Saturday, 7 September 2013

Vedure - A Pattern by ME!

I've been busy designing and writing a sock pattern for you all to enjoy :)

I hope you'll agree that it's a pretty pattern, but it's one that should be fairly straightforward to follow.
I really enjoyed knitting it, and you can tell I'm not lying because I didn't suffer from second, third or even fourth sock syndrome!

The short trainer socks used a mere 48g of The Thylacine Wellington Sock Yarn for a EUR 39.
The longer socks used 68g of Regia 4-Ply, again for a EUR 39 sized foot.

You can get the pattern from Ravelry.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Finished objects!

So I have been busily knitting away, and failing spectacularly to document things as they get finished!.

First up a pair of monkeys that I've had done for a while...

These are in Regia Design Line Jazz Color by Erika Knight colourway 6455, and I'm very happy with them, they're comfy (wearing them right now) and colourful, and seem to be wearing well.

Next up... my summer holiday knitting.
This was started in May, on the plane to Lisbon, as my holiday knitting. Having been inspired by Yarn Harlot's version, which fits so well, and looks very smart, I decided my holiday knitting would be Lizette. Mine is knit in Rowan Wool Cotton, and is a little warm for the hot weather we've been having in England, but will be perfect for late summer/autumn I think. I have some fabric to make a skirt that should  go perfectly.

After taking Lizette with me wherever I went, I finally finished it, just after going to Lisbon again in June (don't ask.. it made sense I promise), and it fits perfectly.

 The pattern has lots and lots of clever shaping built-in, including short-rows at the bottom to make the top lie nicely, and more short rows under the bust, and then on the lace section (so there's actually room for your bust). The front is knitted in two pieces, top and bottom, and they are united by the i-cord tie, and knitted together.

I discovered that the i-cord looked much neater if I knit it together with the lower front using ssk not k2tog, it made it a little more fiddly, but prevented there being lots of holes gaping while wearing the top, so well worth the effort.

Other modifications included me knitting the size 31, as my gauge was different to what the pattern called for, and the yarn looked stupid at pattern gauge. After much calculating (while on the bus to the airport for the first trip to Lisbon) I worked out that the size should be perfect with my gauge and the 31 instructions. Seems to have worked...

For further details, my Lizette is ravelled here.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Busy Bee!

I've been a busy crafting and baking bee, just not been too good at documenting it! This post is a case in point, as I started writing it in April, and it's nearly June!
I had a particularly successful weekend of crafting and baking point of view (back in April), and I actually managed to take some pictures. First up, i'll show you the baking side of things...

So recently I was given a copy of the new Paul Hollywood's Bread, that accompanies his TV series of the same name. Of course I was a very happy recipient :-) I decided this weekend to take a crack at crumpets, having never made them before, and overall am very happy with the results.

Step 1 - Make the batter.

Hubble bubble toil and trouble...

The batter has both yeast and baking powder in so it's really really bubbly, but then it's for making crumpets so it'd have to be bubbly. This is a much wetter dough than any bread, so you have to beat it with a spoon. I kept taking rests as my arms are not so strong as Paul Hollywood's

Step 2 - Cooking.

So I don't have boring round crumpet rings, and had to improvise, which I did with a heart-shaped egg ring, that performed the job admirably. The chick and sheep cookie cutters, while super-cute, did not perform admirably... the batter stuck very firmly, so I was then stuck making crumpets on a one-by-one basis with the silicone heart.

Step 3 - Eating

The crumpets were really delicious, and well worth a try. Next time i'll make sure I have more rings to cook in, as it was a very slow process. 


Recipe from the wonderful book "Brot Genießen" by Oliver Brachat and Tobias Rauschenberger. It's all in German, so it's good for improving my language skills, as well as my baking ones!

So I decided to make a bread I have tried before and loved - the San Francisco sourdough. This bread takes about 7 hours to make, but it's so delicious that it's definitely worth it. Plus it makes two big loaves and freezes really well.

Step 1 - Ingredients

Step 2 - The initial knead

The speckling you can see in the dough is because it's a mixture of 200 g wholemeal spelt flour with 1.5 kg of white bread flour.

Once the dough has been kneaded for about 10 min by hand, you pop it in an oiled bowl, cover it with clingfilm and leave it to rise for 2 1/2 hours.

Step 2 - Proving

One of the key things that I have learnt from this book, is that you don't just leave the bread to prove, at least not all the time. The gluten needs stretching out occasionally, and so every 50 minutes (for this recipe) you take the dough out of the bowl, stretch it out a bit to make a big flat round of dough, and then fold one third over the middle third, and then the other side over the top of that (kind of like a leaflet). This helps to prevent your bread from collapsing later.

Step 3 - Shaping

After the 2 1/2 hours rise comes the shaping.. I decided that I didn't just want an oval, I wanted one of my loaves to be a plait. So I split my dough in two, then split one half again into thirds. These three balls were rolled into long ropes and then plaited together. I tucked the ends under, and hey presto, a plait.

The other half of the dough I decided could stay as an oval. This involves first working the dough into a round (by using your hands on the side of the dough to spin it on the spot on the bench, until it's a nice round shape), then to make it oval. To make an oval you need to flatten your round into a big flat circle, then fold the edges into the middle and pinch them together like a giant cornish pasty. You then flip this so the pasty edge is underneath, and you have your oval.

Step 4 - Second Proving

The bread proves again (covered in a tea towel or cling film), and then it's ready to go in the oven.

 Step 5 - Baking

For most of the bread in this book, you put a tray of water in the oven while preheating, and then for the first ten minutes or so of cooking you have the water in there and the oven temperature high. This helps to make a crisp crust. You then remove the water from the oven, and turn down the temperature for the remainder of the cooking time. Bread comes out of the oven smelling delicious and with that "hollow sound" that you desire.


Friday, 24 August 2012

A little elephant for a little person..

So one of my neighbours had a baby recently, and I decided it would be fun to make a cuddly toy, and what could be more fun than an elephant...
I decided on this pattern, Flo, published in Knitty, one of Franklin Habit's stitches in time series.
It took a while to realise that the pieces i'd knitted together really were going to make an elephant, but lo they did!

Without the ears Flo looked remarkably like an anteater.. but thankfully the ears made all the difference. I wasn't a big fan of the tail in the pattern, so I used i-cord with 4 stitches to make a tail and looped (and tied) the tail of the yarn round the end of the tail, then snipped to make the strings at the end.

I also decided to have a bit of fun so I could send a picture to a friend, see below.. and yes this gives you a good insight into some of the stupid things that I find funny!

I'm not sure how much the recipient (who's only 11 weeks old) liked Flo, particularly as it's half her size, so seems huge, but her parents certainly liked Flo and for now, that's what counts!

I'm very happy with the finished product, but I think I wouldn't bother making a seamed elephant again.. Next time I have the urge to make an elephant, I think either crochet, or something like Elijah by Ysolda Teague (less like a real elephant, but equally cute). 

Flo is ravelled here for those that want to have a look.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Rhabarber Kuchen

It was time for done baking, and armed with an armful of rhubarb and a shiny new German baking book "Heimweh-Küche - Backen “ I set to making Rhabarber Kuchen...

It's a very straightforward recipe but very very satisfying, the fruit is just coated in jam with no other sugar, leading to very juicy and sour fruit, which contrasts well with the sweet cake.

I was very happy with the result and look forward to trying more of the recipes!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Long time no post...

Happy new year!
Just a quick post to say that though i've been absent from the blogosphere, I haven't been as idle on the knitting front!

I hope to be back to posting a bit more frequently and to show you the mittens i've been busy knitting... the Lauriel cardigan that's nearly done, amongst a bunch of other projects! I need to take some pictures first though, so please bear with me!

Sock club 2011 wasn't a great success.. it turns out that i'm a bit too busy to knit a pair of socks each month and have time for work and other knitting. I did end up with about 6 pairs though, so still not bad going! I don't think i'll repeat the experiment this year, though I do plan to knit more socks for myself, and now I have some of these which might make my sock knitting a little quicker, as there's no changing needles, or adjusting the cable when doing magic loop. We'll see how they go!

Anyhow, A happy and healthy new(ish) year to all, and hopefully i'll have some pictures of FOs to show soon!

Friday, 16 September 2011

A gift for a bride

Long time no see.. I've been a busy bee with work and then off to the USA for a friend's wedding, and so haven't had a chance, or the energy, to blog. However, my knitting needles have not been idle. 

I wanted to knit something for my friend that she could wear at her wedding, but given she was getting married in the US in summer a shawl seemed too warm. I settled on the idea of a cardigan that would be wedding suitable, but also suitable for everyday wear. The thought was that given a lot of the wedding was outdoors it might get cool in the evening, and an extra layer would be welcomed. As it happened it was quite balmy and warm all evening, so the cardigan was unnecessary, but the bride still seemed thrilled to have a nice new cardigan to wear.

After deciding that a cardigan was a good plan, and MUCH searching on Ravelry for what I wanted I settled on this; the whole-wheat cardigan by Alexandra Dafoe. 

Here are some shots of the cardigan pieces blocking:-

Obviously this was pre-sleeves...

Just so you can see the pattern more clearly.

I hope to have some photos of the recipient in the finished object but didn't get a chance while in the USA. It's ravelled here.