Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The 5-50-5 knitted dishcloth

I have never been a good knitter.  I seem destined to be a 'beginner' knitter forever.  It doesn't bother me though.  I am slow and steady, like the meditative rhythm of plain knitting and hey it stops me drinking the evening glass of wine too fast! 

I have been knitting these dishcloths one after another for about six months and love them.  They are nicer to use in the kitchen than disposable wettex type products, are washable and actually improve with age. It feels good to make and use something that is not adding to landfill.

I have several in my kitchen, have given them away as gifts and have also made them for the granddaughters to use as dolly blankets.

So here's the pattern for the 5-50-5 dishcloth:
  • Ball of cotton - I use Lily Cotton 4 ply (Sugar 'n Cream)- a 2 oz /56.7g  ball makes about one and a half dishcloths
  • Size 5mm knitting needles

  • Cast on 5 stitches
  • Knit one row
  • Then increase at the start of each row until you have 50 stitches
  • Decrease at the start of each following row (by knitting the first two stitches together) until there are only 5 stitches left
  • Knit one row
  • Cast off
  • Knot and tidy ends

This one is about 5 months old and has been washed many times.  

On the sewing front I have finished another patchwork skirt, this one for 4 year-old Marie. I think I am done with patchworking for a while now!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

School holiday fun

Lucky me - today spent time with the adorable Ms Eliza aged four and also managed a bit more of my sewing addiction.  A skirt for another granddaughter Chelsea. At times chaos reigned.  I forget that the attention span of a four year old is about ten minutes and also about their amazing ability to rearrange the house while you take your attention away for a minute or so.  But we had fun - drawing, fairy houses, cutting out, peg play (you had to be there), a walk to a park, endless food requests and deliveries (slave nana), book reading, singing (Eliza) - I am not allowed, silly talk and games etc.  And it will be lovely to have another day off work tomorrow for Anzac Day. Life is good.

A rare quiet moment

The finished skirt for Chelsea aged 9

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A little bit twee

'I don't really like patchwork,' I tell Ann in Frangipani, the fabric shop in Sandy Bay.  'I think it's a bit twee.' 

Needless to say I am there to buy yet more fabric to make another patchwork item for the little people in my life. 

What I do like about patchwork is that it a bit of a mystery at the beginning what all the fabrics are going to look like together.  It's also rather meditative, the repetitive task of sewing little squares together.  I guess it's like anything - the more time and effort you put into it, the greater the satisfaction at the end.

So twee or not I have a bit of a patchwork addiction going...

A birthday skirt for 4 year old Maia

A quilt for baby Jaxon

A Babushka skirt for Eliza, size 5

A little aproned skirt for Zoe, aged 18 months


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Persian Love Cake

Yesterday we scattered my dear Aunt Cissy's ashes off the rocky little island near the end of the dog-end of Kingston Beach. A very magical little place.

My aunt and uncle's ashes have been scattered from there before and someone commented it is becoming our family's spot for such events. It was a moody afternoon - raining at first but then the sun came out and even a huge rainbow. I think Cissy would have been pleased with the occasion. It was a step up from the garbage bin request she'd first made!

We sang along (thank you too to Sarah on her mobile from Brunswick) with Frank Sinatra to 'Strangers in the Night' and then with Dusty Springfield to "I only want to be with you'.

Afterwards we had cakes (and whilst both mine and Micaela's had turned out a little flat they were delicious) and other afternoon treats. Everyone enjoyed my Persian love cake so a good recipe is always worth sharing. I've made it before at another family gathering and it's gone down well. 

Here's to you Cissy! 

Persian Love Cake

3 cups almond meal
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup brown sugar
120gm unsalted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250gm Greek yoghurt, plus extra to serve
1 tbsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Combine almond meal, sugars, butter and 1 tbsp salt in a bowl.  Rub with fingertips until coarse crumbs form.
Spoon half the mixture into a lightly buttered and baking-paper lined 26cm springform pan. Smooth out evenly.
Add egg, yoghurt and nutmeg to remaining crumble mixture and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy. Pour over prepared base. Smooth top and scatter pistachios around edge.
Bake until golden (30 - 35 minutes). Cool completely in pan on wire rack.  Will keep a week.  Serve with yoghurt.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Gridlock sewing competition

OOOhhh what fun - a sewing competition!  My fav online fabric shop is running the Gridlock sewing competition.  Great idea - everyone who enters has to use the same fabric, which is available for half price from the competition organisers, Tuessuti, until the competition closes on 3 April.  I like this - it reminds me that some of the best sewing I have done in the past is when I have found a fabric I love and then had to find a pattern to suit it. 

I love the fabric but it takes me slightly out of my comfort zone. I usually only sew cotton or linens. The weight of it though is perfect for Hobart where it can get a bit chilly even in the middle of summer.  It's a great in-between seasons kind of weight.   What to make, what to make... a skirt, trousers, a tunic?  In the end I decide on wide-legged trousers, using a pattern I've made before, because the blue sketchy texture and design on the fabric looks a bit Japanesey to me. 

I'm very pleased with the results.  Very easy to wear trousers - very me!

The waistband is made from the reverse of the fabric.

I'll be wearing these to the next book club dinner

The pattern is New Look No. 6656
I've already discovered that our new living space is perfect for cutting out!
Inside out - thankfully I didn't have any hiccups with the sewing of these
This goes with that - I can see I have lots of things in my wardrobe that are going to go with the pants!
With thanks to dozy husband who reluctantly got off the couch to be my photographer (take one) and to my lovely daughter Lilli (photographer and stylist take two) who told me I looked shapeless in the yellow top and advised my what to wear instead!


So we sew again

Hullo - I'm back.  A new year, a new house and a resolution to get back into creative stuff again - including sewing and blogging now that the long and exhausting process last year of selling our old house (aka endless housework) is over!
I must be feeling relaxed in the new house because I have just had a flurry of sewing. Two linen dresses made with the wonderful Lily pattern and fabrics from Tessuti.  With the first dress (the mushroom coloured linen) I made the same silly mistake I have made in the past: I doubted that the size I was planning on cutting out would be big enough so I moved the pattern out just a tad from the fold for the front and back to make it bigger.  Of course all I did (STOOPID girl!!) was make the neckline too wide, which meant I had to do some creative tucking at the front and back neckline to make it sit right.  Regardless of the tweaks it looks pretty fab and I received lots of compliments when I wore it to work.
I made the second one exactly to the pattern size and it worked out perfectly.  Even though this one is tickety-boo I still prefer the first - I think I like muddy colours on me the best.  It just goes to show that sometimes less than perfect can be a winner all the same.
Lily dress 1
Lily dress 2