Double Breasted Garter Stitch Sweater

I am making a second attempt at a sweater for baby. The first one is shamefully hiding in a bag somewhere awaiting the day I unravel it and remake it. I am using a pattern by Joji Locatelli from Ravelry. The English translation is listed in the link below.

I made some adjustments to my sweater, because I’m using a bigger gauge needle (circular needle size 5). Each time I knit I learn a new technique, this time I learned how to make buttonholes. Like I’ve mentioned before, there is no better way to learn a knitting technique these days than to type in “how to ______________” whatever you’re looking for straight into google.

If you want to try this pattern in a bigger gauge, (thus resulting in a quicker project) try a cast on (for newborns) of 38- 40 -38. They’re separated because the pattern calls for stitch markers (I use soda can tabs). Be advised before you start, you will need three separate balls or skeins of yarn, starting when you make the armholes.

I really like this pattern because it is quick, easy once you get the hang of it, and the garter stitch looks great. Also the buttons give it a classy pop, making it oh so adorable! I think this might be the sweater I bring home baby in. Depending on the weather of course!

Tips: when it’s time to cast off on the neck, play it smart and keep your stitches loose on the last row. Adding the neckband thing will be really difficult if they’re too tight.

When picking up stitches for the sleeves, for the love of Pete start at the armpit of the hole. Because you will work the seam in a flat piece, then sew it together nothing would be worse than having a seam in an awkward place.

If you have any questions give me a shout!

Pattern source:

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/garter-stitch-baby-kimono#

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Chicken Tortilla Soup in the Crockpot

I have shamelessly raided my in-law’s pantry for food that I can cook in the crockpot. Today is the third day in our house, and we are lacking a range among many other household appliances and furniture. This gives me the opportunity for ingenuity!

As I browse through different recipes online, I don’t actually see anything that allows me to use a crockpot in the way they were designed for (basically dump everything in and walk away). Instead the recipes I see want me to use my stove (which I don’t have at the moment). So I am creating my own!

Ingredients:
4 cups Chicken broth (1 box)
1 cup of milk
3 tbsp butter
1/2 c flour
Chicken breasts (2)
1 can Enchilada sauce or taco sauce
1 can Black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 can Rotel
1 Can Corn (drained)
1 Diced Bell Pepper
1 Diced Onion

Pour 3 cups of broth in the croc pot. Use the fourth to create a slurry with the flour in a separate bowl. Whisk until smooth, then mix into the crockpot a little at a time. Add the milk, butter, and enchilada (or taco) sauce

Add the chicken (dice if you prefer of shred when it’s cooked), diced bell pepper and onion, drained corn, and drained and rinsed black beans.

Next, add the Rotel. I didn’t drain it, the juices have a lot of flavor. I use minimal spices because I think there’s plenty of them already in the enchilada sauce and rotel. You can always salt and pepper to taste when it’s done.

Cook on high 3-4 hours. I topped mine with tortilla chips, and cheese. I spaced and forgot the avocado at the store, I would have put it on top too. Pick whichever kind of cheese appeals to you. Enjoy!

An afterthought. If you want a creamier soup, throw in a pack of cream cheese.

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Home :)

We got the house! It’s lovely, has three bedrooms (craft room!) and isn’t falling apart like some of the older houses in the area. The landlord owns the local hardware and furniture store and it shows!

The best part is it is in a quiet area with lots of space. I fell asleep dreaming of all the herbs, vegetables, and fruits we are going to plant this year. I can’t wait to start getting seeds ready!

Having a place to call home is a huge weight off my chest. We have been imposing on our families since October, and while it’s great to reconnect, being able to have your own space is surely a good thing! It makes getting ready for the baby less stressful. Knowing that the place we live is actually decent for a newborn was a really big deal to me. I lost a lot of sleep over it.

We spent all evening cleaning, and discovered that the jets on the tub actually work! Of course we let them run for about 30 minutes, filtered bleach through the jets, and cleaned out the filter. (gross factor, black gunk came out. If you’re ever in this situation, run it till it runs clear.)
Jessy brought home some cleaner from the hospital where he works, so now I’m confident that the house is clear of tuberculosis! (Germicide stinks by the way!)

All in all I am extremely excited ( I’ve been bugging my mom and dad nonstop, I’m sure they’d like a change of subject) and I can’t wait to put my touch into my new home. I plan on staying here and being happy happy happy until it is time to move to Oregon (ultimate dream).

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Trying not to be too hopeful….

But we have found a house, our fantastic references cleared, and the landlord has agreed to half the deposit if we clean it. We are on our way to go check it out and if it looks good then sign the contract! We have been looking for three months now, but nothing has met my standards and fit our budget. Will keep everyone updated 🙂 ps it has an extra room that I can dedicate to crafting! How awesome?

Sockies!

Or booties, whatever you want to call them. It seems I am always losing my socks, those thin stretchy ankle socks with all the cute designs. I can only imagine how many of those thin flimsy baby socks I would lose when Baby gets here. Then there is the whole baby’s foot growing thing. Fun!

So in the theme of do it yourself, I am doing just that! These cute little sockies take about day to make if you don’t get distracted. I looked at a ton of patterns, each with its own twist but decided I would just work with the basic sock layout because 1) I’m not picky and 2) I doubt my baby is either so long as his feets are warm.

There are plenty of sites that show patterns using super soft mureno wool. I would love to use something of that quality but let’s be serious, baby is going to out grow his socks in a few months. So instead I use a brand called Caron (I think that’s the brand, I threw away the label) that you can get at the local Walmart. It’s softer than that Red Heart crap (sorry red heart but your stuff feels like a burlap sack), and is fantastically affordable.

Ok so ingredients!
-A set of size 3 or 4 double pointed needles (at least three, but depending on your knitting style you might opt for four)

-Yarn! Whatever feels the softest. Medium worsted. Some people put exactly how many yards it takes per sock. I haven’t counted, and I probably won’t since they’re just baby socks. But if you’re extra unsure, you can’t go wrong with 100 yards. Unless your baby is an elephant.*

*Disclaimer. I am not calling anyone’s baby fat. I mean a literal elephant.*

-Yarn Needle. Or darning needle? You will need it to sew up the toe.

-Your babies foot measurements. In my case my baby isn’t out yet so I’m eyeballing it. I don’t make my stitches super tight, so there’s a bit of stretch, which will help extend the life of your sockie. Assume these instructions are sized for a newborn.

*disclaimer. I am not an expert knitter. Please don’t get upset if my instructions aren’t professional. I will try to be as clear as possible. If you have questions, ask!*

Gauge: 6 stitches = 1″

Cast on 12 stitches onto two needles. (6 on each)
Knit all stitches (keep stitches divided evenly between the two needles from this point)
Knit one, add a stitch, knit until there is one stitch left on the first needle, add a stitch, knit one. This will make 8 stitches on the first needle. Now do the exact same thing on the second needle, thus completing the round.

Continue this method until there are 24 stitches total, 12 on each needle. Now keep knitting until you’re ready to start the heel, however long you want it. I do 12 rows.

Now we are ready to do the heel. You will be working on one side from this point.

Knit until there is one stitch left
Wrap and turn
Purl until there is one stitch left
Wrap and turn
Knit until there are 2 stitches left
Wrap and turn
Purl until there are 2 stitches left
Wrap and turn
Knit until there are 3 stitches left
Wrap and turn
Purl until there are 3 stitches left
Wrap and turn
Knit until there are 2 stitches left
Wrap and turn
Purl until there are 2 stitches left
Wrap and turn
Knit until there is one stitch left
Wrap and turn
Purl until there is one stitch left
Wrap and turn

Now the heel is complete, begin working on the ankle. If your baby is bigger, consider doing ribbing (knit 2 purl 2) until you reach the desired length (I did about 15 rows). Since my stitches aren’t super tight I just knit all the way around. Now this is the super important part. You want your last rows stitches to be really loose so you have a bit of stretch when you bind off. Bind off and cut the yarn leaving about 6″. Sew in the tail with the yarn needle, then sew up the toe. Voila! Sockie! Rinse and repeat for a pair.

Like I said, easy basic baby sock. If you don’t want to lose your sock to the washer or risk unraveling you can hand wash and lay out on a towel to dry. If you aren’t that domestic then throw them in a pillowcase, tie off the top wash in cold on the gentle cycle. Tip: if you’re new to knitting, and having trouble with the terms the most helpful resource I have found is to simply google the term and read through the results.

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A New Me (maybe)

I am so excited to be starting a blog! Who knew creating one would be this easy? Oh right, introductions! Hi everyone, I’m Kate. My real name is Katherine, but I only use that name when I’m applying for a job (which I don’t think I will be doing in the near future, more on that later). 

 

I like Kate, it’s quick and easy to write. Best of all it’s what my husband calls me :). His name is Jessy, I may as well introduce him too considering I talk about him a lot! Great guy love him lots now back to me. 

 

I am spontaneous! I think it defines me. I always have new ideas that I just HAVE to try out. Sometimes I succeed, other times I fail. Every once in a while I fail miserably (homemade tomato cheese polenta fritters, re-tiling the house I used to rent, building a headboard on a <del>slim</del> nonexistent budget. But succeed or fail, I always learn something. And life without self improvement is a waste of a good life, right?

 

<strong>Self Improvement</strong>. It’s a scary big undertaking. But it needs to be undertook I think. Last August my beloved and I found out we are going to be parents. After freaking out (for the next four months) about unpreparedness we finally got our mom and dad pants out and have them ironed and ready to go. Things were off track for a good while, and it’s comforting to know that we are getting to where we need to be. 

 

I’m going to be a <strong>Mom</strong>.  I think I will be a great one as long as I keep working at being a better person. I resolve to take my time with things and do them right (impatience might be something I struggle with). I resolve to look at the whole picture before making assumptions. And I resolve to stay positive as often as possible. 

 

Being positive is a big part of me making this blog. If I surround myself with positive thoughts, then it only makes sense that I will be a more positive person. I certainly don’t want my sweet little boy (IT’S A BOY!) to think mother dearest is a grump. So from now on I will write happy thoughts :).

 

Some ideas I had for The Life and Times of Spontaneous Kate include a general chronicling of my new adventures into motherhood, showing off my newfound ability to knit, and maybe sharing some of my sewing and paintings (if and when I ever get back to sewing and painting). Also, throwing in some of my favorite recipes wouldn’t hurt. I am very excited and I have a TON of ideas that I will <em>patiently</em> take my time and <em>thoroughly</em> complete <u>before</u> sharing!Image