Sunday, 17 February 2019

A Picture for Sunday - Brushstroke Clouds


Clouds sometimes imitate art.  This was one of those days.  This photograph was taken a few minutes after the photo of the oak tree.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Goodbye Bamboo Needles



Finally, I've finished using the bamboo needles.  Yes, I well and truly hate them.  

This week I made a concerted effort to knit up to the armhole shaping on all five pieces of this little baby cardigan, then I transferred all the stitches onto a circular needle to start the raglan shaping.  Usually I'm not that keen on circular needles - they feel too short, and they make my tension a bit looser.  However, in contrast with the bamboo needles, they are a total pleasure to use.

Now that I am reaching the neckline and the rows are getting shorter I am much happier with this project.  Alternating the two random yarns has worked well, giving a brighter band of colour on each piece.  The final challenge will be finding the right buttons to complete the look.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Variations on Blue for a Girl



One of my artless photos ever... sometimes I just don't care.  

I usually photograph my finished quilts in the kitchen, pinned to the back of the curtain that divides it from the dining room.  The light today was terrible, so I slung the quilt across the settee instead.  And because my knitting lives on the settee I threw that into the picture too to stop the quilt flopping forwards.  It adds a touch of reality - I've been slightly under the weather and feel as though I have been living on the settee this week.  It's my knitting zone, covered with balls of wool.  It's a good job we haven't got a cat.



These are the same floral prints that I have used in the last few cradle quilts.  I make them in batches, and ring the changes by using different combinations of fabric for the dividing strips, borders, binding and backing, so no two quilts are exactly alike.



This is the first time I have used this backing fabric.  It is a very fresh blue, which goes equally well with blues and purplish tones, and manages to pick out the tiny blue flowers in the binding.




Free Motion Mavericks this week is at Andrée's blog 
Quilting and Learning and I'm linking up!

Sunday, 10 February 2019

A Picture for Sunday - Sunset Swimmers


Sometimes the accidental shots are best.  

Last week, the day after it snowed, I went to Clevedon to see the sunset.  It was far from spectacular.  Meanwhile, while everybody else was wrapped up in coats, hats and scarves, four hardy souls were taking a dip.  I took several bad photos of them, and this intriguingly dreamy picture when I accidentally clicked the shutter while moving the camera. 

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Mango Chutney


Every now again I see a bargain that I cannot resist.  Before Christmas a local greengrocer was selling boxes of six mangoes for next to nothing, so I bought them, cut them up and stashed them in the freezer.  This week I finally got round to making them into chutney.  I didn't have a recipe, but improvised.


This is a recipe in one of my old books, Modern Cookery Illustrated, from the 1930s.  I have never made this particular chutney because I am not fond of apple chutneys, and absolutely hate sultanas in any chutney, but this recipe has given me a formula, which I have used time and time again.

The magic formula can be summarised as a pint of white vinegar, a pound of sugar, and about 5 and a half pounds of anything you want, which can include dried fruit.


Also I checked the ingredients in my favourite shop chutney so I could give my own version a spicy kick.

This is what I ended up using:-

1 pint white vinegar
1 lb white granulated sugar
3 lb 10 oz mangoes
1 lb 10 oz dried apricots
a few pieces of crystallised ginger, chopped
2 fresh chillies, finely sliced
several cloves of garlic, cut into large pieces
half a teaspoon of salt
half a teaspoon of cloves
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons cardamom pods
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons black onion (nigella) seeds 

Everything went into a large pan to stand overnight.  By the next morning the apricots had soaked up vinegar and were nice and soft.


At this stage it looked and smelt delicious.  Sometimes the smell of chutney can be overpowering when it is being cooked, but this one wasn't so bad, most probably because there were no onions.

I gave it a long slow simmer until the mango was thoroughly cooked and the consistency was right.


It ended up looking like this - not beautiful, but with recognisable chunks of mango in it.

Now I have eight jars of chutney to forget about for about three months.  Or three years.  The longer you leave it the better it tastes.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 215 - River Thames Lap Quilt



Slung over the back of the settee and ready for the next time the weather turns cold, my very first lap quilt!

When I first saw the Thames fabric in the shop I knew it would be a good match for the cushions that I made last year.  When I got it home I was really pleased to see how well they went together.


More difficult was choosing the backing fabric.  I have plenty in my stash, but in all the wrong colours.  There were only two possibilities, so before Christmas I made a decision.  When it came to making the sandwich a couple of weeks ago I promptly changed my mind and plumped for the coffee mugs.  Why do I see them as coffee mugs?  I'm a tea drinker.  It must be the absence of saucers, and the background colour, which is nothing short of perfect.



As for the binding, this tiny black and white check was the obvious choice.  I only had a small piece, no doubt from an oddment bin, just big enough to provide the binding for this quilt with only a tiny bit left over.  I love the way it helps the black outline of the buildings stand out.

This was an easy quilt to make - no piecing, simple quilting, and not too big.  My husband has resisted using it, despite having been under the weather, saying it makes him feel like an old man.  When the temperature drops I shall have no hesitation in demonstrating how to make the most of it.





Here goes for week 215:-

Many thanks to Roseanne for linking up with her beautiful tummy tags quilt.  If you haven't seen her blog post yet, nip over now and see more.

Tummy Tag Finished
If you have no free motion quilting to show, feel free to link up and show any project you like.  Here are the usual rules, but feel free to ignore them.  To keep the original emphasis, however, preference will be given to free motion quilting when featuring projects from the previous week.

If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.

Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post.
  
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.

So far quilters from the USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France, Macau, Russia, Ireland and Brazil have taken part.  The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

A Picture for Sunday - The Thaw


If it snows here, as often as not it thaws the next day.  This field of winter wheat gives a great illusion of vastness with the disappearing parallel lines.

Here is a photo taken just a few feet away on a very different day.  The joys of photography!

Linking up with Wandering Camera at Whims and Fancies.

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