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Cooking or baking??

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Are we cooking or baking??

Angel food cake with fresh strawberries or pasta Alfredo with May peas and prosciutto? Are we cooking or baking?

I can hear the collective sigh of, "Great gravy, she has really lost it. What on earth, cooking or baking? The question is knitting or crocheting!"

Here's the funny, it seems I am quizzed often about the 'rules' of knitting or crocheting. Some of you who have been following my chatter might remember the 'Rules' blog. If you don't, here's a link.... it is one of my favorites

http://www.knittingaddiction.com/blog/rule-breaker/

Recently I have had phone calls about how to join yarn. Discussions in the shop about what is the right way to do *something*.

My most recent analogy is 'Are we cooking or baking?" When I cook I might or might not take a look in the recipe file. I will have procured most of the suggested ingredients from the grocery. And then I set to work in the kitchen. If I'm 'cooking' say making chicken soup or an amazing breakfast frittata, or pasta Alfredo then I take ideas from the recipes I know and riff on them. I'm making dinner here, I'm not building a skyscraper. How exact do the measurements need to be to make pasta Alfredo?

But BAKING is a different event, even in my kitchen. If I'm baking say, my at one time, nearly famous chocolate chip cookies, then the recipe is on the counter and the measuring tools are out and I'm BAKING. I measure my ingredients, I sift the flour, I make sure I'm working as close to the recipe as possible. I know my grandma is watching, so I had better follow the recipe.

Yarn, woman! Yarn! How does this relate to yarn?!? Here it is. My thoughts: If you are knitting a garden variety item: scarf, hat, mitts, basic sweater, and you realize you are off on the count or you forgot an increase or decrease, you are COOKING. If I like more May peas in my Alfredo than you do, that is a *cooking* issue. I like lots, you want more prosciutto, difference of opinion but still we are still *cooking*.

If your interpretation of the pattern isn't going to result in a wonky mess, then keep *cooking*. The scarf has a missed stitch, the decreases on the socks are not exactly the same, you are *cooking*. If the socks will keep sweet one's toesies warm and not unravel, you are *cooking*. If the scarf is adored by your person, but you know there is a mistake on row 37, ...shhhh.... now, my love, YOU are a CHEF! You took the recipe/ pattern made it your own with a 'design element' and your person loves it. And you ROCK!!

On the *baking* side if I am attempting to make angel food cake and I decide that I don't want to separate my zillion eggs into whites and then beat until stiff peaks form, I can make that choice.... and if I don't gently fold the beaten egg whites into the rest of the ingredients, and I have a hot, icky, scrambled disaster on my hands, I'm not a good baker. My creation is certainly not worthy of the table or fresh strawberries. Lesson learned. If you are *baking* there are more specific instructions to follow.

If you are knitting lace. Or any lacy project, or patterns with a distinct stitch pattern, or garments that are meant to fit a certain person at a particular size. Then, my loves, you are BAKING. You have to follow the directions, to the best of your ability, and try to make sure that what you are knitting or crocheting matches what the directions say. You have to separate the eggs and beat the whites into stiff peaks. You have to make your yarn overs match what the lace pattern is or you might have a hot mess, not suitable for showing, or eating strawberry shortcake in.

The *baking* projects are usually the projects where you do actually have to check your gauge. Too many stitches per inch and it will fit the cat, too few and Sasquatch has a new hoodie. Your choice. But I will always hold out on if it needs to fit a certain person at a certain size, check gauge. Measure your ingredients, follow the directions the best you can, grandma is watching.

I'm not sure where you, my loves, are in your knitting or crocheting journey today. But I will happily admit, I'm just cooking. Pretty yarn, easy (forgiving) pattern, the ability to riff on what looks good to my eyes without having the entire cake turn into a mind numbing mess.

If you are plodding through difficult times and dishcloths make you happy, COOK on, my love. Cook on. If you are plodding through difficult times and a pattern with a 14 row lace repeat gives you Calm and Focused. BAKE on. Find the project that gives your heart wings and Go.For.It. Just take a minute to think about are you cooking or baking. And then knit or crochet on.

In sticks and hooks and strings, and pasta Alfredo with angel food cake for dessert.

xoxo-j

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