5 on Friday: Spots to Crafternoon in Des Moines

Happy Friday! I don’t know about you, but I want a drink after this week. I was puked on by both of my kids this week. They are fine now, but I am still recovering from the grossness.

Luckily tomorrow is Saturday, so I’m going to get out of the house to knit with a friend. We’re meeting at a coffee shop tomorrow, but we have been known to head to the bar instead. We call it Crafternooning, and we have a group that gets together about once a quarter to have a drink and get some crafting* done. We’ve found some great spots around the city to have a drink and knit it up. Today I’m going to share five of the best spots with you.

The Library

This place is busy at breakfast, but we’ve had success at about 11. We all order brunch (they have breakfast nachos, which should be a thing at more places), and by the time we are done eating it has cleared out enough we can knit and drink without feeling bad about taking up a table.

Confluence Brewing Company

Lots of space. Great light for difficult projects. Really good beer. Often a food truck in front. Craft beer for crafting.

The Iowa Taproom

This is the newest bar on the list and is very popular at night. However, it has been my experience that The Taproom is pretty empty in the afternoon (apparently loads of people don’t want to drink craft beer at 2 PM. Go figure). They have really good food and an incredible selection of Iowa beers.

El Bait Shop

This is my favorite bar for afternoon drinks, craft or not. If you don’t go before a baseball game there is usually lots of room. They have lots of beer on tap (the world’s largest selection of American craft beers), and some solid fish tacos.

Saints Pub & Patio

If you want margaritas and queso in a sports bar while knitting, this is your spot. They recently stopped offering margaritas by the pitcher, which is a real shame. Until that happened our regular order was the Jess Special** – a pitcher of margaritas and cheese dip. Like the Taproom, it is pretty dark, so I would suggest bigger needled projects here.

Do you ever Crafternoon? Do you have another name for it? What is your favorite crafting drink?

* Crafting is optional. It’s OK just to have a drink and hang.

**Named after my friend Jess.

 

WIP Wednesday – Back to Sock

I finished the hats. They were fast and easy, which meant that I was SO BORED by the end. I’m hoping never to make another one.

After I finished them I was able to dive into another pair of socks. I’m using some gorgeous Malabrigo from Ivy. She gave me a lot of sock yarn because she hadn’t knit socks in five years. As soon as she purged her yarn she started knitting socks again. Knitters are funny. I love this yarn. Malabrigo is smooshy and feels so good to knit with. I adore this colorway too.

wp-1487816183407.jpgThe pattern I’m using is School Pick Up Line Socks by Lisa Beth Houchins. She also designed the Up All Night socks I recently finished that I could not stop knitting. I’m knitting them with size 1 needles instead of 1.5 needles, and I’m using my usual toe instead of the toe in the pattern.

I like this pattern because it is easy to memorize. I can pick them up and knit a row here or there. Meals currently last so long I can knit an entire repeat while the kids eat dinner. It is an easy pattern to drop mid row and pick up later without losing my place – for some reason my two year old doesn’t want to wait until I’m done with the row for me to help her.

I used to hate knitting the second sock of a pair. The excitement of seeing the pattern develop with the first sock was great, but the second sock seemed to drag. That has switched since my 5 year sock hiatus. I now love the second sock. I know exactly how far to go until I’ll be done. I like knowing that I have 8 repeats and a toe left.

I’m fairly confident I’ll be able to wrap this pair up this week. I think I’ll cast on a pair of striped socks next. I’ll also make sure I get some knitting done on my cardigan. What are you working on? Do you have a sock pattern you think I should check out?

WIP Wednesday – Hats Galore

I finally finished my socks! Instead of casting on a new pair, I’m making some pussy cat hats for seven friends. I’m thinking of this as one project instead of 7 because these hats go so fast.

Knitting 7 of the same hat is very boring, but I’m getting there. Today I cast on hat 6 of 7. I’m trying to knit one a day. That’s the beauty of super bulky yarn – it is fast moving.

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This is not a color, yarn, or weigh of yarn I would normally work with. I can’t say much positive about it, other than it is very seasonal. It was 40% off at Knit Picks, so I guess I can also say that it was cheap.

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The seventh hat is going to be knit in DK weight yarn with multiple strands of yarn held together. I’m trying to decide if I should use 3 or 4 strands. It’s also going to be knit in acrylic for a wool allergic friend. I’m usually not a fan of knitting with acrylic, so I might have to whip something up in a luxurious wool angora blend to make up for it. My sister just requested a hat, so that might be my ticket to pretty yarn town.

Next week I hope to have a new sock update, or, if I’m incredibly motivated, a sweater update. What’s on your needles this week?

Meatless Monday: Ginger Curry Pita

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Last week I got a text from my friend with the above picture and the text “I wish you were here to not order the ginger curry pita with me.” We’ve been going to lunch at Java Joe’s for years, and we used to order the same thing every time – the ginger curry pita. In the past year they have redone their menu and no longer have the ginger curry pita. That’s a shame, as it is incredibly delicious.

So she got me thinking about that tasty lunch. I was lamenting that I would never eat it again, but then I remembered that 8 years ago we raved about it so much a staff member gave me the “recipe.”

I say “recipe”not recipe because when I dug out the slip of paper I found this: a list of ingredients and no directions.

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I decided to use this as a starting point to recreate the pita for home. I wanted to make a smaller batch – we may buy chickpeas by the case at Costco, but a food service can is a bit much. There were no directions for how to prepare this, but it struck me as something that was cooked low and slow with minimal fuss, so I decided a crock pot would be good here.

I’m happy with how this turned out, and I will be making it again soon. It’s a great sandwich for lunch. Elliot and I are both big fans, and Audrey doesn’t outright hate it (that is a win when cooking for a 2 year old). It reheats well, and keeps for a few days in the fridge.

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Ginger Curry Pita

Serves 4-6

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 T Teriyaki Sauce

1/4 red onion, chopped

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1/4 head cabbage, chopped

1 T ginger

1 T curry powder

1 T honey  or 1 t agave

Put ingredients in crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours. The timing on this is not critical -you just want to cook down the vegetables and have the flavors meld together.

Serve on flat bread. Pita or naan would work well.

If you don’t have a crock pot you can still cook this. Cook the onion and peppers in a dutch oven until soft in a little bit of neutral oil.  Once soft, add the spices and cooked until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low until slightly mushy.

 

5 on Friday: Being an Older Mom

I turned 40 on Sunday. That makes me much older than the average Mom of a baby and toddler, but I really like it that. It works great for us.

Five reasons I’m happy I’m an older mom.

Hand Me Down Clothes

We get so many hand me downs! I get to buy whatever I want for Elliot because I have a cousin who sends me amazing hand me downs for him. I also get them from some friends here in Des Moines. He is a very well dressed little guy. I would love to prove this to you, but I only take pictures of him when he is wearing pajamas or is in the high chair.

Audrey also benefits from hand me downs, but not quite as much as Elliot does.

Advice

My friends have older kids. They’ve been through the toddler years before. They only offer advice when asked, and the advice they have given has helped me through some tough times.

Hands down the best I was given from my sister. She told me about this book. I credit this book with my kids being excellent sleepers.

Hand Me Down Books

Audrey is a reader. She has been since she was very little. We go to the library, but not as often as I would like. Several times I have had friends bring over bags of old books that their kids have grown out of. Audrey devours the book, and I’m very happy to read something new. I love that she will now sit through a picture book. I was getting sick of reading board books over and over again.

Babysitters!

My friends that are missing the toddler years are willing to babysit. We have only had to pay for a babysitter once, which is amazing. One of my friends even took the kids overnight for us. It was glorious.

I No Longer Give A Damn About Your Opinion

I think it would have been harder to have kids when I was in my 20s or early 30s. I didn’t have the confidence that I have now.

Having to use formula would have been even harder. I wanted to breastfeed, but it didn’t work for us. In my 20s if someone had told me that nursing is better I would have said nothing, then gone home and cried. Now if someone tells me that breast is best I will shut them down. You know what is best for the family? A fed baby. A mom that isn’t depressed. You disagree? Fuck you.

I’ve been shamed for sleep training before. Well, the mom tried to shame me. As if. Sleep training is the bomb. Well rested kids are happy kids. My kids sleep through the night and nap well. They go to bed early, which means John doesn’t see them much during the week, but when  he sees them they are happy. If I had been shamed for sleep training in my 20s I would have felt guilty and questioned my choices, but because the “shaming” happened in my late 30s I just smiled at her and laughed at it with John later.

I love being a mom. I’m sure I would have loved it in my 20s, but it didn’t work out that way for us. Luckily there are a lot of positive things that I get to experience because I was so old when I had my kids.

Every Friday I share 5 things I think you should know about. Do you have anything you want to hear about? Are you an older mom? What do you like about it?

 

 

WIP Wednesday

Do you remember last week when I swore I would be done with my Up All Night Socks? It turns out I am a lying liar. I just finished the gusset on the second sock last night. I am making progress, it is just slower than I would like.

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Why so slow? Because I decided we needed a new dishcloth, proceeded to work on the dishcloth after a couple of glasses of wine, and then tried to finish the dishcloth. It turns out Wine Sarah* is not so good at entrelac – I added a square when I should have added a triangle. It took me over an hour of knitting the top triangle and not being able to make it work before I thought about looking at what Wine Sarah had knit the night before.

I hope to finish the Up All Night socks this week, but I’m not going to make any promises. Maybe I’ll put them to the side and actually get to work on one of my sweaters.

What’s on your needles? Are you hoping to finish any projects this week?

 

*Can we make this a nickname for me? After 2 glasses of wine I turn into Wine Sarah – rosy face and knitting mistake prone.

5 on Friday: What’s on my Needles

I like to have several options when I want to pick up my knitting. I want my knitting to fit my mood. If all I had was a sweater on the needles, what would I do when I didn’t want to work on that sweater? I usually have only 3 active projects at a time, but conveniently for me I currently have 5 kitting projects on the needles.

Scrap Yarn Blanket

I’m using the Knitted Patchwork Recipe by Martine Ellis (iMake). I’m using sock yarn and size 2 needles. Each square is about 2 inches. I make one square each day, usually in the morning. For special events (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) I use the same yarn three days in a row – the day before the special day, the special day, and the day after the special day. That way when we look at the blanket we can see where we were. I love being able to see Audrey’s birthday, or our anniversary when I look at the blanket. There is also a large chunk of the same yarn for when Elliot was born.

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There aren’t many projects that allow to knit in hope and memories the way this one does.

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Elliot insisted on helping.

Socks

I’m still working on my Up All Night Socks by Lisa Beth Houchins. I’ve already told you how much I love these socks. If you are a sock knitter, I strongly suggest you give them a try. dsc_0011

A Slouchy Cardigan

Pattern is Cocoon Cardigan Sweater by Yarnspirations. Sigh. This cardigan should be easy and fast. I suppose it would be if I could bring myself to pick it up more often. Moss stitch is just so boring. I’m still on the back, which needs to be 28 inches long. So far I’m at 20 inches and I keep reaching for socks instead of this. Maybe if the yarn were smooshy I’d reach for it more? Please give me advice on how to get myself to knit this.

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Retirement Cardigan

Pattern is Turkana by Anne Kuo Lukito knit in Manos del Uruguay FINO. I call this my retirement cardigan because I’ll be retired by the time I finish it. It is gorgeous yarn, a lovely green that is so soft (70% extrafine merino wool, 30% silk) and wonderful to work with.

Why the slow progress? It is hard to pick up because each row takes 15 minutes. It’s a lot of work to pull it out, figure out where I was, and get a row knit. Once I get it out I remember how much I love it. It’s like going to the gym – when you are in a regular routine you know how great it feels to work out and you wan to keep at it, but when you miss a few days you get lazy and fall out of routine. Even though I don’t knit on it enough, it is my second favorite project. It is so honored it is stored in my Loop knitting bag Ivy brought be back from London.

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Dishcloth

I just noticed we were running out of dishcloths, so I started my favorite pattern, Garterlac Dishcloth by Criminy Jickets. This is a fun knit, but after I cast on I remembered it involves thought, so I’m not going to be able to work on it when the kids are awake.

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Elliot tried to eat this pattern.

With any luck I’ll be down to 4 projects again soon. I need to designate some sweater time to get back on track with my cocoon sweater.

Every Friday I share 5 things I think you should know about. Let me know if you have anything you would like to hear about. I would also love to hear it if you have any motivational advice about finishing cardigans.

Is there anything I should have on my needles? What should I pick up next?