About The Country Wife Blog

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A better breakfast...

Recently we have been having a lot of eggs for breakfast.  Even more recently dear one has mentioned that he has become less enamored of all the eggs we have been eating!  Something new was called for so I put on my thinking cap as my dear mother-in-law used to say.  This is what came to mind: Spanish Omelet.

Many years ago I was at a friend's house for a birthday lunch.  We had a wonderful green salad and Spanish Omelet.  She had studied in Spain for a semester while in college and had learned to make these.  Very delicious.  These are also popular at our house now!

Spanish omelet doused in black pepper and topped with cheese

Sushi at Home!

A couple of weeks ago a wonderful lady at church invited us over to teach us how to make sushi.  I love vegetable sushi with soy sauce and a TINY bit of wasabi for dipping.  I will purchase this sushi when I am out at the grocery store for a neat and tidy snack to eat in the car on the way home from errands.  Once I tried making it myself and it was a disaster.  Not so now!

M made her sushi rice and had laid out bowls of multiple fillings, some of which were fish-y things.  Since dear one is a vegetarian, I decided to make vegetable sushi consisting of nori, sushi rice, lettuce, carrots, and avocado.  I made seven rolls of that kind then made three rolls of avocado, carrot, and tofu strips which tofu I had pressed well for a couple of hours then sliced and cut the other way so the pieces looked like french fries.  After sauteing them for a few minutes in canola oil, they looked even more like french fries, and had the real bonus of being chewy, not soft and icky.

This is how the sushi looked when I plated it for the youth group meeting at our house:

Sushi Project before
One of the boys saw the sushi and got up from where he was sitting, walked across the room and asked me in the sweetest voice if I had made that sushi.  When I said yes he gave me a big smile and a happy thumbs up!  That pleased me greatly as I had not known if the kids would even eat the stuff.  I just wanted to have something a bit more healthy to go along with the cake and brownie bars.

After the youth discussion was over and the closing prayer had been said, the kids leaped to their feet and descended on the plate of sushi like a flock of locusts!  This is what the plate looked like within a very few minutes!  AND they seemed to eat it without the soy sauce, making it even better for them...

Sushi Project: After

Oh, they did eat the cake, too...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Barbara Walker Learn To Knit Afghan Project, Squares 18 and 19

Square 18, called Hexagon Pattern, was a pretty easy square to knit.  You use a multiple of 8 stitches, plus 6.  For this one I cast on 38 stitches.
Square 18: Hexagon Pattern

You will notice that it has not been blocked, and not even had the ends woven in, but I had the camera and these two squares in the same place at the same time and thought it would be a good idea to take the photo NOW!

You will also notice that this square is a very curly block.  It will benefit greatly from blocking as well as being sewn into the afghan, which I am sure will finish the squaring-up process.

This next square is Square 19 and is called Instant Plaid.  It really is a rather instant pattern.  There was no trouble with the pattern, but it is really pretty important to read the pattern directions!  Have I said that before?  I forgot that every last stitch needs to be a knit stitch, and every beginning stitch also needs to be a knit stitch. Oh well...error-prone, but no problem for my spirit...

This pattern is another multiple of 8 stitches, plus six patterns and I cast on 46 stitches.

Square 19: Instant Plaid

Now on to the next!  Well, not just yet, actually. I just picked up some Noro Kureyon Sock yarn, which I hear they have discontinued, to knit up the Ravelry free pattern called Gaia Shoulder Hug by Anne Carroll Gilmour.  I have a dress that I really like but which has a wider neckline than my slip likes so I need something to wear to cover the white...!  Of course, I want it done now, but it will work out for whenever I get it done!

Soup Night!

It has been below zero F. much of the past week...the perfect time for soup.  We had been to Panera where dear one enjoyed a bowl of their broccoli cheese soup.  He thought I should try making it, so I did!  It turned out really well, in my opinion.

His opinion was that it was much thinner than the soup we at at Panera.  Perhaps that was the point...but only perhaps.  Actually, I had looked online and found some brassica soup recipes and combined ingredients and adapted the recipes, but when I actually made the soup, I misread my ingredient list and added way more chicken stock than the online recipes suggested.  I like the soup just the way it is, especially since it is Spicy Broccoli Cheese Soup!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Paperwhites in January!

A dear friend gave me a boxed pot of paperwhite bulbs on December 1st.  The directions said to place the bulbs just so in the pot, after reconstituting the "dirt", and then watering regularly.  In 8-10 weeks the blooms were supposed to emerge.

Well...in early January they emerged!  Such a lovely surprise.  They have a very heady fragrance which permeates several feet in all directions. I have them sitting on the triangle behind our kitchen sink where they are a sweet reminder that spring will come here, even though today the snow is melting in the cold rain and it is generally gray and icky outside.  It is only a few degrees above freezing.  I am hoping the roads will NOT be icy as we head out to church later on.

January paperwhites in the midst of winter bring a sweet reminder of spring to come.

Friends make the world a joy-filled place.  I am so grateful for all my well-beloved ones around the world, and especially for the one who gave me such a friendly gift of spring in the middle of winter.

Barbara Walker Learn To Knit Afghan Project, Squares 16 and 17

FINALLY!!  The last of the mosaic patterns!  So glad to be finished with them  This one is square 16, which is called Double Scroll.  It requires casting on 43 stitches.  It is a fairly simple pattern.  Can you find the error?  It, like all the others, will benefit from a severe blocking...

Double Scroll
The first square in the next section, a second slipped-stitch section, is called Woven Tweed.  It is square 17 of 63.  It is one of the simplest yet in terms of memorizing the pattern, every other row being a purl row.  This pattern proves that when planning a project, checking gauge with EACH part of the afghan, or other, project is a critical part of the process.  This block is WAY larger than most of the others, which vary in size only a little.

Cast on 45 stitches.

Woven Tweed, photographed vertically for some unknown reason...maybe the lateness of the hour...!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Barbara Walker Learn To Knit Afghan Project Square 15

Square 15, called Stepped Fret, was a pretty straightforward knit which you can tell because there are no glaring errors in it!  Of course, I was also not trying to do multiple things at the same time.  Still no blocking, but doesn't it look rather nice?

 Cast on 43 stitches.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Barbara Walker Learn to Knit Afghan Project Square 14

Square 14 is called Chevron.  It was rather fun to knit and went well except for the glaring error right in the middle of the block!  I think it looks pretty cool anyway.

Cast on 43 stitches.

It really would look better if I had ripped out the error and re-worked the row, however, I did not notice the error until I was well into the rest of the knitting.  I did the erroneous part of this knitting on an evening when I was tired and home alone listening to an Elizabeth George audio book...Maybe the next square will go better.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Barbara Walker Afghan Project Squares 11-13, 61, 63

Miniature Mosiac, vertical

Square eleven is Miniature Mosaic.  Cast on 43 stitches.  You will notice I did not read the directions and thus started out with stocking stitch and not garter stitch.  Another error tolerated.

Harlequin.  Looks better vertically placed.

Square twelve is Harlequin and one of my favorites.  At least I love the way it looks.  Cast on 43 stitches.

Greek Cross

Square thirteen is Greek Cross, with 43 stitches cast on. 

At this point I rather wearied of the mosaic patterns and decided to go to the end of the book and start back. 
Parquet Squares

Square sixty-one looked like fun so I started there.  It is called Parquet Squares and you learn to pick up stitches along garter stitch ridges.  Fun.  Easy. Attractive block. I could knit a lot of these.  Cast on 21 stitches.

This last square having been restful, I decided to go to square sixty-three, the Increasing Seamless Square.  It is always a good idea to read the directions thoroughly before starting a new pattern!  Cast on 4 stitches.  You shift from double-pointed needles to a 16-inch circular needle, also a bit of a learning curve.
Increasing Seamless Square

Having completed square sixty-three, I decided to return to the mosaics and carry on from there in an orderly fashion.  We shall see how long that lasts!

Barbara Walker Afghan Project Squares 6-10

Twisted and Crossed Ribbing

Square six is twisted and crossed ribbing.  This was interesting to knit.  Cast on 46 stitches.

Garter and Ribbing

Square seven is a garter and rib pattern.  Cast on 49 stitches.  This is a little strange but you learn some things about garter ribs all right!

Rose Fabric, vertical. Looks prettier horizontally

Square eight is called Rose Fabric. I really like this one.  I think it would be great for making a sweater for a little girl in her favorite pink and purple...though this will not probably happen while the little ones still like pink and purple!  Cast on 30 stitches.  This is the last of the knit-purl combinations.

Horizontal Chain, vertical with MANY MANY errors. Some people have not shame...and post bad handwork anyway

Square nine is the beginning of the Mosaic patterns.  It is called Horizontal Chain and you cast on 45 stitches.  You have to pay attention on this one to keep the colors running true.  You will notice I did NOT pay close enough attention.  Still--high tolerance to errors...

Diagonal Chain, also vertical.  Looks better in horizontal position.  DEFINITELY will look better blocked.

Square ten is Diagonal Chain.  Cast on 46 stitches.

Barbara Walker Learn To Knit Afghan Squares 1-5

 There are four colors in the afghan book, all of the same yarn and needles so there is some possibility that the squares will be approximately equal in size. For my afghan I am using a size 6 needle (Brittany wood needles, actually, which feel so lovely as I knit along...) and Bartlettyarn wool in natural, light blue, dark blue, and deep red.  I don't actually know what names Bartlettyarns uses for these colors, but they are the ones I chose and each year when I go back to Hilda Yates' Farm yarn sale in October, I purchase more of those colors.  2013 is the year when I WILL FINISH this afghan!

So far I have finished about a dozen squares.
Garter Stitch Strips, vertical

Square one has you cast on 39 stitches and work a striped garter stitch block.  This is the foundational block by which size all other squares have to measure up.  We shall see on this one!!!

Stockinette (stocking) Stitch vertical

Square two is a striped stockinette stitch with a cast on of 41 stitches.  This teaches that stocking stitch ROLLS and must be blocked, or bordered by a non-roll strip of some nature.

Square three is basketweave and 43 stitches cast on.  This is a fun one and very useful.
 Square four is lattice with seed stitch, and so far my favorite looking one!  Cat on 40 stitches.

Diagonal ribbing
 Square five is diagonal ribbing.  You will notice at least one big error. I have a high tolerance for error and left it just the way it was.  It is an afghan square.  There will be 62 other afghan squares.  The afghan will be stored in a folded position.  No one is likely to be bothered by the error, so, I left it as is.  Cast on 49 stitches.

 You will notice that NONE of the squares have yet been blocked.  Pretty soon I will start blocking as I go, but I have yet to find my blocking board...How unusual is that?!

Barbara Walker Learn To Knit Afghan Project

Several years ago we built a wonderful addition onto our log cabin (which Dear One had built in 1972/73) so we could have all the major necessities on the main floor.  It is a beautiful and warm addition and includes a new couch in the upstairs great room.

Because all couches need afghans to place across the back for whenever someone wants to drop down and take a quick nap, I decided it was time to make a new afghan. I had been in Rutland one day on my way home from dropping off Dear One for a hiking trip and lo, and behold! there was a yarn shop, and it was OPEN!  What could I do but pull into the driveway and enter the store with an open mind!

As I was looking through the books on sale, I found Barbara Walker's Learn To Knit Afghan Book.  It cost the amount of money that I had in my pocket so it was meant to be, right?!  When I got it home I discovered that there are sixty-three different blocks which teach you many different stitches and principles of knitting. I shall have fun knitting up the squares and turning them into an afghan--though the sewing together afterwards may be somewhat of a bear...