Saturday, 25 April 2009

H is for Hands of Blue, Healed

Two by two, hands of blue.

ABC-along H     ABC-along H

One of the easy ways of discovering who is a Firefly fan is to show them some blue hands. If they back away in fear, you know they are Browncoats. "Two by two, hands of blue" is repeated by one of the major characters when she senses that these people are coming. They have hands of blue, pretty much like the picture, and can kill you with noise, in a rather painful manner.

However, the hands of blue can be good, when not in the Firefly universe. I've had some doctor visit lately (two hospitals and the dentist), and some of them have been wearing blue gloves (but this is not a G entry, it's for Hands!). I obtained these at one of the hospitals, while I was left alone in the x-ray room for a bit. I mainly got them because I love blue gloves (due to Firefly), and because they were an S. I've only seen them enormous before.

Two by two, hands of blue

Tangentially related to the gloves, and accidentally H, my foot is Healed! When I went last week to the (private) hospital, I got another x-ray, and it showed that the bones had finally bonded together. It only took 5 months. I'm now waiting for the referral to start physiotherapy, as I have no strength or elasticity in my foot. But the bones are finally healed, so we are certainly more than half-way to wearing Heels again.
ABC-along H

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Two online yarn shop reviews

I've been meaning to put a word in for two online shops since January, but I haven't got around to doing it yet. I went a bit crazy on the January sales and bought a whole load of yarn from two different shops, and really enjoyed. Both were incredibly quick (and I've recently ordered from one again and it has been just as quick), and when I had problems with my order with one, it was solved awesomely.

Create and Knit
My main custom with Create and Knit revolves around their Peaches and Creme yarn, which is worsted cotton, ideal for amigurumi. Cheap and cheerful cotton in loads of colours, and incredibly quick delivery: I ordered some last Thursday evening, and it arrived on Monday! It is based in the UK, which cuts down the shipping costs a lot, and it's now my first point of call for the amigurumi yarn.

Again based in the UK, I only bought from them in January, when they were doing a big sale on discounted yarns. When my package arrived, I did a brief check of the yarn, which was the right quantity and colour, and put it in the stash. Two weeks later, when I wanted to use it, I discovered the mistake: one of my yarns was wrong! I had the right colour and number, but I had silk wool instead of silk cotton. I panicked for a little bit, then phoned them.
The lady on the phone was incredibly nice, and we arranged an exchange of the yarn, as they still had what I had wanted. On a Wednesday, I went to the post office and mailed my silk wool back. That Friday, the silk cotton arrived, with the postage for the silk wool reimbursed. Mistakes happen, and the way they rectified was amazing, and I will certainly buy from them again, once I finish start knitting with the first yarn I got from them :)

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Of computer bits and shawls

Several things have conspired against me in this past week. For starters, my computer decided to start making funny noises. It sounded like something was stuck on one of the fans, but when I peaked at it, I couldn't see anything, so I decided to leave any investigation for the weekend, when I wasn't tired and there was plenty of daylight.
Then I got a bad tooth. One of my wisdom teeth has decided to start hurting (and I mean really hurting, triggering migraines and all that jazz), so until I got my diet of painkillers sorted, nothing besides curling up in a dark room with a hot-water bottle on my cheek was appealing.

The good news are that I have a dentist appointment for tomorrow, and I have fixed my computer. Alex and I spent a while playing with it, unplugging different fans until we established that the problem was on the graphics fan. Conveniently, we had a spare graphics card lying around (as one does), and now my computer is quiet again, so I can be here more than the bare minimum.

Computer bits!

Alex also decided to get the cleaning on, so we've spent part of the day taking the sink appart and resealing. Yep, it's as exciting as it sounds, and even worse. Thankfully we are done now (it's not actually that long a job), and I got some pictures taken of Ishbel. I wore it to work on Friday a loved it! It's an amazing shawl. I'm planning to make a bigger one, because it's just beautiful.
Ishbel detail   Ishbel   Ishbel

Also, I can use it for my next career as a highway robber!

My shawl was made using the Ishbel pattern, with 3 balls of Rowan Cotton Glace and 4.5 needles. It's a wonderful and very easy shawl, and I will recommended to everybody

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Blocking Ishbel

Back in the life of the slightly less stressed and tired, mostly recovered from a week of family visit. I didn't have much free time at all, and what little I had was spent knitting some sanity, and enjoying the feeling of hearing myself think (in only one language!). And now I can present what I got back from that week (asides from plenty of arguments and irrationality, but those are less pretty).

Ishbel is now blocking, and I look forward to wearing it tomorrow. There might even be action pictures!

Black Ishbel

Black Ishbel

I think my blocking skills still have a long way to go. Maybe I should actually invest on some kind of blocking board, mainly for the guide lines, rather than just use my sofa.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Knitting cultural fact

In Spain, people knit English, rather than Continental.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Blocking Sizzle

Just a quick post to show just how much blocking can improve garments, even something with a high cotton content.

Blocked sizzle        Sizzle!

I am suitable impressed.

Friday, 3 April 2009

G is for Garlic, Gourmand

G is for Garlic. I love garlic. Very conveniently, Alex also loves garlic, so this is not a problem (the key issue that we both like garlic to the same extent, which is a lot). Most of the time when we cook and we have to halve a recipe, we just simply won't have the garlic.
As mentioned, I made garlic bread some days ago, using BitterSweet's recipe. It involves 2 heads of garlic, so you really must love it. I must confess that it didn't taste as garlicky as previously advertised when I first eat it, but that was because I had been surrounded by the smell of garlic for the previous 2-3 hours, so I was somewhat accustomed to it. It tasted deliciously garlicky this afternoon when I had it as my post-work snack.
I am posting this picture in the hopes that the smell will permeate from the computer onto you, and hope that you too love garlic!

G is for garlic bread

However, G also appears to be for something else! G is for Gourmand.
Last week, during lunchtime, I was talking to my coworkers about food. I like food, and I like cooking. So, the conversation turned to fish, and I demonstrated a "superior" knowledge of fish. My coworkers decided that it was not normal, and it was all because I was a "gourmet". The word for a person is gourmand, gourmet is an adjective, so I seem to be also a pedant.

I don't really consider myself a gourmand, but I do like my food and occasionally will go out of my way to get nice food: as per the conversation above, I will sometimes look for a proper fishmongers and get my fish there, taking the opportunity to absorb fish knowledge from the fishmonger. They will give you tips and tell you about the best ways to cook the fish, and most of them are really passionate about it, which is something I really love.

In an accidental effort to prove them right, this weekend I made to gourmet meals, and decided it was a good idea to share it.

First, we made the Thai Fish Cakes from Gordon Ramsay's Cooking with Friends.
G is for gourmand

Then, on Saturday, Alex and I got fish from our local Loch Fyne, and made sushi.
G is for gourmand

Both meals were delicious, although I have not had the opportunity to share this with my colleagues to reassure them that I am a gourmand. Being a Garlic lover Gourmand is delicious!