Wednesday, 7 March 2012

FO: Owls

I did finish this maybe a month ago, but there has been quite a lot on! Also the weather has been dodgy so I've not managed to get the colour very well. This is still sub-par, but it will have to do. I am very happy with the result, I have been wearing it and getting compliments on it. . The details are:

Pattern: Owls by Kate Davis. An excellent knit, a clear pattern and quick to do - it took me two to three weeks all told, but it wasn't the only thing on my needles. Knit from the bottom up on circulars, the sleeves are just grafted on at the underarms. The yoke is lovely and adds interest, it is a great thing to be looking forward to while knitting all that stockinette!

Yarn: Chunky Wool by Texere Yarns in Turquoise. Bought at their Open Day on December 28th; their list of current visiting hours can be found here. Great cosy yarn, it is so warm and not very itchy.  So far the yarn is holding up very well, pilling a little under the arms, but I've not tried washing it yet.

Needles: KnitPro metal interchangeables in 6mm and 6.5mm.

Mods: Made it an inch longer between the ribbing at the bottom and the waist decreases, which I'm really glad I did as it just fits. However, I did veryvery nearly run our of yarn (again) so had to cut a couple of rows of ribbing from around the neck.

I guess this means it was totally British project: the yarn, the pattern, and the knitter... though the needles let the side down, oh well! I found this chunky knit very rewarding at it made a great jumper to make so early on in my garment-making career; the first I made bottom-up too, which was fine. I recommend it for those fairly new to garment knitting, or those who want a lot of low-concentration knitting with some interest at the yoke.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Resolutions 2012 - Update The First

Some weeks ago I told you about my sort-of resolutions for 2012. As I try to fulfill them, it becomes clear to me that I am taking to some more readily than others. Two months in, I thought I would give you a week update on the four main ones:

1. Knit 12 pairs of socks

I did talk about my slight sock addiction last week. I do seem to be chaining it with them - the second one pair is done, the next is on the needles. I'm thinking this is probably the one I am taking to best of all. Overall, I am 3 down (one with no photo though, sorry), and a fourth on the needles.

2. Cook 12 new dinners

I have done two of these, and both are things I would make again. The first was pizza from scratch, with help from the boyf. The results were good enough, though mine was - as you can see - thick crust and thin middle.  Clearly I need more practice at the pulling it to the right shape. The recipe was from the Great British Bake-Off book  - and though I didn't see much of the programme, I decided I should get the book when it was recommended to me about a billion times (plus it was on sale and I had a token, also both signs). And I recommend it to you too; it has inspired me in ways I never thought would happen. Maybe more on that story another day.

The other one I made was microwave Leek & Mushroom risotto, from the Good Food 101 Vegetarian Recipes book. So happy I found this, as I love risotto but cannot be faffed stirring it. But this way, you sling it all in the microwave, and it does all the timing for you (though actually it's more complicated than that - you put in the leeks with a little oil for a bit, then add rice and stock and whizz again, then add mushrooms...). The first time I made it, I followed the recipe exactly and it was great, but the second time I cut out the butter (for calorific reasons) and subbed the stock (as I'd run out) from water, and it was not so good. Excellent recipe though, and I will make it again - obviously following it this time!

3. Read 12 new classic novels

I have also taken to reading again, as you can see by my so-far-this-year pile:

Even though it is not the most enormous pile, I am quite proud of it so far; it's probably bigger than all the books I read last year, and definitely higher quality. Mansfield Park was great, but I am a bit of an Austen fan - however, I did need something to get me back into classics. The Great Gatsby I heartily recommend, brilliant book. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was a bit grim in parts but it was compelling nonetheless. The other two I also enjoyed and would recommend - I was trying out reading a not-quite-so-classic novel between the classics, and I'm not sure it's sustainable but it's working well for me so far.

4. Watch 12 classic films

And there I was, thinking this would be the easy one; smallest time commitment, and very little planning needed. 'Oh, I only need to find one evening a month, how hard can that be?'. My dad also has a huge selection of classic films, so I just need to ask him for any that aren't on long term loan to me. However, this has not yet come to fruition. I have watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and that is it. It was an enjoyable evening, don't get me wrong, and everyone should watch that film at some point, but the only films I really watch these days tend to be a) so familiar that I knit, wander off, etc or b) in the cinema, where it is dark and there is nothing else to look at. I should really just suck it up and do it, and I will try for next time.