Friday, 27 December 2013

Christmas Presents :: Framework Knitting and Food

Someone knows me too well.  I was really lucky to recieve this GH Hurt & Son lambswool wrap made at the shawl factory in Chilwell Nottingham.  If you are are a regular visitor to my blog you will remember the post I did a few months ago following my visit during the Heritage Open Days
The detail of the knit is so fine and very soft.  Although the factory still has the original Rev William Lee stocking frames, this was probably knitted on one of their newer automated machines.  That said, to this day, this still knit in the traditional Shetland lace style.
Another gift was this book 'Plenty' by Yotam Ottolenghi.  I have been really paying attention to what my family and I eat.  Christmas dinner was almost entirely made from scratch with at least 90% of the ingredients where organic.  It is so important to me that I know where my food comes from and how it is grown.  I started doing this early this year following a month long 'Spring Clean' programme developed by my friend Rochelle who runs a business called 'Eat, Smile, Live'.  The effects on my health have been so positive for both me and my family.  I no longer feel tired all the time and, for the first time in ages, can think better.  The other great side effect is that my children have been asking lots of questions about food and it has made them think about what they put in their bodies too.
We're far from perfect and have a long way to go to become free of the processed world of food but this book is full of delicous ideas as well as wonderful photography.  On first inspection, this book looks like any ordinary cook book but when you look closer, every dish is meat free.  Ottolenghi is not a vegetarian himself but has written a vegetarian column for the Guardian for a few years now and this is collection of recipies from the past 4 years.  He does make suggestions for those who want to incorporate meat into their dishes so the book is suitable for all.  I love the philosophy behind Ottolenghi's food creations - freshly made, free from colourings and preservatives and locally sourced. 
Beautiful, mouthwatering photography in Ottolenghi's book 'Plenty'
Finally on my reading list, this small book 'Framework Knitting' by Marilyn Palmer, which I have started already. It explains how framework knitting machines work and also explores the social history of the industry which is something I am fascinated in.  Here in the East Midlands, I am very lucky to be within 20 odd miles of at least 2 museums, Wigston Framework Knitters and Ruddington Framework Knitting Museums that have working framework knitting machines but sadly there are very few people who know how to work them.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Getting Festive :: An Homemade Advent Calendar

The realisation, yesterday, that it was the last day of November, and that I had not thought about the advent calendar thing for the kids, gave me an excuse to do something creative with them.
I have a couple of old books so we quickly came up with an idea of using the pages of the books to make pouches. We started by folding the page of the book in half and stitched down the short sides leaving an opening at the top...
 Both the lad and the lass stitched their own pockets
 Then we cut out numbers using the pages of magazines and the insides of envelopes that we had stashed away...
 We then stuck the numbers to the paper pouches...
And then added lovely swiss chocolate to them, not all of them though, one or two have secret messages inside which will lead to an extra special treat.
 We then stitched them closed
 And put into a basket for the countdown...
 We used different stitches for closing them, zigzag stitches for the lass and running stitch for the lad just so there are no arguements.
 Guess who this one belongs to?
Opening them is easy, just rip!
 One gone, 24 more to go - yum!