Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Beanie Babe

This is the first in a series of Beanie posts.

Noro Kureyon Beanie. Takes one skein. Knit in the round.

Get your gauge, then cast on the number of stitches based on your head circumference (make the number divisible by 8, more on that later) and how you want the hat to fit. If you want it tight fitting, subtract an inch. If you like it loose fitting, do not subtract.

Garter edge for 1 1/2 inches then stockinette stitch for the desired length (depends on your head size and how you like to wear your beanie: high on your forehead or low near your eyebrows. Measure a hat that you like the fit.)

Note: Garter stitch in the round is: knit a row, purl a row. Repeat these 2 rows for a garter "ridge" or 2 garter stitch rows. Be sure to mark the beginning or end of the round so you know where to change from knit to purl.

When it is time to begin the crown decrease, divide the total number of stitches by 8, (you will have 8 sections) then knit to the last 2 stitches in each section and knit 2 together. (k2 tog) for the entire round.

Knit the next round, no decreases.

Repeat these 2 rounds until you have 8 stitches remaining. Try the hat on to see if it fits. If so, cut the yarn, leaving about a 6" tail.

Thread a tapestry needle and thread the yarn through the open 8 loops. Pull tight to close hole. Weave in all ends, block as appropriate for your yarn, and enjoy! this website explains it really well.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Wild Rice

Click to enlarge, the detail is delicious looking!


1 lb wild rice, which is approximately 3 cups wild rice. 

2 bay leaves

8 sprigs fresh thyme, tied in a bundle

Cook wild rice as follows:  Rinse wild rice in a sieve/strainer under cold water.  Combine 1 ¾ c. chicken stock with ¼ c. cold water to make 2 cups liquid for each cup of wild rice.  So, for the pound of wild rice, 6 cups of the stock/water mixture is needed.  Add 2 bay leaves, a bundle of fresh thyme (8 sprigs), 1 tsp salt.

In a heavy pot, bring to boil, and then simmer for 25 to 35 minutes until rice is chewy, but tender; individual grains plumped but still intact (start checking at 25 minutes).  Drain any excess liquid. There will be excess liquid, possibly a few cups.  Not to worry! (This method of cooking the rice is courtesy of Cook's Illustrated Magazine which has been a favorite subscription for many years).

For vinaigrette

 Puree all ingredients except olive oil in food processor or blender.  With the food processor running, add olive oil in steady stream until olive oil is incorporated/emulsified.  Make vinaigrette at least one day ahead for flavors to meld.

1/2 cup fresh orange juice or I have used OJ concentrate undiluted
6 tablespoons chopped shallot
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1-2 T sugar

4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil


1 cup jasmine or basmati white rice.  Cook white rice as follows:  Rinse rice according to package directions.  Sauté rice for 2-3 minutes in melted butter and salt in sauce pan you are going to cook it in on low to medium heat.  You are coating the grains of rice with the butter as (similar to risotto) and lightly toasting the rice.  Add water and cook until rice is done, 10 minutes +/-. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.


2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups water, boiling!

½ t salt

3 cups hickory nuts (!) or chopped pecans, toasted
1 1/4 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (you can use more)
1 cup dried apricots, thinly sliced
1 cup dried cranberries or sour cherries (I chop them)

Assemble salad:

Stir together the rices, vinaigrette, nuts, parsley, dried fruit, and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve at room temperature.

Cooks' note:

• Salad keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days.

• If making ahead of time, you can combine the rice and vinaigrette.  Add the dried fruit, parsley and nuts up to an hour before serving for best flavor.

Serves 12 (I think it serves more than 12)

Gourmet Entertains, original recipe, see Epicurious: additions and revisions by CatKnitz
February 2000



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Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Little Horsing Around


Fine Cooking, simple ingredients.

From a John Ash recipe in a 2000 issue of Fine Cooking Magazine.  (In my house a lot of cooking magazines have come and gone, this one remains.)

Sweet Potatoes with heavy cream and grated horseradish, plus salt and pepper.  Sounds weird, but the taste is heavenly.  The horseradish becomes sort of "nutty" in flavor but remains reminiscent of its origins, the heavy cream becomes somewhat cheese-y/sweet tasting and the sweet potatoes/yams bring it all together.  YUM.

Use horseradish like this:  Zakuson Gourmet Horseradish and a flat baking dish like this: CorningWare SimplyLite 2-Quart Oblong Baking Dish.  My dish is vintage Corningware and any flat baking dish will do, but if you need something, Corningware is a workhorse which will not break the bank.


Other great cookbooks by this author which I refer to often:

From the Earth to the Table: John Ash's Wine Country Cuisine

The Wine Lover's Cookbook: Great Recipes for the Perfect Glass of Wine





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Stray Socks

Let someone else knit the sock.


Stray Sock Sewing: Making One of a Kind Creatures from Socks


Then make really cute sock toys.  These are only a few.  Simple, effective, creative results.


Velvet Rabbit: The White Album

My  version.  A gift for a friend who made my shoulder better.


The view from the back.




This adorable bunny


(photo from the book)


from Simple Knits for Little Cherubs called the "Velvet Rabbit" by Erika Knight.  The bunny pattern was pretty straightforward. All garter stitch.  I knit both front and back pieces at the same time to ensure that they were the same size. Same strategy as for sweater sleeves.  Also, when you are done, you are done, except for the arms, which are very quick.  The ear shaping works quite well.


The instructions for sewing up the bunny don't seem (no pun intended) as if they will work, but follow them and they do!  I'm making another one in Cascade Ecological Wool (a gift for the son of one of my knitting friends)..  This one was made using Cascade 220 Superwash since the recipients were busy parents.   


Note:  The pattern calls for Rowan Fine Chenille, which appears to be somewhere between fingering and DK weight yarn, using needles that are several sizes smaller than normally used for the yarn, (pattern calls for a US 1 needle, yarn recommends US 2-5 needles).  So, where I am going with this is:  Whatever yarn you choose to make this adorable bunny out of, go down several needle sizes from the recommended needle for the yarn.  What this produces is a fabric that is denser and more "velvet-y" (especially if you are using a chenille yarn or cotton yarn), it keeps the stuffing from showing through and helps keep the garter stitch from stretching too much.

Enough said.


And of course, this bib (free pattern)

before photos on the "board". Blocking makes a big difference when you are sewing together pieces that are supposed to be the same size.  I bought  this one

 and it makes all the difference.  It folds in half for easy storage and well, you can read about on Webs.  Enjoy.





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Friday, December 05, 2008

Bib Caterpillar

Put them together and you get:


A caterpillar of bibs.

Made for my friends David and Lisa's new twin boys from various yarns and patterns using my Button Knot Bib Pattern as a template.  Some Fibonacci striping (bottom row on the left) going on and a Barbara Walker  "String of Purls"  pattern (middle row on the left) from A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns.  You will recognize the first two patterns from Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitters' Guide: Stories, Patterns, Advice, Opinions, Questions, Answers, Jokes, and Pictures.