A panoply of (sometimes) lovingly handmade crud.

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I’ve had two more absolutely enormous courgettes from the garden since my last post.

I made a couple of courgette-based traybake things that weren’t glamorous enough to be photographed- but I do tend to put pics on my Instagram story (@craftycrusader) if you’re interested. I made a courgette stuffed with a sort of Middle Eastern turkey chilli and a kind of lasagne, where I used ricotta rather than making béchamel sauce.

Parts of the courgettes were also grated and frozen for future cakes. I was throwing some of the middle parts away, but I felt badly about that so I am now freezing them in anticipation of trying out this courgette jam recipe.

Something I did make that was as beautiful as it was tasty was this courgette waffle recipe. The waffles are pretty tasty. I get six waffles out of the amounts stated, and they are  around 95 calories each. Most of the calories are from the cheese. I’m planning to make a few and freeze them for future brunches.

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I’ve been planning a project like this for a long time, since my early days of knitting. I mentioned a little of the pre-planning I did in this post. Funnily enough, the arrival of my expensive American yarn coincided with the week before the Olympics, so I’ve decided I’m going to enter the Ravellinics for the first time. This means taking a small break from my League sweater, but I actually started making excellent progress on that over the past few weeks, so that’s okay. Check my Instagram (@craftycrusader) if you want to see what I’ve been up to.

The Ravellinics are the knitter’s version of the Olympics, where you are supported by the knitting community to challenge yourself and complete a project within the timeframe of the Games.

I’m quite looking forward to working on my Breton sweater while some of my favourite athletes do their thing. Like most people, I only care about athletics once every four years, but I am looking forward to the tennis. I managed to get some tickets in the ballot at London 2012 and it was awesome.

Anyway, before the opening ceremony, all I was allowed to do was swatch. My gauge came out pretty close to the pattern gauge and I couldn’t be bothered to swatch again with different needles. After blocking, the fabric came out nice and drapey so I was ready to cast on at midnight local time.

At five days into the Olympics, I am making good progress on this top-down knit. Since one of my 3.5mm needle tips broke, I’m having to improvise with different needles until the replacement arrives.

This is the top back of the sweater, the first part to be constructed. I’ve picked up stitches for the front on the two needles at the top in this picture. I then knit down and cast on stitches in the middle to join the fronts.

This is what it looks like on at this stage. Still a long way to go!

I have to admit that this shirt choice was deliberate. My aunt has some sexist builders working in her garden at the moment, and the shirt indicates the response that any further misogynistic remarks will get.

Pattern: Better Breton

Yarn: Squoosh FiberArts Merino Cashmere Sock in Eggplant, and The Lemonade Shop mini skeins

Ravelry project page

 


2015 has been a funny year for me. It’s been my first year of qualified practice as a psychologist, which has been a big change from the previous three years of training. While I’m thrilled to have my evenings and weekends back, I’ve discovered that working full time is no joke. I’ve also faced previously unasked questions such as ‘when do single adults do their washing in winter?’ (note: discovering the ‘Delay Start’ button on my washing machine has CHANGED MY LIFE).

Finding a balance between work, life admin and the millions of things I want to do in my personal life is still a work in progress. I like the fact that the new year provides an encouragement to reflect on the year past in order to try to live better in the year to come.

At the beginning of the year I drafted a goals blog post that never made it out of the drafts folder. It’s a nice document to have when I look back on my year in craft.

New Year’s ReSEWlutions

  1. Knit a seasonal jumper in time for, you know, the season. This was actually a goal for this year but I kept putting it off until it was far too late.
  2. Learn to knit continental style. I hear it’s quicker, and I would really like to knit Fair Isle two-handed. Also, I think it would help my knitting RSI if I could change styles periodically.
  3. Sew at least one dress for work.
  4. Finish secret project (heart blanket) on time!
  5. Have my knitting appear on red carpet**

I think it’s fair to say I smashed it!

**This was not a resolution, but if I had known it would actually happen, it definitely would have been!

Knitting

Knitting has become my primary craft. More than that, it’s become a part of my identity. I’d certainly say it’s the craft I’m best at, and I love continuing to learn and grow as a knitter. I’ve always been pretty ambitious in the projects I’ve selected, and I’ve learnt loads from the mistakes I’ve made over the past seven years. This year I’ve really challenged myself in the projects I’ve taken on and I’ve managed to create some items that I’m very proud of, and that I hope I’ll be able to use for many years to come.

  
This year I finished

Crochet

I’m still a distinctly average hooker. But I love the speed of crochet and the fact that you can create visually striking designs from simple motifs.

Sewing

My sewing has developed loads this year as well. My feather print skirt represents the first garment that I made without any help from an experienced seamstress, and I’m pretty delighted with it.

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I’m also very proud of the blanket I made for my friend’s wedding.

Wedding guest book quilt

I’m excited to get back to my beautiful denim dress when I get back to London after my festive adventures. I quite like having WiPs to return to after a holiday. They are my textile babies.

Blogging

I’m still enjoying writing, and also documenting everything I make on this site. Thanks to everyone who reads, likes and makes comments on my posts. It really does motivate me to continue. Something I plan to do is invest in a proper camera, and I think I’ll enjoy developing my photography skills.

If you’re interested in my photography progress, I am on Instagram @craftycrusader

Baking

Baking and cooking in general has really fallen by the wayside this year, especially after 2014 (the year of bread). Building in more time to make myself tasty meals is a priority for me next year, so I’ll hope to share some delicious recipes here.


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.

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My Acid Refresher socks also kept my feet toasty.

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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.