Spring Make-cation

Took a few days off last week to take advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and play at home with wool.

First priority was putting the finishing touches on the vest- buttons and loops

It is now officially done! And I am so pleased.
Really love how the color transitions worked out, and how the buttons pull it all together πŸ™‚

( I know that one is upside down, but I just liked how the light fell on it from that angle )

And with the vest complete, I took a break from knitting to try my hand at making some cute little project bags

I got two done, and have the fabric and zippers ready to go for three more-

Was fun digging in my fabric stash for color combinations.
I made the medium size- which should be about right for a hat or cowl or pair of socks.

Also did a bit of fleece washing- from top to bottom- Chone, Heidi, Marta

Now, for a very brief time, I can say that I am all caught up! No raw fleece in the house! (until the pasture folk are ready to give up their coats)

And speaking of that, I did talk Esther and Dottie out of a little neck wool yesterday.
Just to let a little of that spring air in.
Was pretty messy, as neck wool tends to be, but after trimming and picking out the crud, I ended up with two nice little muffins.

Which turned into one squishy little skein.

Think this is the first time I’ve blended the two girls’ wools together. Maybe now that they’ve worked out their issues and become buddies they can cooperate on a sweater πŸ™‚

Baking and Blocking

Lamb cake #2 is a winner!

Same recipe as last time, but only filled the face side of the mold even with the edge, and baked for a full hour.

Also incorporated a tip from a vintage cast iron site– flipping the mold after half the baking time.

It’s lovely white fleece is a marshmallowy meringue frosting. Yum.

And in non-marshmallow wool news,

The Fabulous Technicolor Dreamvest is blocking!

So excited πŸ™‚
I found the perfect buttons a few days ago, and sewed them on last night, but I’m kind of thinking that I might go back and rearrange them to use five rather than four. Odd numbers are somehow more satisfying to me.

They are a really interesting color. Kind of a pink-orange. Also yum. πŸ™‚

This weekend was so warm and beautiful. Both Esther and Dottie have started to hint that they’d like to take their heavy coats off…..

Lamb Cake Attempt #1

Yesterday I set out to try my hand at baking a lamb cake.

We recently got the lamb cake pan re-seasoned, and I was anxious to give it a go.

Armed with what is supposed to be the original recipe that came with the Wagner cast iron lamb molds.

Recipe For One Cake

1-1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup sour milk
1 tsp soda
a little salt
2-1/2 cups flour
1 cup nuts
1 tsp cinnamon and cloves and nutmeg (I used 1 tsp cinn, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp cloves)
1 cup raisins
1 tsp baking powder
1 skewer and 2 toothpicks
Cream sugar, butter and eggs, add milk, soda, flour, salt and spices. Mix well without
beating. Fill face and ears of mould (these must not have nuts or raisins in them).
Add nuts and raisins chopped fine and floured, and the baking powder.
Fill pan level, place a toothpick in each ear and the skewer in the neck.
Fit upper pan on and bake in moderate oven for one hour or more, or until upper pan comes
off easily. Let cool in lower pan.

1-1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup water
whites of two eggs
1/4 lb. shredded coconut

Boil sugar and water until it threads. Beat whites of two eggs stiff, pour syrup over eggs,
beat until cool. Ice cake all over and throw on the coconut. Use raisins for the eyes and a
piece of candied cherry or raisin for the mouth.

I prepared the mold well with crisco and flour

Filled the head and neck first and reinforced with a chopstick and two toothpicks

then filled the rest of the front mold, placed the back on top, and baked at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes.

It came out of the mold cleanly (yay!)

But I should have left it in the oven longer.
The inside was not baked. πŸ™

So I didn’t bother to frost it.

But what was baked was very tasty. Spicy and sweet.
And the head and neck very very solid with their reinforcements baked in.

I think that in addition to not baking it long enough, I might have overfilled the front mold as well, which kept the center from being able to cook correctly. (there are no vent holes in this mold)

I’ll give it another try sometime very soon. And hopefully have a chance to try the italian meringue frosting as well!

Vest update:
It’s off the needles!

I have quite a bit of tidying to do- steek edges and loose ends, buttons and button loops, then blocking. But I’m really pleased with how it’s coming together!

Stranded Shawl Collared Vest Pattern

I’m still ribbing, but have written up my recipe for the vest, so thought I would share it here:

Stranded Shawl-collared Vest

Needles: size 3 (or whatever works for you) circulars, in 36” and 16” lengths

Gauge approx. 6 st/in, 6 rows/in

Approx. hip/chest measurement 42”

Cast on 254 stitches and place markers for front steek (10 stitches) and side panels (7 stitches each)

Note: Front steek stitches replace 10 colorwork pattern stitches in center front.

Work even in charted pattern for 2.5-3 inches (depending on desired length) then begin waist shaping.

colorwork motif:






Decrease each side of side panels every 4th round, 4 times. (-4 stitches each decrease round, total -16 stitches)

Knit even in established pattern for 1.5-2 inches, then continue waist shaping.

Increase (in pattern) each side of side panels every 6th round, 4 times (+4 stitches each increase round, total +16 stitches)

Continue knitting even in pattern to desired underarm length.

Once you reach the underarms, knit a round in pattern binding off the side panel stitches as you go.

In the next round, cast on 7 steek stitches in place of the underarm stitches that were bound off the previous round.

Next round, begin shaping armholes and v-neck

At the same time, decrease one stitch on each side of the armhole steek stitches every round for 5 rounds, and

Decrease one stitch on each side of the front center steek every 3rd round 7 times, then every 4th round 5 times.

Knit even in pattern until about 1.25 inches short of desired armhole depth. At this point, put front stitches (and half of steek stitches on each side panel) on a holder (or another circular needle) and work short rows back and forth across back stopping short of each edge by 4, then 8, then 12 stitches to create a slight slope to the shoulders. Put back stitches on yarn to hold.

Now put front stitches on 16” circular needle and join to work in the round. Continue to work even in pattern for about 2.5 inches, then work shoulder shaping short rows back and forth across front, stopping short of each edge by 4, then 8, then 12 stitches to create a slight slope to the shoulders. Put front stitches on yarn to hold.

Reinforce (crochet, machine sewing, whatever you’re comfortable with) and then cut the front and armhole steeks. Fold under raw edges and sew down by hand (I used my background color yarn).

Use three-needle bind off to join shoulders.

With yarn held double, pick up stitches along edge of armholes (betwee body stitches and steek stitches) and purl two rows, then cast off.

With yarn held double, pick up stitches along fronts and neck (between body stitches and steek stitches )to work shawl collar and button band.

Collar/button band setup row: k4, k2tog across wrong side, resulting in purl bumps that sit right up against the edge of the body of the vest and form a nice clean little edge. Turn, and work in K1P1 rib to center of back neck.

Shawl collar directions: Continuing in K1P1 rib work to end of back neck stitches, wrap next stitch and turn. Continue in this manner working two stitches more at the end of each row until you have eight wraps on each side of the collar.

Then begin working three more stitches at the end of each row before wrapping and turning. Continue in this manner until you reach the beginning of the V-neck shaping.

End of short row collar shaping.

Continue in 1X1 rib knitting full rows from end to end to achieve desired depth of button band.

Cast off with regular firm bind off from bottom to start of collar shaping, then with Jeni’s surprisingly stretchy bind off for the collar, and back to the firm bind off for the rest of the other side button band.

Place 4 or 5 markers on each side for buttons and button loops.

Take about 12-15’ lengths of yarn and twist tightly and let double back on itself to create a tight 2-ply cord. Use these lengths to create button loops, affixing them to button band by inserting them with a darning needle perpendicularly through the edge and back towards the selvage, securing them near the selvage edge by weaving in to neighboring stitches.

Sew buttons on opposite side, near base of button band, and reinforce with smaller flat buttons on reverse.

Sew down steek selvages flat on inside of garment, tucking loose ends underneath.

Weave in any loose ends.