30 July 2008

Meme and Pay It Forward

Ok, so I was tagged by Katie for the 6 quirky things meme.

Here are the rules.
1)Link to the person who tagged me
2)Mention the rules
3)Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about myself
4)Tag 6 other bloggers by linking to them
5)Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged

So, here goes:
1. My finger tips bend back on themselves a lot further than normal so I can't really hold my hand out flat
2. I love eating peanut butter straight off a spoon and have been doing it for years
3. I was in frog legged plaster when I was little and spent my 2nd birthday in hospital
4. I am a huge fan of Harry Potter, James Bond and Clive Cussler novels
5. I taught myself to knit about 2 years ago
6. I met my husband when I was in my junior ten pin bowling league

So I shall now tag 6 people:
1. quelle erqsome
2. The Kinky Knitter
3. Nyssa
4. Justine
5. Tripping Yarns
6. Yogic Knitter

I'm also going to take part in Pay It Forward. I pledge that I will knit/handmake a gift for the next 3 people who comment on my blog and make sure they get it within the next year. All I ask of them is that they do the same. I've decided to do this after signing up to The Knit Nurse's PIF.

In other news, my interview seemed to go well enough and I will find out by the end of the week.

26 July 2008

July Madness

Recently, I've been both busy and seemingly not done anything at all. Baking has been the primary occupation of the month, as well as knitting and job hunting. The hunt has been going well and I have an interview on Tuesday plus I've applied to some really cool jobs, including one involving explosives! Fingers crossed it'll all go well and I'll have a job soon enough.

I'm currently house sitting for my next door neighbours and looking after their dogs. It's pretty easy as the dogs are really sweet, although a lot bigger than I'm used to. They're running around outside at the moment.

Yesterday was Victoria sponge day, although I still need to take a photo.

Anyway....back to the job seeking and then knitting!

20 July 2008

A slice of New York

So, Andy and I love New York cheesecake. And so do my parents. Mum wanted to make cheesecake anyway so I thought it would be a good idea to try a baked New York style one and pulled a recipe off the 'net. I think it was probably the worst written thing in a long time so I've given it a tweak and thought I should post it here with a photo.

Ingredients

Crust:
1 cup plain flour
¼ cup golden granulated sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 stick butter, softened

Filling:
3 tbsp plain flour
1¾ cup white sugar
1½ tsp lemon zest
1½ tsp orange zest
5 eggs
2 egg yolks
¼ tsp vanilla extract
2½ lbs full fat cream cheese
¼ cup double cream



1. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the crust.
2. Make a well in the centre and add the egg yolk, butter and vanilla extract.
3. Work together with a folk to form a pliable dough.
4. From a ball, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 1 hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6, 400ºF
6. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9” spring form tin
7. Press just over a third of the dough into the base of the tin so that there is an even coating.
8. Bake for 10 mins or until golden brown.
9. Remove from oven and allow the tin to cool.
10. Increase the oven temperature to 240ºC, gas mark 9, 475ºF
11. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, cream, sugar, flour and zests.
12. Beat together using an electric mixer.
13. Add the eggs and egg yolks and beat well.
14. Shape the remaining dough so that it evenly coats the sides of the tin, making sure that there are no holes in the crust.
15. Pour the filling into the tin.
16. Bake for 10 mins and then reduce the oven temperature to 100ºC, gas mark ¼, 225ºF and continue to bake for an hour so that the edges are firm but the middle is still slightly wobbly.
17. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven until cooled.
18. Remove from tin and enjoy!

17 July 2008

Viral Knitting

I hate to say it but I think I have a knitting virus. The February Lady Sweater has found it's way into my queue, I have yarn to knit it with and I've even done a gauge swatch. Ok, so I'll be knitting it for my mum with yarn she bought in the sale but it's still there! Not that there's anything wrong with it and at least I'm not insisting on knitting it for myself, even though I wouldn't wear it.

I've also spent some time this morning thinking about what I will knit with all my yarn stash and what yarn to use with things in my Ravelry queue. I'm quite proud in the fact that I know what will happen to a reasonable amount of my yarn but there are still some things I'm not so sure what to do with. Like the 2 skeins of different colours of Manos Silk Blend. Or my Mirasol Miski baby llama. There's only so many hats, scarves and wristwarmers one person can need!

My sewing machine has also been pulled out of retirement. I say mine, but it was my grandma's and I remember the wonderful stuffed toys and dresses for my dolls that were made on it. I really don't use it enough or very well but I have just fixed 4 pairs of trousers so I feel pretty productive. Maybe, one day, I will get the courage to try and make something out of a real pattern!

16 July 2008

Branched Out

Well, I have had a good day in the knitting sense for I have blocked my scarf! It's the first thing I've had to (bothered to) block and I think it's come out pretty well, if I do say so myself. It definitely needed it as the bottom was all pulled up due to the central line of stitches.


Before and after

I've got a bit extra length out of it too



As promised, I shall mention how Andy's gig went. It seemed to go well, although I wasn't there. I am starting to like the idea of not spending a lot of time around their hardcore fans though as they unnerve me a little.

And another promise....pussy shot!



Not a new one but cute all the same!

15 July 2008

Engulfed in Yarn

Finally, I've got the time to sit down and post a decent update on my goings on and such forth. I should have been able to do it earlier but I've had way too many silly computer related issues but they seem to be fine.

For those of you who don't know, I've moved back to Manchester with Andy and we're now living with my parents. It's not an ideal situation but it's better than trying to rent somewhere when neither of us have jobs yet and the money we're saving can all go towards the huge house deposit fund. At least that still seems to be safe, and growing too. We've finally received some Jobseeker's money and signing on at Stockport was much more of a pleasant experience than Peckham. We were actually treated like humans and there's a few jobs around that might be helpful. We'll just have to see though. We're also going to get all of the deposit back from the flat shortly, which is a bit of a surprise but very much appreciated. The sooner I can sort everything out with that, the sooner I can forget about the last couple of years which I've really hated living there.

We're nicely settled in now and I've been able to get our room pretty reasonable, although it's pretty weird being my old bedroom and there's not really the best amount of space for 2 of us, plus all my yarn! It's good being back though as I get to be close to my family and get to use a much better kitchen now! After spending 3 hours sat around waiting at the Jobcentre yesterday, I thought it would be more fun to bake today so I've spent the whole time running around in my gorgeous 50s style apron. Lots has been baked and made - cookies, ice cream, cake!



But truly the best thing about moving has been getting to sort out my yarn. I've had such a feeling of freedom and relief recently, especially with ridding my room, life and such of all the waste and excess, it's been nice to organise the yarn even better. And realise that I may have bought a little too much in the sales! But I have plans for a lot of it, honest. John Lewis was kind to me and I grabbed some Kidsilk Haze, Noro Cash Iroha, Stella in a gorgeous teal, Pure Cotton for a cardigan for mum, 4ply Cotton for the Clover cardigan in Stitch n Bitch Nation, some sock yarn and also grabbed some yarn for the BBC adipose KAL. And then I bought yarn from the Foreign Strand closing sale which I will probably use for the Interweave KAL. I do seem to be at bursting point with yarn though and it's creeping across the room!



In other knitting news I frogged the Jaywalkers again! I started the gusset increases too late and the foot was going to be huge. I also decided that they seemed too loose. I just think I'll have to find another pattern for the Knitpicks Memories yarn now as I'm just not happy with Jaywalkers at all. I'll be casting on the seduction socks soon for the Interweave sockalong and I'm finishing up the lace garter I've been knitting for my friend Louise. I dread the blocking though as I can't even get round to doing the branching out scarf! I do seem to be losing knitting notions though. I've lost point protectors and my favourite row counter (I think I left it at the Plough a few weeks back) and it's pretty irritating. But I have got a new tape measure, thanks to my Doctor Who swap partner, who got me lots of fabulous things, including some beautiful dark brown alpaca! Unfortunately, it doesn't want to photograph too well at the moment but I assure you, I love it!



Anyway...off I should trundle to bed so that I can get up bright and early to search for jobs and sulk about being unemployed. At least I've found out that the local knitting group is still going on (it's called the Mad Knitter's Tea Party, how perfect) and I'm planning on finding a choir or something so I can start singing again. Plus houses are definitely cheap round here! I can actually afford something!

13 July 2008

Jobless Northern Bum

Well, I feel thoroughly demoralised after spending the last god knows how many hours filling in another Jobseeker's form, as we need to transfer and they still won't pay us any money. I also never heard back from my job interview the other week so I feel pretty annoyed about that. On the plus side, our room at my parents' house is actually looking ok and I have too much new yarn to stay sad forever.

I will return with a proper update including photos of lovely yarny goodness, UFOs and maybe even something a little tasty. Plus there will be an obligatory pussy shot and news of how Andy's gig went (Shepherd's Bush Empire, this time!).

01 July 2008

Ribbit

I am definitely having sock issues right now. Having knitted about 3/4 of my first Jaywalker, I realised there was no way I had enough yarn to finish it so it got frog. That was a sad moment last night at SE22 Knitters (which was already sad as it was my last night there). Now I've hit a bit of a confusion with it. I can't make my mind up if the original sock was going to be a little bit too bit and if I should use the size foot for the next size down. Or if I should try smaller needles. And that means either ordering more fixed circulars from Get Knitted or using DPNs again. If I do an order from Get Knitted, I have to buy yarn; the shipping is too high not to. And there's gorgeous stuff I could use for the Seduction Socks for the Interweave KAL. But I also shouldn't be spending money on yarn and I hate buying stuff on the 'net as it's too hit and miss with the colours. Gah!

I think I know what my plan is; CO jaywalkers using the toe up method with a short row toe. Probably continue in the larger size so that I know they will fit. Decide at some point whether I will do a short row heel or the gusset and heel flap like the original pattern calls for. Whilst doing this, look into dyeing some yarn for the seduction socks. I'm sure I can get the semi-solid teal I'm looking for. I also need to play with the pattern as I have a much bigger foot than the pattern is designed for. I think I will still do these cuff down and just try to not be so ambitious with the leg length this time! But I still want to do Jaywalker as cuff down as I really like the construction and was getting good with my picking up stitches! Gah!