Saturday, 27 April 2013

bedsocks et al

I've been pegging away at a pair of bedsocks for my eldest grandson.  I made a pair for his younger sister and with the onset of cooler nights, I realised I had better get going on socks  for his siblings and cousins.

He's hard on socks, but hopefully these will do a couple of years.  Firstly, I'm making them tubular.  He's growing very rapidly at 14 years old and I really don't have any idea just how big to make the socks.  So I thought that if I did tubular socks with a heel, next year they may hopefully still fit him, just a bit shorter in the leg.

Secondly, I'm doing them in Patonyle which as most Australian knitters know is the next closest thing to cast iron.  I know I am happy to wear Patonyle myself, although I also enjoy more luxurious sock yarn.  I throw my Patonyle socks in both the washer and drier and have never had a problem with them after that treatment.

The dark maroon is one of the earlier lots of Patonyle.  When the yarn was discontinued for a while a few years ago, I scored quite a few balls, the smaller 50 gm type, on eBay.  I have another couple of balls in same colour.  The grey and white is some of the new release Patonyle in 100 gm ball.  I'm using two strands and 4 mm needles.  The fabric isn't stiff and they grow fairly quickly when I actually remember to work on them.  Hopefully he won't do as he did with a previous pair of socks when he was younger.  I was presented with a sad sock with pulls in the yarn and several holes and lots of ladders.   He asked if I could mend them.  Well perhaps I could, but it would have taken a long time. He had run around the backyard without shoes or slippers, just socks.  The dog they had then had played with him and had chased him, nipping at his heels and basically destroying the socks.

The days here have been beautiful this week after a very cold, windy and wet weekend a few days ago.  I sat on my balcony in the sun  today to work on these.  It was lovely.  Now the sun has moved around it's too chilly to be out there, but the days are lovely.

My eldest son and his wife have had the family collection of slides and the old projector for a long time.  They have spent a lot of time over the last few months scanning the slides into a  digital  format.  Some were past redemption as the projector had eaten the slide when it didn't move through properly.  Some were just plain poor photos.  The other day they gave me a memory stick with almost 700 photos on it, the first selection of what they have done.  My goodness, the memories!

Mum and dad always had a Malleys picnic kettle and water in the car boot, along with a small old globite case.  Remember those?  Like patonyle socks, they were discarded only for a larger one.  They were indestructible. Mine fell out of the train once and suffered no ill effects.  The case contained picnic cups etc and also tea and coffee.  There are pictures of a morning tea stop beside the edge of a country road and the picnic kettle boiling for a hot drink.  He went through two or three of these over the years and my sister thinks the last is possibly at her daughter's.

Middle son was asking about one this week.  They often go on a picnic and camp every year.  I found the Malleys is no longer made.  A copy is made in NZ but costs well over $200.  I was not feeling that generous.  Then I did a search and found this.  It's an eco billy from here.  They aren't cheap either but I think that as Malleys kettle was over $30 and that would be possibly thirty year or more ago, it wasn't too bad.  I bought one for him and on Friday I had an apologetic phone call from the owner of the business.  He could not get to the Post Office till next week as he was exhibiting at the Camping Show.  I put my son in touch with the owner.  Son had already been planning on going, so he found the stall and the kettle was handed over.  Win/win situation for all three of us really.  Son said the owner and his wife were lovely people and it was a pleasure to do business with him.  So, as you can see, kettle has been tested.  A sheet of newspaper, or a handful of dry leaves or twigs is enough to boil the kettle which is double walled.

I am totally exasperated with misplaced apostrophes.  This label came with some fancy muesli I bought as a treat from my fruit and vegetable supplier.  Again, another small business making good.  The muesli is really good, but I will use it as a  treat at the weekend  as it's too expensive for every day.  I had burnt fig, almond and cinnamon flavour and it has whole almonds and huge chunks of chewy figs in it.  However, I looked  at the blurb which came with it and  shuddered.  I have emailed the company but not had an answer.  Aaargh!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

the staff of life

As I've noted before, I've been making bread for years, too many to want to count actually.  However with the no knead recipe flying around the internet and people like Cindy turning out lovely loaves, I thought I would give it a try.  Cindy cooks all sorts of things but has always shied away from yeast cooking.  She made a loaf of this no knead bread and now seems hooked.

So yesterday afternoon, I had a look at this recipe which is called Josh's even lazier than no knead bread.  That's why the baking paper is in my picture.

I had too much water in my mix so added more flour in this morning.  I was still unsure whether I was wasting my time but decided to cook it anyway.  This is how it turned out.  Picture was taken about a minute after it came from oven.  The recipe suggests the baking paper being used so there is basically no cleaning up.  Dough is turned on to the paper for shaping, not onto a floured bench, then put in a very hot cast iron casserole or anything oven proof providing it has a lid.

This loaf has about 35% Attar flour which is an Indian wholemeal flour available certainly in Coles.  It has a pleasant nutty flavour.  I'll experiment with another mix, but this was certainly easy and looks as if it should be delicious.  I might try the quince jelly I was given last week on a slice.

I smiled at this picture this morning when I opened the site of my fruit and vegetable supplier to place an order.  He regularly places recipes and other related items on the site.  I can really identify with this picture.  I love pretty well all types of cheese, although I seem to have cut down a lot on my consumption of it. I have no cholesterol type problems, just seem to be eating less cheese than I used to.  However, I really agree with the picture.  Cheese improves many things. I always have some reggiano or similar in fridge, cheese for pizza stays in freezer, I love a good camembert or brie and am fussy about a good bitey cheddar.  I don't buy blue cheeses often as I have to be very self-disciplind  to have just a small amount.  Gorgonzola melted into lasagne is great, it gives a hard to discern something extra to the lasagne without being obviously gorgonzola.  Bitey cheese with a granny smith apple is good too. I remember making cheese bread in the little Bega woodstove we had on bush property at Wollombi.  It rose so much that the extra cheese I had placed on the top stuck to the roof of the oven!  Everything I cooked smelled cheesy for quite a while after that.  That was a loaf made in a big old fashioned 2 lb. loaf tin.

I went with friend and one son and his wife last night to local good pizzeria.  He had asked two young Malaysian sisters for dinner to celebrate  their birthdays, one a 21st.  They are studying here and he met them in the course of St John Ambulance duties as they have joined a division here.  I gave the Milkweed shawl which is shown in previous entry to the girl who had just turned 21.  I hadn't met her or her sister before although DIL knows them quite well.  She was amazed someone could not only make something like that, but also give her something handmade.  It was a very chilly night here, so she put it on before we came outside.  It is actually simple knitting, very soothing which was what I needed at the time, just rhythmic counting of pattern repeats.  Not hard at all.

Now to see if that loaf has cooled enough to cut.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

it was a dark and stormy night

Well actually, it was a dark and stormy morning.  This very grey photo was taken just after 10:00 am yesterday as I was on  my way to have coffee with another blogger.  We live not far from each other really as the crow flies, but she's close to one road leading to and from the CBD and I'm close to another from a different direction.  I needed two buses to get to the coffee shop, regardless of which way I went.  The Town Hall tower or clock is being renovated or cleaned or whatever, and this scaffolding and awning has been erected around it.  Yes, it really was as dark as the sky shows.  The breeze was cold.  However, I managed to avoid any rain and we had a pleasant morning.  She gave me a jar of beautifully clear quince jelly which she had made.  Nicely set and tastes great.  I had some on a piece of bread when I returned home.  A pleasant morning which actually turned into a sunny afternoon despite this beginning.

I can imagine a duelling pair of advertising agencies.  The Audi dealership has been there for years, probably at least fifteen.  The wall hosts many posters which are fixed by several men abseiling up and down the wall.  Some ads are clever, others like the last one are unpleasant  for one reason or another.  The last one was garish red and yellow and was spruiking medications for men.

This poster is much more subdued and even classy if such a thing can be classy.  However, I can imagine the firm concerned smirking behind a hand and saying something like, "Here's one in the eye for you."  The BMW ad is directly in the line of vision from the upstairs of the Audi dealership.  This photo was taken just after dawn this morning.   All the photos are a good deal clearer when enlarged by clicking on them.  The light is poor in  each photo. It's just possible to see the Audi sign on the building.  I was awake so got up and showered as I wanted to take a photo of another Milkweed shawl before the sun sucked all the colour from it.

So here is Milkweed, certainly version 3, possibly version 4.  I'm too lazy to go back and check.  It's done in Lana Gotto on 5.o mm needles, part of the new Addi Clicks set I bought.  It took almost five balls of the yarn.  I had bought it for something else which never worked so I did this.  The pattern is easy, just needs some attention to it so decreases line up properly.  Last week was unpleasant with totally untrue accusations from DIL against me and another DIL.  Accompanied by some strange behaviour which I think is fuelled by excessive dieting which has been accelerated by probably amphetamines.  Courtesy of the new boyfriend and I was very sad about it.  She's lost over 30 kg in a bit over three months and lunch one day last week when I was there was a can of  CocaCola.  Not good and I'm sure her brain is affected.

The rhythmic knitting was just what I needed to block out some of what she had said.  When I started it I just knew I needed to knit something like this.  I have a couple of these and enjoy using them.  By the end of the week, a recipient had arisen and I'll give it to her on Saturday.

I still need to weave in the numerous ends on the wrong side.  It's bigger than shown here.  Several inches are over the top rail on my awning and it's held there with some pegs.  There's  a kink in the centre from another peg and the yellow of that can just be seen through the shawl.  This too was taken early this morning, not long after dawn.  I face northwest and the bright sun sucks colours easily later in the morning.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

going postal

No, not the Pratchett book, although I did enjoy the screen adaptation of this last year.  I've been reading Pratchett lately.  I'm currently reading Nation and I read Dodger a couple of weeks ago.  Miss Twelve, who used to be a voracious reader is also reading some of her dad's collection of Pratchett's stories.  She discovered Manga comics and  that's OK to read.  Peer pressure that reading is not cool dampened her reading appetite.  However, she is now being bribed.  Her mum does not give her any pocket money so she is being given $10 for each book she reads.  Yes, it's bribery, but in a good cause and she is actually enjoying reading again.  Sort of situational ethics, I guess, the  end justifies the means.

No, my title refers to the surprise when I checked my mail box a few minutes ago.  There's often a pile of trash and I get little posted material.  Most of my bills come via email and I pay them online or by direct debit.  There were five letters today, all addressed to me.  No junk stuffed in the box.   Three were small pendants I bought as part of birthday presents for the granddaughters.  I'll need to add to them, but it's a start.  They aren't "little" girls any more, they have more than enough play things and stationery.

One was a catalogue from a firm I occasionally buy vitamins from.  Sort of junk mail, sort of addressed mail.

The fifth was a voucher for $30 for a supermarket.  I have  been buying a particular brand of cheese for years.  It's good and strong, but also importantly, it's been consistently good over the years.  I've cut down a lot on the amount of cheese I eat, not deliberately but it's definitely less.  The last three packs have been nowhere near as good as I expected.  They have had excessive salt and I actually threw out about half  a pack of the last I bought.  That annoyed me, so I emailed them giving batch details etc.  I received a very prompt reply and this $30 voucher.  The letter said their reputation was important to them.  So good service there.

Easter Day lunch was good and the slow roasted lamb was a great success.  Master Seven made and flew paper planes and Miss Twelve borrowed my big camera.  I did set it on auto, I use the manual settings, and I explained the distance setting to her.  She took some good photos, and deleted those which she didn't like.

I bought some Lana Gotto Supersoft merino a few months ago for a short row shaped shawl  I've tried it a few times, haven't reached anywhere near the shaping and given up.  So two days ago, I started Milkweed again.  I think this is the fourth time I've made  this pattern, it's easy and effective and fairly quick.  The yarn is pleasant but it's very splitty.  The needles are the new Addi clicks I bought.  Not Addi lace which are quite sharp.  Even these fairly blunt  needles split this yarn if I am not really careful.

It's cool and wet here today, very restful actually.  I'm going to make a small pie from the very last of Sunday's roast and vegetables and leftover gravy.  It's that sort of day.  Then I'll freeze the bone for  some lamb and barley soup.