Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Necks Big Thing.

Just a couple of days ago, I was meeting with a yarn rep, ordering Spring yarns and resisting the urge to buy more Winter yarns, when he pulled out the coolest little scarf sample. I couldn't take my eyes off it. It was so simple, yet so brilliant (aren't all great ideas?). After our meeting, I grabbed a skein of Malabrigo Rasta and practically skipped home to create my own version.

The Necks Big Thing was born.

I couldn't stop myself. On Thanksgiving Day, as everyone scurried about getting dinner on the table at my mom's house, I was whipping up another Necks Big Thing - this one in Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande.

It took me less than 30 minutes to make.

It took my daughter less than 24 hours to steal from me.

We wore our new scarves to work the Black Friday sale at Loops South yesterday. People positively clamored for it. I handed out at least a hundred copies. So in the interest of paper preservation, here is the pattern - just for you.

The Necks Big Thing
90 yards super bulky, bulky or chunky yarn
#19 or #17 needles, plus darning needle
Directions for super bulky or bulky version (such as Rasta or Twinkle):
Holding yarn double and using #19 needles, cast on 5 sts. *K1, P1* across row.

(Note that these photos are of the chunky version - Plymouth Alpaca Grande Hand Dye.)

Repeat this row (seed stitch) until piece measures 8-9” from beginning (approximately 15 rows). Bind off loosely.

Cut 16 lengths of fringe, each 60” or longer. Using a large crochet hook, attach 4 double-strands of fringe on each end of seed-stitch rectangle.

Now, sew end of rectangle together using mattress stitch to form a loop. To wear, wrap scarf around neck and pull fringes through loop.

For chunky version (such as Plymouth Alpaca Grande Hand Dye):
Same as above, except use #17 needles, cast on 7 sts, cut 32 lengths of fringe, and attach 4 quadruple-strands of fringe at each end.

Enjoy! And be sure to hang on to at least one of them for yourself! Mallory and I can't stop wearing them.

- Shelley
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Thursday, November 17, 2011

More knitting, less cooking: Shelley

Several Loops Troopers are lined up with recipes to share, but this week I've just gotta butt in and share this great soup I found in a recent Real Simple magazine.

I'm-really-into-my-project-just-need-a-10-minute-recipe Chicken Tortellini Soup:
Wash and peel 4 carrots, chop them into bite-size pieces and simmer about 12 minutes in 4-8 cups chicken broth (I use one box plus enough water to almost fill the pot, plus a few chicken bouillon cubes). Add a package of cheese tortellini (refrigerated or frozen) and cook over medium-high for 3 minutes. Add 1.5-2 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken (I just shred with my hands), plus salt and chopped flat-leaf parsley, and serve. Tastes like it took all day!

I've been making this a lot lately, because I am in full-on holiday knitting mode. Partly because the holidays are approaching, and partly because I finally finished this:

This is the "Miami Deco Drape" by Jane Slicer Smith, available from Trendsetter in four colorways. You can order the kit through their website and they will send it to Loops for you to purchase from us. It was a lot of work, but really fun and well worth the effort! I wear it at least once a week.

I also just finished off Baby Swing, a Loops Original pattern by Gina H. in Twinkle Baby Chunky, to which I added some Bergere Fourrure (faux fur yarn). Details on how I did this are in our Ravelry knitalong thread. I feel very Rachel Zoe when I wear it - just need a newborn "accessory" on my hip. Or not...

If you saw the Loops Scoop that went out today, you saw the Heel Stitch Mitts I made on the return flight from NYC to Tulsa over the weekend. These were so fun to make, and just one ball of Mendocino is all you need!

And right before I made those, I was feeling inspired by all the mega-cowls I saw on the streets of Soho, so I found a couple yarns in some NYC shops and whipped this cutie up in just a day or so! Don't fret, I've ordered the yarns in for Loops and we'll have them any day...keep your eyes peeled to our Facebook page for details.

Side note: My favorite chair spotted in NYC, at String:

And my favorite billboard in Times Square:

What's up next on the needles? A garter ridge mega cowl in Malabrigo Worsted, and (if it turns out like I hope) another one in Plymouth Baby Alpaca Grande Hand-Dye. If they turn out awesome, you know I'll be sharing the pattern with you!

With all the knitting that lies ahead, I know I'll be using my all-time favorite "more knitting" recipe (bonus!):
The kids-have-a-zillion-afterschool-activites-and-there's-not-a-minute-to-spare Soft Chicken Tacos
Wash a package of chicken breasts and place in crockpot. Combine a can of diced rotel and a can of diced tomatoes with 1/4 cup taco seasoning. Pour over chicken. Cook on high 3-4 hours or low 4-6 hours. Shred right in the pot about 15 minutes before serving to let the chicken soak up the juices. Serve with soft corn tortillas and taco fixings (avocado makes it special). Also perfect when you just flat-out want to knit all day.


- Shelley
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