Friday, 27 April 2012

FO friday :: pembroke wrap ::

Oh my I'm a little behind, I've missed a couple of weeks, but I'm back now.  I have actually had a few FO's to share too, just not the computer time to do so.

Anyway here is a new one, literally just finished this morning and still blocking as I type, it is my first ever shawl and my first completed lace knit item too.

Pembroke wrap

OK so there are quite a few mistakes in the pattern, but I don't think you'll notice when I'm wearing it, it's also quite a lot smaller than it should be.  I'm putting this down in part to the yarn, in part to the needles, and well, of course, I didn't swatch so really I deserve no sympathy.  I'm blocking it pretty hard and hoping for the best, as long as it fits around my neck I'm happy!

I had, had a couple of unsuccessfully creative days, everything was going wrong and nothing was turing out as I had hoped, as I result I really needed something satisfyingly quick to knit but a little challenging.  This pattern couldn't be more perfect for this, I cast it on last night, and as you can see it did not take long to complete!  And there was a lot of unknitting involved too!

Pembroke yoke 

 I had the yarn held up in an unfinished baby blanket that I frogged for this purpose and I really didn't use very much either, less than 4 50g balls.  It's rowan's cashsoft chunky, which I purchased from a closing down yarn shop a few years ago.  It's lovely, and I still have quite a lot left, if it didn't seem ridiculous to own 2 shawls in exactly the same colour and yarn and pattern I would knit up another!  Maybe I'll need to make one as a gift.

The pattern comes from interweave knits fall 2011 and is by Andrea Rangel, ravelry page :: here

The yarn is :: rowan cashcotton chunky (which I believe has been discontinued)

My ravelry notes :: here

For more FO Fridays check out Tami Amis' blog.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

WIP wednesday :: nimbus ::

I am actually still working on the puerperium cardigan but rather than sure the same wip with you two weeks running, I thought I'd start working my way through the huge pile of months/years old wips I have stashed away.

February Sweater ::

This is the nimbus cardigan by the berroco design team, I found on ravelry whilst looking for something to cast on quickly before a knit and natter morning, as a result of this I didn't think to alter it in to an 'in the round' project instead of a pieced one. Since I learnt to knit on circular needles I do not like knitting like this not one bit! Why would you want to sew all those seams together when it's not necessary. I am fairly sure this is why this project (originally intended as a christmas gift for my Mum) has been abandoned. I finished the knitting part ages ago, much before christmas, I even purchased a lovely button from cariad clay to add a fabulous finishing touch, but the sewing up has remained ignored.

Christmas Gift for Mum ::

My Mum has even seen the pieces now and declared she very much likes it, so really there is no excuse for this poor cardigan's complete abandonment. My Mum will be visiting this weekend, therefore I vow to finish it and share it on a FO friday post very very soon!

The pattern is called Nimbus and is a free download by the berroco design team available :: here
The yarn is :: wendy mode chunky
My ravelry notes can be found :: here

You can see lots of other WIP wednesday posts :: here

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

lego cake ::

so as you are probably aware, the toddler turned three on saturday. To celebrate this milestone, there was a very lego/duplo filled day, which included a fairly time consuming, stress inducing first attempt at a decorated cake. By decorated in this instance I mean anything that isn't simply smeared with butter icing and sprinkled with a few hundreds and thousands.


I have experience of these kind of elaborate children's birthday cakes, but only really in the receiving and eating of. My mum was a great birthday cake supplier (highlights of mine include a grand princess pony castle, cinderella complete with pumpkin carriage and sugar mice and winnie the pooh and honey pot) and my sister has continued this tradition with her own 3 children (highlights created by her include iggle piggle with blanket, peppa pig and a giant cupcake). I often receive running commentary and photographic evidence of my sister's successes late in to the night before a big event, but as with most things it wasn't until I attempted it myself did I realise quite how much work was involved in creating such masterpieces.

Don't get me wrong, I knew it wouldn't be easy and really I had hoped it would be something I wouldn't need to do for a few years yet, but Milo had different ideas (damn pinterest and Milo's overshoulder watching of it!), but I've watched Cake Boss, I hunted out a few youtube instructional videos, spent a fortune in hobbycraft, took a deep breath and begun.

For anyone interested in creating one yourself (though I promise you I'm not sure it's worth all the stress, panic, heartache, sweat and tears) here is a little overview of what I did.

I couldn't find a rectangular tin (well not one that wasn't horrifically expensive anyway) so I purchased a square tin, made a huge batch of Pam Corbin's victoria sponge mix and made two square cakes. Once they had cooled I cut one in half, sandwiched on to the other with butter icing, I then covered the whole thing with butter icing. Johnny was initially responsible for the bricks on top of the cake and decided to use rice krispie squares instead of cake for these, which I too covered in butter icing. As it happened Johnny, on out celebrating a friends birthday, the night before 'project birthday cake' broke his thumb falling off a stationary bike, therefore he spent the whole evening watching over my shoulder with unhelpful insights, unable to do any of the actual cake making/decorating.

Stage 2 of project Lego birthday, cake made and first icing laid.

For the fondant icing, I bought one green packet and one white packet, I then coloured three lots of the white with red, blue and yellow. If I was to do this again, I would certainly purchase all the colours, it was so time consuming mixing the colours and I couldn't get them quite as bright as I had hoped. I covered the cake with the green and the rice krispie bricks with the other colours, using a small round cutter to make the little nubs on top, attaching with a little apricot jam.

Stage 3 of project Lego birthday, bricks for cake.

I got the idea for the lego heads from here, using marshmallows, dipped in yellow candy melts. I used a special food colouring pen for the faces, but I wouldn't do this again as the pen did not like going on the candy melts, I imagine black food colouring and a paintbrush would have been a better idea.

Stage one of project Lego birthday! Edible Lego heads.

A friend leant us a lego mould which we used for the little chocolate blocks, so that was nice and easy!


So there we go, this was actually the very first birthday cake I made for Milo, as his first was shop bought and his second made by Johnny, not too bad for a first attempt, Milo loved it and we shall be eating cake for at least a week!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

three ::






so far three is looking pretty tasty for this little one, who has done little else but eat and play since the celebrations begun yesterday!

Friday, 6 April 2012

FO Friday :: Little Flowers ::

So I haven't quite finished the cardigan yet, there was little unknitting to do following a couple of silly mistakes, but I do have a finished object(s) to share today, hooray!

FO Friday :: Little Flowers

Namely a collection of little flowers, made for the lovely Bex of Stuffed Nonsense, who requested them to attach to a lampshade.

These are super fun and easy to make, such a satisfying little project.

FO Friday :: Little Flowers

I shall try and get the pattern written up in the next day or so and ready to download if anyone fancies hooking up a little extra springtime sunshine.

For more FO Fridays check out Tami Amis' blog.

Edited to say the pattern is now available for free download on ravelry here.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

new obsession :: knitting podcasts ::

I have been doing a lot of knitting and crochet recently, a lot indeed, I am not complaining, no not one bit, but I have discovered a new listening pleasure to accompany all this clicking and hooking, knitting podcasts. In all honesty I have never really listened to podcasts before, I think there was a time a few years ago where I researched some I might like, but when I couldn't seem to put them on my iPod I just gave up on the idea. I knew they were there, all these knitting and crafty people talking about all the things I love, so when I had watched myself up to date on Neighbours (my knitting, watching guilty pleasure) I hunted some out.

I'm sure there are lots and lots of fabulous knitty themed podcasts out there but so far I have stumbled on 2 favourites, both of whom have a huge back catalog for me to listen through. These are The Knitting Pipeline and Electric Sheep.

The Knitting Pipeline was my first find and I got sucked in straight away, listening constantly until I had worked my way through about 12 episodes! I love Paula's voice and the way she talks about knitting is perfect company to the click, click, click of my needles. I've been listening from the beginning where she talks a lot about Elizabeth Zimmerman and reads some of her personal letters from the lady herself, which are wonderful. She also tells amusing stories about 3 wild turkey's who visit her garden regularly!

Having enjoyed listening to Paula, I decided to search out some more listening delights, she had mentioned a UK podcast by the name of Electric Sheep, so I hunted this out. Listening to an English accent after spending so long listening to an American, was odd, but lovely. And I adore the Electric Sheep, her knitting insights are so funny and oh so true. I started with the most recent one's this time, which means now I have lots of old ones to listen through.

I'm sure there are loads more out there and would love to hear any recommendations you may have. Especially any other UK podcasts as I couldn't seem to find any more, or crochet shows as I couldn't find any of those at all.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

WIP wednesday :: Puerperium Cardigan

Inspired by nicsknots, who was in turn inspired by Tami Amis I am going to start sharing with you my wip's (work in progress) on a wednesday and my fo's (finished objects) on a friday, this is an attempt to get me working through all those unfinished items and all that stashed yarn, and trust me there are many of both to share with you!

However today I have a very newly begun project (around about 10pm last night) worked in some newly acquired yarn (purchased yesterday around about lunchtime). As you can see this practice is really going to serve it's purpose!

WIP wednesday :: Puerperium Cardigan

Also inspired by nicsknots I am knitting the puerperium cardigan by Kelly Brooker. This pattern has been in my favourites on ravelry for quite some time now and as I have a cousin expecting early summertime, I thought it the perfect opportunity to cast it on.

WIP wednesday :: Puerperium Cardigan

I am loving both the yarn (Debbie Bliss, baby cashmerino) and the patten so far, Kelly's patterns are written out so clearly in a real step by step way, which is great. I knitted (though I then frogged) her vanilla soaker a while back, though the finished item wasn't quite right, I'm not sure that was the fault of the pattern or the knitter, but I do remember the pattern itself being very easy to follow.

I'm thinking this may well be friday's FO at this rate!

my ravelry notes :: here
the pattern is available for free :: here
the yarn is :: here

Monday, 2 April 2012

finding inspiration :: lego cakes ::

So Milo turns 3 on saturday (three really?!) and there was I thinking I'd make a fairly simply decorated rustic looking cake. Originally he requested a cherry cake, I figured that wouldn't be a problem, then I remembered that it is of course April and the chances of finding any decent cherries would be impossible. I set out to explain to him seasonality and how there wouldn't be any cherries on the trees yet. He wasn't too phased and immediately requested a fire engine cake instead! I am no great cake decorater, I love to make cakes and I would say I'm fair baker but decorating isn't really one of my strengths. After browsing the web together for a while I spotted a fairly simple to assemble lego cake, and carefully suggested this as an alternative. He quickly agreed (phew) and we set about some more internet browsing.

Here are a few of my favourites ::

I even found with his name on!

But please note that I make no promises mine will look anywhere near as good as these!