Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Today (just)

Just wanted to say that today (Tuesday), in UK date systems, is 21022012. Which is a palindrome. I like that!

Musings on macaroons

This weekend I made two separate sets of what the recipe I have calls macaroons (they don't look like the little shiny spheres I've more recently seen called macaroons, but they taste great). The first batch, made early one morning, came out exactly as I expected them to, after a little experimentation with timings. 13 minutes at 180C made smooth, round, slightly risen and golden almond delicacies... Unfortunately, there are no specimens remaining for photographic proof.

The second batch, made in an afternoon's distraction, contained exactly the same ingredients (2 egg whites, 225g sugar, 175g ground almond), made in the same bowl, and was baked on the same tray, in the same oven, for 13 minutes at 180C. They tasted delicious, but the mix was much wetter, and the resulting biscuits are less smooth, and spread more on the baking tray, though some did rise slightly too. The only difference I can think of? I whisked the egg whites for slightly longer and slightly more vigorously the second time around! Note to self: the smallest change can make a difference.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Tomorrow at Fibre Flurry

It seems spring is springing at the moment - the lighter evenings are cheering me up no end, exciting projects are making progress, and some of the events I've been preparing for for the last three months are happening! I told you about Bizart last week, this week it's the turn of Fibre Flurry. Fibre Flurry is a fantastic independent yarn shop in Hall Green, Birmingham, and also the name of the yarn and fibre festival that the owners organise each year. Plans are in place for Fibre Flurry (festival) 2012, and I'll tell you more when I know details.

For today, however, the big news is that tomorrow, February 18th, from 1pm-4pm I will be teaching a workshop there. Entitled Beyond the Knit, it's a workshop designed for those who've been knitting squares, and scarves, and blankets, but want to stretch beyond garter stitch, and learn about purls, ribs, all the excitement of stitch patterns, slipped stitches, and knitting in the round. We'll be using my Doric cowl pattern (more information on the Patterns page) as a starting point, and having lots of fun expanding our skill sets!

For more information, or to book, please see the Fibre Flurry website.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Bizart and craft fair - a fabulously quirky event

Saturday dawned bright and clear and frosty, the forecast snow having fallen early and mostly cleared. Having packed the night before, I set off (somewhat pack-horse-like - one of the few occasions where I notice not having a car) for the Lyttelton Well, met with Rachel and Rosie, and from that point, the day flew by! Before we knew it, we had a craft fair before us, tables and chairs all set up, crafters in place, tea and coffee facilities made available, and the doors were open for customers to arrive.

And arrive they did. We had a steady stream of people coming to look, chat, and buy, and it was lovely to see them all. Ruthcrafts took a collection of work - information about my workshops, patterns and project bags (which can of course be used for a whole range of other things too!),  a few lavender-scented birds, and fleece cushions and hot water bottle covers.

It was a great experience, and I've learned a lot from it, particularly that I need to remember that people can't see tiny fonts, and that despite being interfaced, my projects bags don't stand up on their own without anything in them!

 The other vendors were amazing, and I'm so pleased to have had the opportunity to meet such lovely and talented people. If you'd like to see exactly who was there, and doing what, I'd recommend checking out the Bizart blog, where we've been doing vendor profiles for the last fortnight. A glimpse of the show itself is forthcoming, but photos are already up on the facebook page (search: Bizart).

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Reasons for my silence

It's been a bit quiet around here, hasn't it? Well, I'm very pleased to be able to give you, dear readers, a reason for that. A reasonable reason, at that. Yes, I've been busy, and yes, I've been travelling, and yes, that's been unhelpful in trying to blog, but once, I also have a much better reason: I've been blogging away. I'm very pleased to be able to admit my connection to Bizart (click for the blog, search for us on Facebook, etc).

Bizart is a project set up by myself, a certain Rosie Smith, and a name you may recognise: Rachel Lilly. We were talking about opportunities for young crafters or designer-makers in the local area, and decided that we wanted to create some more. So we've begun by organising a designer-maker fair, and are planning more events, details of which I'll share when I can. For the moment, let me give you the details of this one. It will take place in the Lyttelton Well Main Hall in Great Malvern on Saturday 11th  February (this weekend) from 10am-4pm, and will feature over a dozen talented local craftspeople and their work. I'm very excited to be a part of this, and looking forward to meeting lots of lovely people. If you'd like to find out more about them, head over to the Bizart blog for vendor profiles on the majority of them (more coming every day, which is one of the reasons things have been quiet here!)