Monday, 27 December 2010


Now with Christmas gifts all given out, cooed at and (mostly) loved, I can finally talk about knitting. I've been a demon knitter. I decided to be really resourceful this year and stash dive, matching projects to existing stash and thus handmaking much of my Christmas gift list. I avoided blogging while I knit furiously and of course, like so many knit sibs, I left it all far too late.

I started early with
Daybreak for the Beau, a beautifully designed graphic shawl pattern by Stephen West of Westknits. This pattern is deliciously simple in idea and so well written up that there really was no problem with the knit. The increase create this wonderful shape and I chose Superwash fingering weight Aspen Moon Arts and 100% Alpaca 4ply by Artesano. I've worked with the Artesano before and it's delicious. I would say the weights weren't perfectly matched but it worked and while I loved the pattern, I was ready to poke my eyes out as I increased past the 350 odd stitches point! The results are SO worth it though. I heart Stephen West, the man is a genius.

I made a Star Crossed Slouchy Beret for Tracy, my US girlfriend who is too far away for my liking. I used Artesano again, but this time in Aran weight. It blocked up beautifully and was really quick to make. Word of caution though, this thing grows so unless you're after the snowboard floppiness I was after, take that into account.

These two gifts were started early, in plenty of
time, sensibly. I did leave my sister and mum's presents a wee bit too last minute. By a wee bit, I mean approximately a month or two too late to be comfortable. I was finishing my Mum's plain vanilla socks on Christmas Eve as I only started my sister's 16 cables hat at the start of the week! Mind you both projects were dreamy yarns: Malabrigo for my sister and Abstract Cat in Sportweight with SILK for my mum. I was practically licking them as I made them.

I would like to say I've learned my lesson and am already planning next year's gifts so I won't have the sore fingers and panic of this year ever again. However, all I can think of now is knitting for me, me, me......... expect another 'quiet' patch on the blog......!!!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Oh Vienna!

Yesterday's post had some of my favourite pics from my recent trip to Vienna. I just loved the thick white snow. I was out in Vienna for the beau's work thing. He invited me to come play at the weekend when all the work had finished and threw in the extra bonus that we'd pretty much wander round the Christmas Markets, drink Gluwhein and eat. I didn't need asking twice.

Can you believe the beau had
never made a snow angel? No really. He announced this when I was scampering around and finding the biggest snow drifts to jump in (I just got new snow boots, this activity is now a lot more fun). He actually looked scared of the idea and lodged some serious reasons not to: I'm in a suit, it's cold, I'll get wet, I don't know how. These lasted him until that evening when I announced the fact to his work colleagues who all gasped in horror. His ass was going down....

There was something brilliantly fun about encouraging the beau, who is a giant of a man, to throw himself down and wave his arms and legs. I got down there too, ofcourse, but was wearing a knitted dress so I definitely came off worse. His work colleague coached him through it, shouting tips because being Canadian, he was a snow angel pro and I was too busy making my own if I'm honest. The beau stands up, looks back and grins widely.
Apparently snow angels are fun, who'd have thought it?

Good job beau. Good job.

Mine's on the left, the massive cavity on the right is proof that he did make a snow angel.

Monday, 20 December 2010


Virgin Snow
Looking out at the vastness of white
Snow had fallen throughout the night
Footprints in the virgin snow
From whom they come I do not know

Winter it has come at last
Can’t even see one blade of grass

Ice it forms on the lake

But not thick enough to take ones weight

Soon the kids will be here

Sledges out and snow ball spheres

Making angels in the
virgin snow
And having fun wherever they go

The day goes and darkness comes

Kids gone home to there mums
The snow falls throughout the night

Erasing all that days snow fights
A clean sheet in the morning light
Ready for that days snow fight

by Jim O'Donnell

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Monster Sandwiches

Ok let's be very clear here, while this is a playful blog, I take my food very seriously. I mean really, why wouldn't you? I've met those people who shrug and say 'Food is just substance to me, I'd take a pill if I could' and quite frankly they scare me.

So here's instructions for weekend sandwiches. Not the weekday ones when you're in a rush and aim cheese at a half buttered peice of bread and pack the avocado to lob in later. No, I mean the indulgent ones where you cook parts and nibble on crisps while you assemble them. I mean MONSTER SANDWICHES.

Instructions for Monster Sandwiches:

1. Using preferred method of ambling (bike or foot), take ipod and camera and pootle down to that bakery that's a little more expensive than you can really afford and buy some sort of rye/ wholegrain/ pumpkin or something or other loaf that smells incredible in your hands as you pootle about for the morning.

2. Repeat exercise at farmer's market: pick something lush and green and something red to go in monster sandwich.

3. Get home and whack some bacon under the grill while you slice beef tomatoes (my red choice), rinse spinach (my green choice) and nibble on kettle chips.

4. Hum contentedly as you pat off excess fat with a paper towel and layer the bacon with tomato, spinach and shavings of parmesan on top of the yummy sliced bread. At this point, congratulate y
ourself on splurging on this over the weekend rather than the trashy mag, it'll make you feel saintly). 5. Dollop some pesto mayo in there for good measure and serve with juice and crisps.
6. Devour.

Here's another pic just for good measure.

Saturday, 11 December 2010


The title is a quote from a little boy I used to look after. If you asked him where the bruise came from on his knee, he'd point at the floor and say "Fl'over". Well I fell off the blog. I apologise. It's not that I haven't thought of it often, jotted ideas in my journal. I've just been, well, busy. Sometimes life happens. I promise.

There will be some more posts soon. In the meantime, satisfy yourself with this pic.
(Instructions for monster sandwich to follow...)

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The traditional post

Because what could possibly be more playful than this time of year? Conkers? Check. Kicking leaves? Check. Halloween costumes? Check. Pumpkin carving? Check.

The best bit about all of this is that many activities are linked and you can spend whole weekends being playful. This weekend we went about bought autumnal goodness at the great greengrocers I am growing to love. Then we carved our pumpkin and then? Harvested the seeds to roast ( you can see them in the picture below) and made a truly scrummy pumpki
n soup recipe which will follow as soon as I can console myself that I've eaten it all up

Next stop?

Fireworks- my favourite!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Slam dunk the funk

I did it. Yes. Yes I did.

I beat the funk

Don't believe me? How's this for proof?I did that. I made a Haruni all by myself. Ok, that's technically a lie as I needed someone to save me when I ran out of Wollmeise in Spice Market, someone to cheer me on when I was crying because I couldn't fix the broken row (thanks to the many shoulders I cried on that week) and a lovely knit buddy to help me block it when I was frightened I would die from a pin overdose death.

I love it, so, so, much.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Knit??? KNIT???? Oh yes, I did!

Atlast the knitting funk is over. I feel I should skip and dance for sheer joy- I have finished projects, new yarn and cast ons! Yes. Yes. I. Do.

In the finished pile we have a gift knit.... that I can't reveal but I did finish something super quick I swear! To make it I used
Artesano Aran. This yarn has some pretty colours and once you get working with it, is decidedly less itchy than it first appears. I just have this aversion to alpaca when I first touch it. I get all itchy and sneezy. So this isn't horrendous but I probably won't choose it again.

I finished the Kimono Socks. If anyone knows the trick for photographing socks, please let me know. I always have a temper tantrum each time.

Anyway, these are in Brown Sheep's Sport weight sock yarn which I really enjoyed working with. I was a little worried about the wool, as I can be quite allergic but these are yummy. So much so I may actually bag them for Christmas gifts if I can part with them....

The Haruni just needs casting off and I'm awaiting a scrap from a lovely Raveller who took pity on me when I whimpered that I may not have enough for the cast off. I'm so excited about this shawl, I can't wait to get it finished.

And in other news, I got this.

You may drool now.


Friday, 22 October 2010

Things I've been mulling over

So I've not blogged for a while but I have been mentally blogging- does anyone else do that?

I thought I'd share some random thoughts to keep things ticking over. I am being VERY playful at the moment but haven't uploaded any pics off my camera until then. Forgive me, and accept this humble offering in the meantime.

1. Dye your hair
It's a season change and I read somewhere that in their entire lives, women average 3 hair colours. So if we count the colour we're born with and grey? That's one dye job. Hello? Life's too short. Play with your palette.

For the record I just went purple!

2. Find a companion who enjoys you playing.
This doesn't have to be romantic (although this thought struck me when my beau was watching me knit) but find someone who just let's you be. All our friends, loved ones and partners should be like this but often we don't have time to be playful. Having someone who actively encourages you is very, very important.

3. Play fancy dress.
In the last month or two I've built a robot costume at a disco, dressed as a bedouin tribes woman and tried on cocktail dresses just for funsies with friends. I regret the day I lost my fairy wings somewhere in a move once; doing the washing up in wings and marigolds is so much fun. Next month I'm vintage shopping and hosting a Gaga party. Dressing up rocks!

4. Make time for your Mum
She makes the best scones. Well, mine does. Whoever is the best cook in your life- make time for them. Trust me on this.

And now for the best ponder?

5. Why do you always get a sudden hankering for chocolate when you don't have any OR any change in your wallet to get some?

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Saturday, 25 September 2010

You'd invite me..... right?

I was walking back from a meet up with my knit girls today, back across the harbour and docks, looking up a stunning sunset. I was thinking I was satifisfied with my luck in life when I sniffed.... what was THAT???? I smell barbeque food????

The source of the smell was from a party on the dock for the houseboats that moor opposite my house. I've always loved to look out on them, admire their pretty flowers and pet their pooches when they brave crossing across to our side. Until today that is.

I feel left out! They had gazebos, food and beers. They were all looking so rustic in their scarves and stripy tops. I MUST make friends with them before the next party. My housemate informs me that this is a fairly regular event and no, he has never befriended them so we can't crash today (there may be reasons for this but in the interests of a harmonious household I won't comment on my housemate's social calender).

I am now working out how to infiltrate them. Given my lack of boat, this could prove tricky I'm guessing.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Update on the knitting funk

I've had the strangest few weeks with knitting. First, there was the knitting funk- I just couldn't get anything done. I was working on a gift that I wasn't enjoying- a recycled linen basket liner. The giftee was so sweet, very eco warrior so I enjoyed sourcing just the right materials for her practical home gift. I can honestly say, I cannot work with linen. I am a tight knitter and it nearly broke my wrists, I just didn't enjoy knitting for the first time ever.

So I went out and played, moved, socialised and generally left knitting to one side. Then I noticed I was craving makes: listening to podcasts, buying yarn (oops) and daydreaming about Autumn snuggles. Slowly but surely, knitting has crept back in and now all I want to do is knit. I've been sick too so I can't bring myself to even think about leaving the house when I could stay in and knit on the balcony.

Despite this renewed passion, I'm making limited progress. I seem to have forgotten how to knit! My sock, the lovely
Kimono Sock, (Knitscene, Fall 2008) has been an interesting project. It should be simple and yet I've ripped out twice and then at the weekend realised I had started knitting the gusset inside out?!? It was something I did when I very first learned to knit- knit from the back needles rather than the front. So there's a lot of tinking going on there. Luckily though I'm making it in Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Superwash which is sport so it's knitting up a lot faster in my stupidly tight gauge.

Then there's the gorgeous
Haruni in the magical Wollmeise sockenwolle 80/20 in Spice Market. It is simply stunning. I was not at all convinced by the hype around WM when I first cast on; it felt like cotton. I mean, with all that hype I was expecting little cherubs to run round and dance as I knit with it. Yet as I worked the fabric further, I understood. The stitch definition is as incredible as the colours and the fabric just softens and softens the more you work with it. I've gone for a solid body and lace edge for this Haruni as I'm not really a lacy lace girl. Ofcourse, due to the funk and being feverish from flu I've basically knit the same 4 rows 6 times over. I am sure glad for life lines!

More news on casting off and on soon hopefully!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Mission: 101 in 1001

My friend, Amber (already mentioned here, love her) has set this up. I'm curious. Very curious. When I'm sat in bed really sick it all seems pretty cool. I won't write it yet though.

Today is full of daydreams. Daydreams and feverish sleep. I just talked to my shoe

Friday, 17 September 2010

A Nina Simone Morning

Good morning all. I'm sat in a sun spot of the new house, coffee and toasted bacon and egg sarnies with Nina telling me I know how she feels. Yes I do Nina: Gooooood, right?

So why is this morning so much better than many good mornings I've had recently? Well first of all Autumn has truly hit. This morning is cold, bed socks cold but crisp sunshine makes it ok. As does the excitement of a new knitting season and great photography weather. Then there is the delicious fact that I was woken this morning by the postman bringing a package from a great new friend, Karen. Karen is a stunning knitter, a very talented and playful lady. We got chatting on Ravelry, bonding over knits and yarns and then we knew we just had to start swapping. So this morning I played with my Haruni shawl, drank coffee out of the yummy mug she sent me while wearing the expertly knit hat from the package. What a great start.

See, I've had lots of generosity lately and this post is to celebrate the joy opf playful friends. First there was Jess, a real doll. Jess is the cutest little goth, she does dark in the sweetest way and loves life with beautiful cynicism. Jess sent me a necklace. The necklace is draped over a skein of September yarn, dyed by PJ, my long lost twin. I adored PJ from the minute we struck up a friendship. The feeling is wholeheartedly returned and the only sadness is her living in the US- why so far away? Even better, Amber sent me the skein as part of a swap package. Amber is another long lost relative I'm sure of it: how else can you explain our mutual love of all things quirky and rebellious? She is a truly hilarious lady and I feel that if ever PJ, Amber and I were in the same room, the world would combust. Really.

These girls are one of the many reasons I am beaming this morning. I am very lucky to know them. Each brings me so much happiness, not just because of yarn and pressies but I genuinely enjoy every time I hear from them. Each lady has a great story and I can't wait to hear from them again.
Finally, my sister found me this. Any ideas?

Yup. She found a wee rock, that looks like her Pacman owls I mentioned in this blog post. Isn't she clever? So not only am I blessed with friends but also a kickass sister who I have been lucky enough to watch grow into a beautiful, clever and kind woman who I know is destined for a great life. I feel pangs just thinking about how many more times I get to be proud of her. But don't tell her..... she'll tease me for it. As sisters do.

Wow, there's a lotta love for sisterhood in this here post today huh? Ah well. Play on ladies (and gents ofcourse)!

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Weekends are for giving

This morning I awoke content and feline- I’ve moved and it’s been a massive change. I have Einaudi playing and from my snuggle spot I can see the leaves turning, heralding the start of a new knitting season. I’ll wax lyrical about the houseboats near my house and rant about the crazy suits I have to navigate past in another entry but today, my mind is turning to lunch.

Having moved, I have found myself catching up with friends, dotting here and there and eating out a lot. Plus there’s a new man cub and that always means plenty of eating out (there may be more on that later but let’s not jinx it). So I find myself this morning daydreaming of my favourite lunches and longing for indulgent autumnal treats of comfort food eaten under a light blanket with hand knit socks keeping my toes warm. I thought I’d share one of my favourites.

Twice Baked Tatties


Baking potatoes(King Edwards or Rooster are my favs)

Bacon pre-grilled and cut into chunks

Strong cheddar or parmesan grated. Go by preference here, I load it on so two handfuls suits me.

Cream cheese (again I like to be decadent so I get the kind with garlic and herbs thrown in the mix)

To make:

1. Roast your potatoes on a medium heat (180⁰/ gas mark 4) for an hour and a half approx. I like to scrub mine with a brush to make the skin a bit ‘fluffier’ so it crisps and rub in a little sea salt to make the skin tough but again, go with preference.

2. In the mean time get a large bowl and throw in your cream cheese (I’m not giving amounts, assume gluttony), bacon and a little of the grated cheese for funnsies.

3. Check your potatoes are soft all the way through by inserting a knife through the centre. There should be no resistance other than a crispy skin.

4. Remove from oven and leave till they are as cool as you can handle ( assume I’m impatient and burn my hands a lot). Cut them in half and using a spoon, scoop out the insides into the bowl with the bacon and yummy stuff until you are left with ‘shells’.

5. Mix, mash and generally enjoy making a feast of a mix that is then spooned back into the shells. Load up with your grated cheese and pop back in the oven for about 30 minutes or so.

I substitute anything to this formula. If I’m having a meat free day, gorgonzola and spinach is divine. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Tweet Tweet

So my recommendation for today has to be Eliza Doolittle. In particular, the gorgeousness that is Pack Up. Yes, we're bored of singers who use accents to sell their records by now but with a hook like this? Bliss. This is not another Winehouse clone and thank god, it's not another angry cockney. It's a girl, singing about life in a way that just makes you listen and think of great soul songs that remind you of summer.

Today I listened to the rest of the album and found myself feeling sickly sweet on the train platform and having to have a little boogie to myself. Something about this album makes you feel light as a feather and ready to dance on a platform where commuters look at you with fear and slight envy.

I say envy because I would be jealous if I was stood without my ipod while a girl kicks her feet and sings 'tweet tweet, tweet, tweet' while smiling to herself.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

One True Love

Meet Charlie.

Charlie belongs to my paren
ts and I belong to Charlie. He is my One.True.Love. Charlie knows a good time when he sees it and always knows just when I am in the mood to scratch his ears and cuddle him. He's a very clever dog in this way. These pictures are of the mad thing gleefully playing on our outing to West Wittering beach. It was gorgeously sunny and ferociously windy- which is just how I like it. Each time I squatted to pick up shells, skim stones or take a pic, Charlie saw this as great fun and thought I was poised to play. Hence lots of pictures of him dashing and prancing and generally looking very puppylike despite approaching old age. Then he found a tennis ball.

Life must be great for Charlie creatures.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Knitting Funk

I'm not quite sure how, but just as I find myself with time off, I've hit a knitting funk. I'm determined this week I will knit and finish something to get some mojo back. I mean it's not like I haven't been trying..... I did Knitnation and everything.

I never did report on that one did I? Well, I had so much fun meeting the yarn makers. I am not a class taker. I think I shall become one but having only been knitting just over a year, I'm learning enough right now from playing that I don't feel a need to go to classes. I'm sure once I launch into the terrifying world of steeking etc. I'll give it a whirl but for this girl, the marketplace was enough. Not that I was quite as thrilled as the Wollmeise groupies. God lord, watching them run to snatch up colours that were replenished just an hour later was quite alarming. I avoided the rush and pootled along later. Apparently, the Wollmeise had been preparing for 6 months to be super sure no one would be disappointed.

I mean, as if we could be with colours like this?

Then there was the lovely
Babylonglegs. Her yarns are dreamy, brilliantly priced and she herself is lovely. I was most amused that midtransaction she suddenly had 'a moment' and could only be rescued with tea with 4 spoons of sugar. That's the kind of emergency I approve of.

Then there was also
Kratfy Koala- a riot of colour and fun and the subtle but stunningly dyed Juno Fibre Arts. I had the chance to chat to Ysolda who looks as sweet in real life as in her blog. She is so, so lovely. I chatted happily till it occured to me that I was chatting to Y.S.O.L.D.A when someone asked for her autograph....!!! Then I got all stuttery and needed to go away and blush quietly.

All in all, the marketplace was cute and what I enjoyed more than the yarngasm was meeting the lovely yarnies. It makes their yarn even more special- it's made with love and passion for the craft. This yarn shall not remain stash for long, it must be just what I need to cure my knitting funk, surely?

Unfortunately I've done that thing I hate- collected and relegated stunning yarn to stash. Bah! The reason is I'm such a monogomous knitter. I generally have one project for home: something that either can't be easily transported or takes a bit more concentration than a bus would afford me. Then I have a second: a transporter for all occacsions. Both of my projects are currently boring me though. I have a supersecret present I'm making that involves recycled linen that is hurting my hands and a delicious Wollmeise shawl that is now at the kind of stitch count that makes me a little twitchy each time I get to the last 5 stitches and check how many I should have left. (If It's 4, expect lots of frustrated tinking and muttering). The temptation is to flee them both and fall into the warm embrace of some new and exotic fibre but I am a glutton for punishment and I'm determined to finish SOMETHING soon!
This could be a long month....... I'll report back is something gets finished.... or started?

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Yawn...... and stretch

Breakfast is the best way to start a day. Breakfast can be anything: hot warm, quick, slow, indulgent and best of all? Taken to bed.

The best way to start a playful day is to do the following: in your zombie like state, start the coffee before going back to bed for a minute or two so you’re greeted by the waft of caffeine goodness. Boot up your laptop and cruise other blogs, emails, banter, flickr, last night’s pics. Just wait a while. Sipping the coffee you then pad your slippered feet to conjure up something simple and good (I opted for diary free cheese and marmite on toast and buttered potato farls this morning). Pad back to laptop, knitting bag and the afore mentioned vat of coffee and cruise here until the day has to be started in earnest.

Have a nice day everyone.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

I shall call him Arty!

I meant to blog about Knitnation today, I did, I promise. However, I found this little fellow in the house that I am looking after in London and couldn't stop giggling. I mean, house sitting is all about sneak peeks behind the scene but this has to be my favourite moment- opening the kitchen cupboard to rummage for the right sized salad bowl and finding this little chap nodding at me.

I had to share!

Saturday, 31 July 2010

You get what you need

Today's title is, of course, in honour of the Stones who are currently blasting at me while I feel decadent and indulgent. You see, I awoke to rain today and grinned as I stretched in bed. This should be sad: rain, in Summer. Oh no reader, this day has been much needed after sticky hotsummer days that remind you of the fun you should be out there enjoying. Plus it meant I didn't have to water the garden- added bonus!

So today is about staying in, wearing new comfy pyjamas and doing First, I made a yarn pile from all the yarn I got at KnitNation yesterday (more on that later) and petted it. Sadly, most of this is destined for friends too far away for my liking but it's fun to play with all the same. Then I did what any self respecting layabout would do on such a rainy day: I boiled the kettle, found my book, something yummy and lost 2 hours........

The noise I'm making right now isn't far off purring.