Thursday, June 30, 2011

Road Trip

We're on our summer hols. A roadtrip to some of the most important (depending on your perspective) U.S. historical sites.

Starting out in Charlottesville, VA at Mr Jefferson's home, Monticello. My DH is a former member of the University's "Jefferson Society", so this is a must visit for us.Then landing at the Declaration of Independence's signing place, Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA.
Where my youngest may have been recruited by the (re-enacted) Revolutionary Army. But only if he swore off that red shirt!Which he clearly did!And currently residing in a midtown Manhattan, not so historical, but definitely des.res., with a pair of socks, handknit on the way.
Not university colours. At least not yet ;0)

Hope your summer's shaping up to be a fabulous one too.

Disco xoxoxo

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sock Camp Creations

No, I haven't been to Sock Camp - I wish! But I am blessed to know Carrie of Irishgirlieknits Designs, who attends every year. Since attending her first camp, she has made herself a wonderful and thriving design career - I don't think that's any coincidence.

One of her latest releases is a design for Kollage yarns - Seamus. I test knit one, and loved it so much, I couldn't resist making one for myself.The yarn is Kollage's Fantastic, which has a beautiful velvety feel whilst being knit and the pattern makes it into a squishy and warm fabric.
Carrie seems to have a knack at designing simple to knit and very wearable creations. Congratulations on another winning pattern Carrie.

Carrie's fellow Sock Camper, or should I say Sockateer? is Debbi Stone of Blue Moon Fiber Arts. She has also been designing some super patterns of late. Remember my Patricia jag earlier this year? Her latest is a cowl - yes, they're all the rage. I hope they still are by Christmas! Named Virginia, it calls for a bulky yarn. I don't have much of that in the stash, but I found this grey Mirasol Ushya and cast on. I think it will make a manly cowl, with the addition of a couple of chunky black toggles.The yarn has an interesting construction - it looks like a 3 stitch i-cord. However it's made, it's knitting up nicely - I don't think this'll take me long to finish at all.

Another sock camper is Marcy Vandale. I haven't had the pleasure of meeting Marcy yet, but Carrie and Debbi talk about her all the time when we're at Stitches West together. She is also spreading her designing wings this year and I am trawling my stash desperately, to find one skein to make the large version of her Marrowstone Shawl. I love how this is a 'skinny' shawl, which can easily be scrunched up into a scarf for the neck. I'm also interested to try out the short row construction.

However you look at it, the "Sock Camp" seems to be a hotbed of creative talent. Any other campers' designs I should be looking at?

Disco xo

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WIP Wannabe

I just came across this cardigan/wrap/jackety thing on Ravelry:

Flag by Helene Magnusson

Is that not screaming my name?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Media Monday

So, a couple of weeks ago, Bezzie followed up my book recommendation with one of her own: anything by Pat Barker.

I took myself to the library and picked up "Another World". It was the only one of Ms Barker's books in the library that didn't seem to be part of a series - our library is not that well stocked, honestly, the knitting book section is pitiful.

Anyhow, apart from being an engaging story of family disfunctionality - and who doesn't enjoy a story they can relate to, ahem - the story was set in familiar territory. Turns out the author is from the NorthEast of England, where I grew up and this book was set there too. She even writes with the dialect and accent in her dialogue.

I will be trying this author again, and thanks to Bezzie for her tip :0) I hope y'all will pick up the mantle and post more book reviews and recommendations on your blogs too - it can't be all knitting all the time can it?

Speaking of dialogue, we rented "The King's Speech" this weekend. I know, we must be the last in the world! It was fascinating and I learned a few things too.

This Friday we'll be first in line to see Cars The Movie II. You can't beat a bit of Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater. Enjoy the trailer.....

For Father's Day yesterday, I gave Tommy the 1st season of Modern Family. We only started watching this 2nd season, so we had missed out on the 1st one. LOVE this show, it makes me literally, LOL.

What are y'all watching and reading right now?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Handmade Father's Day

Embroidered coffee sleeve, by Matthew.
Happy Father's Day :0)


Friday, June 17, 2011

Lego Birthday Party

It was Matthew's 6th birthday a few weeks ago (the time, it flies!). Here he is with his new bike - it has gears and everything!!! Don't you love how he combs his hair to make himself look smart? :0) And no, he wasn't allowed to ride it round the house.He wanted a Lego birthday party, so that's what we planned. Good for us, as Teddy had a Lego birthday party last year, so we already had ideas.

There was much Lego building involved - building the tallest tower, race cars and other crazy vehicles.We set up a race track, going from one room to another and raced the cars they'd made - furthest and fastest won.The cake was delivered by our very own Lego visitor (last year's halloween costume)
At the end of the party, each guest got a certificate of Lego achievement - race winner, most creative, tallest tower, tiniest car, etc. And of course, a Lego goody bag. The boys and I made the glass magnets, and I whipped up the 'friendship bracelets'.
If you want to make your own Lego man costume, we were inspired by these guys, but this tutorial is very close to how we made ours.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Baby Surprise Jacket

Matthew's teacher is having a baby girl over the summer holidays. So I whipped up this beauty, just in time for the last day of school.This might be my fourth, or fifth Baby Surprise Jacket. It's such a perfect pattern, when you finally make sense of the minimal instructions. The first time I knit it, I made myself a spreadsheet, which I now read along with the pattern instructions, marking off each row as I go. It has been invaluable and I Must. Not. Lose It!!!
The yarn is Vanna White's. It was Very Squeaky. Could have been because I made this to a tight gauge, wanting it to fit her for the fall/early winter. I think the sizing worked out well, so, mission accomplished.
Gratuitous garter stitch close-ups. I'm no Jared Flood, I know ;0)
The stripes are made by alternating, every other row. Simple as that. It did make for a few extra ends to weave in, but I think the effect is worth it. They will definitely be knit again.

Disco :0)

The cast on of a million stitches....

I came across this wonderful, easy provisional cast-on on Wendy Bernard's blog, Knit and Tonic. I'm not going to reinvent the wheel by describing it again here, go read the pdf, it'll take you 2 minutes.

It's also a great way to add a contrast colour edge to any garment or accessory - just don't unzip the cast-on edge. I also love it for casting on lots of stitches, for instance, for a cowl or infinity scarf - no running out of the tail-end of the yarn. Again, just don't unzip the cast-on.
Use either, two different balls of yarn to cast on, or, both ends of the same ball, cutting the 'tail' end once enough stitches have been cast on.

It does leave you with 2 extra yarn tails to weave in. But for me, I'd rather that than rip out 160 cast on stitches and do them all again.

Disco :0)

Monday, June 13, 2011


Did you see Carrie's cupcake photo today (scroll down)? It reminded me to post about the cupcakes I've been making lately that've gotten a bunch of compliments and requests for my recipe.

I don't really have a recipe per se, I just google "cupcake recipe" or "basic cupcake recipe" and choose the one at the top. As long as it has butter, sugar, eggs and flour in some combination, you can't go wrong. The last couple of times though, I've used this Martha Stewart creation for batter (leaving out the orange) and another Martha Stewart creation for buttercream frosting. I use these as proportion guides for the basic batter and frosting.

To flavour the cakes and frosting, I add in some mashed fruit, or peanut butter, or cocoa powder, or whatever flavour I want them to be.
So, here are Saturday's creations. The first cakes are black and blue berry cakes - mashed up blackberries and blueberries, just stir them into the batter and the frosting. The frosting is a wee bit wet and does well to be put in the fridge to set a little, once it's been spread on top of the cupcake.

The other is banana cake - mashed up super-ripe bananas (I keep them in the freezer when they're too squishy to eat, then defrost as needed). I threw in a few chocolate chips too. The frosting has a good tablespoon of peanut butter mixed in.

No fancy swirls or decorations, just plain old delicious.

I have dessert to make for a dinner on Thursday night. I'm thinking pineapple and coconut and some more black'n'blues.

Happy Monday :0)
Disco xo