Wednesday, 13 November 2013

5 little ducks... (there were 5 honest)

The other 3 are over the hills and far away, I forgot to get a shot of all 5 together before I gave them to school, each one had something slightly different about them as I couldn't decide what features I liked all together! A straight forward pattern that used barely any of the 100g ball of Stylecraft Special DK I had - even for all 5.
If you would like to make your own, they are by Kat Lewinski and her Easter Peeps free pattern is available from Ravelry here.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Baking because...

I know I don't need a reason to bake but on this occasion I do have one, I have made Vanilla cupcakes with lemon buttercream icing, it was going to be white glace with a fondant design on the top... Then I got distracted on YouTube by a tutorial on two-tone Buttercream and voila!

The cupcakes all 30 odd of them are bound for tomorrow afternoons bring and buy sale in aid of the schools sponsor child - Frank from Mozambique. I wish I could send him a cake too but the school is hoping to buy him and his family a goat (for a christmas gift in addition to his sponsorship money)which, has considerably more longevity and use than a cupcake would. Having recently donated lots of old toys and books to the local charity shop I wanted to contribute with something and cakes to sell seemed a good idea.
I enjoyed the two tone effect but it took me a little while to get the technique right, I struggled with making the colours stay in the right place in the piping bag without trapping lots of excess air in which makes a mess as you try to pipe a nice consistent rose.

I also tried a new ratio of icing sugar to butter for the icing and would probably use it again but sparingly - a great consistency and flavour if on the rich side of things. I prefer cream cheese frostings as they're nowehere near as sweet but I didn't have time to make it fresh on the day and it doesn't keep well in my opinion.

There's lots of knitting on the go - a Heliopath vest by Emma Welford on Ravelry here, it's actually quite a bit further on than the image below now. I'm knitting it in Stylecraft Alpaca DK which is a new yarn and working up a treat.
Have a pleasant Evening x

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Five Little Speckled Frogs...

My next contribution to reception classes story sacks - 5 little speckled frogs, pattern by Stana D.S and available currently for free on Ravelry here.

I have offered to knit a brown tree sleeve as well but haven't started that just yet.

Friday, 8 November 2013

FO Friday... Cosy Urchin

It's very rare I complete a project and post about it on the same day but, seeing as Fridays are normally Finish Off posts on a few other blogs out there; I thought I'd tag along today.

Here is my version of the free Ravelry pattern Grannies Traditional Tea Cosy. A neighbour recently mentioned they've been after a nice traditional tea cosy, I told them to leave it with me and I'd see if I could find a pattern they might like. They will be moving house shortly which makes me and my boys really sad as their children play with us regularly and being on a Cul-de-Sac we have impromptu Scooter races and football matches when the sun is shining after the school run.It will make a good house warming present I think.
 I amended the pattern slightly to fit the colours I had to hand and the length of repeats is less to fit a shorter tea pot. I also wasn't keen on the big flower on the top so stuck to a loop. Finally, I added an I-cord loop and a button fastener for between the handle.

It rather reminds me of a sea urchin, I'm really pleased with it!

Homemade Spindles...

I wasn't going to 'get into' spinning, but i'm about as effective as a chocolate teapot at resisting yarn and now fibre of any kind!

As you know my very kind Dad got me going with a handmade drop spindle. I'd been looking at the handcrafted ones online and reading about what to start out with as a beginner and spotted a Top Whorl spindle I thought I/we could recreate simply and with little cost. 
This Top Whorl spindle is made from 11" of 9mm Hardwood Dowel and some Yew that Dad had been drying out in his shed for years, as you can see it's already been in use and has spun 10m of scrap fibre I had bought and now has a coarse fibre on that I'm cursing at as it breaks constantly (any tips anyone?)

 We then went on and made a whole bunch using some Ash and Laburnum branches too
This is my favourite - mainly because I found and cut the wood and when it had been oiled these beautiful rich colours came out. 

At the moment all the spindles we've made can be changed from Top to Bottom Whorl as the whorls haven't been glued in and are a tight fit (hand drilled and filed to be so). I love them all and feel myself getting a little carried away!

Any spinners reading this - can you recommend me a good instructional book/website as I've been watching You-Tube and got some basics but really need to answer questions like, how much twist is enough?

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Bakers Dozen...

I'm currently studying to become a Teaching Assistant and volunteering at the local primary school. I happened to wear the hand-knitted cardigan below (my own design but no pattern written I'm afraid) on a training day there and was asked if I could create some knitted items to make story sacks for the reception class, starting with 5 Currant Buns in a Bakers Shop...
 I researched the free patterns available and didn't find quite what I wanted so set out to make my own and this is what we have.
The pattern uses the ever popular Stylecraft Special DK, however you could use what DK weight you have to hand rather than buying new yarn as you'll still have a lot left over from each colour. It will make a 3" diameter bun.
It is available through my Ravelry Store or a direct download of the PDF is here download now. It's also a link from my Free Patterns page via the tab at the top.

I'm looking forward to seeing the reception class using these next time I'm in. Hope you have fun making some too x