Simple Knits | Simply September

Whew! I'm finally on the mend and feeling much better after my horrid summer cold. I shudder to think of the time I spent sleeping, when I could have been knitting - really, I know I needed to sleep, but this is just how my mind works. lol!

Now that I'm feeling better, it's time for the September Simple Knits Knitalong project - drum roll please... 

This month I couldn't resist going back to one of my all-time faves, Very Shannon. After looking back at our projects over the last 8 months, I think it's the perfect time to do another cowl and Shannon's Downton Cowl is perfect!

© luvinthemommyhood

A romantic yet modern lace cowl that’s perfect for showing off that gorgeous hand dyed yarn you’ve been coveting.
The Downton Cowl is a chevron lace cowl inspired by the castle in the tv show Downton Abbey that has a structural & garter like border that mimics & symbolizes the stability of a home - the foundation and the roof. Don’t we all know how up and down life is in between :) After all…where do you think downton abbey get’s all it’s story lines from…lol.

The Downton Cowl uses only (1) skein of yarn, is knit in the round and can easily be made in one evening. It’s a quick project that is both satisfying in it’s design but also fast in it’s execution.

© luvinthemommyhood

I usually contemplate yarn for awhile, but I've already made up my mind on this one. Shannon uses Madelinetosh Tosh DK (which we do have in stock at Firefly Fibers in the Glazed Pecan colorway shown in the sample and I may decide to knit a second in Tosh DK) and there are several project on Ravelry using Tosh Vintage so that's pretty tempting as well, but... I've been dying for a chance to use The Fibre Company's Acadia and that is what I've selected in the Kelp colorway (I'll need 2 skeins since Acadia is a wee bit smaller skein than Tosh DK).

Pretty, eh? I hope you'll join the fun this month and knit along with us! Really, we're a pretty casual group and you can join anytime. Also, there will be a giveaway coming up in the near future, so this is a great time to join in the Knitalong fun or just keep knitting along! All of the Knitalong details can be found here.

I'm off to wind some yarn and spend some time with Mr. Yarnista, who is also on the mend. After getting outside early today before the hot and humid weather moved in - Rollo and I for a walk and the Mr. tended to some yardwork - and recording Episode 5 of the Alisa the Yarnista podcast, we'll be hiding in the comfort of air conditioning and relaxing for the remainder of the day. 


In the Kitchen | I'm Inspiralized

Last spring I got a new kitchen toy, the Inspiralizer - I love it! If you're wondering what the heck this is... it's basically a vertical mandolin with a crank that turns veggies into noodles and it's AWESOME. Why do I love it? Well, as you know, I cook a lot and this little gadget makes my life so much easier - especially on late nights. 

I posted this picture a little over a week ago and I got a lot of questions. Want the details?

Swoodles with Vodka Sauce and Shrimp

Swoodles with Vodka Sauce and Shrimp

So, (as I like to say) here's the deal... This supper was after a late night when I got home after our Open Knitting on Wednesday night at Firefly Fibers. At knitting, some of us are hungry and, as a foodie, the conversation usually goes to food at some point when I get to sit and knit. As the night goes on, the conversation goes to how delicious Culver's would be and then I realize how tired I am and it's hard to resist. But, when I do resist, my belly is much happier and this meal took me a total of 15-20 minutes to put together. Seriously, that's how long it would take me to get fast food. 

Here's the recipe... first, I always have fresh parsley, sweet potatoes, frozen shrimp, and jarred sauce on hand - really, we all should. For this meal I selected the super-fancy Vodka Sauce from Aldi (it's really delicious), got 8 shrimp from the freezer to quick-thaw and got to peeling and spiralizing the sweet potato while the pan was heating up. Sautee the swoodles (we'll get to that term in a second) with a bit of coconut oil for about 8 minutes, sautee the shrimp in another pan and heat the sauce in the microwave (remember, we're late-nighting it). When the swoodles are done (again, we'll get to that in a moment), plate the swoodles and top with sauce, shrimp and a healthy amount of parsley. E. A. S. Y. 

So... tonight we recorded our 4th episode of the Alisa the Yarnista podcast *gulp* and due to a technical difficulty (thanks Windows) we had an intermission and I got these lovelies ready for our French Dip sandwiches. 

The peppers and onions (with no tears) are sliced super fast with the Inspiralizer. But wait... there's more... tee hee... so, Mr. Yarnista and I are trying to decide - really, we're not arguing, although both of us want to win - on the correct term for the sweet potato noodles and we are letting you choose. It's all in fun and we've got a little voting going on over on our Episode 4 post and we hope you'll give us your input - click over here to tell us what you think (but do it before this coming Friday)... 

So, there ya go. I love veggies (no surprise) and I love the Inspiralizer so much that I'm now an affiliate for this super-fantabulous product - it's such a great way to get some amazing food into your belly. So, if you want to get one, pop on over via this link or the awesome photo to the right - Rollo and Logan will thank you. 



Off the Needles | Settler and some news...

I have an FO and something else fun to share with you today... First, as you may know, I adore Truly Myrtle and after featuring her design Reminisce as our June Simple Knits Knitalong project, I couldn't stop thinking about casting on one of her shawls. I didn't know if I would actually find time to cast on in the near future since things have been a little hectic, but then Libby decided to host a Knitalong featuring her designs in July. It was obviously meant to be, so I cast on. 

I chose Settler as my shawl to knit for the KAL and used Julie Asselin's Milis in the Feathers colorway, it's a gorgeous yarn from Firefly Fibers that I've really been wanting to knit with. I think it was a good pairing...


I cast on during our vacation in Door County earlier this month (I know, I know... I still owe you details on that) and started binding off on Saturday night in the car on our way to see Dave Matthews (more on that toward the end of this post). 

I used flexible lace wires for blocking because of Settler's horseshoe shape and I highly recommend them. I'm a long time supporter of blocking in general and blocking wires make a huge difference with some projects - this is definitely one of them. Just look at how much I was able to stretch this puppy and open up those criss-cross sections...


I'm frequently asked if blocking makes "that much" of a difference and my answer is always emphatically, "YES"! Blocking matters. A lot. Just think about it... your project is shoved into, and pulled out of a project bag numerous times during the HOURS you're knitting on it. After that, any project is going to have some 'bed head' and need to be refreshed. *wink*

If you've never washed or blocked a shawl, Libby has a 2 part 'how to' on her blog (Part 1 & Part 2) that walks you through each step of the process. She also shows another way to block Settler for a slightly different finished edge and it's also really pretty. If you're intimidated by blocking, just remember that you can always re-block if something turns out wonky the first time. It's kind of like just washing and restyling your hair. 

I've got my mind set on casting on another Truly Myrtle shawl and using one of these lovely Julie Asselin Gradient Sets:

If you participated in the Truly Myrtle Knitalong, there are some pretty fabulous prizes that Libby will be giving away, including one of these lovelies courtesy of Firefly Fibers. Maybe we can cast on together?

So, that's my big FO news for the week. I'm almost done finalizing the Fall Class Schedule for the shop and I can't wait to share what's on there - it should be ready in the next week or two. 

In the meantime... I have something else that's pretty fun. Mr. Yarnista has been wanting to do a podcast for quite some time. Really, he's been not-so-subtly hinting for what's been a year or more (maybe two) and in a moment of weakness, I gave in and it's finally happened... there is now an Alisa the Yarnista Podcast! In episode 1 we chat a bit about some fun stuff, including our weekend adventure to Alpine Valley to see one of my all time faves, Dave Matthews (it's really quite the story).

So, we hope you'll enjoy our maiden voyage and we'll let you know as soon as Apple approves things in iTunes and it's available there. *squee* I've never done anything like this and it was actually pretty fun, so stay tuned because I think we'll do it again soon.