Thursday, 26 March 2015

Off and on...

...the needles.
This first project was actually completed before the Spring Wreath, but until it had safely arrived I couldn't share it here. It was great fun to make, and a perfect project for work. This is the only way I could think of to photograph it that would show it all - and it was quite a windy day, so it wasn't an easy task.

And, with a few supplementary colours (and a pair of carbon-fibre knitting needles that are proving to be very pleasant to knit with, and which I am hoping will not bow and warp the way wooden ones do), most of the leftovers are being knitted into a sweater for C. I started out with regular stripes but didn't like it, and after about 50 rows I decided to rip it back before I passed the point of no return. I'm now knitting it in totally random colours, just cutting long lengths of each colour and knitting it in loose blocks of colour. I've used a temporary cast on for two reasons - I need to see what colours are left at the end to knit a two-colour rib, and also he seems to be really hard on the ribs of his sweaters. They always need repairs - and for a while I have been thinking that it would be much easier to repair them if they ended with a cast-off edge. We shall see. This will be to replace a sweater I knitted about 26 years ago, which partly used the same zigzag pattern. It's getting beyond the point of repair!

Sunday, 22 March 2015


We had such beautiful weather this weekend. I think that the guy I saw walking around with no shirt on was a bit over-optimistic, since the air temperature was only about 12°C / 54°F , but driving back through the park in the afternoon we saw plenty of people enjoying picnics and barbecues. Most of them were more suitable dressed for the weather, just happy to enjoy the sunshine.
In the morning we took a short trip to Farmleigh...

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Hot Off the Needles

I spent the holiday morning yesterday sewing this up, ready to post off today as an Easter gift!
It was a lot quicker than the Woodland Wreath; for starters it's smaller, the wreath was just 25cm diameter. Like the Woodland Wreath, the pattern came from Ravelry, and was designed by Frankie Brown.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Happy St. Patrick's Day

No special photo this year...just a green card!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Favourite February Cards

When we are out and about, I can often spot what triggers C to sing a particular song - often something on an advertising hoarding is enough to act as a subconscious prompt to him. These Danish pastries were the result of a poster ad on a bus prompting me. I'm afraid I can't even remember the working - it includes Best, Danish and Carlsberg. Far from making me want to go out and buy Carlsberg, it made me hanker after a good Danish pastry - and the easiest answer to that was to make my own.  The pinwheels are maple and pecan, the swirls are raisin and spice.

This month's blog header is a pair of cormorants in breeding plumage, taken last year at Heuston Station.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Recipe time

foraging male chaffinch

I've had a fancy for a while to make gougère, but I couldn't remember what on earth we used to have with it when we made it in the classic ring form. Having picked up some Gruyère, I was partially committed to making it - and in the end, I used some leftover roast lamb with it, I made a filling with some chopped onion sweated in olive oil, then added red bell peppers, courgettes, chopped tomatoes and rosemary, and added the diced lamb near the end of the cooking time.

Gougère is simply cheese-enhanced choux pastry, and can be made as a ring and served with a savoury filling or salad, or made into little puffs like profiteroles, or larger puffs like cream buns.
Since my recipe goes back to when I did my Cordon Bleu course, it's not even in metric, let alone with American alternatives! 
For the two of us I used:

1/4 pt (5 fluid ounces) water
2 ounces butter
2 1/2 ounces strong flour
2 eggs
for the choux pastry, and I used about 3 ounces of Gruyère cheese - most of it coarsely grated, and some diced finely to sprinkle over the top.
Other good cheeses to use are Comté or Emmental.

Make your choux pastry (I always beat the last egg in a cup, and add it gradually so as not to make the pastry too wet), and stir in the grated cheese. Shape into your preferred option, the cooking time will obviously vary depending on what shape you are making.
I baked mine in a medium hot oven (180C) for about forty minutes.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

On The Way To Work...

I still don't know what these "Three Men in a Boat" were doing - by the time I got as far up the river as I had first seen them messing around, they had pulled back into the centre and were starting to head downstream again.

I don't all that often walk on this particular stretch of pavement - and I think when I do there are usually so many real leaves on the ground that I don't ever remember seeing these sort of "fossils" where leaves had obviously fallen onto the wet concrete before. With the green moss growing on them, they were quite intriguing to look at.

I thought this too looked like  leaf - or maybe more of a ferny frond. The old church on James' Street which used to be a lighting shop and has been empty for at least four years has had a sign up for a while with a planning application to turn it into a micro-distillery. They obviously got approval, because the workman are now in. All I can think is that the green is stained glass and whatever has been covering it up till now has got torn away just there.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Christmas Knit

 This was originally meant to be a September birthday gift - but the initial leaves and ivy took so long that I re-scheduled it as a Christmas gift instead rather than rush.Also, it took a while to find several different shades of green and brown. Actually, after those two initial leafy sessions, everything else went pretty quickly.

The pattern comes from Ravelry ~ Woodland Wreath, by Frankie Brown.
Since I took the photos with different cameras in wildly varying lighting conditions over two months as I added each new item, I'm afraid the colours vary a bit from photo to photo. C'est la vie. A couple were taken with the wrong colour balance - and typicially, when I had RAW disabled so I can't correct them.

The foam wreath I used was just under 14" diameter, 35 cm. Since I got two, I am planning to make another one of these for myself. I had it hanging on the wall for about a week before I wrapped it up and posted it off, which gave me time to make a few adjustments in positioning, and add a few more white dots to some of the toadstools. I missed it when it was gone!

Bare wreath

plain leaf garland

Oak leaves and acorns

Ivy garland

Holly leaves and berries


Pine cones



Bluebells and flowers

Thursday, 12 February 2015

January Favourites

I was sick all over Christmas and well into the New Year, and since I got back to work the mornings have either been dark or dismal, if not both - so the opportunities for photography are not jumping out at me!
I'd been planning to share a knitting project over Christmas, but several photos need editing, so it didn't happen over the holidays ~ no editing package on the laptop which is increasingly geriatric and best used for emergencies only. are my favourite cards from January.