Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Some things I've learned this week

1. When making bread, don't make so much at once that it exceeds the capacity of your largest mixing bowl!

Yesterday, I decided that it would be a good use of my time to make a double (8 loaf) batch of my usual bread recipe. I worked out that I could fill both shelves of my oven to the max with one lasagna pan, 2 small loaf pans and 4 large loaf pans.

I dumped a hell of a lot of flour into my huge stainless steel mixing bowl - then I added the rest of the ingredients. Let's just say that when I was adding the water, I was in danger of overflowing onto the worktop every time I stirred. However, it got worse when I tried to mix all of the water in and knead it. Waaaaaay too much dough - what a workout. I ended up having to split it into smaller dough balls to knead it. I did eventually wrestle it all back into the bowl for rising, and it all worked out in the end.

Note to self: stick to smaller quantities of dough.

2. The more I learn, the more I realise that I need to learn.

For example, in my Taekwondo classes this week, our 5th Dan instructor has been doing some back-to-the-basics instruction on very simple techniques, but I realised that I need to do some tweaking in some areas to really get my patterns to look good.

When you're a white belt, just starting out, you think you have a steep learning curve. You're struggling to learn all this new stuff and you look at the higher ranking students and think they know it all and it's easy for them. However, it's not, because as you work your way through the "gups" to black belt the expectations are higher and you have more to learn and memorise. As a black stripe, the instructor is looking very closely at my technique, fussing over every little hand and foot angle and speed and force of movement.

Going to classes with a mix of belt levels, I get to review a lot of the earlier material, which is a really good thing.

3. Washing up - I don't actually hate it!

This was a little epiphany this week. I have always said I hate washing dishes, but....I realised this week that I don't. I like the fact that the kitchen looks way better with clear countertops, I like having my hands in hot water when the weather is cold, I love looking out of my kitchen window at the sky and the trees and the snow and the lake while I'm standing there. We have a system now where the boys have to take turns putting away the dishes - of course they're supposed to do it in the evening after I've washed them, but usually it gets done the next day when they have drip-dried. OK, I can handle that.

A little bit of knitting for you today....this is what I achieved yesterday afternoon. Not a whole lot of length, considering this is on the Bond, but I am changing colours nearly every row and I have to keep untangling the strands of yarn and fiddling about with the carriage to change from one colour to the next.

This is going to be a sleeveless sweater vest, I guess you'd call it, with a V neck. My other name for it would be a nerd vest, because that's probably what I'll look like when I wear it! I saw one in the Yarn Girls book, Knits for all Seasons, and they had an excellent schematic in there that meant I could easily work out how to make it on the machine.

I tried a little swatch of their stripe pattern, but didn't like it, so figured out my own. I made it so that I could easily strand the colours up the side, which meant there had to be an even number of rows between stripes of the same colour. It doesn't work all the time, so I have strands coming from the outside AND the inside of the white, but the rest is working out.

You can't really tell what the stripes are going to look like - this is the back of the work - and it's really going to be a surprise for me too because I have to get under the table to try and see how it's going and then the light from the window is shining through the work and I can't get a good idea of how it looks!

I'm knitting this with the same yarn as the shrug - Red Heart Soft Touch - in chocolate, teal, wine and white. The ribbing at the V neck and armholes and waist will be in chocolate. I'll do that by hand.

Well, I think that's just about it for today - I will leave you with my Raw Score for the last couple of days and go and get the kids moving. We're going to the local Art Gallery today for a Printmaking session. I'll see if I can get some good photos to show you later.

Raw Score:
Monday 75%
Tuesday 87%

1 comment:

sheila said...

Ack, I've done that with the bread. And no, I did not learn from my mistakes. I went on to do it again.

I used to think that I could make a batch in the morning a couple of times a week but it's just not something I can do, realistically, well, if I expect to get anything else done, that is. My mum suggested a bread maker but the purist in me balks. I consider that cheating. So instead I'm left with my dithering...