Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I bought a bag of wool from my local op shop, around 1kg for $6, which was too good a deal to pass up. However, there were no labels and it was all just wound in balls. But I figured it was probably wool, and being a light grey, I could dye it. So I set about dyeing about 300g of it green using food colouring.

I used the first method described here. I love using my slow cooker to dye wool because it is super super easy, but its not really a method for getting exact colours. If you have a very clear idea of how you want your yarn to look once its dyed, this method is probably not for you. I'm much more of a 'throw it in the slow cooker and see what happens' kind of girl so its great for me. Initially I had wanted a darker green than I got, and I was a little disappointed with the wool when it came out of the slow cooker. But as it dried I got more and more excited about it, and now I'm sold on the colour. I've got another 100g soaking so that I can dye it a light blue/purple so we'll see how that goes with the green.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I finished knitting my first yarn swap jersey and I'm quite pleased with how it came out. I'm still not 100% sold on the verigation in the yarn, but it looks nice in the jersey. The pattern was Baby sock sweater by Amy King, and it was really easy to follow. The sizing is on the small side, I did 3-6months but really should have done larger. However that did give me plenty of yarn to do other things with.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I received an amazing swap. My wool was not only hand dyed, but also handspun. It was thick and thin merino dyed in shades of blue and green. My partner chose waves as her kiwiana theme.

Not only did I receive the great wool, but I was also very spoilt to receive some awesome gifts as well. I got a cloth nappy making kit, all the fabric and notions I would need, a hair clip for P and some gorgeous hand painted breast pads.

The red and yellow is my buzzy bee swap. My swappee was really pleased with it as well.

I have already wound my yarn into a ball and started knitting a headband for myself out of it. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I had a fantastic yarn swap last night, with my knitting group. It was based on 'kiwiana' and I got some amazing yarn (and gifts). But I can't find my USB cable so no photos are as yet forthcoming. However, you can read all about it, and see wonderful photos of it here

Thursday, October 15, 2009

We have a glut of grapefruit at the moment. There were really high winds in the last couple of weeks and heaps of our fruit fell off the tree so I've been trying to make something with them. I've got a grapefruit cake recipe, but the juice of 2 grapefruit isn't going to cut it. So far I've made grapefruit cordial.

Grapefruit cordial
3 Grapefruit
1 1/2 C sugar
25g citric acid
1.2 L water

Dissolve sugar and citric acid in boiling water. Stir in juice and rind of the 3 grapefruit. Dilute to taste (about 3 parts water to 1 part syrup).

This cordial is great, because it doesn't have any artificial colours or preservatives (the citric acid is a preservative, but its natural).

So that has knocked off a few of my grapefruit, and I have tried my utmost to foist them on everyone I know, but most people have their own trees, or don't like them. I'd just eat them all the time, but they give me hives (I still love them, they just don't love me back).

If anyone has any other grapefruit intensive recipes, please let me know.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


The weather this morning was pretty bad, just overcast and miserable, so P and I spent the morning baking. P loves baking, well actually she loves eating but when I bake she gets her own little bowl with ingredients to 'mix' and eat. We made some lactation cookies so I could freeze the dough for after the new baby arrives and then we made muffins. My muffin recipe is really easy and very versatile.

Basic Muffins
2 C flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 C brown sugar
2 t mixed spice
1 C wet fruit (grated apple, grated courgette, mashed banana, berries etc)
1/2 C dry fruit (sultanas, raisins, dried apricots, chocolate chips etc)
1 egg
2 T oil
1 C milk

Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add the egg, oil and milk (you should really mix all the wet ingredients together in another bowl and then add them to the dry ingredients but that's just another bowl to wash later). Pour into muffin tins and bake for approx 15mins at 200degC.

I know the muffins in the pictures are pink, this is because I used beetroot rather than apple for my wet fruit ingredient. We had some that went to seed and needed to be used up. I'm happy to report that the muffins tasted fine - a little beetrooty, but still yummy. The recipe is really really versatile, just use whatever you've got on hand.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I'm due with my second child at the beginning of December, and I think I have spent the last 7 months nesting. I've been frantically sewing clothes for P, my daughter for Christmas presents.
My mother in law gave me a bag full of scraps of fabric and it included some with elephants on it. P's all time favourite animal is the elephant. Anytime we turn the computer on, she demands to see elephant photos on it so I thought that the elephant would make a perfect applique for my one and only top pattern. Its the first time I'd ever appliqued anything, and I'm really happy with how it turned out. I backed the elephant picture with fusible interfacing, and then did a really tight zigzag stitch all the way around it. Its not quite straight but I don't think P will mind. I actually had some trouble putting it away for Christmas since I'm sure she'll love it.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Missing camera

It turns out that the reason I couldn't find my camera was that my husband had taken it to work and not told me. Which is a good thing because I thought I had lost it (pregnancy brain strikes again).
So this is the yarn that I received from my painting yarn swap. I also got a whole lot of goodies (despite there being no requirement for presents). My painting was the Adoration of the Magi by Gentile deFabriano. I saw this at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, and it was just stunning and magestic - encrusted with beautiful gems and gold leaf. Like all my favourite art, it is so much better in real life than in pictures.

My yarn is 4ply Merino, dyed with cake gel dyes, and it looks stunning in the ball. It also came with a pattern for a baby jersey and I've started knitting it up, but I'm not so sure that I like the combination of colours in the finished product. I'll post photos of how its going and I'll decide whether I like it once its all finished and seamed up.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

So I wanted my first post to be about my Rhododendron that has just started flowering, and looks gorgeous out my kitchen window - but I can't find my camera so I'll have to start with something equally interesting, but not as picturesque.

I was involved with my first yarn swap a little while ago, and I dyed the wool (also for the first time). It was really cool. The swap was based on a favourite painting. My swapee's painting was "Hylas and the Water nymphs" so I dyed my wool green and yellow to go with the waterlilies in the picture. It was really exciting dyeing the wool - my Mum was super sceptical that it would work, but it turned out fabulously. I can't wait to see how it knits up.
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