Thursday, June 16, 2011

tables they turn sometimes

Life has weird shifts, sometimes predictable, sometimes not. Even though I knew this good time was coming, even when I was in the dumps, it still surprised me when it arrived, the sudden nature of it and the intense contrast.

Even though it is coming on scorching season here, I sat down with a sweater I'd been working on ages ago. It was something I had started at least a year ago. I would work on it a bit, and then set it aside, then pick it up again. The yarn was very fine in weight, which meant it took forever to make any progress. But eventually, it also became clear that I kept putting it down because it wasn't really working. The variegated yarn wasn't quite meshing with the patterned stitches, and the sizing seemed off. But it seemed like something I'd been working on for so long that I'd hesitated to give it up.

Sometimes salvaging is the right call, other times ripping. A lot of the good things that happen in life are from salvaging a less-than-ideal situation; I've certainly had my share of making lemonade from lemons (or, in the case of last weekend, making chocolate dipped brownie truffles when a pesky batch of brownies stuck to the pan). I had stared at that sweater-in-progress for a while- lengthen it, shorten it, make it short-sleeved, make it a vest? I had considered lots of different angles, but nothing seemed to fit the idea I had in my head of what I wanted the sweater to be.

And finally, I ripped the whole thing back down to skeins. Yes, I had invested a lot of energy in the sweater up to that point, but I had not rushed into destruction. I had assessed. It was a losing proposition. It was time to let go.

So today, when I had a free morning, I felt a sense of validation. I had re-knitted the entire sweater in an eighth of the time it had taken me the previous time, and the moment of truth had arrived. I stitched all the pieces together and the finished product was exactly as I had wanted it to be.

Speaking of which, here is a picture of rose macarons:

Being a little (ahem) taken with baking and challenges, I had become intrigued with macarons over the years. So I was surprised that a lot of my friends had never heard of the little wonders. They sound simple, and therein lies the peril of the macaron. The cookie shells are made of ground almonds, sugar, and egg whites. Just three ingredients. How complicated could it be? Answer- very complicated. The suckers are notoriously finicky, sensitive to humidity and the batter consistency. A slight imprecision in measurement can also cause an epic fail. I had read on the interwebs so many tales of horror regarding these cookies that I had avoided giving them a go for years. But my friend SP nudged me into it recently by presenting me with a macaron making class as a graduation present. It was phenomenal. I got to make and pipe this batch of macarons myself, though truth be told, I'm still skeptical as to whether I can recreate them in my kitchen. I should probably try again soon, before the wave of good juju rolls on by.

No comments: