The new DNA scarf is well into the second repeat. Cables always look their best in natural color yarn — although I do not look my best in it, so I will continue to cable in colors. This one is intended for someone else, who will I think look very nice in it.
I haven’t yet settled on a new clog-knitting personality, but I did run upon a very fun website that made me feel as though perhaps my real personality might be precise enough for the job.
Another Knitting Blog, which always has surprising and cool links, sent me to this one: http://www.x-entertainment.com/halloween/2004/october13/ This particular entry is about making Hallowe’en cookies. But it is by someone who does not know how to make cookies. Who, indeed, does not understand cookies at all. You can tell that he is having a lot of fun, though. In fact, the whole site is full of craft directions and recipes, but in the voice of — well, not the kind of person you usually associate with crafts and recipes. As he puts it himself, “I stand tall in knowing that few shrunken apple head guide writers used curse words.” He does not seem to have any actual skills or knowledge when it comes to cooking and crafts, but he has step-by-step photos and is more fun to read than most of the actually useful sites of this type. I think you will just have to go to this site yourself, since I cannot describe it usefully.
Please do not follow the directions for making those cookies, though. I am making Hallowe’en cookies myself, today, so I can tell you how if you need this information.
Gather some suitable cookie cutters. We have about a dozen at our house, including bats, cats, skulls, ghosts, and of course pumpkins, but I will tell you shortly how to manage without any. You also need cookie dough. Ideally, you would have pale dough (sugar or almond) for your ghosts and skulls, medium dough (spice or orange) for your pumpkins, and dark dough (chocolate or chocolate pepper) for the bats and cats. You mix these one day when you feel energetic and put them in the refrigerator. You can also buy cookie dough, as the fellow at X-entertainment, did, but it will not taste as good as real ones. Here is a recipe: http://dessert-recipes.info/cookies/pogens-gingersnaps.htm . I leave the shortening out of this one (increase the butter a little if you like), and chill it and roll it out instead of following the directions exactly, and it makes a truly great spice cookie.
Later, when you feel playful, you cut them all out and bake them. This is the point at which you will be able to get helpers to join you. They will lose interest and give up after the first panful, but take advantage of the opportunity anyway. The more cookies cutters you have at this point, the more cookies will be cut before your helpers get bored and leave.
Roll the dough thin on a cutting board, adding flour if necessary to keep it from sticking. Cut shapes out with a cookie cutter. If you do not own any Hallowe’en cookie cutters, you can use a glass, and call it a pumpkin. Or a spider web (the feathering described below works very well for spider webs). Or you can cut the dough with a knife into rectangles and pinch them in near each end to make bone shapes.
Now, here is where X-entertainment really went astray. You do not have to bake all the cookies at one time. You can do it in shifts. Fill another pan with cookie cutouts while the first ones are in the oven. Note that smaller cookies will bake faster than larger ones. You can therefore make sure to fill pans with similar-sized cookies, or you can mix sizes and know that you will have small crisp ones and large chewy ones, thus satisfying both crisp and chewy preferences.
Then you make icing. Put a bit of powdered sugar in a cup. Thin it with egg white if you are not scared of salmonella, or with cream and a little vanilla, or even with lemon juice. Alternately add sugar and the liquid to reach the consistency that you prefer. This is the creative part, so don’t let anyone tell you what to do. (Unless you are nervous, in which case use 1/2 c powdered sugar, 1/2 t vanilla, and 2 T cream. And relax.)
Make several different cups of icing and tint each one with a different color, if you want to get fancy. Paste food coloring works better than liquid, and is more economical in the long run. If you intend to be very lavish with the icing, you should be aware that black food coloring tastes terrible. The best use for black icing is to put tiny dot eyes onto your cookies with the end of a wooden matchstick. Ghost-shaped cookies dipped into plain white icing and then dotted with black eyes make a very elegant effect, and are quick.
If you feel more creative, you can put the icing into plastic bags and snip off a tiny corner, to make an icing bag. Pipe icing around the edge of any shape, and perhaps add some geometric patterns on the inside. The same kinds of patterns you use for quilting will work well for cookies. I also like to do jazzy squiggles. Another good thing to do with icing on Hallowe’en cookies is to make lines or spirals with icing and then draw a knife through the icing, up and then down, alternately. This is feathering, and it make wonderful designs on the cookies.
Allow the decorated cookies to set completely before you stack them. If this sounds like too much trouble, you can read the link above, and then cut up carrots and celery and apples, which are better for you anyway, and also look very festive. Some people ice their vegetables by mixing cream cheese and cream to an icing consistency and then coloring it, but these people are fooling themselves. Little piped cucumber rounds will still not appeal to guests the way cookies will. If you do not intend to serve cookies, you might as well be honest about it.