Thursday, 27 December 2012

The last post of 2012 and Chocolate Mincemeat Brownies

So this is my last post of 2012 and I thought I would share a Christmas recipe with you - I think I've made approx 6 trays of these on the run up to Christmas: as I chose to give these instead of cards to quite a few of my friends.  I've put a montage of little pics together but some big snaps of the finished outcome.  Don't think too much about the calories of these as they taste divine and Christmas is a time of indulgence.....

Ingredients: 300gms (10 oz) dark chocolate - I do 150gms Scotbloc, 150gms good dark chocolate
250gms (8 oz)- unsalted butter: not the end of the world if you use salted
5 eggs
400gms (13oz) - caster sugar
1 tspn vanilla extract
150gms (5 oz) Plain Flour
50gms (1 3/4 oz) Cocoa
1/2 tspn baking powder
3 tbspn Mincemeat
Icing Sugar to serve 
Put oven on at 180c or gas mark 4.  Line a shallow 8" x 12" baking tin - leaving an overhang to lift it out.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl suspended over a pan of boiling water - dont let bowl touch the water -  and then allow to cool slightly.
Now in a seperate bowl whisk the eggs, caster sugar  and vanilla together till pale and fluffy - about 4 minutes.

Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.  Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder together and fold in gently with a large metal spoon.   Repeat with the mincemeat - but gently to keep all that trapped air in.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the surface.  Bake for 35 - 40 minutes - now a word of CAUTION!  This is the most important stage as Brownies tend to be overbaked....I leave mine in for 30 mins then check them out.  The top should have a crust but I pierce the centre of the tray to see at what stage the mixture is at - if the mixture is still liquidy put it back in the oven for another 5 mins, if the mixture is dry : get them out of the oven....if the mixture is not liquid but looking more solid then take them out.  Your Brownie wants to be undercooked and squidgy!  Leave to cool in the tray.

Now to finish off - I love this bit!  This idea was picked up from the blog Two Butterflies and I thought it was a fab should really be using a doily but I chose to use a piece of antique lace that I already had.  I placed the lace on the cake twice and then dusted icing sugar over it.  I think its really effective and sort of festive.

When your cake is completely cold - brownies need to be cooled so they cut easily - cut it into squares.


I then wrapped the brownies in clear collophane and tied it with a bow.

I hope you get the chance to make these: Chocolate never fails to disappoint.
Thank you for supporting me with my blog, I know I'm not always 'on the case' blogging but life gets in the way and I've had a good enough response with it to want to continue in the New Year.  I've a busy few days ahead of me preparing for a New Year dinner party - but watch out for my latest blogs as I has done so much cooking this past week and trying out new 'stuff' that I will share it with you.... .

 So here's wishing everybody a very Happy, Healthy 2013 and hope to see you in the 
New Year!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

A cosy Winter cowl

I kind of made the decision a month ago that I was not going to make any Christmas presents - but it must be some kind of disease as no matter how I try not to: I always end up doing something! I produced the Christmas deco's but having visited the Knitting and Stitching Show @ Harrogate - which I thought was pretty fab this year - I came back desperate to knit something in gorgeous Alpaca and I just had to feed my addiction!
So, no time to develop something new, no time to do crochet - but enough time to modify a pattern, use big needles, thick yarn and hey presto a pressie for Christmas produced in 2 evenings!  Instant gratification!!!!

Rowan Alpaca Chunky - 100gm balls x 2 for the cowl, if you add the cuff you will need a 3rd ball.
10 mm circular needle - 80cm long
8mm needles - for the cuff
3 matching buttons

Cast on 140sts using the 10mm circular needle.
Working in the round, Knit 2 rounds
Purl 4 rounds
Knit 4 rounds - repeat last 8 rounds once more 
Purl 4 rounds
Knit 2 rounds
Cast off.
Tidy up ends.

So you now have the cowl:

To add the 'cuff' - 

Using 8mm needles cast on 44 sts.
Knit 1 row,
Purl 1 row,
*Purl 1 row,
Knit to last 6sts, cast off 2 sts, knit 4sts
Purl 4, cast on 2, Purl to end
Knit 1 row.
Knit 1 row, 
Purl 1 row
Repeat from * twice more.
Cast off.

Tidy ends and sew 3 buttons into place on cuff to match button holes.


It takes time and effort to produce these 'free' patterns - so why not do something for me?  If you liked this pattern why not become a follower on my blogspot or 'like' me on my facebook/fairislerona page? I produce patterns, run 'giveaways' and have various bits of news for crafters to dip in to. Hope to see you...


Sunday, 9 December 2012

Sock Knitting workshop

Hand knitted socks are very fashionable at the moment - so why not come along to my workshop and learn how to knit them?  The class is on Saturday January 12th, commences at 10 and costs £25.  Tuition, coffee, tea and yummy cake all provided in the warm atmosphere of 'Up Country.  
Hope to see you there! 


A big thank you to everybody who took part in my 2 'giveaways', as much as I would like to give everyone a prize I had to narrow it down to 2 people: check out my facebook fairislerona page to find out who they are ...and watch out for my next giveaway.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas decoration

Well I said snowflakes were addictive - so I've now created a Christmas decoration: snowflakes with colour!  

So to make this little beauty I used Double knitting wool, Double knitting Mercerised Cotton, a 4 ply Lures yarn and a 3mm Crochet Hook. 

Crochet Christmas Decoration

Ch - chain, dc - double crochet, tr-treble, sl st- slip stitch

Ch4, slip st to form a ring

Round 1.  Ch1, 6dc in ring, join with sl st to first dc.
Round 2.  Ch3 (counts as tr), tr in same st, ch3, * 2tr in next dc, ch3; repeat from * four times, join with slip st to third ch of ch3, slip st to next tr.
Round 3.  Ch1, *5dc in next ch3 space, skip 2tr; repeat from* around, join to first dc. Fasten off.
Round 4.  Join yarn in space between any two 5 dc groups, ch1, dc in same space, *ch2, skip 2dc, (3tr, ch3, 3tr) in next dc, ch2, skip 2dc, dc between last skipped dc and next dc; repeat from * around, omitting last dc, join to first dc. Fasten off.
Round 5 - Gold - Start at centred dc between petals, ch1,
*1dc, 1dc in next 2ch space, 1dc in each tr, 3dc in ch3, 1dc in each tr, 1dc in 2ch space; repeat 5 more times from* slip st to ch1.  Fasten off.

6 decorations waiting to be won!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Snowflakes Crochet pattern

'That time' of year is approaching rapidly and I thought I would put a little project together for Christmas, with my current fascination for all things crochet it seemed a natural progression to crochet something and a snowflake seemed a fine idea!
I've had a look around to see what's already being produced and decided to put my little design slant on it - with a bit of glitter, beads and fluff....we all need a bit of sparkle at Christmas....I've been pretty busy producing these and there are many variations but they are all using the same pattern so what I have done is produced the pattern and then below a picture of the snowflake I have placed the instructions of the yarns I have used.
For my snowflakes I used Rowan Kid Silk Haze - double, a 4 ply lurex yarn and clear beads which were threaded on to the mohair before I started to crochet and I also used a 3mm crochet hook.  On the largest snowflake I also used a Rowan Cotton Glace in Pale Grey.
Hope you enjoy this pattern you'll find it seriously addictive even if you make a few or a blizzard of them!

3mm crochet hook
Rowan Kid Silk Haze - used double shade 642 Ghost
Rowan Cotton Glace - Pale grey
Anchor Artiste Metallic
Debbie Abrahams Beads - size 6 Colour 34

Abbreviations: English, American in bracket
ch - chain
dc - double crochet (sc - single crochet)
tr - treble (dc - double crochet)
htr - half treble ( hdc - half double crochet)
sl st - slip stitch

Thread beads on to mohair.

Begin with ch 3, sl st to for a ring.
Rnd 1. Ch3 (counts as a tr), 1tr into ring, *(ch2, 2tr) in ring, repeat from* 4 more times ch2 then sl st to top of ch3. 6 spaces
Rnd 2.  Ch4 (counts as a tr and ch1), * (tr, ch2, tr)in next ch2 space, ch1 rep from* 4 more times tr in last space produced by ch2 on previous row join with htr to 3rd chain of ch4.
Rnd 3.  Ch3 (counts as tr), (tr, ch1, pull bead up, ch1, 2tr) in space made by joining htr, dc in next ch1 space,*(2tr, ch1, pull bead up, ch1, 2tr) in next ch2 space, dc in next ch1 space, repeat from* around, join with a sl st to top of ch 3.
Rnd 4.  Ch3 ( counts as a tr), *(3tr, ch1, pull bead up, ch2, 3tr) in next ch2 space, tr in next tr, skip 1tr, dc in next dc, skip 1tr, tr in next tr, repeat from * around missing last tr, join with a sl st to the top of your ch3.
Rnd 5.  Ch3 (counts as a tr),*tr in next 2 tr, (3tr, ch3, 3tr) in next ch3 space, tr in next 3 tr, skip 1 tr, dc in next dc, skip 1 tr, tr in next tr, repeat from * around, omitting last tr, join to top of ch3. 
Rnd 6.  Ch1, dc in each 5tr, *3dc across ch3, dc in each 6 tr, 1dc in dc,dc in each 6 tr, repeat from * 4 times more then 3dc across ch3, dc in each 6 tr, sl st to ch1 at start of round.
Fasten off.

Small snowflake: Round 1 &2 in lurex
Round 3 - Kid Silk Haze (double) and beads
Medium snowflake: Round 1&2 in lurex
Round 3 & 4 - Kid Silk Haze (double) and beads 
Large snowflake: Round 1&2 in lurex
Round 3 - Kid Silk Haze (double)
Round 4 - lurex
Round 5 - Kid Silk Haze (double) and beads

I thought this would make a nice wine coaster for a dinner setting

Round 1 - lurex
Round 2&3 - Cotton glace
Round 4 - lurex
Round 5 - Cotton Glace
Round 6 - Kid Silk Haze (double)

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Hand Knitted Things

Just thought I'd let you see what I won in a 'giveaway' on Etsy from Hand Knitted Things, I first came across Julia's work on Etsy because I particularly like it but then when I read her profile I noted that she lived in a gorgeous part of the world - Wester Alligin on the West Coast of Scotland.  I'd  been 'following' her for a while and then saw she was doing a 'giveaway' on Etsy that I entered .....which I won although I was technically the runner-up as the winner did not collect the prize!  
So I won my little sheep 'Hamish' and he is going on my workroom wall.....

Check Hand Knitted Things out - there's some lovely ideas for Christmas presents and they arrive beautifully presented and packaged......and thank you again Julia!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

My latest project....AMENDED

Thought it was about time that I posted something new on the 'creative' front and this is my latest creation - a rib style knitted cowl that is reversible.  I knitted it with Noro and Rowan Creative Focus Worsted but you could knit this with any Aran style yarn that takes 5mm needles.  I designed it with the idea of it using 3 balls of wool: 100gms of the multi coloured yarn and 50gms of the solid colour, I used a circular needle so I didn't have to do any seams and I could carry the 2 shades through from one rib to the other.  I had some yarn over so I made a co-ordinating cuff for it but this is optional and not essential.
The Creative Focus yarn comes in 100grm balls but Up Country will split the yarn and you can get the yarn as a pack.
When the cowl is worn it is held in the rib form - so there's no folding of layers if you know what I mean: you will if you have worn a cowl before!

So this is the yarn that I used.....with the 5mm circular needle:80cm

This is the finished item

This is it full length....

And this is the reverse of it - with more of the Creative Focus showing...
and finally this is the pattern....


2 balls of Noro Silk Garden - shade 301
1 ball - 50gms - Rowan Creative Focus Worsted  shade 1107
Circular needle 5mm - 80 cm for cowl
5mm needles for cuff
3 buttons

Cast on 200 sts with Noro yarn, continue in the round-
Next row: Knit for 7 rounds
Introduce 2nd yarn,
Next row: Purl for 5 rounds

When you change colour carry the other shade through so it is intertwined with your knitting and there will not be any loose yarn.

These 12 rows in total form the rib pattern, repeat 12 rounds three times more then repeat first seven rounds again.
Cast off.

You should have enough yarn to make a cuff for the scarf:
Cast on 50 sts in the Noro yarn using 5mm needles.
Next row: Knit
Next row: Purl
Next row: Knit
Next row: Purl 4, cast off 4, Purl to end
Next row:  Knit 42sts, cast on 4, knit to end
Next row: Purl
Change to 2nd yarn,
Next row: Purl
Next row: Knit
Repeat last 2 rows twice more.

Repeat last 12 rows once more, then repeat first 6 rows.  Cast off.

Attach 3 buttons on other end of cuff to match buttonholes.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Spiders in my garden....

This past week has been a very busy week, its felt a bit stressful at times as I'm trying to pack too much in but with a pending trip to my homeland - Scotland - I felt I had to get a lot of things, I've knitted for Etsy and I'm now thinking about my next project for it.....

I've completed my next project for Ravelry and I think its pretty this space for instructions...

I did my first skirt workshop last weekend which I really enjoyed......


I had my first workshop booking via my blog ... Yay!.....and received some lovely cabbage flowers from friends who came for dinner a couple of sundays ago ....

 and I've been given a vintage Bernina by a friend: she's soooooo good to me....

and there's been lots of spiders in my garden!!!
and I really like spiders....

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Fairislerona knits for Etsy...

Today has been a stinker of a day - weatherwise - after glorious weather on Sunday : wall to wall sunshine and really warm, today it has rained all day and our village has been fog bound.  But its days like this that I absolutely love - because I don't feel bad getting on with my own 'crafting'.  
I think its about time a told you a bit about my own design work that I do.....I have a part time job that keeps things financially afloat but when I'm not working and I get the opportunity I like to do my own knitwear design and I do hand knitting and machine knitting.  I LOVE my knitting machine, I think its about 40 years old and I bought it second hand 20 years ago - from a knitting shop in Glasgow and its a Knitmaster. I love using machinery to create: I had the same feeling when I used to weave at College.

So, this is a picture of my trusty knitting machine in my 'creative space' of our house....

And this is the rest of my little room which is in a very tidy state in this photo - but is generally a designers mess....but I'm fortunate that I can close the door and not look at it!  There is nothing that I like better than looking out at the rain, listening to Radcliffe and Maconie on 6 music in the afternoon and doing a bit of designing....BLISS!

At the moment I am working on items for my Etsy shop and they are Fair Isle items made of Shetland yarn.  I have made some cushions so far.....

And some Kindle sweaters......

So if your thinking Fairisle this winter check my Etsy site out....

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