Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Summer Squares Take Six: Adding Beads...

Happy weekend! We are at the half-way point of our Summer Squares Project, and this week brings us to our 6th square and the 3rd square in The Blue Quartet. Our square this week? The Viola... What did you expect? Again, this is from the series of blocking photos, still wet and with ends hanging out. Don't mind the noise.

There is a technique video at the end of the post, but I though I would distract you first with some food. I made dinner last night for my parents, and (as almost never happens) it was just us adults! My mom had given us a cookbook last year which has some excellent ideas. The book is Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics. I highly recommend it. First course: Chilled Cucumber Soup with Shrimp. The recipe calls for dill but the dill I got tasted horrible, so I swapped it for mint from my garden. Really yum.
Next I made a salad. The Contessa has a similar idea using butternut squash, which I could not get. Instead I roasted some fancy carrots. The walnuts were soak in a maple sauce before I roast them. Double yum.

Again, a modified recipe from The Contessa for Roast Pork Loin. I added some mango juice to her marinade, because I had it in the fridge. As some of you know, we rarely eat meat because Bad Kitten is a vegetarian and I can only put one dinner on the table. When the Kitten is away...triple yum on a rare occasion!

Finally, I had some local pickle cukes so I made these fresh pickles using red onions, dill and cider vinegar. They filled out the meal perfectly.

Now that you are totally distracted by food, I give you my video for the week. As my usual camera Kitten is away, I had to impose on the local Tom Cat to help me out. Compound that by a cold and you have my video on adding beads using a crochet hook. We have not used any beads in our summer project to date, but that will change. I think you might imagine a little Brooklyn, but I am not totally sure. I was focusing on not dropping stitches while my camera guy was learning the ropes. Let me know if you can hear know who you are.

The piece in the video is coming up in two weeks on The Summer Squares Project, in case you are wondering. I think you will like it. Before that, we have the last square in The Blue Quartet to get to next week (not to mention a border and an edging!) I told you I would keep you busy. Though we are at the half-way mark there is still time for you to join, so get all the details here and email me with questions.

Until next week, knit on!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer Squares Take Five: The Blue Quartet

This week finds us up to our fifth square, and the second square of The Blue Quartet. I took a few better photos of The Quartet, so you could get a better sense of the project. This is a small blanket or throw that uses four squares, has a contrasting frame, a border and an edging. The yarn is a cotton/silk heavy lace or fingering weight from Colourmart. You could knit the design in one color, but I think it looks best in two.
It would easily work well in a heavier yarn, for a larger and more substantial blanket. My version is very light and has lovely drape.
This week's square is shown below, still the wet (blocking) photo, but you get the idea! The chart will be posted at our Summer Squares group this weekend. The texture stitch on this one square is different!
My gratuitous summer photos follow...rigging the Sun Fish last weekend on Long Island's North Fork...
Large, nesting birds...
And our unedited video of the week! This week I illustrate how I attached the two panels for The Blue Quartet. Each panel is made of two squares (in blue) with a stripe of gray between the squares. I then knit the two panels together, as follows!
I regret to say that I filmed this video BEFORE Judith lovingly pointed out my lack of appropriate accent...and I fear that this one also lacks that accent. In future videos I will work to correct the issue.
I will be back with another square of The Quartet next week. The Summer Squares project is moving right along, and you are still welcome to join us. See the details at the link above! Until next week, knit on into the summer!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A Midsummer Nights Dream...

I just added two new patterns to my Ravelry Pattern Store.

The Puck Scarf is perfect for your favorite fairy to frolic through the woods. This scarf sits very well on the shoulders. It works with lace weight and also fingering weight yarn. Beads are optional...

My boss carefully supervises the blocking...
The Titania Shawl is a larger version of the same design, and this example was worked in 3/45 cashmere/silk. Thank-you Lara and Steph.

This picture shows the shape of the shawl. Again, beads are optional!
Thanks for looking! Link to my Ravelry Pattern Store is on the upper left edge of my blog!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Summer Squares Take Four: Turning the Corner

Happy Friday! This week's Summer Square is call The Violin. It is part of a project I call The Blue Quartet. The pictures are not very good because it is still wet and blocking. You can even see my ends, which have not been clipped yet. Pathetic, eh? And here you can see the full project, also in a less-than-flattering pose. Once she is dry I will clip the ends and take some lovely cheesecake shots, but until then, you get the idea...
The chart for this week's square and full directions for the project are now posted at our Summer Squares Group, so go for it! The other three squares in this project will follow over the next three weeks, along with the border and the edging. There is still plenty of time to join the fun.

Today we skip the food and take a hike instead. You must burn those calories, right? This view is from a trail just north of the Tappan Zee Bridge (which is one bridge north of The George Washington Bridge) along the Hudson River. The white specks are all sail boats. Very nice, eh?

You didn't know how gorgeous New York is, right?? Well did you know we have Prickly Pear Cactus in New York? Yes, we do. And it is in bloom right now.

We also have some really healthy Poison Ivy. Don't touch...

And we have these funky mushrooms. I feel fairly confident that that are not edible...but I don't know what they are called. They are not in my 'shroom field guide.

Our special video segment this week is about turning the corners on our edging, for those of you still working on The Golden Eye edging, this might be useful. I broke it into two videos. This first one shows you the first half of the corner...

And this second one shows you the second half of the corner!

I really do know that my videos are totally un-edited and slightly scary. I could learn how to edit them, but I would rather spend my time designing and knitting. I could also ask my daughter to edit them, but she would add special effects and a sound track (Green Day most likely or maybe White Stripes) All good, but I am not sure we want to see me knitting to that beat. So for right now they will stay as they are; The Blair Witch Project of knitting, if you will...please enjoy them with modest expectations!

And until next week, knit on! I will be back with another square and I hope a few pictures of finished projects from The Summer Squares group. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Summer Squares Take 3: Adding an Edging

Today takes us to week three of our Summer Squares project. There is still plenty of time to join us, as we will be going for 12 weeks. If you are interested, catch the details here. This week will bring us two new charts. The first will be the edging chart for The Golden Eye design, pictured above. If you scroll to the bottom of this post, you will find that my video this week covers starting this style of edging.
Our second chart this week is our new square. This one is called The Dulcimer. Both new charts will be posted at our Summer Squares group this weekend. Excuse the picture. I was running late with this square, so you see it wet and blocking!

As promised, I am adding a little food this week. I think food is almost as photogenic as fiber... This is a perfect summer dinner at my house. We get lovely beets with greens at the local farmer's market. As a busy woman, I need meals that can go from fridge to table in under one hour. This one is fast, healthy and very tasty! It will feed four people...
Shrimp with Lemon Grass (Thai Style)
-1 pound of large shrimp, peeled (with tail left on) and cleaned
-1 shallot, diced
-2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
-1 Scallion, trimmed and sliced
-1 length of lemon grass, woody part removed, cut into long, thin slivers
-1/3 of a can of unsweetened coconut milk
-1 teaspoon green curry paste (Thai)
-1/2 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Rice (any type you like) made as per package directions.

Heat oil in heavy skillet over medium heat and sauté shallot until soft but not brown.
Add the ginger and stir for two minutes.
Add the curry paste and stir until combined.
Add the coconut milk and stir until combined.
Add the lemon grass, shrimp and tomatoes.
Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir after 2 minutes and check shrimp.
Do not over cook. Shrimp are done when they turn uniformly pink.
Remove cover and add scallions. Stir over heat for 1 minutes.

Prep time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 20 minutes.
Serve over rice. It goes very well with a beer…

Beets and Greens Greek Style
-1 bunch fresh beets including greens
-1 tablespoon good olive oil
-Salt and pepper to taste
-1 lemon cut in wedges
-Some good feta cheese (optional)

Scrub the beets and wash and trim the greens. In a large pot, cover the beets with cold water, bring to a boil and boil gently for at least 25 minutes. Test with a fork to see if the beets are cooked through. Remove from the heat and run under water to cool slightly. Slice beets in quarters.

Steam greens in a steamer until wilted and soft, but still bright green. About 5-7 minutes steaming…

Arrange platter: Greens in center, beets around the sides. Drizzle with olive oil and season with oregano, salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges and good feta cheese.

Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: about 25 minutes

Today's video is about starting a knit-on edging. Those of you who are working on The Summer Squares Suite Golden Eye design might be coming up to the edging right about now! The edging chart is posted to our Summer Squares group this weekend. The video below shows you how I begin this type of edging. Apologies, up front, if I make you dizzy. BadKitten tells me that I move my knitting around too much. I will keep trying...

I will be back next week with a fourth square, a second project and maybe some New York nature photography! Knitters working on my Summer Squares project might also have their versions of The Golden Eye done and ready to share, so we can look forward to a great post next week. Until then, knit on!