plans, frustrations, day trips, near disaster and rest

But not necessarily in that order. First, my plans for Christmas keep changing, but as of right now I plan on being in Chicago. This has caused some serious frustration on my sister’s part, but this year it can’t be helped. You see, I only have 5 days of vacation remaining until June 1, 2012. And I really get no days off from work until Memorial Day, which is in May. (We don’t get time off for MLK day or for Easter.) So I opted to take a Spring Break and go home the first week of April, which will happily coincide with my niece’s birthday and my birthday. ūüôā But Christmas will be sans moi this year – at least for my parents and my sister’s family.

I tried to bake bread yesterday – solo – for the first time. Here is my endeavor in pictures.

How did the bread turn out? Meh.

I think I had 3 things going against me yesterday. First, I have a salt grinder, so measuring salt is a little bit of a challenge. If the recipe does in fact need exactly¬†1.5 teaspoons of salt, then I’m going to have to buy measurable salt. I tried to grind it into my palm and “eye” it, but I don’t think I actually added 1.5 teaspoons.

Second mark against me is that my house was cold yesterday. I tried to place the dough in front of the air vent so that warm air would blow on it, but after an hour of letting the dough rise it hadn’t risen very much, so I just went with what I had.

The third, and probably most important strike against me as a newbie bread maker was that I chose to use my new bread croc which actually has to be placed into a cold oven. Which means that the time had to be adjusted, and I don’t think I adjusted it right. The bread is slightly over cooked.

So next time I think I will heat the oven up to 100 degrees, turn it off and then let the bread rise in the oven. Then hopefully by the time it is finished rising the oven will be “cold” enough that I can begin baking it. And I will have to adjust my time down to about 35 minutes instead of 45 minutes. Live and learn, I guess.

Kate and I took a little day trip on Saturday to a craft fair. My friend Catherine is making and selling silk scarves. You can see them at her Etsy shop here. Then we went up to Fiddlehead¬†Yarns in Kenosha (our “local” LYS) and I purchased a skein of some VERY pink Malabrigo chunky yarn to make a little scarf for one of my nieces. It was a very nice little day trip.

As to my recent frustrations, they of course have to do with knitting. Over a year ago I cast on for this *little* project:

I’ve knit about 5 inches on it and a month ago ran into a problem. I somehow, somewhere missed a stitch. This shawl has a 3-section repeat, meaning that I have to knit the same pattern three times on each row – one for each front and one for the back. Well I somehow missed a yarn over in the third section and I didn’t notice it until I ready to knit the next row…and realized that my stitch count was off. So I searched and searched and read and re-read the pattern – multiple, multiple times – but COULD NOT FIND THE MISTAKE! So frustrating! *sigh* So I brought it to church yesterday to have Jane, the amazing lace knitting fiend that I know and *BAM!* she found the mistake right away. (Of course it was towards the beginning of the section, so I would like to think that had the mistake occurred at the end of the section it would have taken her another¬†5 minutes to find the mistake, but since this seems like a very cruel thought, we won’t go there.) But, Jane, being the awesome friend that she is, has also decided to knit me a shawl. From out of the blue last week I get a text from Jane¬†and our conversation goes something like this:

Jane: Maybe I should make you a shawl ūüėÄ

Me: don’t need to do that. I couldn’t ask that of you.

Jane: But I would enjoy it.

Jane: Do you have some laceweight yarn?

Jane: There’s an option for a beaded edge on the Norwegian Woods shawl (I’m looking at the pattern.)

Me: I have 3 skeins of malabrigo lace…how much do you need?

Me: it is a deep turquoise blue

Me: I think I had it earmarked for the aeolian.

Jane: the pattern says 900 yards BUT I would say 1200.

Me: wow. the skeins are about 430 each.

There was more in this conversation, but last night I get this:

It is a picture of the swatch that Jane has knit…the color is beautiful and I think the pattern is awesome. I just wish¬†I could spit this out as quickly as Jane. And I wish I could read at the same time – like Jane does. I wanna be like Jane.


All-in-all, I got a lot of much needed rest this weekend. I have tomorrow night off, no bible study on Wednesday to prepare for and a possibility of no rehearsal on Thursday night. Oh what a glorious week!


3 thoughts on “plans, frustrations, day trips, near disaster and rest

  1. The thing about breadmaking is if you don’t succeed, try and try again and again. I think it was a pretty good first attempt.

  2. About the bread: 1. Salt, and the right amount of it, is very important in breadmaking. It is not just flavoring, it moderates the activity of the yeast. So it would be best to be accurate with it. 2. It’s okay to just let the bread rise until it has doubled, even if it takes more than an hour. I have a whole wheat bread recipe I make a lot, and in the winter it takes all day to do the two rises. Of course, if you let it rise too much it will collapse, but going for something near doubled in size should be reasonable.

    I think your plan of using the oven next time sounds good. I wish my oven had a setting that low. Sometimes I turn it on, wait 30 seconds, then turn it off to get just a little heat going then let the bread rise in the oven. It works okay for me.

    Hang in there, you’ll be an expert in no time!

  3. AWWW, I’m so flattered. And it’s like the bread: knitting takes practice. I may not have knitted for 20 years, but the countless hours I spent knitting in my teens and 20s are still imprinted into my fingers.

    The photo doesn’t do the pattern justice – the yarn is extremely pretty, and easy to knit. I am doing your project more than my own, because sitting upright to knit makes my back ache (I transfer to my knitting chair for the unleaded rows).

    And now that my Harmony 40″ circs have arrived, I can rock on a bit faster. And a swift! I own a swift! And am getting a ball winder for Christmas.

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