Thursday, 30 April 2009

the crochet approach

i have been wanting to do some crochet for a while now, but it has been a bit of a "one day" thing. you know - one day i'll do such and such. recently i have been trying to get around to doing some of those of "one day" things. see, i actually can crochet - i still have the red scarf that i crocheted a few years ago to prove it. but the problem is that i can't actually remember how to do it anymore. so having stumbled across Pip's How to Crochet post, along with being inspired by her great granny-a-day's i thought, now is the time. so, i have been practicing and practicing over the last few weeks and i have discovered that really, i am not very good at following instructions. i have a 'how to crochet' book, which despite my best intentions, i absolutely cannot understand it. (the book shall remain nameless, as i am sure that the fault lies with me). i then looked up a couple of online tutorials and couldn't understand them either. so i spent about a week practicing chain stitch and then just making the rest up. a solution, which fairly predictably, did not make for the best crochet - you can see, i seem to have made some DNA (which won't un-twist) and to have crocheted a thimble (my attempt at circular crochet) - but it was an interesting experience. i think the problem is that i tend to be a bit off-we-go in my approach. and i seem to have more faith in my ability to 'just work it out' than i have actual ability. failure then ensues. so i have decided to have change of approach and have turned to the purl bee tutorial for help. surprisingly, i can actually understand it (the great pics help). so here's to a new crochet approach. i'll keep you posted on how i do...

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

can you get lower "craft miles" than this?

i finished this scarf a couple of weeks ago, but today was the first day that i have worn it. such a lovely scarf for such a very cold day.  

i love this scarf for a few reasons, partly because it reminds me of green green grass. but even better than that, it is a local scarf, with very low "craft miles". see, i live within walking distance of the collingwood children's farm in melbourne. the farm is exactly that, a farm, with sheep and cows and pigs and growing things. i go there every month to the farmer's market, either walking or on my bike and when i was there last year i bought some wool. the wool comes from the sheep at the farm. they sheared the sheep, and then they gave the raw wool to the hand weavers and spinners guild, in carlton. there, it was dyed green green green, and then spun out into a lovely skein and given back to the farm to sell. i bought it last year, brought it home and started knitting. 

in its whole life it hasn't travelled more than about 4km from where it grew on the sheep. i find that really special. it would seem to me to be fairly rare to be able to identify the origin of the wool you use, let alone have it move so little from where it grew (unless you have your own sheep and well done you if you do). so it makes my heart warm as well and my neck...

Monday, 27 April 2009

commitment bread

i can’t actually remember how but i stumbled across it, but i found pip’s bread recipe here. i have been making bread for awhile now, but unlike pip i use a bread maker to do the heavy kneading (one of the downsides of computer use – rsi – means kneading by hand is not for me). i have been experimenting with lots of different type of bread. two favourites so far have been honey and oat bread and muesli and date loaf. for the honey and oat, i am pretty lazy, and just let the bread maker do the whole thing – i put the ingredients in and press the buttons and walk away. easy as pie (well, easier actually). where as the muesli and date loaf does require a bit more effort. i only get the machine to do the kneading, and then i pop it in a proper bread tin for the second rise and bake it in the oven. but its not much harder to make.

but pip’s bread in our house it is referred to as ‘commitment bread’ because you have to commit two days to make it. you do the starter on day one, and then wait until day two before you actually make the bread. it has quickly become the ABSOLUTE favourite in our house now. i am a bit of a wholemeal bread fan though, so today i thought i would replace 1 cup of the flour with wholemeal, just to see how it goes. mmm wholemeal…i also put a bowl of water in the bottom of the oven, to make extra crunchy crusts. it turned out pretty damn good, chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside.

but one of my favourite things about this commitment bread is the imprint from the tray i cooked it on:

Saturday, 25 April 2009

art space

so, here we are, another saturday, full of coffee and promise, with time and art and stuff to do. but no space to do it in. see, about 6 months ago, i acquired a spare room. a lovely light filled space to spread out and art and sew and enjoy. its a great room. but at the moment it is being used as a guest room - we have a random south african staying with us for the next three weeks. before that we had another soon-to-be-wed friend staying for two weeks. i have somehow turned into the friend with the guest room, rather than the one who has space for making stuff. the other night, after the groom's wedding, but before the south african came to stay, i sat in the spare room for awhile. pottered, putting away this and that. planning some projects and just allowing the art space back into my lungs. then i changed the sheets, made up the bed and got out a clean recently purchased guest towel. and wondering how i had managed to turn my art space into a hotel room, i closed the door behind me on my way out.
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