Loading... Please wait...


Cooking or baking??

Posted by

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


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.


Lessons Learned from my Sister

My sister is amazingOk, this one isn't so much about sticks and hooks and string, but it is life lessons learned from one of my most favorite people. My sister Beth has been here with me a lot recently, and I am so lucky and blessed and thankful. She was here in October, and [...]

Read More »

Thank you for holding my heart

Thank you, my friends for understanding and even encouraging my short 'winter break'. It was much needed, and it has brought much good. It wasn't a 'vacation' but time to regroup and refocus and breathe. In this community we have become, we listen to each other's hurts and we celebrate the joyful events. [...]

Read More »

I Knit to be Connected, Part 2

You are never going to guess what is currently on my bed at home... Ok, you got me, the big black dog is on the bed. But what else? I would give you a couple chances, but I don't think you would guess. In my current pitch/pack/purge/downsize mode I unearthed the GIANT granny square [...]

Read More »

Counting My Blessings

It is the first week of August, the summer is in full swing and it is time to count my blessings.You guys. You wonderful people who call Knitting Addiction your LYS. You guys who make a point to come see us and shop when you are on the Outer Banks for vacation. You guys, my [...]

Read More »

Better Together

Here's a crazy thought: cooperation. Two or more people working together for a common goal. In most cases of true cooperation both or all parties involved benefit from the effort.I had the most amazing opportunity to cooperate in a way that had many folks shocked last weekend. I was invited to bring the Yarn Truck [...]

Read More »

Once a Teacher.....

Once a teacher...."If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.' Albert Einstein.I love this quote. It hits me at a core level. It is so much more true than the "Those who can do...." grrrr. That one plucks my eyeballs. Once a teacher, always a teacher. I loved my years [...]

Read More »

911? What is your emergency?

"Hello? Is this 911? I have an emergency!" "This is 911, what is the nature of your emergency?" "I dropped a stitch in my knitting and I can't pick it up...." "Ok, we will send someone right over. "Some days I long for the tone of the pager and the crackle of the radio. In [...]

Read More »

It's a Yarn Truck Day!

Guess who should be sleeping?? It's 3:30 on a Saturday morning, (August 6). I should WAAAAYYYY be asleep. The alarm is gong to chime at 6 a.m. to wake me for one of my favorite things, A YarnTruck Day! And instead of happy snoring dog and hubby and me all piled in the bed, dog [...]

Read More »

A Life Line

A life line in knitting is an extra strand of yarn worked through a row of knitting in a difficult pattern. If the knitter discovers a mistake in her knitting several rows up, the work can be unraveled and the 'life line' will be there, holding all the stitches, ready to get them back [...]

Read More »


Recent Updates