A couple of successful firsts

My first first: my first knitted sweater. I've started one before, but I set it down and never picked it back up because it was taking forever, and I'm kind of impatient when it comes to wanting results. This sweater, however, is done on large needles with chunky yarn, and it's not a full sweater, so I was able to finish it in a weekend instead of taking an entire decade or more. I used this pattern by Stefanie Japel, after I saw her episode of Knitty Gritty last week and realized that her sweater was totally approachable. As I was knitting, I made several modifications: I tried it on and didn't like the length at first (I think I had been looking at the wrong size in the pattern), so I kept going for about 16 more rows. I also put in two buttons instead of one to help it stay on better, decided to go with cropped sleeves instead of long, and, when I realized that all of that fuzzy brown yarn had the potential to look like a grizzly bear, I added some fuchsia details on the front trim and the sleeves to make it more girly and colorful.

If you look at the pattern, you'll notice that it's very different than what I ended up with. Besides the changes I mentioned, she has the button at the very bottom of the sweater, but as I was trying it on before I finished it, I realized that I could put buttons a bit higher, and force the sweater into the sort of pointed shape at the bottom that you see in my photos. If you follow the rows of stitches with your eye, you can see that the sweater "wants" to be connected at the bottom, where it's actually the widest, instead of a few inches up; I thought it was pretty cool that putting the buttons in a different place forced it into a different shape entirely. Knitwear has such cool properties that non-stretchy fabric just doesn't have.

I really didn't set out to modify the pattern, but it was so straightforward that I found it very easy to figure out what I wanted to do differently as I was going. Also, I completely understand now why knitters get so gung-ho about top-down sweaters; knitting it in one piece beats the heck out of knitting a front, a back, and separate sleeves, and then trying to stitch the whole thing together without making it look terrible.

I've worn this both of the last two days over t-shirts and have felt very cute, and it also looks great over a long-sleeved tee — that was my original intent for it, but it hasn't been quite cold enough this week. I'll have to keep this sweater in mind whenever I'm wearing maternity shirts again (no, not right now), because the length would be just perfect with a big ol' baby bump sticking out underneath. I think I'll try to make another one sometime, playing around with thinner yarn in a lighter color and seeing what other shapes I can come up with.

My second first: it's weird to admit this, but I've lived in Louisiana for almost six years now, and tonight was the first time I made red beans and rice. I haven't eaten much red beans and rice since we moved here, thinking it was just sort of a non-exciting dish, but I suddenly got excited last week about making red beans, so I decided to buy some and give it a shot. I mostly followed the recipe on the package, omitting the meat, so I sautéed some onions, bell pepper, and celery (a.k.a. The Trinity) with parsley and garlic, then added the soaked beans, vegetable stock, salt and pepper, and a bay leaf (that was Kent's job, one he took very seriously). I boiled them for about an hour and a half, and they thickened up pretty well, but I stuck a potato masher in there a few times to help them along.

I also made some Zatarain's jambalaya mix, sautéed garlic green beans, and Texas toast (again, with garlic... might as well go all the way, eh?). Kent actually loves the jambalaya mix, even though after every bite, he sticks his hands up to his tongue and says that it's spicy. To adult people, it just sounds like "sahhh!" I think he mostly likes eating it because "jambalaya" is fun to say. His version is something like "balala."

A few bites into the meal, I was so proud of how well everything came together that I decided we needed to go full-throttle into the Louisiana thing and listen to some Zydeco music. We have this fun CD that my late stepfather bought a few years ago when we all visited Avery Island and the Tabasco factory store, so we popped it in, and Kent ate his balala and Texas toast and grooved to the Zydeco beat. He wasn't a huge fan of the beans, which surprised me a bit. I decided that they needed a name that's more fun to say, so the next time I serve them to him, I'll try calling them Zydeco beans and see if that helps.

So now, full of beans like the chihuahuas in Skippyjon Jones, I am heading off to bed. I have more posts in the works with funny stories, pictures, and videos, but you'll have to wait. The teaser: today, I tried to incorporate Kent's little stuffed tiger-kitty, Mike, into everything we did, resulting at the end of the day in matching outfits.

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LOVE the sweater. And you're right about wearing it when pregnant, it would be super cute. I had something similar when I was pregnant, although mainstreamed - I think it was from the Gap. Oh well, it was still cute, too.
Zydeco beans made me laugh.
How fantastic is your little tiny sweater. I am too scared to start a sweater with crochet. It definatly sounds like something I would never finish.
Also, I love red beans and rice, really any beans and rice. I told John last night that I could eat borritos everyday of the week.
ps- my word to verify is "exploge" which makes me giggle.
Excellent sweater! That's amazing that you whipped that up in a weekend. If you ever wanted to open one, you could have a fabulous etsy shop with lots of variety - sweaters, scarves/hats, painted silk, quilts, banners, knitted bags, jewelry, etc.

p.s. my word verification word is "fixard." Would that be someone who tries to fix things but does so very slowly? (fix+retard) This is cracking me up!
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