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Showing posts from August, 2019

Modern Sourdough - A beautiful book about bread

I bake all my own bread, and have done for the last decade or so. The photos in this post are of my bread, made with commercial yeast.

Originally I made bread in a bread machine, and then I “graduated” to oven baking – I must admit I don’t knead the bread by hand, I used my beloved Thermomix. I have dabbled in sourdough in the past when I saw Modern Sourdough by Michelle Eshkeri on Netgalley I said "yes please" very quickly. Michelle is a Jewish, London based bakery owner who has a similar cultural background to me, and a lot of the breads are familiar to me from my everyday life - I bake challah whenever I host Friday night dinner and I'm obsessed with bubka. 

Even on my tablet this book is exquisite. Very clear recipes, accompanied by stunning photos. The text is interesting, informative and clear. So, will I be getting my starter started and my dough soured? Probably not. We only bake once a week, and this book is quite clear about the extra preparation and planning…

Unravelled Wednesday

It's been a good week, so far. After my "knit four things in a week" craziness last week I started a pair of Rachel Coopey socks on Sunday night. It's been a while since I knit lace socks, and I'm loving it. I did manage not to knit at lunch time for a couple of days, but blew it today!

I'm particularity loving knitting in my own hand-dyed yarn again. 

In reading, I started and finished R.H. Herron's Stolen Things. Check out that front cover, isn't it marvelous? 

The book itself is great. Fast paced and thrilling and a tiny bit silly while still raising very serious issues. I highly recommend. And then I read another e-Arc, courtesy of NetGalley, We have Always Been Here, another great cover:

It's the memoir of Samra Habib, a gay, Moslem, immigrant to Canada, and the first half was really good, but the last part has descended into identity politics and lectures about representation. It's fine, but kind of tedious. And that's my week! 
As usua…

Three hats and a colourwork cowl

I wrote about having enough left over yarn to knit a hat last week. I did, and I did. It came out a little too big, and, although I loved knitting with the mohair, and see more fuzz in my future, I wish I'd chosen the pink, rather than the grey. I can't see me wearing this, so it's into the donate pile. I like it with the purl side out best:

Although it works with the knit side out too.

I also knit a hat deliberately for charity out of jewel tones of LOSY. The thing is, the mini balls of yarn I use for my blanket are 10 to 40 grams. Each blanket square uses 3 - 5 grams, so each row of blanket gives 50 to 100 grams of leftovers

 Even if I reuse some of the colours later, there is still a frightening amount of leftovers, and apparently I'm severely afraid of leftovers. So, when I wanted something simple to knit on Tuesday night, I thought a charity hat was the go. The thing about these plain hats, is I can cast them on, do one decent nights knitting, and finish them on m…

Chuck Sweater success

I finished the  Chuck Sweater by Andi Sutterlund last week, and wore it for the first time one Thursday, and I am in love. It fits perfectly, hitting exactly on my waist,

 The sleeves, always a challenge for me, are the exact right length. 

The yarn, which I dyed myself is lovely (if I say so myself, and I do!)and knit up exactly how I was hoping. i did alternate skeins, which is always a good idea with hand-dyed yarn. The base yarn is Bellevue Park Wool, and it is beautiful, soft with a really smooth hand, a delight to dye and knit. 

The knitting itself was quite straightforward, after I had got the hang of how Andi writes her patterns, Although I know people have had trouble with the sleeve cap. even though I've knit a fair few top down set in sleeves, I sat down, in the light, at the table with a cup of tea to pick up the stitches and knit the sleeve cap.

No wine, no TV...and the first attempt (which I ripped without taking photos) was not good. I eventually used Barbara Walker&…

Unravelled Wednesday -the one with the finishing things

Welcome to Unravelled Wednesday, were I link up with Kat and the gang to chat about what we've been reading and knitting this week. In knitting, I keep on finishing things, which is fun, but then I need to start things and that seems difficult right now, so after I finished Chiuck, and made a matching hat (more about that when I see how it came out of the blocking) I cast on a charity hat with LOSY. It's knitting up really fast, and really quite prettily, if I say so myself. but I'll have it finished by the end of the day, and I'm having trouble deciding whether to cast another one on, or whether I should move on to the next thing in my queue, whcih is a colourwork cowl. i wonder why I'm stuggling with such a low impact decision? In books, after I DNFd The Calculating Stars last Wednesday, and then in one the Hugo award. I guess I'm out of alignment with popular opinions. I started reading Last Train to Istanbul.
I really struggled with it to start with - it…

Cutting it close ... and furry

The whole time I was knitting Chuck I hoped to have at least 70 grams of yarn left over. My plan was to buy some mohair and make a hat. I've started obsessing about carrying mohair along, to play with colour and texture. Rachey's Latu used 70 grams, and was also 10 ply, so that's where I got that number from.

I had bought more yarn than the Chuck pattern called for, because I knew I wanted long sleeves, and also, dying it myself means that the colour is not replicable. Not even close!

At the end of the jumper (which is currently blocking, photos and wrap up late in the week) I do have exactly 70 grams -which includes both my swatches!

I went to Morris and Sons today and bought some dark grey Kid Slik haze. I'm very excited about knitting with this yarn. 12 years ago, when I started knitting seriously, loads of people where using this yarn - it was nick-named KidSilk crack for it's addictive properties. Then it went out of fashion. Now mohair is back, and I'm here …

Safety socks

I finished my latest pair of sneaker liners (Roxy by Trudy Hertaas , and wore them today. Knitting these in Socks Yeah, which is a fairly thin sock yarn reminded me of a solid fact: there are three things that affect the final size:

1) Needle size 2) number of stitches AND 3) yarn thickness. 

Which is to say these, knit on my usual 62 stitches and 2mm needle size came out quite small. But I wore them today and they are rather perfect. I reversed the pattern for the second one. I was thinking about just eyeballing it as I knit, or rewritting it in excel, and then I wondered if my (work) photocopy machine could mirror the image. It could, and it worked, so that made life fun and simple.
I also changed the side cables: the pattern had one extra long cable, which I didn't realise, so when I saw my sock had one longer cable I "fixed" it. After I realised what had happened, I left the cables equal, because to me it looks better that way.

And now I'm back to only having one p…

Unravelled Wednesday - the one with socks AND a jumper

Knitting two things at a time does my head in! It made sense when I cast on, and then I figured 'socks for out of the house, jumper for knitting on when I'm home". And it has been nice being able to carry the sock with me even when I don't think I'm going to have a lot of knitting time, but knowing that I only have a couple of hours left to finish the pair of socks is very distracting for me. Anyway, I'll knit and finish them on Friday. until then I'm focusing on my Chuck Sweater, which only needs two sleeves and it's done too. Cropped jumpers are very speedy! 
In reading, I finished As Dust Dances and it was a disappointment, I really didn't enjoy the second half. Now I'm reading The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal.

I'm really not enjoying it. The premise is that the earth gets hit by a meteorite, and so now we should colonise space, before the earth boils. I think they should try to fix the earth, because it seems more logical and…

Blanket update

I'm suddenly obsessed with knitting on my blanket. I don't know if it's because all my friends gave me their left-over sock yarn, and now I have about a kilogram of scraps - special shout outs to Katie, Kris, Susanne and Louisa. Or because it looks funny, and will until the sides are evened up.

Or because I have a knitting plan that takes me through to next year, but unless I spend a day or two a week (or throw in a bunch of of charity hats with the left over LOSY) I won't actually have enough projects to get me through to next year.

I don't know why, but I do know that I am obsessed and can't stop knitting on this blanket! Which is good, because it took me 10 years to knit the first half of this project, and I'm thinking I'll knit the second half in one year. I know that if I only knit this, I could get it caught up in no time, but I still have to remind myself that, or all the things I knit, this one is not about finishing it. I'll remind myself of …

FO Friday

I finished the two Baby Surprise Jackets I was knitting and sewed the buttons on, washed and blocked them, bought a card and a mailing envelope. 

Now Leon just needs to get an address, and these can go off the there recipients. I really like how the button choice came out on both of these. I'm very happy with both of them. Like I always say, it's pretty hard to mess up a Baby Surprise Jacket.

Interestingly, despite both being knit on the exact same needle (3.25mm Chiagoo), one came out noticeably larger than the other. 

Really, one of my most favourite knitting things in the whole world is pairing a solid with a self striping, whether it is for baby jumpers or socks. One of my other favourite tings is taking photos of baby jumpers on my teddy bears:

 As a bonus to this post, here's a pictures of the a previous baby jumper (not a BSJ) that I knit, with the actual baby in it.

Unravelled Wednesday and Yarnalong too

I finished these two baby surprise jackets this week, but between them they have 10 buttons to sew on, and sewing on buttons is not my favourite thing. 

Blocked photos when they have had their bath, which is right after I sew the buttons on, which is right after I press "publish" on this, since the babies they are for are already born.

I threw together a sock knitting kit on Monday night, since I was short on time and didn't have any knitting on the go. I used this neon Socks Yeah that I bought in Edinburgh (from Rachel Coopey herself, thank for asking) and if that won't brighten these grey winter days nothing will! I'm knitting a pair of shorty socks my Trudy Hertaas, one of my favourite short sock designers. This photo doesn't actually capture the true brightness of the neon pink yarn.

My intention was to finish these during the week and then start Chuck on the weekend, but I'm home sick today, so I cast on for it. It's only 4pm and I've already do…

Planning (and no pictures!)

I've been planning my knitting for the second half of the year, both in my head and in my Ravelry queue.

I bought yarn for 4 major projects at Bendigo, and I only had one major projects worth in my stash, so this plan should take me through the end of the year.

August's major project is the Chuck sweater. I've started swatching for it, but I'm out tomorrow and I'm not sure if I can deal with getting everything organised and casting on out of the house, so I will probably knit a pair of socks first.

September's major project in a jumper for Leon. We are (hopefully) going on a short holiday somewhere warm, and I think the body of it will make a great holiday project. Stocking stitch in the round. before that I'm going to make a cowl. We were originally going hiking in September, but I don't think that is going to happen now, but it is a piece missing from my kit, and I think there will be some hiking done in October, when it is still sometimes chilly.

Then it…

Suburban Wrap - What was I thinking?

I don't want to sound like a snob, but I hate the suburbs. I live in what is now an "inner city" suburb (6 kms from the CBD) and I don't like going outside Melbourne's trams zone, unless it' all the way outside. (Trams or trees, Skip calls it). So when the wrap I've been knitting is called Suburban Wrap, and I've felt ambivalent about it the whole time, it's not so surprising. I guess I started knitting it in the lull before Bendigo, when I was in a bit of a directionless slump about what to knit next.

The actual knitting of it was ok, it was sort of fun, but I was having increasing doubts about how it looks. I decided to lengthen it, and then second guessed myself, so ended up mainly changing around the final patterns, which I'm glad I did, since it avoids the (in my opinion) excessive final stripe pattern. 

Last Saturday afternoon Leon was out and I marathon knit it, sewing in the last end as my lift arrived to take me to a beer event (Ramjet …

Once upon a sock - July 2019

I didn't knit any socks at all in July, but I'm still joining in with Once Upon a Sock. I didn't dye any yarn for socks either, or buy any sock yarn (at least, not for socks). I think it's a winter thing, I'm knitting big, warm, wrap up and wear them right now things. So here's a picture of my washing line from my wool wash earlier this week. Socks, socks sock, we are not short on socks.
Also, it turns out taking pictures of an indoor washing line is harder than I thought! See you next month for more socks, socks, socks.