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Somebody had to…

Christmas has been thoroughly decadently lazy. And awesome. I even got snow! Albeit the snow came on Boxing Day, but nothing can beat feeling like you’ve woken up in Narnia. Luckily my gorgeous village put on a stunning show of scenery for me to go out and explore…

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That said, after ten days of doing very little beyond eating, drinking and trying to find something to watch on the telly box, I’m quite looking forward to getting back to my work-ballet-sleep routine. Well, less so the work part…

I hope you all had glorious festive seasons!

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A post entirely about cake

Feeling shamed into updating after being pimped by the excellent adultbeginner, I hereby bring you a post entirely about cake what I have made lately.

Earlier this year I accidentally got promoted to my first management role, it was an internal promotion so luckily the panel knew me – probably too – well. One of the questions was about how I would lead my team. “Cake,” I said without even thinking about it. I didn’t think the answer needed any further qualification but apparently it did so I made some stuff up and concluded “but I’d still use cake as a first resort.” For weeks after m appointment every time my director rang up he asked if he was missing out on cake…

I once saw a quote that said “a party without cake is just a meeting” so our team meetings are accompanied by cake. It started in conjunction with challenging myself to make one recipe from every cook book in the kitchen – I thought I’d completed said challenge last weekend but I’ve just acquired my Big Gran’s (so named because she was a good foot taller than my Little Gran) Good Housekeeping recipe book which is a beautiful thing…

As are some of the cakes I’ve made of late:

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Okay, a couple of them are biscuits but I still made them with my own fair hands… (And are why I have to take ballet as often as I do or I’d be the size of a house)

Also meringue frosting is the cats whiskers. Absolute bugger to make but so worth it!

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Knit, purl, plié, tendu: an allegro allegory

One of mine and bestest’s priorities when we went to Berlin before Christmas was “where do we look at yarn”. I like to think this is a good sort of priority, luckily so does she. So we went in hunt of yarn (on a Strassenbahn, no less) and both ended up buying the same yarn but in different colourways. This yarn is beautiful AND, quite excitingly, it came on a cone. I have never had yarn on a cone before so my life is now more complete than it was before I went to Berlin. Anyway, having bought the same yarn, we decided it would be appropriate to knit the same thing in it. This yarn was speaking to us in a scarfly fashion so I magnanimously (okay, I’m lazy) stood back and let bestest pick the pattern and, after a couple of false starts, this happened:

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The pattern itself can be found over here on Knitty and it seemed ideal. In fact, now I’ve finished, I can safely say it is the idea solution for our yarn. As I was casting it on for the sixth time I was saying other things, but mostly that was about my inability to count.

The problem with lace knitting is that it is awfully like allegro, petit allegro in particular: both have a similar degree of fiendishness to them. Whilst I relish the challenge of a good lace pattern and theoretically relish the challenge of a good allegro, theory does not always translate into practice. Like I said, I love the theory of allegro: all those tricksy little steps combined together to give an impression of something effortless, weightless and far, far simpler than it really is. In practice I am not very good at allegro (shin splints, a dodgy patella tendon, generally quite unhappy feet mean I’ve lost my bounce for a start) because I often muddle combinations up when working at speed. And my inability to count to four manifests on a regular basis. I have the same problem with lace knitting. One little miscount and it throws out the regularity of a pattern. A little akin to winding up on the wrong foot.

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With both allegro and lace there’s so much potential to go wrong. On the plus side, mess up your lace you can go back and unpick then reknit it (although I do so detest unpicking an ssk). Messing up allegro is different, you can’t miss a beat, or wind up on the wrong foot, or miscount… You have to be a fraction ahead of yourself the whole time otherwise you wind up with my old favourite tactic of “OMG MAD PANIC CATCH UP” and landing every jump on your own foot. And that hurts.

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There are other comparisons I can draw between the two: a need for good core stability in allegro is like not letting your yarn overs get too wide and unwieldy. Making sure you get your ssk or k2tog right is akin to knowing when it’s a soubre-saut and when it’s a changement. Keeping your yarn overs tidy is like managing to get your feet right in assemblés. And there’s a soothing pattern to it all after a while. For every increase there’s a decrease, for every jump there’s a logic and purpose to get you to the next step.

And there are those beautiful moments when it all comes together and you wonder what you worried about in the first instance…

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New Year, New Knits (legwamers, teeny tiny people things and a kindle cover)

“I have a problem,” I informed a class mate this week as she was admiring my new legwarmers, “every time I buy a new practice skirt I have to knit legwamers to go with it.” This is especially potent as I type whilst I’m trying SO HARD to resist a new Designed By Alice skirt whilst she has free shipping considering this was my downfall last time (I am a SUCKER for free shipping). Before Christmas Alice quite cruelly had a free shipping weekend and I accidentally wound up purchasing a skirt (it would seem I have totally got over my ‘thing’ against skirts, huh) which of course necessitated a trip to a yarn selling emporium and my Christmas break given over to knitting legwamers to go with it. I say this like it is such a hardship…

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To be honest, the only thing stopping me clicking on purchasing a new Alice is the fact that I need a tiny knitting break from legwarmers… I’ve started quite well already, I must confess. Being at ‘that age’ where everyone I know is breeding means that I have every excuse ever to knit tiny adorable items of clothing for friends’ imminent progeny, hurrah! Thigh high legwarmers take forever (comparatively speaking) to knit – a baby jumper (even with repeated ripping and reknitting) takes a chunk of weekend. And, let’s face it, tiny babies are a darn sight more adorable than me.

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The sweater proved to be a real labour of love – largely owing to my inability to actually read a pattern or tell the difference between left and right… my bestest quite wisely advised I steer clear of seams for a while once I’d completed it! So I moved on to something to cover my new love: my Kindle. A nice quick knit and, lo, I have red and white Fair Isle ballerinas! Hurrah for red and white Fair Isle!

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It’s quite comforting sitting inside knitting and watching the snow fall outside – although I do have an urge to run around singing “Schneefall” to the tune of “Skyfall”… still, it’s kinda pretty out in my corner of the metrop (unlike central metrop where Schnee has an unfortunate habit of just looking a bit ‘grey’) right now. I may be singing a different tune when I have to battle my way into the office tomorrow but there are bridges and there are bridges and right now I am more focussed on not spending money on a new skirt but my resolve is crumbling…

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December photo a day… au revoir, 2012

It started back in February. At the time I blamed the lovely Kathryn of LondonBakes thoroughly and – let’s be honest – I still do, but in a good way. I’ve got three hundred and something photos and eleven blog posts documenting a brief moment in my life over the course of 2012and it’s all so easy. All the kudos for this has to go to Chantelle of FatMumSlim as it’s entirely her brainchild coming up with prompts for the photo a day challenge. Every month I’ve amazed myself for sticking with it, I really thought I’d flake out and the novelty would wear off in about March. It didn’t, I guess because the prompts keep the challenge fresh and alive every day.

As seems to happen every month when I start to upload my photos, I stare disbelievingly at the passing of time. This time it isn’t the thirty, thirty one days that make up a month – it’s the whole year. I swear it feels like only yesterday that we were toasting in midnight and bitching at the television. I made two quite vague resolutions at the start of 2012: to learn to crochet and to take a dance class in a form that wasn’t ballet. I have, yet again, failed to learn to crochet – although not for wont of trying this time – but I did have a brief return to tap dancing and I gave street a whirl but, in the end, my need to be in ballet won out.

I’m only looking ahead with half an eye to 2013 and I’m not really making any resolutions this time around, we’ll just see where time takes me from one day to the next. If I make resolutions, I’m only going to be narked with myself when they all crumble around my ears before January’s even out. Looking back for a moment though, let’s round up the last month courtesy of FatMumSlim’s photo a day challenge. I’m cheered to see that the challenge starts up again for 2013 – I think the only resolution I can come up with now is to make sure I stick with this all year again.

1. 8 o'clock1. 8 o’clock: outside the Franzosischer Dom in Berlin waiting in a queue to visit the Gendarmsplatz Christmas market. Bestest and I had finally made it to Berlin after far too many hours waiting at Heathrow for our flight to leave for a little pre-Christmas break.

 

2. peace2. Peace. Heisse Schokolade mit Amaretto at the Weinachtsmarkt am Potsdamer Platz as the snow began to fall around us, big fat soft flaky snow that settled on our coats and bags but not properly on the roads and pavements. I wrapped my hands around the warming mug, squinted up at the heavy sky and felt… peaceful.

 

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Llama, llama, duck: a spot of festive Fair Isle… [a lot about knitting]

I’ve been safely ensconced back in Rural Derbyshire since Thursday and it has finally stopped raining – I can even see blue sky outside of the window! Which is more than can be said for the other day…

Hills, clouds, the usual...

Hills, clouds, half the landscape missing, the usual…

As is my wont, I’ve probably been too ambitious with the knitting projects I’ve brought back with me in relation to how much actual knitting time I’ve got. I’ve also hit a stumbling block in that I am really not feeling the cable pattern I copied out for my new legwarmers. I’ve browsed the intrawebz a bit for a replacement but nothing is quite the same feeling as flicking through a book. Wah.

Anyway, on the plus side everyone needs that one friend where they say ‘oh I’ve got a pair of llama gloves’ and they don’t object when you promptly snatch the gloves from their hand and start to copy down the chart. No really, you do. Lucky I have that friend (she’s also jolly good at indulging my love of llamas in general).

Argentinian llama!!!

Argentinian llama!!!

I know my knitting has been all about the cable legwarmers lately but the current trend for red and white Fair Isle has managed to get under my skin a little (to the extent I seriously debated buying a onesie simply because it was in red and white Fair Isle: just let me state for the record THERE IS NO NEED FOR A ONESIE IF YOU ARE OVER THE AGE OF THREE*). So back earlier this month when bestest and I jaunted off to Berlin (which I still haven’t blogged about, for shame!) to eat all the currywurst and drink all the Gluhwein, I took a red and white Fair Isle hat as one of my holiday knitting projects (the other was a pair of fluffy socks that I’ve fallen out of love with, meh).

Jolly, jolly

Jolly, jolly

I was halfway through a pair of quite sedate red and white Fair Isle gloves to go with the hat when I arrived back in Rural Derbyshire for Christmas and had I not gone to visit Newly Married Llama Enabling Friend they’d probably have stayed quite sedate. As it happened she showed me her llama gloves and that was that, end of story. I now own a pair of llama glittens and that, mes chums, is better than Christmas.

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Truly my life, it is complete:

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I am really not cut out of modelling…

*Entirely my own personal opinion.

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November photo a day

I think it says everything about the last couple of weeks that I have absolutely no memory of the beginning of this month. There just aren’t enough hours in my working day right now to do everything that keeps coming up. Anyway, this time tomorrow I will be in Berlin and I will not give one tiny flying *ahem*.

I had half planned to review the Royal Ballet’s MacMillan triple bill in this post as well but inside my head is still all ‘OMG THE MAN IS A GENIUS’ about it and coherent thought is really not happening. Maybe if I’ve found coherency in my thoughts I’ll review it when I get back from Berlin but I’m not overly optimistic.

On account of it being the end of another month, it’s time to round it up courtesy of FatMumSlim’s Photo A Day challenge. Tempus really does fugit, doesn’t it? I am completely confused.com as to what’s happened to this year. Certainly it has swooped by when I’ve not been looking. Now despite the fact that the boys at work have been sterlingly growing moustaches for Movember and I have been supporting their cause by wearing a false moustache for a large part of the month (especially at moments of great wisdom) I appear to not have a single photo involving my moustache. Sad times for you – it’s a beauty. The usual smattering of ballet and knitting related photos plus a lot of ‘weather’ shots…

1. sth beg w~ c2. colour3. breakfast4. TV5. 5 o'clock6. a favourite thing7. reflection8. sth you do every day9. small10. sth you can't (won't) live without11. night12. drink13. where you slept14. man made15. in your bag16. view from your window17. last thing you bought18. happened this we19. sth awesome20. work play21. what you wore22. grateful23. black24. sound you heard25. sky26. in the cupboard27. tree28. vehicle29. big30. on the wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. something beginning with c/2. colour/3. breakfast/4. TV/5. 5 o’clock/6. a favourite thing/7. reflection/8. something you do every day/9. small/10. can’t (won’t) live without/11. night/12. drink/13. where you slept/14. man made/15. in your bag/16. the view from your window/17. last thing you bought/18. happened this weekend/19. something awesome/20. work/play/21. what you wore/22. grateful/23. black/24. sound you heard/25. sky/26. in the cupboard/27.tree/28. vehicle/29. big/30. on the wall

 

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