So dull

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One of these dogs is a super model, the other is a chug.

I love my husband dearly. Know how you can tell? This is not the first black hat, and I do mean the most simple stockinette beanie with a 1×1 rib on US size 4s, that I have knit him.

Seams

One thing I have yet to master in my knitting is sweaters. That’s not to say I haven’t knit them. I have. They just haven’t turned out…great. A couple points: I tend to want to knit top down; I’m apparently a little fuzzy about how I’m actually built; because of where I live, I tend to want to do fingering weight.

4115357624_8b4c61b6c2_zPoint 3 isn’t a big deal. I’m comfortable with yarn down to lace and have actually knit, somewhat successfully (and unsuccessfully & in-between) versions of Hannah Fettig‘s Featherweight Cardigan. According to Rav, I’ve actually knit it 5 times. The black one was my favorite.

 

 

Point 2 is in my head. I’m not a tiny gal. I’ve never been. I’m not huge, either. Though parts of me are a bit larger. I have broad shoulders, a reasonable chest. And at 5’8″ I’m not terribly short, either. In my head, however, I’m about 6’, willowy, and I have no chest. So it’s always a little weird to make the sweater, even to my measurements, and when I look in the mirror, there I am in a sweater that may not suit my build. So pattern choice tends to be an issue.

Thimg_20150416_134405472_medium2e first thing, though, has been quite the sticking point. I love my Calligraphy Cardigan
but it’s a housecoat. Part of that is the worsted weight. Part of that is that the neckline stretches. And now I’ve found some help!

Tech Knitter write some great posts. And this one focuses on the ol’ “My sweater is slipping off my shoulders. The discussion of the different sweaters and the reasons for seaming are great. But I was having a little trouble figuring out exactly where to put my hook to do the slip stitch properly.

Then Yarn Harlot popped up in my search. She has a fantastic post explaining the issues with top down sweaters and how to fix them to some degree. I used her pictorial in the below projects to help salvage them.

First up were the dog sweaters. For practice. And chug.

Maggie looked so cute in her sweater, but it soon slipped down that chihuahua neck to her pug chest and looked stretched out. But a slip stitch line along the collar really helps hold it up and she’s back to being a super model. This pattern is the pug dog sweater, and with a few modifications for her mixed-up-ness, it’s a great pattern.

That one went so well I thought I’d fix her green one. But I made it a bit too tight. She looked like a sausage!

Luckily, I was able to snip the slip stitch, giving the ribbing its stretch back, and fitting the little chug nicely. It’s still more of a crop top but it’s cute enough and warms up her shivery self.

All that under my belt and I felt ready to tackle my Paulie Sweater. I added a seam to the neck, to each raglan, and to the fronts.

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On the left you can see the pre-reinforced seam, on the right is after seaming. Big difference!

I’ll admit, because of points 2 & 3 above, I don’t actually love the sweater, even with seaming. But it feels more substantial and wearable. And it’s quite warm. The KnitPicks Stroll is a decent yarn (though I wish it pilled a bit less). And I’m going to try again. This time with Granito. I’ll keep you *swipes off sunglasses* posted.

Gathering

Isingle_griffen-final-r-a haven’t had a chance to make it to too many of the big fiber festivals (I’ve done Stitches West twice but haven’t done the c

lasses, would definitely go again & Madrona is on my list, as is a Fiber Retreat. I don’t know which one, but being able to go with my friend Kate would be amazing).

This spring, though, I get to go to the Spring Fiber Frolic put on by Griffin Dyeworks. I first started hearing about their frolics from Annie of Petite Weaver Podcast. And I am super excited!

I really hope I get in to the Basket Weaving class. It’s my #1 choice of ANYTHINGsmall-cherokee-basket-1

Will you be there? I’d love to meet other crafters in addition to the ones I’m trying to drag along with me :-).

Not a Food Blogger – Pepper sauce

For the holidays, my neighbor across the street brought my husband some Barbados / Bajan Pepper sauce. Her husband is originally from Barbados and since her “Mum,” her Mother in Law, was visiting, they decided to make up a batch since none of the local restaurants could supply any.

My husband dubbed it “mustardy pickle relish” and it languished in the fridge. A few weeks later I, non-spicy girl that I am, finally worked up the nerve to try it. And immediately sent my neighbor a text – THIS IS WHAT WAS MISSING FROM MY CULINARY LIFE!

Despite it’s name, and it’s star ingredient of habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers, this stuff is amazing. I convinced her to teach me how to make it since I went through her gift in a month on egg burritos, plain eggs, sandwiches, and the dog. No, not really, I’m not going to share this with the dog. Or eat her. Unless she remains stubborn about going out on the grass in the rain.

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Turns out the recipe is surprisingly easy and requires zero cooking. Mix up ingredients, my kind of prep! We used this recipe from Eat Like a Girl. Here’s the original ingredients:

225g hot scotch bonnet peppers, stems removed
225g peeled onions, coarsely chopped
110g peeled turmeric, diced
4 tbsp American style or mild mustard (prepared not oiwder)
240ml white flavourless vinegar, spirit vinegar would be ideal (again, available in Chinese shops but a flavourless white vinegar will do, just don’t use malt vinegar)
1 tbsp brown sugar

For our first take, we did it a bit more like this:

3 habaneros, stems & seeds removed

1 bell pepper
1/2 a peeled onion, coarsely chopped
1 finger of peeled fresh turmeric
4 tbsp American style or mild mustard (prepared not oiwder)
1 cup white flavourless vinegar + a couple splashes of apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp brown sugar

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It just all goes in the food processor and then you pull out tasting spoons and start adjusting it to YOUR preferred flavor profile.

So I did it again a month later. This time on my own.

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My sister’s husband loves peppers and had some Scotch Bonnets in his freezer. I’m scared of these. I washed them carefully to remove the seeds, wearing gloves, and sniffling and looking away as much as possible. This was about half of the original recipes called for amount.

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Here’s closer to the version of the recipe I did this time (this is the kind of recipe I love, where you substitute and change and the things still works).

100g hot scotch bonnet peppers, stems & seeds removed (I have a kitchen scale that doubles as a yarn scale so of course it has grams)
1 whole peeled onion, coarsely chopped (too much, I’d drop back to half next time)

5 baby bell peppers
1 finger peeled turmeric, diced (I would up this, but at nearly $9 a lb not too much. Though my one finger was about 50 cents)
4 tbsp American style or mild mustard (I used brown, it’s what we had in the fridge)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp brown sugar

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& I bought that adorable jar at Michael’s for $1. I want more. More jars, more pepper sauce.

While these start off REALLY spicy during the “test with a spoon” phase, they mellow super quickly. And while  you are using peppers, the heat is more wasabi and less Mexican spicy burn, you know? The heat hits you but then is gone vs. just sticking with you, forcing you to eat more chips and guacamole, or is that just me?

I Dye

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That used to be a hat. I held the fingering weight Socks that Rock Lightweight double and made a lovely Heartfail that I never wore.

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I hated the color. I should’ve liked the color, but I didn’t. So I figured I’d over-dye it.

Initial process took 12 cups of water, 1 cup of vinegar, 4 blue raspberry lemonade packets (thanks and shout out to podcaster PurlBug). But it came out sort of “meh.”

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Try two I used roughly 8 cups of water, a splash of vanilla, and a teaspoon of black icing color. Because why not.

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I like the final result & hope that the color sticks. An initial dunk of another skein says yes, but I’m not holding breath.