another rogue sleeve

My second Rogue Sleeve is done. I have set the completely pointless deadline of finishing this by Stitches West, February 22. We'll see how that goes.

I also couldn't resist posting these pictures of Stefan being drawn to Margit's spinning wheel like a moth to a flame. He is going to be my fibery child, I can tell. (He's trying to put his foot on the treadle and "help" her in the second one.)

yarn magnet"helping"

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cake!

My last cake was a disaster so I had to offer to bake one for my mom's birthday to make up for it. This time I stuck with our old standby recipe for Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Icing, modified for our nondairy needs. I would definitely call this cake a success, even though I broke one of the layers a bit while putting it on the cooling rack. More patience needed!

successful cake!happy birthday, mom!it was delish

Recipe:
Note: I use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks where it calls for shortening coconut milk where it calls for milk.

Chocolate Cake

1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup cocoa
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix in order of ingredients, then mix in:
1 cup of strong coffee.

Makes 2 9-inch layers.
Bake at 375 for ~40 minutes.

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
8 oz (1/2 box) powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
milk to moisten

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Tunisian crochet

I think I'm getting the hang of the Tunisian crochet. The challenges so far have been that the microspun is really splitty and that I think the hook I bought is too small. On that note, I stopped by Purlescence today too look for a size I afghan hook. We arrived just before 11, with me thinking my timing was perfect. Wrong, they open at noon! I was going to head to Peet's to hang out for a bit but Niels wanted to look in the window and Nathania and Chloe took pity on us and let us in to look for the hook. They only had regular hooks but I also needed cable needles so I got those instead. We went to Michael's (after Peet's, of course) and they only had one afghan hook which was in a "I Taught Myself to Crochet" kit. Luckily, it was a size I, so I bought the kit. I still think it's not big enough. The fabric is just too dense. I want something drappier for a blanket. I'm watching an auction on eBay for five hooks ranging from G to K and if I don't get those I might just order this one. I have to admit, though, I am tempted by these wooden ones, even though they are much more expensive. I'm feeling slightly ticked that JoAnn and Michael's don't have these hooks. Also, neither one has the new CottonEase. No help at all! I think I'm going to order some from Discount Yarn Sale for my marathon of baby knitting (and crochet!).

I'm still not sure what this Tunisian crochet will become. I was actually thinking one big blanket. Then I was thinking about squares I could crochet together. I also wonder if I could do one of those diagonal blankets where you start with three stitches and increase every row. Of course, then I'd have to learn to increase. And decrease. It can't be that hard… right?

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kombucha and other crafts

Kombucha is in the air or something. A couple of days ago a friend of mine let me taste hers and I liked it. Niels did too, so I started giving it to him in the hopes that the probiotics in it would balance out the antibiotics he's taking and keep his tummy settled. Today I discovered an article about how to grow your own kombucha in the latest issue of Craft:. It also suddenly occurred to me that it is grown in tea and thus contains caffeine. No wonder Niels couldn't sleep last night!

On another crafty topic, my goal for this evening is to attempt some Tunisian crochet. Tracy was making a log cabin blanket with Tunisian crochet at BobKnit last week and it looked very cool. I bought myself a circular crochet hook and three colors of Lion Brand Microspun (I was aiming for Cotton-Ease, but my JoAnn didn't have it) and I'm going to give it a go. I think it will make a nice baby blanket for one of the many babies my friends are expecting this year.

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lentil soup, with a hint of fruit

I have been wanting lentils recently. I blame The Good Eats lentils episode. So, tonight I made "Lentil Soup, with a Hint of Fruit" from Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven.

lentil soup, pureedlentil soup, whole

I happened to buy lentils today with no particular plan (see above) and then I got the brilliant idea to look in this book, which has some wonderful recipes in it. I didn't have any stock defrosted so I broke my own First Rule of Soup: Never Use Water When You Could Use Stock. I think stock would add some depth to the flavor but otherwise, I think it turned out very nicely. It definitely benefited from a touch of pureeing with the stick blender to thicken it up but it was just as tasty untouched.

Now, I need to combine this with another loaf of that home baked oat bread and I'd be in heaven.

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rogue sleeve

I have finished the first sleeve of my rogue sweater. I am really pleased with the hem in particular.

I am working on the second sleeve and have decided to knit the hem together with the sixth row rather than sewing it down afterwards but I messed up somewhere and don't have enough stitches in one of my cable sections so now I have to rip back where I already knit it together. Boy is that a pain. I think it will be worth it in the end though.

I hope.

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oat bread

I made oat bread today from the recipe on the back of my bag of Bob's Red Mill rolled oats. I used Rapadura in place of the turbinado sugar, bread flour for the white flour, and a packet of yeast which I believe is only 2 tsp rather than 1 Tbsp. I also added 1 Tbsp of Vital Wheat Gluten. It was delicious.

oat breadmmmmloaf!

I think my next bread experiment will be the No Knead Bread Mark Bittman talked about on Good Food. (Oh, and those vegan twinkies, of course.)

But first, I need to figure out what kind of birthday cake Stefan will get this weekend. I was going to make little train cakes with my pan from Williams-Sonoma but I bought Curious George party favors and such so I feel like I shouldn't do a train. Not that he'll know the difference, of course.

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