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I have some “things” in the works.

Fiber Fervor will remain up for the time being.  I still need to transfer some posts (patterns, tutorials, etc…)

I would love for you to visit me over here:  beknitpicky.blogspot.com

It’s probably not surprising at all that I am on Ravelry.com at least once daily.  I can easily get sucked into the site searching for new patterns, designers and/or yarns.  I just love seeing what others are creating!  A couple of days ago I stumbled upon Veera from 100% Rain (Ravelry Link).  Her patterns are gorgeous and I just love how most of them are made all in one piece.  Just my style….

My favorite just might be her latest pattern, Hooray Cardigan.  I think what draws me most to this pattern is the neckline and 3/4 length sleeves.  Also it’s made with a  lighter weight yarn (DK), so it’s not as heavy as it appears.  If I didn’t have a gazillion other projects going on right now, I would totally cast on for this immediately.  However, I am currently practicing self control (must finish projects of needles first!!) and will refrain for the time being.  Although, this cardi would look super cute with a baby bump peeking out…

Alright, so you have your ingredients, let’s fire up the stove.  You’ll need a stock pot or my favorite, a cast iron dutch oven.  On medium-high heat and with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, simmer the diced onions until they start to sweat.  Next, toss in the jalapeño, red bell peppers and garlic.  Continue cooking for a couple more minutes being careful not to burn.   Poor in the chicken stock and add the tomatoes.  Season to taste with the cumin (approximately 3 teaspoons), paprika (approx. 1 teaspoon) and chili powder (0.5 teaspoons).  Throw in some salt too – about 3 teaspoons or to taste.  Add the seeded, dried peppers.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer.

At this point, you will put the whole chicken breasts in the soup.  Continue simmering until the chicken is cooked all the way through.  Set the chicken breasts aside and let cool.  The soup should have been simmering for approximately 45 minutes by this point.  Toss in the bag of tortilla chips.  Let simmer until the chips have dissolved.  (Another 15 minutes or so.)

Once the chips have dissolved, add the cilantro.  Here comes the messy, but necessary, part.  Break out your blender.  Using a ladle, fill up the blender about half way (ONLY half way – since the soup is super hot it can explode in your blender and you may burn yourself, so be super careful here!) with your soup.  Pulse for about 30 seconds or until the soup is blended.  Pour blended soup into a large bowl.  Repeat this process until there isn’t any more soup left in your pot.

Pour the soup back into the pot and set on low to keep hot.  Now is the time to prepare your garnishes.  Slice the avo, shred the cheese and shred the chicken.  You are now ready to enjoy your super yummy chicken tortilla soup!  Enjoy and let me know what you think!

 

The Wood Hollow mittens project started out so promising.  Last night I was working my way through the first repeat of the cable pattern only to realize that this pattern and my yarn choice do not work well together.  Since the yarn is tweed (Berroco Blackstone Tweed – LOVELY btw), you couldn’t really see the cables.  Bum-mer.  So I ripped the entire mitten.

So now what do I do?  This project that was supposed to cure my indifference to all things knitted, has now left me project-less.  I have been searching Ravelry for a new pattern and I just cannot seem to find one that peaks my interest.  There are so many baby patterns that I LOVE but well, we don’t know what we are having thus making color selections difficult.

Here’s what I want:  I need a pattern that doesn’t require much thinking or counting.  One that I can brainlessly knit while watching TV.  A project that I can pick up and just knit without having to figure out where I am in the pattern.  Any suggestions?   The yarn is a plum tweed, worsted weight and I have 260 yards.  So, it must be a small project.  I can get more yarn though.

My birthday was a couple of weeks ago now.  As always, my husband totally surprised me with a very awesome gift – a spinning wheel!  I find it really interesting that my husband picked out this gift all by himself.  To be honest, I really never gave spinning much thought.  I mean, I always thought it looked like fun and that maybe one day I would give it a spin (get it?  haha). 

So with a new craft (because really it IS totally different from knitting/crocheting) comes new supplies.  A whole new world of fiber possibilities has just opened up to me.  Do I get roving, combed top, merino, BFL, Corriedale, the list can go on and on and on.  Not to mention, do I hand dye my own or buy already dyed?  

A friend here in Austin runs Spinning Colors.  She hand dyes fiber and yarn.  Seriously, the colors that she comes up with are amazing.  Bold, rich and simply beautiful!!  To start off with, I picked up three different colorways, all between 4-5 ounces. 

Apricot

Dreamer

Plum

(Photos taken by Stephanie Gage of Spinning Colors)

I had a TON of trouble starting off by myself.  Let’s just say, tears were shed.  I blame that on the pregnancy hormones!  If you are new to spinning, I highly suggest taking a lesson.  Stephanie (from Spinning Colors) invited me the ‘South Austin Spinners’ group that meets at The Knitting Nest twice a month.  Before I knew it, I was spinning!!  Here is my first skein:

'Apricot' fiber from Spinning Colors

I am officially hooked.  Spinning is SO fun! 

A little over 4 years ago I opened a “Learn To Knit” book and cast on my first stitches.  At that time, I had no idea that this new craft would become a unstopable obsession of all things fiber related.   When we arrived in Austin about 3 years ago, I discovered that there was a knitting store just minutes from my house.  My husband swears that I planned this, I call it fate.  The Knitting Nest has been my yarn home ever since and starting in August you can find me teaching classes there too!  Yipee!! 

There are so many exciting things happening at The Knitting Nest right now.  Stacy, the owner, has just hired 7 new teachers (one being me!). From pattern design to amigurumi, we bring a wide array of techniques and experience to the table.   This past Sunday was our first staff meeting and there were so many wonderful ideas being tossed around.  I left that meeting feeling so motivated to create. 

My first class is all about Elijah!  Not only is he adorable, but he is incredibly soft.  As I have mentioned before, Ysolda Teague’s patterns are wonderfully, well written.  Elijah is knit all in one piece, so there is no seaming and no crazy ends to weave in.  Now, that is MY kind of pattern.  The pattern is worked starting with head, using a DPN circular cast on.  While this technique can be a bit tricky, I have discovered a way to ease the complexity of this.   Something I hope to teach in my class!  The yarn is Lorna’s Laces, Shepherd Worsted in the Ysolda colorway.  I seriously want to snuggle with this yarn all day.  The subtle color changes (think red, pink and even a little orange) are amazing.  Lorna’s Laces truly outdid themselves with this colorway.  The Knitting Nest now carries Lorna’s Laces in worsted and sport weight!!  Yay!!

Elijah can be the perfect gift for a baby, child or adult.  Ysolda designed the elephant so that he is “round and cuddly but still easy for little hands to grasp.”  The pattern requires minimal yarn, so this can also be considered a stash buster project. 

Elijah the Elephant, the class, is being held on Saturday, August 28th from 2-4pm at The Knitting Nest.  I hope to see you all there!! 

All I wanted to do this weekend was complete at least one project.  With Hunter’s space quilt nearing closer and closer to its end, I thought for sure it would be on his bed by Sunday.  I had been making good time on the quilt and by Saturday evening, I sat down at my sewing machine, quilt sandwich in hand and ready to quilt that bad boy.  I really thought the quilting process was going to be the easiest part of this project.

‘Easy’ is far from accurate when describing what I experienced next.  Not only was the big ass quilt (only a twin size!) heavy, it was also completely awkward to hold and feed through the machine.  To top it all off, after ONE horizontal line, my machine got so jammed up that it simply stopped working.  The needle was jammed (stuck) all the way down and would NOT come up.  Eventually I had to unscrew everything and pull the needle out through where the bobbin is located.  I then cursed a bunch, which is always how my Mom gets her machine to work.  When that didn’t work, I phoned my Mom.  She too was at a loss and advised that I walk away from the machine.  It’s a good thing I took her advice, otherwise, there probably would have been a broken window and a sewing machine on my front lawn.  Tears of frustration were literally welling up in my eyes. 

The next morning I ventured back into my craft room and sat down at my machine.  I gave it some love, turned it on and to my surprise, it actually worked.  Turns out, my machine was only “nearly dead”.  Did a little oiling and a little testing and voila, my machine is now running great.   A great lesson was learned from all of this…  Knitting does not require relying on a machine.

Coming soon….  Ring Bearer Pillow! 

I have been sewing like a mad woman lately and my son seems to be very interested in what I am creating.  Yesterday he asked me if I would make his blanket.  The fabric has been stashed for a couple of months now and it’s about time I put it all together.  I made a fun afternoon activity out of it by having him help me lay all of the squares out.  The rules were simple – no two of the same square can touch. 

While we were laying out the squares, Hunter reminded me every single time (literally) I placed a new square that “no two of the same can touch Mommy”.  He did a really great job.  In fact, he placed most of the squares. 

When we were all finished, he wanted to “test” out his new blanket: 

Now, I just have to piece it all together…

Outer Space Quilt specs:

Since this is my very first quilt, I am making it super simple.  Each square is 8 inches by 8 inches.  The quilt is 8 squares wide and 12 squares tall.  According to my calculations, this should fit Hunter’s twin bed perfectly.

That’s what Hunter and I discussed on our way to work/school this morning.  Actually, this has been a topic of conversation for WEEKS now.  Every morning Hunter waits until we get on the “highway” to start eating his breakfast. 

Conversation goes a little something like this:

Me:  <driving down the interstate> Hunter, please eat your breakfast.  We are almost to your school.

Hunter:  Mommy, we are not on the highway yet.  No breakfast until we are on the highway.

Me:  But we are ON the higway.  See how there are no lights?  That means we are on a higway.

Hunter:  No we aren’t.  <points to the feeder road>  See, there are lights.

Me:  No, Hunter, that is a road, not the highway.

Hunter:  No it’s not.

Me:  Yes it is.

Hunter:  No it’s not.

This back and forth can literally go on and on.  Trust me on this.

You would think that I would know what a highway is.  I mean afterall, I have been driving for a little over 14 years now.  However, in the eyes (or mind rather) of Hunter, I have no idea what I am talking about.  Unlike the other days, today he let me in on his little secret.  According to Hunter, what distinguishes a road from a highway is simply, the color of the road.  Roads are black and highways are white.   Ohhhhhhh, I get it now. 

This lesson was brought to you by the colors, black and white and the letter of the week, ‘R’.  Please start brainstorming about what super-cool, show and share item, that starts with the letter ‘R’, that Hunter can bring on Friday.  <Discuss>

PS:  I got a little knitting done over the weekend…

PPS:  Took my last test of the semester over the weekend.  You are officially reading the blog of an Honor Roll (do they still call it that?) student.  Yup, I got all As.  WORD.  I asked The Husband if he wanted me to get him a bumper sticker that reads  “My Wife is on the Honor Roll”.  He said he didn’t want be “that guy” who brags about how super smart (and cool) his wife is. 

Summer is rapidly approaching here in Austin and I find myself making craft goals.  It is as if summer has the same meaning it did when I was a kid/college student.  That meaning being –  an abundance of free time.  It’s not like I will have any more free time than I currently do (which is hardly any at all!).  I’ll still be doing what I always do.   Not to mention taking a course or two and preparing for the GRE.   So, let’s just pretend for  a moment that I will have that thing I used to know all about – FREE TIME. 

2010 Summer Craft Goals:

  • Finish Autumn Rose Pullover
  • Finish all unfinished projects that I actually intend on finishing ( I think there are 3 (?) that fall into this category)
  • Complete Hunter’s quilt for his “Big Boy” room
  • Start and Finish “The Dude” for my husband’s best friend
  • Ring Bearer Pillow for my sister’s wedding

Oh and I also started a knitting project over the weekend.  The new summer issue of Interweave Knits arrived over the weekend and I immediately cast on the Ambrosia Cardigan using some Berroco Love It I have had in my stash for years now.  The Husband commented that it would take me “6 months” to finish.  Well, I am about 20 rows shy of the half way point.  So HAH – take that Husband.  I’ll show him how long it takes me!

I am really excited to do summer activities with Hunter.  Each time we pass (like every single day) the neighborhood pool he asks me  if it is “hot enough to go to the beach” yet. 

What about you?  Do you have any summer goals?