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Knit is a Four-Letter Word

Vale Holidailies, Hale New Beginnings

2009 2009 Holiday Cards & Treee

Holiday Cards & Tree

Farewell Holidailies!

I haven’t done so well this year, 7 entries in. The holiday season, weather, the great basement flood of ’09 really kicked my arse.

Several of the journals and blogs I read, including Karen from Hat on Top are taking part in “New Beginnings”. Essentially, keeping track of the resolutions, or life goals/changes that you want to make on a weekly, or regular basis. Helps you keep track and see if they’re working out, and if they’re a real workable change. This neatly dovetails with how I’d planned to keep my goals reviewed – weekly it may not be, but definitely once a month.

I did make some resolutions for the new year, on New Year’s Day, which I plan to detail in another entry. Several of them I’ve been keeping, some not so well, and some are long term goals that won’t be finished within 2010.

Here are some I’ve been abiding by –

take a photo every day. Post it to to Flickr. I’m doing the 365 challenge, and have been sticking to it for almost a week now. Here’s the set at Flickr. I allow myself a slide of a day to post the pics, and I’ve been keeping to that as well.

Wash and moisturize my face at night. Clean my teeth every night. Many of my resolutions are of the self care type. Can’t very well take care of all of the things I need to take care of, without taking care of myself. These two are coming along nicely. Folding it into my routine, providing a nice little slowdown before I go to bed. I’ve not been one to take good care of my teeth, and this is the first baby step in fixing that.

Thanks again to Jette & Chip for Holidailies, it’s something I look forward to every year. And now that the Holiday rush has died down, I’ve time to go off and read some of the Holidaily-ers I’ve missed out on.

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Soaked Saturday

Had a great day out with the nephew, bookshop, chinese food for lunch, pottering around, and spending time at his house and then Jeff’s Mum and Dad’s house. Got home around 10PM to a 2.5 inches flooded basement, which put a bit of a damper on the day.

Happily none of the electrical gear (computers, guitars, exercise gear, printers, washing machine, dryer etc etc) were affected – mostly on, or now moved to higher ground.

Am off to watch Ep 1 of Doctor Who’s David Tennant finale, and blank out the mess that will need to be cleaned up in the days to come.

Can’t do anything for now, it’s not coming in through the window, but up through the water table. So, bed, knitting, TV and chocolate, and tomorrow’s another day.

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Why I Own a Bundt Pan

The Beginnings of Monkey Bread

This is the reason I own a bundt pan. I make this recipe in December every year, once, maybe twice, and then the bundt pan goes back in the cupboard.

Prep Time – 10 minutes, plus overnight, plus 30 minutes cooking time.

Materials – bundt pan, baking tray, mixing bowl, microwave safe container, clean dry tea towel.

Ingredients – 1 packet frozen (24) yeast (Parkerhouse) rolls, 1 stick (4 oz/113g) butter, 1 packet vanilla pudding mix (not instant), 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, Crisco Shortening for greasing the bundt pan.

Method: Melt the butter in the microwave safe container in the microwave. Mix in the mixing bowl the vanilla pudding mix and the brown sugar. Grease the bundt pan.

Monkey Bread - First Layer

Evenly spread half of the frozen rolls at the base of the greased bundt pan. Pour half of the butter over the rolls, and sprinkle half of the pudding/sugar mix.

Monkey Bread - Second Layer

Arrange the second half of the frozen rolls over the first. Pour the rest of the butter over the second layer of rolls, then sprinkle with the remaining sugar/pudding mix.

Monkey Bread - the Night Before

Place the clean tea towel over the bundt pan, put the bundt pan into the baking tray, and put the whole thing in a warm spot overnight.

Monkey Bread - The Morning After

The next morning you’ll see the rolls have doubled in size.

Monkey Bread - Uncovered

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Remove the tea towel, place the baking tray and bundt pan in the oven. The baking tray is to catch the drippings, if it boils over. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Monkey Bread - Just Out of the Oven

Voila! The monkey bread is crispy and done, out of the oven. Loosen gently around the edge of the pan.

Monkey Bread - TaDa!

Turn the monkey bread out onto the tray.

Monkey Bread - Ready to Eat

Scoop all the syrup out of the bundt pan over the monkey bread. Eat immediately – the caramel/toffee hardens as the bread cools.

It’s quite rich and very sweet, which is why we save it for a couple of special times a year, when we know we’ll have a bunch of people ready to help eat it.


Earworms and Malaprops

Me while making Honey Crackles for the Annual Cookie Swap – “Brilliant! These star shaped foil thingies have inserted an earworm! Now all I can hear in my head is “Oh LIttle Star of Bethlehem”!”

Jeff while also rapidly filling the patty pan cases because we made three times the recipe, and it sets hard as a rock in pretty short order if you don’t go like the clappers – ” Yes, although sadly that’s “Oh Little *TOWN* of Bethlehem”, so….”

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I’m a knitter (But & Because)

I’m a knitter but

My top 3 projects on the go are

a) the crocheted Holiday Homespun afghan that I’ve given away, and take back to finish
b) the crocheted purple and green Batman Interstitial afghan for Jeff
c) the crocheted two toned granny cotton washcloth where I’m practicing changing colours without cutting, with just one row for each of the two colour changes.

I’m a knitter because

a) I only know how to crochet granny squares and rectangles – going around in a circle I’m fine, but I don’t know what to do with the end of a row when turning on a flat piece
b) I can do much of my knitting (and purling) without looking down at my work or even in the dark (Theatre knitting)
c) I’m a knitter who crochets, not a crocheter who knits

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Christmas Knitting

Yesterday I gave a mostly crocheted afghan, with the ends not woven in, and the hook and edging yarn in the box, as my Secret Santa gift – with the promise to finish it and get it back by the end of this weekend. I finished off that morning sewing up the last of the seven wee tissue holders for the same night’s small gift swap.

Tonight, at 11:30PM, I’m 3 rows into the second half of the gift that has to be wrapped and presented by 3PM tomorrow. Granted, it’s a washcloth, but I’ve also plans to make a third wee thing to complete the set.

Christmas Knitting is kicking my arse.

(And yet I still have hopes of finishing an afghan for another gift, and keep thinking of people who would like scarves and hats. It’s a compulsion.)

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In need of Oil

Today I put my car in for a service. It’d been a while since it had an oil change, sometime in 2008. It also needed new battery terminal wires – the old ones weren’t staying tightened any more, and were prone to just coming undone. Battery terminal wires just coming undone equals the same thing as a flat battery, no oomph at oil.

I dropped my car off at lunch time, and picked it up after work. The mechanic (who is new, and I theorize working his way into eventually owning the business from my other mechanic) gently chided me for not replacing my oil on a regular basis. Not doing this very minor service, he said, can end up damaging the car on an ongoing basis.

When I got into my car, and turned on the ignition, I immediately noticed the change. The car ran more smoothly, responded quicker, drove looser.

I couldn’t help but think about swimming.

I haven’t been for a good month or more, something seems to have come up every time. And yet still, the one time in the middle of all of the not getting theres, the one time I did go into the pool, the difference was immediate.

I felt more limber, looser, my brain and body responded quicker.

I need to try and fit the pool in, even if it’s only for a short stint. Even if it’s not on a night I usually have my class. Or get out of bed earlier, and swim laps for a half hour.

I’m in need of oil!

Link of the day Why Swimming is a Good Good Thing.

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Dear Tim Gunn

Dear Tim Gunn

I’m not really a regular watcher of “Project Runway”, I’ve seen a few episodes, quite a few in the season where Jay won, but not much after that. Nothing personal, fashion’s not really my thing, and reality TV is rarely my thing, so the impetus to watch your show really isn’t there for me. But I’d always thought of you as someone who respected craft and skill.

Which is why I stopped in the middle of a cheesy Christmas Lifetime movie to transcribe the usually frothy and silly FaLaLaLa Lifetime Interstitial where you said this:

“Nothing says love like a homemade gift. Unfortunately nothing says cheapskate like one either”


As a knitter and erstwhile crocheter, I just have to say, you’ve pissed me off. Quite a bit there, to so offhandedly diss me and my kind. Knitters, Crocheters, people who sew.

People who may not spend a lot of money on the raw materials of the project (although if you’ve checked out the price of hand dyed sock yarn, you’d have to re-examine your cheapskate slur), but really, is the value of a hand made item
just in the cost of the item? If you buy a painting, are you really just paying for the paint, the canvas and the frame? Is the sum total of a book’s worth measured in ink, paper and binding?

I wonder if you’ve ever sat down and counted just how many stitches and hours go into, for example, a hand crocheted afghan. Not to mention the hours spent learning and honing the skill and dexterity, and yet more hours studying and playing with colour and texture to arrive at a pleasing result with the combination of yarn and stitch pattern.

Cate Blanchett, the very bastion of style and fashion, she’s been seen wearing a crocheted dress on the red carpet.

Going back to Jay McCarroll, your original winner, I remember him talking about the women in his family, the things that they made, how they inspired his fashion ethos.

Gordana from your Season 6, she knit a sweater when she was 7! Handmade, home-made gifts, I know they must have featured heavily in her life.

So, Mr Gunn, I have to say, I’m very disappointed with you. Disappointed if you truly believe those words, and disappointed if you’re allowing yourself to be a mouthpiece for a FaLaLaLa Lifetime writer hack who doesn’t get the first thing about why craft and skill matter.

No socks for you!


What I’ve been Knitting

Pastel Tawashi on the line

Pastel Tawashi on the line

My current obsession is Wishy Washy Fishy Tawashi.

Close Up Tawashi

Close Up Tawashi

So far, I’ve made approximately 30 of these wee little beasties.
Tawashi Brights

Tawashi Brights

Brilliant thing about these – they use truly miniscule amounts of yarn. All those scraps from making other washcloths? Perfect!

Tawashi as Candy Corn

Tawashi as Candy Corn

Candy Corn Tawashi! (For those non USAns,

This is Candy Corn

This is Candy Corn

Tea Bag Bag Closed

Tea Bag Bag Closed

In a tea bag swap, I received a garter stitch knitted tea bag bag, i.e tea bag holder. This is my version – adapted from the ballband pattern. My first ones used velcro, but it gets caught on the cotton, so now I use press studs (aka snaps).
Tea Bag Bag - Open

Tea Bag Bag - Open

These bags fit approximately 5 or 6 tea bags. This is part of a package of washcloths and Tawashi that I donated to a Breast Cancer fundraiser. I neglected to take pix of the rest, but left this one at home in error – added a tea bag and neglected to put it into the package with the rest. I’ll be delivering it to the winner soon.

Waffle Stitch SoapSack - Closed

Waffle Stitch SoapSack - Closed

Another favourite washcloth pattern is the Waffle Knit I adapted the pattern to make a soap sack, using Breast Cancer fundraiser yarn. It’s a surprise for the daughter of a friend who’s just been diagnosed.

Waffle Stitch SoapSack - Open

Waffle Stitch SoapSack - Open

The tie is a 3 stitch i-cord through eyelet holes. It takes a tiny amount of yarn, and knits up so quick, I can see making more of these. I even did a crochet ruffle edge – found that in a magazine and added it on.

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Muttering Unconsciously::Week 349

Free Association, once a week from Unconscious Mutterings.

First responses, thoughts?

  1. Yacht :: Ocean
  2. Paula :: Deen
  3. Delete :: Command X
  4. Auto :: Pilot
  5. Obsolete :: Redundant
  6. Dedicated :: Loyal
  7. Old :: New
  8. Convince :: Persistence
  9. Poster :: Heart-throb
  10. Erase ::Purge

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