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Sunday, 26 April 2015

A host of daffodils

'A few weeks ago I received an email from the chairman of the local floral club inviting me to a St George's Day event in aid of Help for Heroes. Not only did the afternoon include demonstrations of flower arranging but also afternoon tea. Flower arranging is a subject about which I know absolutely nothing, tried once at a church many years ago, my inexperienced efforts were criticised even though it was known it was the first time I I had put stalks into soggy oasis, so no way I would have joined a flower arranging rota there. 

I took some time before I replied to the invitation, I am a great procrastinator, wondered who else should be attending, would it be a friendly occasion. To my great delight whilst I was signing in, B. from knitting group spotted me, indicated a seat at her table and told me she had noticed my name on the email and had hoped I was coming. I was so surprised and delighted, meant I didn't have to find and seat or be rebuffed if I asked to join a table. 

Putting the flowers Ian buys me into vases is the extent of my floral arts, I know now no leaves in the water, to cut the ends of the stems, and to top up the water each day, just hope that I can recall the other  hints that Dennis gave in his talk. His beautiful arrangements were raffled, I was fortunate to win 100 daffodils, they had been bound together and stood upright in a shallow dish. Needless to say this was not replicated when I was home. It looked as if the hundred were in one bunch but at home discovered there were ten bunches so I was able to share with my friend and a neighbour. If I had realised this before I left the venue I would have given some bunches to B., she deserved them. 

We were shown how to fold aspidistra leaves so have tried this, think the process is more for use in hiding edges of an oasis arrangement, so what, it was fun trying something new. There is a thought about considering joining the Floral Club, I cannot keep up with all my other activities, family history, local history for there is still some research I would like to do, I haven't completed indexing local history publications so felt very guilty about this when asked at the last meeting how this was going. Also, Summer is coming, we need to go out to play in the fresh air. 

Did I mention the knitting and crochet progress? Have done about 112 crochet granny patchwork squares, none are joined as I want the squares all mixed. Knitting has progressed, friend's granddaughter is wearing this cardigan now.  The little girl for whom this was made is tiny, usually wears 3 to 6 month clothes, the Joseph cardigan was made to fit 12 to 18 month girl yet apart from the long sleeves it fits her. 

Now I thought I had knitted too tightly, or had wrong sized needles, the size markings had worn off my Knit Pro circulars yet I measured them and they are 4mm. It wasn't until I read other comments on Ravelry about this pattern that I realised other knitters had found the pattern came up small.

Thank goodness for Ravelry, so much to learn from other knitters, for my latest project I have compared other reviews for difficulties but have found none for the Puerperium cardigan - just useful advice. 

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

A long tail and tale.

It may be a silly or small thing to some people but I am very excited this evening because I have taught myself a new skill. I can do long tail cast on, thanks to pressing the stop start buttons on UTube and The Knitting Answer Book. Last Wednesday I had taken this book with me as it is a small format to knitting group so I could cast on the Puerperium Cardigan. The pattern specified long tail cast on, however it was very unsociable and difficult at the group to try and follow the printed page so I gave up and crocheted squares instead. 

This evening I realised it is knitting group tomorrow so I needed to have cast on this cardigan as I also hadn't touched the second sock where I am in the middle of turning the heel, again not a project where I needed to concentrate. 
The pattern casts on at the neck, I have cast on and knitted the first row.  

All part of my mantra which is keep learning, not just skills, but knowledge, ideas, methods. Even if I become a teeny bit excited when something works out. The elegance of the cast on appealed to me, it seemed a good method to for this left hander. 

Yesterday (Bank Holiday Monday) I tried out a new recipe, it was for shortbread, taken from the weekend paper and an article about the new WI cookbook. Firstly, find newspaper, then the right supplement, cut out recipe, read ingredients, tick have them all. Next fine the right tin and measure it, this involved searching for a metric tape measure, upstairs to sewing basket which is as far from kitchen as possible, take tape downstairs noticing ironed tablecloth on the way so take that down too, take off dirty cloth, put in washing machine for overnight wash, put on clean cloth. 

Back to tin, yes, it is right size, so tape measure back to sewing basket, in kitchen clear worktop, notice teapots need emptying so do that. Two teapots as I have builders' tea and Ian has green tea at breakfast. 

Gather ingredients, start measuring out, even sieved the flour twice, once while weighing, then into mixing bowl, then measured butter and tried to cut it into even sized cubes in preparation for rubbing in. Third item to be weighed was caster sugar but it had to be mixed with flour before butter was rubbed in, sugar was still in the weighing bowl so had to fire up the electronic scales to weigh sugar so it could be added before butter cubes. Why didn't the recipe list the ingredients in order of use? Another niggle for me was that recipe was all metric measures, I don't have an eye for metric measurement, whereas I can 'see' imperial quantities. Yes, I know it sounds daft but it makes life simpler if one knows how much to weigh out. Who forced everyone to use metric measurements in domestic cookery, maybe that is why I have tended to use old recipes. 

Anyway, the shortbread worked, quite crumbly, a quick handy store cupboard recipe. What I didn't tell you was that at the same time as I was racing around the house I was catching up on Woman's Hour the subject was craft, why it is popular today, why Design and technology appears not to be encouraged in schools, difference between craft and design, not sure sound of a sewing machine on the radio really worked, thankfully one can look  at the website to see what one heard.  In the kitchen                                      two pints of milk were simmering on the stove, with a noisy milk saver drowning out the iPad sound. It was too much, trying to do three things at once, make yogurt, shortbread and concentrate on listening. Thanks to Podcasts we both listened to the programme over lunch instead. 

When recipes say preparation time is five minutes there is no allowance for searching for the recipe, cutting it out, measuring the tin, getting ingredients out, weighing them and then rest of packet to the cupboard. No mention of whether one should line or grease the tin, I didn't but the biscuits turned out easily. 

Here they are in their buttery goldeness on the kitchen table cloth. If this glorious weather continues perhaps biscuits with morning coffee in the garden tomorrow.