Shark Week Socks KAL

It’s that time of year again.  The summer sun bears down on us earthlings with a vengeance, parching the ground, drying small ponds and sending us scuttling indoors where we shelter from the heat with our air conditioners, swamp coolers or just plain fans.  The public pools smell of sunscreen and are packed with children jumping and splashing and not paying attention to where they’re doing it.  A cracked skull may be in your future if this is your venue for cooling down.

If you’re lucky enough, you live close to the ocean; close to a large mass of water that regulates the temperature and cleans the air and is fun to frolic in with plenty of room.  No cracked skulls there.  You are fortunate.  You are blessed.  You are also probably wealthy, or are living in the house your great-great grandparents purchased back in the day, and it’s staying in the family.  Either way, it must be sweet.

Except I would never get in the water.  I’d be hanging out at the public pools – if such a thing exists next to the beach – and taking my chances with the splashing, jumping kids.  And the reason for that?  Sharks.  I was okay with going in the water until I turned 12.  “Jaws” the book and movie changed my mind.  Since then, I have learned of other, valid reasons why one shouldn’t go in the ocean, but the most dramatic and compelling justification for avoiding the open seas remains the movie.  And what better way to celebrate the fact the I’m freaked out than knit a pair of cool socks during Shark Week!

The Knit-A-Long starts on the 23rd of this month, so you just may be able to get your yarn in time if you want to join the fun.  This will be my first KAL and I’m excited.  If you rolled your eyes at that last statement, you are not a knitter!

See you in the funny pages!

Lovely, squishy yarn!

Click on pic to get Lara Smoot’s Shark Bite II sock pattern available on Ravelry

From Rug to Table Runner; OR, I Didn’t Buy Enough Paracord

Sometimes I remember things or objects from my youth that have literally been forgotten for decades.  One of those bits of flotsam and jetsam that recently floated across my consciousness was the rag rug from my childhood we had on our living room floor.  The colors were drab and muted, very utilitarian in nature; however, put on the old wood floor, it really fit.  Around 1975, my mother decided she’d had it with her young daughters cleaning the floor by using Pledge and creating a dangerous, slick surface for her stockinged feet – don’t do it! – and she had the standard gold shag carpet installed.  Goodbye wood, goodbye rug.

Flash forward 41 years, and here I am, wanting to make a rug similar to the one from my childhood.  This transmogrified into wanting to make an outdoor rug for our new deck; a rug that wouldn’t require washing and was durable.  I’d read somewhere that it was possible to use paracord for certain crocheted objects and the said material could be purchased at a craft store.  Without further thought or research, I did just that.

I purchased 120 yards (really?) and a more ergonomically friendly size “N” crochet hook.  With only a vague notion as to how I should proceed, I powered through it.  I’ve done enough crocheting through the years to improvise, even though I’m not a big fan of it.  As you can see, the yardage fell far short of the imagined rug, but at least it made it outside.  It’s sturdy, a bit rough on the hands, but it will last quite a long time out in the elements.  My family was so impressed by this little place mat that now they want me to make a bigger one.

Will I?  Yup.  But later.  My fingers got callouses from this!

 

Back to Square One…Or Is It Stitch One?

So, just when I was really jamming on my Deadhead Baby Blanket – yea, someone wanted this! – I noticed a gaping hole in my fabric about 4 rows down.  Puzzled, I tried to figure out what caused it.  Normally, we’re talking an easy fix to pick up the stitch, because after counting my stitches, I discovered I was short one; but WHERE I lost it remained a mystery.  I was stumped.  As you can see on two of these pictures, I was pretty far along.  And I also included the point that had me guessing.  If you point out where I lost it, please let me know!

I was so frustrated, I just frogged the whole thing, and we’re starting again.  I’ve decided I’m going to do a different texture, a bit more complex.  Like I need that with this!  Either way, it’ll look good when I’m done and again, Wendy better like this…!

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

You ever spend way too much time on the wrong project with the wrong yarn at the wrong time of year?  Welcome to the last several weeks of my crafting!  I have been fighting this thing since the beginning.

Several weeks ago I put out an impassioned request for some ideas on how to use the linen stitch.  I rattled off a list of items I didn’t want to make, which included a cowl, but as a proper linen stitch needs to be worked in the round, I was limited.  So what did I do?  I started a cowl.  No big deal.  Except I had to cast on 16 different times because I kept twisting the foundation row.  That is such a rookie mistake, that I should have taken my cue from such an inauspicious start.

I didn’t.

The yarn is Malabrigo that I’ve had tucked away in a bag in my closet for over a year, and I wanted to use it.  I even rescued a snarled skein that had previously kept me from using the yarn at all – that’s how bad I wanted to get this thing started!  As for a pattern, I was loosely basing in on Kristen Kapur’s Chickadee Cowl, but not having too much success.  The yarn combination was just wrong for me.  So now it sits, rewound and back on its shelf in the closet, awaiting a more suitable project.

Doing the Eye of Partridge stitch for the heel and loving it.

In the meantime, I figure it’s never a wrong time to work on socks!

See you in the funny pages.

 

 

The Five Stages of…

making an error/finding an error in your current knit or crochet project.

5 stages... (1)What started as a joke posting on my Facebook page, actually made me do some rethinking about the 5 stages of grief.  It was 3:00 am and I’d just discovered that a pattern I’d downloaded, printed up and purchased yarn for had not been written correctly.  Maybe someone else who is a sharper tack than I would have caught the error and amended it before they were 3/4 of the way finished.

So, while I was frogging my project, I felt a funny should be made.  You know, the kind of idea you come up with in the wee hours of the morning.  Maybe it was because I was loopy with sleep that I made this connection, but I do believe it’s valid, at least to how I reacted to this particular incident.

When I first realized that it was the pattern and not a misunderstanding on my part, I thought NO WAY!  (denial); rapidly followed by irritation that I’d gone through all the hoops to make this happen (anger); then I started thinking of ways to fix it at this point (bargaining); but quickly determined, with a sinking heart, that it wasn’t possible (depression); and just started with the frogging (acceptance).

See?  It was all there in a microcosm!

What weird connections have you made recently?

 

You’re Not Alone

You may have noticed the my blog posts, as of late, have been mostly food entries and many of you crocheters and knitters may be thinking I’ve done a bait-and-switch move.

I assure you that is not the case.

January and February have brought about a general lassitude, especially when it comes to my knitting.  I would compare the progress on my latest project, Lion Brand’s Curvy Girl Cowl Neck Tunic, to that of a snail; however,  I have yet to see a snail move backward and then forward again along the same slime track!  Yes, I have been frogging in an inordinate amount.  Again, I accredit this lack of attention and sloppiness to the general lassitude.  I would also invite you to look at other knitting or crocheting blogs, and you will see a pattern (pun intended).  Feel Good Knitting has posted about her February Blah, and The Sweaty Knitter about her procrastination in Still Kneading, Not Knitting and I know I’ve run across others that slip my mind.  You see?  It happens to all of us, but to some, it’s very specifically this time of year. mr. frog

So, I leave you with this, dear readers, an image of my current project with yet another frog in progress while lying atop two more projects that await to be started and/or finished.

Word of the Day:  

lassitude

  • formal + medical : the condition of being tired : lack of physical or mental enery

Chile Rellenos Casserole and Green Rice

For those of us who love our chile rellenos, but cannot handle actually making them (gringos), I’ve concocted my own recipe.  In my version, I put this together with the intent of staying as true to the original dish as possible.  Of course, since we’re talking about a casserole here, there are elements that would feel more at home in a Yorkshire pudding than your favorite Mexican restaurant, but I think this captures the spirit.  Do not be discouraged by the detailed instructions!  That’s mostly the chile handling and preparation.

I’ve also thrown in a newly discovered favorite of mine, green rice.  This is a variation on the more common red Mexican rice that for some reason I’ve just really taken to.

Will feed about 4 people with lunch leftovers!

Chile Rellenos Casserole

9            Poblano, Anaheim or pasilla chiles

10 oz.    casera cheese (queso fresco)

2              cups shredded cheddar cheese

6              eggs

1              tsp. baking powder

¼             tsp. salt

¾             cup flour

½             cup milk

  1.  Char your chiles on a comal, or in a cast iron frying pan or over an open flame.  Do not be afraid to toast these suckers good.  What you are doing here is giving the chile flavor and making it possible for you to skin the chile with ease.  When they are burnt to your liking, put them in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap and let them sit for at least 30 minutes.
  2. During this rest time, grate the cheddar cheese and make the batter for pouring over the peppers.  Get your favorite 9 x 13″ pan and spray it with oil or grease it down, then turn on the oven to 350F.
  3. Now that the chiles have sat, they should be ready for prepping.  Important:  If you are not accustomed to handling peppers, BE CAREFUL.  I’ve handled peppers all my adult life and by and large, they don’t bother me, but they may bother you.  To be on the safe side, get yourself some medical gloves or rubber gloves or whatever and make sure you DO NOT rub your eyes with the gloves still on!  It hurts!!!  I know, this may seem a bit basic for some, but having to flush your eyes with water and possibly damaging your cornea is not worth it.  Granted, these are mild peppers, but you’ll notice as you’re seeding and skinning, you’ll need to sneeze, or you’ll feel it in the back of your throat, so there is some heat there.
  4. The chiles will be limp and require no special paring tools, especially if you’ve given them a good char.  Because they can be fragile, carefully remove the skin – I like doing it over a clean sink under some cool, running water.  They can be very slippery! – with your hands, and then, if you need to, make a slit in the pepper using your finger and remove the seeds and any fascia.  This is when you’re going to notice the burn, if any.
  5. Now comes the easy part.  Bring out your casera cheese and cut into sticks to fit in your chile.  That’s why I didn’t have you do it earlier. Each chile will be different, and you want it to wrap around and completely cover the cheese.  This may not be 100% possible, as there will most likely be some tearing in the earlier cleaning process, but do what you can.  They’ll be covered up anyway!  Arrange them in the baking dish and cover with the batter.  Top with the cheese and put them in the oven for 30 minutes.

For an extra kick, I like using El Pato Mexican tomato sauce.  I didn’t have any at the time, or the pictures would have looked different!  Also, just to let you know, the casera cheese will not be melty – it’s fresh, so it won’t melt.  But there, I was being true to the spirit.  If you must have melty cheese, use a decent Monterey Jack.

Green Rice

2              cups chicken broth

2              cups water

2              tsps. salt

2              cups medium grain rice, if possible

½             bunch of fresh cilantro

3              cloves of garlic, peeled

½             of a medium onion, peeled and wedged

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth, water and salt to a boil.  Stir in the rice, and wait for the water to boil again.  Reduce the heat to low, stir one more time, and cover and let cook for 15 minutes.
  2. Toss your cilantro, garlic and onion into a food processor and puree to your heart’s desire.  I actually pureed some  more after taking the picture because I noticed a little chunk of onion.
  3. After the 15 minutes is up, remove the rice from the heat and let set for another 10 minutes – do not lift the lid!
  4. When the rice has set, you may remove the lid!  Fluff the rice, and put in your puree at that time.  I used maybe 1/4 cup.  You may want more or less – it’s up to you.

Serve!