une tricoteuse nommée allison

a knitter named allison (who also does other stuff)

Knitting Olympics/Ravelympics February 15, 2010

It’s time for the Knitting Olympics and Ravelympics! This year I am competing with Ravelympics “Team Hopelessly Overcommitted”. I’m also signed up as an individual knitting athlete with the Yarn Harlot’s official Knitting Olympics. My project is a cardigan. It was going to be Laura Chau’s Top-Down Raglan but, well, I forgot to print out a fresh copy of the pattern, and had tossed my old marked-up one in the recycling bin. So the night of the opening ceremonies I studied a few cardigan patterns and decided that I could wing it. After some false starts due to gauge issues, here is what I have so far:

I cast on 12 for each front, 10 for each sleeve, and 19 for the back. Seed stitched for a while, and now I’m doing YO raglan increases (I like the openwork look it gives). I’m maintaining a 5-stitch seed stitch border on each front, and when I get to the bottom and cuffs I’ll do a deep seed stitch border (I like seed stitch – can you tell?). No buttonholes – I’ll probably install toggles or ties later. The yarn is 8 balls of KnitPicks Wool of the Andes in “Williamsburg” (as you can see, a muted colonial blue). This is a mellow knit – challenging to complete during the Olympics because it’s an entire sweater, but not so technically challenging that I can’t knock out most of it while watching TV or talking with people. Watch for in-progress photos as the Olympics (and the knitting) continue!


Attention – blog soon to be brought back to life! January 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — A @ 5:20 pm

Yup, that’s right. I’m going to start blogging again. I need to limber up my writing muscles, which I fear have a repetitive stress injury related to news release writing. Stay tuned for more soon!


Pasta Carbonara Sans Ouefs (without eggs) February 16, 2009

Filed under: cooking,Creativity — A @ 10:03 am

Recipe time! (Apologies for mixing the French and Italian, but I had no idea what the Italian word for eggs is and couldn’t be arsed to look it up).

I used to love pasta carbonara, but over the past few years I’ve developed a problem with eggs. They make me violently ill. As a result, I quit eating my beloved carbonara because eggs are a key part of the sauce (raw eggs, to be precise). Even if you don’t have a problem with eggs in general, carbonara sauce can be tricky to make because the heat of the pasta and cream can rapidly cook the eggs on contact, turning the dish into something resembling spaghetti with scrambled eggs. This recipe is my adaptation of Nigella Lawson’s spaghetti carbonara from her book Feast. I’ve added peas (a favorite in my house) and omitted all eggs, faffing around a bit with the cream and cheese proportions to make up for it. It ends up much more like a carbonara than anything else I’ve tried, and is not at all as thick as an alfredo sauce. I made this for Valentine’s Day, and it was a big hit.

6-7 oz. (about half a box) angel hair pasta
1/2 cup frozen peas
6 oz. pancetta (substitute bacon if pancetta is not readily available)
2 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
3/4 cup half and half or cream
2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Drizzle olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Put salted pasta water on to boil. Once at a full boil, add pasta and peas. Cook according to pasta package directions, or until al dente.
Meanwhile…Slice pancetta in 1/4 inch cubes.

In a large saute pan (that will fit pasta once cooked), saute garlic and pancetta cubes with a drizzle of olive oil until pancetta is browned but not crunchy or dry.

Add white wine and simmer until it reduces to a light syrupy texture.
Reduce heat to low. Add cream and parmesan cheese. Mix well while constantly stirring to prevent scorching. Cook until mixture is slightly thickened and hot all the way through.

Drain pasta and peas and add to pan with sauce. Toss well to coat.
Add salt and pepper if desired.
Dust with additional parmesan cheese before serving.

EDIT – 1/5/10…A year later I have learned that this recipe will not really work if you try to use 2% milk instead of the cream or half & half. Be advised.


Actual Knitting Content – with Photos February 10, 2009

Filed under: Creativity,Knitting — A @ 9:33 am

So it has been a while since I added some actual knitting information. I am working on things, but had failed to take pictures of them and didn’t want to post the very exciting fact that I bound off the bottom of the Bluebell Boatneck sweater without photos. I still don’t have photos of that (will take some after the sleeves are done) but I do have a few pictures of recent knitting. These were all gifts.

Charade Socks – originally made for me, but they turned out a little tight. They were a perfect fit for my grandmother, however, who is enjoying them.

Manly Socks – Knit Picks Essential Tweed in black. Made for boyfriend, who really wanted dark, manly socks. I learned that knitting with black yarn on size 1 needles isn’t something you should attempt if you value your eyesight. But he likes them, so it worked out. I’ll try to get a better photo of them being modeled on feet, looking less deformed.

“Mind the Gap” scarf. Made for boyfriend for Christmas. He saw a scarf he liked at the mall, so I made a research trip to the Gap to study it. This is my interpretation. He must like it, as he wears it a lot. The yarn is Cascade 220 (navy) and Cascade 220 superwash (olive). I learned while doing this scarf that 220 superwash is slightly finer than regular 220. It made the scarf a bit wavy, but I was able to block it out.

1973 Afghan. I started this way back when I first learned to knit in 2006, so it’s just a simple 4×4 rib in Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick (Lemongrass colorway). The color reminded me very much of the 70s and early 80s, when my family lived in a house decorated in avocado green, harvest gold and shades of brown (with rust colored carpet – delightful!). 1973 is the year my parents got married, and they received many wedding gifts in this shade of green. Ever since I cast on for this afghan my mom had hinted that she would love to have it. So for Christmas I finished it up and gave it to her.


Amy Sedaris and her fabulous crafty gift January 22, 2009

Filed under: cooking,Creativity,Misc,Sewing — A @ 10:46 am

The inimitable Amy Sedaris appeared on the Chelsea Handler show, and brought with her a very special craft project. In other news, I love Amy’s dress and shoes.
Warning: This may not be safe for work if your work objects to the word “vagina” or cuddly felt crafts resembling vaginas.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “Hulu – Chelsea Lately: Amy Sedaris“, posted with vodpod

Loop-de-Magic-Loop January 14, 2009

Filed under: Knitting — A @ 9:37 am

Something exciting happened last night – I Magic Looped for the first time! Having previously believed Magic Loop to be a form of voodoo, I was recently seized with the urge to learn it so I could make greater use of my circular needles for small-diameter objects (as well as finishing up the decreases on larger objects like hats). So I Googled, I found the best tutorial video ever on YouTube (link below) and I learned. Last night I fished out one of my longer fixed circulars, a size 4 Susan Bates with a pretty flexible cord, and set to it. I did in fact make a tube of 12 stitches. It really, truly does seem like Magic.

Next up? Purchasing a long size 1 circular to try Magic Looping some socks!

The brilliant video tutorial by the Knit Witch is below:


Knitting Tragedy January 12, 2009

Filed under: Knitting — A @ 12:53 pm

While working on my new sweater project, one of my Denise needle tips snapped at the base. It was a size 5, the thinnest tips in the interchangeable set. Fortunately it looks like Denise offers a lifetime warranty for any parts that break during normal knitting use (and I think knitting a harmless wool pullover in the round constitutes normal use). I would show you a picture of the snapped needle, but it is already wrapped up and ready to be mailed to the Denise folks. This is particularly heartbreaking because I have been making mad progress on this sweater, having cast on Friday night and finished the raglan increases by Sunday night. I was getting ready to split the sleeves from the body (a very exciting moment, as I could then run to the office bathroom and try on my sweater) when I heard the fatal *crack*.

Here’s hoping for a quick needle replacement! Meanwhile, I’ll have to return to my regularly scheduled program of sock knitting.