Monday, June 24, 2013


I've started a new cardie! A toasty warm one, in thick fuzzy wool. The pattern is Iðunn by Ragga Eiríksdóttir, and for once I'm actually using the yarn specified in a pattern: Ístex Létt-Lopi. It's a little prickly, but I generally don't mind that unless it touches my forehead - only super soft hats for me! Icelandic wool is supposed to be very warm and not prone to pilling, so I'm giving it a try.

Knitting with thicker yarn like this is so much speedier, especially compared to my last cardie in 4ply. I've already finished the whole 'yoke', put the sleeve stitches on hold, and have made decent progress on the 'body'. In one week.

I was partly drawn to this design by the honeycomb pattern around the yoke. I'm not quite sure whether it's embarrassing or awesome that I have two other honeycomb-patterned jerseys in my to-make list: Stasis Pullover and Honeymaker. I think Honeymaker would be great in a warmish pale grey, if I can find suitable yarn... maybe Little Wool Co 12ply would work?

Stasis Pullover by Leila Raabe

Honeymaker by Leah B. Thibault

The draw of the honeycomb doesn't stop there either - I have my eye on these:

Apis Dorsata Mitts by Anna Sudo

Raxtur by Stephen West

As for bee-inspired projects I've already succumbed to, the big one is of course the beekeeper's quilt. I've completed 150 of the hexapuffs in total, but they have yet to be joined together. When I visit Whakatane soon I'll get them out of storage and see what I want to do with them. I think a wall hanging of some sort would be neat.

A batch of my hexapuffs, in rainbow shades (video courtesy of Dad):

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bees, beer, and blooms

On Sunday Willie and I went to some drop-in classes/talks at the 'Sunday Spectacular' run by Laneway Learning. You could join in with the casual classes for only $2, so it was a good chance to dip our toes into some new things. There were longer book-able classes too, but they had mostly sold out. It was all held in one little lane in the CBD, in galleries and coffee shops.

Outside in the lane (it was a bit of a drizzly day)

When we arrived we went straight to the beekeeping talk (I'm still pretty bee-obsessed). It was great! I found out some cool new things I hadn't read about, and got an idea of how much it would cost to get set up with a hive one day. The beekeeper had brought a frame from a hive in a double-sided glass case, so we could see the honey cells and brood cells, and all the bees doing their thing. The queen had been left at home, as it would be too disruptive to take her out of the hive for the day.

After that we went and talked to a lady who was making jam, and found out about a really handy tool: specially-shaped tongs for handling the hot jars when you're sterilising and filling them. Will keep my eyes peeled for some.

I spotted a few Yarn Corner people (who I recognised by their pink hair!), and had a brief hello before staking out a good spot for the beer brewing demo. I am totally keen to try brewing soon - it sounded fairly easy to make something drinkable, with lots of scope for getting fancy later. I have a list of websites and books to investigate. I might have to twist Dad's arm to have a go with me when I'm in Whakatane soon! Or else get set up over here.

Having a very nice coffee while waiting for the brewing talk to start

The folks in the background are checking out the bees

In crafting news, I finished a small batch of knitted flowers and I'm really pleased with how they came out. I used this Petunia pattern, and while it was a bit fiddly, I now have a much better handle on exactly how short-rows work in knitting. The lovely folks at Holland Road Yarn Co need more flowers and leaves to spruce up their 'tree' outside the shop, so I posted these off to prettify a Wellington street...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Bicycles and pickles

Yesterday we had a very nice Saturday, in a wholesome sort of way. After a decent sleep-in, we biked to the library along the riverbank.

I rode Chloe's bike, and had a bit of trouble since it was my first time on a bike in years. Yes, you don't forget how, the riding part was fine - but swinging my leg over the basket was trickier than anticipated! I actually fell off once while dismounting, which was a bit embarrassing in a busy public place...

Riding is lovely though, especially when you get a decent stretch of people-free ground ahead of you and can speed up a bit. I'll need to get my own bike when the time comes to give this one back.

After we got home and had a tea-and-a-sit break, we went food shopping and picked up some ingredients for making pickles, which I've been wanting to do for ages. We ended up making 'bread and butter' pickles, which are amazing with cheese on toast:

It's a very easy and fairly economical recipe - mostly sliced cucumbers and onions, with vinegar, sugar, and spices. Willie did the chopping (sparing me from the dreaded onion-eyes) and I did the cooking part. I got the recipe from my Ladies a Plate book, and it's on the website too: Bread and Butter Pickles. The great thing about it is that you don't need to stand over a simmering pot for ages, you just bring it to the boil and you're done. :)

For some reason, preserving jars are hard to find in Australia - we had to buy a set online in the end. Next I'd quite like to try these Herb Jellies (when I'm up to a bit more of a challenge). I've successfully managed marmalade in the past, so why not?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Bra shopping success!

It's been a while since I wrote about my search for a properly-fitting bra. I got sidetracked by other things, and then I failed to check Brava's opening hours and ended up pouting outside a closed shop (note to self: don't assume specialist shops are open on Sundays). But today we gathered our gumption and headed back to their Collins St shop.

I asked for a fitting, and the assistant asked what I was looking for and what size I've been wearing. I explained that I wanted a plain, everyday, more-or-less-skin-coloured bra, and that I've been wearing 16D (because it was the best I'd found), but that I thought I needed more like a 14F. She agreed that that would be a good size to start trying, and so the changing-room saga began...

I found it much less frustrating than my past bra-shopping experiences: they had my size in all of their styles, and the assistant fetched things for me to try as we narrowed down what I needed - no rummaging through the racks myself, getting discouraged. Her timing was spot-on, so I wasn't left waiting for the next option, or feeling rushed either. I ended up with three good 'maybes' that we agreed fit me well, all beige and lace-free and 14F. I settled on the most comfortable of the three, plus a basic sports bra in black. The beige one will be ideal for being unobtrusive under tshirts etc, and the sports bra will be fine when I'm wearing more layers. If sports bras had a smoother shape they'd be perfect, but alas, protruding seams are apparently the price you pay for proper scaffolding!

The only slightly frustrating part of the process was that there were plenty of pretty, lacy, colourful, feminine bras in the shop (which are just not 'me'), but not many plain, basic styles. Even the plainest still had small bows on them. 

"No lace. No lace, Mrs. Bennet, I beg you!" (P&P 1995, Ep.1)

But I am now the happy owner of two comfortable bras in the correct size, which is two more than I've ever had in my life. About time too!