Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Finished Knits

I've been slowly chipping away at this yarn that's been sitting in my stash for a couple of years.  It's big. It's bulky.  Some of the colors are ugly. And I had no idea what to do with it.

Enter the need for instant gratification knitting.  I haven't been working on my striped dolman since the summer, mainly because it's for me and it's now too cold for it anyway, but also because after knitting for two hours it doesn't feel like you've accomplished anything. This crappy yarn that I have is the perfect solution to my dolman problem.

I found a pattern that called for super bulky yarn on really big needles that required.  It's a big loose thing that you call "finished" when you run out of yarn. I finished in about an hour and 15 minutes.  It's that fast. Seriously.

Then I started looking for a hat pattern to go with it since I still had two skeins left. And then I found the pseudo-jester hat.

It's knit in the round, but when you get to the top you don't do any decreasing, then just three-needle bind off the top so it's flat on top with two points.  And you know those points need pom poms. The had used less than one skein.  And you know what eats up a TON of yarn? POM POMS!

BOOM! Hat in about 2 hours of knitting.

For some yarn that I used to call crappy, I think they both turned out really cute. As I was photographing the scarf on the couch it was mentioned that it was reminiscent of the flying carpet from Aladdin.  Totally! Love it.

I have one skein in this colorway left.  Now that I've done a hat and a scarf, I'm not sure how to use it.  I don't think they're enough left for mittens, but since it works up so fast there's no harm in trying.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mummies for Halloween

My mums are blooming, just in time for the spooky holiday.

The mum on the south end of the fence isn't blooming, but it's working to come back from the multiple mowings. The greenery is starting to come back, though.

The cosmos are still blooming.  They've really benefited from some dead heading I did while trying to save seeds.

I planted a bunch of seeds several weeks ago in hopes that they would do something before they got rained out.  I've had to uncover them from under leaves a couple times, but they're sprouting.

I planted radishes and carrots, which are both coming up. I also planted some leaf lettuce.  Either I forgot which row is which or it hasn't sprouted yet.

I also planted a few more kale seeds, but I'm almost positive it's too late to get them to grow into anything edible.  These guys are still kicking along. I just pulled the broccoli from this bed the other day.  Don't know if I'll be trying to grow that again!

The little zucchini that could. This plant got the bushiest leaves of all my summer squash, but didn't start producing flowers until a couple of weeks ago.  I'm fully prepared to pull the rest, but this one might get a few week reprieve, just to see if it will do anything.

I may not have had luck growing squash this year, but someone certainly did! I got my pumpkins from a small farm in Olympia and they were overflowing.  Soon these guys will be carved and lit, waiting for some trick-or-treaters!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Came back from a long weekend away to rain.  It's pretty soggy in Seattle. I squished my way through a pumpkin patch yesterday and came home to a garden that was mostly brown and gray, with a bit of green leftover.  It's now past time to pull the spent plants in the garden. I should have done it last week before the fall rains started, but I got distracted by the upcoming trip. And, some part of me thinks that maybe I can get in one last harvest before I pull everything... Looking at the garden after a week of rain... probably not.  It's time.  Don't let the blooming flowers on the zucchini fool you....

The best thing about the rainy season? It's a dang good excuse to hang out inside and knit!! And when you go outside? You can wrap yourself in all the handknits! Yes!

Finally got some pictures of the hat and mittens I knit for my mom's birthday back in June.  Luckily, there was a bit of sunshine during our weekend at the coast and I was able to get some shots.

Project: Leafy Mitts, by Ruth Stewart
Yarn: Filatura Lanarota Chunky Wool, teal
Needles: US 6, DPN

Project: Seedling, by Alana Dakos
Yarn: Filatura Lanarota Chunky Wool, teal
Needles: US 6, 16" circulars

Last week I needed some instant gratification, and wanted to make some space in the stash, so I made a scarf with some really old, really fluffy yarn, then started a hat.  I had high hopes of finishing the hat this weekend on the trip and taking some pictures, but there was a lot of other stuff going on.

It's a full time job keeping an eye on this little guy.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

I can't believe I haven't posted this recipe yet.  We make it all the time in the fall and winter, pretty much as soon as we can find butternut squash until they're no longer in stores in the spring.  It's a perfect combination of squash that I love, and a squash recipe that Alan really enjoys! For some reason he isn't into the roasted half acorn squash....

Golden Winter Soup
Originally from Cooking Light, passed to me by B.Lee

2 Tbsp butter
5 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
2 cups peeled and cubed potato
2 tsp salt
1 tsp peper
2 cups chopped leek (1 large or 2 smaller)
4 cups broth
1 cup fat free 1/2 and 1/2

Melt butter over medium high heat.  Add squash, potato, salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes.  Add leek and saute 1 more minute.  Add broth and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until squash and potatoes are fork tender. Blend with and immersion blender until no lumps remain.  Add more broth if too thick.  Stir in half and half and cook until heated through. Garnish with shredded parm and a sprinkle of thyme.

Its soup, so I'm never too exact with the measurements.  I'll throw in the whole squash if it's on the smaller side, or just the neck if it's a big squash.  If I have potatoes that are just past their prime I'll throw in two instead of just one. I find I like to add a couple of dashes of garlic salt to jazz it up (but I pretty much add a dash of garlic salt to everything). The original recipe suggested some crazy roasted baguette with gruyere thing to go with it, but we're not fancy around these parts - we stick to whatever bread we have on hand slathered with butter and a little garlic salt (see?) and grated parm broiled until brown.  As Alan said last night, the soup makes a really good bread delivery device. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Into the Fall Rains

You know that Blind Melon song, No Rain? That's how Seattle is right now was. We surpassed the 65-year record for July-September. The nice weather was starting to get boring. I kept feeling like I had to go outside. Not a bad thing, but normally by October I'm doing a heckuva lot more knitting. It's weird.

I took these photos last week when the weather was still warm during the days and starting to get cool at night.

I really love this burning bush.  It looks so lush in the spring and summer and is full of "flava" in the fall.  He's definitely on my list to put in when I have my own yard to landscape.

I was sure that I failed at cucumbers this year. I started a bit late and then didn't fertilize soon enough, probably didn't water enough, blah blah blah. I do have one stunted little cucumber. I don't think I should consider that a win though. Still a fail.

This is the only healthy looking summer squash plant I have.  It didn't start flowering until a couple of weeks ago.  I know I should pull all my squash plants because they're so covered in powdery mildew and it's only going to get worse, but... they're all flowering so much I just can't bring myself to do it.  Maybe now that the rain has started I'll grit my teeth and just do it this weekend. But there is a wee itty bitty tiny delicata on the vine hiding under the yellow beefsteak plant...

I have a few tomatoes still on the vine.  I forgot to water them the last week because I was at a wedding then out of town for work, so I probably could have had a few more ripe and ready, but considering I still have two bowls full inside I think I'll be fine just harvesting the rest of the blushing green ones and letting them ripen inside.

This is the little sunflower that could.  He was planted at the end of the fence so he got shaded out by the tree on the corner, and probably got less water than he should have.  He has a skinny little stalk and I wasn't sure if he was going to bloom, but he managed to escape the neighborhood hooligan who has been hacking away at the flowers and has been perky for a few weeks now.  He makes me smile.

The roses from the ORG are kicking butt. They looked a little sad when transplanted, but now they're going crazy with blooms.  I need to get after them and dead head, but they're so pretty when they're in flower!

If you can see past the weeds that are starting to take over, a couple of the strawberry runners I liberated from the MG Demonstration Garden pathway (I tell myself its okay because they were in the pathway and were just going to be trampled or tossed) have dug in and decided to survive. I would love to have this entire patch around the roses and blueberry pots filled in with strawberries. I might finally have enough to make jam... but I would probably eat them as they came ripe instead.  Just like the blueberries.

That's it for the garden.  I'll have to do some work this weekend, but it will just be pulling dead plants and maybe planting some carrots, radishes, and lettuce.  I've done two rounds of fall planting  but I kept forgetting to keep them watered for the first week or so, so I don't think too many of those seeds will come up. With the weather changing, I'm hoping that all I will have to do is sow and weed!

I've been working on a few projects on the sly, but they're not completed so they'll have to wait to be blogged about.  Soon, I tell ya, soon!