Wednesday, 30 January 2008

O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind? ~Percy Bysshe Shelley

"Spring has returned. The earth is like a child that knows poems. "
-- Rainer Maria Rilke

It's spring again, everybody knows its spring again... in knitting magazine land, anyway. It's the time to shuck off winter clothing in their world, to wash and fold bulky scarves and jumpers and put them to one side. In their world, the sun is already warm on our faces and skins, our bodies are toned and lean from shedding the winter weight, swathed in sinful silks, clad in cool cottons and linens.

In spring, we're like the models in the Rebecca magazines: frolicking in exotic lands, where the wind is as soft as a lover's touch, warm as a cherished friend's smile, and our hearts are as light as well... the sun.

We'll send postcards to our friends in the Arctic climes - so smugly drunk on our sheer existence, our messages will be absolutely inane.

"Wish you were here", we shall scrawl on the back of card.
Or, we'll click with our camera phones and send the picture of a beach with this text attached: "We chase the sun".

Don't mind me, I kvetch because I'm jealous.

I wish I lived in Rebecca's world; the models always seem to have such fun, and their necklines tell the tale (the second picture). They are open, inviting, not hidden by yarn, or censured by the cold. The models' necks are bare; enough to show off expanse of chest and flirt with the curve of breast, but modest enough to titillate.

Or probably, we could be like Interweave Knit models. Still happy, but because we're American, we'll be friendly with it. We'll invite you inside and show you our stuff close up and friendly, because we're like that.

We will not be Rowan models though, too fey, too delicate, too well bred. Summer might be the time to lounge in a crumbling garden, musing over the fact that the sun did set on the British Empire, but not to hang out in the kitchen beside the heater. They also don't seem friendly, and not the type to send drunken texts from Marrakesh while simultaneously chasing the sun, like we do, because we are

Right, because I can only extend analogies so far (I think this one broke), lets talk knitting magazines and their offerings.

At first glance, the Interweave Knit magazine seems to have a lot of the same ( cardigans - short to bracelet sleeve lengths). The only thing I'd really make right now would be the Auburn Camp Shirt, with its sweet details on the sleeves, the subtle patterning and the interesting collar (first photo). I must say, I do like the Aleita shell (look on the IK website), and the neckline of the printed silk cardigan.

In keen contrast, to IK , if I had time and money, I'd make everything from Rebecca's Spring/Summer magazine. It's funny how in the past couple of years, I've collected Rebecca magazines but never really
looked at their patterns until recently. And when I say 'until recently' I mean like, 'last month.'

Hail ravelry, for showing me the way of the Rebecca.

Like Phildar, Rebecca has interesting twists when it comes to stitching and necklines. Unlike Phildar, I think Rebecca tends to like its cables and lace more. I also like Rebecca's pullovers, and the twist on ribbing that they revisit ever so often.

The only drawback is, since I've discovered my mad mad love for Rebecca, I find that the magazine isn't really available in the UK anymore. *emo tear* To get the magazine from Germany, inclusive of postage, would cost me about €15,00 (£11) - around the same price as a Rowan magazine.

I told myself that if Rowan's Spring/Summer offering was good enough, I'd forgo buying the Rebecca. Money is at a premium right now, and the principle of opportunity costs is all too real.

Rowan number 43 won't be bought by me this year.

It's good though, because most of my knits have been Rowan (Salina, Loll) and I need to expand a bit. I've never done a Rebecca pattern before, I now think its time. I've never knitted from IK either (have lusted, though. Have lusted in my heart). Am also eying up the thermal ( So, I can see myself getting a few jumpers/pullovers for my wardrobe.

Just as well anyway, because I'm frightfully cold, but refusing to buy jumpers because I can make them myself. Also, I have mad stash to come to grips with.

So, have you seen any knits worth slotting into that ol' ravelry queue?

Saturday, 26 January 2008

ZOMG! I might have found a Bansky! :D

First, a confession: I love graffiti, the brash lines and its kicky verve. I like the fact that the best graffiti seems to be in the worst areas: the more broken buildings , shabby and rambling - the brighter the colours, the more insane the art. Of course, graffiti has its own sort of humour - it is exclusive to the tagger.

Of all the graffiti artists that I've been acquainted with, I love Bansky the best. I admire his attitude towards art; that it should for a minute, cause someone to pause and react, either in admiration or amusement. For Bansky, he makes me do both. Long before the Jolie-Pitts of this world hurled the value of his work into the stratosphere, I was a convert.

There is something of the craftsman in the detailed stenciling, but given a roguish edge by aerosol can. In addition, Bansky has a very democratic attitude towards art that appeals: it is done on walls, in public places, and of varying sizes for the average man to see, instead of going to the Louvre, or the National museum. In terms of scale, he's done mural sized stencils, and sly intimate pieces.

His work also reverberates on varying levels: at first, you admire the art, wait a beat, and then you get the message. Whether it be gay bobbies kissing on the beat, or painting open skies on a wall in the Middle East before it got knocked down, Bansky challenges one to think, and isn't precious about it.

I've seen a few pieces of his when walking around London, and always swore at myself for not having a camera. So imagine my surprise hustling from my Saturday job, only for this window to catch my eye. I'm like.... could it be a Bansky?! :D

The building is an old one, and its in the process of being abandoned. I was tempted to buy a window cutter and get cutting! But that might be vandalism, and with me trying to adopt and all, a criminal record wouldn't really help out matters.

What do you think? Has Bansky struck Nottingham? Is an imitator? From what I can gather, it looks like a store Santa Claus with a dash of Lenin, holding a machine gun.

So, that made my week! I'm still knitting the sock, on and off, but the yarn is terrible. I shan't be doing the other one. I'm still waiting on Rowan's new 4ply before I decide on my colour for thermal.

On the knitting front, it seems the editor for Vogue knitting has been sacked. I know that people tend not to like Vogue knitting (the pejorative term - Vague), but I didn't mind it. Just like its name sake in the shops, the knit fashions were high concept, and very much haute couture.

It was up to the knitter to take whatever bits she liked from the designs and make it to suit herself, especially since most knitters of Vogue are supposedly advanced anyway. I actually liked knit 1 as well, but she's been kicked from that too. :*('

I hope that Vogue doesn't shape up to be Interweave Knits part 2. I like each magazine for different reasons. *sigh* Never mind me.

So, what have you been up to? :D

Monday, 21 January 2008

Still raining

Ugh, will the rain ever stop?

Oh well, there's always yarn to make everything okay. *squeezes yarn fondly*

Finally, I got around to ordering some posh yarn, as a treat to myself for acing an interview. This is a lovely warm orange with lovely variations. It's 80 per cent merino, 20 percent cashmere and entirely too good to waste on a boring sock pattern. If I get a placement after my training, I'm going to order some Wollmeise yarn.

Although I'm not a fan of socks knitting (but love wearing a hand knitted sock, oh Jazz), this yarn is special enough for the right sock pattern. have been looking at Ravelry, and having fun at the socks that I'm seeing. Cookie A's sock patterns seem difficult, but I'm willing to try 'em. Decisions, decisions...

So, I think these are the colours for my mittens. I've never really done a pair of proper mittens before. Ravelry seems to have a lot of patterns, so again, I browse.

The multicoloured yarn is the regia sock yarn. Wool and bamboo should be warm enough, no? We will see.

The purple is rowan 4ply soft, shade 390. It looks rather like eggplant. It is a nice, dark purple. I'm thinking that this might be my thermal. The top would be light enough to wear in spring/summer, have a flattering neckline (so you won't overheat), and yet open to layering. I have a fair bit of purple in my wardrobe though - but what is one more? The top is nice enough to even risk wearing to work.

I'll wait on rowan's new 4ply line. There's a magenta that's calling my name, but I think this purple is quite sophisticated. Either way, I can see myself going with 100 percent wool. There won't be any silk with this baby, so I wander if I need to do a size up. I'm a 35 inch bust, and originally, I was going to do the size down, but I won't be using any wool/silk blend, so I might as well do a 36 inch bust. What do you guys think?

I'm still kniting the roza socks. The pattern is really simple. Simple to the point of boredom. All is not lost, I've learnt a new stitch (brioche), and I can actually see myself using it in place of plain ribbing, because it has an interesting texture. You'd need more yarn though, what with the yarn overs and all. Also, this is the second pair of socks I've made top down. The next time, I'm going toe-up, baby.

So, what are you guys up to?

Friday, 18 January 2008

Ugh, rain rain, go to Spain...

and never come back here again.

Ugh, it's been raining for the past two weeks and I feel positively waterlogged. *sigh* I need to teach English in Barcelona.

Anyway, I'm being good. I'm spending all this month doing swatches. That green blob to the right- is my swatch for thermal, done with Bergere de France's ideal (40 wool/30 acrylic/30 percent polyamid). I like the yarn on first knit - non snagging, fairly soft to knit with and non itchy.

The only drawback is that there seems to be a 'halo' around the stitches. I'm not doing all that work to have stitches with 'halo' (click on picture to make it bigger). I've been told that Rowan yarns are coming out with a nice new '4ply/fingering yarn' within the next two weeks, and that I should *wait*. The colours are supposed to be brighter, which is good, because the original muddy colours in the 4ply yarn doesn't really suit me at all.

The swatch in the round isn't so difficult, and if you're not careful, you might find yourself doing two purl bands instead of one. It's an effective stitch - and an easy one.

That sock on dpns (so *odd* to be working with dpns after discovering the brilliance of knit picks flexible cords for doing stuff in the round) is Roza's socks by Grumperina. I'm doing this in a random yarn of wool/ramie blend (don't know the name, sorry), on 2.5mm needles instead of 2.0mm. The pattern is easy, even straight forward. It looks rather classy, a band in 3x3 rib, then a garter stitch band, and the rest done in brioche stitch. This design deserves a better yarn than the one I'm knitting with, but needs must.

I'm doing these socks on my off time. If I'm watching TV, I have the socks in hand. If I'm on the bus (and my fingers aren't freezing), its the sock and nothing but. In supermarket lines, meetings, and me waiting outside for half an hour (for an interview), I am knitting this sock. I must admit, I'm not a sock knitter per se, but I do like the architecture of socks.

That sock yarn (regia bamboo) and that purple ball of yarn (Lane Borgosesia- I should have bought 10 balls) are going to be swatched together. I'm thinking of using the sock yarn as in the style of fair isle. I got this idea based on this person's mittens . The sock yarn I have is a bamboo/wool/polyamide mix. It is teamed with a 4ply yarn - 100 wool. On 2mm needles. Will that be warm enough? Or should I just do 100 percent wool?

Monday, 14 January 2008

Isn't the knit jacket cute?

I was cruising on ONTD today and stumbled across a few pictures of Jennifer Aniston, filming a movie that I shan't be seeing. But anyway, isn't this jacket too cute? Short sleeved, cropped, with a ribbed collar (do wish the scarf was less intrusive though).

I guess I better be taking that design class after all. I can see myself in this jacket, enough warmth for shoulders, back and chest on a cool spring day, yet light and versatile to wear in the summer over a tank top.

It would be classic enough to dress up, something over a sleeveless dress for church, or funking it up big stylie in the ensemble that Ms Aniston is rocking here. Why, I even like the putty colour. What kind of yarn? I think it looks aran weight, but it would have to be an acrylic/wool mix, or an acrylic, silk and cotton mix. What do you guys think? It's also a neat seasonal jacket, but I don't know about the belt. :/'

I also need to use up all my knitting yarn and enjoy my knitting time. I need to knit all that I can (and all my stash) in eight months.

This is because well... my partner and I have put our names forward for being potential adopters. ¬_¬

From what I've gathered, it's a bloody intrusive business, and a fair bit of palaver, and it takes up to twenty months (WTF?) from initial contact to actual child placement. Anecdotal evidence seems to be that adoption is fraught with hidden dangers within the UK. It's all a lottery, and some councils are better than others. It helps that we are a mixed race couple, but we will see. We have to get past the adoption panel first.

Haven't really been knitting anything (again, WTF?), but am planning to soon. I'm just doing swatches to design with. Zzzzz.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Man, it must be mad being a magazine editor

From what I gather, magazine editrixes prepare winter issues in Spring and Spring issues in Winter. So, while we're in the midst of a cold January, shivering at the thought of a frigid February, the magazine pictures are of spring, with tank tops showing off cleavage and clavicle. The models are slim, all the better to show off the spring form, when our bodies are sleek and the winter weight slugged off. The light is mellow gold, and not the watery, bleary gloam that passes for winter.

Phildar has embraced the sun in its catalogues. Rowan will do so in February. So, this is jazzypom drooling over the patterns, and clenching her fists in frustration because she has to dress in layers. *le sigh*

So, how about the Phildar tops, then? As usual, I love their open - even exaggerated- neck lines. The simple shapes aren't too exacting, but relatively flattering and forgiving. The colours give the shapes a zip, and add life to the spring wardrobe. I love the green pullover with the exaggerated 'V' neckline. It's a nice summer sweater, warm enough for cool nights, but comfortable enough for hot days.

I like the linen coloured pullover, with its wide neckline and a pattern adding interest. I'm unsure about the belt at the bottom of the garment - I guess it prevents it from rolling up? Or, once you adjust the belt, you can get a soft volume to the bottom of the blouse?

Or the pink top (space dyed yarn) with open neckline and shirred three quarter sleeves? Drool. That's just divine. The pink jumper with the breton striped shirt underneath is cute. Very cute. I like the boldness of the hot pink juxtaposed against the stern navy and blue striped dress. Very smart, not too casual, not too try hard.

Ahhh to be a French woman - to paraphrase Oscar Wilde - they act as if they are beautiful, it is the secret of their charm.

Overall though, the patterns seem simple enough, making me want to take out Barbara Walker and give her a try. Or sign up for a day class in designing by Debbie Abrahams.

Yes, my fellow bloggers. I'm thinking about signing up for a design class. It is called, 'If you can't see it, design it.'

According to my knitting Svengali, Helen, I'm ready for a class, she says. I have the books of design how to and all this yarn in my stash, waiting to make patterns from it, but I can't leave well enough alone. She was listening to me talking about simple knitting designs with *pow* and how I don't see enough to make me want to cast on the sticks.

Also, I'd like to knit designs where the designer wants to make a good simple garment, without using up a lot of yarn (I'm looking at YOU, Debbie Bliss). Or designs where the stitch is the effect, not many colours (hello, Louisa Harding). I like Kim Hargreaves, but I need to knit other designers, try new things.

In other news, I've ripped back my neckline off the leafy Phildar jumper. I found the instructions online on the Phildar website, which make sense. Also, honestly, the neckline's been bugging me all this time.

I wore the jumper to my knit group, and everyone's eyes went towards my neckline. Especially Pat's. Pat is the neatest knitter I know, from cast on to finish. She takes her time at every step and she lives in the moment of knitting. Not that I'll ever be that perfect, but I know I can do better with the neckline, so I've reknitted it, and will get up fairly early to catch the light, so I can sew the neckline in, properly. I'm getting to the point where, I want it to be that if I make any mistakes in the work, no-one should know but me.

Anything else? I finished my long arm warmers from the Rebecca pattern. When the sun deems it fit to come out, I'll boast. I also have the DB cashmere gloves to sew up. I'll boast about those too.

Am thinking about my next garment while knitting various accessories.

Currently, I'm trying to scare up six balls of Jaeger aran in shade 546 (hello!), to knit the Central Park Hoodie. The yarn is so meant for that hoodie, I swear it. Or should I just join the cool kids on Ravelry and knit Thermal? It is a nice jumper, and I've been having my eye on it for a long while. The thing is, I hear the original yarn pills, and I'm shifting from the notion of knitting with 100 percent yarn, to knitting with mixed microfibre (read: acrylic) blends. Like say, wool and acrylic. I haven't really seen much in terms of fingering weight wool and microfibre. I hear that Rowan is coming out with some new colours for their 4ply wool, so I might hold off and just go with that. It's definitely a jumper that would get loads of use in my neck of the woods though.

Oh well.

Here's hoping that the sun comes out this weekend, so I can take some pictures of what I've done so far.

It honestly hasn't been much, because I spend all my time reading about the US candidates for President on my google alerts.

**political ruminations. Don't read if you are bored with the ongoing US race for Presidential nominees***

I do like John Edwards' stance on a lot of stuff, and think he should jostle for being a VP candidate to whomever the wins the Democratic election. As much as it would be grand for Obama (if he tones down the rhetoric a tad), I think the US likes its political dynasties. The Roosevelts, The Kennedys, and now Bush, Clinton, Bush and depending on if Hillary can mist her eyes some more (and get people to hear her now that she's found her 'voice') you guys in the US might get a Clinton third term.

As much as I think Ms Clinton is capable and a formidable woman who can boast of many achievements, when I hear her name, I just think of the twilight of the Clinton years. Bill Clinton's spotty international record, tinged with a bit of sleeze with the supposed impeachment and all. I know, I know that politician's personal lives aren't - nay - shouldn't be a concern, but as seen by the whole impeachment business, and how it galvanised the Republicans and the rise of Bush, underscoring the polarization in American politics. Clinton's personal life was a catalyst to that one, with the Republicans screaming about morality and such.

The Clintons were good, but they belong in the hallmarks of history, or on the sidelines doing good deeds. For all of Hillary's good intentions, she's still a representative of a particular time in US history (especially with the whole 'you get two Presidents for the price of one' speech that Bill Clinton used to say), where people might look back on in fondness, but that doesn't mean that you should go back again. The world has changed, China, India and Russia are stronger for starters - and WTF NAFTA? -and I'm worried that Ms Clinton's thinking hasn't.

Now, I'm not ragging on Ms Clinton because she's a woman. That's ridiculous. I can't rag on her, because she's done well for herself. She's a capable female, who's been the force behind her husband, but like Chris Rock said, "I have nothing against a woman President, but vote for her?"

In terms of the Republicans, Mitt Roomy leaves me cold, and so does Huckabee. I tend to distrust people who are all hipped on religion dictating politics. For all their Bible reading, did they forget the fact that Jesus said, render unto Caesar that is Caesar's? Practice your own religion and leave others to their own as long as their practices are within the boundaries of the law.

For all of Tony Blair's faults, even though he was heavily religious and followed the Catholic teaching, he forced the Catholic adoption agencies to realise that they couldn't discriminate against gay people, and he reviewed the laws on abortion (but didn't try to abolish it). I do like John McCain, but I think I like his personality more than his policies. Gulliani needs to stop with the 9/11. We get it. You were mayor, of New York at the time. You weathered the storm. Never mind the (alleged) danger that you put firefighters in with shoddy equipment and such. Grrr.

Oh well, I do need to stop reading politics and go knit. Honestly.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Have been busy, et tu?

Hey you guys, welcome to my 2008. In adhering to the new rules I set myself a few posts back, I'm doing something I'll wear, in a colour that's suitable for me, and a little risky. See the pink arm warmers I'm doing. They are from Rebecca no. 30. The original yarn was cashmere, but alas, my finances are more plebeian, so I'm using Louisa Harding's cashmerino dk, her answer to Debbie Bliss' Cashmerino dk. I think the Debbie Bliss' version feels a bit more plush, and is less splitty, but Harding's yarn holds up much better, so I have to 'suck up' how it feels. I just hope that it keeps my hands warm.

The first picture shows me doing the yarns in the round on circular needles. Up to very recently -and by 'very recently' I mean last night- I was a dpn woman. I loved the symmetry of working with dpns, after the initial join and first row I was off into the spiral, not caring until the pattern said 'stop' or the yarn ran out.


But, I've been really curious about knitting small diameter'd things like socks in the round, ever since I saw Nell (a valued knitter at our knatter) doing so. She spoke about the virtues of knitting small things in the round on circular needles, provided that the cord was long and flexible enough. I thought, how Archimedian with a dash of Ariel from The Tempest, give me cable needles long enough, so as I can gird the earth, and make cool socks.

I saw Nell over the holidays and she showed me what to do, but I kept getting my stitches twisted. Last night, when this yarn refused to stay on my bamboo dpns (all my dpns are bamboo, have not felt the need to move to metal dpns as yet, no), I got out my knit picks options with a 60cm cable. So snug, so tight, so right.

Nell recommends 90-120cms - but I don't have those- and I'm knitting small circles in the round. I can see myself doing sleeves like this - but I'd need a longer cable.

That Prima magazine that you see on the front, I bought it the other day because I downloaded a Debbie Bliss pattern (the Catriona vest) from their website, . Thought I'd show some support, even though women's magazines aren't my thing. Yes, I know I need to lose weight, no, I don't need to update my wardrobe, thanks- and there's an unattractive version of Naomi Watts (no, it's not her) type model on the cover.

To be fair though, the magazine is helpful, it has articles on decluttering one's home, how to save on bills, et al. It's like a stylish and more expensive version of Woman's own - with its version of the knitting patterns to boot, and random true to life stories. Yes, there is a fashion segment, but they aren't as aggressive in presenting the fashion choices like In Style or Vogue, where you have to buy this now, or else you commit the cardinal sin of being desperately unfashionable.

In the middle are my Debbie Bliss garter stitch mittens that I need to sit down and organise. You knit these trapezium looking things, and they are supposed to spiral into a design at a 45 degree angle. In my mind, it makes sense. The angle of construction gives the garter stitch structure (because it can sag, left to its own devices), but in real life... I need to ask the hubster to read it aloud to me.

Knitting instructions make jazzy's head hurt.

What to say about the Debbie Bliss cashmere yarn? I got two hanks of it at the John Lewis knitting sale (this is where they get vexed and have a HUGE clearance sale on the yarns that haven't been selling briskly enough) and DB cashmere was one of 'em. I bought two, because the pattern called for two. I refused to buy three hanks because knowing my luck, I'd only need like, a meter to finish the actual pattern itself. So, I said to myself, if push comes to shove, I have the DB rialto aran in a similar colour to finish it off.

So said, so done. It's annoying to have the yarn finish before the end of a project, and for such expensive yarn, you'd think Debbie Bliss would have her pattern support organised. *sighs*

Anyway, I'm enjoying the new process of knitting in the round on circulars. While I'm doing this, I'm wondering what garment I should take on with the yarn I have.

I am also following the race to the white house in the United States and am hoping that Barack Obama might place, if not win. As a visible minority in Europe, at times I find the casual racism here a bit shocking (remember, I was raised outside of the EU). England is not bad, I think due to a fair bit of interracial marriages, and children of all faiths and colours going to the same schools, be it grammar or comprehensive. But I've been teaching English to a fair bit of foreigners (especially some Italians) and I have to pause when I hear some assumptions being made. Europeans aren't the only ones to have this attitude towards minorities, I find Asians (as in, people from the subcontinent, like Pakistan and India) just as bad at times. If a visible minority were to place at the highest pinnacle of the world's 'leader of the free world', it might make people pause a bit, and search their prejudices.

Right, no more seriousness in my blog. Hopefully, I will have an FO to show soon, and decide on which of the four garments I shall knit myself this year.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Well. I'm done

*sighs* I'm done.

Knitting garments for me is like being in a relationship. It's dizzying highs, and terrifying lows, and rocky roads in between. At the end of a relationship, one tends to reflect, and regret. If I knew then, what I know now.

The pattern: Phildar Autumn '06
Time scale: took two weeks to knit back, front, two sleeves and neckline. Took two weeks to sew up, because I have to think about things. I tend to take my time in sewing up.

Comments: To paraphrase a comment someone said about Kim Hargreaves' : I love the designs, but I hate the patterns. I feel the same about Phildar. The directions for the neck were ridiculous. You are directed to knit the neckline separately, then knit several rows of stocking stitch in contrasting colour. After this, you back stitch the stitches, then release the stocking stitches.

I did this, only for the bloody stitches to still be live and unraveling! So, I had to whipstitch the stitches around the neckline. If I had to this again, I'd just whipstitch the live stitches to the actual garment itself and ignore the knitting of several rows of st st. I can understand why they wanted the ribbing to be knit separately. If you picked up the stitches, it might be too much, or too little.

My neckline is okay, I wish I had started it in the back, instead of the front. My neckline got better as it went on. It looks untidy, not not enough for me to rip it back.

Ch-ch-changes: I used Lana Grossa merino superwash big wool. It is a tad thinner than Phildar Quietude, I stayed with the 4mm needles because I liked the fabric - nice and dense. Due to my slick needles, my tension square was 22x27 instead of 19x27, I knitted one size bigger than me, and I got my perfect size. Did short row shaping at the shoulders. At the bottom ribbing, did 5cm ribbing instead of 1.5cm. The length helps, but I wear long tank tops underneath this bad boy, to keep my modesty and cover my belleh button.

I think I'd try the Quietude, or any merino/acrylic yarn blend. Merino is lovely, but it pills too easily. So far, this wool has held itself up, and I've been knitting with dry hands, and getting things snagged on it, and ripping and reripping... whew. I do have to give this yarn props. It's really stood its ground. Also, I'd do it in the round.

Overall: I like this jumper. Even the hubster commented on the shape and the nice open neckline. I have nine balls of Jaeger merino aran, and I think I'd probably have enough to do this jumper again.

What's next on the needles? I have 15 balls of debbie bliss Rialto. I rather like the cabled vest
that I have been seeing around ravelry lately. I can wear that over a shirt in winter, and get away with wearing it alone in summer.

So, done! Thanks for joining! I'll post some other pictures when I feel better about it.

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Happy New Year!

Hello all, so sorry I haven't been blogging for a while. I totally forgot that Christmas was around the corner, and in a weak moment, I said 'yes' to making Caribbean fruit cake for hubster. Please note that Caribbean fruit cake or black cake is not like English fruit cake, nor German stollen. It's a bit more complicated than that, and also, we don't have hard fruits on top of the cake, or coloured bits and lumps in the cake. Most people tend to puree the fruits and alcohol before adding it to the mixture. It's tastier that way, and you don't have to spent time picking lumps of fruit from one's slices.

First, you have to get dried fruit (currants, raisins, orange peel, etc), and put in a jar, fill to the brim with a mixture of sherry, port, and some 'coloured rum', like Morgan's from Barbados or Appleton from Jamaica and soak this mixture for a year. This prolonged soaking softens the fruit, and plumps them up with flavour. It also gives the fruit cake its distinct moist texture.

Then, on the day of baking, you have to make your own wax paper to line the cake tins by getting brown paper (the kind used to wrap packages), and spread butter or margarine on said brown paper until it gets soft and translucent with the butter grease. Then mix basic ingredients for pound cake, and blend fruit mixture till chunky and add to the batter. Add browning (which is just carmelised sugar burnt on the stove), bake for an hour, cool, and put in a cool (not cold!) place at least for five days before eating. You add a mixture (like a capful) of one part rum to two parts wine once a month if you wish to keep some beyond the Christmas.


It's a lot of work to get Caribbean fruit cake done, and I don't really eat it to boot. But my Mum makes good fruit cake, and I mugged her recipe. The New York Times has a great article on Caribbean fruit cake, and a cool slide show to boot.

Hope your Christmas was lovely and bright. I myself didn't have much in terms of gifts, but a lot of gifts tend to be ill thought out and seems destined for landfill anyway, so the hubby and I decided to have a hiatus for the Yule.

So, what are your new year's resolutions? I'm following Penelope Trunk's advice and am just making one. According to the studies she quotes, if you just focus on one, you tend to make little adjustments to your life that benefits it as a whole.

So mine is :I'm going to stop biting my nails.

It means that I have to knit more. Yayyyy.

I'm almost finished with the leafy Phildar jumper. But that is for another post. I have to backstitch the neckline in place, only to find that I hate backstitch.

More anon.