Saturday, May 31, 2008

scoop

Often when I'm planning a new project I'll buy a ball of each colour I think I'll want to use and then put them together somewhere in the house where I'll see them often, to help me decide if the colours work together.



Last weekend when I was gathering my stash together for packing I found these.
I can't rememer putting them together like that on purpose, or for any particular project, but I think they look nice together.
Kind of ice-creamy and sweet.

xo

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mittens possessed

So, maybe I was asking for it naming this project the Demon Squirrels, but gee these little buggers have been giving me some trouble!!!

It all seemed simple enough.
I knit myself a pair of Swedish Squirrelly Mittens last year, Mum asked if I would knit her a pair too.
No problem.

She wanted blue with red squirrels (yep, that kind of demon).
Good old Cassidy's had Cleckheaton 5ply crepe (sorry, that's a Ravelry link - it's been discontinued and I couldn't find anything else) at $2 a ball, in the perfect colours - mine were knit with Patons Bluebell, which is also 5 ply, also crepe-y, and has the exact same gauge, according to the labels.
Coolio.

It took me a little while to figure out what size needles I used last time, but eventually nutted it out (I knew all that forensic reconstruction I picked up from watching CSI would come in handy).
Excellent.

So, just like with my squirrelly mitts (you know, same needles, same gauge-y yarn same mitts, right?), I started off by doing the cuff ribbing on 2.25mm dpns (very shiny Knit Picks at that), then moved to the 2.75mm for the 'body' of the mittens.

Houston, we have a problem - these demony squirrels are REALLY BIG.
I compared with mine, and sure enough my gauge is coming out pretty different that last time, even accounting for the fact that my first squirrels are probably a bit tight on account of using 3 colours (I think).

I set that mitten aside and started on the next - 2mm cuffs, 2.5mm body.
Hmmm squirrels are still too big - barely different from the 2.75s.

You can see them all in a row in the pic up the top there: from the top 2.75mm then 2.5mm in the middle (both too bit, though it might not be obvious in the photo, I measured and the circumference of each demon mitten is about 1.5cm more than my zombie squirrels), the guys at the bottom are just right - yes, it is all starting to get a bit Goldilocks, really.

I really don't want to end up with squirrelly oven mitts (I've already got a finished pair of unintentional oven mitts in for 'adjustment'), so there was really no choice.
I've ripped the one on 2.5mms back to the top of the cuff and am trying again (again) with 2.25mm.

I have to say, this yarn is a bit splitty, particularly with my sharp'n'shiny Knit Picks, but I am very impressed how well it's holding up to the rip and reknit treatment it's getting.

Isn't it weird how different a result you can get, even though to the best of your knowledge (and I have to admit, on rare occasion I have been known to be mistaken) you're working with all the same parameters?

Do you think this means I'm a more relaxed knitter that a year ago??

xo

ps. I think I have to by some Malabrigo lace weight (Go on, click on it you know you want to. I dare you. Click and then tell me you can resist). =)
Bells and Trine I'm blaming this on you guys for even saying the word Malabrigo, ok? ;)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Encrusted mousse

Aaaah encrusted mousse, Tuesday night S'n'B's biggest draw card here in Canberra

(though it's not exactly the fancy dessert some envisioned - we are definitely not talking creme brulee crust here peoples)

I have to admit I didn't make too much progress on the demon squirrels, but I did enjoy a killer schnitzel and a lot of laughs, and it was lovely to make some new friends too =)

Thanks for another great stitchy evening guys =)

xo

ps. Criminal Minds is back on tele here tonight, and I was really looking forward to some Creepy

(seriously it's the creepiest show I can bear to watch).

Tonight they were more with the Sad than the Creepy, though - we had to have a few rounds of Mandy after the closing credits..... oh Mandy!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

time suck

So, since we bought The House I've started to become a bit interested (ok, maybe a little bit obsessed, but you know, it left a hole when I no longer felt the need to check allhomes 17 times a day) first in looking at other people's homes, then for decorating ideas.

Thanks to (new Nana!!) Autum at Creative Little Daisy I've found a whole new time suck to feed this latest obsession.

At Rate My Space members can upload pics of their home and have others give suggestions/feedback and rate the rooms.
Check out some of those scrap booking rooms!
Ooooh, baths and beds and kitchens - oh my!!! =)

xo

ps. that's a Cafe Cortile french toast and berry breakfast from our latest Melbourney trip mmmmm
On the menu it's actually french toast and grilled banana, but being the bananaphobic that I am that just wasn't going to fly.
The guy there was really nice and organised some berries for me instead mmmmmm =)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

taa daa: yellow smockies

Finally - the finished yellow smockies!!!



I liked the purple accents ok, but don't think they popped like the pink on green - perhaps yellow on purple might have been better?

It was a while ago now, so I can't exactly remember, but I don't think I did anything really really different from the pattern - with the exception of avoiding the afterthought thumb, and perhaps doing a 2x3 rib or something.

The other thing I did a little bit differently was the actual smocking.

On the first pair I found that I hadn't quite measured where my smocks should go in the same way on the right compared to left mitt.

This time I set up for the smocking by running a contrast coloured yarn through the stitches where the smocks would be, as you can see in the photo there, to make sure everything lined up =)

The latest smockies - pink - are also done, well, as far as knitting goes.
I'm trying to get my knitting stuff packed so that I only have out stuff that needs to be finished...pink smockies, demon mittens, LVish mittens, and a little alteration job on J-Mo's lions mitts.

Hopefully keeping the other stuff out of arm's (and eye's!) reach will help me get a wriggle on!

xo

Friday, May 23, 2008

sweet home

There's big stuff going on chez Kuka & Boy which has had us up and down kept us a very busy pair of bees.

Now that the stuff is really happening (it was uncertain for a while there) I can tell you that all this busy is because we bought a house!!

It's such a relief to have the real estate and bank stuff organised - now we just need to wait.
And pack.

We still don't have a concrete date for when we can get the keys - originally the seller wanted 45 days, then when we came to exchanging contracts they wanted 21.
We figured this was perhaps a little tight, especially considering how long the pre-contract bank stuff had taken, so went for 30 days.
We were hoping to get the keys on the Thurday before the June long weekend, but have now been advised that the seller isn't in a position to be out before the following Thursday, and since that is a really bad week for me (way to much worky stuff going on) we've asked for another week but haven't heard anything back.

In any case, we should be moved in with in the next month!

For now we have boxes all over the place.
I've been packing my crafty stuff very carefully, and taking time to catalogue everything on Ravelry as I go.
Of course, that's also partly because I'd rather be organising the stash than sorting all the clothes under the bed in the spare room...

There's always tomorrow for that, right ;)

xo

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Nigella on the go

Mmmm like I said, I've had the baking bug.

These babies were inspired by a search for at work, on the go, sustenance.
You see, someone around here, when they're busy at work, doesn't eat. FOR THE WHOLE DAY! (I think we all know we're not talking about me, yeah?)
Anyway, said person promises they eat if they have a packed lunch, but just forgets to go out and get something... so the search was on for something to fill the lunch box.

I figured, as far as lunch box stuffers go, I couldn't go wrong starting off with a breakfast bar, and when my Google search gave me Nigella I couldn't say no (ha, there I go again!).

Taadaa!!! Nigella's breakfast bars (from Nigella Express)

I followed the recipe almost exactly here - just adding some vanilla and cinnamon with the condensed milk (oooooh condensed milk!).

That said, this is the perfect recipe for customising, to suit your own tastes (or pantry contents!) - you could easily substitute any dried fruits for the cranberries or use some other kind of nuts than peanuts.


Oh, I love that Nigella!
Now, let's see if I have some left in the back of the fridge ;)
xo

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Any old excuse will do


There's been a bit of talk around here of late about things I just can't resist - here's another to add to the list:
I can not resist any excuse at all for a cupcake!!!

So I simply had to do something for the Celebration of Wool on the weekend!

Actually, I've been looking for an excuse to make these babies ever since I saw them on Flickr and Vegan Yum yum (oooh the foody photos!!), and so I jumped at the chance to make them as bring-along sustenance to share around at our Knit Cafe on Sunday.

I made 2 dozen of my usual recipe cupcakes(vanilla and cranberry), and followed this tutorial to make little blue, yellow and green yarn balls to pop on top =)

The sugar paste yarn balls were (as you might guess) a little fiddly - I think the sugar paste might be trickier to work with than marzipan - but for me fiddly is really half the fun anyway, and one I got my technique down they were much easier.

The icing was pink (pinker than it looks here, I think) butter cream, which was kept quite firm by the chilly weather.

I think next time I'll try out some of the little sugar paste knitted garments too, the cuppies on Vegan Yum Yum have little jumpers and scarves!
Too cute =)

xo

Monday, May 19, 2008

To market to market

Ooooh, perhaps you've heard all about it already, maybe even seen some excellent photos, but the Celebration of Wool at the Old Bus Depot Markets was FABULOUS! (and a little cold, and very early in the morning, but mostly just fab!)



It was a pleasure to see the work of some of our very own S'n'Bers being admired - Jejune's cards, Liv's pods (see above and here=)), the Shopping Sherpa's bags and hand dyed yarns from Spidey and Monsqueak (see below - and here=))were all oohed and aaahed over the entire day.
(Click on any of those links to find out more, and even do a little shopping of your own =))



It was also lovely (as usual) to catch up with friends (and to see The Steeked Jacket, and Georgie's Belly!), and to meet lots of new ones - including our Caffeine Fairie's Magpie, the lovely Dr Kylie, Reecie who was visiting from Sydney for the weekend (well planned Reecie!!), and many more. If we met on the weekend do leave a message and say hi so that I'll know where to find you =)

Thanks everyone for a great day! =)
xo

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Deja vu... again?

I've started some knew bus knitting and, would you believe, it is not another pair of smockies!



It's a second pair of squirrely mitts =)
These guys are (by special request) going to be red and blue.

I remembered having a bit of a tricky time figuring out what needle size to use last time, starting small, then swatching small and larger needles (only to realise I had used one of each size needle...), but since they came out the exact right size this time would be easy - I just had to check my notes for what size I used, right?

Well, let's just say I'm not the best note taker.... I didn't exactly say which size needles I ended up using on any of my blog posts, and haven't filled in the needle size on Ravelry either.
Ooooops.

From my previous blog posts I think I used 2.25mm for the cuff and 2.75 for the body of the mitten.
Today I had the 2mm needles with me on the bus so I've used those to cast-on the cuff and that might be ok, but it looks like I might be back to swatching for the main body... again =( eeeek

Wish me swatchy luck! =)

xo

btw, this is my first time using my knitpicks dpns - oooh shiny =)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mmmmm doughnuts...

So, obviously I can't resist a bakey challenge, and am easy tempted by the delicious photos and stories of baking triumph shared by fellow bloggers...

A couple of months ago Elli of Elliphantom Knits posted the results of a weekend bakey experiment - oven-baked doughnuts.

I've been thinking about them ever since, and this weekend's chore of cleaning out the pantry seemed like the perfect excuse to spend some quality time with my kitchen and try these guys out. =)

The recipe is a standard bread dough type recipe - yeast, plain flour, milk (for a soft bun-like kinda crumb).

These took a little time - the usual bread rising time - but were really quite simple, although I did have one little problem - my fault not the recipe...
I made a half recipe, which meant I needed 2.5 cups of plain flour but I ran out at 1.5 so I substituted half a cup each of self-raising and wholemeal plain flours. I definitely think this changed the final texture of the doughnuts, although they still tasted delish.



Whilst the recipe was easy to follow, there were a couple of things I will do a bit differently next time (ooh, there will absolutely be a next time - hopefully with sufficient flour!!) - just based on my previous experience with bread.
Mostly these are to do with the treatment of the yeast.

The recipes has you start the yeast in 1/3 cup of warm milk in a mixing bowl. I prefer to do it in a cup to keep the liquid deeper and warmer, and would add a teaspoon of sugar at this point too.

The other main change I would make is in shaping the doughnuts - the recipe cuts them out kind of like scones - rolling out the dough (which was really hard work - it was so elastic it just kept springing back!) with a 2"-3" round cutter then a smaller one to remove the middle.
I did some like this and some by rolling portions of dough into 'snakes' and joining them to make a doughnut shape - I preferred this both because it meant I didn't have to wrestle to get the dough rolled out and I just liked the look of them better. I think this might also be better for the dough since you're not always re-rolling so you're less likely to over-handle it.

I also had a little bit of trouble getting a good cinnamon/sugar dusting - this might be because using different flours changed the texture a bit, so it didn't stick as well.
I think these would work pretty well with icing and sprinkles too =)

The Boy has been eating them warmed for a minute or so in the microwave today, and tells me they are just as good as yesterday =)

Mmmm doughnuts.... tempted???

xo

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Me too =)

Mmmmm, there's been some good old-fashioned slicing going 'round blog world thanks, I understand, to Bianca at Sadie and Lance (you can find the recipe there =))

I noticed it popping up all over the place last week - as if I could resist!!!



This slice is super quick, and very tasty - although I think mine could have used an extra couple of minutes in the oven - it was a little too soft...
(mind you, I always think everything I cook is a little too something ;))

I couldn't resist a sprinkling of sprinkles on top either ;)

Knitting-wise this week I'm almost done on the 2nd pink smockie (well, the knitty part, anyway)

As I've said before, the smockies are very simple.

This didn't stop me knitting the same row for about an hour on Tuesday night - first there was one row too many of rib, so I tinked back, then I knit the entire row without increasing and had to tink back again before finally managing to knit a plain row with th increases required to accomodate the smocking on the back of the hand...

I guess the chatting and giggles were too much fun =)

At home progress has been slowed by flicking through the Spring/Summer Vogue Knits, as well as the fact I've been taking regular breaks to, um, do some quality assesment on these limited edition Straciatella variet of Lindor choccies from Lindt
ooooh I love these!! - actually, I think I hear one calling now... ;)

xo

Friday, May 09, 2008

Winners!!!!!!

So, we all know the CanAssist competition finished last Friday.
After a final tally of results I can announce our two winners! =)



Taph's Mum
Taph's mum has been an absolute sock knitting machine over the last few months, cranking out over 30 pairs of socks!
Taph has been in charge of grafting toes (which really shows dedication to the cause - I have seen her outsource grafting the tiny toes on baby socks she is so far from fond of that job!)

Ann from 1 more row
Ann is the co-owner of the lovely Australian based online knitting store - Knitting Inspirations
Please pay her a visit =)

I'll see Taph on Monday at S'n'B, and Ann I'll be in touch this week to talk prizes -I'm going to need your address because you've won a 12 month subscription to your choice of the following magazines:
- Interweave Knits
- Interweave Crochet
- Vogue Knitting
- Yarn Magazine

Thank-you to everyone who participated and helped during the competition.
You can see from the shot up the top that I'm sending a decent pile of socks and goodies this week, and that is just some of what I've received here and doesn't include all of the kind donations sent directly to Kate.

I'm sure the recipients will appreciate the time, care and kind thoughts you all put into each and every item donated!

For anyone who would like to continue knitting for CanAssist I will try to post an update soon particular items they need at the moment, and if you would like any more information about the organisation please let me know and I can put you in touch with Kate.

Thanks again everyone, and a huge congratulations to our winners!! =)

xoxo

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Life is kicking my arse



Sorry for the language, but seriously.

Tonight I can't manage much more than a couple of nice Melbourney pictures =)

That is the Princes bridge, over the Yarra, right in the city, and the view from our favourite pre-footy breakfast place in Melbourne - Riverland (ooh, check out the page - it's gorgeous).

Riverland is right alongside the Yarra, kind of built into the wall under Federation Square (along Federation Wharf).

They make (honestly) the absolute best ever breakfasty egg and bacon rolls!

(Apparently the secret ingredient is cream...and I'm not surprised...)

It turned out to be a fairly good place for celebratory pint (or 4) after a footy game too =)

(ok, that shot's a bit of a cheat - we took this shot when we were there at Easter time last year =) - it looks the same though =))

My friend Matt tells me they shot some of the new Aussie drama Canal Road along here. (Apparently they run along the river there, but Matt says so far there he hasn't seen any of the main characters stop for breakfast..)

The shot below is of the rowing shed across the river - we did see a couple of rowing teams training while we breakfasted.

And can you tell that it was just the most beautiful weather on Saturday??

Anyhoo, if I can get it together tomorrow I might have something more exciting (and perhaps even knitty) ;)

For tonight, I'll be here with Gordon (and Dewberry. Seriously, what is a dewberry?? ETA ok, thanks wiki), a bottle of semillon and the second pink smockie...

Monday, May 05, 2008

A Happy Team

and a weekend highlight...



more about that, and a socky update, later =) - in the mean time, let's just enjoy that view there a bit longer....