Archive for December 2011

2011 round up

It was a funny old year this year, knitting-wise. It felt like I had my knitting needles in my hands at every spare moment, and yet I have only seven finished objects to my name this year. I’m trying to stay rational about it, reminding myself that it’s not a race and at that I’m making things that I’m happy with, but I can’t deny that I’m disappointed that I got so little finished. My productivity deficiency seems to have largely come from misjudging the amount of yarn I had, and pattern/yarn mismatches. This is otherwise known as being a duffer.

Even though I’m having a bit of a sulk about the year’s worth of finished objects, what I did actually finish turned out pretty well. This part of the recap always reminds me of the end of some movies or TV shows, where there’s a still shot of a character (sometimes sepia-toned) and a caption about where they are now…

Golden Hands Vest
Golden Hands Vest caption

Gaptastic Cowl
Cowl caption

Lyttelton caption

Manu caption

Cornsilk Pullover
Cornsilk caption

The Delicious Knee Socks and Kalajokis declined to be interviewed, still cross they didn’t get a fair showing when they were debuted during the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show weekend.

I’ve been planning for 2012 for the last few weeks. The pattern queue has been set, the stash has been rifled through. All systems are go, and I’m really looking forward to having a productive year with minimal dufferism. What are your crafting plans for 2012?

It’s Christmas?!

Christmas Men

I’m in a slight state of disbelief that we’ve hit Christmas time already. However, how ever you spend your December holidays, I hope you have a nice, fun and/or relaxing break!

Skyrockets in flight, Apricot Delight

This year’s desiccated coconut stashdown ended with a whimper recently when I realised I had exhausted my stockpile and needed to dash to the supermarket to replenish stocks. However, my pursuit for recipes that use desiccated coconut is unrelenting. A bit like a cop, gone off the rails, who pursues justice at any cost. I’ll be making a pitch for a new TV show, The Desiccated Coconut Avenger, to TV execs in the near future.

This is the latest recipe involving desiccated coconut that I’ve been using. It’s from Green Gourmet Giraffe, a vegetarian cooking blog I’ve only just discovered. Sometimes I can be a bit slow on the blog uptake.

apricot delight

Apricot Delight (recipe adapted from here)

125g whole dried apricots, roughly chopped (see note)
125g dried apricot halves, finely chopped (see note)
0.75 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons of honey
1.5 cups desiccated coconut
extra coconut for coating (optional)

Place the chopped whole dried apricots, boiling water and honey in a small saucepan. Let the apricots soak for around an hour. Bring the mixture to the boil and gently simmer, uncovered, for around 10 minutes, or until the apricots have a jam-like consistency.

Blend the mixture up into a thick paste. It was too thick for my poor old blender to handle when I first made it, so I used a stick mixer the second time round. It worked like a charm. Add the desiccated coconut and the chopped apricot halves to the paste and mix well.

Press the mixture into lined small cake tin. The original recipe calls for a 15cm x 15cm cake tin, which I didn’t have. I used a small loaf tin and it worked out fine. Refrigerate overnight.

If the mixture makes it through the night, cut it up into squares or bars. Toss in extra coconut if you so desire, but I found it was fine without the extra coconut.

Note: It’s not necessary to use two different types of apricots. However, the first time I made this recipe I used dried apricot halves and found it pretty tart. Using the milder-flavoured whole dried apricots as the base nicely complements the pieces of the ‘tarter’ dried apricot halves throughout the mixture.

The two times I’ve made this recipe, it’s barely made it through the overnight refrigeration (i.e. it’s delicious). The very short ingredient list appeals a lot, and it’s really easy to make. It reminds me a lot of Apricot Sun Bars which I used to love when I was little.

Even writing this post makes me want to make a batch. Sadly, these TV pitches won’t write themselves…


Thanks everyone for your lovely comments about the Cornsilk Pullover. I’m happy to report that it’s been worn a couple of times since, and given the weather doesn’t know what it wants to do (yes yes, I know, I live in Melbourne), I’ll probably be able to wear it a few times more this year.

The week I finished my jumper was a pretty exciting week, knitting-wise, for the Pransell household. In addition to the jumper, a copy of A Stitch In Time Volume 2 landed on my doorstep. This wasn’t an accidental landing; I’d preordered it some time ago and had been eagerly awaiting its arrival.

It’s a really impressive-looking tome, with its hard fabric cover, dust cover and pages of matte, heavy paper. Volume 2 looks how I imagined Volume 1 would be if thicker paper were used for the pages.

Like the first volume, the patterns are split into chapters based on the decade the pattern was from. Also like the first volume, there are quite a few things I would knit. Some of my picks include this top (which I have yarn set aside for):


and this ruffled top, with some modifications:

DSC 0346

I personally wouldn’t make it with the bows. They are a nice feature of the top but just not my style. Instead, I’d make it monochromatic; the body in a dark grey or charcoal and the ruffled stripes in a lighter grey.

I only have two slight niggles about the book. The first one relates to the photography. The photography in general is really nice, but there are a couple of instances where the models’ poses or other bits of clothing get in the way of seeing all of the garment. As much as I think it could make for a nice coffee table book, it is ultimately a book of knitting patterns so the photos need to show how the garment will look when it’s finished. The other niggle, which is even more slight, is that the book itself looks a lot different to Volume 1. As they’re part of a set, it would be nice to have a version of Volume 1 that has the same physical specifications as the second volume.

DSC 0351

Another nice feature of this book is the techniques section at the start. It goes beyond the basics that you usually see in knitting books which I thought was a nice change.

It’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but it’s been two and a half years since I wrote a wee review of the first volume, and I’ve not knit anything out of it. There are still a lot of things I’d like to make from that volume, I just have been terrible at getting round to it. In theory it won’t take me that long to get around to knitting something from Volume 2, because I’ve already got yarn lined up for a project.

If you have volume one of A Stitch In Time, I recommend getting Volume 2. If you like vintage knitting patterns, either to look at or to knit, I also recommend getting Volume 2. It’s a beautiful book with an impressive collection of vintage patterns. A real treasure.