Tuesday, May 28, 2013

with much love & appreciation.

UPDATE (DECEMBER 2013): I am again blogging but at a new address: welfordpurls.wordpress.com - the email address that I have left posted in the right margin is still active so please do not hesitate to email me if you have questions or comments.

After much deliberation, and having done this in the past but knowing that this is the right thing for me right now, I am hanging up my blogging hat indefinitely. I have loved this space and sharing my knitting, crafting and other adventures with you over the past few years. As I embark on this new journey of motherhood and enjoying our growing family (no, I'm not pregnant - haha), I feel less pulled to this space to share the stitches made in the evenings from my clicking needles. Mostly because the needles are no longer clicking frequently and I am not missing my crafting at all. I will continue to share projects on ravelry (username: welfordpurls) and I hope to return to this space when I have the energy to share my projects with you all.

Thank you for your readership, encouragement and kindness over the years. I hope you will keep in touch over on ravelry - please add me if you haven't already done so.
Warmly,
Rachel

ps. I will continue to receive comments made on the blog so please so not hesitate if you have a question to post as I will respond as best I can in time. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

twylem.

It is overdue but it is finished! I started this test knit back in early February. It was moving along very quickly but we had some weekends of rough teething (we are officially up to 3 teeth!) and my knitting was laid to the side. Do you experience a lull in momentum on a project when you constantly have to put it aside? I know I do.

I have wanted a new black cardigan for a long time – unfortunately this is going to be way to warm for a summer-over-the-shoulders-cardigan but it will be perfect for the rest of this winter and then the fall. It is almost more like a jacket due to the collar.

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Pattern: Twylem by Vanessa Smith

Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Worsted in colour black

Needles: 5.5mm for the yoke, collar and body; 5.00mm for the sleeves; 4.00mm for the belt

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I really wanted to test this because of the super cool collar. The construction was interesting – I loved working the top-down collar with the yoke, then picking up and working the ribbing. It makes the collar bulky. I think that was very smart that it isn’t double layered all the way to the bottom of the cardigan – it would have been a lot of heavy fabric and warmth.

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The seaming on this is minimal – the collar join at the back of the neck is a 3-needle bind-off. But the one seam is the double collar edge to the lower single ribbing. It was challenging to figure out how to seam it to get a clear line all the way across. Vanessa’s tutorials are fantastic and the finished edge looks perfect.

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While I was knitting this I lost 10lbs. So by the time I got to the sleeves, it was too big. I did decide to size down the sleeves, though, and knit the 34 1/4” size sleeves instead of the 36” sleeves. I’m glad I did as it actually helped with the rest of the sweater even though it is too big. I should have knit the 34 1/4” instead of the 36”. It’s only 2” but in this case, for me, it made a big difference. And here I was concerned about whether I should knit the 38”! It would have been huge!

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That’s the difficult thing about knitting while you are pregnant or just postpartum – everything for me felt too tight and now that I am getting back to my pre-pregnancy size, everything is too big! It is a small problem to have but when knitting sweaters, it is a little frustrating :)

How have you been doing with fit ‘issues’ lately?

Monday, March 4, 2013

beets me.

There has been some radio silence over here. Last week was a ‘busy’ week. I put that in quotes because it wasn’t busy but just one thing after the other. We had a good weekend, though, and a chance to get out of the city … clear our heads and start fresh.

One positive to come out of last week, however, was a reason to continue buying beets. I hate beets. I’ve tried. And tried. And tried to like them. But I don’t. I just don’t. I had some in the fridge and I thought I would try them one.last.time. No avail. I still don’t like them. But what do you do with 2lbs of roasted beets?

Beets me.

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I decided to go cruisin’ on the Internets to see if there was a recipe or two that I could make with these things. Eureka! These are delicious!

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Beets Me Muffins (Original)

Ingredients:

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 C roasted, shredded beets
  • 2 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 C white flour
  • ½ C – ¾ C brown sugar (increase as needed for sweetness)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 C vegetable oil
  • 1 C milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients together. Create a well in dry ingredients. Pour in wet ingredients and stir together until just mixed. Pour mixture into muffin tray, filling ~2/3rds full (muffin cups recommended). Bake 18-20 minutes. Insert a toothpick to ensure cooked through (pick comes out clean). Yields 20 muffins.

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Surprisingly, these do not come out pink as they would have you believe online. Here is another version for those of you out there who are vegan or choose vegan more often (like me):

Vegan Whole Wheat Beets Me Muffins

Ingredients:

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 C roasted, shredded beets
  • 3 tsp vital wheat gluten
  • 2 1/2 C whole wheat flour
  • ½ C – ¾ C brown sugar (increase as needed for sweetness)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 C vegetable oil
  • 1 C plant-based milk (eg. Almond milk, soy milk or coconut milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients together. Create a well in dry ingredients. Pour in wet ingredients and stir together until just mixed. Pour mixture into muffin tray, filling ~2/3rds full (muffin cups recommended). Bake 18-20 minutes. Insert a toothpick to ensure cooked through (pick comes out clean). Yields 20 muffins.

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Happy Eating! I promise there has been some knitting (albeit very little) that I will be finished with and able to show you very soon :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

salad: Lentil & Detox.

Since it is my FOUR year blog anniversary tomorrow (WOW!), I thought I would share with you a food update … not knitting related at all!

As part of our juicing adventure, M and I have started experimenting with various salads to enjoy with our lunches and dinners. The first is a recipe I came across recently but have since tweaked to our tastes. Disclosure: I love mushrooms so when I make this, I double them.

Lentil Salad - 3

Lentil Salad or Stir-fry

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • ½ head cauliflower, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped (can grate them in a food processer as well and place on top to steam when cooking is almost finished)
  • 6-8 white or brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 1C dried green lentils, rinsed
  • 2C vegetable broth
  • 1 bell pepper, any colour, finely chopped

Directions: In a hot skillet, add olive oil, onion and garlic. Sauté until onions are transparent. Add cinnamon and cumin. Mix well. Add zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms and lentils. Reduce heat and sauté gently for 10-15 minutes, being sure not to burn the dry lentils on the bottom of the skillet. Add broth. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to minimal for 15-20 minutes. Once lentils are cooked, add peppers to heat through. Remove from heat and serve over romaine lettuce, spinach, or rice or other whole grain of your choice.

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~

The second salad that I have just started making is a mixture of these two salads, the Detox Salad and the Fall Detox Salad, on Angela’s awesome blog, Oh She Glows. Even if you aren’t vegan, it’s worth checking out – her recipes are awesome!

Detox Salad

detox salad 2 - blog

Ingredients:

* The food processer works best with the grater attachment inserted, if available.

  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • ¼ head of green cabbage, grated
  • 1 apple, grated
  • 1 bunch of broccoli (2 heads), finely chopped or coarse chopped in food processer
  • ¼ head of cauliflower, finely chopped or coarse chopped in food processer
  • 2 tsp of Braggs seasoning (or any other seasoning mix with rosemary, thyme and sage; I used a no salt added version) or to taste
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice or to taste
  • ¼ C sunflower seeds, raw & unsalted (set aside 1 tbsp)
  • ¼ C sultana raisins
  • ¼ C dried cranberries

Directions: In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Sprinkle the reserved Tbsp of sunflower seeds on top of salad to garnish. Serve.

detox salad - blog

The colour of the grated carrots were so vibrant that I had to share this with you. I hope you enjoy these light, healthful salads as much as we have been.

grated carrots - blog

As a follow-up to the post about juicing, I thought I would share with you that we are still juicing like crazy. We make green smoothies because I can. not. throw. out. all. of. that. fibre. goodness. M has really embraced the smoothies – we both look forward to them with our meals. I have quit Weight Watchers as the juicing has been much more successful for me. I have lost another 5lbs, which means I have lost all of the baby weight! Yahoo! Now, we are actively engaging in eating a cleaner, healthier diet (sadly, that means no more Nibs or Diet Coke). I will share more as we go.

What have you been doing for your health lately? Any foodie websites or blogs you love? Please share!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

weekend work.

“What’s a weekend?”

-The Dowager Countess of Grantham, Downton Abbey, Season 1

The weekend seems to be the best time for me to work on my various crafting projects as I usually have some quiet time to myself. I thought that going forward, I would continue to share some of this ‘weekend work’ with you as I am able since I tend to mostly share finished projects rather than works in progress…
 
Last weekend, during a bout of teething, I was able to continue working on a test knit that I am very excited about. It is going really well and I can’t wait to share the finished item with you once the pattern is released. The construction is ingenious – I’ve been really enjoying working on this one.
 
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A sneak peak for you! I hope you are working on something stimulating, interesting or just plain enjoyable as well :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

classic.

My first sweater of 2013 – finished! And I’m only posting this now … I was distracted with other things like Opposite Pole. I actually started this back in September but I was distracted by other projects. I decided in early January to push through and finish it for our annual Tofino trip. Unfortunately, I did not finish it in time but that was ok – I have it for camping this summer.
 
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Yarn: Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool in colour Brown Heather
 
Needles: 5.5mm for the body, 5.00mm for the ribbing
 
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I was inspired by Kelly’s versions here and here. Both of hers turned out beautifully. And as others have noted, the pattern is great. Another easy-to-follow and clearly written pattern from Jane. I like that it is an item you can dress up or dress down. Old jeans? Definitely. Black jeggings and boots? Absolutely.
 
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A small confession that I have to share with you, though, is that by the time I finished the yoke I was sick to death of plain old knit stitch. While I worked the body, I worked a simple right twist down each side. It just gave me a little sparkle to look forward to! Silly, I know.
 
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Modifications:
  • lengthened body by 2.5”
  • lengthened sleeved by 1.5”
  • added 3 extra increase rows in the hip shaping to finish with the 40” bust size at the hip (too narrow for me in the 36” bust size at the hips)
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I don’t think that pullovers are very flattering on me. I’m not very tall and I always feel, even when lengthened like this one, that they are boxy and shapeless on me. Even with the waist and hip shaping, I feel frumpy. What I really wanted a pullover like this one for is to wear with my down-filled vest and wellies when we are camping. Often I find myself wanting something warm and far-from-fitted when we are mucking about around the campfire and whatnot. I think this definitely will fill that bill!
 
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How do you feel about pullovers? Do you have a good track record with them? Any favourite pullover patterns to share?
 
ps. I’m sorry for the two low quality photos – M was my photographer per usual and we had to use artificial lighting in some of the photos as it was getting too dark.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

wonder-pole.

Knit in less than a week, this will definitely be one of my favourite sweaters going forward. Simple but interesting construction to keep it a little spicy, this cardigan is surprisingly flattering. I have to admit, I was a little sceptical when I read peoples’ comments about how flattering this sweater was – I am a convert!

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It really is as flattering as they say – it hugs where it should and drapes where it should.

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Yarn: Patons Classic Wool (Worsted) in colour Mercury
 
Needles: 5.5mm
 
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Those who know me, know that my two favourite colours are grey and yellow. So what could be better than a comfy yellow t-shirt under this cozy, chunky-ish knit … my favourite scarf of course!
 
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Yup, I`m in love! I made no modifications to this cardigan. The only thing I would do differently next time is knit the next size up sleeves. I chose the bust size 36-38” and while that is perfect, I just always need that extra inch or so in the upper arms.
 
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However, because this is a little bulky, I would not want any more bulk in the sweater body itself. The length is perfect. The oversized collar is awesome – have I mentioned how much I love big collars?!
 
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While this project was all about stash-busting and I started it on a whim when I was home alone last Tuesday night (yup, it was a 7 day knit!), I kind of want to knit it again … and again … and again …
 
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Lovely pattern, Joji – I really enjoyed this one!