Knitting, spinning, pets, food and other thoughts


I dare you …

not to smile, chuckle or at least grin at this:

I ordered a few dog things from Clean Run and the box was waiting when we came back from town the other day. Now if only they’d enclosed a picture of Benny — that’s a pretty big nose print 😉



New scarf!

A dear friend brought me a special skein (335 yds) of yarn a while ago. It’s soft greens and blues, 70% superwash merino/30% seacell, from Wild Wheel in Coupville WA and it’s been aging in my stash while I waited for just the right project to show off its loveliness.

Enter a new coat with a shawl collar, fine in mild weather, but in the winter, I really need something to fill in that space, so the yarn has become a Moebius scarf that will wrap 2 or 3 times around.

Details: Pattern stitch is Bird’s Eye (Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting Patterns, pg 197), a multiple of 4 sts and 4 rows. Scarf is worked on 36 sts, 32 sts in pattern + 2 garter st border sts on each side (5mm/size 8 needle). Approx 5½ x 80 inches; after a half twist, the end is grafted to the beginning to make it harder to lose the scarf.

If I did it again, I think I’d make it a little wider (4 or 8 sts) and not quite as long. The size was determined by the amount of yarn – I just knitted until I ran out.


Soup of the evening,

beautiful and hearty soup … I love to make soup, and flip-flop between trying new recipes and sticking with tried-and-true favorites. This has become my go-to soup, and I try to keep a couple of meals-worth in the freezer. You can have a pot ready to go in under an hour, though the flavor certainly improves with a little age.

Sausage Soup

(rather loosely based on Sicilian Soup with Sausage, from Good & Garlicky, Thick & Hearty, Soul-Satisfying, More-Than-Minestrone Italian Soup Cookbook by Joe Famularo, 1998)

Notes: The original recipe called for Italian pork sausage with casings removed. Of course I promptly changed that to bulk Italian sausage (Jimmy Dean’s works well), then changed that to chicken breakfast sausage to cut down on the cholesterol and added a goodly amount (approx 1 tbsp or to taste) of Penzey’s Italian Sausage Seasoning plus some fennel seed to get the Italian flavoring back into it, more garlic, a little bit of heat and a good shot of Mrs Dash Tomato Basil Garlic (approx 1 tbsp +/-). I also add either kale (approx 1/2 bunch, stems removed, and chopped) or cabbage (to taste, cut into edible-sized pieces), depending on what’s on hand – kale needs to cook longer than the cabbage.

Heat soup kettle and sauté in a little olive oil until softened:

1/8-1/4 tsp fennel seed (optional; crush slightly)

1 large onion in 1/2-inch dice

Add Italian Sausage seasoning if using, 1# sausage and continue to cook until sausage is lightly browned, breaking up sausage with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Remove excess fat.

While sausage is cooking, peel and slice 3 (or more) carrots and 2 or 3 stalks of celery (with leaves), add to pan and continue to sauté until vegetables start to get a little color.

Add 1-28 oz can of tomatoes with juice (cut up if using whole), 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley (optional), basil and other seasonings to taste, 5 cups of chicken broth (I use low sodium and do my own salting) and bring to a boil; add kale. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10 min then taste. If the tomatoes seem too tart, add sugar to taste (1/2 tsp at a time, then taste again, etc). Add 1 can of kidney or other beans (optional), and cabbage and continue to simmer until vegetables are tender.

Add 1/2-2/3 cup orzo or other small pasta and salt and pepper to taste and simmer, stirring to keep the pasta from sticking, until the pasta is cooked al dente.

Serve with grated pecorino or Parmesan cheese and hot crusty bread.


Yum …

I’ve already put part of my King Arthur Flour goodies to use, baking a Harvest Grains Loaf, which used several of the items I ordered. It’s not shown, but I also found a replacement (and a spare) for my Polder Timer, which didn’t take kindly to being dropped, and has been very much missed.

I really like the dough-rising bucket, and their service was excellent. I guess Irish Brown Bread is next on my list to try.


This ‘n that …

So here I was making the bed the other day, and suddenly there was an obstacle. Maggie stayed there for quite a long time 😉

We got about 2 inches of snow – enough to be pretty, but not too big a problem, especially when you don’t absolutely have to go anywhere. They’re talking like we might get a Round 2 …

And I finished my gansey the other day—I’m very happy with it (more formal photos later).


Yarn doodling again!

I’ve been playing with yarn again – these are the latest samples, which may or may never grow up to be real projects. 😉

The pattern in the Cotton Ease sample is actually taken from the sweater I’ve been knitting. I liked working with this yarn, though I really wish it were DK weight instead of worsted.


Almost wordless …

because the photos say it so well.

Note: Taken on my way home from town on 1/6/2011 from 6:10-6:12pm with a Sony Cybershot. I simply had to pull over and snap away!


Holiday trip

We took our usual Christmas trip to Kansas City to visit our daughters and their families and had a great time. It was wonderful to see everyone, but it was also good to come home and retrieve our own pets, who have all been pretty velcro-ish ever since we got back 😉

Happy New Year, everyone!