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Saturday, 25 August 2012

Crafty things

Very pleased I have finished the hat to match the sports coat for friend's grandson. The collar of the coat was garter stitch, most of the hat is garter stitch too. the brim is stocking stitch so it curls up a little, making it slightly less beany style.

Have checked, you haven't seen a picture of the coat, well not this version of it in navy Sirdar.

to coordinate, here's the hat,

Rather difficult to have an idea of scale, but I have made the garments for a one year old, because I knit a bit tightly sometimes, to allow the child to grow into the clothes, not all children come in British Standard specifications for their age and who knows what may have interrupted my knitting.

Have completed 141 hexipuffs so far, but they are an out and about project, so once the baby hat was finished I looked around for another project. There is quite a stash here, so marrying up what I would like to make or need with what is in those ziplock bags is fun. I see a pattern, then think, oh, that would be good, then the yarn doesn't line up, I am torn between making items for my home or for me to wear. So far I have made just two pairs of socks, would like to try the toe up technique; have patterns and the book but would need to go out and find the yarn. Given the thunderstorms we've had this afternoon it is a stay at home day.

Last November I acquired a huge amount of yarn from Freecycle, don't know what the weight or make is, but decided to knit some up into a square. Found some chunky wooden needles size 7mm I think, the how to knit a square pattern  - cast on one stitch, increase one stitch at beginning of every row till square is a big enough triangle then reverse the process. Have made two following the instructions, third one I have modified the instructions so first stitch is slipped and this has made a tidier edge.

This is much quicker knitting than hexipuffs, 36 stitches before I decrease again, so I am using up the cream and will make quite a few garter stitch squares before using moss stitch, or even double moss stitch. Will make at least 4, or a multiple of four of each design and use all the cream wool before starting on the other neutral colours of which there is less.

The wool I have started is on left of picture, colour isn't clear but it a natural creamy colour. Am considering crocheting some squares too to give a different texture to the throw, need to mug up on techniques, it is a long while since I was hooked.

Lastly, am not sure how to proceed when turning sheep's wool in its raw state to beautiful yarn for when we went on the walk a month ago I gathered some wool from the hedgerows. A few days later I was given considerably more so have washed it all, dried it by hanging a netting bag on the washing line. Now, for the next stage, can the fluffy wool be turned into thread without a spinning wheel? Wouldn't want to buy one just for this quantity.

Any thoughts, criticisms, ideas, comments all more than welcome, but in the meantime, enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend and the Paralympics.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Cake recipe

As it is Saturday evening and for many years my mother made cakes at this time I shall give you the recipe of our family favourite - coconut slices. Sorry, there will be no pictures as we have no cake to photograph.

The recipe came from the side of a Viota coconut packet, I think it was first made shortly after we moved across the River from Richmond to Twickenham so not a new recipe.

2oz butter or margarine
3 oz caster sugar
2 eggs
4 oz dessicated coconut
2oz flour.

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs with a little flour. Fold in coconut and rest of flour. Vanilla essence is an optional extra.

Bake at 190C, 375F or Gas mark 5 in a square flat lined tin. (We have used Yorkshire pudding one) for about 20 minutes.

Ice with water icing when cool, top icing with a little dessicated coconut and cut into slices.

As we have two Yorkshire pudding tins I frequently double the quantities and cook two together. The uniced cake can be frozen, as it is fairly shallow will not take long to defrost.

If anyone wants more detailed instructions for making this cake just leave a message and I'll expand it but am assuming most readers are familiar with the creaming method of cake making.

Other news.

It is a year today since I started knitting hexipuffs, have achieved 141 to date. Not quite the number I had hoped but other knitting has been done.

Good night all, enjoy your baking.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Clocking in.

Time to tell you about Ian's clock that has been lovingly restored by Mike, who blogs as The Armoury. .

We had taken the clock with us to Z's bloggers' party in May,  Mike kindly agreed to look at it, today they brought it to our house, Ann and Mike were visiting family not so far from here so not too far out of their way.

It was lovely to welcome them here, to see the clock back on the wall, for our other clock to be identified as coming from the Black Forest and to have tea/coffee and cake. Cake was coconut slices, my mother's recipe, very yummy that once my father's friend ate a whole cake. It is cooked in a square Yorkshire pudding tin, iced and cut into either 6 large or 8 standard slices.

A view of the clock and its surroundings.

Knitting has been done whilst watching TV, in the car, travelling to London last Wednesday thus the number of hexipuffs has reached 136, including completing the 'lost' hexipuff that was found in the kitchen drawer in a small brown paper carrier bag. Picture below shows all the hexipuffs so far, about one third of the number required for a throw. Not sure yet how I will join them, want the back to look as good as the front. That was my dress making rule, the wrong side was as neat as the right side.

Suggestions and advice welcome always. Off now to continue with collar of a baby's jacket I'm making, will carry on whilst watching the Olympics closing ceremony. Just wish it finished before 11.30, must stay awake.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Cakes and other thoughts.

friDAY, august 10, 2012

Simple Woman's Daybook: 10th August 2012

Outside My Window ... the darkness of a suburban street, except with street lights and Heathrow airport a distant glow it is never really dark here.

I am thinking ... that I have been married longer than I was single, the landmark date was in April this year but I hadn't worked it out then. Must say that the second half of my life is happier than the first.
I am thankful ... that London was awarded the Olympics, it seems to have made London a jollier place. Well, it seemed good on Wednesday when we went to South Kensington, and the Royal Brompton Hospital so I could have a CT scan on my sinuses. I must comment how pleasant, helpful and cheerful all the staff are at that hospital.
Afterwards went to Hummingbird café for coffee and cakes. When did iced buns become cup cakes? The icing is different, cup cakes have American style frosting, iced buns have water icing. My mother used to call them Sunday school cakes, this is what she made when we had to take cakes to chapel. 
Because of the VAT rules whereby the cost is 20% less if one has cake and coffee sitting outside amongst the smokers and traffic fumes, I was able to photograph the shop with no one inside. 

 Can recommend a cake called a black bottom, lots of chocolate cake with creamy topping.

The last picture is the view of the shop we had when perched on stools at the end of the café, a good place to be as I like sitting in a corner watching the world. Don't like being in the middle of a room, although in a crowded place that cannot be avoided at times.

From the kitchen ... yesterday made 12 jars of damson jam, mostly from fruit given to us by our vicar's wife but topped up with some from our garden. Have made two damson crumbles from our fruit, there are a few damsons still so will combine them with home grown blackberries for a couple more jars of jam.

I am wearing ...  East linen summer dress, aquamarine, grey patterned design, loose, cool, comfortable as I went to local studies today which can be a warm place to work.

I am creating ... still hexipuffing, but have finished the green variegated sock yarn purchased in Bath, it made 39 hexipuffs, would have been more if I'd not had such long tails sometimes when casting on, but so what, the colour has balanced out the pinks and blues. Am now completing the hexipuff that I lost and found in the kitchen drawer.

I am reading ...  The Victorian Railway by Jack Simmons. Found this is a bookshop near South Kensington station on our way to the V & A last Wednesday. It is not new, (was first published in 1991, then in paperback with corrections in 1995, reprinted in 2009)  but gives a rather different take on trains, such as structures, art, the railways' vandalism, literature. I notice that it is only in England, not America or Europe that there were excursion trains, and that the word "weekend" can be traced back to 1870 according to the OED. So much for Downton Abbey and the Dowager Countess's question 'What is a weekend?'
 It will be a dip in book, bit heavy to carry around but to open at those moments when the book catches my eye.

I am hoping ... to tidy up the back garden, needs windfall apples to be used or composted, some cutting back, weeding and watering of pots. In other words, a visit to the green gym.

I am hearing ... the dining room clock chiming 11, so will need to finish this soon as I have a sinus rinse to do and other medication to take before bed time.
Around the house ... investigations are continuing as to whether we accept the estimate/quotation for a glazed veranda to extend from outside the kitchen , along the side of the building to the garage pedestrian door. It will enable us to go to the garage, also used as a workshop by Ian, without getting wet. We cannot understand why it will be cheaper to have a loan from the company than to pay cash. I asked the question if we take the loan can we pay it all back as soon as we are satisfied with the work. 

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week ... not much of the week left, just one day as I believe still that Sunday is the first day of the week. Tomorrow morning may go to a Blooming Great tea party at the church hall at the other end of town, where fund raising is for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Find instructions and links to other daybooks at The Simple Woman

Good night everyone.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Cushion cover

Just had to show everyone the cushion cover that will be winging its way to Martha. Am so chuffed with the four  Hello Kitty buttons used for the fastenings.

The cushion pad is with her already so the cover will adorn the day bed fairly soon.

Photos and information added to Ravelry so job done.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Some of our activities recently ...

thursday, august 2nd, 2012

Simple Woman's Daybook: 2nd August 2012

Outside My Window ... sunshine, clouds and breeze. Not sure of temperature as I haven't been out today. Sinuses a bit painful, paracetamol and Flixonase nasule drops haven't made much difference.
I am thinking ...  of the good effects of the Olympics, whatever our medal total will be. Although the cycle time trials took place about two or three miles from our home I didn't feel up to going to watch them live but I suspect it was better that way as I was able to see all the beauty of my local area and confirm my opinionated view that I live in a delightful urban area.
I am thankful for ... all the ironing is completed.
I am wearing ... old CC linen red, brown and beige squiggly patterned dress, so comfortable.
I am creating ...  pink cushion cover for Martha, just needs sewing up, the Hello Kitty buttons and my special handmade label added. Also need to pick up stitches for the collar of the baby sports jacket. Watching the Olympics is very conducive to knitting so have completed 130 hexipuffs. 
I am reading ... . Butterfly's Shadow by Lee Langley. Enjoying this, although haven't picked it up for a few days now as have plenty of time before next book club meeting in September.
Around the house ... looking forward to having Ian's grandfather's clock back. Thanks to the Internet and Z's party where we handed the clock to The Armoury (well to Mike who writes that blog) it has been sorted out and will be coming home shortly.
One of my favourite things ... the English countryside. Our walking group went to Berkshire, near Silchester, I attempted to photograph this field full of wild flowers. 

Was a good walk, not too many steep parts, the worst was the incline towards the pub where we had lunch, no breath at all but then it is a while since I have attempted such a walk.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week ... hoping to go to Local studies tomorrow, if I have the energy, no plans otherwise till next week. Keep it simple, finish knitting projects and finish book. 
Here are pictures I am sharing ...
Firstly, the unknown torch bearer at the start of the Kew Road in Richmond. Lovely occasion, sunshine, friendly crowds while we waited on the shady side of the street.

More pictures, this time of the Men's cycle race last Saturday. Ian and went to Kingston by train, had lunch in Pizza Express from where we could see the preparations before the race started and then wait in the front row for the cyclists to zoom past. I suspect all the motorcyclists and support car drivers were having a lot more fun.

Check out The Simple Woman for links to other Daybooks and instructions if you want to do one of your own.