Monday, 31 October 2011

Fibre Flurry!

On Saturday my knit-pal-Sally and I went to Fibre Flurry for their annual Event and had really good day out with lots to see and lots to talk about!  It was nice to go along with a friend and we arrived in plenty of time for a prompt 10am start and stayed until around 2.30pm.
We both bought plenty of stuff and quite honestly could have bought more but what FOR!
I resolved to purchase yarns that I would use for patterns and was lucky to get patterns for two purchases which I think is a safer option for me.  To be honest, I'd like to offer all yarn a good home in my sewing room but I can't afford to take in any more stray or random purchases and much as I was tempted by some of the lovely sock yarns I managed to remain sensible and resist all temptation - although I came close to breaking my resolve when Sally purchased a sock pattern and we were shown a selection of samples using two colours .. must must MUST resist .. (its not easy!?)

In the end this is what I bought:

snapshot of what I bought

Labels from the shop, the badges from The Knitting Goddess and the lovely little earrings from Atomic Knitting.

A ball of Lang Jawoll Magic yarn and a pair of tiny sock circs from Brownberry Yarns who were good enough to let us have a try at knitting with these tiny needles just long enough to knit a pair of socks - OR as she was doing - MITTENS!  I plan to CO for socks this week and can't wait to try them out (you know me and new things).  I'm planning to knit Holden shawlette as per their sample knit on display.

Next I bought a pattern for a shawl and a skein of Super Biffle - swamp thing from Easy Knits

but FIRST I bought this! how fab is this colour! I know! its not PINK but though I like pink, blues and greeny blues suit me so I couldn't resist buying the yarn and pattern for a lovely shawl from Anniken Allis/yarn addict - lovely Twinkletoes Sock 2xskeins.  I had it wound into a ball on Saturday evening and CO for this project in no time!
I bought a pair of 4mm knitpros and am just loving this simple easy knit and can't wait to see it grow.

I've gone shawl-mad! I confess to another slightly obsessive compulsive enthusiasm - shawl knitting and circular needles - you have been warned!

To finish the weekend I picked up the last current edition of Knit magazine and found that both SK and The Knitter had arrived in that morning's post - three new knitty mags and a new project OTG AND a project finished how about THAT for a great weekend?

This week we hope to see our no.1.son at his Uni - we were unable to go last week due to a last minute change of his plans which is unfortunate as our other son was home for half term but has returned today to College but we're keen to see him as soon as possible.  In the meantime I was thrilled when he rang to report that he'd managed to successfully operate the microwave, laundry facilities AND steamed his vegetables - ha! I'm more worried that he is managing himself practically and eating enough and shan't be completely happy until I've seen evidence.

Arielle is finished!

FINISHED! Arielle from Misty by Kim Hargreaves.
I love this top and am wearing it today - although better suited to spring/summer I would wear a cardi over the top - or a shawl!? - yes? suggestions, please? and though I wasn't sure about the small cap sleeves (suiting my arms) I think for the warmer weather it will be fine and with a cardi atop also fine.

I alternated the lovely little buttons - plain and flowered - and am wearing it as per design half undone! Love it!

buttons finish it off

Lilly checks before I sew up

blocked and waiting to be finished

Chocolate Pudding, Pies & Mittens

How about that for a mix up!  bit of baking and some knitting! actually I've done a lot of both this last week finishing all in a sudden hurry several things .. hurrah
no.2.son covers with chocolate

steamed choc pudding
Eves pudding!
with a bag of Bramley apples for 0.69p I made an Eve's pudding and apple sauce for the roast pork both recipes came from the previously mentioned Hairy Bikers' library book.
minced beef'n'onion pie
and with my brother coming round for his tea a large beef'n'onion pie! I did pastry top and bottom.

It wasn't all baking! I used my electric hand mixie thingie to make twisted cord! ha! how about that then? for something different?  My cyber-sew-pal-Cheryl put me on to this and I must admit I couldn't see how it would work, and it did take a bit of persuasion to CONvince no.2.son to control the mixer while I took pics ..
no.2.son powers up!
this is what I got
after a bit of settling
this is what I ended up with! I used a doubled length of Linton Tweed's yarn and a week on, its still very twisted (and still hanging about upstairs)

more lacey mitts
I finished another pair of lacey mitts, this is a really lovely pattern and so quick to knit and a surprisingly easy pattern to relax with ..
I shall knit this again and again and again .. xxx

Friday, 21 October 2011

The knitting is done! scarf, mitts and jumper

FINISHED. all in a rush and all in the same week. hurrah and thank goodness for that! just in time for the cold spell that is forecast, my lovely super warm/cosy jumper Tender is FAB! I love it! the photo's are a bit blurry (no.2.son having a funny moment unable to focus!) so I might retake them - ignore the dodgy hair day and no make up !!
I love the colours and think they suit me, the jumper is nice and cosy and if I were to make it again, which I would be tempted! I'd make it a bit longer and knit the smaller size.  I love the jumper though! this will be my winter-knit.  Comment from no.2.son when I canvassed opinion was "wow! did YOU MAKE THAT!? .. it looks PROFESSIONAL!" ha! thats the sort of comment you want! yes?

Tender from Rowan Mag 50
At the same I finished more sets of mitts - the pic of the grey pair was too blurry but essentially is the same as the pair below just in grey!! and the scarf too.

Lacy scarf and mitts from SK mag
buttoned up at the neck

set of mitts & scarf

patterns from SK magazine
I enjoyed knitting the little mitts and eventually got the hang of the scarf pattern which is nice because its designed to be buttoned at the neck so you get the warmth at the neck without all the scarfy bits down the front and you use the lace pattern holes for buttoning it up to suit your preference, I've gone for a tight fit! I like my scarves to be practical and wear to keep out the cold!!

hole in bay window
Still waiting for my curtains to go up at the window in our dining room, dh was persuaded to tackle it ahead of plans to redecorate this room (next year at the earliest due to financial restraints!) and decided in his own wisdom to knock out the ceiling. which we have put up with some few months; this week he ripped out yet more and then set about filling it with planks of wood and a piece of plasterboard before announcing - covered in brick dust - that he'd had enough! bah. 
Possibly it was a mistake to inspect progress and announce "errrmm.. not done very much? thats not much for a whole day! ? WHEN ARE YOU FINISHING??" but apparently it will get finished - soon - ish .. zzzz

Looking forward with some excitement now to going to Fibre Flurry next week with knit-pal-Sally! must remember to take camera! and MONEY - list of people going to be there looks exciting might need to do some serious restraining myself in the financial department!

Next week we're all off to visit no.1.son at Uni!  contact has been limited and sporadic and mostly consists of short emails or texts mainly to do with "how long does it take to defrost a chicken?" follow up phone call confirms FORGOT to take it out of freezer ahead of time and seems to think can defrost in 20mins.  hmm. well a microwave comes in handy - 3 phone calls later and we get a text confirming has not collapsed with food poisoning .. thank goodness!
It will be December before he's able to come "home" and we're all looking forward very much to seeing him again properly and I've already made plans to feed him up on lots of proper food!!

Last night no.2.son and I watched the last programme of Great British Bakeoff which revisited series 1 which we'd not watched and we're already looking forward to it returning again next year!  Might look out and buy the cookery book that accompanies this series I hear that Tesco are doing it for £10.
This weekend sees the last ever - wah! - episode of Spooks! and I'm looking forward to it, but sad that it IS the last ever! having watched it faithfully from the beginning I can't quite believe this is the end - not sure what I want/expect to happen to "Harry" but I hope they don't kill him off.

BACK on the go is the lovely Arielle project which I picked up after finishing Tender and I am resolved to finishing this project and am now well underway knitting the "front" and enjoying the teeny tiny no.12 needles after the bigger ones for Tender!  I'm sure there will be more gloves, too, but apart from that I've no other new projects to report AT THE MOMENT although this could change after the weekend.  Need to go and update my Ravelry projects page!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Day out to visit the babies!

Not such babies anymore! they are really growing up into characters now and we enjoyed visiting with sil whom I'd knitted the fingerless mitts for to see how the babies were doing and catch up generally on life and progress in their family run fishery alongside their farm and with two grandchildren born this year it looks like a fun and lively time ahead.  Baby-Maisie entertained us scooting about (pics above) while baby-Arthur slept - we didn't want to risk waking him and disturbing his Mum so didn't take photo's this time.  Both eating well now established on solid foods, Maisie showed us how clever she is at nearly feeding herself!!

You might be interested to read of dh's Niece Claire's inspiring story and enjoy the recent interviews here part 1 and here part 2.  You can order her Riders Revealed calendar here, and her new jewellery venture can be seen here.

Not all about baking .. but ! (this post is!)

I know it seems like all I do is eat cake.  come to think of it there has been rather a lot of eating of cake! BUT to be fair I have also been doing some knitting too and will post tomorrow on the finished lacy scarf and another pair of lacy mitts to match from the remaining Rowan Felted Tweed yarn.  AND progress is being made on my stripe jumper - Tender - just rather slowly, but hope to finish 2nd sleeve shortly and tackle the finishing/neck!  I've worn the lovely little lace handwarmer/mitts and love them - just right!

Back to the kitchen.
From the library book I got out, The Hairy Bikers' Best-Loved Recipes I cooked their Roast Pork Belly with apples and sage and Braised Steaks with Gravy - both went down well with dh and no.2.son.  Still adjusting to cooking for 3, its not as easy as you'd imagine but I've managed to freeze some portions.

Last week no.2.son and I enjoyed the last of the Masterclasses from the Great British Bakeoff competition, and this weekend we set about making the seriously chocolately Sachertorte!  yummmm! is all I'm saying.  I confess that my waistband is starting to pinch and I fear that weight is piling on so after this we may hold off further baking of cakes especially as Christmas is now not that far enough way to not do serious damage to weight ahead of the Christmas cake and goodies am planning to frighten the family with! (friends will be thinking "mince pies" + paving slabs! ha-ha!!)

Ok, here we go, a set of photographs from our weekend spent in the kitchen!

onion, apple & sage ahead of the pork
delicious roast pork in cider/gravy
good enough to eat!
but we melted it instead!
apricot jam to seal cake before covering with chocolate
ready for the topping
scummily chocolatey!
no.2.son did the icing! what a great job?
not a slice, more a SLAB of cake - bliss xx

Sunday, 9 October 2011

another pair of lacy mitts

OTN's last night: another pair of lacy mitts - ver.3 from the same pattern this time in grey Rowan Scotttish Tweed 4 ply (now discontinued but I've got LOADS! hurrah! loads of mitts!!)
Very very quick and easy this is a satisfying "watch with tv" portable project to have on the go and I've knit as you can see almost to the point of CO and then just the thumb to pick up off waste yarn and complete.
Quite why Kirsty knit the thumbs flat and then seamed, I don't know.  I've got my stitches on waste yarn and will knit in the round ..

We're looking forward to tonight's XFactor to see who the judges eliminate from their final contestants ahead of the public vote from next week - we've got a few early favourites we're watching keenly.
We like AmeliaLilly best, Janet Devlin, Craig Cotton, Sami Brookes, The Risk and Rythmix too. but not decided yet who will vote for!
Enjoyed the Jonathon Ross show, we've never really enjoyed his shows before but this series is pretty good and it made yesterday quite a long night starting with Harry Hill at 7pm - glad he's back! we love this programme!

Still waiting to get a full update and report on life-at-Uni from no.1.son we finally got a short email yesterday advising he'd joined a couple of political societies and the freezer is broken and how to convert gas.5 to electric settings, please? ..
we've sent him texts and emails to advise us on favourable times for us to ring him .. apparently there ARE no favourable times .. in the end I rang him! and managed to drag SOME info from him that they were going on a "tour" to the local town and he'd bought 5 books and spent LOADS of money!! eek ..

I'm going to ring him again today .. I know. I said I wasn't. but, welll .. thats what mums do best? ring and pester their children for their own good!?

The Great British Bake off Battenburg Cake

We we enjoyed watching this series of The Great British Bake off competition and we thought Jo deserved to win although we were fearing Holly might run off with it!  Poor MaryAnne didn't do herself justice on the final and would have been our 2nd to win if we'd been able to vote.
No.2.son and I have enjoyed watching this competition with interest more for the technical/bake side than the personalities although we did have our "favourites" and a few we disliked/found irritating it was the technical challenges we loved the most.
Last week we watched the first of the Masterclasses and decided to bake a classic Battenburg Cake! (I fancied the coffee/walnut but no.2.son was less keen and as we were jointly making - and EATING it we set about finding a recipe)
Luckily one of the library books I've got at the moment, the Hairy Bikers' Best-Loved Recipes, featured it and its also available here.

The cake was quite easy to bake and assemble and we enjoyed making it although I seemed to end up with the less attractive tasks such as washing/tidying up and rolling out the marzipan! between us we had a couple of hours of fun and the final cake was declare a success! and delicious.
Next week is the Sachertorte masterclass and I have a recipe for this in one of my books also so we plan to give this one a go!

separate the two cake mixtures to bake
the two baked sponges
checking the baking is done
slicing the fingers - sponge!
applying the apricot jam and assembling sponges
the finished Battenburg!
sliced and enjoyed with cup of tea!
Elsewhere on the hob was my popular corned beef stew bubbling away to give us some comfort food for this turn of weather we're now having - this is a favourite of dh and no.1.son (who isn't here, at Uni presently) and no.2.son is not keen so I took advantage of this and prepared a batch which I ate half and froze other half while cooking "chips" for no.2.son which he was pleased/relieved with!!

A quick and easy and filling warm "stew" this is one that I remember from my childhood that my LateMother used to make and we call it "corned beef stew" the only addition I make is to add chilli! I love chilli! and since dh favours it too, now its just the two of us I added twice as much! hot-hot-hotter! but yumm!

bubbling away
to become a thickened stew
That followed by a slice of cake with cup of tea and a large G+T later on while watching tv marathon of Harry Hill, XFactor and Jonathon Ross it was a great way to spend a Saturday!