Alaska Knit Nat


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Brioche Turban — A Free Pattern

I’ve been all about the brioche stitch lately. Ever since I found a left-handed video tutorial on HandsOccupied.com, I’ve been hooked! It’s really a simple stitch, involving yarn overs and slipped stitches and best of all (no offense to my good friend Annie) it involves absolutely no purling!

In just a week I’ve made two scrumptious, fluffy cowls and I felt ready to experiment with the stitch.

I put together this simple turban headband in just a day’s worth of mindless knitting. It went together quickly and with minimal effort.

I highly recommend checking out this gal’s tutorial, as it makes more sense to see this easy stitch in action than it is to read it.

Brioche Turban | Free Knitting Pattern from Alaska Knit Nat

Brioche Stitch Turban

Materials:

1 skein of worsted weight yarn (I used Red Heart Boutique Treasure in the Watercolors colorway)

Size US 10 straight needles

Darning needle

safety pins (optional)

Brioche Turban | Free Knitting Pattern from Alaska Knit Nat

Brioche stitch:

Cast on 10 stitches.

Foundation row: YO before you even start knitting (this is the strange part where it’s easier to understand visually), slip the first stitch purlwise, k1. Repeat YO, sl 1 pw, k1 till the end of the row.

Row 2: *YO, sl 1 pw, knit the 2 criss-cross stitches together. Repeat * to end of row.

Repeat row 2 till work measures about 40 inches, or a few inches less than twice the diameter of your head. It helps to “try on” the turban as you’re knitting it as your yarn’s stretchiness may be different from mine (see assembly instructions below).

Bind off all stitches. Cut yarn leaving an 18-inch tail.

Assembly:

Here’s a rough demonstration of how to assemble the turban using a sash since I’d already constructed mine by the time I wrote this post.

Brioche Turban | Free Knitting Pattern from Alaska Knit Nat

Start with the middle of the strip at the nape of your neck and wrap the ends toward the top of your head. Twist the ends of the strip around twice and bring them back down toward the nape of your neck. Pin ends together.

Carefully remove the turban and pin together the long edges where they meet from the center loop toward the back of the headband. Using the 18-inch tail of yarn, thread a darning needle and sew together the short ends that you first pinned. Starting at the center back toward the front knot, sew together the long ends from underneath, running the needle through the wrong side stitches.

Brioche Turban | Free Knitting Pattern from Alaska Knit Nat

You can be as messy as you like because you won’t be able to see these stitches. Stitch together the long sides until you’re two inches away from the center knot. Tie off the yarn and weave in the end. Take a new 18-inch piece of yarn and sew on the other side of the turban in the same way, from the back seam toward the center knot. Here’s a crummy drawing of where the stitches should go:

Brioche Turban | Free Knitting Pattern from Alaska Knit Nat

Remove all the pins, place on your head and admire how awesome you are for making a functional piece of clothing.

Brioche Turban | Free Knitting Pattern from Alaska Knit Nat


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Homemade goldfish crackers

Homemade crackers are surprisingly easy. When I saw this recipe from Sheknows.com I just had to try it. I added a pinch of smoked paprika, which made for a deeper flavor. I happened to have a goldfish cookie cutter, so I wanted to see how homemade goldfish crackers would live up to store bought.

What came out of the oven was flakey, crunchy and downright cheesy.

Homemade goldfish crackers | recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Homemade Goldfish Crackers

Adapted from a recipe by Sarah Crowder

Ingredients:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 oz. cheddar cheese or mixture of cheddar and parmesan, grated on a micro plane or rasper

1/8th tsp smoked paprika

2 Tbs. butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

1/4 tsp. salt

2 Tbs. or so cold water

Homemade goldfish crackers | recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Directions:

Add the flour, salt and paprika to a food processor and pulse till combined. Add the cheese and butter and pulse till just combined (it will look like crumbly flour). Turn on the processor and slowly add the water. Let the machine turn the dough into a ball. It should take less than a minute. If it doesn’t turn into a ball add a tiny bit more water. Remove ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Homemade goldfish crackers | recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface till it’s pretty thin. Either cut into Cheez-it like squares, or use a decorative cookie cutter. Place on two parchment-lined cookie sheets, with a little space between each cracker. Bake about 15 minutes, till slightly puffy and beginning to brown.

Homemade goldfish crackers | recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Homemade goldfish crackers | recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Let cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Homemade goldfish crackers | recipe from Alaska Knit Nat


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Retro Crochet Chevron Skirt

Recently a friend gave me a stack of old needlecraft magazines from the ’70s and ’80s. Most of the patterns are hilariously hideous, but there are a few that are pretty classic.

I’m more of a hat, scarf and mittens type of crocheter, but I was intrigued by a crochet chevron skirt from a 1981 magazine. This pattern I haven’t yet attempted, but I think it’s the only crochet clothing I’d be willing to wear (and not just on Halloween).

I’ve transcribed the pattern with the hopes that someday I will reference this post and actually make it. But if any of my readers attempt it before I do, please email me a photo of the finished product!

Retro Crochet Chevron Skirt | Free Pattern from Alaska Knit Nat

Retro Crochet Chevron Skirt

Sizes:

To fit 36-38 [40-42]-inch hips.

Length when hanging 26.75 inches

Materials:

Total of 16 [22] oz. (450 [600] grams) of worsted yarn (about 6 oz. each for colors A,B,C,D)

Size F crochet hook

1-inch wide elastic

7-inch zipper

needle and thread

Gauge:

15dc and 7.5 rows to 4 inches in plain dc; 17dc to 4 inches in chevron

Retro Crochet Chevron Skirt | Free Pattern from Alaska Knit Nat

Back and front (make 2)

Using A, make 148[172] ch.

Base Row: 1 dc into 4th ch from hook, 1dc into each of next 10ch, work 3dc tog. Over next 3ch, 1 dc into each of next 10ch, 3dc into next ch, repeat from * to end, but finish last repeat 2dc into last ch instead of 3dc. Turn. 145 [169] dc.

Next Row: 3ch to count as 1dc, 1dc into first dc, *1dc into each of next 10dc, work 3dc together, 1 dc into each of next 10dc, 3dc into next dc, repeat from * to end, but finish last repeat 2dc into turning ch of previous row and join B on last dc. Turn.

Repeat the last row, working 2 rows each in B, C, D, A, B, C and D and join A on last dc – so completing 16 rows from the beginning.

1st decrease row: Using A, work 3ch, skip first dc, 1dc into each of next 10dc, * work 3dc together, 1dc into each of next 21dc, repeat from * to end, but finish last repeat 1dc into each of last 1dc. Turn.

Next row: 3ch, 1dc into first dc, * 1dc into each of next 9dc, work 3dc together, 1dc into each of next 9dc, 3dc into next dc, repeat from * to end, but finish last repeat 2dc into last dc, and joint B on last dc. Turn. Using B, repeat the last row twice more, joining C on last dc of second row.

2nd decrease row: Using C, work 3ch 1 dc into each of next 9dc, * work 3dc together, 2dc into each of next 19dc, repeat from * to end, but finish last repeat 1dc into each of last 10dc. Turn.

Next row: 3ch, 1dc into first dc, *1dc into each of next 8dc, work 3dc together, 1dc into each of next 8dc, 3dc into next dc, repeat from * to end, but finish last repeat 2dc into last dc, and join D on last dc. Turn. Using D, repeat the last row twice more, joining A on last dc of second row.

3rd decrease row: Using A, work 3ch, skip first dc, 1dc into each of next 8dc, * work 3dc together, 1dc into each of next 17dc, repeat from * to end, but finish last repeat 1dc into each of last 9dc. Turn.

Next row: 3ch, 1dc into first dc, *1dc into each of next 7dc, work 3dc together, 1dc into each of next 7dc, 3dc into next dc, repeat from * to end, but finish last repeat 2dc into last dc, and join B on last dc. Turn.

Continue in this way, working in stripe sequence and patters as now set, decreasing on every 4th row, as before until 61 [71] dc remain.

Work 7 rows, so ending 2 rows in D, joining A on last dc of 3rd row.

Next row: Using A, work 1 ch, skip first dc, *sc into next dc, 1hdc into each of next 2dc, 1dc into each of next 3dc, 1hdc into each of next 2dc, 1sc into next dc, repeat from * to end, finishing 1sc into last dc. Turn.

Work 4 rows in sc. Fasten off.

To Finish:

Do not block. Using a backstitch seam, join side seams leaving 7 inches from top edge open. Sew in the zipper. Work catch stitch casing over elastic on wrong side at waist. Press seams lightly according to type of yarn used.

 

 


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Dear Knitting and Crochet Followers…

I realized that lately I’ve only been writing cooking-related posts and I just wanted to reach out to all my fellow knitters and crocheters. I’ve been a busy little bee with my needles and hooks, so stay tuned. I’ll have something for you soon!

Xoxo,
Natasha

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Wild Mushroom Marinara

Last week as I was scrolling through a local online events calendar I saw that Habitat Housewares was having a recipe contest. I’ve not entered a recipe contest save for last week when my husband’s work hosted a chili cook-off. I disqualified my recipe after discovering my husband failed to start up the Crock Pot properly and the beans were still crunchy.

That being said, I was determined to redeem myself purely for my own satisfaction. This contest also had some sweet prizes, namely a $500 gift card to a fantastic kitchen supply store and a Le Creuset dutch oven, retailing at $230.

The contest was for an original pasta sauce recipe. One of the judges was head chef at Villa Nova, one of the only originally Italian-owned restaurants in Anchorage (most Italian places are owned by Greek families here). The other judge was a local food writer who is all about local foods. The third was a local celebrity with whom I once performed “The Rocky Horror Show” at a local gay bar. I knew I had a chance.

Turns out I won second place and scored a pretty awesome dutch oven. First place was a stunning creamy Alaska seafood sauce that was a perfect blend of flavors.

I hope you enjoy my second-place pasta sauce.

Wild Mushroom Mariana Sauce | A recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Wild Mushroom Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

1.5 oz. dried porcini mushrooms

6 oz. baby Portobello or crimini mushrooms, sliced

½ cup chopped onion

8 cloves garlic, crushed

2 Tbs. red wine

1/3 cup reserved mushroom water

42 oz. crushed Italian tomatoes (1 ½ 28-oz. cans)

2 dried red chilies

2 tsp. sugar

1 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

1 Tbs. fresh oregano, chopped

2 Tbs. butter

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Boil 2 cups of water. Place the dried porcini in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. Strain the mushrooms through a sieve and reserve the water. Roughly chop the porcini.

In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high flame. Add the garlic, turn heat to medium and cook till garlic is lightly browned. Add the porcini, Portobello and onions. Sprinkle with a little kosher salt. Sauté till onions are soft and mushrooms have lost much of their liquid, about 10 minutes.

Deglaze the pan with the wine and a couple of tablespoons of mushroom water. Transfer to a saucepan and set over medium-high flame. Add the tomatoes, remaining mushroom water, chilies, sugar, basil, oregano and butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for an hour.

Pour over pasta of your choice, cooked al dente. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve alongside Italian sausage and steamed green beans.


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Pasta with Chard & Sausage in Pumpkin Cream Sauce

Time to jump on the pumpkin bandwagon. I’ve had a medium baking pumpkin sitting around the house for a couple of weeks and I’ve been putting off cooking with it because I have so little pumpkin-cooking experience.

I was inspired by a recipe from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks, but I also had items in the fridge I needed to use up, so I winged it a little. What I came up with was a flavorful casserole that was creamy, cheesy and somewhat healthy too.

You can use canned pumpkin, but I recommend baking your own using this method, as it was super easy and fresh.

Pasta with chard, sausage & mushrooms in a creamy pumpkin sauce | a tasty recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Pasta with Chard & Sausage in Pumpkin Cream Sauce

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

4-5 hot Italian sausages, casings removed

14.5 oz.-box farfalle noodles

10 cremini mushrooms, sliced

1/2 onion, chopped

2 cups chopped Swiss chard

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1.5 cups pumpkin puree

3 Tbs. chopped Italian parsley

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

Pasta with chard, sausage & mushrooms in a creamy pumpkin sauce | a tasty recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil noodles till just al dente, drain and set aside. Meanwhile, brown the sausage in a large saute pan, breaking it up as it cooks. Set sausage aside and in the same pan, add the mushrooms, onions, chard, salt and pepper and toss till coated with the sausage grease. Add a small amount of olive oil if needed. Cover and let steam for five minutes. Uncover, stir in the garlic and saute another minute.

Stir in the pumpkin, chicken stock and oregano. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes. Add the evaporated milk, sausage and parsley and bring back to a simmer. If it’s too thick, add more chicken stock.

Place pasta in a large casserole dish and pour sauce over noodles. Sprinkle in half the cheese and mix thoroughly. Top with remaining cheese (and more cheese if you’d like) and bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Pasta with chard, sausage & mushrooms in a creamy pumpkin sauce | a tasty recipe from Alaska Knit Nat

This is a wholesome dish the whole family will love!

Pasta with chard, sausage & mushrooms in a creamy pumpkin sauce | a tasty recipe from Alaska Knit Nat


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Ravioli Nudi and the End of Summer Camp

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend End of Summer Camp, which proved to be a unique bonding experience for Anchorage grown-ups. I met bloggers, event planners, printmakers, food critics, photographers, storytellers and other local professionals all while enjoying nostalgic campy activities. The campers were fed by Fork Catering, and I took every available moment to enjoy their meals and chat with chefs Rob and Dave.

Chef Rob Kinneen taught a cooking workshop, which I eagerly signed up for. Turns out he was going to demonstrate homemade pasta-making. I’m familiar with making my own pasta, such as comb pastas, basil fettuccine and Russian pelmeni, but I was interested in learning techniques from a professional chef.

He led a hands-on lesson on tortelloni and ravioli nudi. The tortelloni, which were essentially large tortellini, were familiar to me, but the ravioli nudi were entirely new. The nudi are like ravioli without the noodle, literally naked ravioli. Instead you incorporate cheeses, flour, herbs and egg into a sticky, soft dough and create small dumplings, which are then boiled. They are sort of like gnocchi, but with cheese instead of potato.

Chef Rob Kinneen (left) instructs campers on how to roll out ravioli nudi dough.

Chef Rob Kinneen instructs campers on how to roll out ravioli nudi dough.

My only attempt at making gnocchi in the past was a complete slimy failure and Rob’s technique for making nudi could be easily translated to gnocchi. I had to try the recipe myself when I got home.

And I did.

Ravioli Nudi | Alaska Knit Nat

Ravioli Nudi with Spinach, Ricotta, and Parsley

Serves 3

Ingredients:

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 tsp. red chili flakes

1/4 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

8 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

2 Tbs. chopped Italian parsley

2 Tbs. chopped frozen spinach, thawed and well drained

1/4 cup all-purpose flour plus about 1/2 cup for coating dough

Useful utensil: spider strainer

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water and set beside the pot. Meanwhile beat together the eggs, yolks, garlic, chili flakes, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Incorporate the ricotta till smooth. Add the parmesan, parsley and spinach. Slowly add the 1/4 cup flour till a super sticky dough forms. It should be the consistency of thick, lumpy pancake batter. Heavily flour a large cutting board. Gently turn the dough onto the board and work in enough extra flour for it to be very soft and sticky inside, but coated on all sides in flour. Form the dough into a 1.5-inch tall rectangle.

Cut the dough into 1.5-inch strips and gently roll each strip around, dusting with flour, till coated evenly on all sides. Cut each strip on a diagonal into 1-inch pieces so you have small, oblong dumplings. Gently roll each dumpling around in your floured hand till they are each coated and no sticky dough is exposed.

Ravioli Nudi | Alaska Knit Nat

When the water is at a rolling boil, gently add the nudi in batches so the water doesn’t cool down too much. Boil for just a few minutes, until the nudi float to the surface. With a slotted spoon, strain out the nudi and add to the ice water bath. Repeat with remaining nudi.

Ravioli Nudi | Alaska Knit Nat

Now that you have made your ravioli nudi, there are lots of ways to serve them. Use them in any ravioli recipe, or fry them up with butter till lightly browned and crusty.

Ravioli Nudi | Alaska Knit Nat

Thanks again, Chef Rob, for your excellent instruction. I’m happy to add this technique to my repertoire.

Ravioli Nudi with Spinach and Parsley | Alaska Knit Nat

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