Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Belated Easter

Easter didn't really happen at my house. The kids woke up and found they'd been visited by the Easter bunny but we didn't really get into the easter spirit beforehand like I would have liked. The build up was possibly overshadowed by Craft 2.0 and the fact that Coco Kids had a stall there on Saturday the 29th (the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday). On the Sunday I fed my babe and then got up early to take my lovely friend Kate to the airport so besides us consuming a bit of chocolate, it felt like any other Sunday following a very busy Saturday.

Craft 2.0 by the way was fabulous, exhausting but fabulous. I spent the day there with my colleagues Kate and Ali, along with baby David (9 weeks at the time), he was more than happy in my Unido sling or being cuddled by whoever could snaffle him away from me when he wasn't sleeping.

I had been meaning to make these Hot Cross muffins with my kids as soon as I found the recipe. I tried making Hot Cross buns with them a few times, but for some reason, the same recipe I had great success with last year was a flop (no it wasn't my yeast).

Today, we made the Easter muffins. I still haven't got around to the kids making little baskets or bunny ears or anything like that, but the muffins we did today. And they were yummy. We'll make them again, even if it's not easter!

Here's the recipe, I hope it's ok to post it on my blog!

Allyson Gofton's Easter Hot Cross Muffins

3 c flour
2 T bkg pdr
1/2 c brown sugar
2 t mixed spice
1 1/2 c dried fruit (your choice, I used currants and sultanas)
1 apple, peeled and grated
2 eggs
1 1/2 c milk
125gms butter, melted and cooled

1/2 c flour
1/2 t bkg pdr
25gms soft butter
milk to mix

1. Sift the flour, bkg pdr, brown sugar and spice into a large bwol. Stir through the dried fruit and make a well in the centre.
2. In a jug mix grated apple, eggs, milk  and mix into the dry ingredients along with the melted butter.
3. Pour into muffin pans and bake 220 degrees C for 10 mins. Open the oven dorr, pull the tray out, but keep the muffins in the oven. Pipe crosses on top of the muffins, then bake for another 5-7 mins until well risen and golden. Cool in tins for 5 mins before enjoying.

Sift the flour and bkg pdr, rub in butter. Stir in enough milk to make a thick batter. Fill piping bag ready to pipe onto muffins whilst they are cooking.
If you wish to glaze muffins (I didn't see this instruction until now) dissolve 1/4 cup sugar in 2 T water and simmer until sugar has dissolved. Brush the muffins with this and stand 2-3 mins before serving.

Oh dear though, I've done so little regarding the royal wedding - no crown making or princess dress ups and stories. Maybe that'll have to be next weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Knitting for Craft 2.0

Well, from my recent posts, you probably know that I have a new baby (sob, I don't think you can still call them newborns at 8 weeks can you). On top of that, I have 2 preschoolers aged 2 and 4. People often make comments about me knitting during the day - let's just get this straight now, I don't knit during the day! Unfortunately, sleeps and kindy in my household aren't timed so that I get a quiet moment - but that's ok, I love being part of the tea parties and tower building (not so much the cleaning, washing and meal making).

You may also know though that Coco Kids has a Craft 2.0 stall. Hmmm - how to knit lovely winter garments for it with a little baby?

Here you go...

I'm still getting some knitting time most evenings...well, except for the periods where he's unsettled or feeding or the house looks like all the clothes drawers in the house have exploded (there was no knitting time last night, the plunket nurse is due this morning)

For those of you that are going to be in the Wellington region over Easter, come and check out Craft 2.0! It's always fabulous - all the details are here on the Coco Kids blog. All the team with be there this time too (well, I might not be there for a long time...8 hours in craft fair heaven and a little baby don't really go together too well I don't think).

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

8 weeks already

I can't believe it! Tomorrow my littlest one will be eight weeks old. I'm not sure where the time has gone, but we've fallen into a pretty steady routine at home with my 3 preschoolers now. Three's the perfect number for us I think (and just the right number for our little house).

Before David was born, we booked my extremely talented friend Rachael Brown to come and do a newborn photo shoot with us. When he was just 7 days old, Rachael came to take the photos. I really recommend having a newborn photo shoot done - the photos are just priceless and we've been having real camera issues lately, so it's nice to know that we had the family captured so beautifully when he was so new.

Here's just one of them, but Rachael took many more beauties...have a look at more of our pics over at her blog here

This one reminds me of just 2 years ago when we took this photo of the proud big sister and her little baby brother Timothy. Awww, they were so little!

Oh go on, here's just one more...(just picking another one different from over on Rachael's blog)

Does anyone else ever look at their children and wonder how they got so lucky to have such healthy and beautiful kids?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thinking about setting up 'shop'?

I'm often asked about cottage licenses (the rights to knit for sale/profit) for my Little Rascals patterns. Up until now I've been happy to sell them to people outside of New Zealand, but kept the exclusive rights to knitting them within New Zealand for the Coco Kids team (which I'm part of)

But, it's time to open it up to anyone who would like to purchase one - the demand for one of my patterns knitted up is more than our busy little team can supply these days.

If you're interested and would like me to email you the information pdf then send me an email but the basic information is that you purchase a lifetime license and it yours as long as you live (literally) and so you are able to knit for sale the patterns now, in 5 years time when your kids might all be at school, in 10 when they might no longer like wearing your knitting (god forbid!) and so on. It's the one payment to own the rights to knit it how and when you like, as long as I'm credited as the designer.

And because I love seeing any of my patterns being knitted, for the rest of April and May (and maybe longer, who knows!) I'll be gifting the cottage license of my Teacher's Pet pattern too to anyone buying The Little Rascals one.

The cost for the bundle of lifetime licenses is $65USD. If you'd like to know more about the patterns, you can find them on ravelry or here

If you've bought the cottage license already, flick me an email and I'll gift you the Teacher's Pet one also. As well, I'm going to be setting up a tab along the top of my blog linking to people licensed to knit The Little Rascals to make it easier for non-knitters to find someone to knit them one, so if you want to be included in there let me know your shop/selling details.

Happy Knitting!



Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pimp My Ride

I have a number of crafty friends. I love seeing what they do and love hanging around them in the hope that their craftiness will rub off on me...not to say I'm not a little crafty myself - but my skills are pretty limited to knitting and sewing bibs!

Anyway, this post really is about the skills of one particular friend of mine. I am always in awe of just what she comes up with - she's a true jack (or jill!) of all trades and her skills aren't limited to amazing knitting and sewing, no! She's a pattern designer (sewing, knitting and crocheting!), mother and home schooler, amazing baker and meal maker as well as the queen of DIY - building beds and making cages for trailers. I love that she can always seem to spot the potential in something (or someone, I'm sure).

So, this brings me to the 'pimping my ride'. I would like everyone to know just how COOL my buggies are - courtesy of Esther and her amazing skills.

I believe Esther found my single Mountain Buggy at a place where rubbish goes to be disposed of...yep, correct me if I'm wrong Esther, but I think she bought it from the tip. It was missing the basket and I imagine it was looking a bit sad, sad enough for it's previous owner to have just biffed it. Now it's the coolest buggy ever (it almost sounds like a kids picture book doesn't it?). Esther MADE it a basket, sewed it a liner and added the same gorgeous black and white damask fabric to the inside of the sunshadey part. I don't know how many people have stopped me and commented on my 'designer' buggy - it sure is one of a kind! I love it as much as anyone can love a buggy (and Mountain Buggies are the best)

Oooh, and she even made a matching sleeping bag using gorgeously smooshy minky - modelled here by the most beautiful baby in my house lol

It definitely is all straight and everything, the sewing is impeccable! I just haven't straightened the zip up perfectly for the photo

But...lately, I've felt a bit sad for my poor boring old chocolate brown double Mountain Buggy. It's needed a bit of love (and perhaps a softer inside for David's head) - and so I asked Esther if she could make a couple of liners for it. And Esther, being Esther did! I popped them in today and they are sooooo cool! I'm sure there's a special name for the fabric (I know nothing about fabric designers and all that), but it's got streets and cars and houses...the liners look amazing and fit beautifully.

Am I a bit sad, writing a blog entry about how cool my buggies look? Well, as someone who lives a stone's throw from the local kindy and shopping centre, I walk pretty much daily in taking my oldest to kindy, or buying milk, or picking up my bebes medication, rain or shine. These buggies make my life easier - and it's nice that they are both functional and stylish. Maybe the awesomeness of them will mean that people don't notice that I haven't brushed my hair in my rush out the door with 3 preschoolers, or that I have baby spew down my front.

A typical day - the kindy run

Esther, you are amazing. Thanks for being you.

Having A Go At Substituting Yarns Of Different Weights - Little Rascals

So the Knit-A-Long is off to a great start, it's such a wonderful feeling when people are knitting your patterns, I just love to see their WIP photos - as well as answer any questions people might have if they strike something a little different or difficult.

Here's my current WIP with it's buttons, just because every post needs a pretty photo

Anywho, the question I've been asked the most lately is what size people should knit if they want to cast on in 12ply etc. I had been looking at this myself as I'm planning on knitting a Young Einstein in 12ply for my 2 year old as a hooded jacket.

To work it out, you must know the gauge of the yarn and needle combination you are wanting to use. There's no way to work it out otherwise - don't just assume that the ball band suggestion for your yarn will come out right either!

So you might want to do a gauge swatch first. If you're a bit eager to start (like I often am), you might just start knitting the pattern but be prepared to have to rip it all back if your gauge is out when you check it.

Right, then the calculating.

So, you take your gauge, for example 16 stitches per 10cm/4inches. What you need to know to work this out is your gauge for 1 inch. So take your 10 stitch gauge and divide by 4
eg 16/4 = 4.  So, in 1 inch, you'd have 4 stitches.

Then, you need to look at what size you are planning to knit, and here it helps to know a little bit more about the 'ease' in the pattern. My pattern is written with 3" of positive ease. So, a 22" chest has 25" in the pattern (this is to give it enough room to move about easily in and fit some warm layers underneath during winter). Take the size chest you are wanting to knit and add 3 (the inches of ease) to it.

Take your gauge inch (from my example it was 4) and times it by the total number of inches for the chest size (my other example was 25")
4 x 25 = 100

That '100' is the number of stitches you want when you are knitting the chest.

Regardless of whether you are wanting to knit a Hoodlum, Hotshot or Young Einstein, you now need to look on the left hand side of page 8 in the pattern. Above the astericks, there is a paragraph that says:
"You should now have...stitches"

Have a look in there and find the same number as you've calculated. I can see that my 100 stitches is there in the brown writing, the 3rd size in the pattern. I'd then double check with the info on page 3, and that tells me that I'm going to knit the 3-6 months/17" size pattern in 12ply, with my 16st gauge to get the right chest size for the 22" child I have. You then knit to the lengths in the pattern for the age of your child for the body, sleeves and hood.

If you can't find your number, it's because the size you are wanting to knit falls between the sizes in my pattern. That's when you decide whether you want to knit the size above or below it. And, just a head's up, with a 16 stitch gauge, the smallest size you can knit using my pattern is a 20" - which works out to the newborn in my pattern.

Now, this is all just a bit of easy doesn't take into account the length of the raglan and so this is just if you want to give it a go. I've yet to try it myself, so can't tell you whether or not it makes the V too long for the hoodlum/hotshot or the arms too deep or if it works out looking terrible, I take no responsibility for it! But if it works out great, I'd love to see it on Rav!

Happy Knitting!