Herb alchemy

Over the last few months, I have been cultivating a select group of herbs in little pots in my garden. They have sprouting from little plantlings I bought from the garden centre into gargantuan bushes that are now beginning to outgrow their terracotta homes.

Every day, I go out and see if any of my plants could be pruned a little. When I do take cuttings, I like them to be useful. Some, like my oregano, go into foods like pastas sauces and on top of pizzas. However, with my pineapple sage and various mint plants, I like to do something different.

Now, being married to a northerner, tea is something that features a lot in our lives. I have never been a massive tea drinker, preferring to reserve it for truly horrendous night shifts most of the time. Jim and I have recently been trying to get me into drinking tea more. We love the more fruity teas acquired from visits to the Bluewater T2 store but no tea tastes quite as sweet as that grown yourself.

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My black peppermint and curled spearmint leaves in the process of drying

My mint plants inevitably end up soaking in boiled water to make my tea, sometimes with a dash of honey if I’ve managed to prune a particularly bitter stem. However I do also dry out the leave and then store them. I’ve yet to try my dried leaves so it will be good fun to see what they are like soon.

Does anyone out there also grow herbs for tea? What do you recommend as good herbs to try?

Seafoam Blanket Pattern

Apologies for my absence the past few months but have been very busy getting married! To make up for this here’s the pattern for my latest blanket: the Seafoam blanket!

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It is named the Seafoam blanket as it was inspired by my.memory of watching the waves crash onto the beach in Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight.

Pattern

Terms: US terms

Hook: 4mm

Yarn: Stylecraft special DK in:

– Cream

– Empire

– Silver 

– Aspen

– Lobelia 

– Stone 

– Duck egg

– Petrol 

– Parma violet 

– Aster

– Mocha

– Storm blue

Special stitches:

– 3dc shell- 3dc in same stitch

– V stitch- (dc, ch1, dc) in same stitch

– 2dctog- yrh, insert hook into stitch and pull through a loop, yarn over and pull through two loops. Yrh and insert hook into wherever the second part of the stitch should be and pull up a loop. Yrh and pull through two loops then yrh and pull through the remaining three loops.

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Make chain to size desired (multiples of 6+5)

R1: 3dc shell in 5th chain from hook (I crochet into the bumps on the underside of the chain for a neater finish), skip 2 chains then V stitch into the next stitch. *Skip 2 chains, 3dc shell in next stitch, skip 2 chains, V stitch in next stitch. Repeat from * until you have 2 chains left. Skip 1 chain and dc into last chain. Turn.

R2: Chain 3 (or standing dc if you prefer), skip one stitch and 3dc shell into middle dc of the 3dc shell from the last round. Then skip 2 stitch and V stitch into ch1 space of V stitch from the previous round. *Skip 2 stitches, 3dc shell into middle dc of the 3dc shell, skip 2 stitches, V stitch into ch1 space of V stitch from the previous round. Repeat from * across until you have 2 stitches left. Skip 1 then dc into the top of the ch3 from the previous round. Turn.

Repeat R2 until blanket is desired length. I alternated two rows of colour as follows with a row of cream between each colour as well as for the first and last row:

Empire, Silver, Aspen, Lobelia, Stone, Duck egg, Petrol, Parma violet, Aster, Mocha and Storm Blue. However, you can of course use any colours you like!

Border: 

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R1: (Cream) With the right side of the blanket facing you, Sc in 2nd stitch of the last row and across. In the last stitch do 3sc. Then Sc evenly down the side. 3sc in the first stitch of the bottom edge, Sc across, 3sc in the last stitch of the bottom edge. Sc evenly up the side. 3dc in first stitch of the last round. Join with ss. Don’t turn.

R2: Ch3, skip 2 stitches, dc into next stitch, ch2. *In the same stitch as the last dc, make the first part of the 2dctog, skip 2 stitch then finish the 2dctog in next stitch, ch2. Repeat from * acround. For corners, ch3 after last 2dctog, dc in same stitch, ch3, begin next 2dctog in same stitch. At the end of the round, join with ss and cast off. Turn

R3: (Silver) Join in any ch2 space and ch3 then dc in next ch2 space. *Ch2, make the first part of the 2dctog in the same ch2 space, skip to the next ch2 space then finish the 2dctog, ch2. Repeat from * around. For corners chain 3 between the 2dctogs either side of the corner dc from the previous round. At the end of the round, join with ss. Cast off. Turn.

R4: (Aspen) Join in any ch2 space and ch3 then dc in next ch2 space. *Ch2, make the first part of the 2dctog in the same ch2 space, skip to the next ch2 space then finish the 2dctog, ch2. Repeat from * around. For corners, end last 2dctog, (ch2, dc, ch2) and begin next 2dctog in ch3 space from previous round. At the end of the round, join with ss. Cast off.

Weave in ends and you’ll have a beautiful blanket!

If you make one of these blankets, please post a picture of your work! I’m on Instagram as @knottybiscuits so please tag me so I can see your beautiful creations!