Thursday, November 30, 2006


Earlier this year my two nephews (aged 12 and 9) requested beanies in the colours of their (and their father's) favourite football team, the Roosters. I think they had in mind that I would make them immediately and in time for winter. Oh well. They are getting them for Christmas - in time for next winter!
The great thing about beanies is that they are such a quick knit - especially on a circular stick. I'm using a combination of Zara (red that I had in stash plus white which I had to buy) and Jo Sharp DK in navy - there was no Zara navy. The Jo Sharp is not as soft or sproingy as the Zara but I think they work together ok. Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect makes a great knitting companion - I reckon the second part on Friday night should see me finished this (or just about, anyway!).

I'm making up the pattern as I go along (it's only a beanie, after all!) using the Yarn Harlot's Knitting Rules - all sorts of extremely useful info (for hats, scarves, socks etc), like, for me, average head sizing for babies, toddlers, children, small and large adults, and lots of very interesting proportions info - did you know that your hand, from wrist to fingertip, is about the same size as your head (from ears up) - or something like that - just buy the book!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Of sweets and shoes

these are two of my favourite things...

It's all about the desserts at the moment - and all the US blogs with their thanksgiving feasts (and photos!) are not helping! My brother M and his family visited on the weekend (they still live in my home town). M loves his golden syrup dumplings. It is a running joke in the family that he was hardly done by as a child because mum "never" made them for him! I have mum's recipe and was very easily prevailed upon by him to make them for him this weekend.
This is the last one (makes 10) - served warm with lots of the sauce and ice-cream - mmmmmm a real winter pud (yes, I know it is summer here now, well almost anyway, ok then an all year round pud!). Cakey sweet deliciousness. (If anyone wants the pattern recipe, let me know!)

And since there's been a dearth of shoe posts here's my latest acquisition:
Not purchased with my DJ's voucher (not for lack of trying, let me assure you, just that nothing has been superfantastic enough for that yet!), but purchased at the urging of my very bad influence shoe fiend friend, J. A good pair of summer wedges (for those who remember, I always have to add "wedges, weginald!")

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

First (and only?) FO of the month!

Ta da! It's the "ohmythecottonis2differentshadesIcantbelieveIdidntnoticethatearlier" cardi, for my friend L's baby - a boy, born last Thursday (Thanksgiving!) weighing 10lb 9oz (she was pretty thankful for the epidural and the gas, I can tell you!).

I went with green cotton thread, mainly because that's what I had in the stash. My stitching is a bit uneven - unique and handmade, I say! I did cross stitch on the front and diagonals on the back (can you tell I got sick of the sewing...?). But thankfully, you really can't tell there are two different shades now (thanks Carson and others for your advice!).

I'm not sure what size this turned out to be - it was meant to fit him at 6-9 months (winter) but it is a lot bigger than the navy cardi I finished recently which is also meant to be 6-9 month size, so I don't know if this is too big or the other too small...oh well, it's cotton so is transeasonal!

Pattern: Rosebud Cardigan from Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Cherished Babies
Yarn: Rowan 4ply cotton - 2.5 x 50g balls
Sticks: 3.5mm addi circular and 3.5mm addi dpns for the sleeves - I converted the pattern to do the fronts and back in one piece to the armholes, and to the sleeves circular rather than flat - much less seaming! Why aren't more patterns (especially for babies) written to minimise seaming! The pattern called for 2.75mm sticks but this would be just tooo tight. As it is, I may have done a little loose, but I still quite like the outcome.
Time: started on 13 October 2006, finished 25 November 2006.
What I learnt on this project: 1. Check the yarn colour VERY carefully!! especially if you buy from eBay or secondhand and some doesn't have labels...
2. converting to circular knitting is great and relatively easy, although on reflection I think I could have done it differently (I think I need to learn top-down construction)
3. need to get some stitchmarkers...

Monday, November 27, 2006

Sunday drive

Every so often, we go for a Sunday drive, in convoy with friends who also have a convertible (except theirs is a very cool, but loud, Mustang, left hand drive - always odd to see someone driving on the "wrong" side!).

This, of course, is a great opportunity to feel the wind in our hair, and more importantly for me, to get lots of knitting done!

This is the before shot (had to take at least 3 projects - my hands get sore if I do the same knitting for an extended period, particularly with very small or very big sticks - well, that's my excuse anyway!):
After driving to Terrigal for lunch, then through the Yarramalong valley to a macadamia farm for afternoon tea - mmm macadamia scones with jam and cream (and the macadamia farm is for sale, by the way, if anyone is interested...) and then eventually back onto the old Pacific Highway and then the freeway back to Sydney (with a little power nap along the way), this is my progress (I think I'm a slow knitter...):
The Yarramalong valley is lovely to drive through - so lush and green - a lot different from my home town in central west NSW. Even the North Shore is lush and green - they must do a lot of watering despite the water restrictions!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Flashin' the stash

Inspired by Little Jenny Wren's post last week, I thought I might take some time to flash my stash (well, parts of it anyway...hope husby isn't reading this...). (sorry Jenny my stash is not as beautifully sorted and displayed as yours - I'm freaky scared about moths...!)

This little group is in the loungeroom - the Mountain Colours skeins (thanks eBay) were removed from their little safe baggie for the purposes of the pic. This basket mainly holds UFOs, sticks (in the long pencil case and side pocket) and some inspiration yarn.
This group is in my "study" (aka the junk room - although not nearly as junky as it used to be) . Rowan all seasons cotton for a baby aran style cardi from Knitty (so cute!), some Regia and Trekking sock yarn, lots of 4ply baby wool (I do love my baby knitting!) plus the Rowan 4ply cotton in the two different shades of the same colour that caused my knitting error (see yesterday's post!!). You can see the frogged bits in the bag - thought it might make good doll hair (should I ever make any knitted dolls...) (did I mention that I'm a hoarder?)
These are two drawers from the cedar chest of drawers in the spare bedroom (and they are DEEP drawers too! The red Rowan Big Wool is for a baby blanket, the blue-ish Rowan Yorkshire Tweed is for a cardi for me from Rowan's Vintage Style and the Jaeger cashmerino - well, I've got a few ideas for that but none finalised yet...

And of course with all that yarn you need some implements. Here are my nice sticks (the random metal and plastics are hidden away). Yes, you can also see I'm a bit of a sudoku freak. Underneath the sticks is a mat "fancyworked" by my mum - more to my taste than hers, I think. The fat cat holds some notions (lovely quaint word) - row counters, stitch markers, point protectors and the like. The cupboard underneath also hold more yarn...I forgot to take a picture!

You can see my books here (of course, there have been a few additions since then...)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Much better, thanks

Remember this? In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all for your advice on this problem - I know I've said it before, but I LOVE the knit-blogging community.

I decided to go with the majority and frog back to the armhole and re-knit the front in the darker shade - I put it off for a while but in the end it only took an evening to re-do (I think I am a very slow knitter!). This pic doesn't show it as well, but the colours line up on both sides now!

I still haven't decided on colour to do the top-stitching over the join - am waiting on the baby to arrive - if a boy I'll probably do navy and if a girl then red (or I just might do red anyway). Or perhaps an olive green might go well with the tones. And with the buttons (I haven't actually sewn them on yet, I might still change my mind on those too). They are a bit blurry in this pic but they are little teddy heads (yes, more teddy heads!). Happy to receive any views on colour for topstitching and button style/colour too!

Hopefully baby will arrive soon - s/he was due a week ago! Poor mother in this heat!

I'll do a proper FO post once I've actually finished it properly!! I think I'm getting my knitting mojo back though - hurrah!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


There's something about raspberries for me at the moment - since the success of the gooey chocolate stack I'm seeing raspberries everywhere (and I don't even like to eat them that much, except of course with choc custard and meringue...).

Case in point: My friend, the Fabulous Miss F, is going to the UK in December and so of course needs a warm scarf. Notwithstanding that this project is not on my COP* schedule, I couldn't not make one for her.

Something quick, fairly big sticks, just the right length (about 160cm) and the right width. I found this Eki Riva Natal (alpaca/silk/polyamide mix - mainly alpaca) and as it is an 8ply, am knitting it double - wound two balls into one centre pull ball (oddly, discovered that one ball was a bit longer than the other - on reflection, this makes sense given the slightly uneven nature of the ply on this yarn). I'm using the Yarn Harlot one row reversible pattern - to me, the nubbliness of the yarn combined with the textured pattern brings to mind the (sortof) bubbly nature of raspberries - delicious! (The colour is a bit more like the first photo than the second - a lovely pink toned red - hope she likes it!)

*COP - Christmas and Other Projects


In other news, the weather yesterday (about 35 deg celsius) was perfect for drying socks - of course, I'm not sure that it will get cold enough again this year to actually wear them, but isn't it good to know that they are clean if we need them! Had a pic to post but bl*gger won't do it. Oh well - at least there is finally some knitting content!! Hurrah! Get set for more...

And in answer to Little Jenny Wren's question on Monday's post - yes I am a country girl originally (or should that be "lady", Nora?!!) - moved to Sydney to go to uni and stayed ever since - but haven't lost my "roots"!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Still no knitting content

Looking back over last week I realised there was no real knitting content there. Despite my aim to work on only a couple of things to get them finished, there hasn't been as much knitting happening as I'd like. But there will be soon - I promise! But right now, this post will not change the lack of knitting content issue.

But look at this - how can this not delight!

It is the Gooey Chocolate Stack from Nigella's How to be a Domestic Goddess - 3 layers of chocolate meringue with chocolate creme patissiere (I think that's how you spell it!) layered in between. I subbed the pistachio slivers on top for raspberries - so right with chocolate! Made for BBQ lunch yesterday to celebrate my and the Fabulous F's birthdays.

I've never watched her cooking show but from what I know, this is absolutely typical of her style of cooking - gooey, rich, a little messy, requires much finger licking, full of good bad things like 300ml cream, 300ml full cream milk, 100g dark choc, 5 tbsp dutch cocoa, 6 eggs, 400g caster sugar (do I need to go on...). But oh my, it was GOOD - we all had seconds.

This was all that was left (before husby and I put it out of its misery and finished it off).

Neither of us needed dinner last night ...

Friday, November 17, 2006

More pretties

I think these probably qualify for Eye Candy Friday...

Remember my mum's "fancy work"? Here is the finished product (close-up below), in time for my birthday.

I bought the pillowslips (they are full-sized - folded in half in the first pic above) (with the pattern already traced) from eBay - it was meant to be done in blue shades but of course red suited me better so I bought mum a heap of embroidery thread in various shades of red. She decided to add green as well which I think was a good call.

We have antique wardrobes and dressing table and a faux cast iron bed - I think these will be beautiful on the bed - especially with the red (what else?!) sheets and cream quilt. One of life's simple pleasures I think is getting into a freshly laundered and made bed at the end of the day. Mmmm sleepy now...

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Saw this on Mimknits (yesterday). Agree wholeheartedly with her intro - "it’s easy enough for my dull brain today, and enigmatic enough to be interesting" - and I have to add - in some cases quite hard to limit yourself to one word (do hyphenated words count??). The rules:

Here goes...
1. Yourself: Tired
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend (spouse): Lovely
3. Your hair: Brown
4. Your mother: Underappreciated
5. Your Father: Missed
6. Your Favorite Item: iPod
7. Your dream last night: zzzzzz
8. Your Favorite drink: Champagne
9. Your Dream Car: MX5
10. The room you are in: Office
11. Your Ex: Who?
12. Your fear: Loneliness
13. What you want to be in 10 years? Happy
14. Who you hung out with last night? Husby
15. What You’re Not? Thin
16. Muffins: Banana
17. One of Your Wish List Items: Shoes!
18. Time: 8.15am
19. The Last Thing You Did: Email
20. What You Are Wearing: Red
21. Your Favorite Weather: Spring
22. Your Favorite Book: Well-read
23. The Last Thing You Ate: Chocolate
24. Your Life: Comfortable
25. Your Mood: Optimistic
26. Your best friend: Caring
27. What are you thinking about right now? Eating
28. Your car: MX5
29. What are you doing at the moment? Thinking
30. Your summer: Coming
31. Your relationship status: Married
32. What is on your TV? Foxtel
33. What is the weather like? Cold
34. When is the last time you laughed? Yesterday

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Eye candy Wednesday

I've noticed a webring (or whatever you call it - posting circle??) for people to post some "eye candy" on Fridays. Well, it's not Friday, but here's some eye candy, to get me through "hump day".

Flowers for my birthday last week - the lillies from a work friend E (who finished up yesterday, I will miss her a lot) and roses from husby (2 dozen!!!). I don't think I've ever seen such large lillies, they are amazing and have such a beautiful scent (need smell-o-vision/internet). And enough roses for every room in the house!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Yes, last night no knitting was done - o no - I went to see U2 in their last Sydney concert (well, for this tour anyway...) We missed out in the ticket buying frenzy when their shows originally went on sale way back when, but snapped up tickets for the 3rd show last week (after seeing them advertised on tv).

I'm not the greatest most dedicated U2 fan in the whole world - don't get me wrong, I think they are great, but I don't know all the words to all the songs (unlike the guy on the train home who decided to recap the "best bits" of the night - at least he knew the words...).

But I figured they might not tour out here again or it might not happen until they are like the Rolling Stones (look, not a huge fan, am sure they still rock it, but it can't be quite the same as when they were in their prime).

Anyway, it was great - loved it! Loved the political statements, loved the stage strutting, loved the (almost?) dissing/homage to Kylie Minogue (not once but twice!), loved doing the mexican wave beforehand and seeing it go across the standing room only section in front of the stage (awesome!), not so sure about the slightly creepy part where Bono got a girl up on stage (she may have been a young woman) and was kneeling at her feet singing With or Without You (or quite possibly I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For) - directly into her crotch zone. Not sure if she was overcome with hysteria or embarrasment. Anyway, bet she'll remember it!

Above all, a sense of connectedness - the sort that blogging gives, participating in an on-line community - but actually with people around you!! A great show.

Monday, November 13, 2006

yummy yummy

Had family over yesterday for a BBQ lunch - my pavlova is a favourite so got up early (7am - me - 7am on a Sunday!!!) to make it. I was going to make it on Saturday night, so I could let it cool properly overnight in the oven but I got a bit wrapped up in my knitting and tv and completely forgot. Hence the early (early!) start on Sunday.

Some progress shots - white fluffy goodness in the bowl - I LOVE my kitchenaid mixer; ready on the baking tray (I use a Tupperware silicone mat - they are great!).

I use the pavolva pattern recipe from Stephanie Alexander's The Cooks Companion - it is a no fail recipe, in my experience anyway (and, btw, a fantastic cookbook if you are looking for a really good reference book as well as great recipes and good writing style)! Lots of people say they can't make pavlova but I think if you can read, you can make this - you just have to mix it a lot - longer than you think - and do the "rub test" - when you think it is done mixing, pinch a little mix between your thumb and finger and rub together - if it feels a bit gritty, it needs more beating (the grittiness is the sugar, not quite dissolved enough).

And, ta-daaaaa, the end product!

I know traditional pavlova is supposed to have passionfruit but I don't like it, so I don't use it! And bananas - what a treat at the moment! They were teeny-tiny fingers so I had to use two.

Should have taken an after shot - there wasn't much left!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Lucky lucky me

Husby gave me these today:

Why, you might ask?


It's my birthday!


Thursday, November 09, 2006

I've lost my mojo

I've been a bit flat this week and have not been inspired by any of my current WIPs (which is somewhat unfortunate, as I have so many!!). I haven't done much knitting and feel a bit blah generally. Reading today's post from SavannahChik I think it is maybe because I've broken her goal 1: "approach knitting like a hobby and not a project that needs to be managed". I've concluded that having a COP has made me lose my mojo...

I'm hoping a few FO's over the next week will cheer me up so I'm going to try and focus on one or two projects now to try and finish them! Then I can start something new and that should perk me up even more!

To spur me on, here's a recent progress shot of husby's NY scarf - have almost done 6 repeats, only 4 to go! Can't wait to block it and admire in all of it's glory. It really is a great pattern to knit, once you get started it is quite intuitive, although I still have to follow the chart fairly closely for the increases and decreases but it is just so clever! I really am very happy with it so far.

Not sure...

You Are a Phoenix

Driven and ambitious, you tend to acquire material success easily.
You have grand schemes - both for your own life and for changing the whole world.
You are a great leader, and you have no problem taking the reigns.
However, you aren't all business. You also have great talents for performing and visual arts.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Another new COP project on the sticks - my second monogram cushion, this one for my niece S for Christmas.

Purple is her favourite colour (I hope it still is...) so hope she will like it. The Rowan All Seasons cotton is such a quick knit, I love it. The pattern is from Erika Knight's Simple Knits for Cherished Babies. I knit the first cushion on straights but I'm loving these circular Addis for this project - just zipping along!

PS - the first cushion is still dampish. But doesn't smell (yet...)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

What I learnt on the weekend, pt III

On the weekend, I learnt that it is not a good idea to wet-block Rowan All-Seasons Cotton when it is cold and rainy (yes, I know, I should really have known this without having to try it, but you know what knitter's optimism is like!).

This is a cushion cover for my nephew L for Christmas (he will be 1 yo by then). It was finished back in April or May but with my habitual procrastination re seaming, has sat in one of my knitting baskets until now. I noticed it had a few little grubby marks (quite possibly chocolate...) so thought I should wash it properly and block for good measure. Hmph. I did it at lunchtime on Sunday and it is now Tuesday morning and it is still damp. Lucky there's still 7 weeks until Christmas - hopefully it will be dry by then...

Monday, November 06, 2006


You Are: 30% Dog, 70% Cat

You and cats have a lot in common.
You're both smart and in charge - with a good amount of attitude.
However, you do have a very playful side that occasionally comes out!

Didn't need a quiz to tell me this!!


How good does this look??!! Mmmmmm soooo pretty. Nature gives such inspiration about colour and texture.

The suburb I live in (which isn't really a suburb, more of an add-on to one or other of the surrounding bigger suburbs) has a little corner store, a fruit & veg store, a good pizzeria and a waxing salon (yes, random isn't it!!). We like to buy our fruit & veg from the corner - he's a little more expensive but has good quality and it is so convenient. We'd be very sad to see it close so try and do our bit. How could you not, when you see this! I feel very 1950s walking up to the store with my wicker basket! Just need a full-skirted dress, petticoats and some kitten heels and I'd be right!! (clearly, that will never happen!)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Oh dear...

Oh dear...

Yes, I finished the whole body piece of this baby cardi (Rosebud) for my friend L, whose baby is due towards the end of November. It was only then I noticed the cotton I used (bought via eBay, some balls with no labels) was two different dyelots. f*&%$#!@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I can't believe I didn't notice it until I'd finished. I was knitting at night but with a fairly strong light - it is sooooo obvious!!

Now, the question is, do I frog the right front down to the armhole and redo, with the "top" colour, and perhaps sew a ribbon around the join to hide it and make a feature ("yes, I fully intended to use two different shades of the same cotton"), or do I just leave it ("yes, it is a one-off with many hours of work created especially for you"; OR "I'm too lazy and so not a perfectionist that I couldn't be bothered fixing it"). Or do I use Carson's tea dying method to try and even the colour out but still keep it neutral (if that would even work on two different shades??). I say again, oh dear...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Sticks and needles

Husby went to Canberra on the weekend to go to a Halloween party held by people he used to work with. On the way back on Sunday, he stopped off at a market and bought a little something for me:

My mother thinks that "tortoiseshell" sticks are the best to knit with and has already given me some of hers. Of course, she's coming from a time when the alternatives were metal or coloured plastic, always straights, no bamboo or circulars - there are so many more options now. But they are light and flexible and come in short lengths which is good for small items. This is a good bunch, some odd ones but that's ok. Mainly 3.25mm and 4mm which are good sizes.

The Harbour Bridge needle book actually still has some needles inside, although they are mostly gone. Interestingly, it was made in Germany. I think it must have been made either at the time the Bridge opened or in the early thirties, although I guess it could be possibly from the fifties...