Sunday, September 30, 2012

On My Needles: September

It is the end of September and before I start a fun new October project, here is what I have been working on this month:

Helen's Tuckernuck Sweater has one sleeve. I am still debating knitting a second for Miss Clare - so many cables...
Tuckernuck 2.2

Berroco Vintage yarn... greatness.
Tuckernuck 2.1

A second set of Fetching mitts for a friend. I lengthened the wrist cable ribbing (need to get this one off the needles so that I can knit the second sleeve for Helen's Tuckernuck!):
Brown Fetching 1.0

David Sebastian's Malabrigo Kinsale Sweater size 4T in the Pearl Ten colorway:
Malabrigo Kinsale 2.7

I did notice while knitting the first sweater and this one as well that if you want the nice raglan lines that on the WS rows make sure you ALWAYS knit a plain (not twisted) purl stitch before the first marker.
Malabrigo Kinsale 2.5

My Citron Shawl is moving along:
Citron 2.3

I bought new ChiaoGoo Red Lace Needles because my old faithful Boyes were catching the yarn at the joins too much. Love these. And am delighted with Handsome Fibers (the Etsy Store where I purchased them) the shipping was free and SO FAST!
ChiaoGoo Red Lace Size 5

ChiaoGoo Red Lace Size 5

I am so enjoying my beautiful Madelinetosh Lace... Mansfield Garden Party colorway:
Citron 2.1

Friday, September 28, 2012

Window Shopping

It takes a lot of effort these days to get both girls down for a nap at the same time... so when the stars align and they both sleep peacefully, I try not to misuse those precious minutes cleaning the house (it just gets dirty again anyways). Lately I have been enjoying knitting video podcasts while I knit and relax.

My three favorites are:
Knitting in Circles with Aimee and Darren
The Fiberista Files with Heather from Highland Handmades
and the Knitabulls Video Podcast with Diane (I just started this one!)

I love listening/watching these lovely knitters while I knit away at my long to-knit list (I even made calendar deadlines for all these projects I have lined up!).

Today Diane inspired me to share my "window shopping".  She is stashbusting and trying not to purchase new yarn, and is now sharing her window shopping instead of her purchases. I LOVE this idea. I love to admire all of the lovely yarns and patterns, but have no where near the funds to buy everything I love... so why not share what I love anyways :)

Photo Credit: Terri Kruse Make Mine Strawberry

I love love love love love (how many loves can you take?) the patterns in the new Vintage Ice Cream Truck ebook pattern collection by Terri Kruse. These patterns are beautiful and I am really enjoying the Kinsale sweater which is also her pattern. The Lime Pop sweater is also one I hope knit one day.

Photo Credit: Family Pendragon

I am also really loving Family Pendragon's Fall 12 Color Rainbow colorway... what a great way to welcome the changing seasons than with some yummy fall yarn :)

Lastly, I am contemplating taking up spinning... I really don't need another hobby (or more equipment to store!), but it just looks like SO much fun. Heather from Highland Handmades (and the Fiberista Files Podcast) sells top whirl spindles that her husband makes... and of course she sells beautiful fiber for spinning. Tempting, very tempting.

Image of Top Whorl Spindle 3 - Maple, 2oz
Photo Credit: Highland Handmades

If you want to see more of what I love, just check out my Pinterest boards.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Planning Meals with Leftovers in Mind

I enjoy meal planning. I like to have a plan for grocery shopping and an idea of what I am going to make during the week.

I have found meal planning as a stay at home (most of the time) mom much different then meal planning for when I was working. When I was working full time, I would plan a meal for each night. I wasn't a big fan of taking leftovers for lunch unless it was a meal I really loved, so I would pretty much just make what we needed for that one dinner. I also didn't have children running around like wild banshees in the kitchen when I was working.... that definitely makes cooking dinner a new and exciting experience!

Now that I am home, I find that the time I have for cooking is difficult to plan. I can not plan ahead for temper tantrums, fussy babies, and general mommy grumpiness. Grumpiness happens. Some nights I have more time to cook than others. Also, since we are home I find myself wanting leftovers for lunch.  It is so simple to reheat leftovers and feel like you have had a satisfying mid-day meal... versus trying to create a meal or just snacking. So my new tactic for meal planning is.....

mmmm leftovers....

Plan for 2 LARGE meals a week and 3 regular dinners.

For example:

Sunday I made one of our favorites, spaghetti squash with meat sauce. I made a lot. I cooked 2 large squashes and 2 lbs of beef in the sauce. There was room in the oven, so I also quartered new potatoes and roasted a tray of them along with the squash.

Monday I made Beef and Mushroom stew in the Crockpot and served it over the new potatoes cooked the day before. I doubled my recipe: 3 lbs of beef and 2 lbs of mushrooms.

Tuesday - Leftovers

Wednesday - Real meal!

Thursday - Real meal!

Friday - Leftovers or Costco food :)

Saturday - Real meal!

With all this delicious food cooked early in the week, we have plenty for lunches - for both the girls and I and for David to take to work.

2011 May Freezer Meals 2
Did you know that having a well stocked freezer will help you cook delicious meals with less effort??

Here is how I keep leftovers fresh and inviting:

Pack leftovers in separate containers - no mixing!
- Spaghetti Squash in one container, meat sauce in another. That way if you want to serve the kids up some plain buttered squash, you can! You can also easily used leftover roasted potatoes as a side dish with another meal.  Just because they are leftovers doesn't mean you have to keep eating the same meal over and over.

Don't be afraid of the buffet style dinner.
- I am not a big fan of everyone eating something different for dinner, but there is nothing wrong with a good ol' fashioned leftover night. Serving up a variety of leftovers for dinner on a night that you don't have time to cook is much healthier than ordering pizza.

Know what you like to eat as leftovers.
- I do not like to eat leftover chicken. I just don't. So, when we have chicken for dinner, I make enough for just that meal and maybe for David's lunch so that I don't have to feel guilty about not eating leftover chicken.  However, I love leftover chili... every time I make chili, I make lots. Know what you like, and make that!

Tried and True Recipes are best.
- Don't big-batch a brand new recipe...Just don't do it. If you are trying out a new recipe, great! But, don't spend extra money doubling it if you are not sure it is going to go well and everyone is going to like it.

Change up the Menu.
- I try to do different BIG meals every other week so that we don't feel that we are ALWAYS eating the same foods. I also try to see what is in season and on sale when planning so that I can get the most for my money.

Grain-Free Turkey Meatballs

This is working well for us, and I am really enjoying the versatility of my leftovers. I also like having lots of easy options for my kids' lunches.

How has your meal planning evolved over the years?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Slow and Steady is tough.

Tuckernuck Sleeve

This is the first sleeve for Helen's Tuckernuck Cardigan. These cables are KILLING ME. Seriously. Knitting lots of cables is SO SLOW. Luckily I have already finished the body of this sweater, but these sleeves feel like they are taking forever.

I love love love love love this Berroco Vintage yarn. The color is perfect. It is soft and squishy and lovely. I love that I will be able to thrown this sweater in the washing machine - yay for washable yarn!

I had planned to knit a second matching sweater for Clare and have enough lovely yarn for one... now I am thinking she will get a less cablely sweater, maybe a variation of this one. I would like her to be able to wear it this fall, and at this rate it won't be done until she has already outgrown it. hmph.

In happier knitting news, baby Joshie received his Kinsale sweater! Isn't he sweet! It looks like he will be able to wear it all winter - plenty of room for growing :)

Kinsale Josh in Sweater

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pretty Knitting - The Citron Shawl

I have been doing some pretty knitting...

Stash Yarn: Madelinetosh Lace Mansfield Garden Party 3

I bought this gorgeous skein of Madelinetosh lace over the summer... the Mansfield Park Garden Party colorway.... makes me want crumpets, a cup of tea, some quiet time, and a copy of Mansfield Park.

Citron 1.1

Quiet time is rare these days, so I have "settled" for the Citron Shawl a free pattern from  The pattern is interesting because of the ruffles, but it is a lot of stockinette stitch, A LOT.

Citron 1.0

Did I mention that I love this yarn? Especially the orange... I love the orange. I do wish I had better circular needles. I am not picky, but it would be nice to have some with the no-memory cords. I am thinking about trying the nickle plated Knit Picks... thoughts?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fetching - Knit Fingerless Mitts

Just another project completed during the internet outage :)

Fetching 2.0

These cute teal mitts are a free pattern on Knitty. They were easy and quick to knit! The cables mirror each other on each hand, and I found that the back cables (C4B) were quicker than the front cables (C4F). I used the Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller Washable Ewe yarn from my stash.

Fetching 1.0

This pair is for one of my husband's cello students who declared that my knitting was "cool".  I think she deserves some fingerless mitts, don't you?!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A few quick updates

I have been offline since Monday. Being internet-less for three days was a challenge for me. I filled the time mostly with the kiddos, old VHS tapes, phone calls to my mother, and knitting... oh, and picking out a new washing machine (poor 1980's Kenmore, you will be missed!).

Row of Sweaters
Washed and ready to give away! (I think next year I will be focusing on selfish knitting... I am already mourning these pretties.)

Kinsale 3.4
Clare models the finished Kinsale... the chair and pose were her doing.

Purple Libby 1.4
I finally got this one....

Purple Libby 1.3
to smile!

Kids in Sweaters 2
Nice try getting a picture together! Yes, we rarely wear pants...

Kinsale 3.0
Kinsale Sweater

Purple Libby 1.0
Purple Libby Sweater

Friday, September 7, 2012

And the winner is....

Giveaway Longies 3.1

Please contact me through Ravelry (Lonestarknits) or my email: lonestar(dot)knits(at)yahoo(dot)com

Thank you to everyone that participated, and if you are a knitter - or want to learn to knit - HappyDayMama is offering a 10% coupon code off the purchase of the Mamas Favorite Longies pattern!

The coupon code is: September and it is good until September 23rd! Just click the link above to purchase the pattern on Ravelry.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A little late randomness and is this a 6 month sweater??

Spaghetti Spoon

I LOVE my spaghetti spoon. It is the most used cooking utensil in my kitchen (other than the spatula David uses for eggs....). I love it. I use it to break up onions and ground meats and it is awesome. That is the random thought of the week.

Kinsale 2.3

In other news: I finished the second sleeve of my Kinsale sweater and it fits Clare! This is supposed to be a 6 month size!!! I don't know what I am going to do. Evidently I need to knit tighter. I figure that it should still fit over a long-sleeved shirt, right? Thoughts?

Kinsale 2.5
Too Hot!!!!

But it is darling and I love it and I can't wait to knit the second one in the gorgeous Malabrigo Rios!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

This doesn't count as a yarn purchase... and other things on and off the needles

Sorry for the long title. I have succumbed to temptation... surprise surprise... and have made (and received) a Knit Picks order for a very special project.

So you want to knit Maisy 1.1
Isn't it purty?!

I have been seriously inspired to knit my girls some Maisy dolls with matching wardrobes for Christmas this year. I love Maisy. She is so sweet and always hanging out with her awesome friends doing cool stuff that kids like to do.

So you want to knit Maisy 1.0

I looked and looked for a knitting pattern and couldn't find one... so guess what, I'll just make it up myself!

Kinsale 1.0

I also have the first of the two Kinsale sweaters I want to knit on the needles (and almost done). This one is for my newest nephew. The yarn, Queensland Rustic Wool Aran, is a sale item at WEBS and I like it really well. It was a bit splity at first but once I got used to it, it knits up nicely.  I love the colorway, and I am alternating skeins for the first time ever! I really wanted to minimize pooling of the colors, and I think it has worked out for the most part.

Giveaway Longies 3.0

And the longies are DONE!!!!!!!! I will post the winner on FRIDAY!!!!!!
(kiddie scissors for scale)

Giveaway Longies 3.2

Here they are on my 12 month old who is of fairly average to smallish size. Thank you, Thank you to everyone who has entered and commented. This has been a lot of fun for me.  And as a special present, just in case you don't win, the awesome mama behind Mama's Favorite Longies will be offering a coupon code for a discount off the purchase of the pattern for my readers. Look for that on Friday as well.
Please, do not reproduce any content from this site without my written permission. You can reach me directly at lonestar(dot)knits(at)yahoo(dot)com. Thank you.