Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ben Ice Cream Cozy

Yup, that's right:  I knitted an ice cream cozy.  Wait until you see it!  

Let me start from the beginning.  Last year, I got a Knitting Desk Calendar (2011) and in there was a pattern for ice cream cozies.  They fit a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, hugging the condensation, insulating, protecting your hands from the cold when you eat from the carton.  How awesome is that?!?!

Pic from the Knitting Desk Calendar

I knew I wanted to knit it.  At the time I was dieting and the thought of eating right out of a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream was undo-able, so I did not knit one right away (I was not going to use it while on the diet).  So, when I started thinking of who I was going to knit gifts for this Christmas, I thought, "Who can I knit the ice cream cozy for?  Someone must eat Ben & Jerry's ice cream!"  That's when I realized that I do, in fact, have a friend who eats this ice cream.  She even goes online to find what store is selling the exact flavor she is looking for.  This was a no-brainer.


Well, Christmas was sneaking up on me and I had not started it as of the beginning of December.  Nothing like waiting until the last minute.  I was on a roll and then was out with my knitting injury (see the Origami Sweater - Part 2 post).  I still have it and when I think about knitting, my elbow and arm will suddenly hurt.  Ridiculous!

I started it on December 13th, which was a Thursday and was done by Sunday.  So, not too bad.  Here are the details:

I used some stash yarn: Bernat Softee Baby (100% Acrylic), in Soft Peach (looks pink in real life) and Premier Yarn Everyday Soft Worsted (100% Acrylic) in Baby Yellow.  I have used the Bernat Softee Baby in a couple projects: I Heart Hats and Vivecita Beret.  The Premier Yarn, I used in my Cookie Swap 2012, Rapunzel braid.

The Softee Baby is a DK weight and the Premier Yarn is a worsted weight.  What does that mean?  That means that the DK is a thinner yarn than the worsted and I had to use 2 strands of the DK to 1 strand of the worsted.  That brought a challenge:  I had only one skein of yarn of each, so I had to ball up the DK yarn (the peach/pink) into 2 balls.

This gave me an excuse to use my ball winder.  I love that thing!

It was kind of a pain to wind it from a skein, but after a tangle or two, I had 2 balls of yarn to work with:

This way I can hold the 2 strands together without a huge mess on my hands by trying to use both ends of the skein (it would not have worked, I tried that way before I balled it up.  Trust me!)

So, this is knitted on double pointed needles (dpn).  The pattern calls for a size 10, but I knit loose, so I went down a needle size to a size 9.  I casted-on and was off.

It's always confusing to me when I cast-on to dpn's.  I always think that I am doing it wrong, but it works out somehow.  So, I have started it, as you see above.

This 2 color knitting is called stranding or simply colorwork.  This is where you carry the unused color behind in the work.  I'll show you in a pic, down below.  I worked in a ribbing pattern, so the cozy can be stretchy.  I worked from the top-down.

Here is a close-up of the rib pattern, where the color changes for the knit and the purl stitch.

This is what the stranding looks like.  This is a pic of the inside of the cozy.  This extra "layer" of yarn behind the stitches helps insulate it, so your hand will not get cold from holding it.

Unfortunately, I completed it and then realized that it was a bit too long and looked like a sock, not a cozy.  I had to rip out about 4 rounds of the colorwork.  Oh well, I fixed it in no time.

That was an awful lot of yarn for 4 rounds.  I put the dpn's back into the live stitches and finished it off again.

Vince and I took one for the team...the Anything-for-the-Christmas-Gifts Team.  We bought a pint of Phish Food (love that one, and it is Gluten Free) and tried the cozy on it.  It fit!!!!  So, we ate the ice cream while watching a DVR'd episode of Dancing with the Stars.  I washed out the carton and gave the gift, with the cozy on the empty Ben & Jerry's pint.  I put a gift card for the local supermarket in it, so she can buy a pint for her to try the cozy out on.  I'm not that cruel, that I would completely tease her with no ice cream!

There is also a Jerry ice cream cozy that I will knit at some point.  I gave her an IOU for that one.  I do not have any more stash yarn that fits the bill for this project, so I will buy some the next time I'm out at Joann's.

What do you think?  Is this a fab gift or what?!?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sporty Wristlets

This is a gift that I had on my To-Do list.  It is for a friend's daughter, who I think would look so perfect in!  The pattern came from the 2012 Holiday issue of Knit Simple magazine.  They named them Simple Mitts, which they are, but I'm calling them Sporty Wristlets.

I'm using Beehive Baby Sport from Patons (70% Acrylic/30% Nylon).  It is sport weight, which is often used in baby items.  That is why I thought it would be the perfect yarn to make this pattern with.  Very soft.

I knitted these with size 4 circulars so that I could use the Magic Loop method.  I knitted the main arm, then left an opening for the thumb and finished at the knuckle.  I did two exactly the same.

At this point they are almost done.  I have to actually add a thumb snuggie on each one.

I picked up 18 sts around the thumb opening.  Then I knitted in the round again to make the thumb.  I finished it so it would look like the edge where the knuckles are.

Just need to bind off and weave in the ends.

They are cozy, as you can see, I'm modeling them while I hold my cat.  Very nice!

Another check mark on the Christmas Done List! 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Coconut Shrimp

I love hot cooked shrimp.  Cold cocktail shrimp, not so much.  Since I started eating gluten-free (GF), lots of batters are on my no-no list.  This means that my shrimp has been either grilled, sauted or baked, but with only some seasoning or marinated in a GF sauce.  That's not a bad thing, but battered shrimp, fried is so good and I was missing it.

Recently, I searched for a Coconut Shrimp recipe that was GF and sort of healthy.  I found one. Googling is a great thing!  I found one that is baked, not fried and I substituted with some GF breading mix and it came out delicious!  I would love to share it with you so here are the details:

This recipe can be found at  It is under the Thai food category.

Easy Baked Coconut Shrimp
Yields: 18-24 Coconut Shrimps
  • 18-24 medium to large shrimp, butterflied (may leave tails on)
    • I did not butterfly them and left the tails on; they still came out great
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut (kind used for baking)
  • 2-3 eggs
Coating Mix
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (dried, refined crumbs, such as Panko)
    • Substituted with GF Panko Breadcrumbs.  Can make own by processing GF crackers.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or dried crushed chili
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch white pepper
    • I used regular black pepper, no difference
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Cover a cookie sheet with parchmanet paper or spray with non-stick cooking oil.
  2. Stir the Coating Mixers in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Get 2 more bowls:  the first of these bowls, beat 2 eggs and in the second bowl, place the shredded coconut.  Keep the ingredients out, you may need to prepare more in the bowls as you go.  
    1. I set-up an assembly line of the bowls to make it easier.
  4. Grab a shrimp and dip it in the egg mix, then in the Panko breadcrumbs, coating the shrimp.  Then dip the same shrimp in the egg mixture again and then roll in the coconut.  Place on baking sheet.
  5. Repeat the dipping for each shrimp.  Your fingers will get caked with the breadcrumbs and coconut, but keep going, putting a light coat on each shrimp.
  6. Bake on the middle rack in the oven until they are lightly toasted.  Total time should be about 15 minutes, turning half-way through.
  7. Can be served with Thai sweet chili sauce.

In the above pic, are the bowls set-up and the ingredients still out.  I had to keep adding more to each bowl.

I used frozen shrimp and I did not butterfly them.

I coated each shrimp, which was a pain in the butt, but it was so worth it.

The shrimp, uncooked, ready to go on the backing sheet.  The parchment paper worked like a charm.  No mess to clean-up.  This was an easy recipe, healthier than fried coconut shrimp from your local Chinese or Thai restaurant.

Go ahead and try it and let me know!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Origami Sweater - Part 2

I have been knitting like crazy all throughout November, and I'm still not done with my Origami Sweater.  I have been knitting the lace stripe then knitting the seed stitch like a robot.  That seed stitch is enough to drive anyone mad!

I started the Origami Sweater in the middle of October; the first post is here:
Now, I can positively say that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Like I said, I'm still not done, but it's close.  I brought it with me when I visited Mass over Thanksgiving and got a good portion done.

I knitted the rest of the body, then left that on those needles.  I took a second set of longer size 7 circs and did the Magic Loop method to knit the sleeves in the round, rather than using double pointed needles.  My double points were metal and this yarn is like string, so it kept slipping off of them.  I knitted both sleeves and put a contrasting yellow yarn on the live loops to hold them until I was ready to attach them to the body.

Once I was ready with that I would knit a bit from the body, then knit from the yellow holding yarn from the sleeve, knit more body, then attach the second sleeve in the same manner.  It was a bit weird knitting from a piece of yarn, but it worked.

That yellow yarn in the pic is my left hand "needle".  The work on the right handed needle is the body of the sweater.

I got to attach the sleeves while I was on the plane.  I read a bit, then wanted to attach the sleeves before I forgot what I was supposed to do.  Then I went back to reading.

Can you believe that it is starting to look like a real sweater!  Although, it does look a bit shrunken; I'm expecting that once complete, I will stretch it this way and that way to get the stitches settled in and it will fit fine.  Keep your fingers crossed!

One bad thing about all this knitting is that I sort of injured myself.  Yes, a knitting injury, if you will.  My sister calls it epicondylitis, which is pretty much like tennis elbow in my left forearm.  When I knit, I keep my left hand and arm in a bent clenching position for long periods of time holding the left hand needle and that has made my arm very sore.

In the above pic, it is my extensor carpi radialis brevis that hurts!  When my elbow is bent for a period of time, it is very stiff when I extend it straight.  Ugh!  I do running, cross-fit, and the occasional bike ride...I don't get hurt doing any of those activities, no, I get hurt KNITTING!  Like, could it be any more ridiculous?

As a result of that, I have been slowing down on my knitting.  I'm not even done with my holiday gift knitting either.  I may have to forgo those other gifts and start mixing reading and sewing in between my knit projects.

On that note, let me put a warm compress on my arm so I may finish this sweater!