Friday, June 29, 2007


Last weekend I read the supermarket catalogues as if they were porn. I haven't set foot in a supermarket in 3 weeks and all that glossiness and pretty packaging in the catalogues had me reaching for my shopping list and a marker and although I haven't missed supermarket shopping at all, my heart beat just a little faster to see my coffee (pre-ground) down to $14 a kilo, and the craved Jamaica Gold chocolate $1 off.

Yesterday I had to enter the supermarket. They are not my favourie places at the best of times, but yesterday, after such an absence it became clear how my thinking has changed during the Cook from the Cupboard Challenge.

I went in for dog bones and margarine, the last scraping of which was used on yesterday's toast, and batteries for work.

I was too late to get to the butcher, and was hoping for some lamb shanks as boredom busters for the girls who would be alone for longer than usual today. No dog bones. There were bags of lamb off-cuts but the bones are too small for the girls. Some minutes cruising the red-light district that is the supermarket meat section, I did find lamb shanks. I could be forgiven for not recognising them immediately. They were cut down, so the thin end of the shank was cut off, leaving only the meaty end. They were packaged in batches of 3 in marinades. Greek style, satay style and others which I failed in my dumbfoundedness to commit to memory. They were labelled "Lamb Drumsticks". *boggle*

I was successful, at least, in obtaining margarine. I use a soy marg and there is only one brand. Fortunately it was 30c off, down to $1.99. This is usually the time I grab 10 and put them in the freezer. Having monitored my consumption more closely in the last few weeks, though, I bought two. One for home and one to replace the tub at work which will run out soon.

I felt quite lost in the supermarket. How could I be in and out in under 10 minutes? Shouldn't I be buying more? What about the specials? Shouldn't I be taking advantage of them? What about getting my petrol discount voucher? *

SPENT : $3.98
amended - sorry, can't add. That's make my spending about comparable to yours, TSS.

* I've done the sums on this one. I have to spend $30, sometimes on quite unneccesary stuff, to get less than 3c off a tank. For me, it often isn't worth it.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


TTWC 2007.65

More purple Katia, this time with ancient Paton's Ariel, a surpisingly harsh 80% wool, 20% rayon but not as chunky as the Villawool Aztec, which made this much easier to knit. Still a large hat on 5.5mm needles. There's enough for another one of these.

Sorry, but I don't know what the Jet colourway is. I've disposed of the ball band. It's so gorgeous though. I does look a lot like cat yak in the ball, but lovely in the knit. The rain has been gorgeous and the good snow falls in the mountains bode well for spring, too.

It is four weeks until I go away and last night was spent combing mags and pattern books for a suitable project. (Sweet Lord, another 4 weeks of cook from the cupboard.)

The spinning wheel is ready to go. All of the prepared fibre stash is in a carboard box, and so is the niddy-noddy. Just have to check number of bobbins and choose a lazy kate but I need to select knitting project/s. It was going to be socks and lace, but 5 weeks away is a good chance to start and complete a garment to keep . Shocking, I know. I want a cardigan with a drapey front of some kind and a single closure. All the patterns will need to be altered for width and/or length; some more than others. This is one of the many reasons I rarely knit garments to keep. This process is far from over.


BREKKIE: Toast and raspberry jam; cold boiled egg. I blame the egg on the SnB discussion about the virtues of the boiled egg as a snack. I checked the use-by on the 4 eggs Mum left and decided they should be used immediately. Coffee.


LUNCH: 2 boiled eggs, an orange, slice of tea cake from staff celebration

DINNER: The last of the curry and rice. A beer. It was meant to be pizza and red wine at an industry function but events conspired against me and I couldn't make it.

SUPPER: Chocolate will figure high on the list of options.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


TTWC 2007.64
Patons Jet donated by Georgie, knitted on a 5mm needle. I badly needed a dose of softness and colour and the Jet with alpaca in a varigated colourway fitted the bill. Thanks, George, it was joy to knit. I'm keeping the rest to knit when I need another special treat.

A visit to Vinnies Belconnen was squeezed in after a meeting on the other side of town today. The yarn bins showed that TSS and I have been pretty restrained of late - they were full to overflowing.

I brought home a good selection of 12 ply for the Time Thief Watch Caps and some 8ply for Mum. I declined to pay $4 a ball for black Totem (there were 6 balls). Also had interest from a couple of customers in a Belconnen SnB. Can't remember where the thinking is up to on that one.

Fantastic news, though. I was talking to a client in Collector this afternoon and he was describing sheets of water lying on the ground and told me they were sandbagging the Linwood Cafe against flooding. He was ecstatic.


Brekkie: Porridge with stewed rhubarb, coffee

Morning tea: Tea and a bikkie at the meeting

Lunch: op-shopping and an orange

Afternoon tea: coffee

Dinner: Not a moment too soon. It will be left over curry and rice followed by an orange.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


TTWC 2007.63

This TTWC used 100g Katia Himalaya (50% wool, 50% acrylic) and 50g ancient Villawool Aztec (80%wool, 20% acrylic). Quite chunky, knitted on 5.5mm needles. There's a couple of similar ones to come. Loving the purple.


BREKKIE: Porridge with stewed rhubarb, coffe.

LUNCH: Leftover curry and rice.

DINNER: One of my get out of gaol free nights. Surf & turf with chips, 1 glass red wine, 1 hot chocolate and 1 vanilla slice $26.10.

SUPPER: Absolutely no need.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday's child is full of woe

TTWC 2007.62
"I don't believe it", she said, channelling Victor Meldrew. The Salvos store at Kippax is closing this Friday.

TSS should never go on a fiscal fast and tempt me to her moderate ways again if this is the result! That's 3 op-shops closed in a month. Coincidence that it is the same month The Not Shopping Sherpa is born? I think not!

I may just have to take up Mandie's and Gillian's offers to visit them. Tongala has the advantage of closeness and I could buy more stuff because it could easily be transported but England has the advantage of containing no near relatives. What a choice?


BREKKIE: Porridge with stewed rhubarb - it's a taste sensation. In a bit of a rush, so no coffee this morning. Fully found workshop all day at a well-funded institution, so I grabbed a cup of decent plunger coffee before we began.

MORNING TEA: Excellent plunger coffee and a slice of very rich fudge brownie with nuts. There was also shortbread with pistachios and ANZAC biscuits and it was tempting to slip a couple into my handbag. I didn't.

LUNCH: Selection of gourmet style sandwiches. Fruit - pineapple, honeydew melon, rockmelon, strawberries and kiwi fruit. Glass of orange juice. Coffee.

DINNER: Vegetable curry and rice. Orange.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Can't Contain Myself

TTWC 2007.61
Firstly, the dogs are fine, even that jumper-losing little bastard, Lochie. Thank you all for your healing thoughts.


I have no idea where today went, but an inordinate amount of time playing with the sidebar on this blog prevented me from actually eating. I also got some news from Mum which will affect this challenge.

She forgot to tell me there was food in her fridge but could I please use it, and also could I get rid of the stuff in the upright freezer because it needs defrosting before I go north in a month. Checking this afternoon I found 3/4 pumpkin, mushrooms, a reasonable amount of sweet potato, 1/4 cauliflower (I have absolutely no idea how this can be - I'm sure I cooked the last of the cauli before they left!), 5 carrots, 2 half loaves of bread, 4 eggs and some stewed rhubarb. And that's just the fridge.

I can now attest to the efficacy of those green vegie bags. The cauliflower was firm and unmarked and the carrots crisp and juicy.

The cauli, 2/3 of the remaining pumpkin, the sweet potato and some silverbeet from the garden have gone into the curry pot. Pretty much the same as last week's with the addition of sweet potato and silverbeet. Wanna peek?

It should be ready in about 20 minutes and feed me for the rest of the week. No, it doesn't freeze well.

Her freezer is chokka with packets of meat and some stewed fruit. There is little chance of me eating my way through that in 4 weeks. You may have noticed I don't eat a lot of meat.

7 THINGS Week 2

So we knew this would be a more difficult week in terms of both stuff and motivation.

  • 10 magazines. Old ones purchased cheaply from op-shops and deaccessioned from work. I've worked hard to cull these as they needed to be read from cover to cover first. The things I do for the sake of decluttering ;). I used to be very badly addicted to magazines. Then I got a mortgage. Now I let myself borrow them from the library or buy them for no more than 50c each. Sometimes I lapse and knitting mags don't count. SALVOS (and they don't even need to reprice most of them)

  • 1 metal travel mug. I rescued this recently from a box of archival records donated to work. It was crusty with old coffee foam and came stuffed with a hamburger wrapper. Many washings later and I've used it once. I already have one each of Tupperware and Starbuks commuter mugs, and don't need another. SALVOS
  • 7 books through BookCrossing. Not so many this week - it's actually a reasonable amount of work to register, process, write release notes and actually release these books. Most of last week's were already registered and processed. BOOKCROSSING
  • 4 old takeaway food containers plus 3 extra lids. I try and re-use these containers at least once before disposing of them. These have been used for the dog food at least once. RECYCLING BIN
  • 1 navy and white summer jacket with a seashell print. A refugee from the early 90s which hasn't been worn in a few years and which I resurrected last summer when the "nautical" theme was briefly in - well it was in the shops I can buy from. It's polyester and although it fits well, I just don't like it anymore. SALVOS
  • 1 navy and white striped cotton jumper (see vintage and comments above). Also, my boobs have "moved" since last this was fashionable. Instead of a nice straight stripe, there is a kind of warping effect. Not a good look. SALVOS
  • 4 VHS tapes. All purchased cheaply at op-shops and now returning for resale. Again, most don't need to be repriced. SALVOS

OUT: 28 things


  • 1 black and white shirt for work - shut up. I don't need it, but do you know how hard it is to get clothes for me in op-shops and it was Smith Family closing down sale $2.50.
  • Also at Smith Family closing down sale (my heart is breaking), 1 25g ball pale blue Cleckheaton Merino Bambino and 1 25g ball old Patonyle (25c each).
  • At the Salvos I picked up a really cute magnetised chalkboard in the shape of a Scottish Terrier with it's own eraser tied on. It's on the fridge ($1.50).
  • 1 hand-knitted dog jumper - a present for Peggy from her breeder as a thank-you for the puppy toys from last week's cull. At least I won't have to worry about knitting her a spare this year.

IN 5 things


So now you get to help me out for next week. This afternoon I cleared out the Tupperware cupboard. Yes, I have a whole cupboard for Tupperware, wanna make something of it?*

Anyway, here are pictures of containers I no longer require. They are up for grabs. If you can collect them this week, let me know. I will be at SnB at the Southern Cross Club on Tuesday if that helps. Leave a comment or email me (the address is in the sidebar).

Several items of ancient Tupperware and some Tupperware wannabes.

The little red container is cardboard and would be good for short dpns or cr****t hooks. The others are metal.

*coincidentally (or maybe not, maybe the universe wants me to be broke and over-run with clutter), exactly 1 hour and 20 minutes after I'd taken the container photos, the Tupperware Rep I had at my SnB Tupperware Party last year, rang to see if I'd like to host another party. The reply was an emphatic and ever so slightly freaked out, "NO". I did agree to letting her drop off the latest brochure, though. If anyone wants one, LMK. *sigh*

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Celebrate, commiserate

TTWC 2007.60 - the one that Brandon Mably knitted (a bit)
Peggy, the quality control supervisor had a birthday yesterday. The dogs celebrated with chicken (sliced from a cheaply acquired BBQ chook and frozen) and gravy for dinner - I had more left over curry, followed by an orange and then two squares of Lindt 85%.

I raced in to the Smith Family Op-Shop at Phillip this morning. It has the best yarn selection and best larger-sized clothes of any op-shop in Canberra. I greeted the staff and several of the customers and was pleased to see Ann the manager there. Haven't seen her in a while and we usually have a chat about what we are creating. She makes dolls and bags among other things. There will be an article featuring her bags in the next Yarn magazine. Anyway, she rapidly wiped the smile from my face. The shop is closing this Friday. Devastated.

I took the closure of the Koomari op-shops quite well a couple of years ago. But the closure of Mitchell Vinnies, Curtin Vinnies, and now my best source of yarn and clothes is just too much! The Smith Family needs the space the shop occupies for educational activities. We support that, but - you know - FUCK. I want my op-shop! The staff are losing their jobs, too - not something I'm happy about. Ann, Iris and John are fantastic and they don't deserve this.

Follow that up by a trip to the vet for the girls and Lochie. Their second in a week. On Wednesday my brother found the dogs had got into his shed, knocked a shelf that had a box of rat-sack on it and may have eaten some. The vet made all of them vomit, well all of them except Peggy who is doesn't approve of bulimic activity, and checked them over. They looked fine but had to go back for blood tests today, just to be sure. Not a cheap exercise but worth it for the peace of mind. My brother rang a little while ago to say the Lochie is shaking and won't walk so it's back to the vet for them this evening. Think healthy thoughts for my grand-dog.
Not that he deserves to live - he's lost that beautiful aran knit jumper already. In looking for his jumper in the garden, though, I found Peggy's. She lost it under the woodpile at Dad's.

Cook from the Cupboard
OK, for you very sad people - here's what I had today.
BREKKIE: Toast with raspberry jam (from the Tarcutta farm shop), coffee.

: Was at the vet's - didn't get a chance and forgot to make sandwiches before we left but I had a sports bottle of water for the girls and me in the car so we were hydrated.

: Two oranges. The 10k I bought last week are great - there will be no marmalade making this weekend.

: Pork in "plum" sauce with steamed rice and steamed carrots, beans, broccoli and zucchini. The "plum" sauce is made from the bitter fruit in my front garden. You can see it in bloom (yes, it's only June - freaky weather) behind most of the TTWC photos lately. It looks like an apricot and cooks up like a plum. It's probably a plumcot and makes terrible eating. The chilli "plum" sauce from it is great, though.
SUPPER: Tea, chocolate.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I'm working on the matinee jacket pattern. I need to resize it for newborn and 6-12 month sizes, then I'll stick it up on the blog. Promise. It'll be a week or two because I've got a slip stitch pattern requests to work out as well.

The WIP basket is shrinking, which is a Good Thing TM. The aim is to have as many of the WIPs done or reclaimed by the time I go away at the end of July. Wish me luck.

On Tuesday Mum informed me she thought she might not have taken quite enough wool away with her. Apparently the plan to take "her" entire stash was foiled by Dad at the last minute and he'd only pack two large shopping bags full. She's made 10 pairs of wristwarmers in the first 5 days. Good news, though. On Wednesday she found a $2 shop that sells yarn. She's found an acrylic she reckons is better than most and will do until I arrive in a 6 weeks' time with reinforcements. I don't care if it's acrylic if she's buying it herself!

Cook from the Cupboard continues but reading my daily food intake must be about as interesting as I find food preparation to be. I did play freezer roulette again yesterday and found a curried split pea soup with mint (by the taste of it), which wasn't at all bad - pity I have no memory of cooking it or where I got the recipe from. Tomorrow should see the last of the curry made on Saturday.

Short Green

A little scarf knitted from yarn created in my second go at spinning. It's a very amateurish 2ply from 50g of crossbreed dyed these gorgeous greens by my personal dyer, the Happy Spider (who has some stuff on eBay at the moment you really should go drool over).

I forgot to measure the metreage but it evened out at about an 8ply, so between 100 and 120m is my guess. This scarf is knitted on 4.5mm needles and measures a tad over a metre.

The sea foam stitch pattern is a good one for uneven handspun and for "stretching" small quantities of yarn.

My pattern for Short Green Sea Foam Scarf.

Using 4.5mm needles cast on 36 stitches.

Row 1: Knit.
Row 2: Knit.
Row 3: K6, *(yo) twice, k1, (yo) 3 times, k1, (yo) 4 times, k1, (yo) 3 times, k1, (yo) twice, k6; rep from *.
Row 4: Knit, dropping all yos off the needle.
Row 5: Knit.
Row 6: Knit.
Row 7: k1; *(yo) twice, k1, (yo) 3 times, k1, (yo) 4 times, k1, (yo) 3 times, k1, (yo) twice, k6; rep from * twice, (yo) twice, k1, (yo) 3 times, k1, (yo) 4 times, k1, (yo) 3 times, k1, (yo) twice, k1.
Row 8: Knit, dropping all yos off the needle.

Repeat rows 1 to 8. Cast off when you're all done.

This is really stretchy - you can block it hard and get a reasonable length scarf.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Matinee Idol

Much chain dragging has happened on these little jackets. Don't know why, really.

The Happy Spider dyed the yarn and 100g is just enough for a simple little jacket size 3-6mos.

The first was the green one with a picot neck and hem and garter stitch sleeve bands and turned under hems on the fronts. I really don't like sewing up, the whole point of knitting these in one piece from the top down is minimal sewing up. The picot edges and front bands make it rather a chore. Also, I'm not so fussed on the ribbon tie for babies. I've sewn this ribbon down so it can't come loose and choke the little bugger. I love the yarn, though, and the reverse stocking stitch is even better than the stocking stitch. There's a small lace detail down either side of the fronts on this one.

The next was this bright yellow and orange number. I changed the pattern to a single rib neckline, garter stitch front and sleeve bands and hem line with 5 little buttons down the front. It's a sunny little number.

Lastly, my favourite pattern variation with moss stitch bands. The yarn is silky soft and more purple than the photo shows. I used vintage buttons that are sweetly irregular.

Baby Chrissie likes the pink one the best.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, a member of my staff told me about the gorgeous hand-knitted jumper she had just bought her baby daughter, but how it only just fit her.

Well a fit was just about what I had. She had BOUGHT a hand-knit when both her mother and her boss are knitters! Her Mum is overseas just now, but I'm not. I rifled the boodle for an appropriate yarn. It took 24 hours to match a pattern with a yarn. FYI, most of my 5ply is in dark colours, completely inappropriate for a sugar and spice 8 month old. Finally I excavated this mid-blue reclaimed yarn. I bought it as a cardie for $1 last year and it has knitted up beautifully in this Paton's pattern jumper with a deep lace edge to the body and sleeves and a picot neckline.

I'm pleased with it and N should get a couple of seasons out of it.



Brekkie: Coffee. It's Monday, who has time for breakfast on a Monday?

Lunch: Not a moment too soon, really should have had breakfast. My favourite lunch - chopped carrot, beans, broccoli and (over priced) zucchini seved with a teaspoon of margarine and lots of freshly ground black pepper. What? Doesn't everyone have a pepper grinder in their work locker? An orange for afters.
Dinner: Left over mushroom risotto. Orange.

Supper: Tea and a slice of banana cake (ok, two slices of banana cake) fresh from the freezer.


Brekkie: Toast with the last of the lemon butter bought at Tarcutta in April. Coffee.

Lunch: Last of the mushroom risotto.

Dinner: Veggie curry made on Saturday in anticipation of a busy week. Served with rice.

Supper: Well, there's still some banana cake left.

Monday, June 18, 2007

For those who were asking

Instructions for a moebius scarf are here - it's not the cast on I do, but it gets you something similar. I found it via Whip Up's post on the 10 Geekiest Yarn Creations on the Web.

8.5 out of the 10 are cr****et.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

7 Things Week 1

This will be the easiest week for 7 things because we all have half a dozen or so things just waiting to be turfed or rehoused.

  • 1 little green painted terracotta bowl bought at an op-shop not long after I moved into this house. I like it because it is little and round and depicts a little round person and it was only $2. It's time for someone else to love it, though. SALVOS

  • 1 covered mug, a gift a few years ago which I don't like drinking from and has been housing paper clips and other detritus. I appreciated it as a gift, but it's time for it to go. SALVOS

  • 104 books through BookCrossing

  • 18 stuffed toys to my favourite dog breeder. I'm not sure these count as I buy them specifically for her, but some of them have been here a while. GIFT

  • 2 liquer glasses. Not my favourites and I already have a very nice set of six, plus two etched glass ones. These are definitely excess to requirement. Going to a friend who is setting up house. GIFT

  • 2 fancy metal cases. The silver one in a heart-shape, the gold one in an angel-shape. I very much enjoyed the chocolates that came in them the last two Christmases. SALVOS

  • 1 round glass box. It was a gift to my mother. She didn't want it so gave it to me to get rid of. That was some time ago - it's time for someone else to enjoy it. SALVOS

  • 1 telephone. I bought a new phone last January and we took the battery and transformer from this one to fix Mum and Dad's. SALVOS

  • 12 plastic containers with lids. Brand new but excess to requirement. I bought them to freeze the dog food in but they are too small and I lost the receipt. They are going to a friend setting up house. GIFT

  • 1 carved timber what-not. I bought it at the Salvos a year or so ago to put beside the spinning wheel. It is unnecessary clutter in the house. GIFT

  • 1 wooden bedside table picked up outside my block of flats in Marrickville many years ago. The drawer handle is original bakelite. The door handle was missing when it was rescued so I replaced with a little wooden knob from Bunnings. None of you will believe me, but this used to contain my boodle. Needles went in the drawer on top and yarn in the bottom cupboard. The boodle is obviously never going to fit in here again, and I have two perfectly lovely bedside tables. GIFT

  • 8 glasses - 4 red wine, 4 white wine bought at a homewares store in Mosman about 15 years ago. Used very rarely and they hold half a bottle each. GIFT

  • 1 Bodum coffee plunger. I have a rule when op-shopping to always buy Bodum plungers when I see them because it's cheaper than replacing the glass flask when they smash, as invariably they do, in the washing up. I've not smashed a plunger in a while, but I have accumulated a couple of extras. This one can go to a better home. GIFT

OUT this week 153 items.

IN this week 3 books and 1 magazine


TTWC 2007.59


Apart from the Vodka and Tonic it was Cook from the Cupboard all the way. Coffee, bagel (2 actually - I burned the first one) and tandoori chicken from the freezer. On weekends, meals and mealtimes are flexible; it rather depends on the other stuff on the to do list.
The coming week will be a busy one - something on every night until Friday, so the last of the pumpkin, silverbeet and cauliflower (there was half a one in my fridge - we used Mum's up earlier in the week) went into a curry with garlic, onion and fish sauce. I use the Maesri brand Mussamum base with a can of light coconut cream and equal parts water and soy milk. It's in the fridge for dinners this week.

BREKKIE: Porridge, coffee

LUNCH: Orange

AFTERNOON TEA: Coffee at Starbucks, $2.10 (filtered coffee with discount for taking in a Starbucks travel mug bought at an op-shop years ago for 50c. It has paid for itself MANY times over)

DINNER: Mushroom risotto (see below), white wine.
SUPPER: Crumpets with peanut butter. This is the last of the peanut butter and may not be replaced. I love it but always feel guilty about buying it - because of the fat content and also because of the amount of jam in the larder. Speaking of jam - I'm in need of another source of apricots since my grandmother sold her house. Anyone know of a neglected tree?

Yay - Southside Farmers' Market is on to stock up on veg.
  • Sweet potato, carrots, celery, broccoli, beans and zucchini $26 (exactly half of which was the exorbitantly priced zucchini but I crave zucchini. I'm hoping there's still pumpkin at Mum's and there's certainly silverbeet)
  • Free range eggs $3.50
  • 10k oranges (Yes, 10k. The lemon tree is heavy with fruit and there are 13 teeny mandarins on the tree - marmalade making next weekend) $5
  • and the treat in my trolley was for the dogs - 3 lamb shanks $6.40. Also exorbitant, but the bags of bones were very fatty and the actual bones too small.

Before racing out the door this morning I put some prepared some poultry stock (turkey hindquarter carcass and two bbq chicken carcasses from the freezer, celery, carrot, onion, garlic, thyme, pepper, vegetable scraps from the freezer*) and left it simmer all day. The house smelled divine when I got home from SnB. I diluted it with another litre of boiling water before taking the girls for a walk and it was still a good strong meaty stock.

A quick walk with the dogs who were stir crazy after a day at home alone, even with lamb shanks to play with, and I made up a mushroom risotto with the stock. Having forgotten to swing past the parents' on the way home there was no silverbeet to add greenery and nutrition, so I grabbed some large handfuls of parsley from the garden and added it finely chopped at the very end. Scrumptious with plenty left over for during the week.
I also scraped the meat off the carcasses and mixed it and the veg with some boiled rice, left over stock (about 2 cups) and dry complete dog food. The girls have meals for a few days as well.

TOTAL: $47.30

*For years I have kept a veggie stock box in the freezer. The ends and peelings of veg, stalks of herbs etc go into a box in the freezer and are liberated into the pot for stock. It always needs topping up/balancing out, but it's a great way to get vegetable stock happening quickly and cheaply.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Kaffe society

Lecture tonight by Kaffe Fassett - wonderful!

It was arranged by a local quilting shop so it was mostly quilters, but the slide show and talk included knitted pieces and knitting anecdotes.

The man is in his early 70s and has held up well. He's arrogant, but not without reason. He was accompanied and assisted by his partner, Brandon Mably - a wonderful designer himself.

The colours, the textures - I'm awash!

Didn't take my books to have them signed, but I should have. Karen, sadly blogless, was there and had one of her pattern books signed by both Kaffe and Brandon. Monica was there, too. We had a little drinkie at the Irish Club after, where I fell off the "Cook from the Cupboard" wagon and bought a vodka + tonic. No regrets.

Here's Karen with Kaffe

and with Brandon

But a highlight of the night - Brandon Mably knitting my Time Thief Watch Cap. I'm shamefully thrilled - 41 years of age and still a star-fucker.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday on my mind

Peggy lost her jumper somewhere in the parents' garden. She gets in under shrubs and I can' t find in anywhere. I got a fair way down the body of her new one today before actually counting the stitches on the needle for the first time since I cast on. Obviously didn't count too well then, because I was 10 stitches short. All unravelled now and we're back on the neckband. Guess she'll be wearing a towel to bed for another couple of nights.


BREKKIE: Porridge with craisins, coffee.

LUNCH: Baked beans on toast. There's shipload of little tins of baked beans in my locker at work. Is there anything else I can do with them but heat them up and serve them on toast?

AFTERNOON TEA: Tea and a slice of yesterday's carrot cake. Still moist and scrumptious. I also confiscated two red smarties from one of our patrons. He now knows that if you want to eat in the library you have to share with the staff.

DINNER: Friday was always going to be the most tempting day to NOT cook from the cupboard. A takeaway is pretty appealing on a Friday.
Stuck to my guns though and used the leftover rice from last night to make what we called "freggy rice" in a share house I lived in many moons ago.
Chopped onion and garlic softened in a little oil. Add a handful of thinly sliced mushrooms and mix over a low heat with whisked eggs (2 per person), salt, lots of black pepper and whatever greenery is still edible in the fridge. Tonight it was finely sliced silverbeet with lots of chopped curly parsley and tarragon from the garden. Then chuck in the leftover rice (I had about a cup) and warm through. Not quite fried rice, not even close to an omlette and fabulous comfort food. Goes well with a crisp white wine, but tonight I enjoyed it with a beer. The dogs got a small spoonful each in their bowls as well.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Give a dog a bone

Hot off the needles, a jumper for my grand-dog, Lochie who lives with my brother and his family.

For the last couple of weeks we've been enjoying the sight of Lochie parading around in Rosie's Punishment Jumper. Hugely entertaining, but not particularly warm. He's already torn one hole in it which had to be darned.

Rosie's Punishment Jumper

So using the Cleckheaton 12ply wool TSS and I found separately I knitted him the world's second cutest dog jumper, the Biscuits and Bones Dog Coat from Patons, Canada. It's free if you join their mailing list.

Crappy photo but you get the idea. The cables down the side of the centre panel are little bones and biscuits.

Peggy has managed to lose her jumper, so tonight I cast on yet another dog jumper.

The 7 things challenge progresses well - there will be a good tally come Sunday. I'm encountering some problems, though. The battery in my watch died two days ago and the on/off button on the tv remote control doesn't work. Pretty sure I can live without the remote control, but may have to replace the watch battery before the end of the challenge.


BREKKIE: Coffee.

MORNING TEA: Two hazlenut chocolates - the gift of a regular client.

LUNCH: Toasted soy cheese sandwich and the bounty of celebrations at work - a quarter of a choc chip scone (not brilliant), a savoury pastry thing (excellent), a taste of the banana bread (also excellent). Coffee.

AFTERNOON TEA: Tea and a slice of carrot cake.

DINNER: More freezer roulette. There's a little bag of chicken cacciatore somewhere in there and the rice is cooking as I type.

SUPPER: After today's sugar fix - black tea will be served before bedtime.

I'm almost out of veg and would prefer to wait until Sunday to buy it at the farmers' market. Mum left several tomatoes and there's silver beet in the garden. I might try this tomato and lentil risotto recipe and add the silver beet at the end for tomorrow night.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The pattern for the cowl came from my head. I just cast on 90 stitches, did the moebius thing and went for it, which is how I got half and half instead of garter - must learn to think before I knit.

I get twitchy about not having enough in the house, too, but then I buy stuff and it sits in the cupboard not being used. It's sensible to have standbys and to buy in bulk/on special and I will continue to do so - I've just got to actually use some of the stuff before I buy more.

Thanks for the offer of the grinder, Jejune. Mine works fine and I'll keep using it. As TSS said, the universe might send me a hand grinder and then I'll get a work out instead of using electricity.



BREKKIE: Porridge with craisins and coffee.

LUNCH: Time to play deep freeze roulette. The rules of the game are simple - oversleep because it's frosty AND foggy, spend too long reading blogs AND have to wash and dry your hair AND get the dog up the road to doggy day-care. Then when you are well and truly late for work, open the deep freeze and grab the first Tupperware container you see.

Bingo! Homemade pumpkin soup which I had with toast soldiers.

There was a single Tim Tam left over from yesterday's packet of bikkies so a colleague and I split it.


DINNER: The parents leave for warmer climes tomorrow, so I played the companion game to freezer roulette - veggie crisper excavation and left over protein surprise. We had a combination of chicken and the last of the pork in a honey soy sauce with a lot of frozen peas, a scraping of carrot and suggestion of cauliflower with boiled potatoes. The wine was pretty good, though.

SUPPER: Tea and a raisin bagel, toasted. Later, still hungry so I grabbed an orange.

There's a guy at the Woden Farmers' Market who makes divine bagels. The walnut are the best, followed by the raisin ones. They used to be 6 for $5 but last time I bought them they were up to $5.50. Still yummy, still worth it, and I've only got 4 left in the freezer.

TOTAL SPENT: Gifts $85.40

Moebius Dickhead

Made this Moebius cowl three weeks ago but it's been on my head so much photography hasn't happend. Quickly snapped this on the front porch in the fog this morning.

It's 100g of handspun bought from Boorowool at the Great Southern Merino Show in January. Glorious autumnal russets and olives. Not my usual colours, but I love it.

I made a moebius cowl last year out of a a really springy 12ply crepe and it almost strangled me. I friend with a smaller neck claimed and it's been to Japan, New Zealand and South America in the last 12 months.

This thick and thin handspun is knitted much looser (roughly 8ply yarn on a 6mm needle) and it drapes beautifully. I forgot to alternate knit and purl rows, though, and ended up with half in stocking, half in reverse stocking stitch. I don't mind so much, but I'd do garter or a lace next time. There will be a next time for this technique.

It's a vital piece of excercise equipment. I wear my hair up and this protects the "do" from the wind and my ears and neck from the cold when I'm out walking.


Georgie commented that she's genetically programmed to stockpile, too.

I was thinking about this yesterday when I bought the extra shirt for my brother to put away for Christmas. Was buying it in the spirit of the challenge? What's so wrong with snapping things up on special anyway?

Well, nothing is wrong with buying a lot of something at a good price. My problem is that I don't use the stuff as much as I should. For example, I have 30 or so small tins of tuna in my larder. I bought them when they were on a super special of about 50c at tin. Good buy - I'd do it again. But now I'm hoarding them rather than using them. This challenge is about using some of the stuff.

At the beginning of the year, a year in which I challenged myself to live more simply, I worked out on a spreadsheet how much of the larder staples I would need for a year so I could buy a reasonable amount at a reduced price and maybe in larger bags to cut back on packaging etc.

When the coffee I love was on special from $20 to $16 for a kilo, I bought a year's worth. It doesn't go off and no little tins or little bags for 250g, I just decant a kilo into Tupperware containers and freeze.

The problem: I bought beans rather than ready ground. I do have a grinder but it's small and messy and the noise is hideous. It's designed to do small amounts occasionally. It does not like doing a week's worth to take to work in one session, for example, and it's electric - surely an unneccesary use of electricity. So the bags of coffee sit in the larder and when the coffee came on special again recently I bought 2k of the ready ground variety. That's hoarding and lazy. It's what I'm trying to stop.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Nature vs Nurture

You will recall that my father is particularly clueless about the extent of the knitting obsession of his two nearest female relatives.

His son, my baby brother, sat between Mum and I last night. Mum was knitting a wristwarmer and I a TTWC. He turned to our mother and said, "You know, I think what the homeless really need are warm hats - why don't you knit some of those?"

I did not stab him with the 4.5mm circ that has been my companion at all family gatherings for the last two years, but only because it was his birthday party.

Is it a Y chromosome thing, or just a Taph family bloke thing? I fear it is the latter. Probably just as well I'm childless.

He certainly doesn't deserve the shirts I bought him today. The DJ's cardholders' special sale preview night reinforced some previously held knowledge.

* they never put the hard to get sizes on sale (3 shirts in his size, none of them on sale - spent $85.40 but that's his birthday present and a shirt put aside for Christmas)
* I find it very difficult to resist lipsticks and hosiery on special (I did resist but only by hurrying over to women's accessories where I frantically knitted a TTWC and openly scorned the chunky knit acrylic beanie being flogged off with the reduced price of $41.95.)
* I can be prudent as shown by the decision to not test my resolve by venturing anywhere near the manchester department.

Sale started at 5pm, I was at the parents' house by 5.20pm with 3 shirts (I bought one on Mum's behalf as well) and the challenge pretty much intact. It was a close run thing with the lipsticks, though.


BREKKIE: Porridge with craisins, coffee.

LUNCH: 1.5 toasted soy-cheese sandwiches and one chocolate biscuit (someone brought them into the tea room and it would be churlish to refuse such a generous gift).

AFTERNOON TEA: Coffee, another chocolate biscuit. Yum, a Choc Monte.

APPERITIF: 3 Jatz with soy cheese and a glass of cask white.

DINNER: Leftovers and veg with the parents and a couple of glasses of a decent white wine also leftovers from last night.

SUPPER: Small pot of tea.

SPENT: Gifts $85.40

Monday, June 11, 2007

Two Blue

TTWC 2007.57-58

Gorgeous Crucci Sporte 12 ply in very 80s colours - I can just see Rachel Hunter parading in one ;). After a few weeks of high contrast knitting, the toning mid and navy blues was fun to do.

The numbering system is the easiest way for me to keep track and an annual single numbering system is very familiar to we archivists. I'd set a target of 26 beanies this year and now I can't stop quantifying.

Brekkie: Porridge from rolled oats and water with a tbspn of cranberries and a splash of soy milk; 1 litre coffee with soy milk. I drink real coffee at home and work - Harris Espresso made in a Bodum plunger for preference. I buy it in kilo blocks and a kilo lasts 4-6 weeks.

: Um, forgot, was a bit busy preparing veggies for my brother's birthday dinner.
Afternoon tea: An orange (lovely valencia grown at Wamoon near Leeton, bought at the Farmers' market last week. Mum and I split a 3k bag.)

: Beer (Cascade light stubbie).
Dinner: Roast pork, potatoes, pumpkin and kumera; steamed beans, carrots and broccoli. Birthday cake. A glass of indifferent red wine (Dad's) and a cup of coffee (instant - blek). My contribution was the loin of pork, the carrots and the kumera - all from the freezer, fridge or cupboard. The eight of us ate very well indeed and Mum will have left overs for the next couple of days.

SPENT: $0 but I only decided to start about mid-afternoon.

Cook from the Cupboard

The clean up continues. I won't be finished today, but most of the major work has been done. It has, however, shown me (again) just what a pack-rat I am.

Mum is rapidly going through my boodle - this is a Good Thing TM. Now to make some headway on the other types of stashes Chez Taph.

TSS is on a Fiscal Fast for June. I was tempted to join her, but restrictive diets, including fiscal ones, are very, very bad for me. Years of yo-yo dieting (I started at age 5), have obviously done nothing good and I've been fighting the pattern for several years now.

What I will do, though, is Cook from the Cupboard from today until 26 July which are weird dates, but needs must.

GOAL: Try to overcome my stockpile mentality.

  • Allowed to buy fresh fruit, veg and meat, milk, margarine, toilet paper and tampons when current stocks run out.
  • Not allowed to buy processed or convenience foods or convenience groceries.
  • each non-food purchase will be evaluated in terms of need versus want as well as environmental effect.
  • I can still go out, just not indulge in convenience foods. So I can go to the movies but must take my drink with me, for example.
Two get out of gaol free cards for dinners out before the Woden SnB and I can buy a drink at Starbucks during SnB.

I will be buying my brother's birthday present. I also need a new pair of sneakers (to be bought with my Christmas and birthday money - yes, I've saved it since last December), and a couple of bras.

This shouldn't be too hard. I have a reasonable amount of wine and spirits in the house and enough curry paste and rice to make a survivalist proud. Running out of coconut milk may prove problematic, though.

Hmm, while I'm at it - maybe I should try the Seven Things.

I'll try the seven things for the same period as Cook from the Cuboard and I'll list the things I've got rid of each Sunday. Of course, getting rid of food out of the cupboard and down my gullet does not count.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Day one of the "get this crap out of my lounge room" clean up didn't result in the progress I had planned. Only about half the stuff in the lounge room has been sorted, turfed or moved.

Please note that the room in question is exactly half of the whole house. I have, to my mortification, had to move the WIPs from a small basket to a gargantuan basket and still not everything fits in it. Really, the solution to most of the clutter in my house is more knitting time.

And I forgot to show you a few recent acquisitions.

The Shopping Sherpa lived up to her name by tracking down a bag full of circs. We were discussing our respective op-shop habits over lunch. Despite having reasonably similar tastes, we rarely compete for stuff and keep our eyes out for items within our respective collection development policies. I'd mentioned that I always buy circular needles when I see them and authorised her to purchase any she sees up to $2 each. Less than a week later she finds the motherlode of op-shop circs and mines it for all its worth (about $32 as it happens).

She also found a bag of 12ply in a mostly knitted state which is fine by me.

But in an "only in Canberra moment", the fawn coloured wool matches exactly the shade and dyelot of wool I'd bought some months previously at Curtin Vinnies out of which I'd just started a TTWC.

Although there was enough here to knit a vest or something, frankly the colour doesn't really suit and a 12ply vest on this body - I think not. Now that I look at it, that's TTWC 2007.56 which I forgot to photograph yesterday!

And I won another contest over at Yarn. Two balls of Rare Yarns mohair, wool and alpaca blend in gorgeous blues, greens and purples and (not pictured) a set of dpns with which to fashion this into a hat. I'm thinking a beret por moi. The card instructs my mother to keep her hands off - I love Barbara.

Right, back to the clean up.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Three or four more

World Wide Knit in Public Day is almost over. I couldn't attend the planned picnic, but you can read all about it over at The Shopping Sherpa. I did my usual Saturday morning KIP - knitting a TTWC in the queue at the supermarket getting Mum's groceries.

In celebration of the day, I altered my usual reply when questioned from "I'm not waiting in this endless bloody queue, I just have bonus knitting time" to "I'm celebrating World Wide Knit in Public Day". To be honest, most people are equally mystified by both answers.

I did notice several hand-knit jumpers and cardies out and about today and all of them were red. It was definitely jumper weather, the wind was particularly sharp. Not as bad here as in the Hunter. And we've had no rain to speak of.

TTWC 2007.53-56 (forgot to photograph no. 56 and took a consignment of hats and wristwarmers to Stasia today)

To explain how I get so many hats knitted - I don't have time to knit much else. These are easy and portable and my constant companions.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Shake your boodle

So I took two shopping bags of unravelled, washed and skeined jumpers - about 4 jumpers worth - and the little yarn swift up to Mum yesterday. She's had my ball winder for nearly a month now because she hates floppy balls. Most of the wool is just beautiful and has responded well to the washing. She's decided that it's too good and in too big a quantity to knit into wristwarmers and I should be re-making jumpers from it.

TAPH (through gritted teeth): OK, fine, but this is the only spare 8ply I have.

MUM: Well I've worked out the sizing for knitting them with 5 ply.

TAPH (internally): My Bluebell, she's after my vintage Bluebell!

TAPH (out loud): Sure, Mum, that's what stash if for.

And of course this is what stash if for. It is fantastic that she's knitting again and she's getting so much pleasure from it.

I am, however, trialling a new word for the stash. After spending a good deal of time playing with Etymology Online that Rooruu posted about, I've fallen in love with boodle meaning "lot or collection" from the Dutch for property, boedel. It's the word from which we get the phrase "kit and caboodle".

Monday, June 04, 2007

Behind the 8ply

OK, I admit to keeping the 20 balls of pale green alpaca and the 20 balls of Jo Sharp navy for me. I need at least 20 balls for a garment for me. I don't think I'm being unreasonable.

I'm also keeping the pretty things I won in the recent Yarn contest (pic below). I made the mistake of opening the parcel in front of Mum. She immediately claimed "her" bits. Apparently she's always wanted pink alpaca and merino scarf in just that shade of pink. The two pink scarves I made her last year, which were her favourite things ever, and the lace shawl I made from a Yarn pattern are, apparently, nothing special and only the alpaca merino blend will do!There was also an unseemly tussle over the Brittany cable needles in which the words "selfish" and"disown" were used.

Apart from those items which I have selfishly kept for myself, yes Mum has knitted through the 8ply. I am currently unravelling, washing and winding several op-shop jumpers to feed the woman's voracious appetite for wool. She suggested, yesterday, that I was holding out on her and taking advantage of the fact that she can't get into my house easily (too many steps) to properly check that I'd handed all the good stuff over. This, after I let her knit the single balls I was keeping to knit the pretty flowers on Folly.

OK, back to the skeiner now.

Yarn goodie pack - it was worth being disowned for!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Hat Head

Time Thief Watch Caps 2007.51-52

I am knitting other things, too, but these are the only FOs to show.

This slip stitch pattern is not my favourite but it won the very scientific tea-room poll conducted over the last couple of weeks. Most people really like the regularity of it and it's very simple, so I'm going with it until the contrast colours run out.

These are in the last of the vintage black Patons Jet. The smooth but springy crepe construction was just gorgeous to knit with. I squeezed 4 hats out of 6 balls by adding the high contrast yarns through the straight stocking stitch section. Also, it uses up the odds and ends in the 12ply box. For this week's TTWCs I've loaded up 5 needles with a dark teal green Patons Fireside. It's lovely to knit with and the colour is gorgeous although I'm a bit more limited with contrast colours than with the black.

Mum has been dissuaded from sock knitting for a little while, but I'll take a couple of balls of pretty self-patterning yarn,and the pattern to fit my foot ;), away with us in July just in case. She has, however, almost completely knitted through my 8-ply stash. I'm about to unravel a few more op-shop jumpers for her.