Sunday, 28 November 2010

Stir Up Sunday

Today it is stir up sunday. That is the last sunday before advent which is traditionally the day for stirring up all the christmas pudding mix.

And this year i am getting in on the act, with the help of Nigella. My mum always uses Delia's recipe, so this is a bit of an adventure, but i have a lot of trust in Nigella, after the Marmite Spaghetti success (you must try it - it's not what you think it will be like. ie. it is really really delicious!)

this is a good book full of grant festive treats. here is nigella with biscuits

It seems that recipes for christmas puddings can vary quite a lot. Mum says Delia's has beer in, and maybe some nuts but Nigella doesn't use those things. I can't find her recipe online, but the one I am using is a traditional one from her Christmas book (it seems she has perfected many type of pudding of the christmas variety)

The ingredients for the pudding are:
150g each of currants, chopped prunes and sultanas; 175ml Sherry (a sweet one in my opinion); 100g Plain Flour; 125g White Breadcrumbs; 150g Suet (vegetable in my opinion); 150g Dark Muscavado Sugar; 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon; 1/4 tsp of Ground Cloves; Grated Zest of 1 Lemon; 3 Eggs; 1 Medium Cooking Apple; 30ml (2 tbsps) of Honey (runny in my opinion)

These are the amounts Nigella gives, and this will make a 3 pint pud. For mine i have scaled it down by a third to make a 2 pinter, as fear the feast will be overwhelming.

I have had a very busy weekend so I am lucky that the process is in two parts, and today's part was very quick in that I had to measure out the dried fruit and put it in a bowl with the sherry and cover it with clingfilm to steep until tuesday when i will have the time for the rest of the activity (this is perfect as Nigella recommends the fruit is steeped at least over night or up to a week)

steeping fruits - sweet and gungey 

Tuesday I will have to get mixing as soon as i get home as there is 5 hours steaming to do before bedtime! I am really pleased that I am making my own pudding though. it is a first for me but a very very good life skill.

Yours festively,
Pudding Bowl. xxxx

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Because I love the sound of Violins

This month, my mixtape is a celebration of my favourite instrument.

I love violins. I am learning to play but i am not that good. I am always inspired when I hear them though so I have created a collection of songs with some really great violin parts in them.

 I am a bit happier with my artwork this month

although did get a bit gluey and messy on the back! oop.

I have been listening to this as a playlist on my ipod and am really pleased with this collection. I am a little nervous though because my mixtape partner is the chief organiser of the mixtape project, and also a boy who might not really enjoy this sort of music. I hope that maybe he will be inspired to learn the violin too.

yours well strung,
Emilia. xxx

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

October Knitting Complete

This one has been a long term project due to all sorts of interruptions, however i am pleased to declare my October project complete!

lovely and warm on this very very cold day

a close up of my cable design

I am just in time as i have heard there is snow coming. this is exciting except that this weekend i am going to swindon and i know that trains and buses are not so good to rely on in adverse weather conditions.

Anyway. Would you like to know how i made this? I would like to make another for sure, although maybe not until next october, and maybe with some less fancy wool. And so, for the record, this was the procedure:

As this is a drop shoulder design, the shapes are very simple indeed. I used colinette skye for mine, but i am sure any aran weight yarn will be nice.

The Back:
Using number 9 needles (3.57mm), cast on 88 stitches and work 9 rows double rib (ie k2, p2, k2, p2 etc)
Row 10: continue rib but increase 9 stitches evenly across the row (on stitches number 9, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54, 63, 72 and 81) so you have now got 97 stitches.

Change to 4.5 mm needles.

Row 11: *p3, k1, p3, k8, repeat from * five times until last 7 stitches, p3, k1, p3
Row 12: *k3, yf sl1 yb, k3, p8, repeat from * five times until last 7 stitches, k3, yf sl1 yb, k3
Row 13: as 11
Row 14: as 12
Row 15: (this is a cable twist row) *p3, k1, p3, sl4 onto cable needle and hold in front, knit next 4 behind, knit 4 from cable needle, repeat from * until final 7 stitches, p3, k1, p3.
Row 16: as 12
Row 17: as 11
Row 18: as 12
Row 19: as 11
Row 20: as 12
Row 21: as 11
Row 22: as 12
Row 23: as 15

repeat these rows 16 - 23 until you have completed your 13th twist.

Shape for neck and shoulders:
Next row, keeping pattern correct work 45 stitches and turn. decrease by 5 (as you like, i used a variety of methods really - either k2tog or casting off. k2tog might be the better 1 as fewer loose ends to tie up!) and work to end of the row.
Turn and work this row, decreasing six at the end,
Turn and decrease 4, work to end
Turn and work row, decreasing 3 at end
Turn and decrease 2, work row and decrease 1 at other end too (to give a slight shoulder shape too)
Turn and decrease 2 at start and 2 at end of the row
Turn and decrease 1 at start and 3 at end of row
cast off.

with the stitches you have left on the other side, shape in the same (but opposite) way.


Front pieces (work two - ensuring they mirror)
Worked identically to the back, however this time only cast on 44 stitches (on 3.75mm needles), work 9 rows in double rib and on the tenth row increase 4 across the row on the 8th, 18th, 28th, 38th stitches (48 stitches) 

This time work the pattern until you have completed 12 twists. continue for 3 more rows,
next  4 rows, decrease 3 from the inside (collar) edge (36 stitches) (rembmer: include the cable row when it comes)
next  4 rows, decrease 2 from the inside edge (28 rows)
next 2 rows, decrease 1 from inside edge,
next row decrease 1 from outside (shoulder) edge and 1 from inside (collar) edge
next row decrease 1 from inside edge and 2 from outside edge
next row, decrease 3 from outside edge and 2 form inside edge.
Cast off.

Sleeves (make 2)
I was not all so happy with my sleeves really, but will note what i did. I think if i were to do this again i would start with more stitches at the cuff and increase more gradually to make wider sleeves.
However, my sleeves were worked as follows:

Cast on 40 stitches and using 3.75mm needles work 9 rows double rib, and increase to 44 stitches on the 10th row. change to 4.5mm needles and work the cable pattern, increasing 1 stitch at each end of every 4th row until you have completed 119 rows (29 increases or 15 twists and 3 extra rows) cast off.

I used mattress stitch to sew my seams, and knitted double rib bands around the collar and then for the bands. I used this technique for button holes, and they have come out rather pleasingly! (i like this knitting help series on youtube!)

I fear my knitting patterns are not very user friendly. but hopefully they give a good sort of idea of what to do. I would like to do some more cable, but perhaps for panels and details, rather than all over. 

Now i have started a tension square for my next project. it is something much different and i am going to follow a pattern rather than making it up. i think this is something i should try more often. although there is a pleasant element of surprise when freestyling.

Keep warm,
yours snug,

ps. i am dedicating this piece of knitwear to my mouse Audrey who passed away at the weekend. I wrote a real dedication to her on my mouse blog, but feel this isn't so much the place. I miss her very much.

it was difficult to have my picture taken with mouse because she was so small and quick

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Velveteen Dream

I have not done any dressmaking since moving back to Burgess Hill, but have for some time wanted to make some winter versions of my summer dresses. So yesterday i bought some cotton velvet and unpacked my sewing machine and utilised this pattern with much success.

This time i made the sleeveless version

I used a trick my pattern cutting teacher showed us last week to help the facings lay flat - she said that once you have sewn them in, trim and notch the seam allowances and then sew the seam allowance down onto the wrong side of the facing. it works a wonder! I am pleased with all those smooth curve lines.

I do feel grand when i'm wearing this one. most oppulant. I forgot about the instant gratification of dressmaking (compared with knitting - i am still labouring!) I think next will be something in tartan.

Also this weekend

  • I saw some music and drank some sweet sussex stout (and a sneaky christmas ale)
  • I received a mixtape (for october - long overdue and a nice surprise!)
  • There were a lot of autumn leaves, and this afternoon 4:30pm, everything was touched with a golden glow.
  • Mouse doesn't seem well. I am worried about her
A nice weekend this one - except for concern for mouse. I am hoping it is just her hibernation instinct kicking in and causing her to be dosy, and nothing to worry about. She is nice in this mood though because i can stroke her a lot. I am showing her pictures of Deb's gorgeous mouse faced biscuits to cheer her up, and feeding her cornflakes.

Now I can smell apple pie cooking and mum is making boiled bacon and pease pudding dinner. Very good!

Yours pork bellied,

and Mouse.

x xx

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

How the knitting is coming along

i am in full swing with my October cardigan - which is just as well because it's november now. luckily we are going through a mild spell, but i think this chunky one will be of great use in the coming months. I have just realised i have not even mentioned this again since it was just in the idea stage - here are the updates:

My design has altered a bit from my first ideas as after speaking to my mum, who is the guru, i decided that I would be more adventurous with my cables than i first planned, and do an all over cable design. Here is a small sample:

This is the wool - Skye in dark jacob colourway. i am pleased with it i think - although am never sure until i'm finished. I did a few sample cables to begin with, as found any small twists were lost because of the patterns in the colours. This one is worked over 8 stitches every eight rows (i think that will only make sense if you have done some cable knitting - but i will give some better instructions when i come to write the pattern) Then either side of the cable is three stitches of reverse stocking stitch and a slip stitch line. I am pleased with this pattern. very simple, but quite nice.

My progress so far is that i have completed the back and one front panel, and almost a sleeve. i am not sure about the sleeve though, and might start it again. perhaps without cables, or with a different texture as i have seen that done before and it might be a good idea. i am not sure though, and seem to have knitted a lot of it, so perhaps i will persevere.

Also, before i get back to my knitting, and put  on the halloween special of psychoville, I would like to tell you about my cable needle - it is a hooked one. i hadn't seen one like this before (neither had the woman in the shop, or my mum) but i find it much easier to use than the straight or kinked types, as it holds the stitches safely but hangs out of the way very helpfully. i would recommend that type.

Yours knicker in a twist, let's twist again, marshmallow twist,
Emilia. xx

ps. i will leave you with some more Prada. it is good to be reminded of the inspiration.