Wednesday, 30 March 2011

More aprons .............. cottages, florals, checks to suit every taste

Made two more aprons as sold two - HURRAH!
The two really pretty ones - the one with the cottage and the "Cooking is a Black Art" - off to new homes

So designed some new ones - one called "Forget Me Not" and has cute blue floral fabric trim and matching flowers
The other is a tribute to Shelock Holmes - with Prince of Wales check trim and Sherlock Holmes silhouette

written at the top - trimmed with pale pink cotton and lots pink Irish crocheted flowers all anchored with vintage buttons
The ties are in vintage real grosgrain ribbon
Sweet enough to cook in!

PRETTY IN PINK - top of the bib front

FORGET ME NOT - a play on words - calico with blue floral trim
Again crocheted flowers anchored with vintage buttons and real grosgrain ribbon ties - also vintage

Summery floral.  Brighten any day in the kitchen!

Apron - with a cute thatched and timbered cottage - with curtains at every window.
Pronce of Wales check thatched roof (fringed wool) and used on the trim - again vintage buttons and crocheted flowers with twill tape ties.

Apron with bib front on pleated apron
A distinctive apron to cook in any kitchen! A breath of country air into a town/city home..........

The man himself applique complete with the trademark pipe and deerstalker hat
All trimmed in Prince of Wales check - vintage buttons and twill tape.

 Apron - complete with witticisms along the bottom
Whats Cooking tonight? What's on the Menu Watson? Watson I smell....?
For the amateur or professional sleuth in the kitchen .............. just beware Moriarty!

 Apron - calico with deeeeeeeeeep pockets and lots and lots of co-ordinating vintage buttons down the pocket seams

 Apron - deep deep pickets for all your kitchen bits yet manly enough for your Man-about-the house! If you can trust him in it.....Suspect have to make a 'Cinders' Apron to match ..............??

Apron - calico trimmed with summer floral prints and matching flowers - Vintage buttons and grosgrain ribbon ties - bright and summery cheer any day's cooking at home.

Apron - fabric appliqued in blue spots, floral summer blues and pinks with co-ordinating flower trims.

Apron with deep pockets in bright cheery blue floral calico - each pocket seam and tie trimmed with deep blue and red flowers and vintage grosgrain ribbon ties
Sorry this one is now SOLD

Shall make some bags to match ...............

Other than that not much as been in a lot of pain with the M.E. - legs were agony this morning took me hours to get out of bed ........... wimp groan wimp

Monday, 21 March 2011

MARMALADE time ...................

Well despite the ME made some maramalade - two batcehs no less and how you may well ask ............. seeing as can't lift anything and standing any length time impossible ............... so here is MY recipe and method for those that have M.E/CFIDS - or have NO TIME! And for thsoe with M.E. OK you need a a bit of help!
Now I used to make loads of jam. chutneys and maramlades before the ME struck me down .......and I hate shop bought rubbish which goes mouldy and has no taste and has goodness knows what in it!!
MY jams/chutneys/marmalades only ahve fruit/sugar/spices/vinegar in - ALL NATURAL!!

RECIPE for any marmalade!
Its soooooooooooooper simple
Soooooooooooooper easy - anyone can do it
Fail safe
This is based on a recipe dating from 1800's and I don't believe in reinventing the wheel when there is a perfectly good one around - just perfecting it. This has just been updated for a modern kitchen and for lazy/ill chef/cook jam maker - Like I am now.
Principle is generous with fruit weights and mean with water and sugar!!

Get some Oranges, Seville are the best (but only in season a short time) and/or lemons or grapefruit or mandarins or satsumas
WASH them

Weigh them
I had 2.5lbs - make a note of weight you have - you will need it later .............
I make sure there is one lemon in pot if using oranges, or grapefruit (this adds citric acid and prevents crystallisation)

Now just slice them up (thick or thin - whatever) I like mine chunky so thick slices are fine - just put all pips to one side
Throw slices into large saucepan
(You can delegate the slicing bit)
Put pips into a large mesh bag - I use a tea ball
Throw in pot

Add 2 pints water for every whole pound fruit used - just use a little less water than fruit
So if you want to be picky its about three-quarters/seven eighths pints to a pound of fruit
Add to sliced fruit - cover and leave 24hrs


DAY 2 - just boil it up - boil for 5 mins - turn off
You can delegate this as well........................

DAY 3 - just boil it up - boil for 5 mins - turn off
You can delegate this again ...........

Repeat every day till liquid reduced by half and peel cooked

Make sure pal/helper/partner around to help!!
Put jars into dishwasher and wash - I re-use the ones with button lids
You can delegate this simple task - ditto all below
YOU just supervise from comfort of chair!

Heat up fruit/peel in saucepan and bring to boil again - remove tea strainer with pips
Weigh out sugar - almost double weight of fruit used - same principle as the water
For our American friends who use cups - one cup boiled fruit and water to one cup sugar
Warm if wish before adding to pot - speeds things up abit

Add sugar and boil till set point reached
But is you are tooo tired to wait for it to reach set point - just turn it off and reboil the next day

Marmalade will form skin on plate or sheet off spoon - this is the only thing you need to do!!
I have never used a thermometer!

When set point reached ...................
For Dundee whisky marmalade add a glugg or 2 of whisky
(Beware it will bubble up)
This also clears all the scum away - so does 2 jobs
a - flavour
b - no scum skimming to do = one less task

Pour into warmed jars and screw on lids

As it cools the buttons will pop down - giving a good seal

WILT REST RELAX SLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP  And expect tea/coffee cake as reward or scones/toast and new marmalade to test!
I HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO TAKE 2 WEEKS TO MAKE A BATCH OF MARAMALADE - it may not be as economic in power (all the reheating) but this method certainly helps to prevent major wilts and collapses and get home-made marmalade!
Its a sort of Pot au Feu method of jam making  -lol!!

Label jars - and put away in dark cool cupboard
Leave for at least 6 months to mature and then enjoy!
This will keep for years


TIP: If you discover that your marmalade is a bit runny - ie not a firm set - just chuck it back in pot reboil and that should be enough - repot and label.
TIP: If you want a really dark marmalade like Dundee add a couple tablespoonfulls of dark treacle/molasses.
TIP: Just boil it up everyday when dinner is on the go ................. the marmalade ends up being a by-product of other cooking in the kitchen. I just get someone to move it onto the already heated burner to get it reheated.

Have pleanty of jars as you get a really good yield per pound of fruit with marmalade!!
NOW I AM OFF TO LIE DOWN - again .............................

Hope this helps fellow sufferers and those just tooooooooooo busy to set aside a day for jam making

Friday, 18 March 2011

New designs rolling off the hook.......................

Well despite some severe wilting - meaning too weak to even pick up a crochet hook or even speak I have fought through and managed to finish off a few things ................... Aprons have been delivered to Newbourne Nursery for sale

I was asked ( by  Maggie at Bags of Handles in Walton: to design a scarf using Patons Batik so it would have long stripes rather than short blocks of colour - as no-one liked it like that!  So designed two scarves which are as follows................... Here follows a sort of rule of thumb tutorial to make a series of simple scarves ............................ SingularOne Designs© 2011

Watch this space and ETSY for my new series of designs - patterns using any yarn, hook etc for any size!!

Super Simple Scarves and Cowls

Using one ball wool/yarn

Short neck cowl

Long neck cowl

A series of simple patterns using approximately one ball of yarn – ideal for those odd balls of yarn or a single ball of exotic or expensive yarn as a treat.

They make quick simple presents.
Any yarn can be used – but examples are given as guidance.

If using a self patterning yarn with a long dye run as used in for example the Noro yarns. Note that if making a scarf or plain cowl you will build on the colour sequence. If making a moebius cowl the colours will split up more as you work both sides at the same time – rather than one side

You can use any stitch you like, but remember they will affect how the colour sequence runs. For example if using taller stitches such as double crochet (UK Trebles) the colour runs will become shorter and blockier, whereas if you use a shorter stitch such as single crochet (UK double crochet) the colour runs will be longer. If you use a fancy stitch such as a shell – depending on how long the colour sequence is this can have a pleasing effect

So have a try first to ensure you are getting the effect desired!

Crocheting along the length of a scarf/cowl with ensure colour runs make long stripes along the length of the scarf. If you crochet across the width of the scarf you will get blocks of colour. The stitch you use will further influence the nature of the stripes – blocky or sinuous stripe effect.

The same ball of PATONS BATIK was used for both scarves to show the variation

Long cowl/scarf/moebius strip - Working along the LENGTH of the scarf/cowl.  SingularOne Designs© 2011Materials

Ball Patons Batik (180m per 100grm ball) 80% cotton – or any chunky long run space dyed yarn c 180-200m

K or L Hook (7mm - 8mm) – or any hook that will give a supple fabric with yarn use


Just ensure you have a supple fabric

Time to Make

This takes about a couple of hours depending on your experience. So fast and easy!

Loosely chain c 150 stitches

For a scarf work along the length – working stitch into starting chain

For a cowl – join chain with no twist – chain requisite number stitches and then work around with no joins

For a Moebius – join chain with a half twist – if its easier work one row and then twist before joining, using the stating tail to sew together afterwards. Work around with no joins

Work until you run out of yarn an end of row. Approx 6 rows.

With whatever left over (if enough make a fringe at the ends of the scarf)

With the BATIK yarn – it made a 1.5m long, 10 cms wide scarf in double crochet (UK Treble) – sample shown a long moebius cowl – not blocking colours

Short neck cowl/scarf/moebius strip - Working along the LENGTH of the scarf/cowl. SingularOne Designs© 2011

Loosely chain c 80 stitches for medium length

For a scarf work along the length – working stitch into starting chain

For a cowl – join chain with no twist – chain requisite number stitches and then work around with no joins. The colour sequence will build on one side.

For a Moebius – join chain with a half twist – if its easier work one row and then twist before joining, using the stating tail to sew together afterwards. Work around with no joins – remember the colour sequence will be spread either side of the cowl.

Work until you run out of yarn an end of row. Approx 24 rows.

With whatever left over (if enough make a fringe at the ends of the scarf)
Note sample shown a normal cowl – note colour banding

Made in single crochet (UK double crochet) with a crab stitch edge. 18cms deep 35cm s wide: 24 rows

This was made using the same ball of yarn as in the long cowl

Cowl/scarf/moebius strip - Working along the WIDTH of the scarf/cowl.   SingularOne Designs© 2011Loosely chain number required for width of scarf/cowl/moebius.

Long scarf/cowl chain should be 10cms + turning chain.

Short scarf/cowl chain should be 18cms wide + turning chain.

Then crochet back and forth till yarn runs out in desired stitch. End off and weave in ends

For mobius do the same but at end crochet or slip stitch ends together – for plain cowl do not twist for moebius do a half twist.

With these if you have a space dyed yarn you will get large blocks of colour rather than thin stripes.

SingularOne Designs© 2011   Please respect my copyright in use

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Aprons for cooking in .....and for the more Reubenesque ladies

Been busy sewing - between major wilts with the M.E. ............... but still smiling and creating - which is the important thing!!

Little appliqued country cottage (all in patchwork and appliqued windows curtains and door with button doorhandle) with a hand-painted garden of bluebells: with added different coloured buttons on each tie (bib and waist)
A fun cottage and doesn't it make you smile ?
SORRY this is now SOLD!

It all started as a request to make an apron that would fit - the more reubenesque figure, as all aprons seem to come in just one size only so starting a bespoke line of aprons in SIZES! To fit the small and short and large and tall (or not so tall as the case may be) and the tartan apron was the result - red in it to match her kitchen and multicoloured as she can be a bit messy when she cooks (hope it hides mostof the splashes n paw prints! 
Had to wide enough to really wrap, short waisted bib, no pockets, long ties to reacha round and long enough to cover trousers
AND it fitted and she was very pleased (I think) rest fabric will be made into matching table cloth for her kitchen.

Red, blue, caramel, cream windowpane check apron with co-ordinating blue trim with multicoloured buttons at each tie

Upcycled from a half finished dress - now converted into a reversible apron with pleated skirt onto bib front

So all will have a bib front big enough to cover us up when cooking (in case we are a messy cook) and wide enough to wrap around us (big and small) and in various lengths (shorties and talls)!

Calico apron with cupcake border on bib and hem, with pink grosgrain ribbon ties
All sugar and spice and everything nice for the girly girl

Cream calico apron with 'smoothies' border on bib with co-ordinating red and green ties - extra wide
Shades of summer - cool drinks and smoothies in garden

Cream calico apron with B&W floral borders with co-ordinting crocheted flowers in cream and black with button centers at each tie (bib and waist) - extra wide
An apron for the sultry mysterious chef .................. 
SORRY this is now SOLD!
I have now made a co-ordinating bag for this Apron

They all have adjustable ties on neck with generous waist ties.
All are made with prewashed material - so no fears of shrinkage
Cool wash and iron

Can be made to order to fit you - prices start at £15-25 depending on amount fabric and amount of embellishing - appliques, flowers etc etc