Archive for September 2009


A little bit of knitting on the train, a little bit of knitting during lunch breaks, and before I knew it, this scarf was done.


Gathered Scarf by Maryse Roudier
1 skein Collinette Jitterbug, Velvet Plum
3.5mm and 4.5mm needles
Started: September 2009
Finished: September 2009
Modifications: started with garter stitch rather than stockingette, and worked over 46 stitches rather than 48
Ravelryed here

All up this took 3 weeks at most, which is quite surprising given the yarn and needle size. I highly recommend it as a commute knit, even with the needle changes, as the easily-remembered pattern makes it a good ‘pick up, put down’ project.

While purple isn’t my colour (the scarf is intended for someone else), Velvet Plum has made me fall for semi solids. I doubt I’d ever use semi solids for a larger item of clothing, like a jumper, but in small doses I think it’s terrific. Particularly with this pattern, the variation in colour works in well with the gathered stripes.

Unfortunately I’m now at a loose end, commute knit-wise. None of my current projects are really suitable for commute knitting, yet I’m reluctant to start another. Quite the conundrum.

The return of the Women’s Weekly Recipe Card Challenge

It’s been far too long since last posting about a recipe made from my box of Women’s Weekly Recipe Cards. This is not to say I haven’t been using these cards; there are some recipes I’ve made many many times. I’ve just not been very good at documenting it.

Today’s offering is Blackberry Swirls. They are like chelsea buns, but with berries. While they call for blackberries, being blackberry scrolls and all, I couldn’t find canned blackberries at my local supermarket. However, they did have cans of mixed berries, which seemed to work well. For a change, I’m going to include the recipe this time.

Blackberry swirls – the mixed berry variation (from Women’s Weekly Recipe Cards, circa 1970’s)

Scrolls Ingredients:

1.5 cups self-raising flour
400g can berries (drain, but retain the syrup)
0.5 cup milk
125 grams butter

Sauce Ingredients:

0.5 cups white sugar
1/3 cups sweet white wine
30 grams butter
0.5 cups berry syrup

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.

Sift flour and rub in butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add milk, and mix to a soft dough. If you find the mixture is too wet at this point, add small amounts of flour until it’s at a consistency where it can be rolled out pretty easily.

Place dough on a lightly floured surface, knead gently and roll into a 25cm by 35cm rectangle. Spread berries over dough, leaving a small border around the edges. Roll the dough up lengthways (so the roll is the length of the shorter edge of the rectangle). Make sure the berries are being rolled up in the dough and not pushed along! Cut into 2.5cm slices and place into a greased, ovenproof dish.

Put sauce ingredients into a saucepan. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring constantly until the butter is melted. Boil for 3 minutes. Pour the sauce over the scrolls and bake for 30-35 minutes.

You’ll be excused for feeling sceptical of the recipe as you put the scrolls in the oven, as it sort resembles scroll islands in a berry sea. Well, it did for me anyway.


After coming out of the oven, the scrolls looked like this, making me instantly forget my scepticism. The sauce becomes a lovely syrup at the bottom of the scrolls, and gives a nice glaze on top.


The original recipe suggests serving it with cream or custard. I had it with a cup of tea and it was just fine!

This little piggy

This weekend I went to a market as a seller for the first time. It was quite intimidating and I cannot fib, it was pretty nerve wracking (it probably didn’t help that I was feeling sick from a well-timed coldy-flu). It’s probably the ultimate judgement of your handiwork; would a perfect stranger pay money for a product you’ve made?

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The day was not all about the hard-nosed world of commerce. It was also about seeing missed friends, meeting lovely new people and trying new things.

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Apparently it was also about snapping up a couple of treats for myself.

Despite being in my late twenties, I still maintain it’s perfectly acceptable to wear bobbles in my hair (from Poppy, Bean and Bloss).


Also, despite having just about enough coin purses to start a museum, I still maintain it’s perfectly acceptable to buy more, especially when made from linen and vintage embroidery. (from a little red ribbon).


Besides the nerves and being worn out by the end of the day, a most enjoyable time was had. Hopefully I’ll be able to do it again someday soon.

Uncropped, untryst vest: a tutorial

Since finishing my green vest a little while ago, I’ve had a couple of questions about how I lengthened the vest (the original pattern is for a cropped vest). With the permission of the designer, Kristen TenDyke, I thought I’d put up some notes about how I went about it. This is my first proper attempt at explaining alterations to a pattern, so please forgive me if it goes into too much detail, or not enough.

Some caveats before I start: the modifications worked well with the yarn I used, the garment size and my body type. You may need to go about things a little differently in order to make it work for you. These notes are meant purely to give an idea of one way the vest can be lengthened to sit at the hip, rather than starting from the ribs. These suggestions should be read in conjunction with the original pattern, which can be found here.

All numbers used will be based on the medium size, which is the size I made. The numbers are there to give a concrete example of how the shaping works, rather than just trying to explain it in abstract terms.


The shaping I used follows a basic hourglass form; the width decreases from the hip to the waist, and then increases from the waist to the armholes. In a nutshell, I did a mirror image of the waist to armhole shaping. Hopefully the photo above shows that shaping clearly enough.


The number of stitches cast on is equal to the number of stitches just before the armhole decreases. So, in the case of the medium size, I cast on 80 stitches rather than 72. The border is worked as instructed in the pattern. The shaping is then worked as follows:

Starting from the first row after the border, I decreased both sides every 10 rows, 4 times. This left me with 72 stitches — the number you would cast on if making the original version. From here I knit 4 rows, then followed the pattern as written. The 4 rows in between the decreases and increases were added to ensure I got the right length for my body.

In some ways, the medium is a bad example because it has the most straightforward shaping. If I were making the small size, I would do the waist shaping as follows:

Starting from the first row after the border, decrease each side every 8 rows once, and then every 10 rows 3 times.

Essentially, you’re reversing the waist to armhole shaping in two ways; instead of increasing, you’re decreasing, and you’re reversing when the decreases are made (rather than every 10 rows x 3 and every 8 rows x 1, it’s every 8 rows x 1 and every 10 rows x 3). The reason I would do it this way is for symmetry. However, I don’t know if it would make that much of a difference.

Front Pieces

For the front you just need to cast on half the back stitches for each front piece. So for a medium, just cast on 40, rather than 80. Follow the same pattern with the decreases (but just for one side), remembering to cast off 5 after the border to account for the button band.

The length of the piece before decreasing for the neck can be calculated as follows:

length before neck shaping = length covered by the hip to waist decreases (do not include the border, but do include any extra rows before the waist to armhole increases) + the length specified in the original pattern.

For me, 14.5cm (5.75 inches) covered the decreases from hip to waist, plus the 4 rows of stockingette. Add that to the length of the piece specified in the pattern before starting the neck shaping (6.25 inches for medium), making the front pieces measure 30 cm (12 inches) before starting the neck shaping.

I followed the pattern after that point. All decreases (waist to arm hole, and neck) were worked as in the pattern.


I winged this bit the most out of all the modifications. I picked up the number of stitches around the neck as specified in the pattern. However, down the fronts, I picked up roughly one stitch for each row, ensuring the same number of stitches were picked up on both front pieces. As I roughly doubled the length of the vest, I put in 8 buttonholes. Because the pattern calls for rather bulky yarn, I recommend putting in more buttonholes rather than less. The bulk can result in pulling between the buttonholes which is a hard look to pull off. Having more buttonholes alleviates this issue.

I’m reluctant to give stitch numbers here, as it’s highly dependent on the length of the vest and how many stitches you pick up around the edges. Ultimately, just take the number of stitches picked up between along the fronts, divide it by the number of buttons you want and move the numbers around so the number of stitches between buttonholes are pretty much the same (e.g the number of stitches between buttonholes alternated between 7 and 8 stitches for me).

So, that’s all the alterations I made to the pattern to come up a vest that sits at the hip rather than the waist. I hope that it’s useful for anyone who’s thinking of making a longer version of the vest, and doesn’t add confusion. If any of my instructions are unclear, please let me know and I’ll try to explain it better.