Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wow

The Vogue Fall 08 preview is up.
Check these out:



Wow!

I want to marry those mitts!!

xo

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

FO: Teeny tiny premmie cardie

As promised, my finished blue premmie cardie.
I finished, weaved in ends, buttoned and gifted this baby a week ago now, but just haven't been able to get it together to post yet.
Actually, after a certain fabulous FO post I've been finding it hard to get inspired to write my own boring one ;)!
Anyway, here goes: =)



Pattern: Raglan Sleeve Sweater (rav link)

Source: Hearts of Gold Preemie Knits

Yarn: Patons FeatherSoft 8ply - less than one (50g) ball.

Needles: 4mm (circulars and DPNs)

Modifications:The pattern calls for the sleeves to be knit flat and seamed up - I knit them in the round on dpns

Comments:Overall this pattern is simple and a quick knit. There was one thing that tricked me though. You cast on 50 stitches, then knit 4 rows. The next row, setting up for the sleeves/shoulder, says:
K11, inc 1 , place mrk, inc 1, k4, inc 1, place mrk, inc 1, k13, inc 1, place mrk, inc 1, k4, inc 1, place mrk, inc 1, k10.
Thing is, 11 + 4 + 13 + 4 + 10 = 42 not 50.
It took me a while (and a quick message or two - thank goodness for rav!) to figure out that the extra 8 stitches are the inc 1s - see, I was doing m1, when I should have been kfb-ing.
I have come across this problem before, so probably should have been wise to it this time 'round, but I do wish patterns would specify the type of increase to use!!!
Grrrr

Anyway, like I said, overall this is a great pattern and, As you might have noticed over the past week or so, I've already finished (well, except weaving in and buttons ;)) a second - in two colours this time - and today have cast on a third.
It is such a logical, easy to follow pattern (once you get the kfbs going) that it makes the perfect bus knit - after one knit through I don't even need the pattern.
I have a few near and dear who will have wee ones arriving over the next six months or so, and so I'd love to have a stash of these in suitable colours for boys or girls, just in case someone decides to arrive early! =) Oh, and this little one went to a colleague for her premmie nephew. =)

Ah, soooo cute!! =)

xo

Monday, July 28, 2008

Finish line - Paris

No words, too tired, just photos.

Le other tour:


It was a gloomy gloomy day in Paris, and as we looked out the window from the Louvre suddenly Sacre Coeur appeared from out of the fog:


Bikes on the Champs Elysees:


More bikes, parked outside a cafe near Gare du Nord:


Gosh, looking back at my photos, we really had some moody weather in gay Paris!

(Lucky I have a few weeks to recover from all that late night cycling before the Olympics start!)

xo

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Stitching

This weekend I started a new project. Nothing out of the ordinary there, but this project is a little bit different from anything I've worked on the past few years.

While we were overseas last year Mum and I did quite a bit of crafty shopping & browsing, and came across some gorgeous cross stitch kits.

Mum picked up two samplers - one Danish red and white, and one Dutch blue and white (something like this and this)

Mine is a very European scene (well, I think so) and rather than say anymore about it I thought it might be fun to show my progress as I go so you can see the scene take shape a bit at a time.

Here's my progress at the end of tonight:


It's kinda hard to see, and even harder to photograph, but hopefully as I fill in more colours and the scene starts to take shape you'll start to see something there.

Like I said I haven't done any of this kind of stitching for years. My sisters and I all stitched from a pretty young age - the excitement of being allowed to pick out new longstitch kits at Spotlight as kids, and all of us pouring over Mum's Fox Collection catalogues when they arrived in the mail. I can remember making a longstitch for my Nana as a present one year, and doing little Peter Rabbit cross stitches initials for my cousins when they were babies.

So, I'm really enjoying working on this - though it has been slow going. It took me a little while to get started and I had one false start - this kit is stitched on linen so each cross is stitched across a 2x2 square. It took me a little while to figure that out, although it was obvious my stitches were coming out way too small.

In knitty news, my first premmie cardie has been finished, buttons added and gifted - pics and a report next week =)

Happy weekending! =)

xo

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday Kitchen

Anyone following the Tour de France Knit ALong might know by now that the second intermediate sprint was won by our very own Caffeine Faerie, for her step-by step onion soup! Congratulations CF - I'm so sitting next to you at our next SnB - maybe some of your winnerness will rub off!!! =)

I was inspired by the winning entry post, and thought it might be fun to take you through a Saturday Kitchen adventure chez Kuka.

Being the final weekend of le Tour, we decided we would have somethings at least vaguely frenchish - and eventually settled on a very vaguely frenchish dish - beef casserole.

I based my very vaguely frenchish casserole very loosely on this recipe, mostly because I was intrigued by the scone-like dumplings baked on top. It's from the Taste.com.au website, which has hundreds of recipes that have been published in a range of Australian cooking magazines, all for free (hopefully reminding myself of that as I stand at the checkout will stop me from buying so many of those magazines!)

Ready? Ok...


There's everything we need - cubed beef, chopped vegies (I think the recipe just asks for onion, but I added some carrot and celery too. In hindsight I would have thrown in some potato as well), bay leaves, herbs (again not quite as the recipe specifies - I couldn't find fresh thyme at the supermarket and came home to find I didn't have any dried so I used dried Italian herb mix), flour, beef stock and wine (one glass for the pot, one for me ;)).

First we brown the beef all over.


Then remove the beef from the pan, and throw the vegies in and stir until the onion is soft.


Chuck the beef back in, along with the stock, bay leaves, herbs and wine (ooh, not my glass though. Hang onto that!)


Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat, cover, and simmer for 1.5 hours.


This is a good time to try to decide what to make for dessert, to weave in the ends on your almost finished knitting, or just sit back with a(nother) glass of that red...


Mmmm ready!


Now for those Parmesan sconey dumplings on top.


Rub the butter into the flour, add the milk and cheese and mix into a dough.
Pour the casserole into an oven-proof dish, and top with the scone dough (I split mine into 16 balls so I could do 4x4 since my dish is square, and since I have symmetry issues)


Bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes, and TAA DAA:


This was soooooo good! I was pretty sceptical about the dumplings/scones on top - I really didn't think they'd work and expected them to come out quite undercooked and soggy, but they were perfect... just the thing to get us through a tough night of time trialing! =)

xo

Friday, July 25, 2008

Those Sneaky Baskets

(or, The Supermarket People are Smart and I'm a Sucker)

I have heard that the positioning of items on one shelf or another, at the back of the supermarket or right by the check-outs is a detailed and exact marketing science - milk at the back so you have to walk past everything else to get it, lollies at the checkout where kids will see them while their parents are unpacking the shopping from the trolley, and companies paying a premium to have their products on the shelves at eye level.

But I always thought it was a coincidence that just when I've figured out where to find things in the supermarket they move everything around. Now I'm quite convinced that this too is a clever marketing tool.

Tonight I needed to pop into out local supermarket to pick-up just a couple of things for dinner (Friday nights are pie night and tonight it was chicken and leek mmmmm).
I needed chicken, leek, spring onions, puff pastry and evaporated milk (I use it instead of cream).
There's my shopping - everything I needed:



Now, the past few weeks I've noticed some re-arranging going on at the supermarket, and but for the most part I've been able to find everything ok.
Tonight, though, it took me about 15 minutes and several laps of each aisle to find the evaporated milk.

Now look at what I actually bought...



Oh my!! So many things that I didn't even know that I needed - until I saw them while I looked for the evaporated milk, that is...
There's chips and chocolate (just in case - it is the weekend after all and they were both on sale), the Who Weekly magazine (it's their 100 sexiest people edition), cheese (again just in case - I might want some in my lunch box next week), purple tulips, a pastry brush, and (when I finally found the long-life milks) an extra, larger, tin of evaporated milk and a tin of light condensed milk (I guess just in case I couldn't find it again next time!! ;))

I swear it's a conspiracy....

(oh, and yes I do have Star Wars shopping bags... I guess that makes me a sucker and a nerd...;) )

Thursday, July 24, 2008

frosty white

Mmmm, flowery goodness from our front garden.

Anyone know what this is? =)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Week ended

It's raining outside tonight - perfect staying inside and not going anywhere (for example work tomorrow - just saying) weather.

The rain sounds lovely on the roof - we haven't even had a roof for a while (there was a flat above us where we were living before) - and the courtyard right outside of our bedroom has a corrugated plastic roof which gives us the pitter patter rainy sound even louder and clearer.

We've had a lovely quiet weekend, but somehow I always feel like I could use just one more day of weekend to get myself together - last week was a little bit crazy, a little bit busy, and it's like just as I'm really unwinding its time to re-wind up again.

Today was Civic S'n'B - and it was fabulous. There were so many of us that we had to divide into two groups - we wouldn't all fit around the fireplace where we usually sit.

I caught up on the latest progress from le Tour KAL, admired a couple of recently finished shrugs, talked sunnyboys (yes we love our sunnyboys, ok? ;)), and met a(nother) Canberra blogger (JustJess - go by her blog and say hi =))

I also worked on some teeny tiny sleeves. As you can see, I now have a couple more to get done =)
I knit most of this little yellow jersey up last night (after making a mess of it on Tuesday) whilst watching a film (Good.Very good. Better than I expected. Robin Williams is hilarious) and a football game.

In fact, I probably could have made a dent in the sleeves last night too, but, well, let's just say the footy went somewhat pear-shaped and things got a bit ugly. Too ugly for knitting something so little and cute - if I'd continued I'm sure there was the risk that the eventual recipient would into a right little potty-mouth.

Seriously though, this is an easy, fast, cute little knit and I am enjoying it - despite some ughs last week.

And so another week is gone.
The coming week is looking good, the highlight looks like being schnitzel and encrusted mousse on Tuesday - won't you join me, fellow Canberra Knitters? =)

xo

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

dragging

How embarrassing.
I'm still working on that teeny tiny little cardie.

One sleeve is done - one more to go.
I guess it's been slowed by the fact I'm avoiding it as bus knitting - I find the large-ish dpns really awkward for smallish projects.

I have cast on a second one, in yellow, but I have to confess to making quite a mess of it on Tuesday night - I forgot to work the first button hole, then tried to fix it by dropping the stitches down but ended up having to rip it back anyway - it looked terrible!

It's probably not such a bad thing, since I had been planning on doing a white one with yellow just for contrast on the collar and cuffs but forgot to bring the white along with me yesterday - whoops.


I'm having a bit of an ugh about what to do next.
I really really need to finish the demon mitts - perhaps this weekend.

I'm thinking about signing up for the ravelympics - in the Mitten Medley event, naturally!
I have some yarn to make myself some herringbone mittens, so that is a definite possibility.

And, of course, there's that malabrigo just lounging about,, waiting to become a lace ribbon scarf.. mmmm soft scarfy goodness =)

But, first, second sleeve.
Second sleeve then second mitten then who knows what! =)

xo

Monday, July 14, 2008

The brains behind the baking

Sometimes people ask where I get ideas for my baking.


Now you know.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Love Le Tour

I love Tour Time.
I used to enjoy watching it with Mum when I was at school, then a couple of years living with my cycling mad Commissaire uncle T saw my interest in the sport develop even further.

Last year Mum and I were there.


(That bag I'm carrying holds a real live genuine yellow jersey!!)

It was such a brilliant day!

The sun was shining, and there were millions of people lining the streets of London, enjoying the gorgeous weather, and the whole procession of celebration that travels with the tour.

We even saw Mikey Tomalaris (and walked back and forth behind him a couple of times while he filmed his update hehe there's always one!)

We started the day with a good London pub breakfast, then spent the rest of the day walking the course.


It was just amazing (the Tour, I mean. Though that breakfast was pretty darned good too =)).

All day we were able to get close enough to get a good look at what was going, and we were so glad we decided to wander and look from different parts of the course - rather than staying put in one spot for the entire day.

Snapping shots of the guys whizzing past was quite a challenge. (I think that blurry character racing out of shot there is none other than Robbie McEwen - he usually looks more like this.)

Eventually we got the hang of it and managed to get some good ones - even better, some of the photos show team cars following the rider (which conveniently have the rider's name across the front ;-))

We had such a great view by the end of the day - that's Cadel Evans coming around the corner there - what a back-drop!



The following day we caught the start of stage one (London to Canterbury).
Seeing the whole peloton travelling together was something amazing all over again!



I'd love to be there again this year - but, alas, no such luck.
Instead I'm watching from the comfort of home (usually bed, to be more specific).

I'm not an official participant in the Tour de France Knit along, but I am enjoying sitting up to watch the race with sticks in hand and enjoying an alone-along of sorts.

I am also cheering along the TdF KAL participants - there's a list of teams and knitters at the blog - I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's projects progress.

And, of course, I'm baking along.
Those coloured jerseys were just screaming out to me to be replicated in light fluffy cupcake icing, and I've been looking for simple motifs to practice my chocolate piping skills.

I couldn't quite justify baking that many cuppies for us just at home (we would never get through them all!), but said Commisaire and my aunt N were kind enough to be attending a Tour soiree and I jumped at the excuse opportunity to feed my cupcake obsession help them out =)



Each colour represents one of the jerseys that the riders compete for during the tour, and the little bikes are made of dark chocolate.

I hear they were a hit last night, and I have to say I think they're pretty cute myself =)

xo

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Buttontree Lane

As if I don't have enough trouble hanging on to any of my hard earned cash already, Michelle has gone and opened an etsy store: Buttontree Lane.

Her work is gorgeous - I want it all!

Go. Shop. Be merry.
Buy a squirrel needle book before I give in to my urge to get one in each colour ;-)

xo

nope, the pic there has nothing to do with Michelle's store, just showing off some more wintery goodness fromo my garden =)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

maybe just a half a drink more...



I'm letting go of the cold thing... really.
I mean, it's the middle of winter.
So what if the apparent temperature lingers at about -1C FOR THE WHOLE DAY!!!
Best incentive I've ever had to take a packed lunch to work (so not going outside - even with those wooly snowflakes and squirrels warming my hands!)



Besides, a chilly kitchen is just crying out for the oven to be cranked up, and what better excuse than a quick batch of cuppies?

I whipped up a dozen of these wintery cupcakes - icy blue icing topped with a white chocolate snowflake - for a work afternoon tea tomorrow... mmmm



This guy is pictured atop my gorgeous new cake stand - a gift from G for knitting up a seamless baby kimono for her.

G's mum wasn't sure what to get - but could she have picked a more perfect piece for my kitchen??
It even matches perfectly with the tablecloth and placemats I had on the kitchen table when they arrived on Sunday arvo!

Speaking of the pale blues and creamy whites, have you noticed a theme here?
It seems this week that suddenly the blue and cream combination is everywhere I look!

It's also flowing on to the knitting.



This is the premmie cardy I started on the weekend.
That pale blue feathersoft is so delicious!
I do have a few things to say about this little pattern, but I think I'd prefer to wait until I'm all done.
It is totally precious though - every time I look at that tiny little cardy it just blows my mind that a person can be so teeny tiny!!
It must be terrifying!

Stay warm now, won't you... ;-)

xo

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

freezey

eeek it is cold around these part this week - to be expected of the winter, I guess ;)

We're still trying to figure out how to get the reverse cycle air conditioner to warm the living room past about 15C, so there has been much use of the couch doona, and the electric blanket =)

The final rent inspection went well - the agent was very reasonable and there was nothing further we have to do. Hurrah - no more renting!!!

Also, thanks for all your kind comments on my Seamless Baby Kimono. It really was a pleasure to knit - thanks to both the fabulous pattern and delicious yarn =)

Speaking of gorgeous soft yarn, I'm knitting up my next little project in feather soft. mmmmmmm still love it =)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date with my electric blanket, a big mug of milo and the peloton.

xo

ps. we have tulips this week =)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Strawberry sunshine

Mmmm we are totally taking advantage of the piles of strawberries that are in the shops all of a sudden (and at very reasonable prices!)

These guys have been rinsed and are draining in a colander in the sink - just look at that delicious winter sun streaming through the kitchen window!

What else would one have for dessert on Wimbledon finals night?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

It's a wrap... around

Ok, it's actually more of a cross over.
But, you know all that talk about knitting - here's the proof!

Taadaa!
It's the Seamless Baby Kimono!

(Daggy photo, I know, but the light has just been impossible!!!)


Pattern: Seamless Baby Kimono (rav link)

Source: The Complete Fabrication

Yarn: Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic in Coffee - less than one (200g) ball.

Needles: 4mm (circulars and DPNs)


Modifications: The pattern as written is sized for a 6-9 month old. My seamless baby kimono is for G the 20ish month old daughter of a colleague (one of the good ones - not the crazies...).

I cast on as per the pattern, but instead of increasing to 50 stitches across the back I continued until I had 30cm (66 stitches). I then moved the sleeve stitches to waste yarn and kept increasing on the fronts until they were also 66 stitches each.
For the sleeves I decreased on every 4th row as per the pattern, but did an extra two decrease rounds.

I don't think I can say enough good things about this pattern - the directions are totally clear and it was super easy to re-size. And, NO SEAM!!!!

I think the eyelet increases down the front are lovely, and the garter stitch detail on the sleeve cuffs are gorgeous.

And it was quick - I cast on last Friday, and cast off during stage one of the tour last night.
This was my first time using Bendy wool and I have to say it was quite delicious to work with, and felt even better after the pre-block bath.

I'm also impressed that I got the whole cardie out of one ball - so I've still got one to play with - we ordered two just in case

Speaking of firsts, this was also my first kind of commission - my colleague asked how much I charged to knit cardie and I said something along the lines of "Charge??! Ha, you just buy the yarn and choose the pattern. Let me show you Ravelry!" hehe - can you tell I'm excited when someone wants me to knit them something? =)
And this colleague was so good to me when I was working on my job application that I was really happy to be able to do something for her too =)

The satisfaction I got from this little project inspired to cast on something else equally small and seamless tonight - this little premmie raglan cardie. I'm not sure where it will go yet - it might end up going to the same colleague for her new (and early) arrived nephew, or perhaps it will be for donation...

Tomorrow we have our final inspection with the rental people at the apartment - it is going to be such a relief to have that all done with!!!
We spent a large part of yesterday finishing up the balcony and window cleaning, and will get there a bit early armed with our windex, since you just never know how the windows will look in the morning light compared to the afternoon you cleaned them!
Actually, I was kind of hoping for a night of wild weather so we'd have an excuse for any stray dust the morning light reveal ;)

I'm just trying to focus on it all being over, and the lovely Lemon Grassy reward dinner we'll have tomorrow night to celebrate....
Emotional eater? Me? Noooo, never! ;)

xo

ooh, btw, there's no buttons on there yet - G's mum is going to put them on herself to make sure she gets a perfect fit. Because it's wrap-around/cross-over-y she'll be able to move the buttons as G grows, at least for a little while. I also knit the sleeves a couple of rows longer than they really needed to be so they can be fodled up now (the garter stitch cuff means they still look good folded up) and worn unfolded later if they need to be =)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

loungey

Welcome to our loungeroom!



We're still getting settled, but absolutely coomfy and in love with our new home!
It madly fluctuates between being a total mess - as we pull out more boxes to unpack - and impeccably clean - when someone's coming over and everything has been shoved back in a cupboard (love those big built ins!!)

In the picture up you can see our lovely lounge room, the shot below looks past the couch to the kitchen.

There's soooo much room!

I've been busy knitting knitting knitting this week - working on a seamless baby kimono (rav) for a friend's almost 2 year old to wear to a wedding next week.
I should be finished the body tonight, then there's just the sleeves =)
The pattern is fabulous, and I can definitely see myself making this one again.
And it's knit in one piece! No seaming - hurrah!

Oh, and thanks for sharing your stories about workplace weirdos - it is both heartening to and a bit disturbing to know they're everywhere!!!

xo