Archive for December 2009

2009 – the year of the duffer

2009 knitting mosaic.jpg

If this post was to be one word long, ‘duffer’ is probably the most appropriate way to sum up this year in knitting. It’s been a bit of a ‘wheel spinning in the mud, not getting anywhere fast’ type of year, with all the reknitting I did. That’s perfectly OK though; it’s helped me realise that patience isn’t as overrated as I always thought it was.

I’m really happy with how all this year’s projects turned out, but strangely I don’t have much to say about them. My favourite colours, green and brown, were well represented and I became a bit more adventurous with pattern modifications.

This year my partner Matt released a couple of knitting apps for the iPhone. While not my achievement, I’m still immensely proud of Matt and the effort he put in for a couple of tools to make my knitting life a little easier. I can’t even begin to describe how pleased it makes me to hear that the apps are also useful to other knitters and crocheters – the support and suggestions from the knitting and crocheting community has been nothing short of amazing.

Outside of knitting, I finally tried my hand at some other crafts, and was pleasantly surprised by the results. Unfortunately these other crafty activities took a back seat when I left Brown Owls to move interstate, but non-knitterly crafty activities haven’t been far from my mind. Going from thoughts to reality is sometimes the hardest part of the process, I think.

Finally, I also tried my hand at selling some of my knitterly wares. By far, this was the most daunting thing I did this year. Going to market was a lot of fun, and nerve-wracking all at the same time. I will try again next year, with a little bit more wisdom and a lot more organisation.

Perhaps the word for 2009 should be ‘wonderment’, I think my pleasant surprise has been mentioned in just about every paragraph!

On that note, I think this dufferly wonderment of a year from the Pransellknit perspective has been covered. Thank you everyone for reading my funny little blog. I hope I’ll see you again in 2010!

Nuts and bolts

Here is the last of the quick family recipes that only get rolled out during Christmas. This one absolutely positively always gets made. Such is its importance, I was making it early on Christmas morning so we wouldn’t miss out on it!


I’m not sure how this one will be received because of two things; it contains a slightly strange ingredient and it’s really not a healthy recipe at all. But it all gets eaten so quickly that it can’t be too bad, right?

Nuts and Bolts

300g Nutrigrain
375g packet Salted peanuts (we use unsalted mixed nuts)
1 packet Cream of Chicken soup (we use cream of vegetable)
1 packet French Onion Soup
1 teaspoon curry powder
0.5 teaspoon mustard powder
0.5 cup of oil (usually vegetable oil)

Pour warm oil over dry ingredients, stir until oil is mixed through, store in an air tight container.

The recipe has been slightly vegetarianised (by using cream of vegetable rather than cream of chicken soup powder) for my and Matt’s benefit. It also tastes a lot better the next day as the oil has time to soak into everything.

My Mum also notes to keep the Nuts and Bolts away from my Dad. So if you have made it and my Dad comes round, make sure you hide it. He will eat it all.

I hope everyone had (or is continuing to have) a relaxing Christmas break, and I guarantee the next post will be about knitting.

What’s hot and what’s not, Christmas Eve edition



Christmas. The lead up is always manic, but it’s a relaxing couple of days and I get to spend time with my family.

Knitting on planes. Finally!

The veggie garden. My tomatoes and chillies have gone berzerk. Stay tuned for tomatoes and chillies forming part of the ‘not’ list in the future as we run out of ways to use them all up.


My ankles. I hurt them while going for a run about a week ago. As a result, the amount of exercise I can do has diminished greatly. This has made me a bit of a cranky pants.

Sugar. I’ve consumed too much lately and I know it’s only the beginning. Must engage willpower.

(more at Loobylu)

As it is Christmas Eve, it’s more than likely that this is the last post before Christmas Day. On that note, I’d like to wish everyone a very merry and relaxing Christmas break, however long or short it may be!


Lots of blogable bits and bobs going on, but not enough time to post. It’s a busy time of year I guess.

It was lovely to read about the things people only make around Christmas time. Gingerbread was mentioned a few times which made me wonder why my family doesn’t bake gingerbread biscuits around Christmas time. We all seem to like gingerbread, so maybe it’s a tradition that can be introduced (next year).

Here’s another snacky thing that magically appears in my parents’ fridge around about this time of year, peanut clusters. I feel a bit silly posting a recipe for this, but there’s no harm in putting it up here.


Peanut Clusters

375 grams chocolate. White, milk, dark all works well
200 grams unsalted peanuts

Line trays with baking paper.

Melt the chocolate completely. Stir in the peanuts, coating thoroughly.

Place teaspoons of the mixture on the baking paper and leave to set.

The best aspect of this recipe is how flexible it is. If you want the mixture a bit stiffer, add in more nuts or less chocolate, and vice versa for a cluster with a bigger pool of chocolate at the base. Don’t like peanuts? Use another nut. Or dried fruit. White chocolate, pistachios and dried cranberries are a pretty nice combination.

I’d like to post one more Christmas recipe, but it’s likely to be just after Christmas Day. Seems a bit silly, but I don’t think anyone will mind too much!

Coconut Ice

While not a particularly festive person, I think it’s nice to hear about other family’s holiday traditions. Christmases around here are a very quiet affair, just the immediate family and a very low key lunch. However, we do tend to make a lot of snacky things that aren’t made at any other time of the year.

One of those is coconut ice. The smallest hint of it makes me think of Christmas. As mentioned in a previous post, the recipe we use is very simple; just desicated coconut, icing sugar, condensed milk and food colouring. Most years it was traditional white and pink, but sometimes Mum could be convinced to branch out to different colours.


Mooncalf commented that the coconut ice recipe in Hope and Greenwood’s book didn’t turn out too well. Even though I’m sure everyone has their own favourite coconut ice recipe, here’s the recipe I use.

Coconut Ice
3 cups desicated coconut
4 cups icing sugar, sifted
1 400g can condensed milk
red (or any other colour of your choice) food dye

Mix icing sugar and coconut together, then stir the condensed milk in thoroughly. Split the mixture in half. Press one half of the mixture into a lined tin (I used a 20cm by 20cm tin) and put in the fridge. Add a few drops of food colouring into the other half of the mixture and knead until the colour is even. Press the coloured mixture over the white mixture. Put in the fridge until set.

How many pieces it yields depends on how you cut it. I prefer smaller bits as it seems to go further and it’s pretty sweet.

In the weeks before Christmas, I might put up a couple more recipes that only get rolled out during the holiday period. Do you have many recipes that only come out round this time of year?

Small diversions

These are the small diversions I was referring to last post.


Tiny Shoes by Ysolda Teague
Scraps of 8ply Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury, Cream
3.25mm double pointed needles
Started: November 2009
Finished: November 2009
Ravelryed here

A friend just had a little girl, and I’ve been wanting to try this pattern for a little while. Quite fortuitous really.

I initially started with Grignasco Bambi, but was concerned they were coming out a bit floppy. So, I upped the yarn to 8 ply Luxury and the needles to 3.5 mm. Although the end result is a lot more structured than my 4 ply attempt, it’ll be a while before they fit. It pains me a little that the colour of the button doesn’t quite match the colour of the bootee, but as soon as I spied the buttons at the shop, I knew they were going to be the ones for this project.


I’m now building quite a collection of projects made from Ysolda Teague’s patterns, I think this is the sixth pattern of hers I’ve used. Beyond the look of the finished objects, I always learn something new about construction and find her patterns pretty clear and well written. In fact, there’s only two instances where I’ve struck trouble; the top button hole of Liesl (a fix for that exact problem was sent out this morning, as luck would have it) and the cast on for Elijah (required a bit of mental and physical gymnastics to get it to work, but the effort is worth it). I guess some would argue that these are two issues too many, but in both instances they made me think about how I knit in a different way, and not in an angry ‘I hate knitting’ way, which I think is a positive thing.