Friday, 29 June 2012

My First Knitted Socks FO

I'd had my sights on knitting a pair of socks for a number of years, but kept chickening out. When I set my mind on something, it's pretty much etched in stone, but that doesn't detract from the procrastinator in me.
About a month ago, all the scrummy home-made sock photos posted by Instagram 'friends' had finally convinced me that now really was the time to begin, so I purchased my 2.5mm / 100cm Addi Lace circular needle, downloaded the toe-up two-at-a-time pattern of choice from Ravelry, made a trip to a well stocked store for my Regia sock yarn, and then got down to learning new skills ...

I never cease to marvel at the genius of the human race in devising these methods and Judy's Magic Cast-On is no exception. I love it, and would be happy to begin a gazillion socks if it means doing this method over and over again.

Happily increasing away to form the toes ...

Needing a little energy boost to help me along the endless rounds of straight knitting, hehe ...

Increases galore to form the gusset ...

And onto more ingenious knitting design in the form of the Fleegle Heel ...

After more straight knitting and a 1x1 rib cuff, finally the eagerly awaited Invisible Ribbed Bind Off (which took a massive amount of concentration and had to be done in two sittings!) ...

Such an amazing feeling when you have your completed project in front of you, but not forgetting the all-important blocking ... after giving the socks a delicious smelling soak in Woolite of course.

Then onto my cute sheep-themed sock blockers to dry ...

And finally, the TAH-DAH moment ...

As you can see, I have one pair of very happy feet (if they could talk, they'd be saying SQUEEEEEEEE!)

I can't take all the credit for these gorgeous socks. I couldn't have made them without the help and support gained from the pattern I found on Ravelry titled 'Beginner Toe-Up Socks for Magic Loopby Liat Gat.

I have taken part in Tami's Amis FO Friday for this blog post.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

My Handspun Stash

Pre-pregnancy, I adored obtaining sheeps wool fresh from shearing and getting it home, skirting and sorting through it for the choice sections, washing it in the bath tub, drying it on the washing line, carding and then spinning it up on my Ashford Traditional wheel to see what I could create.

So here's the (dwindled) remainder of my pre-pregnancy handspun stash ...

First up is one of my favourite sheeps wools ... Gotland fleece. It has a lovely long staple length so is easy to draft, there is a natural lustre to the fiber. It creates a luscious soft yarn in a beautiful variegated grey. This fleece was bought from an inspirational local fiber artist who farms the Gotland sheep herself.

Next is the yarn from fleeces of unknown origin (a gift from farmer friends of mine) ... One a lovely milk chocolate brown colour, and another a natural sheep colour(!)

As I spun these two skeins I had my sights on creating a family, so I went on to make a cuddly toy for my future son or daughter ...

Introducing, Sleepy Sheep ... Awww.

I stopped preparing wool straight from the sheeps back when I became pregnant in June 2010 as there are a number of dangerous bacteria present that can cause harm to the baby. I went on to spin shop bought batts that had been scoured. That's when I discovered all the beautiful colours of dyed wool. Oooh, the endless possibilities ...

I am pleased to be taking part in Danielle @ A Stash Addict's new meme today ... Fiber Appreciation Thursday. I'm so looking forward to taking part in this and ogling at all the beautiful stash-iola you have out there.

Also, linked up to Fiber Arts Friday at the great Wisdom Begins In Wonder blog.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Glorious Elderflower Loveliness

Oh Happy Day ... Summer's finally here. I always know it's so when the elderflowers bloom in the hedgerows.

There really is nothing better than a pint glass filled to the top with fizzy mineral water, ice and home-brewed elderflower cordial.

So I thought I'd share the recipe so you can delight in this bounty of nature too ... But hurry, there's only a few weeks of opportunity to get the fresh flower heads at their best.

ELDERFLOWER CORDIAL RECIPE (tried & tested & highly delicious)

  • 20 heads of elderflower

  • 1.8kg granulated sugar or caster sugar

  • 1.2 litres of water

  • 2 unwaxed lemons

  • 75g citric acid
Shake the elderflowers to expel any lingering insects, and then place in a large bowl.

Put the sugar into a pan with the water and bring up to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

While the sugar syrup is heating, pare the zest of the lemons off in wide strips and place in the bowl with the elderflowers. Slice the lemons, discard the ends, and add the slices to the bowl.

Pour over the boiling syrup, and then stir in the citric acid.

Cover with a cloth and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

Next day, strain the cordial through a sieve lined with muslin (or a new j-cloth rinsed out in boiling water), and pour into thoroughly cleaned glass bottles.