taking stock / 02

Making: still working on the Umaro baby blanket for a wee one, and a marled slouchy ribbed hat for me
Drinking: too much red wine, not enough water. also, the atlas brew works peppercorn saison is a revelation!
Reading: Far From the Madding Crowd because 2015 will be the year I learn to love Thomas Hardy so help me
Wanting: eh, nothing at the moment... feeling pretty contented and it's a good thing
Watching: Obvious Child, which made me laugh, cry, and feel a little more human
Listening: to I've Just Seen a Face on a nonstop loop
Planning: vegetarian meals for the week, easy peasy
Eating: pomegranates and blood oranges. winter is growing tiring in ways, but I sure love the fruit selection!
Wearing: cozy sweaters and wool socks -- this COLD weather isn't going anywhere yet.
Writing: lists of patterns I'd like to knit this year and yarn ideas - Waterlily and Lila are slowly moving up my queue
Trying: a new recipe for toasted coconut butter - I'm betting it will be amazing on apple slices
Feeling: a bit disappointed that the weather spoiled our weekend vacation plans, but having friends who rally and make the best of a bad situation made for a weird, good time snowed in together

Episode 14 - Herp Derp

Thank you so much for joining me for Episode 14! I'm excited to mention that The Hungriest Knitter is celebrating its 1st birthday. Thanks to each and every one of you for your incredible support and feedback throughout this journey. I'm still a work in progress and so happy to share it with you.

Off the Needles: Tweedy Boyfriend Hat that I'm giving to my boyfriend (how apt!)
On the Needles: Umaro Blanket for my new niece, another Purl Bee Boyfriend Hat that I'm planning to keep
Stash Acquisitions: Purl Soho Line Weight Yarn, Baggu Box Bag
On the Radar: Dragon Scale Mitts, Dahlonega Shawl, Canopy Shawl (pssst, watch for details on Dragon Scale Mitts giveaway to celebrate one year of The Hungriest Knitter!)
On the Stovetop: Bittersweet Chocolate Brownies, Easy Vegan Cinnamon Rolls, G-Free Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Spinach and Chard Pie
On the Town: Domku in DC's Petworth neighborhood for fine Scandinavian and Soviet bloc eats

Use the #knitwithTHK hashtag on Instagram to share your latest knitting and yarny inspirations with me!

Again, thank you so much for joining me. Please drop me a note to let me know what you think or share the episode with someone you know. iTunes reviews are greatly appreciated!

taking stock / 01

Making: a smaller version of Brooklyn Tweed's Umaro Blanket for my sweet, new baby niece
Drinking: green smoothies every morning, herbal tea in the evening
Reading: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up because yes, I am a bandwagon-jumper and it's too easy to buy Kindle books
Wanting: to shrink my wardrobe, my yarn stash and my book collection (see above)
Watching: Northern Exposure, my favorite wintry show, on a nonstop loop
Listening: SO. MANY. PODCASTS! current faves: Pomcast, Woolful, How Did This Get Made, and The Splendid Table
Planning: episode 14 of the podcast!
Eating: soup. so much soup. what else do you make for weekday lunches? this soup thing is getting tiiiiiired.
Wearing: turtlenecks basically all day every day. it's cold out there, y'all. and as Diane Keaton says in Something's Gotta Give, "I'm just a turtleneck kind of gal."
Writing: with actual pen and paper in my new Hobonichi Techo planner, which I'm using as a planner, journal and knitting notebook. 
Trying: to not fall into the wintry despair that seems to arrive in February with lots of brisk walks in the sunshine
Feeling: inspired by beautiful blogs like Mandarine's, Raincloud & Sage, Jay Kay Knits, and Madder.

recipe: weeknight lentil and vegetable soup

When the weather gets bone-chillingly cold, it's difficult to convince myself to cook a fresh, bright, veggie-laden meal. I'd rather have macaroni and cheese knowing I'll feel terrible and bloated after. Or a million leftover Christmas cookies. Or, or, or... you get it. But it's a new year and a time for intention -- see what I did there?

That said, I also love making a huge pot of steamy soup to warm myself up, to have plenty of work lunches for the week, and to soothe my soul. Turn to my quick refrigerator-clearing lentil and vegetable soup. We'll take the simplest ingredients, things you likely already have in the pantry and fridge, and turn it into a bowl of something comforting. We'll pre-boil the lentils to speed up the cooking time. We'll toss all the vegetables wasting away in the crisper into a pot. We'll save a few bucks on those lunches at work with ease. We'll feel victorious and virtuous.

This is another endlessly adaptable recipe, so give it a try and then make it your own. Here's my version.

Weeknight Lentil & Vegetable Soup
Serves 6-8

2 cups black, brown or green lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium-sized yellow onions, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 28 oz. can of diced or crushed tomatoes
1 bunch of kale, deveined and chopped

Cover lentils with 2 inches of water in a saucepan. Boil for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside. In a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until tender, a few minutes. Then add carrots and garlic and continue sauteing for another 5 minutes. Add seasonings. Stir in tomatoes, lentils and 3 cups of water. Let the soup come up to a boil and reduce to a simmer for at least 30 minutes. Stir in kale and continue cooking for another minute. Remove from heat and check for seasoning.

thoughts on a new year.

I'm not much for New Year's resolutions. I love setting goals, but I think resolutions can be limiting and we can end up setting ourselves up to fail. However, I love the feeling of a fresh start. There's so much promise there. I like to approach a new year with the hope of what's to come, which is what led me to starting this tiny little podcast and blog of mine in the first place.

With this fresh start in mind, I wanted to share a few words and ideas I'd like to focus on in a big way in this next year, and how I expect they'll affect my craft and this space.

intention: Stop pinning my focus on schedules or what patterns everyone else is knitting (which I am wont to do). Create things that inspire me. Work with tools and fibres that I find fulfilling. Document the process as it feels right to me. Stay true to my aesthetic and rhythm. 

simplicity: I am most inspired by basic garments and get overwhelmed with too many projects on my plate. Keep this in mind and think about progress in small, manageable steps.

community: I am always in awe of the incredible people who reach out to me because of this space. My biggest goal in starting a podcast was to foster a community of like-minded crafters. Keep engaging with folks and hearing their stories.

What is inspiring you as we begin 2015? Do you make resolutions or goals, crafty or otherwise, at the start of a new year? I'd love to hear about it. Thanks for stopping by.

Episode 13 - A Dramatic Pause

Thank you so much for joining me today. Hello to both new and returning viewers! I'm so glad you're here.

Falling For Shawls KAL/CAL giveaway winners announced! Thank you to Kristen of Skein Yarn & the Skein Yarn Podcast for generously providing one of the prizes.
Off The Needles: Imposter's Shawl
On The Needles: Wintry Whispering Pines Shawl, Cozy Cranberry Socks, Tweedy Boyfriend Hat
Stash Acquisitions:  Savannah Bee Beeswax Hand & Nail Salve, Sublime Yarns Luxurious Aran Tweed, ChiaoGoo Bamboo Circular needles
On The Stovetop: Mexican Quinoa Soup, Rishia Zimmern's Chicken and Shallots  (I subbed coconut oil for butter and dried herb de provence for tarragon.)

Use the #knitwithTHK hashtag on Instagram to share your latest knitting and yarny inspirations with me!

Again, thank you so much for joining me. Please drop me a note to let me know what you think or share the episode with someone you know. iTunes reviews are greatly appreciated!

recipe: mexican quinoa soup with chicken

Over Thanksgiving, I had the entire week off from work to spend time with family and recuperate. So of course, I got sick. On Monday (err, today), I started my new job and I already have a feeling that my coworkers are tired of hearing me sniffling. You can only drink so much hot tea and rinse your sinuses with saline so many times, so here's a marvelously tart and spicy soup to the rescue!

Mexican Quinoa Soup with Chicken
Serves 6-8

1 medium red onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 glug good olive oil
1 cup red quinoa
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup frozen corn
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts (optional)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne 
salt and pepper to taste
1 lime, juiced

Saute chopped red onion, chopped carrot and minced garlic in olive oil until soft. Add quinoa and toast a few minutes more being careful not to burn. Add stock. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer until quinoa is cooked, about 15 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and frozen corn along with seasoning and simmer for 5 minutes. If using chicken, add whole breasts with corn and tomatoes and continue simmering on medium high heat for 20 - 30 minutes until opaque. When fully cooked, shred chicken breasts and return to soup. Add lime juice prior to serving. If the quinoa has soaked up too much broth for your liking, add additional stock as desired.

Serve with fresh parsley, cilantro, shredded cheese, avocado -- whatever your heart desires. And I bet this would be fabulous with some green chiles for an extra kick! 

adapted from The Daily Muse Blog

finished object: the mighty imposter's shawl

The Falling For Shalws KAL is still going on in The Hungriest Knitter podcast group on Ravelry, and while I've been impossibly swamped with life business (so much work stuff, car troubles & apartment problems colliding all at once), I have made a little time to knit. What I haven't made time for is podcasting, and I promise there's an episode coming soon! In the meantime, I am thrilled that I finally finished my Imposter's Shawl and hey, I love it so so much!

The construction of the body of the shawl is seriously a piece of cake. The increase methods are pretty ingenious and I love the look of the faux-woven pattern. The edging, on the other hand, took me a few tries. Picking up the stitches was easy-peasy -- I don't want to reveal any of the methods of this paid pattern, needless to say, just trust me here. The actual knitting of the faux-crocheted edge, however, led to a few false starts. My first attempts looked so lumpy and bumpy that I knew even an aggressive blocking wouldn't fix it all. After knitting the edging more tightly, I think it turned out well enough. I have a feeling that going down a needle size would have helped, too.

A good soak and blocking job is what truly makes this shawl sing. Blocking wires would be of great use here, but I just went with a ton of t-pins and my new Knitter's Pride Knit Blockers and was pretty pleased with the results. This shawl is primarily intended to be worn as a scarf, but it's an easy pattern to knit into a larger size. I'm thrilled with how the yarn washed up - I used Bartlettyarns Fisherman 2-ply, and after a good soak, the fibers relaxed and softened a great deal.

This is all to say: The Imposter's Shawl is a fun and cleverly designed pattern. You should knit one, too.