Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Flexible Francis

Francis caught my eye a while ago, particularly after seeing these two versions. Feeling the desire for a quick and simple project to relieve the designing part of my brain I decided to create my own interpretation.

I had a fairly different gauge than the pattern called for so I mostly made it up as I went along....the beauty of the top down raglan being those golden opportunities to try as you go...and rip back if it isn't working! I did some unraveling and changed the increases on the sleeves, also choosing to work a few more rounds of texture at the hem and cuffs (mock rib).I used Cascade Eco-Wool Plus for the first time (in a colour called Fern that isn't very well represented in my highly edited photoshop pictures).
Great value for money but fairly workhorse ...think I would have preferred something with a little more drape for this project.....oh well, it will still get some use!

OK.......back to the drawing the board!
(Edited to add some more images)!

Friday, February 20, 2009

I Say Beetroot And You Say Beets?

I'm most definitely the soup queen in my household.....whilst the weather is still cool enough to enjoy a hot soup I'm making the most of it...thought I'd share one of our favourites:

Brilliant Beetroot Borscht
(Or beets to you Americans)
2oz butter
2 large carrots
3-4 medium beetroot (pre-cooked or not)
4 medium potatoes
1 large apple (whatever is handy)
1 large onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
1.5 litres of broth (veggie or meat)
I heaped tablespoon of plain flour
1 small tin/6fl oz of tomato paste
2-3 tbls balsamic vinegar
2-3 tbls brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream
dill or parsley to garnish (fresh or dried)

Chop all the veggies up. Melt butter in large pot and add garlic, onion, carrots and beetroot. Add a bit of salt and pepper and cook for approx 10-12 mins. Get the stock ready if you haven't already done so (I just use a veggie broth paste that I add boiling water to). Mix the flour into the veggies and gradually pour on the stock mixing as you go and add in the tomato paste. Next stick in the potatoes and apple and let the soup simmer for 35-40 mins until all the veg is cooked. Add the vinegar and sugar (taste as this point to check the sweetness versus vinegar ratio). Blend the soup and serve with a dollop of sour cream and some fresh dill or parsley to garnish. Great with some warm fresh bread or rolls.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Copycat Tweedy

Finally some knitting content to share!!

This is a long overdue gift destined for my lovely brother in law in New Zealand.
I promised him a vest about a year and a half ago.....he even paid for the yarn....and it's taken me until now to get it all together!

Initially I was going to design something myself and did even play around with some ideas... but I really wasn't feeling it.... of course it got put aside for other knitting as I tried to figure it out.......then it all became obvious.....I needed to make a copycat version of Brooklyn Tweed's Striped Vest! I sent Nick (the recipient) links to Jared's blog and he gave the thumbs up.

I literally finished this today and then logged on to flickr to see that Jared has now published a pattern for this- The Alberta Vest (Rav link)!! I obviously didn't have the pattern and referred to my handy knitting bibles (and Jared's Blog) to help me out. This is made to measure (jury is still out on that one)...and at a slightly different gauge.I went for Rowan Felted Tweed as my choice of yarn.....the colours were the most pleasing and there's a good range to choose from.
This was also my first time steeking (went for the well praised crochet steek) and will definitely not be my last...such fun! BTW when I was in Shetland and mentioned steeking at my Fair Isle knitting class I was met with a lot of blank faces....apparently it's not as common over there as I was led to believe....they're more likely to switch to knitting back and forth once they reach the armholes.

I'm really pleased with how this turned out and just hope that it fits Nick after his waiting so patiently for it...admittedly it is still Summer in New Zealand so he's not going to get a lot of wear out of it just yet!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Impulsive is my Middle Name

My sister was right....I do make impulsive decisions when it comes to my hair.....however, no regrets this time (despite the fact that I booked a haircut on Friday the 13th)!

I appreciate all the kind words on the longer curlier look...... but this is definitely more "Me"!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday in Fresno

Just sharing some snippets of regular activities at our house:
Maya snuggling with her cat Dolphin (who enjoys a suckle on a knitted poncho I made for her 5 years ago).
Maya doesn't show anyone else in the family the love and affection she gives this cat!
Sage loves the cats too but a close second would be his Star Wars great to watch boys and their toys...I don't get it.....but he's so absorbed!
And then there is serious looking me....testing what my hair does when left to it's own devices (Maya's suggestion)....the hair and I seem to do battle...I'm thinking it's time it went!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Taking The Pledge

Because I want to show my support and solidarity to those that have spoken up on this issue already, I am officially taking the pledge-

"Today I pledge that henceforth, I will only sign contracts that allow me the freedom of determining what happens to my intellectual property after the initial publication."

Like others I will also be writing a note of concern to the folks at Vogue.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Zesty Beret

Maya has been asking me to knit her a beret for a few weeks now....she even picked out the yarn whilst we were still in Scotland. She did originally request one of my patterns but after knitting so many of my own berets recently I needed to move here is Rose Red (by Ysolda) re-interpreted in Lime Green.

I've seen some lovely versions of this floating around cyberspace but after seeing this one I had to cast on immediately!
Another great pattern from Ysolda...lots of fun to knit.... Maya loves it......and gosh it feels good to support other indie designers!
As I write this post and go and get the link for Ysolda's blog I got side-tracked by her latest post....if you care about designers in the knitting world then please go and read.....

Monday, February 2, 2009

Winter Camping Californian Style

( In which Gudrun's Knitting blog is taken over by family photos)!
Camping in January on the Californian coast can mean better weather than in the height of summer and we were not disappointed with what we found at Montana De Oro this weekend.

We were even able to book one of our favourite camping spots at the last minute. A beautiful environmental (hike in, no water) spot that sits on a bluff overlooking the ocean in a small grove of eucalyptus trees.
Montana De Oro is full of trails and dunes and miles of deserted beach. We all couldn't wait to dip our toes (and more) in the Pacific waters.
Yes it was glorious...... but we did have to cut it short as Sage was inflicted with a stomach virus in the middle of the night! So it wasn't all a bed of roses!