Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Winter Warmers

Brrrrrrr! Actually here in west Norfolk UK we aren't doing too badly with the weather, and today it is dry, no rain sleet or snow, but it is dull dull dull and I am COLD!!!!!!!! So food has been a great cheerer-upper, both the cooking of it and the eating of it. Also I have spent hours with a crochet-hook and yarn in my hands, hooking away like a mad woman. Some stitching too - bizarrely I am making paper-pieced hexagons. Not a lot of music playing, to be honest, just not in the mood for it. I am in the throes of post-Christmas ennui and finding it difficult to do anything which I'm not feeling passionate about at the moment.

So, here we go with some photographs of warming activities.

A wondrous smoked fish risotto. I used the poaching liquid - milk - to cook the rice, a bit unusual I guess for risotto - but it was luscious!

This is a stuffed and roasted pork loin. Well, two pork loins actually. The recipe was one I pinched after we watched the Hairy Bikers Comfort Food episode on television. It's a bit of a faff, and not something to whip up every weekend, bit it was delicious, went a long long way, and really is a bit of a show-stopper. Great for serving up to a bunch of friends!

A stuffing of fresh white breadcrumbs, chopped onion, stem ginger, garlic, eating apple and some of the syrup from the stem ginger jar really sets the very lean tenderloin off. I served it with a sauce made from the pan juices, ginger wine, and cream. No low-fat rubbish in this house!

What's off my hook?

This lovely (though I say it myself!) chevron shawl has been a delight to make. The pattern just tootles along, very relaxing and soothing. I made it with three 50 gram balls of DK  - pretty fine DK . Then I thought no, it will work better as a shawl than a scarf, so hooked another three balls. I love the colours in this variegated yarn, which is Rico Creative Melange DK in Pastel Mix. 

What's ON my hook?

I'm using up all the left-over Stylecraft yarn in my basket - I have a LOT of it! I'm making oodles of these solid granny squares and stitching together not randomly but not too concerned with clashes of colour . It's a great little  "as you go along" project, when you just want to do something un-challenging and you can make a square in no time… they all add up. I've no idea when this will be finished, and I don't really care. 

What's NOT on my hook?

Well, I blush to admit…. after my great enthusiasm to get cracking on the Moorland Blanket from Lucy art  Attic24, that I haven't begun mine yet. I had such a battle doing the tension swatch ; the actual pattern wasn't the problem, but the starts were weird, and I went wrong each time, so my finishes were incorrect too. The middle bits were OK because I fudged it, but I can't start the blanket in this manner, I need to crack the entire pattern first. I note that MANY people have been frogging row after row of the blanket - that's a lot of frogging! So not just me. Lucy assures us that she did too, and that the pattern gets easier as you go on, and I'm sure that's true. But I can't raise the enthusiasm to get going knowing `I am probably going to have to be ripping it out , maybe more than once, before it clicks. I feel very guilty. And I have to say I have NEVER had a problem with any of  Lucy's patterns before, she writes an excellent tutorial. No idea why this one is so difficult.

What's on my sewing table?

Well, I had no intentions of making another quilt. And certainly not a hexagon one. But I caught sight of some of my gorgeous fabric which I had been 'saving' for a special project (unspecified!). And I thought - why am I hanging on to these fabrics? At my age I need to be using it up! And stitching away at a few hexies really appealed, you can do a few , or work at the different stages, cutting paper templates, cutting fabric shapes, stitching a few together….. and so on. Very undemanding I guess. So the fabric I picked up was the Kaffe Fasset collection, and my even older Liberty Lawns collection which I've had knocking about for about 25 years. I've supplemented these fabrics with others of similar pattern. It was so liberating cutting into them!

I had a small amount of the bright roses fabric so cut six hexies from this, and made six granny's flower garden blocks. However, I didn't want that to be the dominant pattern in the quilt, so have softened the effect by attempting a random colour-wash effect around the granny patches. NO IDEA how this will pan-out, as I have no plan. But using these gorgeous fabrics is such a joy, it is really warming me up!

Working in these projects has brought lots of colour into my daily life, which is something I crave. Now I just need to find a sudden passion for exercise and I might feel a bit fitter. Until next time!