Category Archives: Baking

Easter Crochet ~ Rowan CAL Scarf ~ Weeks 1 & 2

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Happy Easter to everyone!  Its the school holidays here in the UK and I’m looking forward to spending a long weekend with my family.  Hope the weather cheers up – its a little rainy and grey here in the south west at the moment and I would love the Spring sunshine to come back.  This week the less than Spring-like weather has been cheered up by my girls doing a spot of Easter baking.  I’ve been making green smoothies to try and counteract any chocolate over indulgence! The pup has been snoozing, whilst I’ve been crocheting my CAL hexagons and we have been watching Harry Potter films, crafting, drawing and reading whilst the wind blows outside.  If he’s not snoozing, the pup has a habit of trying to snatch my lovely summerlite yarn and would probably eat my crochet if my back was turned, so I need to make sure its in a safe place when I’m not working on it!

Has anyone joined in the CAL?  I’m really enjoying it so far – the ‘vibrant’ colourway is fab and I’m loving seeing my stack of hexagons starting to grow… The free pattern download for week 1 is here if you are interested: Rowan CAL week 1  To download your week 1 pattern you just need to register for free or log in and click on the ‘Download PDF’ button at the bottom of the Rowan website’s page. The free pattern PDF has also been translated into French, German and Dutch and beginner crocheters can also find helpful links on techniques including covering the basics such as how to hold your yarn and hook.  You can also check out my friend Violetta’s blog “A Knitting Bakery” for a Spanish translation and some fab charts to help alongside Rowan’s patterns.

UPDATE: Rowan has released the pattern for WEEK 2 today as an early Easter present and it is available to download now: Rowan CAL week 2

Here’s my first attempt at the week 2 hexagon.  They’re super quick to whip up and a very portable project.

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Happy Easter!  Back soon with more CAL updates ūüôā

Claire xx

Birthday Owls

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January was a VERY busy month:- 4 family birthdays and the launch of the new Spring Summer Season for knitwear!

A MIRANDA birthday cake was made for my 11 year old and a birthday sleepover¬†with friends arranged; there was much EXCITEMENT over the new ROWAN Yarns SPRING SUMMER 2014 season launch; I finished knitting Kate Davies OWLET for my 4 year old in Knoll Soft Donegal and a RAINBOW FAIRY MAGIC cake was made.¬† I also celebrated my birthday and my 11 year old made a yummy birthday MOCHA CAKE from Jane Brocket’s Vintage Cake Book for me and my dad to share (it was his birthday the day before mine).¬† I knitted myself a super warm rib snood from the Erika Knight Collection using her MAXI wool (pictured¬†above in Mallard).

I also got a NEW JOB which has taken up a¬†LOT of my time, hence the lack of¬†blogging around here recently…¬† its certainly been a challenge to go from being a stay at home mum (which is a full time job in¬†itself!) to working some long¬†hours in a new job with a young family to look after but¬†at least¬†I have my knitting to keep me sane! ūüėȬ†and at least I might occasionally have¬†some money to¬†treat myself to¬†some (shhhh….) yarn now and again ūüėČ well maybe…..

Somewhere in there, I also passed my blog first anniversary and a whole year of being an ambassador for Rowan Yarns.

Hope you’ve been enjoying the warm SPRING SUNSHINE if you’ve been lucky to find some (I’m so over all of that winter rain!)

More catch ups coming soon xx

Iced Bun Weekend

The girls have been baking again ūüôā

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I’ve been squeezing in a spot of knitting:

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I’ve picked up my Louisa Cape project again from Rowan Studio 30 ~ so cute!

There has been barbie crochet & a fashion shoot :

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Walks with the dogs in the sunshine:

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And rope swing fun!

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And freshly laid eggs from happy hens :

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Our little cockerel was quite poorly last week but thanks to some major TLC and great tips from Little Poppits he has made a miraculous recovery ūüôā

I also managed to squeeze in a little trip to my LYS to admire the Rowan Fine Art Yarn (loving Kingfisher & Waxwing : on my wish list!) and drooled over the new pattern book ‘Spirit’ from Kim Hargreaves for Rowan.

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We picked up some fab Stylecraft DK to make an end of year present for my daughters teacher (I have Lucy to thank from Attic 24 for introducing me to this great inexpensive yarn).

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Here’s¬†our sweet dog¬†having fun in the woods:

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It was great to make the most of the bluebells, then home for fresh apple cake ~ the recipe is from Jane Brocket’s Vintage Cakes book ~ it was so easy to make & can surely be classed as healthy because of the fruit (and spelt flour that I substituted!)

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It’s a long holiday weekend here in the UK and its been so lovely to have some sunshine. What have you been doing this weekend? I hope you’ve had a great time too!

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Hardly a cloud in the sky…..

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A Hat for the Spring : Adventures in Softknit Cotton

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Remember this ball of beautiful indigo blue softknit cotton from my Rowan Beach Shoot ?¬† This week I¬†couldn’t resist it any longer¬†– I had to try¬†out this new yarn.¬† I’d seen and¬†admired Mel’s Downton Abbey inspired Nola Cloche by Hillary Smith Callis over at Coal Valley View and being a big fan of¬†the TV series myself, I thought that it was the perfect pattern for my new softknit cotton.

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The softknit cotton, I have to say is delicious : it’s a joy to knit with and the colour range is superb.¬† Who wouldn’t want to knit with shades¬†reminiscent of beautiful seascapes like¬†indigo blue, pacific,¬†marine and seaweed?¬† Or how about sand, burnt orange and sunset red? Other shades conjure up images of¬†beautiful summer flowers such as tea rose and lupin.¬†¬†¬†Softknit cotton is an aran / worsted weight yarn with a touch of polyamide for durability. It has a beautiful softness and drape¬†showing texture and cable detail really well.¬† It’s machine washable¬†(always a bonus!)¬†so its perfect for knitting spring and summer garments.

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The Nola Cloche itself is very easy to make.¬† Simply knit the brim with a lovely cable twist for detail, then pick up some stitches from around the edge of the brim to knit the crown of the hat, decreasing as you go.¬† I was¬†intending that the hat¬†would be for me but as I had to take photos, I think my model¬†had¬†other ideas!¬† She’s always been a hat girl!

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Its a little big as its an adult size but I have promised to knit her one in a colour of her choosing ūüôā

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Rowan’s pattern support for this yarn is fantastic : check out Martin Storey’s Softknit Collection featuring a contemporary mix of fashionable and simple textured knits and aran and cable patterns on my Rowan Favourites Pinterest Board.¬† The softknit cotton is also interchangeable with Rowan’s Handknit cotton so you could also check out Martin Storey’s ‘Simple Shapes Handknit Cotton’ for patterns too .

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Spring was definitely in the air today : wood anenomes were popping up all over the place.¬† I can’t wait for bluebell season.¬† We’re lucky to have this lovely bit of¬†ancient woodland on our doorstep which is owned by the Woodland Trust.

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Then we popped home to bake a loaf of bread for tea.

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Do let me know if you try the Softknit Cotton or knit up the Nola Cloche: I would love to hear from you ūüôā

Bye for now,

Claire X

Its a Spring Thing (and a doily addiction…)

Spring seems to have sprung¬†all over blogland today and I’ve certainly been inspired by all of the lovely photos and bright Spring colours¬†popping up¬†on the internet.¬† I’ve¬†had a small stash of candy coloured cotton 4-ply yarn that has been calling out to me for a while now and having seen lots of doilies and similar pretty¬†lacy crochet patterns¬†on the internet I had to give¬†it a go…

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I started off with¬†some Rowan Siena 4ply in¬†light pink and the Victoria Doily pattern in Jane Crowfoot’s book¬†Homespun Vintage.¬† Jane¬†describes in her book how,¬†following the popularity of crochet during the Victorian era, the 1950s to 1970s saw¬†its revival¬†again (it went into something of a decline during the¬†two world wars possibly as a result of rationing and the difficulty in sourcing yarns),¬†with lacy patterns and doily work¬†suddenly becoming¬†very popular.

Here’s my finished doily (ravelled here); it seemed to look right at home alongside my vintage sheet patchwork blanket…

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Jane¬†talks about¬†the delicacy of crochet work in a doily replicating the look of lace making the perfect table decoration.¬† Any excuse to get baking and get the vintage china out…

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A close up of the excellent Lemon Drizzle Cake (made by Miss E, not me I confess): yummy!:

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I’d also wanted to make these pretty little coasters for quite some time (see the free pattern over on the¬†Yvestown Blog):

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Ooops: they seemed to multiply quickly and before I knew it I had a whole stack (Ravelled here):

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I think these coasters would also make rather a nice Mothers Day card, with the addition of a sweet little bit of fabric backing:

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On the lacy crochet theme, I thought you might like to see these lovely little containers from Ikea.¬† They’re meant for plants but I bought them for a¬†couple of¬†pounds each and they’re just the job for keeping knitting needles and crochet hooks in:

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Loving the Ikea lilac too; I wish we had a lilac tree in our garden:

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I spotted some real Spring flowers in the garden today too:

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Happy Springtime! x

Vintage Sheet and Crochet Valentine Heart

At our recent¬†valentine themed craft group¬†evening I couldn’t decide whether to knit, crochet or sew!¬† I ended up crocheting a sweet little heart from a pattern that¬†a kind friend brought along from¬†Bella Dia but in my mind, an idea was forming to create a little heart that combined both fabric and yarn and today I decided to put my¬†plan into action….

I rummaged around in my stash of fabrics and found a cute little pile of sweet vintage sheet fat quarters that I had been saving for just the right project, bought from Donna Flower at the Christmas Vintage Fair in Frome.  The perfect companion : my little stash of Adriafil crochet cotton.

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I printed out a heart shaped template from the internet.  I cut out my heart shaped pieces from my vintage sheet fabric and sewed them together, and stuffed the heart.  Now for the fun bit, creating a crochet border.

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First, I sewed in chain stitch all around the outside of the heart, to form a basis from which to crochet:

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Then I played around for a bit with my hook and yarn until I had created a suitably pretty crochet border.   Next, I crocheted a chain to hang the heart from and attached it to the heart:

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It looked extra sweet with a little crochet flower embellishment:

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Time for a cuppa and some valentine cupcakes:

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I hope that you are having fun with any valentine crafting that you are doing?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Spa Birthday Party

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Continuing with the birthday celebration theme here at knitpurlgarden, a belated party for my daughter who turned 10 in January but was too unwell to celebrate at the time (January birthdays in peak bug season = never a good idea!). Here are a few snaps from the Spa themed party including the pastel swirl spa themed cake that I made, inspired by the sweetapolita.com blog.  A fun afternoon of much laughter, hot tubs, hair styling, toe nail painting, yummy nibbles and birthday cake.

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And before I go I’ll just sneek in a couple of photos of the other birthday cake that I made in January, for my younger daughter…

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Phew – birthday season over for another year!¬† All parties successfully planned and enjoyed by all! Maybe I’ll have some free time to knit and crochet again now…¬† Does anyone else have a run of family birthdays like me? Who has an inpiring Spring project on the go?¬† Do tell. xx