Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2009

Nuclear mushrooms

I discovered this today at my local farmers market.

It's White Cloud Mushroom. It looks too beautiful to eat however it has a delcioius fresh and delicate flavour. I'm planning to eat some of it raw in salads and some of it fried in tempura batter.

The mushroom man had lots of info about these unusual fungi especially the nutritional properties, however searching on the internet for "White Cloud Mushroom" just brings up lots of references to nuclear war.

Just Beet It - part III

Who knew that my beetroot dyeing title would become so topical, what with the demise of the "King of Pop".

In response to much interest in my beetroot yarn and debate on it's colour fastness I'm outlining how I dyed the yarn in case anyone else wants to have a go.

Most dyeing websites will tell you beetroot produces a grungy yellow colour and is not colour fast. This is probably referring to using fresh beetroot. I'm new to dyeing but will postulate that pickled beetroot juice works differently to fresh due to the pickling process.

Anyway, theories aside, this is what I did.


I skein Zirton Treking undyed superwash sock yarn.The juice/vinegar from two 710g jars of Waitrose Pickled Sliced Beetroot. The ingredients on the label are beetroot, sugar, barley malt vinegar, acetic acid, salt. I had about 2/3 of a 710g jar of beetroot vinegar.

1) Presoak the yarn in tepid water with a dash of washing up liquid until the yarn is moist. Drain off any excess wa…

Mexican Knits

My gammy leg is recuperating well from surgery so after months of tedious immobility I'm desperate to get back out into London and all she has to offer.

I had a physio session this morning, rather than head home afterwards I went to the marvellous Prince Charles Cinema which is a brilliant place if you're at a loose end during the day. They show films a few months after main release and charge a lot less than most London cinemas. With membership you can see an afternoon film for £1.50. Bargain.

I met up with my lovely knitting friend Claire to watch MILK. I thoroughly enjoyed it although I'm not sure enjoy is the right word. I was outraged at the lack of basic human rights and horrendous bigotry the US gay community had to fight against not all that long ago. I knew some of the details but seeing it on the big screen, interspersed with film footage brought it to life. Given the rise of the anti-gay Prop 8 lobby during the US elections last year the film was even more poignan…

Happy Father's Day

When I was a teenager I used to draw all the time, I even did Art and Design GCSE. I've lost the habit however I motivated myself to draw my Dad's Fathers Day card as most commercial cards for Dad's are not aimed at my Dad. He doesn't play golf, drink much beer or watch racing. He does play the flugelhorn in a brass band so I drew him this.

OK, I know it's not a Picasso or a Turner but it's a start and my Dad was very chuffed with it.

What shall I draw next?

Little things.

I expect galleries and museums to make their membership cards interesting pieces of mini art. Most of them do. This year Tate exceeded my expectations with a David Shrigley card. I was tempted to keep it in my Tracey Emin travel card wallet which I scored as an Arts Council Freebie a few years ago but I thought that might be a tad pretentious. It will just make me smile in my wallet instead.

Just beet it - part II

Here it is. The beetroot dye experiment results.

I had read that beetroot turns a disappointing orange colour when the dye is set. The most saturated end turned a beautiful burnished orange however the far end of the skein, which had been a delicate shade of pale pink before cooking was a mucky yellow. The cream/mucky yellow colour dominated the skein and wasn't as graduated as I'd hoped for.

I decided to redye the cream section, leaving a small section of the Naples Yellow (mucky yellow) for contrast (I actually like the colour in small amounts and looked up a nicer name in my Artists Colour Manual). I added a few drops of pink food colouring to the beetroot vinegar just to see what happened and over dyed the mid portion of orange with more beetroot vinegar with a few drops of red food colouring. This is how it looked while drying...

...ta dah! Here it is reskeined. Well half the skein anyway. I was in a rush as I wanted to enter it in a dip dyeing competition on Ravelry which …

Happy WWKIP Day 2009

For World Wide Knit In Public Day 2008 we took part in the I Knit London Treasure Hunt. It was so much fun we decided to do it again this year.

This year there were questions based around sheepy locations as well as knitting challenges such as knitting on a routemaster, with a pigeon/policeman/celebrity/naked person and finding landmarks beginning with the letters F.L.E.E.C.E - do you see what they did there?

It was more of a struggle this year as I'm still using one crutch over longer distances but we completed the course, including having time for lunch and knitting 72inches of scarf for the longest scarf comp. I came second, again! Ha! It was fun hearing tourists walking past muttering about tricote or Stricken (French and German for kntting) and I used my needles to make a sign of the cross to ward of the preachy fundamentalist Christians who were boring everyone in Trafalgar Square.

Bless 'em. They were trying so hard but were very Church of England about the whole thing. Th…

Just beet it. - Part I

One of my favourite vegetables is beetroot. I eat it in all sorts of ways but the most constant one is pickled so I have lots of beautiful burgundy pickle juice in my fridge. It seems a shame to waste it so I thought I'd see what happens when it's mixed with wool.

I soaked the yarn with a dash of washing up liquid, then dip dyed with weaker and weaker solutions of the beetroot juice. I've steamed it to set the dye. It should be dry by tomorrow...

Culture vulture

This week has been so much better. I've made it out of the house to actual fun things instead of hospital appointments.

On Thursday I managed to get a ticket to the dress rehearsal of Phedre at the National Theatre, thanks to the lovely Craig at Iknit.

While the play itself wasn't my cup of tea it was a superb production, from the deceptively simple set design to the shear tour de force that is Mirren on the stage. The rest of the cast were equally good. I don't know much about acting but Phedre seems a tough play to perform with long tragic monologues and little natural conversation. The prose, adapted by Ted Hughes, is beautiful with some evocative lines (all of which escape me now) and is skilfully brought to life by the cast.

I'm not a fan of tragedies. They make me want to march onto the stage and talk a bit of common sense into the foolish characters. Maybe that's the point but I dislike coming out of productions feeling irritated, don't get me started on R…

K1, P1, H1N1

Mr Ginger's mum is off to Washington DC to visit his brother. She's a tad paranoid about Swine Flu even though we have it in Europe.

She does have a sense of humour. Hopefully this will help her see the funny side. Either that or it will tip her over the edge.

It's my first finished object for ages. Yippee. It only took a couple of hours to make. I used this pattern more for inspiration as I couldn’t imagine using DK acrylic on 2.75mm needles. I made it on the fly but my numbers worked out roughly half those on the pattern.