Tuesday, May 29, 2007

More knitting, and a walk down memory lane

I have not done much to report in the last couple of weeks, but have learned to knit cables. Hooray! This is a scarf I knitted for my mum's birthday. I'd always imagined cables would be very tricky to do, but in fact there is not much to it, just using an extra little needle to swap some stitches around every few rows, and then the twisted rope just forms itself.

I was knitting it right up until I gave it to mum, I pretty much cast it off the needles and then handed it over, so I didn't take very good photos of it - it is made from a really soft alpaca yarn which was lovely to knit with.

We have been visiting family in Sydney, which is always really nice - I sometimes wish we lived much closer to my parents, they are such willing babysitters, and Thomas just loves them.

While at mum and dad's I found this paper mache zebra I had made as a teenager. Mum had kept it all this time. This was another of my many crafty phases - for a while I really got into this and made all sorts of animals - I loved the fact that you could make pretty much anything you could imagine, using just newspaper masking tape and glue, even though craft wasn't very fashionable at that age. I have a secret hope that Thomas will enjoy doing some crafty things with me when he gets a bit older - we will have to wait and see.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Finally some progress

I've finally sewn the rows together with the sashing on the quilt, and am very happy with how it looks - thanks to everyone who made suggestions. It took so long because I am not very good at cutting and sewing straight lines - lots of unpicking!

I still have to put on the borders, not to mention actually, like, quilting it, but it still feels good to get this far. I am thinking that I might make it a single bed size quilt for when Thomas eventually moves out of his cot. It should be finished before then anyway.

I think I might have to try something quick and easy for my next sewing project. I love the look of the binding on these clever baby shirts, they are quite similar to this wrap top of his which I just adore and have been thinking of copying. I can just see a shirt with Japanese fabric binding (how predictable am I becoming!)

I have been enjoying knitting lately, because it is something I can take with me anywhere, and I can pick it up easily when I have five minutes, or while watching tv in the evening. It is also less intimidating to tackle baby size knits.

This is the latest, a little cardigan for Thomas. I seem to have a thing for variegated yarn - you never quite know what patterns will form when you start knitting it up, so it keeps things interesting.

And finally, some fallen leaves outside our front door. More variegated colours. While Warren looks forward to the winter snow (not where we live, but in the Snowy Mountains, not too far away) I love this time of year, glorious leaves, cool enough to enjoy walking, and not yet that biting chill in the air.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Winter on the way

After weeks of staying home, we have now had two weekends away in quick succession. Last weekend we went to Perisher Valley for a working bee to get the Nordic ski shelter ready for the upcoming cross country ski season. We stayed at a lovely house in Jindabyne, this is the view from the balcony. Warren is a very keen cross country racer, and I think he will have Thomas skiing as soon as he can walk.

I took some knitting for the long car ride, and managed to finish a hat to match the jumper, from some wool I had left over. Poor Thomas looks very serious in this photo, he's probably wondering what he will be forced to wear next, knitted underwear?

Making the pompon for the top was fun, I hadn't done that in years, but I made the cardboard circles too big, so it turned out to be enormous, practically as big as Thomas' head. I'd used up all the blue wool, so instead of starting again, I had to trim it back to size. Our house is now covered in a layer of blue fuzz.

My mum dropped off some children's books for us a while ago, and I was looking through them today and found this craft book. It has some very seventies fabrics and styles, but some of the dinosaurs look quite cute, I might have to try to make one someday.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

A short sea change

We had a great couple of days away, driving through the mountains to some lush green countryside - this is Tilba Tilba, and then on to Narooma.

It was the first time Thomas had really seen the water, or a pelican and he seemed quite intrigued by it all.

Now we are back home and have had our last visitor for a while, and I've finally got back to the long neglected quilt. I was inspired by Rachel completing her beautiful calendar project. I need a bit more of that kind of staying power to finish this off.

We have been enjoying this banana bread recipe, now that bananas are affordable again (for a while they were a luxury item in Oz). I hadn't made a cake for a while and I was reminded how fun it is to bake things from scratch. A lot more instant gratification than quilting, that's for sure!

one and a half cups plain (all purpose) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
quarter teaspoon salt
125g butter softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 large very ripe bananas
half a cup buttermilk (or quarter of a cup each of plain yoghurt and milk if you don't have buttermilk)

Preaheat the oven to 170 C or 325 F
Grease a loaf tin (9x5inches or 23 x 12 cm)
Sift together flour baking powder, bicarb and salt
In another bowl cream the butter and sugar with an electric beater until pale and fluffy
Gradually add beaten eggs, mixing well after each addition
Add mashed bananas, then add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beating well after each addition
Spoon into the tin and bake for 55 to 60 mins or until the top of the bread is firm and deep brown, and a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for ten minutes then turn onto a wire rack.

We found that it tastes even better after a day or so. Keeps for several days wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge, or can be frozen.

Happy baking.