Knitting

Dec. 5th, 2014 04:08 pm
selenay: (Default)
I'm a day late (d'oh!) but I get there in the end :-) For the December talking meme (which still has lots of empty slots later in the month here, [personal profile] paranoidangel asked me to talk about knitting.

Which has been sadly neglected over the last few months, but maybe talking about it will finally spur me to finish my damn socks.

I started knitting over ten years ago, to give myself something to do with my hands of an evening. My mum taught me and started me on easy squares using knit and purl to pattern them, which eventually turned into my enourmous knitted blanket. And then I made a second patchwork blanket. And one for my sister.

(I've got such an itch to make another blanket, actually. Something nice and mindless could be good for me.)

After that, I graduated into learning to make a baby cardigan when a friend was pregnant. From there, I learned to knit in the round so I could make myself a pair of fingerless mittens because my office was cold. Knitting in the round led to sock knitting, which is surprisingly satisfying. Pretty warm socks for horrible Canadian winters! My preference for making things with actual practical use led to cardigans and hats, as well.

I've made the odd lacey shawl, but I've got no patience for the fiddly stuff. Knitting, for me, started out as a way to occupy my hands while watching TV and do something productive at the same time. It's still primarily about that for me, although I do like my productivity to be pretty. My skin is very sensitive to wool, which is why any clothing-type knitting is always done in merino. Not cheap, but at least what I make is wearable.

(Blankets don't need to be wearable, but I like them to be easy to manage and hard-wearing, so they're usually a wool-acrylic blend. Much cheaper.)

I enjoy knitting because it produces something at the end that I can use. I prefer knitting with fine yarns--fingering or DK weight--because the fabric is more comfortable for me to wear. Blankets, again, are the unwearable exception where I use a heavier yarn. My mother loves making things with hugely complicated cable patterns and so forth. She says that she gets bored otherwise.

I like making things that are fairly simple, because watching TV is still the only time I knit, and I want to pay attention to the show. If I'm trying to read a long pattern, my concentration for both knitting and TV is shot to hell. So, I stick to simple things.

Both of the blankets I've made for myself see heavy use all through the year, even all these years later. And I catch my sister snuggling under hers when we're Skyping. So far, my blankets have been my most used finished items.

I should dig out those socks tonight. And maybe look at what I've got around for another blanket.

If I can just get the cats to stop chewing my circular needs and pretty yarn for long enough...
selenay: (canon slash)
Happy holiday weekend, whichever side of the border you're on!

I had a lovely Canada Day with my mum, aunt and cousins. There was lobster and there was steak and there was strawberry shortcake, so I totally overate and felt stuffed for the entire weekend. So good, though. I now know that prime rib is the only suitable steak for BBQ-ing. Cousin B slapped the things right on the grill, no marinading or sauce, and they were possibly the tastiest, tenderest pieces of beef that I've ever eaten. It was a lovely day.

Mum and I spent part of Saturday doing various errands, including buying trail shoes. My old, beloved grey trail shoes/trainers/whatever have served me well for many years but the soles had become incredibly thin and have recently developed some very large holes.

New trail shoes are so incredibly comfortable. Seriously, I am blown away by how good they are to walk in and it's persuaded me that these things may need replacing more often than every eight years. Mum and I did a short (sub-3km) walk yesterday and I felt like I could have kept going forever, rather than feeling like my ankles and knees were able to die as they have on other walks lately. So, yay new shoes!

Then we spent the rest of Saturday watching the Tour de France and the women's final at Wimbledon. Yesterday, after walking and doing the weekly family Skype chat, we continued the theme with Tour de France and the men's Wimbledon final. May I say, it was a very fine weekend of sport. High quality performances all over the place and, for once, some results that made me happy because I liked the guys who did well.

Cut for knitting chatter )

Cut for food thoughts aka Sel is sliding back into obsession )

On the book front, June was a slow month due to a combination of constant sleeping, a book rut and reading fanfic on my Kindle instead of actual books. So although I've read a lot (fanfic novels, yum), I only actually read 5 books. D'oh!

This month, I am hopeful that I may get a bit more progress on the book stack despite all the sport that needs to be watched. Three new books walked into the house over the last couple of weeks and I was so excited about them, I had to eeny meeny miny to pick the first one to be read (Heartless, Gail Carriger) on Saturday. I've also got several others that I want for my Kindle that would get me excited to read, as well. So, you know, there may be some good reading this month even though I suspect there will still be a wee bit of fanfic consumed as well.

One day, I want to work out how to add an extra three hours to every day without needing to use any of that extra time to sleep.
selenay: (Default)
This weekend I have been knitting Daleks and TARDISes. It's been so much fun :-)

One of the girls in my knitting group is expecting twins in a few weeks and, as is traditional in my group, we are putting together blankets for the babies. This involves everyone contributing a patch or two and one or two brave souls sewing everything together. L is one of the people that I converted to the Doctor Who love last year so it seemed highly appropriate that my contribution would be patches featuring a Dalek and a TARDIS.

They were so much fun. Seriously, I think that I could happily knit a dozen of the things. Perhaps I need to think about knitting my own Doctor Who blanket, featuring Daleks, Cybermen, DW logos and TARDISes. Hmmm...

Cut for length. And possibly wibble )

That is how I had a huge, silent, existential melt-down in the middle of the grocery store.

The end result is that I decided that worrying about whether my eating habits are contributing to the UC is just making me crazy. So I need to stop doing that. My solution? A weekend of cooking and baking!

On Saturday, I made shepherd's pies. One was for my dinner (om nom nom) and three went into the freezer for easy meals on busy nights.

I also baked a Mexican chocolate torte, which includes pecan nuts and cayenne pepper and thus is something I should probably avoid. Pah! Before my diagnosis, there were no specific trigger foods that made me feel worse/better. Why am I therefore limiting my diet so much now that I have a diagnosis? Particularly when my specialist said that there's nothing dietarily that will be affecting me? I think that I've spent too much time on IBD/UC forums, trying to figure this thing out, and everyone on those forums is diet and food elimination crazy.

So, Mexican chocolate torte. And because the torte is at its best a day or two after baking, I bought myself a little lime pie in chocolate pastry crust thingy at the grocery store for my Saturday dessert. Oh, so good.

For Sunday, I had spotted some new Yukon gold potatoes at the store and some salmon. Well, the new potatoes were just aching to be roasted with garlic, rosemary and olive oil and the salmon was crying out for dill and lemon so that was my Sunday supper, with some lovely steamed veg. For the first time in my memory, the potatoes were the best part of the meal. They were so incredibly amazing that I'm determined to repeat them next weekend. Wow, so good.

And then, with my evening cup of tea, I got to finally sample my torte. Om nom nom.

So, new page. New leaf. No more crazy-making with the UC. I am eating whatever the hell I want and enjoying it because all I've done over the last few weeks is make myself insane.

Best bit? I've been symptom free since Friday. So all the things that I ate over the weekend that should have hurt me...didn't. Take that, UC!
selenay: (bitchy trampoline)
It has been at least a week since anyone stuck me with a needle so today was blood work day. Given the choice between waiting for two and a half hours and getting it done for free (resulting in more time off work) or paying $13 and getting it done in 5 minutes before work, I opted for the one that is compatible with continued employment. Trying not to feel guilty about encouraging the privatisation of critical services like this.

In non medical stuff...

On Friday, I cast on for a new knitting project. It's a vintage waistcoat pattern, in sports weight, and I bought some beautiful Blue Moon Fibre Arts Woobu (merino and bamboo) yarn for it. The required gauge has resulted in me knitting it on 2.25mm and 2.5mm needles (i.e. very tiny needles) but I'm about four inches into the back and I love it. The stich pattern is 1x1 rib all over, with a knit row on each 10th row, and the resulting texture combined with the yarn is gorgeous and just right for the vintage-ness of this pattern.

It could take a while, but I'm really excited about it :-)

Trying to organize a pizza party, cut for length )

Tonight is yoga night. Tomorrow is knit night. Kate really resents me being out so often even though she doesn't cuddle much in the evening :-) She's a demanding little kitty. Annie misses the snuggles and makes up for it by demanding Even Moar Snuggles!OMG when I'm around. When I got home from work yesterday, Annie acted like she hadn't been cuddled since forever (despite cuddling for quite a while in the morning) and put on quite the "need snuggles now!" display. My cats, they are crazy.
selenay: (blackberry moment)
Cut for back pain and major storm whining )

In less depressing news...

The sweater that I have been working on since late September is finished. Woo! It would have been finished sooner, except I went through several bouts of barely touching the needles for days on end. I've been going through periods of feeling exhausted and ick and sometimes, I don't even have the energy for knitting. The horrors.

It's a design that I fell in love with last year when I saw someone else's version (in a denim blue) and I decided to do my own in deep, chocolate brown. I wanted a sweater that would be super comfortable but smart enough to wear to work or out shopping. As most fashion stores are still obssessed with using fibres that I can't wear in everything (OMG, enough with the angora, alpaca and lambswool!), it became rather important to finish because I just don't have many warm sweaters that don't drive me insane with itching.

It's turned out beautifully. I was a little concerned about whether it would fit (I vacilated between thinking it was too small and too big), but the fit is perfect. Loose enough to wear a t-shirt under, tight enough not to make me look fat or feel frumpy. I love the style, adore the sleeves and the yarn (Rowan Handknit Cotton) feels gorgeous. There will be photos!

My preference is to knit sweaters in pieces and seam, although I won't reject a pattern completely if it's seamless. The seams give structure to a sweater, enabling it to retain its shape better with time and wear. The down side to that is that you don't know whether it will fit until the seaming is done and you can try it. Most seamless sweaters can be tried as you go, to make sure that everything is working properly. That means there is always that fear lurking in your mind about whether this is the sweater where, despite having gauge and doube-checking all the instructions, it's all going to go wrong and the thing either won't go over your shoulders or ends up looking like a tent.

This obviously wasn't that sweater. It's bound to happen to me one day, but I've escaped that fate again.

I finished the sweater last night, did the ritual adding it to my shelves for regular wear (love that moment)...and immediately cast on for something new.

I'm making a cardigan. It's stripey. In Rowan Cashsoft DK. I haven't met a Cashsoft that I didn't love. That family may be my favourite yarns ever. The deep magenta that I bought in the John Lewis sale will be paired with a deep grey, with the pink dominant, and somehow the magenta doesn't look quite as shocking!pink as I remembered it. In fact, I'm rather liking it...
selenay: (bitchy trampoline)
Between a stomach bug and the death of a friend at church, last week totally sucked so I am hoping that this week is a bit better. After all, it can't be much worse!

Of course, this morning I woke up with a trapped nerve in my neck (again!) so it's not looking promising. I will not despair! I will believe that this week is going to be awesome!

I have very little planned for this week. There is Yuletide to sign up for and Thursday will bring knit night, but otherwise I shall be largely mooching around and doing regular stuff. I'll be trying for plenty of sleep this week so that I'm not completely exhausted when I get to the weekend. Plus I shall be getting back into the exercise habit. I made a good start last week and was then felled by the stomach bug and an asthma flare. Argh. Sometimes having asthma sucks because it does unexpected things and getting out for a nice brisk walk doesn't go well when walking across the room leaves you breathless.

Good thing I stocked up on inhalers. It looks like I'm going to be taking my preventer regularly rather than just when I've got a virus. Blergh. I know, I should probably be taking it all the time, but for the last ten years I have literally only had asthma issues when I have a cold and I hate taking meds that I don't need 99% of the time.

In slightly more interesting news, I am one and a quarter sleeves away from a new sweater. It's coming out really well and should hopefully be one of those great sweaters that's suitable for most occasions, as easy to wear to work paired with smart trousers as it is to lounge around in paired with jeans.

The yarn is a bit of a departure for me, being both not-purple and cotton. It's a rather lovely shade of brown that everyone keeps telling me looks fab with my hair and I'm looking forward to having a sweater that will go with just about anything. It's Rowan Handknit Cotton, a DK weight pure cotton yarn that is actually really lovely to knit with and is producing a very soft fabric. A lot of cotton is unpleasant to knit with because it has no elasticity or spring and can be rather harsh on the hands. I've also found that it can be very splitty to work with, meaning that you can't do anything else while knitting because you constantly have to watch your needles. This stuff is tightly plied, so it's not splitty, and although it isn't springy like wool, it doesn't feel harsh or stiff when I'm working with it.

Also, it's a machine washable yarn and the ball band says that it can be tumble dried. I'll probably dry it flat and then fluff it in the dryer because cotton can get quite stiff and scratchy when it's washed. But it is going to be a garment that's very easy to care for, which is what one needs sometimes. Special snowflake sweaters may look beautiful, but how often do you wear something if you know that cleaning it will be a bitch?
selenay: (angels have the phone box)
Right, I promise that today there will be no mention of Doctor Who outside of this sentence. Let's see how I do, shall we?

I had a bit of a knitting crisis at the weekend. For the last couple of weeks I've been knitting some socks (which I love, BTW, and really need to photograph) but on Saturday I finished them and needed a new project. A few months ago I bought some light fingering yarn with vague plans to make a sweater vest. The problem is that there are no patterns out there for a vest in yarn this fine (apparently everyone uses worsted or heavier) and I've realised that the major reason that I don't already own a vest is because I don't wear them.
Cut for knitting discussion and slight flailing )

At the same time that I was having a knitting crisis, a friend of mine had been talking to a local teacher about a sweater design course. I'd already planned to sign up, but the crisis has given me an idea for what my project will be. If the design that I want isn't out there, then I'm going to make my own pattern, damn it!

In other news, I am loving the Wii Fit Plus.

Cut for length )
selenay: (kickass woman)
BossBoss has decided that we can all goof off for a couple of hours tomorrow
and go to the cinema. Isn't he a nice boss? It will be partially over our
lunch hour (he's giving us the rest of the time and we don't have to make
anything up) so I'm seriously contemplating trying a pretzel as my movie
snack. Never had one before but everyone keeps assuring me that I'll love
them. My BossBoss is really quite lovely.

I haven't talked about knitting here for a while. No, I have no idea why
because I've been doing quite a bit and 2010 already has three finished
objects to its credit.

January was the cowl-necked sweater that I've already blogged. I really love
it and wear it whenever I can get away with the "hey, didn't you wear that
the other day?" thing.

When that was finished, I cast on for some socks that I'd be able to put
aside during the Olympics. Those became my socks of hatred, sadly. The
pattern is good, the yarn is soft and will be lovely on my feet. I just
hated the colours. It was a relief to put them aside an concentrate on madly
knitting an entire sweater (short-sleeved, but still...) during the
Olympics.

I finished with a couple of hours to spare and I'm really pleased with it.
Just need to source some good vintage buttons for the back closure. The
pattern is from a vintage book, originally printed in the '30s and really
lovely. Now I want to find a high-waisted pencil skirt to wear with it :-)
Or possibly some 30s/40s style wide-legged tweedy trousers would also look
amazing.

With the Olympics over, it was back to the socks of hatred. I could tell
that I wasn't loving them because I'd find any excuse not to knit them.
There were entire evenings when I was catching with TV - usually a prime
knitting time - with the socks sitting beside me untouched and unloved.
Using the cats as an excuse for why I wasn't knitting them grew old very
fast.

This past weekend I got fed up and decided to get them gone. I was nearly at
the heel of the second one on Thursday, barely touched my knitting on
Saturday, and still managed to get within a couple of rounds of finishing at
the curling on Sunday. They finally got finished, bound-off and ends woven
in yesterday lunch time. I feel so much happier about knitting now that I
don't have to work on them! I'll try to get some photos up shortly so that
everyone else can judge how hideous they are.

To celebrate, I decided to cast on a pattern that I've been wanting to do
for ages. It's called Spring Forward and they looking like fun, happy,
spring-ish socks. The weather has been warm and sunny for the last few days
and it feels like spring has started, so these socks are very appropriate!
I'm using the Sea Wool that I bought last September and already loving it so
much more than the socks of hatred. It's a variegated yarn with pinks,
yellows, greens and greys in soft pastels so it's rather a cheerful yarn.
Seal Wool is 70% merino, 30% seacell and it's got a fabulous sheen to it.
I'm already excited about what they'll look liked when the lace section
starts.
selenay: (nobody here)
This week was one of those weeks where lots of niggly things went wrong so that by Friday I was saying "it will be a good day today even if I have to kill everyone to make it happen!". There was no one big thing, just lots of things every day and somehow that's more annoying than the weeks where one big thing goes wrong.

Anyway, Friday was a much better day and in the evening my knit group held a kick-off party for the Winter Olympics. In part, that's because it's the Vancouver Olympics and we're being good Canadians. It's also because we're taking part in a knitting challenge on Ravelry and cast-on was the opening ceremonies :-)

My challenge is the Sweater Slalom - I'm going to try to knit a short-sleeved sweater during the course of the Games. I've decided to get the sleeves over first, knitting both at the same time, and hit a slight hitch yesterday when I didn't read the pattern correctly. That lost me a couple of hours :-( Hopefully I'll get the sleeves done tomorrow, though. It's raglan, so the body will be slightly quicker than my usual set-in sleeves and at least the sleeves are getting me familiar with the rib-design before I start the big bits.

The party broke up very, very late so I didn't get to bed until 2am. Then I over slept badly yesterday - didn't wake up until noon! It's been two years since I slept that late. I spent the whole day with a sore, tight neck and a nasty headache which turned into an intense, migraine-ish headache yesterday evening. Yuck. I don't think it helped my pattern reading. I took some migraine meds and slept with a cracked open window, which seems to have done the trick. It's amazing how good you feel when a nasty headache finally lifts...

I watched the England Six Nations game at the pub this morning. I'm not sure that I have anything useful to say about it. Wow, we played badly. Good thing Italy played really badly.

There was a reason why I started a new paragraph, but I can't remember what it was. Looks like this is a good time to sign off!
selenay: (ace and the doctor (fenric))
A few things to catch up on and think about:

Thing the first - new knitting project! )

Thing the second - another knitting project! )

Thing the third - my cooking mojo is back! )

Thing the fourth - no travelling this year, how about a bedroom reorg? )

There is no thing the fifth, because this post has turned into an essay :-)
selenay: (Christmas Doctor Who 4 (snow))
Eeep! It's snowing! It's probably going to get washed away by morning, but we're looking pretty nasty out there right now. Also, teh Interwebz ate my LJ comments, so I got a bit of a surprise when I looked at my message box a couple of minutes ago. Anyway...

It is a little over two weeks until Christmas, and the yarn I ordered for making a couple of presents has only just arrived. Good thing I chose quite small projects, but I may still be working hard to finish on time. Must remember to pack my blocking T pins - there's no way these will be done before I leave and blocking does help the lace to pop.

I cast on for a new pair of socks on Saturday. They're quite exciting, to me, anyway. Firstly, it's my first time using Malabrigo Sock and I'm in love. Seriously, this stuff is gorgeous. I'm already thinking seriously about using it in a sweater, it's that soft and lovely.

Secondly, I'm adapting a cuff-down pattern to use my favourite toe-up construction. The main detail is a lace panel going up the side of the foot, so it's slightly more complex to work than my usual plain socks. I ended up going from the top left corner of the lace chart rather than the bottom right and hoping for the best. Last night I finished the heel on the first one, so I just have the leg to work and I was able to try it on to see exactly how well it fitted.

I had a good feeling from previous tries, but it was still nice to have confirmation that they're a perfect fit. My purple stripy socks from a couple of months ago are also a beautiful fit so this is reassurance that they were not a fluke. I can indeed, finally, knit socks that fit my feet just right. As the lace on these ones could have made them a slightly looser fit, I'm doubly happy to have them right. Most importantly, the length is nice and snug (without squishing) so shoes will fit over them without issue, unlike my first couple of pairs!

My current projects are also teaching me that while I love Mal Sock, I'm not so keen on Worsted. It's nice, it's soft, and the colours are gorgeous, but I'm glad that I only bought one skein as a trial to make a hat rather than diving in with a sweater. It's not a plied yarn - it's one thick strand that feels more felted than anything else. Rather like the Mal Silky, in face, but without the gloss of the silky so I'm finding it harder to work. I think that it would be a nightmare to frog and I can see just from the nature of the single ply that this is a yarn that will have issues with growing over time.

I'm going to love the hat I'm making, but I may not be using the Worsted for anything bigger.

The Sock, though, would make a gorgeous cowl necked sweater. In fact, it would make the beautiful cowl necked sweater that I love from Knit So Fine which [livejournal.com profile] gmul gave me for my birthday. I've already got my eye on a colour way. Hmm...

Plotting and planning new projects is almost as fun as knitting them!

Toys!

Nov. 7th, 2009 09:19 pm
selenay: (zelenka geeky joy)
My day out was lovely, although I did get home with a sore back (er, so nothing new there) and a bit of a headache. Feeling much better now due to the consumption of rather fine sushi. Yay.

But...

I have toys! I have a Western Digital My Passport 400GB hard drive that is tiny and beautiful. That will be played with extensively tomorrow.

I also have a teeny little optical mouse that attaches to the compy by USB and the little USB stick actually fits into the mouse when it's packed away. It is awesome. And it will make using my lappy so much easier. Shall no longer be knocking the cats off my lap each time I need to access another video file, for a start.

I love toys.

Also, Tubey has been bound off and the ends woven in. I tried it on and feel very happy with it. Best of all, I got to ceremonially add it to my sweater shelf. That's one of my favourite moments, when something turns from something I've been working on to something that's a part of my wardrobe. I'm planning to debut it at knit night :-D

And now for Strictly Come Dancing and a sock, I think.
selenay: (annie)
Everyone can skip on by this post in which I reveal the depth of my Strictly Come Dancing shameful addiction.

Cut for shame shame shame )

In other news, apparently Spooks started airing last night. Guess I know what I'll be watching this weekend :-D Yay Spooks!

I have the first episode of V on my DVR. V/Spooks double bill?

My release has been pushed back to Tuesday. At the earliest. We're starting to get worryingly close to the date that our server is being upgraded to an Oracle 11g box and we still need to test that none of this blows up on the new box. Eeep! And since writing this, we had determined that changes we need to make are going to ensure that we won't even hit Tuesday. This year sometime, maybe?

My Tubey sweater is coming along fabulously. Only a few more inches (maybe four or five) and then I can bind off. I've been weaving in ends as I go, mostly, so there is not much finishing to do on it - I may be wearing it this weekend! Or, er, finding a good day to debut my new knit. I'm feeling really pleased with how it's turned out, though.

There is a tiny part of me that's panicking about not having another big project lined up ready to go when I bind off, but actually this is a good thing. I've got a number of small projects that I've been intending to do: a baby jacket for a friend, a couple of cowls, a couple of Christmas gifts and, of course, some socks for myself. I've got more than enough to keep my occupied until the end of the year and I intend to buy a sweater's worth of something in the John Lewis sale while I'm over so that will be my next big project. 2009 has definitely been my most productive year of knitting.

For this first time in my life, I'm seriously considering a work out video. It's not that I need to lose weight, but I need to improve my overall fitness levels and the treadmill is so dull that it's hard to keep myself going, I could go out and spend a few hundred on another type of fancy equipment, or I could see whether a dance work-out video or two would work better for me. I'd be getting a work-out and also concentrating on learning the moves (I've got my eye on a Bollywood one and a Latin dance) which would hopefully keep me interested. Even watching TV while on the treadmill is failing to keep me motivated. Reading while walking on a treadmill is not exactly safe and I suspect that, even then, I'd be struggling. So I'll think about it and probably order at the weekend.

I used to have a tradition of writing something for Christmas. Last year I did Yuletide instead (and with my lack of power during Christmas week, I'm glad that I didn't try to have something posted on Christmas Eve) but I have usually tried to do something. I'm doing Yuletide again this year and I'll be in England, but I think that maybe I'll give Donna and the Doctor a Christmas adventure. Or something. Anyone going to be free in December for a quick beta if I pull this off?

Only ten days to new Doctor Who! Not that I'm counting or anything...
selenay: (coffee)
This has been one of those crazy busy weeks, in some senses, but not in others. Work has been crazy, I've put in extra hours (that I am totally putting into my timesheet because, even if I don't get that time back, I at least want it recorded that I worked my socks off!) and I've had two days of training in addition to all the work I've been doing on my big zombie project.

Then the evenings have largely been quiet because I've been knackered. I've not even been watching much TV. I've been sleeping badly and despite being dead tired. I'm so glad that it's finally Friday - I need some down time. And the clocks go back this weekend, so for a few days I'll think that I'm getting a lie-in. Yay!

Tomorrow is Halloween. I have candy, I've got a menu plan that won't require much work while I'm handing out candy but will provide yummy, comforting food when I've finished and thus I feel ready.

My winter tires went on the car this week. It looks like I'm admitting that winter is on its way in.

I am now knitting down the body of my Tubey sweater and I'm very pleased with how it's turning out. Can't wait to be able to try it on! This week's Experimental Monday was roasted sweet potato soup and it was very fine. Er, I was totally uninspired for next week so I'm taking a week off in order to hunt down something spectacularly yummy for the following week. Or just spectacularly scary. Whichever.

I can feel this post turning into a rambling thing of boring. Must be the exhaustion. I have made a decision: NaNoWriMo is, yet again, not happening for me. Right now, I have the inspiration and writing ability of your average teaspoon and I can't face the idea of 30 days of staring at a white screen and hating myself.

Again, I suspect this is the exhaustion.

Body, you need to let me sleep sometimes. It really helps.
selenay: (bemused Doctor)
It appears that my current main obsessions are cooking and knitting. It keeps surprising me because a few years ago I'd never have thought that I'd end up loving such domestic, home-making things. I'm not an artist, I never will be, but I consider myself to be creative and it appears that these crafts are the outlets I've found for that.

Anyway, my new sweater is progressing apace. I've finish the back of the shrug section and joined to start knitting the arm in the round. Gave it a quick try last night and, despite my misgivings, it appears that the fit is just right so far. Even better, the Cashsoft felt amazing against my skin so I should end up with a sweater than doesn't itch me. Hooray!

It's October, which means that winter is fall is here and winter will be on top of me before I know it. Last winter I found acquiring good fruit and veg and issue. Although that has largely been resolved by the farmer's market and Pete's, I'm still starting to conclude that my current breakfast of grapes, granola and plain yoghurt is not sustainable. The grapes that I picked up this week are flavourless and I can't imagine that they'll get better as the winter goes on. Plus, they're not exactly eating local and sustainable!

So what can I do for breakfast that's healthy and nutritious? I'm thinking that I need to look into breakfast muffins - homemade, of course - so on Friday I'll make a trip to the bookstore to have a look for a suitable recipe book. I want things that aren't too sweet and are preferably filled with fruit, nuts, bran and other healthy things. The kind of thing that I can heat up in the microwave and enjoy with a glass of milk, possibly accompanied by a small bowl of granola-and-yoghurt, and feel warmed and comforted for the day. They'll need to be good for freezing, so that I can make batches and defrost a few at a time, and having a variety of recipes to try would be great.

Yup, I need a new recipe book. I may also look for a soup book. I really fancy making soup. My biggest regret right now is that I didn't steal my mum's copy of the Covent Garden soup book when I visited in February. She said I could because she never uses it!

I'm going to end up with so many recipe books at the rate that I'm going :-)
selenay: (Default)
I have just enjoyed a Thanksgiving weekend with my sister. It was pure accident. She booked her flights, told me the dates and I squeed as I realised that she'd unwittingly booked to be with me over the long weekend so I'd get the Monday off work to spend with her without worrying about vacation time. Hooray!

I picked her up from the airport after work on Thursday and dragged her along to my knitting group, where we ate pasta and chatted away happily. She's knitting a beautiful pair of mittens. Er, I got teased because my sister is as insane as me with the whole 'knitting primarily with skinny yarn' thing. Heh.

She spent Friday hanging out at the house, relaxing and resting from her time in Toronto while I went to work. Then we went out for sushi for supper, which was amazing, and she introduced me to grilled eel maki which I absolutely love. Wonder whether it's totally indulgent to get some sushi takeout this Friday on the way home from the grocery store?

Saturday started out bright and early with a trip to the farmer's market followed by a drive down to Mahone Bay. We did lots of walking, bought lots of yarn (love having a knitter sister) and ate some amazing Schezchaun (sp?) carrot soup from the Biscuit Eater Cafe and Bookshop. Possibly the best part of the rather wonderful soup were the cheese and herb biscuits which were hot and fresh and divine. Between the soup, the biscuits and the chocolate espresso shortcakes, we didn't need supper that night! We had to make a quick stop at the mall on the way home (bathroom break) and I spotted the Rowan Greatest Knits book in Chapters. Hmm. I'm in two minds, largely because while some of the older patterns are fun, the patterns I love are from Rowan 42 which I already have. So it requires thought and possibly a revisit before I decide on whether to add it to my wishlist.

Sunday was a slightly quieter day. I made French toast for breakfast and then we toddled up to the mall for a quick visit to Gap before going to the beach for a long walk. Bliss. We relaxed for the rest of the afternoon with our knitting and some TV before going out for seafood supper and then a visit with my aunt.

Monday was Thanksgiving and we spent the day relaxing, watching movies and knitting so that I could be on top of my game for cooking the big supper. This is the first time that I've done a major event meal and also the first time that I've done roast potatoes. Yes, it was the potatoes that had me panicked and declaring it as my Experimental Monday dish. Thankfully my recipe (trusty Comfort Food to the rescue again) was clear and concise, enabling me to produce tatties that were crispy and nicely browned on the outside and fluffy on the inside. No raw bits, no sogginess, and I'm very proud. My aunt supplied stuffing and I cooked salmon, due to my sister's non-meat-eating status. It all worked out perfectly, with all the food cooked at just the right time and lots of yummy noises at the table. Phew!

My sister goes home tonight and I'm going to miss her. We've had a lovely few days together and it's been so much fun to just hang out and knatter. We seem to get along better and have more in common as we get older, which is fabulous.

Knitting-wise, I finished my lovely purple shawl (I'm wearing it right now - the office is slightly chilly) and cast on for my Tubey sweater. The yarn that was coming surface mail and I wasn't expecting to see for months arrived on Friday - yippee! I'm most of the way across the back of the shrug section already (almost finished the second ball) so it's going swimmingly. I swatched and discovered that I had to go down a needle size so apart from the usual "OMG, will this fit?" worries I'm feeling cautiously optimistic. In fact, I'm even daring myself to have it ready in time for my Christmas trip to England. I'm insane, right?
selenay: (jenny)
I was going to write a post about the weekend, about the pizza I made (from scratch including the base!), the over-indulgence in cheesy herb bread resulting in a low-fat plan for this week and the baby shower I went to on Sunday. Except that I've largely forgotten how that post went and instead I have bits and bobs of stuff that I'm not sure are connected.

Just finished Elantris by Brandon Sanderson and thought it was rather excellent. I'm now on a kids' lit run, though.

Grey's Anatomy is so stupid. And so addictive. Yargh.

I'm obviously losing my mind because I watched the first week of Strictly Come Dancing and am currently acquiring week two. OMG. I had a ton of commentary and thought on dancing, choreography and why the first elimination sort of deserved to be gone and sort of didn't because a large part of his problem was that the choreography that his partner put together showed her off and didn't do the celebrity in question any favours. Except that is a really boring post.

I actually bought the yarn for my Tubey sweater today and thus I am impatient to begin it. I still need to seam my sister's cardigan, though.

My sister arrives for her visit in a little over a week. Woo!

The first week of American TV that I'm actually following has been rather good (yay House!) and I'm enjoying my silly, stupid new series of Merlin as well. In fact, there's more good TV than I have hours to watch it in right now!

I should really go and do something constructive with my evening before NCIS starts.
selenay: (don't mess with sj)
Knitting

Cut for length )

Cable/TV

I got brave and actually called my cable company! They're coming out tomorrow to install the new DVR. As the cable company only has an HD-compatible DVR, I've also added in the basic HD package. So I'll be watching House in crystal-clear hi-def. Yay.

Road Trip

Cut for length and yarn discussion )

Cooking/Experimental Mondays

Cut to prevent food cravings in those who haven't eaten yet )

Um, Mum declares that she's going to miss my cooking immensely and does she have to go home? I think this is one of the nicest things she's ever said :-D

Other miscellaneous stuff

The stuff I am doing at work right now, affectionately known as The Zombie Project (it keeps coming back from the dead and eating my brainz!), is horrible and evil but will look excellent on my end of year review. At least my boss is also hating it so we can commiserate. And my cubicle-mate is working on it as well. Our cubicle has become the cubicle of misery and doom.

Mum goes home in a week. Although there's a part of me looking forward to having the house to myself again, there's another part of me that's really going to miss her. We've rubbed along pretty well and we've managed to work out a good friends relationship where neither of us feels that we're beholden to or required to report into the other. I'm feeling much happier about her six month long visit next year now. In fact, I'm kind of looking foward to it.

With her here as more of a resident than a guest next year, I need to make sure that I take time to do stuff (fannish stuff, website maintenance etc.) that has been allowed to slide while I've been 'entertaining'. There has been no writing and minimal keeping up with fan stuff and I miss that, darn it.

My sister will be visiting over (Canadian) Thanksgiving. This is awesome indeed :-)

Also, I'm really, really hoping that Doctor Who is aired the weekend before the anniversary. The fact that this will mean I have new Doctor Who on or just before my birthday is entirely beside the point...
selenay: (kickass woman)
I really need a knitting icon.

I've been very remiss at is the pictures of finished knitted objects. Two pairs of socks, a hat and two sweaters have come off my needles and haven't been blogged at all. Right now I'm working on some socks in a pattern that I love and some yarn that I am a bit ambivalent about that will be a birthday present for a friend. I'm pretty confident that my friend will rather love the yarn, but it's definitely not something I'd wear myself. Those socks won't appear on the Web until after his birthday, but everything else needs blogging.

I suspect that I'll be doing my own copy of those socks at some stage, in a slightly less, um, intense colour.

I'm also starting to consider my winter knitting. I'm definitely doing Tubey in Rowan Cashsoft Aran, probably in a gorgeous teal colour unless I get swayed by the aubergine. I've fallen in love with a cap-sleeved top/sweater thing in the new Rowan magazine done in Cocoon. It would be perfect over a shirt or a long-sleeved T-shirt and fabulously warm. My plan is to see whether I can get any Cocoon in the John Lewis Boxing Day sale before I look at sourcing from websites.

Today I saw a pattern for raglan sleeve, yoke necked sweater with owls on the yoke done by stitch pattern rather than colour work. It's adorable and looks great in all the finished projects on Ravelry and I think that I'm in love. I'll need to think carefully about the yarn for that, although I'm drawn to Malabrigo Chunky because it's Mal and I could get some great colours.

First, though, I'm knitting my sister a cardigan to replace her Christmas present that was stolen a few weeks after she got it. Hopefully it will be ready when she comes to visit in October and it will give me a few weeks to get the yarn for Tubey.

Wow, I'm a knitting geek :-)
selenay: (books 1)
After 3 months of fog, apparently summer has decided to appear. The temps are in the high twenties with humidex taking it to the low thirties at the shore (where my house is). The humidex even two kilometers inland is taking it to the high thirties.

Yes, this does feel a wee bit extreme.

Still, I'm feeling incredibly grateful to have my house where it is because it's noticably cooler here than it is in the city. Walking out of the office is like walking into a furnace and my aunt is suffering badly.

The forecaster is promising that things will cool down a bit by the weekend. I'm praying that this is so. The forecaster this morning also said that Hurricane Bill is heading our way, will hopefully veer off to sea before it hits us but will be bringing high winds and heavy rain for the beginning of the week. Better get everything tied down outside over the weekend, then.

The heat has slowed my knitting progress. Yes, even cotton isn't *that* nice when the temps in the house are high twenties. Fear not! I have nearly finished the shaping on the second sleeve of my sweater so I should bind that off today. Then I can start swatching for some socks and doing the seaming for the sweater. I just have to pick my times to knit and admit defeat when it all gets too warm.

The weekend was largely about "OMG, too hot!", Mum and I did go out on Saturday for various shopping chores, which was lovely while we were in the mall and horrible the moment we stepped out. We did have to make a detour to Chapters for books and drinks - strawberry banana smoothie turns out to be delish. I finally got myself a Chinese cookbook filled with lots of gorgeous repices of varying degrees of simplicity/difficulty and absolutely not a celebrity one filled with complicated recipes that I can't get ingredients for. So that's quite yayful. There's even a receipe for peking duck...

Last night I tried out a new recipe: oven-baked mushroom risotto. It turned out really well and is definitely going into the making-again list. Portobello mushrooms, bacon, parmesan cheese, tarragon...mmmmm....

Also over the weekend I grilled steaks on the BBQ and didn't burn them too badly. Woo! Mum is being quite complimentary about my culinary efforts.

Our new front-loading washing machine arrived on Friday and we've been stupidly excited about this. It's so easy! It's so automatic! It's got so many controls! It's so quick to put the washing on! Yeah, we're crazy.

This coming weekend I'm hoping to go away with my knitting crew, but this is dependant on the weather. If it's still miserably hot then we may cancel - lots of people plus 4 babies in one small cottage with 30+ temps would not be fun. We're playing it by ear.

Over this weekend I managed to get two books of my to be read pile. I was feeling really pleased until I realised that I hadn't catalogued the two Enid Blyton Adventure books that Mum found and brought me. Darn. They're gorgeous, though, lovely old hardcovers with original text and illustrations. I'm thinking that rather than trying to beat my unread pile down to a tiny number, I'm better off trying to read at least as many as come in. So two out, two in kind of deal rather than fifteen out, none in. It's the only way to stop beating myself up about my book habit!

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