Wednesday

[misc] Food Stuffs

Christmas break for me starts tomorrow. Only 11 days off in a row (wish it was more) and I'm going to make the most of it. My plan is to do nothing other than:

1. Bake
2. Knit

I haven't been knitting too much recently, just spinning, so I'm going to see how many projects I can crank out. Also, I really don't bake anything other than blueberry muffins, so I'm going to bake every day: no-knead bread, muffins, cookies, savory scones. Dollar will eat it all, I know.

I'm trying to clean out the cupboards- we have all kind of beans and soups and pasta and canned tuna fish and crap that I'm trying to use up so we don't have to move with it. I've been forced to get creative. Last night I made scalloped potatoes. I have a couple cans of crab bisque to use and I decided to use one in the scalloped potatoes. I mixed some half & half with the soup and then added some salt, pepper, bay seasoning. I used my mandolin to slice two russet potatoes. I chopped up some cheddar and swiss cheeses. I put down layers of all that stuff. Baked uncovered at 400 for 50 min. It was good but way too greasy.

I'm willing to try this again (because I have the other can of bisque to use up) using way less cheese- I'll only sprinkle a bit on top and not add it to the layers of potatoes. And I might take an onion to the mandolin as well to add to the layers. The urge to include bacon is great.

Tonight? Steak and curly fries, cuz that's how I'm roll when I'm on vaca.

Monday

[misc] Murderface Monday

Woke up in the middle of the night to MF trying to kill me. He doesn't usually sleep on me- every now and then he'll sleep on my chest or stomach, but he's usually along my head or legs. In the middle of the night he decided that my neck looked warm and comfortable and he sprawled out over my neck. He was pretending to sleep but really he was trying to slowly suffocate me with his weight and fur.

Staring me down
I keel you... Youse don't know how, youse don't know when... But soonish.

Friday

[spinning] Bitsy Knits

Purchased 4oz of SW Merino at the 2010 VT S&W from Bitsy Knits:

Bitsy Knits


Spun it up into a quick two-ply:

Bitsy Knits


I like it- it's a nice, manly, rich color.

Here's a group shot of the 3lbs of fiber that I've most recently spun:

3lbs of fiber, handspun


I love it. And I love punching down my fiber stash by 3lbs. Too bad I just ordered enough fiber to replace it all. I'm weak! A fellow Raveler was getting rid of a bunch and the prices were so good... and... and... I have no excuse. I just want to spin more pretties.

Thursday

[spinning] Sage Surino

Two center-pull bumps from Flaggy Mountain Fiber Works purchased at the 2009 Green Mountain Fiber Festival. Surino: 70% Suri Alpaca, 30% Merino:

Sage


8oz of fingering weight. Looooooove this color and yarn. (That's not a single 8oz skein, but a 5oz and 3oz just twisted together)

Surino


Surino


This was easy spinning- the fiber drafted fluidly at the wheel. The fiber came in those two center-pull bumps. I put down a wide plastic bag on the floor next to the spinning wheel and pulled out all the fiber from the bumps onto it. It piled up like a mountain of soft linguine. I felt a little bit like the girl from Rumpelstiltskin who had the piles of straw to spin into gold. I didn't even want to spin it this fine but I was using my Joy so... I suppose the wheel and fiber dictate the grist, not me. I just pedal along for the ride.

Wednesday

[spinning] Forbidden Fruit

Some "fawn brown roving" that I got at the 2009 Fiber Revival down in MA last summer:

Fawn Brown Roving


Not sure what the fiber is but it feels like shetland or icelandic to me. Not soft like merino, but soft in a slightly rustic and wooly kind of way.

These two are not the same colorway, but they're close enough that I spun each and plied them together into a two ply:

Forbidden Fruit


I'm pleasantly surprised with the result. The yarn is maybe a dk or light worsted weight. I think I have enough yardage here for a nice shawl.

Forbidden Fruit

Tuesday

[spinning] Pigeonroof Fiber Club

This past summer I bought a 3-month Fiber Club membership from Pigeonroof Studios.

June - "Legerdemain", BLF, 2 ply.

Fiber Club from Pigeonroof Studios


Legerdemain


Legerdemain


July - "Squall", SW merino, navajo plied

Fiber Club from Pigeonroof Studios


Squall


Squall


August - "Char", corriedale, single ply:

Fiber Club from Pigeonroof Studios


Char


And a group shot:

Pigeonroof 3 month Club


I enjoyed spinning them all. While the legerdemain and char fibers looked similar to me color-wise, I like seeing how different they look as finished yarn. Also, the corriedale spun up SOOOO lofty as a single. They're all 4 ounces but the char is a big squooshy skein of softness.

Monday

[spinning] Meriboo

I picked up two 4oz packets of Frog Tree Yarns Meriboo roving (70% merino, 30% bamboo).

Frog Tree Yarns


Which were spun into two bulky 2-ply skeins:

Meriboo


This was effortless spinning. The fiber drafted so smoothly at the wheel. I like the sheen from the bamboo:

Meriboo


I didn't wash these skeins like I normally do, but decided to just twist them up right away. I want to keep the smooth shine (I know washing it will fuzz it up a little bit).

I've been using my Kromski Minstrel and Ashford Joy regularly, switching up between the two depending on how much fiber I have and how I want to spin it. My Minstrel bobbins are small, but I have a WooLee Winder, which fills things up evenly. I use my Minstrel for worsted to bulky spinning.

My joy has huuuuge bobbins (can probably hold 5 - 6 oz depending on how thin I spin) but the wheel only seems to want to spin lace to fingering to dk weight yarn. When I try to spin slow and bulky, the singles still end up being thin.

So, I don't fight it. Most of the time I sit at the wheel and start spinning whatever fiber I grab. Within the first 10 yards or so, I know how the yarn wants to be spun. I rarely say, "Okay, I will spin this yarn dk-weight" and check and recheck how I'm doing with my spinning card. I spin and however the yarn turns out is how it turns out. But I've learned that it's easier to spin thick on my Minstrel and fine on my Joy.

Friday

[spinning] Natural

I picked up some BLF natural mix at Rhinebeck this year:

Gale's Art


And spun it up into a bulky two-ply:

Natural BFL


Natural BLF


This was easy spinning. I didn't go anything in terms of pre-drafting, other than splitting each 4 oz bundle into 4 smaller lengths. The off-white and brown streaks in the fibers make a pretty interesting yarn.

Thursday

[knitting] Yarn I dyed

Here are the two skeins of yarn I dyed at last month's Green Mountain Fiber Festival. This was with Ellen from Ellen's Half Pint Farm. I was actually the only one who signed up for this class, so it was good to have all the one-on-one attention, but kind of too bad as well because there weren't other people painting skeins with you, so didn't get to see how their color combinations might come out.

I bought another blank skein and did two:

Dyed by me


I did the one on the right first. If it looks a little wild... that's because it is. It kind of looks like tiger colors in real life. I don't really make of (or with) it.

The blue one I did second, as a tonal experiment. I dyed one end dark blue and as I started running out of dye, Ellen added more water (instead of dye) to reduce the intensity bit by bit. I like how it turned out.

Tuesday

[misc] Murderface Tuesday

More Murderface pictures today because I have no new knitting/spinning to show. My hands are still a mess. The skin is peeling, which is a good thing (I hope) but I can't knit or hold any knitting without the yarn fibers catching and snagging. So sad. I need to take pictures of the yarn I've been spinning. Seriously, it's like... three pounds of fiber I've spun over the past few weeks. I hang out and spin while Murderface is all:

Murderface napping


He's on the spare bed behind me. After a while, I can hear, "zzzZZZZ... zzzZZZZ... zzzZZZZ" coming from him. Awww. Then I get up to take his picture:

Good morning


Oops. Go back to sleep. It's only 11 am on a Saturday. You've got... 7 more hours of napping to do before suppertime. You should probably rest up for that.

Monday

[misc] Murderface Monday

Things are feeling pretty wintery around here. I tried putting Muderface's sweater on him this weekend. We got up in the morning, went downstairs. Murderface went to the kitchen and starting banging his head against the dry food bag, like he normally does. I grabbed his sweater-vest-thingie and quickly put it on him. Then I gave him some dry food to distract him and convince him that wearing a sweater is no big deal. He ate his food while I made coffee. By the time I turned back around, he was gone from the kitchen.

I went out into the dining room and saw him. He was looking a little terrified but I told him to chill out while I got the camera. When I came back, he was running across the living room, jumped up onto a speaker, onto a set of drawers... then ran up some of the stairs.

MF in his sweater


He tried squirming out and I tried tucking his arms back in, "No, you're wearing this thing- OW! Don't bite me, you little... Just wear it!!"

MF in his sweater


He eventually wiggled his entire body up and out the neck. I think the armholes are the hardest for him- they aren't quite placed right. I think I might make another but add sleeves. I want him to want to wear the sweater as much as I want him to.