Saturday, January 12, 2008

Baking break

I'm actually getting a surprising amount of knitting done in the new year, and will steek Ian's cardigan very soon, but I've also been spending a lot of time in the kitchen lately. My big girl's seventh birthday was Friday the 4th, and since her teacher is a World Wildlife Fund devotee, we decided to make an endangered animal cake.

I've been moving away from boxed and packaged anything, but up until now I've baked her cakes from a box so that I could spend more time decorating. This year, I made the devil's food cake and buttercream icing from scratch, and was pretty pleased with how they turned out.
After the birthday weekend passed (capped on Sunday with a matinee of Princess Ida by NYGASP, which was fantastic), I finally took the plunge with the Tassajara Bread Book that I've been perusing since early December. On Monday I made white bread (since that was the flour on hand). The book has some really wonderful illustrations and is very reassuring for novice breadmakers. Combine that with its philosophical bent, and it's the closest thing I've seen to a knitting book about making bread.

Then, Friday, while thunderstorms raged outside, I made the whole wheat version.

Compared to storebought:

Not too shabby.
This morning I made their whole wheat pancakes, which were nice, and I may just make some coffee cake tomorrow, or the fancy apple popover.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

Well, tomorrow we'll take the decorations down from our tree and get it out of the house and onto the curbside (I'm anticipating a lot of lamentation, especially from our three-year-old, who's already tried several times to resurrect the dead front-door wreath, i.e., pull it out of its plastic bag and put it back up), so I'm guessing this is the last possible day I can post photos of the Christmas stocking I made for Coco this year. As you can see, she loves it,

and it does have a certain quirky charm, but I've made myself a promise that I won't buy Red Heart Super-Saver 100% acrylic ever again, not even for a craft project that no one will wear, and no matter how much of it I can get for a ridiculously low price. It's finally sunk in that I should respect my craft enough to use quality (though not necessarily expensive) yarn, and that the more natural fibers, the nicer it feels. Anyway, this was my first experiment with the Magic Loop method, after hearing Kelly Petkun gushing about it on the Knitpicks podcast, and I'm somewhat of a convert,

(just finished this left-hand covering, which is a stop-gap until I make gloves I like, and which my friend Linda called "the devil's own glove") though not absolutely, totally convinced, and definitely not for two socks at once, unless I could figure a way to incorporate double-knitting also.
But, back to the stocking, which is a pretty good match for Washington's, except much hairier, since she's such a fun-fur fan, and with hearts and roses instead of a stag. Not too bad.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Newsboy cap

It's amazing how fast size 10 1/2 needles can get a job done. Not only was I able to make a sort-of knockoff of Sugar on snow ( I didn't remember the cables, so it was just a basic rib, with the I-cord tie, probably will do best as a neckwarmer) with one ball of Wool of the Andes bulky, but in just about no time I did this cabled newsboy cap from Stitch 'n' Bitch Nation. I decided that instead of just giving Coco's schoolteacher a present, I really owed some presents to her ballet teachers, who are amazingly patient and potential role models, since Coco still sincerely believes her future career is as a dancer. Her current teacher has said some charming things about Coco's silliness being a vital aspect of her personality and not disruptive to the class, and since she is hip and young the kids and I decided she might like this.

Her former teacher, who runs the studio, has known Coco since she was two and cried the first day she came to the studio in a school uniform. She also took time out of the backstage organization of last year's huge recital to help me when I left all six of our tickets at home (several subway stops away). Anyway, her favorite color is blue, and though I didn't get them done in time for the holidays, I will be able to give them to her when Coco goes back to dance tomorrow.