Honeycomb Socks (Pattern Included)

Knitting

Honeycomb socks

Yarn: 150g Sew’N Knit’N Serge Outlet’s store brand sock yarn

Yarn weight: DK / 8 ply

Needle size: 4.5mm (US 7)

These are my first-ever knitted socks! Correction: first knitted socks that I finished to completion. My first attempt at socks was also my first attempt at Fair Isle knitting, and I picked about the most complicated pattern I could find. It wasn’t a happy experience.

These socks, however, were a pleasure to knit! The pattern is very easy to follow, and the tiny cable knits make a really neat, wavy honeycomb pattern.

stripedsocks

My favourite thing about this pattern: it uses DK weight yarn. DK! Most sock patterns use fingering yarn and incredibly narrow needles, i.e., a guaranteed bout of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Overall, this pattern was really fun to knit. Socks are great because you can shove them in your purse on your way out and knit on the go, as I am often inclined to do.

I did run into a bit of trouble with the heel. In fact, I’ve always had problems with short rows. They always end up looking so sloppy and uneven. I ended up with gaping holes that ran up the sides of the heels where I did the wrap and turns, which I had to sew shut. Why? Why why?

If anyone has any heel-knitting advice you’d like to send my way, please, please do so!

The pattern.

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McCall’s M6035

Sewing

McCall's M6035

Pattern Description: Misses’ shirt with princess seams and button closure.

Pattern Sizing: I cut a size 10, and the fit was true to size.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Very easy!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really liked the cuffed sleeve! I’ve never made this kind of sleeve before and I think it turned out really well. The cuff folds over the sleeve seam on the inside, hiding the seams and giving it a very clean, professional look. I also liked how the button band is self-lined, rather than interfaced.

Fabric Used: Both shirts are made from woven cotton; the striped shirt is a heavier stretch cotton.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made the yellow floral shirt first. The fabric is light and drapes nicely, and fit without any alteration. The striped version uses heavier fabric that clings to the body a bit more. I ended up having to take in the princess seams and back side seams to make it more fitted. I also used contrast fabric for the striped shirt! I had to alter the pattern so the button band was cut from the contrast fabric and attached separately.

Would you sew it again? Yes! I’ve sewn this shirt twice so far, and have plans for a third design.

Would you recommend it to others? Yes.

I made both shirts for Shelly. Doesn’t she look lovely?!

unnam2ed 222

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

Food

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

I hate tomatoes. Their vile, slimy, seed-filled innards disgust me on a very visceral level. Why are they so wet and sloppy? Why are they so full of mushy, semi-congealed seeds? Why are they so difficult to slice through, despite their soupy insides?

More importantly, why do I love this soup so much?

I’ve been making this soup for a couple of years, and during that time I’ve conducted some pretty momentous soul-searching. Here’s what I’ve learned: I don’t hate tomatoes; I hate the texture of tomatoes! Ketchup and salsa are OK in my books, but the thought of eating a slice of raw tomato churns my stomach.

When I was making this soup Shelly scooped up a bowl before I had a chance to puree and I watched in disgust as she shoveled chunks of brothy, roasted tomatoes into her mouth. But as soon as I blended everything together I ladled myself a bowl and let the tomatoey goodness slide right down my gullet, because damn this soup is good.

I remember serving this to Shelly’s brother once who, upon tasting it, exclaimed “I can taste all the vegetables!” (I think he was referring to the combination of garlic, onions, celery, and bell peppers that contributes to the rich complexity of this soup.)

Now that we’ve gone over how remarkably delicious this soup is let’s talk its health benefits. Tomatoes are full of vitamins A and C, folic acid, antioxidants, beta-carotene, and a magnitude of other things that keep us happy and healthy. Basically, tomatoes are really really good for us (despite how unforgivably disgusting they are).

If you’re a tomato lover, you will love this soup. If you are a tomato hater, experiment a bit! For me, pureed tomatoes is the answer, and I can’t get enough of this creamy, delicious soup.

Ingredients ☑ Vegetarian

Adapted from this goboroot recipe.

  • 2 kg heirloom tomatoes, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 onions, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 cup(s) olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 cup(s) vegetable broth
  • 1-2 red chilies (optional)
  • 1 cup(s) cream (half and half)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Dried parsley

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Place the tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Coat vegetables evenly. Roast until slightly charred, about 30 minutes.
  3. Toss vegetables in their own rendered liquid and roast for another 10 minutes.
  4. In a large pot, melt the butter and sauté the celery over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the roasted vegetables and liquid do the pot. Add chilies. Bring to a simmer.
  6. Add the vegetable broth and simmer 30 minutes, skimming often.
  7. Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Return soup to the pot.
  8. Add warmed cream. Garnish with Parmesan and parsley and serve.

“The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt

Books

TheGoldfinch

The Goldfinch is Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning third novel, and one that allegedly took her a decade to write. That seems like an awfully long time, but given level of meticulous detail Tartt uses to construct her characters and settings (and the sheer length of the book!), I can understand why fans had to wait so long for this mesmerizing coming-of-age tale.

My mother ordered me a copy of The Goldfinch off Amazon after falling in love with the story, and I agreed to read it only half-heatedly, having never before heard of Tartt or The Goldfinch, and feeling a little dismayed that I had to disrupt my carefully planned reading queue.

But boy am I a sucker for a good coming-of-age tale.

Taking place in present-day America, the novel features 13-year-old Theodore Decker who, after losing his mother to a terrorist attack at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, faces a maelstorm of uncertainty and displacement. The novel follows Theo throughout his youth as he struggles to make sense of his mother’s death, an event that sends him on a trajectory of drug use, theft, and self-realization.

The Goldfinch is special because it boasts excellent plot and character development; I find authors often sacrifice one for the other. Tartt is a master of crafting scenes with palpable detail and characters too uniquely flawed to exist only on paper.

This is the kind of story that co-opts your thoughts as you go about your day and leaves you with a book hangover once it’s finished. I carried this 800-page, hard-covered monstrosity everywhere with me: to work, to my diving class, on public transport, just in case some reading time presented itself to me.

One thing I would like to discuss with someone who has read this book is the ending. Endings can be difficult for readers. For me, the ending of The Goldfinch was difficult to reconcile. After spending a decade churning this novel out, I suppose the author is entitled to end her story however she pleases, and I absolutely see the reasoning behind the ending, but I found it just a pinch unsatisfying.

That said, The Goldfinch is excellent, and Donna Tartt is very much on my radar now.

Chocolate Sauerkraut Bundt Cake

Food

Chocolate Sauerkraut Bundt Cake

Let my start by saying that hiding vegetables in chocolatey desserts is one of my favourite activities. Vegetables and chocolate are totally meant to be together. There’s something very satisfying about watching someone tear into their dessert and feeling a grin spread across my face as I say “I bet you can’t guess what’s in that”. Like really satisfying. We’re talking pathological levels of satisfaction here.

In the case of this particular cake, the sauerkraut (which I intend to be able to spell correctly by the end of this post) adds a rich moistness, giving it a not-quite-cake-not-quite-a-brownie texture. It’s really, really tasty. Oh, and vegan!

I feel obligated to disclose that I ate five pieces of this cake in a single sitting. Actually, that’s not accurate; I ate four pieces at the potluck party I brought the cake to and grabbed a fifth piece on my way out, which I ate with my bare hands in the elevator. At the time I was all, “It’s vegetable cake, so I can have roughly three times the amount of cake a regular person would eat!” Do not let the sauerkraut in this recipe deceive you. The cake is vegan and chock-full of fermented cabbage goodness, but it’s also an excellent source of butter, flour, and sugar, so do pace yourself.

As much as I loved this cake, I’ve been feeling a bit guilty about how much of it I ate without so much as coming up for air, so I’m going to do what I always do ease my food guilt: make an unreasonably large batch of soup and live off that for the next few days. Expect a soup post very soon.

Ingredients ☑ Vegan

  • 2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cup(s) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2/3 cup(s) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup(s) margarine or unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup(s) hot water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup(s) sauerkraut
  • 1/4 cup(s) icing sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a bundt pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and unsweetened cocoa in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Melt butter and add to flour mixture. Add hot water and vanilla and combine.
  4. In a food processor or mixer, combine batter and sauerkraut and puree until smooth.
  5. Pour batter into the bundt pan. Bake 45-50 minutes, until the centre is set. Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving.