Friday 24 October 2014

October Spring Yarn Club

Oh my goodness, I am loving the Spring Yarn Club from Jellywares on Marshall. Just look at the care Jodie took to pack & present this month's package.
So inviting, I couldn't wait to dive in and see what goodies there were, but did manage to snap a quick photo to show you the package.

So, here are this months goodies, a ball of Debbie Bliss (great, been wanting to try this yarn), a ball of Minicaraibi- so fine & new to me as well as this bag of yummy buttons.

As with last month, Jodie had included some suggested patterns from Ravelry for each yarn.

For the Debbie Bliss, I went with her suggestion of the 'Mock Cable' washer - such lovely yarn to knit. No splitting, soft to the touch & a quick knit.
I also had enough left to whip up one of the mini washers I have been making.
I loved working with this yarn so much, I have ordered several balls in different colours from the Jellywares on Marshall shop.

I checked out the suggestions for the Minicaraibi yarn & then took another plunge into the amazing world that is Ravelry. By typing in the yarn name, I found several pattern suggestions. One was for a table runner which used two balls of yarn. As we only had one, I pondered for awhile, checked out other options but kept returning to the table runner. I settled on that pattern, deciding I could make a table centre/tray cloth. It could also be used on a dressing table or side table. This yarn was also great to work with but I did find I had to watch I didn't split it, especially when knitting 3 stitches together as called for in the pattern. I also realised close to the end, that the 8 repeats I'd calculated based on halving the full length pattern were not going to work so there was one frustrating evening of undoing several rows (deep breath needed, quite a test of patience undoing 3 stitches knitted together but I got there in the end.)

The finished tray cloth was quite textured & needed blocking to 'flatten' the pattern out & even up the edges. A quick google search on blocking & I settled on a dry block - pinning the stretched piece onto my ironing board over night.

 Success, a flatter, more even finished piece & a pretty addition to the table for a special cup of tea.

Next, the button pack. I love buttons & rather than save them for different projects, wanted to use as many as I could in one item. After a few weeks of pondering, I had fun designing this button heart hanging. 

Here I am quilting around the buttons, but stay tuned - I have already started writing a tutorial with some great tips & suggestions - I will post that in a couple of weeks.

I managed to finish all projects in the month of October, only a few days & our November package will arrive. 
I couldn't resist one more shot with the Debbie Bliss washers, the colours go so well with these gorgeous flowers a friend gave me yesterday.

Monday 20 October 2014

Mini Washers/ Make Up Cloths

After knitting lots of cotton cloths (pattern link & tutorial here for the 'Almost lost Washcloth Pattern') ready for Christmas gifts, I discovered another new pattern on the Simply Notable blog for some mini ones (I just love how clever some people are, adapting patterns to give us new ideas or projects).

These are so quick to knit up and I have loved making them in a variety of colours.
They are ideal as mini washers, and the toddlers who have been quality testing them for me love them! They are just the right size for their hands, easy to use and so colourful making bath time extra fun.

I have also had some friends test them out to use for removing makeup or even as their own wash cloths in the shower. Being cotton, they are soft to use, can be thrown in the wash to clean and kind to the environment as you can cut down on tissues and throw away make up removal cloths. 

They also dry quickly and don't take up much space in the shower or on the sink, avoiding that wet smell that can hang around with large washers.
You could also leave a selection by the basin for visitors to use, or give a few to a new mum at a baby shower, the ideal size and so soft to use on babies.

Saturday 11 October 2014

Meatballs & Spaghetti

A delicious, quick way to make a hearty winters meal for a family or as in my case, cook ahead for the freezer.

You may have an old family recipe for a meal like this, but this is a quick way to make a large quantity of servings for a crowd or to stock up the freezer.

1 pack frozen meatballs (I used a 500g pack)
2 jars of your favourite spaghetti sauce.
vegetables to taste (I used carrots, zucchini & tomatoes but choice is yours)
small amount of cooking oil
spaghetti  (or favourite pasta)

Cook frozen meatballs as per packet instructions- I did mine in oven.
Whilst cooking, prepare sauce & boil water for spaghetti.
Sauce - chop vegetables & saute in oil in a large pot - carrots first then others to soften.
Add jars of sauce - rinse jars with small amount of water & add to sauce to use all the sauce in jar (option is to add 1 tin tomatoes instead of 1 jar of sauce).
When meatballs are cooked, I chop mine into 2 or 3 pieces but this is a personal preference.
Add meatballs to sauce.

Drain spaghetti & mix through the sauce.
Serving suggestion - add grated cheese or a dollop of sour cream.

Fill containers with extra serves, allow to cool then freeze.

Sunday 5 October 2014

Spring Yarn Club- Month 1 Project

A friend recently sent me a link to the Jellywares on Marshall Spring Yarn Club. What a great way to try out different yarns, such a wide range available these days making it hard to choose. Also, this way you get to complete a small project only needing one ball of yarn with the bonus of finding out if you like working with that yarn.
There was a choice between knitting and crochet and while I am starting to master crochet, I still prefer and find knitting more relaxing.
Jodie has done an amazing job sourcing different yarns and suggesting patterns to make it up in.
September was month 1 of the 3 month club and our parcel arrived with a ball of Noro yarn and a cute project bag to pop our knitting in.
The welcome letter included some suggested projects which were from Ravelry, and whilst I had heard much and seen many blog posts about Raverly (knitting/crochet site) I was still a novice exploring it.
I signed up and had a quick look but it took me awhile to get under way and whilst I liked the suggested options, none quite 'sang' out to me to make them.

It wasn't till our October package arrived (I know, rather slack but wanted to wait till I found the perfect option for me and to be very truthful was overwhelmed on my first visit to the site, it has soooooooooo much information and so many project options) that I began my September project.
So back I went back to the Ravelry site and spent more time exploring to find the ideal project. I knew I wanted to make a scarf, the colours are just perfect for the friend whose name came to mind as soon as I saw the yarn.
The Noro yarn is a mix of cotton, silk, wool & polyanide, easy to work with, changing colours and texture throughout the ball.

I chose to make the one Row Lace Scarf following the suggested needle size and variation of number of cast on stitches from this lady's variation using the Noro yarn.
(Just a hint, when using Ravelry, save your finding to your favourites or note the source, took me awhile to find these links again - :-) )
Once I had the pattern, I started that night.
Part way through the next day.

I loved watching how the yarn changed from one colour to the next, not just stop/start like some yarns but a gradual blending of the colours.

And here it is, the finished scarf, finished length approximately 160 cm, ideal for wrapping up snug and warm on chilly winter days.
Stay tuned for the October, month 2 projects.

Saturday 4 October 2014

Zucchini Slice

I have made zucchini slice for many years now, so quick & easy. The original recipe I used was way too oily but lately I have used this recipe from There are many variations for a zucchini slice, this has become my go to one.

It is ideal for a light lunch served with salad, a warm afternoon snack straight from the oven, post footy training filler or even served cold. I also recently made one in a swiss roll tin as it worked perfectly, a slightly thinner version, to cut into snack sized pieces to take to a working bee at church.

 I have a jug that is an ideal size to mix up the slice in.

Pour into a lined lamington sized tin.

Cooking times vary - check it is cooked through in the centre.

This one I made I cut into pieces, wrapped & popped into the freezer, so quick to grab & heat in microwave for lunch or a snack.