Friday, November 28, 2014

Cables in Lime ....


Well, the skinny scarves got made and are wrapped and ready to go! That's the teachers taken care of for Christmas, now just the family, friends and kids to shop for! I do love the Silly Season but I have to say that it's one time of year that I'd love to be able to phone up our local mall, book a time to visit and be allowed to shop with no-one else there! Can you relate? The shopping is fine, it's just the rest of the people that annoy me!!!

Anyway, onto knitting things (always a good way to calm me down....)

After spending way too much time on Ravelry and Pinterest (again, can you relate?), I failed to find a pattern for a sweater that has been drifting around inside my head for a while. It's sleeveless and has cables and a cowl neck. I'm into sleeveless at the moment. South African winters are cold in the mornings and evenings but vaguely cool during the day so a long sleeve sweater can be way too hot. Sleeveless on the other hand, keeps the bod warm all day but allows a little ventilation under the arms which is always good!

So, I had this image in my head but had failed dismally to find a pattern. Finally I decided to go it alone! This is what I've done so far....

It's the front and whilst it doesn't look like much at the moment, I'm hoping that with a large droopy cowl neck and ribbing around the bottom and armholes, it will suddenly morph into something wonderful ... well, that's the theory anyway!

I wasn't sure about the cables going across. I'm no longer a size 10 (and haven't been for ages) so I'm a little concerned that the horizontal cables will turn me into a Winter Teletubby!!! Any name suggestions if it does? Pudgy-Wudgy or Tubby-Cubby? All good.

With the Teletubby fear in my mind, I originally started the sweater with vertical cables but it just didn't look right so I did a quick horizontal cable swatch and it all came together rather nicely. The cables are based on a celtic design (I love all things celtic) and whilst a bit tricky on the fingers, I'm rather pleased with the result.

I much prefer them horizontal to vertical but am still not sure why! You can't seen the colour very well in these pics but it's a rather fetching lime green. It's muted (so not too bright) but I'm lucky that I can wear all shades of green so I know it'll be fine.

I'm thinking deep double rib at the bottom with pockets although I'll decide on that as I go along. The armholes will also be double rib but just 2cm deep. I've done quite a deep decrease for the cowl neck as I really want it big and floppy - double rib for that too.

So, what do you think? Can you see it finished? I can. I just have to get knitting!

Til soon.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Skinny Scarves & Strudel


Well, we're winding down now to the end of year at school so I thought I'd better start thinking about those pressies for teachers....

I decided on skinny scarves - always useful and quick to make - so bought three lots of Vinnis Serena yarn (a firm favourite of mine) and have started crocheting ....

I've already finished one (in a deep red) and the above is No 2. One more to do after that and I'll be done! Having been a teacher myself I really appreciate the gifts that the children bring at year end (especially when they are homemade). We don't have devilishly cold winters here but a little warmth around the neck is always useful in the early mornings.....

On a completely different subject, I had a go at making Apple Strudel the other day and actually had a complete kitchen success for a change!!!

I made it at the request of my youngest son who liked it but not enough to scoff the lot so guess who had to finish it all...... least said about that the better.....

I thought it might make a nice change on Xmas Day instead of Xmas Pud so if you want to have a go, here's the super-easy recipe -

Apple Strudel Recipe:

4 Granny Smith apples - 3 peeled, cored and sliced - 1 peeled, cored and grated
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup raisins
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (thawed)
1 egg
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Place apples in large bowl. Stir in brown sugar and raisins. Set aside.
Roll out pastry until slightly wider and longer than baking sheet.
Put pastry on baking sheet and put apple mixture down the middle of the pastry lengthwise.
Fold the pastry lengthwise around the mixture. Seal edges together by using water on your fingers and crimping pastry edges together.
Cut three or four lines across width of pastry.
Whisk egg and milk together and brush on top of pastry.
Bake in preheated oven for 35-40 mins.
Serve with ice cream.

It was very more-ish so if you like apples, it's well worth a try!
That's me for now.
Til soon.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Exciting times!

Hello!!! Thanks for dropping by....

There's alot going on at the moment, lots of change and new stuff which is all very exciting. We move house in just over a month (eeeek!!!) so sorting and packing will engulf my life soon but for now this is what I've been up to.....

My son's feet are always cold but he won't wear slippers! So I made him these.....

They are slipper socks and called Robinfoot. It's a very easy pattern so have a go!!!

Next up is a savoury tart that I made from a friend's recipe:

It really is delicious so here's the recipe (I think I've posted this before but it's soooo good, it's worth posting again!)

Pam’s Wonderful, Incredible, Delicious, Divine, Tasty Crustless Savoury Tart

3 thick slices of bread (crusts cut off) OR 4 slices of regular sliced bread
1 onion
1 pack bacon
2 cups grated cheese
3 eggs
250ml milk
1 tbsp butter
any other ingredients you fancy * (ie spinach & feta cheese / broccoli & sundried toms / asparagus / butternut / other veg)
1. Break the bread into a large mixing bowl.
2. Microwave butter until melted and add to the milk. Pour over bread.
3. Chop onion and bacon and fry until cooked (but not crispy).
4. Add onion/bacon mixture to bread mix.
5. Add other ingredients (see * above).
6. Add grated cheese.
7. Add beaten eggs.
8. Mix well and place in a large greased flan/quiche dish.
9. Bake for 40-50 mins at 180.

Finally, a finished project!!!! Yay!!!! Do you remember this little beauty that I had on my needles about a month ago? Well, it became this ....

I've already worn it twice and I love it! The colour is burnt orange and I added jean buttons which really work well! The pattern is Drift and I have to say, it was a pleasure to knit. I used basic acrylic double knitting so wasn't too expensive to make and I'm certain it's going to become one of those 'old favourites' in my wardrobe!

Currently on the needles is Blue Sand  which I thought would be really difficult (having quickly scanned the pattern when I purchased it) but in fact is very well written and easy to follow. I'm knitting it in a lime green (all one colour) but have already decided to do the 3 colour version next (probably grey, white and blue).

So that's me for now. What have you been up to?
Til soon.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A Good Week....

It's been an interesting week.
A little knitting....

This is Drift coming up rather beautifully in burnt orange.

A little bread making .....

An easy bread recipe that even I can't mess up! 

3 cups flour / 3 tsp yeast / 3 tsp sugar / 1 tsp salt / 300ml luke warm water
Mix well and knead.
Cover with clingwrap and leave for 30 mins.
Knead again.
Place on greased tray and brush with beaten egg.
Bake at 180 for 30 mins.

A little gift giving .....

Two washcloths made from Vinnis Serina for a good friend.

And finally......
.....a little tractor driving by YC (Youngest Child) on above friend's farm.....

Simple pleasures.
Life is good.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

One Shade of Grey!

Goodness it's been a while but enough of that! I just wanted to show you my latest finished WIP. Actually I finished it a couple of weeks ago but have only just taken pics ....

I needed something for those "in-between" days when it's too cold not to have a sweater but too warm for long sleeves. I wanted cables (natch) but I also wanted something that wouldn't drain my brain whilst I was making it. This was perfect.

The pattern is on Ravelry here so pop over and download it. I think it's one of those items that I'll make again and again (perhaps with cable variations) and will become a firm favourite in my wardrobe!

I love the pattern detail ....

the collar ....

and those cables ....

Currently on my needles is Vertex which I'm doing in a burnt orange. It's coming up beautifully but it's slow progress ..... I'm not good at straight stocking stitch .... I tend to fall asleep!!!

Other news is that we've finally sold our house!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The YAY cannot be loud enough I can assure you!! Come December we'll be moving about 40kms down the road to a little town where my boys are at school so no more long commute. It will be sad to leave the countryside but I'll be so pleased to be near shops, doctors, vets and general civilisation!!!

Til soon.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

My House In Africa ....

Lots on the needles at the moment but just thought I'd show you some pics of my garden that I took recently. We inherited a new (and rather posh) camera a few months ago and I've been playing ....

Wood Cabin

Wood Cabin 2



Wood store

Winter sky

View of the valley

I hope you enjoyed them.
Til soon.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Loving Linney

As part of my 12 in 12 endeavour I decided to make a jersey for my bestest friend who lives in the UK. We've known each other since high school and because we live so far away from each other I've missed out on buying her lots of birthday and Christmas pressies. Hence the jersey. I sent her a few patterns and she chose this ....

It's called the Linney Cardigan and it's by Amy Christoffers who is a favourite designer of mine. She wanted dark blue but the closest I could find in an Aran weight was a smokey blue/grey. Not much choice in Aran with a climate like ours!

I started the cardi back in April and knitted the whole thing before I realised it was going to be waaaay too long for my friend who is very small and petite. The sleeves were fine but I had to frog the back and front and redo them. Hey ho ... my fault for not checking halfway through....

Eventually though I finished it again, sewed it together and found suitable buttons. Here it is ...

You can find it here on my Ravelry page.
I'm really hoping she'll like it ....
Til soon.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Miss Potter's Shawl

Do you remember recently I was whittering on about shawls and Miss Potter? Well, I put hook to yarn and made this ....

I've called her Miss Potter and I have to say that I'm rather proud of her as she was completely random with very little planning and just flew off the hook! The colours are all favourites of mine and altho I think the blue is a tad bright, in general I think they all work pretty well together.

The edging is just a shell cluster which keeps to the simplicity of the shawl. I didn't want to go with anything too fancy after all, this is a shawl designed for tramping across the Lake District.... or at least around my garden looking for kindling!

I used Vinnis Serina which is a locally produced 100% bamboo yarn. The drape is fantastic and the colour range second to none. You can see it here. I've worked with this yarn for quite a few projects now and it really is stunning. I have a feeling there'll be a few more of these shawls coming off the hook pretty soon. Here's a last look at Miss Potter draped across the back of a chair just waiting to be worn. My beauty.....

I've put up her details on my Ravelry page so please pop over and have a look. She was really easy and a joy to make!

Til soon.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Just found this ....

I'm meant to be working but I'm not ... am trawling Pinterest instead. It's a dangerous thing to do. I thought - "I'll just have a look for 5 mins whilst drinking my coffee" but that was an hour ago....

I found this.

Is it not perfect? For a colourholic like me, that much colour in one space could ONLY make me smile every time I saw it! No matter the weather, wouldn't you just have to smile?

If you're as keen as I am to make it, here's the link: Flower Valance Pattern

It made my day.
Til soon.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Dreaming of shawls....

More and more I find myself thinking about shawls. There is a lovely moment in "Miss Potter" when she is leaving her cottage and deftly swings a shawl around her shoulders. It's such a natural movement, as though the shawl becomes a part of her the minute it touches her shoulders.

But do shawls fit in with modern life?  I must admit I would love to think that I could wear one whilst sitting on our verandah on chilly evenings drinking a glass of red wine or a cup of steaming coffee whilst listening to the sounds of an African night ....but I never do that. Like most people, once the kids are in bed I flop down in my favourite armchair in front of the tv and veg out until bed time. Would a shawl be needed then? I think not.

I also have visions of myself walking along a windy beach with a wonderful lacy creation draped around my shoulders but again, we only see the beach once a year and being in South Africa, even the wind is warm! I suppose I could make one just for our annual beach holiday, but it seems a little extreme.

So why do I hanker after a shawl? I have no real purpose for one and really don't know when I'd wear one. It would probably end up being shoved in the top of my wardrobe and would never see the light of day, but still I yearn .....

I guess I just want to be Miss Potter if only for one imaginative moment, so I will make a shawl one day. Perhaps I'll keep it for solitary moments when I can drape it around my shoulders and pretend I'm her, striding across the fells in sensible shoes with the wind in my hair.

Perhaps I'll just hold it in my hands and think back to a time when cell phones didn't exist and children played outside. When life was physically hard but oh so simple.

Perhaps then it's not the shawl I'm after but the world in which Miss Potter lived.
Never say never ....

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Our Mini-Break....

Last week DH and I had a little one night mini-break at a local Spa hotel. It will be my 50th birthday at the end of April but we decided to go away now as it's school hols and easier for my Mum to look after the kids when she doesn't have to worry about the school run.

We went to Fordoun Hotel & Spa and it was lovely. We've stayed here before (it's only 10 minutes drive from our house) so we knew what to expect but it's one of those places that never disappoints. Expensive, but well worth the money.

Our room
Our verandah
The view from the verandah
A walk through woodland
More Hadedas (I told you they were common)
Our room (far left on the end)
Another walkway leading to.....
....individual and very private bungalows
A water feature
Love birds......
Til soon.

Monday, April 7, 2014

12 in 12 Challenge


Having a good week? I finally finished another of my 12 in 12 Challenge knits and here it is!!!

What do you think? I used this yarn 

which was one of those weird purchases that I loved when I bought it but grew to hate rather quickly. I'm not sure why tho because green is my most favourite of colours and this has ever conceivable shade of green in it! The texture is a bit dodgy - a little too close to those dreadful boucle yarns of the 60s - but it was very soft and I'm sure will feel wonderful to wear. I just hated it more and more so by the time the last stitch was stitched I had already decided to give it away to a friend that had admired it a lot during its creation. She loves it and wore it home the day I gave it to her so I know it's gone to someone who will wear it, love it and cherish it which is more than I would have done. I think it would have been one of my FOs that got shoved in the back of the cupboard and never again saw the light of day (and there's been a few of those in my life).....

Just quickly before I go I thought I'd show you this

which is a Hadeda (pronounced haa-dee-daa) otherwise known as the Ibis. They are enormous birds (about 76cm long) and very common in South African gardens. It was extremely misty this morning and when I opened the curtains this one was sitting on our pergola! It looked decidedly Jurassic so if I see any dinosaurs wandering about, I'll let you know.....

Til soon.