30 March 2007

Mariah, Mariah, will you be mine?

While I wait for my Bendigo Woollen Mills' sample card and order form, I'm having fun planning what to knit next - a wintery cosy project, preferably with cables. I like Mariah!

(Later the same day, dear reader) My Bendigo sample cards have arrived - lovely! And the prices are just amazing. I'm tending towards the Alpaca at the moment...

29 March 2007

Blocking Branching

Here it is, my Branching Out scarf, in baby alpaca & silk, blocked on my bedroom floor. It grew! It's a fair bit longer now than BW (Before Water). And the pattern is much easier to see - so pretty!

I used 2 balls of Oro Inca 70% baby alpaca, 30% silk (made in Peru) from The Alpaca Centre in Berrima. I don't know if they still stock it - I bought it in July 2006.

28 March 2007

Pretty things to look at


This is the third Time Thief cap I've made - this one uses Jet in a lovely mixed pinky-orangey colourway. To be donated to Stasia, via Taph.

And here's the Branching Out scarf all folded neatly - I'll darn in the ends tonight, and hopefully get time to block it tomorrow... the colour is a bit more of a red purple than it appears here (at least on my screen - it's an inexact science!).

And from the weekend - these are gluten-free Almond Muffins I made that were really pretty yummy (I sneaked one) - hubby was very happy :D

Here's the recipe, as requested :)

(from Gluten Free Cooking by Ruby M Brown, pg 274)

100g ground almonds
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup gluten-free SR flour
1/3 cup soft butter or low-salt marg
3 eggs
1/4 cup almond flakes

1. Preheat oven to 220ºC
2. Prepare muffin tin by spraying with cooking spray. Line base of cups with baking paper circles (I didn't do this, but I was using a flexible silicone muffin tray)
3. Place ground almonds, coconut, sugar and flour in medium mixing bowl. Mix well.
4. Melt margarine and pour into dry ingredients. Mix.
5. Whisk eggs and stir into mixture.
6. Place Tablespoons of mixture into prepared muffin tray.
7. Top with almond flakes.
8. Place in hot oven, bake for ~12 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked when tested.
9. Remove from oven, leave in tray for 5 minutes before placing muffins on wire rack to cool.
10. Enjoy!

These freeze well - I made packs of 2 muffins wrapped in foil and froze them, so hubby had some nice treats to take to work each day this week.

And I finally used up my $100 gift voucher from my FIL for Christmas, at The Art Store in Phillip... a really good large palette with a lid, a brilliant viewfinder gadget that is a big improvement over my old piece of matt board with a hole cut in it - and 6 artist-quality paints (which average $12 each, depending on the Series - different pigments are more or less expensive - Series 1 is the cheapest, Series 4 the most expensive). The sea sponge was relatively inexpensive - and is very useful - my old sponge is falling to pieces. Looking forward to being able to try them out this weekend!

27 March 2007

Branching OFF at last

Hoo-bloody-ray - didn't get to SnB tonight, but DID sit down and finish my Branching Out scarf - which I cast on an embarrassingly long time ago (July 06 !)... still needs the ends woven in and the whole blocking thing, but it's Off the Needles, ta dah! Photos to come, once I've got it pinned down.

The trick of late is finding a place to spread towels and special knitted lace that is somewhat clear of dog fur - I honestly don't know how one small white short-haired chihuahua can shed PILES of fur. Buckets of the stuff. It's like she's a Fur Tardis.

25 March 2007

Cotton & Chocolate

Here are the paintings I did this weekend. Both paintings are now up on my Knitting Art site, too.

The first one is "Cotton Lace", as both the mat and the knitting are cotton lacework. The knitting is my singlet top - the one in 12 ply cotton that I keep unravelling and starting again. I had to crop this painting quite a lot, as the painting of the knitting didn't work out so well. I'm not 100% convinced that this painting works well... hmmm....

This painting is called "Hot Chocolate", and features one of the Time Thief Beanies (Taph's pattern) in lovely pink-variegated Jet. I'm really happy with how the fabric worked out. I painted this one quickly, and it worked out fairly well.

23 March 2007

Yarny Goodness

I won door prizes! It's so exciting; I was very lucky to come home from The Harlot Happening with just wonderful things! Profuse thanks to the very generous anonymous person/s who donated these prizes!!

I really needed the white Patonyle as I want to knit socks of a plain colour but with a fancy stitch pattern - so I may well dye this purple. The lace shawl kit is just divine - perfect 2ply blue-purple laceweight soft wool, an Addi Circular needle (bamboo), and the pattern for Eunny Jang's Print O'The Wave Stole.

Spidey actually won A Gathering of Lace, but she already has a copy, so we effected a (very generous) deal. Dotter and I are over the moon, thank you Spidey, and both happily planning new projects.

And I have been remiss - my hubby bought this for me when he drove up to Sydney a few weeks ago - he stopped at The Australian Alpaca Centre in Berrima, and called me to check what would be good (isn't he well trained?!)... so I have 2 balls of a deep burgundy (the colour's a little pink in the photo) 100% Australian Coolaroo Alpaca. It's actually produced by The Australian Alpaca Centre, too. Enough for ... hmmmm ... a beret?

22 March 2007

The Yarn Harlot Crossword!

I wrote this crossword for our Harlot Happening - and you can now do it online! If you can't view the puzzle below, you can also do it on my business web site. Instructions below. Enjoy!

Your browser does not support Java, so nothing is displayed.

The Tidy button removes incorrect letters and incomplete words
The Letter button reveals the letter in the highlighted square
The Word button reveals the highlighted word
The Reset button clears the grid
Any 'revealed' letters have a small square in the top right hand corner.

To move through the grid, use the Arrow keys on your keyboard, the Return key, or your mouse to select words. Clicking in an interconnected square will toggle between the Across and Down words.

My Visual DNA

Isn't this cool? Got the link from Krafty Kuka!

Can you tell I'm overtired and stressed and PROCRASTINATING today? Just can't seem to settle down to actually useful (and quite frankly, necessary) work today... even impending deadlines aren't doing it for me #/

Row-Counter Bracelet

This is my door-prize contribution to The Harlot Happening tonight - a row-counter bracelet with matching stitch markers! Made with wooden and glass beads on black leather thonging, and proper jewellery clasps etc. So much more classy to use than a plastic row counter gadget (although I concede it's a bit more fiddly).

You wear it as a bracelet, and use it like an abacus - the big beads are the 10s, and small beads are the 1s. The red bead is 50, the yellow bead is 5. You simply move a bead past the stretchy beaded ring (currently sitting on far left of the bracelet) each time you complete a row. The dangly beads on the right of the bracelet are the marker that tells you which end you're counting from. All a bit of colourful fun!

Toe Up Socks and the Mysterious Cast On

OK, so it's time to give these toe-up socks a try... on Bells' recommendation, I'm using the Wendy Knits Generic Toe-Up Pattern. I've finished the toe, no worries.

So, I'm up to the bit where you unravel the provisional cast-on (the crocheted chain is the orange bit), and put the new freed up live stitches onto needles, and way hey hey, we're off knitting the foot!

BUT - and this has happened to me before - firstly the cable cast-on doesn't want to unravel - I'm going to have to pull it out stitch by stitch, or cut it out. And - most annoying of all - the resulting line of stitches most definitely are NOT live, but just look like the bottom edge of a normal cast-on - so I'll have to pick up stitches anyway! It doesn't warrant unpicking, but I'm clearly getting something wrong, and I don't know what - must be the way I'm knitting 'into the centre loops of the back side of the chain' when I cast on.

So - please - any ideas as to what I'm doing wrong?!

21 March 2007

Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three

Bear with me while I hack some code - I'm trying to see if our X2 Online Crosswords (software written by my very clever hubby, crossword written by myself) can run in my Blog... no luck yet....

Hang on...

W00t! It works! I have to host the X2 Java Applet on my server, and then simply put the appropriate Applet code and parameter listing into the post text - dang, the thing runs. COOL.

To play, just click in a square, which will bring up the clue. Type away! The "Letter" button will reveal a letter (ie cheat). Cheated letters have a small square in the corner. "Tidy" will remove incomplete words and incorrect letters. "Reset" clears the grid so you play again. Enjoy!

20 March 2007

The joys of renting, Part 2

Bloody hell. The owner has asked for a valuation of the house. Although the receptionist said that this could be because she wants to refinance or is 'just interested in knowing' - I strongly doubt she would have flown down to Canberra for the weekend just to look over the house if she wasn't thinking of something major. So, unless we can stay on, we're going to have to find a new place to rent when Canberra's rental market is the worst in history, and we have a dog (ie a second-class citizen when it comes to renting). Damn it!

And yeah, going to do my best to take it one day at a time, cross each bridge when we get to it, blah blah blah - but having been a renter all my life, I know this game inside out, am sick of it, and hate being told what to do, and when to do it, by other people!

19 March 2007

Casting On

Here's my painting from today (so nice to have a holiday!)... The featured yarn is my first ball of Opal, with dear dotter gave me for Christmas. It's a long-tail cast on, over doubled-needles to keep the cast on loose for a pair of socks.

I need to actually knit these socks for real, to be in the Harlot Happening photo on Thursday night, although I am considering trying a toe-up sock this time. Maybe ;)

This design is up on my Knitting Art site.

17 March 2007

Time for Tea

This is the painting I did today, and I'm really happy with it (doing the happy painting dance!). I developed a special technique to get the knitted fabric looking OK. Still a ways to go with painting knitting, but I've made some leaps ahead today!

This painting is now up on my CafePress shop ... I've ordered CafePress things before now, and their quality is really good. You'll need to scroll down the page a bit to see the main Pink Shawl items - cards, posters, etc.

Edited : OK, now I've set up a special Knitting Art Cafe Press shop, just to see if this thing will fly or not... lots more paintings pending, of course!

Watch the weather!

One of my favourite web sites - you can watch an animated radar image of rainfall over the Canberra region... it's live. Just thought I'd share :)

Off to clean up - 3 hours to go. Kitchen, bathroom, hallways, living room, back patio still to do.

I finished the second Time Thief beanie last night - pics to be posted.

7.30pm - OK , the visit by the house owner went very well, she is very friendly, same age as us, and thought the house looked great - better than she'd remembered! She didn't make any 'I'm thinking of selling' noises - and we did mention the bad state of rental availability in Canberra, and how we are (mostly) happy here... so hopefully nothing more will happen. She has promised to organise for more tam bark to be delivered for the front area which was mulched, but now looks a bit 'threadbare' with black plastic showing up on the dirt, and couch grass turning up where it's not wanted.

16 March 2007

The joys of renting

I know it's allowed, but I'm still somewhat miffed that the owner of our house - who is visiting Canberra this weekend from northern NSW - has asked to come and 'look over the place'. It's the first time she'll have seen it since she moved out over 3 years ago, and she's paid for a lot to be done since then - a tree removed, new oven, new water heater, painting etc - so I suppose it's fair enough. We had 5 days' notice.

It's not an official inspection, and the real estate agent asked nicely, so I didn't feel we would really say no. And yeah - although the owner (who is a nice woman, really) has said that she doesn't mind if it's not tidy - hmmm, I don't think so! The yard really needs sweeping, and an emu parade, and I've already carted a pile of boxes to the recycling centre, and done some weeding. Still more to do.

Well, it'll be over by tomorrow afternoon, and I'm sure it'll be fine, and all that, and the house and yard will be nice and tidy - but I really don't feel like dealing with this right now! I'm also a little bit worried that she's looking at it with a view to selling... given the horrendous state of the rental market here, I doubt we could find a place any time soon. We'll cross that bridge if it turns up... I'm not obsessing about it, just a bit anxious :/

15 March 2007

It's that time of year again

It's our 22nd wedding anniversary today! We can't go out tonight - hubby has to give a public lecture, that he couldn't get out of - and I honestly wasn't expecting to do or get anything... but this morning he gave me these! Real diamond and ruby :D

Hubby has severe CFS/ME so his life consists of dragging himself to work, collapsing into bed as soon as he gets home, sleeping badly, in a lot of pain, and then falling out of bed the next morning to do it again. His workplace is not sympathetic or understanding, on the whole. Not much fun, to put it mildly. The fact that he managed to get to the shops is pretty major, actually.

He's just started a gluten-free diet, which does seem to help a few of his symptoms (but he's not coeliac, he's had all the tests). I've got a couple of new gluten-free cookbooks, so maybe I can make some gluten-free goodies for him today.

(And yeah, I love the challenge of cooking for my diabetic daughter and my gluten-intolerant hubby. Not.)

Here's my first Time Thief hat (from Taph's Blog), which I'll donate to the cause at the Harlot Happening next Thursday. It's all done in 12 ply pure wool. Blue is courtesy of Taph, and creamy white was some Little Bo Peep wool still in its plastic bag, which I got from Salvos last year some time.

I've started a second one, using very coarse thick natural wool - I don't know if I'll persevere with it, though, as the wool is pretty unpleasant to knit with. Maybe slighter bigger needles would give a better result?

I've tried another knitting painting, but it was no good... ends up just looking like a pattern illustration rather than a work of art! It's quite difficult, really. I may work with simple pencil drawings for a while and see how they turn out. Hmm, maybe there's a reason there aren't many knitting paintings out there?!

11 March 2007

First attempt

This is my first attempt at painting knitting... it's quite a challenge to get the feeling of fluffy fibre with a water-based flowing medium! This is my 'birdy' teapot cover which I made last year. I have shifted the colour of the table-top using Photoshop - it is brown in the original painting, but looks much better as green!

Medium : watercolour, coloured pencil

Second time lucky

Well, The Sunday Age has finally got its act together, and is publishing my Secret Shape puzzle in the Kids' Corner section of the 'M' lift-out. It's a new type of puzzle which I invented some years ago - a find-a-word with a hidden picture (you colour-in the unused squares). Nice to see it in print at last! This puzzle doesn't replace anything, so there shouldn't be any 'reader outcry' this time! Plus they left my byline in, so I'm happy.

08 March 2007

BooHoo YaHoo...

You know the cute little Yahoo Avatars (mine's at the right)... well, I figured I'd send Yahoo some requests for backgrounds (Aussie outback, rain forest, artist's studio, swimming pool and a few others), new hobby items (KNITTING stuff!), and more Plus Sizes clothes (cos they look like real people, but only have 13 outfits, cos clearly fat chicks have the fashion taste of a stuffed newt and hate new clothes, while there are about a zillion stick insect outfits).

And the reply I got was basically saying how they are "committed to answering your questions as quickly an [yeah, an instead of and, ironic really given what comes next] accurately as possible", and then explaining how to use Yahoo avatars. Proving that no-one with a brain had actually READ my email AT ALL. Hubby reckons the response was automatically generated... with typos?!

I've replied very nicely saying Well duh Yes, thank you, I do know how to use Avatars, I'm just putting in a request for your artists to do some stuff. No reply yet. But I have tried to get knitting paraphernalia into the 'Extras / Hobbies' section... not even vaguely important or anything, but, yeah, you know....

20 seconds later....

Oh - they just replied, and said :

"Thank you for your suggestions regarding Yahoo! Mail. It is through user comments and feedback that we are able to continue to develop and improve our service. We will be forwarding a copy of your message to the
Yahoo! Mail team as a product suggestion."

So yeah, maybe it'll happen!

New Knitty & New Kitty

Oooh, the new Knitty is out! I'm definitely going to make the Monica top for my niece Ruby! I really like Isabella too... Lovely to see so many Aussie designers too, must be a record!

Dotter and I visited our lovely friend Susan today (Hi Susan!), and - apart from having a most delightful afternoon tea, with knitting and tea in china cups - we met two of her cats (the third one was hiding). Lulu came along too, and wasn't at all intimidated by the size of Truman; the whole carnivore / herbivore dynamic was just lost on her. I think she was lucky that Truman was more focussed on the sausage rolls than fresh lamb!

07 March 2007

Cottoning on, and on, and on, and...

This photo is as risqué as I'll ever get (here, anyway!). I put the cotton top stitches onto waste yarn, and tried it on tonight. The bugger - as I was suspecting - is TOO FUCKING BIG. There was only one thing to do, and I let Lulu help.

I've cast on again, again (is this #5? I've lost count...). 144 stitches this time (instead of 160). I'm doing a few rows of garter stitch this time first, and then starting the lace, which might stop the edge curling up? I'm also going to 1) do my side decreases in a more aligned way and 2) try the thing on more often!

I'm actually not too upset by it, to be honest. I am designing this from scratch, and so I don't feel any frustration of a (printed) pattern (by someone else) going wrong, it's more I'm still trying things out, and seeing what works. Each time I do it again I get (hopefully) better at it - I just hope the cotton can take being re-knit so much!

05 March 2007

A bush weaving

We're just back from my brother's 'weaving' (his preferred term for wedding) - here's the very happy couple, along with their daughter. The bride, my lovely sister-in-law, looked like a Grecian goddess :D

Here's the collage I made for them - it's Christmas Bells, in their 'wedding colours' and an Australian native. I framed it with a deep red matt and black frame - looked quite stunning if I do say so myself!

My missing camera memory card was found in dotter's room - I'm sure that Lulu put it there... what she was doing mucking about with my camera we'll never know!

01 March 2007

A Harlot Happening


Thursday 22 March, 6pm +, at Starbucks at MANUKA.

If you read the Yarn Harlot, you will be aware from a recent post that she's planning a VERY BIG book launch on Thursday 22 March in New York. So we're joining in the fun here!

There will be fun games, sock knitting, nice drinks, and readings from Yarn Harlot books - plus much much more! Planning has even happened (gosh)!

Champagne socks

Last weekend I visited my friends, and their baby was finally big enough to wear the singlet I made for him! Sooo cute (especially when he's asleep ;)

We then had a Belconnen Stitch'n Bitch, to celebrate the visit of Ginger_Nut and her sister-in-law from Sydney. The Lighthouse was a reasonable location, although the drunken idiot at the next table was a complete dickhead not a bonus. Lulu came along... first of all she threw all good manners to the wind by drinking Bells' champagne through a STRAW (oh, the shame!).
And then she had a go at knitting Bells' latest pink socks, when they had been left unattended... I hope you didn't have to unravel a lot, Bells!

Frightfully busy being a single mum this week, working, finishing a wedding present (I'll share photos after the event), preparing to travel to Merimbula on Saturday and going to my brother's wedding on Sunday, and being sick with a virus. Please excuse my non-appearance on your Blogs... should have time next week :)