It has been a busy weekend on the domestic front! It is good to make a start on catching up. I conducted my annual Stollen bake marathon: two bread machines were kept busy all day kneading and proofing dough for me, and by the early evening I had produced sixteen or so Stollen (including a number of dairy-free ones – butter is OK apparently). I like making Stollen: the marzipan, the fruit mixture and then some dough and this year I felt reasonably on top of things having taken a new tactic with the fruit mixes. The night before, I made four separate batches of fruit from the stock I had on hand, streamlining the process considerably. Weigh almonds, 1, 2, 3, 4, chop almonds 1, 2, 3, 4, and on to the next ingredient and so on. I made a note of any deficiencies (not enough almonds for the last bowl) etc and then I did my top-up shopping. Much easier on the brain than vaguely trying to compute what’s in stock, how much I need, and then buying extra of everything ‘just in case’. I also took advantage of the overnight period to steep the fruit in whiskey and a little OJ. The loan of the extra bread machine definitely helped to cut down the waiting time between batches so that I was able to take all four double batches, shape them, stuff them with marzipan, set them to rise and bake them in short order! The recipe I use is from Delia Smith’s Christmas (Delia is a reknowned UK cooking goddess – who also owns a football team). http://www.deliaonline.com/
In between risings, I managed to wrap my holly bushes in burlap against crushing by future snow, wrap a few Christmas presents against prying eyes and for the UK, and construct my coat rack for the Island using my power tools. Still have Christmas cards and letters yet to tackle.
On Friday I finally hit the sweet spot design-wise with the Hugs and Kisses Scarf. You can sort of feel when things are coming together: the repeats match rather than being two rows different, and the widths of the borders jive all around. It just starts to work. You look at it and wonder why you couldn’t have gone straight to this! But I seem to have to work my way there.
The yarns I’m using are a delicious Angora Frost Yarn from Windsor Farms Rabbitry in OR (that’s the pink one): it’s 50% Prime German Angora / 30% Nylon / 20% Superwash merino, ideal for warm, practical, luxurious and hardwearing socks or mittens. I’ve been lusting to use this since the Sock Summit and I’ve teamed it with our Bitter Chocolate Celestial Blue Face Leicester sport weight (yes, chocolate is quite appropriate for Hugs).
Now I have to stop myself from knitting it, as I need some fun knitting for the UK and this seems a good candidate, although I still need my cheat sheet directions for the X’s and the O’s, as they are tricky to get right without aids. Reading your knitting is wonderful but reading two sides at once is challenging!
I’ve been writing the pattern as I go, and now is the time when I wonder why I need to include every relevant hint, tip and technique I can think of as part of the pattern. Variations spring to mind: I’m now lightly stuffing the hearts, it adds a new dimension.
Better get back to this now.
In this festive season please do not drink and double knit.