Monday, June 26, 2006


My latest cupcakes from Cupcakes Galore! Tarte Tatin Apple cupcakes - with caramalised apples and delicious vanilla glazing [which maybe should have been clear from the photo, but turned out a kinda pastel coffee colour ...]

This was a much more adventurous cupcake for me - not just mixing stuff and throwing in the oven - there were glazes to make and apples to caramalise.

My tips;
1. Make about a third of the glaze from the recipe - I threw loads away.
2. Only fill the muffin cases about 1/2 full to make room for the apples - the cupcakes rose muffin-stylee over the top of the cases, and it was quite hard to balance the apples on!

3. Slice the apples thin so they can 'drape' over the cupcake.
4. Where it says lay the apple slices out on the surface of a large pan and maybe do them in 2 batches - do this! Don't just throw them into a large vat of fizzing melting butter and hope it'll be OK - they more stew than turn a golden brown... [lesson learned!]

Why is it that my first thought when tackling new hobbies is too think 'there must be another/better/quicker/more logical way'.

Then I try my 'better' way and learn that the way written or shown by another is done that way for a reason - i.e. they have already made these mistakes and learned from them!

When I'm explaining how to research law and government publications at work I am frequently asked about the quicker / better ways;
"surely I can just get a list of every Dept. of Health publication from the dawn of time until today?", "surely there is an easier way to find a case?"

... and I think "listen to me! I know best - there isn't an easier way OK! This is the most logical / quickest way, trust me." I can't understand why they don't trust me but yet I do exactly the same thing and have to make my own mistakes rather than just listen to those that know better.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Wednesday 21st June

Phew! After leaving it far too late I have just managed to find a double room in Keswick for me and the boy for Woolfest. It was such a struggle that I'm beginning to worry that I won't be able to squeeze into Woolfest itself for the sheer volume of people!

Got some more dpns for the Jaywalker [still plural at this stage] and have started knitting it again, although I have moved onto working with 6 dpns as I find it easier.

I have been listening to more podcasts - I have found It's a Purl, Man to be a hoot - a blog "about a guy in Boston with yarn issues". And also Knitcast is terrific. I have only listened to one episode of each, but am definately subscribing to both.

I have another 8 or 9 more episodes from other knitting podcasts to listen to and then I can create a 'Most listened' list in the sidebar.

You may notice that [or maybe not - probably not that interesting really!] that despite announcing in my last post that I was off to update my works in the queue list, there have been no updates.

I have been racking my brains for an efficient method of cataloguing the patterns I want to make [all sitting in mags, books etc with yarn label markers sticking out] and the yarn stash. The main problem is that a list of pattern names, yarn, gauges etc will mean nothing to me in a yarn shop without accompanying pictures. Scanning and printing takes a million years on my [1st generation] iMac, colour copying is too expensive, and tearing pics is utterly out of the question.

I tried to use my Stitch n Bitch journal, but I filled the pages already and only a quarter of the patterns are covered. Plus I have yarn in my stash that is 'assigned', yarn looking for inspiration.

I'm thinking that a book divided up into yarn weights is the way to go. With subsections in each section for patterns and yarn stash available. That way I can best utilise my stash - which is beginning to take over my craft room!

To anyone still reading please remember that I'm a library assistant - you may think that this is anal, but orgnisation is the key to happiness ... [I'm going to die in a library aren't I?]

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Jo Sharp vest

A FO!! I finally got around to adding the i-cord vest straps to this - it didn't even take me that long since I have the magic i-cord maker. I have no idea why I proscrastinated for so long.

It was made from a free Jo Sharp pattern booklet brought back from Melbourne by a friend. [Although it mentions that the pattern is also available in "Contemporary Knitting 2"]
The yarn was Jo Sharp Rare Comfort Kid Mohair [3 x 25g balls]

If I made it again I would def. knit it in the round - mohair and seaming are a bitch - although sewing the straps on was made easier by the fact that my messy technique was hidden in all the fuzz.

I've had a productive day - also finishing Bella, the baby blanket and my grey/orange diagonal striped scarf. My weaving in needle has gone walkabouts though and so I am denied the opportunity of completing these. But as soon as I do I'll blog it.

I'm off to update the list of works "in the queue" for my sidebar - since I just noticed that it only has 3 in it, and I have about 100 ... and continue with Branching Out in Kid Silk Haze.

Barcelona necklace

Whilst being dragged around a nerdy comic shop in Barcelona by the boy I found this on a very short piece of cord. I added a couple of jump rings and a chain to turn it into a necklace.

I'm not sure whether it's a collectable thing, or a swap thing but I immediately thought it would be cool as a necklace.

Saturday 18th June

My Secret Pal gift! - So cool! Thank you so much - I love these cakes - they are really different. I immediately went to buy ingredients for one of the recipies.

How it should be...

My attempts ... Nigela Lawson I ain't but these taste delicious! The recipie states to take them out, add marshmallows and place under the grill for a few seconds to toast the marshmallows.

My tip would be: If you have a combi oven don't put the marshmallows on whilst waiting for the oven grill to heat up. The heat of the cakes caused slippy marshmallows leaving trails as they made bids down the edge of the cakes - By the time I toasted them, they were marshmallow puddles.

Thanks again my secret pal - I had great fun with these, and will post photos of the other recipies I try.

It was not really a very good crafty day yesterday - I started off by trying to make a sock bag for my secret pal - and promptly burnt myself on the hot steam from the iron. I thought it was OK, but it was a pain that just kept giving - putting a sharp end to my crafting.

After a few hours nursing frozen peas on my tender thumb I was able to continue - I seamed a sleeve on Bella and FINISHED the boring baby blanket!

Just the weaving and blocking to go and it is over! I will take photos later.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Friday 16th June [take 4]

Yesterday I didn't get any knitting done - not a stitch! Instead we went into town to get postal Pat things sent. Amongst my packages were these two hats - donated to the Dulaan Project. A project to help bring warmth to the people of Mongolia who endure extreme temperatures during the winter of between freezing during the day to -40 oF during the night.

To be warm enough means to get to work and to school. And so - via Brenda Dayne [whose's podacst
Cast-On highlighted this charity to me] I sent these 2 hats. One of Kid Classic, and the other Noro Silk Garden.

This was not an entirely selfless act on my part - during mental pleadings with The Man Upstairs I did promise to donate to this charity upon the safe return of my suitcase full of Barcelona yarn.

I can't wait for the hat recipients to get their hats - I hope they love them, and more importantly that they bring warmth. I have a warm fuzzy feeling :)

[I have tried to post this 4 times, with image adding attempts numbering approx 23 *sigh*]

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Fun with tshirt transfers

At a Stitch n' Bitch a few weeks ago one of the members brought in a ball of yarn with the funkiest little retro illustration on the ball band of a baby alpaca. Another member suggested that this would make a great tshirt. I brought it home, blew up the illustration and fixed it up with Photoshop.

Today I finally got round to buying transfer paper and doing my first tshirt transfer! I love it [and fellow SnBers I have a couple of transfers left - 1 for Anika, if anyone wants the other I'll bring it along on Tuesday]

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Lookeee - it's my suitcase!

Cotton sock weight yarn with coloured slubby cotton bits and 2 big black buttons which go so well with the cotton - I'm thinking armwarmers would be cool.

A funky knitting postcard from Heathrow

All the beautiful yarn together with a birthday present from the boy - Happy Hooker

I'm so happy and have learned my lesson - no yarn on the hold, and always always an address label on my suitcase!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

More pics

Me at Parc Quell

View out of window at Sagrada Familia

Me on the roof terrace at La Pedrera

Knitting World Cup

Progress on the Jaywalkers has come to a halt due to a broken dpn. This is my first time knitting with birch dpns - I have only ever knitted one pair of socks previously and I knit them with metal dpns. But with air travel the way it is I had little choice if I wanted to gauge and cast on in time for the start of the Knitting World Cup.

I'm reluctant to change to other needles at this stage, and I know that Brittany are fantastic with customer service and will replace my broken needle. However I think I may change to metals anyway and hope that my gauge will not be affected too much.

I think the tension may be tight anyway as flying makes me v. v. tense, and I was knitting to take my mind off wings falling off, planes falling out of the sky etc etc.

But this aside I'm loving the pattern - it's easy to memorise, and this yarn brings out the best of the pattern and I can't wait to finish it.

Flying with knitting needles

As suspected - N from BBA Glasgow's breezy response that it will be "absolutely fine" to take knitting needles on board was total nonsense.

Upon arrival at Glasgow Airport I caught sight of knitting needles on the 'not allowed' lists plastered all over the place.

I decided to be super-honest through fear of confiscation and spoke to the checkin girl. She immediately said no, and so I begged her to first look at my 2.25mm Brittany birch dpns first. When she saw them she smiled and phoned someone - saying 'no - they're like cocktail sticks and they're wood'.

And so I was cleared for knitting - although I had to check my metal crochet hook, metal stitch holder, scissors [obviously!] and weaving-in needle.

So the concensus seems to be bamboo/birch dpns that are very thin are OK. Anything metal, any straights (wood or metal) are not. Sock knitting it is!

I never bothered to mention them to anyone again, and knitted in airport waiting lounges and on the flight without comment from anyone - one girl stood watching me open mouthed for a while but that was all :)

I'm back!!

Barcelana in Barcelona! Lana = wool in Spanish.
So day 1 of our trip to Barcelona. First stop - the yarn shop!

[For those going - get off the Metro at Jaume 1 (yellow line), and walk down C/Argenteria - Brosili 1 is a side street on the left about half way down. If you reach the funky tshirt shop with a donkey on the balcony above then you've gone too far! Closed Mondays and Saturdays]

This is me after my [first] visit clutching some beautiful cotton sock weight yarn with slubby multi-coloured cotton, and some wool/silk sock weight yarn.

The shop was lovely - I had a chat with the woman inside using my Spanish phrase book and K's Castillian, and we managed to piece together a conversation! The yarn selection is a fiesta of colours and there was plenty to keep me going. And so cheap!

It is priced by the kg, and I managed to get 600g of chunky weight deep purple merino yarn, 400g of the slubby cotton, and 400g of the wool/silk sock yarn for 60 euros - which is £41. *gasp*

I'm trying to be excited, but currently my suitcase is lost in limbo and so all this yarn is not mine yet. I wrote an enormous emotion-filled post last night about the whole affair, but today am going to [try to] be zen and say that while 3 days have past and no airport has yet found any evidence of the existence of my suitcase, there is still hope ...

Moving swiftly on before I cry again ....

I of course required a second visit to Barcelana - mental shopping made me realise that there was more that I needed. It is definately worth a visit - although there is quite a lot of [lovely] acrylic, and I could only get either sock weight or chunky weight yarns when I went.

Absolutely beautiful as they were, at the cheap prices, if they had stocked a DK/Aran weight yarn I would have bought enough for a jumper. The colourways of pretty much everything was fantastic - I love lively colours, and they stocked it in abundance, as you can see from the photos. In cotton, silk, merino, wool [sheep and goat].

And there was a cool bead shop in Barri Gothic, [can't rememer quite where, just off La Rambles though] - although prices were comparable to here.

The textile musuem wasn't 'wow' but the gift shop had a funky range of buttons at average prices.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday, June 05, 2006

Monday 5th June

After having various panics I have finally decided to do Jaywalker as my Knitting World Cup project - I'll play about checking gauge etc on the flight and cast on officially on Saturday.

Just frantically printing out knitting instructions in Castillian from K and grouping them with ones received from L [thank you both!], the itinarary, trying to locate the list that doesn't include knitting needles for the checkin desk, and also updating my blog.

Trying to find the address for Barcelana the yarn shop in Barcelona.

Anyways - that's me. Left everything til the last minute as usual!