29.7.15

summertime

and the living is busy! i have been completely ignoring this blog basically since i took on a new project at work. suddenly there is no time for anything!

but since we have entered the season of wonderful fresh local produce, i have found time for things like making cherry pie and lemonade for lunch:

also, our cottage week is coming up soon, and that means the fenelon fair! and that means, get crafting.

i have a couple of things that i got done over the course of the year that just need tagging. unfortunately, i also need to find sample materials (scraps of yarn or fabric) to attach to the tags. i feel like i am swimming in scraps, but do you think i can find a scrap of scissors fabric? grr.

i do have a back-up "any clothing article (sewn)" to submit - this pencil skirt i am working on:

just needs to be hemmed and pressed. but i feel like a shirt is more impressive (it's certainly more work!)

i'm also working on a hooded baby cardigan, but i needed to order needles for it, and then this happened:

sad! fortunately i ordered from webs, and they said they'd send out a new set right away! just hope they arrive before we leave for the cottage.

i've also used the fair as a good excuse to get the kid's traditional xmas eve pyjamas done:

well, almost done, i need to do button holes and some top-stitching. i also made some pyjama bottoms for me:

i love this fabric! only problem is, the fair category is "ladies sleep pants," which is great because the bottoms are much less work than the tops, but it also means i have the top half of the pyjamas i started last year, still pinned but not sewn. i think the top half of the pyjama bottoms from 2013 haven't even been cut yet. oops.

wondering what i should bring along with me to work on at the cottage. mittens for the kid's teacher? a tea towel to embroider? the big project i'll be working on is this raft, so i may not have time for much else.

24.5.15

happy birthday victoria!

the holiday was last monday, but officially today was queen victoria's birthday. we had two kinds of cake. this kind:

a lovely present from our visiting friend jenr8, and especially welcome when i am officially not allowing myself to buy any yarn except for charity knitting! jen got it from the loving path in london.

we also had this kind:

a victoria sandwich! i had a moment of worry since we were out of jam, but luckily we had strawberries on hand.

i just ignored them on the stove for a while, during which i mixed up the batter, and they turned out delicious.

and the best most important ingredient:

yum.

victoria sandwich

filling:
1/2 lb strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 jar devon cream

cake:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup cake flour
2 tsp baking powder

combine strawberries and sugar over low heat. boil gently until it gels - you can test by leaving a saucer in the freezer to get cold, and putting a drop of jam on to see if it runs or sits. let cool.

cream together butter and sugar. beat in vanilla and eggs.

sift together flour and baking powder. fold thoroughly into butter mixture.

pour into two 7" or 8" round cake tins, greased, floured, and lined with waxed paper in the bottom.

bake 25 minutes at 350f, or until they spring back when lightly touched, and just start pulling away from the sides of the pan. let cool briefly in tins before unmolding on racks to cool thoroughly.

spread bottom layer of cake thickly with devon cream, then with strawberry jam. top with second layer.

21.5.15

to catch a thief: the pursuit continues

okay, i am a bit blah on the summer knitting, what with it getting cold again.

but, as a relief from the horrors of endless navy blue linen stockinette, i am tackling the charts for the to catch a thief top.

i started from a photo of the top - the biggest, most hi-res one i could find - blown up and printed out. notice that the pattern is basically symmetrical, so i'm just working with half of it.

i've gone over the outlines of the individual paisley motifs (or "paisles" as my sister and i called them when we were kids) in pencil, and then drew a rough graph over the printout to guide placement.

then i printed out a chart of the basic shell, and sketched the paisles on it roughly. once i had them in approximately the right place, i started converting the outline to "stitches" following the chart lines.

you'll notice some of those are half-wide stitches: you can do that with duplicate stitch! you get a slightly "higher resolution" pattern that way. next step is transferring it back to the chart file.

i will need to tweak the placement of a few of the paisles i think, but that's easy enough to do by simply copy-pasting. the whole process does feel like it will last well into next summer though!

19.5.15

sick day knitting

ugh. i am blaming the current round of ugh on the swims i took in the lake over the weekend. there was a dead fish in the water and i guess i didn't stay far enough away? i don't know.

worse luck, it didn't occur to me until too late in the afternoon that this would have been a perfect opportunity to watch the final episodes of mad men! sigh.

anyway, i have been plugging away at the dreaded fine-gauge splitty dark linen middy top, reading brideshead revisited and imagining myself in a more glamorous past.

this thing is taking forever. i joined the second ball at the cottage yesterday:

dark colours are so hard to photograph! it is producing a nice fabric though, you can see a bit better in this one how the linen and cotton contrast softly against one another:

this project will kill me, i swear!

15.5.15

that's the way it crumbles, rhubarb-wise

i had to make a dessert for the kid's school's teacher appreciation luncheon the other day, so i thought - why not make dessert for us as well?

this isn't really a proper crumble, it's more in between a coffee cake and a square (the version for the teachers was done in a round springform, so more on the cake end of things). in any case, it contains the best things in the world: butter, flour, and sugar. the three ingredients can be combined in so many different delicious ways. yum.

the teachers' version got filled with applesauce and topped with cinnamon; ours got orangette's roasted rhubarb and topped with a bit of nutmeg and ginger.

so good! it was gone in no time!

coffee cake crumble

dough:
1 cup sugar
1 cup soft butter
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder

filling:
2 cups applesauce, roasted rhubarb, or similar cooked fruit concoction

topping:
2 tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or other spices)

cream butter and sugar.

sift together flour and baking powder; mix into butter. use your hands.

press half the dough into the bottom of a baking dish (if using a springform to make it cake-like, press it up the sides to prevent leakage).

fill with fruit filling.

crumble remaining dough over top.

combine sugar and spice, sprinkle over top.

bake 30 minutes at 350f.

13.5.15

linnen - nice, but oh you kid!

about a zillion years ago, my mum picked up some navy blue scheepjes linnen from a thrift shop - 10 balls! more than enough for a sweater. i actually thought i had rethrifted it myself, but it turned up the other day (a sign i have way too much stuff!) so i thought i'd cast something on.

i was thinking a sleeveless shell with a scarf collar, almost a middy look. to go with my grey linen trousers, for a 1930s beach/sailor/deauville look.

well, i think i know why this yarn got thrifted.

i really like the feel of the fabric, but it is not friendly to work with!

being a cotton/linen blend, it has none of the sproinginess of wool. being dark, it's hard to see the stitches. being slubby, it is extra-hard to see the stitches. and being splitty, it is easy to put your needle in the wrong place.

still, i think this is going to be awesome when it's done.

and the leftovers will likely get thrifted again, after all these years.

9.5.15

standing on the side of love: a scarf for syria

i started this a while ago, and then lost steam. but i got all inspired again, because of a good cause: we're sponsoring a refugee family from syria!

i had been feeling really helpless about the situation in syria - so awful, and seemingly so little we can do from so many miles away. so i was excited when the unitarian congregation i attend announced a new project: to sponsor a refugee family to come to canada!

the family we are bringing over has two little girls, and for the past two years they've been living in a refugee camp. that is no way for a child to live. on average, refugees eat 400 calories worth of food each day - that is not nearly enough for a growing kid!

so as one of our fundraising efforts, i got myself together to chart and write up a standing on the side of love scarf.

standing on the side of love is an interfaith public advocacy campaign that seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression. it is sponsored by the unitarian universalist association and all are welcome to join.

the campaign is “open-source” so stand on the side of love in the way the spirit moves you, but honour the intention of the campaign, and harness the power of love to stop oppression!

it is also asked that you stay true to the official colour scheme, which is black, white, and a rich orangey-yellow (pantone 137). patons classic wool superwash dk has the perfect gold for this! right now i'm working from stash, but i have some patons on order to do it up right!

the pattern is for a double-knit scarf to keep warm during the next “thirty days of love” campaign, which typically runs from martin luther king jr. day through valentine’s day. you need to understand how to work double-knit to make this pattern (there are plenty of great tutorials online), but you could just as easily use the chart to add a bit of love to something else!

i am asking that anyone who downloads this free pattern makes a donation of $5 or more to our refugee sponsorhip. you can find out more about the family we're sponsoring and make a donation here. the link is through canada helps, so an income tax receipt will be generated for any donation of over $20.

and once you've made your donation, here is the link to download the standing on the side of love scarf pattern, or you can find it on ravelry. enjoy!