Evergreen Aran (just once more)

About ten years ago I knitted Kristin Nicholas’s “Evergreen Aran” sweater from the Classic Elite pattern book Knitting the New Classics. When I casted it on it was going to be for me but then I met my partner and I let him have the sweater. He wears it every winter.

So now it’s finally my turn to have this sweater! I started it last week and so far, this is my progress:

better gray cable sweater

It’s going to take a while but I’ve got this under control! I’ve made it before, after all!


WIP: “Elegant Pineapple” by Patricia Kristoffersen

I started crocheting Patricia Kristoffersen’s “Elegant Pineapple” doily a few months ago. Today I’ve returned to it to add another round to it. I think it’s coming along nicely although it’s evolving slowly:

elegant pineapple

It will certainly look better when I finish it and block it but for now this is what I’ve got to share with you. The designer intended the doily to be larger but I opted for a slightly finer crochet cotton thread than what the pattern calls for: it’s size 12 instead of 10 (the latter being the famous “bedspread” weight). This is my first time working with Anchor crochet thread and I love it. This particular line is called “Freccia” and I think the reason why it feels so good to crochet with it is because it’s a three-ply thread.

The pattern comes from the Leisure Arts book Absolutely Gorgeous Doilies and, as you might guess from the photo and also from previous blog posts here, it’s yet another collection of Kristoffersen’s doily patterns with interesting front and back post work in the center. Of course, not all of the doilies in this book have that kind of center for the doilies, but a lot of them do. The center circle of this doily looks really complex but in reality it’s quite simple to crochet. The hard part of this doily is counting correctly on the larger, outer rounds!

When all else fails: Stick it out the window

These days are pretty gloomy. The lack of sunlight is really doing quite the number on my photographs of my knitting. I of course have another FO to discuss, but first let us appreciate the colors in this skein of Opal sock yarn, which after several failed attempts at being photographed, finally found itself stuck out the window for better lighting and, therefore, finer color accuracy:

Photo Aug 17, 11 23 02 AM

I love this yarn and I think it’s one of my favorite brands of self-striping yarn. This skein has different shades of blue, brown, gray, purple, and red. I’m about to cast on a sock with it right now!

If you’re curious about the colorway and my downstairs neighbor’s garden, here you go:

Photo Aug 17, 11 21 44 AM

I’m starting a new pair of socks because I finished my toe-up rainbow socks. They fit my feet wonderfully. Check them out:

Photo Aug 17, 11 09 08 AM

I made these socks two-at-a-time. I’ve definitely changed my sock knitting habits, which from now on are going to be determined by how the sock yarn is sold. If the skeins are sold so that one skein is enough for one sock, I’ll knit my socks toe-up and two-at-a-time. If the one skein is enough to knit a complete pair I’ll knit them cuff-down on tiny circular needles. Obviously, the next socks I’m knitting are going to be cuff-down on mini circs because Opal sells the yarn in big skeins.

Finished: Star Motif Sweater

I finished the vintage Fair Isle sweater for my partner’s Christmas gift. I’m sure it will look great on him when he finally wears it, but until then we’ll just have to admire it on the blocking rack, with very unfortunate lighting (yes, the main color is all the same, but the way the sunlight reflects on it it looks like it gets darker as you go down the sweater):

Photo Aug 16, 9 59 23 AM

I first blogged about this a while ago and in that post you can find the link to the pattern if you’re interested.

Garlic baby sea bass

I don’t have much to say about my knitting. Actually, I haven’t been knitting much for the past couple of days. So, why not share a recipe?

In Spain we have some delicious baby sea bass native to our coasts and it goes on sale this time of year. A dish that is popular here is called lubina a la bilbaĆ­na which is just a fancy way to say “garlic baby sea bass.” It is not difficult to prepare.

This fish recipe is so flexible that you can double it, triple, or halve it. As a matter of fact I’m not going to say how many sea bass you should buy. Figuring out a serving size is easy: one whole fish per person.

So, go to your fish monger and buy as many baby sea bass as you need. Have the fish monger cut their heads off and splay them open. The fish should be cut open so that they lay like an open book. There’s no need to de-bone the fish and the scales should not be removed.

So, here’s what you do:

  1. preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (or 200 Celsius)
  2. chop a lot of garlic – for each fish you need about three or or four cloves
  3. place your fish on a baking sheet or other type of baking pan
  4. season the fish with salt
  5. cover them with bits of garlic
  6. drizzle olive oil over them
  7. roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes depending on their size

Now, the meat of the fish will get a nice crispy texture on the outside and be soft and juicy on the inside. The garlic will brown a little bit and as it bakes it imparts its flavor to the fish thanks to the olive oil.

I like to eat my garlic baby sea bass with some plain white rice (seasoned with salt and pepper, of course) and a salad. Sometimes I season my fish with fresh lemon juice. Today I didn’t. Of course, I snapped a pic of my plate so you can see how it looks:

Photo Aug 06, 5 20 50 PM

I allowed my fish to stay in the oven perhaps 5 minutes longer than I usually do because these little “babies” were a bit meatier than I’m used to seeing.

How to eat your baby sea bass: just pick at the fish with a fork. You can use the tines of your fork to scrape the meat from the spines or you can simply lift the entire spinal column out of the meat. It will separate cleanly and easily.

When you make your first batch you’ll understand why I said it’s essential to leave the bones in and the skin on the fish because you’ll notice that, once cooked, the fish is a bit fragile. The skin and the bones hold it all together.

I’m pretty sure you can adapt this recipe to using a grill outside. The only thing you might need to do is put the fish on some aluminum foil.

The trick to pulling this dish off is to buy fresh baby sea bass. You can’t really use frozen fish because the bass’s flavor is the main feature. This, of course, is typical of Spanish cuisine. Most age-old, tried-and-true Spanish recipes use very few ingredients because the whole concept of enjoying food in Spain is to make the flavor of the main ingredient come through and truly shine. A lot of dishes that we consider “Spanish”aren’t really too terribly unique. Take, for example, the way lamb chops are traditionally prepared here: lightly salted and cooked on a grill or in a grill pan with some olive oil.

Why not more rainbow socks?

Last year I knit myself a pair of rainbow socks and I’m pretty sure I finished them after moving to the apartment I’m living in now. The yarn was from Tiger, an “upscale” Danish dollar store.

I had some Regia Design Line “Garden Effects” sock yarn in #03309 which looks more like a rainbow than a garden effect. It needs more green to look like a garden, really. I’ve been knitting them two-at-a-time and toe-up. I’m pretty excited to be almost done with the gusset rounds so pretty soon I’ll be turning the heels. I took a picture of them this morning in the sunlight so we can appreciate all the bright colors:

Photo Aug 02, 2 17 33 PM

As you can see, the Regia sock yarn isn’t fraying or coming to bits so these will go on my feet, not in the rubbish!

I’ve been knitting socks today between classes because it’s too hot to knit the sweater. I’ll work on that tonight when it cools off.


I got to the fun part

My Fair Isle “Star Motif Pullover” that I’m knitting for my partner’s Christmas gift is getting interesting. For the longest time I had to knit knit knit knit knit knit in beige. Now that I’ve got to the yoke it’s time to follow charts and add some cool color patterns. Here’s my progress so far (if the photo is gloomy, I’m sorry):

Photo Aug 01, 8 44 30 PM

See all that beige? That was a lot a of film viewing, TV series watching, and chit-chatting on the phone. I’m very happy it’s behind me and I can do something a little more challenging. I must say, though, that the color patterns are not difficult at all. I’ve also made things more enjoyable for myself by not following the directions in the pattern. For example, I’ve knit the whole thing in the round instead of knitting the body and sleeves flat up to the yoke. Also, I’ve kept live stitches where the sleeves meet the body so I can just close the holes with a three-needle bind-off. If you’re interested in the pattern it’s available for sale at Leisure Arts: http://www.leisurearts.com/star-motif-pullover-knit-pattern-epattern.html It was not in Ravelry’s catalog when I added the project to my Notebook but you most certainly can buy it and download it. I think it’s a wonderful sweater and I plan to knit one for myself with other colors in the future. It does not take any skill at all to convert the flat knitting parts to circular. You just have to multiply the back stitches to be cast on by 2 and join to knit in the round. The sleeve numbers remain the same.

I think I’ll be done with this sweater by Sunday of this week if I don’t get too distracted. Then, I suppose I’ll get going on another sweater because this project was the one I wanted to get done far ahead of time for Christmas. The rest of my Christmas knitting will be simple scarves and shawls so just as long as I cast all that on in a couple of months I’ll be set to get my gift knitting done in plenty of time.