Archive for March, 2008

Sunshine Superman

So, I like yellow. But yellow? It does not like me. It just doesn’t suit me. And this saddens me, because I love cheerful, happy yellow (I love you, yellow, I do!), especially in many of its clothing incarnations. But can I wear them? Nopes. Not without looking hideous anyway, which is something I strive to avoid. I’ve heard tell that there’s a yellow to suit everyone, but much as I would love to believe this, I am unable to (just like there’s supposedly a shade of red lipstick for everyone too, but there sure ain’t for me. I blame the rule for being flawed on this point, not my face. It can’t be my face! Poor flawed face…) for never in all my attempts have I seen a yellow that didn’t make me look horribly washed out and pasty, and most likely also as if I was suffering from some extra-disgusting disease (maybe something involving insects. Or FUNGUS!!).

BUT! Yes, but. Yellow shall be mine. My feet, being rather hardier of pallour than my face, can have yellow socks! Hey, the fact that they will also be hidden by the socks which will in turn be hidden by my shoes and trousers can’t hurt either. But I’ll know. Yellow, I’ve got you. I can play your game.

Take two

So there you have it: the first inches of a Twisted Flower sock. Or in my case, Twisted Daffodil!

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Apparently, I like collars!

All part of the attempt to look grown-up and be taken seriously. Obviously, a collar is crucial for such an endeavour. Don’tcha think? And, as surveys have shown, two out of two shrill caramel finished knits sport dashing collars. Soon you will too, I swear. You may think you can resist my nonchalant collar-flashing, but you know you can’t hold out for long.

Finito.
Mmmm collar… I want you…

Despite being potentially an utterly useless item (a heavy wool jacket with three-quarter length sleeves? Impractical in both warm and cold weather!), I fly in the face of practicality. Give me pretty, I say! Who needs sensible?

Ok, the deets:

Pattern: Jess by Anna Bell at My Fashionable Life.
Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool DK in Indigo, 10 and a half balls.
Needles: 8 mm (speedy speedy!)
Notes: I followed the pattern exactly, except for adding a tiny bit of length in the body. Otherwise, pretty much to the letter. Very clear and easy to follow, too. I’ve already got my eye on some more of her designs (’cause I want a fashionable life too, natch). My only complaint with this one is that the collar absolutely refuses to stay turned down because it starts too low on the back. If I’m ever feeling really virtuous, I’d rip it out and fix this, but the chances are slim.

The collar that won't lay flat
You may place nice in photos, collar, but I know your unruly ways!

In other lessons learned, it seems my spatial relations are way off, leading to “interesting” buttonhole spacing. Some might even say “wonky” (you can see what I mean in the top photo, but of course you are much too nice to notice such things).

From this angle, they almost look even...

From this angle, they look almost even. But they ain’t foolin’ no one.

Gimme s’muffins!

Three stages in the life of a Tasty Muffin:

Yummy!
Full of delicious promise, which will undoubtedly be martyred all too young…

Muffin guts!

The devouring begins. Here we have said muffin exposing its guts. For shame, Tasty Muffin. Have some decency.

All gone

Untimely death! Or, the good ones always die young. But oh how happy you made us, Muffin Friend!

Naturally you understand the progression for an Untasty Muffin would be radically different, and rather more drawn out. In extreme cases, it may even involve mould (though in truth I have never been known to let any muffin, tasty or otherwise, go uneaten long enough to grow mould).

Should you care to make your own, these are Apple and Cinnamon Muffins with a yummy crunchy nut topping. They started out from this recipe, which was itself adapted from something else, but I changed them because I had different ingredients, so here’s my version:

Ingredients:
110g or 1 cup white self-raising flour
60g or 1/2 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
100g or 1/2 cup sugar (I used a mixture of brown and white)
50g or 1/4 cup margarine
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 small apples, finely sliced
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

For the topping:
30g sugar (about 1/8 cup)
25g / 1/4 cup nuts chopped (I used walnuts but I think pecans may be nicer here)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp oil

Makes about 12.
Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 180 C / 350 F. Line a muffin tin with muffin cases.
2. Mix all the topping ingredients together in a bowl, ensuring they are fully combined.
3. In another bowl, mix all the dry ingredients for the muffin mixture (flours, sugar, cinnamon and salt).
4. Next add all the wet ingredients (egg, milk, margarine) and stir to combine.
5. Fold the apples into the mixture.
6. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and sprinkle some topping over each muffin.
7. Bake for between 20 and 25 minutes, and allow to cool before removing them from the tins.

#1 with a bullet

I finished something! Hurrah!

Salina

Actually, I finished knitting this aaaages ago, but was too lazy to sew it up. Even though I knit it in the round so the only seaming I had to do was the sewing in the set-in sleeves. But still it went undone for weeks. Yup, I’m just that lazy.

Anyway, the specs:

Salina in a rocking chair

Pattern: Salina [Ravelry link here] from Rowan Vintage Style
Yarn: Rowanspun DK in “Catkin”
Needles: 4 mm
Mods: So very, very many. I can’t even remember the details. Most obvious one was knitting the body and sleeves in the round so as to minimize the seaming anguish. Also I got a completely different gauge because I didn’t use the recommended yarn, so I had to re-work all the stitch counts to fit this. Pain in the ass. But it fits! I made the body and sleeves longer too, just ’cause.
Sadly, I made the sleeves far too long, because of my deeply ingrained monkey complex (years of having most of the coats you try on be too short in the sleeve will likely lead you to over-estimate your arm length. This may make for problematic knitting).

Forgot to stop knitting the sleeves...

But obviously I’m not going to let a little extra sleeve length get in the way of my “I-finished-something-and-it-fits-me-and-I-even-just-might-wear-it” joy.

Collar detail
Moss stitch, you’re lucky you’re pretty, because you are Not Fun to knit.

And a parting shot, ’cause I got a little trigger-happy with the camera and appear to have no decision-making capabilities whatsoever so everything gets included:

Salina

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Fruits of a lost weekend.

Ok, not that kind of lost weekend. I’m just not that cool. Or despairing. Which is good, I feel. Anyway, I had planned a weekend of determined sloth this weekend (since as of last Friday I am officially free of college work for a little while), and it is with great pride that I say I followed through on this with exceptional ease. There was lots of lounging around, wearing pyjamas long past hours of the day when it is acceptable to wear pyjamas, newspaper-reading, tea-drinking, and general lazy frivolity. My kind of weekend.

I even managed a little productivity, but only of the very low-key, purely enjoyable kind. Firstly, I made cookies:

Hazelnut, Raisin and Oatmeal Cookies

Then I knit. I finished the back of Jess, and am now onto the first of the front pieces.

Jess - Back completed

The cookies were a big hit, and pretty damn tasty. The original recipe came from Delia Smith’s Vegetarian Collection, but I adapted it a bit and it became vegan, so I’m posting the new version here in case anyone wants to have a go.

Hazelnut and Sultana Vegan Oat Cookies

Makes 16-20

Ingredients:

4 oz (110g) self-raising flour
4 oz (110g) oat-flakes
4 oz (110g) margarine (not all margarines are vegan, so be sure to check if this is an issue for you)
3 oz (75g) brown sugar
2oz (50g) sultanas
1.5 oz (40g) hazelnuts, chopped into small chunks
1 dessert spoon golden syrup
1 dessert spoon maple syrup
pinch of salt

2 lightly greased baking sheets
Preheat oven to 170 C/340

1. Melt the margarine, sugar and both syrups in a small saucepan over a very low heat until dissolved. Remove from the heat.
2. Sift the flour and salt together into a mixing bowl. Add the oatflakes and two-thirds of the sultanas and nuts.
3. Stir together, then add the margarine mixture.
4. Mix well with a wooden spoon, then form a dough with your hands. You may need to add a few drops of water at this point if it seems a little dry.
5. Take about a heaped teaspoonful of the mixture and roll it into a ball in your hand. Flatten out fairly thin, to about 2.5 inches/6cm, and place on baking tray. They’ll be fairly crunchy when cooked so you don’t want to make them too thick. Repeat this until you’ve used up the rest of the mixture, and then scatter the remaining nuts and sultanas on top.
6. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 15 mins. Leave to cool for 10 mins. Eat!

Hazelnut, Raisin and Oatmeal Cookies

Oh I also watched a really sweet film which I highly recommend if you’re ever searching for something to watch.

So long!

There’s no indulgence like self-indulgence!

You may think, seeing as this blog has only been in existence for a month, that it is far, far too early for it get repetitive. But you would be wrong. I have an almost tireless capacity for repetition. In certain contexts, at least. Like you know those people who can only ever read a book once, even if they like it? Yeah, I don’t get those people. I’ve been known to read my favourite books five, maybe more, times. And as I expect this practice to continue, one would logically assume that the numbers can only rise. Ditto for films. I can watch the same films over and over if I like them. Oh who am I kidding, I don’t even have to like them much. This would explain why I’ve seen Notting Hill about three times, despite having thought it was crap the first time around. In my defense, it is on tv a lot here. Once, and I’m almost afraid to admit this because it may put me on the other side of some sort of boundary of social acceptability, but once I watched a film, finished it, and started watching it again immediately. The whole thing. Twice. Back to back. Yup. Granted, it was Wonder Boys, but still. Moving on from that shameful fact, today’s repetition is of a different sort. But right now I am in such a great mood that I don’t care about my apparently startling lack of new ideas.

Why am I in such a good mood? The reasons are threefold, as reasons are wont to be:

  1. I finished and submitted the impossible-seeming essay, leaving me footloose and fancy-free for oh, a good three days or so.
  2. I had sushi for lunch today. This always puts me in a good mood. Something about it seeming more toy than food. And tasty, let’s not forget that.
  3. I’m knitting! And here we come to the repetitive part of the post:

Doubletime

Yes, I am posting the exact same yarn I posted yesterday. I’m not even going to apologise for it. This time it’s actually two skeins wound together into one giant yarn cake. Now what about that doesn’t warrant repeat-posting?

Also, there has been progress. The knitting has begun. I am now only several hundred rows away from my very own Jess. Yippee! Say it with me now! Yippeeee!!

Gone knittin'

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In which I cry computer tears.

13 balls of this arrived today:

Indi-go-go-go!

…and are destined to become one of these [pattern here] (because who doesn’t want to make everything Parikha makes?)

But instead of being able to happily cast on and make all sorts of lovely knitterly finger movements, I must write a monstrous, demonic 6,000 word essay. Today. In one day. Worst part? It’s entirely self inflicted.

Not self-inflicted in the sense that I volunteered to do this, because that would never happen. But in the sense that I have had ages to do this and somehow have ended up with only a day to do the whole thing. For that, I have no one else to blame (though I’ve tried. Oh, how I’ve tried!).

Indi-go-go-go!
Rowan Pure Wool DK. Squishy squish squish squish.

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