Saturday, 1 December 2012

Smart Yarn and Continuing Education

With the winter coming on with a vengeance (my definition of when temperatures hover and dip below freezing), I felt the need to knit a little lap blanket for myself for when I'm working at my computer into the night. The thermostat is set to go down after 11pm but I'm often up past midnight and it gets cold.

I also had a hankering to knit some lace using DK yarn. A few years ago when I was on an Estonian lace jag, I knit a couple of Lehe shawls:

this one using Zealana Kia Ora Kiwi Laceweight

and this one using Jamieson and Smith 2ply jumper weight wool.
At the time, I thought they'd be great little blankets if knit with thicker yarn. I loved the math of the design with the outer diamond pattern meeting up nicely around the inner diamonds.

This time I thought a DK superwash would fit the bill and found what I hope will be enough balls of natural coloured Smart Superwash yarn at my LYS.

After a provisional cast-on (the yellow cotton yarn), the entire square is knit.
Then the provisional yarn is 'unzipped', freeing up the stitches that will be picked up, as well as those on the two sides and along the top, and the border knit from the edges outwards totalling almost 800 sts per round. 
Surprisingly, it is a pretty quick knit but I don't expect to have it finished before Christmas because I have 4 knitting projects I would like to complete before then.

One of the projects is a commissioned work - a long cowl scarf for my neighbour, Joseph's, girlfriend. He asked me to knit her a "red and grey 'circle' scarf". I thought to myself, what a great excuse to knit the popular madelintosh "Honey Cowl".  Again a superwash DK yarn seemed to be in order so back I went yesterday to my LYS and picked up some red Smart Superwash and a ball of grey for the accent.

I started it as soon as I got home and was very impressed as to how easy the pattern is to knit. Basically after 4 rows of stocking stitch that I knit with the grey yarn (to create a rolled edge),  a knit row alternates with a 'P1, sl1wyif' or 'sl1wyif, P1' row. It is an excellent project for mindless or social knitting. I took it along to my cooking class last night where I was only going to be observing the meal being prepared (more about that later) and eating it.

As of this morning, I'm about half finished:
I like the grey accent and the look of the stranding on the outside of the cowl.
After blocking, I think it will be about 48" - 50" in circumference. Plenty long to wrap around one's neck twice.
This Smart Superwash is very nice to work with and at less than $6 per ball, very affordable for these projects. Here it is pictured in with both the old and updated labels.
Last night at the cooking class, we watched Chef John MacKinnon prepare a three-course meal of Coconut Shrimp with Plum Hoisin Sauce (surprising easy to make), Stuffed Sirloin steak (with roasted peppers and portobello mushrooms) with Blue Cheese Sauce and Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Dessert consisted of Molten Cakes with Crème Anglaise. The cakes were individually baked in ramekins. In the centre of the cake was a truffle that melted during the cake baking process (ergo 'molten').

We left the Cooking School very full and eager to recreate some of the items ourselves at home.

Here's what we're watching being made next Tuesday night at Cooking School:

"Savour the flavours this holiday season with Chef Sarah Hall's selection of timeless classics. Your festive feast features luscious Coquilles St Jacques (scallops in white wine & cream sauce, topped with gruyere cheese breadcrumbs); succulent Pork Tenderloin with Stilton & Port Sauce, with Baby Potatoes & Roasted Vegetables; and for dessert, a decadent Mille-Feuille (a layered pastry also known as a Napoleon, filled with raspberries, strawberries and a crème patisserie)."

This will certainly have been my month of Continuing Education with the two DIY classes in crown moulding/baseboard installation and hardwood floor installation and now with the three cooking classes. Being a lifelong learner is a lot of fun, very interesting and at times, really yummy!

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