Saturday, 15 January 2011

My new favourite things are...

A Clover ring thimble with plate! Gotta love all things Clover!

I have long complained to my family about the constant rough patch on my palm due to temari making, it is always dry and discoloured no matter how many types of hand cream I use. Their solution is not to stitch temari... excuse me?? are they serious?? They may as well suggest I stop breathing too!

 At a class last year one of my students told me I should try a sail makers palm so I did some investigating but they all seemed a little too big and cumbersome but I did manage to stumble across this neat solution. I had never seen one of these 'in person' but my wholesaler could get them for me. So here is one on my hand... my rather berry stained hand.

I love that these are adjustable... even to fit comfortably on my great sausage-like fingers. I have tested a little stitching with this on and it is awesome... I have put some up in the shop.

Why are my hands berry stained? I spent the day with my Mum making jam at her home. I made two small batches of Raspberry and then Mum made one large batch of Strawberry with Vanilla jam. Isn't that colour  of raspberries in the pan amazing? I think my fingers got stained from washing all the dishes afterwards.

Of course we had no nice fresh bread to try the jams on so I also made a batch of scones to eat them with whipped cream.  Sorry I forgot to take a photo before we gobbled them all up. I love scones, many people dread making them because they are hard to get fluffy inside but crisp on the outside. I remember at high school we all drew recipes from a hat for our final Home Economics examination. Everyone in the room chanted to themselves 'please don't be scones' as they drew from the hat... when My turn came I drew scones but somehow I managed to score a perfect 100%. I think I've only made them 3 times in the last 20+ years. Tonight like the last times I've made them I exclaimed 'I don't know why I don't make these more often, they are so easy' and that is because they really are. 

2 cups of Self Raising Flour,
A pinch of Salt
about 3 or 4 teaspoons of Butter (No margarine)
Enough milk to bring it together (just under 1 cup).

Preheat the oven to 230C and line a try with baking paper. Whisk the flour and salt in a large bowl (yes it should be sifted at least twice but a 30 second whisk is fine). Rub in the teaspoons of butter with fingertips and then whisk gently for a second time (this makes up for not sifting and aerates the mixture a bit more) Make a well in the center and pour in almost all the milk. Use a butter knife (I just mean an ordinary knife not a meat cleaver or other sharp knife) to mix in the milk until the dry dough comes together. Turn out onto a floured board and roll out (or press out with your palms as I did tonight - I can't believe my Mum doesn't own a rolling pin!) until 3/4 inch thick and then cut into rounds and place on oven tray. Be economical with the cutting as scones don't like to be re-rolled and get tough. Brush tops with a little milk (or egg wash if you have it but milk is fine) and place in the oven but turn it down to 210C and bake for about 10 minutes ... until just lightly golden on the tops. From start to finish this recipe takes about 15 minutes to make.

Pop on the kettle and make your cup of tea while they are in the oven. Break the scones open fill with jam and whipped cream then put on your best Queen Elizabeth II accent and enjoy.

 Here are two of the jars, Raspberry on the left and Strawberry with Vanilla on the right.

I love love love Raspberry jam but had never made it before. In the preserving books I have they mentioned that Raspberry was the easiest jam to begin with.  It tasted much nicer than any store bought jam... of course I am only slightly biased. 

On the other hand I passionately despise strawberry jam, just the thought of it makes my skin crawl (bizarre because I really adore fresh strawberries) so it took some coaxing for me to try this jam but it was really nice, very nice and I'd actually eat it again without needing to be tied to a chair and forcefully fed it... I think it was the addition of Vanilla or maybe the little bit of motherly love stirred into it. I am going to look around for some nice cherries to preserve next week. Yummy!!

I hope you spend your day doing something awesome.

I've got a new temari to share next time.


  1. Do you push the needle with your palm? I can't quite picture it.
    I am the opposite of you when it comes to jam. I love strawberry, and dislike raspberry! I guess it takes all kinds.

  2. Hi Jane,
    I use a long needle so the eye end rubs against the palm of my hand... I've got short fingers. I guess this plate would allow you to push with your palm (and is probably what it is designed for) but for me it is allowing me to use my 90mm needle despite only having 60-70mm length fingers.

    Isn't it good we all like different jams?! It makes for less arguments at the breakfast table. My hubby tried the jam this morning and said it was quite good... he is usually the jam maker in our house so it was a compliment.