Archive for August 2010

Ginger cake

Cakes are the bane of my baking existence. My attempt to make a sponge cake in Year 7 Home Economics resulted in a spongey pancake, despite following the recipe to the letter. And a failed attempt to bake my birthday cake a few years ago ended with a teary phone call to my parents, telling them not to visit (of course they still visited). In the case of the birthday cake I was admittedly also feeling stressed about a looming uni assignment deadline at the time, but it was the cake that pushed me over the edge of sanity and into the embarrassing dramatic display void.

Clearly, I bear the psychological scars of cake failure, so It was with some trepidation that I tried this cake recipe. I (and Matt, for that matter) am glad to report it was a complete success!

ginger cake

Ginger Cake (from Women’s Weekly Recipe Cards, circa 1970’s)

185g butter
1 cup treacle
2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
4 cups plain flour
0.5 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2.5 tablespoons ground ginger (the recipe calls for 1.5 tablespoons, but I like ginger a lot)
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 egg

1.25 cups milk, warmed slightly

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line two deep 20cm tins

Place butter, treacle and brown sugar into saucepan, stir over low heat until sugar dissolves and leave to cool.

Sift flour, salt, baking powder, ginger and soda into large bowl, add cooled sugar mixture, lightly beaten egg and warmed milk. Mix well.

Pour mixture into tins, and bake for 55 to 60 mins. Cool slightly before turning out onto cake cooler. Ice when completely cool


90g butter
3 cups icing sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons lemon juice (I measured the first tablespoon, then added to taste)

Cream butter until soft, then gradually add icing sugar. Add lemon juice to taste, and until it’s soft and light.

It’s a pretty dense cake, but the light and fluffy icing offsets this well. Most importantly, it’s a delicious cake. The only drawback is that the recipe yields two cakes, and it’s hard to halve the recipe on account of the one egg. I can’t say I’ve conquered my fear of baking cakes, but this recipe has certainly put me on the road to recovery.


It seems that a layer of dust has started to settle on this blog. It’s been a bit crazy round here; a good and exciting kind of crazy, but irrespective of whether it’s good or bad, crazy can be quite time consuming.

Pickadilly in progress

In dealing with the craziness, knitting is a luxury that has only possible on the work commute. As a result, Pickadilly’s progress has been a little slower that I’d like. That said, I’m just about to start the increases for the second half of the waist shaping. Pickadilly is the second top down garment I’ve made (Liesl being the first), and the novelty of being to try the garment on as I go hasn’t worn off one bit. I really need to dust off my copy of Knitting From The Top and make top downs part of my regular knitting diet.

While actual knitting has stalled, yarn acquisition is in full flight. Machen|Machen recently made a lovely jumper using Cascade 220 Heathers in Bainbridge. I’d been wanting to try that yarn for a while, so I bought some.

Cascade 220 Heathers Bainbridge

Never fear, it was a well considered purchase which involved the usual amount of umming and ahhing. In the end, it was decided that the colour would match this pattern rather well:

galoshes not included

I picked up this pattern book, Patons Jet/Skol Book 929, at an op shop a couple of years ago. Mostly it was for the pattern above, but I can’t deny the kitschy attraction to the fly fishing theme that runs through it.

Like with a lot of older patterns, a bit of gauge-wrangling might be required. However, as long as I’m careful, I won’t end up knitting this jumper two and a half times like I did the last time I knit Matt a jumper using a pattern from the ’70s. I might be a tad optimistic in only buying six skeins of yarn, but he’s a skinny lad and I’ll think positive happy thoughts as I knit it.

I’d really like to start making this jumper soon, but I feel bad for the yarn I bought to make a different jumper for Matt last year (I often feel bad for inanimate objects, it’s a failing of mine). Is it completely ridiculous that I’m thinking about instituting a ‘first in, first out’ regime for my yarn? As much as it’d bring a bit more order into my chaotic knitting life, I can’t help but think that it is.


Matt’s fingers have been suffering this winter. While I’ve been getting by just fine with my Herringbone Mittens, Matt’s gloves gave up the ghost in Japan. In their stead, he’s been trying to survive with a pair of fingerless mitts I made for him in 2006. Fingerless mitts seem to be fine when it is barely cold, but as soon as the weather even marginally resembles Winter, they are completely insufficient.

Matt's old mitts

He was well overdue for a pair of knitted gloves, particularly because I’d promised to make him a pair after I made my Dad a pair of Knucks a few years ago. In what can only be described as perfect timing, just as I was starting to look for glove patterns, Ozknitter pointed me in the direction of a nifty mitten pattern that would do the trick.

Matt's mitts down

Matt's mitts up

Podster Gloves by Glenna C.
Sock yarn from the Bendigo Woollen Mills bargain room (equivalent to Heirloom Argyle)
2.75mm needles
Start: July 2010
Finish: July 2010
Modifications: different yarn, larger needles, added rows to the thumb gusset
Ravelryed: here

The largest size offered by the pattern were for small mens’ hands, so I used 2.75mm rather than 2.5mm needles and added two more rounds to the thumb gusset. With these modifications, they fit pretty well.

podster thumb

By far the best part of this pattern is the podster thumb. It has a little flap so he can flick his thumb out and use his iPhone (iPhone touch screens are unresponsive to gloved fingers). The pattern calls for part of the flap to be knit separately and then attached to the thumb, but was a little unclear about how to sew it down. I ended up using a whip stitch which probably wasn’t the best option, but it’s pretty secure and the dark yarn hides a multitude of sins. The long cuff is also really good, and can be easily tucked under jumpers or jackets.

So far, they’ve been worn nearly every day since I snipped the last end off. Nothing says success than that.