Monday, November 12, 2007

Armistice Day, Martha Stewart and winter coats

OK, so Armistice Day (or Remembrance Day) is of course significant to the world at large, but I have never thought of it as anything more than a day of remembrance (and a bonus day off!). Apparently, however, my aunt thinks of Armistice Day as the day you make your Chirstmas Cakes. Not wanting to mess with what has obviously become a tradition, my sister decided that yesterday was a good day to try out her new Martha Stewart recipe for Christmas Cake. One pound of butter and five eggs... wow it had better be good. (Actually, I personally don't even really like Christmas Cake, but that's another story.) So Stewart and I hopped into the car yesterday morning and headed for Chilliwack to visit and see if we could help out.

Turns out, the best way I can help is by cutting out my niece's winter coat (on the floor, no less - my sister lives in a 500 sq ft appt with no kitchen table) and instructing my niece in the importance of measuring to the selvedge to ensure your garment will lie on the straight of the grain. I had received the fuzzy impression that this coat was a two piecer with sleeves - so I blithely told Taryn we'd have it whipped out in 20 minutes. In fact, it is a princess seamed coat with two-piece sleeves; ok so 20 minutes was a bit optimistic.

Kerry fed us a wonderful vegetarian lunch (spicy peanut butter soup and killer black bean dip with whole wheat chips) and we all settled down to work, Taryn and I on the sewing project while Kerry and Taryn's boyfriend, Matt, worked on creaming the butter in the food processor. Alas, Taryn is also a student with exams and papers to write, so she and Matt abandoned us early on in the endeavour. Matt's last task was to turn on the oven to 300 degrees. Fahrenheit or Celcius, they joked... Once the infamous cakes were mixed and divided into two loaf pans, we popped them into the oven for the 1 hour and 15 minutes specified by the recipe...

"Are these golden brown?" Kerry enquires of me as she pulls them out of the oven. Look good to me, I reply. The toothpick test reveals completely doughy loaves, however. We return them to the oven for another five minutes (Hey we were optimistic!), and it quickly becomes clear that five minutes does not have a hope of helping these beasts. Fifteen minutes later, still no go. Another half hour, Kerry bravely suggests. Still no go. Another fifteen minutes and Kerry takes them out, and tests them one more time. Still not perfect, but she had had enough. The liberal sprinkling of sherry over the next several weeks will take care of any lingering problems, I am sure. This is the point I found out it was a Martha Stewart recipe - hey Kerry! I said - the yarn harlot had problems with a Martha baking recipe just a little while ago! We sat down and read and laughed at the challenges.

On a knitting note, I managed to line up Taryn and Kerry together and take a picture of the finished Pomatomus socks and the finished Kitri socks - looking good!

Here is the update on Kerry's Norah Gaughan sweater. Still needs a long way to go, but it's past the halfway mark. The second sleeve is coming along slowly, but surely. I took these shots without flash on this gorgeous sunny day, because I notived that the flash is burning out all the knit detail. I love the way this undulating bark pattern looks, but am not crazy about all the 'knitting into back of stitch' that I have to do for it.

Finally, here is the update on the wee dark purple baby sweater I have been working on. Again, not too much progress, but life is like that sometimes...

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