Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Crafting on - dress, socks, and control

 I am working on two projects related to this card. The first is I want to improve the consistency of my spinning for the purposes of earning my COE, and I want to keep a record of my spinning. I read that other spinners keep track by using cards or tags and keep small samples of their yarns both as singles and after the ply. If you can think of anything else I could add let me know. The second project here is a joint effort sweater for my children's godfather. I will do the spinning and another friend will be knitting him a cabled sweater. We got to talking about spinning and knitting and what kind of yarn is best for Aran style sweaters and now I a spinning samples. Then she will knit samples and we will decide which to work with. The samples will be:
2-ply, oiled, spun z plyed s
3-ply, oiled, spun z plyed s
2-ply, oiled, spun s plyed z
3-ply, oiled, spun s plyed z
and her favorite of above un-oiled.   I am researching old methods of spinning, hence the oiled wool, I have spun the first sample and am undecided about my opinion of the oiling of the fleece before carding.

This photo is a twofer as well, in the foreground is my knitting - socks as a Christmas present. The pattern is Grand Central for the NY collection by the Knitting Expat. I hate the colorway and am thinking of overdyeing it, however, someone said she liked it. So there is that.

The fabric is for the dress I am making for my interpretation work down at Garfield Farm Museum. I am hoping to get it done by May 21st, but am toying with the idea of hand stitching it, mostly. I have it cut and basted, which I did by machine. I think I will try to hand stitch it but do the gathers by machine.

This is the pattern packet front.

Joining in with the Crafting On today, I am looking forward to seeing what everyone is working on.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday Musings - May Eighth

The house is quiet, the washing machine is going. Jim is working in his office, Beaver is waiting for a ride to his field trip. The others are at school. I made bread yesterday and crunched on it in the car while I dropped the girls off. I finally have a cup of coffee, in my mug for my mother-in-law. The mug reminds me of something that I might be served in at the Green Dragon Inn. "it comes in PINTS?"  I am sitting here trying to organize my day.

Over the weekend...
 Jim came home from his business trip on Friday and we spent the evening with old friends. Our hostess made these yummy plantain chips and now I want more. We get together roughly every two weeks to play pathfinder and we had a good time. Most of the weekend was taken up with cuddling, we cuddled Jim because he was home, we cuddled Bunny because she wasn't feeling well (better now) and we cuddled Badger because she didn't want to be left out and her sister was getting all the cuddles. Mouse had homework, he is struggling with the workload required by placing him in classes at his readiness level - three grade ahead in Math - it is not the work itself, just the change from low to no homework to work every night. He has been reading a ton, but not recording it for his teachers, this weekend was a lot of digging out books at his reading level and convincing him to pick one, write it down and start reading it. Once he picked, he sat down and read hundred pages - he is starting the Dragonriders of Pern series - with out problem and enjoyed the book. I re-arranged part of one bookshelf with books I think he will be interested in.

Tonight is the girl's violin concert! I have some video work to do for the video I an putting out this week and some for the next one. I am making a new dress for my interpretation work at Garfield Farm Museum. I am working on increasing consistency and record keeping in my spinning for my COE work and trying new techinques. This week oiling wool. I would really like to finish my sweater this week, but it would take a miracle. I would like to get to the gym.

Spare Time...
work on sweater and watch videos, thankfully I can do both at once!

Prayerful intentions...
I will be praying for my dad, who was much healthier before he retired. I will be praying for my friend's dad, who is in hospital while they figure out what is wrong with him. I will be praying for another friend's step-dad, who's grief is destroying him as a man.


Thursday, April 6, 2017

Food Glorious Food

 Above is a beef and mushroom soup with Parmesan cheese grated on top. It was amazingly yummy, I made enough to save for two more days lunch but over the course of the day ate all of it. I have no clue why it was so good as I didn't do anything strange, brown the meat and onions, add broth and water, bay, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes. Cook for awhile. It was tasty.

To the right is what my husband calls 'your rice weirdness' it is based on a Japanese dish a friend made for me. Hers had dashi and a bunch of Japanese specific ingredients. I  make this a bit differently. I prefer to use leftover rice, but you can start with uncooked it just takes longer. I cook the rice in chicken stock and water. I cook it in a lot of liquid and cook it to death. I mean the liquid is mostly gone and the rice has broken down and thickened the soup, think porridge. Then I beat an egg and dumb it in, not stirring the soup while you do it. That seems strange but it works, it further thickens the soup and adds protein, but you don't necessarily end up with bits of cooked egg. Just dump it in and wait a moment then stir. Take it off the heat and add sliced green onion and cilantro, stir them in and serve, top each bowl with peanuts. The first time I made this for my dad -he is a bit picky- he saw what I was doing and said "I thought you said you were making soup not gruel." I laughed and handed him a small bowlful, and said in the tone he used on me as a kid "just try it, if you don't like it you can have something else to eat." That got him. Before I had finished serving Mom and me, he was asking for a full bowl.

I have been making lots of bread lately. Banana bread, which I make in huge batches from the last forgotten bananas that I tuck into the freezer until I have a stupid amount of, then thaw and make loaf after loaf thinking we can't possible eat this much, I better freeze some, only to have it gone before I can. My kids have no interest in either soup above but can inhale a loaf of banana bread in an eye blink. Ordinary homemade bread, pita bread, Homemade hard rolls to go with the bbq pork Jim made this week.

What are you cooking?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Spin the Bin Challenge

I used to talk about wool and spinning on Wednesday so this is perfect for today. I found out about the spin the bin challenge and am participating! The challenge is on the Completely Twisted and Arbitrary Spinning group on Ravelry. Basically you are supposed to comb through your fiber stash and select a bin full of fiber to spin within the year. The rules state each entry - you need 12 - must be at minimum 2 oz and you can split a larger amount across multiple entries. You have to post a picture of your bin with all the fiber present to enter and you can't take anything out of the bin once you start (ie change your mind) without replacing it with two entries. Your pictures have to be clear enough so they can tell you spun the yarn from the fiber, so most everyone posted a bin shot and then the fiber all spreaded out so you could see it easily and you also have to list what the fiber is, who dyed it, and the quantity. Then you add pictures of the finished yarn.

Here are my bin fibers:

The top row:
1-2) Camel & Wool blend. I bought in 2016 from a guild member’s stash, no idea how long she owned it.8.6oz.
3) Southdown. I bought as a whole raw fleece in 2015. 9oz.
The middle row:
4-5) Royal blue dyed by me, Lincoln Longwool. I bought in 2010. 8.20oz.
6) Cotton. I bought in 2015 from a guild member’s stash in a grab bag, no idea how long she owned it. 3.75oz.
7) Teal blueish dyed by me, Lincoln Longwool. I bought in 2010. 5.55oz.
The bottom row:
8-9) Afghan hound, given to me by dog’s owner in 2012. 11.1oz.
10) Brown sheep wool, dyed by me in 2014. Blending with a bombyx silk and merino blend I bought in 2016 from a guild member’s stash, no idea how long she owned it. 2.7 oz of the first & 2.8oz of the latter for 5.5oz total.
11) Yak! bought in 2015, 2oz.
12) Cotswold, given to me as a raw fleece in 2013. 5.7oz.

I am not looking forward to the cotton - it is terrible cotton, but I figured this was the only way I was likely to spin it - it came in a grab bag and luckily the rest of the fiber was a nice alpaca. I am also not looking forward to the Afghan hound, as it is very smelly, if anyone has a suggestion on cleaning tips I would greatly appreciate it. I am excited about the yak and the Lincolns.
The brown sheep blending with merino/bombyx silk is to be the ply strand to more of the brown sheep that I have waiting and will be where I start. I originally had 8oz of green roving that I split into thirds (horizontally) then I spun the first two halves on separate bobbins and this spin will hopefully make two bobbins to ply against them.

I should probably get to work! 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Crafting on -1- Sweater Complete & Socks Cruising

Joining Nicole at Frontier Dreams for my first ever Crafting On. I am a bit sad the yarn along is over, but I am looking forward to making new friends and finding new inspiration at Crafting On.

 First I took this last week for the yarn along, then reading that Ginny was done, did not post about it so here goes. It is finally done. I love how it turned out! This is Mouse's favorite sweater now and he wore it to school on Friday and Monday. It is Elizabeth Zimmerman's Percentage system with six Pikachu heads done in Intarsia in the round with insanity. He gave me a kiss for each row. I actually did each head twice as I pulled in too much the first time trying to do it a stranded colorwork.

 My socks are coming along great! The pattern is Mina Philip's Vanilla sock recipe. The yarn is 75% Correidale and 25% Nylon. My spinning guild did this dyeing project last fall, one of the ladies has a knitting machine so she whipped up two stranded knitting blanks for everyone and we got together and dyed them. The above shot represents the colors better, but I wanted to show that I have the heels done.

This is what is on my spinning wheel right now. Brown Sheep wool that I dyed with acid based dyes. I have two bobbins done and ready for me to make the single to ply it with. I also finished a new podcast video, link here.

I am looking forward to seeing what everyone is working on! ~Julia

Monday, April 3, 2017

Monday Musings - April the third

 I have been sick for all of March. Many different sicknesses, which thankfully hit me much harder than my family. I am finding that getting back to normal is very slow going, I am struggling against napping and not eating much before I am full to the point of feeling ill. I had lots of plans on what I was going to get done today. I have wasted the day, I fell asleep taking a bath. No worries it is a small tub, but now I am stiff and got nothing done.

The girls had a sleepover birthday party on Saturday. Beaver has joined the La Crosse team and had another game this Saturday. It was their fifth game this week and their first lost in nine. I felt bad that they lost the first game I managed to attend. He really loves this game. His girlfriend was there wearing his jersey. She is very sweet. Mouse took advantage of the siblings being gone to play some long board games with Jim (Agricola & Caverna.) Jim and I cuddled and talked all Saturday night, it was a nice date night.

I need to warp my loom and weave some charity scarves for my weaving guild. The yarn is donated to the group - they give lessons for seniors and they have all this yarn the students can use, but most prefer to bring in their own, so the cupboards where quite full and they are expecting another donation. So we picked some yarn out and are making 4-5 scarves each that will be given to an organization that helps the homeless. It lets all of us help out and lets those of us would are less experienced weavers get in more practice. I have chosen two shades of hunter green and a brown.

I need to finish a video I have been working on and make another. I have neglected my business and household equally. In working on the next video, I have fiber prep and spinning to do.

If I get some time for myself...
I will work on my socks and sweater.

I am grateful for...
Cuddles, giant piles of stuffed animals covering me when I woke up from a nap, my girls getting to be older in that they can be sent to clean up their room and do it without too much fussing, and Yorkshire puddings.

Prayerful intentions...
This week I am praying for health and healing in the lives of several babies and young children, and in thanksgiving for a friend's pregnancy.

Join me in musing by linking your post in the comments.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Yarn along 5 - Sweaters are scary

I have been focusing on this sweater and it is really coming along. The title of this post is two-fold, one I have been focusing on this one as the color-work in the other sweater is scary and I don't want to screw it up and rip it out again, and two the armhole row of this sweater was terrifying! It made no sense. I eventually, knit a sample and went for it. It worked but I will think long and hard about knitting from a pattern by this designer again. It works and it is lovely, buut the pattern is confusing and now help ore clarification is available and while looking I found lots of people got stuck exactly where I did. I have four balls left and more to go, so I am hoping the yarn holds out! Until I tried it on I was thinking if necessary I could skip the sleeves but I think it needs them, so fingers crossed. After all the stress of the armhole rows and all the double twisted rib, getting to stockinette for a while is great. Photos by the girls.

I am still reading Aiden Amos' Big Book of Handspinning. I also have broken with not reading fiction and am re-reading the Sign of Seven Trilogy by Nora Roberts.

I finished my second video, this one shows me dyeing, preparing, spinning and ply wool into yarn.

Joining Ginny and the other Creative Ladies of the Yarn Along! ~ Julia