Friday, May 22, 2015

Yay it's May!!!


I thought I'd link up with Shelley at Little House In The Corner for her WIP-along!! She seems to have just as many WIPs as I do so here are mine....

First up, a jersey for a family member. I knitted a jersey for him a few years back but he's lost some weight since then so it got kinda big and baggy. My amazing mother unpicked the entire thing (and it was BIG so hats off to her - she's got oodles of patience)! Now I have the task of reknitting it into a garment that actually fits him. I'm using an old Wendy Aran pattern that I've had for some years - I've made at least 2 before so I know the pattern well. I couldn't find it on the internet but it's cables (of course) and moss stitch.  I'm not very far with it as you can see. The yarn is actually a smoky green colour but the photo looks more grey...... will keep you posted.

Next up is a mini-shawl (I think they call them 'shawlettes') that is for moi. I needed something in grey just to keep my neck warm on chilly mornings and this pattern is super easy. I'm doing it in a solid colour tho. My camera clearly doesn't like grey or green .... this looks blue!

Last WIP is this that I'm making for myself. Also in a dusty grey yarn (I'm clearly in the 'grey' zone at the moment) .... I'm a bit further on this one - this is one of the fronts...

So there are my current WIPs. Have you got any you would like to share? If so, pop over to Shelley and link up.

Have a great weekend!
Til soon.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

We'll just skip March....


Well, I'm 4 months into 2015 and my plan to post once a month has failed before it really got going... hey ho.... never mind. I guess it's the thought that counts so we'll just forget about March and move swiftly onto April....

Actually, both of the FOs I have to show you were finished in March so technically I'm still good and what's a few days between friends?

First up are these beauties....

Aren't they fab?  The pattern is A Nice Ribbed Sock by Glenna C and even though my self-striping yarn didn't match up on each sock - I DON'T CARE COS I LOVE THESE SOCKS!!! I've worn them twice and they are sooooo warm! I used Elle Sock Wool but I can't remember the name of the colourway so please don't ask. Basically they're cream, green and brown stripes and the yarn is very soft so the resulting socks are incredibly light to wear. Beautiful....

My second FO is a cardigan. Now, I've got a bit of a 'thing' going with cardigans at the moment and I'm rather afraid it's my age cos I'm going thru the menopause and sweaters just don't work with the hot flushes! However, cardigans are GREAT! When the flushes hit I can simply open a cardi for a little ventilation and close again when the flush is over. How convenient! Also, cardis don't mess up one's hair when one takes it off you understand, although I've NEVER been one of those women who pfaff (is that even a word or just a sewing machine manufacturer?) with their hair. Mine gets a bit of a ruffle after my shower in the morning, a quick comb through and that's it until next time! Still, any item of clothing that doesn't involve going over the head on removal is all good in my opinion!

I wanted something a bit countrified (again, is that a real word?), a bit tweedy but without being too chunky. South African winters can get chilly but never really arctic. This particular cardi is another Glenna C pattern, called Rustique although I've modified it somewhat. Glenna's version had a shawl collar which I've omitted as shawl collars are too much for even the coldest South African winters and a different cable pattern up the front. I wanted something a little more Celtic so changed the pattern to incorporate a Celtic knot cable. Please excuse the pics but it's a miz day here so even outside the light was rubbish! Anyway, here she is in all her finished finery!

Did you notice the secret pockets I put in? I stuck my youngest son's mirror sunglasses in the pocket to make it a bit more obvious - by the way, you HAVE to have mirror sunglasses when you're pretending to be a secret agent (apparently)....personally they make me feel really old as we used to wear them back in the 80s as a very trendy accessory!

I digress so let's get back to the sweater....

The above pics were taken inside as they seemed to show a much better stitch definition than the pics I took outside. However, the outside pics are truer to the real colour so here's a few to give you an idea of the tweedy green ....

Oh yes and I forgot to mention that it has a rather fetching cable running down the centre back....

Well, that's it for now. Am finishing off a blanket for TV watching and a baby cardi for a friend of mine so I may well be back within the month to show those off! Goodness, two posts in one month! I may have to go and have a lie down in a dark room for a bit!

Til soon.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fab Feb FOs!

Hello. Yes. Welcome. (That's in tribute to my favourite character in Boston Legal...)

It seems that I'm tending to blog about once a month at the moment so I'll run with that for a while and see how it goes. I'd love to blog more often but I guess it's just not meant to be. Still, here I am.

So, first up is an FO that I'm particularly proud of. Remember this from January?

Well, by the miracle of knitting, it turned into this....

It looked a little frumpy hanging in the tree all by itself so I tarted it up with a colourful scarf and it made all the difference! It looks great with jeans (and no, I don't have a pic of that) and is super warm. It's Minetta by Kirsten Kapur and is a really easy and enjoyable project. I used a stashed 4 ply yarn (80% wool) which I suppose is going to be waaaaay too hot for even the coldest South African winter day, but even if I only wear it once or twice, it'll be worth it.

Here's a back view which is equally the centre cable panel!

That panel stopped me from committing suicide whilst doing the back which is how I normally feel when doing endless stocking stitch! Enough to keep it interesting but not enough that I couldn't watch TV or listen to audiobooks at the same time....perfect.

Here's some cable and button love....

And a view without the scarf. (Please excuse the shoulders ... there are NO shoulder pads (I'm not that desperate to replicate the golden age of the 80s, although it was the greatest decade of all time) - it's just the hanger I was using!

One last look then before I move on ....

And so, onto another FO!!! For a while now I've been wanting to try Tunisian crochet. However, until recently my local yarn shop didn't stock the hooks and I wasn't about to embark on an internet shopping spree because it never stops at one item does it ...... or is that just me? However, I managed to lay my hands on a hook a few weeks ago and decided that today was the day to make something useful.

A month or so ago I was given these rather wonderful things. They're called Snippits here in SA - and they are totally FAB! For us crafters, scissors can be a bit of minefield. Some are too big to carry around in a little "bits and bobs" bag, some are too small, made in China and fall apart after about a week so we're always on the lookout for the perfect cutting tool. Well, I think I've found it with these little beasties cos they're perfect.

I know they look a bit antiquated and when I first saw them I was reminded of some of the lethal hardware that my grandfather used to keep in his shed, but believe me, these are The Business. They are extremely (and I don't use that word lightly) sharp and have a point on them that could make a grown man weep. They are small (just over 2") and feel great in the palm of my hand. Being almost flat, they allow me to cut yarn really close to my work which means I don't get those little tails sticking out all over the place.

But, they needed a little holder - something small but thick enough to keep me from spearing myself every time I dug around in my project bag looking for them. And then it hit me! Tunisian crochet was the answer!!! Out came the hook and the yarn and I got going.....

A little bit of green yarn left over from my Luscious Lime II project, interspersed with a little orange bamboo silk.....

It was so easy (after watching only one Youtube video on how to do Tunisian crochet I was soon an expert)! Quickly it turned into this....

A perfect Snippit Sleeping Bag! And here are the Snippits all tucked up with points end in first (again, so I don't stab myself)!!! An excellent way to spend a couple of hours!

And that's pretty much it for now. I have started my next project which is Rustique by Glenna C. I'm doing it in a forest green tweedy sort of yarn which I love so I should have that finished by next time!

Hope you are well!
Till soon.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Wipe off the cobwebs....cough, cough, splutter, splutter....


If it's possible for a blog to have accumulated dust and cobwebs then this little blog of mine certainly has! It's been nearly 2 months since my last post and although I thought I would hit 2015 running, the days have slipped by like the stream in our new garden and here we are on the 17th Jan.... Hey ho....

So, what's been happening in my world? First up....WE MOVED HOUSE!!!! I'm not going to go into the gory details of the actual move (let's just quietly push that to one side and say that without the greatest husband and mother in the world, I wouldn't have gotten thru it) but here are some pics of our new home....

This is taken from the front gate but the house extends at the back quite a bit so is bigger than it looks here. The most wonderful thing about the house is the park-like garden. We have huge expanses of lawn (great for playing cricket!) and a stream and lots of lovely shady trees (very handy for SA summers - temps here have been +35C)....

Here's the stream complete with Pooh-Bear bridge (please tell me that you've also played Pooh Sticks off a bridge....)

There are zillions of plants but most of the flowers have died back now as it's been so hot. However, I did manage to snap a few before they finished.

A beautiful Buddleja - one of the first plants J and I bought in our first garden. Almost impossible to kill!

Chilean Potato Vine - we had one of these in our garden in the UK and they are stunning when flowering. If you don't have one in your garden, GET ONE!

And this rather lovely little number which I think is an Orchid but I can't be sure. If any of you know, please leave me a comment....

The garden is full of nooks and crannies like this little water feature with higgledy-piggledy steps behind it going up to yet another lawned area. The birds love the water but my labs are a little put out that they can't sit in it to cool down!

So we've moved in, settled down and are very happy. It'll take us a while to get used to being back in a suburb again with all the hustle, bustle and noise that comes with town life, but in general it feels like we've been here for ages and it's only been a month! As you can see below our front door is always open so if you're in the area, feel free to pop in for a chat!

On the "needles" front, remember this from November?

Well, it got frogged (for those non-knitters among you, this means "unpicked") and became this

The cables just weren't happening for me and I'm much happier with this. Here's my Ravelry link. I really like the moss stitch sleeves and the "arrow" pattern on the front (very slimming)!

I also made a scarf for a good friend who has a birthday soon. She loves scarves and has to get up very early in the winter to get to work so really appreciates as many as possible! This one is red (her favourite colour), chunky, fluffy and has a little sparkle too, just for fun! I tried to make a heart shape with the scarf but now I think it looks like a really weird pair of lips!!!

And finally, I was given some yarn a while ago by a friend which is discontinued. She had no use for it and it's been in my stash for some time so I decided to make this. Here's progress so far....

Although the yarn is 4 ply which is usually quite soft, this particular 4 ply has 60% wool so is a bit "scratchy". I'm hoping it will soften up after a wash but to it's credit, it's lovely to work with and is the most beautiful teal blue. The pic really doesn't do the colour justice so I'll try and take better pics when it's finished.

So, that's me. Old year gone, new year up and running. School starts next week and mania will become my new best friend so for now I'm just enjoying these last few days of lazing around at home, knitting, watching TV and generally being a slob!

I hope your Christmas season was good and that your New Year has started full of good things.
Til soon.

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.