Saturday, 16 May 2009

Socks, books and hogs

Two posts in one week? Gosh, that hasn't happened for a long time.

I thought I'd give you a bit of an update on what I've been knitting since being in London. Mostly socks actually. Inspired to take more steps into the world of sock making after my first pair, I cast on with another ball of Regia Kaffe Fassett yarn as my travelling project whilst going backwards and forwards from the Ideal Home Show on the tube. I'm not shy about knitting in public normally, but for some reason I found it a bit strange knitting on the tube in such close proximity to other travellers. I certainly felt conspicuous amongst everyone else with their books and newspapers, especially when (on my first sock-knitting tube journey) someone decided that the sight of me doing it was worthy of taking a photo!!

The sock progress is a good illustration of how tired I actually was, because it took me an entire month of tube journeys to do about 2/3 of the first sock. Since coming back to London and doing my office work for Taste, I've completely finished the pair in no time at all even though my train journey is much shorter. Annoyingly, one seems to be somehow a bit shorter than the other, so I may have to go back and re-do the toe decreases once I've added in a few more rows. But here they are for now, let's call them 'finished'.

Also during my last London trip, I made a start on some fairisle fish socks. They are not with me this time however, so progress is currently halted at around 70% done. I've knitted both cuffs, and have just started the toe decreases on the first foot. I'm using Twist Fibre Craft Studio's basic sock pattern, plus a simple fish design:

Never one to concentrate properly on a sensible number of projects, I have cast on for another fairisle pair of socks. Lizards this time: on ravelry here and on the net here. The lizards have been named Gary and Dave by their future owner. I've knitted Gary's head and one of his legs so far, although I may have to go back and make them smaller, these are looking like the biggest socks the world has ever seen.

(sssh, whisper this bit.... I'm knitting a pair of the ubiquitous Grumpernia jaywalkers as well. There are literally thousands of them out there on ravelry. Any self respecting sock knitter should have some. This is my train travel project, although the double decreases have led to a few near-stabbing incidents on crowded trains due to the tricky angles!)
And while we're whispering about furtive knitting exploits, I'll show you the two pieces of my bodge-job make-it-up-as-you-go noro cardigan. A flared bottom bit knit sideways so the stripes are vertical, and a raglan top-down top bit. Quite how the two will ever meet is currently a mystery to me. More news to follow on that one.

In other news, I've recently acquired some birthday books: Jun Tanaka's Simple to Sensational, and John Wright's River Cottage Handbook on Mushrooms. Lovely stuff! I've admired the River Cottage Guide series since John kicked them off with his very informative guide to Britain's mushrooms. There are now a further 4 books covering preserves, bread, veg and the edible seashore (the latter being another of John's masterpieces), all of which are worth a look.

I've been waiting for the release of Simple to Sensational for a good while, and wasn't disappointed with the result. Jun takes a collection of straightforward delicious dishes and offers a 'sensational' transformation by introducing a few more techniques or twists. I've seen this concept labelled as a gimmick in one review, but I actually think it's rather clever, and a fascinating insight into the kinds of things that might happen in a resaurant kitchen to take simple dishes to another level. I'm getting very interested in how to present food in a more professional looking way lately, so this book comes at a perfect time. The photography is stunning, worthwhile purchase for that alone, but I can't wait to get my teeth into some of the recipes too.

Completely unrelatedly, I went on a lovely outing to London Zoo today. Of course there were loads of exciting beasts to see, but I was quite taken with a couple of types of pig that I've never seen before: the bearded pig and the red river hog. Look at these fabulous beasts!

Despite never having been a fan of pork in any of its forms, I couldn't help wondering how these guys taste compared to their more every day brothers...

MiMi - thankyou for the fabulous meemalee's kitchen virtual birthday baking. I love that photo, yum.



there was so much there. very good sox! love zoos. love pictures. sorry i missed your birthday. my mom and i love to read cook books....especially when they have pictures of what the outcome should look like. (can you gain weight reading them...i seem to).

if i were a tourist and saw you knitting, i would take a picture show everyone, yes, they do knit in england everywhere they can.

Manoute said...

Happy birthday Louise!
Your socks are great. I love the fishy one, once I will have finish all my WIPS, I should start one of these.
Your jacket look great too :o)

Andy said...

wow they look like some tasty beasts... Might have me some swine for lunch today....

meemalee said...

Hi Lou!

Them beasts look like wild boars. I have a long-standing ambition to eat a whole wild boar, like Obelix.

As for the birthday cakey, my mum-in-law made that - glad you like :)

Deborah said...

Johnny "mushroom" is a good mate of mine. His books are wonderful, who would ever think that a book on mushroom identification could make you laugh out loud?!
I love your knitting too

Dennis K. said...

Hello.. I just had to say those fish socks are The Bomb.