Friday, April 30, 2010

"She and the shop assistant were agreeing...

... that the best kind of sweater to get for Coraline would be one that was embarrassingly large and baggy." (Neil Gaiman, Coraline)

Thankfully, my Orange Juice Coraline (Ysolda) in Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury is not embarrassing! True, I might have gone for a little more length on the sleeves and body, but just a titch and if I know myself and sweaters, I'll have that length before I know it.

I love it! It's a cosy kind of sweater, something you want to wear on a grey morning while eating bacon and eggs.

And VCM sourced these great rhinestone buttons that are absolutely brilliant, literally and metaphorically! The sewn button loops were remarkably easy, too.

In fact, I learned a lot of new techniques on my Orange Juice Coraline and enjoyed them all.

So tonight, I can kick back, relax, and eat dip. Trust me, this is a delicious dip.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sales Don't Count

Layla would have you know she's a little jetlagged from flying overnight. This explains the current state of her antennas. She's a little miffed that I've photographed her before sorting them out properly, but... she's so cute! I couldn't wait. This is, of course, another of VCM's creations from a Fiber Doodles pattern (here).

And Layla likes shoes... what can I say? The reason there are so many gratuitous shots of new shoes? I just happened to be at some sales at DFO over Easter and the shoes were reduced not once, but twice! Which made them all too affordable.

It's okay. I tend to buy shoes in bursts anyway. That's what I tell myself. I won't possibly buy another pair for another couple of years (cough). The ones above - don't they look French? - and the red shoes from the previous post are both Joanne Mercer.

And if you buy them super cheap on sale... doesn't count, right? Which is why this little skein of laceweight from Knit It Up also doesn't count. It's such a soft, pretty colour, so I was taking it out to photograph in natural light and the hens really seemed to like it.

No, I am not knitting them shawls with it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Favourite Song

It's lunch time. I'm munching Chilli Beef Soup (you can get the recipe from the Pret website here) and thinking about shoes. It's something you do when you're researching fairy tales. Truly.

In Marie-Catherine D'Aulnoy's Cinderella tale, Finette Cendron, our erstwhile heroine isn't gadding about in impractical glass slippers that would require a very good pedicure. She's wearing red velvet and pearl embroidered slippers, all too easily lost when running home. However, like any sensible woman, when she loses a slipper, she doesn't keep running. She does try to find it. But it's dark and it's a wood, so she's out of luck. However, Prince Cheri does find it and he's thrilled: "he had it picked up, examined it, admired its diminutive size and elegance, turned it over and over, kissed it, took care of it, and carried it home with him. From that day on, he refused to eat and became thin" (Jack Zipes, The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm, p. 465 - and no, that isn't proper scholarly citation). Don't you love that? The prince falls in love with her shoe. But it's red. It sounds really cute.

Which leads me to my new favourite song, Zooey Deschanel's "Brand New Shoes": "I had some brand new shoes/ They were all red, but they gave me the blues."

Of course, these new shoes are not giving me the blues and, being Mary Janes, I'm unlikely to lose them in the woods fleeing a shoe fashionista like Cheri.

By the way, Coraline is nearly finished blocking and my rhinestone buttons should arrive tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Little Things

A-ha. That is an i-cord bind-off! I felt inordinately clever knitting it. (I won't mention the nerves now as I'm soaking the cardigan, hoping it really will stretch out.)

And just 'because,' isn't this rose pretty?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm Smocking!

I'm not talking traditional smocking, but I've just started the smocking on my Orange Juice Coraline. I'm getting a kick out of it, what can I say? It's one of those knitting techniques where you look at what you're doing and just feel clever.

And, why yes, that is a gratuitous 'new shoes' shot of the smocking-in-progress. Aren't they cute? I think I should really go and get a pedicure, though...

But right now, I've enjoyed a session of Hansel & Gretel with gingerbread this morning and I'm off to look at the 200 pages of 18th century French fairy tale I need to translate.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I finished "As You Wish!" It's the Bougainvillea scarf-shawl by Yoelknits, in Knit It Up's "Man in Black" colourway. It was originally destined to be Monkey Socks, as you may remember. I love it as a scarf! Especially as, in the shot above, my hair looks almost the colour of Buttercup's (if you haven't spotted The Princess Bride references by now, I'm ashamed of you), "the colour of autumn" (book, not film... she was blonde, I know, in the film). In fact, I can almost kid myself that the little bit of red in my hair is back. All my very best heroines have flaming hair, from Eleanor of Aquitaine, signing herself, "Eleanor, by the wrath of God, Queen of the English" or words to that effect, to Anne Shirley and, of course, Emma Peel. It's no wonder I'm really enjoying watching the new Doctor Who companion, Amy Pond! I always wanted to have red hair as a child.

There's a few leaf edged shawl/scarf patterns about, but what really won me over to this particular pattern was the little leaf at the end. It's perfect.

While enjoying the leaf perfection yesterday, I also tried not one, but two new recipes! This is lunch, The Spring English Pea, Potato and Rice Soup. The photography at Cannelle et Vanille, from which the recipe is sourced, is amazing.

I had to cheat and use frozen peas, but yum. A hearty, simple soup that tastes delicious. Particularly with the addition of one of Coco's eggs.

Then for dinner, I whipped up a fried quinoa, sourced from Delectably Free. Wow. I did not expect quinoa and chick peas to go together that well. I was out of mushrooms, so I turned carnivore and used pork, but... wow. Thank goodness for left overs, as I plan to enjoy it again tonight.

I finished the day by curling up in front of Serenity and attaching the arms to my Orange Juice Coraline. At which point I realised that I've knitted the sleeves two sizes smaller than the body... oops? Happily, I have tried on the sleeves and they fit. I'm doing a little fudging, which in due course I will refer to as 'customising.' In the end, I don't think it'll be a bad thing.

Then a little more writing and I snuck in a chapter of the latest Dresden Files release (among my favourite ever reading... and James Marster's recordings of the audio books is pure heaven - perfect casting).

Oddly enough, there was a kicky Princess Bride reference in the Dresden Files. Perfect symmetry to conclude the day's proceedings.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Coat Reboot

Okay, I've been just a teensy bit addicted to She & Him's "In the Sun."

Zooey Deschanel wrote the song, too, and the other day I happened upon a photo of one of her coats (actually, it's in a video - who could not love someone who has so many dresses?). Isn't this the cutest coat?

Now, while I do have grand plans for making something similar - in particular, keeping it tonal - I thought I'd try out the notion first on a cream coat I've had for a few winters. It was looking a little boring after all that time and needed a reboot, so to speak.

It's a little rough, and the second photo is a bit out of a focus, I admit, but I rather like how it turned out. And it's good practice for the eventual coat!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

April Showers

I love April. Not just because it's my birthday this month or that there's Easter (bunnies and chicks beats out Santa every time for me!), but the weather changes and is changeable. I love interesting weather. You know the Chinese proverb, 'may you live in interesting times'? I like 'may you live in interesting weather'. Okay, providing the interesting weather involves daffodils, sunshine, rain or snow and nothing life threatening!

I had a message from a friend half a world away - he spent part of Easter visiting dead relatives. Yes, that's how he phrased it! Oddly enough, I spent part of Easter visiting dead relatives too!

We visited a part of the family that came out from Europe to farm the land. They lived in isolation, in small communities of four or so thriving families (which led to some rather amusingly tangled family trees and some, I think, sensible maiden aunts). The cemeteries that remain exist in secret hideaways up very rough dirt roads and you walk through long grass, listen to singing frogs, and marvel that people really have been keeping up the graves... even the graves of the very little ones who have left no descendants and died so very long ago.

Here you can see one of the grand old matriarchs of my family, Eva. Apparently Eva had apron pockets full of conversation lollies for the great grandchildren. The latter, needless to say, followed her about hoping for some 'talking lollies,' as they called them, to fall out.

I realised, too, that I naturally gravitate toward my matrilineal line. I work among a wide variety of feminist scholars who talk about the impact of patriarchy, but patriarchy always feels very foreign to me. I grew up in a family of strong, amazing women and the stories I have heard and continue to hear in the kitchens of some of those very women (and even a few of the men who inherited those kitchens and have picked up a thing or two from their wives' old recipe books!) have given me a sense of my matrilineal heritage. Perhaps it's why I never felt that I was in any way inferior as a girl (in fact, quite the opposite - I grew up assuming women were naturally superior!) and, growing up and finding myself at university discussing feminism, I always feel perplexed how anyone could even begin to think women aren't equal. I know it happens. It just seems very odd to me still.

Back to Easter. I didn't have any Easter Eggs! There is a Lindt bunny in the house, but I did obtain some Easter malabrigo!

Oh, and a little postscript to the Easter visits? We spent a week afterward driving along city roads with a rather embarrassed little car dropping chunks of country dirt from its rear whenever we hit a speed bump!