Tuesday, August 26, 2008

dairy-free strawberry "ice cream"

Ok, so I know it's not knitting related, but I just can't keep up with multiple blogs at the moment, so you will have to put up with my food and other various interests from time to time.

I eat a pretty strict paleo diet, which means protein, certain vegetables, certain fruit, but no dairy, grains, etc... I am less strict from time to time and indulge in veggies (my favorites are eggplant, peppers, tomato, yes, ok, it's a fruit, and other things, even a little goat cheese) but for the past few months, and in the foreseeable future those are off my list b/c they seem to upset M greatly. Baby gets a rash, fussy, gassy, etc, etc. It sucks. But, it does keep me on track when I would surely fall of and binge if it was only my own health being affected.

Anyway, I REALLY, really, really miss yogurt and ice cream, and so far I have not been able to make coconut milk yogurt (though I hear it is possible), but today I successfully made the first truly awesome healthy treat I have had in ages! I was transported back to a time when I could enjoy a lovely personal container of haagen daz while strolling down Broadway with friends. sigh...

I just used a cheap electric ice cream maker and followed the directions (not their recipe, but once I put my "mix" in I followed their directions) and then froze in the freezer after reaching soft serve state in the maker. It does get awfully hard in the freezer, but if you chip it out and let it sit in your serving dish for a couple minutes it transforms back (magic!) to creamy amazing deliciousness.

2 cans native forest coconut milk

1 bag trader joe's frozen organic strawberries, thawed at room temp and mashed up by hand before opening the bag

4 tablespoons sugar free vanilla davinci syrup

mix these ingredients in the ice cream maker then start it and let it run according to directions. When the mixture sets up and is soft serve consistency transfer it to a container to store in the freezer. That's it!

The sugar free syrup is obviously not paleo, but I like to keep the carbs real low so it works for me, but if I was going to make a batch to share with anyone who doesn't want any artificial sweetner I would try honey or agave syrup, or maybe actual sugar. I know some hard core paleo people are so used to no sweetner of any kind that they would be happy with just the berries and coconut milk, but I've tried it both ways and this is better. (for my taste)

I am 75% done with my bog jacket, but have not been able to continue working on it for a few days b/c my options cable popped apart. :-( Thankfully Denise will lend me a set of 60 inchers next sip & knit. (Thank You Denise!) I think I will have to call KnitPicks about this, I have had it happen to a fixed needle as well, maybe they will send replacements? hmmm. They have always been prompt and awesome the other 2 times I had product problems.

Anyway, I was so annoyed about having to stop my bog jacket progress that I couldn't bring myself to pick up any other WIP's that needed finishing off. (I don't know what my problem was, I just wanted to knit what I wanted to knit) So, I started a new one. (makes perfect sense right?) I cast on my first PI Shawl Friday night, worked on it over the weekend and am past the 5th increase. I tried inserting a lace pattern at the 4th increase but had to rip back after a couple rows b/c I was totally unable to keep track of what I was doing with putting the knitting down every 6 stitches or so to rock M, or nurse, or tickle chubby little feet, etc. SO, I inserted lifeline, went on knitting plain, and now am thinking about some sort of "make it up as I go along/can see what I am doing whenever I pick it" up kind of lace I could put in for the last increase. We shall see.

Well, it is getting late, I must sleep. Will check back later.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Woot Howard County Library!

Cardigan Details has arrived! Stay tuned for more Schoolhouse Press requests getting filled....

Today was lovely for our outdoor Sip 'n Knit, I am so pleased that the Saturday morning time is working out for so many people, but I am beginning to worry about where we will go when the weather fouls up. I will look into using space at the library, and I guess Borders, the mall? Ideas anyone?

I finished S's Bog Jacket, will take pics after blocking. I lurrrrrve applied I-cord! My only spot of discontent with the finished jacket (well, there are 3, but the only one that I didn't already know about) is one corner of the raised collar, where I very foolishly started I-cording around, and thus finished at, and fairly badly wove the end bits together. hmph. It'll block right out. ;-) (right?)

So I cast on my very own Bog Jacket this morning in a navy blue Debbie Bliss chunky tweed that seems very promising. I like the texture, very rustic.

Well, I have to get knitting so I can finish up the Bog jacket, and re-watch Cardigan Details (Meg Swansen is sooooooo coooool!) so thats all for now.

Friday, August 8, 2008


So after crying in my tea the other day over how frustrating and difficult my kiddos were being re: getting knitting fix's done, they were so thoughtfully awesome today! (in as much as an almost 5 month old and a 2 year old can be thoughtful...) They conveniently took a Simultaneous Nap today which allowed me to a) correctly pick up stitches and continue motoring along the bog jacket, and b) find my coil less pins!!! (It occurred to me that the last time I had used them I was working on a moccasin sock in the car, and there they were!

So, all together a very nice and productive day with minimal screeching and tantrums, and even M's teething seems to have subsided! We'll see how tomorrow morning goes sine I have to take S with me to Sip 'n Knit, but at the moment I am optimistic. (that may be a side effect of the totally awesome vindaloo I made for dinner, there were honest to goodness tears of spicy joy)

--The Tranquil Knitter

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


So, one of the "very important things" to know about knitting with small children is that your time and attention are limited. Very, very limited. So projects that would otherwise be perfectly within your range (and that ought to take a couple days to finish) become huge looming, month(s) long dramas, often having sections ripped out b/c you rushed to finish something during someones nap, or were distracted by the screeching. For example, my lovely toddler Bog Jacket is going to need the neck binding off ripped out and redone b/c it is way to tight, and I accidentally did it too soon. (I had intended to give it a raised collar.) AND, sigh, I dropped a stitch, which, I tried picking up 3 times and was unable to get right, somehow. :-(

I know (conceptually) how to pick it up, but I have precious little practise doing it, I just don't drop stitches, The last (unintentional, that is, phony seams, or this instance was on purpose, to repair a split stitch) time it happened was probably 3 or 4 years ago. (I know, I know, poor me...)
So, between the toddler "help" and general, well, mayhem, I ended up with slightly "off" or twisted stitches every time until I gave up and helped sort out "the sand table incident" nearly in tears of frustration. I have just put the whole thing aside for now, maybe someone can help me on Saturday at Sip 'n Knit.... *hopeful grin*?

So my other handy/easy/kid friendly project is my sock, but, of course after choosing the cable I want to go with, I can't find my favorite ever markers, my lovely, wonderful, perfect coil less safety pins from schoolhouse press. I can NEVER find them when I want to. NEVER. At this point I really am near tears. (of frustration at least) I dug through ALL my knitting bags, no idea where to look next. I will have to order another pack, that's the only way I ever get them to appear. (Seriously, there is a pattern of this happening with disturbing regularity.)

So I set sock aside, b/c I HAVE to have the tools I want, or I will spend the whole time muttering to myself and getting more and more upset, so, what to do? I NEEDED something to work on, simple, gratifying, useful if possible, not requiring me to dig for more tools or spend lots of time planning/preparing. I had been planning on Elisa's Nest Tote, but as I scanned the instructions I noticed it was knit and then seamed. Ugh. Heresy! So I made up my own. Hah! I am really pleased with how it is coming out, also it has been very cathartic b/c it's coming together so quickly, looks quite nice, and is completely "seat of my pants knitting" so I don't have to peer intensely at my nearly invisible laptop screen (remember, I have been dragged outside to the sand table...) and figure out someone else's pattern. I took some pictures of the progress, and when it's done I'll jot the pattern down in case anyone else want a completely knitted in one piece in the round mesh bag. Sophia wants "a little one for me too" so I'll run that off as well.

Well, I'm off to knit round and round and relax a little before sleep....
--The Tranquil Knitter
(or Tranquilized Knitter, as I work on the "box of wine"...)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Knitting for Zach in Afghanistan...

So my little bro is in Afghanistan and I'm sure the last thing he wants to think about is knitting or what would be a sensible warming device but in a few months I think he might find some handknits useful. I was thinking something like this hat might be a good start. I'll ask what he thinks when I send his birthday package. Off to Costco for chocolate (bad idea? I assume it will melt, but does that really matter? Zach is such a chocolate fiend...) and jerky, and we'll see what else.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Good Lord!

It worked! It worked! The library system wins! (or I do, and it's other users, if you want to be factual...) I requested several Elizabeth Zimmermann dvds and books a few months ago, and THEY ARE HERE!!! I have of course spent as much time as possible watching them since picking them up Sunday afternoon. (bad, negligent mommy, I know...) In about a month or so you too (if you reside in the state of Maryland and know how to use interlibrary requests...) may be the proud/happy/thrilled/engrossed temporary owner of Knitting Workshop and Knitting Glossary!

In other news, I have finished the heel on my jojoland toe-up sock, and now have decided I'd like to insert a couple of cable-y type things, or maybe a nice traveling stitch up the leg. It's on 52 sts, and with this color way I'd like to keep it simple to show the slow gradations of green to purple and back. I am thinking one 'Rhombus' cable over 12 sts starting at each side of the ankle. I also like the EZ 'Sheepsfold', but I have to find my books to look for it, and I want to just get knitting, so.....

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Initial Post

Tranquil knitting is what I would like to be doing, but until I am old and gray (or just go deaf, or the kids move out…) I will have to do as the blog title states. At the moment I certainly have more opportunity to think about knitting than I do to actually partake in it. In any case I grab my needles and work furiously at a sweater when the baby sleeps, or stuff a sock or sleeve in my pocket to occupy myself with as we spend a morning at the playground. (Did you know that if your cable isn’t too long you can hold a baby on your hip and walk/dance with them while getting in a few stitches here and there on a magic loop sock? Well now you do.)

All this thinking about knitting brings designs to mind much more quickly than I can try them out, so I also have a little notebook of sketches and “Ideas to Try” someday. Who knows, maybe I will get one or two sorted out and will post them here.

I am under a sweating nursing baby and a laptop, in August, so that's all for now folks!