Monday, November 8, 2010

Like bubbles in a fish tank

Little thoughts keep rising to the surface. I'm a bit scattered, I've got a festival on Saturday and I'm behind schedule!

If you happen to be in the Montgomery NJ area on November 13th, swing by Montgomery Made by Hand at the high school (1016 Route 601, Skillman, NJ). 10am-3pm, it's a holiday craft fair hosted by the honors society, and there will be 45 vendors in attendance.  Free admission!  Raffles!

One of my yarns was in an Etsy front page Treasury last night. That was a very pleasant bump in views and hearts. Statsy screenshot. I really like the coy little bird print in the top row.

Someone asked a question on the Rav forums yesterday about whether garter stitch or seed stitch uses less yarn.  My gut reaction is to say seed stitch, both from experience and from considering the mechanics of both stitches.  But in a bit of procrastinatory rebellion I also decided to swatch.

Cast on with the backwards loop co, slipped the first stitch of every row, and bound off in pattern. The total number of rows included the co and bo. Each swatch was made with exactly the same length of yarn on the same needles.  Tension differences are sure to influence this, of course.

Now if I can just avoid getting sucked in to figuring out how to adjust for giant holes in one's knitting, like those Swiss cheese holes at the start of the hemlock ring.  For some reason these puzzles are always more interesting to me when I've got a massive pile of other things to do.

In another bit of procrastinatory rebellion, I put together a clip for This Is Handmade.  If you haven't heard about this blog, it collects tedium.  Specifically it collects the tedium of handcrafting (an explanation of the project).  So here is slightly more than 5min of me making stitch markers last night.  It's not a tutorial and it's hard to see exactly what I'm doing, and it's quite dull. But that's kind of the point. YouTube link

And now for something completely different. Some ruminating about cake after the jump.

That was a really bad pun, wasn't it? See, I used up a 16oz bottle of vanilla this weekend. It took me 2 years 10 months and 8 days  to use that much vanilla.  This bottle finished its run with rum cake.  I think that's a worthy end for a faithful bottle of vanilla.

Rum cake is a family favorite, and I've spent years trying to figure out the best base cake to use (from scratch).  This is harder than it sounds because the original recipe was off the back of a magazine and involved a box of yellow cake mix and a box of pudding as well as the rum glaze.  I've tried butter cakes (they dissolve with too much syrup), I've tried genoise (too spongy, the texture is totally wrong).  Figures that all it took was a pound cake recipe.  (I know it's a butter cake, but it's a more substantial butter cake.)

I used the pound cake from The Cake Bible, doubled for an 8c bundt pan, the baking powder slightly reduced, and the pan lined with 1c each of walnuts and raisins. I baked it for an hour and had to score the top with a sharp knife at around the 35-40min point or it would have cracked unevenly and become lopsided. I know this because that's what the first one did. :P

The book warns that the texture suffers when the cake is too large, becoming chewy. But that extra tooth is just what the rum cake needs.  I've put it back in the bundt pan and poured my modified syrup over it (1/2c sugar melted in 1/2c water and 4tbsp butter, and then 1/2c dark rum stirred in).  I'm going to sprinkle it with 1tbsp of dark rum every other day for 8 days, adding up to another quarter cup. No additional rum the day of serving, though, because it needs time to mellow or it's too harsh.

Meanwhile, I think I'll get another piece of the lopsided cake.  And then, on to getting some of this backlog of work done. I've got lots of stitch markers to make, and a whole lot of yarn to move around.

1 comment:

Heather said...

This is very interesting, I enjoyed seeing the swatches side by side