Monkeys and Tulips and Greystone, Oh My!

March 27, 2014 13:37 by Suzy

2014 continues to be productive on the knitting front...4 more projects finished since my last post!

Last fall, Shalimar Yarns offered a Monkey Jacobus kit using their Enzo Sport yarn. I had never made knitted toys (called "softies") before, but the monkey looked so cute I couldn't resist! Shalimar yarn has always held a special place in my heart, as my first-ever knitting project was made with their Homage fingering weight...my first taste of luxury yarn! Plus, they are Maryland-based, not far from where JD and I used to live.

When I received the kit, I was a bit intimidated by the lengthy and complicated-looking pattern (10+ pages!) so I was hesitant to get started. So the kit languished in my WIP bin until I finally got the nerve to give it a shot in February. Surprisingly, the pattern was not nearly as difficult as I had feared...just very detailed...I just followed the instructions and before I knew it, I had an adorable monkey, ready to stuff.


Isn't she cute? I named her Bernadette!

At the same time, I started a new pair of socks, with the awesome pattern name of Monkey, designed by Cookie A. I had some yarn in my stash that I thought would be perfect for this project...an indigodragonfly club yarn from last year. The base is called Filament o' Squid (70% Merino/30% Seacell) in the colorway Squalor Amongst the Ankles. I must admit, I wasn't in love with the yarn when I first received it...the color is kind of a muddy green with a bit of yellow/gold in it, and the fiber texture is different...not unpleasant, just different. Every month or so I would take it out of my stash bin, give it a look and a squeeze, and I started liking it more and more. I think it looks great with this pattern, don't you?


This was my first lace pattern sock, and I just love it. I also used a different cast on method, as I noticed the cuffs on my first two sock projects were a little tight. I used the slip-knot cast on and I really like how it turned out. The edge has an almost folded-accordion look to it.

Next, I made the Greystone hat with my first Bare Naked Knitspot club yarn. The yarn is Kent Worsted (60% Merino/40% Romney wool) in the Driftwood colorway. I love this color...completely from undyed natural wools. It's a beautiful blend of browns and greys with a great sheen. The texture seemed a bit rustic at first but softened up considerably after a soak and blocking.


The cables look great in this yarn, don't you think?

Finally, our good friends back in Maryland were about to celebrate the first birthday of their daughter, and I knew I had to make her something special. She is the lucky recipient of my Baby Girl Blanket and Sproutlette Dress, so I had to top myself, you know? Enter the Tulips Cardigan pattern...simple and practical, yet oh-so-cute and in such beautiful colors! The Coldwater Yarns online shop has a great selection of kits in different color themes...I chose the Anita's Rainbow kit. The kit comes with enough yarn of each color (9 colors in all!) to make the cardigan...so you don't have to buy full skeins of each. The yarn is Dream in Color Classy, which is a worsted superwash wool. The colors are amazing...not boring solids but beautiful and rich and complex.


(Note the picture above is pre-blocking) Various project notes on Ravelry for this pattern indicated that the cardigan runs small, so I made the 24-month size and also modified the pattern to have 10 rows in each color vs. only 8 rows. Luckily I didn't run out of yarn!


Isn't she adorable? And don't the colors look perfect on her?

I currently have another pair of socks on the needles, as well as my first project using lace yarn. My brain is already two or three projects ahead and I can't wait for my next club packages to arrive!

Happy knitting!

Ravelry project links:
Bernadette Monkey
Monkey Squalor
Greystone: The Legend of Romney
Birthday Tulips



Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili

March 9, 2014 19:17 by Suzy

JD has been "gettin healthy" in 2014 and so far the results are amazing...he's lost 20 pounds and his cholesterol dropped from over 200 to 134! We're basically going with a plant based, whole-foods diet. This recipe was a great find, and with our modifications, it's been a favorite for both of us.

The flavor in this chili is amazing...smoky and rich and with just the right amount of heat and bite. You won't even miss the meat!

Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili
adapted from blog.fatfreevegan.com

2 large onions, chopped
2 large bell peppers (red and yellow), chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
4-6 cups vegetable stock (preferably salt free)
2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
a few dashes of Cholula sauce
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and dry-saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add diced bell peppers and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 more minute.

Add beans, 4 cups broth, spices, and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Add more broth if chili seems too thick/dry for your tastes. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least 1 hour.

Taste and add salt, pepper, and more Cholula or chili powder if necessary. Add corn and quinoa, stir and cover.

Simmer for another 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!



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