Sunday, February 28, 2010

My, doesn't two weeks fly by!

Sorry for the blog silence over the last two weeks. I have an excuse for one week at least ... last week husby and I spent a lot of time lying around this:
And walking along this:
Plus a whole lot of eating out and watching the Olympics and knitting (well, I was knitting, husby clearly was not!)

And this picture tells a very happy story:
Yep, it's a bunch of stitch markers. What story do these tell? The story of an almost 3 year old wip, now FINISHED! FINISHED! FINISHED! Which means only one thing: GOLD, GOLD, GOLD FOR AUSTRALIA! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
(Don't worry, I'll reveal all shortly!)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

We say Zed and not Zee, too

One of my favourite moments of the Winter Olympics opening ceremony - "we say zed and not zee". Heh, loved it! Also lovely kd lang, the breaking up of the ice and the whales swimming across the floor, the First Nations people dancing during the entry of the athletes (there's no way I could have danced for that long non-stop!!) and of course, spotting the knit (and crochet) wear on the athletes! Sadly not the Australians though.

So this is my day 1 progress on my Ravelympics project, the blurp cloth:
I figured I needed an easy project because I'd be distracted by the opening ceremony! Am about 1/3 done. At this rate, I might get 2 or even 3 of these done in the next 2 weeks! But today, I'm going to pull out the shawl, and work on that - it's my real challenge.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Ravelympics 2010

In a fit of joining-in-ness, I agreed a few months ago to join the Ravelympics for the upcoming winter Olympics, and also agreed to co-captain a team, from the Over The Fence group, TeamDoingABradbury.

(For those of you who don't know, Stephen Bradbury was the first Australian to win a gold medal at any winter Olympics, in the 2002 Games short track speed skating (1000m). He won after all of the competitors in the final crashed out on the last corner. Figuring he couldn't win, his strategy going into the final was basically to sit at the back and hope that maybe a couple of the others would fall. I don't think he expected they all would!! So now in Australia anyone who takes this approach is known as "doing a Bradbury"! Check out the video of the race here.)

So there are about 35 events, and I'm entering a couple:

WIP Dancing - in an aim to finally finish, in one fell swoop, my Alpine Lace Shawl. I reckon I've got 78% done now, so I think I can do it...

Stash Compulsory Dance and Junior Olympics - I'm going to use this 1lb (453g) CONE of Peaches n Cream to make some blurp cloths for Teddy from the first Mason Dixon book. I know blurp cloths are hardly challenging knitting, but since I'm going to be at the beach for the second week of the Olympics, I figure they'll be good beach/poolside knitting. I had only planned to do one, but I might even get 2 or 3 done, which would be pretty cool.

Cast-on time for us Aussies on Eastern Standard Time is 1pm tomorrow (Saturday 13th). Plenty of time to join in if you haven't already signed up!

Monday, February 08, 2010

I miss my Dad

It is four years today since my Dad died.

My Dad was mostly a quiet man, an introvert like me. I remember when I finished high school and got my HSC results (Higher School Certificate - exams held at the end of final year, which are used to determine university placements), my Dad showed his pride this way:

He asked me if I wanted the money or the box. I wasn't sure what to say, but Mum suggested I take the box option, so I followed her advice. Dad took me down to the local jewellers and asked them to bring out all their ruby earrings for me to choose from (not a huge range, being a small country town - but still the most expensive jewellery I'd had at that point!). And so I did, and I wear these today and remember my Dad.
I miss my Dad.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Ah, so much better now...

I feel so much better now that I have these monkeys off my back (or more correctly, my WIP list).
I don't know why, but I found these socks a real slog to get through, particularly the second one. I don't usually suffer from second sock syndrome, and this pattern is ridiculously easy, so I'm not sure why I found these a trial.

But they are done now, and I am glad!
Pattern: No-purl monkeys, pattern adapted by CraftyPancakes from Cookie A's Monkey socks. The no-purl variation is so easy - it's an 11 row repeat, with only 4 pattern rows, with the rest being all knit. And I think it is nicer than the original and works equally well with variegated yarns (one of the great advantages of the Monkey pattern).

Yarn: ShiBui sock in Pebble (col 3001). This is a really nice yarn to knit with, similar to Koigu or Louet Gems, but it can suffer from pooling, depending on your gauge. I checked out the projects on Rav in this colour and there were some shockers (if pooling is not your thing). Fortunately, mine striped rather nicely, except for the gussets, which I can live with.

Sticks: KnitPicks Harmony dpns, 2.75 for one sock cuff (I forgot for the second one!!) and 2.5mm for the rest.

Time: October 4, 2009 - February 2, 2010. And these were my May 2009 Personal Sock Club socks!! And I'm not going to start another pair from the PSC until I finish at least another sock wip (more on that in time!)

Modifications: I did a tubular cast on for these, which is a bit more fiddly than my usual long-tail cast on, but does make a slightly nicer stretchier edge, always good for socks. I chose an easy version of the tubular cast on (the first method described in the link), I probably should try the even fiddlier version because I suspect that looks even better (eg this one).

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for knittign these socks, I really am pleased with the outcome! Apart from any other considerations, a finished pair of socks is another pair that can actually be worn!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Cook from a Book challenge #3

This week's offering is brought to you courtesy of my glucose tolerance test and Nigella Lawson.

Pasta with Ham, Peas and Cream! Yum!
I had to do another glucose tolerance test this week (testing for gestational diabetes), requiring me to have a high-carb diet for 3 days beforehand. I'm not entirely sure my usual diet isn't high carb anyway, but it was certainly no hardship to eat lots of pasta, potatoes and bread!

This is ridiculously easy to make. Boil up your pasta, add the peas half-way through, drain and set aside. Warm the cream, ham (mmmm, leftover Christmas ham that I'd frozen) and some parmesan, then mix pasta through. So easy! The recipe is from Nigella's Feast, another lovely Christmas gift (thanks Bells!). It's actually from the "Kiddiefeast" chapter. So there you go, good for kids and adults alike! Interestingly, the recipe says it serves 2-3 children. Well, we've already had 3 meals from the amount made by the recipe, and there's enough for another meal too.
I will definitely make this again, not least to use the rest of the fun bowtie pasta!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Keeping Track - January 2010

Yes, despite my abject failure in actually reducing the stash last year (not that that was my intention, but it would have been nice!), I will continue to keep track of my stash acquisitions and reductions this year. I think maybe this year will be my year!

Not that I've made a good start...

1 kilo of unidentified red 4ply/fingering yarn from the Australian Country Spinners mill at Wangaratta, courtesy of MissFee! (I think it's Cleckheaton Merino Bambino)
AND 350g of red and purple 4ply/fingering from the same source - this I think is Patonyle! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
Plus of course the 500g of Regia Kaffe Fassett for my Babette, which I've told you about already.

And this little beauty from my Yarntini sock club:
Midnight Snow Stripe. Just lovely! If I can bear it, I think I'll make socks for husby in this one. Or maybe I'll just keep them for myself...

In discussing my prospective total for the month at SnB last week, Lyn suggested I could just do a monthly average as I progress through the year. I do like that idea. Although it doesn't help me much for the first month...heh!

In: 39 x 50g balls
Out: 8 x 50g balls

YTD: +31 x 50g balls. And that would also be my monthly average. Sigh...