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LollyKnitting Around: Craft. Photography. Travel.: Page 3
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Late-comer

You may remember my NaKniSweMo forays of the past (National Knit a Sweater Month) – I have participated a few times in the last few years, always able to come in right under the deadline of November 30th.  I got a late start this year, but I am hopeful that I can still pull it off.

Terra Reverse Cardi

This is my 3rd or 4th sweater from the German pattern magazine, Rebecca.  For several years, the magazine was also published in English, but when some harder times hit, they went back to their German-only format with a English insert pamphlet. It is nice to have a bare-bones translation, but knitting with a Rebecca pattern is an exercise in trust – and common sense.  You just have to have a feeling that it is going to work out, and if it looks weird, well, maybe you should just “do your own thing” for awhile.  This little philosophy has worked for me so far.  Hope it continues through this cardigan!

This pattern (while hard to see on the model because of the fashion styling with the big belt and the scarf) seemed like a cute stylish piece for the wardrobe.  I was especially drawn to the pockets. It took awhile to wrap my head around the whole idea of how this pocket was going to work, but once I knit it, and used that “knitter’s intuition”, it worked out well!  Still have to do the finishing details to add on, but this here is my first pocket. I am chuffed!

I am using The Fibre Company’s Terra yarn in the Nettles colorway.  This “nubby” yarn is working well with the reverse stockinette.  The fiber has some alpaca in it too, so it will be a cardigan to wear this winter.  I am waiting to see if I will have enough yarn to complete… I don’t want to cut corners, so one or two more skeins might be necessary.  In the meantime, I am knitting what I’ve got and hoping it will suffice.  If not, I should have enough time to order a bit more to finish by the end of the month!

What are you knitting on now?

 

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Tough Nut to Crack

Two weeks ago, I picked up some chestnuts at the farmers’ market.  October marks the beginning of the season (which usually runs through December or January) so if you want fresh ones, now is the time to look for them. I tried them about 4 years ago and learned that while they take a lot of preparation time, they are worth the effort.

Chestnut RoastingThere are several different methods of preparing (just Google and you will find several) but the one that worked for me last time was to roast them in the oven. I poked holes in each shell for ventilation, and put them on a baking sheet. Set the oven for 425 degrees, and roast for about 25 minutes. Remove the HOT chestnuts from the baking sheet, and put them in a cotton dishtowel to cool for a few minutes. After they cool to the touch, wrap the towel into a ball with the chestnuts inside, and begin to crack the shells. When you open the towel, you can crack the shells more to extract the nut, but it should be easier to contain all the mess.

When you buy the chestnuts, it is inevitable that there will be some nuts that just don’t pass the test. You want them to be pliable; about the consistency of a dried apricot or a prune. Any harder and you could damage your teeth. There will be slight discolorations, but if the consistency is right, they nut should be perfectly edible. They make a great snack! However, if you have a recipe planned, you might want to save some for that…

I made a casserole-style baked dish from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz – it paired the chestnuts with caramelized onion, butternut squash, and white beans. Kris said it was amazingly delicious, and I really liked it too.  Only things that I did differently from the recipe (posted here) was add 1 tsp of Herbs de Provence and 1 tsp of nutritional yeast to the crumb topping.  I also used gluten-free breadcrumbs which I prefer to the “real” thing.  This is not a recipe for the faint hearted. With the chestnut roasting time, it is definitely a “slow food” – it took me over 2 hours from start to finish – but worth the time. Added bonus that your kitchen will smell of roasted chestnuts afterward!

Caramelized Onion-Butternut Roast with Chestnuts
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Weekend Knitting + Rocking

Early Birthday When a chair this inviting comes into your life, you just have to rock with it. Little back story: If you follow me on Twitter or Pinterest, you probably know that I have a thing for modern design.  Last fall, I started searching for the perfect modern rocking chair.  I found one in February at a local furniture studio, but the price was *ahem*, out of range.   So, when I received notice that this studio was having a huge sale, we just decided to check it out and see if the rocker was included in the festivity. Just my luck!  The stars aligned just right – we got the floor model at a deep discount… the week before my birthday! Walked right out of the store with it. I couldn’t be more excited about rocking (and knitting) away in this thing.

I spent some time breaking it in yesterday while I worked on this cowl that I started last week.  It makes for a pretty great knitting chair.  The only thing that would make it better?  A handknit colorwork pillow, of course!  I have some ideas in mind for that, but I probably won’t be casting on until the new year…

The call of the new Madelinetosh Merino Light was strong – and this unique slipped stitch patternreeled me right in.  This is the Brick Road Cowl by Madelinetosh (Rav link), and it looks much more complicated than it is.  I am closing in on the halfway point, and then I will reverse the colors for yellow bricks with the green/grey background.  I chose the Candlewick and Terra Verde colorways for this one – picked them up while visiting my parents in Pennsylvania.  It’ll be a stylish reversible neckwarmer for the coming winter.

Cowl in progress

 

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Big and Little Gifts

Many thanks to all who entered my little contest for The Knitter’s Book of Socks!  I enjoyed reading the comments and seeing the variety of responses.

The winner of this contest is Judy from Vermont, who had this to say:

I got the sock bug about three years ago and haven’t stopped since. I devour as many books as possible always trying to improve my technique or challenge myself with new patterns. I love Clara Parkes and have her first two books. This would be a nice addition to my collection especially during the long winter nights in Vermont where socks are required!

Judy, may you have lots of fun and very warm feet!

…and don’t forget to add this book to your holiday wishlist :)

Psssst… here’s a free pattern for this Stepping Stones pattern by Clara Parkes!

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Yosemite: Day Hikes, Domes, and (Really) Huge Trees

Seems that I got a bit out of order in chronology of my posts.  Here I am telling you about the things that I just finished knitting, but I didn’t tell you WHERE I was knitting them… so, allow me to back track and share last month’s trip to California.

We had planned this trip for months – it was the first big “together” trip for my family since our family has grown by marriage and babies. Along with my youngest sister Sarah and her husband, Andrew, we decided to visit Yosemite National Park first, and then rendezvous with everyone several days later in Lake Tahoe. Extension to Yosemite was worth every second. As you know, Kris and I love hiking and photography, and Yosemite is a paradise for both.

El Capitan

Half Dome B/W

We stayed outside the southern entrance to the Park; each day we drove in with plans to hike new trails.  We technically hit the Park in its off-season, so the crowds were down.  That was a nice perk on many of the trails and in-roads so we could take our time and stop whenever we pleased.  Kris and I should have made a sticker for the back of our rental car: Vehicle Makes Frequent Stops to Photograph.  Our feet were the best mode of transportation though – with the vast trail system, we were out and about every single day.

Sunlight over Domes
Mist Trail to Vernal Falls

Glacial Domes

We hiked with all of our camera equipment, which made the hike a little heavier, but worth the effort after seeing the processed photos.  Long exposures, HDR, and macro photography – all things that I had the time to play with and the scenes to shoot.  If we had had more time and the appropriate gear, I would have jumped at the chance to do some back country camping and backpacking.  However, this trip focused on the highlights – Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point, Mariposa (Giant Sequoia) Grove, the various falls, Tuolumne Meadows, and the glacial lakes.  Maybe next time on the backpacking?

Olmstead Point

Tioga Pass Lake


[Full Set of Yosemite Photos on Flickr]

Since we took over 20 gigs of photos in the Park, I have many more to add to this photo set… it takes time to go through them all!  As you can see, we had beautiful weather and clear skies – a perfect combination for memorable hikes and photographs.