For years I've loved making novelty cakes for friends and family. In the past I dabbled with fondant icing and a rolling pin to recreate sweet tributes such as a tug boat, a giant glass of Guinness (there was real Guiness in the cake too) and a car.
However It was when I had children, that my sugar craft hobby truly became a labour of love. Each year the cakes get a little more complex as DD and DS try to see how hard they can make my task.
Particular favourites were:
Barbie Swanlake made from layers of fondant and painted with food colouring.
The two tier sweetie cake
The Disney Club Penguin Puffle cake that took far too much orange food colouring!
The treasure chest cake
The Tardis Cake
And this year my two kids really challenged me. DD wanted a Converse boot (she's all about the labels now!) So armed with red, white and black fondant icing, plus some silver food paint, and 4 hours of blissful solitude in the kitchen here's the result:
And finally DS set me the most exciting challenge. To make him Sackboy from the video game Little Big Planet. Knitterly gamers among you may know that this little character is knitted. So not only did I have to create this cute little guy, but I had to make it look like he was knitted. And I have to say I'm very happy with the results:
That's my cake making done for this year now. I wonder what I'll be making next April.
I am so sorry that I have neglected you for so long. When I set you up I promised myself that I would write regular updates on my knitting exploits. Well it seems that time has escaped me and five months have passed.
I've been busy though. In November I was approached by NPW (a lovely company based in London which makes some really funky gifts) to create a range of knitting kits. So with ideas in hand, I spent 2 months playing with yarn samples, charts, tension squares and patterns. I was also working on commissions for Simply Knitting – my Jumble Jelly
knit and natter friends will remember the double blanket that went on forever, but was so worth the time I put into it.
The final touches were made to my kit patterns over Christmas and with test knitting help from the fabulous Miss Elle
and top proof-reading skills of lovely Rhian
the patterns were ready.
And here are the finished kits:
The bike saddle cover
The very patriotic tea cosy kit
The boot cuff kit - perfect for festivals
The cup cosy kit
As you'd expect I'm very happy with these kits which come with full instructions, yarn and needles. If anyone would like to know more about where to purchase these kits, please feel free to email me.
So you see lovely blog, I've not been slacking off and I promise to write again soon.
I've long been a lover of the VW Beetle. After collecting models, pictures, teapots, cushions, badges, clothing and many other things in the form of the cute bug car that was created by Ferdinand Porsche back in 1931, there was nothing I wanted more than owning the real thing.
After wanting a real vintage model of my own since I was 10, and collecting VolksWorld Magazines for years, I will get my own air-cooled wreck and faithfully restore it. But with a family to ferry around and no garage to house a car I needed a reliable automobile. So what better car to get than a 2 litre new style VW Beetle.
I've had him for over 4 years and love him just as much now as I did when I first saw him on the forecourt of the dealership. He was my biggest impulse buy!
I do still hanker after the original style bug, and I will have one soon when funds and space allow. I can't wait until the day when I strip apart the engine and rebuild it. For now though I have created a knitted cushion immortalising my favourite car.
This pattern is available to purchase for just 1.50 here
I hope you enjoy knitting it as much as I enjoyed designing it.
While I've always tried to embrace technology and internet innovations – I've had a Macbook and an iPhone, plus a Facebook account for years – I won't deny that I have shied away from other social networking sites and putting myself out there on the internet.
However, deciding that I would like my knitwear design to progress from a gentle hobby to more of a full-time career I knew that I would need to do a little more self-promotion. So along came this blog, a bigger presence on Ravelry (where I'm known as Yarnylou), HobbyBuddies, The Making Spot and a Twitter account.
The blog, I'm discovering is going to be a great way to let the random thoughts of my yarn-filled brain flow into some sort of organised chaos. Ravelry
, The Making Spot
are fabulous places to showcase and sell my designs, past and present. And finally Twitter has turned into the bane of my life, while at the same time I've discovered it's an amazing place to discover facts, meet lots of like-minded people, find things quickly and easily, and be one of the first to learn world news.
Why do I hate Twitter so? Because I enjoy checking what's going on in the world of yarn and current affairs so much that I find myself glued to the screen, and all other aspects of my life get neglected as I'm easily distracted when I see the number of unread Tweets. For instance in the time it's taken me to write this entry I may have checked the Timeline eight or so times. With two kids, a husband and a part time job, I didn't really have enough time before. Now, I don't seem to have any time.
However, what I've spent in time on Twitter, I've saved in time searching for things. Just last week I was in the mood to make some biscuits, and one of my followers happened to Tweet about a simple but yumsome recipe that I just had to bake. This evening I was thinking about a new design for some super chunky yarn I couldn't resist. I needed some 10mm dpns in order to turn the yarn into some socks. I could have spent a while trawling the internet shops for some, but one little Tweet to ask where I could find some resulted in several replies in a matter of seconds and within minutes I had purchased some needles from Yarnsville
This evening I've also discovered that my favourite fabric maker, Echino, has released a new range that's being stocked by The Eternal Maker
, been kept up to date about iPhone 4S and laughed out loud at some of the comedians I follow.
So Twitter I forgive you for eating my time, as I love you so much for offering me the world I want to know and discover on one screen, one 140-character soundbite at at time.
As I held her hand as she swallowed her last breaths of life, I vowed to my fabulous mum Anita that every stitch I knitted I would dedicate to her. If it hadn't been for her patience, advice and tips I wouldn't be the knitwear designer I am today. When she was diagnosed with leukemia, I had just been asked to co-write Knitted Sock Sensations. She was so proud of me and the excitement of us talking about the various projects I'd include helped her to take her mind of the illness and the fact that it was terminal.
It's such a shame she didn't see it in print and hold the final product in her hands but I know she's looking over my shoulder. While I'm knitting I can almost hear her whisper in my ear, "Don't ignore that mistake, rip it back." And I know she's right, I wouldn't be happy knowing I'd left missed stitch in a project.
Her bravery at embracing the little time she had left, and her stubborness at not letting the big C take over life will forever be an inspiration to me. She fought hard, right to the end and even though I've had my ups and downs in the past few years I promise to follow her example: to get up, dust myself off and come back even stronger!
Thank you mum, I love you and miss you every day!