07 March 2009

Recession spirit

Finally, here's the gothlet, finished and blocked. I'm still not sure how I feel about it. See that little bit around the belly that's kind of sticking out? I don't like that. I also don't like how heavy the cotton fabric is. It's a bit like wearing chainlink armour (I imagine). But I'll give it some wearings and see how it goes.

I did really enjoy the process of making it, and how complicated it was, and how it turned out to fit me perfectly (except for the belly bit). What do you think about this piece? Be honest. I should point out that it looks much better in the photo than it does in real life. Le sigh.

After making the gothlet, I'm taking a break from complicated and making some simpler projects, that'll probably finish up quicker. I am using the rowan chunky scottish tweed that I got back in december from the John Lewis sale to make the lace scarf from the winter vogue knitting.

Yes, I know the flowers are out, and that it's averaging 10∘c these days, but I've wanted a chunky white scarf for a while now. It's got a floral pattern on it, does that make it a spring knit?

In the name of the recession spirt, I've started baking bread again. I think the last time I baked bread was over five years ago. I used to bake bread a lot when I lived in Albuquerque, and something about the altitude, or being in a place where mountains meet desert, or the great ingredients available from La Montanita, made that bread almost magical. I'd never before, and never since, made such lovely bread.

But, now, I'm just making simple bread. As you know, I really like baking, but I don't like measuring my ingredients, and this often results in disaster. Bread is the answer: I get to bake and I get to not be exact in my measurements; it just doesn't matter with bread-making. It does mean that each loaf is slightly different, but I don't mind that. So, it's just hot water, brown sugar, yeast, a bit of salt, and then half plain flour and half wholemeal flour, and a handful of rolled porridge oats. That's it!

The important thing is to knead it for long enough; as I don't have any type of machine to help me, it means about 25 minutes of kneading by hand, until I can pull on the dough and it makes almost a fabric, through which light can be seen:

The great thing about hand kneading is that, since I have weak arms, the kneading has to be powered by my core muscles. I think making bread is making my stomach flatter!

A few hours later, it's become this:

My aunt and my mother were here to visit me yesterday, and it was a lovely, if exhausting day. My mother, of course, had terrible jetlag, and my aunt had been up since 4 in the morning to catch the eurostar from paris, and I'd been up since 7, which may not be early for you, but is certainly early for me!

We started out at The Grocery, one of my favourite places ever. As you can imagine, French ladies can be picky about the quality of coffee and food. Especially in Britain, a place they had not visited in over 30 years, and thus had understandable ideas about the potential shortcomings of food here. They hadn't been to London in so long, in fact, that they were shocked to find out that the coins in their hands were not "sheeeleengs." So, when they approved of the grocery, I was pleased.

I had been in quite a quandary about figuring out where to go to lunch (again, we're all picky ladies). I wanted to pick a place that had a decent chance of satisfying my family. I had read about The Anchor & Hope on Lien's webpage, and she highly recommended it as a good place to have not just good food, but good British food.

But - here's the quandary - my mother is little and older and I knew she'd be jetlagged, so I didn't want to have to do too much traveling around. Then, Rog suggested a place called 32 Great Queen Street, and when I googled it, it turns out it's owned by the same people who The Anchor & Hope! They also own a place called The Eagle, where I'd been last December for a friend's birthday, which I'd really liked as well. So quel relief! It seemed like the perfect solution - three good reviews has to mean something!

We spent the early afternoon walking around Covent Garden and Soho, and finally ended up at the restaurant, which was amazing. We split some dishes, which were all really good. One of the dishes we tried was a mushroom pie that had a delicious flavor I couldn't identify - something that doesn't often happen to me. Also the waiter was really nice, so much so in fact, that my aunt hasarded a few words in English, to tell him that before eating here, she'd had no time for British food; but now, she was all for it! As for me, I'm thinking of asking Rog to take me there for my birthday.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in a cafe chatting, and then I dropped them off at St. Pancras for their return to Paris.

All in all, I'd say it was a lovely day.


amanda said...

Glad you had such a lovely family weekend and the british food didn't show us up too much! :D

btw. Gothlet is seriously flattering!

At Home Mommy Knits said...

Your gothlet looks beautiful and seems (from the photo) to fit nicely. I have been a bread making machine around here. What is it about freshly made bread? Divine!

Anonymous said...

I think your pull is great! And it fits you perfectly!! WOW!!!
It is really beatiful!

Lien said...

Your Gothlet looks good, but maybe I'd need more pictures.

It's the kind of top that would only look good on me if I wore a padded bra and sucked in my stomach all the time.

Alison Boon said...

Love the colour, it seems fine by the photo. Did you block it? Would that help with the sticky out bit?

Anonymous said...

It sounds like a great day. The gothlet top looks really fabulous!