The Sweatshop of Love Blog

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September, 2009

The Sweatshop of Love at YarnCon Chicago!

I couldn’t be more excited at having been asked to teach a couple workshops at YarnCon Chicago!

Beginners Knitting Workshop with Allyson Dykhuizen of The Sweatshop of Love
Get a crash course beginner knitting lesson! Learn to cast on, bind off, and the knit stitch in this two-hour workshop. Bring some needles in the 6-9 size range and some worsted weight standard yarn and leave with stitches on your needles and a new-found love of the craft!

Basic Cable Workshop with Allyson Dykhuizen of The Sweatshop of Love
Sure, they look a little scary, but after this workshop you will be cabling your heart out in no time! Cables work with any needles and any yarn, so bring whatever you have lying around. After one hour you will want to add cables to every project you knit from now on!

Check the full list  of YarnCon Workshops!

YarnCon is October 17th at Pulaski Park Field House. Can’t wait!

The Tigers Lost Game One Today

Photo 56

And I made muffins. They were good.

The Sweatshop’s First Giveaway!

Yesterday I was the super luckiest girl in the world and won a beautiful skein of yarn from Kitchen Sink Dyeworks! It totally made my day, I can’t wait to get it, and it inspired me to think up my own giveaway!

I’ve never done one of these before! I’ve had it on my mind grapes for a while now, and I figure today would be a wonderful day to kick this off, what with the Tigers and Twins having The Double Header of Doom. 11:05am. 6:05pm. My season has come down to these next three days.

… but enough about my self inflicted baseball torture and onto the giveaway!

Knit Headband!

Knit Headband!

Cute!

Cute!

This season The Sweatshop of Love is focusing on quick, cute, easy gifts for the holiday season, and this is one of my favorites.

Based on the knitty pattern Quant, but, you know, easier and quicker, I’ve got quite a few of these puppies in The Sweatshop inventory, waiting for the right moment to pop out.

Entrelac Greens

Entrelac Greens

Love Entrelac!

Love Entrelac!

I love me some entrelac! And this pattern is a great introduction. But, why learn to entrelac when you can just win this cute headband!

The i-cord ties make this headband fit snugly to any head, and will keep your ears warm and hair not so hat-heady. It’s perfect for pony tails (I’ve been told!).

To enter, leave a comment with an idea you have for a  present you plan on making for someone this holiday season.

You get bonus points if you tweet this giveaway! I’m at twitter/sweatshopoflove.

And are you a fan of The Sweatshop on facebook?

I’ll pick a winner on Friday, if I’m not curled up in fetal position because the Tigers blew their shot at the ALCS.

Good luck!

Elephants and Purses and Lions, Oh My! (Christmas Present Update: Mom, Grandma, and Colleen)

Hi, Sweetie!

Hi, Sweetie!

I was a very busy lady this weekend! Starting with this little guy, who I made on Saturday.

Isn’t he the cutest?

I’m making a couple of these for my grandma for Christmas. My grandma doesn’t read my blog. My grandma and papa refer to the internet as ‘the google’. I complain about how my mom has dial up? My grandparents have never had the internet, and never will. So at least my grandma will be surprised by her present!

Elephant Plays Fantasy Football

Elephant Plays Fantasy Football

Elephant Hangs Out With PT

Elephant Hangs Out With PT

The elephant helped us keep an eye on our fantasy football stats, and really liked to hang out with PT.

The pattern Flower Power Elephant by Ala Ela and is a free ravelry.com download, you can find it here.

Colleen's Knitting Needle Knitting Bag

Colleen's Knitting Needle Knitting Bag

And I knit another Knitting Needle Knitting Bag for my friend Colleen, who also doesn’t read the blog, so I’m safe here, too.

Regular Bamboo Handle

Regular Bamboo Handle

When I finished the first side, I put in the handle and didn’t like the light color of the bamboo with the yellow yarn.

Darker Needles, Cute Lining! Matching Button!

Darker Needles, Cute Lining! Matching Button!

So I got some wood stain and painted the needles. I put in some cute fabric as a liner and got some fancy fabric buttons that I loved so much so the liner matches the buttons!

Fabric Button Love

Fabric Button Love

Mom's Bag's Button

Mom's Bag's Button

And I finally added the button to my mom’s bag to match the lining, too.

Lions Win Pizza!

Lions Win Pizza!

PIZZA

PIZZA

As usual, PT and I made pizzas for Sunday football, but this time they were special because they were Lions Win Pizzas! My retarded Lions won their first game since December 2007! I couldn’t believe it! I jumped up and down fake/kinda serious screaming for 20 minutes!

My pizza had carrots, banana peppers, corn, and caramelized onions, and PT’s had all of that plus olives. Especially smelly olives this time.

I’ve got a group class tonight, and we are finishing up those Toilet Lid Covers! I was talking big about making a Lions Toilet Lid Cover, but I’ve made some slight changes. It will be finished tomorrow!

When Life Gives You a Pumpkin, Make Pumpkin Soup

I had every intention of making Hungry Girl’s Sassy Salsa Pumpkin Soup last night. My mom has made and loves this soup, my friend Liz sent me the recipe last week talking about how amazing it is. PT had a long and ridiculous week at work, so I was going to be a good girlfriend and make him some focaccia, which is quickly becoming our favorite bread.

Not a Lot of Trunk Space

Not a Lot of Trunk Space

But there is a shortage of canned pumpkin. I guess the crop last year was much smaller than usual, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. Pumpkin pie mix? Yes. Pumpkin? No. I went to Target, CVS, Strack and Van Til, and Walgreens and there was no canned pumpkin.

So I got a pumpkin! It’s pumpkin season, they are everywhere, this one cost $1.35, which is probably less than a can of pumpkin would cost me. The problem, of course, is I also needed milk, and my bike doesn’t have a lot of trunk space, so it was a slow trip home.

(See the tape recorder in there, too? I’ve got to transcribe an interview this weekend for Grocer Gram. And my Glorified Necklace! Which I take everywhere.)

I love pumpkin soup made with a pumpkin, so I wasn’t sorry to see that my easy pumpkin soup was going to have to be traded in for a much more complicated one. Because this recipe is worth it.

The Ultimate Vegetarian Cookbook

The Ultimate Vegetarian Cookbook

I made this soup a million times last fall and have perfected the recipe. It is based on the Pumpkin recipe in The Ultimate Vegetarian Cookbook by Roz Denny I found at a thrift store last summer and love love love. The Pumpkin recipe, though, is a PAIN IN THE ASS. I did it exactly like how it tells me to in the cookbook only once, because getting the pumpkin flesh out without chopping up the pumpkin is only something I would do for a very special occasion. A Friday night is not that occasion.

Post Baking

Post Baking

Dead Pumpkin

Dead Pumpkin

Baking, slicing, skinning, and chopping up a pumpkin is a messy business. But I would do it again. And again. And am going to do it again and again. Because there is nothing like freshly baked pumpkin soup.

Without further ado, my pumpkin soup recipe:

Pumpkin Soup, With A Pumpkin

Serves 4 Really Hungry People

Ingredients:

1/2 a pie pumpkin

1 onion, sliced

Oil; veggie, canola, olive, whatever you’ve got

1 14 oz can of tomatoes; diced or stewed, doesn’t matter

1 cup whole wheat pasta, any shape

2 cups veggie stock

2 cloves of garlic. diced

Vegetables; again, whatever you’ve got! Zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, carrots, celery, broccoli, corn, and any combination, totaling about 4 cups

Beans (optional) – half a can, or about a cup, add a lot to the soup

Salt, pepper, ginger to taste

Directions:

1. Move your oven rack to the lowest level and preheat oven to 350. Cut off the top of your pumpkin just like you would if you were making a jack-o-lantern, and scoop out the seeds and the loose gunk. No need to clean it too much; you are slicing this baby open soon, so that will make it a lot easier.

2. Bake pumpkin with the lid on for 45 minutes. Take the top off and let it cool until you can handle it. Skin it and chop it up! I think it’s easiest to cut the pumpkin into 4ths, skin it, and then cut it into chunks. Save half of it – it will stay good in your fridge for like 2 weeks.

3. In a big soup pot, saute onion and pumpkin on medium heat in oil till onion is cooked, about 10 minutes.

4. Add veggies and cook for about 5 minutes, or longer, depending on your veggies. Stir in tomatoes, stock, pasta, beans if you so choose, and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let simmer 10 minutes.

5. Serve! Add more seasonings if necessary – this soup is great with lots of fresh ground pepper.

Goddamn!

Goddamn!

Last night I made it with two carrots, half a yellow squash, and the left over beans from burritos the other night. It made me wish I had pinto beans on hand because pinto beans are so good in this soup! But mine were all dried. Next time!

Focaccia!

Focaccia!

The focaccia turned out really well, though a little dense because of the humidity yesterday. It just made it crispier, which is always welcomed.

Terror Kitties

Terror Kitties

They kitties were waiting at the table, wondering what was taking so long for their dinners! PT hardly had the patience to let me take this picture, though, our dinner smelled so good!