Posts By Siabee

Epic Pokemon Cross-stitch Update 22/08/16

As promised, I’m sharing my progress on the Epic Pokemon cross-stitch. It’s going well, many hours of The Wire have been watched, in so far as I’m on the last episode of Season 4.

I managed to do these two guys – Growlithe and Arcanine. Loving their hair, rock on puppies!

Growlithe and Arcanine

Here’s the total progress so far. It’s getting there. Last week I made a quite outrageous claim to Jason that I was going to see if I could finish by Christmas. I understand the importance of reasonable goals but occasionally the crazy ones can push you to achieve as well. Even if I don’t make it, the amount I will have done will still be pretty impressive. The challenge is on!

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It still amazes me with the level of detail each Pokemon has with just a few colours.

I decided after the Pokemon puppies, I would focus on getting rid of some of the pattern pages, rather than focusing on one or two. That’s why you can see like part of four different Pokemon above.

Because it feels like absolutenheaven when you go from this:

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to this!

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Until next time, have fun!

Zanzibar Sock

A few days ago I finished knitting the first of two socks. I’m going to call it the Zanzibar sock after the name of the colourway, Zanzibar. To any that don’t know, colourway just seems to be knitter’s fancy schmancy way of saying the name of the yarn’s colour. I suppose thinking about it now, a lot of yarns aren’t just one colour….

I didn’t get this post up earlier with looking after a sick hubby and then me feeling crappy with a pinched nerve in my neck/shoulder. But here we are now.

I was nervous about doing a cuff-down sock because of the possibility of running out of yarn.  I cast on 68 stitches for what was calculated to be the size i needed, and I went with two inches of 1 by 1 ribbing on the cuff, followed by another half inch of stockinette before I started the heel flap. This is where you knit only half the stitches to go down the back of the heel. You then do a heel turn using short rows, but not the same wrap and turn ones I tried on my first sock. No holes here baby!

I think the sock looks a little weird here, as if it doesn’t sit flat, but note it hasn’t been washed and blocked yet.

There’s also that super unfortunate line across the ankle where the blue transitions to yellow. Booooo!

Zanzibar sock

After the heel turn came the part that I had read a lot of people hate – picking up and knitting the gusset stitches. I think it’s because they don’t know how many to pick up, or are afraid of holes that can appear. I think i did pretty good, I can’t see any holes, so yay! I did watch a few YouTube videos demonstrating the gusset pickups, that really helped.

I went from 34 stitches on the back up to 66, with 34 stitches on the front, or instep of the sock. It felt very awkward with that many stitches for a while, but they go down as you do the gusset decreases to reduce the number of stitches back down the original number. Once it was down to normal, it was just knitting in the round until I got to the toe, where it was the same type of decreases to cause the curved shape.

Here’s a close up of the toe decreases from the side of the sock. You can see the strange ridge all along the sock up the foot where these stitches were the middle of the round so they have a different tension, but when it is washed the stitches will adjust and the line should disappear.H

This picture below shows the sock as it was knitted, working the stitches up towards the toe. Decreases were done one before and one after the side stitches. These are basically knitting two stitches together in different ways to give the sloping effect.

It was scary and exciting to try it on at the end. Good news – It fits perfectly and even on my fat ankle foot, so I won’t need to adjust anything for sock number two.  I’ll definitely show you how they look on when I finish the second one.

I’ve already cast on and down a few rounds of the cuff for the second sock. I shall not succumb to “second sock syndrome” 🙂

You can also see my leftover yarn from ball one, compared to ball two. In all, I used 33 grams out of 55 grams (ball two is 50 grams). I guess i’ll have to make some baby socks to use up this yarn….?

This was a very enjoyable knit. Even though it’s plain, seeing the colours change frequently kept my interest as well as learning some new techniques. I learned to knit decreases, in the form of k2tog (knit two stitches together) and the ssk (slip slip knit) and also how to knit through the back loop, which causes a twist in the stitch. Picking up stitches no longer seems as scary either. Well that it’s for now. I’ll be back probably tomorrow with a Epic Pokemon Cross-stitch update!

Until next time, have fun!

Sesame Honey Slice

This week’s treat is Sesame Honey Slice! It’ll make 12 but be careful, they are so more-ish.

Ingredients:

75g margarine

1/4 cup honey

1/3 cup SPLENDA Granulated Low Calorie Sweetener

175g rolled oats

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

My adjustments – Used butter instead of margarine, used white sugar instead of Splenda and added 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds. I sort of thought when making this they should have called it “Honey Oat Slice with a little bit of sesame”. So feel free to add more more more!

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/160 degrees C fan-forced. Grease and line an 18cm square baking tin (I used a rectangle slice pan, it really doesn’t matter).
  2. Melt the margarine in a saucepan with the honey. Stir in the Splenda, oats and sesame seeds.
  3. Press the mixture firmly into the tin and bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
  4. Set aside to cool completely. Cut into 12 squares. Store in an airtight container.

You really do need to let the slice cool completely as it’s really soft and will just crumble if you try to take it out. But as it cools, the honey will harden and make it really firm, and you’ll have to get your muscles out to cut through that thing.

As you can tell from the photo, I am terrible at cutting equal sized pieces. But it’s all good, because I am now eyeing off that largest one 🙂

Apologies, I do not know the source of this recipe, it could be from one of the Coles free recipe magazines you can get in stores?

Until next time, have fun.

Spiced Ginger Cookies

Recently I’ve been trying to make a sweet snack once a week in attempts to keep the sugar cravings away for Jason and I. I’m on week two of trying to get fitter so please ignore if you can hear my muscles screaming from where you sit.

You may think it’s counter productive to have sweet snacks around but I behave better when I can have a little something, sometimes even resist it completely! I’m aiming to make something on the healthier side (last week it was Fruit and Spice Muffins) or that comes in a smaller portion, as well as avoiding random snack buying costs due to my current unemployment status. I’m prone to having icecream weaknesses….but that really doesn’t help the getting fit goal.

Yesterday I made Spiced Ginger Cookies, which are just delicious. If you like a chewy cookie, you may want to make these. I found this recipe in my August 2012 issue of Super Food Ideas when I recently went through my stash of recipe magazines and yanked out everything I may actually make.

I’m not an enormous ginger fan usually, less is more for me, but I do love gingerbread so I thought these would be a hit. Jason on the other hand, loves it!

Ingredients:

170g butter, softened

1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup golden syrup

2 cups plain flour

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup raw caster sugar

2 tablespoons sliced glace ginger

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C/150 degrees C fan-forced. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and golden syrup. Beat until combined. Sift flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger and cinnamon over butter mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir until combined and a soft dough forms.
  3. Place raw caster sugar in a shallow dish. Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Roll balls in sugar to coat evenly. Place on prepared trays, 5cm apart, to allow room for spreading.
  4. Using the palm of your hand, flatten slightly. Lightly press 1 piece of ginger into the top of each cookie. Bake for 15-18 minutes, swapping trays halfway, or until light golden. Cool on trays fr 5 minutes Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

I didn’t bother with the rolling in extra sugar or the glace ginger. It certainly doesn’t need it. I also didn’t read the instructions close enough and used heaped tablespoons of mixture per cookie. Be warned, they spread a LOT!

The hardest part is to try not to eat them all at once because they are just too yum.

Until next time, have fun.

First Sock Complete

What’s the verdict?

I hate it so much and yet I’m so proud of myself. I actually knit a sock! Surprisingly it wasn’t terribly hard either.

Here’s what I learned from this project.

  • The importance of appropriate yarn. This was super soft baby yarn made of acrylic and nylon. It has no structure to it whatsoever so it’s floppy as hell. Completely unsuitable as a sock yarn.
  • How to do short rows using the wrap and turn method. To recap, its a method to make curves, or turn a corner. I believe my short row holes look a bit bigger because of the size of the needle I used.
  • How to knit in the round using the magic loop method. I’m completely surprised how it confuddled me for two days and now I’m a champion. I’m not sure why that hole appeared in the picture below as I followed the pattern instructions exactly, but it looks like a join wasn’t made. I could stitch it up easily if I wanted.

  • How gauge is so very important to a project. Because of my stressing that the sock wouldn’t fit Jason or I due to our big feet, I upped the needle size to make a larger gauge (how many stitches per inch of knitting) which ended up making a sock even too big for Jason. The flopsy stretchy yarn did not help that in the slightest.
  • How not to freak out about “ladders” as discussed in my last post because they just worked themselves out. I learned a few tips to help minimise them.

  • Again, how important gauge is. This ribbing is much too loose to hold the sock up.
  • How bad it is when you put a provisional cast on BACKWARDS. It was hell transitioning from the toe to picking up the stitches so I could start knitting in the round.

Due to its unsuitability, I will not be making a matching sock to this guy. Jason’s a little disappointed but considering it’d last about 5 seconds on his foot in bed before falling off, he’s accepted it. I’ve promised to make him some a little later.

I picked up a sock knitting book on Amazon after finishing the sock and finding a mention of this on a blog I was reading, called Custom Socks: Knit to fit your feet, by Kate Atherley.  The handy thing about Amazon at times is they let you have a sneak peek in the book and in this case it sold me! In 5 seconds I had paid in Aussie dollars due to the Aussie Amazon Kindle site, so that was awesome, and had it delivered to my iPad’s Kindle app. I then devoured most of it immediately.

It’s got a lot of math in it about measuring feet and how to adjust any part of a sock to fit whatever quirks you may have if your feet don’t fit the “standard” or “average”. It’s extremely in depth and you can tell she has had a lot of experience. I also learned about negative ease. I should be knitting a sock pattern an inch smaller than our feet call for width-wise, due the stretch in the knitted fabric. It’s how we make the socks fit better.

And it has super cute patterns in it as well! I must knit all the socks! I was so excited that I knit up a gauge swatch (albeit smaller than I am meant to because patience is not a virtue of mine :P)

Oh how adorable this self-striping yarn that Lona sent me is. I’m unsure if the yellow gradient is purposeful or accidental, because to be honest, the dye job is not the greatest. There are little flecks of paleness on the blue where the dye didn’t touch or absorb well enough that were definitely not purposeful. But despite that, I still love this yarn. It’s strong but soft at the same time and it knit up like a dream. Because it’s made to be sock yarn, the ply of it is very tight, which is a good thing (according to the above book).

I knit the above on 2.5 mm needles and got smack bang on the gauge required for the socks I want to make from this. 8 stitches per inch and 11 rows per inch. I feel like yelling BINGO! right now.

I measured up my feet last night, both left and right according to Custom Socks, and worked out my ratios, such as foot circumference to ankle circumference, and so on, to see if I had a freaky foot or not. I grabbed this pic from KnittingDaily.com which is also in Custom Socks.

Left Foot (cm) Right Foot (cm)
Foot Circumference (A) 23.7 24
Ankle Circumference (B) 26.7 26
Gusset Circumference (C) 25.6 26
Foot Length (D) 27 27
Low Calf Circumference (E) 33 32
Heel Diagonal (F) 33.5 33
Toe Length (G) 5.1 5.1

Basically what I found is my right foot was larger than my left (knew that from trying to find shoes that fit, plus I’m right-handed, so it’s not strange) and that my left ankle was larger than my right. Also not strange as I tore two ligaments in my left ankle a decade or so ago and it has always been a bit fat since.

I also found, that even though I have large feet (size 10 women in Australia shoe sizing which is usually the largest you can buy easily in everyday shoe stores) the ratios are within normal ranges. Only one of them for the left foot ducked under the median range Custom Socks discussed, by 0.01 due to that fat ankle. So, I think, what I’ll do is knit one sock normal, try it on both feet, and if I need to, adjust the stitches at the ankle for my fatter ankle for the second sock.

Easy peasy!

In other news, I am still ploding away at the Epic Pokemon cross-stitch most nights. I’ve devoured the latest season of Fear the Walking Dead and have started The Wire, under hubby’s insistence.

Well, it’s more like “I’m not pressuring you, but you really should” type of insistence. 🙂

Until next time, have fun!