Tuesday, 18 May 2010


Over the weekend, I got around to doing some baking. I haven't baked in, oh, such a long time, and I thought  chocolate cake would be nice. But starting with an easy recipe - just in case! When I was young I used to 'help' my mum bake cakes and look through her Be-Ro cook book at all the pictures of the biscuits, cakes and buns inside.

So with my own Be-Ro cookbook to hand, I chose this picture:

Yum, yum, yum! Doesn't it look nice? Swirly chocolate topping and filling - perfect! First though, I had to top up the cupboards with some extra baking things. I thought I'd need lots of melted chocolate but this recipe only uses cocoa and chocolate butter icing. So off I went, weighing and mixing.....

.... till I got a nice smooth cake mixture. Then whap, straight in the oven, wait, wait, wait, then out and cooling while I whipped up the butter icing. Mmmm, was that tasty;-) I did leave enough to cover the cake, honest! The only problem I had was I was too impatient to decorate and tried to spread the icing when it was too runny! Ah, well, no swirly topping for me but at least I managed to cover it better when it had thickened properly:-)

Then we both had a nice slice of well deserved cake - that's the space from 2 slices, not me being greedy - just sayin';-)) Anyway, after the compulsory eating of all the leftover chocolate icing from the bowl, I wasn't needing a lot more sweet stuff! Well, it's a crime to just throw it away, isn't it? I must say though I remember having a much sweeter tooth when I was young - I was struggling:)

Needless to say the cake didn't last long and is all gone now. Maybe just in time to browse through the pages and pick another recipe?

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Afterthought heel

So, how do you like the new blog look? Been tinkering with Bloggers beta designer templates all day - lost a good few hours somewhere:-) I think it may need some more tweeking but I like the change. One thing I do like though is how this template highlights the page tabs at the top of the page - they were getting kind of lost before. But now they are more prominant, I'll have to revamp them too!

It's been a bitty week, trying to get some gardening done when the sun decides to come out, trying to spin but not with as much success as I'd like:-) and trying to make a dent in some of these outstanding WIP's that have kind of been hibernating - although not intentionally. Yes, there is an intentional pile:-)

Since I couldn't seem to find my spinning mojo, I looked out these lovely unfinished socks - Little Minx. Last time we saw these, I had decided to use an afterthought heel to keep the colour continuity with the Almond Zauberball bands and all I needed to do was finish the second sock to the top. A good few tv watching hours later and the sock length was done. Then I undid the scrap yarn holding the heel stitches and picked up my live sts onto two circular needles following Knitting up a Storm's tutorial. This method is so easy and very quick to do. It's just like decreasing a sock toe with a simple st st graft at the end. And they seem to make a well fitting heel too!

With the first sock I didn't colour match as exactly as I would have liked - you can see a little darker shading going on there - damn! It looked right at the time too so with the second sock I was more careful and it looks a lot better. These are knitted up bigger than my sock blockers so I'll need to get some modelled shots to do them justice and show off the pattern and the stripes - which is more pronounced that it looked when on the needles but it's all cool:-)

The weather is meant to be rainy and dull over the weekend, so that will mean no gardening time. Well, it gives me a chance to get the last of the DIY done and possibly look out some more hibernating knitting projects as well - unless I succumb to the african flower crochet bug that is going around here, here and here:-)) There is even a Flickr group where you can get the pattern and see other lovely variations. I may just have a little play with colours this weekend and see.... famous last words! But I'll just be glad to get some creative mojo going again so I can post a bit more often!!

See you all soon!

Monday, 3 May 2010

Pretty Fibres

After a bit of a rummage through my roving stash this weekend, I came across this lovely hand painted roving by 'All the pretty fibres'. I think I showed you it last year when I bought it but I didn't want to spin it straight away till I had got a little more practice in spinning. So, okay, I haven't spent that much time spinning, only on  Jelly Jelly and black coffee but I think as those were both plied yarns, I may try to spin a consistantly even single. That 'consistantly even' bit is going to be the challenge:-)

When I learned to spin, yonks ago, it was on a traditional wheel using rolags and all the spinning techniques seemed really easy. Now, on my modern louet with roving, it seems that all my previous skill has gone out the window - sigh:-) I still have some samples of those earlier yarns so I looked them out and although they weren't as super duper as I'd remembered, they still seemed more competently spun  - with even tension throughout. Different wheel and tension? Different technique of using roving? Whatever, this is the wheel I have and the roving I've stashed so A+B has to equal a decent C!!

So I've spent some of the weekend, splitting some roving into even slivers. Well, as even as I can get them. Another area that could do with more patience! Now, I'm going to make sure the thickness throughout each sliver is as even as possible as I think this is where I slipped up a little last time and got a few thicker areas. And when I hit a thicker area, I changed my  technique to thin it out as I went and it went a bit pearshaped regarding evenness - hey-ho! If I spun a bit more often I really would learn from my mistakes quicker;-))

I'm also interested in seeing how this particular roving will spin up. There is a lot of length to each section of colour so if I average 3 x length of colour on the roving as the length of the spun yarn, that's a lot of each colour. It's definitely going to be stripey! I know I could choose to spin the roving a different way to change this effect but I want to see how this one plays out first. If I like the effect enough, I may get some undyed roving to play with and expand my dyeing into fibres as well.....


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