Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Scribble dress in progress

"What a surprise!" said a drawling insolent voice from the thread draw. "Pink and red again. Geez, that Jorth sure likes the tried and true, don't she?"

"Who cares!" muttered Sabrina the irascible sewing dummy as Jorth fussed about, pinning the dress bodice to her. "At least she's put down those dratted knitting needles and is doing some actual sewing again! Even if it is pink and red again, I'll take it!"

Pink dress in progress #1

Pink dress in progress #2

(Pattern: Simplicity 2176)

Monday, February 25, 2013

An unexplained explosion of exquisite purple yarn

Oh dear. It all started innocently enough. I was flicking through my pattern books at home, and came across this lovely dress, called Dapple, in Nectar by Kim Hargreaves.


I'm a bit fuzzy on what happened next, but I suspect it may have involved a trip to the yarn store, because now lying on my bed is this:

Purple Sublime Yarn

Oh no - how simply ghastly! A whole pile of cashmere merino silk, just sitting there. Oh well, I guess that despite my memory blank, I shall just have to knit it up into a lovely new dress for winter. Couldn't let all that lovely yarn go to waste, after all. That would be criminal!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Monthly Menu Plan - February


I've had a few emails recently asking if I would share my monthly menu plan, and I'm most happy to oblige!

Just a note, though, if you are a hard-core meat eater who needs to consume a bloody 600 gram steak at breakfast - the menu plan is mostly vegetarian. We do eat a little meat, but that's it - only a little. We're sort of the opposite of what Paul McCartney is trying to achieve: instead of Meat Free Mondays, we have Meat On Mondays. Well, not always Mondays, but you know what I mean! I have no personable objection to eating meat, but as an environmentalist I am very aware of the impact that meat production has on our environment, so try to limit the amount we consume as part of my ongoing commitment to reducing my footprint. However, I do also have a growing child, so I also don't want her to miss out on any vital nutrients that meat does so readily provide. I feel that by eating meat only once a week it's the best happy medium I can come up with at this time.

(And for anybody who is going to have major issues with this, I will take the opportunity to remind you that we don't own a car, we only fly once every 10 years, and we try to be as plastic free as possible. If you still have issues with all that, then there are plenty of other blogs to read. You are most welcome to leave this one and engage with them instead. There, that's said!)

Anyway, enough of the blather, let's get to the menus!

I'll provide links to recipes if I use them directly from a website. If they are from a recipe book, then I'll link to the book. If the recipe has no link, then the recipe is one of my own that I have invented over the years. Hope you like it, and that it inspires your own menu planning.

Week One
Monday - Vegetable curry with paneer and saffron rice
Tuesday - Carrot fritters with avocado salad
Wednesday - Roasted vegetable tart with rocket salad
Thursday - Spaghetti with zucchini and cherry tomatoes, with garden salad
Friday - Vegetarian sausages with potato salad and corn on the cob
Saturday - Tacos, with beany tomato mix and coleslaw
Sunday - Macaroni and cheese (with peas, broccoli and zucchini)

Week Two
Monday - Spring vegetable soup with garlic bread (from Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson)
Tuesday - Spaghetti and meatballs
Wednesday - Tofu and vegetable noodle stir fry
Thursday - Cauliflower and lentil pilaf with minted yoghurt
Friday - Cheese, tomato, mushroom and spinach omelets with salad
Saturday - Pizza (toppings vary, but probably mushroom and capsicum, and roasted veg and feta, with rocket)
Sunday - Lentil spaghetti bolognaise with feta, and salad

Week Three
Monday - Roast chicken with salads (roast chicken a la Jamie Oliver's The Naked Chef)
Tuesday - Sweet potato and zucchini risotto (any left of chicken will be sprinkled on top before serving)
Wednesday - Spicy Mexican bean soup
Thursday - Creamy mushroom parpadelle with rocket salad
Friday - Tofu burgers with sweet potato wedges
Saturday - Picnic cob with salad (like this recipe but without meat)
Sunday - Silverbeet spanakopita with roasted tomatoes

Week Four
Monday - Lentil and ricotta cannelloni with garden salad
Tuesday - Chilli lime and tomato risotto
Wednesday - Spicy beef stir fry with noodles
Thursday - Spiced carrot and lentil soup with garlic bread
Friday - Zucchini and smoked salmon pasta with salad
Saturday - Bean burgers with coleslaw
Sunday - Falafels with all the trimmings

So, whaddya think? Let me know if you want me to write out each monthly menu plan as I do them. Whew, all this food talk has made me hungry. Time for lunch!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Introducing Handmaker's Factory!

Handmaker's Factory

If you are wondering why things have been a bit sparse around here, it's because I've been superbusy launching Handmaker's Factory with the clever Nichola from Nikkishell!

Handmaker's Factory is a brand new website we have set up, providing a space for the sewing/knitting/crafting community to share projects, meet inspiring creative people, learn about sustainable fashion, check out some pretty darn awesome crafty stores and events, and generally have a lovely, lovely time!

We've had a fantastic response so far, so if creating your own garments and being fashionable without wrecking the earth is your thing then pop on over, join up and share in the fun!

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Tutu tutorial

For weeks people have been wondering why, whenever they see me, I seem to be covered in little bits of glitter. It's on my face, my hands, my ears... I even found some on my toast just before I popped it into my mouth! What, my friends began to question, is going on with Jorth and the glitter?!?

I am here to tell you that reports of my setting up a glitter factory are greatly exaggerated. Instead, I've been making glittery tutus for the school fete, and thanks to this snazzy little tutorial I've whipped up, you can tutu! (sorry, couldn't resist!)

Not only are these quick and easy to make, but they are brilliant for craft stalls, birthday pressies, dress ups or just for a bit of sparkly fun.

Tutu #4

You will need:

2cm wide white elastic, long enough to fit around the waist of the person wearing the tutu (for a young girl we used 60cm)
2m sparkly tulle
White thread

1 - Take your piece of elastic, and sew the ends together securely to form a loop, as below.

Tutu #1

2 - Cut your tulle in half, so you have two pieces measuring 1m long. Place one piece of tulle on top of the other, then fold them in half lengthways, then in half again, then in half once more, so you essentially have a big log of tulle. Trim off the selvedge edges, then cut the tulle into sections about 2cm wide. You will end up with a whole bunch of tulle lengths measuring 1m x 2cm.     

Tutu #2

3 - Sling your loop of elastic over the back of a kitchen chair, fold each length in half, then begin to tie each piece of tulle to the elastic by tying through a loop as shown in the shot below. Continue until all the tulle is tied on.

Tutu #3

Oh hai! Look - an action shot!

4 - Remove tutu from chair, then find somebody to look adorable in it. Too easy!

Tutu #6

Tutu #5

I'm seriously considering finding some black glitter tulle and making myself one! I'm thinking black leggings, killer kitten heels, boat neck top, red lips and big BIG floating etheral tutu. If anybody asks, I'll just tell them I'm channelling a French ex-ballerina with a lotta attitude! I think I can work it. Well, that's my birthday outfit sorted out!

Anyway, hope you like the tutorial. Any questions, just leave them in the comment section.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Me and the cables, the cables and me

Once upon a time, me and the cables were NOT friends. No matter which way I approached it, I could not do any sort of cable knitting without things ending in a hot swearing mess (and that was just the yarn - you didn't want to see what sort of state *I* was in!)

My cable needle would poke me. A lot. I didn't like being poked. And I told it so. Not that it seemed to care. Or if it wasn't poking me, it was poking the knitting, resulting in snagged, ugly stitches. Other times it would float about at the back of my work, like a small boat bobbing defiantly along on a treacherous ocean, resisting my efforts to capture it, until finally stitches were dropped and my determination to finish whatever cabled garment I was working on fell overboard.

But then I saw the pattern for the dress I'm currently making for Grumbles. I couldn't resist it! I HAD TO MAKE IT! But what to do about the whole cable needle incompatibility? I needed to conquer the needle, so I squared my shoulders, put on my most determined face and marched into the yarn store and begged them to tell me what sort of cable needles they had in stock.

The lady behind the counter, maybe knowing instinctively that I was a knitter who would no longer be messed with, quickly showed me this little gem, and I'm not ashamed to say that it has changed my life (well, my knitting life, at least):


It's pure genius! Look at the beauty of that curve! It doesn't poke me, or prod the knitting at all, instead staying meekly where it belongs until I am ready to use it. The short end is used to quickly pick up the to-be-cabled stitches, and the long end is perfectly proportioned for knitting the aforementioned stitches back into the row. It's bliss, pure unadulterated bliss to work with. Yay!

Ahh, dearly beloved cable needle - for $6 worth of plastic, you sure have brought me a lot of knitting happiness!

Monday, February 04, 2013

2013 Knitting Project #2: Isabel Cable and Little Branch Dress

Rowan yarn and dress

I know, I know - it's a wee bit early to start the winter knitting, but I have so many things I want to knit this year that I decided that I really better get a crack on if I have a hope in hell of finishing them. So for starters I have begun on a dress for Tyger, the Isabel Cable and Little Branch Dress from Labour of Love by Vibe Ulrik Sondergaard.

How flipping darn cute is this dress? I LOVE IT SO MUCH THAT I NEED TO TYPE IN CAPITALS (don't let anybody fool ya - it's not the chocolates or romantic getaways that show love - it's the capital letters typing. You heard it here first!) If I didn't have a knitting list as long as my arm, I would seriously consider grading it up to my size. Cables! Branches! Bobble-ey bits! It's pretty rad.

And the yarn - mmmmm! I'm quite liking the Amy Butler Belle Organic DK. I was a bit worried that it would make my wrists sore, being a mix of cotton and wool, but so far it's been divine to work with, and has superb stitch definition. And it's organic! Niiiiiiiiice.

Evening knitting. Supercute pattern. A gorgeous girl to clad in my stitches of love. I'm one happy and very blessed lady.