January 29, 2006

DD brought home this recipe for playdough.

It has a great texture, much nicer than shop-bought.

1 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
half cup salt
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup water
2 teaspoons food colouring

Mix ingredients in a pan, to smooth paste. Cook slowly until forms ball. When cool, knead for 3-4 minutes. Will keep for several months in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Not sure about the salt; I'll experiment with lesser amounts and see if it still works.

January 27, 2006

Had a raid on Poundland for the 99 cent challenge.

I've decided I will have to just do pudding as, while there was a good half aisle of food, it all contained chocolate in a greater or lesser form. Things to note about Poundland: they only take cash... :)

January 26, 2006

Zig zags where there shouldn't be...

I'm knitting a gift for my secret pal, using double knitting cotton as I know she likes the look of it.

Not a yarn I usually use and it sure is unforgiving! It becomes crystal clear that I am doing P2tog tbl incorrectly... Hopefully it'll look better once finished, blocked and backed...

January 19, 2006

The living room mantlepiece.

One day, hopefully, it'll have a real fire I can actually light with matches under it...

January 15, 2006

B is for...


Unlike my mum at my age, I don't have ones to match my outfits. But I do love the opportunity to carry around nice fabric.

January 14, 2006

My pathetic attempt to avoid dpns is so far working - I've made the sleeves for Tempting with a 30cm circular needle. It's the knitting equivalent of the monkey bike...

January 08, 2006

Secret Pal 7 Questionnaire

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand?
The main reason I came back to knitting was the quality of the yarn now, although I’m finding this means I have an expensive taste. I don’t mind a mixed fibre, but prefer natural materials in both yarn and fabric. Couldn’t care less who makes it, though.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?
I have done both. Spinning about 10 years ago in a historical recreation, crochet as a child. Neither really float my boat, though.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
At the minute they are sitting loose in a plastic bag on the stairs and regularly get knocked down. Probably need to do something about that…

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I first learnt when I was about 7, but didn’t take it up again until a few months ago. Definitely beginner.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Amazon wishlist on my blog sidebar.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
Lavender. I’m allergic to most hair products.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Any mint sweets and dark chocolate (the two combined are perfect). Last year’s resolution was to only eat fairtrade chocolate. I’ve managed about 50% of the time.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?
Cooking, and I like to sew but don’t do very much. I make vast quantities of stuff out of paper/toilet rolls/paint etc with my daughter.
We’ve recently moved into a Victorian house and have started decorating but it’s a big job and involves complicated stuff like electrics...

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Pandora consistently defines my taste as ‘folk influences’ ‘acoustic’ ‘mild rhythmic syncopation’ ‘melodic voices’ although I always thought I had quite a wide music taste. I like a good pop tune, whether it’s 60s, 00s, skate punk, RnB, dance or girlband. I like folk and simple country most, like a clear voice and good lyrics.
I use iTunes a lot and have an iPod mini.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
My favourite colour is dark red; I like reds, browns, purples, leaf green, a bit of black. The only pastel colour I like is palest pink. I avoid grey because I look odd in it.
I like textures but prefer strong colours to variegation or patterns.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
My family is: husband, a four-year-old daughter and a cat.

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I only wear a hat when it’s really cold (mind you, I lost my hat earlier this winter), scarves I like but they need to be very soft as I’m not fond of things tight around my neck. I wear gloves a lot (and quite fancy the idea of mittens as fingers are almost always too long on shop-bought gloves). Ponchos I just can’t fathom, does anyone look good in them?

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
Cashmerino takes a lot of beating for a combination of ease to knit with and softness.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Tend to avoid anything with the word ‘novelty’ in the name. Pretty good motto for life, there, actually.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?
Planning. I’m like this with most things – the research and anticipation takes me ages.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Things that will actually get used/worn. I like to feel there’s an endpoint to my labour.

17. What are you knitting right now?
Tempting. I’ve faced the fact I’m about a year behind everyone.

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Of course! Doesn’t everyone?

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
I like circular needles when a pattern uses them to avoid finishing, although I do find just going round and round and round a bit boring and lacking in the regular sense of achievement (maybe I need beautiful stitch markers so I can feel I’ve achieved a section?). I will go to extreme lengths to avoid dpns.
Straight needles look much nicer stored in a pretty pot, though.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I love my addi aluminium needles, hate the cheaper ones I bought my DD to learn on (I guess that makes me a needle snob…). Not yet bought any bamboo needles, but suspect I’ll like them.

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

22. How did you learn to knit?
I went to an amazing crafts class for a few years as a child. It was run by a wonderful Dutch woman who seemed to know how to do absolutely everything and was a great teacher.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?
I am a really bad completer-finisher so I’m trying really hard not to start a new project before I finish the last. Doesn’t stop me planning, though (which manages to distract me from actually knitting).

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?
Design-wise, Miffy. I like the strong colours and clean shapes. The stories are too fluffy, though.

25. What is your favorite holiday?
Bonfire night (November 5th). I like that it’s not commercialised and no one sends stupid cards for it. I love getting all dressed up in lots of layers of clothing and going out in the dark with the family. Standing around in a playing field somewhere smiling at all my neighbours in the freezing cold, drinking beer and full of anticipation. And I love the fireworks, almost as much as my four-year-old. Oh and the history's quite interesting too...

26. Is there anything that you collect?
Books, we constantly run out of space for books. I like things that aren’t exactly antiques, what is usually described as vintage: some furniture but mostly little things like glass, jewellery, bags etc.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
None, still discovering the vast online resources out there…

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?
I’d like some of the Debbie Bliss books. If I can ever bring myself to spend that much on yarn, I’d like to knit this cardigan.

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I’d like to try felting (especially as I’m a bit of a bag-a-holic). I don’t know if I can do it in my English front-loading washing machine that I can’t stop and start mid-cycle.

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
I like the idea of sock knitting but… I don’t actually wear socks myself being a dedicated skirt-wearer. And DH manages to wear a hole in socks after a month so I’m not knitting any for him. I might make some fuzzyfeet, though.

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
November 15th

January 04, 2006

A is for...

Apple loaf

half a cup oil
2 small eggs
1 cup sugar
half teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and a half cups plain flour
1 and a half cups diced apple
half teaspoon baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
pinch salt

Pre-heat oven to gas mark 3/325 degrees F. Combine oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla. Add flour slowly, then baking soda and salt, then apples. Bake in loaf tin for 70mins. Cool in tin, then set out. Serve with custard.

There's currently a big hole in the back garden against the west-facing brick wall, waiting for the apple tree. It will be Falstaff (although mine's coming from the local nursery). I love locally grown fruit in season - can't beat that for local.

January 02, 2006

Lavender moisturiser.

Not sure if this will work (E45 cream and lavender oil).

But I need some moisturiser and I've been looking for something to fill this Edwardian dressing table bottle I bought on ebay...

January 01, 2006

I'm spending more time looking at knitting patterns than actually knitting :).

I'm up to about 9 inches on Tempting. I REALLY like cashmerino, so easy but feels so lovely.