Saturday, March 29, 2008

Saturday Pudding.

Apple and sultana cake with fresh pineapple and strawberries with Grand Marnier cream.

Delicious, absolutely delicious.
(Am I allowed to say that about my own cooking?)

OK, OK, that'll teach me to ask won't it? The boring cable and rib cardigan it is then. Oh, and Fran, I too have to do my mum's sewing up - there is a cardigan awaiting my threaded needle right now. Perhaps I'll do that instead of boring cable and rib cardi...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Holiday Knitting

Well this is the little lot that I took on holiday. The idea was that I finish at least one thing. Sadly I didn't finish anything. Drat.

Clockwise from bottom left:-
Quiviut - finally decided on what to make, it involves rounds of plain knit. Thoroughly mindless but makes a nice easy knit - going to be the multi layered tube scarf from Alterknits when it grows up.

Sock using the yarn Lise sent me. Lovely pattern, lovely yarn.

Rib and cable cardigan from Debbie Bliss. Now onto the last sleeve (using Posh Emily). A mind numbingly boring pattern. Been on the needles for over a year now...

Aleita Shell using Posh Camel. Pattern getting complicated - well, it's not really, it's just that I'm being very stupid and very lazy.

So come on people, I need your help. What shall I finish first? I'll let you decide, I'm too busy winding tangled skeins to knit for the next few days.

Last night (after doing 2 skeins) I decided to sort out all of the felted jumpers that I've been collecting. They all got cut up into usable pieces, a bag of colours and a pile of greys and creams. This lot is going to become a blanket - like the baby one in Warm Fuzzies (sorry, can only get the link to Betz White's blog) only bigger. You'd think I've had enough of blankets , but no, I'm still loving them! Wondering what to applique onto some of the patches - fancy something like a few bright flowers to lift the colours. But we'll have to see.

Oh yes, and something else I made last night - one of the little felted bowls, also from Warm Fuzzies. If you haven't got a copy of that book yet, put it right at the top of the Amazon Wish list - it's great!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Easter Bunny Swap

Little did Lucy Locket Pocket know when she sent me my swap pal's details that Clara is a jolly good friend of mine (she's the M in WMK). Anyway, here are all my goodies from the swap. Chocolates, sweets, stickers, marshmallows and bunnies! Yeah, lucky old me, I love my bunnies! They are in seperate stash baskets (I have several!) throughout the house, just incase they do the thing that rabbits like to do! Many thanks Clara, it was a lovely surprise when I returned from Wales.

Tomorrow I will show you all the knitting I managed to get done on holiday. Daren't show you today as husband is around and if he saw the ammount of half done knitting that I've got lying around he would be a bit cross. ('Why don't you just finish something before you start something new?)

He doesn't understand Startitis. But then he doesn't knit. How sad. I can't imagine life without knitting. And on the subject of imagining life without someone you love, go see Dee, she needs support and lots of internet love.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


So here was our arrival in Welsh Wales. It was raining. But then it always is when we go. But after a little while the sun managed to come out a bit and look at this lovely rainbow that greeted us. It was a real 'Croeso y Cymru'. Can you speak Welsh? I can't, but him of the not-so-kitten-soft-hands is fluent and assures me that this isn't how its spelt (something to do with dashes and i's). But you get the idea? It means 'Welcome To Wales' - which of course you knew 'cos you're far more clever than what I am.

The weather was not great for most of the holiday, but we managed to get out every day, even braving Barmouth beach once. But every day I forgot my camera.

Every day except one. We went for a walk and met some of the local sheep. Look how white they are (something to do with all the rain!) I thought how good it would be to be able to spin. I could just stand there and get myself a few balls of wool ready to knit into something fantastic.

I felt sure the sheep wouldn't mind. I mean, the sun was out, they didn't need all that fleece. Never mind that 5 minutes before it had been snowing. No, they looked far too hot.

But then I saw this sign. Blooming Welsh Tourist Board. Why can't we spin at the side of a beautiful lake? As to swim feeding? Are they stark staring bonkers? Who would want swim in the lake. It was FREEZING. But swim feeding? You mean like swimming in melted chocolate? What's wrong with that? And as to a bag limit of 3 fish - I didn't even have my bag with me.

Ah Welsh Wales. Bless. Or 'Bechad' as the locals say!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Off on my hols...

Short note tonight as I need to pack. We're off to Welsh Wales early in the morning and I need every bit of stress relief I can muster. Him of the not-so-kitten-soft-hands is getting very stressed, the children are excited and very loud and things are not going well...

So I need a large drink (and I don't even drink) some knitting and Ashes To Ashes on the telly.

Calm. Think calm.

See you next week (wish me luck with them all - going to the in-laws...)

Monday, March 17, 2008


I finished a tub of cocoa the other day and was about to throw it in the recycle bin when I read 'Sorry, not yet recyclable' on the outside of it. Disgraceful. I hate chucking stuff in the big green bin just to go into landfill sites. So I set about playing with a few ideas.

It has long upset me that pretty needles are just hidden away out of site. So I decided to make a knitting needle pot, as oppose to a roll that keeps everything hidden away. Me I like to see what I've got. Give me clutter any day of the week. And I can never find a cable needle or stitch holder when I need one, or even a crochet hook. Not that I crochet, but they're pretty useful for darning in ends.

So I shrank a Colinette cardigan that has never fitted me, never suited me and never lived up to its promises. I cut it up a bit, stuck a few buttons and flowers on, made a pocket and put a thick layer of felt inside so as not to damage the points.

What do you think? Beats throwing it all in a big hole in the ground yes? Oh and incase you wondered, no these are not my only knitting needles. I have plenty more of them, many of which have half finished projects on!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Saturday Pudding - gone wrong!

I had decided to make a fruit creme brulee today. It looked very delicious! Redcurrants, blackcurrants, blackberries and raspberries gently poached with cointreau, topped with a set custard made with cream and egg yolks finally topped with a thick layer of crunchy caramel.

It was all going so well, it was in the fridge waiting for the layer of sugar to be put on, cooling and setting nicely.

But it just cooled. It didn't set. It had the consistency of single cream. Runny. Very runny.

I must point out at this stage that my custard making skills are legendary. Despite trying all sorts of different methods, it always stays thin. So I should have realised I was in for trouble. But I just never learn, always convinced that next time it will be different.

It wasn't different.

So what to do with a whole load of runny custard , fruit and cointreau. Bung it in the ice cream maker and pretend it was always meant to be thus. Summer fruit ice cream.

So today's Saturday Pudding is brought to you by the wonderfully named Knickerbocker Glory. And looking at the empty glasses at the end of our tea tonight, it went down a whole load better than creme brulee would have done!

Layered from the bottom - chocolate cake, bananas, summer fruit ice cream, raspberry and orange jelly, chocolate ice cream, more jelly, more ice cream, chocolate fudgey squares. A mere gazillion calories each.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


For the past few weeks I've been making these little felted pincushions with a class in school - this is half of them. I wish you could see the stitching - it is the first time many of them have ever held a needle - the levels of concentration at even trying to thread the needle were wonderful to behold! But they're now done - thanks in no uncertain terms to Land End who sent me a huge box full of jumpers to felt - all free of charge. Their generosity has been amazing.

Note for Elizabeth:-
Warren - in the side bar - is the husband of a friend who used to run knitting club with me. He knows I have a great weakness for yarn and was highly amused at my pledge to not buy yarn until the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace in London in October. He is so certain that I will fail in my efforts that he has pledged £1 to a charity of my choice for every finished object I produce between now and then. With nearly 7 months still to go, he need not be worried. Even I doubt my will power!

Another note for Elizabeth:-
The 'finished projects' is how many things I've completed since taking the no yarn pledge - there are 3 things on it, so that's £3 heading off to my favourite charity - providing of course I keep the promise...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Nancy Long Robinson

Way back in the mists of time, I knew a lady from America called Nancy Long Robinson. We became pen-pals in the 1980's long before computers came into homes (well, my home anyway). Nancy knitted me this exquisite hankie as a wedding present, and it is only now that I can fully appreciate the effort gone into this. It is so fine - and I mean finer than sewing thread, how on earth anyone could produce something like this is beyond me.

But sadly, due to me being rubbish at writing letters, we lost touch. Does anyone out there know of Nancy? I know it's a big old world, but I would love to know what's happened in her life in the last 20 years. I know a few Americans read this site and I know it's a very, very long shot, but it would be so nice to get back in touch...

Eldest son had a friend round for tea tonight so I thought I ought to do some baking. Why do I keep doing this to myself?

Chocolate chip buns with white choc drizzles, flapjack and chocolate cornflake cakes.

Self-imposed torture. I even own up to eating some of the flapjack - I tried scraping off the chocolate, but it didn't work very well, so I suppose I have now eaten some of the wicked brown stuff. And with only a little more than a week to go now, I've broken my Lent Promise. Damn.

Where's the Dairy Milk? If I'm going to break a promise I might as well do it properly.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I've never really liked camels. Very smelly, ugly, spitting beasts. Quite vicious and incredibly stubborn. So when Dee told me about her hand spun camel yarn, I was more than a little sceptical. How can something so hideously ugly produce anything lovely? But ever the yarn freak that I am, I decided to go along with it and try a skein. (That was months ago Warren just in case you think I've succumbed to temptation.) And as is so often the case, one skein soon led to another and another and before I could so much as mutter the word 'Bactrian' a whole pile of wonderful camel yarn arrived on my door step. It has been adorning the top of The Stash Basket for some time now, awaiting a pattern.

(Please Note - the toast in the top corner is eldest son trying to be domesticated by cooking for himself - he has yet to learn the art of clearing up after himself judging by the state of the kitchen!)

And then I found it. The Aleita Shell from Interweave Knits. This is wonderful mindless knitting. Or at least that's what I thought as I happily knitted in rounds. Then I got to the shaping top bit and oh boy has it changed. Decrease at the neck edge every 3 rows 27 times, and at the same time increase at the waist edge twice every 10 rows and then when it gets to 14.5" start doing the armholes and knitting front and back separately, increasing and decreasing all over the blinking place. Too many numbers, too much to concentrate on! So you see now why I can't face mountain peaks Dee? I wouldn't last 3 rows!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Saturday Pudding.

I've seen on lots of American Blogs something called 'Saturday Sky'. Every Saturday, you take a picture of the sky and that's your post on Saturday. Just a picture. All very well and good if you have lovely scenery to go with your sky. And all very well if your sky is pretty. But here it would be very boring. Grey. Rainy. Grey with a few clouds (that are even greyer!) and sometimes very occasionally blue.

But I thought how much more fun it would be to do something a bit more, um, tasteful? So I hereby launch 'Saturday Pudding'. This is the one day of the week when I try and make pudding - something other than a yoghurt or apple or even banana and custard. Please feel free to join in if you wish but don't forget to tell me you're joining in! I want to see what people have for pudding at Monkee towers, or over in Maryland, in Tyne and Wear or even in Australia. Come on People, show us what you're making!

The first Saturday Pudding here is Lemon Cheesecake with chocolate scribble strawberries. There's a bit left if you fancy some. (Oh, and just incase you wanted to call it Dessert, they say Pudding at Buckingham Palace, and if it's good enough for Her Majesty, then it's good enough for me!)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Afternoon tea anyone?

Now you might know that I love making marmalade, but did you know that my next best thing to make is scones. Delia's recipe from the Winter Collection is my favourite version. And I like triangular scones rather than round ones. So here they are starting to rise in the oven...

...and here they are fully risen and ready to eat. All they need now is some Lurpak, home-made raspberry jam and clotted cream. All of which I have in the fridge. Oooh, goody goody gumdrops. Anyone want to join me?

The diet, as you may well have noticed, is not going very well. Still, I don't have sugar in my tea, so that's obviously good news yes?

(More knitting news next time - I decided to cast on something new rather than go for finishing off a project. We're knitting with Camel at the moment and very lovely stuff it is too!)

Monday, March 3, 2008

My Washing Line

My washing line has been the unsung hero of late. It has quietly held onto all my washing even in the strong winds. I do not have a tumble drier, so without it, I would have suffered wet clothes hanging up all over the house. It has helped me when I needed somewhere to hang all of Oliver's Blankets to show you. It has not minded being kept outside in the freezing cold and has not complained once.

In short it has been a very clever little line indeed. So I thought it needed a present. The pegs were always lying around the place getting in the way so I made my line a new friend. The Peg Bag. He's a bit 'gone-wrong' - the teeth are on the wrong side of the opening looking more like a beard than a set of fangs, but never mind eh.

Treat your washing line with respect and it will reward you. Clean clothes drying in the breeze is a lovely sight, and oh so much better for the environment. My sympathies to all people who are unable to have a washing line for whatever reason. I love mine.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

And the winner is...

Congratulations to the Vogelsang family who have won blanket number 4. My mum drew the raffle ticket today (happy Mother's Day to my mum and everyone else's mum) and this is the one that she pulled out. I have e-mailed the winners and the blanket will be heading off to America very soon!

Oh and Warren, I haven't included the blankets in my running total as theoretically, I haven't actually knitted them. But you might be feeling very generous (and still doubtful I can hold out for over 7 months!!!) and agree to numbers 3 and 4 going on the side-bar....