Thursday, 29 July 2010

Did I mention....


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Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Macaroons, but not as we know them

Before I get into it, how good was the latest incarnation of Sherlock Holmes on Sunday? If you have not watched it yet, get yourself to BBC iPlayer toot sweet.
I consider myself to be quite the sherlock aficionado. At the tender age of 10 I was enthralled by the Jeremy Brett series and had the "Return" book of stories with the tv tie-in cover. At the age of 11 for my school prize I asked for and got a copy of the complete sherlock holmes. All in one volume which made my little arms hurt when reading it repeatedly from cover to cover in bed. Later I listened to audio readings of the stories (free vintage ones here), read parodies (Donald Thomas is very good) and even visited the 221B tourist attraction at Baker Street. I loved the Silk Stocking one-off that Rupert Everett made and still love the WW2 films with Basil Rathbone and the perfect Nigel Bruce as Watson.
In fact they are my main go-to film when I'm ill and in need of succour. And I watched not only the recent bromance with Robert Downey Jr but also the mockbuster where SH fought dinosaurs and people, that was loyalty as that is one bad mofo of a film. And so with all this behind me I was quite excited and mildly apprehensive about Sunday. The apprehension was mostly to do with the casting of Martin Freeman who I had always judged to have only one acting face which he used repeatedly in both Hitch Hikers Guide and The Office. But...within minutes of it starting I could sit back and could have relaxed had it not been for the tense pace of the first episode. It was a clever variation of A Study in Scarlet and bodes very well for the other two in the series. Fingers crossed they make more.

Anyway, Macaroons. My colleague is an excellent cook and had brought some in. Under my expert questioning technique she gave up the recipe and I got some. Sadly I am not an excellent cook. I added too much water. Then I overcooked the first batch.

I am not deterred though, and anyway...Pooch still ate them. Macaroons are Pooch's achilles heel. But in case anyone else is going to give it a go (it's a packet for gods sake - you don't need to be delia) just remember the dough should be thick enough to pipe rather than splashing about in the bowl, so add the water gradually.

Om nom nom nom.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Kitchener Tattoo

When Ravelry first started there were far fewer groups and so while surfing the forums you tended to get a wider spread of stuff as totally unrelated things were all crammed in together. That was how I ended up reading a thread about knitting tattoos and a woman who had got her first tattoo. It was a line, a straight thin black line, across the bottom of her big toe on her right foot. The line showed the point at which she should start decreasing when knitting top-down socks. At the time my thinking was along the lines of "What a pointless tattoo. Why would you go through the pain of having someone poke you repeatedly with a needle just for that?" But then later I realised I was being stupid and the important thing was it was something useful to her.

Tattoos have always intrigued me. Because you have to be really really certain that you're going to still like that design in 1, 10, 25+ years time because you're going be stuck with it. Facial tattoos intrigue me the most. How can anyone think so short-term? Unless it has a cultural significance beyond "hey cool tat" how can you make such a huge commitment to a lifestyle implied by your tattoo? There was another Ravelry thread more recently started by a girl who had got a job she really wanted but the company had a no-tattoo policy and she had them up one arm, up her neck and onto her jawline. She was asking which brand of stage makeup would hide them most effectively. But from the photo she was only about 25. How long can you wear thick greasepaint to work for before you get caught in the rain, or get hot and sweaty, or just forget?

All this flashed through my tiny mind earlier on today when I realised that for the first time in decades of knitting, I was doing Kitchener. And I was doing it quite quickly and you couldn't see where the join was. I finally succeeded by using Knitting without Tears which is possibly the finest of Elizabeth Zimmerman's books. Actually no, they are all indispensable. But it's pretty damned good. I opened it to the relevant page, drew a diagram in pencil in the margin of needles 1 and 2 and got to it. And if I were to get a knitting tattoo, that diagram is what I would get. Although I wouldn't actually, because I am not that committed to it.

Here it what I was Kitchenering:
It is the Talking Fish Sock which is here on Ravelry. People constantly ask me why I knit, and why don't I just buy stuff and this is why. Isn't the ripple pattern exquisite?
You just don't get that kind of thing in Primark. Of course the downside is I now have to make another one, and that's a lot of Kitchenering. But finding the silver lining, all the practice means I'm less likely to need the tattoo as a reminder of how to do it.

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