Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Knitting fondant

While hunting for needles to cast on a Christmas project (not the bulky hat I'm obsessing about, because I am a better person than that), I discovered them already stuck into a partially completed yoga sock:

I totally forgot I'd cast these on, and I can only dimly remember working on them with future gift-giving in mind while my mum was in the hospital a year and a half ago.  I was using them as panic-control knitting and apparently when the panic subsided my interest in the socks did too.

Indecision resulted from the discovery.  First thought: finish them, and throw them in the Christmas pile.  Second: rip them out and get those needles free again . Third: are you crazy? finish them.  Fourth, while nearing the toe: I just can't, please let me rip these out now.

I opted to stick with them, mainly because the darned things remind me so much, in this yarn and colour, of fondant.

Fondant Story.

From the ages of around 11 to 14, I was best friends with a girl so completely different from me we could have had our own sitcom.  Looking back I realize the reason we were so attached was not because of these fascinating differences but because we had bonded over our mutual love for candy, in all forms.

One day we were over at her house on a rainy day, aka far from any candy store with limited access to umbrellas, and there was no candy at hand, so we decided to talk her mother into letting us bake something.  I got a craving for fondant, a mostly-sugar base my mum used for all sorts of delicious treats like chocolate-dipped Easter eggs and also potatoes, dredged in cocoa for St. Patrick's Day.  I sold my friend's mother on this idea partly with 'delicious' and especially, as I have reason to recall, 'light and fluffy.'

It didn't occur to me at that age that different cooks write different recipes for the same item so I just picked the first fondant instructions I found in her mother's cookbook library.  Unlike my mum's recipe it called for 'boiled sugar'.  Could anything be more delicious sounding?  But if you have ever boiled sugar yourself you will know it's tricky to do, and can easily result in sugar burned for eternity to the bottom of your friend's mother's best pot.

I don't think I'll ever forget her saying 'LIGHT and FLUFFY??' for the rest of the afternoon in her broad Yorkshire accent as she mourned that pot.  Plus, she wouldn't let us try again with a different recipe so we never did get any fondant.

End of Fondant Story

What I've learned from this experience is that it's not really in me to knit things randomly and gift them to somebody later when I have a binful of items to shop from.  I gotta have a person in mind, and a date on which I'm giving it, or I can't produce the goods.  Eventually I decided to give the fondant socks to Carol, who still loves the first pair I gave her and could probably use a change of colour at least, and afterward the knitting was much less agonizing.  Also: fast.  This pattern is just crazy fast to do.

Incidentally in reknitting it all this time later I did discover a couple of small errors in the original version, so I've corrected them and loaded a clean copy up at the links.

And now: back to gift knitting! but not the hat.  Nope, not casting on that hat.

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