Saturday, 29 May 2010

The One Where A Car Drove Off With My Cotton Reel

How do I begin?...
Well to start with, unfortunately I don't have any photos to illustrate my yarn.
I told you that I had taken up dress-making classes, right? Well, last Monday night I took along my sewing machine to class in order to get some help as I was having trouble picking up the lower thread. Apparently this is a common problem with my particular model (a Toshiba SPA15). Fortunately the lovely Carrie quite by chance has the same machine, and was able to help me fix the problem.
This explains why I drove to class, which isn't too far away: I had to carry my not-so-light sewing machine. Stay with me, I'm getting to the crux of the story...
When I got home, and opened the front door, I suddenly felt a tug on the machine I had cradled in my arms. Would you believe, I had left the cotton reel from the top of the machine in the boot of the car (it must have fallen off when I was driving), and I had carried the machine across the street and into the house with it still attached to the car.
The tug I felt was actually a passing car taking the thread with it! I couldn't believe the thread didn't snap. This all resulted of course, in me traipsing round the neighbourhood trying to untangle the entire mess, meanwhile tying my legs, ankles and knees together at regular intervals. The whole adventure took about half-an-hour, and I ended up with a huge pile of unusable tangled thread.
Everyone I have told this to said they wished they had been there and had had a video camera to capture it. It was funny, and I'm sure the neighbours would have found it hilarious if they were looking out of the window, this scatty woman wandering around Brook Green in search of
some (to them) invisible thing.

Not Much Knitting, But Lots of Food

Progress on the Tank Top is really slow, so in the meantime let me show you some food instead:
This is a Nigella's Chocolate & Coke cake that I made for DH's Birthday. It may not look like much, but let me tell you, it was amaaaazing. You actually put a whole (small) bottle of coke into the mix, and though the mix seems incredibly runny, it actually sets into a delicious, moist cake. You can't taste the coke, but let me tell you, there's a whole pack (250g) of butter in the cake, and another whole pack in the icing!
Between the two of us, our friend Louise and her family, we polished the whole thing off over the weekend. I had thought I'd be taking the leftovers into work on Monday but there weren't any!
The cake had followed DH's requested Birthday meal of Spaghetti & Meatballs, his favourite.

Lastly, this is Gypsy Tart that I made last weekend for a beautiful, hot, sunny day (our one day of Summer for 2010?) last weekend, when DH's family came over for his Mother's Birthday lunch.
There are only three ingredients: pastry (if you don't make it yourself), evaporated milk and muscovado sugar. It's veeeery sweet yet not rich, and it's light and sultry. We loved it, and I'll be making this one again! My Mum told me about it (she's made it and the family loved it) so of course I wanted to give it a try.
What do you use for your baking beans? I've always used my Mum's staple: Black Eyed Beans, and they work really well.

Let me know if you want any of the recipes. I didn't mean to come across as blowing my own trumpet, and I can't take the credit as the cake recipes aren't my own, but I can tell you that you won't be disappointed if you try any of them.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Colour Me Happy

DH dragged me to Purl Soho at their new premises (it wasn't exactly hard to get me there, but it was nice to know that he wanted to go too).
Would you look at the wall of wool? Please can I have one at home?!
It was huge, perfect, my home from home. Fabrics were at the back, and though I flirted with the idea of getting some, I managed to concentrate on yarn alone.

The staff were great, very helpful and it was all over a truly inspiring experience.

Of course I broke my yarn-buying ban, but as Toad has already pointed out, it doesn't count when you're abroad. I'll take that.
Here's 7 skeins of Manos Wool Clasica in Tomato, destined for the Hourglass Sweater in what else, Last Minute Hand-knitted Gifts (Purl Soho's owner's book).

I couldn't resist a ball of Knit Collage in Cherry Blossom. I've seen photos of and read about this, and just had to give in to the urge. I may make a small cushion and back it in a floral fabric.

Can you see the little crocheted and fabric flowers that are attached, and little strands of silver. It's very girly and pretty, hand-spun of course.

I also picked up two little kits, the Japanese one for me and the penguin for my Mum. They should be fun to do (apologies again for the rotating photos).

Last of all, some little heart stitch-markers: aren't they sweet?

In Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, I spotted my first ever knit grafitti:

And at the Frick in New York, this beautiful La Greuze painting, "The Wool Winder".

The Big Apple

We were in NY for a wedding, and I'd never been before, so here's my photo tour.

The Met.

Central Park.
Jackie Onassis Reservoir.
The Guggenheim.
Caravaggio at the Met.
Corot at the Met.
Cezanne at the Met.
On the way to Ellis Island on the ferry, we passed the Statue of Liberty.

The Chrysler Building.

Outside the Rockefeller Centre.

From the Top of the Rock.
A Norman Foster building.


Robert Indiana's Love sculpture.

Such a wonderful city, smaller and quieter in comparison to New York. I had the advantage of being with DH, who lived here for work many years ago; he was a great tour guide.

William Penn.

Rodin's "The Thinker" outside the Rodin museum.

Rocky outside the Museum.

At the top of the Rocky steps at the Museum.

A huge Chagall theatre backdrop.

Boathouse Row.
Street mural.

Amish at Reading Terminal Market.

State Representatives who signed the American Constitution.

The Liberty Bell with its famous crack.