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Sunday, 25 September 2016

Feeling bad about being honest

It's been a quiet day today, doing not very much!  I'm still rather shattered after yesterday,  so it's recovery time before work tomorrow.

Thinking I wanted something quiet and relaxing, but productive, to do, I decided to work on my other test knit; not the unending 4ply cardigan of doom, but the worsted cardigan that should be nice and quixk and easy (in comparison!).  I'm knitting it in lovely yarn, in a pretty shaade of green.  I'm excited about knitting it, because it's going to be snuggly and cosy and pretty; a neat trick, in my book!

Ugh.

I've tried, I really have.  But I cannot, cannot understand what the pattern is getting at.  I'm following it to the best of my ability and understanding,  as any knitter would do, but I can already see that it's not coming out as it should. Now, an experienced knitter (which I'm not, particularly) may well be able to read the pattern, understand exactly what it means and intends, and be absolutely fine.  And presumably,  judging by the other testers, this is indeed the case.  But - and maybe I'm wrong here, but I feel fairly strongly that I'm not - I don't feel they should have to.  In my opinion,  patterns should be presented in a way that is clearly laid out and easy to understand.  Any knitter (within reason; maybe not if they've literally just picked up a pair of needles and some yarn for the very first time) should be able to look at that pattern and understand what's needed.  Things should be explained fully and comprehensibly. 

Unfortunately, in this case, it just isn't.  And, as a test knitter for the pattern, I feel I've had to highlight this as a problem.  But I don't like doing it; I don't like essentially having to say to someone  "I'm sorry, but I feel your pattern needs completely rewriting."  I have done it, and I've phrased it as nicely as I can, but I still feel bad about it.  I think, though, that I'd feel  worse if I  didn't say anything, and the pattern was released while still being essentially unknittable (in my experience, and presumably I wouldn't be the only one).  I just hope the designer feels the same way...

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Coffee and tea and cake, oh my!

Well.... after all the baking and washing up and baking and washing up (etc etc etc) yesterday, I feel like it was all worth it after today!  The coffee morning went. I think, very well; I didn't get very many people in, but they were very generous, both in their donations and in their compliments about the cake.  I'm very pleased with how much I've raised so far, and there's plenty of cake to be taken to work on Monday in order to raise some more!  I may have baked too much... but it all seemed to be appreciated, and I have no concerns about it remaining uneaten and having to be thrown out.  I had a fundraising goal in my head (and only in my head!), and I'm delighted with the fact that it's been passed already; now I have a secondary goal, and would dearly love to reach that; fingers crossed!  I was also very pleased that one of the neighbours came; I invited all the immediate neighbours, but didn't really expect any of them to pop in, as it's a quiet street where people seem to keep themselves mostly to themselves.  But one did, so it was nice getting to know her a bit, and she seemed pleased that it was being held...  which set me thinking that it's such a simple thing to do, really - bake (or buy) some cakes, make some drinks, and raise some money; there really isn't anything to it, and I love the simplicity of that. 

I think MacMillan have been very clever in making it a big annual event; it's not complicated to join in, you don't have to pay to do it, there's no fundraising goal you're expected to meet, and it's a fun way to spend a morning - and you're raising money for a fantastic cause.  I may do it again next year, if my husband is willing to put up with it all again!  We're both rather shattered now; neither of us are the most outgoing and sociable of people, so it's rather exhausting for us to have so many people around for several hours, however much fun it is.  And there's the clear-up afterwards, of course!





Knitting continues on the eternal demon 4ply cardigan... no, that's not fair; it's going to be a lovely cardigan.  Eventually.  One day.  Maybe when I'm about 60.  (It's taking forever!).

Friday, 23 September 2016

Busy busy busy!

Gosh, I'm knackered!  It's been a very busy day, and I still have a lot to do - but for now I'm allowing myself a sit down and a much needed cuppa!

Tomorrow morning I'm holding a MacMillan Coffee Morning, as part of their annual Big Coffee Morning event (I'm a bit early with mine, but never mind!).  It raises money for an amazingly good cause, so being tired is well worth it.  I've been baking nearly all day (and washing up when I haven't been baking) - six  different types of cake, would you believe?!  Chocolate Fudge, Victoria, Carrot, Lemon Drizzle, Red Velvet, and Banana Yoghurt.  The baking's not perfect, and that was bothering me, but I'm trying to let go of that and concentrate on the fact they should taste good, and raise money, which is the important thing!

Of course, no knitting today, and as I still need to tidy and clean, it's not looking promising.  I have, as always, far too many projects on the go, so it feels like I don't make progress on any of them!  But I do... just slowly.

I did buy myself some sock yarn, though,  and that arrived today... I've found a couple of patterns I like that need striping yarn, and despite my vast sock yarn stash, none of it was properly stripy!  I found some Sirdar Heart & Sole on sale, so bought myself a few balls to play with.  Can't wait to get started... but I need to finish other things first!

Sunday, 18 September 2016

The end is in sight!

Well, tomorrow I start the final week of my low-FODMAP diet purgatory.  And thank f@#$ for that, say I!  It's not been huge amounts of fun, that's for sure.  Expensive, frustrating, downright annoying... but not fun.  It has helped; I'm a lot better than I was, which is great, but I also know that this is not sustainable for ever.  I'm hoping I can reintroduce most fruit and veg without issues, as I'm missing them very much.  Wheat and lactose... well, I'll have to see how it goes.  It might be that I simply cut down on them considerably (which isn't likely to do me any harm!), and hope that does the trick.  I'll be much happier going lactose free than wheat free, if I have to give one up!

Still, I made a lasagne last night - GF lasagne sheets  (from Marks and Spencer), and a wheat-and-dairy free cheese sauce (found in powder form in Morrisons; I make no apology for this) in place of the bechamel, and just a teeny sprinkling of cheddar on top (I'm allowed a very small amount of hard cheese).  And for pudding, there was the remains of my 'icecream'.  All suitable for me, and people seemed to enjoy it. 

Today I'm baking some flapjack type things for myself, which will become breakfast or snacks during the week.  I've made the recipe up completely, so goodness knows what they'll be like!  For anyone who might be interested, the "recipes" for the icecream and flapjacks are below.

Knitting continues, with test knits and Christmas presents progressing nicely!

Icecream
A tub of frozen mixed berries
2 bananas
A good squeeze of honey
A good couple of sloshes of almond milk (or preferred alternative)
1/2 - 1 tsp mixed spice

Whizz it all up together, and pour into a freezable container with a lid.  Freeze, stirring every hour or so, until it's completely frozen.  Enjoy!

(Ifound that this froze very solid indeed, and needed a good half hour to defrost before it could be served!)

'Flapjacks'
Three bananas
2 dessertspoons peanut butter (smooth or chunky, as you like)
A good squeeze of honey
c. 30-40g of ground almonds (optional)
2 eggs (beaten)
A couple of good sloshes of milk/milk alternative
c. 50-75g GF self-raising flour
Enough oats  (GF if needed) to turn the mixture to a thick-but-pourable consistency

Mash the bananas with the honey, peanut butter, ground almonds and honey.  Add the eggs and milk and beat together.  Stir in the flour, and then add the oats a bit at a time until the right consistency is reached.  Pour into a lined baking tin, and bake at 180°C until golden and cooken through (around 20-30 minutes).  Cut into squares while still hot, leave to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then leave to cool on a baking rack.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

What's that saying about good intentions, again?!

You know, I seem to remember having made some sort of declaration about test knitting.  I believe it may have been something along the lines of not doing any more after I finish the current one.

Oops.

I honestly meant it.  Really, I did.  I'm aware that I put a lot of pressure on myself about them, and I don't need that right now; there are far too many other things that I'm putting pressure on myself about!  So i was going to finish my current test knit - a nice little cardigan, simple but pleasing; you can see my progess below - and then have a break, at the very least.  And then... then I saw another test knit open.  And I fell completely in love with the design, and yes, I'm test knitting it.  It's a gorgeous snuggly hooded cardigan, with big relaxed cables on the back and sleeves.  I'm doing it in the yarn below - Rowan Pure Wool Worsted, in shade 126 (Forest).  I seem to be having a bit of a green phase at the moment!  It'll knit up faster than the 4ply, at least?