Saturday, March 21, 2015

Hot cross buns and the butt-must-be-bigger project

The days have slowly been getting colder. The couches are now all strewn with blankets to snuggle under while watching TV and when she wakes me up at 5am to come under the doona (!!!), Lucy's feet a teeny tiny cute kitty ice blocks. Rather than feel depressed about the inevitable change of the seasons (winter sucks oh so so much), I have decided to approach the cold head-on by using a never-fail strategy: increasing my personal insulation by eating lots of baking.

Step one involves picking a recipe for delicious hot cross buns and then doubling the amount of sugar the recipe suggests to compensate for not putting in any fruit.

I did the usual knead, rise and rise thing but as you can see I was too lazy to pipe on the cross (it's just for show anyway!).

While they were baking, I went outside the house about fifteen times so I could walk back in and smell the delicious spicy aromas.

Look at how lovely and fluffy the insides of the buns are! They are super delicious, especially when toasted and smeared with lots and lots of butter. Winter definitely still sucks (and it would be nice if Lucy would stop waking me up ridiculously early every day) but freshly made hot cross buns definitely make the seasons passing just a little bit easier.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Lazy and cheap edition

Hello my dear neglected blog! How's things been? I am afraid I've been not paying you any attention because: 

1. I've been having fun.

I went up to Queensland to attend a graduation ceremony, which was a different but good experience.

The graduation was at Bond University, which is a tiny university of only about 4,000 students. Each of the universities I've attended has been huge (50,000+), so it was a completely different experience.

The campus was gorgeous - it seemed like a really nice place to study.

2. I've been super busy at work

And of course, being busy at work means lots and lots of stockinette stitch.

It may look sunny in all of these photos but we all know that a) winter follows summer and b) it sometimes takes a while to get a winter scarf knitted, so I have started this year's scarf early. It is inspired by Turnstile but is not Turnstile because as much as I want to support designers I just could not bring myself to pay $6.50 for a pattern that is just a knitted tube grafted together (although the comments on the pattern are all very positive, so maybe I'm just being precious). With this scarf, I have cast on 80 stitches provisionally and am just knitting any colour I feel like for 7.5 inches (it was supposed to be 8 but apparently I am either impatient or can't measure properly). I am using up all of my odds and ends of Patonyle (terrible sock yarn but lovely for scarves) so it's another stashbuster. All in all, a very pleasing way for me to destress after another 10-hour day.

Back soon, I promise!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Disappointment: Krap Karbonz Needlez

Last Christmas I bought myself a set of Karbonz sock needles. They look cool and are lovely and light so I put them to use straightaway on a pair of very awesome coloured Opal socks...

..but after turning the heel, I have to admit to myself that I really really hate them and they were a total waste of money. You see, the needles aren't all "karbon" - the tips are brass.

This means that every time the sock yarn passes over the join, it catches - not much, just enough to be annoying. Also, the carbon and the brass have different textures, so while the socks flow super easily over the tips, like they do with my Knitpro nickel ones, they move more slowly on the shaft, like they would on bamboo or casein. Now I'm stuck with these expensive needles that I will a) never use b) never give to anyone else to use and c) have had too long to return to the shop. Grrr!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Endless Rainbow Scarf

I recently joined the The Summer of the Single Skein KAL. I'm not usually a big KAL person but it really was the incentive I needed to use up the special skeins I've been hoarding for years. I pulled out some Needlefood Merino I've been saving forever and paired it with some neutral Patonyle that's been around for at least six years, thus also contributing to my goal of using up all of 

Through no fault of the pattern, my first attempt looked very not right.

The second one was better...

..and by the end of the night I had a decent amount of the shawl done.

It took a trip to the Korea Rep vs Uzbekistan Asian Cup quarterfinal, where it attracted zero attention from anyone because every single spectator was  completely fixated on the game.

The excitement when a goal was kicked was amazing. Soccer fans are very clearly crazy but it it very fun to be a part of the crowd, especially after a goal was kicked.

I am very tempted to visit a local cricket final this weekend so the scarf has a true representative experience of Australian sport. I think I may be the crazy one for visiting a sport just to take a photo of my knitting! We'll see...

Monday, January 26, 2015

Minibreak: Queenscliff

This weekend I took a day trip down to coast to Queensliff. I've never been there before - it's on the other side of the bay to me, so I've always gone to closer destinations. However, it is a lovely little town and well worth the (long) drive.

These are shots of the mouth of Port Phillip bay. The smell and sound of the sea was remarkable!

Getting a bit artsy with a black and white filter.

We got the ferry from Queenscliff to Sorrento, which was nice but the lift was broken so we were stuck in the (albeit very open) bowels of the ship.

Sorrento was completely spectacular. I had a lovely lunch at The Baths before wandering along the foreshore.

Look at the colour of this sky! 

Unfortunately I had forgotten about poor Lucy's abandonment issues, which are even worse since I got back from the UK and so I have had to deal with this for the last 72 hours.

This post would have been up much sooner if I had had use of my left hand! It was still worth it though - minibreaks are the best.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

In with a whimper not a bang (2015 FOs #1 and #2: Swirl hat and booties)

Can you believe it's the third week of January already? For me, the year so far has felt full but remarkably, notably uneventful. 

For example, with my Christmas money I bought a huge cast-iron Dutch oven:

It's great! I used it to make seven litres of veggie stock (pictured in the saucepan) which I am using in the risotto that I also made it in. It's wonderful and I love it but really, not newsworthy (although, look how healthy and delicious my dinner is? I love eating in summer.)

I got beautiful flowers and breakfast in bed for my birthday:

I made a cute little hat and bootie set on the request of my favourite Dutch grandma (not mine but I wish she was!)

Rav links - Swirl booties and Swirl hat

My favourite thing of the entire year so far is a gift I received for Christmas:
 a 2000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

Lucy absolutely hates it. She does not understand why we are paying so much attention to it rather than to her.

She tried to join in one evening...

but her method of attempting to beat the puzzle into submission proved somewhat ineffective.

See - all very nice, remarkedly uninteresting! I'll see if I can rustle up some actual events for my next post...

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year and 2014 FO #20

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had the kind of New Year's Eve they wanted to have and enjoyed yesterday's public holiday. I managed to stay up until 10 past 12, which is fairly amazing for me, so I am quite chuffed. I was even more chuffed when I reached my FitBit step limit for the first time today, which I choose to take as a sign that this year I will meet all of my set goals and maintain my fitness. 

Of course I will!

New Years Eve was the first chance I've had to wear the final thing I finished last year: my EZ 100th Anniversary Hearts Half-Circle.

It's quite huge and very shawl-like.

But truthfully, the only way I ever wear my shawls is like this...

I think the shadows in this next picture make me look like Jack Skellington but, you know, a lot fatter!

I absolutely loved knitting this shawl. The pattern was clear and easy to follow and lace is always so satisfying when it's blocked out. 

However, there's just not that much call for them in my wardrobe, so I think it will be a while till I make another one. More's the pity :(

Look how happy Lucy was to be part of the photo shoot!

Pattern: EZ 100th Anniversary Hearts Half-circle by Mwaa Knit
Yarn: Paton's Gem 4-ply cotton, approximately 175g
Modifications: None, knit exactly as written