Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Berry Heatwave

There's a heatwave. So I did what any sensible girl would do. With a few blueberries, a few blackberries, some water and sugar, I whipped up a batch of nice, cool 'black and blue' sorbet.

My Lothlorien Sunshine Shawl is there in the background, steadily growing. Over 100 rows now! And my Numma Numma arrived. Numma Numma is my most serious addiction. This is the 'strawberry banana kiwi' BabyBoo. I had no BabyBoo, so I spent my last Loopy Ewe voucher along with a few cents (okay, a few dollars) and... I finally got Loopy Kisses as a bonus! It'll be a while - sigh - before I can face the exchange rate again.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Can Cable!

Okay, I knew I could cable. I'd been cabling iPod pouches. And I cabled socks... even if the sock in question was frogged. But after finishing the back of Arwen, I couldn't resist casting on the left front and... knit, knit, knit... I can make the cable!

And aren't these colours glorious? I have a bad habit... when my dinner looks particularly colourful, I can't resist photographing it for posterity. I found gluten free sausages (after frowning 'sausages have gluten in them?') and put together my favourite vegetable 'stew' of red onion, garlic, herbs, tomatoes and capsicum. The tomatoes and herbs are from the garden and the berry tomatoes have the most wonderful 'pop'!

Okay, back to finding pictures of President Obama looking very cool... it's for work, seriously.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Who's Knitting?

A great quote from David Tennant on the subject of Doctor Who:

"I saw it as futuristic and scientific and at the same time all a bit hand-knitted."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Being Cake Neutral

I've been doing paperwork all day, but yesterday, although happily sleepy, I was busily occupied with reading books about fashion and knitting on Arwen. I was also delighting in reading the Lush packet, which, if you have trouble reading the above, basically suggests that by cycling ten miles a day, you can burn 500 calories and save 1.8kg of Co2 when compared to driving and, while avoiding the Co2, you also burn calories, thus becoming "cake neutral"! I like that thinking! Although, I can't ride a bike. It's an odd thing. I can ice skate, I can ride horses, but I get on a bike and I go straight into the nearest wall/bush/person before the cycle slowly tumbles over onto its side with me trying to scramble clear.

I also watched the first video found here. Neil Gaiman talking about sinister buttons! How cool is that?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I was up last night watching the Inauguration. I curled up with my knitting, because I was determined to knit the moment into something and a golden shawl seemed the perfect choice... that, and I could work on it while getting all weepy! Wow. I love that there is now a President who can get the giggles before taking his oath of office. Can you image how the occasion must have struck him at that moment? Wow. I giggled when I was awarded my PhD (although, at least President Obama didn't have to wear a bonnet with troublesome tassle!). It must have been surreal standing there, realising how far he'd come and how amazing the people who helped get him there were. It was pretty surreal watching it!

And he gave a speech that inspired me. I began coming up with new ideas for the year that I now have to jot down and as he spoke of "the makers of things," happily clattered my needles. The inspiration of his speech for me is that he will lead, but he's told us all in no uncertain terms that we have to hop up and make things happen for ourselves.

That was worth staying up for!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Anyone got a cow to swap?

The bean is growing... so is the grass and is it just me, or does the bunny seriously need to clean its ears? However, Bells' comment about bean races made me laugh. It also made me think what fun it would be to actually have a bean race. You know, everyone plant a bean at a certain time, see which bean grew fastest? Hmmmm...

I spent yesterday afternoon happily engaged chatting to VCM on the phone, knitting on Arwen (I'm trying to figure out where to begin some light waist decreases - since I'm making it a bit longer, I'd like a little shaping), and sniffing Porridge. Not Porridge as in cooked oats (I had the best ever porridge in St Andrews, Scotland - go figure), but as in Lush's new soap. It smells seriously good. I swear I was getting a little high on it. I'd finally given in after a couple of samples and bought a tub of Gorgeous too because, let's face it, if you find a face cream that you can apply, where you then look in the mirror and think 'hey, that's pretty good!', it's worth a little investment. And since I had good timing, I also got a goodie back stocked full of Christmas products. Sure, they're the last of the Christmas batch and this is a good way to get rid of old merchandise, but I'm not complaining.

Later note: Has anyone else noticed their iPod getting a little obsessed when on Shuffle? Mine's currently fixated on the Rolling Stones and Daniel Lavoie, the latter being a French Canadian singer with an amazing gravelly voice. In fact, he also did a couple of children's CDs and my friends with children all agree his CDs are among the few that actually work in settling down children while not causing parents supreme irritation.

Friday, January 16, 2009

All new growth

Isn't there something magical about a bean as it sprouts? This is a sword bean. I'm growing it over an arch at the back of the vegetable patch, if not up into the clouds and into the land of giants!

There's also something lovely about soup on the stove. Cauliflower and bread soup... with a dash of vermouth, because, for whatever reason, I've been a bit obsessed about that in terms of cooking lately.

And there's always something wonderful about old knitting booklets! This one dates around 1905 so far as I can tell and the socks are amazing. There's a close up of the top of the golfing sock on the front cover. To the side you can see the Dream in Colour Smooshy in Flamingo Pink, all wound up and on the needles for a Flower Petal Shawl. The Sherwood Shawl is still on the needles, but it's been a bit mentally challenging in the last week, so an easy knit has been called for.

The Cardigan for Arwen is progressing smoothly, too. The Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran is so soft and squishy! I can't wait to wear this sweater.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Molly Ringwald - all done!

Okay, not the most flattering self-portrait of my finished Molly Ringwald! I'm always perplexed when I take photos that I don't look like Liv Tyler. I'm positive that's how I should look. I'm tempted to blame the little man in the camera.

Kidding! But I finished! And it's a little large. I knitted the smaller size after research on Ravlery, but it's still a bit too big. But it's gorgeous! I love the pattern. I do have some yarn to do a second, red one and I now know to go maybe even three sizes down from my norm. The yarn has something to do with it, too, I'm sure. I used Patons Breeze, which knitted up fantastic, but... no, I didn't do a swatch.

Swatch? What swatch?

So now I'm officially allowed to cast on my Cardigan for Arwen (tempting fate on the Liv Tyler front). Conversely, from what I read of that, I need to go up a size and I plan some lengthening (which I also did for the Molly and that at least worked out) and additional waist shapening.

Right now, though, I have a headache which might have something to do with being back at work and planning course guides. So I needed just a little blogging break!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Giving Kermit a run for his money

It is easy being green! Although, it is dangerous to check out online yarn with a very enabling VCM. Some Rainforest from the Knittery (enough for a large shawl and socks) and some bargains from Wired for Fibre, including the softest most loveliest Alpaca Love, merino/silk Tidal, merino Jade and bamboo/superwash Serenity (which tempts me towards the Kaylee socks - how I waited for that pattern!). Now, I just wish it would grow in the garden! Can you imagine popping out in the morning to pick your just ripened cashmere? A girl can dream...

Hens are currently having wonderful dirt baths - they finished digging up the Jerusalem artichokes for me. I thought Mimi was half way to China last night.

I discovered that Vermouth is also excellent in my regular potato and leek soup. I mean, seriously. Yum. This cooking with Vermouth is fun. I also tried out gluten-free scones to go with the soup. Yes, I've had to go gluten and dairy free. It's a nuisance. At least it didn't strike till post-Christmas. And in some ways isn't bad. Although I resent the fact that I no longer crave cookies, but apples. Sort of. On the other hand, that little hole in my tooth that has been holding for the last twenty years? I think it may need filling. That's just depressing. Since, you know... I now crave apples.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Blueberries in the garden

I finished the paternal socks! A marathon session of Dresden Files DVDs later, and there were two. They're done in Crystal Palace 'blueberry', so it seemed logical to take them for a spin in the garden next to some of the more purple plants in the herb patch. And don't worry if they look too big - they're supposed to be too big for my feet. And don't worry about the straw. They've since been rinsed out and are now busy blocking.

The pattern is inspired by the famous Monkey that the friend in Perth had been toying with. She refers to it as the Manly Monkey. The intended recipient, on the basis of one sock on Christmas Day, remarked that they had holes in them. I had to break it to him that they were meant to have holes in them. Although, I was reading a pattern by Pink Lemon Twist and I think I know how to 'take out the holes'.

Now I've got that Beatles song in my head...

And then there's today's other bright discovery. Vermouth is really great in risotto. I got the idea from Jamie Oliver. I'm not a big drinker. In fact, you could probably count the number of drinks I have in a year on one hand and I do tend to shamelessly orange juice or lemonade drinks down. So I rarely have any wine on hand for risotto. I thought I'd grab a bottle of vermouth instead as it seems that that would keep better? I don't actually know. In fact, I stood in the bottle shop with VCM trying to find vermouth and we eventually had to ask the sales guy, since we had no idea what it actually... ah... looked like. But today, I threw in some brown and wild rice, a little red onion, some chopped up mushrooms from the markets, left over ham from New Year's Day, garlic, vermouth, stock and some marjarom. And it worked! Delicious.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Just add Ents

Can't you just picture an Ent Moot here? This is one of many photographs I took at the gardens at Heronswood. The gardens aren't large and are quite rambly and I wished desperately that they'd had more of their heritage fruit trees and vegetables to look at (there was a gorgeous mulberry that reminded me of the tree I grew up by), but there were little spots and views that were just amazing and wonderful.

Just like spying a very green ocean from over a bed of bright mauve artichoke thistles.

We had lunch at the cafe and I finished with an amazing pink peppercorn pavlova with lemon curd and strawberries. I just had to have the pink peppercorn pavlova. I mean, seriously. I picked up another raspberry plant and a brown berry tomato plant at the shop. Not a huge shop, though.

On the way back, we stopped at Tyabb's antique stores to be sure I hadn't left anything behind last year (okay, so last year was less than a fortnight earlier...). VCM spotted Weldon's Needlework sitting on an antique sewing machine. I practically squealed in the middle of the shop. VCM quickly hijacked Weldon's Needlework and put it away 'for your birthday.' A very unfair slight of hand. If you don't know Weldon's Needlework... hmm... well, some of Weldon's work is adapted in Victorian Lace Today.

The following day, VCM located some amazing fresh dill, basil etc at the farmer's market (that has since been planted in the rejuvenated herb patch), as well as a pile of the most beautiful vegetables which she whipped into a soup because, yes, I had a terrible cold and was in bed for two days. I was too sick to knit! Which meant that the aborted New Year's Eve start of my new shawl (the Sherwood Stole in Twilight) remained... ah... aborted. I made a mistake in the chart. I'm not used to charts. I just need to go back a few stitches. So, I'm thinking, this is the end of my holiday, I could sit this afternoon with Doctor Who and come to grips with charts and such...

Or, of course, I could finish the paternal sock that was wrapped up with the needles in the Christmas present...