Len and I are going to a baby shower next weekend. I offered to bring the cake(s) because. Well. Because I'm stupid that way. I was, however, smart enough to think I should bake the cakes in advance, in case anything went wrong. And hoo-boy, did it ever!
This is supposed to be the basic yellow cake from The Cake Bible. I've made the the cake before, with not spectacular, but not disastrous results. So what happened? I hear tell there may be some children at the shower and though it would be nice to make a few cupcakes to go along with the big cakes. So I made half again as much batter. I'm sure I did the math right. I'm equally sure I overfilled the pans.
Yum. Raw batter center! The pans overflowed, dripped into the cupcakes and the bottom of the oven. Obviously, my attempt at cupcakes didn't go very well, either.
Len peeled off the tops of the first two. Trust me, it improved their looks. I only have four (vaguely) presentable cakes because I had to dig the two others out of the pan. I also made a chocolate cake, I decided to forgo the cupcake idea and made three layers instead. They turned out so well they were too boring to pose for pictures.
And in keeping with the shower-related disaster theme, the baby sweater took a turn for the worse. First, I have to say I love the pattern (aside from four 3-color rounds per repeat, which is just mean) and I love the colors. Everything was going swimmingly (in the fantasy world where I swim well, that is), then I got to neck shaping. Which involved switching to back and forth. For some reason, I thought I was going to be able to manage neck shaping and continuing to knit in the round. I swear I read in some blog somewhere that this trick exists, and that it involves Dale of Norway. Maybe that was in the same world where I swim well?
In any case, I did decide to go with short rows rather than casting off, since they are prettier. My first mistake was that I misread the instructions. They say to cast off at the beginning of the row 2 times, which I misread as 4 times (it made sense in my head). I caught that mistake in enough time to fudge my way around it. But then I actually looked at the knitting.
So, when you knit in the round, every line in a chart is read from right to left. When you knit back and forth, one row is read right to left, the next, left to right. That is a big distinction. All of the neck stitches had to come out. You know how I said 3-color rounds are mean? They are downright sadistic when purling. I didn't take pictures, I was too depressed. I'm almost done with the neck shaping, I don't know how far I have to go, but I can almost guarantee that it will not be done for the shower.
In other, non-disaster news. I did give up on the bad book. I borrowed two books of my mother, The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler and Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen. I'm finished with Rise and Shine. While this isn't her best book (I pick One True Thing*), and she certainly wanders a little far into clichés, I find myself missing the book and wishing I had more of it to read. That is a rare enough experience. I've started the Tyler book and am sinking into it.
*I hated the movie. Hated it. I was horrified by how the mother was written, Streep did a fine enough job, but that was not the character Quindlen wrote.