Yarn | Organising The Stash

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This little piece of organisational joy happened quite by accident. It sort of evolved as I was thinking through a problem.

I have a bit of difficulty when planning a new project. As far as I am aware, there isn’t a shop near to me that has a wide range of yarns to go and have a look at, leaving me having to buy online.  Although this is brilliant because I get an exciting woolly delivery, it does limit me in terms of seeing colours in real life.

After collecting up all of my oddments of yarn and balls that hadn’t quite been made into anything yet, I set about making up some granny triangles.  Nothing fancy and not too big.

Once each triangle was finished, I labelled them with their colour and make.

organise the stash2

… all labelled up …

I now have lovely little stacks of colourful triangles, all labelled and ready for reference. I did spend five minutes arranging them into little crochet sandwiches  … but that’s because I got sidetracked!

Now, when I am pondering over the next blankety colour scheme, I get out my triangles and see which ones take my fancy, before I place my yarn order online.

Hooray for organisation (…and for playing with crochet sandwiches)!

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Dorset’s Delicious Bits | Hidden View

bulbarrow view 1

… the view from the top of Bulbarrow Hill …

A secret little viewing spot that I have loved from the earliest days that I can remember. Even on a cloudy day, with moody-looking trees, it is spectacular.  Just the right place to sit and have a think while the wind blows all of your stresses away. I don’t think any of my descriptions could do this place justice… so I’ll just leave you with the pictures …

bulbarrow view 3

Have a wonderful Sunday x

This Week | Highlights

Keith

… Keith intrigued by her reflection in my lens …

This week has been rather a mixed jumble of happenings so far.  After noticing that Keith had a bit of a cold developing, including enormous coop-rattling sneezes, we formulated a Keith-get-well plan.  This included lots of fresh clean water with an added garlic clove, some Poultry Spice mixed into their food and an hourly check up!

Happily, by the next day Keith was completely back to normal and was being her usual happy (grumpy) self! Not a sign of a runny nose anywhere!

Custard creams

… an exciting take on custard creams …

We also had family visiting over the weekend and there was a request for a cake of some kind.  I felt like baking something completely new, but nothing in my recipe books grabbed me, until I came across a biscuit recipe for ‘Melting Moments’. This is a very smart, fancy version of a custard cream biscuit and were completely delicious but seriously full of sugar.  When making biscuits myself, it really reminds me of how much sugar must go in to shop-bought biscuits and halts me, momentarily, from eating them by the handful, until I forget about the sugar content again! Anyway, if you just want an occasional treat to go with a strong coffee, these are perfect and the recipe can be found in The Primrose Bakery Book.

Clary

… last of the clary …

I spent some of the more sunny parts of the days preparing the garden for Autumn. I cut back the stems of the rock roses, trimmed the herbs in the bed and generally had a tidy.  Much of this year’s Clary was over and needed taking out, but in amongst the brown, I found one plant still happily radiating purple petals and so I left him be as a reminder of summer, just for a little while longer!

I hope you’re having a great week so far.

Crochet Poppy | Ready to Remember

frothy poppy

… crochet vs. paper poppy …

Remembrance Day is not far off the horizon and it got me thinking about the number of paper poppies that I always seem to lose within minutes of receiving them.  No matter how carefully I pin them on, after a while of busying about, I look down to find the red petals missing and just a pin sitting there, not really looking supportive of Remembrance Day at all.

I thought it might be better, for this year, to crochet a happy-looking poppy that will stay on through thick and thin. I will of course still donate but will leave the paper poppies in their tray for someone else to come to terms with!

I found a beautifully simple but effective flower pattern on the lovely blog Very Berry Handmade.  I have kindly been given permission to feature it here on The Dorset Finca, but I have translated into the UK version. So if you are into US crochet terms, pop on over to Very Berry using the link above. If you are happy with UK terms, please read on…

To make the poppy above, I used Stylecraft Special DK in Lipstick with a 4 mm hook.

Start with a Magic Circle and make 4 double crochet (dc) in the circle and close the circle by pulling the tail end (4 stitches).

R1: 2 dc in each dc round, join last dc to top of 1st dc with a slip stitch (ss) (8 stitches)

R2: 2 ch then 1 ss in next dc, 2 ch. Repeat all round then join round with ss (8 chain spaces)

R3: In each chain space make 1 ss, 1 chain (ch), 2 treble crochet (tc), 1 ch, 1 ss. Complete the round with ss into 1st ss. (8 petals created)

R4: Holding the flower facing you, take your hook to the back of the work and insert it round the 1st chain made in R2. Make ss round the chain, ch3, ss round the 1st chain underneath the next petal then repeat 7 times & complete the round with ss into 1st ss (8 chain spaces).

R5: Into each ch sp make 1 dc, 1 ch, 3 tc, 1 ch, 1 dc. Complete round with ss into 1st dc. (8 petals created).

R6: As in R4 take your hook to the back of the work and make ss round the 1st post of the 1st petal created in R5, ch 4, ss round next post then repeat 7 times & complete the round with ss into 1st ss (8 ch sp).

R7: In each ch sp created in R6 make 1 dc, 1 ch, 5 tc, 1 ch, 1 dc. Complete the round with ss into 1st dc.

Fasten off & weave in ends, except for the tail end.  I then used the tail end yarn to sew on my button to create the centre of the flower.  By adding a safety pin onto the back, the poppy should stay in place for good!

 

crochet poppy 1

 … there are lots of alternative flower patterns on Pinterest if you feel like mixing it up …

After making one poppy, you will have no doubt mastered this pattern! Once Remembrance Day is over, you can change up the colours to create corsages for your coat or bag to brighten up the winter season.

alternative poppy

… crochet flower made with 3 acrylic yarn colours …

Dorset’s Delicious Bits | An Organic Gem

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Gold Hill Organic Farm, Child Okeford

It was about a year ago when I discovered this organic farm, nestled just under Hambledon Hill in Child Okeford. Despite my lack of realisation of its existence, the plot has been growing organic vegetables for 25 years and it is clear that the Gold Hill farmers know their onions (sorry, couldn’t resist).  The first time I visited, after asking permission, I was allowed to roam around the rows of growth and poke my head into the various poly-tunnels.  I was so staggered at the enormous range of produce that can actually be grown, in England, throughout the year completely organically.

Just walking into the shop (open from Thursdays – Sundays) will make you gasp, as brightly coloured, healthy-looking veg is heaped into wicker baskets, having only been harvested moments before. It really is something to see.  The lovely people here are also very honest about the one or two things that they can’t grow, such as potatoes. These come from another local farm, as for some reason the plot here didn’t agree with potatoes and they had a terrible time with blight.

 A recently new venture for the farm (and already a huge local success) is their veg box delivery service. Priced very reasonably and delivered throughout Dorset to people’s doors, the veg is picked the very same morning that it is delivered to you.  A feat of genius in my opinion!

Now for the really secret and delicious bit… In amongst all this organic loveliness, is a…  cafe! Yes, yippee! My complete favourite thing in the world. (Many of you are now exclaiming… ‘but I thought you said your favourite thing was…’) so please forgive me for having so many favourite things.  Food and a cup of tea is really up there in the top three.

lemon and polenta cake

… homemade lemon and polenta cake …

There are homemade cakes (baked that day, of course), a range of things to eat for lunch with delicious salads… all organic and fresh.  We sat outside in the warm September sunshine with an incredible piece of lemon and polenta cake each, a pot of tea and watched the gentle goings on at the farm, framed by Hambledon Hill in the background.  It really was a lovely afternoon!

For a bit more information and directions, you will find Gold Hill Farm’s website here.

baskets of goodness

… baskets bursting with delicious things …

Dorset’s Delicious Bits | On Top of the World

compton abbas

Compton Abbas Airfield, near Shaftesbury

… and this is just the car park …

We had a little jaunt last Sunday, to one of my favourite places to sit and ponder.  Not only are the views on the way up to the airfield quite incredible, but once you are there, you feel as if you are perching on top of the world, sharing a secret with only a select few.  Sitting outside on one of the benches, practically on the airstrip itself, with a hot mug of tea and an almond slice, you can forget about almost everything and immerse yourself into the world of sheepskin jackets and propellors.  It never ceases to amaze me that such a tiny, grassy airstrip can be such a buzzing place of people, planes, microlights and helicopters.  In just an hour, we must have watched at least 10 take offs and landings, with the requisite whoops and gasps and ‘crikey that was close’!

Although we had a little mishap with the little old car (something seized and she refused to start, even after a kind aeroplane engineer leant us some WD40), we left feeling windswept but invigorated, and on the whole, had had a fantastic afternoon!

See you there next Sunday?

chocks away

Be Brutal | Pruning

be brutal

… these plants benefit from harsh treatment …

I have never been one to be afraid of going a little cutting crazy in the garden. It was surely all going to grow back wasn’t it? Well, I was partially right and I must apologise to the plants that this mentality disagreed with, but also reassure them that they have made great compost.

An Autumnal hard prune is usually necessary for most plants and shrubs to avoid them getting rangy and to minimise frost damage during the winter. However, a mid-growing-season prune can also be like a ‘refresh button’ for varieties such as scabiosa, rose species, most herbs and geraniums.  I was amazed to see plants, that I had given an end of summer haircut, sporting a new mass of growth which had also encouraged re-flowering even in late September.

So take heart if you are worried about some drastic snipping. It’s time to brave it up and make friends with the secateurs (or in my case, garden shears)!

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Dorset’s Delicious Bits | An Introduction

Gold Hill

I am one-hundred percent, head-over-heels, in love with this county…

…it is firmly attached to my heart with lots of little Dorsety strings of happiness!

If Dorset was represented at the Olympic Games, in the opening ceremony; I would want to be the person at the front, with the perma-grin, waving the swishy flag in one of those matchy outfits.

So much so, that I wanted to start a series of posts on the blog, documenting some of the many delicious, little morsels that make this place so beautiful, welcoming and just, well, brilliant!

The things that get featured might not always be the obvious stunning coastlines, rolling fields or sleepy villages (although they may get a cheeky look in), but more of the unsuspecting joyous bits, which make you want to sit and relax with a hot chocolate and get that lovely contented feeling…

To start the series off, I wanted to show you an iconic Dorset sight…

…Gold Hill in Shaftesbury.

Especially since the delicious bit is not only the view but the fact that you can sit at the top, in one of the loveliest tea shops/ restaurants around and take it all in, while eating millionaire’s shortbread or a grilled panini with chutney.

I would advise booking a table at The Salt Cellar restaurant, in advance, if you are planning on lunch and definitely want a window with arguably one of the best views in the county.