She Knits: Kori’s Hexa-ghan

I blogged about this WIP wa-a-a-ay back at the end of October. Though I hoped this would be a Christmas gift, I did not stress about that too much because this niece’s birthday is in February (and she’s turning a whole decade old!). It’s been sent to her as a birthday gift, instead. :)

Progression
Started – October 2, 2014
Completed – January 26

This blanket took much, much longer than I ever anticipated. Though I knew I was finishing hexagons (the skeins of yarn dwindled, there were new stitches always on my needles), the blanket didn’t seem to grow in size very quickly.

Pattern Info
Hexa-ghan by verybusymonkey
Ravelry

This is a good pattern, with clear instructions that yield a blanket as shown in the photographs. The technique involves no seaming — you knit each new hexagon onto the previous ones. This appealed to me in the beginning, but I quickly realized I would have preferred a blanket with seamed motifs. As the blanket grows, it becomes very cumbersome to flip it back and forth as you knit the newest hexagon in the round (outside to center). As you near the center, the flipping happens more often.

Instead of working in strips as per the design instructions, I worked in a spiral, of sorts. I did it this way because I was unsure how big I wanted it to be when I first started.

My hexa-ghan finished at about 4.5 feet, measured at the longest diagonal. It consists of 44 hexagons total (15 each white and dark blue, 14 teal). On the longest row, there are 8 hexagons.

This blanket looks very fun in bright, high-contrast colors.

Yarn Info
Caron Simply Soft
100% acrylic
white: 1.66 skeins = 523 yards used
pagoda: 1.57 skeins = 494.6 yards used
blue mint: 1.46 skeins = 459.9 yards used

This is my go-to washable, soft acrylic yarn for blankets. I know from experience it will gain a fuzzy halo in the first wash and lose some of its shine, but the softness can’t be beat.

Photos

She Knits: Baker Blanket

This is a blanket I knit for my sister’s baby, fondly known as Baby Baker while in utero. :)

Progression
Started – November 25
Completed – January 20

I started this in time to take to Thanksgiving celebrations. I put it aside occasionally to work on other projects.

Knit baby blankets always take longer than crocheted versions. But when I saw this pattern, I just had to make it. I think it has a very traditional look, but the gray gives it a more modern feel, which is something my sister will appreciate.

Pattern Info
Cabled Cradle Spread by Anna & Heidi Pickles
Ravelry

Try saying the name of this pattern five times fast! It is a lovely pattern, though I found a couple of mistakes in it. I noted my revisions on my Ravelry project page (guest link).

I knit my blanket as long as I could, to use up the yarn I bought. The finished dimensions are about 27″ by 36″. It is very long and narrow, for a baby blanket, because it is a cable spread. The narrow width is so the blanket fits into the narrow cradle better. I think this would also make a nice stroller or car seat blanket because the extra length could be tucked up under the baby’s feet.

The cables make the blanket slinky and stretchy and squishy and wonderful. Also, they give the pattern just enough detail to make the knitting interesting.

I considered adding a colored crochet border to this, but refrained. If I knit this again, though, I might go for it. I think a colored crab stitch or slip stitch around the edge would look very nice.

Yarn Info
Knit Picks Comfy Worsted
75% cotton, 25% acrylic
Whisker
8 skeins = 872 yards used

This is the same line of yarn I used for Sprout’s Romper. Therefore, I knew how it would wash. It will get fuzzy, pill slightly, and lose a touch of its shine, but none of that is horrible in a baby blanket. The cotton/acrylic blend is breathable and soft and squishy.

I was able to use all of the 8 skeins I bought for this project. I had to fudge the last repeat of the pattern slightly, and I was only able to work 9 rows of the last garter stitch border instead of the 10 needed to match the beginning border. I finished with a measly 27 inches of yarn, so I’m very pleased with myself. :)

Photos
These photos are all taken before washing.

She Cooks: Meatballs in Marina Sauce

My favorite Italian-style meal is spaghetti with meatballs. I had a craving for it and this recipe came to be. I have made meatballs in marinara sauce in the past, but it has never turned out so well. I was so satisfied with this meal that I decided to share the recipe here.

meatballs in sauce over spaghetti

meatballs in sauce over spaghetti


Meatballs in Marinara Sauce

Servings: 6

Sauce:
1 Tbsp olive oil
small yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning blend
1 large (29-oz.) can tomato sauce
1 medium (15-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp ketchup
1-2 tsp salt

  1. In large pot, cook onion until soft. Add garlic and cook, while stirring, about 1 minute. Add Italian seasoning heat just until warmed and aromatic.
  2. Add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, ketchup, and salt. Stir well to combine. Bring to gentle boil, reduce heat, and simmer at least 30 minutes (longer is better).

Meatballs:
1.5 lbs lean ground beef
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 cup roasted garlic (or Italian) flavored breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp olive oil

  1. While sauce is simmering, combine all ingredients (except oil) in large bowl with a hand or stand mixer (for a finer texture).
  2. Form into balls, roughly 1″ in diameter. (Yields about 2 dozen meatballs this size.)
  3. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed pan. Sear meatballs on 2 or 3 sides in batches. Do not crowd the pan. They need not be fully cooked — they will finish cooking in the sauce. When each batch is finished, add meatballs directly into simmering sauce.
  4. Simmer meatballs in sauce 15-25 minutes (start cooking the pasta when the last batch of meatballs is started searing).
  5. Serve over bed of spaghetti noodles, 4 meatballs per plate.

Ideas for Modification

If you don’t have seasoned breadcrumbs, you can use plain breadcrumbs. Add Italian seasoning blend (about 1 Tbsp) and garlic powder (1-2 tsp) to the meatball mixture.

If your meatball mixture seems dry or will not form into balls easily, add a very small splash of milk.

These meatballs are great reheated. For a change of pace, while reheating the sauce, break the meatballs up into chunks. Cook elbow pasta 2 minutes shy of package directions and finish in the sauce.

yum!

yum!