Frogging for another project

My younger daughter gave me a couple of woollen items I had knitted for her a few years ago.  The reason she gave them to me was that one had stretched and was too big for her and the other she had grown out of.  She thought I might be able to frog them and make up into something else.

I have unravelled the items and washed the wool so I now just need to find out what she would like me to make with the wool

frogged woolA great way to reuse and recycle.

My latest knitting venture

wool chartThis is the wool chart that I sent a photo of to my elder daughter to choose a colour as I had told her I needed a project for knitting.  I had to order the wool from the local wool shop. She wants me to make her an oversized cardigan so I searched through all the old patterns I have and came up with this one.  The booklet is one I bought for 20 cents at a thrift shop.

Aran cardigan

I have started the project and there has been cricket on recently so I will get this done quite quickly.

Aran patternThe pattern is meant to be knitted in Panda but that has acrylic in it and I wanted to knit in pure wool so it meant that I really needed to do a tension square to make sure that I got that right.  I needed to go to a half size bigger needle to get the correct tension.  The cardigan is knitted in 10 ply so it will be a quick project.

Aran knitting

Books exchanged

exchanged booksRecently I took four large bags of books to the book exchange and came back with one bag.  I still have plenty of books at home and I regularly visit the library so there is no shortage of something to read.

The top book in the picture is The Help which I read while we were overseas.  I got that one for my younger daughter as she had said she would like to read it.  I have seen the movie since reading the book and although I enjoyed the movie I would certainly say the book was better.

There are a couple of Penny Vincenzi books there as I had been given a recommendation for those from our host in Yorkshire.  I will let you know whether I enjoy them.

Spycatcher is there because it was mentioned in the Michael Kirby biography I recently read and I thought it would make interesting reading.

The Anna Funder book is there as I have read Staziland and really enjoyed that.  I borrowed All That I am from the library but didn’t get around to reading it now I have no excuse as I have a copy at home.

Kate Grenville because I have read many of her books and the same with Jo Nesbo and Anita Shreve.

Hey Mum, What’s a half-caste? as another of my non-fiction reads.  Plenty to keep me going for a while.

Trying to make baguettes

I recently borrowed some books from the library and two of those were about bread making. Both were by the same baker.  One book was called Dough and the other Crust.

Dough bookI have a bread making machine but I wanted to try my hand at making bread without the machine and the bread I wanted to make was a baguette.

French breadThese two beautiful loaves were of the type we ate while we were in France and I wanted to try to emulate them.

The book that I was using was written by a Frenchman and there was also an accompanying DVD which showed the process of working the dough in order to get air into the bread.

The recipe calls for the use of fresh yeast and I went to the local delicatessen and the healthfood shop to get this but unfortunately they do not stock fresh yeast as there is insufficient call for it so I had to make do with powdered yeast.

Undeterred by this I started off on my venture.  I don’t think I got the working of the dough quite right and after I had finished the bread I went back and viewed the DVD a second time so that I get the process right next time I make it.

working the doughworking the dough 2The bread turned out ok and I was quite pleased with the result and learned a great deal along the way.

my baguettesMost importantly to achieve the desired crustiness you must spray the oven 15 times with water and then another 5 times after inserting the bread.  I only sprayed the oven a couple of times and so the crust isn’t as crusty as I expected.  I will know next time.

inside the loaf

A non-fiction book for my 2016 reading challenge

I failed miserably last year in my reading of non-fiction but I have now read a few for this year.

Michael KirbyMichael Kirby is a well-known personality in Australian society and this biography sheds light on a remarkable life.

From the inside cover:

For most of his life, Michael Kirby has been a man on a tightrope.  A person of strong views working in a world governed by objectivity, he has had to balance the potent, sometimes contradictory impulses of passion and duty, honesty and discretion, advocacy and neutrality.

He had to hide his real self from the world for decades, while being the public voice of countless human-rights and legal issues.  His thirty-five years as a federal judge afforded him tremendous authority and power, but often demanded silence or impartiality on matters closest to his heart.

This intimate biography takes us behind the bench to explore the personal, moral and spiritual convictions of one of our most beloved and brilliant citizens, a man who made the law accessible, humane and interesting, a man who was never blown by the prevailing political winds.  It draws on a wealth of previously unavailable letters and papers, as well as interviews with Kirby, his family, friends and – for the first time = Johan van Vloten, his partner of more than forty years. 

This book looks back on a controversial career of dedication and success and a private life of great love, secrecy and finally, openness.

 You can find out a little about his life at his website.

Another doll outfit but the stash is not much smaller

The Big Bash cricket has finished so there will be very little knitting done until the T20 series in New Zealand.  As you know I have been trying to get rid of my stash of wool which consists mainly of the odd one or two balls in a particular colour or ply.  The projects need to be small or something that makes use of many colours.  The dolls knitting book that I bought has meant that I have been able to use some of the wool for those projects

This is the last project I finished.

knitted doll clothingI am making a collection of clothing for my granddaughter who received a lovely doll as a Christmas present.  I will get a couple of outfits made in time for her birthday in June.

I have now started on a fair isle outfit

ski outfit

but after making the leggings I discovered I had insufficient wool to complete the outfit so had to go out and buy another ball of wool!  Sort of defeated the purpose of eliminating the stash.

Faster than a speeding bullet?

Recently my blog has not had much input on my part.  I seem to have been busy doing other things but then find it difficult to quantify what I have actually done.  One thing I have done, and can see the results of, is work in the garden.

A while back I posted about removing the netting from our orchard.  My husband has planted some fruit trees to espalier and our younger daughter’s partner helped to put up the wiring so my husband can espalier the trees.

espaliered treesThis week I finally got around to planting a hedge on our back boundary.

orchard boundaryThe reason I say “faster than a speeding bullet” is the plants that make the hedge have the name Cheetah and the label says to make sure you stand back as the plant will grow so quickly!  If only……

lilly pillyThe plant is a lilly pilly which is an Australian native plant.

lillipilliNow we just need to stand back and watch.