a busy domestic blog of knitting, sewing and all kinds of needlecrafts, cooking my garden produce and preserving it

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

One project finished, another begun....

Well, here I am looking relieved to have finished my cardigan knitting!
I started this back in September so it hasn't been the world's shortest knitting project but it was finished in time for the Boxing Day snowfall and has proved very handy for pottering in and out with laundry and dustbin rubbish these past few freezing days.

 Then immediately on to something new - for Christmas I was bought some fluffy, sequined yarn, perfect for a scarf, so I got out the needles, put on some other Christmas presents - dvds - and got knitting...

 I picked a feather pattern that gives a lacy, wavy finish but has simple repeats so I didn't need to be constantly checking against a written pattern....

and it's grown quickly....

after only a few days it's already about 3 feet long!

Monday, 29 December 2014

Christmas Pickles

I usually hope to have red cabbage ready to pick for 'pickled' Christmas gifts, but this year's cabbages are so tiny I had to buy some. At least it's still my own concoction of pickling vinegar so should presumably have the same cold-cure properties as 'home-grown' pickle.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Merry Christmas

In previous years I've made lots of Christmas cards but this year I only made one with bits and bobs saved from last year. 

Merry Christmas everyone

Friday, 19 December 2014

New knitting project

My current piece of knitting is finished, all apart from sewing on the buttons, so it's time to look through the stash and pick out what to knit next.

I'm got a variety of short-sleeved jumpers/tank-tops/Father Dougal style slipovers which I find incredibly useful in winter - worn over a long sleeved t-shirt they keep me warm without having sleeves flapping about, and I'm looking to make another. I probably need about 300/350grams of wool so should have more than enough in this bundle. I just need now to decide on stripes or fair isle....

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Kaffe Fasset knits

I recently came across a post on Writing About Books about an old forgotten inspirational knitting/needlework favourite of mine Kaffe Fassett At the V&A
It's more a book filled with ideas than actual patterns but it's brimming over with Fassett's unique style.

Over the years I've knitted a variety of his designs from various books, from 'plain' squares to more complex 'squares within squares' and 'pineapples'; some following the pattern closely, others taking inspiration and letting the colours work on their own. Here are a few of them....a cardigan, a couple of jackets and even a bedspread!

Part of this started out as a "Big Diamond" tunic which was too long, so I removed the bottom pattern including the pockets!

I then added strips of these 'pinwheel' patterns...

...and finished it all of with a easier pattern round the edges

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Free lunch - 2 weeks to 7th December

 I'm actually surprised how well I've managed to find my own ingredients for lunch these past couple of weeks. OK it's mainly been a re-hash of the cabbage/carrot/ tomato salad but at least it's home-produced food, or gifts from other allotment holders.

Occasionally I've added beetroot or apples from store, pickled onions and courgette chutney from the cupboard, or even fresh spinach from the garden. The slowly-ripening tomatoes are coming to an end though; the remaining one don't look so appealing and may end up in the compost bin.

 As the weather turns colder, I'm moving on to making soups - we've a lot of small 'gifted' squashes and still some home grown peppers ripening in the fridge so one day we had this one pot pasta chill, with all home grown veg, and another a squash and carrot soup with added (bought) baked beans - a bit of a cheat.

...and of course there's been quite a few dinners when all the veg has been home grown - roast potatoes, carrots and parsnips here, but we've also frozen broad and runner beans to use.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Unseasonal Sewing

I started this renovation project - turning an old pair of trousers into a skirt - back in October,when it might have been warm enough to wear it. I got through all the tricky bits of sewing, adding extra panels down the side seams to make it wide enough, quite quickly then ran up against tracking down material for the inside waistband. After that I really just needed to get the hem turned and sewn, which I felt a bit inclined to leave - possibly even till Spring! I decided it was a better idea though to get it finished, even if it's too thin to wear right now. This way it's ready and waiting come warmer weather.

Despite the fiddling of having to add extra panels, I'm really pleased with how this has turned out. it certainly looks better than the scruffy trousers.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Free lunch - 2 weeks to 23rd november

 Another fortnight with lots of lunches out - and everything at home seems to have been salads or sandwiches.

Not really a lot of variety among the ingredients either - same old cabbage/apple/carrot/beetroot coleslaw or spinach/tomato/radish/cucumber pickles salad. Still at least none of it costs anything :)

Monday, 24 November 2014

Decorating with chillies

It's the time of year for putting up the decorations but for a while the Christmas ones must wait. I have a string of chillies drying over the dining room radiator - and they cannot be disturbed!
It's one of the easiest ways to preserve them. When they're dried, I'll pack them in jars and they keep for years!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Free Lunch - 2 weeks to 9th November

 The weather may be dropping colder but I'm still sticking with salads most of the time for lunch - the ingredients have changed a bit though. There's a lot of crisp cabbage ready now and still the occasional picking of spinach or indoor-grown baby lettuce; plenty of indoor-ripening tomatoes, even the sweet yellow plum ones; no more fresh cucumbers so on to the bright yellow bread and butter pickles I made from the earlier glut; probably the last of the 'normal' radish and I've also started the blue 'Herbst und Winter' variety which look like a purple parsnip, though have to be peeled most of the time; our allotment neighbour's gift of carrots is proving useful for coleslaw and I also add chopped up apples from one of our garden trees; corn cobs from the freezer which handily cook in the same time as sausage rolls; and there's beetroot for a splash of colour. With chutney and pickled onions these have made up the bulk of my lunches whether as salads, or sandwich/wrap/pitta fillings, but one day (while making passata) I couldn't resist minestrone soup.

I haven't managed to keep to the 'free lunch' every day because I've been out and about a lot, but I'll console myself with the thought that I could have found something free for lunch if I'd been in!