I like Big BUNS!

Hmm so I got hooked on to baking bread full-time now.. Though I’m no where near becoming a pro.. With a 10 month old, its not so surprising.

But I’ve been trying my hand at White Bread and Wheat bread. So far I’ve had success only with the White Bread and 2 failures with the Wheat bread. There was a demand for Milk Bread at home and I set about looking for recipes for the same.

 

As I was going through a number of recipes, one thing became really clear to me. Almost  9 out of 10 of the recipes had egg in them!

Now I’m not a vegan, but I did not want to use an egg in bread. I just kept thinking egg will give it a  very cake-y quality. I maybe wrong.

So there was this other recipe I came across. The Chinese Hokkaido Milk Bread. There were 2 versions, with egg and the egg-less version.

 

Just when I thought I would try the egg-less one.. The whole method seemed like such a hassle. I had to make a roux starter (tangzhong) and all that.

I wanted a bread recipe that didn’t tire me out just thinking about it.

Finally I came across the perfect recipe! Thank you Josephine🙂

http://yummyeasycooking.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/super-soft-and-fluffy-milk-bread.html

Here’s the Video Link:

 

I’ve already made it 5 times.. Once every 2 days cos its gone, as soon as its out of the oven!

The best part is I just mix it up and pop it in the fridge at bedtime.. I take it out in the morning and bake it.

 

I tried doubling the recipe and even making the flour out to 3 cups. It turned out perfect EVERY SINGLE TIME! So soft and fluffy, you end up eating more than you should. In one day one serving.

 

So here’s the measurements for 3 cups of flour:

All purpose Flour- 3 cup

Salt-  3/4 tsp

Sugar- 3 tbsp

Butter- 45 g

Yeast- 1.5 tsp

Milk- 1.5 cups

Sugar for the yeast- 1.5 tsp.

 

Follow the instructions as per the video.

 

A FEW OBSERVATIONS AND NOTES:

1. The cold rise or Cold fermentation.

Cold rise for more than 6 hours as opposed to letting the yeast dough rise in a warm spot for 2 hours gives better flavor and a more softer crumb. I have seen a much better result allowing the dough to sit for a cold rise.

2. The poke test

Checking if the dough has risen enough in the first rise is crucial. Just poke your finger into the middle of the dough all the way through.

The hole will stay and the dough will deflate a little. This means your first rise is over.

 

3. The window pane test.

I didn’t know about this until a couple of weeks back. And since then its been a life saver.

This test helps you to know if the gluten has developed enough. If it hasn’t the bread wont rise properly in the oven or hold its structure.

The test: Pull off some dough in your hands. With your fore fingers and thumbs pull the dough apart. Hold it across a window (optional😉 )

If it stretches without breaking then your gluten has developed. If it breaks then you have to knead the dough again. I feel beating the daylights out of the dough, while kneading, helps. (It certainly helps you, if you picture it to be someone you are not particularly fond of.)

 

4.  Test to see if bread is ready for Baking 

After the second rise, check if the bread has done proving. Press your finger on top of the loaf ever so slightly. It should leave an impression and the impression should start disappearing. If that happens, then pop the bread into the preheated oven ASAP.

5. Turn the bread

Halfway through the baking time, turn the pan. This ensures even baking and browning at all sides.

5. Removing the bread.

Remove the bread as soon as its done. From the oven as well as the loaf pan. Or else you will end up with a soggy mess.

If you want a softer crust, cover the top with foil after putting the bread on a wire rack to cool. If you like it crispy, do not cover.

 

6. ALLOW THE BREAD TO COOL!

Finally the most important step! Allow the bread to cool at least for 2 hours. I know its hard to resist and all you want to do is dig into the aromatic warm bread as soon as its out of the oven. Believe me, I’ve done it more times than I can count. And I immediately beat myself up. Its okay, it happens. Eventually, you will learn patience. Or not.

But bear in mind, the bread isn’t finished cooking yet. Allow it to cool. If you cut in too early it’ll have a very yeasty smell and a dry crumb. All that hard work for nothing.

 

I’ve used this to make hamburger buns as well. The top sprinkled with some sesame seeds. Just remember to cut down on the sugar and slightly increase the salt. It turns out amazing!

 

So happy baking!

 

 

Quick-fixes! Sewing a Needle-Book

You know one of those days, where after finishing a big project (which was long over due, anyway) and you feel like you don’t want to touch your sewing machine or knitting needles for some time? Yeah that was yesterday for me..

I finally completed a diaper bag made solely from my head, no pattern nothing.. I am pretty proud, but it did take a long time to finish.. (About 3 weeks)

And I gave a sigh of relief yesterday, thinking I don’t have to touch my sewing machine again for the next couple of days..

But towards the evening I felt withdrawal (Lol, anyone else ever feel withdrawal when they’re away from their machine or needles?) and I had to sew something up.. Something small, instantly gratifying and not so laborious.. a quick fix!

While I was going through pinterest, to see what I could sew.. My eyes fell on the vast array of used sewing machine needles on my pincushion, which would be good for another project.. And eureka, I knew what I needed to sew!

A needle-book to keep all my different sized needles in place with proper identification so I could use it the next time..

I instantly gathered some scraps, sketched out a design, scratched it out and redesigned it until I was happy, cut out the scraps and sewed it up in 15 minutes!

Tada, instant gratification😀
                                                                                                                                    Needle Book
I used three layers- one was the outer layer, the middle could be fleece (or felt or normal cotton scrap) and the inner layer  was divided according to the fabric the needles are used on.. For eg: denim, light weight fabric, heavy weight fabric and medium weight fabric.

I sewed them together, bound it with bias tape, gave it a closure with hook and eye.

My cute little needle book was ready and here it is! Hope this inspires you to make your own sewing machine needle organiser🙂

PS: Though it could be done with 2 layers, giving it a middle layer ensures the needles don’t come poking out and prick your finger!

Ciao! Hope you enjoyed this poet, do feel free to leave your comments🙂

All Aboard The Baby Train!

After I discovered I was pregnant (With baby number 1!) last February, I could barely lift up my head from the pillow to even eat properly, let alone Blog.

Its month 6 now, and finally I’m not a walking zombie anymore and I can once again sew, crochet and knit in peace. With a fetish I’ve been knitting up baby stuff and almost filled up a box  with hats, mittens, socks and a pillow!😀

I need to finish everything to my hearts content before the baby arrives, because as I’ve heard a million times by now.. Bye Bye sleep and hello long nights!

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So here are the pictures of some of the stuff I’ve completed along with instructions, I’ve found online.

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The Mitten: Mini Motif Mittens  (I chose the Butterfly Motif)

The cap: Baby Hat ( I added the Pom-pom.. Not included in the Pattern)

 

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The Aviatrix Hat:  Aviatrix Hat  (The Pattern was free, it no longer seems to be free!😦 So Sorry folks)

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Booties: No Button Baby Booties

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Pillow: Good Night Moon

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Mittens: 2 Needle Mittens

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Green Booties: Baby Uggs

Patterned Booties:  2 Needle Socks (The link for that site seems to be broken.. I have uploaded a pdf I created)

Im currently working on a double colour swaddle blanket (keeping it gender neutral as we don’t wanna know if the babys a boy or girl🙂 ).. And i just cant find the energy  in me to finish it.. Sigh.. Someday before October hopefully!

Also I’ve got the fever for sewing up bags, and Im planning up a Diaper Bag for the little one.. Since I couldn’t find the exact pattern Im looking for online.. I drew a few rough sketches, drawing inspiration from many tutorials and pictures..  I’ll share it here once I get going on that..🙂 Thats all for now!

 

Please do share with me other useful baby stuff I could knit, sew or crochet!

Ciao,

Rocky

Bread

The Bread Obsession

For a few weeks now, I had made many attempts at bread-making with not much success. I became obsessed with making the perfect bread, and obviously my first instinct was to go for the very simple and easy No-Knead Bread method. There was not a single stone left unturned, there was not a single bread blog left unread. Though the ingredients were minimal (Flour, Yeast, Water, Salt) and there was virtually no effort (just mix ’em and leave ’em alone for around 12 hours or more), this bread-making exhausted me. Because of the very chewy and gummy result I got every time I made it!

At first I thought, it was because I was cutting it too early. Sometimes temptation gets the better of you, and unlike a cake you can never know if a bread is done until we cut it. The third time I made it, I made myself wait a good 2 hours (The wait killed me because the smell was heaven!!) before I sliced it. Once again I was disappointed.

The bread had a very baguette-y exterior and the inside was so dense, chewy and gummy. Because I didn’t have the heart to throw it out, I managed to have it after toasting (toasting seemed to make it a little better, but not quite).

I nearly gave up when I saw this particular recipe, and it wasn’t a no-knead method. The Ingredients were once again not too fancy (I saw breads made with eggs.. Though it was guaranteed they’d be deliciously soft, wasting an egg over a bread, which I may make every week didn’t seem to sit well with me). Anyhoo, I baked this bread at 1 in the night because I saw the recipe at 9 and I had to make it right away. This recipe was the make or break one. If this didnt turn out right I was gonna give up Bread-making forever.

Fortunately, it turned out so good!! After baking I had to let the bread cool for an hour, and this time I had to punch myself to make me wait.The whole house smelled so delicious😀

After cooling, I cut the bread at 3. That’s right, 3 in the middle of the night. I was so excited it turned out so soft and delicious, I shook the sleeping husband awake and shoved it into his mouth to taste it!!😀 (I’m evil, I know)

In a very confused and groggy state he mumbled, it was good and went back to sleep. I on the other hand, basking over my victory couldn’t sleep all night!😛 And boy was I pleased Grandma VanDoren had a good memory!

That was a couple of weeks ago..I made it again yesterday and deviated a little from the original to see how it’ll change and the resulting bread though soft, it wasn’t the same as the first one I made. So I’m gonna stick to the original for the foreseeable future!

And the original recipe made 3 loaves, I just halved the recipe and made one huge loaf🙂

Ingredients

Original recipe makes 3 – 1 1/2 pound loaves

  • 3 cups warm water                           (1.5 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons active dry yeast         (1.5 TB spoon)
  • 3 teaspoons salt                               (1.5 teaspoon)
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil              (2 TB spoon)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar                          (1/4 cup)
  • 8 cups bread flour                            (4 cups)

P.S: The ones in the bracket are the measurements I used.

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine warm water, yeast, salt, oil, sugar, and 4 cups flour. Mix thoroughly, and let sponge rise until doubled in size.
  2. Gradually add about 4 cups flour, kneading until smooth. Place dough in a greased bowl, and turn several times to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled.
  3. Punch down the dough, let it rest a few minutes. Divide dough into three equal parts. Shape into loaves, and place in three 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch greased bread pans. Let rise until almost doubled.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 to 45 minutes. The loaves may need to be covered for the last few minutes with foil to prevent excess browning.

Recipe from:  Grandma VanDoren’s Bread

Also there was a video along with this recipe without which I would have been totally lost! I would recommend watching it once or twice before making the bread. Its very straight forward🙂

Please make and enjoy!🙂

Ciao,

Rocky

The Baking Frenzy!

Once in a while I get into this Baking Frenzy, where I just look at oodles and oodles of recipes and end up drooling at the pictures than making them. I loove baking, but I never get around to doing it!

So yesterday I saw a couple of strawberries lying around, I felt sorry for them because no one was having them. I decided to put them to good use and make muffins. Then my eyes fell on a packet of chocolate chip cookies which I had bought a long time ago.

Now came a moral dilemma: Strawberry or chocolate chips?

I just couldn’t give up one for the other, and hence the search for Strawberry and chocolate chip muffins was on. Finally I settled on one recipe, and judging by the way my muffins turned out.. I declare thee, “Averie’s Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins” the Lord of all Muffins! (Of Course, thats just my opinion).

Here are my Lovelies:

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As you can see, there are a couple unaccounted for.. ahem.

So after that frenzy was over, and all my unwashed baking dishes were piled sky-high, I wanted to do something more. And though its the wrong order (Mitts before the muffins, not the other way around) I looked up a few DIY Oven mitts, and I liked Professor Pincushions tutorial. I wanted to try the traditional Oven Mitt and after half an hour, Tada! For some odd reason I was so proud of it.. I guess it looked so good and professional.. not something I as an amateur Sewer would do.. And besides, it was my first time! Woo-Hoo!

Professor Pincushions Oven Mitt Tutorial:

All her videos are worth checking out🙂

Here are my Mitts:

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(I’m gonna let you in on a secret here. I didn’t have the insulation materials.. So I used up my husbands old blankets and layered them up between the cotton fabric.. I dont think he’s gonna notice anytime soon.. Unless of course he reads this.:/ )

Maybe the colour doesn’t go too well with each other.. But I was so in the zone I just wanted to try it out right away, all thoughts of colour coordiantion and designs were out the window.

All said and done, Im so very pleased and cant wait to use it the next time I bake something.. Which knowing me.. Could be a a few days. Or Months. Or Years.. Ahem, there’s no telling.😛

As always, I’d b pleased to hear your thoughts and comments.. and any ideas to improve on what I did are also welcome!

Till the next time,

Ciao

Rocky

Make your own Needle Point Protectors or Stoppers!

We just shifted to our own place and its been real time-consuming and energy-draining just getting the place set up. If I could knit up a bed, I’d do it in a jiffy.. But since I cant, we just have to stick to sleeping on the floor. Oh and crafting some more possible things.

I didnt have time to get back to blogging and crafting till a few days back. The first order of things was to get a head start on a knitted table runner for the coffee table. And frankly working with it has not been a piece of cake.. Because I noticed that whenever I had to run to the kitchen to attend to something I had left on the stove/oven/sink(with the water running).. which I shouldnt have left unattended in the first place, ahem.. My stitches just magically fall off the needle and I have a hard time getting them back in order.

I googled the solution for this, as usual and found out there was something called Point Protectors. I didnt know they existed till then.

Then I looked for ways I could make them myself instead of spending on it (Domestic life, Chapter 1: Budgeting :/).

1.There were a lot of Ideas like the one with the fabric/leather with an elastic strap.

leather

It looked great and though I wanted to try it, I was just far too lazy. I wanted something with Instant Gratification. (Bad trait, I admit)

2.There was this other one made with Sugru (Self-setting Rubber)

clay

The Instructions are here, if youre interested: http://www.instructables.com/id/Sugru-Knitting-Needle-Stoppers/?ALLSTEPS

I didnt think I could find Sugru anywhere. (Translation: I was too lazy to go hunting for it :P)

3.Then  there was the amazing cork idea.

cork

It was so simple and all my troubles would be over. Except… I had no access to corks, I didnt drink neither did I know anyone who drinks and would happen to have a few dozen corks lying around.. So that idea was out as well.

Anyway I just let it rest and the idea seemed to go away, I was destined to keep losing my stitches and spending an hour gettting it back in order by which time I got fed up of knitting it and stowed it away for another day.

A few days later, out of the blue I had this Idea I could, you know crochet one. But there was the obvious problem of large spaces and the needle jutting out of them (which defeats the whole purpose). Then it hit me I could make the stitches really tight and so there would be no spaces and it would hold its shape as well.

One problem down one more to go.

There was the matter of the Stoppers itself not slipping off the needle. It had to stay on the needle and not fall off with the slightest touch.

I thought of adding an elastic, and since I didnt have an elastic band, what better way to substitute it than with a rubber band.😀

The first mistake I did was crocheting it top down! I had no way to attach the rubber band to it except cut it then thread it through. Let me tell you, it did not look at all appealing and I was horrified. But since I was at a block and couldnt think of anymore ideas, I used it as it was.

Until today morning. I had an eureka moment and thought, “Why not crochet around the rubber band (which will disguise it) and start from bottom up?”

It worked out wonderfully fine! It took me just 15 mins max and a new stash buster idea was born!

Heres a pic of the finished stopper.

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THINGS YOU WILL NEED: 

  • Rubber bands

rubber-bands_300

Any size is fine..

  • Crochet hook- small size ( compared to the yarn anyway, like a lace hook or slightly bigger)

lace hook

  • Yarn (bigger size than the lace yarn)

STEPS:

Step 1: If its a small rubber band just wrap it around your finger twice (or atleast till its really tight). Since I used the big one, I wrapped it around my finger multiple times.

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Step 2: Gently slip it off your finger, treat it like a magic circle. Slip the yarn into the centre of the ring and make a slip knot. Start crocheting around the rubber band, like you would around a magic circle.

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Step 3: Continue crocheting around tightly. You can go by rounds or just crochet around continuously in a spiral. After you’ve reached a certain height (place your needle in and check) decrease for one round (skip alternate stitches and crochet= decrease). Do a few more rounds and decrease periodically or continue without decreasing. It really doesnt matter, you can shape it however you want.

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Step 4: After you’ve reached the desire height (place in your needles and keep checking for a snug fit) decrease till only 2 stitches are left and bind off.

You can go ahead and make 2 separate ones for both the needles or if you’re like me (Suuuper Lazy :D), just make one for both the needles!

Here is my needle with the work. In case youre wondering what Im working on.. Its a entrelac table runner. I adapted it from a Scarf pattern.🙂 As you can see, its far from complete… Hopefully it’ll be over soon!

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You know, now that I think about it.. My Needle stopper kinda looks like the one from clovers, the shape and all.. Oh and the colour! What a coincidence😀

Point Protectors     20141007150010

And as always appreciate your comments and thoughts, do drop in if there are any queries.

Ciao,

Until next time.

New Adventures!

Well, hello there!

Its been a long time since I came to this little virtual corner of mine..

I’ve gotten a little busy, and well as they say, Life tends to get in between and poke its ugly little head!

Anyway, being back here typing up a post seems so weird and it seems like I have to re-learn the basics of WordPress again!!! UGGGGGH:/

And there seems to be quite a few changes in the layout of WordPress as well.. Hmmm

Anyhoo, I wasn’t completely useless the whole time I was away.. I like to be creatively busy as much as I can, and one little venture I undertook was to go for Sewing lessons!

Its kept me pretty busy.. and Im thankful for it.. I was never much of a sewing person anyway, but I did know the basics and I could mend tattered clothes.

The lessons were for Dress-making.. The Indian Salwar Kameez and The Saree Blouse..

Now, I can proudly shout out to the world that I can sew my own dresses yaay!! (As long as its for casual wear, if its for a friends wedding -THE HELL ITS GOING TO A PROFESSIONAL TOP NOTCH TAILOR! :P)

The whole adventure was for 2 months, and I must say I was a pretty fast learner, and hence the entire learning process was glitch-free..

Before I babble on and on about the different dress making aspects and things.. Lets get down to one of the most important thing we need while cutting out a pattern and that I was so stupid enough to not know this before, and how Im a couple of Salwar Kurtis late!

Its a Pattern-Weight or a Dress-making Weight!

It was totally out of the blue.. I was going through the things needed to make the cutting process easier.. and believe me, the cutting process is the most creatively stimulating part of the Dress-making routine.. Sewing is a no-brainer as long as you get the cuts and nips right!

And there was my bag of Gold, as point number one! DRESSMAKING WEIGHTS! No more pins, no more plates and bowls lying around being used as weights.. No more using my knee and doing Weird Gymnastic postures.. Errm, that was a bit painful..

So, I first tried out this Pattern Weight, which I fell in love with because of her choice in fabric and Pattern, my my the Chevron! Oooh lala

pattern-weights-title

Heres the link to this beauutiful and nifty little thing: Pattern Weights

 

(Her blog is worth checking out!🙂 )

Then I did mine, and it wasnt as good-looking as hers because probably the fabric I used was too thin.. Its evident that I was so eager to try it out, that I didnt think this whole thing through! Anyway, I wanted more ideas, so I googled a variety of names.. (I didnt know it was called Pattern Weights)

Then I found this, and it seemed like an even more simpler idea (filling it up with rice! I didnt know rice could be heavy)

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And heres the link: Triangular Pattern Weight

I tried both of them! For the triangular one, I didnt want to repeat the same mistake as the previous one, So I used two pieces of fabric and made it thick enough.. Also as an added touch I sewed a bit of Ribbon like a hoop to hold it easily.. ( ahem, no doubt “inspired” by this!)

Weights

(Credit: http://www.kathrynscrafts.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=380:dress-making-weights&catid=50:kathryns-challenge&Itemid=93)

Here’s mine! (I admit they are very crude versions.. and the Triangular one is hand stitched, in my effort to try it out right away I didnt even have the patience to use the sewing machine😛 .. I get like this sometimes! )
My favourite is the Triangular one as it seems like its a bit easier to handle than the Pillow type one! But the BB’s are heavier..

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So all you Sew- ers out there, this is a must have tool and have atleast a pair of them to make your cutting tasks easier (even if life isnt sometimes!)

 

Ciao, 

Till the next post!

image

The Contrast Cable

After a long time, I came across a pattern which really intrigued me and I really wanted to try it out.

image

It was called the Woven Braid or “Trenza Calada”

It was in Spanish and not English. So after Google translated it, I still couldn’t understand the written instructions.

And the accompanying explanatory video did nothing to clear things up too.

She was clearly a pro, and man was she faaaaaast!

Here is  the link to the blog, feel free to check out:

http://www.tejiendoperu.com/dos-agujas/puntos-en-dos-agujas/galeria-de-puntos-4-trenzas-ochos-cuerdas/

There are a lot of cabling patterns here.

And heres the video link:   http://youtu.be/cRzFRsHgC8g

So after wracking my brain, I posted for help on the Ravelry forums. Then it also hit me that I could download the video and run through it in slo-mo. But I was too tired and went to sleep.

Then today morning I was going through the video on youtube again.. And I saw “the Trellis lace”.. I had seen this one a loong loong time ago..

It was evident  this pattern and the “Trenza Calada” is somewhat similar.. So I checked it out, and it gave me a clearer idea.. after watching the “Trellis lace” twice, I  proceeded to download Trenza Calada and went through it in Slow-Motion.

After 3 LOOOONG hours I finally figured it out.. writing what I did as I went along, then scratching it out as I made a mistake , then re-writing it.

Finally I got the desired result and ta-da!!

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Its such a pretty little cable with contrasting elements, I still don’t know where Im gonna use it, but I sure am glad I made a chart for it.

You can try it out, if you like.

Contrast cable Chart

 

 

 

The key for it are not the standard ones, I just used whatever was easy to use in excel. (please click on the picture to make it larger)

After the whole thing I went on Ravelry again and a fellow member named “JoodieKadoodie” painstakingly wrote down the entire instructions! I thank her with all my heart.. (I also cross referenced it with my chart.. Seems the same ;)  )

If the chart was a bit too much too understand, I’ll post her written instructions below which is easier to understand.

“The pattern says it is over 20 stitches, but the stitch itself is really a repeat of 16 with 2 more purl stitches to make the design centered and an edge stitch on each side to make the 20 in the swatch. So a multiple of 16+ 2 purl stitches+ the 2 edge stitches. Tejer means to weave, but they use it for knitting and crocheting as well. The way it is used in the pattern it might translate better as “work” and then it describes which stitch to work “al reves” (no accent to use” is part of the description of the purl, and “al derecho” is for a knit stitch.

Here is the whole pattern stitch written out in a shorter form. @ = an asterisk because I can never remember the Ravelry secret to making the asterisk work. I am leaving off the edge stitches so this is only for the 18 stitches of the pattern (16 that are repeated + the P2 to center the pattern). Repeat between the @ @ each time, then end P2. Cable Cross rows have a CC in front of them.

Openwork Cable 
Row 1: @ P2, (k2tog, yo) 3 times, p2, k6 @ p2. 
Row 2 and all even rows work the stitches as they present themselves. 
CC Row 3: @ P2, k1, (k2tog, yo) 2 times, k1, p2, slip 3 to CN (cable needle), hold to front of work, k next 3, k 3 from CN @ p2. 
Row 5: @ P2, (k2tog, yo) 3 times, p2, k6 @ p2. 
Row 7: @ P2, k1, (k2tog, yo) 2 times, k1, p2, k6 @ p2. 
Row 9: @ P2, (k2tog, yo) 3 times, p2, k6 @ p2. 
CC Row 11: @P2, k1, (k2tog, yo) 2 times, k1, p2, slip 3 to CN, hold to front, knit next 3, knit 3 from CN, k1 @ p2. 
Row 13: @ P2, k6, p2, (k2tog, yo) 3 times @ p2. 
CC Row 15: @ P2, slip 3 to CN, hold to front, K next 3, k3 from CN, p2, k1, (k2tog, yo) 2 times, k1 @ p2. 
Row 17: @ P2, k6, p2, (k2tog, yo) 3 times @ p2. 
Row 19: @ P2, k6, p2, k1, (k2tog, yo) 2 times, k1 @ p2. 
Row 21: @ P2, k6, p2, (k2tog, yo) 3 times @ p2. 
CC Row 23: @ P2, slip 3 to CN, hold front, k next 3, k3 from CN, p2, k1, (k2tog, yo) 2 times, k1 @ p2. 
Repeat the 24 rows of the pattern as many times as desired.

This part that was right before row 1:

Esta muestra la hice con 20 puntos: dos puntos para los bordes, 6 puntos para cada trenza (cada trenza tendrá 2 columnas de 3 puntos) y 6 puntos para la base (2 puntos antes, entre y después de las trenzas)

is explaining the swatch set up and says something like: This swatch is made with 20 stitches: 2 stitches for borders, 6 stitches for each cable (each cable has 2 columns of 3 stitches) and 6 stitches for the basa {that other part, maybe base, but not in my dictionary} (2 stitches before, between and after the cables).   ” 

 

Have a go at this beautiful piece of cable-work and shout out to me if there are any doubts or you spot any mistakes!

Ciao

Mitten Smitten

Well, it had a been a long time since I touched my needles and yarn.. And after the holidays, I seemed to have missed them so much.. So I thought I’ll pick it up again for a  pair of cute little mittens for my cousin’s son..

At first I browsed through Ravelry and went through the patterns in there.. I thought I’ll go with knitting it circular..  So there was this great pattern called “Baby Galway Mitts” there.

You can check it out if you like: http://jenniferhoel.wordpress.com/2008/11/26/baby-galway-mitts/

Me being a die-hard fan of cables and the intricacies, it was no surprise it caught my eye.. So I started it, as per the instructions using DPN’s.

But then, the mitten started turning out really big.. big enough to fit a 6-year olds hands. The kid is just barely 1!!

So I unraveled it.. and browsed through a number of patterns which were done flat then seamed up.

Actually the problem was  in  knitting with DPN’s which were really long.. see I  had to divide the 38 stitches I had cast on between 3 needles.. This  was really hard for me, given the length of the needles.. and after going up a few rows.. the work started to become loose.. and wide.. and BIG.

Such a shame, it’s a really great pattern.. and I wanted to do it so bad.. But looks like I still have a lot to learn.. and anyway, I shouldnt have over-reached and gone beyond my abilities for my first pair of mittens.. *hangs head in shame*

Anyhoo, after unraveling.. and browsing through so many other patterns..and a nice hot shower.. (That sure cleared my head)..

I decided I’ll do it my own way..

There was this one stitch I really liked.. the basic “Seed Stitch” which looked something like this:

seed stitch

I have never tried it, though I had come across it many times.

So with a stitch set in mind, I started.

Step 1: The Cast-On

The cast on for mittens, gloves etc. needs to be elastic, if you want it to be in place and not slip off. So I googled for the most elastic cast-on (I didn’t have much luck with the cable cast on).

And I found this! It was really useful:

Its pretty stretchy!

(There’s a long version to the video too.. Feel free to check it out)

I cast on 22 stitches.

Step 2: The Ribbing

A mitten or any other cuff that sits on the hand, usually has ribbing. If you’ve noticed almost all sweaters, have a ribbing. This gives it more elasticity.

Since the mittens are really small, I went with 1×1 ribbing.

The most important aspect to consider for ribbing is.. to use needles which are smaller than the needles you’re gonna use for the body of the project.

I used a needle two sizes smaller (2.5 mm) than the main needles(4.5 mm)

You can work up any number of rows, it depends on however long you want the cuff to be.

Step 3: The body of the project

There is a  way to switch the needles from small to big. After reaching the desired length of the ribbing, at the start of  the right or wrong  side (It doesn’t matter which, both look the same!) ditch the right needle and use one of the bigger needles as the right. Knit as usual and transfer the stitches from the left (smaller) needle to the right (bigger) needle. When you’ve reached the end of the row, and there are no more stitches left, pick up the other bigger needle and start with the body of the work.

This ensures a smooth transition from the small needle to the big one. (the first time I tried, I tried to push the large needle through all the hoops on the small needle, and my yarn was on the verge of snapping!!)

Now for the seed stitch:

A seed stitch looks like that, because you knit your purls and purl your knit stitches.

So if on the row below theres a knit, you have to purl it. If the next stitch is a purl, you have to knit it.

You’re basically doing the opposite of what is on the row below. That is what gives it a beautiful pattern. And the beauty of seed stitch is, there is no right and wrong side!

 

Now for the Bobble:

Okay, so well after doing two rows of the seed stitch, I wanted to add some pizzazz to it.. and I couldn’t figure out,  if I wanted to do cables or something else.. But then, the mitten was too small and a cable would be barely seen.

That’s when I remember seeing a bobble on the Baby Galway Mitten. And suddenly I had the urge to try that out.

I set out on a google quest to find out about bobbles and I was getting nowhere. Most of the bobbles weren’t pronounced and then I hit upon a pdf I had downloaded Eons ago.. and there it was.. the perfect bobble!! It had been right under my nose, and I didnt know it!

I’d like to share that pdf with you guys. I have no idea whose it is.. I  If anyone does, I’ll be happy to give the credit.

Here it is: Stitches in knitting

It has a list of all the basic stitches, and its great for a beginner!

To add a bobble I needed to know the centre.. so that I could decide this was the palm and the other was the top. Well, I had cast on 22 stitches, I split them up as 11 each and placed a stitch marker after the 1st 11 stitches. these were the top of the mitten. now I needed to split this up, to find the exact centre to place the bobble. And lucky for me it was an odd number!

The bobble was completely whimsical and its yet another example of how I dont plan any of my projects!

Anyway,  the 11 could be split up as 5-1-5.

After doing the first 5 stitches, I knit front and back and front into the next stitch. I made 3 stitches from 1 stitch.

Then I turned my work and knit into only those 3 stitches. Again I turned my work and purled only those 3 stitches. After purling, I slipped the 2nd over the 1st and the 3rd over the 2nd.

I got only one stitch remaining. Same as what we started with.

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The bobble after 5 stitches..

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Notice how the rest of the stitches are still on the left needle, incomplete.

Now continue the row as usual.

I just eyeballed the thing, and decided I’ll make 3 bobbles.

Step 4: Finishing off the tip

After the 3rd bobble, I did two more rows of the seed stitch, then switched to smaller needles (1 size smaller- I chose a 3.5mm) as explained before.

I continued for another 2 rows.

Then came the decreases:

knit 3, knit 2 together. I continued this throughout.

At first, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to decrease at the wrong side as well..

(Right side: with the bobbles

Wrong side: without the bobbles)

But  I went ahead and did it, against my better judgement, and it turned out pretty awesome!

After 2 consecutive  rows of the above decrease.. I proceeded with the next decrease..

Knit 2, knit 2 together. And continued across.

I did the same till I ended up with about 7-6 stitches.

Step 5: Bind off and Seaming

I cut the yarn after a length and hooked it up with a yarn needle. I inserted the needle through the 7-6 stitches and tightened it. Then to make sure, I inserted all through again.

After that I turned the mittens inside out and started sewing them up using whip stitch.

Voila, the mittens were finally complete!

IMG-20140107-WA0009

 

The mitten has a nice rounded shape, because I switched to the smaller needles.

 

Ciao

Its a’Ringing!

The other day, I was going through Pinterest.. to browse through some crochet and knitting stuff.. Little was I aware that my mom was behind me.. suddenly out of nowhere my mom says, “That’s so pretty, why cant you ever make things like that!”

I turn around, with my jaw hanging open.. Oh my god who are you and what did you do with my crochet-hating, knitting-despising, wool-disliking mom?

In the past all my attempts to make my mom use the little trinkets I’ve made in crochet for her, have gone in vain!! VAIN I TELL YOU!!

(its partly due to the fact that, her expertise is beads.. She can make absolutely anything with beads.. Shes a wiz.. and though I can whip up a thing or two with beads, Im not a bead person -__-  Well, as they say to each their own!)

And then she sees this:

bell

And goes all awwwww..

Anyway atleast this was a breakthrough.. my mom was finally asking me to crochet something for her!

 

This project was a no-brainer so I finished it in about 20 minutes! The pattern is from here: http://www.crafteandoqueesgerundio.blogspot.com.es/2012/12/patron-campanas-navidenas-pattern.html

The only thing we need to do is make sure the smallest hook is used, so that the stitches are tight and the shape is maintained.

So here it is,

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My mom is planning to use it as a hanging trinket on her bag. (But so far its hanging on a nail on the wall. Story of my life :/)

 

But we just made a slight modification.. She didn’t like the idea of a little jingle hanging from the bell. So we made our own instead with- what else- beads!

If you want the instructions for the bead ball lemme know! I’ll write it out.

Heres the bead in close-up:

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Hope you liked this idea! If you do try it out, I would love to know!

Ciao