Monday, July 11, 2011

Grown up strawberries

I got some lovely strawberries at Trader Joe's yesterday and as I was chopping them by the kitchen window, inspiration struck. I have a couple of basil plants on the sill and I love to throw fresh basil into everything I can. I roughly chopped a handful of leaves and tossed it with the strawberries and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Voila! A delicious, grown up fruit salad. Perfect for snacking on in the back yard in the early evening. Mmmmmm.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Jack's Squiggly Toy

Does your baby like electrical cords as much as Jack does? Seriously, this kid sees a cord, shrieks with delight and hightails it directly to danger. He mostly seems to want to pull it wide between his outstretched arms. He does this over and over again (with a little exploratory biting thrown in of course). Its kind of fascinating to watch actually. I'm dying to know whats going through his head. What I'm not dying to know is how many bites it takes to get to the center of said cords. Yes yes, of course they are unplugged (I can hear Gidget gasping). Anyhoo, lets take death and destruction out of this equation all together. I decided to knit up a squiggly thing and Ive made you a little tutorial so you can knit one up for your cord obsessed baby too. The coolest thing about this pattern, if you can call it that, is that it is totally free form. You don't have to worry about gauge or yarn types. In fact, I think it would be even more awesome if you used a bunch of different bits of yarn. This also makes it a great stash busting project. Please note: This is my first tutorial so let me know if anything is unclear!

2 dpns (double pointed needles) any size
Numerous random bits of yarn
A needle for weaving in the ends

This squiggly toy is basically a bunch of i-cord knit together. If you've never knit i-cord, there is a great video here. They've done a much better job explaining it than I could. Ive linked to the English version but if you knit continental, they have a video for that too. Its super easy and kind of addictive. Once you've got it down, you'll want to knit i-cord till you're blue in the face.

Start out by knitting a nice long bit of i-cord. Bind off and weave in the ends. Next, you'll pick up 3 stitches around the middle of the cord.

Figure out where you want to start your cord and insert your needle into any stitch.

Wrap your yarn around the needle.

Pull it through.

Insert the needle through the next stitch.

Wrap your yarn. Double check to make sure you are using the right bit. Ive started knitting with the tail of the yarn by mistake. Very annoying.

Pull the yarn through again. You should now have 2 stitches on your needle.

Insert your needle through the last stitch.

And pull your yarn through for the last time. Now there are 3 stitches on your needle, and you are ready to start your i-cord.

Keep knitting to the desired length, bind off, weave in the ends, and start the next cord.

That's pretty much it. See, told you it was easy. Keep picking up and knitting cords until your squiggle is sufficiently squiggly. You could do this in any color combination to match a baby shower gift or nursery decor. You could add pom-poms to the ends. You could knit it up with strips of fabric instead of yarn for a different texture. The possibilities are endless. I'd love to see what you come up with.

FYI: Since this toy is made up of longish bits of cord, it is not intended for unsupervised play. If you want to make something you can leave your baby alone with, make sure you shorten the cords to an un-strangleable length.