Wednesday, August 29, 2012

quick bit of crochet....

I thought I'd just add a quick crochet update.  

 This is what I am up to with my big blanket, it is slow going, each row is very long!  
I've added a few more rows, some cluster rows and a bobble row.

Pattern notes and tutorial next post!

Have a great day!

Round here...

It feels like a while since I have posted here, so I thought I'd do a bit of catching up with what has been happening around these parts.  
A couple of weekends ago we went down to Inverloch for the weekend, just the 5 of us, it was a lovely family weekend, we stayed in a great self-contained cabin (it was a really flash cabin!) at the RACV Resort down there.  There was hardly any people there on the Friday, the boys had the pool to themselves, very relaxing! 

There was a cool playground with a flying fox and a big climbing frame that the boys had fun on, we were lucky with the weather, it was cold but didn't rain much so we could still get out and about.

The boys had a lovely room that they quickly felt at home in!!

The next day we went for a drive down to Wilson's Prom and had a walk on the Tidal River beach, such a beautiful area, there was no one else there (probably because it was super freezing!), and we had  fun walking down the river bank.  That part of the coast is very scenic and it really is a lovely drive through the National Park.  I am not really fond of long drives but I am getting better at it I think!

Did I mention it was cold???

So anyway, we had a great weekend, and then it was back into normal life for us all.  

I have started a new job as a cooking teacher at Max's school one day a week.  They have a kitchen garden program that has not been running for a while, but now the cooking side of it is going again! Yay!  Hopefully the garden side will be reinstated too and the kids will get to grow the food we cook with, there is a big vegie garden that is a bit neglected but full of potential!  
To tell the truth I am finding it quite stressful adjusting to working so much more than I am used to (I have also taken on 2 more days of gardening work recently, so have 5 days of part time work now), I am sure we will all get used to this more hectic routine, but the kids are already complaining about the lack of home baked treats! ( my baking time has taken a beating).  I think they have been a bit spoiled, time to get them into the kitchen and cooking some treats for themselves!

Anyway, enough of that stuff, I am not whinging really, I am just feeling the change from my nice open days where I could do as I pleased, to a much more structured week.  Busy, busy, busy!!

Last week Jesse partnered one of his friends to their Deb Ball, she lives down the street from us, here he is as he walked down to catch the limo from her place. (I went too, had to have a sticky beak at all the girls' dresses and take a heap of photos!) They all looked gorgeous, and had a great night, Jess had a few mates staying at our place, and they all rolled home around 4.30am the next morning, the after party being even more important than the actual event, me thinks!

Sooo......that's a bit of what's been going on round here, lots of family stuff, but I have found a little, tiny bit of crochet time too!  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lucky, Lucky...


Well, look what the postie delivered to me the other day, my very own super cool geometric patterned tights!  

I was very lucky and won them from the lovely Kate over at Foxs Lane.  I have to say they are very comfy tights, and far cooler than the rest of my wardrobe! ( I tend to dress for gardening most days, so my image is somewhat daggy to say the least!)  

I think Kate is right, a denim skirt is definitely on my wish list! 
 (Or should I say, a denim skirt that fits. I actually do have one already, and tried it on with my new tights, only to find that the 'cuddly' layer of fat I have put on over winter means that it no longer squeezes over my large arse! Joy. Hitting the gym as of tomorrow!)

Anyway, these tights are really great, and I am going to wear them proudly, fat butt and all!
So thank you very much Kate, you're a legend!

I'll be back soonish with a crochet update.  Life has taken a turn for the hectic, and my days have become really full, I have 3 part time jobs all of a sudden, as well as normal mum stuff, so my nice cruisey pace of life has certainly amped up!  Sorry for my tardy posts, but I am trying to find a bit of a new routine where I can fit everything in, including blogging.  I'll work it out soon I hope!

How has life been going for you?
Do you put on a winter layer too?
Are you a tights girl too?
Are you looking forward to summer/winter wherever you are?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crochet along update .....

It looks a bit crooked, but I think it will be fine with some blocking!

So I have done a bit more of the mixed stripe blanket.
I finished the 5 rows of hdc, and then decided to do the granny stripes in red and pink.

I know you all probably know how to do the granny stripe pattern, but I will try and explain it just in case you are starting out and are not sure. It is really only the start and end of the rows that are a tiny bit tricky...

( Sc = dc, dc = tr, tr = dtr, )

Granny stripes:
Row 1 : Ch 3, then 3dc in next st,  skip 2sts,  3dc in next st, skip 2sts, 3dc in next st ......and so on to the end of the row. Bind off.( My row did not finish off evenly so I did 2dc in the second last st, and then 1dc in the last stitch, to make a straighter edge)

 Row 2 :Join pink to red 3rd chain, and chain 3, 1dc in gap between the chain stitches and the 3dc clusters, then 3dc between each cluster of the first row till the end of the row . Bind off.
( To finish, I did my last dc into the last st of the row and made sure the stitch count stayed the same to avoid the blanket gaining stitches overall) 

Row 3 : Join red to pink 3rd ch, chain 3, and then 3dc in the gaps between the clusters of the previous row, continue till the end of the row, and finish with 3 dc in the last gap.

here are the ends of each row

After the 3 granny stripe rows, I did 2 rows of hdc.  In the dark blue row, every third stitch I did into the gap between the previous rows clusters. The pale blue row is just hdcs straight across.

Next I am doing a bit of a chevron type stitch.

(On wrong side) Ch 1,  *1hdc into next st, 1dc into next st, 3tr into next st, 1dc into next st, 1hdc into next st, 1sc into next st ; rep from * to end.......turn.

Change colour for 2nd row..1ch, skip1 st, 1sc into next st (counts as sc2tog), 1sc into each of next 2 sts,  *3sc into next st, 1sc into each of of next 2 sts, over next 3 sts work sc3tog, 
1sc into each of next 2 sts; rep from*.........
....till the last 5sts, 3sc into next st, 1sc into each of next 2 sts, over last 2 sts work sc2tog, turn.

3rd row : as 2nd row.
how to do sc3tog, draw up the first loop of the next 3 stitches...... 
....then yarn over and draw through all  4  loops on hook, decreasing 3sts to 1.

So this is where I am up to at the moment, on the 3rd row of the chevron pattern, next I am going to use the green again to fill in the dips of the chevrons and make it flat again.

Sorry I haven't done that yet to complete this little pattern segment.  I will edit this post and add it in when I am up to that bit!

Of course you can do more granny stripes if you like, (and in your own colours!) or leave them out  completely, but they are one of the patterns that I will be repeating throughout this blanket, and I am liking the chevron wave too, so will be doing more of these too!  

I think once I have done one patch of all the patterns I am going to use, these posts will get shorter as I won't repeat all the detailed instructions, so sorry for this long winded post!  

Anyway, how is your blanket going, are you having fun ?

A few people have been a bit concerned about how the blanket stays straight with all the different patterns, but I think just remember to keep the same number of stitches in each row and it will all work out in the end. ( ie, if we decrease in one row, in the next we increase the same number to keep it all square, hope you get what I mean!)  I am sure it will all be fine!

Ok, I am going to go and hook a few stitches before bed!
Have a great day!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Saturday Sourdough Adventuring....

My sour dough pet, looking nice and frothy and healthy!


Today I thought I'd show you my recent dabbling in sourdough baking, I am very much a novice, but it is an enjoyable adventure nurturing a little sourdough pet.  
I have been wanting to have a go at sourdough bread for some time, I bought a great book a couple of years ago and had been meaning to get a sourdough starter going but was a bit afraid I'd kill it!
So when my boss gifted me a little bucket of established starter a few weeks ago, I thought now is the time to get into it!  It helped that it came from a lovely sourdough bakery in the city somewhere, so I knew that this starter had made some great  bread in the past, and I should be able to do it too!

I have been keeping it well fed and it has been a good little starter and doing all the right things for me.

Here are my first 3 balls of sourdough.  I used the basic sourdough recipe from  'Bourke Street Bakery'   by Paul Allam and David McGuinness. (I have also been reading up a bit on the internet, there is tonnes of info out there.) It is a very thorough recipe for a beginner like me, well explained with lots of instructions.  The only thing I did differently was that I combined the water component of the recipe and half the flour to the starter, mixed it together and let it sit for 1hr and bubble up a bit to make a 'sponge', then I added the rest of the flour and proceeded as per the recipe.

I have to say, this type of baking is not fast!  Definitely slow food here!
But a very enjoyable way to make bread, highly recommend it!

One thing the book said can be a problem for home bakers is finding a humid, warm environment for the final prove.  I think I have a really effective solution, I am sure I am not the first to think of it, but I am going to tell you anyway!  I had a couple of polystyrene boxes they package broccoli in, with tight fitting lids, (they are quite insulating), so I got one and put a couple of kettles worth of boiling water in the bottom, stuck a couple of upturned bowls in it so my tin was out of the water, put the bread tin in it (perfect fit) and stuck the lid on.  The steam from the water was trapped, creating a lovely warm humid environment for my bread to rise in.! 
That box made a great prover!

Here are the loaves just out of the oven, that crust was really crunchy, hard and crusty, very delicious!

We couldn't wait to cut it and start scoffing our warm bread!  

As you can see the sourdough starter did a great job of raising our bread, this looks like bread I make with normal yeast, and it is such a lovely living process!

So thank you little pet starter, you are amazing!

I am looking forward to making other interesting bread, so stay tuned !

How is your weekend going?
 Are you doing fun things?
Talk soon, bye!

Friday, August 10, 2012

What to do on a chilly day....

Yesterday was a typical mid winter day, cold and rainy with gale wind gusts and hail on and off throughout the day.  There were also bouts of sunshine while we waited for the next rain band to move across.  It was not good gardening weather, which was what I wanted to do, so I had to resort to plan B which entailed a bit of shopping of the wooly kind!

I picked up a few new shades for my stripey blanket, and stocked up on a few favourites that I am nearly out of, essential buying you know!  I am particularly happy with the spearminty green, I think it is a newe colour they have introduced as I haven't seen it before, it looks good with the light aqua and lime shades that I use all the time.

I am thinking of trying to supply some of my favourite yarns through my little online shop.  
What do you think? 
Would you guys like to be able to buy some of the yarns I use?  
Maybe I could put them in 'colour theme packs' with ones that I think combine well, ready for making into granny blankets........hmmmmm...
I think an online shop is as close to my little craft shop dream as I am going to get at the moment!
But I digress.....

 I can't wait to get stuck into the blanket with all these lovely colours to add.

Thank you so much to all the lovely peeps who are going top stitch along with me, it's going to make it extra fun I think!  
Have you got your colours in mind or are you stash busting for this one?

Have a great day!
See you soon!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mixed stripey blanket beginnings...wanna join in?

Well, I have finally got around to starting my next mixed-stitch-stripey blanket, I have been procrastinating a lot regarding this blanket.  

However, on our last trip to Melbourne I bought this book, and there are so many fantastic stitch patterns in here that I could put it off no longer!  There were many patterns with similar effects to what I was looking for in my experimenting, so why reinvent the wheel?  I will just use the similar ones in here I think. 

These are a few I like and think I could incorporate into my blanket, along with some old favourites, they might not all make the cut but it is good to have lots of options in a blanket like this!

What do you think?  Aren't they lovely! I do like nice solid looking patterns, I actually think the Interlocking Diamonds would be gorgeous for a blanket all on it's own! Maybe next project there! is my beginning, 3 rows of hdc (htr) in blue,watermelon and green.  
Choosing the colours for this blanket has been quite a challenge, do I go for a different look or choose old favourites?  Lots of different colours or a limited palette?  In the end I've decided to go with the flow and see what takes my fancy as I get to each new stitch pattern.  It's going to be fun!
Definitely going to be one interesting blanket!

If anyone would like to crochet along with me on the own mixed-stitch-stripey blanket, feel free, I'd love to see what you come up with!  I am hoping to start a page dedicated to this blankets progress with the patterns and mini tutorials on it so you can see what I am doing.  But feel free to do your own thing, choose what ever stitches you like and lets create a unique blanket together!

I am using 8 ply wool (DK I think equivalent) with a 3.5 mm hook, but use what ever hook you feel comfortable with, I want a nice firm tight stitch, but you may prefer a looser fabric.

To begin with I chained 390ish stitches ( I kind of lost count and then kept loosing count when I went back to check)  because I want a big blanket for our bed, but you can chain as many as you like to suit your own wants.  Because of all the different stitch patterns, there will probably be a bit of adjusting of each row, depending on which pattern is being used; they all have various stitch repeats, if you get what I mean.  As long as we keep the same number of stitches in each row, we should end up with a fairly straight sided piece.  There is a bit of improvising inthids project, so please bear with me!

So the first few rows are of hdcs (htr), just to give us a nice firm base to start with,  I am going to do a couple more before moving on to a different pattern.

Stay tuned, I will try and update this blanket whenever I have made a pattern change, but that's enough to get us started!   

Have a great day!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Weekend, and Year of Projects update....

I hope you had a great weekend wherever you are out there, once again our weekend just seemed to disappear !
I don't know if me working on Saturdays has anything to do with it, but I blink and we are back into a new week again!

Now I don't know if you realise, but we are a bit weather obsessed here in Victoria, and with good reason!
It was looking like Spring was on it's way, lovely sunshine, no wind, less chill to the air, but hang on, we are back to freezing, squally, wet, windy days at the moment!

I even went to far as getting out my seed basket and organising my tomatoes for this year, I am going to start them off in the hot house and try and get some early ones growing.   I am a bit of a seedaholic, and have far more than I can ever grow, but I just can't resist an interesting packet of seeds with their colourful photos promising abundance!  I think to myself "I can do that too!". They suck me in every time.  This year I am going to plant a lot more of everything so hopefully I will start to make inroads on my seed stash.

When the weather turned, I also got stuck into my crochet for a while. 
So here is my Year of Projects update for the week (or fortnight really).

I have made 53 new mini squares so the tally is now 183/600.
And I made 1 new motif for my summer tablecloth,  tally now 12/100.

I feel it will be a while before I have a finished project to show at this rate!

I have been making some progress on my new mixed-stitch-stripey blanket design, but I will post about that tomorrow.  I think I will set up a new page for this blanket, so anyone who wants to crochet along can find all the stitches and stuff in one place. 

Ok, I think that's about all for now, bye!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Slow Living July 2012

Hello, I can't believe another month has rolled around already!
It is almost scary how quick this year is going, I was looking at some photos this morning of the boys when they were little and it really hit home how fast time is going and how quickly the years rack up, it doesn't seem that long since they were cute little toddlers happily smiling for a photo, but the reality is they are all much closer to adulthood and independence than to their younger, needier days. 
 It has made me a bit melancholy today, my life is going too quickly!
 I want things to slow down so I can savour  these great days just a little longer!
 Wishful thinking I know.

And perhaps I have the rose coloured glasses on, looking back at all the good times we had when the boys were little, I am sure we will continue to have lots of new good times as they grow older and move on with their lives.

It is hard letting go though, I guess it is just another phase to adjust to in the big scheme of life, it is a bit sad to think that my baby days are well and truly over, but relating to our boys as adult equals will also be an exciting, interesting change in our family dynamics.  I still think this is a few years off yet!

But I digress, back to the Slow Living report for July........It feels like Spring is on its way! My almond tree has burst into flower, always a good sign.......

Nourish - I had a go at sourdough bread this month.  I was gifted a jar of starter from my boss who got it from a sourdough bakery, and managed to keep it alive and thriving, quite a responsibility!  The results were good, actually very good!  Also been making quite a bit of soup as it has been freezing around here!

Prepare - Still not great with this one.  Can't really think of anything other than collecting some dried bean seeds to plant out in summer.

Reduce - I have been recycling a lot of my seedling punnets and trays, refilling them and sowing many peas in them.  Also made a very effective bread prover out of an old polystyrene broccoli box with a lid, perfect thing to create a warm humid environment.

Green -  Got on the bike a bit more this month, also tried to eat more out of the garden.

Grow - Did quite a bit of preparing in the garden.  (My new gardening job is really helping me stay enthused about my own garden and motivated to get on with things that need doing)
Cleared out 4 old fruit trees, and made a new garden bed for peas.
Sowed lots of beetroot and carrots in lots of colours (red, yellow, white, purple and orange)
Cleared, manured and mulched about half of my vegie patches ready for Spring planting.
Bought 8 different tomato seed varieties in preparation for summer, and ordered 6 types of potatoes too.

Create - Started a mini square crochet blanket, and made some mini flowers for a necklace, (yet to finish).

Discover - Read up on sourdough baking on the internet and in books, tried to combine all the best bits when I baked.

Enhance - Helped out at the Crib Point Community Garden, Made gingerbread for a school fundraiser, Joined up with the Ravelry group A Year Of Projects, also did more linking up posts on this blog.

Enjoy - The school holidays were a good break, we had a few family birthdays and went to the drive in to see Spiderman, spent a day in the city and went to the football, and finished the last one in the Game of Thrones books, such a good series!  Flowers in the gardena to pick, yay! Also enjoyed nights by the fire with my crochet and a bag of Twisties ( a guilty pleasure!), oh and the family were there somewhere too! haha..

Joining up with Christine to see what everyone else has been up to in July.