Meals from the pantry

What do you make when you haven’t been to the store lately, and have to rely on whatever staples you have on hand?

I’ve posted about this before with a couple of my go-to recipes, but was reminded again today when I saw Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for Spaghetti Pangrattato. Mmmm. Must try this soon.



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FO: Gathered Scarf

AKA: The Giant Tootsie Roll

Gathered Scarf

This was a good travel project – easy to just pick up and work on without needing a pattern, and small enough to be portable.

Gathered Scarf

Pattern: Gathered Scarf: Pattern page, Project Notes
Yarn: Filatura di Crosa Superior, 2 balls (thanks, Cookie!)
Needles: 4mm and 3mm

Super soft, and nice and long so I can wrap it twice around my neck and still have nice tails.

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Rising from the ashes

Crystal: I’m Athena! Rising fully formed from the head of Zeus!

Athena Barbie

Barbie: You moron! You’re not Athena, and that’s the neck of a book fairy, not the head of Zeus. Now put on your dress. This is the last time I’m taking you to a toga party.


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Matched set

I finished the new Extra, out of the yummy cashmere yarn Kim overdyed for me. Since I had plenty of yarn, decided to make some matching headwear. There wasn’t really enough yarn for a hat, so instead I decided to make a headband – just enough to keep my ears warm.

I know – it’s a crazy idea. Handknit items that match.

Extra #2 and Mureena headband

The scarf is really squishy and soft – very cozy to wear. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll put buttons on it – for now, I’m just using a magnetic shawl pin.

The headband came out great – just the right size for me and my small head. The cashmere makes it really nice to wear.


The headband is supposed to be closed with buttons, but another Ravelry member had the great idea to crochet an elastic hairband to the ends, giving it enough stretch to put it on easily. I loved the idea, so I did the same thing. It might end up a little too loose with wear, but if it does, I can always take the hairband off and do buttons.


The pattern for the hairband is called Mureena, and it’s in Finnish. The main part was charted, but the first and last parts for the tapered ends just had written directions. Google Translate helped figure it out enough to let me do my own charts for the written parts (see my project page), and then it was a snap. I couldn’t make heads or tails out of the Google translation of the instructions to crochet the button loops, so it’s just as well I didn’t do them anyway.


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Boiled and Baked

Despite the fact that an excellent Bagel shop recently opened within walking distance of my house (local peeps – definitely give it a try), I decided to make my own bagels. I guess having been sick for so long has really made me stir-crazy.

So I mixed and kneaded, and let the bagels rest:

Bagel dough resting

Then I boiled:

Bagels boiling

And baked (dark ones on the left are cinnamon/chocolate-chip):

Bagels cooling


Sesame Bagel

This is the third time I’ve made them, and so far the best. I think all the recipes I’ve tried have been good. The recipe I used this time was more involved and required a two-day process, but I’m not really sure that’s the main reason. It was also the first time I used barley malt syrup, and I had a better idea of what the dough consistency should be like. I think if I made either of the other two recipes again, they’d be better than they were the first time – and in any case, they were ALL good. I’d have to really compare them all side by side to declare a winner.


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And onward

I am gradually pulling out of the sickhouse… at least in the past few days, I’ve felt a little better each day instead of worse. I hope that means there’s an end in sight, and I’ll finally be able to get out into the real world. Of course, with the crappy air quality we’ve had lately, it’s probably just as well that I’ve been house bound.

Anyway, since still not feeling quite up to snuff, but needing a new project, I decided to go with quick and easy, and nothing that requires much thought.

I’ve started another Extra, this time using very yummy cashmere which made it’s way to me via a couple of lovely people. Although the original periwinkle color is actually very flattering to my skin tone, it’s not a color I would normally wear. I considered making something for my mom, since she’d love the color and it would be smashing on her – but she rarely goes outside, so anything in bulky cashmere would most likely go unused. And the yarn is much too nice not to be worn.

So instead, I sent it to Kim at The Woolen Rabbit to overdye it for me, and she did a spectacular job (of course). We discussed a few options, and ended up going with a delicious rich, dark purple. Here are the before-and-after shots:

Jade Sapphire

It’s so amazingly soft and squishy worked up in the simple garter stitch. I’m sure I’m going to love being wrapped up in it.


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FO: Corrina

I finally finished the delightful Corrina. Took a while with those small needles, but it was definitely worth it. I’m very pleased with how it came out, and I’m sure this is a sweater I’ll really enjoy wearing.

This is the first time I’ve used the sport/sock weight of Beaverslide, but I’m sure it won’t be the last. It makes a lovely fabric.


Pattern: Corrina
Yarn: Beaverslide 2-ply sport/sock, in Buff Natural, 3 skeins
Needles: US 3/3.25mm
Mods: None

On Ravelry here.

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Rising from the dead

Or at least, it feels like it.

I’ve been horribly ill with parainfluenza, complicated by an eye infection in both eyes. I don’t get sick often, but this one was really a doozy and knocked me down and out. Today’s the first day in a week and a half that I’ve felt slightly better than the previous day, instead of worse. Hopefully I’m on the mend. The Pontiff got sick with the same symptoms (other than the eye infection) at the same time, but had a much more rapid recovery than I did, other than the near-constant cough. At least he was able to get out and around.

You’d think that might be a good excuse for putting my feet up and knitting, but even that was too difficult – I’d knit a row or two and just feel worn out. Even watching a movie seemed too much of an effort.

So what to do when not sleeping or napping? An audiobook turned out to be the perfect thing. I could curl up on the couch and close my eyes, and just listen to the book. I’d downloaded ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier from my local library. I’ve read it before, of course, but it had been a long time. If ever a book was a perfect fit for an audio version, this was it. The first-person narrative style of writing, combined with the perfection of the reading by Anna Massey, was as if the young Mrs. de Winter herself was in my living room telling me her story. (Part 1 of the audiobook is on YouTube here, if you want a preview.)

I found out after finishing the audiobook that Anna Massey played the part of Mrs. Danvers in a 1979 BBC mini-series of ‘Rebecca’. I’ve only seen the 1940 Alfred Hitchcock version (which I enjoyed, other than the change to a key element of the book – apparently necessary because of the ridiculous Hays act), and the 1997 Masterpiece Theater version (perfectly dreadful in my opinion*), so I will definitely have to watch the BBC one. It’s supposed to be more true to the book. Apparently it was never released on DVD, but it seems to be on YouTube in its entirety. I’m in Part 2 now, and it definitely is more true to the book in both casting and tone. I wish it had better production values, as it’s pretty typical for 1970’s made-for-TV movies, but it’s done well enough for me to overlook that.

Thanks to YouTube, all versions are available for your viewing pleasure:

1940 Alfred Hitchcock Version

1979 BBC mini-series

1997 Masterpiece Theater Part 1 and Part 2 (if you must… but perhaps good for a laugh.)

*I guess it might not be so dreadful if taken as a movie by itself, but I though it was a horrible adaptation of the book – badly miscast in every role, and completely different in feel from the book – more like a romance than a psychological thriller and tale of jealousy. And the odd changes to the plot? Why?

Oh, and go say Happy Birthday to The Cookie.





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FO: il grande favorito

Just in time to ring in the new year!

il grand favorito

The sweater of great softness is done. I love how soft and fluffy the yarn is, especially after blocking.

il grande favorito

But it’s light as air. It’s hard to see from a photo how pretty the yarn is – it has a silk core covered with fluffy brushed alpaca. The shiny silk peeks through the fuzz and adds sort of a tweedy look, especially in garter stitch. You can see the yarn a bit better in the photo below, and the color is more true-to-life:

il grande favorito

Despite the fact that I don’t generally like raglans, or to knit sweaters top down in the round, I’m very happy with this one. The pattern has fewer increases on the sleeves than the body for the first few inches, which gives the raglan seam a slightly different angle – almost in between a saddle shoulder and a raglan. I also like the scoop neck of this pattern, rather than more of a boat neck that you often get.

The pattern also incorporates short rows at the bottom hem, to make the back of the sweater longer than the front. I chose not to do that for this sweater. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, and since I did garter stitch on the front half instead of stockinette, the sweater is naturally a little shorter in the front anyway.

It’s a great basic sweater, and I can see making it in different types of yarn (smooth and fluffy), as well as making it plain or jazzing it up with some cables or other details, changing the neckline to a V-neck, etc.

Pattern: il grande favorito by Isabell Kraemer
Yarn: Garnstudio DROPS Brushed Alpaca Silk, 8 skeins (yarn held double throughout)
Needles: US9/5.5mm and US8/5mm

Modifications: Garter stitch along the front piece instead of stockinette, changed the ribbing from 2×2 rib to 1×1 twisted rib, omitted the short row shaping before the hem. Ravelry project notes here.

Happy New Year!

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Fluffy, Take 2

My second try at making a sweater from this yarn is going much better. (I guess it would be more accurate to say my second pattern, since I had multiple tries with the first pattern.)

il grande favorito

This one is going much better. I knit enough of one sleeve to make sure that it would fit well (which it does), so now I’ll finish the body. I may need to decrease a few stitches, but I won’t be able to tell until I get a bit farther along.

The yarn is soooo soft. I can’t stop petting it. It’s like a kitten. And it’s pretty amazing how well it has held up after being knit and frogged several times. I’m afraid it will be a bit sheddy, but if it’s as cozy as I think it will be, I’ll forgive it.

The pattern is “il grande favorito“, and I am liking it pretty well, despite the fact that I normally shy away from top-down raglans. I like how the designer has done the raglan seams, both with the rate of increases (different for the sleeves and body), and how there’s a decorative detail at each “seam”. The scoop neck is nice too, since I’m not a fan of the type of neck you get in raglans without doing any shaping. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll do the longer hemline at the back.


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