Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Bake

My spring break looked something like this:

Challah from smitten kitchen.
I'm extremely proud of my 6-strand braid. I found the braiding instructions in the recipe didn't really work for me, so I used a YouTube video. This made Easter dinner grilled cheese sandwiches for my Auntie Connie and me, and the last bit of the loaf made excellent French toast when it had started to go a little stale. It also makes an excellent snack toasted or not with butter, peanut butter, blueberry jam, or Nutella.

Snickerdoodles from smitten kitchen.
Let's just say mmmm, cookies, and leave it at that.

Peter Reinhart's Bagels, via smitten kitchen (sensing a trend yet?).
I love that I went on a Jewish-carb-fest during Passover. I think this is my best bagel attempt yet; third time's the charm. Note though: the full recipe doesn't fit in a KitchenAid mixer. Cut it in half or get ready to knead a lot. I don't mind kneading massive amounts of bread dough by hand. When I made bread for Old B dinners, I would never use the big mixer for my batches containing about 36 cups of flour, but I was a little out of practice. My upper arms were tired.

Grandmothers of Sils' Apple Yogurt Cake. I'm not even going to tell you where I got the recipe, because if you can't guess, you have not been paying attention.
I am highly afraid of black licorice, so I left out the Sambuca. I added some Lady Grey tea instead, but you couldn't really taste it in the final product. I might try orange juice next time, and oh will there ever be a next time. This cake is amazing. Just eat it plain, any time of day. It has apples and yogurt in it. It's healthy. It can be breakfast.

Coming up next: a few updates on my life, some recent knitting, and the world's best early-spring salad.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Garter Stitch

I'm a terrible blogger. 3 1/2 months between posts? Maybe this isn't my thing, but I'm going to try again.

So, all 4 people that read this, you may or may not know that I have been having a rough year. I came to Madison in July raring to go, and was wildly disappointed with school. My program wasn't a good fit, and I started to come to the realization that I don't want to be a chemist. I just didn't know what I wanted to do instead. This meant the better part of a semester of being pretty miserable. I was ridiculously unhappy, a feeling made even more difficult by the fact that I had been ridiculously happy during the first half of 2009, when I was still at Oberlin.

In January, I reached a breaking point. I am dropping out of my program after this semester. I applied to the School of Library and Information Studies here at UW. I'm hoping I get in, and I'm hoping I can find a source of funding. But this is a start. I'm so excited. I'm rebuilding.

And I am knitting.

Now, that in itself is not unusual. I knit a lot. But this time, I am just knitting. No cables, no lace, no purling. Just knit, knit, knit, repeating the familiar, soothing motion over and over for what will end up being thousands and thousands of stitches.

Vast swaths of garter stitch in what might be my new favorite yarn are cascading off my needles and piling up in my lap. I'm building blocks of garter stitch as I rebuild my life into something that I want it to be.

Moderne Log Cabin Blanket in Cascade Ecological Wool (cream, natural grey, grey-brown, and black)

And if it doesn't pan out? If I don't get in? If I can't find a way to pay for it? Well, my life will suck for a while. But I'll figure it out. And I know it won't be any worse that it was last fall. And if it doesn't work, I'll keep on knitting and keep on rebuilding. And I really have a feeling it's all going to be okay.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Happy Birthday Michelle!

My roommate's birthday is today. I really love birthdays. Why, you ask? Because I get to spend the evening before doing this:

Why yes, those are heart-shaped measuring spoons.

I love whoever first paired butter with sugar.

Definitely licked the beater (the birthday person got to lick the bowl).


more chocolate...


Mmm, frosting.

Piped dots, because I'm cute like that.

I'd be lying if I said this wasn't breakfast for Michelle, Bridgette, and me. That picture was taken at about 7:45 in the morning.

Best birthday cake from Smitten Kitchen. The title does not lie, even though my frosting did not turn out shiny like hers. I upped the sweetener in it by about a tablespoon; the sour cream was a little overpowering at first. Delicious.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Button, button, who's got the button?

Except for the button, Shalom is done.(As I've said before, I need a new camera. Taking pictures of myself in the mirror probably doesn't help either.)

I'm wearing it anyway. It's blocked, every end is sewn in, and it fits like it was made just for me or something! I will put a button on it when I find the perfect one. This is my first real, full-grown-human-sized, honest-to-goodness garment that I've made, and I am in love with it.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

That was quick

I finished knitting my Shalom cardigan today, the reincarnation of the yarn that was once Tubey. Lovely pattern, quick knit thanks to yarn held double, 6.5mm needles, and no sleeves. I knit it in far fewer rows than it was written for, both because I was not getting row gauge at all and because the pattern writer noted that she is very tall, and I'm average height. I cut out 2 rows in each ribbing section on the yoke and 2 rows between each increase and decrease on the body. I think that did the trick quite nicely. It just took a quick warm bath and is currently pinned to a towel on the couch. The one downside to this sweater: tons, and I mean tons, of ends to weave in. There's a total of about 8 skeins in there, but since it was harvested yarn, there are more than 16 ends. Not thinking about that yet. What I should be thinking about is my NSF fellowship application. Or my aerosols & air pollution test on Tuesday. Not thinking about those either though! Just enjoying having (almost) finished a real garment that I will enjoy wearing.

Just a peek for now:

I need a new camera sometime in the near future...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Harvest Time

Fall is harvest season. I, however, am harvesting yarn. After recovering that lovely bit of Malabrigo yesterday after improving my poncho, I set my sights a bit bigger.

This is Tubey, a very nice pattern. However, I started this only a few months after I started knitting. It took me nearly 2 years to get it to the point above, everything done but the end-sewing, because it sat untouched for vast periods of time. I wouldn't say I'm a vast fountain of knitting skill and knowledge now, but I definitely have far better skills now than I did when I started making this, and it was evident from just looking that this was the work of a novice. It was also was too big for me, despite being a size small. Whether this is my fault or the patterns, I don't know. Probably mine though. Anyway. Behold Tubey, in her current form (color much more accurate in the first picture):

That, my friends, is approximately 11 skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. It deserved to be something better. Thoughts?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Knitting frenzy

My friend Annette took me to late night knit night at The Sow's Ear in Verona last night. It is the most wonderful knitting store- in addition to a fantastic selection and lovely ambiance, they have pretty much the best brownies ever. I hadn't been around that many knitters in a really long time- probably not since I saw the Yarn Harlot in spring 2008. It was such a nice time. Also very good for productivity. I finished up one pair of socks and nearly finished the first of another pair. That sock was then finished today while I spent the afternoon at Lakeside Fiber Arts, another wonderful store just a bike ride away from my apartment.

I also pulled out my A Very Harlot Poncho again. I made this about 2 years ago, but it sat unworn in a bag for the whole time. I decided to shorten it and give it a garter stitch hem to prevent rolling and give it a more finished look. I am quite a fan of it now in its new and improved form.

A pleasant side effect of shortening said poncho:

A skein and a half of Malabrigo chunky with which I can do whatever I want. I wonder what it will become?