Making damson gin…

Well what is a girl to do, when she is given a surplus of damsons?…

Gin of course!

I have read that many recipes for damson gin, I became confused.  What follows is a conglomeration of several.

WP_20160823_18_17_48_ProThe ingredients are this simple…

550g of damsons (because that is how much we had!)

250g of granulated sugar

1 litre of gin

1 litre mason jars x2.

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First I sterilised the jars with boiling water. 

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Then skewered the damsons with a sterile darning needle to get their damson juices flowing.  I divided the damsons equally between the jars. 

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Next, I added 125g of sugar into the first jar and 125g of sugar into the second jar. 

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Finally, adding 500ml of gin into the first jar and 500ml into the second jar.

I gave the jars a little shake and then popped them on the larder shelf where it is dark…this is important storage information apparently! 

I’m not sure if it is a good thing that there is an air space in the jars or not.  Looking at the unopened gin bottle there was an air space.  So I think I am going to have to do a bit more research.  I may be topping up with a bit more gin, but I will let you know if I do.  The jars will need a little shake each day for the first week and then weekly after that. 

All the recipes differ on how long to leave the gin until you crack it open.  Some say 3 months others 6 months and then others a year!!!  I  should imagine it is when desperate!  Again I will let you know.  I am hoping it will be in time for Christmas, unless I get desperate before that!!

 xxxxx

 

 

Very V blanket tutorial

Thank you for your lovely comments about  my latest blanket off the hook…the ‘Very V’ blanket. 

It really is very simple to hook, so I thought I would put together a little tutorial, as I have not done one for a while and because I have some rare time off on my own.

WP_20160811_20_01_00_ProSo, clearly this is not an original pattern.  I say that from the offset because of copyright and all of that.  Lets be honest…the humble ‘v stitch’ has been around for years.  But this is my tutorial in case you want to have a crack for yourself and you have never done a ‘v stitch’ and you are a visual kinda gal or guy.

Here we go!

Final measurements:  132cms x 120cms / 52″ x47″

I used Stylecraft special dk , for it’s durability, softness and price!  The colorway I used:

Lipstick x 1 ball

Meadow x1 ball 

Saffron x 1 ball 

Violet x 1 ball 

Spice x 1 ball 

Lobelia x 1 ball 

Storm blue x 1 ball 

Cream x 3 balls

You will also need a 4mm hook and a darning needle to weave in those ends! 

Of course if you are using different yarn then you may need to use the recommended hook size for your chosen yarn; and of course you can alter the finished size by hooking more or less chains to start. 

Your hooking tension (we are all different) may also mean you need more or less chains to start with. 

Lets start, are you ready? 

Abbreviations used are below and are English terminology.

Ch = chain stitch 

Chs = chains

Tr = treble stitch (double crochet in US terminology!)

St = stitch 

Slst = slip stitch

Sp = space

Pattern order I used:

Row 1:    Cream                  Row 2: Lobelia                 Row 3: Violet 

Row 4:   Cream                  Row 5:  Storm blue        Row 6: Meadow

Row 7:   Cream                  Row 8:  Saffron                 Row 9:  Spice

Row 10: Cream                 Row 11: Lipstick                 Row 12: Indigo

Row 13: Cream                  Row 14: Violet                   Row 15: Storm blue 

Row 16: Cream                 Row 17: Meadow              Row 18: Saffron

Row 19: Cream                 Row 20: Spice                     Row 21: Lipstick

                                                  Row 22: Cream 

NB/   the first and last row form the edging for the top and bottom of the blanket so use the colour you wish to edge the blanket in, for row 1.

 

Chain 175 in cream

(This gave me about a 1m 15cm /42″ length of Ch.  But any odd number of Chs will work to suit the size blanket you are wishing to hook!).  

2tr in 5th ch from hook, 

WP_20160829_16_53_05_Pro miss a ch, 2tr in next ch

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miss a ch, 2tr in next ch

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 *miss a ch, 2tr in next ch*

Repeat *  –  * across the row. 

Finishing with 1tr in last ch.  Change colour. As shown I change colour by completing half of the process for the last tr (ie/ leave two loops on the hook). Complete last part of tr in new colour as shown.

WP_20160829_16_57_03_Pro WP_20160829_16_58_00_ProI find this makes colour changes more secure.  These ends should be tied to secure further. Top tip! leave the ends long  (approx. 10cms) so that weaving in is easier.

Turn.  Ch3 (counts as 1tr)

WP_20160829_16_59_21_Pro 2tr in the middle of set of tr’s of previous row 

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Continue along the row.

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finishing with 1tr in top of 3rd ch on previous row.

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Change colour. Turn. 

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And that’s it! 

Top Tip!! Weave in the ends every few rows.

Repeat rows 1-22 x5 times.

Then repeat rows 1 – 13 to finish body of blanket. And if you did not adhere to the top tip above…now is the time to weave in those ends!

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I’ve gone all minimalistic for the edging because the blanket itself is simply stunning in this colourway and I did not feel like it needed something fussy to detract from its beauty. 

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This is what I did. 

The first and last row (in cream if you have been following this colourway) form the edging for the top and bottom of this blanket. In cream / your chosen edging colour join in the space at the bottom right of your blanket as shown.

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Ch 3 and slst into the top st of the first tr/ch3 of 1st row.

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Ch1, 2tr in same sp

WP_20160808_21_39_16_Pro2tr in next sp (the sp is the gap between the side of the first sts of each row), 2tr in next sp.

WP_20160808_21_41_39_ProContinue along the edge until you come to the top corner. 2tr in last sp, ch 1, 1tr in same sp.

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Then slst into the top st of the first tr/ch3 of last row as shown. Fasten off.  Repeat for the other side of the blanket.

Finally, in Lobelia (or your chosen colour) join in any st of edge with a slst.

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Slst in each st around edge of blanket. Fasten off and weave in loose ends.  And that is it, you should now have one of these to snuggle under…or reluctantly gift.

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Well done if you got this far. 

I really hope you have found this tutorial easy to follow.  I welcome feedback, so let me know how you got on and if you want to share your picture of your finished make you can in the comment section below. 

I  would love to see what you have made.

xxxxx

 

 

 

 

 

‘Very V’…a very happy blanket.

This is my latest finish.

WP_20160811_20_01_00_Pro I’ve called it the ‘Very V’ blanket, as it uses the very beautiful and very simple ‘v’ stitch throughout. 

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The yarn is stylecraft special dk and the colourway…

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It reminds me very much of the Happy Ripple blanket I hooked a few years ago. 

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This blanket was a thank you gift for someone that has helped me enormously this year and each stitch, like the Happy Ripple before was hooked with love and prayer. 

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It makes my heart sing when I am able to gift something like this and know that it is appreciated. 

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I received a card in the post just this week from the owner of the Happy Ripple telling me of the enormous comfort the blanket has brought to both her and her family in the midst of heartbreak recently…

and that…

well that just blows me away.

xxxxx

 

Hooking al fresco…

I have been so blessed to escape life for one whole week and kick back with the Robins clan…

WP_20160813_20_14_23_ProThe weather was more than kind to us, we even braved the sea for a session of body boarding!  That in itself may not seem that amazing, but if I tell you that the only water that Mama Robins likes is of the hot and bubbly variety…body boarding in the sea was a small miracle (it was so much fun too!).

InstagramCapture_4cd5d3ea-d57d-47ed-8631-cfc17f410c9bOf course I got some hooking in; mostly on the go.  Instead of taking a mammoth project like I usually do, I took just one hook and a single ball of yarn.  I didn’t even take a pattern and made it up as I went…

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The yarn was the hank I had won a few months ago all the way from South Africa from Joey over at her fabulous blog, Littleblackdog, which you can read about here.

InstagramCapture_d6cd7a58-1408-4400-99e6-4f8c05f068f5The freedom of just one hook and a little bit of yarn meant I hooked every where…beach hooky….pool side hooky…farm hooky…

WP_20160817_19_35_55_ProI met the coolest sheep too, just take a look at him.

WP_20160820_15_21_49_ProBut I think the most yarniest place we visited was this place…

WP_20160818_12_59_15_ProClovelly…a tiny village of quaint cottages that seemed to tumble down into the harbour.  The cobbled street is so steep that it is unsuitable for vehicles and can only be accessed on foot or by donkey.  To stay overnight at the cutest bed and breakfast, your belongings are transported from the car park at the top to your accommodation by sledge…yes, I said sledge!!

WP_20160818_14_49_01_ProThe steep journey down is rewarded with an 18th Century harbour which the boy Robins loved. Taking much delight in hurling rocks into the sea with a catapult!

WP_20160818_13_15_27_ProWP_20160818_13_26_11_ProBut, I digress slightly…yes, it is a yarny place.  On the way down I discovered this beautiful doorway

WP_20160818_13_11_31_ProAnd this little cottage with a yarny roof

 

And a yarn bombed lamp post

WP_20160818_15_08_51_ProAnd of course I did a bit of my own hooking.

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Hooking al fresco has proved quite satisfying indeed.

xxxxx

 

 

And the yarny winner is…

I love this bit…announcing the winner of my yarny competition.  Last year Mr R drew names from a wooly hat in traditional old skool style

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This year however, I have allocated all entrants a random number and then got all high tech and used  Random.org to select a winner.  A massive thank you to all of you who entered, I wish I could let you all win, but alas that is not possible.

So with out any further ado the winner of this hank of gorgeous baby alpaca yarn…

glorious alpaca yarn
glorious alpaca yarn

is Denise over at Nerdish Delights.  Huge yarny congratulations to you Denise, I will email you now to arrange delivery of this yumminess.

xxxxx

 

Graffiti Robin…

*There is still time to enter the yarny give-a-way here*

I stumbled upon an arty robin last weekend, well I say stumbled… it was more like rode.  I dusted off Bella and wheeled her out into the day light, hoiked her onto the bike rack and off we all went.

WP_20160731_16_37_23_ProIt had been way too long since the last time we had an afternoon out in the countryside together, and as we cycled our cares flew from us and we felt light.  We stopped at points to play in the stream

InstagramCapture_f7681672-3d28-4f73-89d4-39967061704brace each other,

WP_20160731_16_02_08_Proor just to admire the scenery and breathe out.

WP_20160731_16_02_03_ProAnd then we stumbled upon this…

WP_20160731_16_26_57_Pro(You may have to lean back and  squint a little)….Not everyone’s cup of tea, but talented and arty non the less, and it made us smile! 

We rode on some  more, and returned home fulfilled and tired.  The perfect excuse to put up my feet and get out my hook.

InstagramCapture_a30fea23-613a-4f2f-8788-4163b29b22ddI didn’t move until I had finished the main body of this Very V blanket, but I had been undisciplined throughout and had not woven in the ends as I had been hooking!!!  Oh my, that is what I have been doing this week…Its a good job I don’t mind weaving in those ends isn’t it!  

Now to border it before next Friday…

xxxxx

 

 

 

A Yarny Giveaway…

Yes, that’s right I’m having a little yarny giveaway here at the Nest.  The purpose for such frivolity I hear you ask?

Well, it is a belated celebration of my 2 year blogging anniversary; which was actually back in June.  Whilst I was aware this occasion had come and gone, life was a little too hectic to mark the occasion.  So, I parked the celebration temporarily and am now ready with a little yarny give-a-way.

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This year has been frantic and I want to thank  all of my regular readers for being patient with me along this journey and for all of your cheering on! It has really helped me and if you’re relatively new around here consider it a welcome. 

So before I get to the give-a-way, I thought I would just highlight some of my favourite posts from the last 12 months.

 100 patch granny
100 patch granny

The 100 patch granny blanket…

blog post here

joining tutorial here

wpid-dsc_0621.jpgA hooky bake off

WP_20160127_09_29_27_SmartThe world’s smallest library

wp_20160217_21_40_10_proA yarny little leaf pattern

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Robins nest square pattern

I love a little look back, don’t you?

So Give-a-way time…cue the party poppers!!! It’s easy to enter and is open to all.  The prize to covet is this…

WP_20160729_19_28_04_ProA gorgeous hank of beautifully soft baby alpaca wool in Lichen by Louisa Harding; which has an added touch of sparkle with a fine gold metallic thread. 

glorious alpaca yarn
glorious alpaca yarn

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alpaca yarn

This yarn is gorgeous, I hooked with it a while ago…remember?

lightweight glamour...
lightweight glamour…

So the entry rules are simple.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is leave a comment below.  If you are reading this on facebook then like the page and leave a comment also.  Simples!  Closing date for entries is 22nd August 2016.

xxxxx

My PHD!

I thought it about time I returned, I know its been a while and it has been far longer than I had planned.  So I return with a familiar confession. 

I have come to realise that I am actually not as clever as I like to think and so this post is about my PHD….Projects Half Done!  I much prefer this to the acronym WIP (works in progress) as PHD sounds so much more positive and well….lets be frank; what I am about to show you is not in progress.  Not even by any stretch of the imagination!  Abandoned may be a better description.

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 So, first out of the box is the baby blanket awaiting  the hooking of one final square and then construction.  So close to a finish, but I need some more cotton.

InstagramCapture_b1e1474d-aadc-4596-9ef3-9d5bcd71e7d0Then there is this linen stitch blanket…I abandoned hooking because I felt my design may be a bit to fussy…I’m undecided.  Do I continue or rip it back and reclaim the wool?….I’ve done that before.

WP_20160403_19_24_13_ProThen there is my knitting loom project, a sumptuous alpaca cowl…I really must restart this…if I can remember how to that is!

WP_20160522_00_14_07_ProThe rainbow V stitch blanket is still on the go, not abandoned at all but most definitely a PHD!

And it is with this in mind I need you all to do me a small favour…if you don’t mind that is.  If you ever read my words that might even hint I am going to study again then I would like you to hit me over the head with something very heavy!!!

xxxxx