Sunday, March 29, 2009


I've been buying belt buckles on Etsy. I've been trying to re-rev my enthusiasm to power through the right side of Arwen. I've been trying to decide which socks to knit to finish all the single socks... and which ones to frog. Like the Maelstrom that's just a bit too colorful for words. And in thinking of which socks to knit, I've been trying to find the patterns that have scattered to the far reaches of the unknowable places of my house.

I think part of the problem is that I know I have to get some yarn to whip up some Owlings in the coming weeks, but I won't be able to decide on that till tomorrow when I'm taking a little side trip via the LYS on the way to the hairdresser. Because I have to go to the hairdresser. I haven't been at all this year. And things are happening this week and in the coming weeks where I'll want to look my best. Ish.

In the meantime, this link on the Huffington Post made me smile so much. Yes, I'm a bit of a softie for old wedding photos and these are wedding photos of the various presidents (the Carters look like children - it's a little bizarre). However, it's when you get to the end that it really pays off.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Left Side of the Arwen

Now, doesn't it just look like one of those comical sweaters gone wrong that you sometimes see on TV? The ones with eights arms etc (which I explained to a friend would actually be rather tricky to achieve)? But left front, left sleeve and left half of the hood all done!

I've been knitting vanilla socks again at work during casual meetings. I glance around and everyone is watching my hands move. I've hypnotised them. I'm trying to think of how to use this ability to my benefit.

Cookie A.'s sock book is currently winging its way to me. I am not sure how the postman is going to survive my pouncing on him every time he comes. Luckily for him, most of the time, I'll be well and truly on campus.

Also winging its way to me (though I had to get the FBI involved), my own Princess Leia USB!!! You've no idea... I had a few hours sectioned off in the afternoon to work on various papers with rapidly approaching deadlines. So I developed, naturally, an obsession with obtaining this USB. Yet, somehow, I got practically everything done. (Oh, and the USB hunt was really inspired by the final book of The Princess Diaries.)
And now Lola is having a high time chasing pigeons in her coop.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I can kitchener! Sort of...

Yes, I've been making socks for ages. Yes, I sort of thought I was already doing the kitchener stitch. No, I actually wasn't doing the kitchener.

But last night, I was up to kitchenering the cuff of Arwen and so I sat down with the instructions and focussed and... it's not bad! I mean, I'm still a novice, so it's not precisely invisible, but you have to squint a bit. Once I block it, it'll be good!

And now onto the left side hood!

Coco is greeting me every morning at the back door. She's found a loose bit of wire in the coop, so out she pops. Chasing a hen around the back yard is a little futile. So I've learned to get her breakfast and she follows me like a puppy, straight back into the coop. The perplexing thing is that Mimi, who is related to Houdini, has not followed Coco out.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I can make sushi!

My first sushi! Why do we have this idea that sushi is really difficult to make? I whipped these up in minutes and even though I'm still getting things right, it's already better than some of the sushi I've bought of late.

I've posed my plateful of tuna and egg sushi next to the Debbie Bliss cashmerino that is destined for Bella's Mittens. And since I'd bought the brightest, shiniest, red apples just the other day (can't you imagine the Evil Queen selling these?), I couldn't resist popping one on top of the yarn. Those who know Twilight will understand.

Arwen is still going... and I'm learning that it isn't easy to blog about a sweater in progress. It just refuses to go quickly enough to get good photos.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What Chickens Wear

Now, over at Life in the Dome, I've been trading chicken-knitting ideas.

Today on Jezebel, I spotted this. You can see the photo above, too. I just love that the clever Jane Blaine even picked a very feminine, fluffy yarn for her rescue chicken. I'm sure the chicken thinks she looks marvelous and is simply over the moon at her new life.

Mimi and Coco are kind of rescue hens. They were bought quite young, but were thus saved from a not very happy life in huge barns. Their beaks were already clipped. Coco's is almost back to normal, but Mimi's was clipped badly and I don't think she'll ever have quite a normal beak, which means she tends to bite my finger when eating out of my hand. I don't hold it against her.

I've been working at home today, so the hens have been delighted at the prospect of my popping out now and again with treats. In fact, Lola stood at the fence staring at me, clearly trying to mesmerize me into bringing her sunflower seeds. It worked.

I'm almost finished the sleeve on Arwen and I've just ordered some yarn (yes, like I need more yarn) to try some Bella's Mittens. I wasn't that enthused by them until I looked on Ravelry and saw them in white. Oh, oh, oh! Now, I know white is really, really impractical for mittens. Do you know what? I don't care. I want them in white! I think I might even carry them with me to Pemberley...

Where, if I don't find a Mr Darcy wearing a white shirt in the pond, I'm going to be severely upset...

It isn't as if I've even managed to get into Longbourne through my bathroom and I've tried. (Note: you may have had to have watched Lost in Austen to understand my pain.)

Friday, March 13, 2009

No knitting, but yarn input

Just while I'm waiting for my mushroom risotto soup to heat up (I recreated my favourite PrĂȘt soup - although their Chilli Beef is also delicious and you can get that recipe by clicking the link), I had to blog about today's yarn delivery from The Yarn Cafe. Isn't it pretty? The pink (20% bamboo, 80% superwash) is so so soft. The red BFL is glorious and I can't wait to knit up the green (50% merino, 50% alpaca) into a scarf.

Knitting is not going so well. Alas. I did a row of Arwen last night and then collapsed in front of Private Practice. Just one of those days!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cinema Club spoiling... read at your own peril

I'm so excited by this month's sock club that I can't wait to blog about it! It just arrived. In fact, this month's club is really why I signed up in the first place.

The Princess Bride!

So, first, to allow those who might accidentally wander by this blog and be part of Knit It Up's cinema sock club (but not have their parcel yet) to scroll away, first...

And that's actually a clue! And while I'm at it, I'll just mention that next month I'm going to be where they filmed Humperdinck's castle! You can see it here. I'll also be in the vicinity of Chatsworth House (Pemberley!), so I'm going to be utterly insufferable. You are warned.

And last night I finished the first draft of my fairy tale book! Yes, I write books. I don't publish them - not yet, anyway - I just write them. Lots of them. And then I send them off into the world and keep writing. I used to write terrible books about girls who discover their fathers are rock stars and their grandfathers English Dukes. Well, I was fourteen at the time! Now I just write about fairies and gnomes... I grew up!

Okay, hopefully that's given everyone who needs to enough time to look away, so here we go. Look at this. Isn't this amazing?

Yes, I have been hugging the 'Man in Black' yarn! And the pouch is brilliant. As are the Miracle Max pills! After a long, tough day, this just cheered me up no end. I may go to bed with this yarn clutched in my paws. I love this yarn. I love this installment of the sock club!

Monday, March 9, 2009

More Accidental Knitting

I'm having a knitting funk. I went back to this sock that I began ages and ages ago (shhh... don't look at the blog banner) and... it started pooling horribly! It was coming out so wonderfully and then... while I was watching 24, I noticed a lilac 'blob'. As soon as I switched from the calf swirl pattern to the leg swirl... disaster. I'm not sure I can do anything about it other than frog. I mean, yes, they were going to be extraordinarily bright socks in any case, but still... a lilac blob?

I won't even mention that I noticed I'd knitted the last 20 rows of Arwen on the smaller size needles. If you don't tell, I won't tell. You can't really notice. At least, not while you're watching Lost in Austen you can't!

And why is it that when you buy the jumbo pack of toilet paper, that's the day you have a relatively cute guy behind you in the check out line?

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Owl and the Bling Bling Fish

The Owl and the Bling Bling Fish went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat...

Or, at least, my approximation of one! I picked up a copy of Roman Sock's gorgeous Headphone Whale pattern. Now, I'm not that good at crochet yet. My first 'contemporary' piece of crochet (ie, crochet I remember doing) was, funnily enough, Roman Sock's Owlet, seen above. But I didn't feel quite up to the Whale, so I begged VCM, who obliged, although... seriously, the Whale came out as a Bling Bling Fish! (Forgive any scrappiness in finishing - I did some of the finishing!) A Bling Bling Fish I love, which cosily stores away my headphones, but definitely a fish rather than a whale, with VCM's additional touches of rhinestones and pearls! Seriously cute.

And today I'm back to a morning of staying in my pyjamas, eating porridge and drinking coffee (we won't mention the earlier spit-take on a mouthful of thankfully cold coffee that managed to spray the laptop and beyond). Yesterday was just craziness. The kind of day when it's 4:30pm and you're still trying to finish the lunch you only started at 2pm. And I'd packed my first Bento Box and everything! Okay, not really a Bento Box, but I was trying to use the basic principles after seeing these. So I packed some cold sesame noodles, some jelly (I love doing it in silicone cupcake molds - if you add a bit more gelatine, you can de-mold the jelly into fun shapes, but this batch didn't have quite enough gelatine) and blueberries.

And now it's time for confession... the red velvet cupcakes were a total cheat! I do bake cupcakes from scratch... just not this batch, because I'm still having trouble figuring out the texture of gluten-free flour. So I grabbed a box of plain gluten-free cupcake mix, whipped it up, adding generous dollops of red food colouring and... voila! Red velvet cupcakes! Sort of. But, really, it's just the fun of the cupcake being so gosh darn red!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Paint It Red!

With deference to the Rolling Stones and 'Paint It Black,' yesterday I felt more like 'Paint It Red', so I made red velvet cupcakes! And there was some Wollmeise handy. And have you seen those Blossom socks in the new Twist Collective? Seriously, wow!

And today I really wasn't going to buy the winter Knit Simple. But then I saw the sock puppets.

And cold sesame noodles really are delicious cold... although I overdosed on peanut butter in the recipe. Must use much less next time. I think it'd be fine if I was using the suggested egg noodles, but it's a bit too much with rice noodles.

And I shouldn't knit on Arwen after a full teaching day, because I forget things like I should have started the short rows three rows ago.

And I should stop using 'and' and start rewriting lectures and revising book reviews...

Monday, March 2, 2009

What a day!

It's been one of those days. Just missed the bus, which meant I didn't have the figures ready for a meeting, which meant I had to do the figures on the fly in the meeting, which meant the figures went all wrong. I felt inspired by Mimi and Coco, seen below trying to dig their way out of the coop. That is, I felt like digging my way out of the meeting. But I didn't even have a teaspoon.

At least having missed the bus, I caught the later bus that meant I could sit next to the cute guy who sometimes catches the bus.

And when my wine and roses mitt developed about four extra stitches, I at least had the Yarn Harlot's Feb 26 entry to console myself with. You won't be able to see the extra stitches in the photo... but I put it there just in case I do have to frog it again. Proof that I got that far at least once! And you can see I finally cast on the sleeve of my Arwen! I figured it out last night while watching 24. Knock on wood, so far, so good. I'm not finding it as tricky as I feared and found some terrific advice on how to widen the sleeve. Which, when I remember where I found it, I'll include. (Like, now... here.)

And now I'm home a bit early to finish writing up lectures. I carried a very heavy grocery bag home as tonight I'm planning to try out a recipe for cold sesame noodles. These are a favourite of Princess Mia (The Princess Diaries). I finished the last book of the series on Saturday night - at about 2am! But it was totally worth it. And left me with the urge to try out cold sesame noodles. Only... I have to use rice noodles since, like the author of The Princess Diaries, I have to go gluten free. So we'll see how it works...