Sunday, September 19, 2010

Big Ugly Man Mittens

My brother Artemas is heading off to college in New York in January and has been loudly complaining that even with all the knittes in the family he still doesn't have any knitwear to keep him warm. My sister Diantha and I have secretly begun knitting him a little cache of cool weather warmies. I could't find a suitable plain ol' mittens pattern I could use so I came up with my own. I thought I'd share it here so you can use it too.

These mittens look incredibly huge but they fit my big handed husband (and hopefully brother) really well. The decrease rounds toward the fingertips make them fitted through the fingers and less bulky for handling things.

Big Ugly Man Mittens
I used 1 skein (approx. 200yds) of “Encore” worsted weight yarn by Plymouth Yarns. The fiber content is 75% acrylic, 22% wool and 3% viscose for some nice warm and user friendly mittens.

You will need:
1 200 yd skein of worsted weight yarn
1 set of 4 size 3 (3.25mm) DPNs or one shorter circular needle of the same size
1 set of 4 size 5 (3.75mm) DPNs or one shorter circular needle of the same size
One stitch marker
Waste yarn (2 pieces approx. 6” long) or 2 stitch holders
Yarn needle

Sts = stitches
K = knit
P = purl
Kk = knit knit, knitting a stitch then pulling the yarn to the font before removing it from the needle and knitting it again, effectively increasing 1 stitch (making 2 sts where there was 1)
K2tog = knit 2 stitches together, effectively decreasing 2 stitch

Both mittens follow the same pattern thru row 32 and then again from row 48 on.

Loosely cast on 48 sts (16 sts on 3 DPNs) on the size 3 needles.
Join in the round without twisting, placing marker at the end of the row and work in k2, p2 rib for 24 rows.

Switch to the size 5 needles and work in plain stockinette for 8 rows (you are now at row 32).

1st mitten:
Row 33: k47, kk
Row 34: k47, kk, k1
Row 35: k47, kk, k2

Continue in this manner, increasing 1 stitch on the 48th sts every row for 15 rows (until row 47).

Row 48: k48, place next 15 sts on waste yarn or stitch holder, make a loop of yarn by twisting yarn backward onto working needle twice (effectively “casting on” 2 sts). Join back in the round and knit 2 rows.

Row 50: k23: k2tog, k23, k2tog
Rows 51-55: knit all sts
Row 56: k6, k2tog to end of row (42 sts)
Rows 57-65: knit all sts
Row 66: k5, k2tog to end row (36 sts)
Row 67-69: knit all sts
Row 70: k4, k2tog to end of row (30 sts)
Rows 71-79: knit all sts
Row 80: k4, k2tog to end of row
Row 81: knit all sts
Row 82: k3, k2tog to end of row
Row 83: knit all sts
Row 84: Cut yarn about 10” away from knitting and using the yarn needle thread that tail through all remaining sts, pull tight and tie off to the inside. Weave in end.

Using your size 5 needles, pick up sts from waste yarn or sts holder and 5 more sts over middle/web of thumb area (where you increased by casting on 2 sts when working the main body of the mitt) You should have 20 sts.

Work in stockinette for 14 rows then cut yarn about 8” away from knitting, use the yarn needle to thread that tail through all sts, pull tight and tie off to the inside. Weave in end.

2nd mitten: (follow previous pattern thru row 32)

Row 33: k47, kk
Row 34: k48, kk
Row 35: k49, kk

Continue in this manner, increasing one stitch at the end of each row for 15 rows (until row 47).

Continue previous pattern directions for rows 48-end of pattern.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Incredibly Veggie and Beef Stew

Cooler weather is finally upon us here in East Tennessee. We've been able to have our air shut off and our windows open for 4 whole days and nights now; which may not seem like much to you but I am thrilled!

To celebrate the reprieve from the heat my dinner menus have turned to warmer meals. Tonight's was incredibly veggie beef stew. Yes, I mean "incredibly" instead of "incredible." This is because there is an incredible number of veggies in my stew.

I use:
1 14oz can of petite diced tomatoes
1 30oz can of tomato sauce
1 14oz can of low fat/low sodium beef broth
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/2 a container of mushrooms, sliced
2 huge cloves of garlic, minced
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cup of sliced carrots (I use baby carrots cause they're easy to cut & good for snacking)
2 cups fresh green beans, snapped into 1.5" long pieces
5 small red potatoes or 2 regular potatoes, cubed
1 package of beef tips or a large steak cubed

I start with the heartier veggies (carrots, celery, green pepper then onion) sauteeing in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Then I add the garlic, peas, corn, mushrooms, green beans, and cans of tomatoes and broth. Season with about a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and some pepper. Add potatoes and beef. Simmer, stirring occasionally for about an hour or until all veggies are softened (but not mushy.)

Delicious, low maintenance, low hassle dinner! It keeps in the fridge for several days, tastes wonderful reheated and also freezes well. Pair with some crusty bread and there's your meal!

Variations: Use whatever veggies *your* family likes! Like okra? Add it! Don't like peas, leave 'em out! Want to try it a little spicy? Substitute a can of rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies for the can of diced tomatoes. Don't have any beef tips? Cut up a couple chicken breasts or toss in some sausage! The sky--and your budget--are the limits.