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Two-colour Brioche Hat (Ravelry project link). I learned how to do two-colour brioche, which was a little odd to start with but cruised along smoothly once I got the hang of it. I had to get a little inventive to pick up and add a brim when it proved too short, but that was good mental exercise!

 Brioche stitch beanie

Son loved it, so I’m calling it a win.

 Brioche stitch beanie

Drive-by update #1 – baby stuff

Hi folks, I’ve been meaning to sit down and do this but I guess I was just so over computer screens by the end of term that I couldn’t bear the thought of typing anything!!

Striped baby booties and beanies

Gift for colleague who recently welcomed twins: Presto! preemie hat and (quoting) The Easiest and Fastest Baby Booties Ever!! (Ravelry project links) My colleague was thrilled, particularly as I had chosen the colours of his football club – Geelong!

Striped baby beanies

Both the hats and the booties were pretty quick and easy, though carrying yarn for all the stripes was a little fiddly. I tried some jogless stripes techniques, and I think I ended up with one from TechKnitting as my favourite. The yarn is amazingly soft, but at the smaller gauge of the booties it was a little tricky to weave in the ends – the “twirl” effect is kind of nubbly, making for a bumpy ride as you try to weave the tapestry needle through the back of the fabric.

Striped baby booties

Altogether I really enjoyed making these – quick, fun, deeply cute, and so soft on the fingers!! If only I’d known about the Instant Gratification Effect of baby knits before I had all my own…! (on a side note: the Instant Gratification Monkey. It makes for excellent reading while you’re avoiding doing the housework, washing, weeding, shopping, or any other activity you are trying to delay/avoid/forget about)

Stay for more drive-by updates!

Chicken Parmigiana

My son, while away on camp, was introduced to chicken parmigiana, and decided that he wanted to make some at home. I had tomato sauce base left from making lasagne on Saturday, so tonight he dealt with the chicken breasts according to this recipe and I assisted with the wedges and greens – behold our feast!

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Delicious!! He is under orders to make it for us during the holidays so his dad can enjoy it too!

Addictive…

I started making these two weeks ago, and it seems to have become an addiction… I am rapidly going through my stash of random 8ply yarns, and wondering if I may have to purchase more!!

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The pattern is the Mitred Square Blanket from the first Mason*Dixon Knitting book, and I have wanted to make it for ever!! Now I have started, and I loves it, my preciousss…
Mods: 8ply yarn, long tail cast-on so begin with one purl row before beginning RS decrease rows. As you can see, I decided that blocking wires were the best way to get straight edges and fairly equal sizing.
This is by no means a short-term project, but so easy that I can work on it while walking around supervising students at break times at school. There will be even more time for that shortly, with rehearsals for two speech nights involving lots of standing around watching and waiting.
I hope your knitting is feeling productive! I have still got more to share, but first I must enslave myself to the ironing pile…

Can’t help myself

I seem to be casting on a lot these days – those booties and hats, some socks – and now this!!

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I’ve been wanting to do this for years, and this week I decided I needed something absolutely straightforward, that could be done while reading or watching training videos or even while walking around my library on duty, and which could be begun with stash. After a false start on too-large needles I am now powering away through stashed 8ply yarn on 4mm needles.

Stripes are cool!

Imbibing

A snifter full of soft indulgence

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The brandy balloon was a find at a car boot market this weekend; the yarn is baby booties, or will be once I see them up.

Learning

Learning that brioche is tricksy- it likes to take advantage of any lapse in concentration
Learning that decreasing in brioche is possible, but mine doesn’t look like the picture and is decreasing too fast
Learning that the advice to put in a lifeline was good
Learning that since I didn’t put in a lifeline, the best way to pick up stitches is with multiple smaller dpns, one for each colour on each side, then tink back onto one dpn, then I might be able to start knitting without resorting to tears or expletives
Learning that I should have stuck with a st at beanie if I wanted to get it done in 2 days without aforementioned expletives

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It’s a cooking day: I had 2kg of chicken thighs to deal with (on special at Woollies), so half is now marinating in teriyaki sauce, ready to be a teriyaki fried rice tonight (from the Wagamama cookbook), while the other half is in the slow cooker becoming butter chicken… my house smells good!

Then I read the Pumpkin Smoothie recipe at Just One Cookbook and I knew I had to have one for my late, late lunch, so I did and it was yummy! I had to use coconut milk because there wasn’t any almond milk at the local Woolies, but it was still awesome…

In between I am wrangling washing and working on the Brioche beanie for my son ( which will shortly be changing to something faster than brioche like mosaic stitch because I am running out of weekend and he needs it tomorrow morning to go on his head when he goes to camp).

The weather is ridiculous – every cliche of Spring weather has hit us this week, and today we have had glorious sunshine, whipping winds, short sharp heavy showers, and various in-between variations at roughly 10~15 minute intervals, ALL DAY. And there is lots of snow on the mountain (visible in one of the intervals where there is no precipitation between here and there), and I am wearing my Ruby Twist, a 10ply garment, with a wool skirt over leggings, wool socks and uggies, and it is all necessary, even inside the house! Tomorrow will be marginally better (15*C), the next day will be lovely and warm at some point mid-afternoon (23*C), then the graphs will plunge once more, taking us with them into the teen temperature digits of dreariness… and then up again and then down, a veritable rollercoaster of meteorological phenomena! Living in Tassie is certainly a wardrobe adventure.

Cafe-style breakfast at leftover prices

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Son’s new beanie from the odds’n’ends stash

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Leftovers can be a good thing :)

It is the Hobart Show weekend, and due to a public holiday on Thursday and school holiday on Friday, the kids and I have four days off. What to do? Naturally we decided to save Craig the usual weekend drive and came up ourselves!
Thursday we drove up to Launceston and met the lovely Cindy 2paw for lunch- she and I spent a lovely couple of hours chatting, while my children were very patient! No pics, the food was lovely and my purple shopping bag from Cindy is perfect, but I’m on 3G for this post and must conserve the data uploads.
We got to Smithton about half past 6, organised ourselves with the help of a lamb casserole which Craig had helpfully made the night before, and were ready for bed when Craig got home from his council meeting.
Friday we were up and about early, and after a lush breakky we loaded ourselves in the car for a trip along the Tarkine Drive. This is a very beautiful part of Tasmania, particularly if you get out if the car and go walking in the bush. I am learning how to use a fancy new camera from school, so I took lots of pics which you will have to wait till I get home to my computer to see. There was a creek with lots of stripy rocks, ferny forest walks, and a sinkhole lake!
Next we headed to Stanley for lunch, and what with this being Tassie, I ran into a TL friend from Hobart, who was with another family including a son in my Sophie’s class!! Drive five hours to the other end of the state and you still meet people you know.
Over lunch we decided that the weather was getting yuckier and the idea of going fishing lost its appeal, so we dropped in to the fishmonger’s for supplies to make chowder for dinner. A few more stops in Smithton and we were set, so off home for cups of tea and a jigsaw puzzle while showers of rain attacked the windows intermittently. I had fun making the chowder, not something I’ve done more than once before, but I think it will go on the list of winter faves after this! We put on Young Einstein to watch with dinner, and had a great time! My gosh the Icehouse and Big Pig soundtrack brought back memories of my teens!!
Today we are off to Stanley for a floral exhibition and open house at the Historic Highfield House, then possibly going to Wynyard to check out the jousting tournament- yes, that’s right, jousting! I am on the last three centimetres of the back of my Myrtle cardi, and used my time in the car yesterday to wind the next skein, ready to start the fronts. Hope springs eternal… Though prudence yesterday prompted me to unravel and re skein the yarn from my swatch, because I am going to need it!
Right, time to get moving!

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