Archive for October, 2009

Chilli Pepper Drying Tutorial

This year I planted chilli peppers and ended up with lots more than I am able to use. I’ve given away some and made others into chilli jam, but am still left with a trayful. I decided that drying them would be the best thing to do, so I can use them throughout the winter.

There are a few methods that you can use to dry the peppers including sun-drying or slow-baking them in the oven. Since this is the rainy British autumn and a shared oven, I decided to go the traditional route and dry them by stringing them up to dry. Here’s how I did it:

You will need: chillis, some large plastic buttons, some strong thread or fishing line, a large needle.

Step One: Secure a button to be the stopper at the bottom of the string of chillis, as below.

Step Two: String up the chillis by threading straight through the middle of each and pushing to the bottom of the string, against the button.

Step Three: When you’ve strung up all of your chillis, or when the line seems heavy, hang it up in a dry, well ventilated area to dry.

Mine are going into a draughty garden shed tomorrow. They should take about a month or so to dry out completely.

I’m sure you don’t need me to remind you that chillis can burn – do wear gloves if you are at all sensitive to them and be sure to wash your hands after touching them.


Brooches and brain work

Blimey, lots has been happening this week. Much of it brainstorming, drawing, researching and article writing. Oh, and quite a bit of plodding along with powerpoint, making slides for a talk that I’m giving next week about my master’s dissertation.  But there was some knitting too…

Brooches for Making Merry

Brooches for Making Merry

I’ve been on a real push lately getting more brooches ready for the Making Merry exhibition in Winchester next month. I sewed all of these together this afternoon whilst watching the marvellous Brief Encounter and drinking many cups of tea.

I was lucky enough to get a review too! My scroll brooches were featured on the Found on Folksy blog this week as part of their Neu Vintage feature. Exciting times!

I’ve been on a real creative kick and much of the research that I mentioned has been in trying to decide what socks would encapsulate the essence of literary characters so I can make more Mrs Miniver socks about their relationships: Holmes and Watson, Crowley and Arizaphale and Jeeves and Wooster are on my list currently, amongst others.

A friend at work lent me The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes so that is proving a great inspiration, not to mention a gripping read. I still can’t quite work out what Holmes socks would be though. He was such a master of disguise. How to get that over in the pattern, material and construction method? (I think Argyle pattern for Watson, by the way: possibly quite loud).

As for Jeeves and Wooster, I found a great 1930s sock pattern in my Nan’s knitting and sewing book, with a false seam up the back of the leg. I will be using that one for Jeeves. His half of the sock will be black, of course. I’m rather tempted to make Bertie Wooster one of those ‘jolly purple socks’ which Jeeves was so disdainful of in The Inimitable Jeeves. Perhaps in silk. After all it was Bertie’s former valet’s theft of some silk socks which caused Jeeves to come into the employment of  Wooster in the first place.


Knit a Poppy Campaign 2009

As you might know, I’m editorial assistant at knitonthenet.com.

We have just announced the 2009 Knit a Poppy campaign in support of The Poppy Appeal.

The background to this appeal is that the Royal British Legion provides financial, social and emotional support to millions who have served and are currently serving in the Armed Forces, and their dependants. Currently, nearly 10.5 million people are eligible for their support and they receive thousands of calls for help every year. The British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal is one of the ways in which they raise money for their work.

Poppy Brooch designed by Just call me Ruby ©knitonthenet

Poppy Brooch designed by Just call me Ruby ©knitonthenet

Please visit knitonthenet to download our elegant poppy brooch pattern (designed by Just call me Ruby) by making a donation of £2.00 to The Poppy Appeal.

We shall be keeping you updated of the Knit a Poppy Campaign via theknitonthenet blog and website, Ravelry forum and Facebook page. We would love to see photographs of your finished brooches and also hear how much money you have raised.

Please email me the details at ingrid(at)knitonthenet(dot)com.


Making it up as you go along…

Sometimes a whole lot of similar ideas come out at once, independently of one another.

I’ve been thinking for a while about crowdsourcing tweets to make a knitting pattern. I’d flip a coin to tell me to knit or purl but receive the rest of the instructions from my twitter followers. It’s something which I’ve sort of done before, with the aid of a few friends, but not on such a scale.

This is Mmm – Entrails, or The Red Un-Round. The result of pub-instruction knitting, it was originally cast on as a mobius wrap. It didn’t end up that way.

Mmm - Entrails (or The Red-Unround)

Mmm - Entrails (or The Red Un-Round)

From my Ravelry notes:

I liked the first version of The Round so much I decided to cast on another.

But… what happens in this one is going to be dictated by other people’s suggestions at the pub quiz.  I’ll cast on the amount of stitches they suggest, knit the amount of rows that they want and make it to their specifications rather than mine. I will change colours when they say and make the buttonholes to their request (size and placement).

Given that I usually knit this at the pub, random suggestions are making it all the more entertaining!

So, they asked me to stop knitting. I did.
Then they said: Cut it in half. Er… okay.

I think its quite good actually!



I’m planning to make a pair of wrist-warmers this time with the crowdsourced instructions which will come out with all kinds of weird patterns on them: I hope! There’s still a bit more planning to do, but I’ll be setting that up and executing it within the next couple of weeks.

It seems that quite a few other people have had similar kinds of ideas for knitting just recently: playing with making patterns or being influenced by social media.

How about knitted tweets? Knitters in the north of England, organised by the glittyknittykitty blog came together at the Shipley Art Gallery for an evening event which included freeform knitting something in 140 stitches or under. You can see one of Brendadada’s knitted tweets here.

Then, last week I found knitting dice, which are available from Knitivity. Basically, you throw a set of five dice to determine where your pattern goes. I’d love to have a go with some of these!

Lastly though is Lee Meredith’s new e-book Game Knitting.

Orange Game-Knitted Hat by Lee Meredith. Used under Creative Commons licence.

Orange Game-Knitted Hat by Lee Meredith. Used under Creative Commons licence.

Its concept is ace. In her own words:

The easiest way I’ve found to describe how game knitting works is this:
You make a list of reoccurring things that happen in a TV show, as if you are going to play a drinking game to the show (drink each time something on the list happens), and you want it to be a crazy night!  Which means, if you really were to turn your list into a drinking game, you’d either want to take very small sips of light beer, or you’d be too drunk to play after a couple of episodes.  So, once you have this game list, you design a knitting pattern around doing/changing something in your work every time something on the list happens.  This may be as simple as switching from knit to purl stitches, or making an eyelet hole, or something a bit more complex, like cabling or turning your work for a short row.  Just don’t try actually playing a drinking game as you game knit!

So, I tried this out while I was watching Strictly Come Dancing with my family at the weekend. Casting on for a sideways hat, I knitted an eyelet every time one of the following happened:

  • Len Goodman said ‘seven.’
  • Someone went wrong during the dance performance.
  • Bruce Forsythe made a dire joke.
  • One of the professional dancers got feisty with the judges.
  • One of the dancers came on in something akin to a tablecloth.
  • Craig Revel-Horwood said something bitchy about the performance.
  • There was actual paso music for the paso doble.
  • Tess said that the judges’ scores were in.
Strictly Come Knitting Hat

Strictly Come Knitting Hat

I was knitting in a mid-grey, and you can’t really see very clearly the patterning of the eyelets whilst it is being knit. I think it will come out more when it is blocked. In the meantime, above is a glaring photo in front of the window so you get the general idea. I’m going to continue with it next week, but with shows of two and a half hours each week right up until Christmas I think I’m going to end up with a whole lot of Strictly Come Knitted items!