Monday, July 06, 2009

The Get Well Soon Beanie

The Goldfish is also showing the knitting community the '100% acrylic' label on his scarf.

Sorry about the terrible photo quality. There are more detailed shots (including the modd-ed crown decreases - I used the stitch pattern all the way through the hat, rather than changing to stocking-stitch for the crown) on the ravelry page.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Oh jeebus

Laminaria: Manlier than you think

The Get Well Soon beanie (for BCB's partner in film-crime) was gratefully received. Um, so gratefully I got three texts the morning after I gave it saying how well-liked it was. Then one the next day, and one the day after that. The recipient (henceforth christened the Goldfish) has no short term memory right now, and cannot remember sending any of them. Nonetheless, "Good beanie, this" has become a little bit of an in-joke.

The Goldfish has a big-number birthday coming up this year. Since he appreciated the beanie so well, I thought I might knit him something else. But because it's a special birthday, and he's had such an awful year, I wanted it to be Special and Heirloomy. I moaned to BCB (and the Mt Lawley Stitch'n'Bitch) that if only the Goldfish was female, I'd knit a beautiful lace shawl. Someone suggested that maybe a sort of manly-shawl thing might cut it. I finally decided to raise it with the Goldfish, when he complimented my Laminaria.
"Would you maybe like something a bit similar, but like, more manly?"
"You kidding? I'll wear this one!" (and he proceeded to wear my Laminaria for the rest of the evening, while also whinging about not wanting a fuss for his birthday).

It came up again the other night. He asked shyly for a "scarf like mine", "or even one like BCB's" before doing a bit of "oh, no, just kidding. you don't have to."
So he's coming over this afternoon to talk colours for his Laminaria-to-be.

I would really, really love for it to be handspun, because I would think that was all the more special... but his birthday is late August/ early September... I can knit about 100m a week, and spin about 50g a week... I just don't think the maths work out, do they?

Monday, June 15, 2009

A very useful book list

I was trawling the internet looking for information on Latvian Mittens this morning (isn't that what everyone spends Saturday morning doing?) and I found this Extremely Excellent List of Reference Books, from Knitting Beyond the Hebrides. I have heard of most of them, seen many of them, but only own one or two. But to me this is a very neat canon of knitting, for the less trend-oriented, more technique-oriented knitter.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

On knitting, worry and the world wars

A fortnight ago BCB and I found out that our friend (and BCB's partner in film-crime) was going into hospital for a month. While I am very glad he will be getting All Fixed Up, it is still a very scary and stressful time. We did not realise he was that unwell. Because my bedside manner is quite terrible (more sarcastic, than reassuring and caring) I decided to knit a beanie to show my love.

Prior to starting said beanie I was a bit of a wreck. I wasn't sleeping too well, my appetite was a bit sketchy (extremely unusual for me). But the beanie calmed me right down. The repetitive action, and focussing my concerns into a physical object, worrying about gauge instead of health, really helped. And I wondered if, in part, this is why knitting for soldiers was so popular in the World Wars. When you can't see the person you love, and you don't exactly how they're doing but you can be pretty sure they're not having much fun, knitting makes you feel like you're helping. I think.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Win your good self (or me) some tasty made-to-measure

There's a competition on over at Grosgrain Fabulous to win a made to measure fifties-style sun-dress from Etsy seller Loose Teeth. It looks gooooorgeous. Go check it out, and enter to win!

Clicking this linkie will take you there.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

On pie and DINKs

Image via Vita Arina

So, in Australia we don't really have 'pie'. If you talked about 'pie' people would assume you meant an individual-sized meat pie. I mean, yeah, you can get apple pie and stuff, but I don't think it's such a big thing as it is in the US. Just recently I discovered, however, that you can actually buy canned pie fruit here. Just like in America! I was sooooo excited! I'd never heard of it before, except on American blogs. I found cherry pie filling, but it was $6 a can. So I settled on apples, at $2.35 a can. And felt very superior, as it was 100% apple, no added sugar or filler or anything.

I thought I would probably need to make some pastry to wrap my special canned pie apples in, so while at the (gourmet) supermarket I bought some fancy traditionally churned, locally produced, terribly expensive butter. Got it home and started googling for a recipe good enough for my special pie filling.

Turns out you Americans use canned pie filling as a time saver. Apparently, if I'm going to use canned fruit I'm not going to make my own pastry. And then I thought about it, and realised that I could have bought apples at $2 a kilo, and sliced them and stewed them, and it would be less than half the price of my canned pie filling, and be identical ingredients wise...

And it was then, sitting there with my insta-pie-filling and my boutique butter that it hit me. I'm a bloody yuppy.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Hot Cross Buns

I had a hot cross bun today at work, and god it was delicious! I was going to buy some from a well-known ("delightful") bakery franchise on the way home from work, to eat on Good Friday. On a whim, I popped online to see the ingredients. And decided that I would no longer be buying some commercial hot cross buns on the way home (what is a 'flour treatment agent', and why are two kinds necessary?)

I pondered using this recipe, but BCB convinced me that using the breadmaker was a wiser idea. And the breadmaker recipe was pretty similar, it just used water instead of milk, less spice and only raisins. So I changed all that. If there's one thing I love it's peel in an easter bun.

Now, it might be because I'd just finished watching an episode of The Devil's Whore, and had religion and Olde England on the brain, but I really felt connected to English women, who I imagine have been baking sweet spiced breads for centuries. In medieval England really exotic spices were used in sweet and savoury cooking - I mean, my hot cross buns do have ground coriander in them (in the mixed spice). And the idea of painting a visual reminder of a Christian celebration in flour paste seems a much more appropriate commemoration than having a sweet chocolate egg.

I think, given that I am a lapsed Anglican (can such a thing exist?), making hot cross buns will stand in for the ritual of the church for me.

(Ironically, I just took the buns out of the oven, and my crosses were too dribbly - they have completely disappeared into the bun...).

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I learnt to spin.



Can you tell which was taken with BCB's fancy new DSLR, and which was snapped on my old point'n'shoot? Mmm...

Anyway, obviously, learning to spin. That pale brown thing (corriedale) is my first yarn. Spun half on a spindle (which taught me to draft), then half on a wheel (when the slow pace of the spindle killed me). Bouncy green aran-y-worsted-y weight merino came next. Then came some mauvey DK weight (that was supposed to be sock weight... hmmm...). All of those were from Bilby Yarns.

And then the top picture. I'm currently working on some batts from Enchanted Knoll Farm. I subscribed to the batt club when I was having a bad week and the idea of mystery parcels with guaranteed sparkles in them seemed like the best thing I could think of.

I'm finding the batts a lot more difficult to spin than the roving (or was it sliver or tops? I dunno). The fiber gets into clumpy little bumps more easily than roving (or sliver or tops?). I like the fibers to slip past each other nicely. But luckily for all concerned, I think that particular colourway (Cabaret) will look pretty cheerful with slubs and being a bit thick and thin.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Oooops. So it's been a little while. Sorry blog. A lot happened while I ignored you. I finished the Babette Blanket (only two years in the making). And the Kusha Kusha scarf (and it was given to its intended recipient).

Oh, and there was this.

BCB and I got engaged just after Christmas. While the engagement is to be long (we started to buy a house just before Christmas, which is another reason for my absence, and will prevent me splashing out monogrammed red carpets and pumpkin-shaped horse carriages), this hasn't stopped me from trawling the interwebs for the best wedding related Stuff. My theory is if I can browse enjoyably now, when I actually have to make decisions they will be easy, right?