Home is home…

So after a long flight in which some knitting was done I landed in Leeds with my youngest son Elliott, on the 11th of January. I was greeted by my two sisters Fiona and Teresa, my nephew Jake and my Uncle Raymond.

Flying into Leeds.

Flying into Leeds.

I moved into a little house in Hull where my sister Fiona lives and did a heck of a lot more organising and stuff including getting a job. Things are beginning to settle into place, I’ve been reunited with my stash and bought a chair for crafting in thanks to a leaving gift from my lovely colleagues from my Melbourne job. So this is my new crafting space.

Craft room

Craft room

The flowery crochet pouffe and cushion were a housewarming gift from my sister, she bought it from some cool website and it’s made from wool of course.

There is going to be a heck of a lot of woolly stuff  in my new home but that’s for future posts. I’m currently on knitting leave while I wait for all the formalities to be completed for my new job. Strangly I’m eager to start work and get into a routine but in the meantime I have my stash to keep me happy. Hope you have a great weekend and for my friends back in Melbourne, happy long weekend.

 

Happy Yorkshire Day

Happy Yorkshire day everyone! Today is the day that Yorkshire folk celebrate their Yorkshireness and all things Yorkshire.  I shall be wearing my White Rose of Yorkshire with pride at knit night tonight.

It came in a kit for from baa ram ewe Yorkshire’s loveliest yarn shop.  The yarn is British blue-faced Leicester produced in Halifax West Yorkshire, which kind of makes up for it not being made from a Yorkshire breed such as Wensleydale or Swaledale.

So I thought I would celebrate with posting some facts about my hometown of Doncaster in South Yorkshire as an expression of my pride.

Not a lot of people know but butterscotch, one of my favourite confections (which has no scotch in it but heaps of butter and other yumminess) originates from Doncaster.  It was made by a company called Parkinson’s and even got Royal approval after it was given to Queen Victoria when she opened the St. Leger horse race in Doncaster in 1766.  Now called The Grand St. Leger it is the oldest and longest horserace in history, not that I know a great deal about horse racing though I did once do a stint at silver service waitressing at the St. Leger.  Butterscotch is still being made by Parkinson’s in Doncaster after a recent revival, yay!

Quite aptly as today is Yorkshire day, hubby and I went to see the Grimethorpe colliery band  from South Yorkshire last night, they are touring Australia at the moment.  You may recall that Grimethorpe colliery band were made generally famous through the film Brassed Off.  Brassed off happens to be one of my all time favourite films, not only for the brilliant and emotive musical score and fantastic acting (Pete Postlethwaite, my absolute favourite actor) but because I grew up in a mining town and lived through that era so it has a particular poignancy for me. I have to say they proved themselves not only to be superlative musicians but also humorous entertainers too, we had a fantastic night.

ttfn Melanie x

Special delivery

The postie came yesterday, hurrah hurrah!   I know several knitters doing the postbox hover at the moment, the anguish and anticipation is horrendous and I hope they are all very soon to be united with their purchases.  This is my last purchase of 2010 and it’s a good one, I’m  so excited to show you my new acquisition and I wish you could squish it too because it’s full of woolly goodness.

It’s North Ronaldsay fingering weight wool in light grey undyed and for those who might not know, the sheep on the Orkney island of North Ronaldsay live most of the year on the beach and have adapted to be able to digest the seaweed.  The yarn is entirely produced and handspun on the island and therefore quite rare and special.  As a new spinner, I love that it is handspun as it shows me what I’m aiming for with my own spinning.  Ah, to be able to spin so beautifully, hopefully with more practice I might one day.  I bought it with Jared Flood’s pattern Celes, in mind it’s a gorgeous lace scarf/stole and I think they would marry very well.

I also got Verity Britton’s Yorkshire Rose kit, because, as you know I couldn’t possibly resist a knitted Yorkshire rose.  The little box contains a pearl button and the brooch pin.

ttfn

Melanie x

Memories

I’ve been in a reflective mood today, knitting can do that to you, especially stocking stitch and as I’ve been knitting I’ve been watching TV.  At the end of my programme the screen saver pops up on the Apple TV and shows some of our old photos of Yorkshire, Fountains Abbey and the Lake District.  This has probably encouraged my thoughts a little but anyway I thought I’d share them with you all, they are quite nice.

Anyhoo, just got the second sleeve for Coraline to knit now, won’t be long till I have to concentrate as I attempt the smocking bit, there’ll be no TV then!

Wensleydale

Just a quicky.

I just have to post because I have to tell you how much I’m enjoying knitting Coraline in the Wensleydale DK.  The reason, lustre and bloom in one hit nomnomnom.  I keep admiring it and marvelling at its beauty.

I’m back at work now, 10 hour shifts, so I don’t actually see any daylight, therefore, no natural light photos of the WIP only the original stash one to show, but here it is.

I’m so looking forward to finishing this cardigan, I’ve coveted it for so long.  If you’re interested, I bought my Wensleyadale at baa ram ewe, the best yarn shop ever! Knitting it’s bringing back some lovely memories of my jolly holidays *wipes away a tear*

BTW My sheepy tape measure has been named shlutty because she’s often passed around at SnB night and used by all the lovely knitters there and she rather likes it too! Oooooh!

Happy knitting

Edited to add that I think Shlutty is a Suffolk sheep because of her cute black face, but feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

3rd parcel

My 3rd parcel arrived yesterday while I was out at work.  I’m sooo happy, squeeeeeee!

It’s 113g of Wensleydale top from www.skeinyarns.etsy.com .  I fell in love because of the beautiful colours and also because the fibre is Wensleydale, we had many a wonderful day out in Wensleydale and the Wensleydale sheep are super cute.

All I have to do now is find me a drop spindle and have a go.  I was hoping to start a beginners spinning course this weekend with the Handweavers and spinners guild but they are full so I shall have to wait patiently till October for the next one.

In the meantime, I have booked next week off work so I can knit to my heart’s content and hopefully explore some yarny and handmade shops around Melbourne.  Hopefully I can pick up a drop spindle and some advice and some ingredients to start my dyeing adventures, I also need some fat quarters to play at making buttons.  So many lovely crafts, so little time.  My main mission though is to complete Ian’s socks and my clapotis so that I can begin to make progress on my two neglected cardigans and get to wear them before Summer hits us.

Hope you have a fibrelicious weekend x

Pikelets

It’s funny how the colonies have changed the names of stuff.  Over here they call scotch pancakes, pikelets.  I’m missing Yorkshire pikelets fom Bettys and M&S toasted and buttered with my Yorkshire tea.  In Yorkshire of course, pikelets are a flat crumpet.

Above are ones I got from Bettys when I was on my Jollies last, they THE BEST pikelets in the world.  Here they are untoasted and look like lace doilies, sooo light and crisp when toasted.  I’d love to know their secret, mine never turn out like that.

Ok I have to stop now, the drooling makes the keys stick together and it’s making me more homesick.

Happy Yorkshire Day!

I thought that to celebrate Yorkshire day I would post my recipe for Yorkshire puddings.  There are many recipes for Yorkshire’s but this one really is fail safe.

You will need:

measuring cup of some size to measure the following:

1 cup plain flour

1 cup eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup water

pinch of salt

some lard, dripping or groundnut oil

a muffin or Yorkshire pudding tin

Take an actual cup or cup measurement thingy, it only matters that you’re getting equal quantities of the ingredients so the bigger the cup the more Yorkshires you get and the smaller, well you know…

Scoop a cupful of plain flour and sieve into a large bowl, add a pinch of salt.  Crack as many eggs as the cup will hold into the cup and add them to the flour, give the mixture a bit of a mix it will be a bit stiff.  Then add a cup of milk slowly to loosen the mixture up a bit, when all that is incorporated add 1/2 a cup of water to the mixture and beat well with a wooden spoon/whisk or electric stick whisk, whatever you like so long as you get some air into it and make sure there are as few lumps as possible, the mixture should be the consistency of single cream.  Then let the mixture stand for an hour or two to let the gluten relax and the flour grains swell.

When you are ready to cook your Yorkshires get the oven as hot as it will go.  Prepare your tins by putting a teaspoon of dripping or lard in each hole, vegetarians can use an oil that will withstand really hot temperatures like peanut oil, definitely not olive oil, it will get nasty.  The fat in the tins is ready when it is smoking hot, not before.  Then carefully pour some Yorkshire mixture in each hole (I use large muffin tins) only fill about 1/3-1/2 full no more and put back into the oven quickly so you’re not losing heat.  How long they take to cook depends on the heat of your oven and the size of your Yorkshires but about 15-20 minutes till they are golden brown.  Good Yorkshires are crispy on the outside and a bit fluffy on the inside but that really all depends on personal preferences.

Then enjoy!

Yorkshire puddings are traditionally associated with roast beef, however in Yorkshire anything goes, you can serve with any roast, stew/casserole, minced beef and onions or sausage and onion gravy or anything you want really.  If there are any left over at the end of dinner they are really nice cold with a bit of cold roast and it’s accompanying sauce or jam/golden syrup/lemon curd, after all they are essentially a pancake that has risen.

Many pubs in Yorkshire do plate sized Yorkshires that are filled with meat and gravy a bit like a medieval tranche, yummy.

Whitby

Whitby is one of my favourite places in the world, not just in Yorkshire.  Steeped in history with lots of interesting associations (apparently Bram Stoker derived inspiration for Dracula from Whitby).  We had a great day there to remember Mum as it was one of her favourite places too.  I did buy some Whitby Jet earrings little rose studs but they haven’t photographed well but here’s some photographs that I took.

Yorkshire rhubarb

It would be very remiss of me to visit Yorkshire at this time of year and not indulge in one of Yorkshire’s famous delicacies,  forced rhubarb.  I have mentioned it to my Antipodean friends and they all look at me like I’ve lost the plot but Yorkshire forced rhubarb is indeed very different to any other rhubarb anywhere.  For a start there’s the colour.

Pink! This is the result of forcing, removing the rhubarb plant entirely from the outdoors to warm sheds where they grow rapidly until they are ready to be harvested by candlelight to avoid photosynthesis.

According to E. Oldroyd the largest producers in Yorkshire, rhubarb forcing began in Yorkshire in 1877 and the area between Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford became known as the Rhubarb Triangle.  This area being ideally situated for the forcing of rhubarb as the Pennines shield the crop from frost, the wool industry provided the perfect nutrition, locally known as “shoddy” (sheep manure to you and me) and the coalfields provided cheap fuel to heat the sheds.

The result is absolutely delicious, more delicate in flavour than summer rhubarb and stunning to look at.  We stewed our rhubarb with a small amount of water and 100g of sugar and served with scones and Cornish clotted cream (another English culinary treat that I miss) and of course a cuppa Yorkshire tea.

Yum!