veggies and Quinoa are cooked, toss together in large bowl with the remainder of the butter (I used it all, but if you like things less buttery you could use less, and add more to taste at the table).  Serve warm.

Those with a spicier palette may want to add more Sriracha at the table.

*I make my Quinoa like this: Soak Quinoa for 1 1/2 hours.  Drain and rinse.  Bring to boil with 3 cups of water in large-ish saucepan.  Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer about 15 minutes, until water is absorbed and Quinoa is tender.  Removed from heat and let sit covered for 3 to 4 minutes.  Fluff with fork adding salt and pepper.

I’m sure that’s what you’ve been asking yourself as I’ve been MIA for an entire month.  Well the answer is I’ve been moving, starting school and hobbling around on crutches.  That’s right, I’m now in Philly, officially a grad student, and nursing a wounded foot that’s made life a bit complicated.  I’ve barely unpacked anything or gone anywhere (besides class) since it’s so hard to get around.  But I am settling in none-the-less.  I haven’t done too much knitting, first because I was always packing and once I got here because of the heat.  My new place has no AC.  But I did do a little project the other day.

One of my teachers asked us to make something to put on the cover of our sketchbooks.  She said it could be anything we wanted, so I decided to make a unfinished quilt square out of some fat quarters I bought while visiting my best friend in Madison (I have lots of great photos from that trip & hope to blog about it sometime soon).  I haven’t officially decided how to affix it to the cover yet, but I’ve figure out something.

Nothing to fancy, just a simple something that reflects my interests.  I’m leaving the edges unfinished on purpose.  I like to think of it as a sketch of a quilt square.  I really like these three fabrics together.  I hope to make something else with the rest sometime soon.  And I promise to try and keep up with the blog better now that I’m a bit more settled in.

I feel like I’ve been making excuses for my absence a lot lately, & I’m sad to say I’m going to keep making them.  Things have been so crazed, I’m just going to have to catch up with the blog as I can.  I have some things from MDSW to show you, but for now I want to share my little trip to Philly with you.

I recently went up to Philly for a one night stay.   We packed loads in, visited a bunch of different neighborhoods, had numerous snacks, and check out a yarn shop or two.

After a quick stop through Bella Vista and a swing by the Italian Market (not to mention a fabulous ice tea at Chapter House), we headed over to the truly beautiful (and fantastically merchandised) Loop.  It’s a really lovely store.  The look of the place is fantastic & they have tons of great yarn.  The most appealing yarns of all were the sock yarn selections.  I am on a self imposed sock yarn diet so I steered clear.  Somehow I used the knowledge that MDSW was fast approaching to steel myself and I left empty handed (save some grapefruit Eucalan).  But it was not without experiencing constant temptation.  I’ll be sure to pay Loop more serious visits in the future.

The other shop we hit was Rosie’s Yarn Cellar.  Rosie’s has a very different feel than Loop, but I love it’s coziness.  It was jam packed with yarn (similar to another LYS that is near to my heart).  We met loads of lovely ladies who made my yarn dreams come true.  As I’m sure many of you know Rosie’s carries yarns from The Fibre Company.  I’ve been wanting to try Road to China for ages, but everytime it had been far out of my price range, but it was there for a mere $15 a skein.  I didn’t see Lapis (the color I’d so longed for), but when I asked I was told it could be there shortly.  Horray for me!  I sucumbed despite Sheep & Wool anticipation.

While we waited, we popped around the corner to Capigiro, land of to-die-for gelato.  I really wish I could remember exactly what I had, but it’s slipped my mind.  I know I had to fruit based flavors.  One of them was some version of orange and cardomom.  Either way, I sampled many things and every one was fantastic, so I feel relatively confident recommending pretty much anything they have.  After we went back to Rosie’s to hang out and wait for the yarn to arrive.  When it showed this was what appeared (sans sushi, that came later).

Yarn: The Fibre Company, Road to China

Color:Lapis

Dye Lot:

Amount:2 skeins at 69 yds each

Purcased at: Rosie’s Yarn Cellar, Philadelphia, PA

stashed on ravelry here

The gorgeousness of this yarn is pretty much indescribable.  The color is basically like the perfect color in the Christianna universe and it’s so soft that I honestly never want to stop touching it.  I’m currently searching for just the right pattern for this, and I’m thinking it might be a hat.  No one will be able to miss it if it’s on my head, and its softness will be close to my face that way.  It seems like a good plan to me.

We packed so much into our trip, that I think it’s fair to say it was too much.  But we checked some out some cool things & I’m sure to be back to Philly soon, for some more laid back exploration.