On knitting and the Wii Fit Plus. But not doing both at the same time, that would be silly

Right, I promise that today there will be no mention of Doctor Who outside of this sentence. Let’s see how I do, shall we?

I had a bit of a knitting crisis at the weekend. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been knitting some socks (which I love, BTW, and really need to photograph) but on Saturday I finished them and needed a new project. A few months ago I bought some light fingering yarn with vague plans to make a sweater vest. The problem is that there are no patterns out there for a vest in yarn this fine (apparently everyone uses worsted or heavier) and I’ve realised that the major reason that I don’t already own a vest is because I don’t wear them.

Knitting progress in 2010

BossBoss has decided that we can all goof off for a couple of hours tomorrow and go to the cinema. Isn’t he a nice boss? It will be partially over our lunch hour (he’s giving us the rest of the time and we don’t have to make anything up) so I’m seriously contemplating trying a pretzel as my movie snack. Never had one before but everyone keeps assuring me that I’ll love them. My BossBoss is really quite lovely.

I haven’t talked about knitting here for a while. No, I have no idea why because I’ve been doing quite a bit and 2010 already has three finished objects to its credit.

January was the cowl-necked sweater that I’ve already blogged. I really love it and wear it whenever I can get away with the “hey, didn’t you wear that the other day?” thing.

When that was finished, I cast on for some socks that I’d be able to put aside during the Olympics. Those became my socks of hatred, sadly. The pattern is good, the yarn is soft and will be lovely on my feet. I just hated the colours. It was a relief to put them aside an concentrate on madly knitting an entire sweater (short-sleeved, but still…) during the Olympics.

I finished with a couple of hours to spare and I’m really pleased with it. Just need to source some good vintage buttons for the back closure. The pattern is from a vintage book, originally printed in the ’30s and really lovely. Now I want to find a high-waisted pencil skirt to wear with it πŸ™‚ Or possibly some 30s/40s style wide-legged tweedy trousers would also look amazing.

With the Olympics over, it was back to the socks of hatred. I could tell that I wasn’t loving them because I’d find any excuse not to knit them. There were entire evenings when I was catching with TV – usually a prime knitting time – with the socks sitting beside me untouched and unloved. Using the cats as an excuse for why I wasn’t knitting them grew old very fast.

This past weekend I got fed up and decided to get them gone. I was nearly at the heel of the second one on Thursday, barely touched my knitting on Saturday, and still managed to get within a couple of rounds of finishing at the curling on Sunday. They finally got finished, bound-off and ends woven in yesterday lunch time. I feel so much happier about knitting now that I don’t have to work on them! I’ll try to get some photos up shortly so that everyone else can judge how hideous they are.

To celebrate, I decided to cast on a pattern that I’ve been wanting to do for ages. It’s called Spring Forward and they looking like fun, happy, spring-ish socks. The weather has been warm and sunny for the last few days and it feels like spring has started, so these socks are very appropriate! I’m using the Sea Wool that I bought last September and already loving it so much more than the socks of hatred. It’s a variegated yarn with pinks, yellows, greens and greys in soft pastels so it’s rather a cheerful yarn. Seal Wool is 70% merino, 30% seacell and it’s got a fabulous sheen to it. I’m already excited about what they’ll look liked when the lace section starts.

A post of many things

A few things to catch up on and think about:

Thing the first – new knitting project!
One of the things that I managed to do while I was in England was raid the John Lewis store for their Rowan yarn sale, which was fabulous. There is a cowl-necked sweater that I’ve been itching to make for ages, so the first bag of yarn from the JL sale is being used to make that sweater. It’s RYC Cashsoft 4ply, a gorgeous yarn, in a fantastic shade of purple called Pomegranate. I’m at the waist shaping on the back already, having started on Sunday, and loving the way that the yarn knits up. It’s 4ply so it’s light but has a nice texture, the yarn has a good twist so it isn’t even slightly splitty and it’s beautifully soft and springy. Yup, I’m in love.

Thing the second – another knitting project!
My parents gave me a beautiful book of vintage knits (they really knew how to design for shaping and fit fifty years ago) and I happen to have just the right amount of Cashsoft 4ply (in green – Folly) for a short-sleeved sweater called Sun-Ray Ribbed. I’d already decided that it would be a spring knit, but the group for the book is started a knit-along next week for this very sweater. I may be casting on for it πŸ™‚ Or at least doing a swatch at the weekend to see what needle size I’ll need…

Thing the third – my cooking mojo is back!
This weekend I shall be baking an amazing-sounding brownie recipe from my chocolate recipe book that the lovely [info]historyterry gave me for Christmas. I’m very excited about this book and already plotting a number of forays into it. There’s a recipe for mint puddings sounds look gorgeous and, best of all, the recipe indicates that I can make them in advance, freeze them and cook from frozen. Anyone have any advice on pudding vessels that won’t shatter if they go from cold freezer to hot oven?

Also, I’ve been browsing around some foodblogs and identified two recipes that need to be tried out now now now, plus a host of others book marked for later. And I have a Tapas book to start working through, plus a couple of other cookbooks that I want to buy. Sunday I’ll be making healthy baked chicken strips with honey dijon dip (mmm, dip…) and Monday will be crab and shrimp cakes with lemon aioli (mmm, dip…). There may be a theme there πŸ™‚

I have developed some fairly strong feelings about the kind of cookbooks I like. All those celebrity chef books (including Mr. Oliver) aren’t user-friendly for the home cook or baker, I feel. Between hard-to-source ingredients, insanely complicated preps and esoteric equipment, there are usually only one or two recipes that are even attemptable. What I want is tasty, interesting meals that can be prepared after work when I’m tired and don’t have three hours to prepare and cook things. I’m happy to do more complicated things at the weekend, but even here there are limits and I’m not likely to do it if I can’t get leftovers that can be re-used at a later date.

I’m a big one for creating my own frozen ready meals πŸ™‚

I don’t need a fancy photo of every dish because what catches my eye is usually the title of the dish and the ingredient list more than a picture. If there’s a description or story behind it, that can seal the deal. In all honesty, I’ll never replicate the photo of the food so while it may be nice, it’s not the big selling point.

My Tapas book is fab (with only a few scattered photos) and two of my favourite foodblogs have recipe books out now that look pretty useful for a home cook, but I still find it tough in bookstores to find cookbooks that have interesting recipes that are really do-able. Lots of them look good due to the photography, but I take one look at the ingredients and long method description for a few recipes and put the book back because I’m not the person they’re aimed at.

Speaking of, does anyone have a recommendation for a really good pasta book? I love pasta, but my repertoire of sauces etc. is ridiculously limited.

Thing the fourth – no travelling this year, how about a bedroom reorg?
One of the ideas with my ‘no trips this year’ plan is to save a bit of money, but there are a few things that I’d like to do around the house anyway. The kitchen is a project Mum and I will be tackling in the summer and the parents are financing it (as it’s their house), but I’d like to change a few things around my bedroom.

I bought a bed when I arrived her and my uncles and aunts bought me a blanket box for my birthday, but that was all I did in there. I’ve got the bed, box, a bedside table and a chest of drawers. There’s a walk-in closet for most of my clothes. My room looks a little sparse and there are a few inconveniences.

The big one is my toy collection. These are the cuddly toys from my childhood, which I don’t want to give away or pack into storage, but they’re currently sitting on my blanket box so I rarely clear them off to actually put blankets away. That seems a little silly. So I’m wondering whether there is another way to sort that out, maybe by putting up a shelf for them to keep them off the floor but still out on display. I’ll have to see what my parents think before I make decisions on that.

I’d also like to get some low bookcases in there, partially because the cases in the office are getting full and also so that I can have old favourites and books to be read right there at hand. The bookcases would also give me somewhere to put a potted plant or two and perhaps a couple of boxes for CDs to get those out of my closet.

When I moved, I decided against having any kind of TV in my bedroom because I thought it might help with the insomnia issues and it felt ridiculous to have two TVs in a house with one person in it. One of the things that I noticed when I was visiting England is that I use the TV there differently to the way I use the one in the living room. I’ve missed waking up to the news (the news radio stations here put on gentle music before 7am – WTF?) and I often had nights where I watched something in bed rather than the living room so that I’d settle down earlier or watched the evening news in bed rather than downstairs or watched something mindless if I woke up from a particularly bad nightmare. I’m not very good at going from doing things in the main house to getting into bed quickly! TV in bed ensured that I settled down earlier if I needed to.

So I’m thinking that I’ll look for a small TV (and maybe a cheap DVD player) for the bedroom to sit on my bookcases. IKEA delivers, even if there is no store here, so that’s where I’ll be looking for the new furniture after I’ve done some measuring to figure out what will fit where.

I’ll do some pricing, work out how much I need to save and hopefully in a few months I’ll have some nice, comfy extras in my bedroom to make life that bit easier.

There is no thing the fifth, because this post has turned into an essay πŸ™‚

Some knitting related thoughts

Eeep! It’s snowing! It’s probably going to get washed away by morning, but we’re looking pretty nasty out there right now. Also, teh Interwebz ate my LJ comments, so I got a bit of a surprise when I looked at my message box a couple of minutes ago. Anyway…

It is a little over two weeks until Christmas, and the yarn I ordered for making a couple of presents has only just arrived. Good thing I chose quite small projects, but I may still be working hard to finish on time. Must remember to pack my blocking T pins – there’s no way these will be done before I leave and blocking does help the lace to pop.

I cast on for a new pair of socks on Saturday. They’re quite exciting, to me, anyway. Firstly, it’s my first time using Malabrigo Sock and I’m in love. Seriously, this stuff is gorgeous. I’m already thinking seriously about using it in a sweater, it’s that soft and lovely.

Secondly, I’m adapting a cuff-down pattern to use my favourite toe-up construction. The main detail is a lace panel going up the side of the foot, so it’s slightly more complex to work than my usual plain socks. I ended up going from the top left corner of the lace chart rather than the bottom right and hoping for the best. Last night I finished the heel on the first one, so I just have the leg to work and I was able to try it on to see exactly how well it fitted.

I had a good feeling from previous tries, but it was still nice to have confirmation that they’re a perfect fit. My purple stripy socks from a couple of months ago are also a beautiful fit so this is reassurance that they were not a fluke. I can indeed, finally, knit socks that fit my feet just right. As the lace on these ones could have made them a slightly looser fit, I’m doubly happy to have them right. Most importantly, the length is nice and snug (without squishing) so shoes will fit over them without issue, unlike my first couple of pairs!

My current projects are also teaching me that while I love Mal Sock, I’m not so keen on Worsted. It’s nice, it’s soft, and the colours are gorgeous, but I’m glad that I only bought one skein as a trial to make a hat rather than diving in with a sweater. It’s not a plied yarn – it’s one thick strand that feels more felted than anything else. Rather like the Mal Silky, in face, but without the gloss of the silky so I’m finding it harder to work. I think that it would be a nightmare to frog and I can see just from the nature of the single ply that this is a yarn that will have issues with growing over time.

I’m going to love the hat I’m making, but I may not be using the Worsted for anything bigger.

The Sock, though, would make a gorgeous cowl necked sweater. In fact, it would make the beautiful cowl necked sweater that I love from Knit So Fine which [info]gmul gave me for my birthday. I’ve already got my eye on a colour way. Hmm…

Plotting and planning new projects is almost as fun as knitting them!

Alternative expressions of creativity

It appears that my current main obsessions are cooking and knitting. It keeps surprising me because a few years ago I’d never have thought that I’d end up loving such domestic, home-making things. I’m not an artist, I never will be, but I consider myself to be creative and it appears that these crafts are the outlets I’ve found for that.

Anyway, my new sweater is progressing apace. I’ve finish the back of the shrug section and joined to start knitting the arm in the round. Gave it a quick try last night and, despite my misgivings, it appears that the fit is just right so far. Even better, the Cashsoft felt amazing against my skin so I should end up with a sweater than doesn’t itch me. Hooray!

It’s October, which means that winter is fall is here and winter will be on top of me before I know it. Last winter I found acquiring good fruit and veg and issue. Although that has largely been resolved by the farmer’s market and Pete’s, I’m still starting to conclude that my current breakfast of grapes, granola and plain yoghurt is not sustainable. The grapes that I picked up this week are flavourless and I can’t imagine that they’ll get better as the winter goes on. Plus, they’re not exactly eating local and sustainable!

So what can I do for breakfast that’s healthy and nutritious? I’m thinking that I need to look into breakfast muffins – homemade, of course – so on Friday I’ll make a trip to the bookstore to have a look for a suitable recipe book. I want things that aren’t too sweet and are preferably filled with fruit, nuts, bran and other healthy things. The kind of thing that I can heat up in the microwave and enjoy with a glass of milk, possibly accompanied by a small bowl of granola-and-yoghurt, and feel warmed and comforted for the day. They’ll need to be good for freezing, so that I can make batches and defrost a few at a time, and having a variety of recipes to try would be great.

Yup, I need a new recipe book. I may also look for a soup book. I really fancy making soup. My biggest regret right now is that I didn’t steal my mum’s copy of the Covent Garden soup book when I visited in February. She said I could because she never uses it!

I’m going to end up with so many recipe books at the rate that I’m going πŸ™‚

Yarn, Thanksgiving and roast potatoes

I have just enjoyed a Thanksgiving weekend with my sister. It was pure accident. She booked her flights, told me the dates and I squeed as I realised that she’d unwittingly booked to be with me over the long weekend so I’d get the Monday off work to spend with her without worrying about vacation time. Hooray!

I picked her up from the airport after work on Thursday and dragged her along to my knitting group, where we ate pasta and chatted away happily. She’s knitting a beautiful pair of mittens. Er, I got teased because my sister is as insane as me with the whole ‘knitting primarily with skinny yarn’ thing. Heh.

She spent Friday hanging out at the house, relaxing and resting from her time in Toronto while I went to work. Then we went out for sushi for supper, which was amazing, and she introduced me to grilled eel maki which I absolutely love. Wonder whether it’s totally indulgent to get some sushi takeout this Friday on the way home from the grocery store?

Saturday started out bright and early with a trip to the farmer’s market followed by a drive down to Mahone Bay. We did lots of walking, bought lots of yarn (love having a knitter sister) and ate some amazing Schezchaun (sp?) carrot soup from the Biscuit Eater Cafe and Bookshop. Possibly the best part of the rather wonderful soup were the cheese and herb biscuits which were hot and fresh and divine. Between the soup, the biscuits and the chocolate espresso shortcakes, we didn’t need supper that night! We had to make a quick stop at the mall on the way home (bathroom break) and I spotted the Rowan Greatest Knits book in Chapters. Hmm. I’m in two minds, largely because while some of the older patterns are fun, the patterns I love are from Rowan 42 which I already have. So it requires thought and possibly a revisit before I decide on whether to add it to my wishlist.

Sunday was a slightly quieter day. I made French toast for breakfast and then we toddled up to the mall for a quick visit to Gap before going to the beach for a long walk. Bliss. We relaxed for the rest of the afternoon with our knitting and some TV before going out for seafood supper and then a visit with my aunt.

Monday was Thanksgiving and we spent the day relaxing, watching movies and knitting so that I could be on top of my game for cooking the big supper. This is the first time that I’ve done a major event meal and also the first time that I’ve done roast potatoes. Yes, it was the potatoes that had me panicked and declaring it as my Experimental Monday dish. Thankfully my recipe (trusty Comfort Food to the rescue again) was clear and concise, enabling me to produce tatties that were crispy and nicely browned on the outside and fluffy on the inside. No raw bits, no sogginess, and I’m very proud. My aunt supplied stuffing and I cooked salmon, due to my sister’s non-meat-eating status. It all worked out perfectly, with all the food cooked at just the right time and lots of yummy noises at the table. Phew!

My sister goes home tonight and I’m going to miss her. We’ve had a lovely few days together and it’s been so much fun to just hang out and knatter. We seem to get along better and have more in common as we get older, which is fabulous.

Knitting-wise, I finished my lovely purple shawl (I’m wearing it right now – the office is slightly chilly) and cast on for my Tubey sweater. The yarn that was coming surface mail and I wasn’t expecting to see for months arrived on Friday – yippee! I’m most of the way across the back of the shrug section already (almost finished the second ball) so it’s going swimmingly. I swatched and discovered that I had to go down a needle size so apart from the usual “OMG, will this fit?” worries I’m feeling cautiously optimistic. In fact, I’m even daring myself to have it ready in time for my Christmas trip to England. I’m insane, right?

Catching up on many things


I’m making good progress on Brighton Take Too, the cardigan for my sister. I love the pattern, I adore the yarn (Rowan Cashsoft DK) and the combination of the two makes for a really great knitting experience. I did encounter a small technical hitch yesterday…

I was knitting merrily on the left front. Mum and I were having an evening with a DVD (something that hasn’t happened for a few days due to being really busy) so I got a ton of work done and was almost at the armhole. I was feeling so proud of how much I had accomplished. Then, just as the DVD was getting to the end, I looked down at my needles and quietly said “crap”.

I’d forgotten to change needles after the garter-stitch hem. So I’d knitting half a front on 3.25mm rather than 4.0mm. This is not a mistake that can be easily fudged.


I’m feeling proud of myself because, rather than trying to fudge or block it out or something, I actually ripped it back to the end of the garter stitch and started again. This is a huge change from what I would have done a year ago and I feel that it shows progress in my knitting because I’m actually willing to rip back and re-do rather than try to work around my mistakes.

Still annoyed with myself for making that kind of mistake, though.


I got brave and actually called my cable company! They’re coming out tomorrow to install the new DVR. As the cable company only has an HD-compatible DVR, I’ve also added in the basic HD package. So I’ll be watching House in crystal-clear hi-def. Yay.

Road Trip

On Saturdy, Mum and I went on a bit of a road trip. We drove down to Mahone Bay, stopping in at a yarn store in Upper Tantallon on the way. It was a beautiful sunny day and the drive was lovely. The first yarn store was tiny with a very chatty store owner, but she had some beautiful yarn. Mum bought some pretty stuff to make a shawl (feather and fan, making up as she goes along apparently) and I bought a skein of Malabrigo Worsted to make a hat.

At some stage I’m considering using Mal for a sweater but I want to see how it knits up, wears and washes before I commit to it and I thought a one skein hat would be an ideal test. It gets cold here. There is no such thing as too many hats.

Then it was on to Mahone Bay and lunch at the Biscuit Eater Cafe. We always go there for lunch and tea because their food is amazing and the service is so friendly. Plus they have chocolate expresso shortbread, which has to be tasted to be thoroughly appreciated. I also, um, picked up a couple of books there although not Nancy Drew early editions this time. Hee πŸ™‚

After lunch, we wandered along for a good poke around in Have A Yarn, still my favourite yarn store. I managed to find a skein of Fleece Artist Sea Wool in a gorgeous pale green/pink combo that I love. Mum bought some in dark burgundy/purple that I nearly took, but she was merciful and knicked it for myself so that I didn’t have to choose between the two colourways.

A skein of Handmaiden Casbah also fell into my hands, in variegated green and cream. It’s beautiful. It’s 81% merino/9% cashmere/10% nylon. Possibly the most indulgent socks ever. I love it.

Mum also picked up a skein of Tanis fingering in dark green and a pattern for some cable eyelet socks that she’s quite excited about. Yup, I’ve got her knitting socks πŸ™‚

With yarn cravings satisfied, we stopped in at the Tea Brewery for some loose leaf tea and then we hit the road to go home. All in all, a very satisfying and fun trip with some gorgeous pretties to show for it.

Cooking/Experimental Mondays

It seems that while Mum has been here, Mondays have become the day that I try out new dishes on her. Hence Experimental Mondays. So far we’ve had:

Week 1: Baked mushroom risotto (from Comfort Food) – huge hit, definitely one to do again. A little fiddly so possibly not one to make for one person, but it was absolutely fantastic.

Week 2: Meatballs in tomato sauce (from Comfort Food) – didn’t season the meat well enough and need a better substitute for pasata, but still very good and to be tried again. I have three portions in the freezer πŸ™‚

Week 3: Pork and ginger dumplings (from new Chinese cookbook) – another big hit, much easier to make than I thought it would be and the dumplings are probably best put together on the day of cooking rather than the night before. The dipping sauce was delicious and these are definitely being done again.

Week 4: Wild mushroom and broccoli flan (from Vegetarian Cooking) – very fiddly, good thing this was being done on a public holiday rather than after work. Needed two people to actually get it done in under two hours. The end result was really good and I’m enjoying eating the left-overs for lunch, but I’d need to find ways to stream-line the process if I do it again.

At the weekend there was also wonton soup (to use up the remaining wonton skins – huge hit for both of us) and a bittersweet Mexican chocolate torte that is fantastic. I’m keeping the Experimental Mondays idea after Mum goes because it’s a great excuse to try out new things.

Um, Mum declares that she’s going to miss my cooking immensely and does she have to go home? I think this is one of the nicest things she’s ever said πŸ˜€

Other miscellaneous stuff

The stuff I am doing at work right now, affectionately known as The Zombie Project (it keeps coming back from the dead and eating my brainz!), is horrible and evil but will look excellent on my end of year review. At least my boss is also hating it so we can commiserate. And my cubicle-mate is working on it as well. Our cubicle has become the cubicle of misery and doom.

Mum goes home in a week. Although there’s a part of me looking forward to having the house to myself again, there’s another part of me that’s really going to miss her. We’ve rubbed along pretty well and we’ve managed to work out a good friends relationship where neither of us feels that we’re beholden to or required to report into the other. I’m feeling much happier about her six month long visit next year now. In fact, I’m kind of looking foward to it.

With her here as more of a resident than a guest next year, I need to make sure that I take time to do stuff (fannish stuff, website maintenance etc.) that has been allowed to slide while I’ve been ‘entertaining’. There has been no writing and minimal keeping up with fan stuff and I miss that, darn it.

My sister will be visiting over (Canadian) Thanksgiving. This is awesome indeed πŸ™‚

Also, I’m really, really hoping that Doctor Who is aired the weekend before the anniversary. The fact that this will mean I have new Doctor Who on or just before my birthday is entirely beside the point…

About the posts that have suddenly appeared…

As an explanation for why a month’s worth of posts that have suddenly appeared…

I run two blogs: this one and a very fannish one. This one has some of the same content, but a lot of the more fannish posts aren’t copied over because I know that it’s not something that the readers of this blog are very interested in. It’s also because I try to keep my fannish life and my real life seperate, fearing the end of the universe should the two collide.

The fannish blog was my first blog and it’s the one that I tend to update first. For the last month, I’ve been very lazy and haven’t cross-posted even though I’ve had lots of stuff to say about hurricanes, knitting, cooking and Mum’s visit. So today I finally got off my behind and copied all the stuff over, back-dating it to when I originally posted it and praying that nobody screams at me for the metric ton of stuff that’s about to hit their RSS feeds πŸ™‚

The other thing that I’ve been very remiss at is the pictures of finished knitted objects. Two pairs of socks, a hat and two sweaters have come off my needles and haven’t been blogged at all. Right now I’m working on some socks in a pattern that I love and some yarn that I am fondly disliking (oh, so orange it’s not even funny) that will be a birthday present for a friend. Those socks won’t appear on the Web until after his birthday, but everything else needs blogging.

I suspect that I’ll be doing my own copy of those socks at some stage, in a slightly less virulent colour.

I’m also starting to consider my winter knitting. I’m definitely doing Tubey in Rowan Cashsoft Aran, probably in a gorgeous teal colour unless I get swayed by the aubergine. I’ve fallen in love with a cap-sleeved top/sweater thing in the new Rowan magazine done in Cocoon. It would be perfect over a shirt or a long-sleeved T-shirt and fabulously warm. My plan is to see whether I can get any Cocoon in the John Lewis Boxing Day sale before I look at sourcing from websites.

Today I saw a pattern for raglan sleeve, yoke necked sweater with owls on the yoke done by stitch pattern rather than colour work. It’s adorable and looks great in all the finished projects on Ravelry and I think that I’m in love. I’ll need to think carefully about the yarn for that, although I’m drawn to Malabrigo Chunky because it’s Mal and I could get some great colours.

First, though, I’m knitting my sister a cardigan to replace her Christmas present that was stolen a few weeks after she got it. Hopefully it will be ready when she comes to visit in October and it will give me a few weeks to get the yarn for Tubey.

Wow, I’m a knitting geek πŸ™‚

A post of many things

After 3 months of fog, apparently summer has decided to appear. The temps are in the high twenties with humidex taking it to the low thirties at the shore (where my house is). The humidex even two kilometers inland is taking it to the high thirties.

Yes, this does feel a wee bit extreme.

Still, I’m feeling incredibly grateful to have my house where it is because it’s noticably cooler here than it is in the city. Walking out of the office is like walking into a furnace and my aunt is suffering badly.

The forecaster is promising that things will cool down a bit by the weekend. I’m praying that this is so. The forecaster this morning also said that Hurricane Bill is heading our way, will hopefully veer off to sea before it hits us but will be bringing high winds and heavy rain for the beginning of the week. Better get everything tied down outside over the weekend, then.

The heat has slowed my knitting progress. Yes, even cotton isn’t *that* nice when the temps in the house are high twenties. Fear not! I have nearly finished the shaping on the second sleeve of my sweater so I should bind that off today. Then I can start swatching for some socks and doing the seaming for the sweater. I just have to pick my times to knit and admit defeat when it all gets too warm.

The weekend was largely about “OMG, too hot!”, Mum and I did go out on Saturday for various shopping chores, which was lovely while we were in the mall and horrible the moment we stepped out. We did have to make a detour to Chapters for books and drinks – strawberry banana smoothie turns out to be delish. I finally got myself a Chinese cookbook filled with lots of gorgeous repices of varying degrees of simplicity/difficulty and absolutely not a celebrity one filled with complicated recipes that I can’t get ingredients for. So that’s quite yayful. There’s even a receipe for peking duck…

Last night I tried out a new recipe: oven-baked mushroom risotto. It turned out really well and is definitely going into the making-again list. Portobello mushrooms, bacon, parmesan cheese, tarragon…mmmmm….

Also over the weekend I grilled steaks on the BBQ and didn’t burn them too badly. Woo! Mum is being quite complimentary about my culinary efforts.

Our new front-loading washing machine arrived on Friday and we’ve been stupidly excited about this. It’s so easy! It’s so automatic! It’s got so many controls! It’s so quick to put the washing on! Yeah, we’re crazy.

This coming weekend I’m hoping to go away with my knitting crew, but this is dependant on the weather. If it’s still miserably hot then we may cancel – lots of people plus 4 babies in one small cottage with 30+ temps would not be fun. We’re playing it by ear.

Over this weekend I managed to get two books of my to be read pile. I was feeling really pleased until I realised that I hadn’t catalogued the two Enid Blyton Adventure books that Mum found and brought me. Darn. They’re gorgeous, though, lovely old hardcovers with original text and illustrations. I’m thinking that rather than trying to beat my unread pile down to a tiny number, I’m better off trying to read at least as many as come in. So two out, two in kind of deal rather than fifteen out, none in. It’s the only way to stop beating myself up about my book habit!

Insert meaningful title here ->

The good news: Mum arrived safely last night and, when I left for work this morning, she was happily planning how to rearrange my kitchen cupboards.

The bad: Due to a combination of the heat and stupidly reading Rowan 46 before I went to bed, I didn’t so much sleep as doze in ten minute increments. Thus this morning I’m shattered and my IBS has been upset, so that I can’t keep food in my stomach, I’m feeling icky and feverish and my anti-spasmodics are refusing to stop the cramping. Yes, I am sure that it’s IBS rather than a bug.

So, although I’ve been at work for over an hour, I’ve only actually been at my desk for fifteen minutes. Today is going to be a loooong day.

Still, Mum and I have some fun stuff planned for the weekend and the weather promises to be a little less stifling tonight so hopefully I’ll get some sleep.

When I saw the previews for the Rowan magazine, I wasn’t that impressed. But then I looked through it at my LYS on Saturday and I’ve already spotted at least 4 things that I’d love to make. Shockingly, they aren’t in fingering weight wool. Gasp! One of them is even in Cocoon, which is slightly heavier than aran but not actually chunky. Er, that’s because this is the autumn/winter magazine and while I still definitely prefer my tiny yarn, some of the designs that I’m lusting after would be beautifully snuggly for the cold weather.

Now I should really go and do some work. Is it time to go home yet?

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