Friday, February 28, 2014

When life gives you lemons make granola

Snoozing Siamese
Today is not my favourite. I should be down in Cornwall making happy papier mess with my Ma. A sick cat and boyfriend has postponed our trip and so I find myself unexpectedly here, trying not to be too noisy or disruptive, trying to be a patient carer. So rather than moulder around, staring at the rain, feeling sorry for myself I cleaned the kitchen, went food shopping for tempting treats and made some awesome gingerbread granola.

Homemade granola strangely fills me with pride. It always seemed to me to be something that only came from the shops in posh packaging or that might be tricky to make and in fact it's so easy and yet... Homemade granola. Take yourself 100 bonus domestic goddess points! Having polished up my pedestal of domestic glory I took beautiful pictures of said granola and yet the observant ones among you will notice that the photo looks quite a lot like a picture of two snoozing cats. That's because it is. It's a photo from a few days ago though switch the pose just slightly and the same photo could be taken again today. If my blessed camera card was working.

Just one of those days my friends. When life gives you one of those days stop trying this that and the other - just get to the sofa with the snoozers and knit. Au revoir.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Oh to live in a tree of wool

My most beloved felt creation has been safely received so I can post some pictures here for posterity. Loved everything about this creation. I started out with a fairly clear idea of what I wanted and was able to realise it within the realms of my incipient skills! A magical tree house inspired by many a fairy story and some of the delightful illustrations of mouse houses from Brambly Hedge.
Needled felted tree house

Needled felted tree house

Hand needled felted tree house made of merino rovings
I found it so hard to call this finished and release it! I kept playing with the bark, adding extra little touches to the  greenery around it and playing in the branches. Eventually though I had to let it go and it couldn't have gone to a better home

Past felting endeavours aside, currently I seem to be on a moon kick. Number four crescent moon is on the felting block at the moment. It all started with the idea a of a moon necklace inspired by Gretel's wonderful whales. Now I keep thinking of a bowl full of moons. Mine is not to reason why.
Needle felted moon in progress

Friday, February 21, 2014

So much before

Hem and gauge calculations of Little Wave cardigan by Gudrun Johnston

the knitting even began on my latest cardigan. My heart finally plumped for Little Wave's saddle shoulders and elbow patches. Am still to be found just staring adoringly at the pattern pictures. Perhaps because I am avoiding doing the maths. Oh the maths.

I swatched people, two swatches! When I read the pattern I thought I might have to do four and my resolve to do this PROPERLY and make this FIT wavered... then thank heavens for Rav groups permission from Gudrun to only do two. Resolve back on track I then found had to buy more 5mm tips as I realised mine are with a Honey Cowl knitting Mama. I then knit a swatch in the pattern stitch and a swatch in the round for the stocking stitch, washed and blocked them and felt that enough sacrifices must surely now have been made to the knitting goddess to make me bang on gauge. Nope. Not even close! It turns out merely behaving yourself as a knitter does not entitle you to pass straight to go.

I liked the fabric and didn't want it any tighter so I didn't want to change needles and rather than buy more yarn or try and un-love the shoulders and elbows (come on - IMPOSSIBLE!) I decided I'd do the maths, it is not beyond me. Big girl pants time. I got a new notebook for luck!

In the picture above I've done the hem and am just doing the set up row for the body with the pocket stitches going on hold. I've adjusted for both row and stitch gauge differences and I'm juggling to make sure I keep in line with pattern repeat requirements. I'd knit the hem before I twigged that I hadn't factored that element that in to my stitches cast on but the garter stitch side panels gave me some leeway, as hopefully does the fact that this is an aran weight cardigan rather than something designed to hug the form. Getting me some GAAK here alright and that feels pretty good even if all I really want is to be wearing my lovely new cardigan!

Wish me luck as this cardi and I bob out amongst some rather big waves!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sunstruck


Finished Sunstruck shawl - handknit from pattern by Laura Aylor

Finished Sunstruck shawl - handknit from pattern by Laura Aylor

Finished Sunstruck shawl - handknit from pattern by Laura Aylor

"Oh I'm developing a beautiful character! It's droops a bit under cold and frost but it does grow fast when the sun shines."
Daddy-Long-Legs
Jean Webster 

Am currently wrapped in wool and yearning for the sun of yesterday. It was like I'd cast a spell: sunny Sunday for the first wearing of my newly finished shawl - Sunstruck - ravelled here.

I started this back last May and with a knitalong got a good part of it knit and on the needles so when I picked it back up over the Christmas holidays it was close enough to snuggling to keep me going even through long garter stitch borders. Actually the very plainness of the knitting has been deliciously soothing and part of why this has been such a happy knit. I love it so much now it is finished too,  it feels like it will be a really useful piece as it's a different weight and shape from anything else I have. It It spans out wide with long ends for versatile draping. The pattern by Laura Aylor is beautifully written and the section by section yardage estimates mean you can scrounge around through old favourite leftover sock yarn treaures (like the golden Alchemy Juniper in this that I had left over from these) to come up with a winning combo.

Now if it only putting it on would draw back the sun I'd declare it perfect.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

February 12of12

February 2014 12of12 mosaic
Well five of twelve shots are of our new furry dictators. Not an inspired photo day and hardly had enough but cuddling the new kids on the block is my biggest passion currently so there were more than twelve of them to choose from!

1. Early morning knitting in my PJs. 2. Our furry fiends. Nina is the traditional coloured Siamese being spooned by Chinski. They wouldn't oblige with a perfect yin yang while I had the camera out! 3. Trainers on, not relishing the thought of another rainy walk to work, and that probably explains the lack of photos en route. 4. All the best chefs cook in shorts. 5. Beautiful moody moon approaching full captured on my walk to craft circle (No photos of my very small circle as I couldn't face trying to explain why I wanted to take photos of them after a conversation the other week about what the difference between Twitter and Facebook was. Let's hope I got it right!) 6. Post craft circle I find Chinski and the Mr relaxing in splendour while 7. Nina looks forlorn in the hope of more food. 8. Binding off hundreds of stitches, decide shawl won't be finished before bedtime! 9. Still a little forlorn. 10. Beautiful whiskers. 11. Rainy reflections. 12. Too much book left to finish it before eyelids fall.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Woolly hogs

Needle felted and knitted hedgehog
I made a friend for my little woolly hedgehog. My third completed piece of needle felting. He's a little wonky and there's something somewhat bouffant beehive about his spikes but let's just say he has a lot of character. At least I managed to get him to the size I was aiming for which is more than I could manage at the start, it's a dark art working out how much wool you need! I haven't quite decided if I will use him as a pincushion, the cats have already started eyeing him up as a toy!

Friday, February 07, 2014

Fancy!

Freshly chopped rosemary on board with rocking knife

Home made potato, spelt and rosemary focaccia
Potato, spelt  and rosemary focaccia for my lunch. Gorgeous, rich, satisfying. The smell of it baking was the ultimate olfactory expression of this lovely cosy day I've been having.

It's a Great British Bake Off recipe that I've been meaning to make since last summer when the show with it in aired and I bought some spelt flour in its honour. I felt like it was GBB meets Why Don't You? in my kitchen this morning. Though GBB has more success in getting me to switch off my tv set and do something less boring than that fixture of my childhood viewing schedule ever did!

Bread! Home baked bread has not been seen in this house since this loaf back in 2012. My one true beloved, perfect in all ways but this, plucked up his courage after that was made and told me he didn't like either loaf as they were too yeasty tasting for him. Pah! Still though, there isn't as much satisfaction in making something that isn't going to be happily devoured. I think this fancy rosemary spelty flavoursome friend should have solved the problem and if he doesn't like it, oh well, all the more for me!

As well as the great uneven crumb, good crust and perfect bake I'm more than a little proud of the rosemary. Snipped fresh from  the rosemary hedge I planted last June. It lines our fence in the front garden and every plant in it is thriving. Its success is causing me to dream of an elaborate herb garden out there in the little south facing plot. The sunshine of today makes it seem like that could be a reality sooner rather than later but blink and I think we'll be back to cold knives of rain. Still the rosemary seems to like it and I've got wool to warm me. Swatching for the cardigan and some needle felting sound like happy activities that can comfortably be done in front of the tv set this weekend.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Finally we fall in love

Hand knitted Double V Cardigan - Melissa Wehrle - cropped with different sleeves

Double V Cardigan - Melissa Wehrle - cropped with different sleeves

Double V Cardigan - Melissa Wehrle - cropped with different sleeves
Something inspired me to tidy up my wardrobe yesterday, must be the sap rising! I found a knit lurking in there that has been half forgotten/half hanging over the frog pond. A knit that never was formally declared finished because of the fit. My first thought yesterday when I found it was that it was going to be sent on its merry way as it didn't bring back happy memories. I am so loathe to throw out or rip completed knits that it got another reprieve until there was time to ponder what its fate should be. Reader, I tried it on and I really like it! Still wearing it now. I can see what my issue was as it's looser than it was intended to be but suddenly to my surprise I think its cute. Don't you?

It's an adapted version of an Interweave Knits pattern - the Double V cardigan and forensic analysis of blog/Ravelry/memory combined help me remember that it had its ups and downs in creation, with doubts about this yarn from the start. Such a glorious colour though - truest in the last shot.

Somewhere along the way I shortened it and then I clearly did decide to abandon the sleeves as written though the blog and Ravelry are quiet on how I did the sleeves in the end and I remember nothing of knitting them! I wore it straight away but seemed hopeful I could shrink it back in to something closer to what I wanted but I remember futile attempts at that. There is a documented wearing here and I think that's probably the only time it's seen the light of day since 2011! I remember how hot it was that day last summer and just resigning myself to wearing it as the coolest of a bad bunch of options as there was nothing in my wardrobe I felt happy with. I didn't enjoy wearing it and I just stuffed it in the wardrobe until I could bear to ditch it. Aww but how nice that there is a happy ending and the little knit is saved and I feel like I've got a new hand knit as if by magic.

Interesting how the distance from the expectations of how I wanted the knit to look and a healthy dose of feeling more comfortable in my own skin have changed my perspective on this from what is wrong with it - to what is right! Ah knitting - the lessons keep on coming.
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