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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Princess Baby Bonnet

I finished the baby bonnet, but I ran out of yarn and didn't have enough to do a knitted tie cord so I made a twisted cord instead:

The bonnet is knit flat in one piece and shaped with short rows at the bottom edge.
The back of the head is then worked in two halves and grafted together along the centre back. The pattern is A bonnet for Every Princess.
It took 27g of yarn.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Finished Knitted Baby Dress

I finally finished knitting the baby dress, here's a photo of it drying:

A close up of the yoke:

The dress took just 73g of the natural merino and about 10g of the pink.

Here are pictures of the first Baby dress I knit using different yarn:

The main body of this dress was knit in Rowan Cashcotton 4 ply and the pink trim was a bit of Rowan 4 ply cotton.

Next on the list is a baby bonnet ~ as seen on Princess Charlotte. You know the one I mean!

Close up of the yoke:

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Quilt Planning & Banana Walnut loaf

Sometimes I get the urge to sew ~ to make something that's both useful and beautiful. I recently came across this Tiny Tile Quilt and the pattern really appeals to me on many levels. Firstly I love the quaint simplicity of it's design and secondly I know I am capable of making this.
After a rummage through my fabric stash I came up with these fat quarters:

I will possibly ditch the white for the background though and look for some ivory/neutral fabric. I feel the white is a wee bit too stark against the other bold colours. I have a lot of block cutting and chain piecing to do!

Another cake was baked yesterday as we had visitors. Here's a recipe for a very simple loaf, nice to eat as is or you can drizzle icing over the top.

Banana & Walnut Loaf

200g Unsalted butter, melted
170g caster sugar
4 medium eggs
250g plain flour
200g very ripe banana, well mashed
3 teaspoons of baking powder
125g walnuts, chopped

Line a large loaf tin with nonstick baking paper. Melt the butter, pour it into a mixing bowl with the sugar, then beat in 100g of the flour until smooth. Add the eggs one by one, beating each one in well before adding the next, then mix in the mashed banana. Sift together the remaining flour and baking powder into the bowl and stir until smooth. Lastly add the chopped nuts and gently stir through.
Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake at 160C (140C fan)/320F for about an hour. The cake is done when a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean, it will feel nice and springy when you press it in the centre. Enjoy it bare or you can butter the slices. it will keep for about 5 days in an airtight tin (if it lasts that long!)

Friday, October 16, 2015

Oaty Caramel Squares

Lovely little treats that taste like a flapjack with gooey caramel through them, very naughty but extremely nice!

1 Cup plain flour
1/2 cup Self Raising flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
3/4 cup soft brown sugar
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 egg, beaten
150g butter, melted and cooled

100g butter
1 can condensed milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees
Line a square or rectangular slice tin with non stick baking paper.

Mix all of the dry ingredients for the base together in a large bowl, then stir in the melted butter and egg. The mixture will be moist but crumbly and will hold together if you squeeze it in your hand.

Tip 3/4 of the mixture into the prepared tin and press it flat with your hand.

Put the topping ingredients into a saucepan and cook over a low heat until the butter has melted and everything is mixed together. Pour this over the oaty base then sprinkle the remaining 1/4 of the base mixture over the top. Bake for 30 mins, cool in the tin and chill before cutting into small squares.

The little baby dress is coming along well, I managed to get quite a bit of it done last night and now the hem is in sight.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Merino Baby Dress

I cast on this cute little baby dress earlier in the week. It's to send to a dear family friend in England who is expecting a little girl later in the year. It's the second time I've knit this dress:

The dress is knit top down as you can see, the neck part is worked back and forth flat to create an opening (which later becomes a button band) that sits at the front of the dress. Halfway down the yoke is joined and is then knit in the round. The skirt section has a slight A-Line shape. I plan to finish the hem with a further stripe of the pink merino.
The pattern is Little Sister's Dress by Tora Froseth Design.

The yarn I chose for the dress is Mackenzie Merino 4 ply in natural and the pink trim is just a bit of hand dyed merino sock wool that I had left over from something else.
I hope to finish it over the weekend.

Apeldoorn Tulips are just coming into bloom in my garden. These particular ones always make me think of Keukenhof in Holland ~ which has got to be the best place in the world to see tulips. When we lived in Germany we would go to Keukenhof every Spring to see the tulip fields.

I absolutely love this time of year.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Finished Hand Spun Socks!

Finished these last night and I was going to block them, but to be honest I really don't think they need it:

See the teeny tiny ball of leftover yarn? That's 6 grams ~ I was cutting it fine but I weighed the yarn before starting (93g) and after knitting the first sock so I knew I had enough - although as I got to the toe on the second sock I did start to doubt my calculations. All came right in the end though!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

No-Bake Apricot Slice

We are having another extremely windy but beautiful Spring day here in Canterbury. The lawns look like they are covered in confetti from the cherry blossom getting blown around, such a shame as the trees had just come into full bloom. Always the way with mother nature though!

However, I managed to pick a bunch of freesia before the winds flattened them, they smell so beautiful~

It's way too windy to be outdoors working in the garden (which is what I had planned on doing today), so what else is there to do except spinning, knitting and possibly a bit of baking.

I'm trying to cut down on the amount of sugar I use and eat. This recipe does have sugar in the ingredients (biscuits and condensed milk) but I don't add any sugar to the recipe and I also leave off the icing as that is almost pure sugar - instead top it with a few tablespoons of desiccated coconut which is much healthier than icing it:

Apricot Slice (the slightly healthier version)

1 250g packet super wine biscuits, or any other plain biscuit would work, roughly crushed
1/2 cup of desiccated coconut + extra for topping if required
200g condensed milk (half a can)
120g melted butter
1 cup of dried apricots, roughly chopped

A slice tin lined with non stick baking paper

Put everything into a large bowl and mix it all together. Press it into the tin, pressing down well then sprinkle the top with the extra coconut and press that onto the mixture so that it sticks on.

Chill for a minimum of 2 hours, slice into fingers and serve. If you chill it overnight the biscuits will soften nicely, if you eat it straight away it will have a bit of crunch to it.

Monday, October 5, 2015

More Hand Spun Socks!

So, do you remember this skein of sock blend yarn that I spun and dyed a while back?

I over dyed it to make it darker so I could knit it into socks for my Husband - he wouldn't wear a lighter colour:
I'm really happy how this dye job turned out, a nice semi solid deep blue.
The pattern is Simple Skyp Socks. It's a simple 2 row pattern that looks more complicated than it is.

I have seed potatoes to plant today, as much as I would love to sit here knitting socks, sadly I can't!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Finished Hand Spun Socks...

I got a wiggle on with the socks last night and got them finished off.  I soaked them for 15 minutes and gently blocked them overnight. I'm really happy with them and enjoyed the whole process:
The socks took 75g of the merino yarn. There are more of these socks in my future, I can feel it!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Handspun Socks.... Same but Different!

Carrying on from my previous post, I decided to knit socks with my hand dyed superwash merino that I fractal spun:
I'm surprised at how they have turned out, how the colours shift and that the two socks are so different yet they go together nicely as a pair.

I'm almost at the finish line with these, the yarn has been beautiful to knit with and it gives me great satisfaction knowing that a week or so ago this was a bag of undyed combed merino top and is now almost a pair of warm and smooshy socks.

I decided on plain socks as I wanted to show off the colour play rather than go for a fancy pattern. Sometimes with handspun it's best to let the fibre/yarn do all the talking ~ less is more.