I have become such a lazy blogger - even when I have multiple finished objects, and pictures of them, I don’t seem to be able to get organized to blog about them! So here they are all together, the product of my needles over the last few months.

(sorry about the slightly rubbish quality of the photos - uploads from my blackberry are playing up at the moment)

More Monkey socks

I’ve knitted this pattern three times now, and will definitely do it again. There’s just something about it that makes it the perfect balance between not-boring and not-time-consuming. I prefer them without the purl stitches though (well, makes it even quicker).


Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A
Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Corsage (I am IN LOVE with this yarn and replaced this skein 8 rows before casting off)
Mods: No purl sts, toe-up

TIny Shoes

Because I couldn’t bear to stop knitting with the Tosh Sock!


Pattern: Tiny Shoes by Ysolda
Yarn: leftovers from above
Mods: I altered the strap slightly, but otherwise as written

Endpaper Mitts

My first time knitting this pattern, and first Koigu colourwork - in LOVE (um, does that make me a bigamist?…) The fabric created is just yummy :-)


Pattern: Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang
Yarn: Koigu PPPM, nearly a skein of MC a bit under half of CC
Mods: I changed the thumb to a normal gusset, and added an outline MC stitch each side to make clearer stripes.

Happy-Ruth Star

This was a little present to cheer up a pal who had a rough task to endure!


Pattern: Mini-Stern Kissen by Annette Maass
Yarn: Koigu PPPM scraps
Mods: I picked up sts for the second star rather than knitting two and sewing, added buttons.

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As I suspected, once I finally got going it didn’t take me long to weave this project. I crossed the finish line well within the deadline and the runner (skier) is proudly holding up my spindle collection on the bookshelf.


I’m not entirely happy with the sett, the weaving seems a little loose to me. It may tighten up a little with a wash, but I haven’t washed it and somehow, now it’s in place, I suspect laziness will kick in!


I have a bit of yarn left over, I started with 100m of each colour and guess I used about half the green and most of the white. The runner measures 23″ including fringe and there wasn’t too much loom waste thankfully. One good thing about the Rigid Heddle is that you can pretty much weave right up to the end of the warp, I think I lost about 4 inches of yarn.


This was a practice run for a bigger project I’m planning later in the year, and I’m pretty confident now that I can manage that one without messing it up. I just have to get spinning for it!

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This year, I joined Team Suck Less for the Ravelympics, hoping to suck less at something over the course of the Winter Games in Vancouver.

I decided that my most needy area was in cotton - not the spinning of it, I have lots of little skeins, but actually using it up! So I pledged to actually weave something out of my Charkha spun cotton.


The tricky part of this is not the weaving, the project will be small, plain weave and will probably take a couple of hours. The challenge, which I haven’t yet overcome (loom is empty), is to actually start - you see I need to chop handspun cotton up into little bits to make a warp, and that is a bit tricky. This cotton represents a fair bit of sweat and tears and is very precious!


While I psych myself up, I have been spinning more on the charkha, just to get myself in the mood, and have finished a few more skeins. This is kind of a practice run for a bigger project I’m planning for the summer, so it won’t hurt to have a bit more yardage lying around.

So, wish me luck! And let me know if you’re challenging yourself for this Ravelympics.

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With the closure of The Inside Loop, all pattern rights have reverted to the designers and designs are to be made available individually. Most designers are choosing to store their patterns as free Ravelry downloads, some have updated or expanded the patterns and are now charging for them. Please contact the relevant designer if you have a question about any Inside Loop patterns.

I have listed my three patterns from The Inside Loop on Ravelry as free downloads. I hope you continue to enjoy them!



Express Lane

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Just a note to let you know that I have a bunch of books, yarn and fibre to destash during February. I’ll be donating 50% of all proceeds to MSF for use in Haiti and anywhere else they’d like to send it.

Please visit my Ravelry de-stash page for yarn and fibre…


Folk Mittens by Marcia Lewandoski *sold*

First Book of Modern Lace Knitting by Marianne Kinzel

The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns by Ann Budd

Plus a couple of stitch dictionaries, and some spinning books including The Ashford Book of Spinning by Anne Field

Make me an offer!

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A few months ago, I heard of a book called The Flavour Bible. I read a few reviews and decided it was just what I’ve been looking for - a book designed for people who can already cook, leaning more towards inspiration and suggestion rather than recipes. I have been cooking since I was wee, and I have never used any of the numerous recipe books I’ve fallen for over the years, so I banned myself from buying any more! I occasionally invest in baking books, but that’s different, being more of a science and less of a throw-it-in-the-pot-and-see-what-comes-out.

I finally got my copy of TFB last week and have been browsing and planning menus, but today I feel it really proved its worth. I got to the end of my soup, tasted, and decided it needed something. I wanted a herb, but which herb? So I looked up Pumpkin - the dominant flavour in the mix, TFB suggested bay leaves, so I added bay leaves, simmered a couple of minutes and voila!

I was so excited that the theory actually worked that I have written up the recipe for you to try if you are so inclined.


Pumpkin, Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

1 very small pumpkin
1 large sweet potato
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs butter
1 1/2 cups pre-cooked lentils
2 (ish) cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the pumpkin and sweet potato into pieces, skin on, and coat liberally with the oil and spices, dot butter on top and roast in a baking dish at 200C for 1 hour or until squishy.

Scoop the flesh out of the skins into a pot and puree with enough stock to make it nice and soupy. Stir in the lentils and the bay leaves and simmer a few minutes to heat through.

Season, and add cream perhaps if you’re feeling decadent (I didn’t have any).


My lentils were leftovers from yesterday, I had cooked them in chicken stock following standard packet directions.

I tend to use chicken stock for everything, but no doubt it would taste just as good with vegie. You could probably leave out the butter too to make it vegan, but I like the way it behaves with roasted vegies.

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Take 1 Snow Day, 1 skein of super-squidgy handspun yarn, 1 pair chunky needles.

Cast on 64sts and go around and around in mistake rib until lunchtime.

Make a warm and cosy kedgeree for lunch, ease out the sofa-kinks in your neck and shoulders.

Go around and around some more, contemplate turning on the TV but decide that watching stitches form in perfect squidgy yarn is enough.

Decrease sharply, knit i-cord until it becomes dull.

Weave in ends, and wear to watch the snow melt the next day.


Yarn: Handspun Merino 3-ply, fibre from Oceanwind Knits, heavy worsted/aran weight.
Colour: Galvanized
Needles: 5.5mm
Pattern: round 1: k2, p2 around, round 2: k1, p2, k1 around

When I first spun this yarn (last summer maybe?) I had a big squidgy hat in mind already. It’s perfect for it. And this fibre is amazing. In fact, my first thought when I finished the last bobbin… “No more Oceanwind Knits in my stash!” :-( And now it’s knitted up it’s really all gone.


Must buy some more…

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It’s been a while, but I’m sure you’ll all understand when I explain that I was busy soaking up sun, sun and more sun at home in Australia :-D

You can stop poking me now.

Here’s a picture so you can see I’m not fibbing:


And yes, of course this is what all Australians (and South Africans) do at their weddings.

We also went camping (pictures from my sister sometime I hope), and spent time at the beach house for New Year’s. I took a break from all knitting, spinning, pilates and anything else that could be construed as work. It was fabulous.


At this time of year, it is traditional to look back in the archives of one’s blog and see what plans were laid out for the year and whether they were achieved or not. From 2009:

1) Finish a handspun colourwork vest (that will be the Deep-v Argyle) Ahem - no.
2) Finish a fullsized (i.e. long-sleeved) handspun sweater See above.
3) Finish (at least) one small and one large handspun shawl Large - tick, small no.
I’d also like to…
4) Knit more stash than I buy (I am in a sock club and a fibre club - so seriously, what else do I need???) Well, I have a lot less stash, but that was partly due to some judicious de-stashing. So kind of achieved.

I was kind of screwed on all of this by the issues I had with my back, so the list was doomed from the start really. But we could make a new list:

1) Train for a new career - tick
2) Set up a new business and begin to establish a client base - tick
3) Get myself back into shape physically (from a long way down, believe me!) - tick

I’m not making any promises this year, but I do have a goal… We’ve fallen into a bit too much of a cycle of going for the easy take-out or meal-from-a-jar options. This year’s challenge is to establish routines of cooking quality meals and reducing the rubbish to a minimum. This is partly financial, partly do you realise how much crap is in take-out and processed food?

I want to make more of my own bread (got a great sourdough book for Christmas!) and try interesting flours. I want to investigate the Slow Food movement more thoroughly. I will still have nights where I can’t be bothered cooking, but that’s what freezers are for. Chilli anyone? I want to entertain more, something we did all the time at home but seems to have fallen by the wayside here. I want to try more new things instead of just ‘Monday is pork chop night’. I want to visit the market occasionally and buy quality produce instead of tired supermarket imports from the other side of the world. I want to love what I’m fuelling my body with at every meal.

Here’s to a great 2010, may yours be full of friends, fun times and of course, great food!

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Very often I wish I were more clever with things like websites and graphics and css and things that should be easier but seem to sneak up and make themselves go wrong just to be nasty.

And then I remember that I can do a mean Double Leg Stretch and well, you can’t be good at everything!

After much tweaking, and grumbling, and swearing, and desperate calls for help to people-who-know-more-than-me (that’s most people), I figure it out and launched the new website.


The amazing Ali did the photography for me, and Nathalie agreed to pose as a ‘client’. They turned out fab.

Come and see the rest here at Reach Pilates

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Now that the madness of training is all over, I have been taking a bit of a rest period. Thinking back, I don’t think I ever switched off from Pilates from the minute I signed up for the course, I even had anatomy books with me on holiday in Turkey (my idea of fun!). Apologies to all those who were subjected to my raving on about musculature and repetitions…

The first thing I did was take off for a short holiday with Kai in Germany (well, ok, really the first thing I did was hit the pub…). We didn’t really do anything except sit on our butts and gossip and knit - it was the perfect break! I got through quite a bit of Christmas knitting and partook of the third installment of Learning Indian Cookery From Kai (yum).

Now that I’m back I’m getting stuck into business planning. The website is almost ready, I have a logo on the way and I’ve been sending out feelers to prospective employers. I’m hoping to have everything neatly in place so that I can completely relax for three weeks in Australia, then come back and get straight into working. Today I’ve been de-cluttering in a big way, prior to welcoming clients into our teeny home. This was the sum total of my entire fibre stash this morning:


It lived under my desk, on top of the kitchen cupboards, behind the sofa, and in practically every drawer in the flat. This is what it looks like now:


A pile of it is at Stash Yarns in a box marked ‘free to good home’ so if you’re swinging by there tomorrow (their last day) please grab whatever you like. I have a few things that will appear on my Rav de-stash page as well.

Next up will be the bookshelf where I keep all my equipment/bobbins/spare whorls/magazines/sewing kit… and I’m not showing you a photo of that one!

Ciao! x

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