Browsing Tag

homemade gifts


How to make a Zwartbles Sheep Egg Cozy

January 14, 2017

How to Knit a Zwartbles Egg Cozy

Inspirational Women

This post is a little different from the usual as it contains a simple knitting pattern that I came up with when I was trying to think of gifts I could make for friends a few years ago.

How to Make a Zwartbles Sheep Egg Cozie

©Suzanna Crampton

We’re often quick to knock social media but I met Suzanna of Zwartbles Ireland, Catherine of Foxglove Land, Eadaoin of City of Blackbirds and Susan from Vibrant Ireland on Twitter soon after I began using it in 2009/10 and we’ve remained on and offline friends since.

As a result we’ve created an uplifting support network. Genuine, incredibly creative, non judgmental and never ones to gossip, it’s always a joy to meet these women in person once or twice a year for tea, chat and an illuminating catch up.

Photo copyright Suzanna Crampton

©Suzanna Crampton

The idea for knitting gifts made from Zwartbles wool arose because Suzanna had linked up with Cushendale Woolen Mills to create her beautiful rugs and yarn. I was looking forward to making something with wool that was cleaned and spun 30 km away, from sheep reared 24 km away by a female friend.

I ended up making two tea cozies, a mug warmer and these egg cozies pictured, going on to sell a few of the latter by request. I’m no longer making the cozies to sell so for those of you who might like to make them, I’ve left the pattern below.

I enjoy knitting during the winter months when it’s quieter in the gardens, having learnt from my Mum when I was a child. Mum was always clacking the needles in the evenings as she relaxed and I miss having her nearby to help me out when I get stuck on the tricky parts. Unfortunately Mum can no longer knit due to crippling arthritis but when I pick up my own needles I think of her and wish that my own children would take an interest in this useful and rewarding craft.

How to knit a Zwartbles Egg Cozy

How to Knit a Zwartbles Sheep Egg Cozy

There’s no comparison – Mum was an amazingly talented knitter but without her close by I find YouTube a great source of help for explaining any tricky stitches in more detail. The following pattern is quick and easy to knit up if you have some very basic knitting skills.

Materials and Size

Width:  7 cm, 2½ in   Height: 6.5 cm, 2½ in (will stretch)

Using Zwartbles Wool (available from Zwartbles Ireland online shop) and 3.25 mm needles (UK 10, US 3)

How to Make a Zwartbles Sheep Egg Cozie

©Suzanna Crampton


Cast on 26 sts
Rib 2 rows *K1, p1; rep from * to end of row
Stocking stitch 10 rows (K a row, P a row, *repeat for another 8 rows)

To shape the top

Row 13:     K4, K2tog) to last st, k2

Row 14:     S1 (slip 1 stich), purl to last st, k1

Row 15:     (K3, K2tog) to last st, k2

How to make a Zwartbles Sheep Egg Cozy

©Suzanna Crampton

Row 16:     S1, purl to last st, k1

Row 17:     (K2, K2tog) to last st, k2

Row 18:     S1, purl to last st, k1

Row 19:     (K1, K2tog) to last st, k2

Row 20:     S1, purl to last st, k1

Row 21:     (K2tog) to last st, k1  (5sts)

Cut the wool leaving a length of around 15 cm. Using a yarn sewing needle, pull the wool through the remaining stitches and secure. Sew up the seam.

How to make a Zwartbles Egg Cozy

To decorate

Use the images as a guide. Crochet four legs using a simple chain stitch in a combination of black/brown/cream colours (like the sheep out in the fields) and secure equally onto the bottom of the egg cozy.

Cut out a small piece of black felt and sew another small piece of white felt onto to it. Secure to the cozy to create the nose. Cut and stitch two pieces of brown felt on the top for the ears. Stitch in place.

Are you a knitter? I wonder how many youngsters learn these days compared to my own childhood?



Food & Drink

Hot Chocolate Recipe

December 19, 2014

Hot Chocolate Recipe |

No matter how I write this article, you won’t find a vegetable in sight… This hot chocolate recipe is pure indulgence and will make a sweet hostess gift, a surprise treat for anyone who simply enjoys drinking chocolate, or even just a special drink for you to spoil yourself at any time of the year.

Hot chocolate is the only hot drink our children will swig back and the only dairy our teen daughter will eat drink so we usually buy the pre-made version, which, even to my chocoholic pallet, doesn’t really taste of chocolate at all. Ever since we watched Jamie Oliver make this mix in his snowy garden over a warm log fire, I’ve promised to buy the ingredients to replicate it. This Christmas our children are in for a surprise (they don’t read my blog 😉 as I’ve really enjoyed finding all the bits and pieces to put together a little Christmas Eve treat for them, in what may become a new holiday tradition.

Hot Chocolate Recipe

To make enough hot chocolate mixture to make five little jars as pictured above, you’ll need:

200g dark chocolate, preferably 75% cocoa solids
8 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder (look out for Fairtrade)
6 tablespoons icing sugar
4 tablespoons cornflower
4 tablespoons malted drink, such as Horlicks
A pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg
A pinch of rock salt


Break the chocolate into pieces and place into a food processor. Whiz until the chocolate is finely chopped. If you don’t have a food processor you can finely grate the chocolate but it may take a while! When the chocolate has been chopped, add the rest of the ingredients and mix until fully combined.

Hot Chocolate Recipe with Gingerbread |

To Make the Hot Chocolate Drink

Add two heaped tablespoons of chocolate mixture to a mug of hot milk and stir until fully mixed. For an extra treat, add a spoonful of whipped cream to the top of the hot drink, sprinkle with marshmallows and finish off with a dusting of cocoa powder.

Hot Chocolate Recipe with GingerbreadTo Make Up A Hot Chocolate Gift Pack

Fill a clear spice jar with hot chocolate mix, another with marshmallows and a third with candy canes or flaked chocolate. Wrap together in brown paper with a mug and a mini whisk or spoon and for an extra treat, add some homemade gingerbread – the recipe can be found here. Tie together with festive ribbon and instructions on how to make the hot chocolate drink.

Do you make homemade gifts for friends, family or neighbours? What do your gift packets include?