She Knits: Charmer Socks

These socks have a mildly entertaining story. I bought this yarn as a little bonus for myself when I bought yarn for the gift knits I made earlier this year. I loved the colors in the skein — it is a creamy pale green base with speckles of gray, green, and yellow. When I finished all those gifts, I went looking for a pattern to use this yarn.

That turned out to be a more difficult search than I had anticipated. I found the Froot Loop (Ravelry link) sock pattern first, cast it on, finished the rib and most of the leg… and decided it just looked strange in this speckled yarn. It is a great pattern that I hope to knit in the future, but it really needs a solid or tonal yarn to not look overly busy. Plus, it is a more complicated stitch pattern, and it didn’t seem worth the effort to do if it wasn’t going to show much in the final sock.

I ripped that out and cast on the My Cup of Tea (Ravelry link) sock pattern next. Once again, I knit the ribbing and a few repeats on the leg before deciding… it was too busy and strange-looking. It is also a great pattern that I would love to knit someday — in a solid or tonal yarn.

I ripped that out and went back to a pattern I have knit in a speckled yarn before — in my Confetti Cake Socks. And that’s how these came to be the “Charmer Socks”… because the third time’s a charm!

Progression
Started – February 14
Completed – March 5
Duration – 19 days = 2.7 weeks

Pattern Info
Basket Weave Rib Socks by Sarah Ronchetti
Ravelry

I knit the size Small. The only modification I made to the pattern was to knit a plain stockinette round after the cast-on, before beginning the ribbing. This is how the ribbing was done on a different project I recently completed, and I liked the look of it. I can’t pinpoint what it is, specifically, that makes it better, but I’ll probably keep doing this on all my ribbing (if I remember). 😉

For record’s sake, I knit 16 rounds of ribbing, 5 pattern repeats on the leg, and 12 repeats after the gusset decreases. Perfect.

When I finished the second sock (done in the same yarn on the same needles…), I discovered that they are slightly different in size. The gauge of the first sock is 7.5 stitches and 10 rounds per inch. The second has a gauge of 8 stitches and 12 rounds per inch. I knit the second one more tightly. I am pretty sure I knit the first one mostly without kids around, and the second mostly with them around… so I guess that is the difference in my tension. 😀 I prefer the fit of the second, but have no intention to re-knit the first to make them match better.

I would love to achieve an even tighter gauge for my socks — closer to 9 stitches per inch. But to get 8 spi, I am using US size 0 (2.0 mm) needles, which are the smallest I own. I suppose I could buy US size 00 or 000, but… I have a mental block about using such thin needles!

Yarn Info
Knit Picks Hawthorne Fingering
80% wool, 20% nylon
Colorway – 27220 City Lights Speckle
0.69 skeins = 246.3 yds used

I am pleased with this yarn. It looks very similar to the speckled yarn I used (and loved) in my Confetti Socks, even in the tight twist which gives a ridged look to the stitches. It is a similar softness and heft and feel while knitting. But it is significantly less expensive! It is almost half the price, in fact. That makes me very, very happy. 😀

Photos

She Cooks: Creamy Tomato Pasta

This is a simple, quick lunch I make often for my toddlers. I change the vegetables according to what I have available, and don’t always have cream cheese, but they gladly eat it any which way!

Creamy Tomato Pasta
Serves: 12 (1/2-cup) portions

Ingredients:

1 lb. pasta (garden rotini & whole wheat bowties are favorites, here!)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 sm yellow onion, diced small
2 carrots, diced small
2 stalks celery, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
4 oz. cream cheese, softened, cubed

Process:

Put salted water on to boil, for pasta. In a separate pot, saute the onion, carrots, and celery in oil/butter for several minutes until very tender. Add garlic and cook briefly (less than a minute). Stir in Italian seasoning, bay leaves, Worcestershire, and ketchup. Add tomato sauce, bring to simmer, and cook on low about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente, drain, return to pot. Stir cream cheese into sauce until melted, then pour over pasta and stir together.

Modifications:

There are several ways to adjust this recipe.

  • add more vegetables to the onion/carrot/celery mix; try eggplant, zucchini, squash, or sweet potato (diced small enough to cook quickly)
  • add peas or chopped baby spinach to the sauce after simmering, before adding the cream cheese
  • add broccoli florets or fresh green beans to the boiling water for the last 2-3 minutes of pasta cooking time
  • substitute 1/4 cup heavy cream or 1/4 cup plain yogurt for the cream cheese
  • add fresh herbs instead of the Italian seasoning
  • like spicy food? replace the ketchup with hot sauce!

The sauce keeps well in the freezer. I only cook 4-6 oz of pasta at a time, and I store the extra sauce in the refrigerator or freezer for another day. That way, the pasta doesn’t swell with sauce and turn mushy!

img_8297

sauce on garden rotini pasta

img_8296

just the sauce

She Knits: Julius’ Booties

My sister mentioned that my nephew could probably use some booties. Can’t leave a knitter’s nephew hangin’ like that! I knit this for his birthday, which is coming up soon.

Progression Info
Started – February 1
Completed – February 5
Duration – 4 days = 0.6 weeks

Pattern Info
B25-25 First Impression Booties by DROPS design

DROPS design again… 🙂 Simple, sweet booties. I found them to have an interesting construction — they are knit flat and seamed. The only modification I made was to use Kitchener stitch to seam the soles, instead of binding off and using mattress stitch. I did have to use mattress stitch to seam the backs of the cuffs.

My gauge was likely off because I think they came out a bit large. But that just means they will fit longer. Thankfully, baby feet grow instead of shrink! If I knit this again, I would be more careful about gauge.

Yarn Info
Knit Picks Brava Sport
100% acrylic
Colorway – 25670 Umber Heather

0.37 skeins = 101.2 yds used 

I am not a fan of this yarn. It was scratchy and rough out of the skein. It softened slightly with the first wash — I hope it continues to soften with repeated washing. The quality appears on par with any sport weight (typically labeled “baby” on big brand names) available at big-box stores. In fact, I think the brand Bernat Baby Sport is actually softer than this yarn. I will use that next time I want sport weight acrylic!

Photo

img_7707_medium2

She Knits: Cotton Candy Mitts

Someone requested mitts like the ones I made my niece for Christmas.

Progression Info
Started – January 12
Completed – January 17
Duration – 5 days = 0.7 weeks

Pattern Info
Irish Hiking Mitts by Karin Michele
Ravelry

As with the last mitts, I crossed the cables the other direction on the second mitt. I knit these two-at-a-time (TAAT) on one circular needle. It was fiddly, but I wanted the practice.

Yarn Info
Knit Picks Mighty Stitch
80% acrylic, 20% wool
Colorway – 26823 Cotton Candy
0.41 skeins = 85.3 yds used

This yarn is OK. It doesn’t seem to be any better quality than the wool/acrylic blends found in big-box craft stores. And it has an odd sheen to it, which reminds me of the acrylic yarn Simply Soft by Caron. It is not *bad*, but not something I like very much.

Photos


She Knits: Fancy Legwarmies

I knit a pair of legwarmers for my nephew for Christmas. I had planned to knit two pair, but wanted to be sure they would fit. So this is the second pair I “owed” him. 🙂 I made these fancy, with a simple cable design.

Progression Info
Started – January 3
Completed – January 8
Duration – 5 days = 0.7 weeks

Pattern Info
Legwarmies by Alana Dakos
Ravelry

I made them a smaller diameter by casting on 40 stitches, then I knit 10 rounds in 1×1 ribbing.

The cable design is made of two rounds, plain and cabled.

Plain round: *K2, P1, K4, P1, K2* repeat round 4 times
Cable round: *K2, P1, C2F, P1, K2* repeat around 4 times

After the ribbing, I knit 2 plain rounds, then a cable round. Then 9 plain rounds, then 1 cable round; repeat.

Yarn Info
Scheepjes Stone Washed
Colorway – 805 Blue Apatite
1 skein = 142.2 yds used

Photos

img_7705_medium2