Goodbye, Livejournal

For the last four years I have blogged at I am attached to my blog - it contains my memories, stories and photos of people, places, moments and knitting projects that are near and dear to my heart. Imagine my horror when, updating my blog yesterday, I was told that my blog was full, and the only way I could keep using it was to upgrade to a paid account! The paid account wasn't much (US$19.95 per year), but I've never really liked Livejournal and I find it quite hard to use, so I'm taking this opportunity to try something new. Bear with me while I discover how to use Blogspot, and I hope you'll join me here:

All About My Cat @ Here, I Knit

21 December and four sleeps to go!

There are four days until Christmas. Where has December gone? The socks for my sister are the only present that absolutely necessarily had to be finished by Christmas day, and they are almost done:

See the little purple "ears" to the left of the socks? Yesterday when I was trying to find the yellow ball of Zara I need to finish off a Christmas present which has apparently vanished off the face of the earth I found this:

It's a 20g Needle food sample in Plumberry Ambrosia which I received in a Ewe Beaut package earlier this year. That sample, when combined with the leftovers from my Firestarters and these Christmas socks, gives enough Needle food yarn to make a whole pair of socks. It feels like I'm getting a pair of socks in this beautiful yarn for free!

The toe is my least favourite part of any sock, so I thought I'd start the toe at the same time as finishing the gift socks to make it as painless as possible. It creates a kind of balance - as one sock ends, another one begins. Or so I tell myself - it's got nothing to do with my project ADD and inability to work on just one project at a time. Nothing at all :)

I hope everyone's run home to Christmas is easy and pain-free :)

A Walk in the Park and Something for Nothing

Today is a truly gorgeous day. The sky is a brilliant, clear blue and the air smells like summer. It inspired me to go down to the park and take a huge pile of photos of the sky, the native trees, the cricket pitch, my walking track. Of course, I have a majorly POS camera, so these photos were fairly useless. But still! How gorgeous is this:

While at the park, I donned my walking hat and serious walking face and did a quick circuit.

The first thing to go when I get busy or tired or it's cold is always exercise, but with the sun shining, the birds singing and my hat right next to the front door, there was no excuses. Plus, I used the opportunity to take some photos of what I have been working on lately.

Although knitting is my one true love, I periodically cycle through other crafts, as can be witnessed by my work on the blanket that nearly crippled me. I pulled out my sewing machine and some scrap fabric, borrowed some sewing books from the library and whipped up this simple reversible tote which cost me absolutely nothing to make:

I found a zip in a box which hadn't been opened for years, and used leftover lining fabric to a cute little purse, just the right size for a lip gloss, lip balm, hand sanitiser and some change. I wish I'd made it an itty-bitty bit bigger so it could also fit my phone and maybe a pen, but it's still very useful. Now when I change handbags, instead of dumping everything out, sorting through all the crap to find what I actually need, I just move the little zippered bag. Lovely and functional! However, because I cannot simply just enjoy a good thing without doing it to death, I promptly decided that my sisters and two of my closest friends needed handmade bags with coordinating purses for Christmas. I have bought and cut the fabric and the purses, but have not completed a single one. Eek!

I did whip up this handy little project bag out of remnants left over after cutting out all the bigger bags:

It is so cute! It's the perfect size in which to carry a sock-on-the-go. I reckon that I could actually sell these if I could find fun enough fabrics, but I'm just not confident that I would be able to market my skills and products well enough to make a go of it. I don't even have the basic graphic design skills to make pretty labels, let alone create a store logo or design. I'll just keep carrying around this bag with me and hope that I run into a rich sock-knitting patron with all the skills and cash to set me up, and then I'll make a million dollars. Excellent plan!

On the subject of Christmas presents, my Christmas knitting is going. I'm just not sure where. These are the two projects I am working on at the moment:

These are both about 40% done, and the two-project-only monotony is starting to get to me. Last night, I knitted a single row on a shawl just to take the edge off. The baby blanket that's due at the end of January is calling my name. Knitting it Old School, an incredibly funky pattern book that I was super surprised, (but also super happy) to see at my local library has a hat and mitten set in it which would be perfect to use up some old stash yarn that I want to start now! (although a little bit less after spending the day in the glorious warm sun). But I will keep going, and hopefully get at least one of these Christmas gifts done.

Here's hoping for many more days of sunshine, knitting and sewing in the next two weeks :)

Hello summer!

Yesterday was the first day of summer. I count down to that day from basically the last day of the previous summer - nine months of impatiently waiting for the long sunny summer days to arrive. And yesterday nature did not let me down, dumping about 30mm of rain on my plants with nary a ray of sun in sight. Yay for summer! Not. Weather, you beat me once again.

So, in dreaming of happier, sunnier times, I'll show you some photos from last week:

In a moment of insanity, I decided to make most of my presents this year. This pile of yarn represents all the gifts that I need to get finished in the next 22 days - a pair of Graduating Green Socks for Sister #1 in the Zauberball frogged from the Citron, a pair of Widdershins for Sister #2 in Needlefood and a pair of Tiger Paws in delicious Zara. Also, missing from that picture is a ball of BWM's Alpaca for a scarf for Sam's mum (knitted upon request so I know it'll be appreciated).

The funny thing is that the yarn for each of these presents cost me approximately $20 and between 10-40 hours of work. I wonder which of them will appreciate it?

Also, in the spirit of full confession, I bought some more yarn:

Eek! According to the trusty spreadsheet I set up on 1 January this year, I have used up 2kg of yarn this year. Not bad. But then I have purchased 2.85kg worth of yarn...not good!

Oh well. I guess there's always next year :)

All Things Green and 2010 FO#14

About this time every year, there's a gorgeous Sunday. The weather is perfect; warm and still. The birds are chirping, the lambs are baa-ing and I get this irresistible urge to plant some stuff.

This year on the menu:

Tomato and basil

Bok choy, pak choy, Chinese cabbage and Chinese brocolli

Cat grass

Mint and coriander

And from last year, rosemary and the withered remains of a lemon tree

History shows that I enthusiastically maintain these plants until about January, and then neglect them woefully until the following October/November, when I weed the pots, fertilise the soil and start the whole process all over again. Maybe this time will be different? Hope springs eternal.

On the subject of all things green, I finished something!

Above are Sam's new socks hanging out with the rosemary. Here's a clearer shot:

I am going to give you no more info on this pair of socks except for the yarn it is made from - each of the pairs of socks I make for him are exactly the same. This one is for our anniversary this Sunday and is made from Moda Vera Noir which I got from Spotlight for $4 (score!). My plan is to give him a pair of socks for his birthday, our anniversary and Christmas, meaning he gets at least three pairs of socks each year. I work much better to a deadline - the Christmas socks are already done!

The Citron in the Zauberball got frogged:

The pattern was exactly everything I hate in a scarf, process-wise. I know it's really popular and all the finished scarves look awesome, but like Cookie A's designs, it is just not for me.

Which means...wait for it...I'm down to nine WIPs! Yay! My aim for getting down to five WIPs by New Year's Day is looking a little bit more possible. Which four will be next to fall?

Blogtober: The End

31st October, and another Blogtober is done. I have to admit, at certain times this month I didn't think I was going to make it. Seriously, a blog post a day for 31 days? That's insanity! But here I am, finished once again.

Epic Blogtober Fails
There were two notable Blogtober fails. No.1, and the most obvious, is that I didn't manage to post every day. I think I got a total of 30 posts done, so very close but not quite there. The second fail was the Blogtober scarf design project. I snapped not one but two Harmony 3.5mm needle tips, which is a sign from the universe that it just isn't meant to be. When I get a chance I'll replace them, but hopefully for the $9 replacement fee I'll get more than two weeks worth of work out of them!

Blogtober successes
I think I do about 60% of my annual blogging in the period between 1-31 October. Obviously it is a time for me and my blog to get reacquainted. A lot of blogging is about being in the habit of sitting down at the computer and writing, so Blogtober is a great opportunity to get back into the swing of it all. Really, I'm not going to ever be a daily blogger, but I did the best I could with the materials on hand and really enjoyed myself. Blogtober gave me the impetus to finish a lot of almost-finished stuff as well as catalogue everything I have on the go (which was scary enough that I haven't started anything new for about two weeks, which is seriously a record for this year). I certainly need a better camera and some lessons in photography, but it's still fun taking lots of photos and sharing what I create. Plus I've discovered some excellent new blogs, which is a big part of the Blogtober fun.

All in all...
..I call this year a success.


Just made it

Six minutes to go on the second last day of Blogtober and I just made it! I am bunkered down at my desk frantically trying to meet a deadline, so just stopping in to say hi. "Hi!" and Wooooo-one day to go!

Hope everyone else is doing something more exciting than I am right now :)


Breadmaking Part II

This morning when I got up the bread dough had doubled in size and had little bubbles on the surface. Of course, as soon as the camera came out Lucy jumped up on the table. She is a picture whore, I tell you.

I then took it inside, put it on a plate, left if for 15 minutes then put it back in the bowl, but this time on top of a cotton tea towel.

I don't know why I had to do that, but the recipe said to so I did. I left it outside for two hours and it went CRAZY and doubled in size (yeast is a miracle. I'm putting it up there with self-saucing puddings). I did not take a photo of this step. That, when combined with my terrible camera and craptastic photographic skills, is why I am not a successful blogger, food or otherwise!

It was at this stage that I realised that the casserole dish I had to cook this bread in was half the required size (What's a quart, anyway? I didn't understand the unit of measurement so I just ignored it - excellent move). Grrr! So I just cooked half of the dough, and ended up with this:

A perfect mini loaf of bread! Not only does it look good, it tastes amaaaaaaaazing, especially when smeared with real butter. Now that I know how to make a perfect mini loaf at home I am going to get so very very fat...and part of me doesn't really care, as long as I get to keep eating the delicious bread. Myyuuuummmmm!

I cooked up the leftover dough and it is just as perfect, proving you can leave the dough sitting around for a bit and it will still be fine. This is good to know, as I do have a habit of just forgetting about things. Now I just need to muster up some self-control and not eat both loaves right now. With real butter...

BLOGTOBERFEST UPDATE: 29 down down, (...wait for it...) TWO TO GO! Yippee!

Bonus bread post

I got inspired and whipped up a batch of no-knead bread to take advantage of the lovely warm weather.

One hour down, and it's already starting to rise - the plastic is covered in condensation and it's a little bit bigger already.

17 hours to go and there will be lovely beautiful crusty delicious fresh bread!

Sunny Thursday

Today was so gorgeous and sunny I had to pack up my work and take it outside:

I love having flexible work that isn't on a computer! Well, some of it is on a computer, but not on days like today.

The bees had the same idea, and I worked in a busy-buzzy-bee locale for most of the afternoon. It made me feel super-productive.

I was not scared of bees because they don't ever seem to notice me. I've never been stung by a bee. They do their thing, I do mine and we coexist happily. Sam, however, is a different story. Bees seem to target him - he has been stung while driving, while sitting and while eating honey (which was super funny. But not to him.)

Look at the lavender reach for the lovely blue sky!