Monday, October 31, 2011

Finishing October up

So wrapping up the month with a couple more small skeins of yarn from Miss Molly. A merino that I got from Cindy. She had gotten it in her SOAR 2009 bag. Two-ply, 21 grams, and 134.3 yards. The other is also from Cindy, but this time a WWSiP day sample from her shop, Urban Fiber Arts, merino/alpaca/silk. I spun an ounce of this and Kool-Aid dyed. This sample I'm going to use a natural black bean dye. It's also a two-ply, 28 grams, and 132.2 yards.


Pre-mordanting in alum and cream of tartar

Did a quick little knit for Halloween of a witch's hat for Leeloo. Took picture of it on both dogs:
Saturday we drove up to Olympia for a music and bardic symposium in the Barony of Glymm Mere. We were a little late, but Brandon was able to get into his guitar class, then a lute class, story telling, and how to host a bardic event   They enlisted a couple of local people, they even asked us if we wanted to compete, to be their bardic champion. This would have happened after the dinner, but there was a slight delay in beginning. It was $10 per person for the event and Brandon had to pay a total of $3 for two of his classes (one had a music CD). What we were paying for was this:
1st Remove
Bread with herbed butter (very good)
Mushroom & cheese pastries (got to bring 3/4 of a pie home with me - yummy)
Compost – vegetables pickled in wine & spices (surprisingly tasty!)
Cameline Beef (nom, tender beef slices)

2nd Remove
Duck with glazed turnips (I carved the duck, it was good! so were the turnips)
Bernaise sauce (they had a hard time with keeping it blended but still good)
Cameline sauce (a little tart)
Cynches (these came out well, I've made them in the past - roasted chickpeas)
Peas with pearl onions (a little overdone)

3rd Remove
Pork stuffed with bacon, brie, and chestnuts (would have liked to try the chestnuts, but I don't eat pork)
Yellow pepper sauce
Mustard cream sauce
Apple Muse (this was good, kind of an applesauce in milk)
Rice in milk & beef broth (a bit dry but good with the apple muse)

4th Remove
Pears in wine & honey (tried to eat it while still way too hot, good, but not as good as the meringues)
Cream Horns (the horns were a bit stale, probably made the day before but not covered well - yummy cream)
Meringues Chantilly (I ate two and a half and could have stuffed my face with more if I hadn't already been stuffed from all the previous food!)

I wore my gates of hell green dress and Brandon got to wear his new jacket that Andrea helped him make. Here he is all dressed up for his work Halloween party (his co-worker/D&D friend Brent is in the background):

Still working on my October shawl, Dunes with my handspun Yak/Merino.  Its a nice simple pattern to knit, just might be too simple because I find I have to put it down and make my brain work or spin a bit. So my goal in November is to get the shawl done first, then work on the November socks and then start on all the extras I'd like to do. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

No-reply blogger

Borrowing some of these from Coffee and Cabernet:

"As a blog follower, do you wish the author of another blog could respond directly to you if you ask a question in their comments section?  Are you frustrated by the fact that you really want to know the answer but most often you fail to remember to check back for their response?

What is a "Reply" & a "No Reply" blogger?

When someone leaves a comment on one of your blog posts, you get an email notification, right?  So, you log in to your email and read the comment.  If you hit 'Reply,' one of two things happens:

1) their email address displays in the 'To:' section and you can reply to them, or
2) their address looks something like this:
Jane Doe  
If scenario #1 happens, that commenter is a "Reply" blogger. {score!}  If scenario #2 happens, that commenter is a "No Reply" blogger."
So how do you change your settings?
1) Go to your Blogger profile and click "Edit Profile"
2) Under the Privacy section there's a check box unchecked for "Show Email Address" - check that
3) Just below that, under the "Identity" section, enter an email address. This does NOT have to be the email address you maintain your blog with. You can create a new email address and enter that. This email address is used only when another blog author replies to a comment you've left. Gmail now has settings so you can maintain more than one account easily (not that I'm doing that).
4) Don't forget to click on "Save Profile" or your change won't stick.

Thanks to Sue at Alderwood Quilts for reminding me that I wanted to fix the "no-reply" for myself. Hopefully this is something that others wanted to know about too. ;-)

You can of course remain a "no reply" commenter, but I'd like to think that you'd like to get some kind of response to a comment that you've left on my blog or another blog.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

More October knitting

Two pairs of Cascade Fixation anklets were quickly knitted. Nice simple pattern on US4 needles and you have soft squooshy ankle socks for lounging around the house or wearing with your tennis shoes:

I had a quick knit sample for Lorajean in some of her delightfully soft and squishy Bulkan. It's Irishgirlieknits Comfort Food wristwarmers:

She had a trunk show last weekend at For Yarn's Sake and after I finished the second one, gave her a call. Told her I could get them to her shortly, if she could hang out a bit. I arrived just as she was in the process of loading up her stuff so it worked out for both of us. Yes, I didn't get them blocked but she can get that done. Andrea almost didn't give them up after being asked to model them. ;-)

I was going to start my October shawl but found that I was missing the charts, so went with the quick and easy Barn Raising Quilt blocks. I after all had some recently finished samples, so why not use them? These are really like potato chips, you can't stop at just one. Four were shortly made and I have a fifth in time out on the needles. Here's the four from - Rogue Adventures, Upstream Alpacas and that Pear Tree Merino:

If I were going with the proposed 42 blocks, I'd be almost done. I want t bigger blanket, so more blocks to make. I've also been toying with the idea of putting it together similar to a quilt with sashings around the blocks. This will help increase the overall size and with one color pull them all together. Not sure about the color though. So do I back it with like a flannel sheet or do I make other blocks in a different pattern and put those together to become a double-sided blanket?

I jumped in and started my October socks, planned as a Christmas gift and have one done and the other partially done:

Pattern is from Knitty, Breeze. My suggestion for sock designers, do not assume that they will be knitted one particular way. These assume three dpns. I'm doing them with two circs. It has suggestions to increase the heel stitches for larger feet, but does not have instructions for the extra stitches. I just went with the suggested and it worked out, but was kind of annoying.

Still need to get my October shawl started, have everything all ready to do, just need to finish the second anklet and get started. I've been spinning on Miss Molly and have the Knitted Wit samples all spun up. I started on some BFL/Silk I got from Rachel. She didn't like how it spun up and I'm not either. So it may become stuffing for some knitted toy.

I had noticed this plant in the box with the Nasturtiums and the peppers but no idea what they are when I noticed they were flowering:

Anyone know what it is?

I almost forgot a project! It's a cover for Leeloo:

Top picture is pre-felting as is the centr one. The bottom one is after felting. I need to get all her measurements written down somewhere so its easier to knit her stuff that fits. I used up my purple all wool yarn scraps/samples to make it, so its her Purple People Eater sweater. I have more sweater projects lined up for her, so those measurements are crucial. ;-)  This one will be okay, but won't be a favorite.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Early October knitting and spinning

I actually finished my shawl in September but didn't have the final project photo until just yesterday. I knew I wasn't going to get it in time on the 30th, so just waited until I could get Brandon's help.

Pimpelliese Shawlette:

You're supposed to weigh the yarn, knit to the half way point and then start decreasing. I went a little over, but thought that it wouldn't be an issue. I was a little bit more short and ran out so had to use another leftover yarn to finish. When wrapped in the front as a shawl its a bit obvious if you don't drape correctly and worn as a scarf, it can also be hidden. I had planned to give as a gift to the person who had given me the yarn, but now, it will go in the stack and most likely donated at the end of the year. :-(  Pattern was fun to work though!

I had also finished my guanaco fiber in September. I have enough that I think I can do another Pretty Thing Cowl:
This weekend, I needed a break from the knit project I had started Friday night. I've discovered I must be allergic to mohair. This is the second time using mohair has made my tongue tingle and my face itch. So I broke out my WWSiP samples and spun up the Upstream Alpaca samples, because its just plain yummy to spin with and the Pear Tree merino sample. I think it has some silk in the blend and was nice to spin. I navajo-plied the Upstream Alpaca samples and just two plied the Pear Tree, but I did them all as one single skein. I knew I wasn't going to have much in the way of yardage from any of them so why not make it one skein? 

I think I mentioned that Kathy and Marcello are moving to Italy? They're friends from SCA. She started by giving me her stash, then her canning equipment - BIG canner, jars of many sizes but lots of quarts, the lifter, magnets and funnels. Plus supplies from her pantry. Then plastic storage bins and glass canisters and more pantry items. Today it was more plastic storage bins (really can you have too many?), glassware and two pretty torchieres. So to thank her for their generosity, I knit her a medieval pouch to use at events while in Italy:

Kathy had also learned how to Nalbind last year at An Tir-West War when I took the weaving class. She only has one needle and had misplaced it (she's since found it). With Brandon's help in cutting them out, I then sanded the points in and some linseed oil and then a final finish and they all went to her with the bag this afternoon:
There are ten of them. She immediately put them into her carry on bag to take on her flight. I need to go through my stash and find more Lamb's Pride that I can give her to take along.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Meet Miss Molly

I had been bidding on an Ashford Traditional spinning wheel through a Goodwill auction. It was under $100 when someone from Arizona posted it on Ravelry in several groups. So before it ended it had gone over the $200 I was willing to go for it. It wasn't coming with any bobbins. Once it went over that mark, I started looking around on Craigslist and saw that there had been one listed in Springfield. I emailed the person and asked if they would take $200 instead of the $250 it was listed for. It also included three bobbins and the lazy kate.

Tom emailed me back and said yes to the offer. I contacted him Tuesday morning and found out that he was going to be home, so with Brandon's permission, jumped in the car and headed down to Springfield. I ended up chatting with Tom for a couple of hours before loading up and heading back home. Showed him about Ravelry and got to see his spinning and quilting. It really was a lovely time and I'm glad I got to meet him and hope to see him again (we both missed OFFF and hope to go to BSG next year).

Brandon thought the wheel could use a bit of linseed oil, so I oiled her up and took her to spinning on Wednesday. There Rachel helped me by telling me to loosen the back mother of all screw that holds on the bobbin and shortened the cotton drive band, then oiled all areas. After I loosened the brake band, I was off and spinning!

I'm looking forward to being able to take Miss Molly to events and spinning with her. Now I have to decide if I want to 'pimp' her out. Some Celtic knotwork on the front or on the wheel? The wood is too pretty to paint. Thanks to the Ashford Spinning group on Ravelry I found the Traditional Timeline and it looks like she was built in 1982. Only the color is different. (There are some people out there that PAINT?! over that lovely wood.)
All my spinning wheels: Great Wheel (Brandon still needs to fix her rim), Lendrum and Ashford Traditional
Some of my stash baskets as well as Leeloo can be seen. I need to move the stash baskets back under the piano once I finally get all out camping boxes moved out to the shed this weekend. Though I recently have come into more plastic storage boxes and really hope to move them into those so the yarns don't gather dust and get some protection from any possible wayward moth problems.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hat Fun

I've always liked hats but have had a hard time finding fun hats that aren't terribly expensive. Enter Shop Goodwill. I've gotten some hats in lots and individually. I don't always like all the hats in a lot, so will either give them away or sell them.

Here's some of the hats I've gotten:
Showing the feather on the hat

Also has a bow. Need to find some way to keep on though!

Barely perched on rabbit beret. Not sure I'll keep it, but can't wear with hair up or I need to find a way to keep it on.
In surprisingly good shape! Brown with sequins and netting. I'm not keeping it, so sale or giveaway.

Perched on top! I'm not keeping, it does remind me about something from the 60s.

Shows the feather. It's brim is velvet.
Red velvet on the top. Think it would look great with a steampunk outfit if I ever do one. ;-0

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fall = Harvests = Preservation

No pictures unless you'd like to see one of my very full pantry.....

I started out making jams -
  1. strawberry balsamic-pepper
  2. boysenberry
  3. raspberry-blackberry
  4. peach-Brown Sugar-Rum
  5. Peach-Raspberry-Ginger
  6. Ginger-Apricot-Pepper
  7. Ginger-Aprcot-Peach-Pepper
Figs happened in bunches. I dried a couple of bags of the figs and gave away a couple of boxes to friends. One ate them and the other ate them and pickled them. I need to find other exciting things to do with figs next year.

The squashes - summer and zucchini started ripening and I sliced the first and sliced and shredded the second and put them in the freezer for winter eating and baking. I'm going to try to slide the zucchini into other baked items than chocolate zucchini bread. ;-)

The tomatoes started ripening and I had the food dehydrator out for drying apple chips, so all the recipes for 'sun-dried' said to either do it in the oven or in a dehydrator. So a batch or two of the Romas became sun-dried along with the little candy-like Sun Gold yellow-orange cherry tomatoes. I also did a batch of the Romas with olive oil and roasted in the oven. They didn't really dry out, and wouldn't be safe just jarring them, so into a baggie they went into the freezer. I've done a couple of batches of tomato sauce and still have a lot of tomatoes to process. I'm going to roast more and then sauce them I think.

The Chehalis Apple tree ripened in August instead of the normal September so we lost about half of the apples trying to keep up. We still have 12 gallon bags all peeled/sliced/cored and ready to become apple pies in the freezer. A handful of quart bags filled with apple chips in the pantry. Brandon pulled out the juicer and had five gallons of apple juice. Only three quart jars so far of applesauce. The Gala tree is ripening and I want to try to get more applesauce.

We found a great area to pick blackberries and have gotten a couple gallon bags that went into the freezer.  They joined the two quart bags of boysenberries in the freezer. I love blackberries.

Beth went to Hood River last week and mentioned that she was going to get pears for .25/lb so I asked her for $2 worth. She brought back a mix of pears, I'd have to go look at all the different varieties to be sure of what she brought back. I made a batch of pear butter that is divine!  It has orange juice and the juice from it as well as some grated nutmeg.  Almost embarrassed myself if someone else were in the kitchen with me at the time but didn't stick my face in the pot to lick clean. ;-) I'm going to do another batch of this recipe and add a little crystallized ginger for a little zing.

SCA friends Marcello and Kathy are selling their house and spending at least a year in Italy. I've been the lucky recipient of spices, glass canisters, a whole ton of tomatoes, beets, ceramics and 50 lbs of milk chocolate. I traded some of our garb for their honey, for future mead making.

The beets are still new to me as a food item. I've used them as part of my roasted root medley at SCA events but wanted some way to preserve for future use. I had thought about making chips, those are yummy, but the overwhelming suggestion was pickled beets. So I went to Tasty Kitchen and found a pickled beets recipe that called for sugar and cloves as well as the white vinegar. Five tall jelly jars and a pint jar came out of the four pounds cooked. I'm going to try the boil and then peel method for the roasted root medley, it was slick!

I still need to pickle the red cabbage. They're sitting in my refrigerator crisper drawer and really need to come out. I want to do the sweet and sour kind and think because of the vinegar that I shouldn't have any issues with canning it. After all its like pickling - right?

The milk chocolate? I'm dividing up with Shelia and keeping some for my own use. She plans to use it for fudge and I thought that it might not be bad to try making some myself.Went off to Tasty Kitchen and found some recipe possibilities, including a Key Lime and coconut fudge. You don't have to be a member to use the site, the advantage of being a member is you can save recipes to your file.

Not preservation, but also a fall activity - soapmaking. I've put out a request for frozen juice containers to use as molds and am going to do a small soapmaking class in a few weeks. I want some more homemade soap and we've been out for a year. So multiple batches will be made. ;-)  I think all of this preserving, soapmaking and fudge making will help balance things out so I don't have to do as much knitting. I really like that idea! Less pressure on me to do something for everyone. I do have a bunch of stuff already made and others still planned, just can scale back some.