November 18, 2008

Knitting Dreams

I have a dream...

That one day I will actually get to knit some of the garments that make me drool in the pictures. You see, I have this block when I knit. I never start the big projects that I dream about. I am too much of an ADD knitter. My knitting bag has about 4-6 smaller projects in it at any one time. If I knitted sweaters it would only have room for 1 or 2 projects. And I would have to finish them, yikes! But the sweater patterns that are out there!! Oh, they get me all hot n bothered. I HAVE to knit them. My current favorite is Sylvi by Mari Muinonen. I don't know what the rules are on posting pictures of knitting patterns in blogs. Maybe someone can comment and tell me. I will tell you about it or you can follow the link to see the gorgeous coat. Knee-length, chunky red goodness with a vine of cables traveling up the back and over the hood. Can it get any better? I bought the pattern. Can't start until the Man's Durrow is finished, but someday I WILL knit it. I also said that about Green Gable also by Mari. I searched out the Fall '08 Vogue Knitting mag just so I could own the pattern. But all this early Christmas knitting is delaying my self-indulgent knitting. One day...I will be knittin' for me again.

November 11, 2008

Today Fiber Took the Backseat

This weekend I put all fiber work on hold. Why? Because in my world CHOCOLATE trumps everything.

A good friend found his true love out of the country, got married and brought her home to meet everyone. Instead of a big party, he wanted a couple open houses where all his friends could come over & meet her. Knowing of and having sampled my little past time of making decadent desserts, he asked me to make a "centerpiece dessert" for each day of their open houses. That meant I had to come up with 2 desserts that would serve lots of people, taste like a dream and hold up for at least a day. My friend is not a big "cake" fan (like myself), so I wanted to stay away from traditional cake-like desserts. That knocked out one of my favorite desserts "Guinness Chocolate Cake". Yes, it is full of Guiness beer.

At my house all desserts lead to Nigella Lawson. In order to insure baking success I chose two of my favorite Nigella recipes, Chocolate Meringue Truffle Cake (CMTC) & Chocolate Orange Cake (COC). Tried and true, they are both from Feast, my favorite NL cookbook.

The CMTC looked a bit thin because my springform pan is a 10", my 9" is missing a bottom, and I can't quite justify owning more than 2 springform pans. To compensate I made a chocolate ganache and slathered the dessert in it, thickening it by at least 1/4". I used fondant & chocolate to make the shapes and applied lots of glitter to it all. I couldn't cut into the dessert when guests started arriving, it was too beautiful. So, Scott & I departed leaving instructions to cut the cake into thin slices when I was out of the house. The powerful richness of the truffle layer will hopefully stop the crowds in their tracks insuring that the very thin pieces will be enough for everyone.

The COC is the wettest cake I have ever made. There is no flour in it, just 1 entire orange boiled till it is almost translucent and pulverized in the food processor. Followed by 2 cups of ground almonds and 6 eggs. The remaining ingredients are immaterial. One day I would like to make it without the chocolate and let the orange & almonds stand on their own. But for now, the chocolate tops off the flavors to a tee. (Wipe that drool!) I decorated this cake with powdered sugar around a centerpiece of candied orange peels, gold dusted almonds and chocolate swirls.

It was hard to leave my little creations behind. Hopefully, they will be enjoyed by all.

November 10, 2008

Spinning Up the New Stuff

Believe it or not, I spun up these singles right after I dyed them and it took me this long to get them into a post! I really like how the singles spun, but I definetly need to work on my color spacing when I dye. I stripped down the rovings really thin. Not quite pencil roving. The ones I didn't go as thin on turned out the most bland as I spun. The colors are too close together to get strong color blocks. I really liked the green popping out, so after I realized how important the thickness of the roving was, I really stripped it thin. I was going to ply the two similar rovings together, but after a foot or so of that realized how bland a yarn it would be. So, now I have a new dye job to do. I want to dye a light roving and a dark roving to compliment the med. tone ones I have now. The light will be mostly saffron with, a little red & the same green just not as strong depth of shade. The dark roving will be mostly red, green and a little saffron & lt. orange. So, some colors just different placements. I am excited and hope to get that dying done this week.