thrummed tosh.

My mum’s birthday was yesterday. I knitted her a pair of thrummed mittens because she’s been borrowing my red pair all winter and seems to really love them for long walks in the park with the dog.

I decided to knit hers up with some natural gray wool roving I had in my stash, as well as some Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage in the saffron colorway and I think they came out perfect. They will look nice with her black jacket and the roving on the inside is thick and extra warm.

lighter sesame noodles.

I’ve been in a winter food rut; continually going to tried and true favorites, comforts, and easy recipes because this cold has put me in a funk. Call it lack of motivation to try something new, I guess.

But last night, I decided to rip myself out of it by easing in gently. Enter Martha Stewart’s lighter sesame noodles, which didn’t require a lot of work, or a billion different ingredients I didn’t have in my kitchen.

I did modify it a bit. I realize after buying my ingredients (broccoli, red pepper, etc.) the day before, I neglected to check and see if I had sesame oil in house. I did not. So like any risk taker, I improvised, and skimmed two tablespoons of the oil on the top of the tahini jar off and used that. It was incredible tasting; I might just always use tahini oil. I mean, crushed sesame seeds made into a paste–same thing, right?

I also used natural peanut butter with no sugar added, and nixed most of the brown sugar called for in this recipe. And instead of just boiling all the veggies in the pasta water, I decided to saute my red peppers and onions in the garlic; raw garlic in a sauce can sometimes taste bitter to me, and I wanted a gentle browning on the veggies. I did, however, blanch the broccoli with the pasta. And, for a bit more crunch, I topped the entire bowl off with some chopped dry roasted peanuts I had in my cabinet. Win.

This is a weeknight meal you have to try. So satisfying, full of flavor.

regret in the form of afghans.

I crocheted this incredible candy colored wave afghan back in 2008. It only took a week. It was one of my greatest crocheting accomplishments for sheer speed, color palette, and happiness with end product. I used it on my bed for awhile; then it migrated to my couch.

An old friend, who I have lost contact with for a number of reasons, used to mummify herself in it when she visited. Eventually, she’d walk around in it; take it with her to the kitchen to get a drink, down the hall to grab something from her bag. Ultimately, one frigid night, it walked right out the door and home with her. It became a member of her apartment, but it never came back to me.

Do you have things you made that walked off? That you regret allowing to leave your sight but there’s no way to properly and easily ask for it back? You are forced to accept its no longer with you? Do you have handmade items like this? What have you done to temper the grief? This granny square afghan I crocheted also went off in a fit of regret to someone I wish I could get it back from. Thus is life. Don’t knit afghans that will end up in the wrong hands, I guess.

See more of my afghans here.

batik 2.

A few months back, the school where I am a librarian asked if I would be willing to help teach 10 eager middle schoolers how to batik. I had never batiked before, and knew very little about it. Of course, I found myself saying yes because I love learning new skills, being exposed to all different types of craft, and heck, working with kids, and our hands, to make things.

We are in our last week or two of batik. I don’t know if this really is the fabric craft for me; I’m kind of a perfectionist and it’s really impossible to paint wax on muslin the way I think I want to. But I’m beyond happy to have spent these 10 some odd weeks learning something new and exposing kids to something, too.

Here is my last batik, after the waxing. I will dye it on Friday and then turn it into something, like a zippered pouch for my knitting notions.

bread.

This winter has been all about turning the oven on for extra warmth. It was 3 degrees here without the wind chill this morning when I left for work. I’m thinking baking a loaf of bread when I get home tonight is in order.

What are your favorite bread books? I know its easy to get recipes online now, but I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of recipes available. It feels endless. In that way, I just love recipe books. You can flip through pages and snuggle up with them, marking pages and dreaming of all the things you’ll make.

I love Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads and Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.

cabin fever.

I call these basic after thought heel socks “Cabin Fever” because they were knit up during one of the multiple snowstorms we’ve experienced here in Boston in the last month. It’s been brutal, but a great opportunity to sit in and knit.

I used two skeins of Knit Picks Felici Fingering in the rustic cabin colorway, hence the association, as well, with cabin fever. I used little bits of Alchemy Yarns of Transformation Juniper in the vintage jade colorway (leftover from my Leah’s Lovely Cardigan, which I still haven’t taken proper snaps of) for the heels and toes, because I think there’s nothing better than different pops of color in socks.

These were gifted to my guy for Valentine’s Day this year. I’m incredibly pleased with the finished result and want to dive back into the stockpile of felici to knit a few more pairs.

See more of my hand knit socks here.

foxes.

I’ve been wanting to knit one of Hannah Fettig’s Fox Caps for awhile now and never got around to it. I know my good friend Mack would love one of these, so she is definitely getting one of these.

This first one was knit using 2 skeins of Knit Picks Palette (I have a Palette 100, which has been upped to 150,  for any color work projects I want to knit up on a whim and let me tell you, that is life changing in and of itself) in the charcoal color for the main and pennyroyal for the little foxes, which is a light lavender gray which really reads gray in this photo.

I definitely want to make one with pink in it, and browns, and blues, and purples. The combinations are endless. Expect to see a few more of these here on the blog; they only take a day or so to knit.

tortilla chips / nachos / pintos.

During winter storm # million here in Boston (no, but our second official blizzard in 3 weeks–known as the Valentine’s Day massacre), I decided that the necessary reward for shoveling was homemade tortilla chips for nachos.

Do you ever go this far? The thing I find about homemade chips is they are thicker than store bought chips, so they hold toppings really well and don’t get soggy in the oven.

My toppings for these nachos included jalapeno, green pepper, red onion, grilled cubes of chicken, and homemade pinto beans. Cheese, of course, a blend of Mexican, and fresh salsa and fresh avocado after the oven.

#valentoes.

I rarely enter contests because it’s not likely I’ll win and I’d rather watch. For some reason, I just loved Pom Pom Quarterly’s brilliant #valentoes competition, which took place over the course of several days last week in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. The call was to post your hand knit socks with the aforementioned hash tag and the magazine would pick a daily winner and raffle off a prize.

I just love sock knitting. Every Valentine’s Day, I gift my guy a pair of hand knit socks, and for the rest of the year, I get to see his appreciation in all the times he wears them (which is a lot). And so, this particular contest spoke to me. So I entered. Two days.

And on the second day, I won. It is still shocking to me, out of so many gorgeous entries, I would be the day’s choice. I won an incredible shocking pink mega skein from Kettle Yarn Co. and I couldn’t be more excited to knit with it.

too fucking cold.

This winter really does deserve as many of the Winter Blues hats as humanely possible. Not only is it snowpocalypse, but the bitter arctic blast still plaguing us and not melting any of the great white is an equally oppressive problem.

My guy Sean was visiting from sunny Phoenix this past holiday weekend, only to be afforded the following: a blizzard, the coldest temperatures on record in 20 years, and a gorgeous new hand knit.

This one was knit up using one skein of Malabrigo Merino Worsted in the black forest colorway for the main, and some natural for the color work. Modification again of removing the hearts in the color work section and replacing them with snowflakes.

I love this hat; I will make it for everyone that wants it here in Boston. It’s too good not to. Oh, and his scarf is a knit I made for him several years back–a Noro Silk Garden striped scarf, which he wears any time he visits. Make one of those, too!

heart shaped eggs in a frame.

For Valentine’s breakfast, since Sean was visiting from Phoenix and we were having a full blown blizzard. Perfect timing to leave the sunny skies of the southwest, right?

My honey oat rustic loaf ; heart shaped cookie cutter to cut the hole in the bread ; butter a pan, place bread, crack egg inside, cook about 1 minute per side and serve. Delicious.

baking.

We’ve had four major winter storms here in just under 3 weeks. It’s been hell trying to dig out, and this coming from a seasoned New Englander who does in fact enjoy snow. Dare I say Mother Nature can have this one–I give, I can’t take much more.

On top of all this great white stuff comes bitter cold. The kind of cold that begs for you to throw on the oven for added warmth. And so, last week, when we had yet another two consecutive days off from school, I baked. This honey oat loaf. And reaped its rewards the entire weekend.

It’s definitely one of my favorite loaves of bread to bake. It comes out perfect every time, is full of flavor, and usually I have all the required ingredients on hand. Win.