Tuesday, 21 December 2010

A Goal for Knitting & Spinning

I keep an inspiration book. A very simple book, into which I glue any photographs, clippings from magazines, ribbons, anything that inspires me!
I have a lot of nature photographs in there & the one that keeps catching my eye is the photograph at the top of this blog post.
Isnt he a sweetheart!

Earlier this year I purchased a wonderful silver shetland fleece from Jamiesons. It is the softest, cuddliest fibre & I have high hopes for that fleece!

My plan is to make a Seamless Yoke jumper using Elizabeth Zimmermann's Percentage System. To the yoke of the jumper, I would like to add some simple fair isle detail, inspired by - wait for it! - the colours of the wee robin!
So the body of the jumper will be a soft grey & the fair isle a combination of deeper grey, browns, off white & that glorious deep red - orange.

The fleece has patches of charcoal grey - I am combing the fleece right now - a laborious but worthwhile task. Once combed, I plan to drum card the lighter fibre with the darker fibre to get an even blend of light grey. Some of the fibre will be set aside to dye in the browns & red - orange.

Resources I will be using to help me are as follows:

Knitting in the Old Way

Knitting without Tears

Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitting Workshop

Knitting around: or Knitting without a License

Alice Starmore's Book of Fair Isle Knitting

'till next time : )

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Snowy Days & Knitting....

We are having a super time in the snow : )

We went to the park with the sons of my friend.

We stayed for a couple of hours, then headed home to a roaring fire, hot chocolate & warm blankets : )
The afternoon was spent in a very leisurely fashion - we all played a game of Wii, I knitted, we watched Cat in the Hat & The Puissance at The Olympia Horse Show
The girls made up a game all about the horses at Olympia & they spent a l-o-n-g time working on drawing their own maps. (These books always get them going!)

I have finally finished Elianna's Christmas jumper!

I am so pleased to have it finished in time : ) Rosie's was done a while ago (did I post pics of Rosie's owl jumper???)

This morning so far has brought - a new friend:

- A delicious scoured Shetland fleece, brought down from the attic, that I shall be spending the next few days combing, ready to spin for a jumper for one of the girls.

& the delicious smell of roasting chicken wafting through the house : )

I fully intend to take advantage of this enforced hibernation to relax & spend quiet, happy moments with my husband & girls before the busyness of 'the week before Christmas' kicks in : )

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Week One: Christmas Cards

I wanted to share with you the Christmas cards the girls made last week. Our December is always split as such:

Week One: Make Christmas cards
Week Two: Make Christmas gifts
Week Three: Christmas Baking
Week Four: Catch up!

I have been really enjoying Christmas in the Family

It is a wonderful resource for baking, crafts, songs & rhymes. Our Christmas cards have been made with the wonderful instructions in this book.

Elianna (just turned 8 years) has made two angel cards:

Rosie (5 years old) Has made a snowflake & Christmas tree:

Here is Rosie's inscription to her daddy : )

As you can see, my girls are quite young & (with help) they managed these simple cards & really enjoyed making them. Rosie was so proud of herself : )

Monday, 6 December 2010

The Land of Counterpane

The Land of Counterpane

by Robert Louis Stevenson

When I was sick and lay a-bed, 
I had two pillows at my head, 
And all my toys beside me lay, 
To keep me happy all the day. 

And sometimes for an hour or so 
I watched my leaden soldiers go, 
With different uniforms and drills, 
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills; 

And sometimes sent my ships in fleets 
All up and down among the sheets; 
Or brought my trees and houses out, 
And planted cities all about. 

I was the giant great and still 
That sits upon the pillow-hill, 
And sees before him, dale and plain, 
The pleasant land of counterpane.

Today Elianna has been sick. It began on the night of her birthday - a raging sore throat & cold. I suppose all that sugary birthday cake did not help!
This morning, I made her up a wee bed on the sofa with quilts & a hot water bottle, whilst Rose & I headed out into the snow. (My husband works at home)

Once back at home, I built a fire & made chicken broth for lunch. The girls have been enjoying hot honey & lemon drinks all day. Very easy to make - the juice of a lemon, a dessert spoon of hone, topped up with hot water. Delicious & soothing for sore throats.
The afternoon was spent drawing in advent journals, knitting, working on home made Christmas cards & gifts & watching a film.

This is not a good picture, but you can just about see the sock yarn drying in front of the fire that Rosie had dyed up for my Christmas gift. (I must forget all about it! LOL!)

The end of the day...

The girls are all bathed now, they have had their supper & were tucked up in bead early (6.30pm) Elianna will be sleeping with me again tonight.
And I must go & crack on with my Christmas knitting!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like..... A Birthday!

Tomorrow my eldest daughter will be 8 years old.
Where does the time go????? I am going to take this opportunity to post a gratuitous baby shot : )

Here she is, my brand new babe, almost eight short years ago.

Today our world is white. And very busy!

We headed off to the park, nice & early.

The mittens I have been spinning & knitting for Rosie are done

They are made with 'Thrumms'

And are super-warm, I am told : )

Back home to the fireside & hot chocolate : )

Yesterday I baked Elianna's birthday cake & today I iced it.
Filled with buttercream,

his name is Walter. He is rather appropriate for this weather

This afternoon promises to be as busy in a lovely, happy, productive way. We have party food to prepare & presents to wrap. The girls have Christmas cards to be working on. (I shall be giving these lovely cards a post of their own, in the next week, hopefully) & I have lots of Christmas knitting to be getting on with.

I will leave you with some ideas of how we celebrate birthdays in our home - & our favourite birthday recipes too!


The essence of our celebration; you are an important member of our family, we love you & our lives would not be the same without you!

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
Psalm 139:14

Birthday to-do’s & good things to eat.

Find balloons tied to your bed when you wake
Be greeted by kisses, the same number as your age
No chores today!
Birthday gifts & always a book
Find a balloon on your chair at breakfast time
A prayer of thanks for you
A special birthday muffin for breakfast, with a number candle
Your height measured & marked
Birthday party tea
Homemade birthday cake with candles...we sing happy birthday, you make a wish!
Number (of your age) sugar cookies
You get to wear your very own birthday crown
A letter for you written in your journal

Read: Happy Birthday to You! by Dr Seuss

Classic Birthday Cake
(makes one tier)
4oz self raising flour 4 oz caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder 2 large eggs
4oz soft butter 2-3 drops pure vanilla essence

Pre-heat oven to GM 3
grease & line cake tin
sift flour & baking powder into a roomy mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients & whisk till thoroughly combined. Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of tap-warm water. Whisk again.
Add the mixture to the tin, level off & bake on the centre shelf for about 30 minutes.
When cooked remove to a cooling rack.
The cake can be sliced in half, layered with jam & buttercream or stacked.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
(Fills & frosts a 8/9” cake.)
3 cups icing sugar 2 tsp vanilla
3 oz softened butter 3 oz chocolate, melted & cooled
3-4 tblsp milk

Mix sugar & butter in a medium bowl on a low speed. Stir in vanilla & chocolate.
Gradually beat in enough milk to make frosting spreadable.

Sugar Cookies
2 cups plain flour 6 oz softened butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar 1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pre-heat oven to GM 3

Cream the butter & sugar. Add the egg & vanilla, beating well until mixed. Add flour on very low speed: do not over mix.
Gather dough into a ball & wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour. Allow dough to sit for 10 mins before rolling. Roll on a floured counter to 1/4” thick. Cut with cookie cutters & place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 12-15 mins.
Can be frozen.