A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

Caramel brownie bites

These spheroids of chocolatey goodness contain a cheeky salted caramel surprise… sorry, just had to pause to wipe the saliva from my keyboard.

I followed this recipe from Bakerella to the letter to make these delicious treats. Don’t judge me too harshly if you follow the link, hers look much nicer than mine.

Here’s a pic of the baked brownie circles. I matched them by size before filling them with frosting and caramel.

Here’s the homemade caramel I had left over after filling the cookies. You could easily halve Bakerella’s recipe and have plenty of caramel for this recipe.

Ready to pipe my frosting.

You simply pipe a barrier of frosting around each cookie, then fill generously with caramel. I think I was slightly too generous as I had a little caramel leakage. Mmm… caramel leakage.

  

WiP Wednesday: Crocheted baskets

Now that I have a room big enough for shelves, I’m free think about handmade storage solutions. One thing in particular that I need is a better way to store my current works-in-progress, and yarn and fabric that I’m thinking of using soon. Currently they’re in a big pile on my shelf, which looks messy and is an inefficient use of space.

I’m super excited to be able to use the yarn my friend Natalia kindly brought me from Scotland. This yarn is super cool, with each ply in a different colour of the rainbow. I’m using a small crochet hook to give a stiff fabric that should hold its shape.


I’m currently at 60 stitches and I’m just going to keep increasing until the circle is the right diameter to fit on my shelf. I think I’ll block the base after that so it’s nice and flat before I make the sides of the basket. I believe that the pattern I’m using is meant to produce a flat circle, but it’s curling up at the edges. This is most likely due to a combination of my basic crochet skills and the unusual yarn/hook size combination I’ve chosen.

Update: Here the base is blocking. I increased until I had 120 stitches around and the basket should fit nicely on my shelf. 

  

I’m also using the Jersey Be Good left over from my Hold Tight clutch bag to make a second basket. I’m using a larger 8mm hook with this super bulky yarn.


I wasn’t entirely happy with this base so I decided to try holding the yarn double. Although this makes it much more difficult to crochet, I prefer the result. Both circles have the same number of stitches so you can see the difference that doubling the yarn makes.

The new technique I learned for this pattern is the awesomely named ‘magic ring’, which allows the centre of a crochet project not to have a hole in the middle. It’s pretty simple but I found a lot of the tutorials confusing to follow. This is the one I liked the best.

Pattern: Neon touch baskets (free pattern)

Ravelry project pages: Rainbow Basket, Jersey Be Basket

Throwback Thursday: Fish Hat

I think I’ll do the occasional post on things I made before I started blogging. One of the first things I ever knit was this hat. 

I know I wore it in the winter of 2009 so I must have made it just before then. I think it’s a really fun hat. 

 

It also doubles as a balaclava as long as you’re not bothered about being able to see.

  

This is a free pattern on Knitty. I basically got all of my patterns from Knitty before I started using Ravelry to its full potential. 

Pattern: Fish Hat (Dead or Alive?)

Yarn: Various worsted weight yarns, bands long discarded
  

A sterling silver ring workshop

While I was away the other weekend, I partook in a silver ring-making workshop that was really enjoyable. Anna and I did a similar workshop a few years ago, but the rings I made are a little big now and I fancied making a replacement. I didn’t spend much time planning the design, so it’s a little more rough and ready than I would ordinarily choose, but I’m still happy with the outcome.


I’m not going to do a how-to as I assume that most of my readers don’t have access to a blowtorch. I’d love to get into silver smithing more, but it isn’t the most practical home craft.

The first step was to measure my finger and then cut the silver down to the correct length. The strip of metal was then annealed (heated to make it softer and more malleable) so I could decorate it.

There were several options for decorating, and I spent quite a while being unsure of what kind of design I wanted. I considered trying to make the I or ! stamps into asterisks, but this seemed like it would be very challenging to make neat. In the meantime, I had already chosen the inscription for the inside of the ring…

It really tickles me to have these words visible, yet hidden.

In the end I settled on a question mark pattern for the outside of the ring, to remind me of the importance of staying with uncertainty.

Ring question mark pattern palm side

If I could do this again, I would have fewer question marks in a neater pattern. You may be able to see that the patterning stretched the silver out a bit, so I had to saw it back down to length.

I then had to anneal the ring again so that it could be shaped. The first step was to clean it with some wire wool. I then bent it into a flat oval using pliers so that I could silver solder the edges together. It was then time to use a mallet to make the ring round and check the fit.

The final step was cleaning. This took at least half an hour, first using a file to neaten the solder, then two grades of sand paper and finally polish and a cloth.

A very crafty festival

As anyone who follows me on social media (I’m @craftycrusader on Twitter and Instagram) may have picked up, I spent last weekend at Wilderness festival for a friend’s birthday. It was really good fun although I’m getting too old for sleeping on the ground for four nights in a row. I thought I would do a little roundup of some of the crafty aspects of the festival.

My Orza came in really useful. The weather was beautiful, which had the unexpected consequence of very cold nights once the sun went down. I also layered it with my Bradway shawl, which was a real lifesaver. Here’s the only picture of that ensemble.

image

My Acid Refresher socks also kept my feet toasty.

image

One day day I spent a very enjoyable two hours making a silver ring. I call it the annulus of uncertainty. In my work it’s very important to hold on to a sense of not-knowing and not be pulled into the position of an expert, and I hope this ring will help me to hold on to my sense of being okay with uncertainty.

  
I also love swearing, so a cheeky touch was that I engraved some curse words on the inside. I know it’ll always tickle me to have these words constantly on display, but also hidden.

Click the image to go to the uncensored version (NSFW)

Click the image to go to the uncensored version (NSFW)

I also made some sprinkle cookies for the birthday boy.

  

I can confirm that these cookies keep well in a boiling hot tent for five days.

FO Friday: Acid Refresher socks

I finished my Zigzagular socks in this beautiful, eye-searingly bright self-striping yarn.


I had to snap these pics straight after a yoga class, hence my bright blue legs. It’s just as well I did take this opportunity as the socks took a real pounding over the course of the weekend, so I’ll have to wash and block them.  

This was an enjoyable knit, with an element of concentration required for the cabling pattern. It was a good on the go project.

Pattern: Zigzagular socks (available for free on Ravelry)

Yarn: Stray Cat Sock in Sun Shower

Ravelry project page

WiP Wednesday: Flashdance socks

I had quite a bit of sock yarn left over from my Bradway shawl, so I decided to make a little pair of socks. I’ve tried making short socks before years ago but I didn’t like the look. However, I’m making these specifically to wear with hi-top trainers so the look doesn’t matter so much. I’m going to add little pompoms to the back in the hope that this will stop the socks slipping down my feet, which is a problem I have with every pair of sports socks I have ever purchased. These are toe-up socks, and this is only the second time I have made socks from the toe up. For some reason, I just prefer knitting cuff-down socks. I also love making socks on double-pointed needles rather than circulars, another little knitterly quirk of mine. Here’s the toe in progress.

Knitting the toe of a sockKnitted Socks on a Plane in progress

And here’s a little more progress, where you can see the cool cable pattern.

Pattern: Socks on a Plane (available for free on Ravelry)

Yarn: Flashdance in Mighty Sock by The Lemonade Shop


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