Man socks

21 February 2011 · 1 comment in Knitting

So far, I’m actually following though on my resolution to knit more socks in 2011. James has just spent four weeks in China for work, so when he got back yesterday, I surprised him with with handknit socks as a belated Valentine’s day gift.

Man socks!
Stockinette socks knit from Have You Any Wool Luxe Sock in Graphite.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any suitably masculine yarn, so I wasn’t able to reduce my sock stash. I ended up with some HYAW merino cashmere blend which was wonderfully soft to work with. I also love the way the plain stockinette shows off the subtle variegation. The other details are pretty boring: heel flaps, extra long 2×2 cuffs and a basic toe. But the socks fit perfectly and I know they’ll get worn a ton. Gift success!

New place

13 February 2011 · 8 comments in Home

House!

About three months ago, James and I moved from the apartment we’d lived in for two years into a Victorian terrace house. I’ve been meaning to post some pictures of the new place for months, but I only got around to taking them this weekend. While cleaning, of course. (I promise it’s not always this neat.)

House!

The new place is everything we could have hoped for. It’s got great wooden floors and lovely period features. The only thing we’re missing is a dishwasher. And the awesome kitchen more than makes up for it. I love the opening shelving, especially since I have collected some great-looking china over the years to display on it.

House!

My taste runs towards neutrals with lots of pops of colour. As you can probably see, my favourite is red.

House!

Most of our furniture is from Ikea, which makes sense at this stage of our lives. I try my best to include other bits and pieces so I don’t feel like I’m living in an Ikea catalogue.

House!

We don’t have permission to hang things on the walls at the moment, so we have a lot of prints leaning against the walls. At least they’re not hidden away in a closet somewhere so we can still enjoy them. The cushion was specially purchased for me at Anthropologie by a friend of mine. I spotted it on Design*Sponge years ago, and have been looking for it ever since.

House!

We have quite the collection of DVDs stored in the Expedit unit that we use as a TV bench. I like to arrange books and precious objects on the coffee table, but it’s mostly covered in my other clutter. Yes, that’s me in the photo. I think it’s from my first Christmas.

House!

The crocheted blanket is almost finished. I’ve still got a alot of ends to weave in, but I’ve been using it to warm my lap at night for months.

House!

I’m particularly fond of my Orla Kiely bedding and Castle pillow covers. I’m still a bit surprised that James puts up with the bright patterns.

House!

My jewellery and other bits and bobs live in little boxes and bowls on my bedside table. Since I’m too lazy to put everything away in the evenings, this saves me from having piles of necklaces and bobby pins lying around the house.

House!

The gorgeous F. Scott Fitzgerald books on the dresser were birthday and Christmas gifts. The teddybear was my dad’s when he was a kid and the picture is again me as a little girl in the 80s.

House!

My dresses look so pretty lined up on wooden hangers.

House!

I’ve loved the Cats let nothing darken their roar calendars for years, so I was thrilled when James bought me one for Christmas last year.

House!

This red Ikea bookcase is another thing I’ve been lusting after for years and we finally got it just after the move. I love that the glass doors protect everything from dust. When arranging our books, I decided to go with the colour-coding trend. It’s not be the most practical way to arrange books, but I love the way it looks.

House!

The bathroom is white and clean, which is really all you can ask for in a rental. I may have bought the Grown handwash and handcream because of the gorgeous packaging, but now I love the product as well.

House!

Wow, I didn’t realise I had that much to say about our house! Hopefully it wasn’t too boring.

Power outage

5 February 2011 · 1 comment in Life in General

Power outage

This weekend has seen some crazy wet weather in Melbourne. Last night, I had just settled in to a lazy Friday night in front of the TV when the power went out. The first thing I did was dig out my Ikea tealight stash. The second thing I did was look up a bread recipe online before the batteries of my iPhone ran out.

Power outage

I have a history of baking at weird times, so making bread during a power outage made perfect sense to me. Luckily, the power was only out for three hours, just enough time for the dough to rise twice. The power came back on just as it was time to turn the oven on. I wasn’t 100% happy with the way the bread turned out, but that had nothing to do with the unusual circumstances under which it was baked.

Power outage

Having no electricity really made me realise just how reliant I am on technology. While I was able to get some crocheting and reading done by candlelight, I was itching to turn on the TV and check out the internet. I really need to make an effort to switch off every now and then. But tonight, I’m going to do what I didn’t get to do last night: marathon The Office. Oh, and I might get some knitting in as well.

Power outage

{PS: I took some time to redo the design of my blog last week. Please take a look and let me know what you think!}

Pizza night

29 January 2011 · 2 comments in Food

Pizza night!

When I was growing up, my dad’s homemade pizzas were always an extra special treat. We used to experiment with different toppings and the results were always delicious. In James’s family, homemade pizzas go back to the first meal James’s dad ever cooked his mum.

Pizza night!

As a result, James and I have had a weekly pizza night for the past five years. The day of the week has moved around a few times, but for now it’s firmly settled on Sunday nights, and it’s a great way to end the week. I bought James a barbeque pizza stone for Christmas, which has made our homemade pizza even more delicious. Even though we use the same dough as usual, the result is much better: crisp on the bottom, and light and fluffy in the middle.

Pizza night!

We always make the dough from scratch. The recipe is from James’s family, and it’s a very loose, by-feel kind of thing. Just add more water or flour until you get the right consistency.

Pizza night!

Pizza dough (makes 2 pizzas)

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tbsp dry yeast
  • almost 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tbsp vegetable poil
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of sugar

Mix the dry ingredients in a big bowl. Add the oil to the warm water, then slowly add to the dry ingredients, mixing until you get a nice, slightly sticky, dough. Tip onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is nice and smooth. Put the dough back into an oiled bowl and let rise in a warm place under a teatowel for 30-40 minutes. Roll out onto trays or baking paper and add toppings. Bake on a pizza stone or in the oven at 225°C. Enjoy!

The best part is that there’s always leftovers for lunch the next day.

Pizza night!

Socks

23 January 2011 · 4 comments in Knitting

I’ve had a long love affair with handknit socks. I’ve knit a few dozen pairs, both elaborately patterned and plain, but in the last couple of years, my enthusiasm for making handknit socks seems to have waned. For example, these socks were finished a couple of months ago, but I have no idea when I started them.

Handspun socks!
Handspun socks knit from theytoldmesew Handspun in Mount Vernon Bliss

Now that they’re finally done and photographed though, I love them. While all handknit socks are special, handspun socks are a particular treat. These are just standard top-down 64-stitch socks with my usual heel flap and toe, but the yarn makes them far from boring. They’re fraternal, but I think that’s part of the beauty of handspun yarn.

Handspun socks!

Some friends of mine have mentioned making socks a priority in 2011 and digging up some of our precious skeins to make basic stockinette socks. Since I’m not sure I have the energy for intricate Cookie A socks right now, I think that sounds like an excellent idea. After all, I have plenty of gorgeous sock yarn to choose from!

Sock stash

Emelie part 2

16 January 2011 · 4 comments in Knitting

About a year and a half ago, my mum asked me to knit her a cardigan. I’d already knit her one for Christmas the year before, but she wanted something that was lighter and more suitable for Singapore weather. And she wanted it in red. In secret, I started working on a Kim Hargreaves pattern, Evie, and I finished in just in time for Christmas 2009. Unfortunately, it ended up being too big. I promised her I would revisit the cardigan and reknit it in a smaller size, but I never got around to it.

Emelie for my mum
Emelie knit from Hermosa Fiber Company Fingering MCN in Paprika {more}

Then when my mum visited me in August, I showed her Emelie and she asked if I would knit her one as well. She liked the idea of having a cardigan I had not only knit, but also designed, and of course I was thrilled. I picked out a new red yarn, the absolutely stunning Paprika shade from new indie dyer Hermosa Fiber Company and set to work.

Emelie for my mum

This time around, I knit the longest length to suit my mum’s tall frame. Since the MCN fingering is a little bit lighter than the Jitterbug I used in the original pattern, I also knit at a slightly smaller gauge and went up a size to compensate. The result is a flattering cardigan that fits my mum perfectly. It’s the right length and size, and even the set-in sleeve caps look made for her.

Emelie for my mum

Overall, it’s probably one of my favourite garments I’ve knit so far. I really loved working on this cardigan for my mum and I hope she loves wearing it. If you’re interested in the pattern, it’s available on Ravelry for US$6.

Emelie for my mum

My new love

8 January 2011 · 3 comments in Life in General

Happy New Year!

I hope everybody survived the holidays. I did, even if I ate my weight in Christmas food and chocolate. I was lucky enough to be able to go take James to Thailand over Christmas and New Years (my birthday!) for 10 days to see my family and generally relax. We had an amazing time, but are happy to be back into our everyday routine.

Bike!

Since I returned a week ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about New Years resolutions. I reviewed my list of 25 things to do before I turn 25 today, and while I wasn’t quite successful (I only read 47 books and stopped taking daily pictures some time in February), I did manage to complete two-thirds of the list. I also did lots of things that weren’t on the list, like selling my knitting patterns online. All in all, 2010 was a great, and momentous, year for me. After all, it’s not every year you finish your Masters degree and start your first full-time job.

Joanie!

For 2011, I don’t have any real resolutions, but I’m hoping to make it another memorable one. I’m going to continue to knit and hopefully publish a few more patterns. I’m going to do my best to make the 50 book goal. I’m going to be happy and healthy. I’m also hoping to make blogging a bit more of a priority and will aim for weekly posts, but first I have to work out what I want this blog to be.

Joanie!

If you’re wondering what pictures of a bike have to do with anything, that’s my parents’ wonderful and generous gift for my 25th birthday a week ago. Her name is Joanie and I love her to bits. I haven’t riden a bike since I was a kid and have very little experience riding in traffic, so I’m slowly working on my bike confidence. Hopefully I’ll be taking her to work with me in a couple of weeks!

Bike!

Trading

5 December 2010 · 5 comments in Life in General

[Don't forget that there are still a few hours left to get 20% off my patterns in my Ravelry store with coupon code PEPPARKAKA (which is Swedish for gingerbread).]

One of the best parts of clearing out my wardrobe and sending my sweaters off to other corners of the world was being able to trade with some of my favourite people. When I sent Owls off to live with Marianne, she sent me this gorgeous handspun in return.

Handspun by Marianne!

It’s a fingering weight 3ply and it’s going to make some really gorgeous socks. The fibre was dyed my friend Jeanette of FLUFF, so there will be a lot of love going into this knit.

I also sent Ropes & Picots off to live in Chicago with Jocelyn, and in return she sent me sent me a big box full of American treats.

Choccies!

I have a weakness for chocolate of any kind and it’s especially fun to get a taste of the stuff we can’t get here in Australia. I’m lucky to have such awesome friends. Thanks, girls!

Jeanie

28 November 2010 · 3 comments in Knitting

To celebrate the release of Jeanie and the upcoming holidays, all my patterns are 20% on Ravelry with coupon code PEPPARKAKA!

I’ve knit a lot of socks in my knitting days, and I’ve always wanted to design a sock pattern myself. So, this is Jeanie!

Jeanette's socks!

Jeanie, knit from MadelineTosh tosh sock in Sequoia
These socks were knit for and named after my friend Jeanette. I really love how they turned out. I started off mapping out cables on graph paper. I changed my mind a couple of times before I settled on this pattern of interlocking cables that flow seamlessly from the cuff into the lattice heel flap and simple ribbed foot.

Jeanette's socks!

I love elegant details in knitting, so when knitting Jeanie, I strove to make sure the lines of the cables are never interrupted, including at the toe, and the junction of the leg, heel flap and instep. This means shifting the stitches around on the needle a few times, but the end product is well worth it to me.

Jeanie!

My favourite part is probably the cable heel flap. Does it get any better than an intricately cabled heel?

Jeanette's socks!

Jeanie is available to purchase for $5.

More details on Ravelry.

Birds

28 October 2010 · 0 comments in Clothes

I’ve seen this Liberty of London print pop up in several places recently, but my favourite version has to be these adorable Nadinoo dresses. I think the red version would fit perfectly into my (dream) wardrobe.