Birthday Month

Wow, it’s been a month, my birthday month in fact. Yes, despite my advancing years, I still celebrate my birthdays for as long as I can get away with.

img_9178As part of Birthday month, I went to see the Harry Potter Cursed Child play. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope to see it again in another year or so, it was truly spectacular.

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I got treated to dinner by my loving husband.

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I got to celebrate my birthday with some of my adorable nephews and nieces. Can you spot the allergy free cake? Not as good as my usual Burch & Purchese birthday cake, but at least all the kids could partake in this creation by Tidbit Cakes.

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Quite a bit of ‘alternative’ crafting happened this month.

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I’m still working on the layout of my pinwheel quilt.

Have I even told you about this project? After a crafting weekend away with my quilting friends in March, the quilting bug finally bit.

I haven’t absolutely decided whether or not to put sashing between the blocks (which I would make a pale blue). I don’t think I could possibly make more than the 121 pinwheel blocks already in the works…

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Last weekend I took a Polymer Clay class with The Polly Collective. It was a super fun day. Sheree is a great teacher.

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This is my first ‘slab’ piece. Looks kind of like a pizza.

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Before squishing…

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This is the slab after squishing…

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And these are all my cut-outs. The fronts of future pairs of stud earrings. So much fun.

This ‘cane’ slab was my next sample. The pieces are cut from a ‘candy cane’ made up of different colours then laid over the top of a thin slab of clay.

This is the slab pre-squishing

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Sheree described how her design process is like riding a train, and how you just have to stay on board even if you’re hating how it’s going (to the bitter end). i.e. a train wreck… but then there’s always foil and that makes anything look better. I kind of felt like that when I was making this ‘caned’ piece. I felt like I had taken my cane too far (the details got too small), but then I mixed it up with some of the original cane off-cuts and then it didn’t look quite as shite. I even got compliments!

The slab after squishing.

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There were a few other techniques demonstrated in the afternoon, that I’m going to try at home. I got a few supplies and tools to take-away to have a play.

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Oh ooo – a new craft…

My Mum’s Cardigan

You may recall, I gave my mum yarn for Christmas… so that I could knit her a cardigan.

My mum knits and crochets a lot for the grandkids, but I don’t remember the last time she knit anything for herself.

I had quite a bit of consultation with my mum, about the style and fit she was wanting in the cardigan. I then set about to find the perfect pattern to match her requirements. Georgetown by Hannah Fettig  ticked all the boxes. Surprisingly, it took me 6 weeks to knit (I thought I could knock it out in 4).

Once I blocked it, I knew I had nailed it. The ribbed shawl collar needed the wet blocking, as it was riding up at the bottom of the fronts. It’s amazing what a little bit of water can do.

Then after a sneaky little try on myself, I gave it to my mum last weekend. (It fit me very well too).

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She’s lucky the colour is not really me…

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Not that I would dare keep it, my mum deserves nice things.

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Needless to say, she loves it. Perhaps I’ll surprise her with another jumper’s worth of yarn next Christmas?

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Chicken Liver Parfait

The first time I saw Chicken Liver Parfait on a menu in a restaurant was about five years ago, and I could not believe my eyes. For the record, that was at Union Dining (sadly now closed), and I still rate it as my favourite Chicken Liver Parfait.

Growing up in a Slovenian family, chicken liver paté was a staple sandwich filling in my home (and school, I don’t know how I never got food poisoning from it). Whilst I would gag at the thought of eating Chicken Livers in their actual meat form, paté on the other hand is delicious…

At home, my mum called it ‘Spa–tet–o’, but I can’t find the correct Slovenian spelling for this, so you’ll have to trust me on that one.

In my search for the correct spelling, I found that according to google, Chicken liverwurst  is a good source of Protein, Riboflavin and Iron, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B12 and Selenium. And the bad: This food is high in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. BOO!

So why am I telling you about this?

Because in the space of a couple of weeks (and quite randomly), I have eaten Chicken (or in the case of Kyneton, Duck) Liver Parfait at no less than 4 restaurants… It was on the menu, and I ordered it… how could I resist?

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Collins Quarter, Melbourne

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Our local pub had it as a special…

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In Kyneton… Duck Liver Parfait, so good…

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Saint Urban, Richmond

I’m really glad my husband will not eat paté, he despises ‘offal’ of any kind. I never have to share my ‘starter’ with him, and that’s how I like it.

My preferred condiments with the parfait are of the fruity, sweet variety. Each rendition of my favourite dish was wonderful, I scoffed them all… apart from the work lunch, I had to be a bit more contained in my enthusiasm.

 

 

Stash Count

It’s been ages since my last count of yarn stash meterage.

The last count was after my return from Stitches West in 2015, when my yarn count was a staggering:

296,937 METRES

Since it’s been about 3 and a half years since I took stock (I had no idea it was that long), I thought I should take a look at how much I have. It’s too hard to quantify when your stash lives in different spots in your house, so I downloaded the numbers from my Ravelry stash page. I summed the total of the column ‘Metres left’ and got:

265,310.9 metres or 265.3109 km

Yeah! Go me!

I attribute the reduction to one massive de-stash a while ago. And just a lot less purchasing. I’m trying to knit more than what comes in, but in reality I think I’m lucky to be breaking even. It was an almighty de-stash…

I don’t have any goals to get down to a certain level, but I think I would like less, so I can see it all in one part of my house. So I can appreciate and work from it. So that it doesn’t feel like a packet of Tim Tams that never runs out. My ‘stretch’ goal is to reduce the amount of stash to my cubed shelving unit. You know, because there’s probably some other things I could store underneath our bed.

I’m looking forward to the Australian Sheep and Wool Show (only 4.5 months to go!). Fondly known as ‘Bendigo’ or ‘Spendigo’, where all bets are off… mostly, (I’m showing a bit more restraint in the last couple of years). So I have something to work towards… here are some of my acquisitions from last year.

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I’ll come back to you before July to show you how much I’ve used!

 

Box o’ sox 2018

Last year was the second year I participated in the Box o’ Sox KAL which is a yearly Knit along, run by Kristen from the Voolenvine podcast. It’s where you aim to cast on and knit 12 pairs of socks for the duration of the year and then take a photo of them presented in a box of your choice at the end of the year.

In 2017 I knit 5 pairs of socks (out of the possible 12 ha!).

Still… beginning the year with 5 pristine (and unworn) pairs of hand knitted socks is a real luxury for someone who loves to wear socks all the time.

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In 2018 I thought I could do better, but I only managed 3 pairs. It wasn’t a big sock knitting year, for a couple of reasons. I abandoned a pair of socks I absolutely hated knitting (and they were turning out rubbish). And then at the end of the year I cast on and didn’t finish the knee-high socks in time to be counted. Did I mention I also knit close to 20 hats in Winter?

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2018 Socks From left to right: 1. Yarn is by Half-baked Hand-dyed in the Richmond Knitter’s colour way of 2017 ‘Audrey’. 2. Opal sock mini skeins from an Advent Calendar 3. Also by Danni from Half-baked Hand-dyed!

And yet I’m still left with this beautiful box of inspiration for the 2019 Box o’ Sox. A couple of new skeins found their way into the box during last year admittedly.

img_8856You may ask yourself, why do I set myself up for failure?

 

I may never knit 12 pairs of socks in a single year, but nothing compares to a new set of socks to start the year off right. New socks are like freshly ironed sheets, of which I’m also a massive fan of! So here’s to 2019 of being betterer.

 

Happy Birthday Dad

My dad celebrated his 82nd birthday last week!

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It was a particularly happy occasion.

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It’s the best I’ve seen my dad in ages, coupled by the fact that he smiled and he seemed pretty happy. He doesn’t say a lot these days, but I could tell he was happy to be the centre of attention.

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I decided to knit him a hat for his birthday. After knitting a million hats last year for family and friends, I realised I hadn’t knit one for my dad. The pattern I used is by Woolly Wormhead and is called Dylan’s Hat. It’s a great pattern! I used a super wash yarn so there’s less chance of the hat being ruined accidentally in the Nursing Home wash.

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He was thrilled! He willingly modelled the hat, despite the 40 plus degree temperature outside. It fit him really well too. The only modification I made was to increase the crown stitches to make a bigger hat.

Now back to my mum’s cardigan…

My Fluorite socks

My Fluorite socks have been finished for a couple of weeks, but it’s been challenging to take some FO photo’s in the heat of Melbourne.  dsc08694

And here’s my sister’s pair (as modelled by her), she lives in Perth, so I can hardly complain about the Melbourne heat.

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There are some variations to how we each ‘faded’ our colours, but ultimately they look like sisters, like us (!).

I think Andrea Mowry has written a really great pattern. I knit the 60 stitch size and my socks fit like a pair of gloves. The increases for the leg fit perfectly. The Fleegle heel she uses also fits fabulously, I’ve never experienced this in a toe-up sock. I’ve never liked knitting toe-up socks until now.

I would like to make these again, but next time I think I’ll go with the boot length pattern, that’s the length I generally wear all year round.

It’s fair to say I’m a bit of a Andrea Mowry fan-girl now. I’ve got several of her patterns on my wish list to knit. My only regret is that I wasn’t wearing one of her designs when I met her at Soul Craft last year. It can be a bit of an ice-breaker when meeting a knitting celebrity, instead I stood there like a gushing idiot! She probably gets that a lot…

 

 

A close finish

Last week I wrote how I was on the home stretch to finishing my knee-high Fluorite socks in a KAL with my sister.

On the weekend, I went out for dinner with just a few rows left to go on my socks…  Whilst D was in the restroom I checked my emails on my phone… and saw this message from my sister…

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Can you believe it?! I certainly couldn’t! It serves me right for thinking I could come first in KAL (yes Knit-alongs are a race!)

I’m happy for my sister and I’m happy for me because my socks are now also finished.

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Belated Christmas

The trouble with going away to New York for Christmas, is the catch-up required once back home. I’ve never shopped for Christmas in January, and I can honestly say it’s much harder than shopping pre-Christmas, it is hell! For the most part, the things that are left in stores are the things no one wanted to buy in December. If I ever go away at Christmas time again (never again), I’ll start shopping in May.

So my year hasn’t officially begun yet, because I’m not done with Christmas yet. But I’m getting there…

After shopping for the kids, I was a little stumped for what to get my mum this year (last year). I then remembered some yarn in my stash that would be the perfect colour for her, and maybe not so much for me. And rather than just giving her the yarn, I decided that an IOU sweater was in order.

So I wrapped the yarn as a gift and as I gave it to her, I explained that she wouldn’t be taking her gift home today. My mum looked confused at first, and then really happy when I told her I would make her a cardigan.

Now my mum is not normally gracious about receiving gifts, she would prefer we didn’t spend any money on her. A handmade gift on the other hand, is a completely different story.

I know she really liked the idea of this gift because she reminded me to take her measurements, whilst I was distracted by the festivities that were going on. I also received several text messages from her about it after she got home.

This is what she looked like after receiving a hand-spun, hand-knit shawl made by me several years ago:

I hope the cardigan lives up to her expectations.