Tuesday, 26 June 2012


I promised myself I would not knit anything new until I had finished my Titanic Sweater.  But - broken promise - I just had to cast on some beautiful Manos yarn and challenge myself to knit a short sleeved sweater in a week.

I failed at that too.  Although it's nearly finished, I just need to decide how I am going to finish off the neck but I got diverted by the Twitter Food Challenge.

This is not a national sport, nor even some new twitter hash tag but something between friends.  On Sunday when my friend Lizzie Speller tweeted...

  We need to ask . When in Greece she has proved herself to be ice cream inventor to the gods.

I had to find out what they were talking about and respond, they were talking about  BAKLAVA FLAVOURED ICE CREAM true food of the Gods if there ever was such a thing

Now The Flower Farmer and Bosley Patch are wizard gardeners and usually have better, horticultural things to chat about but  Lizzie and I often tweet about food.  Perhaps this is because we spend a fair amount of our time trying to avoid it when hoping to fit into THAT DRESS.  But Lizzie and I also spend a couple of weeks in Greece every year, and while we are there we eat a lot of baklava (Lizzie also eats what she calls tiny apple turnovers too but that is another thing).

And drink iced coffee (why does cold instant coffee with lots of sugar and milk froth taste good on holiday but wouldn't pass ones lips at any other time?)  Once I made ice cream with oranges from Lizzie's garden, plus eggs, sugar and Greek yogurt.  So I suppose I could make baklava flavoured ice cream.

THE (approximate) RECIPE

  • Chop a couple of handfuls of walnuts or pecans add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon and toss in melted butter and honey till slightly caramelised.  Leave to cool
  • Whisk two whole eggs and the rest of half a jar of honey (what's left from caramelising  the nuts) in a bowl over simmering water until it becomes a thick foam.  Leave to cool
  • Beat about a cup of double cream till thick and stir in a cup of full fat Greek yogurt
  • fold all the ingredients in together (keeping back a small amount of the chopped nuts).  Taste, it should be sweeter than you think necessary as some of the sweetness goes when the ice cream is frozen
  • Freeze - turning over a few times with a fork to stop crystals forming - eat while still soft set.
  • Meanwhile make filo baklava wafers.  
  • Lay out two sheets of filo pastry and brush with some of the butter and honey mixture left from caramelising the nuts.  
  • Cut each sheet into two lengthwise and place a small scattering of the nuts on one end.  Fold up like samosas into triangular parcels, makes 4
  • cook at 200 deg C for 5-10 mins (just watch till they are nicely browned)
  • cool and cut each triangle in two




PS - This led to a small twitter debate.  Who can lay claim to the recipe?  The one who had the idea or the one who made it work (Daedalus or the Wright brothers).  What do you think?

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Crochet Workshop - Review

I have reviewed books by Erika Knight from Quadrille before so this time I have decided not to dwell on the beautiful presentation, the mat paper and very fine photography by Yuki Sugiura, let's take that as read (Quadrille books are pretty much all highly desirable for their beauty alone) and cut to the nitty gritty.

Crochet Workshop  is for beginners and as I can crochet granny squares but before reading this book had no idea how to read a crochet pattern, I feel I am a good person to try it out.  I really like the clear line drawings,

and the stitch library has lots of ideas for textures I had never seen before, with the standard chart symbols for the stitch alongside

I took the book to knitting group last night, where there are at least two expert crocheters .  There was all the usual cooing over how beautiful the book is and - yes they loved its elegant neutral colour palette.  But we were not quite so enthusiastic about some of the projects.  I think it is fair to say that there are so many good things to say about crochet, its simplicity, the comforting association with our grannies, the way we can use up all sorts of scraps and how a piece of work is perfect to fit into a corner of our bags for long journeys, but the problems arise when thinking what to make.  Throws, cushions and shawls, yes but actual clothing, not so sure.  Erika Knight has come up with some very innovative designs but none of us could quite see ourselves wearing the Asymmetrical Cardigan or the Edgy Scarf.

But there is still plenty of goodness in there, Cathy thought she would like to make the Slipper Boots and we all wished we had a dog so that we could make the Rag Pet Bed.  And we agreed we loved the Texture Throw

For my try out project I had lots of fun using some Habu cotton left-overs and pearl buttons to make the Daisy-Chain Necklace, it took no time to make, just a couple of evenings

It is a little light and prone to tangle (maybe it would have hung better if I had used the stated yarn) and my Biba lamp is more likely to wear it than me but I think it looks very fine where it is.

Quite often when I see a new book I leap into the projects first imagining all the pretty things I will make but this book (published this month at £16.99) is much stronger on the technical aspects of the craft, ideal for a novice like me.



Tuesday, 12 June 2012

At the halfway point

Its high time I posted about knitting again.  I have got so immersed in sewing (and I'm dying to tell you about my latest acquisition but I shall have to save that till another day) I have neglected to chat about knitting.  But I have still been working hard behind the scenes on my Titanic related knitting project

After some swatching I decided on using the two shades of pink in the Debbie Bliss Pure Silk for the lozenge pattern.  I like the different textures as well as the colour contrast.

As you know I have no pattern for this, only a good photograph from Vintage Fashion Knitwear by Marnie Fogg.  I am trying to keep to the way I think the sweater is constructed, which is not the way of modern patterns, but also I am looking at ways of streamlining the process.  I have no technical skills for creating knitting patterns, I rely on keeping to the tension of my swatch for measurements and otherwise a 'suck it and see' (or knit it and rip it) approach.  And for time to time pinning out what I have made and seeing if it looks anything like the shape I have in my mind's eye.

I knitted the front and back peplums separately first on their own they look like nothing on earth.

But things are now taking shape

Having knitted the peplums and crochet a row of eyelets along the top I began the main body knitting up from the bottom of the sleeve, This time I have knitted the bell cuff continuous with the sleeve and made the eyelets by the yfwd k2tog method.  I am going for dolman sleeves, hoping the inc1 each end of every knit row will give me the necessary ease for the armhole.  There is another row of eyelets across the yoke, so that I can get some ease in I am knitting the front and back separately then the yoke, I will hand sew the yoke in to get the ease.

At the moment I intend to knit the sweater in two halves casting off with the 3 needle method on the right side centre front and centre back but if that does not look right I will graft it like the toe of a sock.  All the edges are then finished off with several rows of DC.

I am note taking as I go along but I also change my mind a lot!