Saturday, 25 June 2011

2011, the year of the socks

Earlier this year, I made my first ever pair of socks, following an easy pattern from The Purl Bee. It turns out knitting with 5 double pointed needles is a little like wrestling a spiky yarn monster but isn't actually that difficult. The socks were a present for my Swiss friend. I think they turned out pretty well.

The blue bits are made of alpaca yarn (can't remember the exact brand) so they were super fluffy :3

A couple of months ago, I was rummaging around my favourite book store, The Book Warehouse and found a spiral bound book from a brand called Company's Coming entitled Learn to Knit Socks. At £2.99, it was cheaper than a knitting magazine or single downloaded pattern and looked like it had a good range of socks (although the photography left a bit to be desired, some of the photos were decidedly... off).

Around the same time, I found out my granddad had bowel cancer. I don't get to see my grandparents a lot, and I never saw them much growing up. The cancer highlighted the fact that my granddad might not be around much longer (touch wood, he's got a while yet). My grandparents live up North in Manchester where it rains 90% of the time and gets pretty cold, so I figured socks in something cosy would be appreciated.

Debbie Bliss cashmerino dk in colour 18032 (much more of a berry purple than these photos let on). It wasn't cheap, but to me it was worth it for warmth and a luxury feeling for your toes. Plus, cheap yarns tend to be synthetics, and who wants that on their feet? Ew.

Apologies for the dodgy photos, I had to use a camera phone

The pattern was broken rib, and the instructions in the book were clear and easy to follow. I'm very pleased with them despite a few mistakes (including a mysterious length disparity).

My granddad couldn't stop petting them and saying how soft they were. :)

Friday, 17 June 2011

Rainbow Cake

The cookies didn't work (they were delicious, went down well at college, they just didn't cheer me up) so I tried rainbow cakes.

They didn't work either (again, tasty, but not anti-melancholic). I can't change the things that are making me sad.

What am I supposed to do?

Everything Cookies

Today I was feeling a bit sad, so I did some baking to cheer myself up. Turns out it's difficult to stir with your left hand when you're used to stirring with your right but have messed up your right wrist cheerleading. Such is my burden. The purpose of the baking was really to use up some of the ingredients in my cupboard but as always I ended up not having enough of X or Y so I had to go buy some and now I've got surplus of that to use up but now I'm going to run out of Z.

Anyway, Everything Cookies. They are called that because I went to the local shop to buy a large thing of chocolate to smash up into chips and they didn't have any large bars or any chocolate chips, so I just bought assorted sweets to throw into the mixture.

The rest of the recipe is adapted from a recipe on La Fuji Mama. Here we go!

  • 325g plain flour
  • 50g butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 200g white sugar
  • 40g light brown sugar (this is because I was out of brown sugar and didn't want to buy more. The original recipe called for 110g of granulated sugar and 130g brown sugar)
  • vanilla essence
  • 2 large eggs
  • chocolate or whatever assorted candy you spend way too much money on at the store
  1. Preheat oven to 190°c
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream together the butter and sugar
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time and add the salt and a dash of vanilla essence
  4. Add the flour and baking powder and work to a doughy texture. If it gets way too stiff, add in a dash of water. You don't want it as stiff as a dough for rolling out, more of a sticky mixture
  5. Add in your chosen poison drops. I eventually settled on the Reese's Pieces, a pack of Rolos, the white chocolate buttons and a tube of Smarties.
  6. Dollop a spoonful of mixture for each cooking onto a lined baking sheet and bake for around 10-13mins.
Mine came out looking like this:

The caramel in the Rolos melted all over the sheet and some of the cookies merged together. BTW, this is tray 1- the recipe makes double this amount easily. Each of those cookies is about 2.5cm thick and 6cm across.

They tasted like misspent youth, a year wasted at art school, and the deep heat muscle pain relief spray I have been dousing myself with all day.