Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wool - but not knitting

Seems I've temporarily reverted to an earlier hobby, one that is now my day job, pattern-making. Yesterday Toby wasn't well, nothing wrong, just some tummy pains, which disappeared after lunch, but that meant a day at home, and a trip to the doctor and the chemist to stock up on pain relief. So I dug out some fabric from my 'other' stash and made a pattern for a dress that has been forming in my mind for some time. Oh I have been knitting, the sleeves are now at 35 cm (no photo), and spinning, I've finished and plied the Alpaca Silk Merino(ASM), and moved on to the pink Alpaca. So today a preview of my dress, the finished plied ASM, and lastly there is cake, or rather the recipe, given the way the internet works, well I'd bake it but its mighty hard to share - so I've provide the recipe and you can make it yourself. Lastly the latest video ... starting knitting on dpns (- just in case they still scare you).

So - I'm a pattern-maker, or rather I teach pattern-making on a degree ... so I can make patterns for clothes. Do I, not much, after a day spent writing grant applications, and meetings and teaching - well I go home and I want to do something else. But occasionally the bug bites, and the feeling has been brewing a little bit recently. Probably fueled by the students nearing the end of their cumulative graduation project, and all the wonderful creative things they are making. This doesn't compare but I got out my brown paper, my notches, my grading board, my blocks and toiling calico and worked away, I didn't start until 10:30 by the time we got Toby back from the doctor, and I finished in time to get Poppy from school at three, and this is it so far, sketch, pattern, toile, and dress cut ready to seam. I'll probably seam up Friday night. Basically its a loose dress, with an elastic detail forming an empire line. The fabric is fantastic, a very fine wool challis, printed with grey-green-teal gemstones. My own take on a little subtle bling, I know, I'm so late to the bling party. I had 2.5 m of fabric and it was just enough, I've had this in stash from last December and thought it was going to be a classic shirt - but no, turns out its a dress.

and look .. the yarn goes. This is my grey-green Alpaca (65%) Silk (20%) Merino (15%) from Arbordell Alpacas, in Christchurch. We all have colours we have a thing for and right now this seems to be a colour or hue that I'm having a thing for. I've got 244 m at 15 wpi, being mostly alpaca and silk it will suit something drapey, and I'm wondering about a narrow scarf or maybe wristlets? Suggestions please ...

This is my best spinning yet, I think I found my groove, spinning this I found that my feet and hands worked in harmony. Treadle one, hand slides back drawing out the fiber, treadle two, hand slides in smoothing the singles --- a rhythm, nice, easy, pleasant, comfortable but with a needle to pay attention. Nice. Because I only had 89g I three plied as far as I could, then added in the last on the mismatched bobbins by Navaho plying - unconventional I'm sure - but it worked. Its all a 3 ply.

Lastly - Spicy chocolate apple cake, ad featured in the last post.
You will need a 23 cm square tin or equivalent, and a food processor (or you could grate the apples), plus the usual baking things. First heat the oven to 190 C (375 F) and line a 23cm square baking tin or similar. Note in New Zealand a Tblsp is 15 grams, and a Tsp / teaspoon is 5 grams, but its a pretty moist cake so total accuracy isn't really important.

First, make the topping, whiz together until crumbly
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tblsp Flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 25 g butter/margarine or 2Tbspn oil
  • 2 Tbls Almonds
Put the topping aside and using the unwashed food processor bowl, whizz
  • 3 apples, skin, cores and all, until fine but not puree (but take off the stalks first).
then add, and whiz the following in order until just mixed
  • 125 g butter, or margarine or oil, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 and a half cups of flour
  • 2 Tbspn Cocoa (I used drinking chocolate as thats what we had on hand)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • (some times I throw in a small hand full of rolled oats, or ground almonds)
Pour into prepared tin, sprinkle over the topping mixture, and bake with a sheet of baking paper over it for about 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean,
cool on rack for 5 minutes, then remove from tin, serve warm with yoghurt, ice cream, or as is and serve cold latter.

Lastly a new video, again responding to a u-tube request, showing the process of knitting on dpns. I have a little trick involving casting on 2 extra stitches and then interlocking them and decreasing them away in the first round which makes for a seamless join. Its a long video - and its about the process of starting and using the dpns not the way I knit stitches, if you want to knit like I do try one of the other videos showing the stitch movements more clearly.

take care
na stella

1 comment:

Knitting Linguist said...

I wish I could sew. Truly, I do. I love the design of that dress (very up my alley), and the fabric is luscious! I'd vote for a light drapey scarf that you could wear with the dress -- is there enough there (I can't remember how much) for something that could drape over your shoulders? BTW, the spinning is gorgeous -- very even and so soft-looking :)