Tag Archives: tutorial

Ease

Day 5 of the blogging from A to Z challenge. E is for Ease.

In many knitting patterns, especially for garments, there is a word that a lot of people don’t seem to understand, and that word is ease. So today I thought I’d take the time to do a quick guide about what it means.

Garments either have positive, negative, or no ease. Positive ease means the garment is a little (or sometimes more in the case of a slouchy jumper) bigger than your measurements, negative means it’s smaller than your measurements so will stretch to fit you, and no ease means it’s exactly the same so should fit like a glove.

Here’s a handy diagram to try and describe this a bit better. It shows your measurements (black) compared to the garment’s measurements (green).

Ease

The problem a lot of people have is that various terminology for ease is used in patterns. For example the pattern could say that the garment has built in ease. This means you don’t have to worry about it, just pick the size that most closely matches your measurements because the designer has taken ease into account and done all the calculating. If you pick the size closest to yours, the finished garment will come out with the ease that the designer intended, so either a little bigger or a little smaller than you. Sometimes however, the pattern mentions how the garment should fit, ie. knit with positive ease. In this case you will have to knit the size or two bigger than your measurements to end up with a finished garment with the intended ease.

I hope this clears up some confusion on the subject. Please do comment if you have any questions.

Tutorial – Simple Dressmaking Board

I realised that if I want to do proper dressmaking, especially when I’ll probably have to alter patterns, I’d need a board to do it on. I looked at the cardboard ones like this, then realised that for around £15 – £20, a bit of cardboard with some markings wasn’t very good value. I also knew that I’d probably break it pretty quickly.

I had a think, and realised the answer. I visited a hardware shop, and found a nice big (160cm x 120cm) piece of 3mm thick MDF for just under £5. Perfect. I got out my really long ‘joke’ Christmas present (a steel metre rule), my set square, my pencil and my sharpies.

I measured every 5cm along the top and sides of the board with a pencil, then drew on a grid with a black sharpie. I then drew the lines in with a black sharpie, making everything was straight and lined up. I then numbered each line.

I’m currently debating if this is enough, or whether I should also add 1cm lines in a different colour. Then, if I felt like it, I could add various useful angle lines such as 45 degrees. For now I’m going to leave it with the 5cm grid, then I can add things as I find them useful.

It was really easy, if a little time consuming to draw everything on accurately, but it was definitely worth it as I now have a nice, sturdy dressmaking board to use both for tracing/altering patterns, and cutting fabric so I don’t destroy the floor.Dressmaking Board

Sorry about the picture. It’s really hard to take good pictures of big things when there isn’t a great deal of natural light! Also, it’s my fault it looks slanted. It isn’t really.

Homemade Christmas Wreath

I’m trying to do Christmas cheaply this year, so I decided to make a homemade Christmas Wreath. It was quick to make and cost about £4.

I visited a pound shop and found a glittery garland and some glittery pine-cones. I then visited a local shop and bought some florestry wire and some ribbon. The main bulk of the wreath I got from the garden. Overflowing the fence from the lane behind the house is a huge ivy bush. Some of it has berries on, so I cut off a few nice looking branches. I couldn’t find any holly so stuck with the ivy.

First, I wired some lengths of ivy/holly together, overlapping enough to make it sturdy.

Christmas Wreath

I then twisted it into a circle and wired the ends together, again overlapping enough to make it sturdy. I wound in the garland and added the pine cones. They were on sticks so I could just wire them right in. I made a big bow and wired that on, making a loop at the back to hang the wreath.

Christmas Wreath

 

It looks a little uneven but not bad for a first attempt, and it looks better in person.

Poached egg & mushroom on tomato & pepper couscous

I had the idea of making eggs benedict with a large mushroom instead of the muffin. Then I decided to make it into a larger meal and this is what happened. It’s pretty easy and takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.

Poached egg & mushroom on tomato & pepper couscous with hollandaise sauce (serves 2)

Egg mushroom bacon couscous

Ingredients

  • 1/4 pint volume of couscous
  • 1/2 pint boiling water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Small handful of basil leaves
  • 1/2 ramiro pepper
  • Handful sundried tomatoes
  • Two large portobello mushrooms
  • 4 rashers of streaky bacon
  • 4 eggs (2 for sauce, 2 for poaching)
  • 80g salted butter
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar (any white vinegar should do though)
  • Small amount of fresh chives
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Preheat oven to gas mark 6 / 200C / 400F
  2. Add boiling water to couscous. Chop and add the basil and lemon juice. Cover.
  3. Cut ramiro pepper in half lengthways and deseed.
  4. Put mushrooms and pepper on baking tray and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Add bacon to baking tray and cook for a further 10-15 minutes (depending on how crispy you like your bacon).Mushroom pepper bacon
  6. Meanwhile, add remaining lemon juice and vinegar to a saucepan and simmer.
  7. Separate two of the eggs. Put the yolks into a bowl and save the whites for something else, like meringue.
  8. Whisk the eggs, and slowly drizzle in the hot lemon juice and vinegar while whisking vigorously.
  9. Melt the butter in the saucepan you just emptied. Don’t worry about cleaning it.
  10. Meanwhile, take the pepper out of the oven and coarsely slice it and the tomatoes and add to couscous.Tomato pepper couscous
  11. Start warming plates and put a pan of water on to boil.
  12. Gradually pour the melted butter into the egg mix again whisking vigorously. Leave in a warm place.
  13. Add a splash of any type of vinegar to the pan of boiling water. Turn down to simmer. Stir in a circular motion, then when almost still, break an egg into the middle.
  14. Spoon half the couscous mix onto each plate. Get the tray out of the oven and add a mushroom to each plate.
  15. By this time your first egg should be ready. Remove from pan, drain and place on top of a mushroom. Cook the second egg.
  16. Pour half the sauce (will be runnier than normal hollandaise) over the egg. Place the bacon on top and sprinkle with chives.
  17. When the second egg is cooked, repeat.
  18. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  19. Eat and enjoy!Poached egg & mushroom on tomato & pepper couscous

Food Friday 2 – Quick and Simple Mocha

I really love mochas. They’re one of my favourite hot drinks. My favourite so far has been from a small shop called Caracoli in Winchester. I’ve bought some of their ground coffee and I’ve been trying to make my own mocha. I’ve had varying levels of success, but have never quite made a mocha I love. Recently though, I’ve managed to get pretty close. So here’s my recipe for a quick and simple mocha.

Ingredients (per person)

  • 125ml strong coffee (I use a blend from Caracoli but use whatever you want)
  • 125ml milk (I use semi-skimmed, but whole is also good)
  • 1tbsp double cream
  • 20g dark chocolate

Method

  1. Warm the milk in a saucepan or microwave until it’s almost boiling
  2. Add the chocolate and cream to the milk and whisk until melted
  3. Pour in the coffee and whisk a little more
  4. Pour into mug, and add sugar if desired
  5. Enjoy!

It’s really simple and really yummy. You can replace some of the milk with cream, or add more chocolate if you want, but I find my recipe works best if you’re trying to lower calories without sacrificing too much taste. Enjoy your simple mocha!

Have you made something yummy this week? Do you have a recipe you want to share? Join the link party below. All I ask is you link back to my blog.

Food Friday 2

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Grandma’s Knitted Bed Socks

Knitted Bed SocksMy family knows I knit a lot. My grandma requested some bed socks, and couldn’t find a pattern I liked, so I made my own. I’ve added the pattern to Crafterways, in case you want to knit any! It’s also apparently wool week, so it seemed to fit in quite well, especially as I made the socks with 100% British Wool.

Materials:

  • Approx. 100g / 190yards / 174m of aran yarn (these are for ~size UK Women’s 5). I used Erika Knight Vintage Wool which is 100% British wool, soft, squishy and warm. Any aran should work though. I used two colours but you can use one.
  • 5.0mm / US 8 needles. I used magic loop for these so that’s what the instructions reference, but pick your favourite method
  • Needle to sew in ends

Method:Knitted Bed Socks

Guage: 26 rows and 20 stitches ~ 4 inches

Using Judy’s Magic Cast-On, cast on 12 stitches (6 on each needle)
Knit 1 row
Next row: *Kfb, k4, Kfb*. Repeat from * for second needle
Next row: K
Repeat until 16 stitches on each needle / 32 stitches over all

Knit 5 rounds or until desired toe length.

Next row: Swap to colour B. *K1, k2tog, yo, k1, ssk, k1*.  Repeat from * across needle 1. K across needle 2
Next row: K.
Next row: *K2tog, yo, k3, yo, ssk*. Repeat from * across needle 1. K across needle 2.
Next row: K.

Repeat last 4 rows until approx. 2inches/5cm less than desired foot length.

Work in pattern across needle 1.

Change to colour A and work short row heel (guide here) on needle 2 as follows:
Row 1: K to last stitch, w&t.
Row 2: P to last stitch, w&t.
Row 3: K to last wrapped stitch, w&t.
Row 4: P to last wrapped stitch, w&t.
Repeat rows 3 and 4 until 4 unwrapped stitches remain.

Row 1: K to first wrapped stitch. Pick up wrap and knit. w&t next stitch.
Row 2: P to first wrapped stitch. Pick up wrap and purl. w&t next stitch.
Row 3: K to first double wrapped stitch. Pick up wraps and knit. w&t next stitch.
Row 4: K to first double wrapped stitch. Pick up wraps and purl. w&t next stitch.
Repeat rows 3 and 4 until all wrapped stitches worked.

Knit across heel.

In colour A resume pattern this time across both needles.

When 2 inches / 5cm from desired cuff length, change to colour B.
Work in 2×2 rib for 12 rounds.

Bind off using Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off.

Sew in ends and you’re done! One pair of knitted bed socks that take a surprisingly short amount of time to make.