Saturday, 24 September 2011

Cardigan for me

Having finished the Charlotte Dress for P last week, it is now time to get on with the project I've had going on for me! It's a lovely Autumn Cardigan, and I'd like to finish it soon, given that we're now officially in Autumn!

It's from the Sirdar Tweedie Chunky pattern book, though I confess I'm not actually using Tweedie Chunky wool, but a nice Aran I spotted a while back.

I'm going for the 'One button cabled jacket' and I've made good progress (especially considering the time spent decorating recently, and general lack of coherence left in my head once both kids are in bed and the house is reasonably tidy/clean*)

To date, I've completed the back, both fronts, and am about 2/3 the way through the first sleeve (though am once more gathering momentum, although also have a carpet to lay in our almost up-and-running new guest room in the loft, which will undoubtedly be taking some of my time in the next day or two...!).

It's a lovely and simple pattern to follow, though when particularly tired in the evenings I have been known to mess up the cabled pattern, then undo and restart whole chunks, as it is more than my brain can fathom to correct cable patterns through dropping down rows!

I've recently puchased a copy of Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac

It's wonderfully old school, although some of the patterns I'm afraid I wouldn't touch with a barge pole (knitted 'nether garments'? I don't think so, thanks!).  I got it after seeing this beautiful picture on Tikki's blog, as I quite fancied that beautiful yellow cardi for P somewhere along the line.  But, having read the relevant pattern, I've found it pretty difficult to follow, being for extremely experienced knitters (I'd count myself as very proficient, though not extremely experienced yet!) and it has no sizing- just a gauge of "about 5 sts to 1"- though babies come in various sizes!".  Help- where on earth do I start with that? I have a nicely rounded 6 month old (I know- when did that happen? She was only just a new born the other day!) but haven't the first idea how to adapt a pattern to fit various sizes...

Any ideas very warmly received!

Is anyone else loving the start of Autumn? It makes me want to make soups and stews, and start knitting more fingerless gloves...

C x

*On this front, I am sorry to say that since producing a second child, my standards of house keeping have dropped considerably!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The Charlotte Dress

So, after three months of knitting I have completed the Charlotte Dress (designed by Nicole Montgomery, * and available here on ravelry).
I loved knitting this, and found the pattern excellent- clearly worded and very easy to follow.

Having knitted a tension square, I adjusted my needle size down, and knitted it using 2.25mm circulars.  I got slightly bored knitting the skirt, since, with such small needles and 4 ply wool, it took a long time to knit about 11 inches!  Doing it in the round was, in some ways, even harder, because you didn't even know when you had completed a row, given that it was all knit!  Still, I was delighted when I finished the skirt!

Having got that under my belt (pardon the pun!), I was convinced that it looked too big for 6-12 months.  However, I'd been good and done a tension square, so I kept going and got on with the bodice, which was so much fun!   I loved working the smocking stitch, and seeing something other than stocking stitch appear on this pretty little dress.  I was impressed by the attention to detail, for example, the pretty little button band at the back.

I also loved knitting the little arm borders- very simple and elegant.

The little one fits beautifully in the dress (being 2 weeks shy of 6 months), and it will be perfect for the colder months ahead.

A thoroughly enjoyable knit, and a very satisfying project to have completed.

I hope your week is going well.

C x

* Nicole also has a very beautiful blog here.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Changing Rooms

So the last week has seen big change in the Crafternoon household.
Biggest one has moved from his tiny little room into a brand new room that has just been shifted around and lovingly painted and decorated by Al and I.

The little man is rather excited about his new room- particularly about the fact that he now has a train set in there!

And the smallest one has moved out of our room (gulp!) and into her own room!  At first I felt rather mortified that it was totally bare and bereft of anything girlie at all (not that she would notice, I know, but I minded!). However, after a little creativity, I felt much happier with her new little space.

Not a bad little space to call home (what difference a little bunting makes!).

I'm sure that I wasn't particularly emotional when we moved E into his first room, but last night I could be found weeping into the washing up.  Possibly the product of much sleep deprivation (one of the reasons for her going into her own room) and possibly just that I am getting increasingly emotional with age...

The Charlotte dress is now complete, and has been washed and blocked.  Photos will follow once it has dried and been tried on its lucky little recipient.

Have a lovely week, friends.

C x

Friday, 9 September 2011

Kitchener Stitch

Today I have learned how to do the Kitchener stitch- a stitch, used to graft together the top shoulder seams on the Charlotte dress.

I used this helpful You Tube tutorial.

The dress is still coming on, although progress is very slow.

Any nice plans for the weekend?

C x

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Thrifty Tasty

In my last post I mentioned that I'd been cooking my way through some of Jamie's 30 Minute Meals.  Yesterday I tried out "Pregnant Jools' Pasta", which is basically a delicious pasta sauce made by blitzing some vegetables together with some sausages, fresh chilli, and dried oregano and fennel seeds.  It's amazing!.  Really easy and absolutely delicious.

It's also a super thrifty meal to make.  I got a pack of sausages on offer, substituted an onion for a bunch of spring onions (fridge running low on general veg) and didn't add a carrot as we had none in stock!

We also had some slightly stale bread maker bread to use up, so I sliced it, and added a little home made garlic butter and mozzarella to the top and whacked it (Jamie lingo...!) into the oven whilst the pasta and sauce were cooking.  It made a brilliant accompaniment to the dish.


Another one that I tried was the Tray baked Chicken with squashed potatoes.  This is possibly one of the nicest chicken recipes I've ever cooked.  It's wonderful- do try it! (I've not managed to find an on line copy of the recipe as yet, but I highly recommend getting the book and having a peek as the recipes are easy, tasty and not at all pricey to make).

I am looking for some nice vegetarian recipes to try out as I think we eat rather a lot of meat in our daily diets.  Does anyone have any recommendations? Nothing majorly faffy (not the time, with two littlies around and about) and, if possible, not containing lentils- not a family favourite!

I got home from a morning out with the small ones to find a parcel waiting for me (always exciting!).  My husband had ordered for me as a surprise, a DVD I have had my eye on watching, called The Concert.  I had in fact, just been looking on line at copies this morning.  It's nice to see how well he knows me after a few years of marriage, and particularly lovely to be treated to a present!

Have a happy Wednesday!

C x

Saturday, 3 September 2011

A Warm White

We have been decorating. Hence the slight shortage of posts.  We had a loft conversion recently, and we are repainting a room which used to be a guest room, but which is shortly about to become E's room.  He doesn't know this yet, and it's been really fun dreaming up a fun first proper room for him, because his current room is pretty tiny, so he can't do much in it.  This new room will have a little reading corner, and plenty of space for his trains and diggers...

I'm delighted, because when we moved in, the guest room was really quite a bright yellow and purple, and it is now a warm white and (soon to be) corn-flour blue.  Much Better.  I am just getting a bit of a headache trying to distinguish between the white emulsion and the "Cotton White" which is much warmer and nicer.

In other news, the dress is still getting knitted... just a little more slowly than I'd like...

I've also been cooking through some of Jamie's 30 Minute Meals.  A particular favourite is the Frangipane tart. It's quick to cook and very tasty- try it out!

Have a lovely weekend.

C x