Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Busy busy busy. That's been me lately. Bloggers, just like everyone, have periods of ups and downs and go through different stages in their life. Being busy with work has translated into less available time for me to spend on the Internet and what free time I have I have spent knitting!
Knitting has always been a meditative and relaxing hobby for me. It's a place I can go and relax and forget everything else in a peaceful setting and worldly occupations don't bother me.
This is my newly completed Emily sweater from Kim Hargreaves' Heartfelt - The Dark House Collection. I really enjoyed knitting this sweater and am totally ecstatic with how it came out. I wish the photos did it justice, but the details and rich color of the yarn proved very hard to photograph and there is only so much you can do with fill light.
This will not be an everyday sweater for me. I'll keep this folded in a drawer and only wear it on special occasions. It's nice to keep a special sweater that you know will look appropriate when you need to get a little more dressed up.
As I have found with past sweaters designed by Kim Hargreaves (my Flo cardigan comes to mind) the devil is in the details. She really has a knack for taking a simple pattern and adding finishing touches that make it special but still not terribly complex to knit.
This sweater, as I say, is a very straight forward knit. The only thing that gave me pause was the neckband. The pattern is a bit sketchy on this bit and simply instructs you to knit the neckband separately and then stitch it "neatly" into place. That's not very helpful. I wasn't intending to sew it on sloppily anyway.
I truly had no idea how to tackle sewing it on as I never sew anything! This is where Murielle of Murielle Knitwear a dear friend and invaluable resource stepped in. She pinned the neckband on for me and explained that it would be best to use a simple back stitch to sew the neckband into place on the surface of the knitting. But here's her real gem, that I'm going to fondly refer to here on Mr Puffy's Knitting Blog as "Designer Tips and Tricks." Murielle told me that I needed to use regular thread to sew on the neckband because using yarn would make the neckline too heavy. She was absolutely right and I would never have thought of that on my own because I always use yarn to seam/finish my sweaters. It's a little detail like that which can make the difference between your sweater looking "handmade" versus "homemade."
Particulars: Emily designed by Kim Hargreaves; Heartfelt - The Dark House Collection; 6 skeins Rowan Kid Classic (colorway #832 - black swirled with a dark purple ); US 7 needles (main body) US 6 (lower body details) US 5 cuffs and neckband; Modifications: I knit the body in the round and downsized the pattern to an XXS to achieve a more fitted garment. Dimensions: I began armhole shaping when the body length was 16" and the sleeves are 24" long. Rather than go into more details here I'll put the rest on my Ravelry page for those interested.
Breakfast and its Role in my Quest for a Healthy Diet and Lifestyle!
When I am busy it is hard to take the time to eat a proper breakfast but eating properly is key to avoiding getting run down and sick. I also find that if I don't eat a sufficiently substantial breakfast I find myself hungry around 10 a.m. and then I'll snack on foods that are unhealthy like sweets and chips. So, the key for me, was finding a breakfast meal that I enjoyed enough to motivate me to take the time to make it. Voila ~ a bowl of steel-cut Irish oatmeal!
I love this stuff. A warm bowl of steel-cut Irish oatmeal is how I begin most mornings (along with a sliced up apple and a handful of walnuts). I've been eating this for breakfast for years and I'm pleased to note that it is finally becoming more mainstream which is great, because that means it is more readily available and at a better price.
I have found that the best and most tender steel-cut oats are the "pinhead" variety. I order Organic Pinhead Oatmeal produced by The Oatmeal of Alford on-line and buy it in bulk from Chefshop. I have found that toasting the oats for a minute or so brings out the nutty flavor and adds a nice touch. Simply pour your oats into a sauce pan and allow them to toast up a bit before adding the water - do this very quickly or they will burn. I use 1/4 cup oats and 1 & 1/4 cups water. Stir frequently with a wooden spoon on a low simmer and when the oats are plumped up and the water is nearly all absorbed it's ready. This process only takes about 8 to 10 minutes with "pinhead" oats. Top it off with brown sugar and a banana and you have yourself a warm and tasty meal that you and your family are sure to love!
If you live in Los Angeles or anywhere near a Jamba Juice you will find that they now sell a tasty bowl of this. So if you are out and about you might want to give it a try - it's much better for you than a Cinnabon at the Mall!
Have a great week everyone ~ and make sure to eat a proper breakfast!