Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Feeling miserable!

Well , DS2 did indeed pass his cold on to me! And his brother and his father..... so we are all feeling a bit under the weather and very very tired.
I had hoped to visit friends this weekend , but that is out of the picture now, however I will need to organise some outings for the boys as it is their October Holiday week.
After last weeks frogging fiasco I have cast on and am knitting two "comfort" projects , one is the lovely cashmere/silk and another in the silk/mohair .
Guess which patterns ? Go on...... post your guesses in the comments you might get a surprise .
As promised in previous post -:
Here is the Vine leaf pattern for the Fingerless Mitts Cuff and Finger edging , mitt pattern given in last post :-
Round 1 - K3 YO K1 YO K1 S1 K2tog PSSO , repeat 4x (24 stitch patten only)
Round 2 and all even numbered rounds Knit
Round 3 - K2 YO K3 YO S1 K2tog PSSO , repeat 4x
Round 5 - K1 YO K1 YO K3 S1 K2tog PSSO , repeat 4x
Round 7 - YO K3 YO K2 S1 K2tog PSSO , repeat 4x
Round 8 - Knit
K - Knit , YO - Yarn Over S1 - Slip one , K2tog - Knit 2 together PSSO , Pass slipped stitch over K2tog .

Friday, 16 October 2009

A couple of recipes .... and some good news!

Have had a lovely couple of knitty days , yesterday and today , both of them spent at the lovely Carries' home , as well as a lovely lunch at Innes cottage .
Wednesday morning there was a crowd of us being very busy , there was spinning , knitting , a lace shawl being blocked and a wee one to entertain!
But one of the best things to happen was the news......that Onceasheep will be a shop ! (Actually Karen got her premises and will be opening an Artisan Yarn Store very soon .... watch this space!)
More good news when I returned the lovely Innes to her beautiful cottage ..... her article was printed in the Ashford Wheel magazine along with photo's of her spinning (in her mutch) and wauking the tweed cloth! Unfortunately the fabulous photo of her DH and cousin in their handspun , handknitted sweater holding a sheep in the blazing July sun was NOT included! Shame!
Innes has been spinning since before the "interweb" , and got her instructions by snail mail from her aunt in New Zealand . Her yarn is fabulous , and she also dyes it using natural plants/shells etc. Anyway , I promised her my recipe for fingerless mitts to use in her "studio" . (Got a wee chance to knit some last night at Carries , and my hands are smooth with the lanolin this morning! )
A Fingerless Mitt Recipe
Copyright M Gilchrist 2009
NB : Use larger pins to make bigger sized mitts , alternatively cast on more stitches. Try out different needles / stitches to get desired fit, remember it may look small to start but handspun stretches exponentially!
Knitting terms :- k1 - knit 1 , kfb - knit through front loop of stitch then back loop to make a new stitch
Take one ball of handspun , bulky weight , about 100-200 yards , divide into two .
Take one ball , a set of 5/6mm dpns and cast on 24/30 stitches over 3 needles.
Join to knit in the round (careful not to twist) , and start your cuff pattern (Innes has 1x1 ribbing , I have an eight stitch Vine lace pattern*)
Once you have knitted a long enough cuff (2-3 inches) in desired pattern continue by knitting until it measure 2-3 inches.
Now to start the thumb gusset : -
row 1 - at start of round kfb , then knit to last 2 stitches , kfb then k1
row 2 at start of round k1 kfb , knit to last 3 stitches kfb k2
row 3 , k2 kfb knit until last 4 stitches kfb k3
row 4 , k3 kfb knit until last 5 stitches kfb k4
row 5 , k4 kfb knit until last 6 stitches kfb k5
row 6 , k5 kfb knit until last 7 stitches kfb k6
You can continue increasing the thumb gusset in this manner until you feel it is big enough , but I stopped there!
Next round , knit until the last 6 stitches, STOP .
Take the last 6 stitches from the previous round and the next 6 stitches (12 stitches in total for thumb gusset), and put them on a holder or some waste yarn.
Re-join round , and work body of mitt by knitting in the round for another 2-3 inches .
Finish by repeating the "cuff pattern" at the top , then cast off , leaving enough yarn to be sewn in .
Now to pick up for the thumb , listen carefully !
Take the 6 stitches that would have been at the start of the round and put on the needle , pick up 4 stitches (this is to close the "hole" ) then knit the next 6 stitches (I used three needles again ).
Knit in the round until thumb measures 1/2 inches , then cast off
Sew in Ends!
Using second ball , start Mitt 2!
A Simple Cookie Recipe (to be eaten wearing Mitts!)
Note - if you cook these cookies a bit to long they become crunchier and are technically biscuits , they still taste good , they still disappear like snow off a dyke!
Its all in "old money" , based on Bero Book recipe , when given a choice of sugar/choc chips choose one (or a mix of all three , just remember to keep to weights!)
4oz butter , 3 oz sugar (brown.granulated.caster) , 6oz flour , 2tbsp milk , 2 tbsp golden syrup , chocolate chips (white.milk.dark)
Cream butter and sugar together REALLY WELL , until crunchiness of sugar goes. I tend to knead butter in my hands , put it and sugar in bowl then beat them together until my arms develop muscles like Popeyes!
Add milk and syrup (try not to lick fingers after adding syrup!)and beat into mixture .
Add a third of the flour and mix in until mixture is sticky again , repeat until all flour is mixed well in. Cookie dough will be sticky but not wet!
Chocolate chips are added now , about 3oz (Scotbloc chopped works too)
Place small "dods" or "blobs" on a greased baking tray and do not be particular about how they look , put in oven at Gas Mark 4 (160deg ?) for 10-12 minutes , or almost brown . Take out and leave for 5 minutes to cool as they are very HOT and SOFT (betcha can't!) , then use wooden spoon to fend off small children grabbing handfuls of cookies !
Best get back to nursing a small boy (who is trying to wink at my by holding one eye shut!) , he was sent home from school yesterday apparently ill , but his teacher laughed as he sprinted towards the car holding a sick bowl!
* Will publish tomorrow!

Friday, 9 October 2009

Knitting and Reading

At present , I am supposedly finishing off some WIPs , and supposedly starting some KAL socks , supposedly .
However it is cold and grey outside , and I really want (another) hat , really !
And I really want to knit up my cashmere too, mmmmmmm!
I'll guess I'll stick with the WIPS for present (especially since some of them are just that ..... presents! lol)
Got very excited in the library yesterday , found the "adapted for children" version of Jules Vernes' "Journey to the Centre of the Earth! " Had been trying to read the original version to DS1 , but we both got a bit baffled by the terminology and 19th century language. (OK , read that as DS2 got bored!)
And today got my Mum the perfect gift book , biography of Agatha Christie (my Mum is the original AG Nut! )
And me , well I am still looking at the Whimsical Little Knits book ..... I so want to knit that HAT!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Handspun Handyed yarn for Hands!

Its walk to school week this week , and although the weather has been lovely and sunny , it has also been very cold . It is officially mitten and scarf weather .
After buying Ysolda Teagues Whimsical Little Knits , I was impressed by the Ishbel scarf/shawl and beret , so they are now on the official "knitting queue"! , but I also wanted some mitts that gave a flavour of Ishbel , so to speak.
This year , I want my outdoor accessories to co-ordinate , and with that thought in mind I dug around my stash and found a gorgeous blue bulky handspun and hand-dyed yarn from Old Maiden Aunt . I also found a skein of knitwiches kid mohair and silk in a delphinium blue shade, perfect co-ordination.
But first, I need mitts , fingerless ones , and here they are , a cobbled together pattern, using the vine pattern from Ishbel for the cuff and fingers , with stocking stitch in between .
They are so cosy , and baby Abby took a shine to them today at the flavaknits Wednesday meetup . The colour is inspirational , I just love it .
There were only 24 stitches on the needles to make these mitts , and they only took two days to finish . Perfect Timing .
If only I was quicker with some of my other WIPS!
Now for the Ishbel hat and scarf , not sure what I will start on first . Probably the hat!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Economy Gastronomy !

I read in the newspaper last week that the "Glasgow Cookery book" is being revived , and a new edition published .
The Glasgow cookery book was the bible for (female) students of the Glasgow "Dough School" or the "Glasgow and West of Scotland College of Domestic Science" which was its proper name , and many of the recipes are still good for today. (Although I am NOT boiling my lamb shanks for 9 hours to get my stock for Scotch Broth , the new version will no doubt amend this , but my 1945 version insists on it!)
These are the recipe's my gran would have used , many of them are so familiar , although modern technology means they don't take as long to make. (Blenders , Food mixers , bread makers ....) Many of the ingredients needed for these recipes would have been available to those on the lowest of incomes , and it comes as no surprise that the first chapter is on Soups . Soups would have been a main meal for many a household in post-war Britain . Some of the recipes only use a few ingredients , and there is no "hard to find fish wine Thai vinegar or wotsit" that Nigella and Delia love to use .
I like the entry for Cauliflower soup that says " for a vegetarian option substitute two sticks of celery for the Ham* !"
* Ham would have been used to make the soup stock ,
And there is the aptly titled - Reheated Meat dishes , like Hash or Shepherds Pie .
Some of the recipes I have never heard of though - obviously belong to a different age like Fricandeau of Veal (serve with Espagnol sauce ??) and Roman Pie !
And I am not sure that the farmer supplies the lamb ingredients required for this recipe though , and I don't recall Gran making this soup either.....
Its the soup recipe at the bottom of the page - Sheeps' Head Broth !
Really don't fancy that one!!
There are my lamb shanks, simmering away nicely in the pot on the cooker, they smell so good. It's blackface lamb from a local farmer , and not only does it smell good it tastes DIVINE . Blackface sheep are the commonest sheep in Scotland , meat is great, sheep is hardy , however the wool is too rough for spinning/knitting clothing from . I am sure it must be used for something , perhaps Carpets .
Scotch Broth and Bangers 'n Mash for dinner - can't get more British than that can you ?