Saturday, 7 September 2013

Vedure - A Pattern by ME!

I've been busy designing and writing a sock pattern for you all to enjoy :)

I hope you'll agree that it's a pretty pattern, but it's one that should be fairly straightforward to follow.
I really enjoyed knitting it, and you can tell I'm not lying because I didn't suffer from second, third or even fourth sock syndrome!

The short trainer socks used a mere 48g of The Thylacine Wellington Sock Yarn for a EUR 39.
The longer socks used 68g of Regia 4-Ply, again for a EUR 39 sized foot.

You can get the pattern from Ravelry.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Finished objects!

So I have been busily knitting away, and failing spectacularly to document things as they get finished!.

First up a pair of monkeys that I've had done for a while...

These are in Regia Design Line Jazz Color by Erika Knight colourway 6455, and I'm very happy with them, they're comfy (wearing them right now) and colourful, and seem to be wearing well.

Next up... my summer holiday knitting.
This was started in May, on the plane to Lisbon, as my holiday knitting. Having been inspired by Yarn Harlot's version, which fits so well, and looks very smart, I decided my holiday knitting would be Lizette. Mine is knit in Rowan Wool Cotton, and is a little warm for the hot weather we've been having in England, but will be perfect for late summer/autumn I think. I have some fabric to make a skirt that should  go perfectly.

After taking Lizette with me wherever I went, I finally finished it, just after going to Lisbon again in June (don't ask.. it made sense I promise), and it fits perfectly.

 The pattern has lots and lots of clever shaping built-in, including short-rows at the bottom to make the top lie nicely, and more short rows under the bust, and then on the lace section (so there's actually room for your bust). The front is knitted in two pieces, top and bottom, and they are united by the i-cord tie, and knitted together.

I discovered that the i-cord looked much neater if I knit it together with the lower front using ssk not k2tog, it made it a little more fiddly, but prevented there being lots of holes gaping while wearing the top, so well worth the effort.

Other modifications included me knitting the size 31, as my gauge was different to what the pattern called for, and the yarn looked stupid at pattern gauge. After much calculating (while on the bus to the airport for the first trip to Lisbon) I worked out that the size should be perfect with my gauge and the 31 instructions. Seems to have worked...

For further details, my Lizette is ravelled here.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Busy Bee!

I've been a busy crafting and baking bee, just not been too good at documenting it! This post is a case in point, as I started writing it in April, and it's nearly June!
I had a particularly successful weekend of crafting and baking point of view (back in April), and I actually managed to take some pictures. First up, i'll show you the baking side of things...

So recently I was given a copy of the new Paul Hollywood's Bread, that accompanies his TV series of the same name. Of course I was a very happy recipient :-) I decided this weekend to take a crack at crumpets, having never made them before, and overall am very happy with the results.

Step 1 - Make the batter.

Hubble bubble toil and trouble...

The batter has both yeast and baking powder in so it's really really bubbly, but then it's for making crumpets so it'd have to be bubbly. This is a much wetter dough than any bread, so you have to beat it with a spoon. I kept taking rests as my arms are not so strong as Paul Hollywood's

Step 2 - Cooking.

So I don't have boring round crumpet rings, and had to improvise, which I did with a heart-shaped egg ring, that performed the job admirably. The chick and sheep cookie cutters, while super-cute, did not perform admirably... the batter stuck very firmly, so I was then stuck making crumpets on a one-by-one basis with the silicone heart.

Step 3 - Eating

The crumpets were really delicious, and well worth a try. Next time i'll make sure I have more rings to cook in, as it was a very slow process. 


Recipe from the wonderful book "Brot Genie├čen" by Oliver Brachat and Tobias Rauschenberger. It's all in German, so it's good for improving my language skills, as well as my baking ones!

So I decided to make a bread I have tried before and loved - the San Francisco sourdough. This bread takes about 7 hours to make, but it's so delicious that it's definitely worth it. Plus it makes two big loaves and freezes really well.

Step 1 - Ingredients

Step 2 - The initial knead

The speckling you can see in the dough is because it's a mixture of 200 g wholemeal spelt flour with 1.5 kg of white bread flour.

Once the dough has been kneaded for about 10 min by hand, you pop it in an oiled bowl, cover it with clingfilm and leave it to rise for 2 1/2 hours.

Step 2 - Proving

One of the key things that I have learnt from this book, is that you don't just leave the bread to prove, at least not all the time. The gluten needs stretching out occasionally, and so every 50 minutes (for this recipe) you take the dough out of the bowl, stretch it out a bit to make a big flat round of dough, and then fold one third over the middle third, and then the other side over the top of that (kind of like a leaflet). This helps to prevent your bread from collapsing later.

Step 3 - Shaping

After the 2 1/2 hours rise comes the shaping.. I decided that I didn't just want an oval, I wanted one of my loaves to be a plait. So I split my dough in two, then split one half again into thirds. These three balls were rolled into long ropes and then plaited together. I tucked the ends under, and hey presto, a plait.

The other half of the dough I decided could stay as an oval. This involves first working the dough into a round (by using your hands on the side of the dough to spin it on the spot on the bench, until it's a nice round shape), then to make it oval. To make an oval you need to flatten your round into a big flat circle, then fold the edges into the middle and pinch them together like a giant cornish pasty. You then flip this so the pasty edge is underneath, and you have your oval.

Step 4 - Second Proving

The bread proves again (covered in a tea towel or cling film), and then it's ready to go in the oven.

 Step 5 - Baking

For most of the bread in this book, you put a tray of water in the oven while preheating, and then for the first ten minutes or so of cooking you have the water in there and the oven temperature high. This helps to make a crisp crust. You then remove the water from the oven, and turn down the temperature for the remainder of the cooking time. Bread comes out of the oven smelling delicious and with that "hollow sound" that you desire.