Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sneak Peek at 2012

These aren't the best photos, particularly since the knitting is still on the needles and it's too hot to really bother for long messing about with pins. However, it is the start of 'The Doctor's Wife' sampler shawl and so far, it's going according to plan. Well, aside from that glitch a few rows back... shhhhhhh...

Anyway, sorry for the apologies and bad photos, but I couldn't resist putting some photos up to mark the end of 2011.

Those boxes even out when properly stretched - the pins weren't quite doing the job and I was a little worried about stitches falling off the other end. The 'Sexy Edging' (it takes a cue from the Tilting TARDIS cowl and its use of the tilting ladders pattern, though I played about with it some more) is looking a bit off kilter here too, but I still smile when I look at the little lights on top of the TARDISes. I love that I'm currently measuring the shawl in TARDISes (10 along the short edge). It should become a valid form of measurement.

'The Doctor's Wife' is one of my all time favourite episodes. One day, the ideas of the sampler shawl and 'The Doctor's Wife' snapped together in my head and I had the basic idea. I've got most of the patterns roughed out already, but oh, there's such a lot of knitting and math to be done!

I also have a soft spot for 'The Doctor's Wife' since I gave a paper a few years ago in the UK about the TARDIS, arguing she's alive and female, much more powerful than the Doctor (she sees everything in time and space), and that she is his ultimate, if you like, companion - cough, 'wife.'

Anyway, time to start New Year's Eve prep. We're having a Pushing Daisies marathon. Fingers crossed for 2012 being a great year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Figgy Pudding

"We Wish You A Merry Christmas" is playing in a loop in my head. This may or may not be a good thing.

However, it did enable me to sprint through my Miss Marple socks! They're done! In record time for me. I got a little obsessed, you see.

They're from Cookie A.'s knit. sock. love. as you may know by now. I took a photo last night, but the colour of the yarn came out a little dull, so this morning, I braved heading out with a camera, new socks and a wet Scot. The Vintage Purls 'Oneirology' now shows its pretty colours.

And I love the way the lace winds around as it leads into the heel.

As the Scot and I walked last night, we ran into the parcel delivery van. The guy rushed out with a parcel. "But we don't live here!" I protested. "I know. (Rattles off my address) I recognised you." That should probably concern me more than it does, particularly since he has on occasion caught me in my pjs.

Nonetheless, it meant I got to carry a lovely squashy parcel home that contained my Knitsch and some very cool presents care of my favourite Honorary Ninja Sheep. Isn't the Knitsch thoroughly gorgeous? There is 'Beatrice', because between having seen Much Ado on stage earlier this year, now having it downloaded safely to my computer, and looking forward to Joss Whedon's film... I'm all about Much Ado and Beatrice has always been one of my favourite Shakespearean characters. She's just too cool. She's the best friend you'd love to have.

The 'Deep Thought' is destined for Doctor Who socks. It's more 10th Doctor TARDIS. Speaking of which, I did finish my TARDIS snowflake garland and I couldn't be happier with it.

I especially like the way this snow flake turned out. [Note: Oh, I did adapt the snowflakes from ones I saw online, but do you think I can find those particular snowflakes again? If I do, I'll definitely link back again!]

So, everyone, have a great Christmas! I don't go in for retrospectives or new year's resolutions. I will only say, 2011 as a year didn't quite work for me. There was great stuff afoot, too! But things just went a little haywire. I won't mind changing calendars all that much.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Last night I went to see Neil Gaiman and Tom Stoppard. The night before I was at a Christmas party. This morning, I'm armed with coffee and aspirin and thinking about 'The Great Clean-up' that I have to achieve today before visitors come rolling in tomorrow.

Incidentally, last night was brilliant. I swear, Neil Gaiman is one of the few authors who can threaten to send in the hounds on his audience and his audience would let him. And he talked about 'The Doctor's Wife,' which made me peculiarly happy.

As an added bonus, on the train, I knitted up the cuff of my second Pointelle sock. I decided to actively participate in The Southern Summer of Socks this time around. It wouldn't have anything to do with the Knitsch on offer. No siree. However, it did mean I dug out my half started Pointelle sock (from Cookie A's Knit Sock Love) in Vintage Purl's 'Oneirology'. I started ages and ages ago and things went badly wrong. I looked at it, I squished it - it really is the softest, loveliest yarn. I ripped right back. I started again, full of purpose. I went wrong again. I took a breath. I ripped right back again. I started again, full of more purpose. I went wrong again...

But, well, the curse lifted. I sensibly stuck a large post-it note on the chart so I wouldn't start reading the wrong row and look, I ended up with a sock already!

I have no idea why I required all those false starts. Once I was settled in with the post-it note, the sock flew. In the background, you can also see my first finished Chick Flick sock. Hey, who said I had to finish a proper pair? Well, I think one of the moderators on the Southern Summer of Socks might have said something about that... (whistles to herself).

The designing is going well too and I'm hoping to start showing some photos, because, let's face it, I'm going to be a while at it and I might as well show it off in the meantime.

Just like Wee Davie is showing off his new coat. It's by Made by De. Yes, it is summer, hence, this is a cooling coat. Dampened down with water, it holds in the cool for hot Scots. Hot Scots who today have to have a bath in the middle of 'The Great Clean-up'. Yes, this means I'll probably have a muddy Scot rampaging over newly cleaned floors. I'll have to think this plan out some more...

I've also put aside for a short while the plans to decorate with many TARDIS snowflakes.

This is my slightly - ahem, very - dodgy first attempt at replicating this awesome snowflake. I had been cutting out Star Wars snowflakes to insert in Christmas cards for various friends, but I'm more a Doctor Who girl. Problem is, there aren't as many templates out there for Doctor Who. Which is outrageous.

I've also been making my new favourite holiday snack - white chocolate popcorn with sprinkles.

Ah, 'tis the season. Okay, I think one more coffee then I really will start 'The Great Clean-up'. Or I'll just keep watching my current favourite seasonal clip... A muppet, a Scot in a Christmas sweater, and a pipe. What more do I need?

Friday, December 2, 2011

All I Want For Christmas...

... is a scruffy Scot in a Christmas sweater.

Well, I sort of got it right? Wee Davie is now sporting a Christmas collar.

As an added bonus, it looks knitted, but it's really cotton fabric. I do love a Scot in a Christmas sweater...

Okay, back to business, I am back on track with my attempts to whittle down the WIPS. These socks were barely a cuff when I left off. Now, thanks to some necessary recuperation on the home front, they are rapidly growing into possibly my most girliest socks yet, whipped from Knitabulously pink yarn. They're from The Joy of Sox, details to come when I'm finished. The intricate design is fiddly, but they are truly a sock confectionery. I can't wait to dance to sugar plums in these socks...

... maybe with the scruffy Scot in a Christmas sweater.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Healthy Post

Okay, so we don't really have Thanksgiving in Australia.

I still love the concept. Perhaps because I love pumpkin and yams. So, when Thanksgiving whirled around last week and I happened to have the day off, I decided to make a Thanksgiving feast and prepared a marathon of Thanksgiving episodes (Buffy, Chuck, Gilmore Girls...). I made roast turkey drumsticks with roasted pumpkin and potatoes and then whipped up a salad, which I've dubbed "Romancing the Salad".

It was incredibly good.

You just steam up some quinoa. I used a mix of about 1 part red to 2-3 parts white to give it a bit of extra colour. Let that cool. Whip up a dressing of the juice of one blood orange, a splash of olive oil, a little trickle of balsamic vinegar (I don't measure... it makes life more exciting!), salt, pepper, and one garlic clove minced up. When the quinoa is cool, add a couple of chopped up qukes (I madly love qukes!), half a chopped spring onion (I actually cooked it a bit with the quinoa to make it mild), a small handful of pine nuts, a small handful of chopped up parsley and a good handful of dried cranberries. Then add the dressing. The salad will just soak it up and give you lots of shininess. I added the left over turkey the next day and... oh yes! This is the stuff!

"It is a sham. But it's a sham with yams. It's a yam sham."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Household Madness

I spotted Gigi earlier today: "I laid an egg! It's THIS big!"

Meanwhile, if you have a dog in the bush, what do you have in your hand?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I like him. He says okie dokie.

Remember that I was waxing lyrical about Socktopus? Well, I won a copy! It is everything I hoped for. It includes one of my favourite patterns, 'Rumpled!' Doesn't hurt that it's named after a fairy tale character, either.

But that's not the best bit. The best bit is the bit I wasn't expecting. There are Supernatural themed socks in this book.

I mean, how cool is that? All in all, this is a sock book from which I must spontaneously knit all the socks! There's not a better review than that.

In the meantime, I've started on something I've been wanting to do for ages. I've started designing my own pattern! Okay, that's still a bit ambitious, since I've only got my first swatch sorted, but I'm excited. I've been pouring over stitch patterns, sometimes while eating mousse.

(Yes, I have a weakness for tinned mandarin slices. Jamie Oliver once said they are the exception to the rule and I agree with him completely.) And I do have a first swatch. Here's a peak.

Okay, that wasn't an informative peak, but you can see that there is knitting. I picked up some Vintage Purl lace that is in a gorgeous TARDIS blue, so you know in which direction my mind began to tick. The design was half in my head before I'd put the yarn down. I thought 'can I do this?' Then I thought 'why not?' Since then, my mind has been buzzing with design ideas and I've already learned heaps. It's all kind of fun. And if it doesn't work out in the end, so what?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Red Booties

Whenever I hear that a little girl is going to be born now, I whip up a concoction of red yarn and buttons. Because every girl needs to start life with red footwear, correct? After all, even Cinderella's slippers are made of red velvet (do yourself a favour and catch D'Aulnoy's Finette Cendron, which is far more fun than the Perrault or the Grimms versions).

I haven't actually blocked these yet, but they looked so dang cute sitting on the book I was working from today, that I snapped a quick photo. It's been quite mad of late and knitting booties has been quick and gratifying. They're Saartje's Bootees again (and I can easily believe there are 11000 pairs of these bootees and counting), this time in Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 'Sunrise'.

I do have something peculating away. It's a big, exciting project for me and a steep learning curve is definitely involved. Now that all the upcoming tiny toes are taken care of, I'm all focus!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Snuck In

I was grading papers. I was trying to reorganise long neglected, half-written manuscript chapters.

I was knitting bootees.

Well, I wanted to gift these next week, so it made sense. And I'd always wanted to try out Saartja's Bootees. So I found some Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury, some vintage buttons and had "Feeling Froggy."

We were in two minds about the buttons, but they grew on me. Just a bit frog-like is kind of cute, right? The second bootee has slightly wonky straps, but I'm hoping a little wash and block will sort that out.

They are kind of adorable. Bootees always are, aren't they?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sneaking towards the stash...

Finished! I bound off the Through the Loops Mystery Socks. Shhhh... don't look here. These are totally 2011 Mystery Socks. They're definitely not 2010...

I've called them my 'Grapiness' socks, because Knitabulous's 'Purple Palace' is fully of grape-y goodness. Cute, aren't they? I admit, the cables on the cuffs were a pain, but they are just worth it. And having tackled a few cabled socks inbetween, the second sock definitely went much faster.

I'm on a mission to try to clear WIPs, so I'm trying very hard not to sneak back to the stash and pick something new and pretty. See how my willpower is holding out???

Okay, back to grading papers. I've got a chorizo and baked egg dish cooking for lunch, which will hopefully see me through an afternoon of avid reading.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Come along, Ponds!

The Ponds are done! Dusted! In glorious green goodness!

Wee Davie approved, even though he thought I should be much more interested in kicking his ball than taking silly sock photos.

Finding my final sock blocked and ready, I took a break from grading to do the photo shoot. It's so nice and sunny and the grass sets off the gorgeousness of the yarn. Seriously, I love Sokkusu!

So, these are from the Knit Love Sock Club 2011: 'Fiyero' (think Wicked), in LFB Sokkusu. I repurposed them for a Doctor Who reference, of course. Like Wicked, but love Doctor Who.

And don't they look great by the burgeoning vegetable patch?

I love these socks. Springy, incredibly green - you want to dive into the depth of this colour - and comfy. The pattern is intricate and I admit, towards the end of the second sock, I was growing impatient, but it's just adorable. These socks make you feel clever. I like socks that make you feel clever.

Speaking of Doctor Who, I've been reading The Brilliant Book 2012. Neil Gaiman has been adding some facts about the Corsair that make me want to read/see/hear a plethora of Corsair stories! Please!

Last night I also crossed off one of my ambitions. I popped off to see QI Live. There was such a friendly, fun atmosphere in the theatre and I can listen to Stephen Fry merrily ramble forever! Alan Davies was also most silly. The world truly needs a little more silliness. I just wish the guy in front hadn't perched his sunglasses on top of his head...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Helping Hand

I'm a big fan of Socktopus. She ran the sweetest, most friendly little shop in London once upon a time. I'm in her Knit Love Sock Club at the moment and although I am way behind, I'll have those green socks to show you soon! She has a book newly out. I'm just waiting for my copy. And her yarn...

Her yarn...

Her yarn is good enough to eat apparently.

Honestly, I was just taking my 'Vintage' Sokkusu outside to photograph so I could show you how gorgeous the yarn is. The wee one was busy playing with his basketball, but spontaneously ran over and tried to eat it. I'm pleased to report that it survived and will be knitted up into some awfully cute socks... just as soon as I have time.

Why am I telling you how much I love Alice's work? Well, at the moment, she's taking care of a tiny pup who has had a rough start in life. It's so nice to follow her blog and see the pup looking happier and happier each post. So, as if this wasn't enough, Alice has started fundraising for Hong Kong Dog Rescue (with some really generous encouragement in the form of give aways, but, really, we are doing it for the dogs!). I read her blog post and got a little teary, so I wanted to pass along the word in my own small way. It's such a great idea and I hope she reaches her goal really soon!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Little Getaway

Earlier this week, I was relaxing. It was wonderful. I visited The River Song for the first time.

One afternoon, Mum and I invaded, armed with a picnic basket of gluten free cupcakes and old-fashioned soda pops. We sat on the back stairs and knitted. The birds sang. The breeze blew.

I realised that sitting on the back steps is one of my favourite things in the world. I have since been daydreaming of kitchen sinks and shiny taps. The River Song has never had a modern kitchen. There have never been benches and overhead cupboards. It is as it was in the 20s, complete with broom cupboard. Apparently the real estate people thought this was a negative selling point. My heart sang. A whole kitchen to play with! And no built-ins will sully my kitchen. I have magnificent plans for a cosy, 20s inspired kitchen. If only Agas were cheaper...

I also heard some more family stories while I was away. I have a great great aunt Dora who has totally stolen my heart. She never wed. When I asked my grandfather about this, he burst out laughing. "Her older sister died after having three children and her husband, Jack, turned up at the house asking for another sister. Dora sent him packing." Who could not love her for that? I'm finding a copy of her picture to put up - we single ladies have to stick together! As I then pointed to my great great grandmother Caroline, my grandfather gave another chuckle. "Oh, she held the purse strings in that marriage! She kept it all in a billy can under her bed. He [being my great great grandfather] did what she told him. He didn't get the bacon." I smiled contentedly.

I'm not really someone who sees her ancestors in herself. I think we make our own lives. But I love a good family story and I'm coming to love the relatives I never had a chance to meet.

I'd also love a little more knitting time, but I'm crimping what I can. I'm more than half way through another pair of socks and Wee Davie has already given his approval to the first sock.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Farewell Lulu


I wish I could stop writing these posts.

Rest in peace, Lulu. You were very young and very nutty and we'll all miss you. Especially Fifi, to whom you were a most excellent fluffy, feather duvet.

I've been feeling like an absolutely dreadful hen mother. The day before I nipped away for a quick trip, Lulu was looking rather sad and lethargic, though as you'll see from the photo above, the day before that, everyone had been happily pottering about the yard as normal. That's Lulu on the step, all white and black. The only clue is that Lulu's comb was a little dull, but it had been since I'd had her, so that hadn't tipped me off to something more serious. Then the day I left, my neighbour pointed out that she really wasn't looking good and I had to agree. I tried a few quick tricks and remedies, but alas, after I left, she rapidly deteriorated and was gone the following day. I suspect she had a respiratory problem - her breathing apparently sounded awful on her final day. Last week, there was a lot of wet, damp weather and although they have dry places to hang out, it may have been too much for her. At least, that's my assumption. It was so very, very quick.

My grandfather did reassure me that these things happen and there's not much to be done. The remaining girls are all looking happy and healthy.

So I'll leave you with - in hindsight - a rather pensive photo of the lovely Lulu, one that made me smile when I took it because she was posing!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mothers Look Away

Well, actually, I only need one mother to look away. So while she's doing that, let me share with you an image of two carrots cuddling...

Yes, in fact, it is weird in my vegetable patch. But I figure weird in a good way.

I finished Mum's birthday socks! I've been calling them 'sparkly legwarmers' for the last month, but she has caught on that I'm knitting socks. I don't think she's caught on as to which socks I'm knitting.

That's me this morning, desperately knitting so I have enough days to block the final sock before I wrap them up. I'm eating a chocolate chip blondie, but not just any chocolate chip blondie. These are seriously healthy. Don't believe me? Look at the recipe. And don't be cynical or you'll miss out on the most amazing, chewy, taste explosion.

Anyway, although one sock is still unblocked, this is how they turned out.

The pattern is Vintage Purls, "Nightingale." Staggering wow factor, right? They're knitted up in purple Malabrigo sock and pink yarn from The Yarn Cafe, now Evoke Yarns.

These socks were made for some serious, sassy walkin'!

They are a bit loose on me. That's intentional. Mum and I aren't the same size. There is some guesswork going on here, but fingers crossed.

After all, I could almost decide not to gift them, they're that comfortable!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Bath Day and River Song

Wee Davie had a bath this morning.

What is so adorable about a puppy having a bath? They look so danged cute. I think it's a plot on their part. Because inevitably, at some point during the bath, you're cooing at the winsome, soppy puppy, all distracted, and that's when they pounce - and run away.

So, yes, he's running around the back yard now with soap suds still adorning his behind.

In other news, this week, I bought a house!

This is my front door - sort of. I'm not moving into the house yet - this is part of a more convoluted, longer term plot. However, I do have a house! And I do have a plot!

It feels very grown up having a house and a mortgage. Since I'd been joking that I'd grow up to be River Song and since my house is coincidentally trimmed in TARDIS blue, it's been dubbed 'The River Song'. It's gorgeous. I like my plot.

To celebrate my new house, I had a yarn margarita. It's the Black Sea colourway and a gorgeous deep teal that is impossible to photograph. It will become beautiful socks in which I will some day patter about The River Song.

And just because, one more picture of Wee Davie having his bath.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Update from the Hen House

I'm getting eggs again! Okay, for a short while a few weeks ago, Cosette was laying. But then she got broody. She is still quite broody. She's not sitting on an egg, though. I've tried to explain to her that to be properly broody, she should at least be sitting on an egg. She's having none of it.

In the meantime, Gigi started laying and then, lo and behold, Fifi, whom we considered retired, started to lay her little white eggs. Except... I think she feels competition from Gigi, since she's laying strangely 'long' eggs...

Fifi is still making herself cosy at night between her feather duvets, namely Lulu and Gigi. The smallest hen is, naturally, queen of the coop. Although she had competition from Wee Davie for pancakes this morning. Watching the two vie for pancakes is priceless.

I'm knitting a present, so I can't show any work in progress and it means that I've slowed down on my Fiyero sock progress too. But isn't it pretty? I pulled it out and realised it rather nicely matched my hoop.

I'm still pretty lousy at hooping. I can get some tricks, but I still send the hoop spinning across the room at regular intervals. And then I get an attack of giggles. And then the hoop goes spinning off across the room again! Or across the yard, if I'm practising at home. I'm just worried I'll have to pop next door and shamefacedly ask for my hoop back...

Wee Davie, of course, doesn't consider hooping should get in the way of his soccer practice. So I'm spinning a hoop over my head and he kicks the ball over to my feet, then waits expectantly for me to kick it back. The spinning hoop means nothing to him.

"Dear teacher, my hoop practice was interrupted by my dog."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Wee Davie is currently running around the room with a rattling ball. He is having the time of his life chasing it, batting it, carrying it. He's playing. Playing is great.

Why do we so often give up play as adults? We all know how important playing is.

These last couple of days, I've been playing.

I've been playing dress-up 1920s style with my new hat, knitted by my friend S (seriously, how adorable is this hat? I feel like I'm in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel when I put it on!).

I've been putting on my bright blue shoes and striding about, clippity clop.

And I've gone to my first hoop dance class. It takes place in a dance studio and those mirrors are terrifying! But can I confess I was always a little envious of the girls doing rhythmic gymnastics? I couldn't do gymnastics. Tuck and roll? Impossible. Cartwheels? Not likely. But hooping doesn't necessarily involve all those gymnastics, just the cool stuff that I really wanted to do, like twirling hoops and skipping through them. I kind of stunk at my first class, but that's okay. It was the first class and at least I got the hoop moving. And I bought a sparkly green hoop to make myself look good while I stink at hooping! It was kind of fun carrying it home on the train. You do get the funniest looks.

I was just trying to convince Wee Davie to jump through the hoop, but he's not convinced. He's more a ball guy.