Thursday, December 30, 2010

An Ode to Split Peas (and other stuff like a 3 needle cast on)

I had a bunch of ham left over and was trying to think what to do with it.  So I whipped out my trusty Betty Crocker cookbook app and came across a Split Pea and Ham soup recipe that was unbelievably easy - once I found the yellow split peas it called for.  I followed the recipe and dumped all the listed ingredients into the crock pot last night and got up this morning to the most amazing soup I've had in years.  It was all of about 5 ingredients and BAM!  It made me curious, though, to find out the difference between the green and yellow peas (nothing) and I found out some really interesting facts.  Here's what it says on Wikipedia:

They are a great source of protein and are also a very lean and healthy type of cereal, with only 1 gram of fat per 350 calorie serving. Most of the calories come from protein and complex carbohydrates. The split pea is known to be a natural food source that contains some of the highest amounts of fiber, containing 26 grams of fiber (104% DV based on a 2,000 calorie diet). Fiber is known to help the digestive system and to make people feel full and satiated.

I used to make a lentil soup but hadn't even thought about it for years.  I will be making more in the future, I guararntee.  Excuse me a minute, will you?

OK, I'm back and I'll try not to drip on the keyboard.

I decided I had enough of the handspun used for the hat and scarf for mittens.  Now, knitters will know that these decisions are as often made by wanting something to be true as by being able to prove the thing is true.  I was sure.  OK, I was pretty sure.  Who said trust but verify?  I decided to ball the skein into two equal size balls, then I'd be able to handle any surprises.

My second decision was to work the mittens from the tips down, something I've never done before but I decided if I had to substitute another yarn to make up for any shortages, it would be better to do that on the cuff rather than the tips.  But, hey, there's not much to a mitten, right?  But how to start?

I've heard of 3 needle bind-offs but couldn't that work the other way around?  Couldn't you do a 3 needle cast on?  I know there are a number of ways to cast on socks and whatever.  This is just how I figured out how to do it and here's what it looks like:

  1. First I used a US size 7 double pointed needle (the size the mittens would be made with) and a US size 3 double pointed needle held together and did a long tail cast on to get 10 stitches.
  2. Next, I pulled out the 7.  Using the 3 gave me lots more room to work the magic.
  3. Using 2 size 7 needles, I knit 2 stitches from the first stitch on the needle.  I knit 1 stitch into the front of the stitch using 1 needle and I knit 1 stitch into the back of the stitch using the second needle.
  4. Then I repeated the process across, giving me 20 stitches.  This isn't a great photo of the needles but it will give you an idea of what it looked like in the process:
  5. Finally, I added 2 more needles and put 5 stitches of each of 4 double pointed needles and got ready to go.
 Then I just worked backwards, increasing on each side instead of decreasing.  When I got to the thumb, I bound off the number of stitches I would have normally cast on going the other way, knit around and then cast on the number of stitches I would normally have put aside on a stitch holder going the other way.  This does give you a little ridge at the bottom of the thumb when you have to go back and pick up stiches for the thumb but it doesn't show at all on the outside.

If I get a chance this weekend, I'll write out the pattern as I worked it but it was a very interesting new thing to learn.

Oh, yeah.  Did I end up with enough yarn?  Of course I did - with about 4 yards to spare!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Busy Bee

I've been kind of quiet lately because I've been up to my elbows in projects and/or work (mostly work) but that just means there are reports to be made and even a couple of photos to show.

As I mentioned before, I will be teaching a class on Amigurumi crochet during the Lincoln Land Needle in a Haystack event on January 15th (you can register online here).  I have to say, I'm really getting into this.  I showed you some project I did earlier here.  I thought I might use the little turtle as the class project but in the back of my mind I kept thinking I wanted to do a bee.  I couldn't really find a pattern I liked so today I did this:
He turned out to be a happy little bee and cute to boot!  I'm pretty sure this is going to be our project.

I also got a couple of project finished up.  On the link above, along with the animals, is a scarf I made from some wool I'd spun up.  I started a hat but ran out of yarn.  Fortunately, I had another braid of roving left to spin.  From all that I could see, both braids were the same but when I got into the second braid, I realized that the colors were much mudier than the first and it did not turn out nearly as well as the first batch.  I'm so glad I did them in the order I did.  But I did get the braid finished, and with it, the hat:

I love it more than I could have imagined.  This yarn softened up tremendously when it was washed and I'm ready for tomorrow morning going back to work.  I love the vintage, almost flapper look of the hat, too.  It was totally unintentional, though, I have to say!

And talking about finishing, remember the felted clogs? I finally got around to actually felting them and something happened that I've never had happen before.  First, the felt:

These are shown next to the same shoe as the other.  I never get tired of it!  But the unexpected thing was that one of the clogs felted much more than the other. You can see the one on the left is larger than the one on the right. I've put it though another felting which helped but it's still too large so another felting will be on the horizon.  I just have to be careful to not overdo it and get one that won't fit my feet!!