Thursday, March 28, 2013

Woven Cable Mug Cozy





I’ve been working on a wrap, will get posted when it’s finished, and needed a small project that I could use to take a break from the wrap.  Well, earlier in the week I knitted my first cable pattern which was a mug cozy and I guess I’ve gotten mug cozy fever.   I created this one and I have another one or two floating around in my head at the minute.  Or I think my husband would tell you that it is more likely projects to pick on his favorite coffee mug!  He shouldn’t have told me that I couldn’t put it on his mug he knows I love a challenge. 



This is a project that you can easily modify to fit your needs.  If you are making it for a coffee mug that has a handle depending on the size of your mug you might want to do reduce the number of stitches because I created this cozy to fit my husband’s Ron Jon coffee mug which is larger than the average coffee mug.  Sorry the pictures aren’t really, really clear it’s just that I didn’t think about how this color of yarn would photograph.



This pattern is now available for free through both Ravelry and Craftsy!

Long & Short Cable Keyhole Scarf




I have always loved garments and accessories that had cables on them.  Well it took me 3 years to teach myself but I finally figured out cabling!  The problem that I always had in the past is that that at times I knit a little tight and the cables would look weird, I would have holes near the cables, the scarf would pucker at the bottom.  I don't know how many times I tried to knit a pattern with cables only to get frustrated and quit.

This time I decided keep it simple and found a beautiful Pumpkin Spice mug cozy on Ravelry.  I tried it and it came out beautiful.  The next thing I did was design my own mug cozy the Woven Cabled mug cozy.  When I first knit it I wasn't sure if it was going to work so I wasn't too picky on the color of yarn that I used.  I've now come to the conclusion that dark green is not the best color to photograph or to show off a cable pattern.  My literacy student really liked it so I gave it to him.  When I get a chance I'll be knitting another one in a lighter color.    

The next thing I decided that I needed to do was knit a scarf.  One of my biggest complaints about scarves is 1) they usually aren't long enough and 2) if you don't tie them right they are useless.  To solve this I decided to knit it with a keyhole in it so that I can put the one end through and then wrap it around my neck.  I knit it with some wonderful Berroco Vintage Chunky that I got the day after Christmas last year.  This yarn is sooooo wonderful that I am going to be picking some more up so that I can knit some more scarves for Christmas presents.  I brought it with me to one of my tutoring sessions because my student had texted me to say he was going to be late. And when he saw it he loved it and has been asking me since what I'm going to do with the scarf now that it is finished.  Sorry pal, but I can't wait to wear this when it gets cold! 

I would normally put the pattern info below but I originally had this pattern set up as being for sale and the word document that I used is on my external and I have to find where it's at.  So you can find the free pattern at Ravelry and Craftsy.






Big Basketweave Stitch



Row 18: k all sts Repeat rows 1-18 until desired length

The Big Basketweave Stitch is a really neat stitch that I could see making a scarf with or even a funky looking afghan.  I've personally been thinking of doing a stitch sampler scarf.  Another project to think about at another time.  Right now I'm knitting the Saroyan scarf available on Ravelry.

Abbreviations
CO- cast-on
sts- stitches
p- purl
k- knit
[ ]- repeat instructions inside brackets # of times specified
*; rep from *-repeat stitches between *'s according to the directions listed

CO stitches in multipes of 18 plus 10.  For this swatch I CO 28 stitches.

*Note: I was originally knitting this for a different project but found it was too wide so I decided to make a stitch guide for the Big Basketweave Stitch.  That is why there are 4 rows stockinette stitch after the CO row.*

Row 1: *k11, p2, k2, p2, k1; rep from* ending with k10
Row 2: p1, k8, p1, *p1, [k2, p2] twice, k8, p1; rep from * to end
Row 3: *k1, p8, [k2, p2] twice, k1; rep from*, ending last rep k1, p8, k1
Row 4: p10, *p1, k2, p2, k2, p11; rep from * to end
Row 5: *k11, p2, k2, p2, k1; rep from *, ending with k10
Row 6: p1, k8, p1, *p1, [k2, p2] twice, k8, p1, rep from * to end
Row 7: *k1, p8, [k2, p2] twice, k1; rep from*, ending last rep k1, p8, k1
Row 8: p10, *p1, k2, p2, k2, p11; rep from* to end
Row 9: k all sts
Row 10: [p2, k2] twice, p2, *p10, [k2, p2] twice, rep from* to end
Row 11: *[k2, p2] twice, k2, p8; rep from* ending with [k2, p2] twice, k2
Row 12:[p2, k2] twice, p2, *k8, [p2, k2] twice, p2; rep from* to end
Row 13: *[k2, p2] twice, k10; rep from*, ending [k2, p2] twice, k2
Row 14:[p2, k2] twice, p2, *p10, [k2, p2] twice, rep from * to end
Row 15: *[k2, p2] twice, k2, p8; rep from* ending with [k2, p2] twice, k2
Row 16: [p2, k2] twice, *k8, [p2, k2] twice, p2; rep from* to end
Row 17: [k2, p2] twice, k10; rep from* ending with [k2, p2] twice, k2
Row 18: k all sts

Repeat rows 1-18 until desired length.


How to Knit a Mitered Square


Cut yarn and pull through last stitch on needle & tie off.  You now have a mitered square.

I love trying learning new knitting skills and this was one of those things that you look at it and think it is soooo much harder than it is.  Mitered squares can be used in making blankets, scarves, shawls, rugs, clothes, etc.

When you try this skill for the first time make sure that you are able to give it your full concentration.  I am in the process of putting together a pattern for this skill type.

to do this project all you need is some yarn and knitting needles.  For my sample I used some leftover yarn from my stash.  I think it was some Berroco Vintage in lavender, this is a line of yarn that I love because it feels soo soft, and I used size 8 knitting needles.

To create a mitered square you are going to cast-on double the number of stitches you want one side of your square to be plus one stitch.  So for example if you want your square to have 11 stitches on one side than you will cast-on 23 because it is 11 (your # you want to end with) + 11 (doubling the amount you want to end with) + 1= 23 sts

Abbreviations
CO= cast-on
sts= stitches
k= knit
sl 1 pwise= slip 2 stitch as if to purl
k2tog= knit two stitches together
psso=pass slipped stitch over stitch that was just worked and drop it off the needle

CO 23 sts
My 23 cast-on stitches.

Row 1: knit all sts
Row 1: knit all stitches

Even rows will be decrease rows and to do them you will take your total number of sts and subtract 3.  For row 2 my square would be 23 (# of original sts)-3=20 and then divide your number in half.  This will give you the total number of sts before and after the decrease.  So for row 2 it would be 10 sts, 3 sts for decrease, 10 sts.

Row 2: k until st before decrease.  For my square I k 10 sts
Row 2: knit until st before decrease. For my square I knit 10 sts.

Next slip 1 st as if to purl then k the next 2 sts together.  Finally take the st you slipped and pass it over the last st you knitted and drop the slipped st off the needle.
Next slip 1 st as if to purl then knit the next 2 sts together.  Finally take the st you slipped & pass it over the last st you knitted & drop the slipped st off the needle.

To finish the row k the remaining sts which should be the same amount as before the decrease.  Each decrease row decreases your sts by 2 sts.  So for my square I now have 21 sts.
To finish the row knit the remaining sts which should be the same amount as before the decrease. Each decrease row decreases your sts by 2 sts. So for my square I now have 21 sts.
The bump in the middle are the sts that you decreased.
To finish the square you will keep repeating the below rows until you have 3 sts left on your needles.
Row 1: k all sts
Row 2: k until st before dec, sl 1 st pwise, k2tog, psso, k remaining sts

So to continue the square we were working on it would continue like this:
Row 3: k all sts (21 sts)
knit row (21 sts)

Row 4: k9, sl1 pwise, k2tog, psso, k9 (19 sts)
Decrease row: k9, sl1pwise, k2tog, psso, k9 (19 sts)

Row 5: k all sts (19 sts)
knit all sts (19 sts)

Row 6: k8, sl1 pwise, k2tog, psso, k8, (17 sts)
Dec Row: k8, sl1pwise , k2tog, psso, k8 (17 sts)

Row 7: k all sts (17 sts)
knit all sts (17sts)

Row 8: k7, sl1 pwise, k2tog, psso, k7 (15 sts)
Dec row: k7, sl1 pwise, k2tog, psso, k7 (15 sts)

Row 9: k all sts (15 sts)
knit all sts (15 sts)

Row 10: k6, sl1 pwise, k2tog, psso, k6 (13 sts)
Dec Row: k6, sl1 pwise, k2tog, psso, k6 (13 sts)

Row 11: k all sts (13 sts)
Knit all sts (13 sts)

Row 12: k5, sl1 pwise, k2tog, psso, k5 (11 sts)
Dec Row: k5, sl1 pwise, k2tog, psso, k5 (11 sts)

Row 13: k all sts (11 sts)
knit all sts (11 sts)

Row 14: k4, sl1 pwise, k2tog, psso, k4 (9 sts)
Dec Row: k4, sl1 pwise, k2tog, psso, k4 (9 sts)

Row 15: k all sts (9 sts)
knit all sts (9 sts)

Row 16: k3 sl1 pwise, k2tog, psso, k3 (7 sts)
Dec Row: k3, sl1 pwise, k2tog, psso, k3 (7 sts)

Row 17: k all sts (7 sts)
knit all sts (7sts)

Row 18: k2, sl1 pwise, k2tog, psso, k2 (5 sts)
Dec Row: k2, sl1 pwise, k2tog, psso, k2 (5 sts)

Row 19: k all sts (5 sts)
knit all sts (5 sts)

Row 20: k1, sl1 pwise, k2tog, psso, k1 (3 sts)
Dec Row: k1, sl1 pwise, k2tog, psso, k1 (3 sts)
Look at the pretty square we have made!!

Row 21: k all sts (3 sts)
knit all sts (3 sts)

Row 22: sl1, k2tog, psso (1 st)
Dec Row: sl1, k2tog, psso (1 st)

Cut yarn and pull through last stitch on needle and tie off.  You now have a mitered square!  Wasn't that really easy?
Cut yarn and pull through last stitch on needle & tie off.  You now have a mitered square.

How to Knit the 2x2 Rib Stitch


2x2 rib stitch is usually seen on items like cuffs, necks, bottoms of sweaters.  I've also seen this stitch used to make scarves.  It is a really easy stitch that is made up of combinations of knit and purl stitches.  The nice thing about this stitch is that it lies flat so it would make a great beginner pattern for a scarf.

The 2x2 rib stitch is is cast-on in multiples of 4 sts plus 2.  My swatch is a total of 18 sts (4 sets of 4 + 2 sts).


Knit 2 x 2 Rib Stitch

Abbreviations
co= cast-on
p= purl
k= knit
bo= bind-off
sts= stitches
*= repeat from * to end

For this swatch I US size 7 needles and Berroco Vintage yarn in Lavender.

CO 18 sts
For my swatch I cast-on 18 sts (4 sets of 4 + 2 sts)

Row 1: k2, *p2, k2; rep from* to end
Row 1: k2, *p2, k2; rep from* to end

Row 2: p2, *k2, p2; rep from * to end
Row 2: p2, *k2, p2; rep from * to end

Keep repeating rows 1 & 2 until you reach your desired length.  This swatch is 8 rows or 4 repeats.
Keep repeating rows 1 & 2 until desired length. The above example was 8 rows or 4 repeats.

How to Knit the Andalusian Stitch


The Andalusian Stitch is an easy beginner stitch that I think looks great as a scarf with a self striping yarn.  Andalusian stitch creates a really nice grid made up of knits and purls.  This stitch is knit in multiples of 2 sts plus 1.  The sample that I knit was on US size 7 needles and is made of 13 cast-on sts and 12 rows (or 3 repeats).

Knit Andalusian Stitch


Abbreviations
co= cast-on
bo= bind-off
sts= stitches
k= knit
p= purl

Row 1 (RS); knit all sts
Row 1 (RS) knit all sts

Row 2 (WS): purl all sts
Row 2 (WS): Purl all sts

Row 3 (RS): *k1, p1; rep from* to last st, k1
Row 3: *k1, p1; rep from* to last st, k1

Row 4 (WS): purl all sts
Row 4: Purl all sts

Repeat rows 1-4 until you reach desired length.  The below swatch is made up of 12 rows or 3 repeats.
Repeat rows 1-4 until desired length. This swatch is made up of 12 rows or 3 repeats.

Back of swatch
Back of swatch.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

General Tsao's Chicken at Home



I love Chinese food but hate the way you usually feel afterwards.  Sometimes I get an unsettled feeling in my stomach and other times I just feel sluggish.  My favorite meals that I toss between are sesame beef and General Tsao's Chicken.  That sweet and spicy sauce of General Tsao's was something that I craved during the first part of the pregnancy with my daughter.  Funny enough the end of my pregnancy I wanted nothing wot do with it but I became addicted to was Tzaziki Sauce at our local Italian/Greek restaurant.

Recently I was in the mood for some General Tsao's but didn't feel like going through the sluggishness that I get afterward so I decided to try and make it on my own.  The recipe that I used to adapt my recipe with is from Magical Recipes General Tsao's Chicken served at the Nine Dragons at Epcot's World Showcase.

Strangely enough this was one of the few recipes that I haven't made any changes to .  Yes I'm feeling perfectly fine it's just that I couldn't find anything that I wanted to change at the time. Wait!  I just remembered that I did make a change or two to the marinade and instead of 1/2 beaten egg for the batter I used the whole egg.  There was a total of 1 tsp of liquid which came out a little dry so I poured in a little more which I have made the changes to the ingredients to reflect that.  Can't believe I forgot that I did that.  Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Magical Recipes

Made enough for 7-8 people

Marinade
1 tsp Chicken base
Dash of white pepper
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
1/2 tbsp Cooking Wine
1/2 tbsp Sesame Oil
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breast

Batter
3/4 cup Unbleached All Purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1 beaten egg
2 tbsp oil
2/3 cup water
Pinch of salt
Enough vegetable oil to fry the chicken

Sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp ketchup
5 tbsp white vinegar
5 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp chicken base
Corn Starch to taste
Vegetable oil to taste

Sides
3 cups cooked Jasmine rice
2-3 heads of broccoli, cut up and steamed


1.  Cut chicken breasts into cubes.  The easiest way that I have found to do it is to use kitchen shears.  A lot faster than cutting with a knife.

2. Toss all marinade ingredients and chicken into a freezer bag, seal and shake.  Then put in the fridge and let rest for about 30 minutes.


3.  Heat oil to 320*.  In a large mixing bowl mix together the batter ingredients and once oil at 320* start to drop a few pieces at a time (I have a small fryer so I could only cook about 6 pieces at a time.)



4.  Cook for about 5-10 minutes  for each basket.  You need to check them after the first 5 minutes or so to make sure they haven't clumped together.  Another reason is so that you don't over cook the chicken.  Dried out chicken is nasty!

I keep the finished ones in an oven preheated to about 250*.  Keeps
them warm without drying them out so everyone can eat together.
5.  Mix sauce ingredients together and heat up in a saucepan over medium.  All you want to do is heat it up so that your not putting cold sauce onto chicken.  That's unless you want cold tasting chicken.  Once the sauce is done I like to pour it over the chicken and then stir it so that they all get coated.  Serve over rice with fresh steamed broccoli.  There is nothing better!!

The only change I'm looking at making to the sauce the next time I make it is to add some heat.  Maybe some Sirachi or some dried hot peppers.