Friday, 28 August 2009

Ich bin ein Berliner

Yay! Off to Berlin tomorrow for a long weekend of sightseeing and hopefully yarn shopping. Bring on the Wolle!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Knitting for Peace

I spent a very pleasant morning Knitting for Peace at the Courtauld Gallery in the Omega Workshops exhibition. As well as making a square for blankets for Afghanistan I met some great knitters, showed some kids how to knit, chatted to gallery visitors and staff and discovered some artists I hadn't heard of before.



I admire the concept behind Knitting for Peace. As well as bringing people from opposing sides in conflicts thus breaking down prejudices, they send hand knits to areas of conflict, currently to Afghanistan. I enjoy knocking out a quick and easy kids hats in-between more complex knits and I like the thought of one of my hats helping keep a child warm throughout the harsh Afghan winter.

If you'd like to send items to knit for peace all the info can be found here.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

The kindness of knitters

I received my first Random Act of Kindness (RAK) today all the way from The Netherlands. I initially thought my parcel was an early birthday present, however I don't know anyone in Vlissingen so my impatience overcame me and I opened up my gift.

I actually squealed like a small child when I saw yarn.

The parcel was sent anonymously so if you are reading this Phantom RAKer thank you very much/hartelijk dank.


My parcel contained: Blocking pins (perfect as I was about to buy some and these have leaves on the tips which is very me), fuzzy red mohair yarn, silky soft soy sock yarn, Guatemalan worry dolls, a CD, a comedy DVD, cheery heart stickers and a ladybird yarn holder. All good stuff.

In some sort of knitterly karma I'm going to pay it forward on Sunday by Knitting for Peace at the Courtauld Institute in London. Knit for Peace bring together people from opposing communities in knit groups. This helps break down barriers and helps people realise their enemies are not that dissimilar to themselves.

Last night I watched some harrowing footage on how the civilians of Afghanistan are affected by the ongoing conflicts there. I've decided to make some kids hats and jumpers if I have time) for families over there. I know it's only a small gesture in a huge pit of despair, but if I can brighten a families winter, help keep their kids warm and let them know some of us care it will be a small positive force in the world. If you're interested in Knitting for Peace they have a group on Ravelry.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Spirogeek

Being a hoarder sometimes has it's advantages. I was a geeky 80s kid and requested a Spirograph one Christmas. Remember them? Lots of yellow plastic discs with strategic holes in for creating geometric patters. I kept mine and it came in handy for the first time in about 25 years today.

I needed a gift tag. The recipient loves purple so I thought I'd make her one but was stuck for inspiration. Out came the Spirograph and in a few minutes I'd created this.



Fairly simple but effective. Maybe I'll get started on this years Christmas cards, or maybe I'll leave it til mid December like I usually do.

Friday, 14 August 2009

TOTOROOOOOOOO!



I finally handed over the Totoro hooded top to it's two year old recipient today. It also fits his four year old sister which is good as she likes Totoro too. They both looked very cute in it.



We met up at the Wellcome Collection which has a lovely airy cafe and free exhibitions. The Totoro kids mum is a fellow scientist so we went round the Exquisite Bodies exhibition explaining why calves are sometimes born with two heads, how babies are made (the four year olds current interest) and lots of other science fun to the kids. If you visit the Wellcome centre with kids ask about their young investigators pack. It's really cool (I was disappointed I didn't get one) and it's free. Brilliant. The staff were really helpful and pleasantly surprised at seeing young kids enjoying a strange exhibition, rather than being freaked out by it.

Personally, I did enough human dissection as part of my degree to make me not want to see another cadaver ever again, although the models were, as the title suggests, exquisite. It's well worth a look.



As well as Exquisite Bodies we found Jelly Baby Bodies in the genome section of the Medicine Now gallery. I'd like to dissect a giant jelly baby ............. with my teeth.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Sew impatient...

There are lots of fabulous new knitting patterns out for autumn, which I'm itching to start. However, I have several unfinished projects, all of which are knitted but just need seaming. I hate this part. I try and knit everything in the round but there are always those odd little bits to finish.

Hopefully, if I don't lose my mind, I'll have some FOs to show you soon, then I can crack on with some new knits.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Easy cake knits?

Yesterday was my lovely, talented friend Claire's book launch at Loop. She was short of cakes for the event, seeing as I have lots of spare time at the moment I put my domestic goddess hat on and started baking. I don't have many baking cook books, I'm much more interested in savoury food, however a quick trawl on the internet brought up some mouthwatering patterns, ahem, recipes.

The first one is for lemon and vanilla cupcakes. I don't think I spooned enough mixture into the cases as they didn't rise very high, however they tasted good. They also gave me an opportunity to use some of the vanilla pods I bought direct from the sorting factory when we volunteered in Madagascar.



The second is for strawberry cupcakes. These look so fancy I just had to try them. The downside with the recipe is it doesn't say how many cupcakes to make and the amount of icing I ended up with was ridiculous. Even after icing the cakes I still had over 1 litre of icing left over. I've used it up today, half in a frozen desert thing, mixed with mascarpone cheese and lemon juice to take the edge off the extreme sweetness, the other half in a cake experiment. If the cake experiment works I'll write about it, if it doesn't it's going in the compost bin.

Anyway, these are the cupcakes I ended up with.



Typically, after a hot and humid day baking, the heavens opened as I set off for Loop. Luckily the downpour didn't deter people from coming to Loop to celebrate Claire's new book and the shop was buzzing with knitters, friends and family.



Claire's really hit a gap in the market with her beautiful book of patterns for kids age 3-10, all of which are everyday wearable but with enough interest for your average knitter.



At the end of the evening there was a raffle and I was lucky enough to win 10 balls of Sublime Soya Cotton yarn.



So all in all a fab evening, I met some lovely knitters, ate cake, got some free Soak samples and more yarn for my stash.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

As well as knitting...

... I made my own stitch markers. Will this creativity ever end?

We have a winner...

Check out my pea seedling, how intact and un-nibbled it is.



My mysterious object, as correctly guessed by Madmurdock and Montyknits, is a gastropod guard. It seems to be working.

I'd heard that slugs and snails don't like slithering over hair. I tried using hair clippings a few years ago as a barrier. It worked for a few days, til I found chewed, leafless stems and on further inspection a guilty slug covered in ginger hair. Hopefully the fleecy barrier will stay in place and mean I get a good late crop of peas.

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who took part.