Friday, February 29, 2008

Project 12: Scarfly

I recently bought a rigid heddle loom. I know, rigid heddle! I got a good deal and I wanted to try it out, so...

I made a little scraf for a small friend.

Today is the last day of Feb, so I thought I'd have a look at my goals for the year and see how I'm going with them.

1 & 2 (off roading and more driving) aren't going so well, I've probably driven less than 5 hours this year, but I'm off to visit my godbaby next weekend (see #3) which means about 12 hours of driving for me.

4, to knit a project from each knitting book I own, is not doing too badly, I've done two, but I've also doubled my library, so I'm calling it a fail.

5, making 52 projects, or 1 each week for the year, well, I'm up to 12, in 8 1/2 weeks and I have another half dozen or more in various stages of completion, so I'm pretty happy with that.

Pattern: none, just a plain weave

Yarn: Louet Gems Sapphire in black, 1/2 skein & Emotive Classic in pink, 1 skein

Needles: rigid heddle loom

Made for: Surprise

Ravelry Link

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Project 11: Ralph

Pants' sister is currently at the hospital, having our nephling cut out of her. As you can imagine, we're all kind of beside ourselves and twitching, waiting for news. Pants and I are going to be a little bit sheepish (no pun intended, but what the heck) if he ends up being a neiceling and we have to return all of the tiny blue things we bought.

I made this little sheepy, Ralph, to give to the tiny upon his entrance (visiting hours start in 1 hour, 50 minutes, so hurry up little one!).

More details and a pattern to download by the weekend.

Pattern: A Tale of Two Sheepies, by Spiraling

Yarn: SWTC Bamboo Feather and Louet Gems Sport weight

Needles: 3.25mm circ

Made for: the nephling!

Ravelry Link

I must go now and resume pacing and glancing at the telephone. Send good thoughts!

Monday, February 25, 2008


I've developed a bad habit of pronouncing Edinburgh as though it were spelled phonetically. I'll admit it, it irks my hairy Scot, and that's generally a motivating factor, but yesterday I did it in front of his Glaswegian parents and felt like a tool.

It seems I'm incapable of posting without a photo, so here are some fuzzy feet that have been sitting in my 'to be felted' box for a few weeks. I've a few projects in there, I think I'm scared of ruining them.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Araucania Nature Wool Chunky

There was recently a yarn freak-out on the Aus Knitters forum of Ravelry over Ranco, the stunning sock yarn from Araucania. I bought four skeins, two of the multi and two of the solids (which are really varigated).

For me, the stand out feature of the yarn is the softness. It's absolutely gorgeous, so I had to try out another from the Araucania stable.

16 skeins of Nature Wool Chunky came home to me, 11 in a gorgeous green to make a faux fair isle (possibly overkill, but I didn't want to run out), four of the dark teal colour and one of the gorgeous aqua in the photo.

Have a good look at the photo, you can see a bigger version here, the first thing you'll notice is the different bands, the forground yarn has the older version.

You might also notice that the aqua is dwarfing the teal. The aqua is 147g, the teal 102g, both advertised as 100g.

I wish now that I'd bought them in a real store, rather than online. You can bet I would have bought every overweight skein.

I'm going to start knitting these this weekend.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Yarn Storage? Sorted.

I've begun the laborious task of logging and transferring my yarns over from my old workspace into the bunker.

This task is made slightly more bearable by the fact that a. I love counting stuff, putting it into spreadsheets and analysing data, and b. I've found the perfect storage solution for me.

I found these plastic shoe containers at my local $2 store, and picked up 35 of them.

They're particularly good for sock yarns (a good hunk of my 132 skeins can be found in the pile above). One of those boxes has 18 balls of Bendigo Miami in it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Project 10: Cowgirl Slipper Socks

This is my box of Noro. It doesn't look like much, but there's probably 15 or so skeins of assorted Noro yarns in there, Kureyon, Kureyon Sock, Cotton Hill, Silver Thaw, Aurora and Silk Mountain.

I'd never tried Noro until I made my Woodland Shawl out of Kureyon Sock, quickly followed by the Maine Morning Mitts out of Kureyon.

Suddenly, I understood what the fuss was about, and why people would pay $20 a skein for wool that's full of knots and twigs. So, I set about building a collection.

Part of this collection included two skeins of Silver Thaw, which is a 10ply Nylon/wool/angora blend, one of which I made into a pair of Ann Budd's Cowgirl Slipper Socks.

This yarn is really, really nice, squishy and fuzzy and a pleasure to knit, however I soon learned that I was slightly allergic to it (hence the thick socks in the photos). I'm not sure what the problem is, considering I wear angora and used to own an angora bunny, I think it may actually be the wool used.

So, knitting something that made my hands swell up and my whole body itchy is kind of a motivator to get things done, you know?

These are for my grandmother for Christmas, so they don't quite fit me.

They were a fairly quick knit, heavy yarn with a short leg, and, allergies not withstanding, an enjoyable one.

As I was knitting, I couldn't figure out what the yarn reminded me of. I knew it was some kind of sweet from my childhood, but that sounds rediculous, so I didn't know what it was. Something about the way the tufts of colour pop out of the yarn.

I didn't figure it out until I was nearly done. CLINKERS!!

They're not *quite* done, the toes are held together with waste yarn because I can not find a single tapestry needle in my house, or in any of the stores at Miranda. It's my own fault, though, because I know exactly where my scissors and measuring tapes are.

Pattern: Cowgirl Slipper Socks, by Ann Budd, from IK Winter 06

Yarn: Noro Silver Thaw

Needles: 4.5mm circ

Made for: mormor

Ravelry Link

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Project 9: Foliage

I haven't mentione it before, because it kind of makes me seem like a spoiled little princess, but my best friend is taking me around the world in September.

We're going to Prague first, then we're separating in Scotland, me to Glasgow for a pants family wedding and her to a friend who lives in Edinburgh, then we're off to Boston, NY, Chicago, Seattle and Vancouver, and wherever else takes our fancy along the way, but she's paying for my flights.

This is completely outrageous and kind of something that it's impossible to adequately say thank you for.

So, I knit her a hat. Yeah, lame. It's sort of for Christmas, but I'll probably give it to her for her Birthday so she can take it away with us. Last time she was in Prague, she got me a green flap hat, so it seemed kind of appropriate.

Anyway, this completely inadequate gift is Foliage from Knitty. Made in some Malabrigo Chunky that I happened to have laying around, this is possibly one of my favourite things ever.

The colour, Lettuce, is just perfect and the pattern is easy without being boring and I finished it in an evening watching dvds on my computer.

It's a pretty big hat, which was a complaint I saw on Ravelry quite a bit, but K has fairly big hair, so I think it will be alright. It came down over my eyebrows, which was a teeny bit annoying, but if I made one for myself (and I probably will), I'd just pull it down further at the back.

Modelled by my adorable mumsie, I'm pretty sure she wants one now!

Pattern: Foliage by Emilee Mooney, from Knitty

Yarn: Malabrigo in Lettuce

Needles: 6.5mm circ

Made for: K

Ravelry Link

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Worst. Photo. Ever.

The quality of this photograph (taken through gladwrap in the car on the way to a recent dinner party) is indicative of the general apathy an malaise that is pervading my entire life at the moment.

Working weekends is killing me, and the sticky 'd' key on my work laptop is making me feel slightly stabby.

Anywho, my sweet friend Zephyrama sent me a bunch of awesome cookbooks before Christmas, among them one celebrating recipes from regional restaurants around Australia.

I made little chocolate, date and almond tortes for a dinner with friends recently, and they turned out really well. We served them with vanilla bean ice cream and they were delicious.

This is also the worst post ever, because I'm not comfortable posting copyrighted recipes online, so I can't even share that.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Project 8: Heart Hat for Mirabel

And here's a fun hat.

I made this hat for Meet Me at Mikes' (or, as I prefer, Meet Meat, Mikes, as though two sheltered lads named Mike were being introduced to bacon. Mmmm... Bacon.) Hearts for Mirabel appeal.

I sent it earlier in the week by express post, but haven't heard that it was received, so I'll check with the post office on Monday. I never heard anything about the softies I sent last year, but I'm sure they're busy.

It's just one of my Spiraling hats (I'm trying to get the pattern up, hopefully this month!), except that I extended the top into a rather long icord and made a little heart on the end. I REALLY wish I'd written down how I did the heart before I sent it off, but I'll try to figure it out.

The hearts are being sold for $10 each next month, I'll mention it again when it happens.

Pattern: Spiraling Hat by me!

Yarn: Lamb's Pride Bulky in Lotus Pink

Needles: 10mm dpns

Made for: the Mirabel Foundation

Ravelry Link

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hat attack can kiss my arse, too. Project 7.

So, I just participated in hat attack and found the whole thing... well, crap.

For starters, it's a hat, so more or less everyone in the entire field finished it in an afternoon and sent out, so it was purely up to the discretion of the mail gods.

The pattern, a binary cable hat, where the cables represent the 1s and 0s of binary, was a really great idea, but the execution was a bit meh. The pattern is pretty good, but the directions terrible. I feel like the designer was trying a bit too hard to be geeky.

The complaints have been flying thick and fast, though. First I heard was stickyfingers' rant about lefties being disqualified for crossing cables incorrectly (even though they still crossed behind, and that was all the pattern called for).

Then, a groundswell of complaints on Ravelry about the size of the hats.

Then, this morning, I got a PM from my target, saying that the moderator of the group told her to send back the hat I killed her with because it didn't fit anyone in her family, then I saw that she had already posted in a public forum that my hat was 'so obviously not made to size.'


I used the correct yarn (lamb's pride worsted) and my gauge was exactly on. I followed the pattern exactly and it fit me, but only came about half way down my ears. Incidentally, I checked her hat's project page on Rav and mine hit me almost exactly where hers his her, which is half-way down her ears. Hmmm...

I don't see how it is in any way my fault that a. the pattern is incorrectly sized and b. my target seems to have a giant noggin.

So, yeah, I found the whole experience to be terrible.

I did however, receive a very nice hat (incidentally, knit to too large a gauge, but I'm not contesting whether it killed me, that wouldn't really be in the spirit of the game now, would it?) from my assassin, cathat.

It's made out of a 50% hemp, 50% wool yarn that looks to be hand painted. It's really beautiful.

Here is a photo of it on my parent's dog, because cathat showed a photo of it on her cute puppers.

Pattern: Binary Cable Hat

Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in an off-colour (mustard-ish)

Needles: 4.5mm circ (I seem to use this for everything)

Made for: my target, who I won't link to, lest she complain about me again.

Ravelry Link

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Red Velvet cuppycakes with mint cream cheese icing

We made these little cuppycakes to take to the nephling's baby shower.

They're red velvet with mint cream cheese icing. The red velvet recipe I found somewhere on the internet and the icing is just regular cream cheese / butter / icing sugar with mint extract and food colour added.

Pants decorated them and we didn't have my piping bags and things because we made them at his parent's place. Still, I like how they turned out, kind of rustic.

When I lived in Manhattan, we used to order take out from a little cajun place that did the most incredible food. My flatmate LOVED red velvet and always ordered a slice, but I'd never tried it before.

The verdict? Delicious, so moist, but so, so bad for you, with the oil and the buttermilk and eggs, it didn't really have a distinct flavour. Not sure what I was expecting, but it's just a really dense, plain cake. The icing really helped.

We bake a lot, at least a batch of cookies a week for pants' little lunch, pies and cakes to take to dinner parties, etc, so this year, I'm trying to document them a bit better.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Project 6: Nephling

I pretty much suck. this little jumper was supposed to be finished for Christmas as a gift to Pants' sister and brother-in-law, but meh.

I ended up finishing it about half an hour before the nephling's baby shower the weekend before last. haha. Pants wasn't very happy with me. None the less, it turned out very well, far better than this ill-lit (taken under the pergola in a rain storm) would suggest. I'll try to get a modeled photo once the little monster gets here (13 days!).

I made a few changed, knitting the body in the round to avoid seaming and catching the cast on edge as a hem while I knit. No idea what that's really called, but it made sense (and a nice little hem) at the time. I also decided to rib the wrists, because I really didn't understand the instructions for any of the hems.

This is a really ho-hum knit until you add the funky collar. It was a big hit at the baby shower, with all manner of requests. As an aside, who knew that a baby shower would involve a bunch of breeding women talking about breast pads and playing stupid games? Not me.

Next big baby item will be a cardigan with a collar like this one.

Pattern: Kipling by Kim K. of Yarn Abuse

Yarn: Bendigo Woollen Mills Aran in Seafoam

Needles: 4.5mm circ

Made for: The nephling

Ravelry Link