Thursday, March 27, 2008

Well, whaddyarno

Ha!
Look what I found at Borders on the way home tonight!
Its the latest volume of Yarn magazine - the first since it was sold.
Hurrah! =)

The other significant item in the picture (well, besides the broomhead scarf) is the quilt. On the couch. Yep, the evening weather has been upgraded (or should that be downgraded?) to large quilt on the couch.

You know, I do feel bad saying its getting 'cold' here, what with all the talk in the Northern Hemisphere knitbloggy community of people being snowed in and dug out and freezing their Noro off, but seriously.
This time last week we were coming off a run of 10 or so days above 30C.
Now here we are, a week later, and its 2 overnight?

Anyhoo, here I am curled up on the couch, under the quilt with my Yarn (and my yarn), a cup of tea in one hand and Humpty in the other.
Ordinarily, on a Thursday, I would be watching Gordon but tonight The World's Deadliest Surf (or some such? =s) is on. hmmm

Tomorrow we're off to see Harry Connick Jr!!!!! Hurrah =)
Can't wait =)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What a So Called broomhead

For a while now I've been admiring the My So Called Scarf pattern (ravelers check it out here).

I bought some Lincraft Veronica on Saturday (its so lovely and thick and smooshie), then spent Sunday trying to decide on the right needle size to give me the nice thick warm fabric I'm after.(incidentally, I tried everything between 5mm and 10mm, then went with 7mm, which were of course the only size I didn't have, so I had to pick some up yesterday).

So there I was, last night, with my smooshie yarn and my 7mm needles, and a 2 row repeat pattern.

The first row looks kind of something like this:
Row 1: K1, *sl 1, K1, yo, psso, K1*
(you knit into the back of the slipped stitch on the way over)

Do you think I could figure it out?
For some reason I kept getting a funny rib, rather than the firm tweedyness I was looking for.

I must have ripped it out and restarted 7 times before I finally did a search on Ravelry to see if anyone else had the same problem.


That's when I noticed that the first row actually looks more like this:
Row 1: K1, *sl 1, K1, yo, psso* K1
eeeek - I was adding a K1 after each psso =s

What a broomhead!!!

Now that I've got the stitch pattern down its going great guns ;)
The pattern is really very clever - the criss-cross pattern is created by the slanted decreases psso on the knit side and P2tog on the purl side, but by knitting into the back of your slipped stitch and a purling second time into your front P2tog stitch you maintain the same number of stitches!
Genius!!!

If you think you'd like to try it out, but think it sounds complicated, do check out these very handy vids on you-tube - this one from the pattern designer, and then this shows another way of doing the knit into the back of the slipped stitch (using yo instead)

Like I said, genius!! =)
You can see my progress there (the stitch pattern was tricky to catch with the white yarn).
Its knitting up gorgeously thick and warm - and don't we keep getting reminders that we'll be needing that kind of thing soon! (We've got overnight lows of 2C forecast this week in Canberra!)

I still don't have modelled smockie shots - we haven't had a lot of good photo light after work this week =(
What a pain - we're still in daylight saving time and everything!

Oh well, maybe this weekend ;)

besos =)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cheep cheap (and quick too!)

Mmmm, well, we've made it through the long weekend, free of diabetic coma (yes, that's a lot of chocolate) and heart attack (the return of the footy season is so exciting!).

Incidentally, both our teams were winners, and neither team was involved in a public urination scandal, so it was a good weekend for footy =)

Today, while watching the first season of Degrassi High, I knit up this little eastery guy.

He was super quick and easy, and I'm pleased with the overall results, but I'm still not entirely happy with how the toy faces are comng out.

Pattern:Bluebird
Source: Berroco
Yarn: Lincraft's dk acrylic, and while its not obvious in the pictures the beak is quite a bit darker than the body.
Needles: 3.5mm DPNs
Modifications: I pretty much followed the pattern, but on this advice (oooh, I that's one of my newest fave blogs =)) used smaller needles and picked up stitches for the wings (rather than knitting and sewing on later).

It was really hard to photograph, actually - I think he's cuter in 'the flesh'(?) - the beak looks so daggy in the photos.

This weekend I also managed to get the second smockie done - I'll have some 'modelled' pics soon =)

Good luck surviving if you're back to work for a short week this week - why are the short ones always the longest? (and what happened to the past 4 days, anyway??)

besos =)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bunny

The Easter Bunny was pretty good to us chez Kuka.

Hope he was good to you too.

A happy and safe Easter to all!! =)

besos =)

Friday, March 21, 2008

One a penny, two a penny

Hot cross buns!

I love hot cross buns!

This year, for the first time, I took the plunge and baked my own:

Monster dough - I'd say that's doubled in size!



Crosses on and ready for the oven. (Is there anything that smells better that hot cross buns in the oven?)




Taadaa - success!!!


The recipe comes from the Essential Baking Cookbook (naturally), and it turned out brilliantly, although I think I would add a pinch of salt next time, and I found the sugar glaze bit too sticky.

Mmmm de-lish!!!

besos =)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

when fashion is your friend

Fashion. Its a funny old game.
Seriously, who decides what's fashionable??
Most fashion is incredibly unflattering for most people.

But sometimes fashion flips, and give you a helping hand when you least expect it.

For a couple of seasons now the shops have been full of the empire line - now, let's be honest, is there anyone who doesn't look pregnant in an empire line?

Uh-oh, not the best look when you're not...

On the other hand, I have a pregnant friend, who is cheering about the great range of 'maternity clothes' in every store.

Then there's the tucking of jeans into boots.
Eeeeeek. (really, just eeeeek. I have no other words.)
Don't get me wrong, its just the tucking in I have issues with.
I have nothing against the boots.
Actually, I'm quite partial to a knee-high boot.

Thing is, it would seem I'm too big for my boots.
Well, for anyone's boots.
Ihas been nigh on impossible to find a boot of, well let's say, suifficiently generous calf proportions for my generously proportioned calves.
In fact, I tend to be lucky if I can get the zip much further than the cankle.

And, word on the street is, I'm not alone.
So, about this time each year I develop something of an obsession with boots.
I study the US and UK websites, admiring their wide(ish) range of wide leg boots.
I visit every shoe retailer every second day, just incase a delivery has arrived carrying a couple of pairs of larger boots.
On the other days I visit clothing stores, in my mind putting together the perfect funky outfit to compliment my new boots.

Until about June I keep thinking: perhaps this will be the year?
The boot people will realise peoples legs are bigger than their boots.
Boots will be bigger, and zip up, all the way, in a second.
I'll buy 7 pairs, in different colours and different styles.
I'll be so much cooler than I've ever been without boots, my footy team will win the grand final and M&Ms will rain from the heavens.

Needless to say, no joy so far.

But, perhaps this will be the year.

I read a post somewhere on the world wide wonderful internets (I've come across dozens of message board post threads on the boots to small/too big issue) that some one had bought a pair at Target.
Someone else 2 pairs at KMart.

Target were open late tonight, so I slipped in to check it out.

I sat down to try some boots, and in what I can only describe as a miracle of Easter, they zipped up.
All the way.
Ok, sure, there was some squeezing and squashing, and at one point I stopped to make sure I had tissues in my handbag, just incase I caught some skin in the zip and drew blood.

And they were a little tight, but leather stretches, right?

And they ZIPPED. UP.

Turns out all those fashionable people were having trouble stuffing their jeans into their boots.
So the some of the boot makers have come out with something that has little more room around the leg this season.
To accomodate all those people who want to wear their jeans tucked into their boots.

I'll take the boots where I can, and if you're a little thick of calf (mine measure about 17" at the biggest point, just to give you an idea) and have been looking for boots go check it out.

I didn't buy them, in case you're wondering.
I'm gonna check out what KMart have first.
I figure if they're out there I can afford to be a little picky ;)

besos =)

The yarny goodness there is merci a Spidey - she found a bag of blue 4ply feathersoft in the delivery of yarn she received a week or two ago, and thought I might be interested. When she brought it in for me to SnB on Sunday it was accompanied by this skein, also feathersoft but 8 ply, which she had over-dyed!!!! Check out the gorgeous, strong colours! Apparently its the nylon that takes the dye so well =)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Thoughts on the afterthought

Knitting a mitten, much like knitting a sock, basically just involves knitting a tube, which is closed at one end and has something different in the middle - mittens have a thumb, socks a heel.

Most of the variation (beyond yarn/guage) from one mitten pattern to the next is in one of two places:
the pattern of decrease to close of the top - which will dictate the shape of the mitten
(for example pointy or round;) and
the technique used for the placement of the thumb.

Since the smockies pattern uses the afterthought thumb, I thought this might be a good excuse to have closer look at how this particular thumby construction is worked =)

The afterthought thumb might be the most simple thumb placement I've tried - there is no increasing, no extra casting on, and no picking up of stitches.

To work the thumb, the stitches where the thumb is to go are worked using waste yarn.
The waste yarn stitches are then slipped back to the left needle, and the row/round worked as normal.

Hopefully you can see what I mean from the pic of one of my smockies below.
9 stitches have been worked in the white waste yarn (2 of them are purl stitches so are hidden).



Once the body of the mitt(en) is done you go back and remove the waste yarn, transferring the live stitches above and below onto your needles.
Because of the anatomy of stitches you'll end up with one more stitch on the top than the bottom (this wasn't actually allowed for in the smockies pattern, so I've just knit 2 together).
So, you have your top and bottom stitches, plus one from each side, to knit the thumb.
Taadaa )



I was quite happy to work the afterthought thumbs, as the pattern prescribes, since I'm not a big fan of having to pick up stitches.
That said, I'd probably work them differently next time - because you don't have a thumb-hole you can't really try them on until you're done - that drives me nuts!

Incidentally, the first smockie is DONE and I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT =)
Pics soon - or maybe when they're both done?

besos =)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

sprung ;)

Oooh, with the heat
(35ish today, although I do feel kinda bad for everyone in Adelaide - its been over 35C for about 14 days straight now, and its likely to keep up for most of next week too!!!) we've been having here winter seems a thousand weeks away, let alone thinking about spring.

When it does finally come, though, that's how spring looks here in Canberra =)

And in the knitting blogosphere spring looks like this.

After the initial excitement (under which I blogged yesterday) of discovering the latest knitty had been published, a quick look at my 'friends activity' revealed that I was probably the last to know, but also gave me some hints as to the best patterns this time round =)

I have 4 faves this time around =) (probably no surprises hehe)
Ooh, ok wait, 5 ;)

The lace ribbon scarf (more pics) - aaah so pretty =)
I think this will be great for Canberra winter - warm but not too heavy =)

Honeycomb. Oooh, I love a good vest!!!

Ok, I'll admit I do have a couple of vests in the queue already, but this might just be the year for vests, and this one goes straight to the top =D

Yosemite. This is such a cute short sleeved knit - if this guy turned out I think I'd get a lot of wear out of it. =)

And the bag - Brighton.
I do love a bag too (and, yes, if you wanna know about the bag queue see above re vest queue!).

Ooh, I nearly forgot Spirogya - its wristwarmer fever! =p

Grand plans =)
Doesn't everyone go nuts for the new knitty? =p

besos =)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Springy


Oooh, did everyone already know Spring Knitty is up???

Haven't had much of a look yet, but I'm sure the fave patterns will start popping up in the 'friends' activity' part of Ravelry (see honeycomb and lace ribbon scarf), and will be thoroughly dissected at SnB on Sunday!

Maybe I'll share my faves and a bit of a review tomorrow (cos I know you're dying to hear what I think!!!) =)

Besos =)

Monday, March 10, 2008

hurrah, a new project!

I've spend the past week (or so) as follows:
Browsing patterns.
Sighing.
Choosing a pattern.
Changing my mind.
Choosing something else.
Casting on.
Sighing again.
Unravelling.
Moving back up to the browsing all over again, and repeating ad nauseam.

I've seen things I like.
But something has always been just not quite right.
I'm starting to feel like I'm looking at projects like Jerry looks at women, you know.

This project is great when I work on it in the lounge room - move into the kitchen and its hideous (bad light?).
That project is divine - but those ladies' mitts are only gonna fit on man-hands.

But I think I've finally found something to keep me interested (well, at least until I see it in the kitchen trying to open a jar of pickles - naked)

Smockies.

Cute, huh?

From what I understand, this fingerless mitts patten was developed for a Norwegian design competition.

The winner of which was these gorgeous guys - aaaah so pretty!

Half of my problem has been that so much of the stuff I want to knit is in 4ply, and I find it really difficult to get a good range of the kinds of colours I'd like to use in 4ply.

(Actually, the only way I can think of to get around this is to kidnap a certain Spider of cheery disposition, and have her in the spare room, spinning and dyeing on command..... hmmmm) ;)

Anyhoo, these Smockies are being worked up in, you guessed it, feathersoft! hehe
I think I'll use pink for the contrasty bits.

Assuming I get that far ;)

besos =)

Sunday, March 09, 2008

*cue wee-wee jiggle!!*

Oooh had a make-upy playdate with Dood today =D
I was very excited to have someone over for coffee and girly fun =)

And it was also a fab excuse for some bakey goodness - profiteroles!!

Mmmm I love these guys - they are really so simple to make, but people are always impressed since they seem so fancy at the same time. (ssshhhhh - don't tell, ok? teehee)

I can remember making profiteroles from a fairly young age with my sisters - probably because they don't require any special ingredients so we would have always had everything on hand (water, butter, flour and eggs for the pastry - chocolate an optional extra, really) and the whole lot is done in one saucepan so less washing up.

(ok, I'm ashamed to say, it was probably usually left for mum...)


They can be filled with cream or custard, in this case I've used 'confectioners custard' which also makes these particular profiteroles much less decadent than they appear - its just a basic white sauce (I used a little bit of reduced fat butter and skim milk), allowed to cook until fairly thick and egg yolks added at the end.

Then you flavour with some sugar and vanilla. Deeeeelish! =)

I really did have a fabulous afternoon, and recommend a session of make-up victiming to any of the Canberra SnB gang who get the chance =)

Dood has some pics on her make-upy blog, if you didn't get enough of my big head last week ;)

besos =)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

pre-season in Canberra

its not quite the Royal Arcade



or the MCG







But it is a pretty good day out =)

besos =)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Avocado for scale

Ooooh, lookey here - another little pair of mittens!
(who'd have thunk it, huh?)



My purpleminty spiral mitts are from the same Lincraft pattern I've been using of late, and were cast-on simply because I finished Shedir on the bus on the way to work and needed something to knit on the way home!

The spiral pattern comes from working a 3 stitch repeat (purple purple green) over a multiple of 4 stitches (28/round) and worked really well in the round since there's no need to worry about jogging the join.

These guys are soooooooooooooooooo soft - I'm completely in love with feathersoft right now (sad, I know) - and after feeling the smooshyness of the two-coloured stranding here I'm thinking of making myself something of the feathersoft mitty variety =) (I know - it is very pastelly. But do you think I'd have any luck dyeing some to something a bit brighter??)
besos =)

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A case of the same sames

Despite the excitement of having a nearly nekkid Russell shimmying across my computer screen in his tightey whities, the weekend was really one of those weekends.

You know, the weekends where you're so desperate to do something, anything, but nothing seems interesting enough that you could be bothered putting in the effort required to get off the couch and do it.

Where you would love to cast on a new exciting knitting project but aren't quite sure what. And so you stare at your stash, and thumb through all your patterns (or browse through all 1358 gloves/mittens, 3335 cardigans and 1022 vests ravelry has to offer) without finding what you want.

Then you go to the supermarket to pickup something for dinner and buy Thai Lime and Ginger flavoured chips because, although it seems like a weird flavour for a chip, at least if you buy a new chip flavour you'll feel like you're Doing Something Different.

Yeah, those kind of weekends...



I'm sure I'm always like this as summer slides into autumn.
Perhaps its the sudden realisation that the days are 'already' getting shorter and darker.
Or maybe its because the change of season is so exaggerated outdoors that it makes life seem to freeze - leaves change and drop with the temperature almost overnight but inside everything is the same.
The same as yesterday.
The same as last week.
The same as last year.
Same same.

I guess everyone develops their own coping mechanisms for these moods.

I find baking something with sprinkles on the top helps. (Seriously show me someone who says sprinkles don't cheer them up and I'll show you a liar...) ;)

This weekend it was chocolate weetbix slice.

I have to say, weetbix are either much smaller or much soggier than they used to be (back in my day) - I used the same old recipe as 15 years ago, but there was no crunch in these babies at all (I guess sometimes the same old is different) ;)

Today I've taken a day off work - there's still something a bit exciting and naughty about being at home on a school day.

My work is fairly repetitive - each year we make three passes through the same 17 week cycle, with the same pattern of ebb and flow of the workload. I'm fortunate that I rarely have to take sick days, but occasionally its nice to break it up with a 'mental health day'.

And since the weekend was so 'meh', and our next cycle starts tomorrow, today seemed like the perfect opportunity to take a day out of it for myself

I've left the knitting alone for a few days - instead using the bus time to do some reading, and today working on my February and March blocks for the monthly 12" block CAL (check it out at Craftster or on Ravelry)
I think I'll stick with the granny squares the next couple of days - soon it will be time for them to retire for the footy season.

And, besides, I'm sure to see something to bring back my knitting inspiration at S'n'B on Thursday night =)

What do you do to get yourself out of a same same funk?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Thank goodness for YouTube

How is it that I didn't know that Russell Robertson in one of the contestants on It Takes Two this season???
And this week he was dancing in his underwear??!!
(thank-you Risky Business! ;) )

Well, thanks to the wonders of 'modern technology' (aka YouTube) its my pleasure to present Russell: =)




(There's a shorter but better quality highlights version here if you prefer =))

If Russell isn't enough to make you drool, check out my Saturday morning all to myself breakfast there!!

Pancakes with frozen raspberries - mmmmmmmmm

Usually a batch of pancakes would be too much for one person, but this recipe from BBC food (always my first port of call when I'm searching the innernets for a recipe) only makes about 3 or 4 - I usually do a double batch if we're both home, and if there are a couple left over they're good for a weekendy afternoon tea =)

These are nice and fluffy - kinda like pikelets, except because they're made with plain flower you don't get that fuzzy teeth self-raising flour feeling, you know.

I've been reading a bit this weekend - I seriously haven't read anything for ages - Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides.

Yes, it was on Oprah's recommendation, but I have heard around that it is good.
And I am really enjoying it =)

One more bit of excitement for the weekend - the Boy and I just booked tickets to see Harry Connick Jr and his BIG band!!!

Right here in Canberra!!!

I knew he was touring, but I had no idea that he was coming here - I had only seen shows in Sydney and Melbourne advertised!!

Then the Boy and I were breakfasting (oooh, they make the most amazing tomatoes!!) this morning, and saw a Canberra show advertised!
28th of March, and there were still tickets!
Huzzah!!!

Besos =)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

I don't wear hats

aka Taadaa! Shedir is finished!

Really.
I don't.
I'm not sure if its my big head, or the fact that it is specifically the foreheadal region of my cranium that is paticularly large, but hats have just always been wrong for me.

But, in the interest of showing off a pretty new FO, here I am in all my bigheaded, hat wearing glory.
(just focus on the hat, ok?)


(teehee this shot looks like someone did a really bad job of superimposing a beanie-wearing bowling ball over a picture of someone wearing the Boy's hoodie! teehee)

The official Shedir 411:
Pattern:Shedir - Knitty's special Breast Cancer Awareness supplement
Ravelry link
For:This joins my collection of items for Can Assist
Yarn:Patons feathersoft 8ply in colourway 3914. It took less than one and a half balls.
Needles:3.25mm (a 16" circular and dpns for wen you get right to the top =))
Mods:none - did this exactly by the recipe, but see my comment below re size =)
Comments:Mmmm this is so soft, and warm too =) The pattern is well written and was easy to follow. I love the way the decreases make star on the top - so clever! =)
(Eeeek, seeing these pics its also really obvious how much this guy needs a good blocking to even out some of those stitches in the crown.)

You can also see that I've got the ribbing folded up, since it was a little bit bigger than even my big head needed - I think if make another, with this yarn at least, I'll only do 4 repeats of the cables, instead of 5.

I thought about reducing the size as I was knitting, but decided to err on the side of caution after reading that some people who cut out a repeat then found it was a bit on the too small side.

Since I neither ski nor board, this is as close to snow bunny as I get =)

I promise I've got something much better looking for you tomorrow =D

besos =)