Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Trevor the Toad

I want to introduce you to a friend of mine:

Trevor the toad was originally the familiar of Neville Longbottom (did I mention before, my Potter fan-dom?!?) This one belongs to a seventeen year old English boy who is also a HP afficionado.

I got my Pottermore advance access email today. V. excited indeed....

(Due to massive demand, you might find the Pottermore website inaccessible at the current time)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Lavender harvest

Remember my giant pot, that was planted with lavender and geraniums earlier this year? Now the lavender is pretty much spent, I harvested the flowers off it:

The scent is still wonderful, so I put the flower heads in this basket, adorned with the knitted lace basket edging that had been on my "Languishing" list since 2009.

(With apologies for the photo. The flash is not the best to demonstrate knitted stitches, but without the flash, the picture is too blurry to be post-able.)

The basket of lavender has brought the outside in to our sitting room.

Friday, 23 September 2011


The apple inspiration continues.

I used a 5mm hook and Peaches & Creme dishcloth cotton to make this selection of crocheted potholders and coasters, using a free crochet pattern at Freepatterns.com. (Note: registration required to access the Delicious Dining pattern). The pattern also includes another variation on the coaster (cut apple version) and a placemat, so you can have a wonderfully apple-themed dining experience if that is your wish.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Pocket pie

I find there is a rhythm to my blogging, now I'm on my third iteration, as here I am again writing about our autumn crop of apples. Once again, they are abundant, and we only have two trees. How on earth do people cope with a whole orchard?!

Last Sunday, I made mini-apple pies, using a new apple-pie mould I bought from the kitchen treasury that is Lakeland. Here they are just out of the oven:

I cheated and used a packet of ready-made, pre-rolled puff pastry. I filled the pies with a mixture of sliced apples tossed with cinnamon and brown sugar, and sprinkled the tops with demerara sugar before baking. The result were like apple-shaped apple turnovers. Delicious. Although, more practice is needed with the pie mould. My pies are not nearly as neat as the ones pictured on the box!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Cabled mittens

In a fit of awesome productivity, I have finished the cabled arm-warmers I alluded to in my last post.

I made them out of Rowan silky tweed in the shade inky. This yarn is now discontinued, and I am sorely tempted to buy up every available skein on ebay currently, as it's gorgeous. I sometimes find lambswool yarn irritating, but the silk content in this one gives it a really comfortable handle.

The pattern is from the previously mentioned The Knitting Book. I did however make a slight modification, in that instead of carrying the ribbing all the way up the inside of the mitten, I knitted in stocking stitch at the palms and then finished off with 10 rows of ribbing. I like a smooth surface on the hands of my mitts, fingerless or not.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

How I appeared in print

A while ago, a friend asked me to do some test knitting for her, as she was writing a knitting book. I was happy to oblige, but rather staggered later to find the book in question was this:

I had not realised I was working on such a big publication by a very well-known publisher!

The Knitting Book is largely a reference, with loads of technical knitting help and stitch patterns. There is also a projects section, where my test knitting is. (I worked on the bunny toy). And even more fabulously, my name is included in the list of acknowledgements at the back. I really wasn't expecting that.

I'm already working on a pair of cabled armwarmers out of this book - hopefully I'll show you the finished item very soon.

Can't quite believe my name is in a proper book. I will just go and take another look at it...

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Toffee apple cake

I made the apple dapple cake, as previously threatened!

Luckily I have a set of measuring cups to enable me to tackle American recipes, plus the Internet yielded an explanation of what "all-purpose flour" is called in the UK (plain flour, since you ask). How funny that we speak the same language, but it isn't always easy to understand each other.

This is a very easy recipe - you just make a cake with chopped apples and pecans in it, and then pour over a hot caramel sauce (made with brown sugar, yum yum) whilst the cake is till hot. Then the whole thing is left to cool.

The verdict? It's reminiscent of a toffee apple. Quite yummy, in fact. I think I might have another slice!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Cricket tea-break

Here's my knitting project from this weekend:

I made this tea cosy out of stash yarn, for a cricket fan who is also a Harry Potter lover. Gryffindor colours, as that is his preference.

The pattern came from P/hop, a knitting fundraiser site for Medecins sans frontieres. Medecins sans frontieres is an independent international medical humanitarian organisation that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural or man-made disasters or exclusion from healthcare. P/hop offers free patterns to download; donations are requested and can be made in various currencies.

So if you're looking for a new project, and want also to help a good cause, that might be an option. There are about 30 knitting and crochet patterns currently on the p/hop site.