Friday, June 25, 2010

Dark Green Leafies

After asking after other people's go to 'crap I have no time to make food" meal ideas, I guess I should share my standby. Sometimes I boil noodles and dump butter, shredded white cheese, and freshly cracked pepper into the pot [once the noodles drain]. Other times I make what Hana and I have fondly dubbed "random soup," one iteration of which appears above.

Generally speaking, it goes something like this. Boil 2 pots of water. One is your soup base, one is for boiling noodles [we use Asian noodles, they cook fast]. Into the soup base, toss a couple shiitake mushrooms [dried in my version, fresh in hers], miso paste, soy sauce. Scallions can be nice, or seaweed. From here I veer from tradition and start chucking in whatever Asian spices I have on hand. Hana's favorite combination is dandanmian sauce, Vietnamese chili sauce, and fig jam. Slide your noodles into a bowl and then top with soup. Sit back and relax.

Peanut butter works too. For nutrition and heft, add in some dark green leafies, an egg or some tofu. You could also put in thinly sliced daiko radish. Or fry some thinly sliced onions and carrots for a couple minutes in a pot, then pour in the water and start your soup base. Super flexible, fast, easy. You can keep the dried mushrooms, seaweed, miso paste, noodles, and eggs on hand pretty much at all times.

I'd had my eye on this pattern for a long time on Ravelry, but admittedly was a bit skeptical about bra straps showing through and all. After breaking down and ordering the Summer 2009 issue of Knit.1 magazine, I'd say it was totally worthwhile.

[The sweater's not lopsided, I am. Again, pardon the awkward expression on my face. I always feel weird smiling at the camera, so I try for a half smile and this is what you get. Apologies!]

The pattern doesn't call for sleeves but I don't look good in cap sleeve-type tops [which this yoke creates, ish], because my bust:waist ratio is not very large, and my hips are larger than my bust BUT my shoulders are the same circumference as my hips, which means that any blouse that emphasizes my shoulders will balance me out. So I improvised some sleeves by picking up the stitches around the armholes and using a strange short-rows method to incorporate those that I may have just made up entirely.

I knit part of this on the train from New York to Boston, and the Italian professor at the Rhode Island School of Design sitting across from me was fascinated by how I seemed to know exactly what I was doing. That's one of the things that I love about crafting. After a certain point you pick up enough understanding that you can go off roading and still turn out relatively OK. The sleeves are not the most beautiful knitting that I have ever done, but they work for the garment, they do.

Knit up using Knit Picks Comfy Sport, a cotton acrylic blend, in the Jalapeno colorway. In real life the color's a bit more vibrant. I'd read that cotton tends to sag and stretch so I knit these on 1 size smaller needles than required to get gauge, hoping that would help. I also realized that when I'm knitting in the round, my gauge tends to loosen by at least 2 needles sizes, so I had to rip this back quite far when I figured that out [many 4-letter words were involved at that point].

You can see some sag going on in the back. I'd love to knit this up in a red jewel colorway with 3/4 length sleeves for fall, but I want something machine washable because the yoke means I can't wear a top underneath it, which will greatly increase the wear:wash ratio. I've been wearing this like crazy and the yarn sags like crazy, which means it sees a lot of the washer and dryer which will shorten the lifespan of the yarn. Do you think it would work if I stranded the cot/acrylic with lace-weight wool yarn, or would the wool yarn felt in the washer/dryer?

As you can see, that bra is practically invisible! Also, a close up of the leaf motif.

Woohoo! That's 2 dresses and 3 blouses for spring/summer, and we're not even done with June yet.

My brother once had a mentor in the German lab he worked in through DAAD, and she would ask him English questions, then cock her head to one side and say happily, "My English, it is so good!"

So I say to you. "My crafting productivity, it is so good!"


Jodi said...

Very nice sweater! And thanks for the quick recipes! I love to cook but don't like it when it gets in the way of my sewing/quilting, etc.!

Ali said...

I love love love the sweater! It turned out so well and the yoke and fit and color is so flattering on you. Great work.

Now you've got me hankering for some soup. Anything that involves shiitake mushrooms in broth is a winner to me :)

Ritapizza said...

OMGOMG your sweater is super gorgeous! I love love the lacey leaves! omg I have such a weakness for that! So so pretty!!!!

MMM noodle soup always hits the spot! what is fig jam and dandanmian sauce??

Tasia said...

Gorgeous sweater!! Nice work, LOVE the leaf design.
Your easy soup sounds delicious too! Have a great weekend :)

Anonymous said...

The older I get (and I'm pretty old), the easier I think it is to cook a real meal. I usually improvise rather than follow a recipe, so my meals are often one-time-only events. sometimes I wish I had written down the ingredients so I could do it again exactly the same.

I have also been admiring that sweater on Ravelry. You did a wonderful job. I really like your sleeve interpretation. It looks good on you.

Ivy said...

Beautiful sweater! It looks amazing on you.

Jodi said...

I love your sweater, that yoke is so beautiful!

Sigrid said...

The soup, it is so good. It was a great success with my fussy eater who said it was "better than ramen." (very high marks !)
The sweater is lovely too. Girl you knit FAST.

jessica said...

Thank you all for the compliments on the sweater and the comments on the soup!

And Sigrid - I'm glad the soup instructions worked out, it's always hard to describe 'to taste' food combinations. And I'm a compulsive knitter for sure!

Alexandra Mason said...

I love your sweater it looks fantastic!

Zonnah said...

That sweater is AMAZING! Good job :)