Wednesday, 11 May 2011

On Feeling Lucky

You know, I have been feeling mighty lucky of late. I have a wonderful son, a job I love, great friends and I am part of a fantastic online community which is a great source of inspiration to me. In fact, if it wasn't for this community I would not have the job I love, or as many friends or even be writing this. Of course you know I mean Ravelry.

Since joining Ravelry I discovered a whole new world. I learnt lots of new techniques, have access to loads more fantastic patterns from independent designers and I wouldn't have discovered the joys of hand dyed yarn. It's been almost two years and I have learnt so much.

In September last year I started selling hand dyed fibre and soon after hand dyed yarn on my etsy shop. Since then things have been on the up and up. And I have been fortunate enough to have some amazing designers create patterns using my yarn. First there was Veera Valimaki with Stripe Study (see this post). Then Lisa Mutch (who has become a great friend and sounding board - thanks Lisa!) has brought out some fantastic designs:

Ensomme, which uses one skein of Alpaca/BFL Fingering (shown in Twig)

Askew, which uses one skein of BFL Sock (shown in Squirrel Nutkin)

And Exposed, which requires 2-4 skeins of BFL Sock, depending on size (shown in Anthracite Brown)

Just yesterday she's also finished a prototype for a shawl (Van Doesburg), which uses a skein of BFL Sock (shown in Zitouni). Have a peek:

And look out for Dani Sunshine! She's written a pattern for a lovely girl's cardigan (using BFL Sock in Squirrel Nutkin), which is currently being tested:

Thanks guys! I feel so lucky...

Photos by individual designers, used with permission.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Vanadium on Fire

I haven't posted for ages and have been a bit behind with photographing my FOs, but here's one for you! It was a test knit for Lisa Mutch, for her upcoming pattern Vanadium.

It was a super fun knit. I couldn't get gauge, so had to adapt the numbers a bit. Details are on the Ravelry project page.

I used my Organic Merino Fingering in Debauchery.

I'm really chuffed with the result. I love the colour and the fit!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Perfect Asymmetry

My version of Stripe Study

The yarn is Shetland Fingering in colourways I created especially for the shawl (Anthracite and Zitouni) - they will be available in the shop soon. I am totally in love with this shawl. More photos on Ravelry.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Chocolate, figs and Veera. What else is there?

I have two recipes I have been meaning to share with you for a while. The first is incredibly decadent - chocolate covered figs.

No sweat, though, it's really easy:

Chocolate Covered Figs

12-15 dried figs, stems removed

125g dark chocolate

125g milk chocolate

30g butter

cocoa powder to dust

Steam your figs for 7 minutes. Whilst the figs are steaming melt the butter and both types of chocolate in a bain marie. Once the figs are soft and the chocolate and butter mixture is melted you can start dipping your figs. You might want to reshape your figs into a more 'figgy' shape. Place your dipped figs onto some greaseproof paper and into the fridge. Once the chocolate is hard, dust with the cocoa powder. Yummy!

I have to give credit where it's due: this recipe is from my friend Rachida, an absolute genius in the kitchen.

The next one is an amalgamation of various recipes. I have no picture, because it was polished over Christmas...

Dried Fig Jam

750g soft dried figs, stems removed

200g caster sugar

150g jam sugar (this is just sugar with pectin added)

3 star anise

1 cup water

2tbsp sesame seeds

juice of ½ lemon

Cut the figs into quarters. Roast the sesame seeds on a frying pan until they start to smell and change colour. Mix all ingredients, other than the lemon juice, into a saucepan and put onto a medium heat, stir. Keep stirring and once the mixture is hot and the figs are softening, mash them with a potato masher. After the mixture has been cooking for about 15-20 minutes test and see if your jam is ready. Once you are happy with the consistency, remove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and put into hot sterilized jars. This one is lovely with cheese.

Don't know how to test jam? This is how I do it: The first thing I do, before I weigh my ingredients is put a saucer in the freezer. Then I get busy jam making. Once I think the jam might be ready I take my saucer out, put a small amount of jam on it and put it in the fridge for a couple of minutes. I then slide my finger over the cooled jam and if it puckers and appears to have a good consistency I'm done!

Can you tell I love figs?

Now, last but by no means least: have you seen Veera Valimaki's latest design?

Isn't it fabulous? I love the asymmetry of the stripes. The red yarn is my very own BFL Sock in Sangue. I can't wait to knit this one for myself - Veera's designs are always so modern, yet simple and wearable, I'm a huge fan!

(photo copyright Veera Valimaki, used with permission)