Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Tottenham Hotspur Birthday Cake

EC and YC were determined to make PDMC an extra special cake for his birthday this year as every year for as long as we can remember he has always made us a cake for our birthdays. So, the day before his birthday we got together in my cubbyhole to make the cake. We had all sorts of grand ideas, some stemming from cakes which my mum had made - we all have a wonderful memory of helping her to make a Christmas cake which had a 'Tango Man' sprawled on the top who was surrounded by teeny tiny cans of Tango. It was absolutely brilliant. In the end we decided to make a Tottenham Hotspur Football shirt, as it's a fairly simple shape and pretty hard to mess up.
We started with a basic Victoria Sponge recipe from our Baking Bible The Be-Ro Recipe Book. You can also find the recipe here.
We increased the amount of eggs, flour and sugar because we wanted a fairly big cake.
We also wanted it to be navy blue!
We got a bit carried away with the food colouring...
and forgot our colour mixing rules...
until we ended up with the whole bottle in there!
It's a bit of a funky colour, isn't it? 
It also looks particularly vile in the red cake tins! And it wasn't the navy blue we'd anticipated.
Into the oven it went to bake, though.
YC had tonsillitis so he supervised from the comfort of the sofa. He also got to lick the bowl out!
One cake cooked quicker than the other. Neither of them rose a great deal but they were still soft and spongy.
It looked a better colour once it had been baked.
We sandwiched both cakes together with Blackberry Jam. Yummy.
Then we cut the cake into the shape of a T-Shirt.
EC literally smothered it in Blackberry Jam so that the icing would stick. I don't think there was any chance of it not sticking, do you?
We used white roll out fondant icing to cover the cake.
and blue roll out fondant icing for the Spurs cockerel logo.
It looks a bit lumpy but that's because we used Jam with fruit pieces in.
We also made the sponsor logo, the sleeve stripes and the birthday boy's nickname out of the blue fondant icing.
This is the moment that PDMC saw his cake. His face pretty much says it all, doesn't it? He put a piccie of his his cake on facebook and there were a lot of COYS! comments. I wasn't sure what it meant but eventually (when they'd all stopped laughing) someone explained it to me. Hmmm. I think it's a pretty impressive cake and that EC in particular is very talented. She did most of the work on this while YC and I searched the tinterweb for logos and faffed about resizing them, etc.
I think the best bit was when he cut his cake and realised that it was turquoise inside!
I hope you've enjoyed my posts today and I'll try to come back soon x

Spurs Scarf

As promised in my post earlier today, here is a post about the scarf which I made for PDMC for his birthday. It's made in navy blue and white DK yarn from my stash.
I began by chaining 200 stitches.I've started using a stitch marker when I make my foundation chain, because I tend to lose count and do lots more than I actually need. On this foundation chain I used it when I'd got to 100 stitches.
Then I worked a treble crochet into each chain. I used two strands of my DK yarn together as I wanted a chunkier fabric. I also wanted this to be in blue and white because they are the colours of PDMC's favourite football team, Tottenham Hotspur.
I did two rows of treble in blue and then switched to white. I worked the one row of white into the back loops only and then I then changed to blue again, working in the front loops only for the first row and into both loops for the second row. This gives a slightly flattter fabric than working into both loops and makes the pattern that the colours create look a lot more even.
It worked up really quickly and I was quite happy with the result.
I worked a row of double crochet around the whole of the scarf which finished it off quite nicely.
The finished scarf measures about 7" x 60" and is very thick and warm.
PDMC really loved his scarf and he asked for a matching pair of gloves and a hat with a bobble on the top too.
I'm going to crack on with the gloves and hope to get them finished this week but I think that I might need a bit more time to concentrate to make a hat. I'll let you know how that goes! x

Crochet Sweater

Hello again. I hope you're well and not going purple in the face from holding your breath. You know, whilst waiting for me to keep my side of the bargain and 'consistently post'. It didn't last a vast amount of time did it, the consistent posting? In my defence I did say that it probably wouldn't, but I did (secretly) hope that I'd suddenly turn into Little Miss Organised and be here as regular as clockwork. Hmmm...Life so gets in the way of all the things that I want to do. I'm here now though and I'm going to do three posts today because I can't wait to show you what I've been up to. It was PDMC's birthday last week, so for the last few weeks I've been kept very busy planning,shopping,baking and crocheting.
The crocheting was frustrating. I started out with this DK acrylic yarn from my stash and this pattern. It seemed easy enough and I even made a little tension square, which is actually pretty rare for me. Mind you, I don't tend to make a lot of crochet things where the tension is massively important so hey-ho.
I made the tension square using a 6mm hook and it was a bit big, so I was really good and made another one using a 5mm hook. Spot on.
So I got started on the ribbing for the back of the sweater, which was easy peasy and actually measured the 21" (slightly stretched) that it was supposed to. It was going so well.
Anyhow, I decided to adapt the pattern a bit- oh do I never learn? The reason that I've never been a successful knitter is that I find it impossible to stick to the actual pattern that I have and always have to mess around with it. In some circles it's called 'tweaking' and it means that you get a perfect fit, but in my case it's meant that I've ended up with some really random things. Like hats that fit perfectly over a toilet roll and sweaters which are six feet wide. Really, it happened.
But with I've been really good with crochet. I've followed the instructions to the letter and haven't ended up with too many oddities. I occasionally end up with wonky edges because I forget to work into the first chain stitch of a row and inadvertently decrease stitches but I haven't had too many full-blown disasters. Except perhaps for hats, which is a story all of it's own and which is probably best left unmentioned at this point. 
So even though I loved the pattern, it needed to be tweaked. Not just a little tweak either. This was a big tweak. It was almost like re-writing the pattern. And It was all because I'd found this wonderful Mixed Stitch Stripey Blanket Crochet Along on Little Woollie and had fallen in love with it.
I made this little cushion cover front using part of the pattern from the CAL as a test piece a few weeks ago. I was intending to start a lovely big blanket following the CAL after I've finished my Christmas gifts but thought how gorgeous this would be as a sweater.
It's very pretty isn't it?

I really like the colours that I chose for this, too. They seem to go together perfectly.
Anyway, I started the pattern across the top of the rows of my sweater ribbing. It seemed to be working out well and I only had to make the smallest adjustments to make the pattern even and to keep the right amount of stitches.
It wasn't until EC came round and I showed her what I'd been doing that I realised that there was a problem. The width of the sweater back was nowhere near the 22" that it needed to be. It actually measures a measly 18". I was so disappointed because I was going to give this as a gift to PDMC for his birthday and there was no way that it was going to fit him!
I'm not quite sure why this happened as I changed up a hook size before starting the pattern and thought that if I had the right amount of stitches after each row then it'd be OK. How wrong can you be? Hmmm...

So I decided it would be better to put this project on hold while I figured out where I'd gone wrong and start a scarf as it would be slightly quicker project which I could get finished in time for PDMC's birthday. I'm going to do a separate post on this. But in the meantime, if you have any ideas as to why my sweater didn't turn out to be the right size I'd be more than happy to hear them. x

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Autumn Scarf

I made this scarf from Robin Picasso Autumn. It's a chunky yarn which works up quickly and is ultra-soft. I bought it from the wool stall at Bridlington Market last year as I really loved the autumny colours. I hadn't particularly planned on making myself a new scarf but I couldn't resist it especially as it wasn't exactly breaking the bank.

It's made in the same way as the Hull FC scarf and is about the same width. It worked out slightly longer though, which is brilliant as I love really long scarves.
The finished scarf measures 7" wide x 8' long (excluding the fringe).
I've worn this scarf an awful lot and it's become one of my favourite scarves When it's really cold I wrap it round my neck twice and it keeps out all of the draughts.
I made mittens to match this scarf but I seem to have  lost them somewhere. I wish I had enough yarn left to make some more but I've run out. I might have to have a browse on line to see if I can find some more.
I vaguely remember making a bobble hat out of this yarn as well, but I have no idea where that is either! Even though I'd prefer a matching set, I still love this scarf and will probably wear it until it falls apart. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Finished Projects: Part Two

Windy Days and Scarves

I have to go food shopping this afternoon and I'm dreading it because it's very cold and very, very windy. I think I'm going to have to walk there too because I don't think that I'll get very far on my trusty steed today. I truly dislike food shopping but when I use the panniers on the steed to lug it all back it seems a bit easier. So I'm really not looking forward to having to carry heavy bags.I wouldn't mind if I knew what I needed but all I know is that the cupboards are pretty much bare. If I'd have been a bit more organised I could have pre-soaked some beans and made a lovely something or other out of them (which would have avoided the need to go out) but I think it's becoming apparent that organised is something that I'm not. (NB:Remind me not to send any potential employers a link to my blog!) I'm just glad that I've got a lovely woolly scarf to keep me warm on my journey. I'm actually laughing out loud here because I think that I might just be making this sound like I'm venturing off into the wilderness in a Scott of the Antarctic kind of way and not at all like I'm just going to the local shops! Anyway, as it is so cold and windy, I thought it'd be a perfect time to share some of my finished scarves with you. I do hope that you'll like them as much as me.

Hull FC Scarf

This scarf was made last year for a work colleague who wanted a crochet Hull FC scarf for his mum as a Christmas gift. I picked this yarn because I thought it would be a slightly more feminine take on the bulky scarves which rugby and football supporters tend to wear. He really didn't like it though, so I had to go and buy some chunky yarn and make a new one.
I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed that he didn't like it, but I suppose not everyone likes the same things. It was also a good example of how important it is to listen to what your customer wants!
I used King Cole Galaxy yarn which comes in 50g balls. It has sequins attached to the yarn so it's very spangly and Christmassy. I think I used about two balls to make the scarf
It's a very simple pattern. I chained about 200 stitches using a 4mm hook and then worked a treble into each chain. I turned the work and chained three to replace the first treble in the row and worked one treble (using the back loop only) into the next and every following stitch across the row.
I continued in this way until the scarf was about 7" wide.
Finally, I worked a row of double crochet's all around the scarf and fastened off.
This is quite a long scarf (it measures about 7'6") but it's lightweight and warm. I'm hoping to make some gloves to match this scarf as I think it'll be a perfectly glamorous evening set for an avid Hull Fc fan!