Showing posts with label Knitting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Knitting. Show all posts

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Hot off the needles...

I did add the blackbird - and I see I need to brush a few strands of stuffing off him. Still not sure where this will hang, but for the moment it's where I can see it in front of me when I sit downstairs, so that I can decide if anything needs to be adjusted or secured a bit more firmly.

Frankie's Woodland Wreath from

Saturday, 12 January 2019

The Goldilocks zone

No, nearly, yes.

I don't know why the one on the left just didn't work, whether it was just because the yarn was slightly thicker. Or the colour was off - it's a beautiful blue but just didn't look right on the wreath, hence my debating whether to include them at all.

The middle one, the yarn is finer and is probably pure wool with a slight lustre, so maybe that's why it looks better, but the stem was wrong.

The one on the right is fine and I'm just going to go and knit another few stems. I also incorporated a stretchy bind-off which lets the bell flare out a little more. I just came upstairs to find yellow beads for my blackbird's eyes. I hope he'll fit on the wreath, or maybe even hang in the centre. He's turned out very well. 

Friday, 11 January 2019

The home straight

Back in Christmas '14 I finally finished  a woodland wreath as a Christmas present, using a pattern from Ravelry by Frankie Brown. At the time I bought two of the polystyrene wreaths, because I knew I wanted to knit one for myself. And ever since, I've been buying odd balls of green and brown wools any time I saw them.

Well, come the end of October this year and we suddenly had an unexpected house guest for nearly a month. I knew she could knit, so I suggested some knitting as something to do that would be therapeutic and relaxing, found her a couple of patterns and some wool and pulled this out to start for myself.

I just have some flowers to add - I've finished some pink and yellow ones, and am in the process of deciding whether I want to add the bluebells or not. Just because they're in the pattern doesn't mean I have to! I'm also planning to knit a blackbird from the book Lorraine gave me and see how he looks on it. C thinks the scale would be wrong, I don't think it will matter and I'd like to see what he looks like.

So I'll be back in a few days with the finished project - when I've added the last details and found somewhere to hang it.

In the meantime, here are a few work-in-progress shots.

Basic wreath with a garland of leaves, ivy and oak

Add the holly and some colour starts to give more life to it

And the mistletoe looks good too

Here I've added the toadstools and little pinecones.

Now the fauna - hedgehogs and owls.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Happy Easter

There's no sense of scale, but these are actually the little miniature daffodils about 6" high, and the ground was too damp for me to kneel down to eye-level. I spotted them yesterday on my way to collect a package.

Slightly thankful for the cold weather this weekend, as it meant I was able to leave these Hot Cross Buns (sans crosses, too much trouble, and anyway we were eating them today) rising overnight in the back porch and they were just perfectly ready to go in the oven this morning. 

I've been making this recipe for many, many years - over 35 anyway. It comes from a National Trust book "Christmas and Festive Day Recipes" which my father brought back from one his school trips to London, and I distinctly remember cooking from it when my parents were still living in Greystones.

Hot Cross Buns:
1/2 pt (250ml) milk and water mixed, blood temperature with a teaspoon of sugar mixed in
3/4 oz (22g) fresh yeast, under 1/2 oz, 11 gr active dried, probably one sachet of instant
1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon, mixed spice, grated nutmeg and salt
1 lb (450g) strong white flour
2 oz (50g) castor sugar
2 oz (50g) soft butter
2 eggs beaten together
6 oz (175g) currants or raisins
1 0z (25g) candied peel finely chopped. Optional - and I often use cherries instead.

For the glaze - 2 oz (50g) sugar, 2 tblsp water.
If you want crosses - 2 oz (125g) shortcrust pastry.

Depending on your type of yeast, activate it in the milk and water or add the instant to the flour and spices mixed together.
Beat the butter and sugar together till really creamy, then carefully add the egg. I find this easier than the way the recipe adds them. Add this to the flour in a large bowl, along with the yeast. Knead till smooth and elastic, adding more flour if required. Allow to rise till doubled. Knock it back and allow to rise again for another half hour.

Cut into 12 pieces and shape into balls. If you're adding crosses, leave the buns for about 20 minutes, then roll out the pastry, cut thin strips and add crosses to your buns, sticking them on with water.

In another half hour or so they should have risen again and be ready to bake in a hot oven for approx 20 minutes, till golden brown. 

Put sugar and water in a ban, bring to the boil slowly and then when the sugar has dissolved, boil rapidly to the syrup stage and glaze the buns. 

Happy birthday yesterday, Lorraine, I hope you had a lovely day.  I had such fun making this snowbird - except maybe the miniature pompoms. I have enough trouble with big ones! It always seems that whatever I use to tie the wool together always seems to break when I try to pull it that little bit tighter. I ended up using fine nylon for these. 

Taken from the top of the bus, hence the many odd reflections - but we have a beautiful sea of daffodils on the road to the park gate just now. The tulips should be showing up next.

This month's header is a photo from St. Catherine's Park last April. Interestingly I see that the header I used last April was also from St. Catherine's Park (the Highland cattle), so it appears to be a popular time for us to visit.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Hot and warm off the needles

The sweater is more like lukewarm off the needles...I originally knit a lovely cardigan and ran out of wool. The only place I could get another ball was a different dye-lot, and even with just one sleeve knit in the off-wool, it showed. So I ripped it back and knit this, using the off-wool for the ribs. And once it was finished, I had enough of the original wool left to cut the ribs off and knit them down in the original wool, and it was worth the extra work. I made myself finish it before starting my first little bird from the beautiful book Lorraine sent me at Christmas... I think my first "real" bird will probably be the long-tailed tit, but I want to knit another one in plain yarn first just to get more accustomed to the basic bird pattern before adding design into the mix. I had to order double-pointed needles as I didn't have any small enough  (this bird was knitting on size 1 US, and the beautiful birds of paradise knit from embroidery floss call for even smaller ones)- but I have plenty of scraps of wool to knit all sorts.

This one is hanging from what was our Christmas tree this year - I still haven't taken it down, although all the decorations got put away in early January. Just as well, C and I were both sick; fortunately not with full-blown flu, but still enough to need a week each off work.

Since it's nearly the end of January, and since I'm still struggling to catch up with all sorts of things, I'm going to add my favourite cards from the month in the same post.

This one used the last piece of coloured Tyvek in my box of scraps and spares - time to cut another sheet up and  have it ready to play with.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Hot off the Needles

My niece requested a cream sweater for her birthday - work was busy so it was a few days late, but her birthday was Monday so it really wasn't all that late in arriving - and meant she got two cards, one with the sweater and one posted last Friday.

And I said that now we're into October and darker evenings (and rain and wind and general grey-ness), that I didn't feel it was too early to post some of the Christmas cards I have been making. These look like most of my favourites, though I need to look through my box and see what I forgot to pick out!

The screen ones were both samples for a technique challenge.

And these little pop-up ones were also challenge samples. 

I bought the Tim Holtz snow globe die set with a gift voucher last December, but it's taken me till now to have the time and energy to create a scene with it. I abandoned the snow globe part and  went for a little mountainside village.

One stamp, two looks:

And last of all - some time I posted a photo of  a tree-stump carved as a mushroom, along the main street in Greystones. It has now become a fully-fledged des res, complete with a little garden. 

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Hot Off the Needles

...and a recipe recap.

A friend asked me if I would knit something for her to give her niece, expecting a first child. I gave her a book (Vogue Knitting on the Go) of baby blankets, and a few loose patterns, and was very happy when she chose this sweet blanket with a flock of sheep on it. It's self-edged with a moss-stitch border, and has a flock of blackberry stitch sheep on reverse stocking stitch. The book is old and I couldn't get the same wool, but was able to find an alpaca/acrylic mix which was a pretty close match. The idea was to find something machine washable. Since I hear that blankets I have made are still kept (one travelled to Africa 27 years ago and is still safely stored away), I hope that this too will be a keepsake once it's no longer in use. The tag has care instructions on the back.

Do you ever find that leftovers generate leftovers? Last week we had risotto, and I had a surfeit of basil, so I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to make a ratatouille on Saturday. I've shared the recipe before, you'll find it HERE. These are photos from this time - I was using the FOOD setting on my new camera, but didn't get the colour balance right on the first one - evidently. As Saturday was grey and non-stop rain, it was a very nice dish to have for lunch. With it, we had some gougère, made to use up the Gruyere left from a cheese soufflé. Originally we were just going to have the gougère for lunch and something else for dinner, but the two combined together very well to make a substantial midday meal. I like ratatouille hot, warm or cold so it will be my lunch most days this week.

The first photo shows the tomato sauce simmering away, and the onions, courgettes and aubergines frying. The second is after cooking, with basil and tomatoes all ready to stir in for the last few minutes of cooking time. And now I know how to work the easy colour-balance settings on the camera!!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Hot off the needles

It's taken a while, because I didn't do much over the summer.
But the leftovers from Lorraine's lighthouse afghan have now become a sweater for C just in time for the colder winter weather.
There are still more leftovers, since I supplemented the original ones with a couple more colours, but I'm not sure I feel like making another complex sweater with them, and think I'll pass them on to the wife of one of my work colleague's, because I know she crochets.

And now it's time to get on with some Christmas gift knits!!

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!

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.