Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sweaters and Bread

No, Sweaters and bread really don't have anything to do with each other- other than the fact that that's what I'm going to be talking about here.

Do you know how hard it is for me to find titles for my blog posts? Well, sometimes it's not that hard, but the majority of the time it's the hardest part of the post. Maybe that's part of the reason I design knitwear instead of being a writer. Ok, now that we're done with that rabbit trail, I'll try to get back to the subject(s).

I did it. I finally finished the modifications on Joel's sweater. It only took me two years. He wore it Sunday. It looked really good on him, but you'll have to take my word for it because I totally did not get a picture of him wearing it. I thought of it. I told him I was going to have to get a picture. And then I didn't. Although, when I saw him wearing it, I realized I was going to have to take the leftovers from the sleeves(yes there were leftovers. Guess they were puffier than I realized):

(pacifier for scale) and put them around the waist. Making a sweater for a model is entirely different than making one for my lengthy husband. It fits ok, but it would fit better if it was just a few inches longer. Like 5. But that will have to wait. I am getting a bit behind in my self-imposed schedule for my book designing- and so I'm going to kick that into high gear for awhile and see if I can get ahead with it.

I just finished another club design today, so that's the last one for a bit and I can focus on book #1- for which I have 3 more patterns I need to get to my test knitters.

As for the bread- well, there's this really cool story about how I got a bread machine last year. I was going to share it, but all of a sudden there are some needy little ones surrounding me- so I need to cut this short. Come back on Thursday for the cool story.

In the meantime, can anyone who uses a bread machine tell me why sometimes I get loaves like this:

and sometimes I get loaves like this:

What did I do differently? I'm really not sure. Bread machines are one of the very rare places where I actually follow the recipe even to the actual measuring of the ingredients.....

Story on Thursday. Not about how I got different loaves, 'cause I don't know- but about how I got a cool bread machine to bless my family. :D


Elizabeth said...

I'm not a bread machine expert, but I like to bake bread, is it possible that the yeast was old in the top loaf? Or maybe the liquid ingredients were hot and killed the yeast? We had a bread machine years ago, but it quit working soon after we got it.

Dawna said...

I agree with Elizabeth, it most likely has to do with the yeast. I am currently only cooking gluten free bread and I have had trouble with the grocery store yeast. I went to Bob's Red Mill and bought a bag of yeast there and have not had the same trouble since. I know you can kill the yeast if it is too hot, or not activate it if it is too cold.

Natalie said...

I'm not sure about the bread machine because I have never used one, but I want one (does that count?) Love the sweater though! I dream to become that talented... one day, one day.

roseworksjewelry said...

I'm not that good with bread - but I'd vote for the yeast. I remember Mom used to make a little spot in the flour for the yeast and kind of separate it.

Mlle said...

It has to do with the amount of yeast, and whether or not conditions are right for it to grow. In bread, and bread machines specifically, the amount of salt you use (assuming everything else is done as written in the bread machine's recipe book) is the biggest killer of yeast. Too much salt, and your yeast will die off, and you will have a bread puck.

This is assuming, of course, that you put the ingredients in the machine in the order it tells you to, the water you use is warm enough (if that's what the instructions call for), the yeast itself is not expired, and the thermometer on your machine is not broken.

For a 1.5 loaf of bread in my machine, it calls for 1 and a half teaspoons of yeast, vs. half a teaspoon of salt. When I don't measure carefully and that half teaspoon is a bit on the heaping side, the bread is smaller. When I don't put in quite half of a teaspoon of salt, the bread mashes itself up against the top of the machine and gets all soggy. Bleh!

Hope this helps!