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Handmade by you Amy White

Sew it! Knit it! Bake it! Make it!

Handmade by‌ .......................

Dedicated to my amazing mum, thank you for putting up with so much mess and chaos!

First published in 2011 by Amy White, 45 Kingscourt lane Stroud, GL5 3QR

Text © Amy White 2011 Photography & Illustration © Amy White 2011

Printed and Bound by Ripe Digital Wiltshire, SN13 9LG

Printed on 100% recycled paper

An Introduction .

Simple Sewing

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Pin Cushion

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Needle Book

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A Bit of History

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You Sewing Workbox

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Ribbon Tied Cushion Reversible Apron .

Knitting .

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The History of Knitting Knitting Stitches Knitted Fabrics

Fabric Lined Purse Bow Hair Band Phone Sock


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50 56 60

Making Jam .


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The Equipment

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Pick Your Own

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Strawberry Jam

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September Jam

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Rose Petal Jam

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Pear & Ginger Jam

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The Art of Baking . The History of Baking The Equipment



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94 98

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Vanilla Cupcakes

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Decorating & Icing

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Shortbread Buttons Scones

Me, Myself & I I love making things, I always have. I

fantastic, and a breath of fresh air after

grew up in a home that really valued

two years of heavy studying and exams.

creating things together, and I just never

Finally I was able to create work without

stopped. Craft is my own special kind of

the pressure of grades looming above me.

therapy, it doesn’t matter whether I am

I managed to learn so many new skills.

knitting, sewing, sketching or baking,

The year flew by and before I knew it I

as long as my hands are busy at work,

was in Bristol studying Graphic Design,

creating something, I am happy. To be

more determined than ever.

honest, I tend to enjoy the process as much as, if not more than, the end result

Then things took a bit of a turn. I had

itself. It relaxes me and when I’m working

some spare time on my hands over

on a project I feel peaceful and calm.

the Easter break so I went to my local primary school and asked for some work


At school I took a shine to Design

experience. I felt this would be a good way

Technology and ended up taking Art,

to do something productive with my time

Textiles and Graphic design with

and would give me a feel for teaching in

resistant materials as my A-level options.

primary schools. I had always thought

I really didn’t know where I wanted these

I would be very well suited to a career

skills to take me nevertheless I knew

in teaching, however due to my love of

I wanted them to be a huge part of my

Graphic Design this idea had kind of taken

future. I finished my A-levels and decided

a back seat. I spent my first day creating

to further my studies in the form of an

rocket fueled vehicles with the year three

Art Foundation course at the University

class and that was it, I was hooked.

of Gloucestershire. The course was

The summer arrived and I hit the

Internet searching for work placements in summer schools. This is when I came across GlosAid, a local charity run by young people for young people. I have never been the type of person to do things halfheartedly and this was the perfect opportunity to discover if working with children was for me. I applied immediately and a few weeks later I was responsible for the health, welfare and happiness of a group of six children for the entirety of the week. Needless to say I had an absolutely fantastic time! At last, I have discovered what I want to do for the rest of my life. At present I am working as a Design Technology specialist and am employed by a variety of schools, running workshops and afternoon clubs. My love of craft and passion for working with children have finally come together and I have never been happier.

Amy White 9

About this book As you are reading this book I feel I can

This book includes sixteen fantastic

assume that you already have a love of

projects to make and a vast collection

the handmade. Throughout the next few

of tips and ideas. I will show you how to

chapters I am going to share with you a

introduce your own personal handmade

collection of my favourite crafts, a rather

touch throughout your home, as well

‘homey’ combination of textiles and

as how to take these newly found skills

cooking, teach you some interesting facts

and create gorgeous gifts for all your

about their origins and look at how they

friends and family.

have changed over the years. Each chapter contains recipes or step by step guides to some quick and easy projects that will hopefully inspire you and give you the confidence to go on and start creating whatever pops into

Once you have opened up your eyes

your head. I want to share with you how

to the crafter’s way of thinking, it is

simple, easy and fun making things

surprising how many things you will see

from scratch can be and once you have

and think, ‘I could go home and make

reached that point I hope you will feel

that for half the cost.’ Creating things

ready to spread

at home by hand can not only save you

your wings and

money, but can allow you to reuse what

discover the world

would normally be wasted. It allows you

of the handmade

to design something completely unique,

for yourself.

that is whatever size, colour, texture and pattern you desire.


As you probably have already noticed,

As well as all the materials you need

this book comes with a small pack full

to make your own needle book, with

of goodies to allow you to get crafting

enough left over felt to get you started

straight away. It contains:

with your pincushions.

Gift tags to put on your homemade jars of jam

berry September Straw Jam Jam ade




Handmade By

Whenever you see this picture at the start of a recipe you can also find a


matching laminated recipe card in your pack. Templates to help make the sewing project a little bit easier Felt Needl

P 18 - 23


Vanilla Cupcakes

Felt Needlebook

To make 12 cupcakes you will need: 75ml milk 25g butter 75g plain flour ½ tsp baking power 2 medium eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract 125g caster sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 200°c and place 12 paper cases in the bun tray Button flap

Inside page (cut 1)

Front cove

2. Heat the milk in a saucepan until it almost comes to the boil, take it off the heat, add the butter and stir until melted, set this to one side 3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and vanilla extract with an electric whisk until light and fluffy, this will take around 10 minutes

r (cut 2) Peta l (cut 6)

Pocket (cut 1)

(cut 1)

4. Gradually add the sugar until thick. Turn down the speed and blend in the flour, then the milk-butter mix


Simple Sewing Sewing is such a wonderfully simple craft. Whether I am creating something completely from scratch or customizing an existing item with appliqué or embroidery I always find the end result equally satisfying. Although I started off using patterns and sewing machines I now find myself stitching by hand most of the time. I love to create small gifts for my friends and family and tend to make up what I am doing on the spot, I have found it’s an excellent way to stop me munching on biscuits when I’m sat watching the TV.

A Bit of History Sewing is basically the craft of fastening or

sewn objects, but hand sewing is still

attaching objects using stitches made with

practiced around the world. Fine hand

a needle and thread. It is one of the oldest

sewing is characteristic of high-quality

of the textile arts, and before the discovery

tailoring, couture fashion, and custom

of spinning yarn or weaving fabric,

dressmaking, and is pursued by both

archaeologists believe Stone Age people

textile artists and hobbyists as a means

across Europe and Asia sewed fur and skin

of creative expression.

clothing using bone, antler or ivory needles and “thread” made of various animal

Although usually associated with clothing

body parts including the animals veins.

and household linens, sewing is used in a variety of crafts and industries, including shoemaking, upholstery, sail making and bookbinding. Sewing is the fundamental process underlying a variety of textile arts and crafts, including embroidery, tapestry, quilting, appliqué and patchwork. Therefore, it is an excellent starting point for a budding seamstress. I am going to be mainly focusing on

For thousands of years, all sewing was

hand sewing throughout this chapter. As

done by hand. The invention of the

it is quite surprising how many things

sewing machine in the 19th century

you can sew very easily without using a

and the rise of technology in the later


20th century led to mass-production of


Simple Sewing

My Sewing Workbox If you intend to do a lot of sewing it is really worth making up a sewing workbox full with all the essentials. Here is what I keep in mine and you will need all these items for each of the projects in this chapter:

A Needle Book - Make this on p. 17 Pins and Needles

Scissors If you don’t already own a ‘ragbag’ full of off-cuts and fabric salvaged from outworn clothing - now is

A Pencil A Pincushion - Make one on p. 15

the time to start collecting!

Hand Stitching Techniques Here are a variety of different hand stitching techniques that are definitely worth learning. It is nearly always possible to complete sewing tasks with a simple straight or running stitch. However, it is also possible to replace a straight stitch with a more decorative alternative such as chain or cross-stitch.

Straight stitch edging Straight edge stitch is created by passing thread around the edge of a shape in a spiralling motion. Push the needle through from back to front. Make a stitch going out to the edge of the shape and repeat.

Blanket stitch Push the needle through from back to front. Make a stitch at the same level as the start of the first stitch. Push the needle through the blanket but come up again by going through the loop you have just created with the thread. This makes one stitch.

Backing stitch Back stitches pass through the fabric in an encircling motion. The needle comes up from the back of the fabric, makes a stitch, then passes behind the first stitch and comes up to the front of the fabric to the left of the first stitch. The needle then goes back to the back of the fabric through the same hole the stitch first came up from. The needle then repeats the movement to the left of the stitches and continues.

Chain stitch Chain stitches catch a loop of the thread on the surface of the fabric. The needle comes up from the back of the fabric and then the needle goes back into the same hole it came out of, pulling the loop of thread almost completely through to the back; but before the loop disappears, the needle come back up, passes through the loop and prevents it from being pulled completely to the back of the fabric. The needle then passes back to the back of the fabric through the second hole and begins the stitch again.

Strawberry Pincushions You may remember seeing charming pincushions like these in your grandmother’s sewing box. Hers were probably sewn from scraps of leftover fabric and that is how I always make mine, especially if I have any felt lying around, because its edges won’t fray.

To make this gorgeous little needle book you will need:


Your sewing workbox


3mm wide ribbon


Fabric scraps


Pincushion templates


Fine sand or stuffing




Embroidery threads


Seed beads


Step One

Step Two

Trace the two templates found at the

Cut the shapes out of the fabric. You

back of this book onto the fabric, then

will need one of each shape for each

cut out the shapes onto two different

pincushion you intend to make.


At this stage you can sew on I have used pink for the berry and

tiny glass beads on the cone to

green for the leaves but you can be as

look like the seeds.

creative as you like.


Step Three Fold the fabric into a cone shape, right sides facing, and stitch together along one edge. You can do this by machine if you want a really neat finish. Otherwise, simply use a backing stitch.

Step Four Sew a loose, evenly spaced running stitch along the top of the wide opening, which will become the top of the berry.

Step Five Before cinching the top, place the cone in a small jar or bottle for balance, and fill it with sand, which will keep pins sharp. Alternatively stuff the cone full of toy stuffing. Pull the thread taut, and stitch the top closed.

Step Six If desired, pull the ends of the thread through the centre of the ‘leaves’. Affix it in place with a drop of glue. Finally, sew along the edges with the stitch of your choice and voilà - you have a pincushion.


Felt Needle Book This is a very simple little stitching project aimed at beginners. You can decorate the front of the book in any way you wish. It also makes a perfect, very helpful gift for a new sewer. To make this gorgeous little needle book you will need:


Your sewing workbox


3mm wide ribbon


Felt in 3 different colours


Needle book templates


A button


Pins, needles and buttons to


Embroidery thread

fill your finished book with


Step One

Step Two

Using the template sheet from the pack as

Cut out five or six petal shapes from

a guide, cut out two 9cm x 13cm pieces of

a flower colour of felt and two petal

felt for the cover and one 8.5 cm x 12cm

shapes from the green felt for the

piece in another colour for the inner page.

leaves. (As before you can find this petal shape as a template in the back).

Then cut the two smaller pieces of felt out of the third colour. One 8cm x 4cm to hold buttons and one 8.5cm x 6cm for the pocket.


Step Three Tack the two small pieces to the inner side of the front cover. Line the smallest piece to the top to make a flap and tack the other piece to the cover along the bottom to create a pocket.

Step Four Sandwich the felt that holds the needles between the cover pieces of felt and hand stitch the pieces together down the left side. Make sure you sew in the pocket at the bottom but not the flap at the top. I have used a very thin ribbon to do mine, but normal thread works perfectly well.

Step Five Blanket stitch around all the edges with embroidery thread. This time you need to catch the top edge of the flap as well as the left side and bottom edge of pocket. I always stitch along the edge that has already been stitched to add extra strength and for visual reasons. Essentially you now have a finished needle book, all that is left to do is decorate it.

Step Seven

Step Nine

Stitch the petals to the cover in the

Place the two leaves at the bottom

shape of a flower using one small stitch

of the cover and using a matching

in the centre point. This gives a lovely

embroidery thread, sew a straight line

3d effect to the final flower.

down the centre of each leaf. I have used backing stitch here.

Step Eight Take your button and sew it in the

Step Ten

centre of the flower petals.

Finally, sew a line from the flower head down to the leaves to create a stem.

Flower Pins These gorgeous little flower pins would make a lovely addition to your needle book. Simply cut the tiny petals out of felt and slide them onto the needle.


Ribbon Tied Cushion Cushions are the perfect way to add your own personal style to your bedroom. You can really let your creativity and imagination go wild, using whatever colours and patterns your desire! To make a cushion you will need:


Your sewing workbox


Inner cushion (40 x 40cm)


1 or 2 different fabrics


A sewing machine


Matching Thread


Any additional decorations


Ribbon (aprox. 1 metre)


Step One

Step Three

Cut your material into three pieces. For

Now you need to pin the cushion

the front of the cushion you need one

together. Make the two back rectangles

square (44cm x 44cm). For the back you

slightly overlap (hemmed edges in

need two rectangles (44cm x 30cm).

the middle) and pin them, right sides together, to the front square piece of

Step Two Hem one of the long sides on each of the two rectangle pieces.


the cushion.

Step Four

Step Six

Stitch around the edge of the square

Insert the inner cushion and tie

roughly 1.5cm from the edge. Turn the

up the cover. There you have it! A

cushion the right way around and then

cushion with a removable cover.

you are almost there!

Why not make a matching pair of cushions for your bed. You could

Step Five

even make a separate set of covers

Attach ribbon to each side of the split

to suit different moods.

in the back to create a seal for the cushion (this is easier than adding a zip). Fold over the ribbon and pin it to

If you wish to add embroidery

the rectangular material, then stitch it

or appliquĂŠ to the front of your

on with the sewing machine. Do this

cushion, do this before you pin

with two bits of ribbon on at least two

or stitch the pieces together. It

or three points on the cushion.

makes it much easier!


Reversible Half Apron This apron is so easy and unbelievably quick to make you will just want to keep finding excuses to make them! I often give them away as gifts at raffles or charity sales at school. To make one reversible apron you will need:



Your sewing workbox


Matching Thread


Fabric one (50cm x 160cm)


A sewing machine


Fabric two (60cm x 40cm)

Step One First of all you need to cut out the fabric. Cut out two of each these shapes, one from each fabric. 60cm x 40cm (body piece) 6cm x 160cm (waist band) 24cm x 16cm (pocket) You should now have 6 pieces in total Step Two Pin the hem all the way around the pocket piece and sew along one of the longer sides Step Three Position the pocket in the centre of the opposite fabrics body piece with the sewn edge at the top. Sew it on by the remaining three sides Repeat steps 2 and 3 using the remaining pocket and body piece Step Four Now you need to sew the body pieces together. Right sides facing, sew along both the sides and the bottom of the body pieces.


Step Five Cut off the bottom two corners and turn the apron the right way around. I think it helps to iron the finished body piece at this stage.


Step Six The next stage is to start making the waist band. Right sides facing, sew along both the sides and the top of the band. Cut the corners, turn it the right way around and iron flat. Step Seven Using a needle and thin thread, stitch by hand a very wide loose running stitch or tacking stitch along the top of the body. Step Eight Pull both ends of the thread to gather up the body and then tie the ends of the thread to hold it in place. Step Nine Attach the waist band to the body by folding in the raw edges of the band and pin. While doing this you need to sandwich the body piece in the middle of the band. (This step can be a bit fiddly but all it takes is a bit of patience to get it right). All that is left to do is sew along the bottom of the waist band, removing any pins as you go.


Beautiful cupcakes

Gracie (aged 13) hard at work in the kitchen!

yum yum yum... make sure you save some for me!

Knitting One of my favourite things about all crafts is the magical feeling I get from creating something from scratch and there is no better example of creating something from nothing than knitting. Imagine the wonder of taking a simple ball of wool and transforming it, stitch by stitch, into a beautiful scarf, some gorgeous little baby booties or a heart-filled, one-of-a-kind gift. Imagine feeling the satisfaction of finishing the very last stitch, knowing that you have made something that is 100% unique.


When choosing my A-level options I

rather peculiar came over me and I

was originally told that I wasn’t allowed

blurted out:

to take up two design technology subjects due to timetable crossovers,

“Of course, my mum taught me a

so very reluctantly I gave up Textiles in

few years ago.”

the name of Graphic Design. However, a few weeks after the term had started,

I knew the moment those words came out

the textiles teacher left and some

my mouth I would regret them and then,

courses had to be moved around, the

to my absolute horror, she replied:

long and short of it meaning I could now join the Textiles class.

“Excellent! Our next lesson is tomorrow at 11.45. If you have any

I was delighted and quit physics (don’t

spare wool lying around the house

ask) at the drop of a hat to start Textiles. I

bring it along with you.”

arranged a meeting with the new teacher that very day so I could get started as

It was now 3.45 this gave me 20 hours

soon as possible. The meeting went

to go home, eat, sleep, and learn to knit

perfectly, however she told me that the

completely from scratch! I ran home and

only way they would let me join in so

spent the rest of the evening frustrated

late was if I could knit, as apparently the

and confused. Nevertheless I seemed to

first module being taught was creative

have managed it. I don’t know if it was

knitting and I had missed the part where

down to my mother’s teaching skills, my

everyone had been taught the basics.

determination or just simply a complete miracle, but I went into school the next

I was completely heart-broken, as I had

day and I knitted my little heart out with

never even attempted to knit before

the best of them.

and as I went to explain this something


Knitting Whilst my mum was teaching me how to knit she told me the story about how she had learnt: “My Gran taught me to knit when I was around nine or ten. Although I found it quite complicated, I kept at it and was under the illusion I could do it. My first knitting project was a scarf. I remember having little yellow plastic needles and navy blue wool. I was so excited by this; I kept telling my friends I could knit and intended to show them how. Off to school I went with my knitting, and with a crowd around me at playtime, I suddenly thought to myself ‘I can’t remember what to do!’ I just stuck the needle in and wrapped the wool around a few times and went really fast with my hands, hoping it looked convincing. Everyone was impressed, I had fooled them all! Eventually after many hours practicing with my Gran, it clicked and I had finally learnt how to knit.” Like mother, like daughter I suppose. Apparently my mum never did finish the scarf, as it ended up lumpy and full of holes. She did however go on to become a very accomplished knitter, knitting many jumpers for herself and beautiful scarfs, cardigans and booties for myself and my siblings when we were young.


The History of Knitting Setting the scene Until quite recently, knitting had a

Knitting is the new in thing. Celebrities

reputation for being something that

including Julia Roberts, Winona Ryder,

only your Granny would be seen doing.

Dakota Fanning, and Cameron Diaz have

I know many people that used to dread

been seen knitting and have helped to

the handmade jumpers that they would

popularize the revival of the craft. The new

be given by their Gran at Christmas,

millennium has also seen a return of men

and this clichĂŠ image has only been

to the art of knitting and designers have

amplified by the media over the years. For

begun to create patterns which work up

example, in the film Bridget Jones Diary,

quickly on large needles, a phenomenon

Bridget and Mark Darcy try to hide their

known as instant-gratification knitting.

embarrassment at having to wear such a


jumper knitted by their mothers. But it

As time and technology change, so does the

seems that all of that has changed.

art of knitting. The Internet has allowed

Knitting knitters to connect, share interests and

yarn installations, called yarn bombs,

learn from each other, whether across

over the Internet a few months ago and

the street or across the globe. Among the

was fixated by the vibrant, colourful yarns

first Internet knitting phenomena was

that are a complete contrast to the urban

the popular KnitList with thousands of

concrete surrounding that they are usually

members. In 1998, the first online knitting

found in. Despite the fact that I was only

magazine, KnitNet, began publishing.

looking at a photograph, the impact of

Blogging later added fuel the development

these woollen masterpieces was very clear.

of an international knitting community.

The pieces of art may last for years, but they are considered nonpermanent, and,

Yarn bombing, also known as guerrilla

unlike graffiti, can be easily removed if

knitting, is the most recent knitting

necessary. The practice is believed to have

phenomenon. It is a type of graffiti or

originated in the U.S. with Texas knitters

street art that employs colourful displays

trying to find a creative way to use their

of knitted or crocheted cloth rather than

leftover and unfinished knitting projects,

paint or chalk. I first came across these

but it has since spread worldwide.


But where did it all start?

In the early 18th century the industrial

Like many crafts knitting did not start

revolution had a massive effect on

its life as a hobby or trend. Its origins

knitting, wool spinning and cloth

lie in the basic human need for clothing

manufacture increasingly shifted to

for protection against the elements and

factories. Women were employed to

unlike other forms of fabric production,

operate the machinery, rather than

it is very easy to produce at home as very

spinning and knitting items at home.

little equipment is required.

Consequently garments could be massproduced faster and cheaper, making

The earliest known examples of knitting

the need for hand knitting redundant.

have been found in Egypt and cover a range of items, including complex colorful

During World War II, clothes were

wool fragments and indigo blue and white

rationed just like food, petrol and soap.

cotton stockings, which have been dated

Clothing rationing began on 1 June

between the 11th and 14th centuries.

1941 and everyone was entitled to 66 clothing coupons a year, which more or

less added up to one complete outfit per

supply, and the booklet encouraged

year. However this was later reduced

women to unpick old unwearable woollen

due to intensified shortages.

items in order to re-use the wool. Women were encouraged to repair and remake their family’s old clothes. Old curtains were cut up to make skirts and dresses. Unwanted jumpers were unravelled and knitted into something else. Knitting patterns were also issued so that people could make items for the Army and Navy to wear in winter, such as balaclavas and gloves. This not only produced the

‘Make do and mend’ was the title of a

much needed items, but also gave those

booklet produced by the British wartime

on the “home front” a positive sense of

government department, the Ministry

contributing to the war effort.

of Information. Wool was in very short

Equipment You may think that, other than knitting needles, you don’t need any other equipment to start knitting. Strictly speaking this is true, however there are a few additional items that it can be very handy to have at hand before start the knitty gritty bit.

Point protectors Point protectors are rubber tips that fit over the knitting needle tips to prevent stitches from falling off. They also keep the sharp needle points from jabbing something. Protectors come in several sizes, and you’ll need a few to fit various needles.

Tape measure or ruler For the most accurate measurements, use a hard ruler. Use a yardstick for larger items. If using a tape measure, buy a new one. Old tape measures tend to stretch and lose their accuracy.

Scissors Any sharp, pointed scissors will do. Springs in handles are also great time-savers, since you simply squeeze to clip the yarn.

Stitch holder A stitch holder holds stitches off the needle until you need them. There are several types available, including one that works like a safety pin. Many knitters use a length of smooth cotton yarn and thread it through the stitches, tying the ends into an overhand knot to prevent the stitches from slipping off.



Row counter This gadget helps keep track of the number of rows worked. Some slip onto the needles and are turned after each row; others sit by your side and are clicked after each row. Or, in place of a purchased counter, paper and pencil also work.

Stitch markers These little tools help mark pattern sections, increases or decreases. Markers are slipped onto your needle or are attached to the work through a stitch. When casting on many stitches, place a marker after every 20th stitch, and speedily count across the row in sections of 20 stitches. To hold your place in a pattern, slip the marker from left to right needle on every row. Markers come in assorted sizes; use the size closest to your needle size. Using one that is too large may stretch and distort your stitches.

Tapestry needles Tapestry needles (also called yarn needles) are oversize sewing needles used for sewing seams and weaving in yarn tails. A tapestry needle has a large eye, suitable for threading yarns. It’s a good idea to have both blunt and sharp needles. The blunt style weaves seams without snagging stitches, and the sharp needle will slide through stitches when weaving yarn tails.


Knitting Stitches Let me start by introducing you to the

To form a “knit stitch” you use one needle

three stitch types that I believe are at

to pull a loop of yarn through the existing

the very heart of knitting! Learning

stitch on the other needle.

to knit is nothing more than learning different knitting stitch types. I am going to talk about:


Holding both needles in your

hands, insert the right needle, from “front to back” into the first stitch on

The knit stitch = K

the left needle.

The purl stitch = P Knit two together = K2tog


Keeping the yarn at the back,

bring it “over” the tip of the needle, These three stitches form the very

counterclockwise. Pull the yarn down,

foundation of knitting. Learn and

and catch it with the right needle.

perfect each one of these, and you will be well on your way to becoming an expert. So, let’s begin!


Slip the “old” stitch off the left

needle and you have a new stitch on the right needle. A knit stitch!

The Knit Stitch Have you ever looked at something

Many times you will be told the knit

knitted? I mean, really looked? If

stitch is the “right side” or RS of your

you have, you will see one side of the

work. But, once in a while, it will be the

knitting looks different from the other.

“wrong side” or WS. Either way, it’s

The knit stitch will resemble little “v”

good to know those two abbreviations.

patterns when viewed from the knit side of a pattern.


The Purl Stitch

Knit Two Together

The purl stitch will resemble what

Now, this is easy! Just knit two together!

looks like “brick-face” when viewed from the purl side of a pattern. Unlike


Insert the right needle into the

the knit stitch, with the purl stitch,

second stitch from the tip of the left

you hold the yarn to the “front” of your

needle, making sure to “catch” the


first stitch with it.


Insert the right needle from


Bring your yarn over and up, then

“back to front” into the first stitch

down, catch your yarn, slip the old

on the left needle.

stitches off, and you have a new stitch in their place.


With your right index finger,

wrap yarn counterclockwise around

You will have only one new stitch from

and down the right needle.

two. Knitting two together is often used to decrease stitches.


Draw the right needle and yarn

backwards through the “old” stitch. Slip off the old stitch. A new stitch forms. A purl stitch!


Basic Knitted Fabrics Stocking Stitch This is the most common stitch in knitting. All it consists of is knitting one row, then purling the next, and so on, and so on. Works on any number of stitches. Row one: Knit Row two: Purl Repeat these two rows for pattern.

Seed Stitch (a.k.a moss stitch) Seed-stitch fabrics lie flat; the symmetry of their two faces prevents them from curling to one side or the other. Hence, it makes an excellent choice for edging, e.g., the central edges of a cardigan. Works on multiples of two stitches. Rows one: K1, P1 across Rows two: P1, K1 across Repeat these two rows for pattern.


Garter Stitch Garter stitch is the most basic pattern stitch out there, but it is actually quite useful for scarves. It’s very quick and is great for beginners since all you do is ‘knit.’ Works on any number of stitches. Knit every row

Farrow Rib Stitch The farrow rib is a simple pattern stitch that uses only knits and purls, but is a little more interesting than straight garter or stockinette stitch. It is a tight fabric but is highly elastic which is why it is often used for the ends of sleeves on jumpers. Works on multiples of three plus one stitches. Row one: (K2, P1) to the last stitch, K1 Row two: P1, (K2, P1) across Repeat these two rows for pattern.



Fabric Lined Purse This gorgeous little purse is so quick and easy to make. Similar to all of the sewing projects, you can completely change the look of the purse by changing the colour of wool and lining or by adding a different style or type of button.

To make this purse you will need:


4mm knitting needles


A button


Double-knit wool


(Optional) felt leaf


A square of fabric


A sewing machine


A tapestry needle


A popper





The knitting pattern ××

Cast on 20 stitches


Row one: k1, *p1, k1; rep from * to end


Row two: p1, *k1, p1; rep from * to end


Rep rows 1 and 2 (Moss stitch) until you have 50 rows


Row 51: Knit for 10 rows (Garter stitch)


Row 61: K2tog at each end of the next and following rows until 6

stitches remain.


Cast off 6 stitches


Stitch in any loose threads

You have now completed the knitted part of the purse and it’s time to make the lining. This is optional although it does make the purse much stronger and in my opinion prettier too!

Step One Cut a piece of spare fabric the same width as your knitted purse and 2cm longer than the body rectangle.

Step Two If you have pinking shears cut around the edges to prevent fraying and hem the two shorter sides. It is preferable to use a sewing machine here for strength.

Step Three Right sides facing and hemmed edges together, sew up the two outside, raw edges to make the lining pocket to go on the inside of the purse.


Step Four

Step Five

Fold the knitted purse along the first

Finally sew on the popper and the

dotted line and place the lining inside

decorative button. I have used a silver

the pocket. Using a wide eyed needle

flower button and attached a small

and the same wool you made the purse

felt leaf for extra detail.

out of sew up the two sides. (Make sure you catch the lining in the stitch in all four corners).



Bow Hair Band This hair band is the perfect project for beginners as it doesn’t involve a huge amount of knitting or any complicated stitches. If preferred, you can simply knit the bow and stitch it on to an existing hair band or create one from elastic.

To make the band you will need:


4mm knitting needles


Double-knit wool


A tapestry needle


(Optional) black elastic

The Band

The Bow

Centre Piece



The knitting pattern

The Bow


Cast on 12 sts


work in garter st until Bow measures 8 cm


Cast off

Centre Piece


Cast on 4 sts


Work in garter st until the piece fits around the bow


Cast off

The Band


Cast on 3 sts


Work in garter st until band fits around your head when slightly stretched


Cast off

(If desired you could use a length of elastic for the band)

To Finish

Sew the 2 ends of the Centre Piece together around the Bow. Thread the

Band through the back of the Centre Piece and sew the 2 ends together.



Mobile Phone Sock This phone sock was created using a rib knit edge and a stocking stitch body. It is another really easy project; and this pattern is just the beginning. Decorate it with buttons, sequins, ribbon or embroidery to make it as unique as you are!

To make the sock you will need: ××

4mm knitting needles


Double-knit wool


A tapestry needle

The knitting pattern ××

Cast on 20 stitches


1st row: K2 *P2, K2; rep from * to end of row (Rib knit)


Continue in rib knit for 3 more rows


5th row: Knit


6th row: Purl


Repeat these two rows (Stocking stitch) until piece measures the height of

your mobile phone.


Cast Off leaving a long thread to sew the pieces together with


Repeat pattern for the back piece and sew both sides together


Decorate as desired


Making Jam One of my favourite things to do over the summer is make jam with my Gran, to be honest I can’t think of a better way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon. There are three separate parts to the jam making process, picking the fruit, making the jam and eating the jam. My favourite part is definitely the process of making the jam, as I tend to give more away as gifts than I do eat it myself. However when I was younger I was much more interested in picking and eating the fruit from my Grampy’s allotment. In fact I ate so much I am surprised there was ever any fruit left over to make the jam!

Just like many of the other crafts I have been looking at, jam making is on the up. Julian Rayner, Lakeland’s director, said: “Jam making was dying a death and a decade ago we were going to stop stocking equipment but the Women’s Institute complained and said it was where most of their members bought their kit, so we kept it on. This year, however, has seen it really take off. We’re struggling to stock enough products to keep up with the demand. In these times people want to give a present that may not be expensive but shows you have made an effort. A pot of homemade jam does just that.” You really don’t need any special culinary skills for making jam, it is a wonderful task and involves a relatively simple process. I am going to share with you the basic steps involved which can then be easily adapted to suit your taste, as well as some of my personal favourite recipes.


Making Jam

Equipment There is a lot of room for improvising when it comes to the equipment you will need for jam making. However, if you do want to buy some shiny new jam making equipment for your kitchen I would recommend buying a jam making kit. These work out cheaper than buying all the pieces separately and are available from a huge variety of kitchen shops, at the point of writing this book I came across several for around ÂŁ50. If you are on a tight budget, or just fancy giving jam making a trial run then you really can do it for next to nothing. Here is the list of equipment you will need along with the alternatives:

Preserving pan One of the most expensive pieces of equipment is the preserving pan, but to be quite honest there really is no need for it. Simply use a wide stainless-steel saucepan so that the jam cooks quickly. Try to avoid aluminium because the acid in the fruit will react with it and give a slightly tinny taste.

Sugar Thermometer A thermometer is used to tell if the jam will set, however my Gran taught me another way. Before you start put a plate in the freezer to cool. When the jam looks as though it’s almost set, take a teaspoonful and put it onto the cold plate. Push the outer edge of the jam puddle into the centre with your index finger. If the jam wrinkles even a little, it will set.


Funnel As you might have guessed this is used for pouring the jam into the jars. Alternatively you can carefully scoop out the finished jam straight from the pan using a heat-proof jug. From here you simply pour it into the jars.

Ladle You will need a ladle to scoop any scum off the top of the jam. It is also quite handy when you are filling up the jug with jam to pour into the jars.

Jam jars, lids and labels This one is pretty self explanatory. You can either buy these new from a kitchen shop, or simply recycle jars you already have. You can buy small packs of labels that come with cloth circles and elastic bands to put over the lids at most kitchen shops. These look gorgeous and are particularly good if you have used recycled jars or are giving your jam away as a gift. If you want your jars to look extra special you could make the embroidered jam jar covers shown at the end of this chapter.


Making Jam

You will also need:

A wooden spoon

A baking tray

Weighing scales

An apron

Oven gloves 69

Pick your own

raspberries, red currents, blueberries, blackberries and plums (to name only

Fruit and vegetables grown in Britain,

a few), are naturally ripening and

or anywhere in the world, are subject

therefore in abundance. This makes

to the seasons. The supermarkets

them much cheaper as farms need to

don’t reflect these seasons as they fly

get rid of their stock before it goes off.

produce in from around the world when

Throughout these months it is also

crops are out of season - and when

possible to pick wild strawberries and

British crops are in season too!

blackberries out in the countryside, just make sure you are not on private


The best way to ensure you jam tastes

land when you do this. If you are not

fresh and delicious is to pick your own

so keen on the picking part, farmers

fruit. The ideal time to make soft fruit

markets are another excellent place to

jam is over the summer months. This

pick up fresh fruit and vegetables at

is when fruits such as strawberries,

very reasonable prices.

In summary eating seasonably means: •• Better taste – many top chefs agree that fresh, seasonal produce is best. In fact there are tons of restaurants that completely dedicate their menu to cooking only local food that are fresh and in season

•• Better value – our research has shown that a basket of fruit and vegetables bought in the summer can be as much as a third cheaper than the same basket bought out of season

•• Better for the planet – growing food in the right seasons requires much lower levels of artificial inputs than at the wrong times of the year, which is much better for the environment

So with all that in mind here is a quick list of when some of the most popular jam making fruits start coming into season. Some of them do hang around for a couple of months, but this is when you can get them at their very best:

Rhubarb The long, thin and proudly pink vegetable that thinks it’s a fruit. Rhubarb is a great British favourite, it makes deliciously comforting puddings but its sharpness works extremely well with meat and oily fish dishes. Field grown from April through to September.

Strawberries If one single thing can be considered representative of the British summer, it must be the strawberry. Traditionally, part of the strawberry’s appeal is that its short, six-week season, from early June until mid-August, coincides with the brief, long-awaited British summer. These days, the British strawberry season extends much further due to the increased use of plastic poly-tunnels. Personally there is no comparison to those grown in open fields so get yourself down to the farms quickly before it’s too late.

Cherries Mid-July marks the height of the all-too-brief British cherry season. Smooth, plump and perfectly formed, a fresh bowl of cherries never hangs around for long, but where do you normally buy your cherries from? Our cherry orchards are desperately declining, so next July do whatever it takes to find and eat some British cherries - they really are worth the effort!


Making Jam

Raspberries Red, ripe, juicy and eminently squishable, these furry little numbers may well be the finest tasting of all the berries and are a real summer crowd pleaser. When making into jam the pips can be a nuisance as most people find they get stuck in their teeth, however a normal kitchen sieve can solve this problem very easily. The British raspberry season runs from June to October and they are at the very best in August.

Plums Green to purple, sweet to tantalisingly tart, the perky plum comes in several guises that taste every bit as good as they look. All varieties are in season late in August and throughout the whole of September.

Blackberries Savouring the lush, intense flavour of a glossy fat blackberry straight off a British hedgerow has to be one of life’s classic simple pleasures. They are in their prime during September.

Apples As far as making jam is concerned I always use Bramley apples. They have an acidic, yet fragrant, apple flavour and it cooks down to a beautiful fluffy texture. The level of pectin is much higher in Bramley apples and therefore will ensure that your jam sets perfectly. Different varieties of apple mature at different times of the year. Bramley apples mature mid to late autumn and if stored correctly can be kept throughout the winter months.


Meet the professionals In an attempt to widen my jam making knowledge I decided to research some people that make jam for a living. I have spoken to two different family run companies, one husband and wife team that makes jam in small batches by hand and another that has moved on to from this stage and currently sells 2.5 million jars a year. Barbara and Robin Moinet have been making top quality jams, chutneys, marmalades and condiments under the ‘Kitchen Garden’ label since 1989 when Barbara cooked up her first batch of Blackberry and Apple Jam in the kitchen of her Gloucestershire cottage. 21 years later and they are still going strong. In the past 5 years they have won over 40 nationally recognized awards for their products and a huge fan base behind them, myself included. Thomasina Miers, winner of Masterchef 2005 wrote:

“You can’t get better than a jar of ‘Kitchen Garden’ in the cupboard. Jams, chutneys and marmalades made to the highest standards you would think

that they were homemade

I spent a morning looking around the wonderful preserve making kitchen and getting to know the staff who worked there. I casually interviewed Emma, one of the chefs, whilst she was busy at work in the smallest of the two kitchens and here is what she had to say...


Where did you learn your skills from? I have been a chef for as long as I can remember but learnt how to make jam when I started at Kitchen Garden. I wanted a change of direction and ended up here. What is the favourite part of your job? I love making the marmalade, I still go out and make my own at home every summer! Any Hints or tips for any budding preserve makers? Smaller batches is always best, it ensures the jam will set properly. Also always make sure you get your weights of fruit to sugar right, again to make sure the jam will set. Where do the recipes come from? Originally all the recipes come from Barbara and she got a lot of her recipes from her Grandmother. They have all developed from there really. I have definitely had an input into lots of the new recipes and development of the older ones. We always trial new recipes and see how they sell, quite often they are taken back off the shelves but sometimes they get a bit of a following and we keep them on. You win some you loose some I suppose. What products do you believe to be your best sellers? Strawberry, no competition. Then our rough cut seville marmalade. In your opinion, why are handmade preserves better than the more massproduced alternatives? Because there is no need to compromise on quality for the sake of quantity, it really is as simple as that.

Mrs Darlington’s Now I’d like you to meet Mrs Darlington and Daughters. Mrs Darlington started making preserves back in 1981. She started out by making a few batches for family and friends, word spread and 4 years later her husband, Tom converted barn into a new kitchen. Ladies from the local village were drafted in to help make the preserves and her eldest daughter Sarah also joined the team.

Since then they have just kept growing and relocated to even bigger premises in 1992. Today, Darlington & Daughters remains a family company and her youngest daughter Wendy has quite recently joined the team, developing a range of tasty cooking sauces along the way. Despite the fact that they now sell over 2.5 million jars of jam every year they still have the same goal in mind…

“To craft delicious products with a truly home made taste ” 78

Although I didn’t manage to make the treck up to Lancastershire to visit the factory. I did have a lovely interview with Wendy Darlington - the youngest of the Darlington women and here is what she had to say: Where did you learn your skills from? As you would of thought I learnt everything I know from my mother and older sister. We learnt many of our recipes from my Grandmother. What is the favourite part of your job? Engaging with new customers in new markets. It’s exciting to see ‘Mrs Darlingtons’ new extending beyond the UK into quality establishments in foreign markets. I always feel very proud when I see it on the shelf in another country. Any Hints or tips for any budding preserve makers? For anyone looking to sell preserves commercially, even in a small way, it’s really important to contact trading standards and environmental health first as there are so many regulations today which they would need to understand these before diving in. In your opinion, what makes your preserves so special? The critical thing in high quality preserves is not whether you have stirred it by hand, it is about the quality of your ingredients and in the recipe. Not taking shortcuts to save money which ultimately will effect the taste. Our products taste exactly as they did when we first started even though our production method has changed over time - something we are very proud of.

Basic Strawberry Jam This recipe is for strawberry jam, which can be harder to make due to the low pectin content in strawberries. However it seems to be the hands down favourite and once you master this, you can make any jam you can possibly imagine.

To make 6 x

1. Before you start put 2 or 3 small plates in the freezer

250ml jars:

ready for testing to see if your jam is ready to set and make sure that all your equipment is clean and sterilized.

1kg Strawberries 1kg Jam sugar

2. Rinse and chop up the fruit and pop it all into a large

Juice of 1 lemon

pan, along with the lemon juice. Put it on a low heat for

Tbsp of butter

about 20–30 minutes, stirring occasionally so it does not burn. You want to make sure that the fruit very tender


and reduce the mixture to a smooth paste, so that it

Slit a vanilla pod

looks a bit like porridge.

in two. Extract the seeds and add to

3. Meanwhile, spread the sugar out on a baking tray and

the strawberries.

place it in a warm oven for about 10 minutes. You don’t

Throw in the pod

want to cook the sugar, just warm it up. (This is so it will

as well and stir.

dissolve quickly into the fruit when you add it.)

4. Add the warm sugar to the fruit mixture and continue to cook on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.


5. Now you need to boil the jam. First, run a wooden spoon around the corner and bottom of the pan, to make sure all the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and bring the jam to a gentle rolling boil. Set your timer and cook the jam for 4-5 minutes, then remove from the heat. If using a thermometer the jam should reach 105°C.

6. Take a plate from the freezer, spoon on a little of the jam and wait for it to cool, run your finger through the cold jam – if it wrinkles, it’s set. If not, return it to the boil for a further 1-2 minutes and repeat this process.

7. If froth has built up on top of the jam, which sometimes happens and isn’t anything to worry about, skim it off. You can also add a knob of butter and give it a stir, which will get rid of the froth.

8. Pour the jam into hot, sterilised jars straight away. Place the lids on the jars before the jam has cooled. This will mean that the jam is completely sterile and will keep for about a year before you open it.

Making Jam

Tricks and Tips Now you have the tools and the basic method for making fantastic jam. I am going to share with you some more of my favourite jam recipes. For each recipe I am about to share with you follow step one from the strawberry jam recipe before you start. Then follow the instructions given and finally finish with steps five to eight from the strawberry recipe as this remains the same no matter what fruit you choose to use. Before you start creating your own combinations read over these handy tips to help you out:

•• Don’t try to make too large a quantity of jam in one go. It will take far too long to come to the boil, and then will not boil rapidly enough to set

•• The reason jam sets is down to pectin, which occurs naturally in fruits. Some fruits are high in pectin, such as blackberries, apples, plums and citrus fruit peel. These are easy to make jam from. For fruits that don’t contain much pectin, like strawberries, you can add extra pectin

•• There are many different ways to add extra pectin to your jam. You can buy pectin in bottles at the supermarket or you can use jam sugar which contains added pectin

•• You can increase your pectin naturally by using some not quite ripe fruit in the mix (since it contains a higher level of pectin) or by adding lemon juice

•• Remember that jam can be made from frozen fruit too, so if you run out of time or have any leftover fruit, just pop it in labelled bag in the freezer


September Jam This is my all time favourite jam recipe. As soon as the blackberries start to ripen on the bushes, I head straight out, basket in arm and collect as many as I can find. Why don’t you give it a go this Autumn? Team them up with some in season Bramleys to complete this winning combination To make 6 x

1. Put the blackberries and apple chunks into a large

250ml jars:

pan with the lemon juice and 100ml water. Place over a medium heat and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, until

500g Blackberries

tender and reduced.

500g Apples, peeled, cored and

2. Meanwhile, spread the sugar out on a baking tray and


place it in a warm oven for about 10 minutes. You don’t

1kg Jam sugar

want to cook the sugar, just warm it up.

Juice of 1 lemon Tbsp of butter

3. If you wish to remove the blackberry seeds, this is the point where you sieve the jam. You will need to do this very carefully as the fruit will be very hot.

(Optional) Pop a cinnamon

4. Add the warm sugar to the fruit mixture and continue

stick into the fruit

to cook on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.

mix for a slightly spiced version.

(Now follow 5,

6, 7 & 8 from the basic strawberry

jam recipe)


Rose Petal Jam When I saw this recipe online I couldn’t help but give it a go and I was really surprised at the result. It is an unusual jam, as the flavour of roses is very strong, distinct and immediately recognizable. It looks as wonderful as it tastes and in a pretty jar would make a gorgeous gift. To makes 2

1. Pick the roses when they are in full bloom, remove the

small jars:

petals and snip off the white bases.

225g Rose heads

2. Place the petals in a bowl and add 225g sugar. Cover

450g Sugar

and leave overnight. This will extract the scent and darken

Juice of 2 lemons

the petals.

3. Pour 1.1 litres (2 pints) water and the lemon juice into a (Optional)

saucepan and stir in the remaining sugar. Heat gently until

Why not save a

the sugar has dissolved, but do not boil.

few petals to put into the finished

4. Stir in the rose petals and simmer gently for 20

jar of jam.

minutes. Bring to the boil and boil for around 5 minutes, until thick. (Pot and cover in the usual way)


Pear & Ginger Jam The shape of the pear pieces is worth thinking about if you make this jam, the pears stay largely intact and as a result, slices might be a nice alternative to chunks. Also bear in mind that whilst the lemon flavour is very pronounced as the jam cooks, it will mellow by the time it is ready, so don’t reduce the amount or the jam may not set. To make 6 x

1. Put the chopped pears, ginger, lemon zest and juice

250ml jars:

to the saucepan and cook over low heat with just enough water to keep them from sticking. Simmer very gently until

1kg Pears - peeled,

the pears are just soft.

cored and chopped 750g Jam sugar

2. Meanwhile, spread the sugar out on a baking tray and

2 Lemons

place it in a warm oven for about 10 minutes. You don’t

Tbsp of finely

want to cook the sugar, just warm it up.

grated fresh ginger

3. Pour in the sugar and stir, over a medium/low heat until the sugar is dissolved.

(Optional) For a spiced

4. The mix should begin to change colour (mine was a very

version, add ½ tsp

pale yellow and started to become an apricot colour)

cinnamon and ¼ tsp nutmeg

(Now follow 5,

6, 7 & 8 from the basic strawberry jam




Jam Jar Covers Jam jar covers are a quick and easy way to add a creative twist to your finished jars of jam. They are especially lovely to use if you are giving your jam away as a gift, however I think they do an excellent job of brightening up a kitchen cupboard. To make one cover you will need:


A jam jar


A wide eyed needle


Pinking shears


A small square of fabric


A pencil


70cm of thin ribbon


Step One Very lightly trace around the lid of the jam jar in the centre of the wrong side of the fabric. Then draw 8 evenly spaced dots 1cm out from the circle.

Step Two Fold the fabric in half, then in quarters and then into eighths.

Step Three Use the pinking shears to cut a curved line across the bottom of the triangle, roughly 4cm down from the initially curve drawn from around the jam jar lid.

Step Four Thread the ribbon onto the needle and running stitch over the dots drawn in step 1. Make sure you start on the right-side of the fabric.


Step Five Do this all the way around until both ends of the ribbon are on the right-side of the fabric.

Step Six Place the disk on top of your jar and pull the ribbons tight around it. You can now tie the ribbon into a bow, adding a gift tag if required.

It really is quite surprising how different you can make these little covers look. All it takes is a little bit of creativity. Different weights and styles of fabric give completely different effects. If you want to use a thicker ribbon simply hold the circle in place with an elastic band and tie the ribbon around the jar.


The Art of Baking Baking is one of the more widespread crafts I am going to look at in this book. Unlike many other crafts it has not significantly dropped in popularity over the years and in my opinion is currently as fashionable as it ever was. My mum taught me how to bake a cake at a very early age and I have very fond memories of making cakes with her throughout my childhood. More recently we have both had a part in passing these skills on to my younger sister, who at thirteen is quite possibly a more accomplished little baker than myself - not that I would ever admit that to her!

The History of Baking Where did it all start?

2600-2100 B.C. bread was baked

In ancient history, the first evidence

by Egyptians, who it is believed had

of baking occurred when humans took

learned the skill from the Babylonians.

wild grass grains, soaked them in

A relief representing the royal bakery of

water, and mixed everything together,

Ramses features bread and cakes, some

mashing it into a kind of broth-like

of these were shaped in the form of

paste. The paste was cooked by pouring

animals and used for sacrifices.

it onto a flat, hot rock, resulting in a bread-like substance.

Baking as we know it today Jumping forward to the 19th century,


The Egyptians

a grocer named Thomas Bell had

Records show that already in the years

experimented with rising agents on flour

The Art of Baking

in baking and from that produced the

were so popular that people insisted they

world’s first self-raising flour was born.

had the recipes to allow themselves the

In 1875 he founded the Bells Royal works

pleasure of baking these dishes at home.

which sold the flour under the brand name ‘Bell’s Royal’ later renamed Be-Ro.

As a result a little book was produced and handed out free at exhibitions and door

In the early 1920’s self raising flour was a

to door. The very first Be-Ro book was

novelty and one of the first convenience

produced in 1923 and contained 19 pages.

foods! In a bid to promote Be-Ro Self

It has now grown to 86 pages and has

Raising Flour exhibitions were held where

reached its 40th edition. It has been used

freshly baked scones, pastries and cakes

by my family for generations as a handy

were sold for a shilling to visitors. These

guide when baking a recipe for the first time.


Measurements Please note: All the temperatures given in this book are for a fan oven and you will need to take 20 degrees off the temperature if you are using a convection oven. I have also only shown any measurements in metric. If you prefer to use imperial here is are some quick conversion charts to help you out.


Metric (g/kg)

Imperial (oz/lb)


1 oz


2 oz


3 oz


4 oz = 1/4 lb


2.2 lbs

Degrees Celsius

Degrees Fahrenheit

Gas Mark













Moderately hot








Very Hot


Baking Equipment You need very little specialist equipment to bake. Depending on how creative you are feeling there are some extra pieces of equipment that can make your life so much easier when it comes to the decoration. For now, here is the equipment you will need to bake the recipe themselves:

Mixing Bowls

A baking tray An apron

Cutters & Cocktail sticks A wooden spoon 100

The Art of Baking

Oven Gloves A saucepan

Weighing scales

An electric whisk

Paper cases

A rolling pin A wire rack

A bun tray


Shortbread In my eyes shortbread is one of the

The Ingredients

simplest, yet most satisfying thing to bake. It is made up of three or four very

• 100g Butter

cheap basic ingredients that anyone who

• 100g Plain flour

bakes would already have in the kitchen.

• 50g Caster sugar

No specialist equipment is required and

• 50g Rice flour*

the method itself is fool proof.

* Rice flour will give your shortbread that The buttery little biscuits are simply

slightly crunchy taste. Alternatively you

gorgeous eaten with a cup of tea on a

could replace the 50g of rice flour with

Sunday afternoon. I am going to show

50g of corn flour for a delicate melt-in-

you how to make little shortbread buttons

your-mouth texture. The recipe is quite

which make a beautiful gift, especially

versatile and if you have neither rice flour

when you start getting creative with their

nor corn flour just use ordinary plain

shape, size, colour and flavour. Part of the

flour instead. I promise it will still work.

beauty of shortbread is that it has tons of room to get creative adding your own creative twist to each individual batch or biscuit that you make.

Shapes of Shortbread If buttons aren’t your thing, or you fancy trying out some different shapes of biscuit, here are some different ways that you can shape your shortbread.

Fingers Roll our your finished dough until it is approximately 1cm thick. Press into a rectangular tray, mark out your fingers and decorate with fork marking. Cut out your fingers as soon as you remove the shortbread from the oven.

Petticoat Tails Make as for Fingers, press the dough into a 18cm round tin. Divide into 8 triangles, decorate the edges and prick with a fork. Cut as soon as it is removed from the oven.

Rounds Roll your dough into a thick sausage and roll in Demerara sugar. Cut into slices and place on a baking tray ready to bake.



Shortbread Button Recipe These shortbread buttons could not be easier and they really do taste as good as they look. The minimal fuss recipe allows you plenty of time for designing the buttons. Makes lots of

1. Preheat the oven to 150°c and grease the oven tray.


2. Beat the butter and the sugar together until smooth. 100g butter 50g caster

3. Stir in the flours to get a smooth paste. Turn on to a

sugar - plus a

work surface and gently roll out until the paste is 1cm thick.

little extra for sprinkling

If you’d like to make different colours and add different

50g rice flour

flavours separate the dough into small bowls before rolling

100g plain flour

it out. Add a few drops of your colour and knead the dough until the colour has worked its way through. Then roll out until 1cm thick.

4. Cut out the buttons and very gently create the indentation by pressing a smaller cutter half way through. Now use a cocktail stick to create the button holes.

5. Sprinkle with sugar and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes before baking in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.


Why not try adding some chocolate chips or 1 tsp of espresso powder for a coffee flavour. To make stripy buttons you could try dipping the sides of the buttons into melted chocolate! I like to add orange and lemon zest to my yellow buttons for a little zing. Cinnamon is a warm taste and works well with red buttons for a lovely Christmas present. The recipe is so adaptable, once you have gotten a little experimental with them you will see how fun they are to make and truly scrumptious to eat too!




The Art of Baking

Basic Scone Recipe These tasty scones are the perfect companion to your homemade fruit jam. Best served warm and finished off with a large dollop of freshly whipped or clotted cream for the perfect cream tea.

1. Preheat the oven to 200°c. To make 12 large scones

2. Sift the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the

you will need:

mixture resembles fine bread crumbs.

1lb self-raising flour

3. Stir in the caster sugar. You now need to turn the dry

4 oz. Butter

mix into a soft dough with the milk . (I tend to use my

2oz. Castor sugar

hands at this point; it is very messy but much easier).

½ Pint milk Beaten egg to glaze

4. Turn onto a lightly floured table, knead briefly, then roll out until the mixture is ½ an inch thick.

5. Cut out your scones and place them on a greased baking tray. Finally brush the tops with the beaten egg and pop them in the oven for 8-10 minutes. I push the last bits of dough together with my hands to make up the last scone. It’s not quite as pretty as the rest but tastes just as good!




Cupcakes I don’t feel that I could possibly write

So what, exactly, is a cupcake? A long

a section on baking without looking at

debate in the pages of Waitrose Food

what I believe to be the most popular

Illustrated came to the conclusion that

of all baked goods on the high-street at

the key difference between a cupcake

the moment, the cupcake. I have done

and a fairy cake is down to the top -

some brief research into why cupcakes

cupcakes, apparently, being flat and fairy

have become so trendy and I think

cakes domed. Bakers on the other hand,

‘WikiAnswers’ sums it up perfectly,

say that the difference between the two is really about size and topping: a classic

“They became popular because

cupcake, slathered in buttercream, is

popular people started eating

about twice the size of a fairy cake, with

them and they are tasty!”

its modest coating of fondant.

To give you a little more detail in 1996 a small cupcake bakery called Magnolia Bakery opened up in Manhattan, New York City. Then in July 2000 Carrie and Miranda from ‘Sex And The City’ are filmed outside Magnolia Bakery eating cupcakes while they talk about Carrie's new crush. As with all things, this New York trend headed over to London and in 2004 The Hummingbird Bakery landed in Portobello Road. The rest, as they say, is history.


The Art of Baking


The Art of Baking

Vanilla Cupcakes This particular cupcake recipe is a one that my mum, my sister and I have adapted over the past few years. It makes 12 beautiful little cakes that come out of the oven completely flat on top making them perfect for decorating and are surprising low fat as they only use a tiny amount of butter - that is before you choose your topping of course! To make 12

1. Preheat the oven to 200°c and place 12 paper cases in


the bun tray.

you will need:

2. Heat the milk in a saucepan until it almost comes to 75ml milk

the boil, take it off the heat, add the butter and stir until

25g butter

melted, set this to one side.

75g plain flour ½ tsp baking

3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl


beat the eggs and vanilla extract with an electric whisk

Pinch of salt

until light and fluffy, this will take around 10 minutes.

2 medium eggs

Gradually add the sugar until thick. Turn down the speed

1 tsp vanilla extract

and blend in the flour, then the milk-butter mix.

125g caster sugar

4. Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown and firm. Allow to cool slightly in the tin before moving to the wire rack for icing.

It Frosting time! Have you ever looked into a cupcake display case in a shop, taken a look at all the gorgeous swirls and artfully placed dollops of icing and asked yourself, “I wonder how they do that??”. Well get your piping bags at the ready as you are about to learn how; It’s not as hard as you might think!

The Equipment Piping bags I always use large piping bags for icing cupcakes as you don’t have to keep filling the bag up. If for some strange reason you only want to make a couple of cupcakes you simply put less in to start with. You can buy throw away plastic piping bags and reusable fabric ones, which are much better for the environment and cheaper in the long run.

Decorating Nozzles There are four different types of nozzle which I am going to explain to you on the next page as each gives a very different look. The only other factor that is worth considering is the size. From my experience I have learnt that the larger the nozzle the more professional your cupcakes will look. You will also need a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon to make your icing with. If making a large batch then an electric whisk may also come in handy.


Styles of Icing There are four main types of icing nozzles to use with your piping bag and each gives you a very different look. I am going to show you what each nozzle looks like and how the finished cupcake will look. These have all been creating using the extra large size.

Closed Star

Open Star

Plain Rounded


Buttercream Icing There are hundreds of different types of icing out there however nothing will ever top the classic buttercream icing. It is so simple to make and oh so delicious! 225g butter 1 tbsp milk

Place the butter and cream in a bowl and beat

350g icing sugar

together. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.

Cupcake Gallery Zesty Lemon Cupcakes I have simply iced these cupcakes with a palette knife for a more rustic look. For the lemon frosting, substitute the tbsp of milk with lemon juice and sprinkle in some fresh lemon zest. F inish off with a touch of yellow food colouring.

Naughty but nice If you find buttercream a little bit too rich, why not whip up some cream and pipe it on the top of your cupcakes. Team up with some fresh fruit to sneak in one of your 5-a-day.

‘99’ Cupcakes To create these quirky ice-cream cakes, pipe your icing into a peak and top with a mini chocolate flake and sprinkles. You could even finish with some chocolate sauce or drizzle over some warm, seedless, strawberry jam... Yummy!


Butterfly cakes Cut the top off your cupcake and spoon on a dollup of icing, to make the wings cut the disk in half and arrange on top. To finish, dust over icing sugar or even edible glitter!

Chocolate Cupcakes For the chocolate frosting, replace 55g of sugar with 55g of cocoa powder. Decorate the iced cake with the chocolate of your choice. I’ve used crumbled up flake!

This is only the beginning... Upon finishing this book I want to remind you all that this is merely the beginning. The skills you have learnt in each of the four crafts are only a tiny fraction of what they can offer you. The instructions and recipes I have taught you are just a starting point. Discover new ones online, in books, from friends or family members or simply make them up for yourself. You could even start up a craft club with your friends or at school, allowing you all to share tips, successes and failures. Don’t forget you can also go out and discover brand new crafts altogether. There really are hundreds of other crafts out there just waiting to be explored. From crochet to cross stitch, pottery to card making, there really is something for everyone.

Good Luck!!

Amy White

Image References 6-7 - Scanned fabric was designed by Cath Kidston 12 - 37 - 37 - 38- 42/43 - Photos courtesy of Shawn Thomas 50 (t) - 50 (b) - Moss+%25282%2529.JPG 51 (b) - 64 - 68/69 - Photos Courtesy of Mrs. Darlingtons 98/99 - Tamsins+Scales+pic.JPG 113 - 117 - 122-123 - Scanned fabric was designed by Cath Kidston

All other photographs are sourced from: or taken by Amy White

All Illustrations were created by Amy White

Handmade By You — Amywhite  

Level 2 'Everything About One Thing' Brief