Wednesday, November 30, 2016

More Doubloom Beanies

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I've been loving Lincraft's Cosy wool so much that I knitted more Doubloom beanies for my colleague's children for the winter.  Is it just me, or are Melbourne winters getting colder and colder each year?  I'm not going to admit that I'm getting older and older and feeling the cold more!

I found a great easy to follow video on how to crochet flowers and now want to embellish everything with these flowers! I have to remember that less is more!


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Ribbed Beanie

It's been far too long since I updated my blog, as usual, work and everyday life has prevented me from spending time doing what I love. When I read Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman a few years ago, the author made prison sound so appealing ~ a real sense of community, all your meals prepared, reading books (my list is huge!) and knitting and crocheting until your heart's content. If I could have this, minus being incarcerated of course, it would be bliss!

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When I found this easy free pattern from Yarninspirations, I had to pick up my straight needles straight away (I haven't tackled circular needles yet). The grey is for my Dad, and brown for Mum, and I completed the beanies back in August using Lincraft's Cosy wool.  I love Cosy because it's so thick, soft and lovely to work with.  I have a big stash in lots of colours as I can't resist buying a couple...or more every time there is a sale!  

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Stork Cross Stitch

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My colleague S and his wife recently had a baby boy named Samuel so I cross stitched this stork for the card. S held it upside down and thought it was a crab...ahh, not sure how crustaceans are baby related! Okay, S is a new dad so I excused him for being a little fuzzy due to sleep deprivation. The pattern is from a Japanese pattern book of 1500 motifs (see this post for details), and I couldn't figure out what was in the bundle so I replaced it with a red heart.

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I also knitted Samuel a basket weave beanie using Shepherd's 4 ply baby merino wool. The yarn was very smooth and soft, and a little slippery to work with so I had to pull tightly with each stitch. S, who impressed me by knowing his "knit and purls" commented on the evenness of the stitches.

Welcome to the world Samuel!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Stylecraft Special DK Chevron Crochet Blanket

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Remember the chevron blanket I started crocheting last Easter long weekend?! Well, it's finally finished, and ahead of schedule as I was aiming for Mum's birthday in May. Yeah!

I've enjoyed crocheting this blanket and have loved working with the Stylecraft Special DK yarn, such deliciously gorgeous colours. There are 5 sets of rainbows, and I added side borders so the complete blanket measures 128cm x 168cm. There are 3 rows of each colour, and the border consists of 1 row of colour.

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The yarns I used in order are:

1246 - Lipstick; 1083 - Pomegranate; 1241 - Fondant; 1132 - Shrimp; 1263 Citron; 1020 Lemon; 1316 - Spring Green; 1065 - Meadow; 1422 - Aspen; 1068 - Turquoise; 1034 - Sherbert; 1019 - Cloud Blue; 1003 - Aster; 1188 - Lavender; 1432 - Wisteria; 1390 - Clematis; 1084 - Magenta and 1061 - Plum.

I'm continuing to knit beanies as I haven't decided on my next crochet project yet. It is a big decision because I'll be working on it for the next 12 months so I need to love it. I have been thinking about hexagons arranged in a grandmother's garden pattern, but I'll dread all the ends I would need to sew!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Nigiri Cross Stitch

My boss, A really likes nigiri, so much so, that's all he would like to eat during his next trip to Japan! You may remember I stitched some sushi on a tea towel back in March 2012, so I though he would like this for his birthday today.  The pattern is from Anne Sohier-Fournel's Japon Au Point De Croix.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Doubloon Beanies

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I knitted Benjamin a new beanie for his birthday as he has out grown the blue one I made him last year. This pattern is from Better Homes & Garden's Your Knitting & Crochet Collection, and I used Fiddlesticks classic wool which was great to work with. I thought it would be too big for Benjamin, but it appears to fit him well but I'm afraid it hides his great head of hair!

I bought a few balls of Cosy Wool from Lincraft which is great to work with too and has a thick, lush feel. I'm knitting my third beanie from this yarn for some friend's children for the upcoming winter.  I just love the bright colours, and it comes in 4 ply as well.

Using 3.25mm needles, cast on 106 stitches
Work 17 rows garter stitch (knit every row which is great because I don't like ribbing)
Change to 4mm needles
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Continue with stocking stitch until the beanie measures 13cm (which for me is 29 rows), end with purl

Shape crown

I prefer to knit 2 together (k2tog) rather than pass slip stitch over (psso) 
Row 1: Knit 1, *knit 11, knit 2 together, repeat from * to last stitch, knit 1 (98 stitches)
Row 2 and alternate rows, purl to the end
Row 3: Knit 1, *knit 10, knit 2 together, repeat from * to last stitch, knit 1 (90 stitches)
Continue reducing in the same pattern until Row 21 when you knit 2 together 13 times

Break off yarn, run end through remaining stitches, pull tight and secure. Join side edges to form back seam.

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Teddy Bear Cross Stitch

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Baby B turned one on Sunday! This cross stitch pattern is from Better Homes & Garden magazine back in November 2005! I can't believe it's over 10 years old, but hording charts comes in handy as I'll have just the right pattern for someone special. I have 10 bear designs so stay tuned for the next 9 years!

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It turns out I've cross stitched a couple of patterns from this magazine edition before, I long for the days when I had so much time to stitch. It's English Breakfast above and French breakfast below.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pavlova for Australia Day 2016

The last time I made a pavlova for Australia Day was 2013, so I needed to make one this year after such a long pavlova drought.  I followed the same recipe, but I used apple cider vinegar and potato starch because we didn't have regular white vinegar and corn flour. It still turned out well with heaps of meringue which was thick and fluffy.

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Inspired by Nigella Lawson's lemon meringue cake, Mum was keen to slather this pavlova with lemon curd (from a bottle I'm afraid, but we're keen to make it from scratch next time) instead of whipped cream.  I'm not sure which is the lesser evil - the sugar from the curd or fat from the cream! Since the pavlova already had such a tang, I didn't add any passion fruit.

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Compared with 2013 pavlova, I think I need to brush up on my decorating skills!

Women's Weekly Blackberry Lemon Cake

Wishing you a very happy 2016!  Oh my goodness, it's been over 7 months since I've updated my blog, how disgraceful!  I blame my boss for this... ok, not entirely because I'm a grown up and responsible for my own life, but he was promoted mid last year which meant my job got a lot busier. Not that it's a bad thing, but my primary focus was work and I was grumpy because life wasn't as balanced as I like it to be. It didn't help that I had a milestone birthday, but I spent a week at my favourite St Regis Singapore which made things a little better. So for 2016, I would like a more balanced year to have more time to make things.

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I was chatting with my colleague SB about baking more and he requested a croquembouche and an opera cake ... he's been watching too many episodes of The Great British Bake Off ! I haven't baked for over a year so I picked this simple blackberry lemon cake from Women's Weekly's Indulgent Cakes book to ease back into baking rather than start with something so extravagant!

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I shared this cake with my favourite boys (SB included) from work, and they gave it a thumbs up.  I even bought Tom & Jerry sandwich bags to store them in as I didn't think they would appreciate the Hello Kitty ones I have!

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I thought the cake was a little too sweet so I would cut down on the sugar, and the texture was soft and crumbly. I added extra lemon zest (because I love my zester) and doubled the quantity of blackberries.  

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