Friday, January 27, 2012

It's shrinking

Fiona has transformed from a stretched, then wrinkly-pinned sack to a jumper that is only two inches longer than I originally predicted. Yay for yarn that shrinks as it dries!


And Sir Dougal approves.


Now I'm not panicking anymore, I can go back to working on my Funchal Moebius.


So far I'm happy with the result - hopefully it will flatten out a bit with blocking, I'm knitting as loosely as I can without it being totally uneven.


And with this long weekend, I hope to get at least one more repeat done!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My first knitting disaster

I knew Fiona was too good to be true. And I secretly knew the squishy Puffin yarn was hiding something.
As I knit this amazing sweater, it was just going too well!
Once finished, the sweater fit perfectly. Just the right length, sleeves long enough to cover my knuckles, just how I like it. I put off blocking her until a spare afternoon. And I should've kept putting it off.

Fiona grew nearly 10 inches in length with one wash. 


At first I was stunned. I went back and read the pattern. It said I could wet-block. I always wet-block and I've always had great success. I checked my tension. I followed the instructions to the letter, because I wouldn't have any idea how to alter a pattern anyway.
I think I will recover from this. I've pinned it to the size it should be, and there are plenty of wrinkles through it. I've read somewhere that wool contracts as it dries - I hope this is the case. 


Otherwise I have a new knitted mini dress - at least it didn't grow in width!

Friday, January 20, 2012

At home with a cold


It's been a busy week, not helped by this cold I've picked up from somewhere. I've been curled up in my pjs, fiancĂ©'s been making me lots of tea and I've had to avoid knitting so I don't sneeze all over my merino. I've already had to frog my moebius once, I dropped a stitch and it got lost amongst the stranding. It was pretty hard undoing it all, but I'm finding the good - it's given me the chance to knit it a bit looser and avoid some of the puckering I found in the first attempt. 

So while that's sitting in my knitting bag, I'm reading lots. I just purchased Minxy Vintage by Kelly Doust, and it's a beautiful book - a great addition to the bookshelf and full of inspiration for my growing vintage clothing collection. Most of the clothes I own are second hand, vintage or reconstructed vintage, and since we have a sewing machine I really want to learn how to adjust pre-loved items and make them my own. And then there are the cookbooks - always make me feel better. 

Now I'm going to make myself a hot chocolate - a proper one with a chunk of dark chocolate melted into a cup of milk - maybe not the best for my cold, but it tastes good!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Childhood knitwear

I wore some pretty amazing jumpers when I was little. So did my brother. All knitted by my Mum - wish I could still fit them!

Me in my Sailor Jumper - this is my favourite.

Me in my Wales Jumper

Me getting chocolate all over my face and probably my Winter Jumper too

Snow day! Looking good in hand-knitted cardigans, a stunning green jumper and bobble hats.

And here's another example of my brother doing his cute face (he still tries it sometimes) in his green jumper - a favourite of Mum's.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

More yarn for the stash and a Fair Isle experiment


I've been shopping. Kind of naughty of me. My wallet is officially on a diet, this year's mission is to try and save for the wedding, but I just couldn't help myself. The Shibui Sock yarn is so bright and cheerful, especially needed after such a wet summer and the Prism DK is just so red. My first pair of socks will be bright yellow. And they will be awesome.


My other challenge though is exploring Fair Isle - not the actual place, just the knitting technique. I've cast on my Funchal Moebius, and so far I'm happy with the result. It's just going to take me a very long time and I need to make sure I knit loosely enough so it doesn't all pull together.


Maybe the merino will calm down after blocking... here's hoping! And see my provisional cast on? It's my first time. I did a little test piece first, a kind of weird long tail cast on, and it unzipped so now I just hope it will work after I've done 14 repeats of my chart pattern. That's kind of daunting.


I'm knitting these on my new Addi 40cm/3mm fixed circulars. They're so nice and shiny. I've fallen in love with the Addi Lace Interchangeable set but it costs over $200, so I'm going to have to save extra hard for them. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Look! Two hands!


I figured it out! Now I can officially knit with two hands at the same time. I feel like the possibilities are endless. This is the start of a whole new knitting adventure. And that includes Fair Isle!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Meet Charlie, Casey and Sheep



This is Sheep the sheep, and Charlie and Casey the alpacas

These woolly guys are the pets of a good friend.

As you can see, they're in need of a hair cut.

Sheep is up first. After a few weeks of very wet weather, he got a little muddy.

And under the muddy bits, a beautiful creamy fleece is revealed.




And look at him now!

Next up is Charlie. Alpacas are a bit more difficult, longer legs that like to kick.

And after a few trims, gorgeous chocolate brown, fluffy alpaca fleece!


Look how long his neck is after the trim.

Looking pretty snazzy!

Next up is Casey who wasn't so keen on getting a trim

But after a few minutes, all is well.

Thanks so much to my good friend Denice who let me visit to see her alpacas and sheepy getting their hair cuts. The fleeces are being sent away to be carded and spun, and I can't wait to see the yarn when it comes back. And the animals will be much cooler in this muggy weather. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year Norwegian style, and a plate of muffins


I've figured it out! The Norwegian purl stitch is all go - slow, but it's getting there! I find the first stitch of each row the hardest, but that will improve with practise. I think once I get a bit more speed up, I might switch to continental knitting generally. I think it might be hard for lace, but we will see. 


Yesterday I was given a giant bag of vegetables from family, who are away this week and didn't want all the food to go to waste. It included two bags of carrots. I needed to make cheese and carrot muffins. I've adapted the recipe from the Savory cheese, bacon and chive muffins from Food.com, and it makes 12.

Ingredients:

2 large carrots, grated
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons mixed herbs
2 cups standard flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
1 cup milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180degC.
Prepare muffin tray by spraying with vegetable oil spray.
Melt butter over a medium heat in a small pan.
Remove from heat and add herbs, then cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl combine eggs and milk with a whisk.
Add butter/herb mixture, grated cheese and carrots to the egg and milk mix.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt, and stir to mix.
Add dry ingredients to the egg and milk mix, stirring only to combine everything.
Spoon the mixture into prepared muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden.
Remove from oven and cool muffins on a wire rack.
Once cool, eat with heaps of butter! 

I tested the recipe with six friends in the house. The muffins were gone within 15 minutes.