Stash enhancement

Hello all,

Sorry for not blogging for a while but I have been busy. I spent the last weeks of my staycation mostly on a health kick, exercising and suchlike.  I did indulge myself a little bit, I went to Ballarat for the excellent Vic beer festival with the wonderful knitting/spinning/beer-loving Sharon. I also spent some time noshing yummy foods with friends, but that all comes under psychological well being I reckon.

So far I’ve lost 3kgs and want to lose another 9kgs. Trouble is restricting your calorie intake isn’t easy when your a foodie/beer/cider/gin lover. If anyone has any recommendations for healthy and delicious recipes and/or blogs I’d love to hear them. To help keep me on track I have dangled a lovely knitterly carrot, which of course comes in the form of stash enhancement.

My first stash enhancement/reward includes, Shelter and Zauberball. In the photo there is also some Jamieson & Smith supreme jumper weight but it was ordered at the beginning of December and has only recently arrived so it pre-dates the health kick. I just wanted to include it in the photo.

This morning, however, I added my 100th stashed yarn to Ravelry, which was also my 20th handspun yarn. It’s a 3 ply worsted spun 9-11wpi yarn (due to thick and thin-ness).  I spun 3 tops from The Thylacine, 2 were Cormo that I custom ordered in a colour way called sunlight hits the snow. The 3rd a birthday gift from the lovely Sonia, Optim (stretched merino) in Colebrook, thank you again beautiful lady.

It was a wonderful coincidence that the Cormo that I ordered was such a perfectly beautiful match to the Optim in colour. The Optim also provides the yarn with a beautiful silky sheen to complement the rather matt Cormo. I’m now on the lookout for a pattern to show off this dreamy yarn.

I have another 3 Thylacine tops to spin into singles and ply but not until I’ve finished the Contiguous jumper. I’ll blog about Contiguous progress soon.

Well I’m off to burn 500 calories! ttfn x

Epiphany

I had a lightbulb moment today.  It followed a conversation with my husband’s cousin at a family wedding. It turns out this cousin makes cheese as a hobby. How fascinating! I love cheese, well actually I love all dairy products, but still I was hooked on the idea.

My husbands cousin is from England so he couldn’t advise me of any local courses or places to buy equipment or anything but that’s ok because I know how to Google.  So when we got home (there was no WiFi where we were and we struggled to get a signal on our phones) I duly Googled and lo and behold there are courses and people who sell kits and equipment all you need to add is unhomogenized milk. Hurrah!

It was this that sparked the lightbulb moment, yes I could buy cheese, good cheese at many cheese shops but making cheese myself would be thrilling.  That’s my thing, I get so much joy from the process of making things and knowing that “I made that!”

Anyway I just thought I’d share.

Today I’m making an oatmeal, spelt and maple syrup loaf and bottling some golden ale that we brewed 3 weeks ago and as it’s Monday popping over to Richmond for knit night.

ttfn Melanie x

Weekend

Hope you’re all well and had a great weekend.  Mine has been quite productive, I’ve cleaned and de-cluttered the house and revamped the blog a bit, it’s been a bit trial and error but I’m happy with the end result, hope you like it too (the blog revamp, that is).  Btw, the new theme for the blog is called Coraline, I think it was a sign.

I’m relaxing now with a glass of the Porter we made and I have to say it has improved since bottling and is even nicer now.  Next weekend we bottle the English Bitter we made but we’ve been told to leave that in the bottle for 3 weeks to improve.  I like things that improve with age more and more as each year passes, weird, eh?

The weekend hasn’t been entirely knit free, shudder to think!  I have chosen yarn for my first weaving project and am awaiting a tutorial time to get me started, from the lovely Binkaboo who wove my lovely scarf from before if you remember.  I have also made a purchase for another chapter in my yarn love affair but I’m keeping quiet till it arrives, more later.  Finally, I have begun hubby’s socks, which are the David’s toe-up pattern again, but with a bit of a rib on the top which will carry on around the leg.  I’ve been knitting as I’ve watched the final episodes of Ashes to Ashes, one-heck-of-a-great British programme (I think it too great to pigeonhole into drama as it is absolutely so much more).

Thanks to Eskimimi for the excellent photography tutorial on her blog I have had a lovely play around with photography this weekend.

Ale and hearty

So hubby and I have embarked on a joint hobby and as we share a love of good beer it had to be beermaking.  Now I know that there are lots of people who buy kits and make beer at home, but we don’t have the space for all the equipment and stuff so we went to a company in Oakleigh, Melbourne called Barleycorn Brewers.

www.barleycornbrewers.com

Using their equipment and ingredients and following one of their tried and tested recipes you can make 6 slabs of beer in about 2 hours. They store it in a fermentation room at a constant temperature till it’s fermented and ready to be bottled then you go back and bottle it.  The staff there are really friendly and helpful and very passionate about beer, the place has a great atmosphere, and IMHO a delicious aroma.  They have over 100 different beer recipes to make so there is something for everyone from low alcohol beers, lagers, bitters, pale ales, to dark ales and stouts.  On our first visit we brewed a pale ale and when we went back to bottle it we brewed a porter.  Here are some photos:

These are the drums of Malt extracts and other yummy beer ingredients.

Our pale ale wort mashing complete with bag of hops and grains and already smelling good!

Off into the fermentation rooms (big white and steel doors) to be kept at an optimum temperature for a few weeks.

Three weeks later and we’re back to bottle our beer which passes through commercial grade filters so that our beer can be enjoyed straight away.  Sorry about the blurriness of these photos.

And yes, I’ve had a hair do since bottling, the beer won’t turn you into a ‘ranga!

Cheers!