Monday, September 28, 2009

jammy winner

two is today's magic number
I was only joking about rolling a dice to pick the winner, but pleasingly, I got 6 comments which made it very easy. This was the result, so I guess Manuel gets the jam! I would say congratulations but it's really not worth getting too excited about. I'll send you an email to find out where to post this sugary fruity goodness... in the meantime I suggest you stock up on crumpets!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I can't quite believe I've managed to maintain this serialisation of inane witterings for 100 posts, but blogger assures me I have. I believe it's traditional to do some kind of giveaway at this point. Unfortunately I don't really have anything exciting in the way of surplus yarn at the moment, I'm afraid - I've been reduced to buying sock yarn at lidl this week (only in Ireland at the moment I think? I was over visiting the inlaws). I do have a Jam Mountain though. So I am offering a free jar of super duper homemade gooseberry and elderflower yumminess to anyone who reads this!

I will select a winner at random by rolling a huge dice with as many sides as there are comments on this post. It probably won't be that big a dice, given how many readers I have - in fact it might be some sort of physics-defying moebiusdice. I'm prepared to post this anywhere in the world, although again this is rather quixotic as most of my readers live within about a 3 mile radius because I have lovely readers everywhere! I don't even know what this jam tastes like, it might well be minging. It was made this summer from the gooseberry bush on my allotment and scrumped neighbourhood elderflowers. It should keep for a year or so if you keep it in the fridge and remember to use a clean knife each time. From tilting the jar it looks pretty well set but I won't accept responsibility for any chisels you may break trying to get it out. Previous attempts have been quite pleasantly tangy and marmaladey tasting, so hopefully it will taste ok. To have a chance to win this delicious treat just comment below!1!!1 I'll announce the winner next week.


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

of mice and daisies

daisy, daisy, give me your answer do
I have two baby showers this week so there has been smoke coming off my knitting needles. In the nick of time, I have now finished Anouk. This was awesome fun. The great thing about this pattern is that it's endlessly customisable. Looking at the ravelry pages for it, there are so many very very different versions. And it's dead quick to make in aran weight yarn - I can see why it's so popular! So I thought about it for a while, surveyed my crafty stash cupboard and this was my effort.

It's quite a minimalist version of the pattern really. This is for a mate of mine who asked for a theme of mice and / or daisies. I was going to try and incorporate both mice and daisies but in the end decided to go for a very simple approach. Mostly because daisies are easier than mice. But it's tricky because my friend is one of those effortlessly stylish people, who always wears muted colours, dresses in an understated way and looks awesome. She has, like, proper outfits that co-ordinate and stuff. She'll spend ages putting on makeup and when she comes out of the bathroom you can't actually see it but she'll just look really stunning. (Unlike me, who tends to look more like Robert Smith). So I didn't want to give her some sort of tacky bad-acid-flashback-with-clashing-dayglo-colours childrens clothing nightmare - a 'less is more' approach is definitely her style. I hope I haven't gone too far the other way - the brown cotton when fashioned into a dress has a kind of potato-sack look which maybe isn't what every proud parent is striving for.

pinnydaisy detail
So anyway I left off the pocket and replaced the intarsia flower with three little daisies. At the bottom of each stalk, I slipped three stitches as I changed to the brown colour, and cabled each end stitch to the left and right to give a sort of splayed leaves type thing. I was quite pleased with this effect, but unfortunately hadn't thought far beyond this particular row, and after much headscratching I gave up trying to knit the rest of the flower. The stem is duplicate stitched on and the flower is embroidered very simply using white stranded cotton, with a tiny yellow bead in the middle.

The other awesome thing about this pattern is that it should last for a while. It's designed to change from a dress to a tunic as the child grows, and the side tabs have two buttonholes so it will accommodate a fat baby belly. I made the 6 months size but it should last till well over a year.

Apologies for the lack of modelled photos - it always annoys me when a picture of a garment is shown on the hanger - but the child for whom this is intended isn't born yet. I'll maybe sneak round with a camera once the young lady has made her appearance.


Thursday, September 03, 2009

shoe fail, pinny win

where's me mug of cocoa
I know conventional parenting hegemony wisdom dictates that babies should be decked out in pretty pastel hues of blue or pink. But I much prefer to dress tiny people like their outfits were sourced from the comfort-for-old-people section at the back of the sunday supplements. It just amuses me. So I was very pleased with the look of these baby shoes. Rubbishknitterjunior is on the verge of walking, a little too timid to let go of furniture / mother's legs yet, but socks just aren't really enough on their own any more. I thought I could save a few bob in this transitional phase by sewing up these shoes out of some scraps. Only slight issues being that I don't have a printer to print out the pattern pieces, and my child is 1 year old and rather too large of foot for these anyway. In a moment of foolhardiness I thought both problems could be solved by drawing round the foot using a crayon onto some greaseproof paper and sketching the remaining bits freehand, whilst keeping one eye on the web page with the pattern on. It was one of those quick, scrap using type projects that can be accomplished in a couple of naptimes anyway, so I thought it was worth a try. I made the shoes, and then, guttingly, realised that the child had been clenching up his toes when I had drawn round the foot. (Little blighter must have changed his Plantar reflex without giving me any notice.) Those chubby plates of meat just weren't up for being crammed into their nice new cosy corduroy slippers, despite many attempts. Shoe Fail. I might actually have to go to a proper shop. But I know lots of smaller babies of various sizes, and these have been passed on to rubbishknitterjuniorcousin. Rubbishknittercousinjunior. This is getting a bit confusing now, but hopefully you know what I mean.

hms pinafore
Since then I've been enjoying a bit of quiet knitting in the form of Anouk for a friend who is due to give birth in a couple of weeks. She's having a girl, obv. Weirdly, this was in my ravelry queue once before - when I was pregnant and they told me at the 20 week scan I was having a girl. I wasn't. I was a bit gutted at having to unqueue it then, so it's nice to have the opportunity to make it again now. It's for a close friend who knows me well enough to request themes for potential knitted gifts - she asked for mice and/or daisies. It's unusual and quite nice to have such specific requirements, although I haven't quite decided how I'm going to implement them. I think with duplicate stitch and / or embroidery. I am very much enjoying making this so far. It's using up a big cone of some old mystery aran weight cotton than a friend destashed ages ago. I used some of it in my stripy brown baby blanket, which has lasted through many, many machine washes - it's good to be able to feel confident in the longevity of a gift.

Oh and I made another pirate hat. For my nephew's birthday. I couldn't help it. It was the funnest pattern evah. I love the way you can fine tune the fit with the provisional cast on - this was a teeny tiny bit small (large heads run in the family) so I added a few rows of garter stitch to the brim before knitting the lining. He appraised it as Well Good Knitting.