A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

How to: Make a tassel from Jersey yarn

This is a quick tutorial for anyone who want to make tassels from any kind of t-shirt yarn. I used mine to embellish my Hold Tight clutch bag and I think they look really cute.   

All you need is a couple of metres of jersey or t-shirt yarn, either handmade or bought, and a tassel end. 

         

The not-so-Bad Day rainbow shawl

I’ve been in love with The Lemonade Shop’s stunning yarns ever since I started following her on Insta, and I finally caved and bought two skeins of Bad Day sock a few months ago. This yarn. Oh my god. I really love the name, too. As a non-sunshine, lollipops and rainbows type woman (read: angry pessimist), I like things that acknowledge that life can be shit. You might have a bad day. But there might be little colour pops of rainbow beauty even in a shitty day. I feel like this shawl will help to add a few of those moments when I’m in a grey and gloomy mood. 

I feel optimistic already.

Here’s how it looks worn the other way.


You better work bitch.

I actually frogged and reknitted this shawlette since my WiP Wednesday post  as I wasn’t sure about the shape. I used up just under a skein of sock weight yarn and I’m a little anxious that the shawl is too small, but I’m going to wear it and see how I feel.

I adore this yarn and it held up well to being frogged. 

Pattern: Boneyard 2.0

Yarn: Bad Day Sock by The Lemonade Shop

Needles: 3.5mm circulars

Ravelry project page

It’s shark week

This week I have mostly been using craft to distract myself from difficulties in my real life. Work is super busy, all my possessions are still in cardboard boxes and let’s not even mention politics. Why bury your head in yucky old sand when instead you can bury it in a pile of beautiful fabric. Fabric makes everything okay. 

First off is this. 

 
This print blows my tiny mind. Badass sharks! Awesome spiky rainbows! I plan to make a cute pair of shorts with this metre of amazing. No one will mess with me in these!

Second, I want to learn to make trousers. I like having a pattern sometimes when I go to sew with mum. It reduces my tendency to let her do all the work!

  

I got some simple military grey-blue for a neat pair of close-fitting trousers. 

What projects are you planning? 

WiP Wednesday: My beach jumper

I’m feeling like I’ve hardly had any time for craft recently as my real life has been so crazy. After setting moving house as New Year’s resolution in 2013(!) I finally got my head together enough to start looking for places in April, and somehow I have now moved. I’m not feeling at home yet as I need to buy furniture and my things are still in their boxes, but I think I’ll get there eventually. 

I didn’t have much planned for Sunday and it turned into a lovely knitting day. I bought the yarn to make an Orza jumper a few months ago, but never got past swatching  the first pattern. Somehow this yarn didn’t get buried like much of the rest of my knitting equipment, so I finished up the second swatch. 

  
Normally I wouldn’t bother swatching the different colours, but this is an HPKCHC project and they are pretty strict! I hardly ever make things in the sample colour but I adore the colour combination they’ve used. 

 
It reminds me of an English beach. Like this one in Walberswick. 

 

I very seldom wear brown, so I’m pleased to be diversifying my wardrobe in a small way.  

WiP Wednesday: Knitted neon colour pop clutch bag

Ever since I first heard of Wool and the Gang through Anna, I’ve thought about knitting their Hold Tight clutch bag. I’ve put it off for different reasons over the past couple of years- the hassle of ordering yarn, the stress of choosing a colour combination, the usual. This is actually a slight fail because I’d hoped to have it ready in time for the wedding the other week. I knew the needles and yarn were massive, so I can knock out most WatG patterns very quickly. I had not factored in the woven stitch. Look at it!

For the binding, I found it easiest to stick closely to the pattern by starting with a WS row. I switched to CC2 (the yellow) and cast off before picking up the same number of stitches behind the ‘braid’.

I started the woven stitch with a RS row, I don’t think it matters whether you start RS or WS. I found the instructions a little unclear- you need to start every row by slipping the first stitch.  

FO Friday: Waterlily

Having finished this Waterlily top is a bit of a surprise as I started knitting it almost a year ago. Normally I’m an extremely focused knitter, keen to get every garment off my needles and onto my body. But this top, though I loved all the pictures in the pattern, I found a real slog to make. It’s made on fairly small needles with fine yarn. There are miles of plain stocking in the round. The Latvian braid technique was new to me. The lace, which I started before I made Rock Island, required too much concentration.

But all of those niggles fade away when I look at this garment on the blocking board. It is beautiful.

Another challenge was the fact that this is a bottom-up blouse, which means you can’t really try it on. I used my old trick of slipping half of the stitches onto another circular needle and trying it on, but it’s hard to tell what the tube of fabric will really look like. In the end, it was about right. The top is meant to be worn with a lot of positive ease, but this style swamps me. I made it fitted across the bust, which means that it should hang nicely over my tummy, and I added some waist shaping.

I think the blocking boards and T-pins I bought for Rock Islamd were a sound investment. Both were very useful in allowing me to get this garment to my desired dimensions.

Here’s how it looks on. As you may be able to see, the fabric has a lot of drape, so even though it fits loosely it still highlights ones shape in a mostly flattering manner.

Pattern: Waterlily by Meghan Fernandez

Yarn: Kettle Yarn Co Islington in Vestige

Ravelry project page here 

Marshmallow workshop

Wow, it’s been nearly a year since I went to the Robin Collective’s marshmallow workshop with Anna. How time flies! I thought I would revisit the workshop now as I’m a complete sucker for posh marshmallows so I would like to give them a go. One of the things that prevented me from trying before was the fact that I didn’t have a stand mixer. Now I do, the world’s my artisanal oyster-flavoured savoury marshmallow. Yummers.

Here are some of the sweets I decorated. I am a child.

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The basic recipe they gave us is below. I queried the lack of egg white, and was told that egg white gives a fluffier marshmallow, but that a lot of gourmet mallows omit it because people like the chewier texture. I will probably experiment if I ever get around to trying this out.

As well as a stand mixer, a sugar thermometer is recommended kit.

Ingredients

  • 2tsps/10g (1 sachet) powdered gelatin
  • 1cup / 200g sugar
  • 1/4cup/ 60ml water
  • 1/2 cup/ 120ml glucose syrup
  • 1 large egg white (optional)
  • Flavourings/colourings (optional)
  • Either a 1:1 mixture of icing sugar and cornflour (for cube marshmallows) or granulated sugar (coloured if desired) for piped shapes

Method

1. Prepare yourself. For cube marshmallows, grease a baking tray, being careful not to leave any lumps. Then sprinkle generously with the mixture of icing sugar and cornflour. For piped shape mallows, fill a baking tray or dish with coloured sugar.

Trays of coloured sugar

It’s easy to colour sugar yourself using food colouring. Just add a few drops and stir to avoid lumps. Also leave open after colouring- any dampness will cause lumps. If you get some lumps, smashing them up with a mallet is very therapeutic.

Smash up any lumps of sugar with a wooden mallet

2. In the bowl of the stand mixer, soak gelatin in water. Leave for several minutes to bloom

3. Meanwhile, gently heat sugar, glucose and water (add a pinch of salt if you like) until the sugar has dissolved. Then, turn up the heat and take the solution to ‘soft ball’ stage (around 112C). Keep a close eye so that it doesn’t burn.

4. Pour the mixture into the bowl of the stand mixer and start on its lowest setting to minimise the risk of scalding by hot sugar. Gradually turn the speed up, then allow to mix for at least ten minutes. If you want to add egg white, take the time now to whisk the white to firm peaks in a separate, spotlessly clean, bowl.

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5. If you want to add flavourings, you need to do it when the marshmallow has fluffed up quite a bit, but is still gloopy. Flavourings need to be added in moderation, especially alcohol, as too much liquid will prevent the marshmallow from setting. Add your egg white now if using.

6. Continue to whisk the mixture for a little longer, but make sure it does not set. The consistency should be similar to marshmallow fluff.

7. For cube mallows, pour the mixture into the prepared baking tray and spread out. Leave to set overnight.

For piped mallow shapes, fill a piping bag with your mixture.

Ready to pipe some mallow

Pipe straight onto your coloured sugar in your chosen shape.

Piping a pink marshmallow bunny

Immediately use a spoon to bury the shape under more coloured sugar. Leave to set for at least five minutes before carefully excavating.

Home made marshmallow bunny

You can use writing icing to add some more detail.

For multicoloured shapes, I partitioned my designs into sections. For example, for my bee, I started with the body, leaving it to set under yellow sugar. I then transferred the shape onto some plain granulated sugar and piped on the wings, taking care to join them to the body firmly.

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Cover the mallow in sugar as above, trying to avoid mixing the coloured sugars as far as possible.

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Have fun and make sure to enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Me consuming a marshmallow bunny

Isn’t it funny that this photograph would win me the very stand mixer I need to make more marshmallow? I love circularity at times.


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