Just a Quick One

From the silence around here, you probably have guessed that we have finally moved house. The move went smoothly enough and we’re in the process of settling in, which is taking longer than it should because of renovations, that are actually relatively straightforward if not for the fact that M was not allowed to take time off work and we had to work around L, whose most reliable care-taker is the local daycare at the moment and that only happens when M is at work. That leaves us with only time in the evenings to do renovations, quietly as a mouse, while L sleeps. Have you seen a quiet renovation? Me neither.

In short: Frustration. Quiet, seething, annoyed but civil frustration.

Home is very important to most people, most of all introverts. So I take this pretty personally. First world problems, I know. But I think we’re entitled to a home at the least and this is still a house at the moment, not a home.

Home or no home, life goes on. Autumn’s prime show had come and gone up here.

This was taken the day we moved. Don’t you love it that the building seems to be completely taken over by that crazy red-leaved vine? This was downtown!

Also taken around the time we moved… Sun setting behind a golden canopied tree.

Even the lichen joined in the show!

I tasted an apple from our very own yard. Sweet and crunchy! I am already looking forward to next autumn for more of these apples.

L started daycare and had settled in well so far.

We actually spend more time together now he started daycare, which may sound ironic but that 4 hrs a day gives me much chance to breath a bit and get things done so I can spend more time with him. Plus, L learns more diversed topics, gets to play with other kids, gets more play-time outside and learns independence. He also sleeps better now that we’ve moved out of downtown, where he often got woken up by people beating carpets, the loud intercom’s buzzing (that makes me jump too!) or trucks reversing in the driveway.

I started the KAL with AP. The bulk of this was actually knitted before the move; I hardly have time to knit after moving! I’m planning this for Spring though, so there is plenty of time to get it done… It is a steeked pullover and I’ve just gotten past the splitting of the arms and body.

Also knitted before the move, a viking hat for AP’s little one. I actually added horns (historically incorrect but Oh So Cute) but didn’t manage to take pic of that before gifting.

The orange hair was really interesting and fun to create. Unfortunately, it seems to be scary to little ones. L is actually quite scared of putting it on and from what I know, AP’s little one also found it scary!😄

Other orange goodies… I tried out a pumpkin cheesecake cookie recipe last night. It turned out well enough and is well received. But I’m not quite satisfied with the texture, which was a bit scone-like to me, rather than cookie-like. I will have to play around with the recipe a bit, because I really like the taste of it, just not so much the texture, which I’m pretty sure could be rectified by modifying the method by which it was created.

More orange goodies. We managed to pop in to lunch at our favourite street food place while running errands in the city one day. I got to try out their new sweet potato fries, which was good but sadly not as good as the ones I had in Singapore.

And this was it for the past weeks, apart from the renovations of course. The golden era of the season had passed and it is mostly grey, bare and chilly these days (and will continue to get darker, so please excuse the crappy quality of the pics!). I just hope we manage to get the renovations done soon, especially those that requires heating to be turned off! Speaking of which, we finally had sauna tonight (too dark and difficult to do the current stage of renovations, which is noisy) and oh, thank God for sauna! I enjoyed sauna even in Singapore and now we live in the North, it is literally my physical source of happiness. How is your Autumn coming along? What is your favourite way of celebrating the cooler seasons?

And so Mid-Autumn had come and passed. I did manage to make some mooncakes this year. A bit different from our usual mooncakes, but I think I actually prefer this one!

Homemade white bean paste with saffron and coconut, in a buttery pastry. I only did one batch of these so I did not have much chance to practice much. The pastry is supposed to be layered like a puff pastry but I suppose it takes a lot more experience and some tricks to achieve that.

For our Mid-Autumn dinner, we had quite a simple Chinese dinner.. Emperor’s herb chicken, steamed whole (because I FINALLY found a decent steam pot. And only because someone brought it from Asia and didn’t want to bring it back home with them. The pots here are more for steaming potatoes, which isn’t quite the same as what Chinese food requires!), stir fried French beans with brussel sprouts and rice with grated Hokkaido pumpkins. I cooked the grated Hokkaido pumpkin (of which the skin is actually edible, did you know?) in the rice to add a bit of flavour and autumn-y colour. That turned out really well!

I’ve been hard at work clearing up the knits lined up.. This is one of them… Can you guess what it is?

A bear hood! This is a bulky one knitted in Moss/Seed stitch.

Worn with the hood down here.

I took many pics but most of them looked like this… L got really excited modeling it so literally all of the pics have some degree of motion blur!

This is the second bear hood, picture taken just earlier today. Seems like we caught L on a good day – he barely moved in this session!

This one is knitted in a rib.

I’m just in love with those adorable ears!

Side view… I have enough yarn leftover to make one for L as well, as these 2 are both gifts. This will be very handy when L goes out to play in the Winter.

And so, with most of the knits lined up cleared, I worked a bit on my SkyIsle project… Modified to be top-down and a smaller gauge too. This will be a steeked project so I’m excited and apprehensive about it!

When L isn’t busy modeling bear hoods, he is busy catting.😀

L really like boxes. He sat there and played with this box for nearly an hour!

He also enjoys stealing our seats and mimicking us. Here he was looking rather pleased with himself, having both secured a spot and the popcorn bowl!

We went to the local Harvest Market this year and finally tried out the street food – Muikku fried in butter! “Muikku” is a freshwater whitefish that is rather popular here… The bones are typically fine enough that the little fishes are eaten whole – head, tail and bones. We have decided that Muikku fried in butter is absolutely delicious (L loved it too!) and so will have it a couple of times every year.

We have been busy, not just with the packing (which seems to have stalled for now), but with enjoying the season while it lasts! The golden light of Autumn casts such a lovely tint, washing everything in this warm and fuzzy halo, a stark contrast from the chill in the air that is getting increasingly sharp every day.

This weekend, we went on an impromptu row boat trip with TK and little MK.

We rowed to a campsite that is only accessible by water or hiking trails. In the Winter we came here by walking over the frozen lake.

As it isn’t so easily accessible, this place is beautifully untouched.

A cluster of mushrooms.

Some pretty bracket fungus on a fallen log. I also spotted and collected a handful of golden chanterelles while I was out photographing in the forest. Upon my return to the campsite, TK asked if I’m a mushroom addict.😄 I thought that is pretty obvious, no?

So, we stayed overnight in the countryside, not at the campsite though, but at HH and TH’s since it was getting late and close to L’s bedtime.

Today I did a baking experiment of which the results might be of use to others considering baking fruits in cupcakes. Here are the results of 6 different methods, all using the same batter and same baking time. Top 2 rows are baked with the fillings inside, the bottom 2 rows had the fillings inserted halfway through baking.

Top row, from left: Defrost frozen strawberry, frozen strawberry, jam.
Bottom row, from left: Defrost frozen strawberry, frozen strawberry, jam.

The conclusion is that the defrost strawberry and jam, both inserted halfway through baking, produces the best results.

Now I’m going to go grab a cupcake and call it a day. Hope you are enjoying your Autumn!

Fall-ing into 2016

I seem to be running behind in 2016… First we missed the strawberry season, then the bluberry season passed even before I thought about it. Now Mid-Autumn (one of my favourite Chinese festivals!) is just around the corner and I haven’t baked a single mooncake! Usually by this time I’d have gone through at least 3 batches of mooncake making sessions and getting a bit mooncaked-out!

But to begin with this post, I’ll show another watercolour I did…

A birthday card (in Finnish)! It was HK’s birthday  while back and I decided to try a watercolour card.

I tried out a ‘window’ cut out on the card and I really like the effect! The envelope is painted to mimic the flap (through which mail is posted) on the doors in apartments here.

Much earlier this week, L got up to some mischief.. His first relatively serious damage accident… Somehow he managed to get his hands on one of my nail polish vials, opened it, attempted to paint his toenail and decided to do an abstract splatter instead… On the carpet. After which he came to me and said “uh oh”… I was pretty puzzled and then I saw his toe and thought he was bleeding/hurt. Then I smelt the polish.. You should’ve seen my face when realisation dawned on me and I rushed to see where the deed was done! It took only a couple of hours of hard scrubbing with a bottle of nail polish remover and days of airing. Now there is a blushing stain on the carpet, which I’m hoping, against the odds, will fade out in time.

Apart from keeping up with L, I’ve been doing a bit of sewing. I borrowed L’s toys for weights and he sometimes tries to steal them back.😄

This is the latest sewing FO in a beautiful red velvet.

It is a little bolero! The blue dress is not quite completed yet.. I need to do something about the hem, which isn’t falling as I would like, but it is a rather fascinating (at least to me) project that I intend to try out on other fabrics as well.

So, this bolero… I made up the pattern myself. It took a couple of tries on tissue paper before I found the fit I liked. It is a relatively straightforward construction with quite a few darts thrown in to give it a tailored look. On the front there are bust and shoulder darts, on the back there are shoulder and lower darts, though I ended up having to extend the shoulder darts rather extensively when I found out that it was turning out too wide for my liking. I made the sleeves extra long so it covers down to my knuckles. I intend to wear this bolero well into Winter so I thought longer sleeves will extend it’s season.

As I intend to use this bolero frequently, I wanted it relatively simple, given that velvet is such a dressy fabric. So the only embellishment was this button.

This bolero is almost fully lined.. It was one of my first time sewing lining rather than just adding facings (apart from the Winter coat I sewed last Winter, but that was different because it was a reversible coat, so I just made 2 of the same coat, in different fabrics, and sewed them back to back.) so it was a very interesting project indeed!

For the lining I used a silk fabric I’ve salvaged out of an old silk nightshirt I’ve acquired. The silk was rather sad and faded so I dyed it (same time I dyed the yarn in the previous post!) and then cut it up for this bolero. Because the silk is not stretchy (and the velvet is), I made sure to add more ease to the silk version, but not too much, so it will fit well. I said ‘almost’ fully lined because I did not have enough fabric to line the sleeves completely – it was lined halfway and tacked down (so the lining won’t try to turn out when I take the bolero off!). I found that there is an advantage to this unorthodox semi-lining though… Because the lining is not completely ‘bagged’, I could easily flip to the wrong sides (for fixing, for example) through the sleeves!

I really love this silk lining.. It is nice and slippery, which makes wearing/taking off the bolero so easy. The sheen of the silk also looks pretty amazing, but hidden like a delicious little secret.😀 Imagine how glorious it will be to use a beautiful printed silk as lining for a dress or jacket!

That said, it was one of my first times working with slippery silk too and yikes, slippery silk is slippery! I tried cutting 2 layers at the same time.. Big mistake! Thank goodness I left plenty of excess room for ‘seam allowance and ease’. And thank goodness this was an upcycled silk fabric so I didn’t have to stress too much if it didn’t work out in the end.

I did not manage to get any modeled pic of this bolero yet because both M and L had fallen ill. Yep, Autumn is indeed here.

But on the positive side, Autumn is a motivation to do homely projects, such as growing mung bean sprouts. So easy, though removing the shells take a bit of time, even with the submerge-in-water trick!

Both HK and I were inspired by HH to make little vine garlands using this vine that is all over the forest floor here. I’ve forgotten the name of the vine (again) but really like the look of it!

We spent the weekend in the countryside where M and I did a bit of woodwork (before M fell sick). It had been a while since we can both get out and do some woodwork together!

Autumn also means ruska – greenery changing into autumn colours.

All 3 leaves from the same plant. I’m anticipating the full bloom of ruska. It is like the last vibrant explosion of colour before everything fades to long nights and candlelight.

Neon green moss. I would never have believed that such a neon green is a naturally occurring colour back when I lived in Singapore. But apparently it is.😀

It is lingonberry season. I have already made a big batch of lingonberry jam, but we are not doing much else with lingonberries apart from that. Neither M nor I are particularly fond of lingonberries because they have a rather sharp and tart taste.

While I was out today, I spotted a tiny little frog the size of my thumb!

A mossy mature forest. The forest floor is littered with mushrooms, but most of them are unknown to me. The bolete season seems pretty much over by now, which is just as well because I have a big stash of dried ones already.

The boletes I came across are quite old (and therefore, thoroughly worm infested) so I didn’t even bother to pick any. But check out this big one!

Unidentified mushroom that looks very poisonous!

Pretty bracket fungus with rings.

The boletes may be out of season, but the woolly milkcap is in full season. The forest was covered with these and I could barely finish picking all in a small area.

You can see where it got its name from… The cap looks really woolly.😀

It is easy to spot and identify, which makes collecting it so much fun! This mushroom is not considered edible in most places but it is one of the most common wild mushroom collected for cooking in Finland. The sap is poisonous when raw but it becomes edible after rinsing and parboiling. The skin on my finger actually got a bit tender and irritated from simply picking these mushrooms today. Note to self – wear a glove when picking woolly milkcaps in future!

The loot from the second trip into the forest today…

… Which also yielded some oversized chanterelles!

Unknown mushroom with pretty bands.

Of course, no proper autumn mushroom-hunting trip is complete without some snapshots of the deadly toadstool!

Another one. They are so pretty and striking with that tomato red and white speckles that look like chopped almonds sprinkled onto a delicious little dessert! Unforunately highly poisonous.

HH’s little apple tree has started producing apples. Fresh apples do have that special flowery fragrance that I’ve never tasted in store-bought (and thus older) apples.

This was my loot of woolly milkcap! I had to turn back because the bucket was simply overflowing. I actually dropped a couple on my way back, because the bucket was so full.😄

And that is the end of this mushroomy post! This week I hope to finish writing up that long overdue pattern, make some mooncakes, do some more sewing and knitting on top of preparation for the upcoming move and looking after the sick boys… Something tells me I’ll be really busy… Have Autumn arrived where you live? What are your favourite Autumn activities/events?

Catching Up

Sometimes it gets quiet here because I’ve nothing crafty to talk about. But sometimes it gets quiet here because I’m too busy with the crafty stuff! I’ve been running around doing stuff so much lately I barely get to use my computer these days! We’ve been busy with packing for the move – my strategy is to do it bit by bit so it is easier on L and us, just a couple of boxes every week, starting with the things we do not need at the moment. Apart from that, I’ve been busy with sewing and knitting.. The birthday vest didn’t make the birthday but maybe it will make it for the wedding anniversary.😛

I also did some dyeing with some friends here recently. I went and got a second-hand pot for it (because I cannot justify wasting a perfectly good new pot for the occasional dyeing) but I’m not sure how I like how it is serving it’s purpose. I was in a rush to get out of the thrift shop (a restless L in tow) and did not see that it was an aluminium pot. The pot I used in Singapore was a stainless steel one and somehow I felt the yarn took up the dye so much better.

Here are some of the yarn we dyed. We tried out a gradient method and I love how it turned out!

The intense violet faded out to white with a marbled effect. This is AP’s yarn and I cannot wait to see how it knits up!

This is mine.. I did a manual gradient for mine, using the same colour. I really like the silvery lavender of the lighter shade. The pinks were experiments with koolaid. I was initially planning to use the pinks with the purple, but have since decided to use white with the purple. AP and I were planning to knit Sky Isle, with modification to knit it top down instead of bottom up. I have started mine but already have to put it on hold because of 3 rushed projects slotted in, 4 if I include the anniversary vest. Hopefully I don’t forget about this before I’m done with those projects… Once we are settled after the move and I have a proper place for my craft stuff, I really have to round up all those forgotten, wild and loose WIPs! I hate being this disorganised.

So I managed to take modeled pics of the finished double gauze dress. As you can see, it is fitted at the underbust, then flares out to an A-line skirt. The back fits very well. The bust gapes a little, but thankfully I’ve remembered to include a little insert. The 2 pockets are very handy, even if they do not hold much weight. Its nice just to put my hands in sometimes! I am glad that I did so much adjusting and trying on with the tissue cutouts before actually cutting the fabric for this dress. It really helps to check very well before cutting anything when it comes to sewing, which is a lot more unforgiving than knitting!

Here are some pics of the vest I whipped up a couple of weeks ago. It is still unblocked as I’m waiting to block it along with the anniversary vest. This vest was a cold case project – it is an updated version of my first ever (and only) published (in a magazine) pattern – Rose Red. It had been such a long time since I wrote that pattern and I hope that I have since improved at this designing/pattern-writing thing. I’ve noticed quite a few erratas from the printed version and intend to make a better version in both design and pattern, to be available in the near future. It is such a simple and quick knit – I finished it in a couple of days despite running around like a headless chicken most days.😀

The hat and vest together. I like how this vest, in this colour, works well in Summer outfits as well as Autumn and Winter ones.

Back view of the vest. I forgot to mention before, but the pattern I modified for the hat is the Starlight doily by Julia Hart.

So there was some sewing going on… Not garments this time, but baby quilts!

Yes! More baby stuff…

I practiced my free-hand machine quilting on these 2 baby quilts. I’m not really pleased with how the quilting turned out but it at least does the job of keeping the layers of patchwork, quilting and padding in place. So anyway, on this one I quilted a design of waves, currents and clouds, with a cable-y border that you can see very clearly. All free-hand and very ‘organic’.😉

This is the second baby quilt. Same as the first, freehand quilting that looks terribly organic.😛 I really like the prints of the fabric used in this quilt. The cheerful pink flowers on an aqua background is just the right amount of girly!

The quilting on this one is not so terrible that I won’t show here… I quilted a design of flowers in the center, flanked by 2 leafy vines, flanked by some stones. Border was some doodle-y line that reminds me of hearts.

Despite all that amateur quilting, the backing (which is the same one fabric as the ‘binding’ – I used my favourite self-binding method) is an absolutely delicious fabric. Soft, light, silky… Did I mention soft? I mean it! It is this fabric that I originally bought for another project, then changed my mind. I hope the babies will enjoy cuddling and snuggling up to this quilt, despite the hot Singaporean weather. Bad quilting is not visible when a blanket is all scrunched up, snuggled and cuddled.🙂

Another sewing project. Much more simple this time, more at my level.

It is a cover for a baby-carrier – a request from my sis. This is the tutorial I followed. I used a printed canvas, rather than quilting cotton fabric, for this so it will hold up to the tugging of snaps better. I did manage to mess up a bit with this straightforward project – I placed the elastic on the shorter side so it looked rather strange rolled up. So I went in with a seam ripper, unpicked and re-positioned the elastic. So if you do make this, be sure to check you have the right side before sewing on the elastic.😉

All these sewn projects are currently winging their way to the tropics as I type… SX, QQ and PS, if you’re reading this, don’t read any further or you’ll be spoiling your surprises.😉

So, since I was sending a big package, I decided to send along the Christmas stuff…. Yes, in August! I am not a commercial Christmas fanatic but to cut the story short, I had extra space and decided to send along some simple Christmas cheer in advance, so my friends (the mommies) get some treats too, and not just their lovely little babes.

I sent them a packet of Glögi each, with English directions on how to prepare this very Christmas drink. I  designed it and drew the cards with watercolour and marker. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I would be able to pull off glasses of beverages in watercolour, but I am surprisingly pleased with how it turned out! I didn’t quite get the hang of drawing Christmas-y designs in August, as you can probably tell from the summery blooms included.

On the other side of the cards, I decided to push my luck and paint some deers… This one didn’t turn out that well, as you can tell.😄 It was looking pretty awful and I tried to salvage it with line shading with my marker… It helped a bit. Then I decided to try adding some highlight on the deers’ faces. Hmm.. We have a chinese idiom for these sort of behaviour, literally translated: Draw snake, add legs.

Thankfully, only one side of the cards need to be facing up at one time.😉

Have you ever added legs to a snake painting (literally)?

That is all for this week. Have a lovely weekend!

Summer’s End

The long Summer days are beginning to get shorter here but a more detectable hint of the end of Summer is a slight chill in the air. I’m sure the actual temperatures have not changed much, but it feels like the balmy warm breezes have acquired a bit of a sharp crisp to it… I haven’t been in Finland long enough to grow tired of the seasons and I hope I never will!

I’ve finally bought buttons for the double gauze dress but it took more than a week to sew them on!

3 little buttons! I was looking for small and round golden ones but this was the closest I could find here.

I’m tempted to top-stitch around the neck so the facing will stay in place! Have you noticed the interlocked/serged edge to the facing? HH had graciously given me her serger a couple of months ago! It took a while before I could find an opportunity to get it out for a spin, but after a bit of a rocky start, I’m convinced this will come in very handy indeed! The serger and I got quite well acquainted in the process of sewing this dress.

I have put pockets in the side seams of this dress. But because I did not have enough of the double gauze, I sneaked in some of the leftover fleece from sewing my robe, which also happens to be grey! (Yes, I tend to like the boring colours like beige and grey…)

The invisible zip was actually added as an afterthought. When I first made the dress and tried it on, I realised that I had to take in the waist quite significantly for it to fit well. So I did just that. Then realised that it meant I had to really wriggle (actually, contort will be a closer description!) to get in/out of the dress! An amateur mistake, but I’m happy with the lessons learnt. This is also the first time I managed to sew an invisible zip in invisibly!

One of my favourite part of this dress is the lace trim I’ve added to the hem. It isn’t terribly noticeable but I like the cottage style it brought to the dress. I had arranged the layout so that the selvedge edge of the fabric ends up at the hem of the dress but I might got back and re-sew it because I’m not too fond of the way it is puckering now. I’ve washed the fabric before cutting and sewing, but it seems to have changed/shrank when I put the sewn dress through the wash again!

And this is it. I’ve learnt quite a lot in the making of this dress (I forgot to mention before, but I did not follow any pattern for this dress)… I hope to put it to use a few times before putting it away for the Winter.

I’ve not been very diligent in updating about my FOs… For example, this hat:

I finished this many weeks ago but never found the opportunity to take proper pics of it. And even when I did, L was running around my legs. I suppose it must look quite funny to see mummy standing so still in a corner, running back and forth and such! Anyway, back to this hat.. I crocheted it out of Bergere’s Coton Fifty. I modified a lace doily pattern for this and winged the brim.

It may not seem obvious, but this is a soft hat! Which is probably why it took so long to get about taking pics of it… I have to put it on it for it to look like anything, or else it is just a floppy flat pile of threads! I have considered starching it so it will have a crisper shape, but now the Summer season is almost over, I’m thinking maybe next year instead. The brim stays up because I’ve worked a rubber-coated gardening wire into the last round of the brim. It works well and is mould-able, which is always a plus, but the join is fiddly and I’m considering changing it out for a plastic millinery wire. Well, we shall see!

Have you noticed the knitted vest I wore in the picture above? It is the latest FO! I took pics of it but the pics didn’t turn out clear (plus it was, and still is, unblocked) so I will talk more about it when I have better pics! I have another FO under my wing too, but that one will have to wait a bit longer because I’m trying to write the pattern out for it. It is difficult because the only time I actually get to myself is when L sleeps, which isn’t much at all! But at least I can knit a bit these days even when he is awake. I’m currently knitting a birthday vest for M and it is about a third done. It has cables and while I like how it looks, I’m not a fan of knitting cables (blasphemy, I know!). M picked the design and approved the yarn/colour but doesn’t know it is for his birthday… I want to make sure at least he will use (and enjoy using) it after the work I put into knitting it!

We recently brought L on his first boat trip ever. We visited this little island nearby (if you remember, a historic building on it caught fire the last time we attempted to visit the island!) and spent a nice hour grilling sausages and looking around. L kept trying to step into the water, even when we were in the boat! Hopefully next time we go on a boat, he will be more used to the idea that one does not just walk on water.😄

Hope everyone had a nice weekend!

Summer Daze

Nothing much to share except for this dress I’ve sewn up  using that double gauze fabric… Which had indeed softened up a great deal and is every bit the soft and comfy fabric I thought! I have also noticed that it seems to pill too, even though it had only been tried on for fit!

I still need to find and sew on buttons. Then I will write more about it.

My love for Singaporean chicken rice had recently resurfaced with the  abundance of spring onions in the market here. Though I believe we are chicken-riced-out for the moment.😛

Also nice for Summer – Tiramisu! So easy to make and such a refreshing little treat in hot weather.

Just today, I dressed a chocolate cake I’ve baked for a friend’s birthday celebration. I had picked a little more than 1kg of raspberries this past weekend and made jam out of it last night. But I kept some of the prettier ones for dressing up this cake, which I also filled with thin layers of raspberry jam and cream. Raspberries and chocolate are a match made in heaven, don’t you agree?

We’ve been spending time in the countryside and L had been enjoying running around as well as swimming in the lake. Though he can’t really swim yet (he is only 1.5 years young, afterall) he likes splashing around. Quite the bundle of energy, as you can see from the motion blur in this pic!

Its a good thing M plays with L because I certainly don’t have the energy for that!

Hopefully more to share soon, though I foresee the upcoming couple of months to be kinda busy as we prepare to move! Hope everyone is having a nice Summer so far!


Today we will be doing it a bit differently… Today we will go in reversed chronology!

My week ended with us popping in to a knit festival. Unfortunately, I did not sign up for any of the classes (even though they were in English, which is super awesome!) which turned out to be a fortunate thing after all, because I would’ve had to skip it since it turns out we had something on in the countryside this weekend.

So, the knit festival! I got to meet some terribly sweet alpacas!

They were seriously the sweetest animals I’ve seen so far… Despite their size, which is like that of a pony, they were as meek as lambs and had the cutest little voices. After thinking about it for a long time*, I tried petting one of them and oh, so soft, fluffy and warm!

*They are bigger than most animals I encounter. I was also worried about stressing them out, but they seemed happy enough.

Here the 3 little alpacas were being very interested in 2 little dogs passing by.

L was interested in the alpacas for maybe 5 minutes. Then he was more interested in climbing up and down the stairs.

Towards the end of the excursion, M brought L over and told me someone gave L a little wooden butter knife!

The wooden butter knife is sitting on the yarn I bought at the knit festival… I told myself I would not buy more than 1 item, mostly because I already have a big stash and also because we will most probably be moving soon. (I’m looking forward to the move very much, especially if it means more storage space out of L’s reach!)

So, the yarn I chose in the end is Colinette’s Parisienne in Jay, a deep teal with tonal variegation. I do not typically go for variegated colours, but this one don’t seem like it will go nuts on pooling.😉 I also had my eyes on 2 new-to-me indie dyer, La Bien Aimee and Snail Yarn. They had such gorgeous colourways and delightful bases! If I remember correctly, Snail Yarn’s booth had set out some skeins of yarn that was the same colourway on 2 yarn bases, a lace mohair and a BFL, side by side. Imagine the possibilities! Won’t it be so interesting to knit something that has the same colourway but alternates between the 2 very different bases?!

The rose here was from HH’s garden, which is flourishing despite the cloudy/rainy weather we are having. And you haven’t heard much about my ‘garden’ because once again it did not work out. The diagnosis from VP (who has the greenest thumb I know of) is that there is simply not enough sunlight in my balcony and I suppose the cloudy weather was the last straw for the poor plants. Maybe next Summer I will be able to try in a much better location?

This weekend in the countryside had been busy. The autumny weather we’ve been experiencing had brought up a good crop of mushrooms! As a result, I have collected and dried enough mushrooms for the next year at least!

Yes, this much! (It might not seem terribly much, but mushrooms become really compact after being dried, so believe me when I say there is a lot of mushrooms in there!)

I chanced upon many young mushrooms that are in excellent condition. Here are some of them sitting on top of my new DPN set!

Yep, I decided to get a set of DPNs, because the ones I have are either missing, broken or the wrong size. These came with their own bag, which I have found from experience to be very useful in preventing them from getting lost, since I will always put them back in their spot after using them. The size printed on the sticks are pointless though. The ones I’ve (barely) used are already all rubbed off. In case anyone is interested in these, they are the knitpro Dreamz DPN set.

Back to the mushrooms. I spent a long time cleaning, slicing and drying them. The mushroom here looks bad but it is simply an orange birch bolete and they tend to stain blue/black when bruised, ultimately turning black when cooked/completely dried.

These are the mushrooms I dried in round 1. Thankfully, HH has a dehydrator which I could use in the cellar, because if not the whole house would be stinking like a wet dog.😛

I collected mushrooms in 3 total rounds. These are the loot from round 2. I stuck with the mushrooms I am familiar with, mainly the orange birch bolete, but sometimes the Bay Bolete, Porcini and Pine Bolete. I did not clean these boletes on site because I didn’t bring the mushrooming knife on the first 2 trips – I was not planning to go mushrooming; I was only walking L and putting him to sleep when I saw the big floppy hats of boletes beckoning me from the forest. Ironically, when I finally set about to go mushrooming in round 3, I did not find many mushrooms, only about 5.

These are the ones from Round 1, shown with HH’s mushrooming knife at the far right.

My favourite are the orange birch boletes. I love their vibrant orange caps!

Here is what I meant when I said ‘big floppy hats of boletes’ in the forest! Boletes tend to grow really big, but the big ones are usually not suitable for harvesting because they are full of worms! But they sometimes lead to younger and smaller boletes that are in good condition.

Like these!

By the way, those splotches on my fingernails are nail-art roses.

Apart from boletes, the forest was full of other interesting fungi.

And moses.

And clover patches!

And unfortunately, mosquitoes! I was almost eaten alive by the swarms of mosquitoes. That is probably my least favourite thing about the forest! The mosquitoes here are different from in Singapore… They are bigger so you can actually feel them when they bite! And the bitten area remains affected for many days. The ones in Singapore are like ninjas. You barely see them and don’t usually realise you’ve been bitten until it had flown off. Thankfully, the mosquitoes here don’t seem to carry diseases though!

These rocks are covered in the thickest layer of moss I’ve ever seen. Truly fascinating place! I’ve climbed up these rocks once, many years ago, with M (there was a dog barking non-stop up there and we thought someone might be hurt, so we went to check with TH).

And that is it for this week! Quite an eventful week, though not too much achieved craft-wise. Now I should pop off to bed. Have a great week ahead and I hope you’re having less rain than us!