Alison Crowther-Smith

Archive for March, 2016

Afternoon Tea Knitting Club

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

The Afternoon Tea Knitting Club kicks off this Friday, 1 April.  This inaugural knit-in is fully booked but there are spaces for the other three dates, so please have a look at these here.  You do not need to ‘join’ this club, you can come to them all or just one.  They start at 2.00 pm with a cuppa and we knit for a bit, then I will serve afternoon tea at 3.30.

I have just finalised the menu for this week’s club.  It is:  cucumber sandwiches, smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, warm cheese and rosemary scones with optional butter and cream cheese, and hot, buttered potato cakes.  Then, plain scones with cream, jam and strawberries, ‘slutty’ brownies and lemon drizzle cake.

Want to know what a slutty brownie is and what makes it so slutty?  Of course you do.  But instead of Googlating it, come to the next Club, in June!

This menu will be fairly typical.  You don’t have to eat it all, and I promise not to force you, but I am making it fairly wide-ranging to appeal to most people I hope.  I will adjust it seasonally though.

In the meantime, here is a glimpse into the pilot-baking I did to test All Of The Things.

Here is the sunny face of a lemon drizzle cake I made last week – just to check that I could still make them:

And here is a dark and gooey interior of the slutty brownie:

Smoke and Mirrors #2

Friday, March 25th, 2016

New colour-way for this new felted craft or handbag – Smoke and Mirrors in teal and green with bright copper beads. I really love this and it will be my new personal knitting bag as soon as its duties as a teaching aid are done.

The rich teal and vivid green really sing out, with a brightening effect after felting – something Felted Tweed often does I have noticed.

On this bag, the beads are far more of a feature than on version #1.  Here, the copper really works brilliantly with both shades.  A bit more bling!

The handles are the same dimensions as the ones I used on the grey and pink bag, but have a more modern design:

I think it is pretty certain that I will re-run this event in the summer or autumn.  Let me know if you’d like to be altered to the date.

Smoke and Mirrors Felted Bag

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

This is my new felted bag design.  It’s called Smoke and Mirrors.

Knitted in Rowan Felted Tweed, it uses two shades to create different felted landscapes. Pleated and beaded wide stripes form the top section, and the bottom sections of the sides are created with little windows of colour, framed with the main shade.  Here are some of my initial swatches:

And here is the bag, after being sewn and felted but before I added the handles:

This bag is smaller than my Bump Bag.  It is still more than adequate as a knitting or craft bag, or a largish hand-bag.  It is also rather more ‘felty’ because of the textures I have used.  If you wish, you can add further features such as a stiffened base, foot-studs or magnetic clasps, but it is fully functional and just as attractive without these additions.  There is an optional extra pattern for a matching felted needle case.

I am teaching this new design in April and May. These courses are fully booked, but I do have a small waiting list so if you would like to attend, please let me know as I may well add a date.


Newts! On The Allotment!

Saturday, March 5th, 2016

Great excitement last week here when, during a solo-dig in the Burial Mound at the top of the allotment, I unearthed a pair of newts:

They must have been sleeping in the earth itself, or the matting of long grass at that end – the last bit of digging to do up there.  They were very sleepy but I checked them over for signs of injury, and they were fine, so I then popped them into a depression in the dug earth and mounded it over with a covering of grass and weed-roots.  I do hope they will be alright.  It was a hard frost that night.  I have been so tempted to have another look but have left them alone.  What do you think?  Please don’t say I am a newt-killer.

I once dug up a pair of newts (do they always hibernate in pairs?) in the earth at my parents’ grave, when I was weeding and planting some new flowers.  That was nice.  Dad would of loved it.  And we found several, wide-awake newts, in the bottom of our little pond once when we emptied it to clean the lining. They were fine.  So, I think it is even more important that no-one uses slug pellets on the allotments but I expect that is a sentiment I should keep to myself. The allotments have a large pond dug out at the bottom of the field, so I guess it is likely that there will be all sorts of lovely wild-life, but we are about as far from the pond as you can get.  I did consider taking them down there, but short of hurling them over the fence into the enclosure, I couldn’t think where to leave them.  So, for now, they are re-buried where I found them and I will leave this area alone for a few weeks.  Other than this little bit, the Burial Mound is now all dug and kind of edged too. It was far easier than the rest of the plot and the loam is fabulous.  Here is sunset at Burial Mound:

The grass has continued to grow as if it was summer, and as I can’t get the heavy petrol mower down there, and if I could, I can only start the bloody thing about one time in ten, and you can’t use it on Sundays, we have bought a cheap and cheerful push-mower which now lives in the shed:

I can lift it and push it fairly easily.  It did  a great job too, look:

The second log-seat is coming on (too heavy to move more than one at a time) and the second lot of first early potatoes is chitting:

I am going to plant them with three weeks between them, as all the potatoes in a tower will have to be harvested in one go – this way we will stagger the gluts of deliciousness.

Then I did a bit more digging in the main bed.  There is literally a tiny strip of weeds left now about 3 or 4 feet at most.

I have also started to re-dig the very bottom where we first began.  I reckon I will complete the whole dig next week if it doesn’t rain or snow.  Digging the heavy earth has definitely impacted on my leg joints and energy levels.  So I only do about an hour if it is in heavy soil.  It is all heavy down here. Most of our seeds are now purchased too, and sowing will be kicking off in the greenhouse next month.

The other day I was down there as the sun was going down.  The sun was still on a good bit of the plot even at 5 pm in March.  There is no building to cast shade, so really the shade is just from the curve of the earth.  The plot is south-facing, if you are at the top, it is sloping down to the south if you like.  The sun will therefore be on the bit near the bottom last – where my log seats are.  That’s handy for summer evenings with a cold drink after a hard day’s work: