toe up 2 socks on 2 circ’s with figure 8 cast on

For you non-knitterly people this title might sound like another language. For you sock knitters. Looky looky Joleen, thanks for the encouragement. Only took me about 6 cast-on attempts and several frogging’s to work it out. But, phew, I did.

Pattern figure of 8 cast on toe up, two at the same time on two circular’s, knitted on 2.5mm, Rocks that Rock, colourway Hard Rock (AGAIN, thanks to my supa dupa better pal). Thanks Steph for the Mata Hari chart, and here on public record "I slacker Nicole, will be sending you my part of the bargain soon". Really quite embarrassing how long it’s been.

So, you wanna know how the knitting’s going? Well at first it was a little awkward and it took me a while to get my head into the casting on two at the same time, but once I’d gotten over that, they’re zipping along I tell ya! Zipping! Love it. Love that I’ll have 2 when I’m finished. No single sock syndome for me. I cast on Friday night last week and today here’s my progress. Well I’m about another inch along from here.

2_socks_on_2_circs_toeup

Continuing with all things reddish. This weekend I trotted off to the growers market and grabbed me a bunch of rhubarb. Rhubarb crumble was had with J9, she cooked a fabulous pasta with Persian feta. You had Persian feta?? OMG D.I.V.I.N.E. No pictures of crumble, but boring picture of a jar of rhubarb and vanilla jam. YUM YUM YUMMY. Lots of caps, lots of yum.

Rhubarb_and_vanilla_jam_1

Rhubarb & Vanilla Jam, Donna Hay (yes Kelli, a sort of Australian Martha equivalent), Issue 28.

250g Rhubarb, trimmed and chopped
1 cup caster sugar (superfine)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 tspn vanilla bean paste)
2 tablespoons water

Place the rhubarb, sugar, vanilla and water over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and simmer for 8-10mins or until thickened. Remove the vanilla bean and discard. Spoon the jam into a sterilised 1 cup glass jar and seal. Makes 1 cup. Can be stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Enjoy!

when good designers go bad

Warning "M" rated post, mention of the word DICK several times.

I work in a graphic design studio, which sometimes gives us license to be silly with paper and glue and stuff.

A work colleague, Richard, fondly referred to by me as Dick "where’s my Dick", "my favourite Dick", you get the idea, was coming back from holiday’s and we figured a little prank couldn’t hurt.

Robotic Dick was born and is now our unofficial office mascot.

Robotic_dick

Robotic_dick_hello

Me and Mr Jim, we got a thang going on

Over a week ago, about 6pm there was a knock at my door. I’m comfortably dressed in trackie pants, sweater and ugg boots, thinking who’s knocking at the door, no-one comes around unannounced. I open the door to my neighbour, who until this point Al M and I had been referring to as "Reg". "Reg" water’s "his" roses at my place and a couple of other plants, he also prunes the rose bushes and takes my rubbish bin out to the verge and brings it back. Reg is a trooper.

So there’s "Reg", "what are you doing?", me, umm not a lot, Reg "come over for a beer". So over to Reg’s for a beer, he has a plate laid out with cheese and crackers and some olives. Sweet!

We sit down and have a chat. His name is Jim and man is he a character. He’s been to war, has a wife (now in assisted care), he has children, grandchildren, he’s studied pruning and spent over 15 years of his working career as a cutter and sewer for various theatres around Perth and also the Police and Navy, you name it Jim’s sewn it! He tells me he can cut and sew a kilt from memory and that it’s better to do two at once and you need about 18 metres of fabric. He has over half a dozen sewing machines which he won’t show me, maybe he’s shy. He also paints, loves fishing, goes lawn bowling and makes jam. You know how I know he makes jam? I offered once to exchange some of my jam for a plate of his fresh herring he’d caught that day. Jim’s response "why would I want your jam, I have a cupboard full of my own homemade jam". Me, trying not to laugh, says ok then Jim. On leaving his home from our beer, I say maybe I can cook him dinner sometime, his response….yep "can you cook? I’m fussy"! LOL at this point I’m like "shit can I cook"??? So I figured Jim can’t knit!

The point? Well I knew the roses needed pruning and was planing on doing it this Sunday, but when I arrived home Friday night, tired and a little fed up, there were the pruned roses. Bloody good one Jim! I figure Jim needs a hand knit beanie, I know he’ll appreciate the skill, time and the yarn I choose for him. Knitted using Jo Sharp Silkroad Ultra, 2 skeins, pattern from Village. I really like the pattern.

Jims_beanie

I’d left the beanie wrapped with a card on Jim’s doorstep and when I got home yesterday this was on my doorstep from Jim. Love his jam label, his rubber stamped name! Classic.

Jims_jam

One final Jim story. A couple of Sunday’s ago, Spud and I were having Sunday breakfast on the front porch stairs. Spud was on his harness and lead and we were quietly enjoying the papers and winter sunshine. Jim’s out watering and pottering and doesn’t see me sitting there quietly, he’s a little deaf so I’d have to yell to say hello and I figure I’ll just sit here reading until he sees me.

Jim’s neighbour comes home, young guy that Jim loves chatting to. The guy is telling Jim he thinks someone was trying to steal his car the evening before because all the security lights come on. Jim’s like "naaah would have been a cat mate, don’t worry about it", he then follows with, whilst pointing in the direction of my place, "can’t be her cat, she keeps her’s tied up"! The young guy sees me sitting there and I start cracking up, he smirks and Jim’s oblivious.

Crack that WIP, WHIP IT GOOD

Ok Al and Jo, there’s been talk, here and here and about what yous are gonna do with your Scablight treats….so where’s the progress ladies?

Well, BRING IT.

Here’s a sneak peek of the start of something…..Sorry Suse no lampshades, that’s not to say I didn’t spray tea over the monitor when Al pointed out your comment.

In_the_beginning

Rest of Friday’s WIP’s over here.

hmmm nothing beats the smell of warm wool and vinegar

Yep, if you’ve dyed yarn at home yourself you’ll know just what I’m talking about.

Al M and I had Fibrefest over at her place yesterday. My idea was a little dyeing of sock weight yarn and a little felting. Yeah, yeah, I can hear the sniggers over the internet wires. Umm well first off, we were a little scattered yesterday and the crafting gods weren’t working with us. After a slow start at 2pm we managed to dye 2 skeins of yarn (800metres each) by 6.30pm!

First up was a delish lunch prepared by Al, a yummmy chorizo (I think), chickpea, tomato, zucchini, red onion thingy with fresh bread. Oh yeah.

My_first_handpainted

We knew we had to rewind the hanks into longer hanks so we could lay the yarn out and "paint" it with the dye. Well, this is where things went a little squiffy. You’d think two grown women would manage to do this task fairly easily, nope the craft gods must have been pissing their pants watching us! At one point we got the giggles with me saying "stop it, I’ll pee my pants" and there were some other bodily noises that we won’t talk about here. Let’s just say we’ve known each other for nearly 17 years so we’re pretty comfortable with each other!

So after we’d managed to wind a hank and realise it would be easier to wind a cake and then make the long hank….it was time for tea and angel cake (sorry, I didn’t bake, I bought). What you see pictured here is the baking Al did, divine Chai Tea cupcakes, recipe from Chockylit. She gave me a couple to take home, hmmm guilty Monday night pleasure.

Blog_worthy_cupcake

I’d done various research on the internets about dyeing yarn at home. There’s a plethora of stuff people, a plethora, and lot’s of conflicting information….So at the end of the day we did a mish-mash of what we thought would work.

We soaked the hanks for about 30mins each in lukewarm water with a good glug of vinegar (helps set the dye). Then we carefully wrung out the yarn and layed it onto a table liberally covered with glad wrap. Backup a bit, whilst the yarn was soaking, we mixed our dye colours. We decided to use food dye (actually powdered pigment, not liquid or gel). Pigment was mixed with water and vinegar (6 ounces water 2 ounces vinegar).

I’d purchased a couple of 60ml syringes from a vet (I was questioned about what I was going to do with them) and these were used to suck the dye from our cups and then squirt over the yarn. This was the fun bit, FINALLY. We quickly discovered that the colour travels along the yarn and to leave a gap between the colours that will eventually be covered in dye, otherwise you could end up with a dirty brown or similar colour if two strong colours mix together.

My_first_handpainted_2

Once the painting was finished we closed up the glad wrap and rolled up to make a nice bundle. The whole lot went into pyrex and then microwaved for 2mins with 2min intervals in between nuking. The idea being the heat will help the yarn take up the dye and you should end up with clear liquid, that’s the theory.

We didn’t do too badly. We learnt some quick lessons about depth of colour and that we’d need to be heavier handed with mixing the dye than originally thought. Saying all that we both ended up with one lighter colour and the second skein much more vibrant. Overall we’re both pretty happy with our results and as I said to Al, once they’re wound back into hanks they’ll look pretty (that’s important, isn’t it?!). Oh and my hands were dyed a pretty shade of brown, noice, bicarb managed to get most of it off and then Monday morning I discovered my face had a nice splattering of little blue dots.

Would I do it again, yes I have more yarn already purchased to paint, would I continue to do it, I don’t know. It was fun, but I think I’ll stick with my favourites like Socks that Rock, Lorna’s and Cherry Tree Hill.

Yes, a pictorial demonstration might have been nice, but we were having fun and I got distracted and maybe next time when I’m feeling a little more comfortable with the process.

Orange_red_brown_handpaint

Pink_blue_grey_handpaint

snips and snails and puppy dog tails

Lovely Sarah was having a giveway a couple of weeks ago and I managed to wangle one of them. Have you ever received a parcel from Sarah? If you have then you’ll know what I’m talking about, the lady knows how to package a gift. Everytime I’ve received something from Sarah I’ve smiled and oohed and aaahed and been inspired. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Thank you Sarah!

Red_felt_flower_packaging

Red_felt_flower_packagingwhat_do_we_have

Red_felt_flower_packaging_oh_my

Red_felt_flower_creamy_goodness

Red_felt_flower_amazing_brocade

Couple of Aussie blogs new to me, worth having a look see.
High up in the Trees
Elsewhere
Their combined online shop Hammer & Daisy, very sweet handmade journals, sewn pencil cases and pouches and other goodies.

I’ll leave you with Spud lounging in the morning sun and saying goodbye to me on my way out the door.

Sunny_spud

fluffiness

Hmm do I have to say much in this post? Feed the blog, water the blog, blog fodder. Blog, blog, blah! Nah only kidding, well maybe,maybe not. Hmm woke up on an odd side of the bed this morning, followed by a gym workout with one of the instructors walking around blowing bubbles at us, "Good morning Nicole, stop yawning"….my inner dialogue at this point "Go blow your friggin bubbles elsewhere and get stuffed, it’s my gym workout and I can yawn if I want to".

So…umm onto our usual blog programme. Here’s a coupla things for you to look at. Pretty hey. It’s a little like a Sesame Street moment "one of these things is not like the other", except it’s a "both of these things look edible but only one of these things is edible". Or not!

We have the Kidsilk Haze scarf, just under 2 balls required, pattern from Melanie Falick’s "Handknit Holidays". Pattern altered, I cast on 150sts, to end up with a total of 2400sts. I like the colour but would also like to try this scarf in a grey colourway, the red has the potential to look like a clown’s collar. Noice.

Kidsilk_scarf

Secondly, some more cupcake action. Even though I declared this year of the cookie for me, I’m drawn to cupcakes. These were for a work buddy’s birthday. Vanilla cupcakes, from Donna Hay, vanilla frosting with marshmallows (cut the marshmallows into four petals) with coloured sugar and silver ball thingies.

Cupcake_with_marshmallow

Next up, cast on socks, toeup turkish with short row heels, that’s the intent anyhow.