a couple of weeks back, i took a trip to the orchard for apples and a beautiful basket of pears came home with me too. way too many for just the two us to eat if they all ripened at once, which they usually do. so i put them out on the back porch where they’ve been ripening very slowly, a few at a time—just the right pace for our little household.
i’ve been meaning all along to bake something with them—you know, in my copious free time—but when i noticed we were down to the last few and that those were the right shade of gold, this task moved to the top of my priority list.
sunday or monday is a good baking day because we have people in for class on monday who will help us consume the rewards. thus, we have baked goods in the house just long enough for us to fully appreciate them.
because i was hell-bent on getting lots of secret knitting done yesterday, i missed my window for baking last night and got up early today to do it. i’d been wanting to make my upside down pear gingerbread for weeks.
this recipe has all sorts of spicy goodies in it, from lemon peel to crystallized ginger to the pear brandy i brought home from finger lakes distilling, which i visited last year with cookie and laura. in fact, it has a lot of the same ingredients as fruit cake, minus the uh, fruitcake.
i started making it years and years ago using a basic gingerbread recipe from an old book and making up the topping as i went. my german boyfriend at the time just loved it, so i baked it almost weekly for a while. i don’t think i ever make it the same way twice; i just go by what’s in the cupboard and what flavors i feel like tasting that day (you can do that with gingerbread; it’s resilient).
anyway, this morning i put on a pot of coffee, plugged in my audiobook, and got to work peeling pears, zesting a lemon, measuring this and that. while the cake was in the oven, i took photos for my blog post and edited them and after it came out, i went for a quick run before getting ready for class.
when i got back, the mail had arrived and with it, the journey worsted yarn from skeinny dipping in colorway crime scene—WOW, was that fast or what?? i stood on the porch and ripped the envelope open, then ran for the camera—it was gorgeous.
isn’t it something??? this is a pretty good representation of the colorway—a very deep, rich red with lowlights washed in dark gray/blue and highlights in bare red.
i put it out in the sunlight to photograph the highlights and variations better
it’s really not this light in actuality, but it gives a nice idea of the depth. mmm.
now i just have to pick a stitch pattern and cast on. this should knit up pretty quickly and i’m hoping to have the pattern ready for sale by the 15th, hopefully sooner. i’m excited! and i case you’re wondering, christine is busy dyeing up a bunch of this colorway as we speak, so if you think you’re going to want some, you can click here put in a request. and if red isn’t your thing, you can see her full array of colors here.
as i said, i mostly worked on secret knitting over the weekend, but i did a little extracurricular knitting too. every time i make progress on some project, i reward myself by knitting with the spirit trail holda (much less fattening than chocolate, but equally decadent).
i know—that doesn’t look any different than it did the other day. but it was bigger, until i decided i didn’t need to read the pattern (after all, i wrote it, didn’t i??) and proceeded to make a giant goof for oh, about twelve rounds (of over 200 sts) that had to be ripped all the way back to the first repeat. argghh.
i did work on it in class today though and now it’s a couple of inches further along; more to come tonight)
meanwhile, i actually did finish up the small size of this cowl (there will be three lengths and two depths altogether), which i knit in a heavier yarn—shalimar yarns haven, a merino/silk 5-ply worsted in colorway silver sage—because as long as i’m going to break rules, i may as well break them everywhere, right?
seriously though, you could knit this piece in any yarn weight; just change the needle size to suit (i went up one size for this yarn). it’s not yet blocked in these photos (though it went into the soaking tub just afterward and is now drying). i love it; it’s squishy and delicious and versatile and i’m naming it “squeeze me”.
helen and hattie volunteered to test knit and helen also knit the shortest version over the weekend, this time in spirit trail holda, colorway purple haze (which is the colorway i used for my caîssa sweater).
i think she likes it, what do you think?
the pattern is all set to go; i just need to finish my longer version and find a couple of models who can do a photo shoot in the next few days.
i also started amad’s sticks and stones sweater; these will be knit in the round from bottom to top, so i’m working on the sleeves first. i’m not as far as i’d like to be but i’m planning on a miracle to carry the day.
the weather warmed up for a couple of days over the weekend, so up and down the street, neighbors got their holiday decorations strung up. bret’s place is everything you are hoping for and more—i won’t show you the full light display until christmas, but as you can see here, there will be plenty to explore.
i felt so bad that i detained away from home during halloween week and never got to do our annual halloween photos. but trust me, the christmas display will totally make up for that.
are you ready for a taste of that gingerbread cake yet? here you go—can you smell it?
we turned it out of the pan just before class started and i whipped some cream seasoned with pear brandy and nutmeg. mmmm.
this is a dense, moist, and spicy gingerbread which is cooled and sweetened by the pears—so good with that dollop of whipped cream.
janet sure picked the wrong day to skip out on us . . .