Arm knitting

A couple of weeks back I took the bus to Brighton and purchased myself some amazing super chunky wool from Tiger. I couldn’t resist it – I’ve never seen any wool so massive and fluffy and soft (and a good price too)

I bought just a couple of balls thinking a warm winter woollen would be a good project for me. The wool suggested using 20mm needles which I managed to find, but I was not very pleased with this suggestion. I tried a scarf in stocking stitch and then tried another in garter stitch, but the fabrics produced were so tight and dense and stiff, it would have been a bit of a heavy scarf really.

chunky knit garter stitch Then a little inspiration hit me. I had seen a video a little while back from Wool and the GangΒ (I really like this) about Arm knitting (click here and see for yourself). Yes, this is exactly as it sounds – your arms are the needles! At first I was a little put off as found it quite tricky to tune my eyes into what was going on in the video as the casting on was slightly tricky (but not tricky once you’ve worked it out) But I watched a few times and soon worked it out and managed to cast on 8 stitches like this.

Arm knitting 1arm knitting 2

And I was so pleased I did get past the cast on row, because the actual knitting rows are so super super simple. Super super super simple. If you have never tried knitting before, or have tried but found it tricky, I really recommend setting yourself a little arm knitting project – it was so easy peasy, and grew so fast it was a really satisfying one evening pastime.

super chunky arm knitted scarf

And the arm knitting was just the thing for my super soft and fluffy and chunky massive wool as the fabric is really looseΒ and soft and not rigid and dense anymore, and because it was loose, my scarf was quite a good length too, much longer than my needle knitting versions.

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My pattern was – cast on 8 stitches and arm knit until you run out of wool. (or until you nearly run out of wool so you have enough for your cast off row) Then weave in your ends and voila! You could perhaps use 6 stitches for a slightly thinner and longer scarf – I might yet unpick again and try that. The beauty of this is it’s so super fast that you don’t mind trying again.

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So if you have bought some of Tiger’s magnificent wool with no clue what to do – do this. And tell me about it if you do. Or tell me more about Wool and the Gang.

 

Macarons, a journey

I just really wanted to mention a bit of a baking challenge that I faced last week – my attempts at french macarons. But please don’t get excited for some nice pictures and a recipe (I admit, this was my plan for this) – I gave them so much of my time and attention last week. But they have defeated me!

It all started when I decided to make some little baked treats for my work colleagues for christmas. And came across a recipe for French Macarons – it looked so easy. I thought – those are delicious and they look so pretty – and one of my colleagues can’t eat wheat and these have no wheat – so this was a good idea! I thought. But… i didn’t count on them being IMPOSSIBLE to make!

I found a recipe in my little book of bakes, and it made it sound so straight forward. Hurruh!

But here is attempt 1:

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Oh no.

Luckily for the internet, when  i googled ‘why are my macarons flat and brown and wealded to the baking paper’ I came across this amazing link, crammed full of every macaron problem scenario. There was also a video which was really useful and  i realised my first batch was really too runny.

So – i followed her instructions to a tee… annnnnnd….

Still flat (i was too sad to take anymore pictures) but not brown so this is an improvement. I think the first attempt was definitely a case of not whisking my eggs enough, and the later attempts (there were four in all – the final batch i didn’t even bother to put in the oven, i was experienced at what a failed macaron batter looked like by then) I did get a bit closer. But still no.

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SO I gave up and made gingerbread instead (sorry Gill for this gift of gluten induced indigestion)

So, looking on the bright side, this post is about if at first you don’t succeed try try try again. Or in my case try try try again again. There seem to be very many recipes and tutorials about for these little delicacies, so I am taking on the challenge – something must work?

You haven’t heard the last of this. And if you have ever successfully made macarons – we need to talk!