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When 'knitting' and cake making collide
Time at last to blog
Immortalising my other love in knitting
Twitter: my love/hate relationship
I am in debt to my wonderful mum


Almost knitting disasters!
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Knitting fun

When 'knitting' and cake making collide

For years I've loved making novelty cakes for friends and family. In the past I dabbled with fondant icing and a rolling pin to recreate sweet tributes such as a tug boat, a giant glass of Guinness (there was real Guiness in the cake too) and a car. 

However It was when I had children, that my sugar craft hobby truly became a labour of love. Each year the cakes get a little more complex as DD and DS try to see how hard they can make my task. 

Particular favourites were:
Barbie Swanlake made from layers of fondant and painted with food colouring.

The two tier sweetie cake

The Disney Club Penguin Puffle cake that took far too much orange food colouring! 

The treasure chest cake

The Tardis Cake 

And this year my two kids really challenged me. DD wanted a Converse boot (she's all about the labels now!) So armed with red, white and black fondant icing, plus some silver food paint, and 4 hours of blissful solitude in the kitchen here's the result:

And finally DS set me the most exciting challenge. To make him Sackboy from the video game Little Big Planet. Knitterly gamers among you may know that this little character is knitted. So not only did I have to create this cute little guy, but I had to make it look like he was knitted. And I have to say I'm very happy with the results:

That's my cake making done for this year now. I wonder what I'll be making next April.

Immortalising my other love in knitting

I've long been a lover of the VW Beetle. After collecting models, pictures, teapots, cushions, badges, clothing and many other things in the form of the cute bug car that was created by Ferdinand Porsche back in 1931, there was nothing I wanted more than owning the real thing. 

After wanting a real vintage model of my own since I was 10, and collecting VolksWorld Magazines for years, I will get my own air-cooled wreck and faithfully restore it. But with a family to ferry around and no garage to house a car I needed a reliable automobile. So what better car to get than a 2 litre new style VW Beetle. 

I've had him for over 4 years and love him just as much now as I did when I first saw him on the forecourt of the dealership. He was my biggest impulse buy! 

I do still hanker after the original style bug, and I will have one soon when funds and space allow. I can't wait until the day when I strip apart the engine and rebuild it. For now though I have created a knitted cushion immortalising my favourite car.

This pattern is available to purchase for just 1.50 here.

I hope you enjoy knitting it as much as I enjoyed designing it.

Twitter: my love/hate relationship

While I've always tried to embrace technology and internet innovations – I've had a Macbook and an iPhone, plus a Facebook account for years – I won't deny that I have shied away from other social networking sites and putting myself out there on the internet. 

However, deciding that I would like my knitwear design to progress from a gentle hobby to more of a full-time career I knew that I would need to do a little more self-promotion. So along came this blog, a bigger presence on Ravelry (where I'm known as Yarnylou), HobbyBuddies, The Making Spot and a Twitter account. 

The blog, I'm discovering is going to be a great way to let the random thoughts of my yarn-filled brain flow into some sort of organised chaos. Ravelry, The Making Spot and HobbyBuddies are fabulous places to showcase and sell my designs, past and present. And finally Twitter has turned into the bane of my life, while at the same time I've discovered it's an amazing place to discover facts, meet lots of like-minded people, find things quickly and easily, and be one of the first to learn world news.

Why do I hate Twitter so? Because I enjoy checking what's going on in the world of yarn and current affairs so much that I find myself glued to the screen, and all other aspects of my life get neglected as I'm easily distracted when I see the number of unread Tweets. For instance in the time it's taken me to write this entry I may have checked the Timeline eight or so times. With two kids, a husband and a part time job, I didn't really have enough time before. Now, I don't seem to have any time. 

However, what I've spent in time on Twitter, I've saved in time searching for things. Just last week I was in the mood to make some biscuits, and one of my followers happened to Tweet about a simple but yumsome recipe that I just had to bake. This evening I was thinking about a new design for some super chunky yarn I couldn't resist. I needed some 10mm dpns in order to turn the yarn into some socks. I could have spent a while trawling the internet shops for some, but one little Tweet to ask where I could find some resulted in several replies in a matter of seconds and within minutes I had purchased some needles from Yarnsville.

This evening I've also discovered that my favourite fabric maker, Echino, has released a new range that's being stocked by The Eternal Maker, been kept up to date about iPhone 4S and laughed out loud at some of the comedians I follow. 

So Twitter I forgive you for eating my time, as I love you so much for offering me the world I want to know and discover on one screen, one 140-character soundbite at at time.

Knitting and memory

While I was studying for my psychology A level my favourite topic involved the Cognitive aspects of the brain, particularly memory. Maybe because mine is so bad. I remember one lesson where we were told that things learnt in a particular room would be more easily recalled in that room. Or more interesting to us at age 17/18, information that you are taught whilst drunk would be be remembered whilst drunk – well we had to put that one to the test. That might explain why I could never find a taxi rank in the day, but always managed to get home safely at night.

I've since discovered that when I pick up knitting project that I'm in the middle of, when I start working on it again I'll be reminded of what I was watching, reading or listening to. It doesn't even have to be during the same project or piece of knitting, just the pattern structure will take me back to the entertainment that surrounded me the first time I attempted. Today for instance, I was knitting the long-put-off second glove – the first I designed and worked on weeks ago and as I started the lace pattern I recalled parts of the story of My Sister Lives on theMantlepiece (Annable Pitcher). While I was working on the pattern and design of the first glove I had the audiobook narrated by David Tennant playing on my iPod.

The memories that my knitted pieces evoke can sometimes unsettle me, though. Last year I designed a very lovely scarf worked in Kid Silk Haze, for Simply Knitting. The deadline was quite tight and my fingers were click-clacking away, ten to the dozen into the early hours. My lovely husband offered to stay up with me and all that was worth watching (according to him) was Snakes on a Plane. I got the scarf finished that night, but now every time I look at that scarf I'm reminded of those snakes and Samuel L Jackson. Shudder.

The Snakes on a Plane scarf

I also relive memories through the yarn I use, often relating to the time I bought it or received it. The yarn stash scarf which I also designed for Simply Knitting when it was a fledgling magazine has some great memories. Some of the yarns in that scarf I bought with my lovely late mum, and while I don't have the scarf anymore, the image is enough to take me back to the fun times we had. 

The Yarn Stash scarf

So when I cast on for my next project I'll make sure to have something intelligent playing in the background, so that when I wear the garment again I'll be able to recall some useful snippets of information. Maybe...
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