Monday, 30 September 2013

An End, more Middle, and another Beginning

 These socks seem to have been hanging around for ages......I finally made a concerted effort to finish them, as I don't like to have many projects on the go at once. It is a plain pattern, top down. The yarns are all fivemoons sock yarns, left over from other projects.
I started making Rowan ' Southport'  some weeks ago, in a longwool yarn. Then ran out of yarn just short of finishing the sweater. Bought two years ago at WonderWool Wales, there was no chance of matching it. So, I bit the bullet and ordered the Rowan cocoon recommended.  Started again, the pattern was not as exciting as first time, so has languished in my knitting bag. Last night, I did a couple of rows, which has brought it back into focus.
The new Susanna Ic Autumn Mystery Knit Along has just started. I signed up on the day it opened for registration. The choice of yarn for it was easy. Sharon, of fivemoons yarns, gave me this gorgeous alpaca and cashmere blend yarn a few weeks ago. It is a Knitting Goddess yarn. Absolutely lovely to handle. I hope to cast-on tonight.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

No Frost

Over the week-end, Best Beloved and I discovered some really good sloes. Large, ripe, and with a dusting of 'bloom'. That 'bloom' contains spores of wild yeasts, among other things. Never wash your sloes before processing them - the Gin will kill any nasties! There has been no frost yet, but leaving the fruit on the tree risks losing it. So, into the freezer for a day or so, to mimic the action of the frost ( which converts the sugars).

Wild yeasts, +  natural sugars, +  added sugars , +   Gin  =   a heady liquer called Sloe Gin.   It should be a rich, dark red in colour. A thick, heavy liquid. Have a strong fruity flavour.....and be drunk in moderation from small glasses!
At the moment, it is at the  ''shake daily for three weeks''  stage.
Sloe Gin
24 fluid ounces Gin    
12 ounces of ripe sloes
6 ounces white sugar  
Use whatever Gin you have, but the cheapest you can find is usually best. The better brands are usually too highly flavoured to allow the sloe flavour through.                                                    
Make sure your sloes really are ripe, then 'frost' them in the freezer.
Use white sugar....brown has too strong a flavour, an does not 'feed' the yeast sufficiently.
Prick the sloes and put into a bottle, or a Kilner jar. Pour the sugar in on top. Pour the Gin in over all.Screw ( or clip ) the lid on tight, and give the container a good shake.                                                                                       
Put the container somewhere light, where you will see it constantly, for instance the Kitchen window sill. Shake it daily for three weeks. Then put it away for a month or so.                                               
When the time is up, strain out the sloes, and filter the liquid. ( Coffee filters are excellent). Put the   Gin in a clean, labelled bottle.                                                                                                                 
Leave it until Christmas to try it. If you can leave it for a year, it will be even better.                         
I have a few bottles of varying Vintages  ( ahem....)  I call it my 'Ribena'.  Friends call it ''Lin's ****** rocket fuel ''.  I haven't noticed anyone refusing it, though!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Preparing for Spring

 I do love bulbs....whether in clumps under shrubs, in drifts in grass, or in pots. The bulbs in these pictures are just the beginning of this Autumn's selection. 'Thalia' narcissus in pots (above) are wonderful by the back door. Species tulips, three or four inches high (again, in pots) in a sunny spot in the courtyard. Species crocus tucked under the shelter of the clematis in the courtyard.
The blue forcing Hyacinths are already in trays. I am waiting for the white ones. My own favourite indoor bulbs are the paperwhite narcissus....the first of the bulbs to be planted.                               

And an ambition partly achieved... I have always desired a patch of Belladonna Lilies. Yesterday, two were planted at the back of a new, sunny border. Another will join them shortly. Their tall, elegant, multi-flowered pink heads will add height to the bed.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Soft work (not Hard)....

This morning at work....Turning skeins of adorable yarn into squishy batons of loveliness.
It's a hard job, but someone has got to do it.....Meeeeeeee!

Monday, 16 September 2013


My summer knitting has been lace. The weather has been too hot for anything else. Both of the shawls are 'Annis', by Susanna Ic.  ( I do love her patterns). Above is in Garnstudio Drops Lace. 70/30 Alpaca/Silk. Natural Cream.
 This one is in Rowan Fine Lace, 80/20, Merino/Alpaca. I don't know what the colour is called, but it is a sort of crushed Mulberrry.
The Susannah Ic group on Ravelry are about to start the Autumn Mystery Knit-Along......I can't wait!!!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The scent of Summer...

 Basil and Olive oil......This will make a wonderful flavoured oil, to use in the depths of Winter.
Goats cheese and Watercress tarts.......making us hungry for supper.........

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Fruitful days......

 It starts with Plum Chutney........


And will go on for a while yet......