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Monday, 26 November 2012


Some quick and cute booties were the order of the day for little H who arrived safely on Friday:

Really can't recommend this pattern enough. Just the way it pops into shape as you stitch it together is so very satisfying!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Gathering Christmas momentum

In terms of gifting, this year it actually feels like I am achieving something in the run up to Christmas.
So here's the latest batch of crafted presents.

A very squooshy cashmere cowl in a punchy magenta shade:

Next knitting project soon to be cast on!

Last year I made a huge batch of pear, date and cinnamon chutney which seemed to go down quite well with its recipients. Therefore I decided to this year join forces with C for a jam and chutney making session - double the output, half the work!

After some research, we decided on rhubarb and vanilla jam and also some spicy apple and plum chutney. We weren't actually sure whether we could get hold of any rhubarb around this time of year, but luckily Waitrose obliged and we were soon smothering the pretty pink stalks in plenty of vanilla pods and jam sugar:

Meanwhile, we got busy chopping the apples before letting them slowly go mushy in the company of a large cinnamon stick and the rest of the spices. Mm, the smell!

Then it was time to add the plums:

 And left both concoctions to bubble away and fill the flat with Christmasyness.

Once cooled, I got out my trusty liquid chalk and labelled them all up as well as gave them snazzy hats courtesy of my fabric stash:

Not bad for a day's work eh? And the great thing is that while the chutney needs to mature for about a month, we can tuck into the jam in the meantime. Quality control and all that.

Oh, and one more thing! I've had some blackberry and vanilla rum brewing in my kitchen cupboard for about a month:

It was about time to harvest, so after a quick strain through some muslin it was time for bottling and labelling. Note the bonus boozy blackberries! Note quite sure what to do with those actually. Over some vanilla ice-cream perhaps?

So... still some projects to go before Christmas, but definitely getting there!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Ode to Iceland

Last weekend I was finally able to visit a destination which I have been obsessing over for some time: Iceland. I can't quite put my finger on what it is that particularly draws me to this mysterious place, but I think it may be a combination of dramatic landscapes, interesting nordic legends involving trolls and elves, wide open spaces and the abundance of yarn! Sounds like a dream come true.

I won't bore you with all the details, but perhaps a couple of photos will tell the story more eloquently than I ever could:

Oh and the yarn.. I had the pleasure of visiting The Hand Knitting Association of Iceland in Reykjavik:

The 50g balls of fine lopi came in at 270 Icelandic kr, which is just over £1 per ball. I had a very hard time choosing:

And plenty of ready-knit items too!

In the end I managed to control myself, perhaps even a bit too much in hindsight!

Not often you get views like this down the road from your local yarn store!

The only slight disappointment of the trip was that I really did want one of those pretty jumpers for myself. I spotted a perfect one in the Blue Lagoon gift shop already on the first evening, but surely I couldn't possibly buy one there like a common tourist?!
The Handknitting Association had a couple of nice ones, but they were all a bit too thick, so I assumed that they must have a wide choice at the airport - wrong! The airport shop was positively rubbish... so I guess I will just have to go back soon then! Either that, or buy the one I saw at the Blue Lagoon online from Farmers Market.

So perhaps this will be our honeymoon destination for next year? Only next time I want to stay for longer, and come back with more yarn - what a hardship!