Sunday, March 14, 2010

Three seemingly unrelated subjects

In an attempt to catch up, blog-wise, I am forced to present you with three topics of no apparent correlation other than their relation to my life. Think of it like a dinner party with an old friend from high school, a co-worker and your cousin from out of town: they all know you, but that doesn't necessarily mean they will get along as you break bread. Speaking of bread (nice segue!)...

Learning to make bread has been on my to-do list for a long time. Baked goods involving yeast have always intimidated me. I was under the impression making a loaf of bread was a complex process involving fancy equipment and hours of kneading. I pictured myself exhausted, biceps burning, covered in flour as I took loaf after loaf of flat, brick-like failure-loaves out of the oven. I was only half right.

My first attempt, using this Jaime Oliver recipe, was most definitely a failure-loaf. Heavy enough to use as a door stopper and tough enough to chip teeth, this "bread" soon found it's way to the compost heap. In Jaime's defense, I used the wrong flour, though he does like to use words such as "stodgey", "bashing and squashing" "fandabidoz" in his recipes. Such unscientific language is probably not beneficial for newbie bakers lacking confidence.

Second try? Fandabidoz!

I used this recipe for my second attempt, and am still shocked that it turned out so well. It looks like bread! It tastes like bread! Not a chance of chipping a tooth! Though pretty and tasty, this recipe did make a loaf akin to Wonderbread. My ultimate goal is to make something more like crusty french bread, but hey, baby steps!

Now let's baby step over to some new socks (not so great segue):

After knitting myself some wellie-warmers (not to be confused with willie-warmers), my pal Cathy asked me to knit her some as well. Like any good knitter, I got around to it several months later.
Pattern: From my noggin. Plain ribbed socks with a short row heel.
Yarn: Lopi, with bits of Nashua Creative Focus Chunky.
Needles: 4.5 mm to make 'em nice and dense

Now to knock those socks off (groan worthy segue), ever heard of the Pillow Fight League?

A friend of mine will be filming some future matches, so I went along to check out a pillow fight. Craziness! I had originally dismissed the PFL as another silly exploitative pseudo-sport like mud wrestling. No way! Think roller-derby meets old school WWF.

Great entertainment. Highly recommended!

There you have it. Failure loaves, wellie warmers and pillow fights. Just an average weekend!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice.

Once upon a time, I was lucky enough to win 4 skeins of Twinkle Soft Chunky yarn. Though I adore big chunky yarn, it sure is difficult to pull off sweater-wise: a lesson hard-learned. After knitting most of a couple of sweaters that made me look like a morbidly obese "Where's Waldo", I decided this particular yarn would be best knit into accessories:

Pattern: Mobius Cowl from Bernat "Cold Front" booklet (purists will argue this is not a true mobius, but whatevs: it's twisted!)
Yarn: Twinkle Soft Chunky in Peacock Blue (possibly discontinued colour?) Not sure on the quantity as the yarn was re-used from a previous project. Perhaps two skeins?
Needles: 12.75 mm
Mods: I did some numbah-crunchin' and modified the pattern for my heavier yarn gauge.

Quick, easy, totally satisfying knit. Unfortunately, I didn't really factor in the spread of the stitch pattern combined with just how darn HUGE this yarn is. The weight of the cowl means it just keep on growing! Now, I'm not one to shy away from bold fashion accessories, but there is a line between bold and foolish. After a couple of outings, I began to feel like the cowl was eating my head. Your fashion statements shouldn't make you look like this guy:

I love a great big dramatic cowl, but I think this is destined to be re-knit. I'm not thrilled with the way the twist lies around the neck either. I do love me some shaker rib though, and will definitely use this pattern for a do-over! As usual, my heavy winter knits are being completed just in time for spring. Oopsie!