Honeycomb recipe

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 Honeycomb’s kinda my thing, I make it and bring it to shindigs, or pop it in a takeaway box if I want to make a quick gift. It’s very easy, except for one thing, which is catching it at the right moment – after the sugar melts but before it burns. If the sugar is even an eensy teensy bit caught, the honeycomb will go right over, because as it foams upon addition of the bicarb, it gets even hotter inside, or traps the heat or something.

I was at a wonderful studio warming party yesterday hosted by Renee Callahan (East London Knit). I brought some honeycomb and exclaimed how easy it was to make but failed to give  any details. Hey, it wasn’t the only bubbly stuff consumed that afternoon, ‘k?

So my apologies for teasing, and here it is:

200g white caster sugar (brown sugar won’t work)

50g golden syrup (measured by weight straight into the saucepan on a scales – spoons are kinda pointless with golden syrup)

2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

Important: silicon bakeware to put it in (it’ll just stick to tins and glass) do not butter or otherwise prepare

1) melt the sugar and syrup together over a medium to hot heat and until it all starts to bubble briskly – I don’t think you’re supposed to stir but I do anyway

2) turn the heat down so it’s still bubbling, but more slowly. Let it completely go to liquid, it should be a lovely clear golden colour by now. 

3) take it off the heat, rapidly stir in the bicarb, and get that stuff into the silicon bakeware as soon as possible

4) let it cool completely. Don’t prod or poke at it. Don’t even pick bits off the side. Go lick the spoon instead. (Seriously, it could collapse)

5) try to break it into chunks without touching it. Baking parchment rocks, plastic bags are bad (sticky!!!!)

6) eat same day or maybe day after, and don’t get it wet or feed it after midnight.
:) xxxxx e enjoy!

Episode 4: Catching up with Catchloops

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I was very flattered to be interviewed for the Blasta podcast. Dearbhla asked some great questions and got me thinking about the design process.

Blasta

For Episode 4, Dearbhla caught up with Elanor King a.k.a. “catchloops” when they were both at Unravel earlier this year.

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During their chat they speak about a number of patterns:

To celebrate her Knitty success, Elanor has set up a KAL. The cast-on date was May 1st but you have until July 20th…

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Lady Lismore

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One of my patterns has made it into Knitty! And I am running a KAL with prizes!

My beautiful sister models the crescent-shaped shawlette in St. Pancras station.

Lady Lismore features a trio of wrapped-stitch stitch patterns. Wrapping a stitch is a way to make a longer-than-usual stitch. The more times you wrap the stitch as you make it, the longer it will be. On the next row, you drop the extra wraps and just work with the elongated stitch. In Lady Lismore, different ways of manipulating the wrapped stitches give different effects. Each band of wrapped stitches is separated by some gratifyingly easy stocking stitch (stockinette) sections. Increases are at the edges only, and are consistent.

The Large sample for Knitty was worked using a variegated purpley-red and an almost-completely-solid grellow.

Dragonfly Fibers Pixie 4-ply [100% Superwash Merino; 475m/4oz skeins]
[MC] Redbud; 1 skein
[CC] Weaverknits Grellow; 1 skein

The above Large shawl used up less than 100g (422yds/386m) of MC and 61g (256yds/234m) of CC.

I originally worked up the Small shawl in electric blue and shocking pink.

West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4-ply [40% Wool, 35% Blue Faced Leicester, 25% Nylon; 400m/100g balls]
[MC] Sarsaparilla; 1 ball
[CC] Bubblegum; 1 ball

In fact the Small shawl used about 80g (350yds/320m) of MC and 40g (175yds/160m) of CC.

Now for the KAL info

If you would like to join the Lady Lismore KAL, it starts on May 1st and you can sign up here. There will be some great prizes, including yarn, pattern vouchers and a handknit Loom Band Hat by me.

Start Date: May 1st – this should give everyone enough time to source yarn and materials 
End Date: July 20th – this will give me enough time to wrap up the competition before my kids go on school holidays! 
How to enter: Sign up by introducing yourself and showing or describing the yarn you’d like to use 
Prizes: To be announced, but categories will include

  • Most “loved” – as voted by people reading the FINISHED!!! thread (automatically entered by signing up below)
  • Most “helpful” – as voted by clicking the “helpful” button on the project pages (automatically entered by signing up below)
  • First to finish – no cheating! If you’re entering this category, we need to see a pic of your unused yarn next to a date (on or after May 1st) in a newspaper or in a bank or similar (entry by posting date pic on your project page and signing up below, first to post a project with pics in FINISHED!!! thread wins)
  • Best riff – I just love it when people take an idea of mine and really make it their own, whether by changing up the colours, changing the shape, adding beads, shells, whatever – I will pick a handful and then ask for votes (entry by signing up below and stating your intention to riff)

If this sounds like your kind of -along, then please step right this way and sign up here! I’m so excited to see what you do!

Please ask questions if you have them, pop ’em into a comment below.

Xxx Elanor

Sewing hack: measuring lots of quarter inches

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If you need to pin one piece of fabric a small distance from an edge, e.g. pinning bias tape around a curve, but hate fiddling with the tape measure or ruler at the same time, mark the small distance on your thumbnail with an erasable marker and use that instead.

Visible Mending and what’s the problem with knitting top-down.

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I made a school jumper 3 years ago for child#1 and it’s still in use for child #2. It was made with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and washes quite well. It has frayed somewhat at the sleeves though.



I have learned the hard way why our ancestors worked their clothing bottom-up. If a garment frays at the hems, where it is most likely to, then the damage runs further and faster when the garment is made top-down, than if it’s made bottom-up.

I picked up stitches below the frayed area. I picked up a further 2 sts either side as well.

Then I worked in the original pattern (baby cable rib) for the same length as the cuff. I picked up a St from the jumper at the corresponding point at the start of each row. I cast off by working slip st into the cuff cast-off and slipping the previous St over. The cuff cast-off was quite firm actually, as I had replaced that recently.



Unfortunately, I don’t have any marching yarn and I had to guess at the needle size (3mm?), so this is a very visible mending. I’m quite determined that this jumper will last for as long as it fits. There may be more patching ahead! 

Honestly though, I think I have to just bite the bullet and get another ball of baby Cashmerino and rework the cuffs.

Swatching in the round

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In case you’ve not seen this neat way of making a swatch for an in-the-round project, here’s how to do it.

Use a pair of double-pointed needles. Cast on the required number of stitches. *Don’t turn the work, but instead push the sts back to the other end of the needle. Draw the yarn loosely across the back of the swatch. Work the next row as if it is the next round. Repeat from * for the required length of swatch. Cast off. Cut the strings at the back. Block and treat as the project is to be treated. Pin out and measure.

As with all swatches, measure across the central sts as the edge sts may be distorted.

 Here are pics of a (small) swatch worked in this manner (a) from the front; (b) from the back and (c) pinned out for measuring with the strings cut.





Note, if the yarn is slippy, you may have to secure the edgemost stitches so that they don’t unravel. You can do this with a sewing machine or by crocheting the edge as you might do with a steek. It helps to have long lengths of yarn at the back.

Why would you ever want a hand-dyed fairy silk plumb line?

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I confess i’m a wee bit girly around DIY and usually shy away from using power tools if there’s a big man handy to do it instead. Not a great message to send my 7-yr old daughter, so am trying not to worry so much about cocking it up and Just Get On With It.

Our bathroom was originally put in by either a rank amateur or a bunch of con men cos nothing in it has ever worked or been leak free. The latest casualty is the shower thingy that holds the head up. It would slowly wander down the bar from over-head height down to navel level. For the past few days, my husband and I have had lovely clean torsos, but shampooing has been a bit of a palaver unless we sit down (or, you know, do it one-handed, v 80s, dahling).

So I decided this morning to bite the bullet and try and do this small bit of DIY. I have now learned about tiny hexagonal screwdriver heads for headless screws.

I’ve learned about which drill bit to use on ceramic tiles (masonry, if you don’t have a tile and glass one). I even know which drill bits are which:

Top is for wood, middle is HSS for metal and bottom for masonry.

I improvised a plumbline with a weight and not just any old string, but some hand dyed fairysilk mohair.

Gosh it’s a lovely day outside.

And ta dah! We have a working shower head holder thingy again. Yay me! Not bad for someone who’s heart was in their mouth the whole time that drill was making that noise. Anyway, now I have to go clean up the mess.

Oh, yes, one last thing, the old one left holes. Not sure how to hide those, I could google it, but what would you do?

A Card for Valentine’s Day

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I made a Valentine’s Card for my lover, and I’m pleased enough with the result that I’d like to share it with you. Since it’s me making it, it’s partially knitted, of course!

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Finished Card

Yarn
Easyknits.co.uk Deeply Wicked in Mulling (about 10g required)
100% Superwash Merino
400m/100g skein

Needles
One pair of 2.25mm needles.
Cable needle

Measurements
The finished motif is 9.5x9cm (3.75×3.5in)

Notes
All measurements are given horizontal width first, then vertical length.

Non-Knitting Materials Required
I bought my materials from Hobbycraft, but you’ll find similar products in most good stationers
1 A5 blank greetings card with pre-cut window
(If you want to make one yourself, cut some card to 44x21cm (17.25×8.25in), fold into thirds, and cut a window 9.5x12cm (3.75×4.75in) into the central panel.)
1 sheet decorative card (from the papercraft/scrapbooking aisle)
Scissors
Scalpel
Ruler
Stick glue
Glue dots
Optional: Computer & printer for interior motto

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The back of the card with sunlight streaming through.

Abbreviations
Cdd: Slip next 2 sts knitwise, knit next st, pass 2 slipped sts over
CN: Cable needle
K: Knit
K2tog: Knit 2 sts together at the same time
LDC: Slip 1 st onto a cable needle, ssk from LH needle, K1 from CN
LH: Left hand
P: Purl
RDC: Slip 2 sts onto CN, K1 from LH needle, K2tog from CN
RS: Right side
Sl: Slip
Ssk: Slip 1 st knitwise, slip a second st knitwise, insert LH needle into front of 2 sts just slipped and knit together
St(s): Stitch(es)
WS: Wrong side
Yo: Yarn over

My lover and I skipping stones on Killiney Bay once upon a time.
My lover and I skipping stones on Killiney Bay once upon a time.

Instructions
Cast on 33 sts.
Rows 1 – 7: Knit.
Row 8 and all WS rows to Row 38: K4, P25, K4.
Rows 9 & 11: Knit.
Row 13: K15, K2tog, Yo, K16.
Row 15: K14, K2tog, Yo, K, Yo, Ssk, K14.
Row 17: K13, K2tog, Yo, K3, Yo, Ssk, K13.
Row 19: K12, K2tog, Yo, K, Yo, Cdd, Yo, K, Yo, Ssk, K12.
Row 21: K11, K2tog, Yo, K7, Yo, Ssk, K11.
Row 23: K10, K2tog, [Yo, K, Yo, Cdd] twice, Yo, K, Yo, Ssk, K10.
Row 25: K9, K2tog, Yo, K11, Yo, Ssk, K9.
Row 27: K8, K2tog, [Yo, K, Yo, Cdd] 3 times, Yo, K, Yo, Ssk, K8.
Row 29: K8, LDC, Yo, K3, Yo, K2tog, K, Ssk, Yo, K3, Yo, RDC, K8.
Row 31: K9, LDC, Yo, K, Yo, RDC, K, LDC, Yo, K, Yo, RDC, K9.
Row 33: K11, P3, K5, P3, K11.
Row 35 & 37: Knit.
Rows 39 – 45: Knit.
Cast off.

This motif is also charted in full. Read RS rows from right to left, and WS rows from left to right.

ValentinesCard

Block gently, following the care instructions on ball band. Weave in ends.

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Assembling the greetings card

1. Take the decorative card and cut a piece 13.5x15cm (5.5x5in).

2. On the reverse of the card, mark out a square 6.5×6.5cm (2.5×2.5in). Centre the square on the horizontal. Position the top edge of the square 4cm (1.5in) from the top of the decorative card. Use a scalpel to cut the window from the decorative card.

3. Glue the decorative card to the inside of the greetings card on the middle panel, to give a “frame-within-a-frame” effect. Take care to keep the edges straight so your frames dont look wonky!

4. Use glue dots to stick your knitted heart to the inner flap that “looks through” the window in the front of the card. Put a glue dot at each corner on the WS of knitted motif. Position it neatly at the window. Close the card, thereby sticking it to the card’s inner flap.

5. Print out a motto (save my one below, or write your own) and glue it to the inside of the card.

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Centred frames
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Use glue dots to stick the knitted motif to the card.
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The knitted motif is attached to the interior flap of the card.
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The assembled card. Note the decorative card is printed on both sides.
Download for your own use, or make up your own!
Download for your own use, or make up your own!

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