Monday, 23 March 2009

First day at nursery... aka Sac Magique

Do you recall rosy and jim on the old tugboat and their sac magique? If you don't I apologise but they came to mind when I wanted a title for my sons nursery kit bag.

You will need:

4mm 40cm circular needle
2 3.75mm DPN's
100g in total of DK yarn of your choice (really good for using up scraps)

What to do:

Using circular needle cast on 81 stitches and join round by knitting last and first stitch together (make sure you don't have a twist now rather than finding it later). Place stitch marker to indicate round start.
Knit 6 rounds
Purl 1 round to make fold for drawstring channel
Knit 4 rounds
Knit 16 stitches, YF K2TOG, K1, YF K2TOG, K34, YF K2TOG, K1, YF K2TOG K to end of round.
Knit until work measures 24cm
Knit 18 stitches and then fold work in half at this point in order to graft bottom using kitchener stitch (you can just cast off and sew up bottom if you find this easier).

Cast on 2 stitches on you DPN's and make 60cm of I-cord cast off leaving a tail to stitch in the cord.
Make a second length of cord as above.

To finish:

Thread the cords through the holes so that when you pull the ends the bag would close.
Fold over the top at fold line and stitch the channel over you lengths of cord.
Sew the cord ends to the bottom corners of the bag.

I added a grafted on pocket to use up the last of my stripy yarn.

How to combine work and play?

So I am back at work and trying to maintain a steady flow of knitting projects too inbetween the 'work' of house and family keeping.

How does it all get done???

I think I have the answer and quite simply it doesn't, so I'm going to pick up my camera and take some nice photos rather than hang out yet another load of washing when it's only going to get rained on anyway!

On with the show...

I attended the Stitch and Craft show on Friday 20th March with much anticipation of the goodies to be found and the joy of learning something new at the workshop I had booked.

I was reserved in my purchases but am thrilled with what I have chosen as almost each item is completely new and different to me.

A kit to dye my own yarn and then make into a beret.
Some gorgeous Angora mix yarn for a wrap around top.
A Lucet kit for making traditional cord and all the instructions too thankfully.
10 balls of SoHo to make some more bags.

I attended a workshop on continental knitting which included a ball of very different fancy yarn (struggling to knit it so far but will persevere). Unfortunately the workshop was very very disappointing and I have turned to the old faithful web to satisfy my curiosity. I can now say that I 'get' continental and with practise would probably quite enjoy it too. Suffice to say that a letter of complaint re. workshop is being drafted now.

Update - complaint has been dealt with incredibly promptly by twisted thread and they are sending me a full refund by post. Yay!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

A dawning realisation...

Having a husband and a 10 month old son, I am rapidly realising why there is a day to celebrate mothers and the hard work they do continually in the background.

My own mother is my hero and who I set my standard by - having had 3 children of her own that were always clean, punctual, entertained and very much cared for.

I had a wonderful day - taken out for breakfast, given a lovely card and gorgeous confidence boosting top (from DH), I also retained control of the TV remote for much of the day.

Well done to all you mummy/carer bloggers I truely appreciate the sacrifices and work involved as I'm sure you do too.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Lady Marmalade...

Voulez vous manger mon marmalade orange?

Apologies for the awful and probably very incorrect French but nevertheless- i've extended my culinary skills to include preserving with my first ever attempt at making marmalade (and it worked).

Off to the shops I went armed with a list of required ingredients and equipment (a huge saucepan for one) and upon my return I set out on this new endeavour.

The results were mixed - not knowing what a 'set' would look like I assumed that the mixture not moving on the plate was it, however it stayed pretty runny once poured into the jars and overnight did not improve. The second boiling was much more successful and yielded a deliciously dark sunset orange goo that stayed put on the plate (even when upside down) and set very quickly to the hob top when it overflowed the pan.

I halved my recipe and it still produced enough for 9 large baby food jars - plenty to share and some to keep too. I think I'll have a go at raspberry jam next time; I can't wait to see what colour the intensely pink fruit will turn.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Really need to get back to knitting...

However, I feel I'm going to be swayed by some crochet for the time being!

I am doing some mind numbing stocking stitch on a gift for my brother but it's almost finished and I will show you the results shortly.

I would like to make a ripple stitch blanket, very of the moment it would seem as so many people I know (and some I don't) are making them now, I'm heading to the Stitch and Craft show next week and this should give me plenty of inspiration and hopefully lots of show deals too!

The Seven Deadly Sins...

  1. Lust
  2. Gluttony
  3. Greed
  4. Sloth
  5. Wrath
  6. Envy
  7. Pride
And how it all fits in with baking simple fare...
  1. I want to make a cake, I yearn for the freshly baked smells and flavours - I almost taste them in anticipation
  2. I eat the first one out of the oven to test it and then can't stop
  3. I want more to share with friends but know I'll end up eating them - so make a 3rd batch
  4. I'm too lazy to make a sponge cake from scratch now and so use a value packet mix (just add egg and water), they taste the same and take a smidgeon of the time to do. I also make most cakes in the microwave - 3mins on average instead of 20!!
  5. Feel my anger when they are overcooked or I don't get an appreciative response from DH!
  6. I always want to make the fabulous creations I see in magazines or on shop shelves
  7. I love seeing those around me enjoy a good slice of homemade (ish) cake and so we start at 1 again.

Clockwise from top left - Choc sponge with rich choc frosting, Mocha Muffin, Jam Tarts, Mocha Muffins, Coffee cake with coffee icing and walnuts, Jam Tart, Toad-in-the-hole (first ever to rise and make the sausages rise too), Baked egg and mushroom in bread pot, Lemon sponge with lemon icing, Mocha Muffins (again??), Fresh strawberry cupcakes with strawberry frosting (pips and all!), Triple Choc sponge (as decorated by DH).
Centre - Jusroll Puff Pastry Pot (so easy and incredibly moreish).

Monday, 2 March 2009

Queen of tarts, fills some hearts...

Having received one of the most thoughtful Christmas gifts (or should I say packages due to the array of contents!), I'd been mulling over whether to open the conserve below and eat it greedily straight from the jar, or to find another more inspired way?

I'm currently reading Jane Brocket's 'The Gentle Art of Domesticity' (aka yarnstorm in blog land) and came across her recipe for Jam Tarts - I love to make pastry as you really feel like part of the process. Jane's recipe was simple, very easy to do and let me get my hands nice and messy - there's something about working out problems as you knead any dough or pastry, definitely a couple of minutes to quiet any tense thoughts!

A couple of hours later - in between feeding little wriggly worm, going for a walk and letting the pastry chill properly - 16 hearty tarts were finished.

I love the colours, deep red, gold and crisp white against the black worktop (something very Cardinal Richelieu about it); it's given me a little idea for a make - just another one to add to the ever expanding list (okay I really ought to actually write it down soon as my brain cannot be relied upon to keep track of it all!).

Thank you Katie, a fab jelly and there's still some left to add sparkly rouge glamour to my morning toast!