Sunday, December 21, 2008

First Day of Winter

Wow. Can you tell?

"Cool! It's like a soft, fluffy bed! I wonder if I stick my face...lalalalalalala...Oh! Sweet Greenies that's cold!"

You know, this time of year, I get busy. Knitting this and that. Yet, because of the time of year, I can't show this. Or that. Because you know. Readership and all...

So. The pickings? They are slim.

Instead, I bring you this -


I have a good friend from India, and she once told me that once you make your own yogourt, you'll never go back to the store bought stuff.

Now. When it comes to yogourt, I'm a finicky sort of girl.

" Mae!..."

"Who said that??? Oy..."

Anyway. I've been known to spend far too much time in the dairy aisle, trying to find the right yogourt that doesn't taste like...well...cow-ass; or, that doesn't have sugar/fake sugar as the second ingredient. Instead, I started going for the plain, organic yogourt, and loved it.

Of course. You have to like plain, organic yogourt. If not. Well.

Then, my friend Puneet told me how she makes her yogourt.

First, you heat the milk.

I use about a litre and a bit (um, I think that's about 5 to 6 cups of milk) of organic 2% milk. Heat it to JUST before boiling, remove from heat, and let cool. It should be cool enough that you can put your knuckle on the surface without scalding and swearing. Or, no steam should come off the surface.

Then, take your "starter" -

I use about 3/4's of a small container of the same brand of plain yogourt I used to buy. You can also buy commercial yogourt starter, but personally, I like using this better. Plop it in a big enough bowl, and smooth it out with a plastic or wooden spoon (no metal...).

Add some of the cooled milk -

...and make sure to mix just enough so that the milk smoothes out the yogourt starter. Keep adding a bit at a time, and when it's done, cover it up with a lid (not too tight though) and a cloth.

Then -

...pop 'er in the oven with only the light on. Shut the oven door, leave the light on, and forget about it for the 16-24 hours. And what ever you do - no peeking! After all, the bacteria are breeding. Heh.

I used to do this in my gas stove - the heat from the pilot light was enough to do the bacterial job.

I put this in at around 8:30am this morning, and I'll take it out tomorrow morning when I get up for work.

And the result? The best damn yogourt this side of Delhi.

Of course. If you don't like plain yogourt, then all of this means nothing to you. Well, you learned something at least. You may be saying - hey Brig, I'm lactose intolerant! Can I still have some of this stuff? Yes! I have issues digesting lactose, and milk proteins, and I don't worry one bit with this stuff. The heating process manages to banish both nasties, and I feel no ill effects.

As a matter of fact, all that good bacteria? Does wonders for the uh, plumbing.

And hey Brig! Doesn't it seem like a long, drawn out process?! Well, it's not! Apart from heating the milk, which I do recommend you watch like a hawk, there's really not much else to it. While it's cooling, you can go off and do something else for a half hour or so. Once cooled, it takes barely 5 minutes to incorporate the milk into the starter. Then the whole oven thing...well, you really shouldn't stand next to the oven for 16 - 24 hours. Unless you want to. But that's just weird.

When it comes out of the oven, let it rest at room temperature for a couple of hours before popping it into the fridge. The consistency may be slightly less firm than you're used to, but the taste? YUM.

So there you go. Brigitte goes all granola on you.

In other news...

You know when they say you should rummage through your closet, and discard anything you haven't worn in the past couple of years? Yeah, well, I thought I should do the same with a couple of WIPs.

Now, you know what? There is a difference between taking a long time to knit something - not because you don't love it - but because it's a project that requires a lot of concentration (like Fulmar); and those that take a long time to knit because, well, there is NO love. Any longer.

Can you guess what these are?. No, not the black paws and long whiskers. We already know what those are and who they belong to.

Those are Arangenser, and Western Seas. *sigh*

You both were making me miserable. I do not believe in finishing something for the sake of finishing it. Especially if I'm on the verge of tears everytime I work on you, and working on you is usually the result of guilt. While I didn't hate you (after all, I will be reusing the yarn, and would rather not burn my bridges with you), I could no longer stand looking at what I was making with you.

And you know what? I actually felt NO pain while frogging them. It was quite...entrancing actually, watching the ball winder unwind the kinks out of those WIP's. Yes, it represented a lot of work, but, I'd rather have frogged them both knowing I could reuse the yarn, than look at the knitting bags gathering dust and pissing me off.

See? Win-win.

And hey everybody!

Happy Holidays to you all from all of us here (meow!)! My Christmas will start in a week or so, however I'll be thinking of you all, and hoping all is well in your worlds.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

All's Well

I am happy to report.

So, remember my problems with the Jamieson's yarn I used with the Hearts Tunic? Well, I'm pleased to say that I received a favourable response from the good people at Jamieson's. They did look into the matter, and provided me with a good reason as to why this may have occurred, and will be compensating me adequately. The response was quick, and the customer service they provided is excellent. I'm quite pleased (and confident) in continuing to use Jamieson's yarns in the future, and really - how could you not when put together they create such beautiful Fair Isle and stranded projects like Delores!

Hee hee! I'm just including this picture to remind you all (and myself, for that matter), of lovely Delores. Who has been sadly neglected. As have pretty much all of my WIP's, due in large part to STEALTH CHRISTMAS knitting. Santa Claws doesn't knit, so it's up to me to fill these Christmas knit wishes.

So, pretend you haven't seen Delores before! Ooooo! Ahhhh!

And thanks Jamieson's! Although it doesn't bring back my Hearts Tunic, your response does go a long way in restoring my confidence in your lovely yarns.

There's very little in the way of knitting to show you. This time of year - what can I say. It's all about the gifties.

Speaking of which!

Look what I got from Tess, Jetsam, and Garden Kitty's mom Bridget!


And for the Little Dudes too! Some toys for them (which have since been scattered to all four corners), some gluten free cookies (the gingerbread cookie? Oh. Wow.), and a SIGNED copy of "Knit So Fine"! I love this book, and have since it first came out. It features designs using thin yarns (my favourites). There are quite a few I'd like to try, including a hat, and the cover design. There's also a Kimono Top, and a vest using sock yarn. And lots of other stuff - go have a peek! Thanks Bridget! And thanks to the lovely authors of the book - Lisa R. Myers, Laura Grutzeck and Carol Sulcoski - for signing the book for me.



"I'm confused. Can I ask you something?"

"Um, ok..."

"Mom's name is Brigitte, right?"


"Then, how is it that Tess and Jetsam and Garden Kitty's mom is ALSO named Bridget? How can there be 2 moms named Brigitte? See my point? It's weird."

"Dude. There can be 2 mom's with the same name. It's just that the spelling is different."


"The spelling is different? Ohhhh. OK. Well, I guess so then. Atticus?"


"So, could there be 2 Atticus' too?"

"Whoa. Let's not get ahead of ourselves!"

Really must booby trap computer while I'm at work. Seems someone is getting too familiar with surfing the Internet.

Oh boy.

Anyway! Hey look! Surprise! Pardon the bad office lighting and slightly constipated look. We had just rolled back into the office after our 2.5 hour group lunch. Heh. But look! Yes, that's right. I cut A LOT of hair off, and boy does it ever feel LIGHTER. I never realized I had so much hair. But, it was a long time in coming, and I'm very pleased with the results.

Yay me! (Nice sweater Brigitte. Why, thank you. :D )

"I'm here for no other reason than to show you all how handsome I am. Despite the crappy lighting. That is all."

Monday, December 01, 2008

Hearts Tunic

Wow! Was I ever excited to show and tell you all about this:

It's my Hearts Tunic!

Hearts Tunic from Simply Shetland 3, knit on 5mm needles using Jamieson's Heathered Aran in the Lacquer shade. Size small, and it fits perfectly.

Yay me!

Did I enjoy it? I did! I became more and more excited as I worked on it, thinking how wonderful it would be to wear at Christmas. You know, being a lovely shade of red and all. I love the picot detailing, and the slightly set in sleeves. It does look a little uneven in the photo above, because it's been steamed and is drying.


And this is where I have to sit down, sigh, and swallow my vomit.

One of these things is definitely not like the others.

It's not a trick of the light.

It's not a "steam" or "wet" line.

It's not a fold line.

It's a very distinct separation between one ball, and another. Despite all being from the same dye lot.

It's not supposed to look like that. After all, all balls come from the same dye lot. But, that one sleeve section next to the body? Looks rather funky to me.

Can I tell you? I think I may have cried a bit. After all, if you remember correctly, this is the 2nd time this has happened (scroll down to 3rd picture).

The placement is such that I will probably not be able to wear this. It's too obvious, and really sticks out due to the red shade.

I can't help but think - did I do something wrong here??? But you know what? I didn't. Wet blocking isn't the cause. I've wet blocked many a knitted piece, and have never had this happen. And let's face it kids, I'm no idiot when it comes to this stuff. I've been knitting for over 30 years, 95% of the time with wool. I think it's safe to say at this point that I know what I'm doing.

So, stay tuned. I'll have to report this, obviously - but I'm in a better mood today than I was yesterday. I don't like using the word "complain"; it sounds too much like "whining". But, I guess that's what it is.

On a happier note -

Isobel of Mar! It's a bit difficult from the picture to see the detailing, but it is an accurate depiction of the colour. I'm knitting it from stashed 3-ply Hebridean from Virtual Yarns in the "Summertide" shade. Stashed 3-ply Hebridean...whoa. OK, actually, it was from another design I had bought that I didn't end up doing. Which one...can't remember now. But anyhoo, it makes for the perfect colouring for this design. You can really see the detailing of the cardigan in Marina's finished Isobel of Mar. And my hat is off to her, because at nearly 320 stitches per row, I'm amazed she finished it so quickly! Wait a minute. No, I'm not. It's Marina.

And hey! Look who it is!

Stewie's back! Well, I'm pretty sure it's him, he has the distinct grey tuft of fur on his tail. And he sits by the door, waiting for me to give him some bread. I haven't seen Brian yet (Stewie's companion), but it's early yet. Brian had a tuft of fur missing from his back. And yes, I did bag up the leaves...

"Aw Mom, I'm sorry about the Hearts Tunic and the bum dye job. Here. Let me lie down and nap here on your lap. I'll totally immobilise your left arm so you can't type properly. It'll make us ALL feel better. Really. It will."

Stay tuned! It ain't over.