Sunday, November 30, 2008

The ultimate twee shopping experience

I went on a bit of a shopping spree at Cabot Circus yesterday to celebrate passing my PhD viva (whoop! major corrections to be done though).
I am so easy to please. If something is either red, has bows or polka dots, I want it. If this goes on much longer, I will look like Minnie Mouse. I do try to vary things a bit but I just love my red dotty bows so. So I now have a new red beret with a black and white polkadotted bow on, a sheer cream blouse with a bow, and some absolutely awesome underwear with little russian dolls all over it.

I'm not going to put a picture of myself in my pants on the internet, but it looks like this. It's hard to see but it also has little metal charms shaped like matryoshka dolls. Love.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Well, I didn't get the knitting job. This was really a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it looks like I blew it.
I really could not have been better qualified, well, unless I had some actual work experience. I will still try to buy a copy of the Knitter, even though I'm not sure how I'll do that. Seeing as this was the last job application I had running in this country, I'll now definitely be off somewhere else. Don't know where, really. I hope I'll actually get my act together and go on my long awaited american road trip.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Warm and cuddly

I'm doing well with my Christmas presents this year. Over a month left and I'm almost done! I decided to make a really luxurious hot water bottle cover for my friend and bought the poshest soft yarn I could find - Mirasol Sulka, with 60% Merino, 20% Alpaca and 20% Silk. Oooh. I could almost become a yarnie.
AS for the pattern, I thought I'd try an illusion pattern. It looks like it's just stripey:

but it has this hidden picture on one side:

and this on the other:

I think she'll like it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

mm. Cakey.

I made some Donauwellen cake the other day, which went down very well with the intended recipient. Unfortunately that only got rid of 5 pieces, and I made a tray of about 20 - and this is a pretty heavy cake. It has a cakey bit, both plain and chocolatey, cherries, a vanilla custard type layer and chocolate on the top. YUM. Fortunately another friend is having a cake party on saturday, so I hope it'll keep until then!
Here's a translation of the recipe I used (from Hausfrauenseite):


For the dough:
  • 200g margarine
  • 200g sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 300g plain flour
  • some vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 6 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 jar of cherries*

* in Germany, cherries are generally sold in big glass jars, in their own juice. You can buy these at Aldi in the UK, but alternatively, tinned cherries probably work too. I think you need about a pound.

for the custard cream:
  • either: 1 packet German "Vanillepudding" powder, 100g sugar, 500 ml milk
  • or: make up a pint of custard, using slightly more custard powder than recommended - it should be quite firm.
  • 250g margarine

For the chocolate icing:
  • 1 bar milk chocolate
  • 1 bar plain chocolate
  • a little fat - lard, butter or margarine - to make the topping shinier and softer. I didn't add this which is why it cracked when I cut the cake.
Whisk together the margarine, sugar and eggs. Combine with flour, baking powder and salt, add a little vanilla essence. Spread half the dough on a baking tray covered in baking parchment (or just greased, if you don't have any baking paper).
Mix the remaining dough with the cocoa and spread over the light-coloured layer.
Scatter the drained cherries over the dough and press them in lightly.
Bake for 20-30 minutes at 200°C in the pre-heated oven.
When the cake has come out of the oven, it needs to cool for a little before you can add the next layer.

Custard cream:
Prepare either German "Vanillepudding" or stiff custard, leave to cool slightly.
When the cake has cooled and the custard has not quite set, stir the margarine into the custard and spread it over the cake.
Leave to set (the fridge helps).

Chocolate topping:
Melt a little fat in a saucepan and add the chocolate (broken into pieces), heat and stir until no lumps are left. I prefer to do this in a bowl set into a pan of hot water, previously boiled in the kettle, it also works and you avoid burning any of the precious chocolate. Spread on top of the custard layer, let it set (fridge again), cut into slices and eat!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

We have a jumper!

After two weeks of near-continuous knitting, I have finished my new jumper. The design changed quite a lot in the progress - it was going to have a bib front with a ruffle around it, but I realised it would be too difficult to fit it into the zig-zag lace pattern and it would also have become too busy. So I just continued in the pattern and made some yoke decreases, with a few purl rounds near around the shoulders. I think it has come out really well and that I'll get a lot of wear out of it. It only needs blocking now!

Red Lacy Jumper, pre blocking

Mainly, I'm just relieved that now I've finished this project, I can stop watching quite so much TV for a while.

Here it is after blocking, on me! I love it. It's really long, so finally a jumper that doesn't expose your muffintop, my mum will approve of the kidney protection. And quite flattering, I think. Thank you, Elizabeth Zimmermann!

Red Lacy Jumper

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


My lovely plan of selling yarn, needles, patterns etc at St Nicks Market is probably dead. And that after I have already put so much effort into launching a viral word of mouth campaign... well, not really, I've just excitedly blabbed to everyone in earshot about my genius ideas. I didn't get a stall again this week so it isn't really worth buying any stock for the few weekends I'm still in Bristol before Christmas. Boo.

On the other hand, I may be back after Christmas if I get this awesome knitting job in Bath! And it's looking good - I got through the interview stage at least, and now have to proof read, correct and size-grade a couple of patterns. And sh*t the bed, it's a lot harder than I thought. I had this blasé attitude that it would just come naturally, but it's not that simple and takes a while to get into, also this one pattern seems to have more mistakes than correct instructions, so I'm starting to wonder if I'm correcting the right bits. Hmmmmm.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Better than Cath Kidston

In preparation for my possible market stall next saturday, I've been making some knitting needle cases:

(here you can see it rolled up and in another colourway) The consensus at yesterday's Stitch'n'Bitch was that people would pay in the region of 12 pounds for them (The Cath Kidston version costs 20 quid but is of course much less cute). Do you agree?