[knitting] Coral Reef Hat

I had more of the same yarn I used for yesterday's Magic Mirror Mittens. I wanted to knit a "matching" hat. Not necessarily the same cable design, just a cabled dk-weight hat. I saw a new, free pattern pop up on Ravelry called Coral Reef:

Hot off the needles, a hat to go with the mittens. Now I'm in the mood for infinity scarves. #knitting

This is a better representation of the actual color of the yarn. I knit the ribbed band to 5.5 inches, for a longer fold-over brim. This took only one ball of the Chiara.

It's a bit snug. I did the entire hat on US 5 needles. It's a clear, well-written pattern with some clever decreases at the crown. I'm temped to cast on for another, while the pattern is fresh in my mind. I would move up a needle size, cast on 112 (rather than casting on 102 for the ribbing and then increasing 10 for the body) and do k2p2 ribbing for the brim. I might just have to go digging into my stash for alpaca yarn.


[knitting] Magic Mirror Mittens

Finished a new pair of mittens for this fall/winter:

Finally finished. Magic Mirror mittens. #knitting #mittens

Pattern: Magic Mirror (free on Rav)

Yarn: Lana Grossa Chiara, 1.1 balls

Needles: US 5

Notes: The top project for this pattern on Ravelry used a silver chain yarn with a brown halo. I happened to have the same yarn, in a different color. The yarn works really well for the pattern, adding more dimension to the cables. These mittens are oh-so-soft as well. The color in the picture above is a brighter than the actual dark-plum color in real life.


[knitting] Fur-topped booties

Chic little knee-high baby booties:

Fur-topped booties. Tres chic. #knitting

Same pattern as the purple booties from last week, with a few mods. I cast on only 8 stitches with fur yarn and worked for 5.5 inches. Then using the taupe yarn, I picked up the correct number (THAT was difficult) and worked some garter rows, then knit a longer stockinette leg. Then worked the foot as normal. Easy, quick and so darn cute.

I have some discontinued Berroco suede yarn- I plan to make this pattern a couple more times to look like proper little Uggs.


[misc] Murderface Monday

Murderface went to the vet Saturday for his annual exam and rabies booster. Then slept it off the rest of the weekend.

Murderface loves his sheepskin. #catsofinstagram

It was a rainy, cold weekend. I stayed in and baking a bunch of stuff. Sunday was football day and then The Walking Dead premier. That was... so sad. So, so, so sad and emotionally draining. Dollar and I were able to watch with SlingTV but we got a season pass through Amazon to watch the rest of the season the day after from now on. We just had to watch the premier live because we knew there would be no way to avoid spoilers today. We stayed up to watch The Talking Dead after because, as cheesy as it sounds, it was a bit like therapy to deal with the loss.

Still working on lots of knitting. I started some simple garter stitch slippers with leftover sock yarn because my feet are so cold on the floors now.


[knitting] Purple booties

Purple booties:

More booties. #knitting

Pattern: Baby Uggs by Autumn Street (free on Rav)

Yarn: Valley Yarns Longmeadow (discontinued)

Needles: US 5

Notes: Wanted to run through this pattern once. Good pattern for DK-weight yarn. Easily customizable. Pattern is worked back and forth and then seamed shut. I hate sewing but this project is so small, it really doesn't take long. I have a couple balls of ancient Berroco Suede and I plan on making a couple pairs of Ugg knock-offs.


[knitting] Baby Booties

Working on some scrappy booties for the niece:

Not quite matchy-matchy booties, using up leftover yarns. #knitting #booties

Pattern: Baby Boots by Frankie Brown (free on Rav)

With these, I finally used the very last of the yarn I got in Korea years ago. I originally use it for this scarf and then used most of what remained for this bag. These booties are knit from the bottom up, so I used up every last inch of the yarn and then found a couple teeny, tiny balls of lilac yarn (leftover from these socks) to do the ribbed cuffs with.

The feet of the booties don't quite match because the marled yarn has long, gradual color changes. Using a solid color for the cuffs helped bring the pair together.

I have lots and lots of leftover fingering weight yarn- so I'll definitely be knitting more of these booties. They were pretty easy and quick to knit- I even had to rip out and re-knit one because I knit the first continental style (looser) and knit the second English style (sooooo tiiiiiight). I have no idea why I did that.


[knitting] Magnolia Hat

Got some knitting mojo to finish some projects and start new ones. This hat was knit re-watching Captain America: Civil War:

Magnolia hat. Will be nice to be reminded of green foliage 5 months into winter. #magnoliatattoo #knitting #hatknitting #malabrigorios #green

Pattern: Magnolia by Maria Socha

Yarn: Malabrigo Rios, one skein

Needles: US 6 for ribbing, US 7 for body

Notes: I used the entire skein knitting the large size- not even enough leftover for a pompom. The Rios yarn is very dense- I'd classify it as a aran weight rather than worsted. I would definitely knit this pattern again, with more yarn so that I can make a loooong folder over ribbed brim and add a pompom.


[spinning] Washing fleece

This past weekend I finally put together a mesh frame to spread out the lamb's fleece that I bought at VT Sheep and Wool a couple weeks ago:

Finally put together a wooden frame and screen. Starting to wash the lamb fleece that I got a couple weekends ago at Vermont sheep and wool. 4lbs to wash. This is going to take a while.

4lbs of Romney lamb. I'm picking through the locks, layering them into a basket (three layers, separated by mesh):

Layering the locks to wash in HOT soapy water to get the lanolin out.

I have two plastic tubs in the garage. I fill each with one bucket of hot water from the tap. Then I divide a stockpot of boiling water between the two, so they both super hot and the same temperature. One tub has about a tablespoon of dawn dish soap. Then I put the basket of locks in to soak for 15 min and melt out the lanolin wax.

Locks in a plastic basket in a larger plastic tub in the garage.

After transferring the basket to the other tub (to water that is the same temperature), you can see how filthy the soapy water gets:

Basket moved to the second tub to rinse. Look how dirty the water is from the soapy wash!

Here's an example of what the fiber looks like before washing (left) and after washing (right):

Unwashed on the left. Washed on the right! All this washing will be worth it to have piles of white fleece to spin!

SO WHITE. Just want I wanted when I bought this fleece. I'm not super happy with the state of the fleece, there's a lot of undesirable junk in it (chaff and vegetable matter) but I think a lot of it will fall out when I start coming the locks.

Progress so far (you can see the unwashed stuff in the back):

Washed fleece

Ugh. Lots and lots and lots more washing to do. Then lots of combing. Then lots of spinning. Then lots of knitting. I'm not sure I'll process too many more fleeces in the future, but at least I know how to now.


[knitting] Bed Socks

Bed socks:

Tonight's hand knit bed socks. #knitting #sockknitting #slipstripespiral

I knit these Slip Stripe Spirals this past spring as part of Sock Madness. The black yarn is glittery- which is rather pointless at night, in the dark, under the covers. But at least I know.


[vermont] Foliage

Despite (or because of?) the drought, we've had great foliage this year, which I think peaked this past weekend. I took a walk around the hills in the back yard for pictures:

Looking west, back down toward the house

The walk was nice with clearly defined deer trails through the fields. I guess 7 or 8 deer making rounds to all the apple trees twice a day would clearly leave tracks.


There are a couple really nice reds in the back yard. I've been admiring this tree from the back deck and wanted to go up for a close-up picture:

#nofilter This tree is on fire πŸ”₯

The weather is definitely cooling off now. The heat is running when I get up in the mornings.

Was able to get some good knitting done over the long weekend. Started a series of baby booties while watching Luke Cage. Should have some good light this afternoon to take pictures. 


[vermont] Birthday Dinner

Had a nice four-day weekend, starting Thursday night with a birthday dinner out at Cloudland Farm. The serve one menu each night, with local ingredients.

First course: Turnip and beet soup, toasted baguette, apples, chive oil, lemon crème fraiche

Birthday dinner at Cloudland Farm. Turnip and beet soup. Apples. Chive oil. Lemon crime fraiche. Toasted baguette.

My photos are dark because of the candle light but this soup was SO bright and pink from the beets. This was great- we both shared one bowl with the house sourdough bread.

Main course: Cloudland Farm chicken duo: grilled breast and stuffed thighs, buttercup squash puree, Swiss chard risotto cakes, pickled broccoli Romanesco, blueberry gastrique

Main course: chicken breast and stuffed thigh. Butternut squash purΓ©e. Swiss chard risotto cakes. Pickled romanesco. Blueberry gastrique. At Cloudland Farm.

The farm raises and sells angus beef and pork. They used to sell chickens but now only raise them for the restaurant and OMG- this was the best chicken we've ever had. Dollar and I both looked at each other after trying it, like "WTF is up with this chicken? How can chicken be this perfect?" I went on to think that I'll never cook another chicken again because clearly I've had the best and anything I make from now on will just leave me feeling sad and disappointed.

I will say that when I saw the menu online earlier in the day, I was like, "Oh no, Dollar's not going to like this." He's not a picky eater he just... likes what he likes. I was sure he wasn't going to like the beet soup- but he did. I was sure he wasn't going to like the squash puree and picked romanesco, etc. But we both cleaned our plates. I think it's a testament to how well the chef balances so many ingredients and they all taste so good together.

Dessert: Chevre panna cotta, chocolate streusel, beet ice cream, cocoa nib tuile, thyme oil, balsamic

Dessert: chèvre panna cotta. Beet ice cream. Chocolate streusel. Cocoa nib tuile. Thyme and balsamic oil. #cloudlandfarm

The beet ice cream nestled into a little mound of chocolate streusel was my favorite bite of the night. It was like a spoonful of cold chocolate cereal in milk.

I hope we make dinner here an annual (or more!) evening out. It was fantastic and I can't recommend it enough.


[misc] Kitty Wednesday

All three cats on the couch last night:

All three cats on the couch

Murderface is on the sheepskin I got at the VT Sheep and Wool Festival this past weekend. All three cats love it; it's warm and soft and squishy and the best thing ever to knead.

I finally finished my mittens last night- need to close the gaps around the thumb join and sew in ends.


[vermont] Oh, deer

Our house is swarmed by deer at dusk and dawn:

#vermont #appleseason

Five in the backyard here. There were seven the previous evening. They make their rounds to all the apple trees every day.


[vermont] Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival

Was a busy weekend for me. Saturday morning I was up and out of the house early for the first part of my How to Buy, Process and Spin a Fleece class. We took a look at a skirted fleece:

Raw fleece class at VT Sheep and Wool this morning. Going to buy my first fresh-off-a-sheep fleece today! #vtsheepandwool

And discussed all the aspects of what to look for when you're ready to buy a bag of fleece. The class let out and then we were off to the festival to buy a fleece. I was kind of in a rush to see everything because I was going to my grandmother's for lunch at noon. I hastily went around, not really taking my time, buying from my favorite vendors and picking out a 4-pound bag of Romney lamb's wool:

Romney Lamb's fleece

Then it was off to my gram's. Lunch was New England Boiled Dinner, which I love. Come on, salty corned beef brisket, cabbage, potatoes, onions, carrots, beets. It was so good. Then I returned home to wait for my sister and niece, who were coming over. Then it was back to Tunbridge for the second part of the class- how to properly wash fleece. Actually, this part was good because we got to go over all the different fleeces that the students purchased- see the different breeds and colors and cost and cleanliness. We washed a bit and hoped it would dry before Sunday's class on actual carding/combing and spinning.

So yeah, Sunday was more fleece processing. I left class a little early to run down to the fairgrounds for a couple errands (picking up the knit items I entered in the fair contest; picking up a sheepskin for the cats) before heading home for the 1pm Patriots game (ugh). I was so depressed after the game, I took a nap for a few hours. Then I had a few hours in the evening for supper, laundry and the new Netflix show Luke Cage.


[cooking] Pork Pie

Made a pork pie last night. The dough and filling:

I love you, food processor. Chopped pork chops, potato, onion and apples for the filling in two minutes.

The dough is 50% butter, 50% bacon fat. The filling was a breeze to bring together with my food processor. I chopped up raw pork chops, onion, potato, apples (picked from outside) in a minute. Then I mixed it up with some cooked bacon, salt, pepper, sage, Worcestershire sauce and a little boiled cider.

Patted it all unto the pie, covered and cut a piggy face:

Pork pie

Baked at 425 for 15 min then 375 for 50 min.

The finished pie:

Pork pie so good, even the pig is drooling. 🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷🐷

Was good but maybe needs work. Dollar said there wasn't much pork taste to it. I think next time, I might cook the pork chops in a pan first and then chop it. When I make these meat pies, I usually use leftover pork loin or roast beef, which probably has more flavor than the raw meat.


[knitting] Bed socks

Last night I wore handknit socks to bed for the first time this fall:

First night sleeping in wool socks. Went for the Frankensocks. #knitting #sockknitting #frankensocks

I really don't wear my handknit socks with shoes. Maybe with slippers around the house but I definitely don't just run around the bare floors with them. I've mended or thrown away too many of Dollar's handknit socks due to blown-out heels and toes. For his socks, I don't mind making more- they are worsted-weight plain vanilla socks and quick to work up. My handknit, fingering weight, patterned socks are usually only worn in bed or when I'm lounging. They'll last longer that way.

Still working on a pair of mittens. They really shouldn't be taking this long but my knitting mojo is low. I got out all my weaving equipment and watched some refresher videos and tried direct-warping... but the warping peg fell off the thing I attached it to halfway through and I felt all "F you, F me, F this, FML, F everything". I just need to practice weaving more. I want to do it but I just need a better process and more practice.


[cooking] Homemade ramen

First attempt at homemade ramen:

First try making homemade ramen last night. Needs tweaking but good. #ramen

Broth is chicken stock and bone broth, drizzle of ponzu and brown rice vinegar, minced garlic, a couple carrots (simmered in it), a teaspoon of doenjang (Korean fermented soybean paste), salt. Removed the carrots when I added the ramen noodles to cook in it. Topped with sauteed trumpet mushrooms, pan fried pork belly, scallions, soft-boiled egg. The egg needed a couple more minutes- I'm happy I was even able to peel it- the yolk was completely runny as soon as you pierced it with a chopstick. Not bad but not the intention.

Overall, we enjoyed it. I would like to add more toppings- maybe some blanched spinach, a couple shrimp, kimchi (for me), seaweed. And a splash of toasted sesame oil to the broth. Nicely filling and warm dinner that we'll have again since the weather is cooling. Must remember to preheat the bowls in the oven a bit first.


[misc] Murderface Tuesday

All my items and ribbons from the fair, piled up:

Everything I entered in the fair this year.

After I put the ribbons away, I came by later to see this:

Finally, Murderface can lay on all my knit stuff and get fur all over it.

Murderface loves my handknits the most. I moved the brown skein of yarn up by his head and he used it as a pillow.

I decided to enter a few things to the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival contests this weekend. I have a shawl, a pair of socks and handspun yarn that I didn't enter into the Tunbridge Fair this year- so I'll enter them in the festival. No overlap of items, which is nice.


[gardening] Hello, autumn

We had a hard frost at the house the past two mornings. I've started sleeping with a light down blanket under the cotton one I use in the summer. Penny has started tapping me to get under the covers to sleep. I've seriously considered turning on the heat in the house. So, yeah. Fall is here.

Hard frost the past two mornings.

Saturday morning I went down to Dartmouth at 8am to see the blooming corpse flower (amorphallus titanum):

Went to see the blooming corpse flower "Monty" at Dartmouth this morning. And it does smell that bad. πŸŒΊπŸ˜©πŸ˜«πŸ˜– #corpseflower

The species, native to Indonesia, is the largest flower in the world and only blooms about every 6 years. There was a line of about 30 people and they would only let groups of 8 people in at a time. It smelled terrible. Kind of like rotten fish to me but you kind of get used to it after a while. I took my pictures and left.

Back at home, I walked around to see what was still blooming:


Butterfly weed.

A few daylilies still going πŸ’›

Tiny mums.

The Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival is this weekend and I can't wait! I signed up for 2-day class on how to process raw fleece. I also cashed my Tunbridge Fair winnings and a bowl of spare change at home for Festival spending money. I've been (fairly) good about only buying yarn at Festivals rather than online, so I can't wait to buy new stuff!


[cooking] Apple Pie

I used half of the wild apples I picked to bake the first apple pie of the season!

Gonna nurse my hangover with an apple pie.

First apple pie of the season. Used wild apples from the front yard. 🍎❤️🍎❤️🍎❤️🍎❤️🍎

I gave Dollar the first slice, saying, "I had to walk all the way half-way down the driveway to get these apples!" Homemade crust + front-yard apples = loooooove.


[gardening] What's blooming mid-September

Having last Friday off work was so nice. The days are getting cooler and shorter. In the late morning, I took a walk about the front yard. First, I picked some wild apples:

Not gonna let the deer get all the apples. Picking these for a piiiieeeee. 🍏🍎🍏🍎

I had to grab and shake some of the branches, to get some big, ripe ones to fall. Wanted to get big ones to make an apple pie with. There were some pretty mushrooms growing on one of the mossy apple tree limbs:

Fungi on the apple tree limb. #Vermont #mushrooms #mycology

I went down to the large flowerbed to check things out. The purple bee balm is blooming a bit more:

Purple bee balm. #monarda #vermont

I like the soft lilac color these turned out to be. After googling "purple bee balm", I was expecting a strong magenta but this light color was a nice surprise.

Dew was still clinging to everything. I put in two different asters over Labor Day weekend, one of which is just starting to bloom:

Purple aster sparkles with morning dew. ✨✨✨✨✨

Love the dew making it look so sparkly!

There are lots of wild asters blooming now to keep the bees busy. Here's a nice, thick group along the edge of our yard:

Lots of wild #aster blooming now.

Dewy cobwebs hung from several branches of this forsythia:

Cobwebs on the struggling forsythia I put in this summer. Hope it bounces back next spring.

This forsythia is looking a little shabby- I put it in mid-summer and we've basically been in drought all summer. Hopefully we'll have a super-snowy winter (yay, snowmobiling finally!) and this shrub will bounce back next spring.

It was so nice to walk around, take pictures and check everything out in the late morning. I was like, "Ugh, if only I didn't have to work, I could do this every day!" But I'm sure that's what everyone thinks. I should just take 4-day weekends more often ;)


[knitting] Baby PomPom Hat

The night before the first day of the fair, I saw that the weather was going to be cool- high of 66! So I through my handspun stash to make a quick baby hat:

Stuff dropped off at the fair! Gonna speed knit a bulky hat for my niece, it's gonna be chilly tomorrow. Should be able to do it while we watch Captain America Civil Waaaaaaar!

This is bulky weight handspun that I spun at the Tunbridge Fair 2 years ago, when I volunteered to do a spinning demonstration outside the sheep barn. So I thought it was nice to use for my niece's first visit to the fair.


D'awww. Finished the hat last night, made the pompoms this morning. Yarn is handspun I made doing a spinning demonstration at the Tunbridge Fair two years ago. #knitting #handspun #babyknitting

No pattern. I just cast on 48 st, work 2x2 ribbing for an inch, work plain intil 6 inches in length, kitchener the top closed, add pompoms to the corners. I made a bulky handspun hat for Dollar's niece years ago and it was so cute on. Here's the recipient in hers:

Ripley tried on the hat but the weather was too nice to keep it on.

So. Cute. It only takes a couple hours to make. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the sun was shining all day and it was too warm to wear the hat for more than a few pictures. But winter is coming...


[vermont] Tunbridge Fair 2016

Pictures from the fair! I went with my sister and niece on Thursday. The weather was gorgeous. First we stopped to admire the horses (Morgan horse judging had just started):

Morgan horse judging #tunbridgefair

Then we went to the other end of the fairgrounds to check out the animal barns. All the pigs were napping:

Swine love πŸ–❤️πŸ–

A couple steers relaxing:

#barnlife #tunbridgefair

We got some fair food and saw some of the harness racing and pony pulling. We went through the craft barn but they were still judging items. I did see a quilt that I wanted to bring home:

My favorite quilt! #tunbridgefair

Friday night I went with a friend to the beer hall:

#tunbridgefair beer hall

Saturday we went back for more revelry. We got some lunch and sat in grandstands for the cavalcade.

Livestock cavalcade. Steer presentation. #tunbridgefair

Then the vegetable barn:

Good use of different gourds!

All weekend long I had been making a joke that I needed one potato to make a Korean doenjang jjigae. I had the doenjang, onion, squash, scallions, stock, etc. I just needed ONE POTATO. Standing in the vegetable barn, I see the blue ribbon, best-in-show potato... sitting there on a paper plate... And I start fantasizing about using it in my stew. #potatofantasies

Best watermelon:

Best Watermelon

These pumpkins looked like they had peanut shells all over them- and they're called Peanut Pumpkins (this French heirloom variety is actually called BrodΓ© Galeux d'Eysines):

Peanut shell pumpkins

Apparently the more peanut-shell warts the pumpkin has, the sweeter it is!

More animals:

Tunbridge Fair

Tunbridge Fair

A ferris wheel ride:

Tunbridge Fair

It was a long day but so good. Saturday afternoon is when I went through the craft barn again and saw the Best in Show ribbon for the first time on my socks. Sunday evening I went to pick up my items and premium check (not even going to deposit it- going to cash it and use it as my spending money at the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival next weekend!).