i knit, therefore i am

The past few days have been pretty busy, so I haven’t had the time to sew.  (I live in a very small flat, so getting my sewing machine & ironing board out means that I have no space left in which to do anything else, so I tend to commit an entire afternoon/evening to it when I get the chance.)  However yesterday I had a full day off, so I made the most of having an excuse to be completely lazy, pulled the sofa bed out & made a nest in front of the TV.

It might only be the end of June but I’m going to talk about the C word.. (no, not that one).  Christmas.  I’m already making a start on a few presents that I want to knit for various people as December always seems to creep up behind me without fail every year.

So, Christmas-present-number-one:  Toy food for my smallest niece.  There’s a massive amount of patterns available on ravelry (ravelry.com) – It’s my go-to place for finding knitting patterns & is basically amazing & you should sign up right now! (I haven’t updated my projects for ages but you can find me here: chasemecharlie )

& here is what I have so far.. Most of these patterns call for double pointed needles (DPN’s) or a circular needle.  I really struggled when I first started out using DPN’s, it’s a bit like wrestling with a hedgehog but I promise you that you will get the hang of it!  Most of the things I knit now are with DPN’s & it opens up a whole new area of patterns to try out.

(more…)

new look 6262, part 2

So far it all seems to be going ok.  I accidentally cut the back bodice piece a size smaller than I needed, but it still seems to fit alright so I’m not too worried about that.  This is definitely the most complex pattern I’ve sewn so far but I’ve been double checking the instructions as I go & haven’t had to unpick anything yet, hooray!

Apologies in advance for the dodgy photo quality.. My camera has finally given out on me, so I’m using my phone & the colours never come out right.  Anyway, I’ve got as far as putting darts into the bodice & attaching the sleeves and skirt to it.  Sewing gathers is completely new to me & I couldn’t get it to work by using a baste stitch & pulling it (I think my fabric may be a little too heavy for that?) so I pinned the centre of the skirt to the centre of the bodice, then pinned it into quarters & so on until it was all pinned down.  I don’t think I explained that very well & forgot to take a photo, but they’ve turned out quite nicely.

nl6262front

Also my seams don’t line up 100% but they’re close enough, so for a first attempt at something I’m pretty pleased with them & you won’t see it unless you’re peering very closely at me whilst I’m wearing it, which would be a bit odd.

Now I’m just waiting for the zip to arrive in the post & hopefully I’ll have the time to finish it off over the next week.  I forgot to shorten the bodice pieces to my own back of neck to waist measurement, but it seems to fit at my actual waist when tried on, although the bodice seems to gape a bit at the top around the neckline.  That’ll be something to think about when the zip arrives – I’m already watching a lot of YouTube videos about putting zips in so hopefully it won’t be as scary as it seems now!

 

Charlie x

sew, sew, sew.

Chase me Charlie originally started back in 2009 as a way for me to keep track of new recipes I’d been trying & knitting patterns I’d been using. Ever since I was a teenager I’ve kept a journal in some form, so the move from paper & sketchbooks to the internet was probably inevitable.  However, I am inherently bad at making the time to write about & remember what I’ve been doing, so entries between 2011 & today have been pretty sparse.  Oops.

Anyhow, my mum recently got a new sewing machine & I inherited her old one.  I have a bit of a thing about not owning anything that I’m not going to get a good amount of use out of, so I’m attempting to learn to sew things that don’t just require a straight line.  (My previous sewing experience is a collection of somewhat wonky cushion covers.)

I bought a copy of a magazine called Sew that currently has a free dress pattern with it.  Making my own clothes is something that I always though sounded fun, but that I’d never have the skills to do.. Yet, here I am.  Wish me luck.

IMG_4198

Picture above is the aforementioned dress pattern, some burgundy fabric that I found in a charity shop for £4 – so if it does go tits up I haven’t lost anything – diet coke & an audio book of Agatha Christie’s ‘Murder on the Orient Express’.  Vintage crime fiction is the best.  If you ever come to visit I’ll probably have an audio book of some kind on the go; it’s the closest you can get to reading & knitting at the same time.

So, here goes..

IMG_4200

Charlie xx

Hello again.

Chase me Charlie originally started back in 2009 as a way for me to keep track of new recipes I’d been trying & knitting patterns I’d been using. Ever since I was a teenager I’ve kept a journal in some form, so the move from paper & sketchbooks to the internet was probably inevitable.

At the end of 2011 I moved from Somerset to London & as life got very busy & exciting I stopped making the time to write about what I’d been doing. However, in October 2013 I was lucky enough to be able to buy my very own square of North London – a tiny studio flat with a garden. When I moved in the flowerbed was completely full of bamboo, but one year & two snapped garden forks later it’s pretty much clear & I get to plant whatever I want! (I have big plans involving container vegetables, bee & butterfly friendly areas & making my own compost. We shall see.)

Now that I’m a fully-fledged Londoner (oo-er) I have a bit more time to start keeping a record of what I’ve been up to. It’ll probably be a lot of gardening & knitting related things, with the odd recipe popping in here & there. As always, I don’t really have any solid plans beyond keeping a vague record of what I’ve been up to. So here goes…

C xx

serpent mittens knitting pattern

This was the first knitting pattern (& to date, actually the only knitting pattern) I ever devised on my own.. It’s been available on ravelry for a while now, but I thought I’d share it on my blog too incase there are any knitters out there who aren’t on ravelry. (If you knit & you’re not on ravelry, go & join right now!)

So, serpent mittens!

 

Materials:  4mm (US 6 / UK 8) DPNs, double knit wool, 2-3 stitch markers, a stitch holder or some scrap wool, a tapestry needle for finishing.

Gague: – 12 stitches & 20 rows = 2” square

Finished Measurements: – 7” in length, 3.5” across when laying flat.

Abbreviations:  CO – cast on, DPN – double pointed needles, YO – yarn over, K2tog – knit two stitches together KFB – knit into front of the stitch & then into the back, SSK – slip slip knit (slip two stitches onto the right hand needle & then knit them together through the back loops), PM – place stitch marker, SLM – slip the marker from the left needle to the right needle.

For Both Mittens:

CO 40 stitches & divide them among 3 DPN’s (I found it easiest to divide them 16, 12, 12)

Cuff Rounds 1-6: (*K1, P1) *repeat to end.

Cuff Round 7:  knit.

Begin to work the chart.

Rounds 1-28: k5, work chart, k to end.

Right Thumb:

R29: k5, work chart, k7, pm, k2, pm, k to end.

 R30:k5, work chart, k to marker, slm, kfb, kfb, slm, k to end. (4sts between markers)

 R31: k5, work chart, k to end.

 R32: k5, work chart, k to marker, slm, kfb, k2, kfb, slm, k to end. (6sts between markers)

 R33: k5, work chart, k to end.

 R34: k5, work chart, k to marker, slm, kfb, k4, kfb,slm, k to end. (8sts between markers)

 R35:  k5, work chart, k to end.

 R36: k5, work chart, k to marker, slm, kfb, k6, kfb, slm, k to end. (10sts between markers)

 R37: k5, work chart, k to 1 stitch before marker, kfb, slm, k to next marker, slm, kfb, k to end.

 R38: k5, work chart, k to marker, slm, kfb, k8, kfb, slm, k to end. (12sts between markers)

 R39:  k5, work chart, k to end.

 R40:  k5, work chart, k to marker, remove marker, place following 12 sts on holder or scrap yarn, remove marker, knit to end.

  

Left Thumb:

R29: k5, work chart, k to last 4 sts, pm, k2, pm, k to end.

 R30: k5, work chart, k to marker, slm, kfb, kfb, slm, k to end. (4sts between markers)

 R31: k5, work chart, k to end.

 R32: k5, work chart, k to marker, slm, kfb, k2, kfb, slm, k to end. (6sts between markers)

 R33: k5, work chart, k to end.

 R34: k5, work chart, k to marker, slm, kfb, k4, kfb, slm, k to end. (8sts between markers)

 R35: k5, work chart, k to end.

 R36: k5, work chart, k to marker, slm, kfb, k6, kfb, slm, k to end. (10sts between markers)

 R37:  k5, work chart, k to 1 stitch before marker, kfb, slm, k to next marker, slm, kfb, k to end.

 R38: k5, work chart, k to marker, slm, kfb, k8, kfb, slm, k to end. (12sts between markers)

 R39:  k5, work chart, k to end.

 R40: k5, work chart, k to marker, remove marker, place following 12 sts on holder or scrap yarn, remove marker, knit to end.

For both mittens: 

R41-47: k5, work chart, k to end.  

R48-50: knit all stitches.

 R50-51: purl all stitches, and then cast off loosely.

 To finish the thumbs: Pick up the 12 stitches from the waste yarn/stitch holder & divide amongst 3DPNs.  Work 3 rows of knit followed by two rows of purl & cast off all stitches loosely.  Weave in all loose ends, wear & enjoy!

 

As I said, that was my first ever attempt at devising & writing down a pattern, so please forgive any mistakes & if you have any feedback or questions please feel free to leave me a comment or drop me a note!

C xx

blackberry & apple jam recipe.

Today was D Day. Or J Day if you prefer.. I spent a lot of time reading up various jam recipes & techniques in books & on the net & I’ve come up with this one. So here we go! A jam recipe for beginners & the terrified!

Ingredients:

– 1 kg blackberries
– 750g apples, peeled, cored & cut into small chunks.
– 1.5kg caster sugar
– 125ml of water
– tsp nutmeg
– tsp cinnamon

Method:

i. First you need to sterilise your jars. Place them on a sheet of greaseproof paper on a baking tray & put them into the oven at 100c for a good 20-30 mins. Also place two side plates into your freezer for the set-test later on.
ii. Place the apples & water into a large pan & simmer gently with the lid on for 10-15 mins, or until soft. Add the blackberries & simmer for a further 5 minutes.

iii. Turn the heat right down & add the sugar gradually, stirring all the time until it has dissolved. (1.5kg is a truly epic amount of sugar.. I didn’t appreciate quite how much until it was all in the bowl infront of me. I could almost feel my teeth rotting in my head!)

iv. Once all the sugar is dissolved bring the jam to the boil. Also if you haven’t put your side plates in the freezer yet do this now. Beware boiling hot jam! My pan spat quite a lot, so I wore a jumper & kept a damp cloth with me to wipe up spills before the entire kitchen became sticky.)

Boiling jam! The pink foam is the ‘scum’. If you’ve washed your fruit thoroughly before hand it probably doesn’t contain twigs & dead flies, so it is up to you whether you spoon it off the top or stir it back in.

v. Boil the jam for a good 20-25 mins, then when it starts to get thicker and more gloopy in consistency fetch one of your plates from the freezer. Drip a bit of the jam onto it, leave it a few minutes & then run a finger through it to check whether it’s set. If it’s set properly it should wrinkle up a little when you put your finger on it.

Finished jam:

vi. If your jam passes the set-test then it’s finished! Turn the heat off, fetch your jars from the oven & ladle the jam into a jug before pouring into jars. (Or ladle it directly in if you’re feeling brave!)

Leave it to cool & voila! Lovely home made jam, perfect presents for people who don’t mind a seedy jam. I got 6 1lb jars from this batch. They’ll keep in a cool dry place for up to 12 months, but once open bung them in the fridge.

There, that wasn’t so scary now was it!?

hello lovely.

wool

small things for small things

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