Archive for November 2010

A duffer’s knitting dilemma

Last weekend, I had every intention of taking a photo of the pile of neatly blocked pieces of Matt’s jumper, but I got a bit excited and started seaming instead. As my seaming-in-progress photos look like yarn monsters rather than almost-jumpers, I shall instead write about my latest bout of dufferism (a disease for which I’m convinced there is no cure).

Before getting to the dufferism, there is a backstory. As a kid, I used to page through Mum’s sets of craft books. One set, the name of which name I cannot remember (I’d be forever grateful to anyone who could tell me what they were called) had white vinyl covers with gold writing, and the other was Golden Hands.

Both sets of craft books went to the op shop during my teens, and were almost forgotten until I saw an almost the complete set of Golden Hands books at an op shop a few years ago. My strong sense of nostalgia never fails me, so I bought the almost complete set on the spot.

Old craft books are a wonderful mix of comedy, cringe and good ideas. I decided that this vest pattern from Golden Hands Book 1 fell into the last category.

golden hands vest

The pattern suggested that I’d need less than 200 grams of 8ply to make the vest. I was a bit sceptical of this claim, particularly given that there was no yardage accompanying the yarn requirements, but I had some stashed Bendigo Woollen Mills Rustic 8ply in Graphite that I thought would work with the pattern. It seems I was right to be sceptical, as I’m not even half way through the back and there is no way I will have enough yarn to finish the vest.

outta yarn

As far as I can tell, I have three options. I can frog it and forget about the whole episode, buy some more yarn, or frog back to the ribbing and make a striped vest using some more stashed Rustic in a different colour. The first option’s been dismissed already but I can’t decide between the two remaining options. I bought the graphite Rustic some years ago and the label’s long gone, so matching dyelots isn’t really possible. There’s generally little variance in Bendigo Woollen Mills dyelots, but it’s still a bit risky. The alternative is to use some stashed Rustic 8ply in flannel, a light grey.

graphite and flannel together

Graphite and flannel go quite well together, and it would help use up more stash, but I’m not sure if I’ve got much in my wardrobe that goes with a striped vest. At the moment I’m leaning towards flannel stripes, but I’m not 100 per cent sold on the idea.

Dilemmas dilemmas. Sometimes it’s hard being a duffer.


In a recent phone conversation with my sister, the topic of belated birthday presents for one another came up. My sister mentioned that she’d better finish my present off so she could give it to me when I saw her next. My curiosity was piqued by the use of the word ‘finish’ but I tried not to read too much into it. On the weekend I saw my sister, and the present exchange occurred. The little mite had knit me a scarf!

Lovely Scarf

Not just any scarf, but a lovely feather and fan scarf. I’m immensely proud of her — she did a fantastic job, and the yarn she used (Sublime, she tells me) is so soft and warm. I’m not sure if it comes up in the photo but it’s a bit crinkled because the weather’s been cold enough for me to wear it.

Something that the photo hasn’t quite picked up is the colour of the yarn. It’s a bit greener than the photo makes out. A light duck egg blue, I guess is the most apt description.

The owl buttons are a really nice touch too. The white goes well with the light duck egg blue and I’m such a sucker for owly things so she must have known she was on a winner by putting them on.

I don’t know if you read this blog, but thank you little sister, I love my new scarf to bits.

On cables, positive thoughts and worsted weight yarn.

Matt’s jumper, which I mentioned briefly here, has been flying along lately. Although I wanted some respite from the stocking stitch rut I have been in, this jumper has been mostly stocking stitch. Even the cables on the front are surrounded by a heap of stocking stitch. Strangely though, it hasn’t worried me one bit.

Dashing jumper, front

The yarn has a lot to do with this. Being worsted weight, progress is easy to see and the colour and texture seems to work well with the pattern. Initially I thought the mottled grey/brown would make the twists either side of each cable disappear. However, now that it’s been a while since I finished the front, I think the twists look fine.

My concerns about having enough yarn seem to be ill-found (or, my positive thoughts seem to be working). I’m currently working on the second sleeve and am just about to start on the fifth of six skeins of yarn. After the sleeve, I just have to knit up the collar and front placket and it’s done. So, it’s looking like I’ll have some yarn to spare. From this experience, it’s fairly clear that positive thoughts while knitting equals increased yardage.

Given my current progress, the jumper should be done just in time for Summer. This shouldn’t be a problem given the weather down here at the moment. It’s likely to be Summer in name only if the cold and wind and rain keeps up.

Peanut Slice

Every now and again, I receive emails from someone looking for a particular recipe from my set of Women’s Weekly recipe cards. Often they’re looking for recipes that they, or someone in their family, used to make when the cards first came out. While the cards are long gone, I find it interesting that the memory of the recipe, or more, the resulting dish, endures.

Recently, I received an email asking if I had a recipe for peanut slice. It was one of those recipes what wasn’t in the photo of the card — a bonus recipe, as Pip calls it. When I went searching for the recipe, I imagined something chocolatey and biscuity. My perception was completely wrong, as it was a concoction of flavours I’d never imagined before — beer nuts (peanuts with their red skins on), coconut, raspberry jam and cornflakes! I was skeptical, but it had me so intrigued that I had to make it.

Peanut Slice

You know, it wasn’t half bad! It certainly was a strange combination of flavours, but it was certainly quite edible. Unfortunately I don’t think it quite worked out for me, as it was quite crumbly. As the recipe called for whole peanuts, the slice would just fall apart as I tried to cut through the soft topping.

crumbly peanut slice

I’m quite sure this is because of eggs. I don’t use eggs in cooking, and the topping required stiffly beaten egg whites, something I’ve not been able to find a good substitute for. I suspect the egg whites acted like a glue to make the topping firm and easy to cut through. It was a little disappointing that it didn’t work for me and for that reason, I’m hesitant to post the recipe — let me know if you’re interested and I may post it at a later date. Despite the slight disappointment, it was a fun experiment!