Monday, May 25, 2009


Behold: lots of miscellaneous things that don't really justify a blog post on their own. And also lots of me showing off my new camera:

This was my birthday present to myself! Three tasty skeins of Sanguine Gryphon yarn. Three skeins of 'Free Range' (100% organic wool, DK weight) in the 'Green Jungle-fowl' colourway, to be exact. I love it. It's absolutely gorgeous, and it makes me happy. This was the first time I'd ever handled organic yarn, so I don't really have much basis for comparison, but I can say that this stuff feels absolutely beautiful...

My favourite dip in all the world - spicy hummus from Queen Victoria Market (please don't ask me what stall, because I can never remember the number). It comes with fresh parsley and dried chilli sprinkled on top, and is nothing short of the best hummus in the universe. The fact that I actually buy it is testimony to the awesomeness of this dip. As cluey readers might have begun to suspect, I am usually the type of person who likes to make their own stuff where possible, and my home-made hummus is perfectly fine. Problem is that it's not as nice as this stuff. Not even close. Magic dip!

I tried my hand at felting for the first time. Or rather, it was the first time that I actually tried to go about it scientifically - I am guilty of once maliciously throwing a particularly hated handknit jumper into the washing machine just to see what would happen...

Anyway, this has turned out quite well. It didn't shrink as much as I was expecting, and the strap is a little too long, but that's easily fixable. It's not too far off being finished - now I just want to add a couple of buttons to make it closable, and put some kind of decoration on the front (the jury is still out on what kind). So basically, we're up to the fun part, having progressed from both the drudgy endless part and the soapy soggy part.

Also, in the background of the above shot is a Wisp that I'm working on, with the goal being simply to keep my hands busy during lecture recordings while getting rid of some hateful mohair that I bought in a fit of madness a few months back. I'm actually pleased with how it's coming along, though I'll likely end up trying to fob it off onto somebody else, because mohair is really not my thing...

And here is a birthday card that I made on the weekend for my aunt's 50th. Because I'm one of those people who can never quite bring themselves to fork out $5 for a shop bought card. I do of course like making cards of course, but, um, yeah, tight-arsery weighs in here too. It would be a filthy lie to suggest otherwise...

Anyway, I'm off to the iron. My poor Terra had a very unfortunate run in with some hot wax today, so I'm using all the tricks in my arsenal to try and salvage the poor sleeve in question. I'll be rather sad if I can't get the wax out - I love this one to pieces, and wear it all the time... Wish us both luck!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cold-ridden but constructive...

Well, I've been silent again for a little while, but life has been busy around here. The kind of ridiculously busy that only May brings. Come May the exam timetable is handed out (mine is officially irksome, of course), the weather gets colder so you begin to lose your energy, and virtually everyone has a birthday (well, it feels like virtually everyone). So I've been running around like a headless chicken the last few weeks. Probably why I came down with a cold... At least it's mostly cleared now.

Anyway, behold: proof that I have not been idle in my absence:

Here is my younger brother's birthday cake. Epic, right? It was his 21st, so I told him he could pick any cake he wanted from our not-insubstantial library of cookbooks, and dutiful sister that I am, I would make it for him. So he picked a black forest cake. And not just any black forest cake, but one with crazy elaborate construction. It's made by making two flat rectangular cakes, cutting them into strips and then rolling them up so that you get a tree-trunk rings effect when you cut into it. See:

I am so proud of this cake that it isn't even funny. Amusingly though, I haven't actually tried any of it - I'm not a fan of black forest cake. I've been assured that it tastes good though. Brother had a good birthday too, for the record.

And then four days later it was my birthday as well. Yesterday I celebrated a quarter of a century on this earth, so now I'm officially no longer able to use "I'm young and stupid" as an excuse for doing moronic things. Or that's the plan anyway... I didn't get up to much during the day, as I had to work, but in the evening the family and I went out for Thai food, and they plied me with a substantial amount of champagne and rum (substantial enough that I was somewhat remorseful when I had to scrape myself out of bed for lectures this morning...). Oh, and the blog will benefit from this birthday too, as my present was a new digital camera - one that is markedly better than the thing that I've been using for the last year or so. So better photos from this post onwards, hopefully!

I've been knitting busily too. Because of my cold I missed some classes this week, so I had a lot of lecture recordings to listen to, and therefore a lot of time with my ears occupied and my hands free. So I finished up the things that I was knitting for my coworker's new baby.

The red one is a Presto Chango in a nylon/acrylic blend, and the eye searing one below it is just a basic top down raglan in an 8ply wool. Cute eh? The red one especially - it's such a gorgeous pattern that I now want all of my friends to procreate so that I can make more of them. Quick, and required a very modest amount of yarn as well (two paltry balls!). A very pleasant diversion all in all, and definitely a change from knitting things for my not-so-baby-sized self. That said, I am looking forward to getting back into some new projects. I only wish that I had enough time to get even half of my ideas going...

Hmmm... Sore throat has regrouped and returned to wreak havoc - time for another cup of tea, I think. More frequent posting from now on, I swear! Just don't expect me to always have elaborate cake to show off...

Friday, May 8, 2009

What can I say - I'm slack!

Well, here I am again. It's been a while for the old blog, but life has been crazy busy, as is wont to happen during semester time. Especially after the mid-semester break when everybody realises that it's only a bit over a month until exams start...

I have been knitting though. Most definitely. If anything, I'm over-committed on the knitting front. I keep saying that I'll knit things for people, and keep getting new ideas for projects, when really I don't have the time for even a third of what I'd like to do. Oh well - I'll get there.

One of the more pressing obligations has already been partially filled in the last few days - I started making a cardigan for a co-worker's new baby girl - figured I should get cracking on that one while the wee one was still small enough to actually fit into the size I was planning to make... It's coming along nicely - just a basic top down raglan with ties instead of buttons, in a cute variegated yarn that I'd always liked the look of, even though it's far too bright for anyone over the age of six to pull off actually wearing. Picture next entry, I promise - it's too dark to take one now.

I also finished one of the things mentioned in my last post. Snow White is still in progress, having been put in the naughty corner for a while due to gauge issues (which thankfully don't look like they're going to be too dire), but I did finish my Kaleidoscope cardigan:

The gory details: Pattern is Kaleidoscope, by Sarah Sutherland. Yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy in 'Happy Forest' colourway (about 1.6 skeins total). I used a 5mm circular needle.

The part where I blather on: This was a quick, fun knit, and I very much appreciate non-sock patterns that call for sock yarn, because like most everyone else on the planet, I like sock yarn, despite not being hugely committed to knitting socks. That said, I wasn't entirely happy with how it turned out. This is not a reflection on the pattern, which was very clear and well put together. Rather it's a reflection on my lying bastard of a gauge swatch - I probably should have either made the next size down, or knitted the neckline higher than the pattern called for, because it's a little on the loose side around the back.

The other main beef: if I were to knit this again (which, knowing my inclinations towards sock yarn, I probably will), I'd probably go down a needle size or two in the ribbing, and do yarn over buttonholes instead of proper cast off/cast on in next row buttonholes. I think I would have been much happier with it that way. Otherwise though, I enjoyed this project well enough. The yarn is lovely (why yes, I do have a bit of an addiction to Dream in Color yarn...), and the pattern is great - only modification I made was to add a row or two to the ribbing at the base of the body, and to lengthen the sleeves a little because at the suggested length they stopped right at my elbows, which would have irked me greatly. There's a good chance I'll make this one again.

Other than that, life has been pretty uneventful. I made some blanket squares for the Knit One, Give One charity project. I finished the April component of the LSG Mistress of Knitting Challenge. I gave in and ordered a gargantuan amount of yarn with which to make a Sylvi, because I've come to the conclusion that I need this coat. I read a lot, studied the requisite amount, and started doing a tai chi class with a friend. Same old thing really. Oh, and I had a really lousy day on Thursday, during which I had to employ medicinal Fimo in order to feel better about the word again:

I made crazy, impractical button things, and I think that I'm going to put them on a hat. Because I can!
It's bed time now - take care people!