Monday, 31 August 2009

Marmalade, Butterflies & Cloche Hats

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Howdy Everyone,

Well here we are at the beginning of a new week. I hope you all had a relaxing and creative weekend. I have an overriding sense of busy, busy, business today. Does this mean I didn’t have a nice weekend or merely I didn’t have enough time to ‘create’ ? I’m not sure right now but hope to have it figured out by the end of the day.

Most of the weekend seemed to be taken up with the normal domesticity. Washing, cooking and cleaning. I did manage to make marmalade and need to write the recipe up today, I will put it on the blog as soon as I can. I have been vigorously planning and imagining new projects to tackle. My head is buzzing with a plethora of ideas and projects perhaps that‘s why I feel rushed and busy today.

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I‘m dreaming about new fabrics, dyeing projects, more rag rug designs. I’m imagining some batik coming up, along with new designs and patterns to be attempted and then documented.

I’ve been working on hats this weekend - hence the mention of a cloche in the title. A crochet cloche hat that it not the stuff used in the garden. I’ve also been thinking about the, all too soon upon us, Christmas party season and have a clear idea of a new design for a crochet wrap, bolero, shrug type garment. I need a sparkly , silky or glitzy yarn for this and so it will need to go on the back boiler for a few days.

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Here’s my current crocheted cloche in progress.

I’m also hoping to get a pattern written this week for crocheted butterflies. I made one on Friday but didn’t write it up, naughty me.

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I’m also wanting to attempt to design some crocheted socks so watch this space for my first attempt. I also need to catch up and post more photographs on Flickr. I really need to start listing items for sale in my Folksy shop but it always seems to be a case of MaƱana, naughty, naughty me. As you can see from my various buttons I’ve recently joined Ukhandmade which is a site worth exploring. I also stumbled across and joined fortheloveofcrochetalong, again a great international site for crochet junkies everywhere. I will be contributing to this site in the very near future, it’s on the TO DO list………………….. Need I say more ?

http://www.fortheloveofcrochetalong.blogspot.com/

My blog has been really busy over the weekend as I’ve published free patterns on http://www.crochetpatterncentral.com/ and http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/. I have book marked quite a few sites that I need to go back to and see what’s out there. I found a really good site - craft fail which is impressive in it’s honesty, authenticity and most importantly it’s humour. See here http://craftfail.com/

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I have also had an email from the editor of http://www.allfreecrafts.com/ and they are going to publish one of my patterns on their website which is great.

I also need to come up with a pattern for a crocheted snowflake by Friday this week. Given that I don’t seem to have much on at the moment I’d better sign off in a most leisurely manner and bid you all farewell.

Have a great and productive day.

Scottish Marmalade Recipe

 

171-7190_IMG Ingredients:

Oranges 10-12 (I used Navel but Seville are the best when available)

2 Kg Sugar (I used normal granulated sugar 50% and preserving sugar 50%. Purely because that’s what was in the cupboard)

1 Lemon

3 Litres of Water

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Materials:

1 Jam/Preserving pan or a heavy bottomed pan large.

Chopping Board, Sharp Knife, Dessert spoon

Approx 8-10 sterilised Jars.

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Recipe:

1. Sterilise jam jars, place them in a large pan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer briskly for 10-15 minutes. Leave to dry

 
2. Cut the oranges in half. Using a metal spoon, scoop out the flesh over a bowl to collect any juice, leaving the pith behind. Reserve the shells. This is the messy stage.


3. Put the flesh, juice, lemon and water into the Jam pan and begin to simmer.

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4. Now scoop out as much of the pith from the shells as possible. Slice the rind into very thin and fine strips and add these to the pan. I added approx. 2 orange skins to the mixture add more if preferred.


5.. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the rind is very soft and the mixture has reduced by half.

6. Over a low heat, add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved. Boil for about 10-20 minutes, skimming off any froth on the surface.

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7. After 10-20 minutes, spoon a little of the marmalade onto a cold plate and place in the fridge. If it sets to a jelly the marmalade is cooked. If necessary, cook for a further 5-10 minutes and test again.


8. Allow the marmalade to cool slightly, then pour into the sterilized jars.

9. Seal the jars when cool and decorate with small circles of fabric if desired.

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10. Store in a cool dark place and enjoy on toast or croissants with a refreshing cup of Earl Grey tea.

Sunroom Easy Lace Edging - Knitted Pattern

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Pattern. (UK Version)

Cast on 4 St(s)

Row 1 - Knit

Row 2 - Knit 2, wyif, Knit 2

Row 3 - sl st, Knit

Row 4 - Knit 3, wyif, Inc 1 st

Row 5 - Knit 2, wyif, k2tog, wyif, Knit 2

Row 6 - sl 1, Knit to end

Row 7 – Knit 3, wyif, K2tog, wyif, Knit 2

Row 8 – Cast off 4, Knit to end.

Repeat these 8 rows until desired length is reached

Abbreviations:

wyif – with yarn in front

sl st – slip stitch

K2tog – Knit 2 together.

This may read as complicated but is exceptionally easy to complete

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Pattern (US Version)

Bind on 4 St(s)

Row 1 - Knit

Row 2 - Knit 2, yf, Knit 2

Row 3 - sl st, Knit

Row 4 - Knit 3, yf, Inc 1 st

Row 5 - Knit 2, yf, k2tog, yf, Knit 2

Row 6 - sl 1, Knit to end

Row 7 – Knit 3, yf, K2tog, yf, Knit 2

Row 8 – Bind off 4, Knit to end.

Repeat these 8 rows until desired length is reached

Abbreviations:

yf – yarn in front

sl st – slip stitch

K2tog – Knit 2 together.

This may read as complicated but is exceptionally easy to complete

Find my Handmade Silver Crochet or Knitting Stitch Markers here

Crochet http://goodtimesithinkso.blogspot.com/2009/09/crochet-stitch-markers.html Knitting http://goodtimesithinkso.blogspot.com/2009/09/knitting-stitch-markers.html

Pattern of the day 18th September 2009

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Healing Prayer Shawl – Crochet Pattern

This is my own version of a Healing Prayer Shawl. I made this shawl a couple of weeks ago for someone who I thought may need the comfort of a shawl, post surgery. The shawl was gratefully accepted and has proved it’s worth already. Unfortunately I forgot to photograph my first shawl and so here it is, I’ve made it again.




Healing Payer Shawl Pattern
Materials: Here I used 500gm of loop yarn. The equivalent to (DK) UK or worsted weight US
Crochet Hook 10mm or US N/15
loopyarn
Measurements:
Length: 55” - 140cm approx.
Width: 50” – 127cm approx
Pattern
Note: This pattern is US if making in the UK please substitute tr for dc
Please work all dc's under the previous row not into the ch apart from at each end.
1. Chain 5
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2. Row 1 - dc into 1st chain to form bottom point.
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3. Row 2 - *ch 4 (to count as first dc + 1 ch) 1 dc under previous row, ch1, 1dc under previous row, ch1, 1 dc into final ch from previous row, turn*.
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4. Row 3 – Repeat row 2 ** Increasing by 1 st each row.
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4 Rows completed.
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6 Rows completed.
Continue until desired length and width is achieved. Here I worked 50 rows.
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This pattern is offered and made available for personal use only. If you wish to reproduce this in any way please contact me or make sure that reference is made to the original author’s blog http://www.goodtimesithinkso.blogspot.com/ Thank you
Find my Handmade Silver Crochet or Knitting Stitch Markers here
Crochet http://goodtimesithinkso.blogspot.com/2009/09/crochet-stitch-markers.html Knitting http://goodtimesithinkso.blogspot.com/2009/09/knitting-stitch-markers.html

Vibrant Corkscrew Scarf – Knitted Pattern

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Here it is wrapped around the mannequin numerous times.

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This scarf is so quick and very easy to knit. If you know how to do garter stitch then you can make this scarf no problem. Select your yarn according to the type of effect you hope to achieve. Here I have use a combination of eyelash yarn and bubble yarn and a plain DK yarn to finish.

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You can control the fluidity or flexibility by choosing a soft yarn. If you select a stiffer yarn obviously your corkscrew will be more tightly coiled.

You can create an unlimited assortment of different results by using different yarns and different sizes of knitting needles.

Pattern

Materials.

Circular needle (32cm) – 9mm

150-200gm Yarn of your choice

Measurements

Length: 60” or 153cm Width: 3” or 8cm

Cast on 400 stitches (increase if you want a longer scarf)

Row 1 Knit

Row 2 Knit

Row 3 Knit

Row 4 Knit

Row 5 *K1, K2tog, K1*, *Rep to end.

Row 6 Knit

Row 7 Knit

Row 8 K1, K2tog, K1*, *Rep to end.

Row 9 Knit

Row 10 Knit

Row 11 K1, K2tog, K1*, *Rep to end.

Row 12 Knit

Cast off. ( or complete further rows for a wider scarf)

Voila – a vibrant corkscrew spiral scarf. I have also listed my crochet pattern version here. http://goodtimesithinkso.blogspot.com/2009/08/sunroom-spiral-scarf-crochet.html

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This pattern is offered and made available for personal use only. If you wish to reproduce this in any way please contact me or make sure that reference is made to the original author’s blog http://www.goodtimesithinkso.blogspot.com/ . Thank you

From little acorns.

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Row 1 completed.

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Please do leave me a comment and I would love to see any photographs of your finished scarves. Thanks for visiting and have a great day.

Find my Handmade Silver Crochet or Knitting Stitch Markers here

Crochet http://goodtimesithinkso.blogspot.com/2009/09/crochet-stitch-markers.html Knitting http://goodtimesithinkso.blogspot.com/2009/09/knitting-stitch-markers.html

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The Green Shoots of Rocket

Hi Everyone,

No I didn’t say green shoots of recovery but rocket. After my gardening frenzy at the weekend I realised how negligent I had been in terms of growing things this year. This seems absurd to me now given I have a big area for vegetables and a greenhouse, shame on me. Anyway as some form of last minute gesture I decided to plant lots of green things to see us through the winter. So on Saturday I planted rocket seeds which we love in our house, children being the exception.

Rocket is so easy to grow – seeds planted Saturday and already sprouted this morning (Wednesday) – hurrah.

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I have started the seeds on the kitchen windowsill and they will continue to grow there, or outside or in the greenhouse well into winter.

Kitchen Garden

Rocket being harvested – hopefully me in a few weeks time.

Yesterday we actually got some sunshine again, a rare occurrence at this moment in time. I decided then to plant some perpetual spinach which will hopefully germinate in the coming days. This plant will continue to grow well through winter as leaves are picked off for use it will grow and grow again. By next spring we’ll all be Popeye!

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Next up I’m intending to plant garlic in the greenhouse for planting out in spring. I am also going to sew lettuce for salad leaves through the winter. Anyway all the hyperactivity in the garden at the weekend pruning, shaping, trimming and chopping has left me with aching blistered hands. This hasn’t exactly been conducive to crocheting my current rag rug. The 15mm crochet hook doesn’t sit with ease in my hand.

As ever I have gone off on a variety of creative tangents. Firstly a new healing, comfort – prayer shawl.

Whoa well my healing prayer shawl is now finished which is great as it means I can get on with completing one of the other various WIP’s (work’s in progress). I will write up this pattern later and hopefully post it on the blog tonight – I will write the pattern in both US and UK terms. I have already blogged about prayer shawls here http://goodtimesithinkso.blogspot.com/2009/08/vegetarian-haggis.html

I made this healing shawl up as I had made one a couple of weeks ago and forgot to photograph it prior to sending it off to the recipient. The Prayer shawl was warmly welcomed and has been used extensively in the recuperation post major surgery and ultimately a life changing experience. It delights me to think that it may have brought comfort in a time of need. The lady that I gave it to has used it in a traditional way, around the shoulders, but also upon her lap. The comfort of stroking a textured shawl is reassuring in itself.

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This is a good basic pattern to have in your armoury let’s face it we never know what life is going to throw at us, our loved ones and our friends and neighbours. I chose a very textured loop yarn as in my opinion texture is an important aspect of any shawl. The loop yarn that I used is a green and teal mixture and crocheted up to look very earthy. I’m pleased with the end result and hope that some of you too will like it.

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As previously mentioned a good starting place for detailed information is http://www.shawlministry.com/

According to this resource the symbolic meaning of the colours I have used is as follows.

Green – Earth, Healing, Prosperity, Fertility, Clarity, Sympathy, Hope, Renewal, Health, Balance, Confidence, Abundance, Growth, Life.

Mentally and physically relaxing.

Teal – Trustworthy, Devotion.

How wonderful to think that my healing shawl could be imbued with these qualities. Regardless these qualities are symbolized by the colour choice. So choose your yarn according to the beneficiaries needs.

I spent a large part of yesterday preparing fabrics for the ongoing rag rug and again this probably hasn’t helped my aching hands. I also made the decision to write up my pattern for my spiral scarf except this one is a knitted version of my crocheted one.

I am hoping to get the scarf complete tomorrow.

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I had better post this so that I can get on. More photographs to be taken, a scarf to be completed and a pattern to be documented.

Again have a great day.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Tate – Colour Chart

Tah Dah – I’m as pleased as punch that one of my photographs made it into the Tate colour chart online. I just learned about this late yesterday and spent way too long online watching the colour chart continuously transform in front of my eyes. It’s almost like a seamless, endless optical illusion. It is both captivating and compelling – well it is to me anyway.

‘In conjunction with the exhibition Colour Chart: Reinventing Colour, 1950 to Today Tate Liverpool invites you to contribute your own colour monochromes to this group. Photographs submitted to the group will be shown on Tate Online, and a 36 images will be used to make a glossy Colour Chart poster.
Photos from the group will be displayed on the exhibition website on Tate Online and the poster we create will also be displayed at Tate Liverpool. ‘

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By a matter of pure chance I managed to get a screen shot of my photograph as it emerged. Above top left second row.

http://www.tate.org.uk/liverpool/exhibitions/colourchart/photos.shtm

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Here cropped into a mosaic. All of the individual images can be viewed online at the Tate although it may take a while to see all 4000 + images. The original images are all still viewable on flickr here

http://www.flickr.com/groups/colourchart/

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My original photo which probably says more about me – yes a supplement junkie. Anyway I hope you like the exhibition and the colour chart. I have a big smile on my face for now.

Have a great day.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Batman & Mushrooms

As I said in my last post I am really keen to start investigating mushrooms for a variety of reasons. Firstly I think mushrooms are or can be real soul food when properly cooked or combined within appropriate recipes. I am constantly staggered by the sheer amount and multitude of varieties that can be found in abundance all around us.
I relish the array of shapes, forms, textures and colours. You can be walking along in a woodland when it’s shady and usually damp and all of a sudden your eyes just fall upon a shape or a colour and you want to explore. It’s the same kind of fascination that you have when beachcombing. A natural curiosity that compels you to take a further look – well what have we here? What have we discovered today?
I don’t know if there is an optimum time of year to explore mushrooms and fungi but, given the wet summer we’ve had here in Scotland, I suspect around about now might be the best time.
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Here is a mushroom that I found which I believe to be – Hygrocybe calyptraeformis.
Please note that I am in no way an expert – in fact I still have my ‘L’ plates on. I could be completely wrong in my amateur identification. If you are interested in wild mushrooms and fungi please consult an expert source rather than my haphazard beginners trial and error methodology.
Good sources include http://www.wildmushroomsonline.co.uk/ and http://www.mushroomfinder.com/ For a comprehensive insight into the etiquette of picking wild mushrooms please consult the mushroom picker’ Code of Conduct which can be found at www.britmycolsoc.org.uk/files/pickers_code.pdf
170-7047_IMGWhat a very unusual shaggy texture this mushroom has. It reminds me of a multiplicity of things and at the same time could be used for inspiration in many fibre crafts. 170-7050_IMG
This one I thought was a Clouded Agaric – Clitocybe nebularis Looking again though the colour is more orangey in my mind so maybe it’s a Tawny Funnel Cap – Clitocybe flaccida
Perhaps there is a crocheting mushroom expert out there who can put me right.
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These mushrooms I found nestled under a conifer tree. As you can see it is fairly dank and very shaded.
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I have no idea what this orangey one is – I haven’t managed to find it in the mushroom identification book yet. The colour is just sublime and although it looks almost varnished it had in fact just finished raining.
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Here’s another fungi which I found clinging to the ground. Interesting texture again it looks slimey but I’m putting that down to the rainfall.
170-7077_IMGThis one I suspect is Mycena polgramma.
So as I said in my last post the children did arrive back from school excruciatingly tired and out of sync. I finally got them into bed and fast asleep. I went to check lights were out, curtains were shut and any electronics were off. So far so good – peace at last. I went into the bathroom and upon my exit was thrust into an Alfred Hitchcock film. Yes as I proceeded into the upper landing I was being circled by a frenzied bat. Now I do love bats but there is a time and place and confined indoors isn’t the place.
A couple of minutes later and given my dramatic hysterics needless to say the children were wide awake once again.
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And so here is the wee fella doing circuits in one of the bedrooms. We had opened the window really wide to let him make an escape but he just kept circling. Finally Batman arrived and caught the bat and helped him on his way to the great outdoors.

It was only the next day when I was researching ‘bats in the house’ that I learned that you are not meant to touch bats. So do not try this one at home. We have had bats in the house before but that was a couple of years ago. We were sat downstairs watching all the bats darting around at dusk when all of a sudden we had two in the room with us circling our heads. We look back on it now and laugh but it can be quite panic inducing at the time.
I am now at a loss as to where the bat came from – we had windows open but nothing more than an inch. Having said that if bats are anything like cats they’ll get through the tiniest of spaces.
pipipipimain
For further information please visit The Bat Conservation Trust http://www.bats.org.uk/ or www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/facts-about-bats
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I really must get on now a 1000 things to do and the devil makes work for idle hands. I am currently working on a new crochet rag rug but am having ‘technology issues’ with my camera software. I can’t even get any new photos onto flickr. You can find all my photos here http://www.flickr.com/photos/39523051@N05/
I will update you soon with musings on my new creations and hopefully all technology issues will be resolved by then. Please feel free to leave comments on this or any other post, it’s so nice to get some feedback.
Be positive and be creative.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Ripple Wave Scarf - Crochet

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Here’s a very quick and easy pattern for a wavy ripple crochet scarf. Here it is worked in Wendy Fusion shade – Piri Piri. The scarf which measures 54” length used x2 50g balls of yarn and a 6mm hook.
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The basic wave pattern is based on multiples of 14 so begin with desired length in a multiple of 14.
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Pattern
Chain 140 + 3 for turning.
Row 1 - 1 tr into 4th chain from hook
1tr into each of next 4 chs
tr2tog
tr2tog
1 tr into each of next 4 chs
*2tr into next ch
2 tr into next ch
1tr into each of next 4 chs
tr2tog
tr2tog
1 tr into each of next 4 chs*
Repeat between ** ending last rep with 2 tr into last ch, turn.
Row 2 - ch3, 1 tr into same stitch,
1tr into each of next 4 chs
tr2tog
tr2tog
1 tr into each of next 4 chs
*2tr into next ch
2 tr into next ch
1tr into each of next 4 chs
tr2tog
tr2tog
1 tr into each of next 4 chs*
Repeat between ** ending last rep with 2 tr into the top chain of the chain-3 from previous row.
Repeat row 2 for width required. I completed 8 rows and achieved a width of approx 6.5”
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4 Rows completed.
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8 Rows completed.
This pattern is offered and made available for personal use only. If you wish to reproduce this in any way please contact me or make sure that reference is made to the original author’s blog http://www.goodtimesithinkso.blogspot.com/ . Thank you


Thank You


Find my Handmade Silver Crochet or Knitting Stitch Markers here
Crochet http://goodtimesithinkso.blogspot.com/2009/09/crochet-stitch-markers.html Knitting http://goodtimesithinkso.blogspot.com/2009/09/knitting-stitch-markers.html