A Lull as the Sweater Never Ends

And that is why I have failed to do any posting in the last couple days despite this weird inkling that I really needed to post. There was simply nothing of much importance to blog about. No fun little story to share, or some thought I found the need to throw out there. Nada. Nothing. But regardless, here I am at 2am, so let's get started.
I finished the last of the Christmas shopping, and in doing so, the dogs bought me a little something like they do every year. We all need our delusions, please let me have mine. I don't believe in Santa but instead to choose to believe that my dogs are kind hearted beasts that don't constantly think about how to fill their perpetually empty stomachs and where and how frequently to piss; but instead, choose to look for thoughtful gifts for their owner. In this case they replaced by finicky older point and shoot digital camera with a slim little Canon PowerShot ELPH100HS. I thought it being an ELPH was ironic since it was a Christmas gift. It fits in my Rebel's camera bag and is a nice quick little point and shoot for when you don't want to mess with the big camera.
And of course, since they gave me such a wonderful gift, I had to try it out with pictures of them.
Sullivan, Tucker, & the Smudge Cat
Emmitt and Shiela
And, I'm to the sleeves of the Ansley Sweater. I decided to do them both at the same time on a long circular to assure they are the same length. Yeah... I can do socks two at a time but I seemed to have stumped myself good on this one.
First, I found that I forgot to work the second sleeve as required. Then I realized that if I did the sleeves as directed by the pattern, they were going to be huge so I ripped back, re-worked the math and came up with a way to start the cuff smaller and increase to the originally requested number. Except, my math was wrong. So I tried again. Then I forgot to work the second sleeve again. This morning finds me with about 7 inches of two sleeves and dare I say, they seem to be going okay? I'm not going to imply smooth sailing, that would tempt the knitting deities to smite my smarmy ass. So, they're going, soon I hope they will be done and I can start seaming.  Who am I kidding, I hate seaming but I just want the frigg'n sweater done.
I have the next project waiting in the wings. I saw a pattern here when someone put out a plea for help on it and it inspired an idea. So of course I had to sit down with a good cable pattern book, excel, a calculator, and some stash yarn to plot the whole thing out. I'm really excited for it and already have in mind of who to give it to.
And last, but not least on the list to share is tonight's baking. I was informed by the guy that his office is having a holiday potluck and he was planning on taking paper plates and plastic silverware... Excuse me, what? That offended by cooking sensibilities. And, since I have been craving my mom's Christmas pumpkin bread, it just gave me an excuse to whip up a double batch (Gaawwwdddd, I love the new Kitchen-Aid mixer! Just as a side note), have two loaves for me and three dozen muffins with cream cheese frosting (Did I mention that new mixer and my adoration in how well it works?) and some nifty wreath icing.
 Okay, so I'll never be a professional cake decorator, and I'm okay with that.

Anyway, it's time to head back to work, so I hope you all have a great week. Be good, don't smack strange kids in the mall across the back of the head for being as dumb as their parents. Santa, errr, the dogs are watching. Besides, you don't want to damage their remaining firing synapses, God knows they'll survive long enough to breed. They always do.


ronhuber's picture

I think if you are going to make our mouths water with thoughts of your mom's Christmas bread, you should at least include the recipe. The muffins look yummy.

AKQGuy's picture

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9x5 loaf pan or line muffin pan with paper liners.

In a large bowl Sift together:
3 1/2 C Flour
2 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Baking Powder
4 Tbs Cinnamon
4 Tsp Nutmeg
4 Tsp Ginger
3 Tsp Allspice
(personal variation - I add 1/2 tsp clove as well to all things pumpkin)
Set Aside.

With a mixer in a large bowl beat together:
3 C Sugar
1 C Vegetable Oil
4 Eggs (I often add an extra egg due to altitude)
1 (15oz) Can Pumpkin Puree. (If I'm making a double batch, on large 29oz can works great)
1/2 C Tepid Water

With mixer still running, slowly add the flour and spice mixture in.

Now, you can divide the batter between the two loaf pans filling them to 2/3 the way. Any more and they'll over flow. I have some old Pyrex desert dishes that also grease and throw the remainder in a couple of those so I have to large loaves and two large muffins. Or you can split it in muffin cups, again making sure to only fill to about 2/3 the way up the cup.

Loaves - bake 60-65 min
Large Muffins - Bake 35-38 min
Small Muffins - Bake 25-28 min

It's basically a cake like batter, so you can do the toothpick trick to confirm they're done before pulling them from the oven. Let cool on a rack and remove from pans. Let them cool entirely before frosting (I prefer mine unfrosted but hey, I was trying to be festive), approx one and half hours and I was able to frost, but I was also knitting so I may have gotten "tied up" a bit and they possibly could have been frosted earlier. We all have our priorities, don't judge me.

Hope you enjoy Ron

ronhuber's picture

Golly, I thank you so much. I am drooling!!!

sundazzed's picture

Quinton, Thanks for the laughs. I Love, Love, Love the animal pics as I have 3 dogs myself. I have the pattern and plan to make the Ansley my next project... How is the overall project going? Happy Holidays...Peace, Bill

AKQGuy's picture

The overall project is going well. There are a couple little issues to the pattern that as long as you're referring to it you should notice. Such as I'm doing the medium, and the pattern states when I split the front neck line, that I don't need to hold one stitch on a safety pin for later usage, but then on the neck section it tells me to pick up a stitch from the safety pin for a size medium to knit for the neck edging. If I didn't hold one per the pattern, how do I have one to pick up? But the stitching is good and solid work and as far as I can see, it's working well to this point. I just hate seaming.

TinkerJones's picture

yikes.. that's why I'm scared to attempt my first sweater. Scared and drawn at the same time. If only I were petite...
The pics look swell and dogs look well fed. (I don't think I could legally have that many dogs in my town.) And the muffins, heavenly.

AKQGuy's picture

Well, let me first state that any real trouble I've had for this has been my own doing, not really the projects. I decided to do the sleeves together and then didn't pay attention, so don't let my overly dramatic gripe scare you off. And you can always knit for someone smaller first. To warm up to the idea of knitting a sweater again I knit this baby sweater.

From AKQGuy

It reminded me of the shaping requirements and got me jazzed about my own.

And just between you and me, I'm not supposed to have this many animals either. But I have them well trained, we keep the yard picked up and pick up after them while out for walks, and I don't let them stand out in the yard to bark (all my immediate neighbors have my number to call in case while I'm at work they're being stupid) so I don't have any complaints so fingers crossed... And when the old speckled girl goes (she's 16 and slowing down), I won't be getting another one. Three is good, especially while the house pony is still a puppy.

Bill's picture

Love seeing pictures of Sully!
...but I don't recall seeing pictures of Shiela before...beautiful dog!

AKQGuy's picture

Yes she is. A glorious old girl. And getting more obstinate by the day. She's 16 and I swear she's determined to prove all the times I said in the last 14 years how great a dog she is wrong. I swear, they get to a certain age and realize, you're never going to beat them like you may threaten, so why listen? Well, that and she's deaf as a doornail these days.

Bill's picture

I fully understand...I'm not so young myself...please treasure her, (I'm sure you do)...she still has a lot of love to give...

michaelpthompson's picture

How wonderful to learn about your generous, kind-hearted dogs Q. I'm sure it's (mostly) a joy to live with them.

I'm just on the sleeves of a sweater for a Christmas present myself, but I picked up the stitches at the armhole and I'm doing them one at a time. I'm working on a theoretical way to do a seamless sweater. Not this one, but I'm making progress.

And BTW, I'm so envious of your mixer.

"All knitting is just one stitch at a time."

AKQGuy's picture

Mixer envy is an evil thing. It leads to other home appliance envy and before you know it you've maxed out the credit cards at Sears, Home Depot, Lowes and other such retailers.

Good luck with the sweater. I can't recall what it was now, but the other day I was musing aloud to someone about needing to learn to use the knitting sheath for something I wanted knit very firmly... I was at Murdochs... I'm sure it will come back.

And the animals are normally a joy. We have mad moments but typically they make me smile or often outright laugh.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Fantastic post, Q. The animals definitely picked a great gift for you. And I notice they've put on their best manners for Christmas. {As if you'd deny them any presents and goodies.} The pumpkin bread sounds divine. Lots of luck on the sweater sleeves; I look forward to seeing how it all turns out. Take care.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

mr.cullen's picture

Boy these muffins sounds good. Thanks for sharing the recipe. The baby sweater looks adorable. Have a good holiday.