Wednesday, 22 June 2005

Project thought long dead.

I thought that, seeing as I'm on a roll, I may as well finish a few other things as well.
This is a pair of socks that I actually knitted about 5 years ago. All I needed to do was sew them up. And I finally did it. Then it took me another week before I put them on!

Notice the little oversight in the stripes?


I don't think I'll wear them in public....

Tuesday, 21 June 2005

Not another scarf!

I finished the Purp Scarf! Yes!


I used the same technique I used for the scarf I made for my friend James, i.e. just basic garter stitch with an added strand of the contrast colour on every third row. I thought it would look good in light colours, with a creamy colour and a pastel. At first I was thinking shades of blue to look like the ocean, but you have to work with what you can get, right? Plus it was on sale, so you can't complain.

I wanted to do something a bit different and knit it 'sideways', but I knew I'd have to use circular needles for that. I was pretty daunted because I've tried to use them once before, and they were hellish! But I used the trick of steaming the plastic parts of the needles to straighten them, because they're all bent from being folded up and squashed into the packet they came in. It didn't take long to get used to them after that. Once I actually got on with it, it was really quite quick to make.

The only thing is: the scarf doesn't wear very well. It's too bulky to fit around my neck properly without feeling like I'm drowning in a sea of wool!

Monday, 20 June 2005

Foodie

Tonight I made Bara Brith:


It's a traditional Welsh bread made without yeast - although I don't think it's supposed to be that flat! It has sultanas soaked in tea, brown sugar and flour. Oh yeah, I just realised I was supposed to use self-raising flour, not plain flour. D'oh!

It tastes quite good though! The recipe says to leave it in a tin to mature for 2 days, but I couldn't wait.

Thursday, 9 June 2005

Cute, fluffy animals

Lately I've been working on my toy penguin more than anything else. I have an odd and not entirely unjustified feeling that I might actually finish it quite soon - and successfully too!

Here's a pic of it's guts:


Yes, that could be a flipper.

I'm eyeing off the Wombat to do next. Updates as they happen...

Tuesday, 7 June 2005

I have room to spare!

Lately I've been seriously considering the idea of having a set limit to the number of projects I've been working on at any one time. 12 seemed like a good number. 12 also just happens to be the number of projects that I'm working on right now, so it seems to make sense. That just means I'll have to finish one before I make a new one, which really would be the sensible thing to do.

But then, guess what? I just thought I'd count the number of projects I have listed on my Works In Progress page [link defunct], and I'd miscounted! It's not 12, it's 11! So I can start a new one if I want! I'm so excited!!!

Thursday, 2 June 2005

I got the knitting blues.

Hello, all.

What have I been doing lately? Not much!
I've mostly been working on Sparky's hoodie, at work. I haven't had many shifts, so I haven't done much unfortunately. And I can't knit and type at the same time, dammit! I bet you Debbie Stoller can!

I wish I had whizzy icons which showed how much I've done of each project, in the shape of a scarf or a hat or whatever, with the bottom part coloured in like a glass that's had coloured water poured into it, showing how much is completed. That would be really cool. But I never said my blog wasn't substandard, did I?

I still don't have any new pictures of my knitting, so here's a pic of the things I bought on my last trip to the Salvos:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

You see here:
* cheesy old 60's and 70's knitting books
* wierd orange top
* hand towel
* Body Shop products
* ridiculously large teapot
* glass jar
* original 60's inflatable coathangers that I don't think have ever been taken out of the packet
* etc.
I love op-shopping!

Wednesday, 25 May 2005

Workin' on it

I haven't done much knitting lately, I've been too busy reading Harry Potter!

But I have started knitting at work again. I haven't done that in ages, at least a year. I'd forgotten how relaxing it is to work away subconsciously at something really simple and fluffy while you're chatting to someone about why there are no tickets left to the Melbourne vs. Richmond game! Unfortunately I finished the piece of Sparky's cardigan that I was working on yesterday about half-way through the shift, and had to find something else to keep me occupied for the rest of it! I'm really powering through it now though.

Saturday, 14 May 2005

Quick Update

I've been working in little bits and pieces on all of my projects lately, so I haven't progressed on any one very much. I just don't have the concentration to stick to any single one at the moment. So I'm afraid I don't have much to show at the moment.

I've started reading/become obsessed with the Harry Potter books again, so that's taking up a bit of my time. Here's an exciting picture, in lieu of any pictures of my knitting, cos I can't be bothered:

[Stolen from Mandy's World] [link defunct]

Wednesday, 4 May 2005

Too much Knitting!

Well, I vowed I would not start any new projects until I finished an old one, and I kept my vow.
I have finished 2 projects so I am allowed to start 2 new ones! Yay me!!
And here they are:

First is a toy Penguin for baby Sparky that a friend suggested I make.


That kid's gonna have a lot of textile creations by the time I'm finished!


Second is a new scarf which I just thought of yesterday.


Honestly, this will be a scarf when I'm finished! ...I hope. I'm knitting it lengthways, so I have to use circular needles as it's too long for normal needles. I've never used circular ones before because they always seemed like too much of a pain in the arse. It's been pretty good so far though, and even though I cast on 200 stitches (which I'm afraid will be too short), I've done 2 1/2 rows already. We'll see.

I've also finished the back of the Baby Hoodie and I'm well onto the front. Yay!!

P.S. I'm trying to keep the photos small as I know I've posted a lot lately.
Sorry if they're causing trouble.

Monday, 2 May 2005

*fanfare* ta daaaaa!

Finally, here it is. The day we have all been waiting for. The unveiling of the Top Secret Project!

It is.....


a cushion cover! I call it the Cardigan Cushion.
It's made in a cable/rib pattern which I made up myself after I couldn't get the one in the pattern to fit the cushion. I forgot everything I read about how cables and ribs make a piece of knitting narrower, and I didn't take it into account. But thankfully this type of pattern is also very stretchy, so I was able to make it fit the cushion nicely. The only problem is that the end with the buttons curves in. But I stretched is as much as I could. What can you do?


The wool is Paton's Zhivago, which is very smooth and silky. I like it a lot. I have 2 balls left over to make into something nice.


I didn't really think about the buttonholes until I got to them - I've never done buttonholes before. But I got out Montse Stanley's The Handknitter's Handbook, which I got from the library and I don't want to give back! and I made some passable buttonholes. I wanted either black or pearly buttons, but when I saw these, I knew they were the ones. I spared no expense! I had some problems sewing them on - I kept putting them in the wrong place! Yeah, well, I never said I was actually any good at this knitting gaff!

My greatest compliment came when we put the pregnant birthday girl to bed at the end of the evening, and she wanted my cushion with her. Awwwwwwwww!
*big, warm, glowy feeling*

Friday, 29 April 2005

Baby Fruit Hat

I vowed that I would not start a new project until I had finished a current one, so I chose the one I could finish the soonest, and pushed on through. It was surprisingly quick to finish once I started doing the decreasing at the top.
And here it is! I present to you: The Baby Fruit Hat!

Oh, he is divine!



Even better from this side!


And a lascivious detail, just for you!


Yummy!
Now, what will I start next???

Tuesday, 26 April 2005

Mexican Meatball Soup



Here is the Mexican Meatball Soup I made yesterday. I love this stuff so much!
With tablespoon of love, and a pound of sausage mince, and a large slop of Habanero Sauce ...

I'm going to be eating nothing but soup for the next week, and I don't care!

Monday, 25 April 2005

Oops.

When I found out one of my friends was having a baby, I got all excited, and my first thought was:
KNIT!! Imagine all the baby clothes I can knit!! Ooooh! I don't really like babies, but I LOVE knitting!

So I got out some wool I had been saving for a hat for myself, and started knitting a hat for little Sparky:


I started with the Umbilical Hat from Stitch 'n' Bitch and I'm going to turn it into something similar to the Apple Hat [link defunct] from Knitting about. It'll probably end up being some kind of giant grape.
I've never used variegated wool before, but I'm really liking it.


But then, on the way to work yesterday afternoon, I had an urge to knit stronger than I've ever had before. It was so strong that I veered uncontrollably into Clegs as I was walking down the street. I couldn't help it. I knew I'd be late for work, but I just couldn't stop myself. Not only did I buy a pattern book and the wool, but I bought some needles too. I decided to make the Baby Hoodie in blue. This is how much I've done since last night:


There have already been various jokes, e.g. "Here's a picture of the baby I'm making!" (I had a couple of drinks last night, okay?)

The problem is, I've over-subscribed. I've got to finish the Top Secret Project (75%) by Saturday, and I have my Lacy Scarf (25%) to do, not to mention my cardigan and all the other stuff.
At least Sparky's things don't have to be ready for another 6 months. But they're the ones I want to work on right now!

I'm relating to this blog [link defunct] right now, which speculates on why people are so obsessed with knitting. I'm especially relating to the escapism bit. Hmmm.

Wednesday, 20 April 2005

Top Secret

Guess what people? I've started knitting again.
I've decided to give you a sneak preview of the Top Secret Project, just to get you all going:


Ooooh! I can just hear the gasps of excitement...

Plus, as a bonus, I thought I'd include a picture of my flatmate's cat, but she was
being unco-operative, as usual. For some reason she likes to stick her head through
the railings on the stairs. Must have been a French aristocrat in a past life.
Still kinda cute though.

"No photos, please. I'm too busy to
eat your face off right now."


Top Secret Project Status: 70%. Woo hoo!!

The Handknitter's Handbook

After about a year (seriously) of procrastinating, I finally did it. I borrowed Montse Stanley's The Handknitter's Handbook from the library. Now, this is a book I'd been reading about for years. Everyone was saying that it was the best book on knitting ever produced. I knew that one day I would finally have to bite the bullet, step up and read it. Move into the big time. It really came about as an accident as it slid through the chute into the check-in room at my library. But, by a fateful coincidence, I felt I was ready.

A number of misconceptions were blown away immediately. I always thought that Montse Stanley was a man (well, it does sound kind of masculine, doesn't it?) I'd always thought it interesting that what is generally considered to be the best handbook on knitting ever written was made by a man, and I was looking forward to getting his perspective and seeing if it was any different to the ones I'd read before. And, I have to admit, there was a little bit of daydreaming about 'him' sitting by the fire with a glass of whiskey, knitting away on a cold night. So I was a little shocked to find that he (she) was a woman!

Secondly, I'd gotten the impression that Montse Stanley was a bit like the Hitler of knitting. The Knitting Nazi, if you will. Perhaps the other writers who had written about her work had mistaken 'authoritative' and 'knowledgeable' for 'stern' and 'inflexible'. For a book of knitting techniques, I actually found it quite enjoyable. For example:

"When it comes to starting or finishing a piece of knitting, it is very tempting to learn one method and then stick to it whatever the circumstances. Many knitters actually boast of ALWAYS using such-and-such. How utterly boring! What would you think of a cook who ALWAYS starts with bringing water to the boil and ALWAYS ends by adding a knob of butter?"
-- Page 62.

(Okay, so it's a bit like university-professor humour, but I think it's quite cute.)

Each technique is accompanied by illustrations which are actually detailed enough for you to understand what the technique is, and how it will look. There is also a blurb saying in what situations it could be used. The illustrations are the clearest in any book on knitting I've ever read.

The colour plates showing garments she has designed using some of the techniques are placed in the appropriate parts of the book, so you don't have to flip over 50 pages every time she refers to them!
I'm glad there aren't any patterns or instructions for making whole garments. That might sound a bit odd, but I like that she's just given the reader the choices, and lets them make their own decision on what to create. She goes through the basics, but then moves onto so much more.

I didn't mean for this to becomes a book review, but I've decided - I must own this book! I just can't afford to photocopy all the pages that I want from it:

(That's when I was about 2/3 of the way through.)

I say Hmph! to your Stitch n Bitch! Before I read Montse Stanley's book, I thought there were only 3 or 4 ways of casting on. She has over 40!! 20 ways of casting off, and about 14 different selvedges, all illustrated as to exactly how they will look. That's what you want from a knitting handbook!

Tuesday, 12 April 2005

Today's Dream Project

This:


is what I need right now. I think I'm in a bit of trouble.
I have 15 days to go, and I have not worked on the present
for weeks. I just cannot force myself to knit in hot weather.
I don't know what it is. It just feels wrong. Holding the
wool makes me feel hot and I feel like I'm getting it all
grimy.

Even buying a new ruler to keep in my knitting bag so I can
measure how long the thing is has not encouraged me. I haven't
even taken the ruler out of its packet and put it in the bag
yet. *sighs*

Thankfully it's going to be nice and cold on Thursday, so I
can get started again then.

Saturday, 2 April 2005

Today's Dream Project.

A patterned vest form a random website I didn't bother to note down.


I wish I had the skills and patience to make a really cool argyle vest.
At least you wouldn't have to fart-arse around with sleeves.


Top Secret Project Status: still 40%.
I just don't feel like knitting in hot weather. I really need it to cool down soon, or else I might not get it finished in time!!

Monday, 28 March 2005

Today's Dream Project

From Viking Knits.


What a lovely jumper. That jumper would look great on me.
I'd really like to meet that jumper.... er....


Top Secret Project (well, not that top secret now really, because at least 4 people have seen it, and they know what it's going to be) Status: 40%.

Friday, 25 March 2005

Today's Dream Curry

Top Secret Project: 20%. Going very slowly.



Here is my latest masterpiece, my own beautiful curry:


Actually, I have to admit something to you all. This isn't my curry.
It has all the same ingredients as mine, it's just that someone else cooked it.
Even though my curry tasted amazing, the photo I took of it didn't come
out quite so well. It looks really unappealing, I'm afraid to say.
If you really want to look at it, you can:



Or, if you want to see a picture even worse than my curry (be prepared!) scroll down. Actually, I'd advise you not to.

.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
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I told you that you shouldn't have.

Tuesday, 22 March 2005

Today's Dream Project

Chanel style Cardigan from Crystal Palace Yarns,
made with Summernet yarn in a butterfly stitch pattern.


If everyone around you squints, you almost look like Coco herself!


Top Secret Project Status: 13%. Getting there!

Sunday, 20 March 2005

Today's Dream Project

'Muffettes' from Knitting And.

For the Goth in us all.


Go to Manolo's Page [link defunct] to take the No Poncho Pledge. Something very close to my heart right now.

Top Secret Project Status: 12%.

Friday, 18 March 2005

Today's Dream Project

I can't leave my journal blank while I'm working on my Top Secret Project for the next 6 weeks, so I thought I'd whet your appetites with a new series: Dream Project of the Day...


A beautiful cut-away cardigan from Miss Bea.


Mmmm. So fluffy.


Top Secret Project Status: 5%

Wednesday, 16 March 2005

Knitting Obsession? Nah...

Okay. The scarf is on hold already. I have a new, more important project to do. However, it is


!!!! TOP SECRET !!!!

due to the fact that it is

A BIRTHDAY GIFT


I'm afraid I cannot release the details until the end of April. However, I can keep you all updated on the nailbiting saga of whether I get it finished on time or not.

Top Secret Project Status: 0%.

Wish me luck, all ye who read this journal.....

Cla-what?!

It seems the poncho fad is over already. Apparently it's the Clapotis now.
What the hell is a Clapotis?

When I did a websearch to find out, the first site that came up was in French, and mentioned the word "nudisme" more than once. *raises eyebrow*

(And apparently the temperature at La Clapotis is currently a temperate 14°C.)

It seems the Clapotis (of the knitting world) is a giant scarf with ladders in it. See it here.

Yup. Just as I suspected. I hate it and I love it. I'm torn. I have to hate it cos everyone loves it. Yet it's so pretty and so chic. I'm not chic, and I hate doing the same thing everyone else is. But it's so lovely and it ripples like water. But shawls are for grannies and I don't have the patience to be hoiking it up all the time! But if only I had one, I'd be beautiful and happy. But everyone's making them so I must hate them!

Enough of this! I have to get started on the Secret Project.

Sunday, 13 March 2005

Food is art

Here is the Fried Rice I made for lunch today (with leftovers for tomorrow). It's the first time in weeks I've actually cooked a real meal. It's got real, fresh vegetables in it and everything!


Yum.

Saturday, 12 March 2005

Finally ... she's back!

Just as predicted, as soon as the weather dipped below 25oC, I had the urge to knit again.

Lacy is all the rage, it seems, so I wanted to make something lacy.
Oh, by the way, that poncho thing from a few weeks ago? Forget it! Unlike most of Middle America, I wouldn't be caught dead in something Martha Stewart was wearing when she emerged from jail after completing her sentence for insider trading and defrauding the public.

"When Stewart was released from prison in West Virginia last week, she wore a gray-and-white crocheted poncho over her blue jeans. As she walked to her private jet, she looked trim and fit, even a little hip as the poncho swung over her brown leather boots."

-- Puente, Maria, USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2005-03-08-stewart-poncho_x.htm. 8th March, 2005. [Italics mine.]

Well, America's favourite housewife can just about kiss my big fat white.... Er, but I digress. Back to my wool story.

I went to Lincraft and deliberated for ages over which wool to buy. The only thing that made me finally decide in the end was the threat of being late for work. I went with tried and tested Caressa, which is what I made Emma's Mittens and My First Scarf (Since High School Anyway) [link defunct] out of. It's fluffy, but not too fluffy, comes in a range of non-ugly colours, and is relatively cheap for real wool.

I mucked around a bit with a pattern I found which was actually for a jumper. (Why anyone would want a jumper with big holes in it is beyond me, but anyway...) It uses large eyelets alternating with a single garter knit stitch, with two garter stitches at the ends, to create a lacy but structured pattern. (I thought a lot about this.) I decided to make it quite thin so I could tie it around my neck in a bow if I wanted, and I'm not planning to make it very long. It's already about twice as long as you see in the picture. Updates as they happen...


P.S. I also bought that turquoise wool you see in the picture with no plans whatsoever for it. It's probably not enough to actually make anything out of. I don't really think about these things when I'm impulse buying.

Wednesday, 9 February 2005

The Barely Competent Knitter

Oh dear. I just had a look at my Works In Progress [link defunct], and I have 4 projects which are almost done, and that I could finish very quickly if only I just got out a needle and sewed them up! I'm such a slacker!

Good news though: I've done 41 rows on my cardigan!! I'm up to the bit where you cast off a few stitches on each side for the sleeve holes. This means I have 6 less stitches to do on each row. Yay!
Er, well, I actually have 9 less to do - I somehow lost 3 on the way. A little disturbing!

Sunday, 6 February 2005

To Poncho or not to Poncho...

I'm thinking of starting a poncho. A really light, summery one, very tasteful. *snorts quietly*
No, really, something like this:



I just discovered Crochet Pattern Central, which has a lot of great options. Something open and lacy, maybe with a flower pattern, in a dark colour. It might be better in cotton. Hmm.

Wednesday, 2 February 2005

Craftin' & Cookin'

Wow! I've started working on my cardigan again! After at least 3 months of very little craft and no knitting whatsoever. I just felt like doing something with my hands.

I also made this pasta bake tonight which I'm very proud of:


[2 days later]
Even ze leftovers are bewdiful!

Monday, 17 January 2005

Desperate for Content! aka Cooking

In a desperate and pathetic search for content, I've decided that 'cooking' can come under the category of 'knitting.' Here are the potato salad portions I made for lunch in an attempt to get organised to work at the Australian Open:


It looks just like a 50's cookbook illustration. I love it!

P.S. They taste quite good too!