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Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Still Stitching Stash.

I do like a bit of alliteration.

After posting off the quilt this morning I had a mammoth tidy up session, I unearthed a few full coin strip sets and had a 

                                                 Image result for lightbulb moment

Bag them up up or use them up, Use them up as bags.

I dived into the box of left over batting and spent a little while zigzagging strips and squares together. I now have an almost empty box. COOL.

My attention then went to the box of biggish bits of fabric and with a bit of luck I found 4 pieces.

Then it was time to press, stitch, press and cut and I had the makings of 4 bags.

Baste, mark a design and quilt, I now have 4 bags well on the way.



Simple quilting, it's all about the colours for me.



Miles of binding on the way, chain stitching for speed and economy. The price of decent thread is astronomical.

I am taking W to the hospital early in the morning, Very Early, he has to be there by 7:30 am!!

I will be coming home, rather then stay there, as it is likely that he will be in overnight and he is scheduled to be the last down to theatre.

I hope to get the bags finished, or as near to it as possible. There is another quilt to layer and baste, I made the back this afternoon.

It has been wonderful weather for ducks and crafters lately. I did miss knit and natter today, I have so much driving to do this week that I wanted a restful day today. mmmmm

I am way behind in responding to comments, I have been asked for a glove pattern, but I can not remember the last time that I knitted any.
I need to make time to catch up and read through my blog list, it is all to easy for me to lose track of the passing of time.

In fact, looking at the time, I think I will make a start now.

                               TTFN                                    Pam







Monday, 20 November 2017

Done (in that is)

Another quickie, I  was awake at stupid o'clock this morning and after tossing and turning for almost an hour, I threw in the towel and got up.
I had a cuppa and got stuck into the Dresden plate quilt. It is now bound and wrapped ready for the post tomorrow. There are 3 separate parcels for Fran, 2 for her birthday and one containing some Christmas sewing for her house.




The SO decided to have a play with fabric and thread and made a really good fully lined and quilted tote bag, I filled it with the smaller gifts, put it in one  of the parcels and completely forgot to take a photo.

I have been sorting through the small storage baskets, tidying and labelling them all.

Dinner was home cooked fish and chips with mushy peas, a lazy and indulgent treat and I enjoyed every mouthful. No pudding, I had to wait over an hour before I could attempt a cuppa.

Now of course I am shattered, I dare not go to bed too early just in case I get into a "groundhog day" scenario. I don't want to be sleepy all day and buzzing with adrenaline all night.
I've had a shower and am in pj's and it is tea o'clock.

Well it must be somewhere in the world.


                 TTFN                                                        Pam


Sunday, 19 November 2017

Too Soon, Too Soon

Just a quick visit tonight, I have been in The Flying Goose today. It was the last day of the Festival of Senses in Llandeilo and the sun shone for all the visitors.

Several people popped in and I had many lovely chats about sewing, fabric and the town.

The only cloud in the sky was a double whammy on the way home.

TWO, yes TWO houses in full on Christmas bling.

Flashing lights swarming over the house fronts, Huge trees decked to the 'nth degree and enough inflatables to float a small village.

It's still November for goodness sake.

I would imagine that the children will be full of excitement for days, only to become fed up with the waiting.
Never mind the electric bill.

Perhaps I am a fuddy duddy but half way through December is quite early enough. I love all the razzmatazz and tinsel, digging out the decorations and the "remember when we bought this" nostalgic moments.The hidden gifts waiting to be wrapped, surreptitiously, in odd minutes when nobody is around.  

But not just yet, please.

I am so happy to share the fact that I came home to find all the housework jobs done for the next 2 days. I will be able to concentrate on my quilting, lovely.

I have just watched Strictly, the results. I am not surprised at the result of the dance off but was surprised at Debbie being in it. Mind you there have been big jaw dropping moments in the past.

Now I am going to dive into Blue Planet, with the socks that are on my needles..


                        TTFN                                          Pam









Friday, 17 November 2017

Top to Bottom warmth


As promised here are pics of my latest knits, they are very warm and very fast to make. I did each one in a day BUT they were hospital days so the rib and a couple of pattern repeats were knitted during the day.
Aran weight yarn and size 4mm 16"circular, I cast on 96 stitches and knitted 2 x 2 rib for as long as I could be bothered. Then in pattern I knitted to 7 1/2 " and did the decreases. I changed to a longer circular  here and used magic loop, you could quite easily use dpns for this.

Round 1, k2 p2 tog. 72 sts
Round 2, k2 p1.        
Round 3, k2 tog p1,  48 sts
Round 4, k1 p1,
Round 5, k2 tog,        24 sts
Round 6, k
Round 7, k2 tog,        12 sts
Round 8, k
Round 9, k2 tog          6 sts
Thread yarn through the stitches and pull tight. I pull it through to the inside and work a cross stitch over the gather and then darn in the end, darn in the cast on tail and bingo, you have a beanie. 





This one is in waffle stitch pattern, 2 rounds knit then 2 rounds rib.

.

To change it up a bit for this one I did 2 round in knit then one round in k2 p2 rib, then 2 rounds knit and one round in p2 k2 rib and repeated to 7 1/2" total length. For a man I knit to 9-9 1/2" and add 4 or 8 stitches to the cast on number.





Much as I like the simple slippers ( I am about to try the Kimono slipper pattern as well) sometimes I want more of a sock style.
These are in Aran weight and I followed the basic pattern from Winwick Mum. I know that this is written for 8ply but it works for me probably because my feet are size 9 and I have chunky ankles. I am almost certain that she has released a pattern for Aran weight, you can check that out on her blog.


I just knit a few rows of rib and a few in ss, probably 3" worth in total. I knit a 22 row heel flap as it fits my heel perfectly.

If my feet are warm I am a happy bunny, when I am dog walking at this time of the year I need a steady supply of hats. They get very damp and I just hang them for a day to dry, some days I go through 3 or 4.

Now I have walked both the dogs and had a few chats along the way. I have a cuppa to drink and then I am going to do a bit of quilting, I would like to get 2 of the plates done today.

I was up early this morning so the chores are done. Dinner tonight is undecided, it depends on how I feel after a quilting session or 2 and what's in the fridge.

                      TTFN                                              Pam



Thursday, 16 November 2017

Catch up time.

I made time to get to knit and natter on Tuesday afternoon, I did do quite a bit of knitting BUT much better than that, I had a lap full of love for a lovely long time. Sophie was there and a little out of sorts, she had a nap and then woke up in time for tea and biscuits. She is definitely going to be a crafter with instincts like that.

She had a chocolate hobnob and even offered me a lick, I wasn't quick enough though and the opportunity was gone in a nano second.

I only had one hand print and that brushed off my skirt, not that I was worried. Children and sticky fingers are like puppies and chewed objects, it's going to happen so just chill.

I was knitting a hat with yarn left from the last cardigan, it is just a perfect fit so have cast on another. I will post photo's and my stitch count etc once the second is cast off.

The Dresden quilt is on the sewing station, each block has been stitched in the ditch round the edges to secure the quilt. The sashing has had echo quilting along both sides and one plate is fully quilted. That was yesterday, it was a big bite but I like to start off with a bang. I will not be touching it today, it was the hospital run.

W had to be there for 9:00, of course the traffic was heavy and at times it was sit and wait, not to worry we made it in time, just.
He had his pre-op checks and then it was off for his normal clinic appointment. Luckily he was seen straight away, sometimes they are running late and it means an hour wait.

Now I am home with a cuppa and a bit of a (driving) headache, drizzle and a grey day and what appear to be completely blind drivers make for a tiring journey. One woman pulled out straight in front of me and then had the cheek to wave her thanks. GRRRRR.

Dinner tonight is meatloaf from the freezer and it is the last of that batch. I will do some smashed roast potatoes, cabbage and carrots with it. OOOPS I need to get stock for gravy out of the freezer. (done now) ( and I added the ingredients for the next batch to the shopping list) GO ME.

It's a good job that I like to share my meals or it would have been granules. I keep them in but only to shake into a casserole in the slow cooker.

I have had some lovely news but it is not mine to share...yet. I am so excited, it is quite silly. As soon as I can I will share.

That is it for now, my tea is drunk and I have veg to prep and think about baking a cake. There is none in the house, not even the freezer, and that is a rare occurrence that makes me a little bit twitchy. I haven't made an egg less fruit loaf for absolutely ages so may get the fruit into some hot tea to soak.


                                   TTFN                                            Pam

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Simple Slippers.for AKM Evans.


The little slippers that I have been knitting are Simple House Slippers by Simone A from Temple of Knit and the pattern is here    https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/simple-house-slippers    

Just high lite and right click then click on the "go to" option.

I will make some more but at the moment I am using odds and ends of Aran weight and making short ankle socks for a little more warmth.

I hope this is okay, I am not very techy at all.

I am at the Flying Geese quilt shop tomorrow so there may not be a post.
I have finished the backing for the Dresden plate quilt and hope to get that basted on Tuesday.

Time to get dinner in the oven now, cauliflower and edamame gratin with  root veg roasted in honey and wholegrain mustard.

There is a pineapple and coconut sponge for pudding, if we have room.

                          TTFN                                           Pam

My version of mince pies.

I like mince pies, at least I like homemade ones, but the pastry is sometimes a bit too thick, too thin, very crisp or quite soft.

More years ago than I care to remember I saw a recipe for a Date and Orange slice somewhere.
It was a crumble type mix that you pressed half into a tin then spread dates softened in orange juice over before sprinkling the rest of the crumble mix on top.

I do not like dates, the texture or the taste, but my Dad was a great fan so I made it for him. I then made it at least once a month for the rest of his life. 

Just like me Mum hated then too, we tried various other fillings. Apricots in juice were okay, but not wonderful they don't breakdown as much as the dates. Then I had a brainwave and used a jar of mincemeat as a last resort. BINGO. I have made this on a regular basis ever since, more frequently since the SO came into my life.

This is one version, oh yes I tinker with the recipe all the time.

I use a half standard shallow tin, roughly a Swiss roll tin. I have made it in a loose bottom shallow round tin, it makes for pretty slices.

This time I used,
200 grams plain flour.
100 grams cornflour. sometimes I use semolina and sometimes ground almonds here.
100 grams caster sugar.
Tip the lot into a bowl and whisk lightly to mix.
Rub in 200 grams butter until the mix starts to hang together.

Turn half into the greased tin a press down, not too hard you are not making concrete.
Then spread mincemeat over the top, I use homemade I think shop bought might be a little too wet but you could drain it in a sieve for a while. 

Tip the remaining mix on top and spread out evenly, press down lightly and pop in the oven. 160 c for 35 minutes. It should be a pale golden colour and smell heavenly. My oven shelf was a bit too high and the shortbread was slightly overcooked but still yummy. I sometimes forget that the oven runs hot so I need to reduce the temperature or lower the shelf.
If I think about it I sprinkle some flaked almonds over before it goes in the oven.

I use a round bladed knife (my Gran's bone handled knife) and mark into squares or slices while still hot. The SO is a greedy guts so I mark 12 squares. I put the tin onto a cooling rack to help it cool quicker and leave it till completely cold.

You could line the tin with baking paper to make it easier to get out as quite often the first square breaks up. We see that as an opportunity to do a  Quality Control test. 
I shot myself in the foot here by buying a special little palette knife that is angled, no broken slice for me anymore.

I can not tell you how long they keep in either fridge or cake tin as they are usually gone in 2 days. In our defence my neighbour W will have some and possibly A. They are both vegetarian but I always use vegetable suet in my mincemeat.

Pouring, whipped or clotted cream, creme fraiche or quark, greek yogurt or Marscapone all work with this but it is fine naked and unadorned. I have had it with custard and that is lush as well.

If I am baking for a Vegan I use Vitalite, you don't get the buttery taste so I put a little vanilla paste in the mix or failing that some fine grated lemon zest or even some cinnamon.
I use what I have, it all goes just as fast.




12 nice squares, but there was some serious shrinkage, some went to W and we had some for pudding. I will take some to A a bit later for her elevenses.


The base is nice and firm while the top is just a bit crumbly.


A tray of chopped vegetables in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and a few fresh herbs. 2 trays of this went into the oven and were  a tasty dinner tipped over a mix of cous cous and quinoa.
No cooked shot, it was eaten before I thought about it.

Really the mincemeat slice was not the best pudding to follow that dish, I usually make something lemony but the SO had dropped several mountain size hints about mince pies recently. 

It is past time that I got Ben out for his walk and I haven't given a thought to breakfast yet so I am off.


                             TTFN                                Pam