Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Leftover hamburger patties

After our annual Fourth of July Block Party, we had stacks of leftover frozen hamburger patties. I thought it would be nice to jazz them up with homemade buns. The goal was a chewy crumb with a slightly crisp exterior. Turning to my bread bible, the original Artisan Bread in Five Minutes, I decided on the buttermilk recipe. Initially, we thought it was too wet/chewy for sandwich bread and too bland for cinnamon bread, but this might work for buns.

We started with a simple knot (using 1.5 x 8" lengths).

It baked at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes. Yes, I like using my range grates as cooling racks. Less dishwashing = happy mom.

Then it was sliced and lightly broiled.

And the frozen Costco patties were garnished with homemade bread pickles, grilled onions, tomato slices, and lettuce. Yummy :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Granny smith green - wrist warmers

My youngest likes green, vibrant green. During our last visit to Seattle (and finally realizing one can drool over Little Knits in person rather than just placing online orders), we purchased a skein of Cascade 220 Superwash. It is soft and spongy, but with a bit of an acrylic feel and susceptible to splitting.

Using an alterating 4-stitch cable pattern that crosses at different intervals (it resembles hearts) to make simple wrist warmers. Hopefully we can eke out a scarf as well. Unlike my daughter, I'm not a fan of vibrant green so crossing my fingers for no leftovers.

Friday, August 05, 2011

A doggy (diaper) bag

During our walks, we had been using an old fabric lunch bag to tote Bennett's necessities (extra leash, plastic bags, treats, water cup and water, tennis balls, Chuckit!). But it was unwieldy (especially with a non-compliant dog) and had pastel strips.

With a soft burlap (is that possible?) thrifted fabric, a slouchy messenger bag was created. It is basically a flat bottom rectangle with side straps. The placement of the straps allow the top to flop over for a simple closure.

There are french seams throughout for a neat finish.

My youngest gave immediate approval, stating it looks "urban". Yup, no one wants to look like a preschooler when dog walking. Hopefully this will translate to an immediate positive response to the constant request of "Bennett needs to go potty" (rather than "I did it last time").

My favorite feature is the extra wide D-ring loop where the Chuckit! can insert through. Yeah, no more flopping out of the bag!

I love the printed selvage so it was converted into the adjustable shoulder strap so the bag can accommodate the entire family :)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Stash buster: Adjustable pen holder for journals

I am old school. No blackberry. No palm pilot. I'm still using paper planners and journals. Usually there is a pen crammed inside which eventually falls into the bottom of my purse.

I finally figured out a stash buster that solves that problem and makes use of those narrow strips that are too hard to throw away. It is a little pocket which attaches to a journal with an adjustable elastic cord.

Personally, I think stash busters should NOT be time busters, so this is a simple and quick project :)

Materials (for a 1" x 6" pen holder for books 6-10" in height):
Note: quilting cottons should be used for ease of turning

main fabric: 2-1/4" by 6-1/2"
lining: 2-1/4" by 7" (2 pieces)
elastic cord: 12"
shank button: 1

Hem one side of the main fabric by pressing 1/8-1/4" twice.

Knot one end of the elastic cord 1/2" from the end (helps cord to not slip out) and place on the right side of the lining #1.

Sandwich main fabric (right side out) between lining #1 and lining#2 (right sides of lining facing together) and pin in place. Make sure elastic cord is straight and parallel to the long side. Starting from the bottom right edge (the shorter end) sew around with a 1/4" seam (avoid the elastic cord!) leaving an opening at the bottom end.

Snip the corners and turn inside out. Press out top corners until square.

Turn bottom edge under 3/8" and sew opening close and top stitch all around.

At the free end of the elastic cord, make a slip knot (pull the cord end through the loop so it will be adjustable).

Sew button through the main fabric only (you can add the button before sewing the opening close).

All done!

This can be easily resized for highlighters, reading glasses, and etc.

Friday, July 29, 2011

I am not a dog person

I grew up with cats. I prefer cats. I enjoy the purring, the independence, the ease of potty training, the sleekness, and their association with knitters (there are so many cat avatars on Ravelry).

After going through several aquatic pets, our family was ready for mammals. Since doggies were undesired (by me) and my youngest has feline allergies, we went with hamsters. But after two unexpected hamster deaths, my immediate family began campaigning in ernest for a canine ("they live longer"). After much pleading, prayer, and hard core negotiations, we agreed with the following requirements:

the dog has to be:
- at least 12 months old
- potty trained
- under 20 pounds
- a non-sheddier (i.e. hypo allergenic hair)
- cared for by everyone (this obviously will last for two weeks and then mom picks up the slack)

After a visit to Rocket Dog Rescue adoption event, we ended up with Bennett (named after Jane Austen's heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, in Pride and Prejudice), which won over Frodo (my oldest is a Lord of the Rings junkie) and Buster (in honor of the 2011 Rookie of the Year, Buster Posey -- hope you are doing well in rehab).

Here are the deets on Bennett; he is:
- 6 months old
- NOT potty trained (we are now very handy with vinegar and baking soda)
- 24 pounds and counting
- a unrepentant shedder (what to do with my mostly black wardrobe?)

But Bennett IS sweet, lovable, and he's staying and I'm becoming a dog person.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Top down sweater for a baby girl

My favorite style of knitting is top down (starting from the collar and knitting downward). After figuring out your gauge (stitches per inch) and the size of the neck opening, the cast on stitches are calculated. I chose a simple lace pattern (deep fern lace edging) that looked well upside down (or you can rechart it wrong side up -- but I was too lazy for that). Actually, the pattern looks better when worked upside down :)

In generally, I love yoked or raglan cardigans for children and babies -- easy to put on (no pulling over a huge noggin) and to fit (the vague armholes can accommodate a larger range of sizes).

This cardigan is sized for a 12-18 month baby. This one has raglan sleeves, a v-neck, and
seed stitch edgings and straight sleeves.

Pattern: my own
Yarn: worsted cotton/acrylic blend in periwinkle (a lovely shade)
Needle: #7
Guage: 4.5 stitches/inch

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Knits for upcoming babies

I'm planning a stroller blanket using Knitpicks Comfy, an extremely soft cotton/acrylic (75/25) blend. But which yarn weight? From left to right: Whisker in sportweight and Creme Brulee in worsted. After a machine wash and dry, the swatches did not pill or shrink. It was wonderful to knit with -- much easier on the hands than cotton ease or cotton fleece. This will probably become my go-to yarn for babies.

The winner is the sportweight since it has a lighter and more fluid drape. This swatch will become a coordinating washcloth.

Next is a little shrug (inspired by Stefanie Japel's Whirlygig) with a single button. I wanted something roomy and easy to wear. The ruffled bottom was replaced by a straight hem -- it was WAY too big with the wrong proportions. The increasing rate worked with the sleeves, but not on the bottom.

Pattern: adapted from Stefanie Japel's Whirlygig
Yarn: TLC cotton plus (cotton/acrylic blend)
Needle: #6