Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Are you a craft hoarder?

I have been  buying ,'collecting' yarn for years , others might call it obsessively hoarding , (That is what my family think) . Secretly, I agree when you start hiding yarn  you have a problem. However, I would never admit this. In fact I think I might just delete this paragraph , if  I didn't say it, write it then  it isn't true, don't you agree? . Anyway, hoarder, collector , squirrel , whatever you want to call me I will invariably not find that perfect skein/ ball for my projects .

One of my favourite blogs is  Mereknits blog .This lady knits so fast I'm always blown away by her fantastic super fast fingers .She made a zickzack scarf .I have had this stunning scarf in my list over on Ravelry forever. So I opened the  six floor to ceiling wool /yarn cupboards and believe me I searched for three days and every ball of yarn I pulled out was yes, you guessed it, not quite right. I swear I tried really really hard to find the perfect skein but it was too no avail. What was this girl to do ?? buy some more yarn of course. Mereknits, it is all your fault, hehe.

I ordered the suggested yarn from here  ,please be warned  don't visit here  if you are on yarn diet or you are a hoarder or you are trying to 'bust that stash' ,they are on sale and they deliver really quickly.

After this blog post I have unravelled this piece as I can not ignore my mistakes. , why does the phone ring, or why does the Mr or girls ask me a question whenever I tell them I'm off to knit and I don't want to be disturbed ? as you are all aware  knitting is a bugger to unravel, I know that's why I prefer to crochet , mistakes are so easily rectified.
I love the way this piece develops .I am so eager to see the colours unfold . I am a sucker for patterns that produce complicated looking pieces of art work but are in  actual fact a very pattern repeat. Bravo , to the wonderful designer.
So the question remains ,are you a hoarder?

Thursday, January 07, 2016

New Year ,New Pattern

 Happy New Year,
I hope you are well. I am Guessing you have packed all the decorations and the house doesn't feel quite right with out that Christmassy glow. Or is that just my home ?.I must say I don't really like putting up the tree but once its up ,it makes the place really feel homely ,cosy and very happy. My eldest is 27 so I have been blessed to have 27 years of the joy a family brings especially at Christmas. It is always a bit sad when I have to pack the decorations back in the loft. Our Christmas was slower than usual in fact we have had a much slower run up to it. It has been very casual and we all agreed it was much better for it. 
So it is 2016, I hope it will better than last year. Last year was tough , really tough. I never want to go through that stuff ever again. I am not one for  a long list of resolutions, I know how incredibly hard they are to keep and I hate the disappointment when once again I have failed to tick off one thing of the list. So this year no list, I just want to  be positive, be happy, try my best to help and love others. I want to kiss and hug my family and friends more, laugh much much more.

Funny, how as you get older  money doesn't feature as much on your list. Of course , money is a necessary evil, I mean without  it how on earth would we buy WOOL ,hehe, but the things we crave more as we get older are the things money can not buy, don't you think? I will be visiting all your blogs to catch up with all your resolutions.
So back to reality and I am very happy to have a pattern published in this month's Inside Crochet Issue 73. I am totally in love with these two colours, it features quite a lot in my yarn stash. Gold and grey I find so soothing , calming .I have been spending quite a lot of time researching colours, their origins and definitions it has been so interesting. This shawl is named after the colour goldenrod which is a representation of the deeper gold coloured flowers. The first known recorded use of goldenrod as a colour name in English was in 1915.How fascinating , I would like to learn more so if you have any suggestions please let me know .
 It uses one skein /hank/ball 100g of the gold merino yarn and about 30g of the grey.  Incidentially, for those of you who don't like the prominent gold, reverse them and it looks amazing, the gold border really adds that pop of colour. As with most of my patterns it is a very simple easily memorised one , making it a perfect project for the commute to work , whilst catching up on those TV programmes you have managed to miss . I still have not watched the Christmas "call the midwife " .

Right, no rest for me I'm off to bake a cake .Have a lovely day 

All images are © Leanne Dixon / Inside Crochet.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Grilled fish, poisson grille

My daughters boyfriend came round with some mackerel and asked if I could make my mums recipe .My first real life cooking demonstration of this happened in the seychelles when I was 4. I was sitting in my grandmothers back garden and she was crouched over a wood burning fire with a grill rack perched on this,(its the grill part of the barbeque) and on it lay eight or so mackerel from the indian ocean which are similar to their uk brothers. 

The fragrance of woody smoke coupled with the fish crisping and often having burnt bits has remained one of my favourite scents. It is the scent of summer, it is such an evocative scent whenever fish is barbequed I am often transported back to that moment.My dad was in the yard overlooking his mum as he had prepared the fish sipping a cold seybrew beer.

This has remained with me forever and I only realised I do the same thing when I get the wood stove going, light lager in hand, tongs in the other ,plates of fish seasoned and I'm ready to rock. God, I do love the theatre of cooking.
Grilled mackerel; serves 6 to 8 

2 large mackerel, if you have access to billingsgate fish market you can often get the mackerel from the indian ocean.Smaller then the uk ones.Beautiful flavour, if not available dont worry the recipe has been made with uk mackerel I love this fish so much. 

1 to 2 lemons depending on how large they are if they are big and juicy use one. 

Salt ,pepper. 

1tsp turmeric (this is something my mum does and her fish is the best ) 

This fish is done in stages so with the ingredients above take the fish removed guts and clean the stomach cavity .Slash the fish .Squeeze the lemon over the fish and in the stomach, this firms the fish add salt and pepper,turmeric. Set aside and prepare the other ingredients. 

6 to 12 chillies depending on how hot you like it .I love chillies so I use 12. cut into smallesr pieces 

10g ginger peeled and cut in thick bits. 

thyme about 10 little branches. 

parsley a good handful chopped.

1 lemon. 

In a pestle and mortar, (I have done this in a processor and in my opinion it does not have the same flavour the pounded action somehow develops a different flavour than the machine).Add the chillies,ginger, thyme, parsley,and pound until mixed .Add salt and lemon juice to taste it should have a kick and it should have a little citric tang.Use this mixture to stuff the slashes of the fish. WARNING; please be careful with this mixture it is very hot ,do wash your hands throughly and be careful if you need to go to the tiolet,watch your eyes, It really burns! 

At this stage the fish can be left quite happily.I often prepare this in the morning leave covered in the fridge and cook it in the evening.The flavours intensify.

When ready to cook set the grill on the cooker to the highest setting and grill the fish on either side if it starts to burn a little too quickly reduce the flame and cook slower, we do however want the fish a deep dark colour , you are trying to replicate the flavour you would get from a barbeque deeply charred and very smoky. It works very well in a conventional grill but taste even better cooked outdoors on wood burning fire/grill. 
Bon appetite!!! 

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas

Not much crocheting that I can show .I am knee deep in design and pattern writing .I have been desperately trying to get the house in Christmas mode. The tree is up ,the light around the house are twinkling , candles burning. I always have a pan on the fire that I add cinnamon sticks , clementine skins,  a handful of cloves ,with a pint or so or water. I warm it up and house smells so Christmassy . I am going to start making my onion marmalades and pickles that I am going to gift. Busy .

I am sure you have noticed my little  knitted Christmas Santa .He has been remade, the old one is over 26 years and had seen better days, so I had no choice but to remake one, funnily, no one has noticed he has changed, so that's good.

I'm joining in with Jennifer's linky party, if you are new to my blog welcome and thank you for stopping by

Monday, December 07, 2015


Hope you are well ,no doubt you are feeling the chill in the air.  Oh my giddy aunt , its almost that time again.  I will not say the word as lots of us are feeling under tremendous pressure every time the word is uttered . Are you ready? , certainly my daughter is ready , my brother has bought all his gifts.
I am not ready.
I'm sure you have noticed my beautiful poopy brooch . Made out of glass from a lady I found on instagram @flamingbeads. Beautiful workmanship ,she is  a true artisan. The detail is so amazing .Incidentally, she makes gorgeous stitch markers that I have ordered I will share as soon as I get them.
Every year I try a give everyone a handmade goody .This yarn is a thick super chunky yarn. All you need is a large 10mm hook and away You go. It is deeply gratifying working with thick yarn, a cowl can be made in a matter of a few hours.
The burgundy yarn is from  Araucania  .I can't for the life of me remember  the name as I threw the label away without writing it down , it is a discontinued yarn that I bought  some years ago . Araucania hails from Chile, these beautiful natural yarns are kettle-dyed to produce amazing tonal variations, with no two hanks quite the same.
This is one of my daughter's favourite colours but one I have never liked as it was the colour of my school uniform . I loved school just hated the fact I wore burgundy from the age of four until I was sixteen . However , this isn't for me so feelings set aside the yarn was finally  been used .  I  must say I quite like the colour and it will suit her perfectly.
I am a crocheter but I am also a sucker for knitted stitch. I adore it but it does take so long .The solution is provided by the fabulous  camel stitch, hump stitch.

In my stash I have a few balls of Rowan yarns , Big wool. One cowl  is red and black, a ball of each was used as I want to be able to fold it and wear red on the outside one day and black on the other as the moods take me. It is so squishy and so warm. Ohhhh, you really cant beat the properties of wool.

 I also had a skein of  BC garn Manu, a super soft baby alpaca ,again using my crochet amour 10mm hook. I am going to add another shade of blue from the stash to create the same two coloured  thicker cowl . I have edged the burgundy one with a lovely edging called Crab stitch

I am enjoying making these cowls, the stitch is quite addictive ,I had to order some more yarn .Good old drops andes to the rescue.  It is on sale at the moment. It is  such a lovely wool and alpaca mix at a fraction of the cost of the Big wool.  So far I have made three, a few more and  I can tick off things of the 'C' word list. I will add little brooches or buttons to make each a bit more personalised. 

I used this  wonderful pattern from Pink Milk a great blog. Do try this pattern I swear you wont be able to stop 

Monday, November 09, 2015

Wnter project link party

I am working on a few gifts for friends, who don't read my blog, hehe. A quick brooch, I know I should crochet the leaves but I simply don't have the time, I have added a  plastic but realistic piece of foliage. I have added a brooch back and a button from my huge collection of buttons. I must confess I have a problem with buttons. If anyone is throwing clothes away I ask if I can have the buttons. I am convinced  will use them all , one day.
           I  have not decided if I like the small leaves or the larger one.
I am joining in with the winter project link party over at Thistlebear. It is always lovely to see what others are working on. Thank you to Bronwyn who has suggested I should use a black button as use it on  remembrance day.