We've just released our latest pattern - Bracklinn Crop! It's a super cute cropped tee worked from the top down with an "easier than it looks" lace pattern. Designed for mini-skein sets or leftover sock yarn - with detailed instructions on using more/fewer colours.
It's available in nine sizes too, to fit busts from 28" - 62", and it's been thoroughly tech edited and test knitted.
It's available here on our website and also on Etsy and Ravelry - use coupon code BRACKLINN50 for a 50% discount until midnight (GMT) on Wednesday 5th Aug.
We've got a few new test knits on the go at the moment too! One's sweet and simple children’s sweater with zigzag colourwork detailing. Worked from the top down using a yoked construction, this straightforward knit is totally seamless. Available in 9 sizes to fit newborns to 11 year olds:
The next is a worsted weight version of our classic winter warmer, Courie In. It's got a slightly unusual construction. Sleeves are knitted first from cuff to centre back, then both sleeves are joined with a three needle bind off. Stitches are picked up at the bottom edge from underarm to underarm and worked down to the hem to form the back. Then stitches are picked up round the front to form the garter stitch wrap front. There's instructions for nine sizes to fit busts from 26” to 60”/65 to 150 cm, and I'm looking for two testers per size ideally.
Apart from all this knitting I've been trying to chill out and enjoy month seven of pregnancy! Not always easy when your back's aching and you can't sleep due to a baby practicing for future dance-offs in the womb! Here's a bump pic, again modelling my new design Worsted Courie In!
The weather here in Glasgow's been pretty poor, even by Scottish standards! But still managed a bit of time out in the garden, there's quite a lot of veg still growing and the sweet peas are thriving!
The first week of Spring seems like a good day for a garden update! We've now got a lot of fruit growing, as well as the beginnings of a few borders for flowers, some seedlings are starting to sprout and there are lots of things in pots waiting for a permanent home.
The anemone above is part of a beautiful bulb collection from my favourite online gardening centre, Crocus. It's got lovely rich purple anemones, unusual blue and white dappled hyacinths and green and pink tulips - cannot wait for them to come into flower!
I've planted the largest border in the garden with fruit - four dwarf fruit trees in a row with bushes growing in between. My top garden planning tip is to do all your designing OneNote - I've got a Lenovo Yogabook with a stylus that is the best for planning - all my knitting designs are planned out in OneNote and then it all syncs to your phone so it's super handy when you're out and about. Here's the plan for the fruit border and some pictures showing how it's all coming along:
Over to the right there's a wee seating area with two borders either side. I explained how I dug in the terraces in my last garden blogpost. I've put in a few bits and bobs - a winter hellebore, a rose bush and a honeysuckle in one and in the other there's currently a black elderflower which I'm trying to encourage to form a tree rather than a shrub, some omphalodes from my Mum's garden and a winter honesuckle which will be trained up the arch. The winter honeysuckle is called "fragrantissima" and it has the loveliest scent when you brush past it. There's a pink climbing rose at the other end, so I'm hoping there'll be flowers all year round.
There's some little seedlings starting to come through too - the raised beds are almost all filled and there's some cima di rapa coming through as well as some early peas. I buy a lot of my veg seed from the Real Seed Company - they've got an amazing variety of heritage plants and the best part is you can save seed from all of them - no F1 hybrids! In the potting shed there's lots of little plug plants building up a bit of strength too. Lots of things in pots waiting to go into the front garden too. We're having the roof redone and there'll be scaffolding up next week so I can't plant out just yet, but there's a little red lilac, some scented peonies and a couple of little phildelphus bushes ready to go - you can maybe spot my little canine helper too!
The blog has been a bit quiet lately, but I promise I have a good excuse - we moved house in the winter! Our new house is so lovely, with a real cottage-y feel but with a handy location in Glasgow. I have never had a garden in my adult life, and it has been an absolute joy to have an outdoor space to call my own. The previous owners however, don't seem to have found much joy in the garden! There were two lawns which are in pretty bad nick, two beds filled with the dreaded leylandii, and everywhere else was either slabbed or gravelled over. Here is the groundwork completed so far to transform it into a lush and verdant oasis in the city!
The first job was to clear a large bed at the bottom of the lawn. There was a layer of bark, then membrane, then gravel, followed by more membrane. This part of the garden is down a steep, narrow set of steps, so everything needed to be removed by hand in a bucket. My arms have never looked so toned! They soil is heavy clay and it was pretty compacted, so I dug through a few bags of manure and forked it all over pretty thoroughly. I'm using this as a fruit bed - I've bought dwarf apple, pear, plum and cherry trees (all self fertile because there's not much room for additional trees), as well as raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, blueberries, gooseberries and honeyberries - roll on the summer! I then mulched around the new plants with the bark that was originally on the bed. Just in case you're in the UK, I bought all the fruit trees and bushes from Marshalls Seeds, they're always good quality plants at a good price. I run the garden in the school I work at as well and Marshalls are really good for selling e.g. 30 packs of seeds at a discount.
The next job was digging terraces into a patch of gravel. I dug in three layers - a bed at the top and the bottom and a gravel area for seating in the middle. This is south facing, so it'll be a lovely spot to sit out in the summer. I cleared out gravel from the top and bottom and leveled off the soil, then dug a couple of trenches and put in willow lawn edging to keep the three levels separate. For the middle seating section, I pushed all the gravel into the middle, dug out soil from the top and moved it down to the bottom of this section, then spread gravel over it and raked it all level. I bought plants for the two beds mainly from Crocus, who have really the most beautiful and unusual flowers. I'm going for a bit of a modern cottage garden theme, with roses, hellebores, astrantia, campanula, hostas and a lovely black elderflower tree. I also put in an arch across from the bottom bed to the fruit bed, with a climbing rose and a winter honeysuckle. Now I just can't wait for it all to start flowering!
I've also put in raised beds for growing veg at the bottom of the garden. I did think about digging up the slabs, but there's no way I could do that myself - I might put some fancy slate between the beds to make it look a bit more classy. I got the raised beds from Yorkshire Timber Products on ebay who were absolutely fantastic for both quality and price. I did a lot of research to try to find a good supplier and would definitely recommend these guys to anyone. You do need to build the beds yourself, but I had literally never used a drill in my life and I managed it fine! I reused some of the membrane from the fruit bed to line them, and then put a load of gravel (also reused from various beds) in the bottom for drainage. I bought veg specific topsoil from topsoilshop.co.uk, and am gradually shovelling my way through four tonnes of soil. We've moved quite far away from the nearest gym, but it seems like that is not going to be a big problem!
This is only part one of hopefully many, and there is still lots to do in the garden. Let me know in the comments if you have had a similar experience transforming your garden, or if you have any tips and advice for me!
A bit off topic for a knitting blog, but here's a recipe I came up with the other day for a really delicious stuffed marrow with some tasty little potato cakes, and a couple of sauces and a wee kachumber salad, just because! I'm on my summer holidays at the moment, so I've got lots of time to play about with recipes that are a bit more time consuming and complex - this is really not a quick midweek dinner! And I've also got a bit of a glut of fresh produce, I've got more spinach, potatoes and marrows than I can keep up with. So this recipe will hopefully be perfect for any keen cooks with a glut from their garden, and who love to cook fancy vegan dinners.
I’m a teacher in a secondary school in Scotland, I teach Maths, but I also run the school garden. It’s a great perk – I only live a five minute walk away in a flat with no garden (although I do have 3m² of balcony, every inch of which is covered in plants) and it’s great to have a bit of outdoor space to potter about in. During the summer I pretty much use it as a private allotment, which is absolutely great if you love vegetarian cooking as much as I do! When I first took over the garden, it was totally overgrown with weeds. Nobody had done any work to it for a couple of years and horsetail was running rampant. I’ll need to write a clickbait blogpost at some point, like “10 neat tricks to transform your overgrown allotment”. I’d feel like a bit of a fraud though, since the weeds are still definitely winning! But there’s a lot of veg too, and it’s so nice to have homegrown, organic produce. I’m definitely a bit of a hippy and really love having seasonal veg that I’ve seen grow up from a little seedling, there’s something incredibly rewarding in it.
I’m vegetarian and eat a mainly plant based diet, mainly because dairy products really don’t agree with me, so I do a lot of vegan cooking. I think it’s really important in vegan food to have a good balance of textures – so often creaminess is missing but in this recipe there’s a really lovely creamy coconut sauce as well as a really tangy tomato sauce, it’s all about balance! I really love vegan food where the vegetables are the real stars, rather than relying on heavily processed “fake” versions of things from an omnivorous diet, mainly because they’re often not very tasty. This is definitely not a quick and easy vegan meal, it’s one for a quiet Sunday afternoon where you’ve got plenty of time to make a big fancy dinner – it’s 100% worth the effort though. This recipe would be great for a special occasion, if you’ve got a vegan friend coming for a dinner party this would be a real treat for them!
This is a summery recipe is perfect for veg that’s in season right now – marrows, potatoes, spinach and peas. If your garden is anything like mine, the marrows are coming thick and fast. In the last week I’ve made marrow cake, marrow curry, marrow pickle, spice crusted marrow, marrow pizza…. the list goes on. So if you’re trying to cope with a glut and think of new recipe ideas for your homegrown produce, I hope this helps!
This recipe will serve two hungry adults with leftovers, two adults and two kids, or maybe four adults if you had a big pudding afterwards!
So here’s a wee pic of today’s harvest:
And here's what I made:
For the stuffed marrow:
100g white basmati rice
½ tbsp coconut oil
½ onion finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
2cm piece ginger, grated
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 handful mangetout peas
½ tin chopped tomatoes
½ tsp each of black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds
½ tsp turmeric
1 pinch saffron strands soaked in 50ml boiling water
Salt to taste
For the potato cakes:
1 small bunch fresh spinach
3 spring onions, finely chopped
2cm piece ginger, grated
1 green chilli, finely chopped
2 tsps garam masala
Salt to taste
For the tomato relish:
½ tbsp coconut oil
½ tbsp black mustard seeds
1 garlic clove, crushed
2cm piece ginger, grated
1 red chilli, finely chopped
½ tin tomatoes
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
Salt to taste
For the coconut and coriander sauce:
150 ml coconut milk
1 bunch coriander
1 small handful mint leaves
Zest of 1 lime
Good squeeze of lime juice – you can add more to taste
Salt to taste
For the kachumber salad:
1 ripe tomato, chopped into small dice
¼ red onion, chopped into small dice
10cm piece cucumber, chopped into small dice
Good squeeze of lime juice
Salt to taste
Pea shoots, nasturtium flowers and chopped fresh coriander and mint
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Cut the marrow in half lengthways and use a metal spoon to hollow out the inside. You still need to have around 2cm of flesh left on all sides. Reserve all the marrow that you scoop out. Rub a little olive oil over the marrow halves and sprinkle them with about half a tsp of salt, then put them cut side up in dish in the preheated oven.
Now chop your potatoes for the potato cakes into equally sized pieces and boil until tender, then set aside to cool.
For the biryani filling, heat half a tbsp of coconut oil in a pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the mustard, cumin, nigella, fenugreek and fennel seeds and cook until they start to crackle and pop. Add the turmeric powder and stir everything for 30 seconds or so, then add the finely chopped onion. Let that cook for a minute or two then add the chilli, garlic and ginger - it should smell like absolute heaven at this point. Stir everything and cook for a minute more. Roughly chop the reserved marrow flesh and add to the pan, stirring it all up and letting it cook down for another few minutes. Add half a tin of chopped tomatoes and 100g rice and stir. Add 250ml water, the saffron strands in their soaking water, and the mangetout peas then let it all simmer for 10 mins. Keep an eye on the amount of liquid in the pan and add a little extra if it needs it. Different types of rice and different tinned tomatoes will mean that you may need to add a little more water as required. My "rule of thumb" is to level off all the veg and rice in the pan, then add boiling water until it comes 1cm above that level.
Meanwhile, make your tomato relish. Put ½ a tbsp of coconut oil in a pan over a medium-high heat, let it melt, then add the mustard seeds. Wait for the mustard seeds to start popping, then add the garlic, ginger and chilli. Stir for 30 seconds or so, then add the remaining chopped tomatoes. Add a tablespoon of white wine vinegar and another tablespoon of brown sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper (and extra chilli if you want!) and let it all cook down over medium-low heat.
Once your tomato sauce is simmering away, have another look at your rice. Check if it’s done and season to taste, then spoon it all into the two marrow halves. Put them back in the oven and let the bake for another 15 mins or so, checking them every once in a while.
Now make your potato cakes. Finely chop your chilli, ginger, spring onions and fresh spinach leaves. Add to a bowl with the cooked potatoes and two tsps of garam masala powder. Mash everything together with a potato masher, season to taste and shape into little balls – about the size of a golf ball. Squash the balls into little burger shapes and fry over a medium heat in a little oil until they’re nice and crispy and golden.
As they’re frying, make the coconut and coriander sauce – just put all the ingredients in a blender and blend to a smooth paste, check the seasoning and then serve.
To make the kachumber salad, you just mix all the ingredients together.
Now serve up your homegrown feast! I put a good dollop of the coconut and coriander sauce on top of the marrow and then topped it all with nasturtium flowers, pea shoots and some extra chopped mint and coriander.