Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Finished Projects: Easy Striped Baby Blanket


I started knitting this blanket when I was pregnant. I more or less lost my creative mojo when I was pregnant, but I saw this pattern and it inspired me to make something for my new arrival. I had been wanting to use up some teal coloured cotton yarn I bought for something else, plus some other yarns in my stash. The teal green, navy and silver worked really well together, a very similar colour scheme I saw in Kmart, so I'm totally #ontrend! 


Oh Hello! Introducing my new arrival :) He makes a pretty good photography prop!
Luckily for me I managed to finish the blanket before my little guy arrived! I also managed to get some matching booties done.

Matching booties to warm little feet! 


You can find the free pattern for this blanket here. It's surprisingly easy- if you can knit and purl you can make this! The pattern is from the fabulous Debbie Bliss knitting book "60 Quick Baby Knits". This is a really great book, although I don't own it (wishlist) I have borrowed it from the library before. 


The fancy looking border is actually just a simple seed stitch design- alternating rows of knit/purl then purl/knit creating a textured look. 
If you're interested in finding other patterns I like, feel free to follow my Crochet, Knitting & Yarn Pinterest board! I've also saved a few tips and tricks there too. 

Nothing cosier than a mummy made blanket to snuggle under!
Yarns used for this project:

Teal Green: 4 Seasons "Flinders" 100% Cotton 8 Ply Colour 80337207 
Silver: Panda "Dianella" 100% Viscose derived from Bamboo  Colour Shooting Star
Navy: 4 Seasons "Superwash Merino" 100% Merino 4 Ply
All purchased from Spotlight Stores 

Happy making x



Saturday, 14 May 2016

Black Forest Chocolate Fudge




At Christmas last year, my clever sister made a few home made gifts, including the most delicious Chocolate Baileys Liqueur Fudge. It was so soft, smooth and creamy, I had to have the recipe. Being pregnant I didn't think it was such a great idea to include a liqueur in my version (even though it's a minuscule amount), and because I like to work with what I have, I also adapted the flavour with the chocolate too. I'm sure you could use a variety of different chocolate flavours, including plain dark, milk or white chocolate  Maybe not soft filled ones like peppermint or caramel, simply because I imagine you need enough chocolate to help set the fudge. You can also substitute the liqueur for anything too, if you want to make a non-alcoholic fudge then use a flavoured syrup like the type you put into coffee. I used milkshake syrup and it worked fine!

You can find the original recipe here, and if you're a fudge fan, you might like my recipe for White Chocolate Russian Fudge too! 




Black Forest Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients
Melted butter to grease
1 can sweetened condensed milk
100g butter, cubed
255g (1 ¼ cups) brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons glucose syrup
150g of Whittakers Berry & Biscuit Chocolate, finely chopped
30ml cream
30ml chocolate syrup OR
¼ cup of any liqueur or alcohol (vodka, kahlua, baileys, cointreau etc)

Method

1.  Grease your dish with butter or non-stick cooking spray
2. Melt the condensed milk, butter, brown sugar and glucose syrup in a heavy base saucepan over medium-low heat until smooth, around 3 minutes. 
3. Turn the the heat up and cook the fudge for 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly until it becomes thick and a darker caramel colour.
4. Remove from heat and stir in the cream & syrup, then add the chopped chocolate slowly until the mixture is relatively smooth. It's important not to add the chocolate in all at once as you will lose the silky smooth texture
5. Pour into prepared pan and allow to cool for an hour before covering and putting in the fridge to set. 
Cut into small pieces with a sharp knife. 
Store in the fridge especially during hot weather 

Try not to eat it all at once!

Happy Making!

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Return to scheduled programming...

You will be forgiven for thinking that I may have dropped off the face off the earth! Since my last blog post (July 2015), I've actually been pretty busy making some other things and there's been a lot of other happenings in my life. 



Firstly, we bought our first home and moved in August. We needed to do some basic renovation work as soon as we moved in, and as a lot of my crafty projects were packed away, I didn't have a lot of time to get things out for creating. I also finished a lot of things mid-year and didn't have anything new I wanted to be working on either. 


I've also been pretty busy making something extra special-- a new human being! If you follow me on Instagram, this isn't "new" news, but in case you're the rare reader who just follows my blog, now you know! 



Being pregnant has more or less sucked all the creative mojo out of me! It's pretty hard work creating a baby so that's understandable! I've made a couple of pairs of booties for friends but that's about it. With the arrival of our baby now only weeks away, I have been making a few things which hopefully I can get finished and post about here. 

I did make a pair of booties for a special friend overseas, so I thought I would share them here. They also travelled with a teddy bear who is in very familiar Kiwi attire-- an All Blacks (our national world champion Rugby team). Not only is the teddy very cute, but he also plays the Haka! (google it), you can watch him here:


The accompanying boots fit the bear, but they are actually for the baby they were delivered to! A very simple design which I think I will have to make again. Anyway, now that I am a little more settled, I'm looking forward to a bit more creating and sharing here again. 


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Finished Projects: Chunky Moss Stitch Cowl + Pattern




Right now we are just about in the middle of winter, experiencing some very, very cold weather. While most people are moaning about how cold it is, I actually like cooler weather. Mostly for one reason-- scarves! I just love wearing a scarf! Something about wrapping up and keeping warm really appeals to me. That and I felt like a scarf is the perfect fashion accessory which will brighten and add to any outfit. I have quite a significant collection of scarves, all different colours, lengths, textures and weights. I also love to knit scarves as they are SUPER easy and quick. 


My first knitting projects were scarves. I started with this one, then fell in love with this super chunky coral wool, so made this one too. The funny thing about the coral one is that I made it, felt is was too chunky, unravelled it, knit it again, steam blocked it and still find it too heavy! So I am actually currently in the process of unravelling it AGAIN, and I will knit it again using this pattern. There are so many things that are great about knitting a chunky scarf. You don't need much yarn, it knits up super quick, and it's super warm due to the extra bulk. I also like that the weave of the stitches really loosens up after blocking so it actually isn't so heavy. The nice open weave of the moss stitch really works for this type of yarn. 




The idea probably came from the "GAP-tastic" cowl which is a very popular pattern on Ravelry. The thing that puts me off making that cowl is casting on 131 stitches onto a circular needle. Yes, ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY ONE! The reason for this is to make a nice round circle that doesn't need a seam sewn together at the end. It also makes a HUGE cowl which I can imagine would be very heavy to wear. My version still creates a snuggly and plush neck-warmer, just without the huge bulk (Trust me when I say this, I used 6 skeins of coral coloured bulky yarn to make my first bulky cowl and my neck was sore after wearing it for a short while!)



These are just about all the colours of chunky yarn I have found so far. I've found them all at our local The Warehouse, they have a good selection. You can also buy some colours online, the style is "Largo". There are a couple of other colours but I think these are the best ones. So far I've used the Coral colour in the top right; the light grey on the middle left is the one I've used for the cover photo and close up of this post; In the middle photo, the purple/indigo blue I've used the most so far, making three cowls, the teal/peacock blue is in the bottom right of the photo above; the Magenta is probably my favourite colour, I used this to make a different style cowl; and the darker grey in the bottom right is currently on my needles!

Pattern: Chunky Moss Stitch Cowl/Infinity Scarf

Materials:

Approximately 3x 50g balls of bulky/chunky yarn 
12mm knitting needles
Measuring tape
Tapestry needle for sewing in ends

Pattern:

Cast on 15 stitches using the long tail method (you can make your cowl wider by casting on more stitches, just make sure it's an odd number like 19 or 21).

Row 1: K1, P1 to the end of the row
Row 2-end: K1, P1 to end of the row

Continue in same pattern (K1, P1) until you have approximately 90cm of work, about 2 ½ balls of yarn. 
Cast off, sew ends of scarf together into a circle, making sure the work is not twisted

I like to finish by steam blocking the scarf. By this I mean "iron" the scarf using a tea towel or thin cloth between the iron and your work. Use the steam shot function on your iron to dampen the scarf and work your way around the whole scarf. This helps to soften the yarn and loosen the weave. If you want a chunkier/plusher scarf you won't need to do this. 

I highly recommend doing this project if you are a beginner, want a quick project or to teach kids to knit!

Please let me know if you make your own scarf, I'd love to see it!





Sunday, 28 June 2015

Finished Projects: Weekend in Stockholm Blanket



What seems like a lifetime ago, I started this blanket. While it has been finished for a few weeks, it always takes a long time to go from finished object to on the blog! In reality I started in mid-January this year, and finished at the beginning of June. It's definitely a project I've done while making other things, picked up and put down again. I have made a few pairs of booties and other bits and pieces in between! (Which you may have already seen if you're following me on Instagram or Facebook ;) )


I like the overall finished blanket but I do find myself questioning the colours. Some days I like the orange, some days I think it's too much. I wonder if I may have liked it better if I chose I light grey instead of the orange?? Well it's too late now and even if I don't like the colours as much as I thought I would, it's certainly a warm and snuggly blanket. My cat especially loved to sleep on it! 



So here are photos of the finished blanket. I have to preface these pictures by saying it is quite difficult to photograph a blanket, it always looks crooked and wrinkly. It is more or less a square shape. Also the colours are tricky to get right too. I took these pictures in some late afternoon Winter sunshine, so they are possibly not exactly true to life. One day I might master my DSLR and work it so it picks up what I see!



It's also interesting how different the colours look in daylight and sunshine. The sunlight makes the orange a lot more muted and more orange. Inside the orange takes on more red pigments. When I was arranging the squares to join them altogether, I found it tricky to arrange in such a way that there wasn't too much orange all bunched up together. A friend told me to take a photo in black and white and then see if it looks right. This was actually a really good tip as I could see areas that contrasted too much. The overall layout is completely random however!


I do really like the pattern of each of the individual granny block squares. It looks quite intricate yet simple at the same time. I'd be interested to see how it looks in other colours, but I'm not quite keen enough to do another one just yet!


If you would like to make this blanket, you can find the original FREE pattern here.

Happy Making!