one done, one on the way!

it's so nice to have a finished object to wear!

i finished blocking this picot top-down raglan pullover this morning, and i am so pleased. fits perfectly and looks exactly as i wanted, a bit of 1930s librarianish charm.

and, i finally finished the seemingly endless ribbing on my madtosh cardigan. and now the work is going much faster - you can start to see the pattern already! this yarn is so lovely to work with, and the colour is gorgeous! i have noticed the dye coming off on my fingers a bit though; will have to be careful not to let it near anything when wet. any tips on setting the colour in madtosh? i really really don't want it to change a bit!


casting on

wound a skein of madtosh into a cake during doctor who on saturday night, and worked a swatch yesterday!

i have a thing for argyle/diamond patterns, especially using texture rather than colour. i have about eight million diamond lace patterns. but as always, nothing is ust right, nothing can be left un-tweaked.

this swatch started with a stitch pattern i had printed off aeons ago. and i have to say... some of the instructions were completely inscrutable to me, so i just did something that seemed to get the same result. some i understood clearly what i was supposed to do, but i'm still not sure why... and some things i just wanted to change for my own design reasons. i switched the k2togs for ssks and vice versa, so as to make the decreases less "ridgy" and increased the overall number of sts per repeat, to give the pattern more "breathing room."

so here's my non-square swatch, starting with one pattern and ending up with another:

i'm quite pleased with the revised version.

and this yarn is absolutely gorgous to work with! i want more more more!



so when i had my appendix out, i decided i needed a bit of pampering. which justified my indulgence in something long-coveted: madtosh in tart! the wait was forever (um, almost two weeks), but it finally came yesterday! i ended up getting the merino light. it's a little finer than expected, but that colour! so gorgeous!

and i'm almost finished this little picot shell in patons classic wool. i improvised it using the custom raglan generator, the webpage for which seems to be gone. glad i saved it! i may type it up with my revisions to share. we'll see.

i love how these colours work together, too. the madtosh will end up as a cardigan; i think the two pieces will work well together!

i hope to finish the shell and block it this afternoon - but first i need to bake a cake for my father-in-law's birthday tomorrow! and i need to wrap a present. and pick up printouts to make our xmas cards. and go out for brunch. busy day.


bedtime, finally.

i got a lot done this weekend considering i spent basically the whole thing playing at being a single mum! tg had a megaevent for work that took up friday and saturday both, so we basically went 48 hours without him. and then he came down with a man cold, 'nuff said.

still, i got my fruitcakes done!

i wrap them in a double-layer of parchment paper and then a double-layer of foil, leaving it openable at the top for "feeding" with a little booze. doesn't it look a bit like a crazy sunflower?

for posterity, here's the full to-do list for holiday baking:

i actually have quite a lot done! but still tons more to do. i have all of my doughs and pastry done though (oh wait not true, i need to make the pastry for the goat cheese tarts) and that's the messiest thing with clouds of flour and spills of molasses and whatnot. now that that's out of the way, i can focus on tidying and organizing and making the house festive, and then just have a massive bakefest in the days leading up to our fete.

it is also nice to know our party is basically done & paid for!

and, i'm well into the second ball of patons classic wool (had forgotten how nice it is to work with!) for my shell, and past the point of dividing off the sleeves and joining the torso. whee!


i did it! i really did it! i made puff pastry that puffed!

so glad that the day i spent yesterday has paid off so well. yum yum. the instructions i followed are here; i used a quarter of the pastry and got almost two dozen palmiers (21 nice ones, two blobby end bits that i baked anyway - probably could have had an even 2 dozen if i'd planned it).

the rest of the pastry will go for mushroom puffs or gambas en gabardinas or cheese straws.

here's the rolling process:

ready to go in the oven:

look how they puffed!

and look at that lovely burnt sugar! they were flaky and crunchy and oh so good. and i think they've all been polished off already...

while waiting for them to come out of the oven, i worked on a sweater:

then i put my fruitcakes in the oven:

also made some more cookie dough, for pecan crescents. next up, gingerbread dough. yay productive weekends!

gack! another christmas is nearly at our throats!

being largely out of commission for the last... three weeks? has it been three whole weeks? i guess it has, maybe even four. yikes. surgery does that to you, i guess.


this weekend i had a little panic about the holidays being almost here and our party being just three weeks away and needing to send out invites and and and...

so after spending friday morning at the paediatrician's with a sick kid (he woke up literally sobbing with pain from an ear infection) i got to work. i started by writing a cookie dough inventory (cookie dough is one of those things you can do ahead and freeze): imperial cheddar, viennese icebox, hamantaschen, sugar cookies, chestnut shortbread, done. and today, i'm going to make gingerbread dough. nice to get a few things ticked off the list.

then, i made a list of everything i need to make for the party and xmas dinner, and started in. fruitcake needs to be done early so it can "ripen," so i started by digging through the freezer to find candied peel i'd made earlier. found lemon, orange, and grapefruit! all currently soaking in sherry and rum so i can bake my fruitcakes today. also found a bag of organic cranberries, so made cranberry sauce. and while i was at it, red onion relish and red pepper jelly. picked the last of the arugula from our garden and made artichoke dip, subbing the arugula for spinach. candied some more peel too, since i ate a couple of grapefruits yesterday (need vitamin c!).

and a bit of good/bad news; the bad news is the health food store in our neighbourhood is closing. the good news is bulk foods are 40% off, so i bought a ton of flour of various kinds, along with pecans and cashews and sea salt.

finally, i decided to try my hand at something that's always frightened me a bit - puff pastry! it's resting in the fridge now, and i'm thinking - the brick you can buy frozen is 400g (divided into two squares of 200g each) - this is about double that by weight, so i am going to divide it into pieces, freeze most, and use one today as a tester - that way i'll have an idea about whether or not it worked! also i love palmiers, so i am keen to make some. will post pics later, hope it's a success!


knitting mojo: lost and found

off work for two weeks and knit nothing! could not think, let alone follow a pattern. sigh.

today i came home early for a rest, but couldn't sleep (hello, coffee). so, i thought i'd whip through a quick project to get my knitting mojo back

so far so good: one mitten down, one to go!

pattern to follow, i swear.


ghostbusters costume: done!

just realised i never posted pics of the completed ghostbusters costume! it nearly killed me, but the kid was thrilled, yay. he asked his teacher to call him peter venkman at school.

more pyjamas!

sitting quietly at a sewing machine seems to be the one thing that is easy for me to do while recuperating from surgery! so i am working my way through half-started sewing projects. it's quite embarrassing the number of things i cut and pin and abandon. oops. today's project: pyjamas!

i love tailored pyjamas. i think they make the kid look handsome and sophisticated. this fabric i like especially, because from a distance, it looks like the sort of classic pyjama that william powell might have worn in the thin man...

... but if you get a little closer, you see that the fabric is actually inspired by another 1930s classic, the wizard of oz.

hmm, now i am thinking i should make the kid a smoking jacket, for the full effect.


the slow road

ok i totally overdid it friday, despite not leaving the house till 2:30 in the afternoon, taking the kid to the dentist, and then going for a little walk to distract him until it was ok for him to eat, and then going to our neighbourhood pumpkin contest (which turned out to involve standing in the cold for a full hour, blecch).

so, today i did not leave the house! and i intend to stay in all day tomorrow, too. then monday, it's back to work.

anyway today, in order to not feel like a complete blob, i picked up a sewing project i started ages ago: shirts. i cut out fabric for a total of five shirts in all, and so far only had one done. today i decided to tackle another. after all, it was already cut and pinned. all that was left to do was sew.

i'm so pleased with it!

the fabric is "geeky chic" by beryl tsang. it looks pretty awesome.

and i'm pretty happy about the pair of glasses lined up perfectly on the centre-back pleat.

and being home-made, it fits perfectly!

and works really well with my zig-zaggy cardigan. now i want my entire wardrobe to consist of shirts with french cuffs, and fingering-weight cardigans with three-quarter sleeves.

nice to spend a day slobbing around and feel productive at the same time. i got a whole pile of christmas cards addressed, too!


ghostbusters costume: the proton pack

i never thought i'd get it done!

actually, i didn't entirely get it done. the proton pack is not yet a functional backpack; it did however work as a prop last night.

recovering from surgery meant i was too tired and dopey to work on this for the better part of two weeks! yikes. so i had a bit of a race to the finish line yesterday, which left me pooped. was in bed at 8 o'clock! but the kid was happy, and that's the point.

i wasn't able to get the led lights i wanted, so i had to find another way. i also needed some sort of interfacing stuff to give it a bit of body and a bit of padding. and, i had initially imagined knitting i-cord for the various tubes, but there was no time (and i didn't like the idea of soggy wool in the rain) so i thought coloured shoelaces might work as an alternative. so i went to the dollar store in search of inspiration.

lo and behold!

the silver thing? is a windshield sunshade to keep your car cool. just the right sort of lightweight foam to use as padding, and shiny enough to make the reflective red things on the circle part at the bottom of the proton pack (pardon the high-tech language). the skipping rope was a sub for shoelaces - i got three so i could cut a variety of coloured sections out. it was pretty easy to remove the handles at the end at take out the filling to make it easier to work with, and more "tube-like."

then i cut out the four circles from the silver stuff - slightly smaller than the black cover circles - and painted them with red nail polish.

the "danger" label is embroidered felt.

here are a bunch of the bits all assembled together:

and finally stitched up!

for the gun part, which was a little sad-looking as i ran out of time, i took a vaccuum hose my brother-in-law found on garbage night, spray-painted it black, and pulled it through the bottom between the layers of fabric. i had to loop it around to take up the extra length (seemed easier than trying to cut it) and whip stitched it in place.