Sunshine & raspberries

Yesterday we had a properly sunny day; it felt like summer with blue skies and fluffy white clouds and not a raindrop in sight. So Mum and I set off to the local pick-your-own farm (with we’ve-picked-some-for-you farm shop and cafe complete with bouncy castle) to plunder the fruit.

We picked raspberries and black-currants but gave up on the strawberries. To be honest lots were moudy or unripe from too much rain and they are sitting on soggy straw. When I got home I whipped out a couple of bags of sugar from my pantry, weighed them had just enough for a batch of jam. My first ever batch of raspberry jam. It’s incredibly quick to make and very, very easy. I’ve always made various chutneys: apple & orange, spiced apple, apple apricot & peach, apple & rhubarb, marrow chutney etc etc in the autumn because we’ve been lucky enough to have gardens with apple trees. I’ve also made jellies: chilli & apple jelly, mint jelly, rosemary jelly etc but never jam – apart from helping Mum when I was growing up – mainly because I’ve never eaten much. This seems to have changed in recent years and we get through a steady supply of Bonne Maman preserves. Now it’s going to be Bonne Rachell! *cheesy but pleased with self*

Raspberry jam

900g raspberries – wash and put in a heavy based pan, they need to gently cook in their own juice for about 10 minutes until soft

Take off the heat, stir in 900g sugar until dissolved

Add a knob of butter and bring to a boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes or until setting point has been reached. Tip: put a few saucers in the freezer, to test SP put a small spoonful of jam onto the saucer, if it winkles when pushed with your finger a minute or two later it’s ready.

Remove scum. Pot in sterilised jars, cover. Lick spoons/fingers. Clean up. (I also found a splash of jam on my foot last night!)

This recipe made 4 pots of jam though only 3 are shown.

Come for a walk?

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Blenheim Palace has gorgeous grounds, with a lake to circle, a butterfly house to steam within (nice on a frosty day) and a maze to wander. Thank goodness there’s a viewing platform to climb if you need a bit of … Continue reading

Bank holiday

Well, Plan B has happened this bank holiday weekend. Instead of being whisked away for a long weekend to the south coast, walking along beaches looking for messages in bottles washed up upon the sand, sea glass and interesting looking pebbles, I’ve had my leg up with ice packs on my knee and am going downstairs backwards. It seems that it is possible for your knee to go on holiday without you. You discover this when you try to get out of bed, but roll on the floor instead.

Ah well, the disappointment hasn’t lasted long since Plan A has been rebooked for another time. I’ve listened to hours of a fantastic new audio book and enjoyed the sunshine streaming into the house.

Here’s what I’ve been up to….

Now The Rainbow Granny Stripe is done and dusted its full steam ahead with The Rhubarb Ripple blanket.

Look what I’ve just bought, it stops the yarn rolling all over the place as I crochet. I might say that it also means less fluffy, bitty, velcro like yarn, but that would imply I haven’t hoovered for a while. So I won’t.

It’s a herb bucket, sooo pretty,  and less than £5 from Aldi.

Then on to The Spring Flower blanket. Now this turned into a bit of a saga, enjoyable but a saga all the same today.

I’m going to start darning ends in as I go. I promise. I do like darning but it is a major faff when all you want to do is the end bit of a project as I found out last week!

Patch is right; I do have a new obsession about joining methods. If I’ve asked you 1000s of questions about your method, and you’ve answered patiently, then a big thank you to you. I’ve also watched lots of YouTube videos and scoured my magazines and crochet books. I just wanted to find the method that I enjoyed. Not necessarily the best, but the most fun. So, the above is Patch’s sewn whip-stitch method. Ho hum, the tension is bad and it was a real fiddle. I used to do lots of cross stitch, tapestry and pathwork but am out of practice and it shows.

Next I tried double crochet which I used before on the dolls blankets

S has never been involved in my crochet endeavors so far, apart from nodding his head in a complimentary fashion (and using a piccy of The Rainbow GS on his desktop background. Now that must be high praise eh?!)  but he didn’t like the green. It was just too green, he said. I tried white as I wasn’t too sure about the greenness either.

DC versus sewing is definitely the most satisfying and the tension is a perfect match too. I really like the ridge, it’s a bit different and adds a nice texture to the work. But I’m not sure about the white. It doesn’t quite make sense to me. Why would you suddenly have that white? Has it snowed in Spring?! S isn’t sure about all the random colour combinations either. I’m happy with them though. I think…

Not sure. Really not sure…

More comparison….

Bye, bye white. Zip! It’s gone!

How long should it be? I’ll see how it measures up against the RR. I’ll do some edging on it too. I’ve undone my original green joins and rearranged the colours into less random pairs. I think S was right and it is easier on the eye.

It’s been really satisfying deciding on a method of joining, rearranging the squares and realizing that my Dublin hotel crocheted squares are going to come together nicely to make a blanket.

PLeAse DONt TelL mE YoU PReferReD ThE WhItE.

:-D

Sunny morning hooky

Lovely bright morning for a bit of hooky.

I’m experimenting with this word hooky; it does have overtones of dodgyness to my sweet innocent mind. Hooky though seems to be what the happening crochet kids on the block are saying, so if I wanna be kool I’ll give it a whirl…

The plan was to make wristwarmers now I’ve got the yarnalicious stash, but then I began wondering if I really, really wanted to wear rainbow coloured wristwarmers when I’ve got around four pairs of gloves already.

Let’s get Crafting magazine did a twitter poll the other day asking their “Question of the Week: do you still buy #knitted & #crocheted garments from shops or do you prefer to make everything yourself? #craft

…and my reply was:  “I’m not that talented and actually some machine made knitted items look far better than handmade. #honestopinion” and that really is how I feel about lots of home-made do-dahs.

Controversial?

So, I’ve decided to start a Granny stripe blanket for the little girls I love to be Aunty Rachel to. They apparently like to snuggle under a fleecy blanket sometimes to watch tv, but I think a GS snuggly soft (reliably machine washable I’m told) Stylecraft yarn blanket is the way forward for them. :-D

Deciding which colour comes next is the challenge at the moment. I’ve completed two colour stripes now and do I go purpley again or change to pink? Dark or light? I’m off to ponder one of life’s happier and easier choices.

PS: it’s been flowerarama this week so a pint glass had to suffice for my second bunch of daffs!