Just catching up….

I’m still in a ‘no-sew’ mode so progress on anything is very slow. I have started to feel just the merest stirrings of a sewing urge so I’m hopeful of something to show you guys sometime soon!

I have, however, been knitting. I have finished the Purl Soho Botanical Yoke sweater that I was making. Hurrah! Pictures and details….

Heath Robinson knitting

You may remember that back in the mists of time I bought this gorgeous yarn from Colourmart. It was very fine and needed to be ‘navajo plyed’. If you need information of this click HERE . Basically this meant that the fine 80%Merino/20%Cashmere I had chosen was used three strands at once which brought the yarn weight up to be perfect for my sweater.

Now all of the yarn from Colourmart is actually intended for industry rather than hand knitting (not that that is an issue!) and comes on cones. After spending an unreasonable amount of time chasing the cone around the floor I came up with this rather odd looking but very effective way to cope. The cone is sitting on top of an egg cup, which in turn is sitting on top of my kitchen paper holder. Not pretty but very effective in allowing the cone to spin freely as I pulled on the yarn. That speeded things up significantly 🙂 .

Yoke detail

Happy? Yes!

Having said that, this isn’t a particularly ‘quick’ project. All of that knit 2 purl 2 rib gets old pretty quickly, and when you get to the exciting part on the cabled yoke it can get a bit tricky. Cabling ’24’ is a bit, well…… tricky. And not entirely easy to knit. Fortunately you only need to do that massive cable twice. Things get much easier after that.

Another feature of Colourmart yarns is that they are treated to run smoothly through industrial knitting machines. That makes them a bit firmer knitted up before they are given a bath. I did wear my sweater a few times before I washed it and found the polo neck a little bit ‘scratchy. I washed it by hand so that it didn’t all go horribly wrong in the machine and it has softened up nicely. It took AGES to dry as it has been so cold and damp here in the UK. I think we are all desperate for some consistently warm (and sunny… please!) weather. Anyway I am counting this as a win and I’m sure I will get lots of opportunities to wear it .Through our ENGLISH SUMMER 😦

Quilting progress

I have been trying to clear things around the house. You know, those odd jobs that I have been trying to ignore, all the things I would rather not do … so I haven’t. It’s been the equivalent of the ‘crate of shame’ or the ‘drawer of doom’ where sewing projects go to be ignored. Some of you with very good memories will remember the quilt I started to commemorate The Managements 60th birthday. I confess some time has passed since then and the quilt has been largely ignored. Actually not true, I snarl at it every time I have to move it to get to something I want in the sewing room. Well bullets needed to be bitten and I have got the whole lot out again into a much more prominent position so that I am totally shamed into getting on. It has grown fairly well over the last couple of weeks (hey! I have been sewing!) and I am starting to feel that it might actually become a functioning quilt. I did have a short time when I considered the whole thing ‘migraine inducing’ but the colours and patterns seem to be settling down as they get bigger. I still feel unbelievably stupid for taking on such a large and complicated project as my first attempt at quilting. Hey ho.

Celias Hot Cross buns

Perfection 🙂

One of the things I have been enjoying very much of late is baking sourdough bread. Celia recommended ‘Artisan Sourdough made Simple’ by Emilie Raffa a while back and I really love this book. If you love sourdough and don’t have it yet I heartily recommend it. There hasn’t been a dud recipe yet, and Emilie blogs as The Clever Carrot so you can check her out there before investing if you don;t want to take my word! Not in the book but absolutely delicious were Celias Hot Cross Buns. Shared with friends (those that didn’t get scarfed down disgracefully quickly by Himself and I) they were a roaring success and will be made throughout the year without crosses and just called ‘buns’!

A few things have made my bread making more pleasurable recently. Firstly I reclaimed a electric heated pad which was bought years ago for an elderly Siamese cat I was slave to. She felt the cold something chronic so during the day (when she couldn’t sneak into bed and be my furry hot water bottle substitute) she enjoyed this. It did go off to my mothers elderly cat until her recent demise when it was returned. Mine looks a bit like this one and makes a great job of the ‘overnight rise’ when my kitchen is freezing. I do use it for the other rises at the moment as its still cold here. Once the sun starts to show its face again maybe the bread will manage without it. The next thing is the  Lékué bread maker. No, not electric. This is a silicon bowl which you can use right from the start – measuring and mixing the dough, kneading, leaving to rise  AND COOKING! Yup, this baby goes in the oven. And the dishwasher – I’m officially in love. Finally is a Lakeland Magic tray liner. Fabulous. Absolutely non-stick – even for the filled focaccia from Emilies book which stuck like to the tray like it would never come off just slid off this baby. Reusable and dishwasher friendly if needed – but it’s unlikely as it is so slippy and any residue just wipes off mine. I’ve used it about a dozen times at least and it still looks great. I would definitely buy this again but think it will be a while before I need to!

EZ and Alpaca

I have started knitting again. This time I’m knitting one of the basic Elizabeth Zimmerman yoked jumpers that I became aware of from Kate. I would have loved to join in her knit along but had other projects that made it difficult. I’m using some beautiful alpaca DK that I bought from the WRE It’s knitting up beautifully, and The Management (who has been helpful winding those skeins into balls) says he likes it because ‘it’s not a girly pink’. It’s still for me.

Wax Cloth I shouldn’t have bought….. but did.

I had a lovely day out in Birmingham yesterday with Fairy and friends. It was unusually clement – sunshiny even (sadly didn’t last) – and we were able to enjoy a walk round the markets. Neither Fairy or I really needed to buy anything. We had both said so. So why did I come home with this length of African Wax Cloth? Other than the fact that the colours are absolutley fabulous, and will mix with a number of the fabrics already in my stash? Anyway it’s home now and I just have to locate that sewing mojo. Do send it back if you find it 😉

Enjoy life out there

Kim x


34 Comments on “Just catching up….”

  1. Your sweater is gorgeous!!

  2. jay says:

    Who can resist colourful fabric?

  3. Ann Webber says:

    You’ve turned into a regular Martha bloody Stewart! Baking and knitting and quilting and sewing. Gawd, I’m tired just reading about it. And envious – you look fab in the sweater which although gorgeous hopefully will get less wear soon…. ax

    • Kim says:

      Tee hee! It’s still sweater weather here with little sign of real improvement. I hope you’re still getting good travelling conditions 😀

  4. Sewniptuck says:

    Oh you’re a card Kim. I’m not sure my husband’s sourdough enthusiasm will ever return after the $340 dental repair episode – crusty was the keyword!
    I have just become the owner of a knitting machine and it does take s but if figuring it all out. Having ‘fixed’ some things i’m ready to go so your colourmart info is so timely. I’m told they treat machine knitting wool (when did we all start to xall it yarn?) with wax. Be still my beating heart – coned yarn. I have ordered some very fine coned stuff from Bendigo Woollen Mills 25-35microns in case you’re all over the microniness of ya knits! I do really love your ‘botanical’, its an excellent knit. Xx

    • Kim says:

      Thank you! My mother has a knitting machine which is seeing no action but I’m not tempted. I like the repetitive nature of hand knitting. I look forward to seeing how you get on with yours though.
      I’m totally converted to sourdough bread – mine has a soft crust so I think my teeth are safe 😀.

  5. Kim, snap!! I’m just trying a teflon liner today for my loaves and they worked a treat! You look adorable in your sweater, by the way.. 🙂

    • Kim says:

      I didn’t even check to see what mine was (other than magic 😂) but Teflon would make sense. It means we get to eat ALL of the focaccia so I’m happy. Did you use yours inside your roasters?
      Thanks for the nice words about the jumper 😘

  6. Now merino and cashmere would be a wonderful blend! I don’t knit, I don’t think I have the patience for it, so I am amazed by those who do!

    • Kim says:

      It’s lovely now it’s been washed. I find knitting more relaxing than sewing, and I would never consider myself patient!

  7. My sewing mojo only pops up occasionally and the rest of the time I find it a bot of a chore. On the other hand I always have knitting and crochet mojo! Your completed jumper looks fab – I am currently working on a jumper knitted in the round, top-down… so almost no sewing at the end – yay!

    • Kim says:

      Ooh, top down jumper sounds good – helpful too if you are uncertain about your yarn quantities. Not having loads of making up is a massive bonus too 😀

      • Jude at my LYS suggested it to me and it’s great… if you run short of wool, you just reduce the length and it you fancy it a bit longer and have the wool you just keep going. I’ve been knitting for 40 years and simply never considered the merits (or even that you could do it) before. Funny how something so obvious can pass us by!

  8. tialys says:

    The jury is still out as to whether I make the Botanical Yoke jumper up or not. Things against – I don’t like high necks and the double rib. Things for – I love the yoke detail and it looks fab on you. Ho hum.
    I just took possession of a length of wax fabric from a friend having a clear out. I thought I’d make a dress that needs a bit of structure with it. I read that it was a good idea to soak overnight in water with a bit of white vinegar added before washing it. Just as well as the water in the morning was the colour of cold tea – the fabric is black and blue :/ Just thought I’d pass that on in case.

    • Kim says:

      The Botanical yoke is dependent on the rib so you might want to take a rain check there.
      Thanks for the tip about the wax cloth. It might be a little while before it’s used but I should get it ready to go soon 😘

  9. Roxane says:

    That is one stunning sweater! And a real achievement— all of that ribbing! The heating pad is a brilliant idea, for those of us who keep their houses chilly in the winter. My sewing mojo has been missing for six months, but is starting to stir again.

    • Kim says:

      It’s my second version so obviously I like it 😉.
      The heat pad is brilliant – it would probably be good on a sore back too but I’ve not tried that (it’s a very gentle heat).

  10. Fabrickated says:

    What a lovely post. I am interested in every aspect of your life. I am finding knitting more fun than sewing at the moment too. We have made buckwheat galettes – wonderful. Just mix the flour with water and leave over night. Then make a pancake.

    • Kim says:

      What a nice thing to say Kate. I’m sometimes concerned that I waffle a bit.
      Buckwheat galettes sound well worth a try 😃.

  11. sewbussted says:

    I don’t think you’ve lost your sewing mojo, it’s just taking a backseat as you enjoy your retirement. And it looks like you are having a blast!!! Love, love the sweater. All the baking, knitting, your running, and the visits to museums. Just continue to have fun and you will eventually return to your machine refreshed and ready to create new pieces just for you 😊

  12. sewchet says:

    Love the sweater and the pink yarn for your next one – fab! A brave and wise move to put your quilt out so you’re more likely to get on with it. Procrastination is easy, but the deed is never as bad as you think it’s going to be, so go on – finish your quilt:)

  13. sewruth says:

    You may not ‘be sewing’ but you are still creating and making and what’s better than that? Wear or eat?? emmmmm dilemma.

  14. What an amazing sweater. The yoke detail is beautiful!

  15. mrsmole says:

    Cables and cooking and quilting…whew girl, and shopping with Fairy…I’d say you are having a great time NOT sewing clothes but letting your mind and hands expand into other realms. Taking a vacation from regular sewing is a good thing, it lets your brain absorb inspiration from other areas and also gets you out of the house to buy African prints…oh my! Who can resist such beauties? I can only drool over your sweater and imagine the smell of sourdough goodies!!! Keep doing what you are doing…Lord knows you have earned this time to just be yourself!

  16. wybrow1966 says:

    The sweater is amazing – I do admire anyone who can knit. And as to the baking – the hot cross buns look delicious.

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