Saturday, 26 January 2013

Trying some dyeing

My Mum bought me some Kool-aid back from the USA a couple of months ago and I finally found a chance to try it. I had some blue 4-ply yarn that was hanging around not doing much; I want to knit a new pair of socks but I wasn't too keen on the colour, so I thought I'd try over-dyeing it.

I put a few spoonfuls of cherry Kool-aid in a plastic tub with some water. I skeined the yarn (I had to divide it into approximate halves as the ball was too big to do all at once) and put one skein in the plastic tub and zapped it in the microwave for two minutes. Then I took it out, swished it about a bit, and gave it another two minutes. Then I made up fresh Kool-aid and did the same with the other skein.

I haven't been able to get a good photo of the yarn wound up, with the right colours, but it has turned out beautifully. Squashing it into a tub that the yarn couldn't move around in very well means that is a gorgeous semi-solid, with shades of bluey-purple through to red. I am pleased as punch. And it smells pleasingly of cherries.

Now I can knit some socks!

Monday, 21 January 2013


One of the things on my Day Zero list was 'go sledging'.


(I promise Emily wasn't as squashed as she looks)

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

A Happy Thought for 2013

A lot of bloggers, and presumably a lot of people who aren't bloggers, like to choose a word for a year instead of making resolutions. I was having a think about this, and what word I would choose, and I couldn't think of one. Then last night I was reading to Laura from a book of poems (A Child's Garden of Verse by Robert Louis Stevenson - the copy we have actually belongs to my dad, I wonder if he knows we have it) and I came across this.

A Happy Thought

The world is so full of a number of things
I'm sure we should all be as happy as Kings.

So I don't have a word for 2013, I have a poem. One that makes me smile whenever I think of it.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Socks for Teddy

For all my talk, I did actually knit one Christmas present. Laura's Teddy developed cold feet in November, and was being dragged around everywhere in an old pair of her socks. I decided I would knit him a nice new pair of socks and sneakily measured his feet one day while Laura was at school.

After a quick look through some old knitting books I selected some garter stitch bootees from a Debbie Bliss book (Quick Baby Knits I think). I found some red chunky yarn, did a quick swatch, and found out that happily the bootees would fit Teddy as written, provided I made them a bit shorter in the foot.

Each bootee took an evening and they were both wrapped up under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning. Unfortunately one of them didn't see out January (it's either at Milton Keynes shopping centre or somewhere in Costco) but I had nearly enough yarn to make one more, and they now have hair tie garters holding them in place (it had to be finished off with some different red DK yarn held double, hence the slightly different-coloured patch on one heel).

And Laura has declared that Teddy needs 'more clothes'. She thinks a jumper next. And that Emily's teddy (which, happily, is much smaller) also needs jumper. And then her teddy needs a hat. And probably some more things she hasn't thought of yet. It's a good job I love knitting for my girls.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Still spinning

At the Knitting & Stitching Show I bought two 50g-worths of wool roving in the same colourway. I'm now getting close to finishing spinning up the second one.

The single-ply yarn is still not amazingly consistent but it's getting better, and my spinning feels more fluent as I do it. The spindle still goes flying across the room from time to time though. Last night I managed to bend a fingernail back as it did it, still not quite sure what happened there.

I also decided to try chain-plying this yarn, and found it a lot easier than the two-ply I'd made before. Only having one ball of single-ply helped a lot and also it made it easier to control the amount of yarn I was working at one time. This little skein is chain-plied and I'm going to do the rest of this yarn the same way.

My goal - which is one of the ones on my Day Zero list - is to spin enough yarn to knit a scarf. I think I'm well on my way! Now I just need to find a simple stitch pattern for the scarf and do a little swatch.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Friday, 4 January 2013

New Year

I took a look back at last year's New Years Resolutions post to see how I got on. I think I did OK. The kitchen and new bits of the house have definitely been settled into, and I think they still look pretty good. I have done a fair amount of baking and certainly plan to do more this year. And I think the only days I haven't done something creative or crafty were the ones were I was either out of the house all day, or too ill to get out of bed. I can't remember if I did the ironing but I'm going to assume that happened.

While looking back I also realised it is nearly my five year blog anniversary! I will need to think of some way to celebrate that.

Inspired by my sister, I created a Day Zero project list. It is supposed to be 101 things in 1001 days, but I could only think of 33 things so far - I may add more as I go along or I might not! Some are projects that need finishing, some are goals, some are just things I'd like to do. So far I'm 15% complete which is brilliant and keeps me moving forward. A thousand and one days is two and three-quarter years so it seems like a good amount of time to get things done, while still being a small enough amount of time that you actually need to get on with things.

So happy new year everybody, I hope it's a good one for you!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I never came back to say Merry Christmas, largely because on Christmas Eve I was struck down by a terrible lurgy that is just now gone. A terrible sore throat, fever, aching, and headaches that meant I could barely lift my head above the pillow have been my festive season. But! Christmas itself went well (fortunately only I was ill on the actual day and I wasn't essential to the meal preparation or anything else on the day) and everyone else had a good time. Laura was ill before Christmas but had recovered in time for all the food and presents and excitement. I'm not sure if Emily knew what was going on but she liked it.

We did finish the gingerbread house before Christmas though. I made the pieces using the templates from the Tesco recipe but I used my own gingerbread recipe and made sure it had cooked long enough to be a bit hard and crunchy. I rolled out the dough straight onto the baking paper so that once I'd cut the pieces, they didn't get out of shape. The coloured windows are boiled sweets put in the window hole during baking.

I stuck the pieces together using royal icing made from royal icing sugar (next to the normal icing sugar in the supermarket, you just add water, it's brilliant) and it worked really well. The level of faff was quite acceptable.

The day after I'd stuck it all together, I made up some more royal icing and Laura helped me decorate it. Chocolate buttons and dolly mixtures worked well, heavier sweets like jelly beans didn't stay in place very well and we had to wait until the icing had dried a bit.

And it was very tasty too! I'll definitely be making one again next year. Or this year, I suppose it is now! I am going to do a proper new year post, later this week. I need a bit of time with a working head to get my thoughts together.