Daily Archives

07/01/2012

Christmas Finished Kitty Knitting

Kittee

07/01/2012

The twelve days of Christmas may have ended, and the trees, lights, baubles and tinsel have been taken down and packed away and I can now confirm (with pictures) that I did finish the Christmas knitting before the end of Christmas.
January 147
The one lone little piece of knitted present that still trailed yarn and needles was a jumper for Kitty, the Immie tee by Quince & Co, knit from Sparkleduck Galaxy in a deep midnight blue with silver sparkles.  I’d just about finished the body and started a sleeve when I gave it up in favour of a relaxed Christmas Eve with my family, and sure enough it was there waiting for me to do a few little rounds on Christmas afternoon as we curled up by our tree to watch the last of the daylight dance with shadows across the room.

I packed it to take north after the end of the profiterole marathon, and knit as we trundled painstakingly up the motorway one day, and across on another motorway the next to stay with H’s parents for a couple of nights.

I finished it one afternoon, sat in the family room as my parents-in-law enjoyed having all of their chicks and a couple of cuckoos around them, and owing to an incident involving lasagne for supper, cheese, grated cheese and a little more cheese, it was pressed into service straight away to visit Great-Gran to take tea.
December 849
Taking tea with Gran is somewhat of a ritual.  Regardless of the time of day, or the proximity of any of the major meals you have to sit down at the kitchen table and have a cup of tea and a slice of cake.
December 852
For almost 13 years, H has drunk my cup of tea, and I have eaten his Ferraro Roche.  That is the way that it is at Gran’s.  It’s even more special now that Kitty’s grown enough to have a big girl chair and a little Madeira cake, just as H did many many years ago.
December 878
It also helps that Gran’s poodle Sasha doesn’t mind helping to clear up after little girls!
December 842
Kitty played with her auntie
December 796
and had cuddles from a great-auntie who popped by
December 900

and it wasn’t until we’d come back down home that I had the time or the resources to properly wash and block her latest knit.

But at last, a proper unveiling:
Jan003
Jumper: Immie tee with long sleeves
Trousers: pink and purple stripes from the JoJo Maman Bebe sale
Accessories: Room on the Broom – model’s own, Gruffalo socks from Little Sunflowers

It grew a little with blocking but with incredible growing not-so-tiny wee girls that’s not necessarily a bad thing and I’m happy that if it’s a bit big now, it will be a perfect fit before too long.
Jan002
Clearly I’ve made one very obvious change to the pattern, I accidentally used a 3.5mm needle rather than a 3.25 and it grew sleeves! Well, ok, I did use slightly larger needles and didn’t notice until I double checked them in preparation for the sleeves but I like the drape of the resultant fabric and I wasn’t going to re-knit the whole body.  She’s wearing it here as a t-shirt layer over a long sleeved vest which works well, although it also works well as a more traditional jumper; in the pictures at Great-Gran’s she’s got a thick penguin t-shirt and a vest underneath.
Jan001
The original pattern has cute little cap sleeves but full length sleeves are a rather necessary ingredient for a Christmas jumper in England, even in this unseasonably mild winter, and I had plenty of yarn so I invented them.
January 107
This is the largest size, and the pattern would have you cast on 57 stitches and work a few rows of garter before joining it to the body.  I cast on two-third of the stitches (38), joined them in the round and worked in garter stitch for the suggested rounds, then increased up to 57 sts in the next row and worked straight until they seemed about long enough (70 rounds). 
January 158

Christmas Cooking Family

Feast

07/01/2012

Whether they realised it or not, I know for a fact that the key influence on H’s brother and his wife’s decision to move back down north from Scotland to Yorkshire last year was the proximity of their oh so cute nieces aged nearly two and one and a quarter.  Kitty (and H and I) are now a couple of hours away and K (and C’s sister and brother-in-law are even closer).  The better jobs, bigger house and the rest of the family had nothing to do with it – oh no.

December 694
(Kitty in her party frock)
December 689
(and K in hers – it had snowmen on the bottom just out of shot)

They were working for their first Christmas back home (the perils of being doctors) so a couple of days later they hosted a party for fourteen, and both sides of their family got together for Christmas Take 2.

December 672
(Kitty explores her new Martian Mansion)
December 686
(with help from K – who clearly doesn’t wiggle as much as Kitty – and Auntie A wearing the bows from everyone’s presents)

H and I volunteered to bring pudding and the two Cs pushed the boat out for the starter and main course; bacon and scrambled eggs Benedict on little toasties to start, followed by a gargantuan buffet that took up most of the kitchen.  We had a rib of beef that had been cooking (a la Heston) for 18+ hours at a really low heat to leave it melt in the mouth tender, and a pork belly that was brined and slow roasted for nearly the same amount of time, all polished off with roast potatoes, parsnip puree, sauteed Brussels sprouts and red onions and a selection of gravies.

Now a supper that I haven’t had to cook and won’t have to wash up (all hail their dishwasher) is always going to get brownie points but this was right up there in the gold star category.  It was delicious and amazing and I loved it.

I also may have eaten it all before I even thought of taking any pictures.

For pudding, I spent a good part of Boxing Day making 78 profiteroles (using the Hairy Bikers’ recipe), and the creme patisserie from Nigella’s Feast. The next morning I used up four of my twelve spare egg whites to make the Fig, Ginger and Almond meringue from Annie Bell’s Gorgeous Cakes and then we packed the whole lot up (plus a raspberry jelly as a special request from H) and drove it gingerly up a heavily laden M1.

Once we’d unpacked we found the largest remaining serving plate and started piping custard and stacking my croquembouche. I thought that making spun sugar in someone else’s kitchen was a step too far, and I’m also not very good at it, so I stuck to the caramel sauce in Nigella with some ingredients purloined from our hosts and it turned out really well. 

In fact the only hitch in the whole operation was that the serving plate wasn’t very big.  I stacked and glued the best I could and then called for an engineering consult from H (MEng) and C’s Dad (model railway builder).  Their professional opinion was that I’d reached my limit, so we had a big croquembouche and a little mini one on the other side of the table like sugary cairns marking the location of a feast.

So here they are:
December 715
Two croquembouche, covered with caramel sauce and dusted with snowflake sprinkles, two trees and Father Christmas,
December 716
and a spicy and light meringue that impressively survived the journey from Warwickshire with only minimal damage.
H’s Mum and sister had also been busy and arrived with trays of colourful cakes – just in case anyone had any teeny tiny space left over.
December 719 December 720
We made some pretty good inroads into the table groaning with food but there was still plenty to send home with all the branches of the family, and still be left with more for late night fridge raids, and I may or may not have eaten a couple of profiteroles with my breakfast the next morning!

I don’t think I was hungry again for the rest of the week. Now that’s the sign of a good party – and a New Year diet.