29 May 2010

one of those messy posts about lots of things

The lime glut continues.

the lime glut continues

I made a batch of dark, treacly lime marmalade, much darker than the picture in the recipe book. Note to self: ignore the bit in the recipe that tells you to wait until the mixture thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon before you do the saucer-in-the-freezer gel test. By then it's too late and will set rock hard.

And yet more lime butter/curd.

Tomorrow night we're having chicken with a lime and honey glaze. The bounty, it never ends.

Also I am knitting two blue shawls, how's that for clever?

I cast on a Damson last weekend in a kind of mini KAL with Kate,

a blue damson
(if you click on that photo you will find out what we ate for breakfast)

but left it at work on Thursday and realised I wouldn't be back in the office until next Tuesday. Gah! Of course I couldn't possibly just work on my other unfinished knitting projects, no! So I cast on this ...

age of brass and steam

to see me through the weekend. As you do. It's the Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I'm using the leftover silk-wool tweed that I used for my French cardi and I intend to use every scrap of this most delicious blue silk blend yarn.

In other news I finished Wolf Hall and am desperately missing my nightly before-bed dose of Thomas Cromwell. I started Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy last night and am suffering culture shock. Might need to wait a few days before I can pick it up again.

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Can I just say thanks to everyone who's commented over the past few months and left lovely compliments about my shawls, made suggestions for the 'lie' I had to tell (the fruit carving championship was only one brilliant suggestion among many) or just dropped in to say hi. I love seeing comments come in from both familiar and new names, even though in many cases Blogger won't let me reply or click through to a blog or profile. I enjoy seeing a name pop up that I remember from a past comment - Jo who always comments when I mention the Tweed Valley or northern NSW (are you the same Jo who now lives in NZ and sent me a Celia tea towel recently?) and Tish whose name always gives me a jolt when I see it because my godmother's name is Tish and surely there can't be very many Tish's in the world (are you a woman in her mid 70s who lives in Los Angeles?). Anyway, thank you all for reading, commenting, making me laugh, joining in the conversation. Please keep saying hello - it makes my day.

My blog will be five years old next month and I have a little treat planned as a thank you.

28 May 2010

batwing

Springtime Bandit shawlette

Another shawl, for me this time. This shawl[ette] (it's quite tiny) is the Springtime Bandit shawl, a free pattern available on Ravelry.

Springtime Bandit shawlette

Super easy, and quick too but that would be because I ran out of yarn about a third of the way through the border and had to grab a leftover scrap of cream sock yarn from the stash to do another row and cast off. I think it looks ok but I'd like to do the pattern again with the entire border.

Springtime Bandit shawlette

The main yarn was an unknown blue-green sock yarn from the stash, but now I'm wondering whether it was actually a sport weight. It didn't stretch much or open out with blocking. Either way, I'm happy.

Springtime Bandit shawlette

I was intending to overdye this shawl a dark charcoal colour, but I ended up adding a smidge of a wine-hued colour to the grey to give it a gothic edge. I like how the lighter yarn remained lighter even when dyed - the contrast pleases me.

If you look carefully you can see tiny specks of the green showing through in the lace parts of the shawl - it looks as though I've beaded the shawl. (A happy accident).

These photos make it look a lot more purple than it is in real life. The camera was compensating for the wintry light I think.

Ravelled here (complete with details and shots of the shawl when it was green).

24 May 2010

250.5 metres of silk heaven

250.5 metres of heaven

250.5 metres of heaven

250.5 metres of heaven

250.5 metres of heaven

250.5 metres of heaven

250.5 metres of heaven

This was my first time knitting with silk; it won't be my last. (Luckily there are four more skeins in my stash, ahem).

The pattern is 198 yards of heaven, the yarn is Debbie Bliss Pure Silk DK, the needles were 5mm and the finished shawl weighs 100g (two skeins). The silk was originally a creamy yellow colour called Straw, but I overdyed it with Landscape dye 'Moss'.

It's a birthday gift for a treasured friend. Every stitch knitted with love.

More details here.

21 May 2010

tgif

in bullets ...

* Last night I spent a great deal of time knitting four rows of the border of my latest shawl, tinking (that's unknitting them, one stitch.at.a.time), and knitting them again. I ended the evening at the precise point at which I'd begun, only with more hurty wrists.

* You know you have Steiner children in your carpool when the Grade Six kid in the back smacks his hand to his forehead and groans OMG I forgot my knitting.

* You know your teenager attends a Steiner school when he excitedly tells you his classroom now has lockers just like the schools in the movies and when you say What, battered grey metal with locks and keys? he replies Well, no. Wooden, sort of rounded, with nice curved handles and all smelling of beeswax.

* Remember how the little kids have a list of things to look out for on the morning school commute, which together determine the awesomeness factor of the day to come? We have an exciting new addition - If the goat is IN the tree, the day is going to be SPECTACULAR OMG.

* Last week my place of employ had a rather Important Do, with lots of local and interstate dignitaries present and more academic regalia than you could poke a stick at (including a mace. Cool). I spotted only two people asleep - one in the audience front row and the other, interestingly, up on the stage. Well, those robes are quite hot I suppose. Anyway it was quite entertaining, especially that moment when the senior visiting dignitary had an attack of the giggles right at The Big Moment. There was an altogether more unfortunate moment when the cameras caught a gentleman exploring the interior of his nostril, and flashed it up on the big screen. I wonder if that'll make the Christmas party reel.

* Next week I have to attend one of those hideous all day seminars in which we are expected to 'workshop' and 'brainstorm' and 'network'. With other people. From different departments. You might not be surprised to know I despise these events with a dark and treacly passion. This time I was particularly horrified to see in the 43 page pre-reading material that as the morning ice breaker (what's wrong with a group chat over a cup of tea and an iced vo-vo, I ask you) we are expected to come prepared with three statements about ourselves, one of which sounds as though it could be true but is actually a lie.

I have some ideas up my sleeve, but I'll bet you can do better. Entries in by Sunday evening please folks.

15 May 2010

should :: am

afternoon light on the lililes

Should be Reading :: Great Expectations, for bookgroup. Meh, I've read it before and seen a couple of film versions including an odd one starring Gwyneth where everything was green. I'm serious, all her clothes, his clothes, the set, furniture, etc. It was a little over the top. Like that Stuart Little film where Geena and Hugh (oh, Hugh) wear orange all the time until it stops being quirky and just pisses you right off.

Am Reading :: Wolf Hall. Wow. Beats Great Expectations any day. Am three quarters of the way through (it's a bit of a tome) and can't stop reading it yet don't want it to end.

glow

Should be knitting :: all the unfinished knitting projects languishing in baskets in various corners and in bags suspended from doorhandles.

Am knitting :: lace shawls. One after the other. Can't.stop.knitting.lace.shawls. Photos to come.

this week's flowers

Should be doing :: essay, vacuuming, laundry, grocery shopping.

Am doing :: reading, knitting. See above.

10 May 2010

Mothers Day Picnic

Complete with homemade cards, meringues, autumnal light and faded roses.

picnic

autumn roses

rosehip

1 May 2010

and lo it was good

Stern words have come from certain quarters, demanding to know why I haven't posted yet about what was, possibly, the Best Craft Camp Ever.

To be honest, I didn't know where to start. How to properly articulate something that blossomed way beyond my expectations?

So I began with the obvious. The downloading of squillions of photographs. A small minority of which you see here.

sewjourn April 2010 mosaic

The Anzac [long!] weekend at Sewjourn included a tap lesson, fabulous massage, heavenly food, a raucous game of Pictionary, some quiet moments and lots of hilarity.

Oh and we made a few things too. I was pleased to complete two pairs of trousers, and then, mulling over whether to next make a bag (nah ...) or a green wool jacket (naaaah ...), I decided to jump in on a project I've been tippytoeing around in my head.

My first quilt!

Made out of (real quilters, look away now) vintage cotton sheets from the op shop, and backed with another vintage flannelette sheet also from the op shop. Cheap! Slightly wonky! Cosy!

Jan helps with placement

Resident master quilter Jan helped with placement of the squares blocks. That photo was taken around midnight I think.

quilt top complete, next morning

The next morning I sewed the top together, ta da!

By the end of the day OMG it was done and we blatantly plagiarised the fancy quilting books took some arty shots out in the paddock. (Here).

And now I am totally reading quilting blogs and planning my next quilt. Quilting! Quilting is fun. Who knew?

There was also photography, writing, embroidery, knitting, dressmaking, felting and more quilting than you could poke a stick at, all by the best bunch of interesting, thoughtful, creative, brilliant, fun women you could ever find. Wow. Thank you all, friends.

More photos here.