Monday, 23 September 2013

Baby Girl Knitted Dress

The last time I wrote a blog post about 'baby knitting' and bemoaned the fact I had no more babies to knit for, a friend emailed me to say I could knit something for her as she was expecting!  This is the result - my favourite baby knit so far - a summer dress.

Again, I knitted the One Year Old size, as I figure that new mums are given loads of new born clothes and that it is nice to have something to put away and look forward too, rather than grow out of quickly.  This cute dress is a free pattern off Ravelry - I love the detailing on the top.  I originally started to knit this in a beautifully soft purple shimmery yarn, but I just couldn't get the tension correct, so I frogged the lot and started again with a firmer yarn in a summery orange.  This time the knit was a lot easier and I could see the pattern emerging - there are a few mistakes in the top, but I was pleased with the overall effect of the leaves at the top of the dress.  This yarn was also more robust and can be chucked in the washing machine - which I assume is a very welcome quality! It was knitted in the round on circular needles from the top down.

Back with button detail
I will certainly put this on my knit again list.  Just have to await some more babies before I can legitimately knit baby things again.  Although I did pick up some great Jean Greenhowe's knitting patterns in a local charity shop the other week :)

Friday, 13 September 2013

Mrs Beaton's Blackberry Gin

As you may have already read in my previous post - I have an abundance of blackberries in our communal garden.  As no one else seemed to be picking them, I thought I'd try a recipe for Blackberry Gin that I found in the back of my updated Mrs Beaton's recipe book - another bargain from The Works.

800g Blackberries
200g Caster Sugar
600ml Gin (or Vodka)

1.2 l Kilner Jar

Wash the blackberries and transfer into your jar - cover with the sugar and give it a good shake - then add the gin.  This has to be kept in a dark place for a week and shaken every day for seven days.  This should enable all the sugar to dissolve, after which it is left alone in a dark place for 2-3 months before straining.  I have various receptacles in our mini cellar awaiting Christmas, when I will bottle it up for presents!  Once bottled up - I will update this post. Now to hunt down some pretty bottles.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Bramble Jelly

In our communal garden we have three apple trees and unkempt boarders full of brambles - this year I was determined to make use of this bounty as we moved in too late last year.  I wanted to make a Jam with both the blackberries and apples, but wasn't too keen on all the pips and chunks that a jam would have in it - after a bit of searching I stumbled across this fab recipe for a jelly - problem solved. 

With the aid of a very tall brother, I collected just over a 1kg of blackberries.  To this I added approx. 400g of apples, cored but with their skins left on (I think this is where the pectin for this jelly comes from).  I added enough water to cover the fruit and simmer until very soft and the apples had practically dissolved.

The recipe then tells you to sieve the mixture to remove the pips and skins, stating that you will be left with a pulp - mine was definitely a liquid rather than a pulp.  I then started to bring to the boil and boiled for the required 8-10 minutes.  However, after testing with the cold plate from the fridge, it was apparent the jelly was no where near set.  So I kept going until I got wrinkles on the teaspoon of jelly I put on the cold plate - this took at least another 30 minutes. 

I then ladled into my jars which had had a blast in the oven (using a new jam funnel - amazing, hardly any jam splattered round the kitchen!)

After leaving overnight, I could label and prettify my jars with my Cath Kidston Jam kit my Aunty bought me for my last birthday.  Looking forward to making the next lot when enough Blackberries have ripened.

Well it certainly passed the crumpet test and thankfully I hadn't over boiled it!