Verb: pootle
poo-t(u)l To move in a leisurely unhurried way,
with no real purpose

Monday, 26 October 2015

An apply weekend

 All in all this weekend was a very apply kind of affair.

For several weeks now, as the apples on our trees have ripened they have been picked, 
chopped and frozen in preparation for the arrival of Chutney Day.

And this Saturday was that day !

In the last couple of years it has become a bit of a ritual in our house with the
 finished chutney being much enjoyed for several months afterwards - 
and one very special and very large jar being set aside especially for Christmas.

The smell as it is cooking completely fills the house and the whole day is
 pretty much all about the grand cook up - 
with it happily bubbling away on the hob for several hours.

This years large harvest of apples meant we had two pans on the go -
increasing our output by a full 50% on last year - Happy Days !

The recipe couldn't be simpler, and there is definitely no particular science to it,
 as its very much an everything in all at once kind of cook up.

12 lbs of apples  ( after peeling )
3 large onions
(We also added a couple of pounds of rhubarb to our mix this year.)
5 lbs of Soft Brown Sugar
3 pints of vinegar
8 oz salt
4 oz garlic
Pickling spices ( placed in a muslin bag )
4 oz mustard seeds
6 heaped tsp cayenne pepper.
2 oz ground ginger
2 lb sultanas

We doubled the above recipe and made 35 jars ( all sizes ) of chutney.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Autumn Garland

Last year I crocheted an Autumn Garland to hang on my fireplace and 
I have to admit to falling in love with everything about it -
 from the Autumn colours, to the little acorns, to the cosy feel that it
 brought to the room, 
so when asked me to put a tutorial together
 for them I jumped at the chance.

And here it is - the 2015 model !

                      This year I worked it  slightly differently in that I went for more of a rustic feel
                                              by making the main garland chain in twine.

                                  I wanted to create something that was not only simple to do
                                                    but that had a more natural look to it.

I used a 4 ply cotton yarn, as I find that cotton brings a really good texture
 and definition to smaller crochet items.

Without a shadow of doubt my most favourite part was making the teeny acorns - 
I just love them !
 There is something truly satisfying about quietly hooking away
 making these little treasures of nature.

I made the leaves in a selection of beautiful Autumnal shades,

     and then it was simply a matter of putting them in to little bunches 
and hanging them on the twine.

I added little tiny wooden pegs to mine as a finishing touch.

The full pattern and tutorial can be found here at 
or in the right hand side bar of my blog.

Monday, 12 October 2015

A penny saved .....

Back in August I wrote a blogpost about the first of two bags 
that I designed for

I  wanted to make a crochet bag that would have plenty of strength and
 that would not end up going saggy round the edges, a bag is a bag after all and 
needs to be full to bursting with all those useful things you need !

Anyway, after a fair bit of head scratching I designed the bags so that a hessian shopper
 ( available from all good supermarkets ! ) 
could be tucked inside to give that much needed strength, 
as well as very helpfully providing you with ready made handles.

This was the first design, the Bobbly Shopper

and here is second design,
 the Heart Shopper.

I really loved having a proper go at Tapestry crochet with this one. 
Having wanted to give it a try for some time it really wasn't half as 
complicated as I had convinced myself it would be.

I chose the Wendy Cotton Supreme to work with as I wanted a good, 
solid texture to the bag.

Once I had worked out the heart shape that I wanted on graph paper, 
transferring it to the actual crochet was very satisfying - and more than a little addictive ! 
Full details of both the chart and how to do the tapestry effect are included 
in the free pattern over at the lovecrochet blog.

Each bag is the same basic design in that it is made up of a rectangle for the front,
 one for the back and then a long strip that makes up the sides and the bottom of the bag.

The handles from the hessian bag are covered in another thin strip
 of crochet to match in with the bag.

So whether you're saving those pennies now that carriers are no longer free or you're 
looking for a bag that's just a little bit different ...

                                                          .. you need look no further !

The pattern can either be found here or 
by clicking on the photo on the right hand side of this blog page
 where all my Crochet with Kate patterns are listed.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Random .... to be or not to be ?

So, here's the thing ... 
whilst I am eternally grateful to my Mum and Dad for
 giving me 'the neat and tidy gene' and enabling me to be super organised
 and super tidy wherever I go, when it comes to crochet it seems, 
quite unexpectedly, that this poses a bit of a problem.

Now it's nothing too earth shatteringly awful and life can continue 
without it being too much of an issue ...... 
but, oh, how I would love to be able to do random !

But I can't.

I simply cannot make myself sit down and do a completely unplanned, 
spontaneous  and what's the word .... organic, piece of crochet.
It's literally quite impossible for me to put two colours together that might clash a bit 
or that don't maybe sit right together. 
It's almost bringing me out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. 
And then, just imagine if someone made me sit down with a whole basket of odds and ends , 
in all the colours of the rainbow ,
 and asked me to just go with the flow .... definitely in a cold sweat now !

So why bother I hear you cry - well, because as I have traveled on my crochet 
journey I have discovered that whilst I may not actually be able to do it,
 I have become rather partial to a bit of a random patterned blanket or two.

I have even attempted to have a go with this blanket that I made a couple of years ago,

but if you look closely you'll see that I literally got not further than a quarter
 of the way through before I had reverted to type and a lovely,
 neat and tidy pattern happened.

Don't get me wrong, I still love this blanket very much but since finishing it, 
always at the back of my mind there's been that little voice
 saying 'go on, go on, do random, do random. '
I've even had all the yarn ready and waiting in a bag in my cupboard, 
just tucked away quietly waiting for that moment.

And then, one day, one very normal every day kind of day ...... 
the lovely Heather over at Pink Milk very quietly posted a post all about 
this most miraculous of inventions called, wait for it ....


My heart is beating faster just thinking about it.

LOOK !!!! 
It actually works out the random for you ! 

You just put in a few details like your colour choices,
 number of rows etc and off it goes, again and again and again !

 Endless randomness, 
it even allows you to choose which random you like the most !

Bloomin' fantastic !
Heather - I owe you big time .

Well, before you could say 'what colour next' I had hot footed it upstairs,
 got the hidden bag of yarn out from the back of the cupboard, printed off 
'The Golden Chart of Randomness'

and the blanket had been started.

And, oh, oh, oh, big happy sigh of relief ....

I can do it !
I can TOTALLY do it.

My Pootling bag is packed and wherever I go, it comes too.

And, boy .... is it addictive !

I can't stop.
I love it.
Hook, line and sinker - I AM IN.

So, here I am, one very happy and satisfied crocheter sitting in a lovely tidy house doing random crochet to my hearts content - who says you can't have the best of both worlds :-) 

Probably just worth stating at this point that the irony hasn't been lost on me that I have still had to stick my charts very neatly and tidily in a brand new note book, that all my colours are neatly noted down next to the stripes, in very neat handwriting and that all of my yarns are also very neatly recorded on a little tag that is tied very neatly in to my very neat and tidy notebook.  

Hey - ho, not quite fully off-piste just yet but one step at a time eh !

                 ( Further post to follow with pattern details ....  
            but for now just click here to be transported to 
                                The Wonderful World of Randomness ....