Monday, 25 February 2013


Anyone who knits or crochets will be familiar with the ends of things....little balls of yarn left over from projects but just too nice to get rid.
At the moment I am at war with my ever growing stash of leftovers so there have been a scarf or two created in my bid to be victorious....this is most important as I have banned myself from any further purchases of yarn until I have reduced the pile considerably.

If you have a copy of our book 'GRANNY CHIC' then the scarf above uses the granny puff blanket (without the misplaced coma) recipe. Brilliant if you like a quick fix, it crochets up quickly and makes a rather fetching scarf. I used some of my beloved Vanna's Choice scraps and indeed sighed as I used the last one.

Then there is the organic cottons...I knitted up a few wee tank tops & cardies for Violet when she was born so this is still a scarf in progress with all my leftover cotton. I rather like the way that using different cottons gives some interest to the plain old garter stitch...

And who could resist a pom pom or 2...

Finally I have plans for a pom pom rug but this could take some time and decisions on how to stitch them together so I shall be back soon once I have pondered a way....

Friday, 22 February 2013


Despite nearly driving me to an early grave today, computers stealing my hard written words & pictures and putting them in place I did not want them to be the TED & AGNES FROCK SHOP has opened its doors and a new adventure has begun.

Each item will be completely unique, designed, totally handmade, stitched and finished by me...the designs have been lovingly sketched and transferred to patterns in sizes 8 - 22. Most will be made to order as using vintage & repurposed fabric there will rarely be more than one or 2 skirts available in a particular design but there will be a few ready made items on the site....just a few as I have no illusions of grandeur or to strut my stuff on dragons den I just have a simple desire to stitch lovely things and to teach others to do the same..

I have started the collection with a simple A-line skirt which flatters all manner of folk and I will shortly be launching a most perfect GRANNY CHIC frock to be worn with pride along with your clogs of purpose & rose tined specs.

Exciting times ahead as I offer my sewing patterns for sale alongside the workshops I will be running...for those of you unable to join me here in studio there will be online video's to take you through each step of the snipping & pinning & stitchery which you will be able to access once you have purchased the pattern, obviously there won't be any delicious cake or posh coffee.

So do have a gander around the shop and please do contact me if you have any burning questions that simply must be

Friday, 15 February 2013


This is the perfect loaf to eat with some lovely strong cheese, a few pickles, olives or whatever else may take your fancy. It is always my go to loaf along with a pain de campagne for ploughman's lunch.

500g strong white bread flour
1tsp sugar
1tsp sea salt
6g dried yeast (easi blend other wise follow instructions on packet & combine with liquid)
2tbsp olive oil
2 eggs
80mls warm milk
80mls warm water
100g raisins
1-2 tbsp of freshly chopped rosemary

Place all your dry ingredients into mixing bowl (with exception of the raisins)
Whisk liquid, eggs & oil in a jug
With dough hook attached to your mixer add liquid into the dry ingredients, in a slow & steady stream, mix on low for 5-6mins add raisins in the last minute of mixing.

Place dough into a floured bowl and leave to prove for an 1hr or until it has doubled in size
When first prove is finished remove onto a lightly floured surface and knock back, knead into required shape and let it prove again for at least 30mins. Meanwhile heat your oven to 200o/gas6/400f.

Bake for 30mins (keep an eye on it in the last 5 mins depending on your oven) and remove to cool on rack

Eat it quickly as once anyone else gets a taste, it will be quickly snaffled up...

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Many moons ago when I was a bossy young madam I used to spend a lot of time with my dear nana Beatty...driving her to distraction with my finicky ways regarding the cooking of eggs and probably being rather rude about it all but she still loved me ;) She made all manner of home cooked goodness that was most comforting and brings back a flood of memories including the most delicious dish - Suet Bacon Roll.

Now my dear readers what is more comforting than a dumpling or spotted dick or steak & kidney pudding all dripping with tasty goodness and the base of this suet pastry....

Quick, simple and so easily made suet is often cast aside nowadays as being heart stopping evilness but once in a while when you need a foodie hug there is nothing better.

It also works out as a pretty cheap meal too as just a few ingredients are needed to create this dish.

Suet Pastry

225g self raising flour
85g suet full fat or vegetarian
a good gulg of warm water to mix

Bacon Filling

Smoked streaky bacon or bacon lardons (needs a good layer of fat none of this lean filled with water nonsense)
a red onion finely sliced
2 tomatoes chopped
1/2 a pepper colour to your liking diced

A greased oven proof dish

What next...

  1. Turn on oven to about 200c/gas mark 6/400f 
  2. Mix your flour, suet, salt & pepper in a bowl and add enough warm water to make it a soft pliable pastry.
  3. Roll Pastry on a well floured board into a rectangle about 20x40cm and then lay your rashers along the short edge until the pastry is covered. If you are using lardons just add them evenly over the pastry. 
  4. Cover pastry with the rest of the ingredients, a shake of salt & pepper along with a sprinkle of herbs
  5. Brush all sides with water and roll up tightly with the join on the underside tucking the ends well under to make sure everything is sealed shut.
  6. Place on the baking tray and bake for 40mins 
  7. Serve with a hot gravy* and fresh veggies...
* add a dollop of redcurrant or cranberry to a veg stock gravy....perfect 

A vegetarian option would be to replace the bacon with a strong cheese but I would include some reduced tinned tomatoes or pesto to make sure it doesn't dry out too much.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


We don't do lent but we do do pancakes to welcome back spring....

we are all about the lemon & sugar here...what about you?

Monday, 11 February 2013


I have been patiently waiting, waiting for a time when Violet was ready to get involved with stitching and all things crafty. Last night we lay in bed chatting about this and that when the subject of stitchery came up...

Violet - mummy when I am big can I sew all my clothes like you
Me - Of course you can, mummy is very excited about teaching you
Violet - I want a whole cupboard full of dresses
Me - Well we had best get started, shall we choose one tomorrow and I will get going
Violet - yes (*in a rather loud and giddy voice*)

So whilst eating breakfast before school Violet chose a book to ponder and we decided on a dress. A quick visit upstairs and she chose some material and I promised her I would get going straight away.

I have been desperate to give the patterns in Carefree Clothes for Girls a try, the smallest was a size 4 and while I could of graded it down I just don't have the time to faff about with children's clothes especially when they have grown out of them in a blink of an eye. So its one of the times I always use a ready made pattern. Back to the book...20 delightful patterns that I would say are all pretty easy going even for a beginner and there are clear instructions & diagrams. This dress took me 2 hrs including cutting out the pattern....instant gratification!
A Japanese craft book in style but with english text make it a staple on the shelf for those of you who are smitten with this crafty loveliness.

As you can see Violet was rather giddy on her return  home from early years group and wanted to try it on straight away deciding to do a wee dance accompanied by Stanley who wouldn't miss getting in on the act for anything...along with his marvellous wagging tail!

ps I would just like to say at this point that I won't be selling any of these dresses as I haven't drafted the seems of late that a few people have sprung up with clothes to sell using other peoples/bought patterns....please have a thought for the people who make and draft these patterns its quite a complicated process understanding blocks, ease, manipulating this & that to come up with the end great to use at home but not for selling...draft your own and if you can't, learn to or don't sell!

Saturday, 9 February 2013


White nylon lace, not the most converted of your haberdashery items. Rather one of those things that is looked at with horror, then stuck back on the shelf. The forsaken soul of the haberdashery & trimmings store.

Well I have a quantity of this unwanted lace, slightly odd in colour, a bright white that almost burns the back of your eyeballs out if you look too closely & some a bit greyish...brings back memories of those 1970's nylon knee high socks with some disney mouse printed on the side...the kind my mum would never let me have because they couldn't be boil washed in bio-tex to within an inch of their life!

Enter stage left these rather clever easifix all in one acid dyes. These chaps will dye protein fibres, silk, wool, nylon, mohair, angora, fur & feathers. They are colourfast and really easy to use and especially ideal for that dodgy vintage nylon lace....

All you need is a stainless steel pan, your dye, some white vinegar and a stove to bubble it all up on and away you go. (each dye will come with full instructions so no need to waffle on here)

Top Tips when using acid dyes

  • Always wash your items to be dyed first with low foaming detergent, I use my homemade washing powder and get good results but synthrapol or similar can be used.
  • Mix your dye in a small amount of hot water first before adding to your dye bath.
  • Double the amount of dye recommended in the instructions for really deep intense colours and I always add a splash of vinegar at the end and leave for 5 mins to exhaust all the dye into the fabric.
  • Always use stainless steel pans & utensils

Depending on the depth of shade you require it can take anything up to 30 minutes with minimal stirring here and there, which to be honest is super quick with stunning results.

These are a few lengths that I have been dyeing for the people attending 'the essential granny slip' workshops at The Stitching Rooms later in the year...and a yard or two may make its way onto one of my skirts.