a pretty knit to share and an update on the October Challenge

October 06, 2022

This little cardi is sailing across the beautiful blue Pacific to a baby girl who lives Upcountry in Maui where it actually gets cold enough to wear a sweater. The ruched detail on the yoke is very simple to do, yet makes a big splash style-wise. And then the flower buttons, sigh, I had them in my stash and they are perfect. I'm so happy with it and wish I could be there when the gift is opened.

This pattern has been around for a while and is still one of the greats. The designer has made three Tea Leaves patterns--baby, children and adult. The yarn is one of the all time great cottons for hand knitting and comes highly recommended.

Baby Tea Leaves by Mellissa La Barre

Rowan Summerlite 4-ply 

My Ravelry page

I used less than 1.5 skeins in Green Bay and made the 12 month size. I put it in the washer and dryer because I knew the new mom would be doing that too. It came through with flying colors.

The ruched yoke is very easy to do. The sweater is worked top down. After casting on and working a bit of garter stitch, you'll work an increase row then knit stockinette for an inch or so.  Next, you'll work a decrease row and work a bit of garter again. Repeat for the second ruched detail and then it's just straight stockinette until the garter borders. It's such an easy way to make a pretty detail. Button bands are worked at the same time as the fronts.

As for the October freezer and pantry challenge, I'm surprised how easy it's going and how much I'm liking it. I was delighted to see so many positive comments last week. Thank you for joining me! I hope you'll comment today and in the following weeks and share your progress and your improvised dinners. Just this morning I noticed a tiny dent in the pantry and freezer. A week does make a difference! As I've been cooking this week I've been thinking about my reasons for this challenge. Mainly, I just want to be a better steward of our money (factoring in how prices are still soaring at the grocery store) and a sincere desire to be more mindful of just how valuable our food resources are. Plain and simple, I do not like waste. We've had some pretty great meals so far and we even had a dinner guest and I'm sure he had no idea we ate entirely out of the freezer that night (except for a green salad that we have every night). So far we've had clam chowder, a gorgeous chile relleno casserole with a can of chiles I had shuffled in my cupboard for ages, and cheese tortellini with my roasted tomato sauce and some Italian sausage, the last three items from the freezer. With a large slice of frozen ham I made two, actually three dinners. I made a ham and Great Northern bean soup that we ate for two nights, and with a little bit of ham I had set aside I made baked potatoes and sprinkled with ham and cheese. That was served with a tiny butternut squash that had been in the fruit bowl for weeks. I know winter squash can last a long time, but I didn't want to push it.   My husband is a huge beef fan and for years I've been trying to sell him on the idea of occasional meatless dinners to no avail. I find if I just add a tiny bit of meat for flavor he will go along with it, especially since he knows consuming less meat is just all around better for everyone and everything. Carter had no school on Monday and Tuesday and stayed with us so we made a bright red bowl of jello and blueberry muffins from mixes. He now thinks I am an amazing cook because of my crazy good jello recipe. It was the best he had ever had. Want to know my secret? Don't add anything to it. Just make a bowl of plain wobbly jello. Genius, right? Tonight we are having salmon and a frozen green bean casserole from summer and a rice pilaf box mix. I don't know what it is with me buying mixes of anything because we really don't care for that kind of thing. The only reason I can think why I bought muffin mixes or boxed rice mixes is that they were on sale or I was shopping while hungry. Geeze, rookie mistakes.

I have the best way to achieve a crisp and tasty skin on baked potatoes. Wash, then dry well and pierce with a fork a few times. Rub a teaspoon of olive oil onto each potato and generously sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper. Bake as usual--400F for 1/2 hour or more until tender. And since we eat the skin and all, we usually share a single baked potato.

The butternut squash was so tiny I had to bake it with a few carrots to make sure we had enough.

This chile relleno casserole tasted better than it looks. It made one dinner and several lunches.

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  1. The sweater is adorable and I will keep it in mind. (It has that much sought after ragamuffin look judging by some of the Ravelry photos:). So far I have made a great chicken chili which revived a slightly overcooked baked chicken breast which miraculously became succulent when shredded and added to left over macaroni (to replace beans for my bean-o-phobic husband), canned corn for crunch and some standard chili ingredients. Came out delicious. Also, rice, I’ve discovered will go with just about anything either as a side dish or mixed in meat, veggies, almonds or a bunch of other things sitting in my pantry. If I’m scratching my head I run to the Internet to see how I can make rice and pineapple into a pseudo-Asian fusion meal somehow. You are making this fun, Kristen! P.S. It helps to have an inordinate amount of herbs and spices in my cupboard. Another thing to use up. Chloe

    1. You and I seem to be kindred spirits in the kitchen. I’m a mad scientist when it comes to creating a dinner with odd ingredients!

  2. I meant that “ragamuffin” comment as a plus! Sweaters sliding off a toddler’s shoulders just adds to the cuteness factor, in my opinion. Chloe

  3. I’m enjoying this challenge too. We had company last week for a few days. Defrosted ham and bean soup (a yearly gift from our neighbors), grilled a marinated pork tenderloin and spare ribs both from the freezer. Made a cake mix that had been in the pantry and used 2 cans of sliced beets to make pickled eggs and beets also from the pantry. I have other ideas for the upcoming week. It’s been fun!

    1. Oh good! You really have been digging deep. Me too! I’ve made cornbread from a mix!!!

  4. Kristen, after re-reading your post just now I was reminded how lately I have become more concerned about budgeting our finances also. There is nothing like a sudden sharp increase in a grocery bill to make me take stock of my spending habits. Thanks for helping to keep it in the forefront of my mind. It’s so easy to become accustomed to the ‘new normal’ and slip back into bad habits. Any other ideas on how to spend responsibly would be appreciated. Chloe

    1. Yes, I can’t think of anything bad about trying to be more mindful of where our money goes. It’s been in the forefront of my mind and gasping at the high prices at the grocery store keeps it fresh.


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