Sunday, February 26, 2006

A lovely pattern for a cardi

New things happen every time I post something. This picture just popped up and how fortunate; it's just the one I want.
This is the cardi that the last post is all about. It is comfy to wear and a really good design. The Jo Sharp Silk Road Tweed hangs really well because it is heavy but the Caressa pattern it is intended for looks great too. Posted by Picasa

How to fix the fit

How to make a garment fit after the sew-up, is something I have years of experience in. The yarn I chose to knit this cardigan with, was Jo Sharp's Silk Road Tweed. It's a fabulous heathery colour with lots of depth. The pattern I had chosen was from an old collection (five well labelled and indexed folders!) I had saved from English magazines. It was simple, long, classic and with a collar.
I knitted a swatch, got it right, and did the whole thing in a couple of weeks. Sewed it together and triumphantly put it on. It looked like I was a SACK OF POTATOES wrapped in knitting, and big potatoes at that.
(I should know by now that the knitted garment does not make you look like the model in the picture. YKW shows that so well; all knitting models are skinny so that the bulky garment looks like slimline wear.)
I was going through a "life is wonderful, smile and take what comes" phase so before I felt the tears of frustration welling up, I unstitched and frogged the lot. I washed it and hung it out in hanks with small weights on them to get rid of the kinks. I rolled it into balls and went to the LYS for a pattern. None of my hundreds would do.
I bought Patons Book 2126 for Caressa and chose style nine.
This time I ignored swatches and just kept comparing it with a favourite garment for width. I knitted the lot without measurement checks and sewed it together. It looked gorgeous. I put it on in front of the full length mirror. It looked like a TENT.
What to do?. I showed Robert and he looked kindly at me and said, "it'll be alright, Dear", but we both knew that it wasn't.
I put it on inside out and stood in front of the mirror and pinned the sides to where I would like them. Then I got out the sewing machine and some bias binding tape and sewed down the tape and desired seam line.
I rolled the bias binding over the raw edge and hand hemmed it down.(O.K. caressa is thinner than silk road tweed, I knew that all along but I didn't want another potato sack)
I have been wearing it for a couple of years and so many times people have said to me "Love your Cardi!"
I have been trying to put another pic here to show how well it hangs but I'll have to post that on it's own. I'm making good and steady progress and this time I have been able to place a pic but I couldn't get another one on the same post. Thanks a million Lori

Friday, February 24, 2006

Wow, Did I make that?

I love this picture, because of the range of colours in the bottles and jars. I have to label them and then top them with a "nutrition label/ingredients list" and then I cover that with a round of red cellophane and sell them under the name RED UMBRELLA. I make the name labels myself but I buy the name and address labels from a label company because they are small and cheap.
I make my own business cards too, because I can do a bit of calligraphy and enjoy making things myself. The next few weeks will be busy with food but then I should settle back into knitting. I'm still working on the cashmere scarf. Posted by Picasa

Hookie Rugging

Here's a little sampler of hookie rugging. It's progressing slowly because I'm a bit busy with tomatoes at the moment! See next pic and can anyone give me lessons on how to get more than one photo onto one site. At the moment as you can see I can only do my blog through a picture on picasa which means one pic per post! Cheers for now and looking forward to comments and help Posted by Picasa

Making Tufts

You pull the fabric strip through to the front and then make sure it's just big enough to slip the hook out and then do another one as close as is suitable, etc. You can work in lines or in shapes. Posted by Picasa

Hookie Rugging

This is the amazingly simple method of hookie rag rugging. You get a rug hooker (without closing hinge) , stab it through the hessian (scottish! apparently that means something to people who know about hessian, other hessian is more closely woven), wrap the thin strip of fabric around the end of the hook and then pull it back through the hole you have made in the hessian. My right hand should be holding the hook but it is holding the camera. You can see that the edges of the hessian are held together with masking tape.
I'd love to be able to tell you where to get all this stuff but it was sent to me by my Mum in England! Anyway here's the address on the back of the DVD lesson. This is an amazing women called Heather Ritchie and I got this knowledge and the hook and the bit of hessian for the sampler and a couple of bits of fabric from her.
email Hopefully she can send you a catalogue or where to buy in USA/Canada.
I'm going over to UK in October and hope that I can get a box frame from her. In the mean time I must cope with an enormous embroidery hoop and try to hold it between my body and the table. Anyway here are some more pictures to help demonstrate what has to be done. Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 20, 2006

To Market, To Market!

There are two markets coming up in the next month so I have abandoned textiles for cooking for a couple of weeks. It's the season for many fruits and vegetables to be available cheaply by the box and so I came home from the market garden with a 10 kilo box of lovely tomatoes for just $10. I have made some spicy relish (see right of picture) and plan to make a few bottles of ketchup this afternoon and some more relish on Thursday. I'm hoping that they will have green tomatoes available soon so that I can make a couple of dozen jars or more for the year. The tomato relish and the green tomato chutney are both very popular. Also shown in this picture is the crab apple jelly from the new tree. It is still quite small but the apples were large and made a lovely ruby jelly. The lower shelf contains jars of zucchini pickle made from garden vegetables. I have made a few batches and each one varies according to the season and the spice packets. Brown sugar and malt vinegar can enhance the flavour but I have noticed that people prefer the brighter coloured products that white sugar and vinegar give.
I have made some raspberry vinegar which I shall bottle this afternoon but I'm not sure if it is economically viable because of the cost of bought raspberries and the need to have a good white wine vinegar to macerate them in. 250 ml could end up costing $6!
When I have dealt with the tomatoes I shall move on to berry jams. I'm particularly keen to try the Raspberry and Blueberry with Star Anise and Vanilla at this site Although I will have to work out how much sugar because the quantity is missing. I'll let you know how it goes soon. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Well, there has been some progress in the knitting Olympics. One of the events in the pentathlon is complete. A simple mohair and cashmere, feather and fan scarf is done and finished because there is no yarn left. But, at over two metres it should suit most people. it is only 18cm wide so it needs to have length to play with. The hairy fibre doesn't show up the lacy pattern in this picture too well.
The hookie rugging is going really well. I'm developing a rhythm and have had my first blister in the palm of the hand where the handle rolls. It's nearly finished and I'm pleased, but I shall have a go at proddie next and then decide whether to design anything for hookie or just go with the flow of colours with proddie or clippie mats. Some people might wish to chastise me about that. They might say that even proddie or clippie rugs can be "designed". I wonder, though if this defeats the purpose. These were mats and rugs made during hard times like the Great Depression and design was not a primary factor. It doesn't mean,however, that the rugs had no artistry. The affinity of the fabrics and colours was carefully chosen and different areas of the rugs were worked to suit the fabric available. Not so with my sampler, but I am learning.
The other items in the picture are Crab Apple Jelly made from the our garden fruit and Zucchini Relish made from our garden vegetables. We visited a local winery today at St. Annes just a few minutes up the Western Highway and they are having a country market on 13th March, so I might do a jam and chutney stall.
We had been out to the "Tractor Pull" at Ballan and had a great time. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Rugging in close up

This is a mixture of textiles, chosen mainly for their colour not their weight so some are small and fine and the blanket bits are quite thick. Other bits can be seen at Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Knitting Olympics Update

Here's my pentathlon of tasks.........
Top left is hookie rugging which I'm making up as I go along but I have decided to call it "Coral Garden" because the colours seem to lend themselves to underwater forms. The top right is the florentine canvaswork unearthed from 30 years ago. I found enough tapestry wool in the same colours to finish it into a rectangle rather than the square for the cushion that was intended and then I hope to make it into a bag or purse of some kind. I shall have to comb the op shops for some suitable bag handles. The middle right is a striped and fringed, half-knitted cushion cover which uses up the left over wool from the big throw. Bottom right is a fan/feather scarf in a mixture of cashmere, kid mohair and fine boucle which I bought on left over cones from a knitting factory and wound up on my hand-winder. Even with three yarns combined it is still as light as a feather. The bottom left is some free-form florentine that I found at the very bottom of my UFOs and intend making into a simple flap over pencil case.
I'm still trying to find a comfortable routine for the rug hooking. Heather Ritchie form Yorkshire whose DVD I'm using as a guide has a box frame which sits on her knee and it has grippers at each edge which hold the hessian as she works on it. I would love to know if I can get one in Oz. If not I can see myself lugging one home on the plane from England when I visit in October.
I spent much of today preparing and arranging the items and photographing them to look good but I have made little progress towards completion and on my return from the shops I found that Robert had harvested the crab apples and some unexciting peaches from the flowering peach tree so now I feel obliged to make them into something. I found one of those giant zucchinis which lurk, hidden under the leaves and so that needs to be turned into some relish too. I shall start with some food preparations. Now! Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 10, 2006

Knitting Olympics Discovered Too Late

I wish I had been at this blogging business for longer and was more adept at posting news, photos and pictures from other sources. I'm still trying to get a "Knitting Olympics" button from a site to picasa so that I can upload it to this blog. Boo! I have spent many frustrating hours at it and got nowhere. Does anyone in Oz know where I can get BLOGGING LESSONS. I'd love to do more with what's available. I tried to sign on to the Knitting Olympics but so did thousands! of others so I don't know if I made it or whether just overwhelmed with the volume of traffic. Thankyou to Monique who picked up my helplessness and did well with some advice.
I have a cone of 1 ply dusky, purple cashmere which I shall knit into a scarf using the pattern for a lacy knotted openwork scarf on
But in the true sense of the Pentathlon I shall engage in more crafts at the same time. I'm hookie rugging...just started, finishing a velour tote bag with better cord draw-strings, making suet dumplings to go on tonight's stew and wrapping gifts for three new babies in the family.
I'll wind the cashmere into balls first and knit a swatch to see if I can get away with one strand or whether I'll need to double it up. These left over cones are available at DEA Yarns in Coburg in North Melbourne as well as fine mohair and a wonderful polyamide and wool boucle which is so fine that it knits up like cobwebs.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Unhealthy Cake

This, of course, was never going to be a failure. It hardly needs a recipe.
What happened was...I found a packet of marshmallows at the back of the cupboard and their "use-by" date was up, so I went to the shop and bought good quality dark chocolate, unsalted/sweet butter and some plain biscuits.
I came home and made this slice in ten minutes. It resembles "hedgehog" but I hate nuts in sweet dishes and don't enjoy the taste or texture of them so I'm always looking for another ingredient to fill their space in a cake or biscuit recipe.
I did my usual and looked up "Old Marshmallows Recipes on google and came up with a recipe for marshmallow/choc/cherry fudge. The cherries were to be glace! Yuk as much as nuts in cake so I went for a marshmallow/choc/biscuit fudge slice and here's how I did it.

The General List of Ingredients
* 250gm/half a pound good quality dark chocolate
* 250gm/half a pound of marshmallows (it doesn't matter what colour they are)
* 200gm/half a pound minus a few, plain biscuits. These need to be put in a plastic bag and rolled with a rolling pin or bottle to make large lumps. This is the ingredient that can be changed around to include nuts, dried fruit etc
*20 gm/rounded tbs unsalted butter.

Read all this first so that you do not get caught out by rapidly solidifying choc mix while you sort out a suitably sized, greased pan
Put a tbs water in a pan and warm it up then throw in the butter and marshmallows. Stir it around over a gentle heat until it is all melted and blended but NOT sticking to the bottom. Take it off the heat and add the chocolate and stir quickly until it has all melted into the rest of the mixture. Then, with no time to waste, add the biscuit bits and stir just enough to mix in well then tip/scrape it all into a small, ready greased pan. Smooth it down and pop it in the fridge.

As soon as it is fairly cool you can start eating it.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Healthy Cake!

I have just finished making a successful cake for the second time and I mucked about with the recipe both times. This is so rare for me. I have published the full instructions on our family blog at and a picture will follow. It is a dried fruit, wholemeal flour type of cake and has no fat apart from a couple of eggs and I added some sugar but you could easily reduce it or leave it out and use sweet juice instead. Good luck with it.

Successful Health Cake

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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Knitted Velour Tote Bag and Fancy Face Washer

While I was visiting England last year I made a trip to the wool and craft supply shop in Hutton Henry, near Durham where my mother lives. I took Mum and Dorothy-from-downstairs for a ride out. Dorothy was brought up in Hutton Henry where her family had a dairy farm and she enjoyed a real ride down memory lane. It is one of the prettiest villages in England without being too like a picture postcard.
Anyway... I bought a couple of balls of Tuscany and a couple of balls of Wow. I made the tote bag out of the Wow. I needed to do something simple because I find velour so difficult to knit with but it looked so lovely piled up on the shelf in the shop that I had to have it and the Tuscany just sparkled at me so the same happened. The bag has a crocheted circle for a base and stocking stitch knitted sides and I increased after the cord eyelets so that it flared at the top and then lined it with a piece of plaid taffeta from the fabric stash. I shan't mind if I dont sell it because I love it so much myself. It's my favourite colour and so luxuriously tactile.
The face washer is a pattern using two colours but slipping stitches and only using one colour each row, which I find easier than fairisle. I call it "faux fairisle". Then I crocheted around the edge to decorate it and hold it flat. I did a couple of smaller bags with metallic yarns in the same sort of style. Very simple draw string mini-totes in luxurious yarn to show off the yarn. They should all add some variety to the market stall along with the throws, cushions, scarves, ponchos and tea cosies.
And a table full of Jams and Chutneys, not to mention the nectarine products! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Nectarine Bounty

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