Saturday, February 3, 2018

Carol's Apple Cake

Carol's Apple Cake

If you live in New Zealand and have an apple tree you may find that you have a lot of windfall apples after the storm we just had. Mine are not quite ready, and the coddling moths have been breeding like crazy this year, so the apples don't look very appealing to anyone but me! I thought about making apple pie, but I've a hankering for a cup of tea and some cake. Also, the kids like taking this to school because it has no icing, and thus doesn't mess up their lunch box (these things are important apparently). Carol is my husband's, sister's, husband's mother. She doesn't call it Carol's Apple cake, coz that would be weird.

Carol's Apple Cake

1 and 3/4 cup of diced apple (or grated)
3/4 cup of granulated sugar
125 grams melted butter
2 eggs
1 and 1/2 cups flour
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice (or mixed spice if you don't have allspice)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts (yuck! - optional)
1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk if mixture is too dry

Oven 180 C (356 F)
Sprinkle sugar over chopped apple. Add butter and egg, mix a bit, then add dry ingredients.
Lastly add raisins and walnuts (yuck!)
Bake at 180 C for 40 minutes (I use a round tin 20 cm diameter, lined with baking paper)
Dust with icing sugar when cool.

(This cake smells divine while it's cooking. May I suggest you invite a friend around while it's still in the oven - the smell will build anticipation to the max, and you'll get to chat while waiting (or not waiting!) for it to be cool enough to eat!)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

High Country Circle and Epic Knitting

High Country Circle is the latest design I have added to my Ravelry store.
This is a Pi shawl that features lace and cable motifs depicting elements of the iconic South Island High Country - braided rivers, pebbled riverbeds and lace. I knit mine in a sports weight yarn so I could use it as a throw in my home, but knit in a lighter fingering or lace weight yarn it can be worn as a shawl that demonstrates the awesome-ness of your knitting ability, and is good looking to boot!

This is the beginning of my adventure into epic knitting. Sometimes I find myself feeling like I must 'knit all the things!", which is crazy, because I already have more than enough knitted garments (and shawls) than one woman needs. But I like to knit - so it's a bit of a dilemma. Then I realised that I didn't need to rush to finish a knitted project because a) I didn't desperately need it and b) I really would rather prefer to slow down and enjoy the knitting process itself - I wanted to take time to pat the knitted fabric on my lap and enjoy it unfolding, as well as the final piece. These thoughts led to the decision to start taking on epic projects - projects that take a long time; projects that aren't meant to be rushed; projects that meant I wouldn't have to worry about planning what to knit next!
Thus, High Country Circle was born. It's supposed to take a long time. You are supposed to enjoy the process of knitting it - watching the different motifs unfold from the centre out.

I suppose what I'm talking about relates to the Slow Fashion movement, except I got there on my own, years ago. Perhaps I should call it Epic Knitting Chilling! I'm having more thoughts about Epic knitting, and more designs in mind. It won't end here!

High Country Circle is a companion piece to High Country Crescent and uses many of the same motifs, but is much, much quicker to knit, in case you still do want to "knit all the things"!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Handspun Sea Fog

Last weekend was Entwine - Creative Fibre's annual Festival for Spinners, Weavers, and wool crafters. And better still, it was held in my (now) hometown of Christchurch. Christchurch put on glorious weather for our visitors and the whole weekend was a fabulous one for being a fibre crafter.

Because the exhibition was in town I thought I had better enter something in the National Exhibition, So I literally dusted off my ancient spinning wheel and spun up some Ashford's Silk and Merino fibre into a gradient yarn using my mini-combs.

I spun a number of mini-skeins with increasing amounts of purple fibre (Juniper) as can be seen below

And knitted one of my patterns - Sea Fog.

As you can see I left the gradient until the very last few rows - I think it's more dramatic that way - like it's been dipped in the ocean, or dare I say, something poisonous!
I was really surprised when I won a prize for best entry using handspun fibre. It was all very exciting - it will probably be years before Christchurch hosts the festival again, and I'll be able to make it in person.

Also, I was very privileged to be Margaret Stove's gopher at her knitting lace class. In case you don't know, Margaret Stove is a local woman, and internationally recognised knitting expert, who spins superfine merino and designs super fabulous wraps. She's travelled the world teaching her lace knitting techniques and her superfine spinning. It was very interesting to see how she approaches lace design, not to mention see up close all of her gorgeous designs - many knit in superfine laceweight handspun yarn. Here's a link to some of her books. So, all in all, a very good weekend indeed.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Apparently I need to concentrate on my blog rather than messing around on Instagram all the time.
(see over there on the right - if you click on it, eventually you get to my instagram feed, where I am most active). Or click on the link above in this paragraph.

And probably rightly so. While I love Instagram the new algorithm can make the whole process kinda ephemeral. Apparently people often miss posts, depending on how the algorithm dishes up posts in your feed, and so I imagine it's quite easy to miss things, like the Anything Lace Eater KAL I'm currently running in my group. We've really only just started, so there's still lots of time to join, if you have a Lace Eater pattern you would like to knit along with others. Come on over and have a look. There's no hurry to finish, the KAL is quite relaxed and the group is small, so you won't feel overwhelmed. Also, I'll be giving away patterns as the whim takes me, because that's how I roll!
Here's a link to my group so you can see what's going on.

Also, I published a new design at the beginning of April. I'm really feeling the love for laceweight yarn at the moment - I think it's going to be my theme for 2017. There are a few cables in the design as well. I love the added dimension cables add to lace - the twists and turns and the way it bunches the fabric. If it's lace I eat for mains, cables are definitely what I have for pudding.

And so, this is Seaward.

I knit mine in Eden Cottage Theseus Lace, which is a luxurious blend of merino and silk.
Here's a closer look at the motifs.

I was pondering what to call it when it occurred to me that the cats paw lace (at the top) looked like a mountain range, and the lace and cables below looked like the waves of the sea. It reminded me of the Seaward Kaikouras. I love that name - Seaward Kaikouras, but I left the Kaikouras out so people could slot in their own mountain range.

And finally, I'm thinking of changing the URL of this blog to better reflect what I'm posting about now - but I'll warn you well in advance so you can update the links in any feed reader apps you may use.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Lace Eater Sale

Lace Eater Sale this weekend only.
Midnight Friday - midnight Sunday, US Eastern Standard Time
Link to my Ravelry Shop: Here

just enter the code at the checkout

Friday, January 6, 2017

Epic Knitting

I think every knitter needs to make at least one Pi shawl.

This looks like a lot of work, and it is, but pretty easy work - you just go around and around. A lot!
I guess I'll have to write the pattern up and have it tested :)

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Indy Design Gift-A-Long 2016

Wahoo! The 2016 Indy Design Gift-a-long is about to start on Ravelry!

If you know all about the annual GAL click here to go straight to the business

If you've never heard of the Gift-a-Long and would like to know more, check out the link above. All the information is there on the first page.
Basically the GAL is a 6 week knitalong (and crochet along) beginning 22 November. There are contests and prizes - lots and lots of prizes! And already the chat thread is bursting at the seams with peoples plans.

Between 22 - 30 November there are hundreds of patterns being offered by over 300 participating designers for 25% off. Just remember, to get this discount you must use the coupon code “giftalong2016” from 8pm Nov 22 – 11:59 Nov 30 EST.

In the following weeks you can participate in the KALs, win prizes and chat about your wonderful projects. My understanding is that to be eligible for prizes you can knit any of the designer's patterns - they don't have to be sale patterns (but you have to wait to cast on until the GAL starts).

I picked five patterns - I tried to pick patterns I thought people would find interesting, plus a couple of easy ones, so hopefully there is something people will find interesting. Check out the list of participating designers. We even have a map indicating out location.

I'm heading over there now to check out some of my favorite designers, and see what they have on offer.