Monday, 29 July 2013

Pink for a Non Pink Girl

Being a foodie family has its advantages when you have dietary requirements. Its tough to discover dairy is strictly off the menu for 2/3rds of the family but luckily I like a cooking challenge so I've been learning to cheat my way through mealtimes. 

The main issue has been getting enough good fat and calcium into our diets. Supplements help but that fat issue? Not to mention the sheer boredom of tomato based sauces. I yearn for white sauce or a creamy cheese topping.

So I was just feeling burnt out when I invited a friend over with her little lovely for lunch. I would scream if I saw another jacket potato and or non dairy pancake. I pondered. I hit an idea. 

First I rinsed some butter beans as they're creamier than chickpeas which are often used for dip. It was a start. 

Then came some garlic and a little red onion. I want to be clear here that 3 gluttonously fat cloves was a little hit too powerful to say the least. None of us sharing food that day were very 'sociable' after so perhaps just go for 2?

I added beetroot, white wine vinegar, a little tahini (check for allergies first as it's sesame based), rape seed and olive oil and then threw everything in the blender. 

The result was..... Pink?

Luckily it was also delicious served with salad in sandwiches and grated carrot and avocado for the babes. It was a definite hit with little miss and thanks to the low ratio of beet, she didn't dye her face an alarming shade of purple like she usually does when she eats them.

One more for the repertoire then!

Pink Dip:
2 smashed garlic cloves
1/3rd red onion, roughly chopped,
1 tin butter beans (no salt added or a cup of fired beans soaked overnight)
2 tbsp tahini
2 tablespoons oil (olive or rapeseed)
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 precooked beetroot

Throw all ingredients in food processor and blend to preferred texture. Try adding different beans or some fresh herbs to mix it up a bit. 


Friday, 26 July 2013

Bombella Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered the fab Bombella kits giveaway. It seems the kits were very popular!

The random number generator has spoken and decreed that commenter number 26 is the winner. Louis said 'I love the Fox kits. He looks so cuddly.'

Please get in contact to claim your prize.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Quick News Flash

Firstly, don't forget to enter the fantastic Bombella giveaway. For the beady eyed amongst you, you'll be relieved to hear that the end date isn't 2012 but 2013. Typos and I are not friends. 

Also, one of our very clever Ravelry group members is designing us a mystery sock! How cool is that? Come play!

Finally, I just got a laptop..... which can only mean one thing........ shownotes are being written and the vocal chords are being limbered up. Exciting, exciting times. I MISSED recording. 

More soon x

Friday, 19 July 2013

Featuring: BomBella

Many months ago I was working on some words for a website and got chatting to Ella Austin, the designer behind BomBella. It turned out that she too was expecting a baby and we swapped stories and I learned about her fab knit kits. She offered one up for review to which I winced and admitted, 'I can't knit toys, my RSI can't take the tight gauge . Unfazed, I received a package of beautiful patterns and a ready made owl from Ella that now sits wisely in Playful Baby's nursery. I adore these fuzzy friends and have been looking forward to sharing this delightful designer. 

(c) Ella Austin
Ella designs kits with an amazing eye for beautiful features and details. She enlists the best of British providers such as Fyberspates and Skein Queen to bring exclusive kits to create her charming designs. By working with yarnies, Ella is able to ensure quality kits that match her gorgeous patterns. When I received my sample of patterns I was blown away by the quality of print and layout, not just the gorgeous pieces. 

Ella currently has three popular kits available via Etsy, with plans to launch more very soon. Tawny Owl, as shown above is my personal favourite with the cute little fuzz body from gorgeous Fyberspates Faery Wings yarn in a soft brown palette that highlights the delicate motifs across the body. I think I actually squealed with delight when I open this one up!

(c) Ella Austin
Then there's 'Intrepid Fox', a rather charming chap who calls for Skein Queen's merino 4ply. I think the leg detail is just perfect and am slightly sad my wrists wouldn't hold up to this. I would love to make the fox as it looks like a really satisfying knit. Finally, there's the Bunty Mitts, a retro wallpaper influenced kits, also making use of Skein Queen yarn. 

(c) Ella Austin
I think this is what I enjoy the most about Ella's designs: detail. She just has an ability for taking a motif to a whole other level in a way I haven't seen before. I love the designs and the idea of a kit ready to go is very appealing. I keep pondering who I could gift some too! 

Since receiving my lovely gift for the baby, Ella released another stunning design, 'Leighton House Handwarmers'. As always the patterns are available on Ravelry and the kits are on both her Etsy store as well as the yarn provider, Fyberspates. The inspiration was initially from the damask or brocade style of heavy curtain fabrics that might belong in lavish traditionally decorated mansions. Leighton House was the home and studio of one of Ella's favourite artists, Lord Frederick Leighton so again you can really see Ella drawing on delicious and enticing details. 

(c) Ella Austin
Like what you see? Well, leave a comment below telling me which kit you love best to be in with a chance of winning the kit of your choice. Be sure to enter by 25th Jul 2012 to be in with a chance of winning. Good luck!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Destiny and Yarn

In the run up to Christmas last year I plotted hand knits for loved ones and assigned yarn and patterns. I mostly hit the stash as shopping from my own private collection is very satisfying indeed. The only new yarn I purchased was some aran weight for my Dad's handwarmers and some beautiful worsted weight from The Uncommon Thread

The handwarmers were easily finished, running smoothly and without problem. However, the TUT had other ideas. 

The base is Ce's beautiful MCN 'Lush Worsted' base, a squishy mix of Fibers 80% Merino, 10% Nylon, 10% Cashmere over 230 yards. I chose the 'Bois' colourway to show off an ambitiously cabled pattern. What? You can see a problem already? Yes. Quite.

The pattern I had chosen was Dryad by my knit crush, Jared Flood. It is a beautiful collection of cables and twists over a long, long scarf and the giant, its intended recipient, seemed very pleased with the idea. It was knitting destiny. It would be beautiful. 

I cast on late in the year for such an ambitious Christmas present. I gleefully told myself that this would be what I knit during the 'nesting phase' of my pregnancy. You know, the bit at the end where all you do is sit around knitting and creating while your due date looms? Yes, you're seeing where this is going aren't you? 

My baby was quite impatient and arrived 2 weeks early which was certainly better than the 7 weeks early arrival she originally tried for. It was joyful but complicated cables only 2 repeats in were just folly. 


I stayed with the Jared Flood theme though and picked Setzer. Welts and short rows, what could go wrong?

Ah yes. About those short rows....

I have only just finished the cowl and still have a whole skein and a half left of the original yardage to turn into matching mitts for the Giant. I'm really pleased with the results and as soon as I find a moment to block it and snap it, I'll share the results. 

Sometimes you just can't argue with destiny can you?