Sunday, July 7, 2013


I love food.  I can't be as adventurous as I would like to be with 2 kids under 10 in the house (in my experience, that way leads to tears and misery), but I put a great deal of thought into the food I buy and the meals Phil and I prepare for our family.  Preparing a meal I know my family enjoys, making something special for the kids' snacks, spending endless hours canning tomatoes in August... it's one of the ways I tell my family I love them.   

I don't know whether I'd go so far as to call myself a Foodie or anything, but there you have it.  I spend a good part of each day preparing/planning/thinking about food.  And yet, in the almost 6 years I've been blogging, I don't think I've posted a single recipe here. 

That ends today.

 Last time I wrote about how the garden had gone nuclear and I had more garlic scapes than I knew what to do with.  On Friday morning I harvested a bunch and put them in the fridge before I went to work, thinking inspiration would hit and I'd figure something out during the day.  I HATE not using things comes from the garden. 

Later that morning while scrolling through my Instagram feed (you can find me under DearKnits!), I came upon a picture of a pasta dish with red onions, garlic scapes, pistachios, cream and parmesan.  And inspiration hit. 

I used my scapes in a pasta dish, but added sauteed mushrooms and substituted pine nuts instead of pistachios.  I also cut out the cream and added some cherry tomatoes for colour.

And holy JEEZ was it good.  So, SO good.  Even the kids loved it.  And Phil, who isn't overly fond of pasta dishes that are too "noodle-ey" liked it too. 

I made it again tonight, just so I could snarf it down photograph it and share the recipe.  You're welcome.

Pasta with sauteed mushrooms, garlic scapes and red onions


4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 8oz (227 g) package of mushrooms (I used a blend of oyster, shitake and enoki mushroms), chopped.
1/4 cup of red onions, sliced
1/3 cup garlic scapes, cut into 1 inch pieces (about 5 scapes)
1 tbsp  freshly grated ginger
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
250 g pasta (I used a mix of fusilli and penne rigate)
5-6 slices smoked salmon (optional)


- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over med-high heat.  Melt 2 tbsp butter and add mushrooms.  Sautee for 3-4 minutes until mushrooms have softened and have begun to brown.  Add red onions and sautee until softened.

- Reduce heat to medium.  Add garlic scapes, ginger and thyme and continue to sautee 5-10 minutes.

- Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted water until al dente (about 7 minutes).  Drain, and return the pasta to the pot. 

- Add remaining olive oil to pasta and stir to coat evenly.  Add the mushroom/red onion/scapes mixture to the pasta and mix well.  Add the grated parmesan and halved cherry tomatoes and stir.

- If vegetarian dishes aren't your thing, or if you want to add a bit more protein to this dish, throw in a few slices of smoked salmon before serving. 

Personally, I found this dish to be absolutely delicious, and I hope you will too!  If you give it a try, do let me know what you thought of it! :)

Happy Cooking, Everyone!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Bright Side

I don't know what the weather has been like in your part of the world, friends, but up here it has been WET.  Sure, we've had the occasional warm Spring Day (or now, technically Summer Day), but on the whole it's been rainy and grey and sometimes downright cold.

Now, in case you didn't know, Winter is a big deal in Canada.  After enduring six months of ice, snow, sleet, and mind-numbing, soul-sucking cold, we're all a bit shell-shocked, you know?  We need our oh-so-brief-but-glorious Spring and Summer to bring us back to life, to forget the horrors of Winter and remind us why anyone would ever choose to live in this God awful climate in the first place.

But this year, Spring just... didn't sprung.  And thus far, Summer's interest in making an appearance seems to be casual at best.  I'm not going to lie, it's been taking a toll on our moral. The first drop of rain,the slightest dip in the thermostat has us sighing in heavy exasperation and muttering to ourselves about the Gosh Dang Weather.  I've been trying to make the best of it (Knitwear is still appropriate!  Yay!  Everything is green and lush!  Super!), but this week I finally had to admit that the game was up and that the whole "It's good for the plants" spiel just wasn't going to cut it anymore.

The thing is though?  All this rain we've been having?  It really IS good for the plants.

The garden has EXPLODED, my friends.  Seriously, it's like a Girls Gone Wild video out there, only for plants.  The tomatoes I planted (that I grew from seed!!!) have gone berserk, the carrots are doing splendidly, I've got more garlic scapes than I know what to do with, and the basil, while tender, is fragrant and wonderful.

The only thing that hasn't been going crazy are the cucumbers (I suspect they aren't getting enough sun - Hah!  Get in line, dudes!).  I also had ZERO luck with my watermelon despite sowing the seeds twice, so I've changed plans for that raised bed and have planted spaghetti squash instead.  They look teeny now, but I know the ways of squash.  They'll be joining the veggie party, taking up all the room and making googly eyes at the green beans in no time.

So yeah... there's that.  And for those doldrums that the garden can't cure?  Well, there's always cross stitching.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Without further ado (because I know the suspense has been killing you), it is with great pleasure that I give you Citron, aka the Big Red Blob of Doom:

Yes friends, I finished it. There were approximately eleventy-bajillion-zillion stitches on the needles at the end, and for a while I thought I had stumbled into some sort of blip in the time-space continuum, but binding off that final stitch was like attaining knitting nirvana.  I experienced a singular, blissful moment of clarity...

... swiftly followed by an overwhelming wave of hostility and disgust.  I couldn't get that f*$#ing shawl away from me fast enough.

It took me a full week before I could even look at it again, and another week to be able to sit down and weave in 6 little ends. And now it is finally and truly done.

I can't even begin to contemplate casting on for another shawl at this point, resolution be damned.  Since finishing my Citron I have gone absolutely WILD and cast on not one but TWO socks (I KNOW!  Get DOWN with your bad self!) and have been enjoying knitting on one or the other as strikes my fancy.

The pair on the left (which is not, in fact, as crazy neon orange as it appears in this photo) is the latest
Cookie A Sock Club sock, knit with Sweet Georgia CashLuxe Fine.  The pattern (inspired by Spock!) is fun and challenging and the yarn is absolutely divine.  The pair on the right is my Soccer/Swimming/AutoPilot knitting of the moment, a pair of plain vanilla socks knit out of NightFall sock yarn.

I'm sure I'll be serving myself up another slice of crazy-pie within no time, but until then I'll be happily knitting away on these babies.  Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Monday, June 10, 2013


There are a few reasons why I haven't written a blog post in a good long while.  First (and I know this is going to come as a complete shock to those of you who still frequent this space (*Cough* Dad *Cough*): I'm not exactly the bestest blogger in the whole wide world.  Second, well, I've been kept busy by other projects.

Like the garden...

I guess one could say I've dabbled in vegetable gardening since the kids were born, but this is my third year of "serious" gardening. The garlic is up, carrots are sprouting away, and the tomatoes (that I started from seed!!!!) seem to be managing fairly well despite the cool Spring we've been having up here.  I even spotted a few baby tomatoes out there this morning!

As I mentioned last time, I've also gotten pretty obsessed with cross stitching over the past few weeks.  Cross stitch is a bit of a vixen though.  It beguiles you with it's seemingly manageable size and all-round cuteness, so that you don't immediately realize what a MASSIVE time-suck it can be.  Stitching all those little x's takes TIME, my friends!

But if you really want to know what's been keeping me from posting to this knitting blog, I'll tell you: it's that I am absolutely bored to tears by the project I've been working on since, oh, forever.  Friends, I give you the coma-inducing red blob of despair:

Also known as a Citron Grand, which I'm knitting out of 1300 yards of laceweight.  It's going to make a great Christmas gift, and goodness knows I knew what I was getting myself into when I pulled those 3 balls of Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace out of the stash, but MAN.  I've been relying heavily on my runner training, trying to suck it up and keep slogging along, telling myself that each row is one row closer to the finish line, and you know what? 

Not unlike 'round about the 15th kilometer in a half-marathon, my pep talks are starting to feel like total and complete bullsh*t.  I'm never going to be done.  This mind-numbing, soul-crushing torture is just going to go on (and on)  (and ON) forever. 

Happy pointless knitting that won't make the slightest dent in your WIP everyone! *Sigh*

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


I made some fairly ambitious knitting resolutions this year. I wanted to knit 12 shawls, 15 pairs of socks, and try to use up 15000 yards, primarily from the stash if possible.  Ambitious, but totally doable, right? 

By the end of March, I had knit 3 pairs of socks, 3 shawls, and about 3000 yards, all from stash.  Not too shabby, eh?  I had this Knitting Goals thing in the BAG, people.

And then this happened...

Yup.  I totally drank the cross stitch Kool-Aid.  I have become a cross stitching fool.

I signed up for The Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery's Springtime Sampler.  And the 2013 Woodland Sampler.  Aaaaaaand I might maybe have bought another of their patterns too. So yeah... I didn't just drink the Kool-Aid, I gulped it down and wiped my chin off on the sleeve of my merino and silk cardigan. Knitting Goals?  Pshaw!  I've got plenty of time, right!?

Happy Stitching everyone!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pushed over the edge

I'm trying to knit from stash as much as possible this year.  I wouldn't call it Cold Sheeping exactly.  Maybe Tepid Sheeping?  Anyway, as anyone who has developed a, um... healthy interest in knitting can attest, refraining from buying yarn can be... challenging.  The colours, the fibers, the sales... it can be hard to resist. 

Enter the yarn club.  Pay your money up front at the beginning of the year, then receive shiny new yarn at regular intervals throughout the year.  I'm not saying it CURES a knitter of her itch to buy yarn, but knowing you've got a shipment coming in a few weeks definitely takes the edge off, which can be pretty handy in a pinch.

Way back in February (you know... 'round about the last time I wrote a blog post?  Ahem), I received the first shipment of the Cookie A Sock Club.  It was a lovely skein of Indigodragonfly MCN sock, in the colourway E Pluribus Nom Nom Nom.

Lovely, isn't it? What a pretty thing.  And as soft and squooshy as frolicking kittens on a Spring morning.  Just perfect.

Only, well... there was a snag.  Turns out I had remarkably similar yarn in the stash already.  A few skeins of it.  And here's the kicker: I was embarrassed that I had "So Much Yarn" in this colour in my stash. Really.  I've been squirreling yarn away for YEARS, it's invaded practically every nook and cranny in my home, but THIS skein was pushing me out of my comfort zone.

There was only one thing to do, of course.  I had to get that yarn out of the stash ASAP!  Denial  balance had to be restored at all costs!

The club yarn has been knit up into one of the 2 patterns for that shipment, the Ernie Socks, and they're now safely tucked away into the Gift Box.

The green Hazel Knits (top right) is being knit up into a lovely shawl by Corrina Ferguson, Evadine.  And the Springtree Road yarn (bottom left) will most likely be cast on with next.

Me?  Too much yarn?  Pshaw.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

But is it TOO perfect?

Well, it finally happened.  I hopped on Ye Olde Bandwagon and cast on for a Color Affection shawl of my very own.  (Truth be told, I bought my ticket for that fun train months ago when my friend Marie-Michele and I spent about an hour debating colour combinations of Grinning Gargoyle Seda Sock at Rhinebeck, but I only jumped on 10 days ago.)

Anyway, it's charming.  Utterly charming.  Cushy and comforting.  Like oatmeal on a cold winter morning.  The soothing garter stitch is predictable, familiar, yet kept from being monotonous by the novelty of the colour changes.  And it's flying off the needles!  A friend remarked that it's a good thing I'm knitting with aluminum needles, because I'd be fixin' to set my knitting on FIRE I'm rubbing these here pointy sticks together so fast.  All in all, I'd say it's perfect, perfect knitting.

Then last night, as I rolled my knitting into a ball and left it on the couch lovingly tucked my knitting away for the evening, I wondered at how swimmingly everything was going, and that's when it happened.  A shadow of doubt.  A wrinkle.  A question... maybe this was going too well?  Maybe it was too perfect?  Maybe I'd done something wrong?

The instructions had seemed fairly straightforward, but what if I had made a mistake?  The third section of the shawl has you knitting 3 stitches past a previously wrapped stitch.  Had I been picking up too many stitches all along? Had I been over-thinking the directions and taken the instructions too literally?  Had I inadvertently turned my perfect, winter comfort knitting into a pile of absolute drivel that I would need to rip back in quiet shame?

All night, it bothered me.   I barely slept a wink.  This morning, once I was caffeinated and the kids were safely off to school, I knew what I had to do.

Good news: it's going to be fine.  My bad!

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Call me Mrs McMatchyPants

A few weeks ago I had dinner with a good friend of mine, who also happens to be a knitter.  Knowing that she would appreciate them, I took special care when selecting my winter woolens.  I had just completed the Neon Ski Bonnet, which I showed you a few posts ago,  so naturally I grabbed that first.  I paired the hat with my (yet-to-be-documented) Different Lines shawl, and my (also yet-to-be-documented) Wood Hollow Mittens.   The shawl is knit out of Sanguine Gryphon Bugga in a rich pink and black combo, and the mittens are in a pinkish/blueish/greyish wool.  And, in case you missed it, my Neon Ski Bonnet is, well... cranberry. Bright red.

Being a knitter, my friend honed in on my new hat right away, and dutifully oohed and aaahed.  Being a fashionable knitter, she also remarked, albeit affectionately, that my accessories were somewhat lacking in the coordination department.

It was true.  Despite my best intentions, I had fallen into the knitters' trap.  There I was, proudly showing off each individual piece as testaments to my knitterly skill and general awesomeness, but I had completely forgotten the fact that they were no longer knitting projects but articles of clothing.  If I had gone to work in an outfit as uncoordinated as that, I might have been mistaken for a patient in the psychiatric ward.  Just sayin'.

I really did love that hat though.  And I still had about 250 yards left of that never-ending Shelridge.  So I set about knitting up some matching accessories.

 Clockwise, from top left: Neon Ski Bonnet, Wood Hollow Mittens, and Ziyal Cowl.

I had knit the mittens before, and I figured the cables and twisted stitch border pattern would be a good match for the headband of the hat.  I was wondering what I was going to do for a cowl when I happened upon the Ziyal cowl, by Allison Goldthorpe, a free pattern on Ravelry.  It uses the same smocked stitch pattern as the ski bonnet.  Score!

Matching, coordinated winter accessories, using leftover yarn that's been marinating in the stash since 2008.  I am living the dream, people.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Thursday, January 31, 2013


Thanks for the kudos on my knitting goals, friends!  I tell ya, there's nothing like hearing back from your peers to make you realize that you might maybe be serving yourself a nice big slice of crazy-pie, heh.  15,000 yards!  15 pairs of socks!!  12 shawls!!!  Ooh, boy, this is going to be good!

One thing having a yardage goal has made me aware of is my leftovers.  This is the first time I've kept track of the amount of yarn that actually gets knit up chez Dear.  Before this, I tended to think of my output in terms of FOs rather than quantity of stash yarn actually USED. 

Up until now, when a project was done, well... as far as I was concerned, so was the yarn.  I didn't throw it out, of course, because it was still yarn after all.  I don't think you can develop the kind of relationship we as Knitters have with yarn and just THROW IT OUT (unless we're talking about acrylic.  But that's a debate for another day).  No, I just put it in a bag and sort of, just... forgot about it.  The project was finished, the yarn was done.  Out of sight, out of mind, and definitely out of the stash.

Here's the thing though.  That bag?  Where yarn leftovers go to die?  Turns out there's, um... a lot of yarn in there.  Like, A LOT, a lot.

Does this count as stash?!?  I'm already finding it challenging to find projects for the yarn in the stash, should I be trying to find projects for the leftovers as well? 

What do you do with your leftovers?

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Sunday, January 27, 2013


A couple of years ago I started this "Running for Rhinebeck" thing to save money for my annual pilgrimage trip to the New York Sheep and Wool festival.  The idea was that, for every kilometer I ran, I would put a dollar into my Rhinebeck Fund.  So I created a little "Running for Rhinebeck" widget thingamabob and smacked it on the sidebar of the blog to keep track of my progress.  Whenever I run, I boot up the blog, click on the widget to log onto Ticker Factory, and enter in my distance (and cash).  Simple!  I figured it would a) encourage me to keep up with my training, and b) give me a fair whack of guilt-free yarn money by the end of the year.  Bingo, double-whammy.

Yeah... for the past month and a bit, logging the progress has been... shall we say... difficult?  Embarrassing?  Not because I haven't been running (I have.  Not as much as I probably should, but I have).  No, the problem is that I have to face The Blog to do it.  The Blog.  This space that I haven't contributed to for months.  MONTHS. The SHAME.  Ugh.

Here's the thing.  My evenings are short and my ME time is precious.  When faced with the choice between knitting and writing about knitting, I'm going to go with knitting, you know?  Hence, no blogging.

But every now and again, I catch myself thinking about a project or a pattern, or hatching some crazy scheme, and I think "this would make a good blog post".  So I guess I haven't really gotten this whole blogging thing out of my system after all. 

I'll try to fit it in.  Somehow.  

So what have I been up to lately, you may ask?  Well, I've been knitting.  And thinking about knitting.  And thinking about what I want to DO with my knitting this year. 

I love setting myself up to fail goals for myself.  They give me a real sense of momentum, of moving forward.  Work is hectic (stupid money... grumble grumble), kids (God love 'em) are demanding, and time is in short supply.  But making lists makes me feel like I'm doing the things I want to be doing, even if I never ultimately get around to it all.

So!  Here are my goals for 2013:

  • Knit up (drum roll please) 15,000 yards in total.  Yup.  Just over 13km worth of yarn.  I can totally do it.  Right?
  • Knit 12 shawls.  To this effect, I've joined the 12 Shawls Forever group on Ravelry.  'Cause, you know... Peers are good :)
Shawl the First: Wendell Holmes, by Corrina Ferguson.
  • Try to use some of the vintage stash.  Also in the "Peers are Good" category, I'm participating in Stash and Burn's Use It or Lose It project.  

 Neon Ski Bonnet, by Lacey Volk.  Knit with some Shelridge Farm W4 Soft Touch I purchased at Rhinebeck. In 2008!
  • Knit all the shipments from the Cookie A Sock Club (oh yeah.. I signed up for the Cookie A sock club!)
  • Knit an additional 9 pairs of socks, for a total of 15 pairs in the year. 

I also have a few stash enhancement goals, but they're more "guidelines" than strict rules.  Basically, I want to make sure that more yarn makes its way OUT of the stash than in, heh.  'Cause, yeah... I've got a lot of yarn.  Ahem.

What are YOUR goals?  How are you doing so far?

Happy Knitting, my friends!