Friday, January 2, 2015

New Years Knits and Eats

We rang the New Year in with snow. As is the nature of lake effect snow squalls, there wasn't much actual snow; nevertheless, for most of yesterday because of the wind there was almost zero visibility.

Things have settled down today, with  lots of sunshine, and although sun doesn't make for the best photos, I had no choice but to make the attempt since we have another "significant weather event" (Environment Canada's words) on the way for Saturday and Sunday, and everyone goes back to classes on Monday.
First up, the new tam. This was one of those amazing little knits that just popped off the needles in under a day. I knew I wanted to make a generously sized tam with ridges, along the lines of the one worn in the 1993 Secret Garden movie (see previous post). The yarn is Quince's Lark in "slate"; the 7-pointed methodology is pure Elizabeth Zimmermann (from Knitting Without Tears).

Up next, James' birthday sweater--a thick, warm sweater, as requested--the Modern Gansey.

I bowed to James' request for no headshots, on account of his slightly bloodshot eyes. Those were not a result of binge drinking, but rather, binge watching Game of Thrones, after Isabel talked him into seeing if he might enjoy it. Obviously, he did. The sweater is a huge success, and James, unprompted, showed such loving gratitude that even the Yarn Harlot would have been satisfied.
The sweater grew a few inches when blocked (as I suspected it might), so I spent New Year's Eve ripping back the body and cuffs and then re-knitting the ribbing. I think you'll agree it's a great fit.
We always have James' birthday dinner on Jan.1, and I thought that since I can't at this stage give you any pattern instructions, I'd offer up our favourite chocolate cake recipe from an earlier post (eggless, because of Isabel's egg allergy, but handy in case you know anyone vegan).

Rich, Deep Chocolate Cake with Orange Icing

3 c unbleached flour
½ c unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ½ c dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2/3 c canola oil
2 ¼ c water
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F and prepare pan(s) with cooking spray. Choose either one bundt pan or 2 layer cake pans.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients and mix well, using an electric mixer for best results. The batter should be quite smooth. Pour into the prepared pan(s). For a bundt cake, bake for about 45 min; for layer cakes about 30 min. When done, the edges of the cake will pull away from the sides of the pan.

To make the icing, using an electric mixer, mix together, 1/4 c butter, 2 c icing sugar, 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice, and the grated rind from the same orange. Spread on the cooled cake.