free knitting patterns from craftsy

Sorry for the lack of posts here lately. I've been in the process of moving and all my cooking and knitting supplies have been packed away for the last few weeks. I've been living on green smoothies and quesadillas with mango and avocado. And while those are two things I really love, I'm really excited to start cooking in my new kitchen now that everything is unpacked. But in the meantime, I have something really exciting to share with you! I know that many of you love finding new sources for free patterns. (Who doesn't?) So I wanted to let you know about a cool site I discovered a few months ago.

Craftsy is an online community with free and paid patterns. They also offer online classes and sell supplies. You can find all sorts of patterns and classes for knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, photography, cooking and more. I made my patterns (free and paid) available through Craftsy a few months ago and have seen quite a few downloads so it's a great place for those of you who also design patterns.

You know what else is cool about Craftsy? They're based in Denver. (Obviously I'm not biased at all as a Denver native.)

If you haven't checked Craftsy out, create a free account and see what's available. Here are a few of the free knitting patterns that I'm excited to try...

Free Knitting Patterns

1. Zig Zag Mittens

ZigZag Mittens

2. Woodland Cowl

Woodland Cowl Free Knitting Pattern

3. Woven Cowl

 

Woven Cowl Free Knitting Pattern

4. Madalyn Rae Baby Afghan

Baby Afghan Free Knitting Pattern

fresh basil pesto

One of my friends describes cities as if they were his girlfriends. He says New York is the city he loves and wants to be with, but isn't sure would be good for him. He loves Denver and is having a good time here now, but isn't sure whether he wants to commit for the long term. If cities are people, then Seattle is my ex-boyfriend.

Whenever I go back to Seattle, I feel like I'm going back to my ex. Seattle is comfortable and familiar. It greets me with sunny skies, amazing lattes, fresh seafood, delicious produce from the market, a beautiful skyline. I only remember the good parts.

But the longer I'm there, the more I realize why I left. It's rainy and cloudy. It never gets very warm. It's passive aggressive. And while there are things I love about Seattle, there are things that never quite fit or feel right.

During the "I-love-Seattle-why-did-I-ever-leave" phase of my visit last week, walked to Pike Place Market on a perfect, sunny Seattle afternoon. I explored the rows of fresh berries, veggies and peaches. I bought berries to snack on, flowers for the friends I stayed with and some other things I knew would make it back to Denver in my carry-on suitcase.

basil pesto

Then I saw what I really wanted. Piles and piles of basil. Fresh basil. Basil that you can smell from 10 yards away. Basil with the roots still attached.

I paid $2 for a huge amount of basil that might have cost me $20 in Denver. And I figured that if it arrived back in Denver wilted and unusable, at least I tried.

Fortunately for me, it (mostly) survived the journey in my laptop bag. I knew it wouldn't last much longer before wilting, so what to do with tons and tons of fresh basil? Make pesto of course!

basil pesto
basil pesto
Fresh Basil Pesto RecipeIngredients:

2 cups fresh basil (packed down)

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup pine nuts (or walnuts work, too)

3 garlic cloves

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Combine basil and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.

Add garlic and pulse a few times.

Add in olive oil and mix together.

Add in the grated cheese and mix until all the ingredients are blended together.

Serve!

I thought this basil would last forever. I dreamed of making spaghetti sauce, pesto, bruschetta, pizza...but I only had enough for a double of the pesto recipe above. After using it on pasta and on crackers, I barely have any left. It certainly won't last me through the weekend. (Note: you can freeze pesto if you have more than you can eat. Or if you have more self-control than I do.)

My fling with Seattle and its food, cool weather, beautiful views, ferry rides, lattes and hipsters is over for now.  I'm happy to be back in Denver. But that doesn't mean I won't be planning my culinary delights for my next visit to the Pacific Northwest!

basil pesto

hot weather treats

As I mentioned in my last post, it has been super hot in Colorado this summer. We've consistently had temps in the high 90s for the last few weeks with no rain. You've probably heard about the terrible fires we have burning all around the state. The dry air, gusty winds and hot temps have created terrible conditions for the fires. It's hard to complain about the heat when I see the destructive fires harming so many. It's hard to think about cooking when it's so hot out, so I've been looking for cold food and easy to make recipes. Turning on the oven is out of the question and I can't even think about things like soup.

This week, I made cold rice noodles with peanut lime chicken from smitten kitchen.

cold rice noodles

Don't let the recipe intimidate you. There are quite a few ingredients listed, but most of them are for the sauces. This is a perfect summer meal. It's light and summery with fresh basil and mint. The noodles are cold and the sauces are perfect. I loved this recipe and it's definitely going into the keeper pile.

Grapefruit-and-Strawberry-Greyhound_Endless-Simmer-333x500

For dessert, I made popsicles. I'm a sucker for anything with grapefruit. When I saw this simple recipe with grapefruit juice and strawberries, I couldn't resist. Especially since I had a few grapefruits and some fresh strawberries.

This recipe would be great without the alcohol, but if you want an adult popsicle, put in the vodka or gin. Mmmm. Refreshing, tasty and healthy!

What are you doing to stay cool this summer?

a never ending project

work in progress

Do you ever start a project that you feel like you will never finish? That's how I feel about my current crochet project. I've been plodding away on this baby blanket since January. Why the delay? A few reasons:

  1. I don't like the yarn much. I forgot how much I dislike working with synthetic yarn.
  2. The colors didn't turn out like I had hoped (looks better in this picture than it does in real life)
  3. Tunisian crochet takes forever...
  4. I haven't had much time to sit down and work on it.

But I'm determined to finish it! Right now it's measuring about 20.5 inches by 32 inches, so I have at least 12 inches to make it square, perhaps a little more than that to use up the  yarn.

Maybe it will turn out better than I think...or maybe someone else will like it more than I do and I can give it away. Or maybe I'll just keep going because I hate quitting and want to use up all this yarn.

How do you force yourself to finish a project you've started when you don't have the ambition to keep going? Do you come back to it later? Or do you just quit the project entirely?