Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Homemade Gift Giving

Unfortunately there is only three weekends left until Christmas! This came as a little shock to me yesterday. I knew it was coming, but the past few weeks seem to have flown past me.

I had grand plans of having a handmade gift giving fest this year. But due the weeks slipping past me my plans have been scaled back a little, in an attempt to lessen the load.
Today I finished my first present:

I felt my sister needed a little cushion to brighten up her room  at University. I bought the lovely Amy Butler fabric under her watchful eye at Baa Ram Ewe in Headingley last time I visited Leeds. (I love that shop!) This cushion is a compact 30x30cm, so it'll fit nicely into her suitcase when she returns after the holidays!

I decided to make up a few little labels for my homemade gifts this year, to make them extra special:

So, that's one gift down and far too many to go. Luckily I have two half finished projects on the knitting needles which should be finished by the end of the week. Hopefully!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside

I found my first handknit scarf hiding under my bed yesterday. It's as good as new. Hope you're keeping warm.

Monday, November 22, 2010


On Sunday I made myself a headband to wear under my cycling helmet with  some of the left over yarn from my Selbu Modern.

Today I went cycling and got extremely muddy. I can confirm it keeps my ears nice and toasty!

I am yet to master the art of taking photos of my own head.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Selbu Modern

I love this hat! It’s been keeping my head warm since coming off the blocking plate! 

The pattern is lovely, Kate is such a talented designer.  The instructions very clear and easy to follow. Another fantastic thing is there isn’t many long floats - great for fair isle first timers. This was my first attempt at knitting with two colours, and if I do say so myself it’s worked out pretty well. I don’t know if my technique is quite right. I just did what felt right for me.

The baby alpaca yarn is just unbelievably AMAZING. I cannot get enough of this stuff. It’s like knitting with butter, it’s so soft! The ball band described the yarn as DK, but I thought it was a little thinner. It worked out perfectly for this pattern (which is lucky as I didn’t swatch…) I used a little over 1 skein of the main colour and about 0.8skein of the contrasting charcoal colour.

This is potentially my most successful knitted item to date!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pillow Week

My room is due to have a bit of a makeover and I decided my new bed (when it arrives!) is going to need some coordinating cushions.

Inspired by Erin's postings about pillow week I decided to spend yesterday evening drinking hot chocolate and making some lovely cushions.

The cushion on the left was made a little earlier this year and had a little makeover. I added an extra felt flower and restitched the others more securely. The cushion on the right has been upcycled from a shopping bag I made myself last year. I bought the linen from Moth, my favourite interior shop in West Didsbury. It's beautifully soft and a lovely shade of pigeon grey.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Christmas crafting has begun!

Last week I made the most of living in a house with a gas hob and made some Red Onion and Balsamic Chutney! Today I spent some time labeling up the jars and adding some pretty ribbon to make my small gifts a little more special.

This chutney is super tasty, especially in a toasted cheese sandwich!

I adapted the recipe below from The SuperJam Cookbook by Fraser Doherty.

Red Onion and Balsamic Chutney:

Makes about 4-5 jars.

8 red onions
2 deseeded red chillies
2 bay leaves
30ml olive oil
6oz/170gram brown sugar
150ml balsamic vinegar
150ml red wine vinegar

Chop up the onions and chillies and pop them in to a pan with the oil and bay leaves.

Cook on a low heat until soft, translucent and sticky, about 15-20 minutes.

Add the sugar, mix until even and then add the vinegars.

Simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Ladle the thickened chutney into hot, sterile jars and allow to cool. Leave the chutney to mature for a month or so for maximum enjoyment!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


A few months ago the boy I loved more than anything in the world broke my heart.

It happened at a time when things seemed to keep going wrong. I didn't know what to do, so, when I didn't want to be alone with my thoughts, I knitted.

I knitted when I couldn't sleep, when I didn't want to talk, when I didn't want to eat, on the way to work when I was too sleep deprived to cycle, when I should have been filling in job applications and in the evening when I returned to our shared home.

When I started I didn't really know what I would end up with. I wanted a cardigan that would hug me, keep away the chills of winter and provide comfort during the lonely evenings.  I knitted  from the top down, with some raglan shaping for the sleeves. This turned out to be a pretty easy method, which didn't require much forethought or note scribbling.

I used one of my favourite yarns, New Lanark DK pure new wool in Pebble, from the natural blends collection. It produces a lovely substantial fabric, which is very cosy and feels like it will last a lifetime. I do love this cardigan, even though it's full of mistakes.