Last night I improvised this wonderful stovetop rice pudding. Here's the recipe:
1 can coconut milk
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 star anise
1/2 cup cane syrup (or maple syrup)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
4 cups cooked rice (preferably basmati)
Mix everything except the rice together in a saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add rice and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
When I first started swatching Chatsworth, my slip stitch stripes were coming out funny. Instead of sitting level with the rest of my knitting, each stripe stuck out from the swatch, making a ridge. I went back and studied the instructions and found I was holding the yarn on the incorrect side of my work.
The instructions say to insert the crochet hook from the front, but they don't specify where the yarn should be. I just blithely put the yarn in front along with the hook. The instructions then go on to say to draw a loop of yarn through the fabric. Through the fabric.
I felt a little silly for not being able to put that together before, but it's all right now.
Two more swatches! What do you think?
Clotheshorse Magazine is hosting a cardigan knit-a-long. I thought I might participate because I've been admiring Chatsworth and Silvana and Valois. I just had to choose one and buy yarn.
I don't have a real stash to dive through---just lots of odds and ends which I thought might be good for the Chatsworth stripes. In fact, I had several combinations of colors which might have looked good. The problem was, when I got to Knits by Nana, only two stripe colors coordinated with any of the main color choices. I need four.
So against my better judgment I bought another two colors in my chosen yarn (Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Wool). When I tried the color combination in Swatch #1, I was dissatisfied with the vertical stripes. They look okay in the photo above, but in real life the orange stripe was way too bright next to the green.
So I duplicate stitched the orange over the top of the blue stripe, pulled the blue out, and slip stitched it next to the green.
The orange fits in better sandwiched between two slices of tomato. I like the variegated yarn when it runs horizontally, but I'm not so sure about the vertical stripes. The individual colors jump out at me more when lined up vertically.
Maybe a companion stripe would be a good idea. (Sorry for the blurry photos.)
But now the left stripe was too strong---same problem as in Swatch #1. Then I saw the solution.
Designer Amy Gunderson used 5 colors of tweedy yarn for the original Chatsworth. The colors were well chosen and the plaid chart worked. For her.
But my plaid is missing that over-and-underness common in tartan patterns. I can provide that!
Still, I found myself wishing for a little more strength in the green stripe. I went back to the odds-and-ends bag I had taken to Knits by Nana.
And I found a dark brown Shepherd's Wool that I had discounted previously. What a difference that makes!
Swatch #5 is my pick. What's your preference?
The Big Book of Knitted Monsters by Rebecca Danger, photographs by Brent Kane, pub. Martingale & Company, 2011.
This book contains patterns for 20 monsters, many of whom appear on the cover. I think the ones that didn't make it to the cover were at one of Tony's toy box parties, but I'm not sure.
Any of these designs would be perfect for a beginning knitter. There are no slick tricks like short rows---all shaping is done with the simplest of increases (knitting into the front and back of a stitch) and decreases (knitting two stitches together), plus some expert stuffing (which Danger explains in detail).
The stories (only a sentence or two long) that accompany the designs are charming and provide hints to each monster's personality. These hints, should you choose to accept them, aid in feature placement and monster placement (since each monster has its own room preferences).
The patterns are presented in a very readable format, with clear and creative photos of the creatures they will create.
The monsters above have legs worked as part of their bodies (instead of sewn on afterwards) and the ones at right have pockets to hold their children in. Other monsters have spots on their backs or around one eye, compelling ear shapes, knots on the tops of their heads, or mouths delineated by picked up stitches.
Yarns used are widely available, and substitutions are actually encouraged. Most monsters are knit multiple times to show variations in yarn weight and type.
Harold has toes, which really attracts me to him. Demonstration photos are given each time a new skill is required---not just for the first monster it's used on. Danger understands that knitters don't tend to knit the patterns in the presented sequence, and the photos don't take up too much space. Harold's demo photos include the lineup of toes ready to be joined into a foot, picking up stitches, and releasing stitches from waste yarn to knit the leg upward. See why I find him so alluring?
This is a charming book, and I look forward to reviewing the sequel!
Disclosure: Martingale & Company sent Kangath a free copy of The Big Book of Knitted Monsters for review. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Martingale & Company or Rebecca Danger.
I'm trying something new: trading test knits with another designer. I'm not sure I'll reliably have time to do this as a usual thing, but it's an interesting experiment.
The designer is Virginia Newman (nonconformknits on Ravelry), and I approached her because of one of her posts on a test knitters group. I've gotten a start on her Hurricane Tie-Back Tunic, and I think (hope) it will go much faster now that I'm past the seed stitch and into the lace.
I think it's important for me as a new designer to knit patterns written by other new designers as well as those more established in the industry. If any of you would like to trade test knits, just let me know. I'd love to work with some other designers in this way.
Moon Mirrors in Tide Pool and Fire Thorn
My most recent tapestry knit design, Moon Mirrors, received a little bit of attention when I first posted about it, but I wanted to point you to this tutorial detailing one method of tapestry knitting.
There are several things I like about this technique. First of all, I love the look of strands! Worked in a pattern as in the upper portion of the scarf at left with just little sprinkles of raspberry peeking through, they're simply delightful. The purl side is also pretty cute.
But it's the ability to make large shapes that really excites me. Those long horizontal lines in the moons are done by stranding the moon color in front of the work instead of catching it on the back side. Watch the video! I still have some refining to do, but I'm enjoying the construction of designs that read well on both sides.
Knitting New Scarves by Lynne Barr, photographs by Tyllie Barbosa, pub. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2007
This is not a new book, but it contains some new techniques that have been underused since it came out. I guess this is because it purports to be a pattern book.
And it really is a pattern book, filled with 27 "distinctly modern designs" beautifully photographed, and only a few pages of technical information both in the final chapter and sprinkled throughout.
The cover scarf is a lovely example of a simple yet creative, functional yet attractive design. The pattern fits easily on one page, but it encompasses four techniques--two standard and two innovative. Wonderful.
The scarf at right is related to Tricorner and looks a bit like Twisted. Better than either (in my opinion), it's really just ribbing knit in and out on little wings instead of around and around in a tube. Get the book for more details.
But as much as I admire those technique photos (and drool over the technology--I do not have the engineering brain needed to set something like that up), they are trumped by Tyllie Barbosa's ingenious work.
Draping scarves over just about anything you might find in a home (except people), her photos are narratives and Lynne's designs come across as extremely comfortable works of art. The cover photo is one of my favorites. Another is at right.
The waves in that scarf are knit in the round on two sizes of double-pointed needles, but there's more to them than that. Lynne had to work out several more details, yet the result is elegant and not the least bit cerebral or off-putting.
The scarf at left is worked with one continuous strand of yarn. Carumboa is made of interlocked rectangles. Circles reminds me of a motif from Pop Knitting. Peek is knit flat using intarsia yet has a three-dimensional look. Drifting Pleats may sound scary (no stitch numbers and as many as six needles at once) but it's beautiful and has many Ravelry projects, so I think it's probably worth a try.
And there are more, doubtless some you will find so charming that you'll wonder why I didn't feature them in this review. (The answer must be my inferior taste.)
It seems Lynne's main purpose in writing this book was not to put forth gorgeous scarf designs (though she has done that). It was to come up with provocative, inspiring designs that would take us beyond the instructions into the land of What-If.
When I read a novel, I want to be taken somewhere new. It's a joy to find that in any knitting book, let alone a pattern book. Knitting New Scarves gave me that sense.
I strongly recommend this book for any knitter who has not yet encountered Lynne Barr. It gives just a taste of her genius.
Disclosure: Kangath reviewed a copy of Knitting New Scarves from her library. Kangath was not compensated for the preceding review. All opinions expressed in the review are the blog author's and are not necessarily the opinions of Stewart, Tabori & Chang or Lynne Barr.
Two food posts in a row! It was either that or a laundry post.
Would you have preferred to see all the clothes folded in piles on our bed? Well, too bad . . . you get PIE!
This was a quick, delightfully messy production. For those of you who have never made a strawberry pie, I recommend it heartily. It's relatively easy, and the results are divine (especially with TruWhip)!
I made a thyroid-friendly lunch from leftovers yesterday:
steamed basmati rice
dark red kidney beans
sriracha hot chili sauce
It was delicious. The only ways it would have been better would be if I had used brown rice (they do sell brown basmati) and if I had added the avocado on the counter which I was too lazy to open.
More ideas soon!
Hi! I'm Kangath---
knit designer, musician, writer, and mother
Click here to join the Kangath Knits email list
for insider updates and special deals.
Ruth Roland is a top Baton Rouge, LA music lesson instructor on TryMusicLessons.com!
Amy Herzog Designs
Knit and Tonic
The Sexy Knitter
Sheep to Shawl
Trappings and Trinkets
Two Sides of the Same Stitch