Friday, 17 November 2017

Top to Bottom warmth

As promised here are pics of my latest knits, they are very warm and very fast to make. I did each one in a day BUT they were hospital days so the rib and a couple of pattern repeats were knitted during the day.
Aran weight yarn and size 4mm 16"circular, I cast on 96 stitches and knitted 2 x 2 rib for as long as I could be bothered. Then in pattern I knitted to 7 1/2 " and did the decreases. I changed to a longer circular  here and used magic loop, you could quite easily use dpns for this.

Round 1, k2 p2 tog. 72 sts
Round 2, k2 p1.        
Round 3, k2 tog p1,  48 sts
Round 4, k1 p1,
Round 5, k2 tog,        24 sts
Round 6, k
Round 7, k2 tog,        12 sts
Round 8, k
Round 9, k2 tog          6 sts
Thread yarn through the stitches and pull tight. I pull it through to the inside and work a cross stitch over the gather and then darn in the end, darn in the cast on tail and bingo, you have a beanie. 

This one is in waffle stitch pattern, 2 rounds knit then 2 rounds rib.


To change it up a bit for this one I did 2 round in knit then one round in k2 p2 rib, then 2 rounds knit and one round in p2 k2 rib and repeated to 7 1/2" total length. For a man I knit to 9-9 1/2" and add 4 or 8 stitches to the cast on number.

Much as I like the simple slippers ( I am about to try the Kimono slipper pattern as well) sometimes I want more of a sock style.
These are in Aran weight and I followed the basic pattern from Winwick Mum. I know that this is written for 8ply but it works for me probably because my feet are size 9 and I have chunky ankles. I am almost certain that she has released a pattern for Aran weight, you can check that out on her blog.

I just knit a few rows of rib and a few in ss, probably 3" worth in total. I knit a 22 row heel flap as it fits my heel perfectly.

If my feet are warm I am a happy bunny, when I am dog walking at this time of the year I need a steady supply of hats. They get very damp and I just hang them for a day to dry, some days I go through 3 or 4.

Now I have walked both the dogs and had a few chats along the way. I have a cuppa to drink and then I am going to do a bit of quilting, I would like to get 2 of the plates done today.

I was up early this morning so the chores are done. Dinner tonight is undecided, it depends on how I feel after a quilting session or 2 and what's in the fridge.

                      TTFN                                              Pam

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Catch up time.

I made time to get to knit and natter on Tuesday afternoon, I did do quite a bit of knitting BUT much better than that, I had a lap full of love for a lovely long time. Sophie was there and a little out of sorts, she had a nap and then woke up in time for tea and biscuits. She is definitely going to be a crafter with instincts like that.

She had a chocolate hobnob and even offered me a lick, I wasn't quick enough though and the opportunity was gone in a nano second.

I only had one hand print and that brushed off my skirt, not that I was worried. Children and sticky fingers are like puppies and chewed objects, it's going to happen so just chill.

I was knitting a hat with yarn left from the last cardigan, it is just a perfect fit so have cast on another. I will post photo's and my stitch count etc once the second is cast off.

The Dresden quilt is on the sewing station, each block has been stitched in the ditch round the edges to secure the quilt. The sashing has had echo quilting along both sides and one plate is fully quilted. That was yesterday, it was a big bite but I like to start off with a bang. I will not be touching it today, it was the hospital run.

W had to be there for 9:00, of course the traffic was heavy and at times it was sit and wait, not to worry we made it in time, just.
He had his pre-op checks and then it was off for his normal clinic appointment. Luckily he was seen straight away, sometimes they are running late and it means an hour wait.

Now I am home with a cuppa and a bit of a (driving) headache, drizzle and a grey day and what appear to be completely blind drivers make for a tiring journey. One woman pulled out straight in front of me and then had the cheek to wave her thanks. GRRRRR.

Dinner tonight is meatloaf from the freezer and it is the last of that batch. I will do some smashed roast potatoes, cabbage and carrots with it. OOOPS I need to get stock for gravy out of the freezer. (done now) ( and I added the ingredients for the next batch to the shopping list) GO ME.

It's a good job that I like to share my meals or it would have been granules. I keep them in but only to shake into a casserole in the slow cooker.

I have had some lovely news but it is not mine to share...yet. I am so excited, it is quite silly. As soon as I can I will share.

That is it for now, my tea is drunk and I have veg to prep and think about baking a cake. There is none in the house, not even the freezer, and that is a rare occurrence that makes me a little bit twitchy. I haven't made an egg less fruit loaf for absolutely ages so may get the fruit into some hot tea to soak.

                                   TTFN                                            Pam

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Simple Slippers.for AKM Evans.

The little slippers that I have been knitting are Simple House Slippers by Simone A from Temple of Knit and the pattern is here    

Just high lite and right click then click on the "go to" option.

I will make some more but at the moment I am using odds and ends of Aran weight and making short ankle socks for a little more warmth.

I hope this is okay, I am not very techy at all.

I am at the Flying Geese quilt shop tomorrow so there may not be a post.
I have finished the backing for the Dresden plate quilt and hope to get that basted on Tuesday.

Time to get dinner in the oven now, cauliflower and edamame gratin with  root veg roasted in honey and wholegrain mustard.

There is a pineapple and coconut sponge for pudding, if we have room.

                          TTFN                                           Pam

My version of mince pies.

I like mince pies, at least I like homemade ones, but the pastry is sometimes a bit too thick, too thin, very crisp or quite soft.

More years ago than I care to remember I saw a recipe for a Date and Orange slice somewhere.
It was a crumble type mix that you pressed half into a tin then spread dates softened in orange juice over before sprinkling the rest of the crumble mix on top.

I do not like dates, the texture or the taste, but my Dad was a great fan so I made it for him. I then made it at least once a month for the rest of his life. 

Just like me Mum hated then too, we tried various other fillings. Apricots in juice were okay, but not wonderful they don't breakdown as much as the dates. Then I had a brainwave and used a jar of mincemeat as a last resort. BINGO. I have made this on a regular basis ever since, more frequently since the SO came into my life.

This is one version, oh yes I tinker with the recipe all the time.

I use a half standard shallow tin, roughly a Swiss roll tin. I have made it in a loose bottom shallow round tin, it makes for pretty slices.

This time I used,
200 grams plain flour.
100 grams cornflour. sometimes I use semolina and sometimes ground almonds here.
100 grams caster sugar.
Tip the lot into a bowl and whisk lightly to mix.
Rub in 200 grams butter until the mix starts to hang together.

Turn half into the greased tin a press down, not too hard you are not making concrete.
Then spread mincemeat over the top, I use homemade I think shop bought might be a little too wet but you could drain it in a sieve for a while. 

Tip the remaining mix on top and spread out evenly, press down lightly and pop in the oven. 160 c for 35 minutes. It should be a pale golden colour and smell heavenly. My oven shelf was a bit too high and the shortbread was slightly overcooked but still yummy. I sometimes forget that the oven runs hot so I need to reduce the temperature or lower the shelf.
If I think about it I sprinkle some flaked almonds over before it goes in the oven.

I use a round bladed knife (my Gran's bone handled knife) and mark into squares or slices while still hot. The SO is a greedy guts so I mark 12 squares. I put the tin onto a cooling rack to help it cool quicker and leave it till completely cold.

You could line the tin with baking paper to make it easier to get out as quite often the first square breaks up. We see that as an opportunity to do a  Quality Control test. 
I shot myself in the foot here by buying a special little palette knife that is angled, no broken slice for me anymore.

I can not tell you how long they keep in either fridge or cake tin as they are usually gone in 2 days. In our defence my neighbour W will have some and possibly A. They are both vegetarian but I always use vegetable suet in my mincemeat.

Pouring, whipped or clotted cream, creme fraiche or quark, greek yogurt or Marscapone all work with this but it is fine naked and unadorned. I have had it with custard and that is lush as well.

If I am baking for a Vegan I use Vitalite, you don't get the buttery taste so I put a little vanilla paste in the mix or failing that some fine grated lemon zest or even some cinnamon.
I use what I have, it all goes just as fast.

12 nice squares, but there was some serious shrinkage, some went to W and we had some for pudding. I will take some to A a bit later for her elevenses.

The base is nice and firm while the top is just a bit crumbly.

A tray of chopped vegetables in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and a few fresh herbs. 2 trays of this went into the oven and were  a tasty dinner tipped over a mix of cous cous and quinoa.
No cooked shot, it was eaten before I thought about it.

Really the mincemeat slice was not the best pudding to follow that dish, I usually make something lemony but the SO had dropped several mountain size hints about mince pies recently. 

It is past time that I got Ben out for his walk and I haven't given a thought to breakfast yet so I am off.

                             TTFN                                Pam

Saturday, 11 November 2017

NO! Far Too Soon

At least that was my reaction earlier today, when I heard a Christmas Carol, while walking Rufus.

It was coming from a workshop that backs onto the footpath, I had to peek in and see, I often stop and chat to the elderly man to whom it belongs.

He greeted me, and Rufus, and said that he always played a few carols on this date. He found the whole Remembrance "thing" too much to bear, he lost his father, grandfather and both brothers to war. His family have, over the generations, all been avid fans of Christmas. So on the 11th of November every year he shuts himself away and has a little while remembering them with joy rather than sadness.

I find this all to easy to understand as I do much the same with my memories. On birthdays I think of celebrations long gone and the joy and laughter that was, rather than dwell on what might have been.

My maternal grandfather was not keen on all the pomp and ceremony but thought that every generation should know about war and it's consequences.
He once said that if the sounds and smells of Flanders could be  released to each generation, war would become less likely. He was a stretcher bearer during both world wars, he lied about his age for the first one and volunteered at the outbreak of the second. 

Now I am off to the kitchen to make some lovely smells to lift my mood.

Balsamic roast vegetables to be served with a mix of cous cous and quinoa, there may well be a mincemeat shortbread slice for pudding.

I hope that you are all having the best weekend that you can.

                          TTFN                                       Pam

Friday, 10 November 2017

No sneezing here.

It,s me, I'm back.
I think that, apart from a little sore spot at the back of my throat, I have seen that dratted cold bug off.
I did manage to get into The Flying Goose on Wednesday and find the sashing, and border, fabric for the Dresden quilt.
 I had hoped to go back yesterday for Sit and Sew but my delivery of Crab Apple trees arrived in the morning and I had to get them soaked and planted. It was a dreary, drizzley sort of day so not a pleasant occupation. A hot shower and a cuppa soon dispelled the discomfort though.
I have one of the trees in a pot for Jess, they are maiden whips so will be quite happy to over winter in a sheltered spot. Then it can be planted out in spring ready for the growing season.

I had to make time to get the blocks sashed and the borders are cut ready to be applied.

A little reminder of the blocks.

The top 2/3 rds, I could not manage to get the whole thing in 1 shot.

This is the best that I could get.

The bottom, well almost.

I am pleased with it, in the photo's the darker blades pop much more than in reality. I have enough of the blue fabric to back the quilt, with the addition of some of the blade colours. I did cut extra blades so I may well do some selective piecing and make it almost reversible.

Knitting is still my TV watching pastime, 2 more pairs of the simple slippers have gone into the gift box and I am working on making some little ankle slipper socks in Aran weight for the cold of foot.

I have the hospital run with W this morning, it was changed from Wednesday so will do my shopping on the way back. That will save me from making a special trip, time and money saved so a double whammy.

We had the remains of the ham last night in a frittata and used up the lingering peppers, celery sticks and a solitary red onion from the fridge. 
It was lovely with a slice of my seeded bread, no need for pudding (haha). The SO polished off the last slice of a rhubarb pie with a glug of cream.

I am off now to have my second cuppa before dog walking commences.

                            TTFN                                     Pam

Monday, 6 November 2017

Jumping through hoops

Still sneezing, coughing and spluttering which has made me just a touch intolerant right now.

The main culprit is on the net, but on reflection there are 2.

Adverts that pop up in articles that I want to read GRRRRRRR, I just end up leaving the site, fuming. 

The ONE that sticks in my craw (strange saying but you know what it means) is when clicking onto something that catches your eye just means that you are led by the nose onto a merry go round. Having to jump from here to there and back again to get to your goal.

I had it happen a few moments ago, looking for a particular pattern I clicked onto a web site, found the pattern and clicked....another screen opened and clicked....... another screen opened and clicked another blah blah blah.....and had a hissy fit and gave up.

All that sounds a bit disjointed, and that is just how I feel after 15 minutes of jumping through hoops.

Of course it could be my total lack of understanding of the net, I spot something on Pinterest and  click only to jump....straight onto the merry go round.

I gave up and my brain has just about sorted a pattern out for me, result.

On a more mundane subject,the cold must be on the wane despite my symptoms as the bathroom has been blitzed and there is a load of washing pegged out. Dinner is the fusion soup and tomorrow,s has been planned. Nadiya Hussain.s Ploughmans cheese and pickle tart. I will be making 2, one for us and one for W.

The sitting room has had a good tidy up, mostly my crafting stuff from the weekend, and all is neat and pleasing to the eye.

Both dogs have had a good walk and now I am off to make the pastry and grate cheese while it has a little rest in the fridge.

My reward will be an hour on the lappy, reading posts, reading and replyng to comments and leaving a few of my own here and there.

                       TTFN                                            Pam