Sunday, December 07, 2008

This, That and Another Thing

Today, I'll just ramble on about a few things, if you don't mind.

Yesterday, I mentioned the Faroese shawl I started for my mom. I've just about finished the first section, the zigzags along the bottom edge, so I decided it was a suitable time for a picture. The yarn is Louet Gems Pearl, undyed. I bought this yarn a while back (while I was still working at the yarn store) for another project, a Myrna Stahmann shawl. I wasn't very happy how it was knitting up, so it was frogged in favour of this pattern.

The fabric is, as I said yesterday, nice and cushy and I think it will make a lovely, cozy shawl that will be just right for cuddling up in front of the tv.

So, Christmas is just around the corner. Around here, because it's just the two of us, we really don't do a lot. We don't set up a tree (the apartment's just way too small for that); we don't do much decorating and we don't do the whole gift thing. We decided that we just don't need or want that extra pressure and expense. I do, however, like to do some special baking. There are a few recipes in our family that are reserved for this time of year.

Gevulde Speculaas (Filled Speculaas) is one of those recipes. I had never baked it before, but my mother-in-law did. For any of you not familiar with speculaas, it is a dutch spiced cookie. In this case, it's made into squares and has an almond paste filling. I've come to associate this recipe with the Christmas season and decided to bake it, finally.

Not only will I tease you with pictures, but I'll also provide the recipe. It takes a bit of time to make, but certainly isn't difficult. The almond filling can be made up to a week ahead, and should be. The standing time allows the flavours to develop. The dough for the top and bottom layer, as well, can be made ahead of time.

Lining the baking pan allows the speculaas to be easily removed from the pan.

The recipe is in pdf form in the sidebar and yes, they taste as good as they look! If you do try the recipe, let me know how it turns out.
And finally, I mentioned to John a while back that with part of the "dress money", I really wanted to get a set of blocking wires. I do knit a fair bit of lace and, from everything I've read, I knew it would make blocking a lot easier and more uniform. Checking online, though, I found that the sets available were quite expensive. I saw one online place that was selling them for $35 cdn, with $14 postage added. Add the taxes and one set of blocking wires would be over $50.
In one of the Yahoo groups I'm a member of, there was a discussion about blocking wires and quite a few of the knitters suggested welding rods. More specifically, they recommended stainless steel tig rods. Well, yesterday, I went online to find local welding supply stores and found one quite close to where we live. However, when we found the location, we discovered that they had merged with another welding supply company and were doing business at the other end of town.
One of the Canadians in the laceknitting group had mentioned that Princess Auto also carried said welding rods, so we went there and, after some hunting discovered these...

This is one pound of welding rods, 31 of them, 1/16" in diameter. That should block a lot of shawls! And the best part? The price for this tube, including the taxes, came in at just under $17.

I'm happy! Now, I just have to finish a shawl so I can try them out....... bye! :)


  1. The speculaas does look yummy. And good buy on the rods - sometimes we have to be creative but it's worth it for the money you save!

  2. Oh good for you on the welding rods! I confess I think about that from time to time as I now have two lace shawls on the needles. And when I think about pinning them out...ugh...

  3. Oh my goodness, that speculaas looks delicious. I have to try making it myself sometime since I eat quite a lot of it this time of year.

  4. Your mother will love to be hugged by this shawl. The speculaas look indeed yummy, might try them. But I will never again let my knitting get in touch with wires for blocking after the disaster I had with my beloved Cromarty sweater. Never got the rust out but managed to get it wearable.