I’ve been wanting to try knitting lace for a while and after looking at hundreds of patterns, I decided on the Swallowtail Lace Shawl pattern by Evelyn Clark. It’s been made by thousands of people already so I figured the instructions must be pretty good. Despite good instructions, the shawl turned out to be the most challenging garment I have knit to date. It took me several tries to even get it going plus a switch to a lighter colored yarn (Malabrigo lace in Bobby Blue) for better visibility before I started to succeed. Unusually for me, I found that I had to knit this in complete silence. No TV, no radio, no music, no talking and it often took me half an hour to get across one row. There was lots of counting and recounting of stitches and undoing rows despite liberal life-lining. Many thanks to another use who created a chart of how many stitches I should have after each row! Most challenging were something called a nupp (rhymes with soup, not cup). Nupps are the invention of the devil Seriously. Who ever though that it was a good idea to create a little bobble by purling through 5 stitches at once? It ultimately wasn’t possible for me and I had to use a cheater method which worked better, though still slowed me down a lot. For all this trouble, the nupp stitch only created a small round bump of yarn that was barely visible on the finished shawl (see the photo below). Next time, I would use beads which would be a lot faster and more visible. But I can say I have tried nupps and now I don’t have to do them ever again!
Despite my complaining, I do love the shawl, so I guess it was all worth it! One is enough though.
Blog Checking Lines: The October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Korena of Korena in the Kitchen. She took us to Austria and introduced us to the wonders of the Sachertorte.
Sachertorte has been on my baking bucket list for a long time so I was very happy when this challenge was announced. Sachertorte is a light chocolate cake filled with apricot jam and covered with a fudge-like chocolate glaze and decorated with the word “Sacher” on top. It originated in Austria in 1832 when it was created by Franz Sacher for Prince Metternich. The cake is popular in Vienna and has become a part of the city’s coffee house tradition. It is typically served with a dollop of whip cream and a cup of steaming hot coffee to contrast with the often dry texture of the cake.
For our challenge, we used a recipe by Rick Rodgers via Epicurious. With the exception of the glaze, this recipe worked very well for me. Like many others in this group, I had trouble with the glaze thickening up on me too quickly to pour smoothly over the cake. I ended up making a 2nd glaze of my own to pour over the dull, rough and frosted-looking original glaze. Another change I made to the recipe was using a simple syrup on the cake layers as we like neither coffee nor whip cream in our house and I wanted the cake to be moister. I also had only an 8″ spring-form pan, so my cake is taller and less wide than the usual Sachertorte. However, despite these faults and changes, the cake is quite delicious! My torte might look too rustic to serve in Vienna, but I have it on the authority of a friend who has tasted an authentic Sachertorte that this one tastes better. I’ll take that!