So Christmas is a week tomorrow, and after a difficult long weekend last week, and a stressful evening on Monday, I’m feeling like I’m finally back on track. Of course, I can’t tell you how I’m back on track, as that would more or less defeat the point of making surprise presents. But on Monday I managed to get through a heap of things on my list, and bake a rather fab looking cake.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should say that while it looked awesome, it only gets 7/10 for eating. The tin I cooked it in was a little too small, the cake a little too deep and the bottom a little too gooey still. But apparently it tasted good anyway, and next time I’ll know that I can’t get away with too small a tin! The recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess, which is pretty much the only baking book I use. It’s an Italian Christmas cake recipe, Certosino, and although it’s not on her website, I found a copy here on a cooking blog.
Having conquered that, I also finally mastered using the Overdrive app on my ipad, and downloaded some audiobooks from my local library. It’s not ideal – I’d rather have them on my much more portable iPod – but it’s still nice to get ‘reading’ again. I’m a few chapters into 1434, and think I’m going to have to go back and find the previous book, 1421 to make full sense of it, but I’m enjoying it anyway.
The stitching I can show you are things I finished a few weeks ago, and have been wearing too much to remember to blog about! They’re lovely, warm mitts and while they’re a little big, it does mean I can curl my fingers up into them when necessary, and still get my bus pass out quickly without having to take them off. The pattern is Fidra from Inside Crochet. I modified it a little, as the thought of a slip-stitched cuff made my heart sink – it takes so long! Instead, I used half-trebles in the back loop only to make a cuff the right size, then just spaced the first row of double crochet evenly around the edge. The cuffs are a little loose, but I like the look and it meant they got done in a sensible amount of time! Once you get going on the main stitch pattern, it’s easy to settle into a rhythm, and they really are wonderful mitts to make. I find that crochet doesn’t tend to have the variety in mitts and hats that you find in knitting, so I’ve loved having something different to make, and the fact that they’re lovely to wear is an added bonus.
The yarn is handspun by Kirsty at Wharfdale Woolworks, and is a mixture of merino and silk with a little touch of sparkle. It’s almost ridiculously soft and warm, and I love stitching with handspun so much. Spinning isn’t something I intend to take up, and there aren’t many places you can buy handspun as, not unreasonably, people tend to keep what they make for themselves. I’ve now made a hat and these mitts from handspun, and while I still don’t think I’ll be taking it up any time soon, I certainly understand the attraction.
Apart from adding things to the Christmas pile, I’ve also been having a bit more of a clearout, adding books to the yarn and fabric that I’ve already put aside. I’ve created a new page for them here, and as books are expensive to post, everything is a bargain price! There’s knitting, crochet, quilting, dressmaking, bag making and general crafting in there, so definitely something for everyone. If you’re in the UK, there’s still time to post in time for Christmas if you see something you like!
To see if everyone else is having just as busy a week, head over to Ginny’s by clicking the button below. This will probably be my last blog before the holiday, but I’ll be on Instagram and Twitter, I’m sure. Hope everyone has some restful time off and see you in the new year!