Friday, 29 April 2011
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
Sunday, 24 April 2011
Friday, 15 April 2011
Wednesday, 13 April 2011
This is my first go at WIP Wednesday. I have seen WIP posts on other blogs and thought it might keep me on the straight and narrow if the world could see my umming and ahhing about projects. For the uninitiated WIP stands for 'Work In Progress' and WIP Wednesday is hosted over on Tami's Amis where you can add your link and also see what other people are up to should you be lacking in inspiration. Or just a nosey piece, like me.
I cast on one of my (many!) vintage baby patterns yesterday. I forgot to add the pattern to my picture. It has a moss stitch border and a simple(!) lace pattern, worked in one piece to armholes. I wasn't totally sure on the colour, but I have 10 balls of it I picked up from Kemps when they had 500g of Rowan for £5, so if it doesn't work out at least it didn't cost the earth. The yarn is Cashsoft 4ply in the shade 'Spa'.
I have always struggled with moss stitch before, it always looked flippy and floppy and not the straight lines of bumps I wanted to see. After thinking about it for a little while I realised that the method I use to keep my rib stitch neater would work with moss too! Lightbulb moment. When I was a fairly newbie knitter I happened upon this post at Nona Knits where she suggests to wrap the purl stitch following a knit stitch clockwise, or the way I use to remember it, like the needle is putting on a scarf. When you meet the stitch again later it will be sitting on the needle twisted so you have to knit/purl it through the back loop. Depending on the stitch pattern and whether you are knitting flat or in the round it might mean that you don't have to wrap clockwise on the next row. If you are purling tbl then you won't need to wrap clockwise on that row but the next one instead. I hope that makes sense. Maybe your moss and rib are just fine as they are and it seems like a big ol' faff but thought it was worth putting out there. I certainly notice a difference anyway.
So after the best moss stitch I have knitted - evah! I have a 6 row lace pattern. Aaaaaand I went and made a mess of it, so I got to do the moss stitch all over again. All practice isn't it? As I type I have made it to row 5 and all looking ok. I may just conquer my fear of yo's yet!
Sunday, 10 April 2011
You may be thinking these bags look very Lucy of Attic24 , and you would be right! After chatting to Carole who is behind Hooked By Design, it was Lucy who taught her to crochet at her hooky group. They are made with her rug wool and very sturdy!
She gave a demonstration of how to hook and it looks much easier than I imagined. I am very tempted by the Union Jack designs you can see on her website.
Saturday, 9 April 2011
I have made 36 jam tarts this week as part of my Ultimate Grandma Training. One of these days I will actually come up with a list of 'gran skillz' that I need to achieve but for now it's jam tarts! I usually fear the pastry but my gran was awesome at them so learn I must. Hers used to be laced with animal fats which I no longer eat and made with her homemade jam, yet another skill I need to conquer.
So I turned to Google for a recipe. Some of which were along the 'buy some ready-made pastry and add jam' lines but no, that isn't what this is about! I found the others varied in their ingredients some contained eggs and sugar or raising agents and others not, so I chose three recipes and decided to try them all. In place of the lard I used Trex which is a 100% vegetable non-hydrogenated fat. It was only after I had used it I looked at the packaging I noticed it says to use 30% less than the recipe states as it has no water in it, maybe this would have had some bearing on the results? I don't know! Will teach me to read things properly, won't it? No probably not.
The method for all is about the same. Rub the fat into the flour and add water and/or egg to bind then roll out and cut into rounds. The aim was for the quantity to easily make 12. I used the same jam for all which was Duerr's Strawberry as I needed a smooth jam without whole strawberries in.
4oz self-raising flour
Easy to work with? Yes!
Did it make 12? Yes, but had to use smaller cutter than I intended.
Texture? A bit crumbly but held together well
Flavour? Nice. All 12 disappeared within the hour.
6oz plain flour
Easy to work with? Yes, very
Makes 12? Made extra this time as I wanted to use the bigger cutter.
Texture? Really crumbly but tasted fine
Flavour? The lack of sugar in the pastry was noticeable.
150g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk
3tbsp caster sugar
Easy to work with? Not really, dough kept sticking or cracking and I found it hard to get the right thickness.
Made 12? Yes with a bit (lot!) of re-rolling. And swearing.
Texture? The best I think but I do begrudge wasting an egg white. I never know what to do with just one.
So there you have it. None of the recipes were awful as they were all eaten in record time by the rest of the family. I meant to take pics of them all but only managed the first lot! I think recipe 1 (if I increased the quantity slightly) is the best so far but always willing to try any other ones. I also don't know how to get the jam to melt evenly, all mine bubbled up into weird lumpy shapes but I guess that's the way things go with homemade. If you have any pearls of wisdom to help me with my jam tart quest then please do let me know.
Hope everyone is having a good weekend so far. Weather was beautiful here, spent a lot of time outside doing some tidying the yard while the kids looked for worms, coming back in completely filthy! I'm off to Wonderwool Wales tomorrow. Taking my camera and hope to remember to take some pictures this time.
Wednesday, 6 April 2011
Sunday, 3 April 2011
Day seven: 3rd April. Your knitting and crochet time.
Write about your typical crafting time. When it is that you are likely to craft – alone or in more social environments, when watching TV or whilst taking bus journeys. What items do you like to surround yourself with whilst you twirl your hook like a majorette’s baton or work those needles like a skilled set of samurai swords. Do you always have snacks to hand, or are you a strictly ‘no crumbs near my yarn!’ kind of knitter.
Saturday, 2 April 2011
- Master yo's. I started a cardigan that has a lot of yo's all the way across the bottom hem. I knit a few rows and the cardigan grew, and grew! As far as I know they were done correctly but the end result was massive even with using needles 3 sizes smaller. Which leads me on to....
- Lace. I'm scared of lace but would love to make myself a shawlette without crying and hurling it across the room.
- Make heirloom crochet blankets for all my children. This would require mass stash acquisition so is very much a long term goal.
- Be more focused. I end up wasting a lot of time dithering over yarn and pattern choices when I should be getting on with it! I'd also love to knit faster.
- Stashdown! A lot of my stash is leftovers from when I have bought 2 yarns for the same project if the first yarn hasn't worked out which has left me with a lot I need to find a new project for.
- Knit a garment for myself. Maybe go on a diet first!
Friday, 1 April 2011
You make my heart sing
You make everything.....groovy!
Wildcard – Embellish the story
Embellishments come in all types and forms. Some are more than purely decorative and form a practical function – pretty buttons are as much part of holding a garment together as mere decoration, and some are just there to give a piece an extra ‘something’. Blog about an embellishment, be it a zipper, amigurumi eyes or applique patch which you are either saving to use or have in the past used to decorate a project with.
I don't know what it is about buttons I love, after all they are just pieces of wood or plastic with holes in! I like nothing more than finding some random market or haberdashery shop and looking at all the rows upon rows of plastic tubes. In my local market the buttons must be ancient! The display button is always faded and a completely different colour to the ones inside and I don't think the pricing has changed in that time either and they are all 2p, 5p, or 6p. My kind of money! One of the problems of pre-emptive button buying is how many to get if you don't know what they will be used for. I tend to go with 6 or 8 or 10 for small ones. Whether this is right or not remains to be seen.
I got a few bits of my current button collection out to take pics of and the close proximity of the 'OMG buttons' and the fact he couldn't touch them while I was taking pictures sent my son into a total toddler meltdown! He has the button love too. If the kids have nice buttons on their clothes once they are outgrown or worn out I snip them off and add them to the collection.
The jellybean tin holds loose randomers, the tray has ones that are in sets and the Emma Bridgwater tin holds the fancy ones on cards. Little One had never seen these before and he was very taken with the traffic lights and fire engines so I think I need to figure out a pattern to incorporate them for him. They came from The Button Lady who hasn't got a web shop but is usually at yarn shows around the UK. I'm also very fond of the dinosaurs and bees.
These are my current favourites that I bought from LovePaperFish. She has some great and unusual bright buttons. I am going to be using these in my next project.
Here are a few more. The wooden board they are on was a purchase from the car boot last weekend and I am planning on drilling 4 holes in it and making it into a giant button to go on the wall. My husband seemed very perplexed by this and as usual thinks I am a bit loopy.
I recently saw this video about how to properly sew on a button by the Knitmore Girls. On the video they are sewing on a large and heavy (but pretty!) button but I did pick up quite a few tips and have managed to make a good job of the last few I have sewn on.
For a long time I have been dying to go to Duttons for Buttons. It looks like a button goldmine. I'm wondering if a slight detour on the way home from our holiday this year could be arranged. I hope I get to go one day. Some people are phobic about buttons, can you imagine that?!