More often than not, Sunday’s are our day for bundling up with coats and scarves and heading out for a walk over the marshes…today, though the sun was bright earlier it now seems somewhat cold so we’re staying in (well he’s out pottering in the garage) and I’ve got freshly brewed tea and some embroidery to keep me happy…….
Actually this was a little tester piece I made a while ago, I had a scrap of the pink wool blanket fabric left over and ended up trying out a slight variation of the embroidery I’d used on my wool bunny. The flower stem is stitched with stem stitch (most appropriate) and the petals are lazy daisy, and I’ve worked over top of the tapestry wool (vintage Penelope in a soft and gentle pink) with one strand of Persian wool. The tiny skeins are little bundles of wool left over from crocheting….because the tapestry wool comes in such short lengths compared to balls of wool, you are often left with a length that you can’t really crochet with, but which seems a shame to just discard. Cheap skate and hoarder that I am, I bundle and tie these up and save them for embroidery testers and samplers.
Tea tea glorious tea………milky but no sugar…..could and do happily drink tea til the cows come home……..
Last Summer when I was blackberry picking, and just out for walks in general, I kept seeing great swathes of beautiful blue tufted vetch…it’s become my favourite wild flower and at the time I made a couple of somewhat unsuccessful testers……at the time I just thought “bleugh” and put them to one side….but with the passing of a few months I can see what works and what really doesn’t.
I think my embroidery was just a bit on the heavy side (I’d tried to combine different strands of colour together) and where in my head the appliqued crochet was going to look rather nice…it’s not really working for me…….but this is what doing a tester is all about….it’s good to make mistakes.
As well as using up small lengths of leftover tapestry wools, little testers like this can be sewn on pieces of waste fabric, when I make the tea cosies, stockings and hot water bottles I find I always end up with a pile of scraps…really small pieces I chop up for stuffing but larger pieces are perfect for trying out new stitches, experimenting and generally having fun with a little colour.
The vetch is so delicate that making it big it now looks more like everlasting sweet-peas (you know the sort, it grows huge but then disappoints as it has no scent)…maybe I would have been better couching the tendrils rather than embroidering them as I have done. The crocheted leaves and flower buds are little left overs from some posy brooches that were a bit wee…..I’m glad I kept on to these pieces though as they aren’t as terrible as I’d first thought….and I can see things I’d happily try out again.
Sunday’s are cake days and this is a favourite Autumn/Winter cake…it’s only very lightly fruited and I’ve made it before with just mixed peel and it’s been lovely. Mace has a much better flavour if you can buy the delicate blades whole and then grind it as you need it, the lemony taste seems more pronounced then.
Sunday afternoon fruit cake
125 g of very soft butter
125 g light brown sugar
200 g self raising flour
1 tsp of ground mace
3 large eggs
150 g sultanas
50 g mixed peel
19 cm wide spring form cake tin (a good deep one)
baking parchment and brown paper.
Lightly butter the tin and line it with a circle of baking parchment and line the sides too.
Cut a length of brown paper and wrap around the outside of the tin a couple of times and tie with a piece of kitchen string. (the cake takes a while to bake and this helps prevent the cake from drying out)
In a separate bowl sift the flour and mace together.
Cream the butter and the sugar together in a mixer or with a wooden spoon
Carefully add the eggs and flour a little at a time and stir in using a metal spoon.
Add the sultanas and the peel. Stir gently.
Put the cake mixture in the lined and wrapped tin and bake at gas 3 for 1 1/4 (one and a quarter) hours. (depending on your oven…you may want ot check after an hour)
Test with a skewer to see if the cake is baked, if not leave a little longer.
Sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of caster sugar and allow to cool before eating……
Very good with a cup of tea.