Friday, December 25, 2009

A Gift For You

***NOTE***  I would like to thank the people who left comments letting me know that the pattern link wasn't working.  I believe I've got it fixed now, but please do let me know if there are any problems.  And if you run into any problems on the pattern, let me know and I'll do my best to fix any errors - your feedback is welcome and appreciated.

Another sock pattern is now available.

Jenny Socks (pdf)

These are the socks I designed after Jenny suggested I should enter the Think Outside the Sox Contest.  I didn't win, but I did end up with some socks I love.  You can read more about them here.


Happy knitting!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chicken and Rice Soup

I love soup.  I think it is probably the most perfect food ever (except, maybe, for bacon).  And so, I give you...

Chicken and Rice Soup

1 lb. chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
1 small onion, diced
3 large stalks of celery, diced
2 T. olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
4 medium carrots, sliced
1 1/2 C. cut corn
1 C. uncooked white rice
6 C. chicken stock
2 C. water
1 T. dried parsley
1 t. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil.  Add in the onion and celery and cook until softened, stirring regularly to keep from browning.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more.  Add in the chicken and cook thoroughly.  Add in the carrots, corn, rice, chicken stock, water, parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, until the rice is tender.  Taste to check seasoning, adding salt and/or pepper if needed.  Serve with crackers or bread.


NOTE:  Since I personally prefer thicker, stew-like soups, I added to the boiling soup 1 T. cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 C. cold water about 3 min. before serving, cooking and stirring 'til thickened. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

Arizona Thermal

On a yarn crawl through Tucson about a year ago, I stopped in Kiwi Knitting and picked up several balls of sock yarn. Among them was 2 balls of Crystal Palace Yarns Maizy Print (I don't remember the colorway, and threw away the ball band before I had it written down somewhere).

In September, I decided it was time to knit this yarn up, but couldn't decide on a pattern for it, so I cast on without one. Once I had my usual toe done, I started fiddling around with different stitch patterns. I wanted something with ribbing for a good fit, but not just plain. I tried a rib that was K1, P1 for 2 rows and K on the 3rd row. It was okay, but really just looked like basic ribbing - not very interesting. Then I noticed the pattern on the wrong side of the fabric. It looked a bit like thermal undergarments, and wasn't boring. Perfect! I now had the stitch pattern I wanted, so I ripped it out and began anew, being careful to take notes.

After about 1 1/2 months of working on them off and on, they were finished.

And another 1 1/2 months later, I've finally gotten the pattern all typed up and ready to go. If you're interested you can download it here.

Happy knitting!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Getting Our Christmas Spirit On

We don't normally spend much time at parades or community events, mostly because I hate large crowds. This year, however, I decided to stop being such a Scrooge and took Jay to the Christmas parade. The ceremonies start with the lighting of the city Christmas tree, and then, when it's dark, the brightly lit floats start down the parade route. Of course, I forgot to bring my camera, but as the parade was almost over, I remembered the camera on my phone. The picture quality isn't great, but you'll get the idea. And you know, we both had a good time.

All of these pictures are of emergency vehicles, some from our city, some from the small towns nearby.

In addition to all the lights, they had displays that included Christmas trees or typical Christmas vignettes.

Most of the floats and vehicles had people walking alongside them, some were handing out little items.

One of the churches was handing out glow sticks, which Jay was kind enough to display for me.

Just out of sight to the right we had several EMT's doing a demonstration of some sort. It was hard to tell exactly what was going on, as they were surrounding an empty gurney, but mabye it was just the angle I was viewing it from.

This truck had signs on the sides reminding us of the things we need to do to have a safe and fire-free holiday, like keeping our Christmas trees watered.

It was pulling this float that shows what happens when one fails to follow the safety guidelines. Though it's difficult to see clearly, the little house on the float is on "fire".

Finally, along came Santa! His appearance was greeted with cheers and applause, then the mad rush to be the first to our vehicles began. We made good our escape, then stopped and picked up dinner. And maybe we'll try it again next year, too.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tibetan Clouds Beaded Stole

For the November 2009 edition of the Knit Picks catalog, I was fortunate to be able to knit the Tibetan Clouds Beaded Stole by Sivia Harding. Knit with fingering weight yarn, this stole is perfect for keeping the autumn and winter chill at bay. Lightly beaded, the stole starts with the center panel, then the sides are knit one at a time.

The yarn selected for this project was Gloss (70% Merino Wool, 30% Silk) in the Kenai colorway. And I got to select the beads to go with it.
They are 6/0 glass beads that I picked up at Michaels.

The center panel is created by starting in the center and repeating the pattern 4 times, making a perfectly symmetrical square. Then 2 of the sides are bound off, keeping live stitches on the other 2 for the side panels.

The sides are identical, featuring a lovely beaded brocade and feather and fan.

When finished the stole is 21" wide by 74" long; a bit too long for me to be able to photograph it all at once.

I would also like to recommend the book the pattern is found in, The Knitter's Book of Wool. Clara Parks has done a fabulous job explaining all things wool - and why it matters. And the patterns offer up something for everyone. You can read an excellent synopsis of it here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December Already?!?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

We were fortunate to have my dad and sister spend the holiday with us - my sister just for the holiday and weekend, my dad for a little over a week. It was lovely to see them, as always.

I'm now trying to get back into the swing of things and ready for Christmas at the same time. I can't believe it's already December! Here's a little link-y to help all you crafty people into the spirit of the season.