Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Strawberry Hat

Yesterday I popped into one of my LYSs, one I haven't been to for a while, on the way back from the vets. Previously, Gweneth's (Blackberry Yarn, Mountsorrel, no website) stock has been good but limited. Now though, she has much improved. I bought some new Sublime yarn (the new luxury arm of sirdar). I am so impressed. I have put a mini-review here if you're interested. I bought a bright pink and a limey green, for a hat for a friend's baby girl.

I hoped I'd be inspired by a pattern when I got home. I started off using a very simple DB pattern for a roll brim beanie hat. I sized it down however, as the smallest size was 3-6 months and the baby is new! I was aiming for her to be able to wear it from now through autumn, about a 3 months size I guess. Although who know how big a baby's head is? So I started knitting and it occurred to me, I could use the green to make it look like a Strawberry! I know this is not that original, there are loads of similar ideas out there. So I made the rest up as I went along. I wanted to incorporate the leaves in with the main body of the hat rather than have the leaf sewn on afterwards. This is how it turned out.

I'm so pleased! My colourwork is usually rubbish, but this came out OK! I never know if I'm doing fairisle or intarsia. I was carrying the colour along the back and twisting as I went, no loops at the back? Which is that? I do get in a muddle whilst doing it! I was aiming for the leaves not to look too perfect and be a bit random, like a strawberry actually is. I hope baby Mia likes it!

James is away on a course so I had a very nice, quiet evening, with uninterupted knitting and one of my favourite films on ITV3, 40 days and 40 nights. I know I know, its rubbish, but very funny. And it's Josh Hartnett again (are you noticing a theme here?). I felt thoroughly content, but perhaps I should have taken the oppertunity to do some Jamesy-sock-knitting whilst he's away.....

BTW, thank you all for your ongoing sweet comments :0)

Monday, September 25, 2006

I did it!

I made a cake!

Thank you so much poops! This is her recipe 'Ern's Cocoa Cake'. And it worked! It came out a bit dome shaped, and took nearly an hour to cook (as opposed to 40 minutes Poops suggested). So maybe my oven is cooler than it should be? I sliced off the top (and ate it - naturally!) and then iced it with a very sickly icing sugar/cocoa mixture. Firstly the icing was too runny so it dripped down through the cake - which was actually quite nice! I did most of the mixing by hand, our hand blender is not really suitable for thick mixtures. And Poops, when you said 'big ass bowl' you meant a big ass bowl! It was nearly slopping over the top!

Anyway, most of it has gone. I wish you were closer Poops, so you could try it!

Thanks also, to everyone from Knitty who offered me recipes. Roxy, purrl, musetta, seven and miss_squeezie (sorry if I have forgotten anyone - all recipes were printed!). Believe me, I'm going to try them ALL. Thanks to everyone else who offered advice. It was duly noted!

Here too is a random campus shot, of one of the halls, just because it looked so pretty last week.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Hansome Horse

Sarah took these yesterday and I think they came out really well. It ocurred to me yesterday that I don't have many digital photos of him and that there may not be endless summers left to take them. Usually, I'm not keen of photos of myself - I'm totally unphotogenic. I like these, they're not close up enough to show spots or smudged mascara! Although, work clothes and wellies is not always a good look! Its only when I see photos like these that I realise how big The Hansome Horse is. People who meet him for the first time say 'Isn't he huge!!'.. But no, to me, ten years later he's normal sized. But actually, he is on the large side!

This is quite embarrassing

But I'm posting in the hope that someone somewhere may have some pearls of wisdom on why I cannot bake. My general cooking is OK, but my baking just isn't. I wanted to make some muffins, inspired by Chockylit . So when I got home, I asked Delia . Unusually, she didn't know. Delia is the fountain of cooking knowledge, but she doesn't know how to make muffins. So I asked Nigella. She knew, but my attempts failed. These look promising don't they...

But this is what happened when I tried to eat one......

Nasty, horrible, not very tasty, squidgy muffin mess. And yes, they were cooked. Correct time, as per Nigella. Fork came out clean and all that. And it's not the oven, as people have suggested. We have a brand spanking new oven. And with previous ovens, I usually fail. Cakes get burnt, or just come out like big biscuits. Last time I made cupcakes and took them to James' mother they sat on the side all weekend. Anybody? Any hints?

I finished the back of Moonshine by the way. I love it when I finish the back of a garment. Feels like you've done the worst bit, the long, boring, monotonous bit.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I'm doing it, I'm doing it.......

..........I'm knitting a sock (properly)! And I'm loving it! I'm a bit disappointed that the sum total of Saturday's knitting ( about 4 and a half hours) was only 3.5 inches of sock, but still.

I'm really enjoying the pattern, the summer 06 surprise from knitty. As you can see it is toe up (to hopefully avoid my problems with the cuffs) and I think the construction of the toe is really interesting. It is all short row shaped, and the cast on edge is picked up and knit onwards so there is no seam. Clever. It looks a bit pointy but I don't suppose that matters. The needles are doing great too. Just one, very long circ. The bamboo is not as grabby or bendy as I thought either. I had a lovely morning (the boy was at work) eating English muffins and watching Saturday Kitchen and re-runs of Jeeves and Wooster on ITV3. Fabbo all round.

We went to see The Black Dahlia on Saturday. It was good. Worth it for Josh Hartnett's bare bum. As usual, Scarlett Johanssen was great, as was Hilary Swank. But Swanks on-screen mother stole the show. She is played by Fiona Shaw who is also Aunt Petunia in Harry Potter. A drunken, bitter woman, who was really quite funny in a sad way. I think I may have to see it on DVD to fully understand what was going on (and honestly not just for another look at his bum) it seemed that there were small bits missing that made it a bit difficult to follow in parts. Still a good, very dark, thriller. I'd definatley recommend.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I feel old

I'd like to think that my finger is generally somewhere near the pulse, if not actually on it. However, there have been several things lately that have made me feel really old. For one, I can't stand Radio 1. OK, so I don't mind Colin and/or Edith, and I can just about tolerate Vernon. But the rest seem to have this whiney, overwhelmingly patronising, sarcastic, condescending tone. And it's really not funny. I get the feeling I'm having the mickey taken out of me, just whilst listening. So I don't. However, yesterday, I felt like a bit of music. I turned over to Radio 1, and I lasted for one and a half songs. I quite liked the first - Joss Stone. But then, and I suppose this isn't really their fault, the next track verged on offensive I thought. It was a remix of Phil Colin's (or is it Genesis, I never know) Another Day in Paradise. Now I'm not a big fan, but this song has a rather serious message does it not? Well the remix didn't. In fact it was rather lewd in places. And it just annoyed me. So, give me Radio 4 any day. Like my Dad. Secondly, on the 'I feel old' track. I can't even go into TopShop without feeling seriously frumpy. I used to love it. But now, the stock changes every 5 minutes and I couldn't even imagine wearing any of it. And I feel really out of it. My Mum loves Jigsaw. She always has. I used to think it was mega-mumsy and boring. Now I shop there whenever I can afford it. I am getting old before my time. I really am. And I'm turning into my parents. Which I suppose is no bad thing, on lots of fronts, but at 24? So is it me that's gettign old, or Radio 1 and TopShop that are dumbing down? Grrrr.

Sorry. Rant over.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sock Yarn at last!

At last, James' yarn came from Astrid's Dutch Obsessions (it is just me who thinks that sounds like an adult shop ;0) ? ). The service was great, if a bit slow, but it did come all the way from Holland in just over a week. The invoice said 'love Astrid' at the bottom! I'll order from her again. She has a HUGE choice.

James' yarn is the brown. It is a lot more beige than I thought, but the more I look at it the more I like it. The red is a RAK for miss_squeezie, about time I paid abck a bit of the RAK-ing kindness! This is also my first pair of addi's. Not sure 2.5mm bamboo needles were the best decision, they look like toothpicks! But, I was impatient, no aluminiums were available to order and I wanted to get it done in one fell swoop. They look ace, nice smooth join between tips and cord, and how clever than the size is printed on the cord! So, I must start the covert knitting operation...!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Thank you Knitting Mamma!

Aren't I a lucky girl! More gifts! Again, I'm just overwelmed with the generosity of Knittyheads (from the knittyboard). These arrived yesterday from knitting mamma. At least I think they did, she didn't send a note! A while back, I mentioned on Knitty how much I was in awe of the lovely coloured needles, available in the States. As a result I've been sent so many by so many lovely people. Please know, they are very much loved! Americans must think I'm bonkers, being mildly obsessed with these needles. I just think their jewels colours are stunning, and a way to stylishly display my love of knitting! And, I really like to knit with them too. Not too grabby, not too smooth. And lightweight too.
She also sent these lovely stitch markers as a surprise too. They are gorgeous. I especially love the ones on the right. They look like little jewels! Please ignore our hideous wallpaper. Believe me, it's going just as soon as we get around to it. It's on the long list of DIY chores!

We finally got around to ordering a new computer yesterday too, hooray! It's a Dell Inspiron Notebook. Not flash, but will enable me (sorry us, I promise I won't hog it!) to have broadband internet access at home at last. I've been reading one of scarybez's blog posts on the problems academics often have with writing. I seem to have severe inertia in starting to write my thesis. I have been told in no uncertain terms that there is not reason why I shouldn't have submitted by September 07. Scary stuff. Really should be further along in writing by now. I have done bits and bobs, but nothing that looks anything thesis-like. And bearing in mind that I'm in the fortunate position (unlike some of my colleagues) to have actual results, I really should be further along. I think Scarybez's adopted theory on it ultimately being a confidence problem is really interesting. How could what I have down be of any interest/consequence to anyone? I'm hoping that the novelty of having a new computer (and the ability to write in comfort at home) will kick start my writing and at least get me started. Here's hoping........

And this is what I've been doing for the last few days, helping to organise delegates. Thrilling. Actually, I get to listen to it all and Thursday should be quite interesting for me, my supervisor is speaking. This should also be a fantastic networking oppertunity for me, did I not find this kind of thing so difficult! I can talk to new randoms easily if I have something specific to talk about, but I find small talk at these kind of functions really difficult. Still. Anyway, at least we get fed twice a day when the conference is on, so its a chance to practice!

Sorry for the long waffle-y post. I really must get around to some knitting.......

Friday, September 08, 2006

Thank you Lilith!

Yesterday, I was poorly in bed and what do I get to cheer me up?? This from Lilith......

The most beautiful HANDSPUN yarn ever! I've never had anything like it before and its wonderful. How lucky am I? I think it looks so lovely in its skein, I don't want to undo it! However, i really want to make something with it so, suggestions please. There are 225 yards of merino, and I'd say probably somewhere between DK and aran weight. The colour matches some yarn that Lilith dyed for me when she was my SP5. I made that into some mittens so maybe this should be a scarf to match?


These are for you Nelltje! A selection of my chicken collection.....

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Lilith's Needle Roll

So, Lilith, if it hasn't arrived yet (it should have done!) don't look any further!
This is the needle roll that Lilith asked if someone could make for her, to store her dpns. When she asked if anyone could sew, perhaps I was exagerating when I said I could! I've discovered that sewing in a straight line isn't my forte! Anyway, this is it from the outside.

And when you undo the ribbon and unroll it, it looks like this. I just loved this floral fabric. I hope it isn't too 'pastel-y' for you Lilith.

The lining is pale sage-y green, and there are different sized channels for different sized needles. Small on the left, bigger on the right and a button-down flap to stop the needles falling out!

I hope its not too wacky, but I like the contrast of stripes and floral - I think very Kath Kidston. The fabric came from Hobbycraft, I'm slightly ashamed to say. They do not usually out-do the competition, but on this occassion they had the best range of craft fabric. John Lewis was rubbish and so was my favourite stall on Victoria market in Notts, Sharma's (even though they follow you around like you're going to steal something. Like I'm going to run away with a bolt of fabric under my arm. Mum discovered if you engage them in conversation they go away though!!).And this is the mighty sewing machine that made it. It belongs to James' grandma, which reminds me, I must write her a note - it was technically James' mother that leant it to me. I think it was originally a manual machine that was converted to electric. It still has the receipt with it from 1950! Despite some tension issues, it did the job perfectly!

So, now I'm off home. I have a terrible cold, so I'm going back to bed. I just hope I didn't give it to Fan or my 90 year old Grandpa who were here yesterday (Grandap on the train all the way from Norwich).

Friday, September 01, 2006

Spooky update

So, I called my sister at lunch time to check she was OK (see below if you have no idea what I'm talking about). I know, I know, I'm being silly. She was fine. And thought it was hilarious that I should be worried. And she's right. James said it isn't like me to even think about something like this. BUT. I asked her what she was wearing. A blue t-shirt. What kind of blue?, I said. A kind of peacock blue, she said, and black jeans. Hair up or down? Down, she said. Now I'm more freaked. Mum's opinion (we're a totally non-superstitious family) was that I was just subconciously thinking of her and that's why I thought I saw her. I quite like that idea. That I can randomly conjure up an image of my sister. Just made me shiver. I'll just have to stop thinking about it now.....

Happy weekend everyone.

Photos at last!

Blogger is finally coping with some photos at last. So here's a close up of Moonshine. I just love this fabric. The colour is actually a purpley brown, and not so grey. Again, still slow progress...

Amanda, please note the needles - they're ace!

Something really odd happened this morning and for a while it really creeped me out. I drove into the car park at work and out of the corner of my eye I glimpsed someone who looked just like my sister. Longish, slightly wavy, black hair wearing a jade green t-shirt. Now Fan lives in Liverpool, so it was not likely to be her! But when I drove around the car to where I'd seen her, there was no-one there. It was so weird. There was no-where she could have gone. It really was odd. She probably just got into a car or something. It shouldn't have done and I'm not sure why it did but it freaked me out a bit. This is her by the way, looking lovely at her graduation this summer.