Hello again. Hope you’re all having a good week and not feeling the cold too much. Our heater is running almost constantly. When it’s 4 overnight and 13 during the day, you know that winter has come. Of course, everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is probably nice and warm and enjoying summer.
Remember a few weeks back when I gave instructions for making felt from old jumpers? Well it’s time to use some of the felt to make a tea cosy.
What you need: A tea pot, a piece of felt, sewing thread and needle, embroidery thread or fine wool for decorating, a bead (optional), scissors, paper, pencil.
First measure you teapot. Measure the circumference and add 1cm. Measure the height and add 1cm.
Cut a rectangle of paper to the measurements of your teapot. Next, cut out tapered triangles from the top and the side of the paper. These triangles need to be about 6cm deep and need to curve gently as first and become very pointy at the bottom. Place this template on your felt and cut out the felt. Your felt should look something like this:
Using a needle and cotton thread and using an overcast stitch, sew the seam from the bottom to the top of the points with wrong sides facing. Sew each point to the next point. This is a little easier of you join opposite points and then join the others in one long seam.
You should now have a small hat-shaped thing that tapers at the top. On opposite sides, cut two slits each about 10cm (or smaller for a small tea cosy), starting about 2cm from the bottom edge. Try the cosy on the pot and cut the slits longer if necessary.
Work blanket stitch around all the raw edges. Make a tassle with a bead and attach to the top of the cosy. Go and make a cup of tea.
IN THE GARDEN
Not a lot is happening in the garden at the moment. It’s too cold to spend much time in it and there are not many vegies to pick. The large amount of rain we had last month made all the weeds grow and our garden has been swamped by dandelions, marshmallow, nettles and soursobs. Fortunately, the chooks like all these so we give them a handful or two of weeds every day. The winter vegies are coming along nicely. I’ve sprayed the brassicas regularly with some home made pepper spray and this seems to be keeping the cabbage white caterpillars away. The carrots need thinning but I haven’t got around to it yet. All the nettles have prompted me to write a little about them.
These weeds do have some uses, though they are very difficult to pick without getting at least one prick on the arm. Even the tiniest prick of a nettle leaf can be quite painful. In England they have a nettle eating contest. Horrors.
You can eat nettles without putting yourself through immense pain. All you need to do is pick them young and cook them. They are extremely high in nutrients. You can prepare and cook them as you would spinach and they have a similar, but stronger taste. I have put them in a spinach pie, along with the spinach and also put some in a mixed vegetable soup that is blended before serving. I have seen a tv chef cook a greek style spinach pastry with just nettles and feta in it. You probably wouldn’t want a pile of boiled nettles on your dinner plate, but they are tasty mixed in with other things.
Nettles make an excellent tonic for your garden too. Pick a heap of them and put them in a large bucket or garbage bin and cover with water. Leave for a few weeks. You can pour this nettle cordial on any plants that need a bit of a boost. Another plant you could add that is growing like mad at the moment is nasturtiums which are also high in nutrients that other plants love. If you make compost, add nettle leaves to your pile when you build it to add extra nutrients to your compost.
Sorry, no book or yarn review this week. Selby has been asleep 20 hours a day because of the cold and couldn’t stay awake long enough to try out some yarn. I’ve been too busy with Yarn Magazine deadline to read anything except Les Miserables which I am now half way through.
Have a wonderful week. Sarah.