Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Homemade Cherry Jam With Rum & Almonds

Cherries have always been my favorite fruit and I can eat them until I'm just about to explode. So when me and my husband went cherry picking at the Cherry Avenue Farms last Saturday I was in paradise. And here's a little piece of my cherry paradise for you - a delicious and easy recipe for homemade cherry jam with rum and almonds.

Image by craftcookie
1 kg pitted sweet cherries
750 g brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons rum
80 g peeled almonds

Cooking time:
1 h 15-20 minutes

Stem, wash and pit 1.25 kg of ripe, sweet cherries. This should give you around 1 kg of pitted cherries.
Combine the cherries and the sugar and let stand in the fridge for couple of hours.

Image by craftcookie
Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat (around 4.5). Stir frequently with
a wooden spoon and skim foam off surface for the next hour/hour and
5-10 minutes.

Reduce the heat and add 2-3 tablespoons rum and 80 g of peeled almonds to the mixture. Keep stirring for another 10 minutes to allow flavors to mix.

Ladle jam into preheated jars, leaving some head space. Seal jars, turn them upside down and leave them to cool down.

Makes about 4 250 ml (1/2 pint) jars. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New Stitches in the 'Knit & Purl' Section

Couple of days ago we added a couple of new stitches in the 'Knit & Purl' section of craftcookie.com. The first  stitch we'd like to introduce is the Stockinette Bobbles stitch.
Stockinette Bobbles            Side View
Images by craftcookie
This is the first bobble stitch we added to our library as a way to introduce one of the many techniques to make a bobble. All of them begin with making an odd number of stitches (usually 5 or 7) into one and the same stitch on a wrong side row of your work. Then, in the more traditional techniques you need to turn your work, work the newly increased stitches, turn again and decrease the stitches back to one, before continuing with the rest of the right side row. In the technique we used to create the Stockinette Bobbles the increased stitches aren't worked separately and there is no turning of the work for the specific purpose of finishing a bobble. Easy and simple.

The other stitches we included recently are created with nothing more than simple knit and purl stitches. They are also the first stitches with shiny new written instructions!

And here they are:
Stockinette Mosaic                            Garter Stitch Stripes                       4x2 Basket Weave
Images by craftcookie

Friday, March 25, 2011

Written Instructions Are Coming To Craftcookie.com

Poll Results (Image by craftcookie.com)
Over the past couple of months we've been asking you whether you had a preference for knitting charts or traditional, written knitting instructions.

As you can see the results are in and 74% of the votes are in favor of the written instructions. What you might ask is what we are going to do about it?

Craftcookie.com was created with the idea to offer a rich and useful resource for knitting stitches for our visitors and we are taking every piece of feedback and every idea we're getting very seriously. So over the next weeks we'll be gradually adding written instructions to the knitting charts on the website. In the meantime we would like to thank you for being our loyal fans and for your patience, while we're working on improving the site.

Your opinion truly counts.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Knitting Valentine

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

We wish you all to love and be loved and to find joy in every little moment you share with the special people in your life :)
Here's our special greeting for the occasion and if you haven't seen Strictly Ballroom - one of our favorite, favorite movies ever - today's the day.

Just in case you're in the mood for a hearty knitting, have you tried our special Valentine's Day stitches?
Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Knit Marie Antoinette Doll

Image by AmyGaines
Amy Gaines never fails to deliver a pleasant and in this case a royal surprise with her patterns. 

Today she added an amazing new item to her Etsy Shop - a knit Marie Antoinette doll. There's really no way to save the superlatives - the detailing of the dress and the wig is exquisite and the the only question is "Is His Majesty Louis XVI in sight?" 

You can get the pattern in PDF format from Amy's Etsy shop for $6.00 USD.

Related books on Amazon:

Knitted Toy Tales Itty-Bitty Toys: How to Knit Animals, Dolls, and Other Playthings for Kids Knitted Toys: 25 Fresh and Fabulous Designs

Friday, January 21, 2011

Baby Hat - Done!

Couple of weeks ago I finished a pair of baby crossover booties designed by Ceradka and now I finally have a matching hat to go with them.

Image by craftcookie
This time I used a free pattern I found on randomstitches which turned out to be very easy and fast to knit. The whole project took around 4 hours including some time for size adjustment.

- set of 5 size 4.5 double-point needles
- 4.5 hook for the crochet flower
- Impeccable worsted yarn by Loops & Threads

I changed the number of of stitches from 64 to 56 and used different needle size to get a hat for a newborn baby (the original pattern is suitable for an infant). So at the end I got 13 cm (~5 inches) depth and 32 cm (12.6 inches) circumference.

Pattern Review: 
I will definitely put the baby hat pattern by randomstitches in my library of knit basics. It's very clear and it even contains instructions on how to knit an i-cord. It's easily customizable and it gives you endless opportunities when it comes to sizes, knitting stitches, colors and embellishments. In the end it will give you a beautiful, finished project in no time.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Valentine's Day on Etsy

There's a tidal wave of love coming your way :). In the next couple of days you can expect posts about Valentine's day DIY projects, gifts, knit and crochet projects and some hearty knitting stitches. There's less than a month left to prepare a surprise, so the earlier we start, the better.

The crafters on Etsy don't waste any time and have already stocked their shops with cute and affordable items. Here's our hand-picked, eye candy selection.

All images are owned by the respective Etsy shop owners

From top left:

1. Crocheted Red Hearts (set of 4) by sabanhur - $16.00 USD + $5.00 USD worldwide shipping

2. Love Grows Here Ornament by BelaStitches - $12.00 USD + $4.00 USD worldwide shipping

3. I Love I Love I Love... - 8'5"x 11" deluxe art print by cjprints - $11.99 USD + $4.99 USD US only shipping

4. Wool Felt Heart Ornament Collection (set of 12) by stephaniemonroe - $36.00 USD + $7.50 USD worldwide shipping ($3.00 USD US shipping)

5. Love Primitive Wooden Distressed Sign by chunkymonkeyluv - $10.00 USD + $4.75 USD US shipping

6. Love Grows Best In Little Houses - Wood Sign/Shelf Blocks by SimpleBlockSayings - $17.95 USD + shipping from $7.95 to $14.00 USD to Australia, Canada, UK and US only

7. Miniature Clay Heart House by thelittlereddoor - $15.00 USD + $4.00 USD worldwide shipping ($2.00 USD to US and Canada)

8. Lovely Wood Heart Flowers (set of 3) by jodyaleavitt - $18.95 USD + $5.50 USD US shipping

9. Rustic Valentine's Gift Tags (set of 8) by fannyandbea -  $5.50 USD + $5.00 USD worlwide shipping  ($1.50 USD to US and $3.00 USD to Canada)

If you picked your favorite, be quick and grab it, before it's gone!


Friday, January 7, 2011

Top 5 Free Knit Baby Booties

As promised in the post about Ceradka's Etsy shop, the Top 5 list of free knit baby booties patterns is finally ready.

So let's see who made it:

Image by Saartje Knits
1. Saartje's Bootees by Saartje de Bruijn from Saartje Knits - this pattern is without a doubt one of the most popular free patterns on the web and is currently topping the Ravelry chart in the same category with as I write this 9146 projects compared to 1697 projects for the runner up - Christine's Stay-On Baby Booties.

These booties are a great choice, because they look fashionable enough for a little princess or a gentleman and you can customize them any way you want - you could knit with single or multiple colors, you could use different buttons and additional embellishments and you could even experiment with the stitch pattern. If you're looking for insipiration and ideas - check the results from my search on Google Images.

The instructions for the booties come in PDF format and are very detailed and clear. There are even some pictures explaining how to make the left and the right strap, so what more could we possibly do, except of giving Saartjes Bootees a go - even if it means to make a pair in size 6/7 or bigger...

2. Stay-On Booties - Time to cheat (just a bit). What follows are a couple of really nice free patterns for stay-on booties and I really couldn't give a preference to one or another, because all of them have something nice about them. I decided to put them into 2nd place not only because they look good but also for their practicality - you can be almost sure that they stay on and warm your baby's feet - at least for a while longer than usual.

Image by chopped tomatoes            Image by pickinandthrowin              Image by lanaecotone

Image by sockpixie
3. Magic Slippers by Sockpixie - here's a true classic. You can make these   from any leftover yarn and when it comes to embellishing it - let your imagination run wild - for example why not put a tiny round nose, eyes, whiskers and a pair of tiny ears, to turn them into cute pair of mice or kittens...

You can find the instructions here.

Image by autumnblossomknits
4. Mary Jane Booties by Lucie Sinkler - another very popular pattern. You can find images of this style of booties as knit or crochet projects and they look equally good. Some of the feedback I've seen online is that these are easier to knit compared to Saartije's Booties because the single strap is much easier to knit.

The basic pattern instructions are provided by Lucie Sinkler on howstuffworks.com

Image by Kids Tricot
5. Kiholo Booties by Muriel Agator from Kids Tricot - I chose this pattern because it's quite different. It creates the illusion of a bootie within a bootie and the end result is very nice.

The PDF pattern for Les Chaussons Kiholo (doesn't that sound cute ;) in English can be found here. And for those, who just like me are curious what Kiholo means, apparently it's a bay in Hawaii. Judging by the pictures I've seen Kiholo Bay is pretty stunning...

I hope you found this list helpful and that it made up your mind about selecting your next baby project. If you have any other favorites, feel free to post them as comments and share them with me and your fellow knitters.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Slipping Stitches - Part 1

We've just added four new knitting stitches to our library and what they all have in common is that they are all created with simple knit, purl and slip stitches.

Ribboned Stockinette Stitch - Back                                Eyelet Moss Stitch - Front
Images by craftcookie

All of them are very easy, but most of all so quick to knit. Another reason why we like slip stitches so much is that they can create a great variety of textures and patterns which in most cases are equally beautiful on both sides - perfect for any reversible project. Of course you can expect more of these slip stitch jewels, that quite often don't get the attention they deserve.

Check Mark Ribs - Front                                                  Raised Stockinette - Front
Images by craftcookie

Here are the instructions for the first small batch of slip stitch patterns:

Don't forget to rate them, by clicking the stars under the stitch name and if you have any favorite slip stitch pattern, send it along to contact@craftcookie.com and we'll make sure to add it to our collection.
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