Saturday, December 30, 2006

Knitty goodness!

Blogger has not been my friend recently, but I am finally back after a long break! A quick post of the knitty goodness that came my way this Christmas - and soon to follow, some FOs!! Above is a couple of knitty presents I bought myself. There is something about Christmas, with all it's planning and perusing the internet for others, that makes me suddenly need to 'treat' myself.

On the left, some pure cashmere Alice in Tweedy colourway from the Posh Yarn sale a couple of weeks back. On the right another hat kit from Lilith - I couldn't resist - it had been staring at me all day of the latest craft market, and I vowed that if no-one had bought it by day's end, then it was fated to be mine.

Above - yes it is... the most beautiful wooden swift, and my Alice Tweedy cashmere being wound. From the boy, and oh how I love it! I think he does too, since he no longer has to take any part in my ball-winding.

My other knitty presents - an utterly georgous Namaste needle binder that fits all my circs, straights, darning needles, stitch markers, and other assorted knitty paraphanelia in a lovely organised case - thanks Mum!
An 'I heart Yarn' tee designed by the boy, Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmermann - totally fabulous - thanks sis! And Knitted Flowers by Nicky Epstein with lots of lovely ideas from the boy's parents.

Yay! I hope everyone else had a Happy Knitty Christmas too :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Food glorious shokuryou!

Again, not much knitty content although, contained within my Japanese Christmas homework, I have to learn the word for Yarn. Not a problem! The 3 characters to the right of the diagram are 'Ke', 'i' and 'to'. Keito - which means knitting wool, and also condemned person, prisoner according to this online dictionary ... hmm...

Japanese food we made last night at Japanese - the top is Futomaki [thick rolls of seaweed with rice and filling], and the bottom two are Aburage [tofu envelope thing with vingared rice inside - left] and Gunkan-maki [similar to the Futomaki except they are made individually with strips and 'filled', rice first - right]

It was my first ever try eating Japanese food, and all the better for the fact that the teacher was making 'proper' Japanese food. I have to say the rice was more sweet than I expected, and the whole thing was way more filling than I expected.

Still not sure I liked it, but I am prepared to open my mind [and probably close my eyes initially] so that I can experience Japan properly, and not spend my time there nursing English tea in Starbucks like a sap.

I was apprehensive in Singapore when I went a few years back and have never tasted food better anywhere since!

A lot of my food 'fusiness' stems from just about everything giving me migraines, and a fear that language barriers will cause misunderstandings that waste my precious Japan time in a hotel bedroom with a migraine.

And a more 'traditional' cooking experience - Christmas Fruit Cupcakes with Brandy and Christmassy spices, from Cupcakes Galore. I couldn't find crystallised fruits in Asda and so substituted sultanas, since it was blowing a gale outside, and I couldn't be bothered to trail Glasgow. It's been raining here for about 100 years *sigh*

These are delish, and definately got me in the Christmas spirit!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Don't Panic

Just tell me that there are others who plan to wrap half-finished WIPs with an IOU note as Christmas gifts and I'll be able to breathe better ...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Elizabeth Zimmerman

This weekend I have been so festive - I am waiting for brandy Christmas cupcakes to cool and decided to take this opportunity to blog.

It's blowing a gale outside, torrential rain and grey - perfect Sunday house weather. Whilst Christmas present shopping online I thought I should treat myself to Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac - a snip at £4.71! I was dubious at the rather dated looking patterns on the cover, and had it been more expensive I probably would have given it a miss.

I'm so glad that didn't - I would pay £20.00 for this book without pausing!

The patterns chat with you along the way, including comments such as; "Repeat these 2 rounds ... [and the sleeves will start] to creep over the body. But not fast enough you will say, and you are right."

This is my kind of pattern! The point where I start to doubt that I'm following the pattern correctly and start reading, and re-reading, part of an abbreviated pattern in a gradually louder and more frustrated exasperated tone. Where I consider ripping out and the room clears of cat and boy in nano-seconds - Elizabeth pops in a vital lifeline. It's OK, she says, I know it looks odd - trust me.

She tells us how to knit in the dark with a ballsy, easy-peasy air that gives me the confidence to believe in myself and my knitting skills.

Patterns full of words like 'about', 'however you like', 'whatever you're comfortable with'. Patterns with no needle sizes, or yarn brands, to be knit with the brand and needle size that I want and feel comfortable with.

She isn't pattern precious, she doesn't order it done her way or the highway. Elizabeth Zimmerman encourages, nay demands, that you rip apart her patterns to suit your taste and your style. And she gives you all the information to do exactly that, and armed with this knowledge my confidence grows in myself. Her patterns become timeless, because they can be updated to whatever is the current trend.

Such that the Bella cardigan I knat earlier in the year was re-designed in my head last night with a more flattering fit. It has lain dormant in a bag since I tried in on ... I looked like a pear, with an army-green Ready-Brek kid outline.

She is a gauge square advocate - however she shows us nifty little tricks to save wasted knitting. Gauge squares that turn into hats, caps, the sleeve beginnings, depending on whether they end up bigger or smaller than the intended size.

Buy her books! I'm a convert!