Thursday

[knitting] Kimono Scarf

Finished a scarf that I started in 2008:

Kimono Shawl

2008!!!!

It was big project. It was lace-weight. It got repetitive and boring really fast. But, it was time to finish it. For good.

Here's where it was when I pulled it from the depths of my hide-it-and-forget-about-it bins:

Lace scarf WIP

About halfway through a ball of Alpaca With a Twist Fino. Pattern is Kimono Shawl from Folk Shawls. I made it scarf-sized.

All finished and blocked:

Kimono Scarf

Not the most glamorous photo of it but it's quite stunning in real life. The lightness of the lace is very nice.

Kimono Scarf

I made a mistake on one row on this scarf somewhere (yarn-overs were shifted). I only noticed it when I had worked so much more past it that I decided it wasn't worth ripping back to. When I blocked the scarf, I stood and scared at it for a good 5 minutes, looking for the error. I couldn't see it and thought, "Fine. If I made the scarf and I can't find it, hopefully no one else will notice it. Ever."

My US 4 needles didn't fare so well:

Stained needles

Stained. Which made me wonder: If I were to wear this scarf with a white shirt and got caught in the rain- would this scarf BLEED all over my shirt?

The only answer is to gift this scarf to someone I hate and hope they wear it in the rain. 

Just kidding. I washed the scarf prior to blocking and it did bleed quite a bit. Took a few rinses to get most of the extra dye out. Hm. It should hopefully be okay. Will probably give it to my mom as a Christmas gift. And tell her not to wear it in rain. Or snow. Or fog or anywhere even kind of damp-ish.

Wednesday

[cooking] Maple Cream Candies

Maple Creme Candy


Followed this recipe. I didn't want to make too much, so I cut the ingredients down to:

1 cup maple syrup (Grade B)
1/3 cup cream
2 tablespoons butter

Boiled, then simmered until the "ball-in-cold-water" stage. After it cooled a bit, I stir-stir-stirred until it was kind of like a warm paste. Then I pushed small bits into a silicone mold to set.

These came out waaaaaay better than I anticipated. I was worried they would be like the opaque maple candies you find in gift shops and general stores around the state. The light tan ones often shaped like maple leaves. They're usually gritty/grainy like sucking on granular sugar. 

These cream candies are epically smooth. Better than fudge- softer and silkier. I'm not sure if it was the addition of cream and butter- I think the commercial maple candies are only maple syrup that has been boiled and stirred (perhaps over-stirred? which causes the grit, I think?). These candies have super-strong maple flavor from using Grade B syrup- but that also made these darker. Lighter syrup (fancy) would make lighter candies.

Tuesday

[spinning] Icy Fantom

Blend of Wool/Mohair/Viscose by Fantom Farm, purchased at the 2011 Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival:

Fantom Farm

Spun into just < 700 yards of heavy fingering-weight 2-ply:

Handspun

This yarn is either going to be a pair to tall socks or a shawl.

Fantom Farm Handspun

Or, I can use it to line a nest for Penny:

Penny likes this yarn

I've made a Haruni shawl twice, but never for me. Hmmm...

Friday

[cooking] Shakshouka

I recently joined a group on Reddit called 52 Weeks of Cooking. Every week is a different theme. I happened to join when the theme was North African. After searching for recipes online, I settled on Shakshouka:

Shakshuka


I basically followed this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I also made some flatbread to accompany it.

This was so tasty. Inexpensive, too. The eggs ended up over cooked- I watched the pan pretty closely for the whites to set- but the yolks were hard by the time the whites were done. Dollar preferred it this way- more substance/chew to the protein. I would have preferred runny yolks. 


Wednesday

[spinning] Copper Fantom

Two skeins of brown wool, about worsted weight.

Copper yarn


I bought this at the 2011 VT Sheep and Wool Festival from the Fantom Farm booth. They are a vendor that I always visit when I see they are at a festival. They always have interesting fiber and their prices are excellent. 

I bought this stuff because of all the copper angelina in the fiber. The finished yarn is so sparkly.

Copper yarn

I'll probably make a hat or two with this yarn. If I wear it on a sunny winter's day, I'm sure the glittering will be blinding!

Monday

[misc] Penny Monday

This is how Penny spent most of last week and the weekend:

Conehead

She doesn't fight the cone, it just makes her sad to be in it. And after a few days of wearing it and not being able to take baths, she starts licking the inside of the cone. Saturday afternoon, I spent a few hours in the bedroom with her cone-free, while I put away laundry and could monitor her licking. By Sunday, she didn't need the cone anymore.

I planted all my shade plants in the new shade garden I dug behind the house- ostrich ferns, hostas, old fashioned bleeding hearts. And I planted bulbs- crocus around the lawn in front of my house and daffodils down along a couple rock walls. I was a wee bit lazy with the daffodils- only planting them 4 inches deep, rather than 6 - 8. I hope they grow :/


Thursday

[misc] 'Nip-heads

Murderface and Penny enjoying some fresh catnip:


Totally unrelated to this, Penny has licked a bald spot on her arm. Could be stress. Could be a food allergy or allergy to something else. Could be other things. I don't know. I tried a bitter spray (did not deter her at all), adhesive bandages (she absolutely didn't like that); as a last resort, she's now in the e-collar (aka: cone of shame, leftover from her surgery) strictly to keep her from licking the spot more. 

It's going to take a while to sort out. If it's a food allergy, I've got to figure out what's causing it (the wet food? the dry food? the treats?) and then change that food for all the cats. I don't know what brought this on- we haven't tried new food but that doesn't mean that the food companies haven't changed their recipes.

Wednesday

[vermont] Autumn

Autumn around the house


Days are getting much shorter and cooler. I'm frantically trying to finish things before winter- getting new bulbs into the ground (crocus and daffodils- I can't wait to see you in the spring!) and staining/painting the front porch. Dollar's doing the last of the mowing- shredding fallen leaves so we don't have to rake.

Birds are heading south:

Autumn around the house

Foliage was excellent this year.

Autumn around the house

My knitting/spinning mojo has been rejuvenated by the cold weather. I (birthday) treated myself to lots of new spinning fiber to keep me occupied throughout the winter.

Tuesday

[vermont] Cider Press

This past Saturday I was invited by my neighbor to a cider press at a local farm. Everyone pools their apples together and you go home with jugs of fresh pressed cider.

First, apples are dumped into a big tub of water to be washed:

Wild apples at a cider press. Going to make fresh cider with my neighbors.

Then, using plastic milk crates, scoop out the apples and slowly pour them down a chute where they will be smashed and layered between brown cloths.

Untitled

The guy below rings a bell to tell you to stop pouring apples while he closes off one layer and preps the next cloth. Then rings the bell to tell you to start pouring again. Then he repeatedly rings the bell to tell you to stop pouring apples all together, it's time to press.

Down at the hydraulic press, the juice is squeezed from the apples.

Untitled

Cider press. Juice being squeezed out of crushed apples (inside the brown cloth) via hydraulic press.

Any pulp is filtered with the brown cloths but the juice is filtered again, through a finer cloth, before bottling.

The leftover pulp after being pressed (good food for pigs if to have them):

Untitled

And then you start all over again- wash apples, pour them down the chute, press, bottle. Wash pour press bottle. 

At home, enjoy the fruit (juice) of your labor:

Untitled


Friday

[knitting] Purple Pouch

While working on Davos' Pouch, I finished another small one with leftover Sylvan Spirit yarn from the Green Mountain Spinnery:

Small pouch

You can't see, because the pouch is drawn shut, but I added a row of purl before and after the yarn-over round (which creates the holes that I use to thread the cords through). This was purely for decorative purposes and it looks nice- I might just have to do that to all the pouches that I make from now on.

Thursday

[knitting] Davos' Pouch

I'm participating again in Nerd Wars on Ravelry. I'm on Team Iron Thone for fans of George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire Series. I knit up a small little pouch for one of the challenges:

Davos pouch


Same little dice bag I've made more than a dozen times but this time I added a longer cord, so that I can wear it around my neck. One character from the story, Davos Seaworth, wears a pouch around his neck. His pouch contains a small amount of bones. I'm not sure what I'll keep it mine, but it probably won't be bones.

Wednesday

[knitting] Lilliput Hat

Lilliput Hat


Pattern: Lilliput Hat (free pattern on Ravelry)

Yarn: Made In America Yarns American Lamb

Needles: US 9

Notes: Easy pattern. The chart doesn't show all the even rows, which are knit. I omitted all these rows the first time around and as I started the decreases for the crown, I wondered why it was turning out more like a yarmulke than a beanie. I ripped and re-knit.

One modification that I made was to cast on and work one inch of knit 1, purl 1. This worked well with the pattern as written- the lace pattern flowed from the knit stitches perfectly. 

Cute pattern- fast to work up with bulky yarn. Will definitely make again!

Tuesday

[misc] Apple Picking

Went to Poverty Lane Orchards in Lebanon, NH to pick apples last week.

Apple Picking

Their lower orchard, with rare varieties wasn't open yet (possibly this weekend, they said) so I went to the regular larger orchards where they have Cortlands, McIntosh and Macouns. I got a big bag of Cortlands and McIntosh. 

Apple Picking

I love apple season! 

Apple Picking

I've made a pie already, naturally. I'm trying to think of other ways to cook with the apples, in a savory manner. I don't have a food mill and I don't can, so apple sauce and apple butter and apple jelly are out. I think a pork loin roulade with a shredded apple/walnut/onion/bacon stuffing would be good. Yeah... that does sound good.

Monday

[misc] Murderface Monday

Murderface

Had a good weekend! Went to see Reggie Watts at the HOP on Saturday night and Sunday was my birthday. Had a nice family dinner out. 

Friday

[crafts] Autumn Deco Mesh Wreath

Another deco mesh wreath. I made this one the same way as the first one- only this time I added wired ribbon and a coordinating bow.

Autumn Deco Mesh Wreath


The only problem now is figuring out how to store the unused wreathes. Will probably put them inside of a white kitchen trash bag and store flat in the basement.

Thursday

[misc] Banana Phone

New case for my iPhone finally arrived:

iBanana

That's right, it's a banana. So that when I talk into my phone, it looks like I'm talking into a banana. Or texting into a banana. 

iBanana Warnings

I'll try to remember to not near it to fires.

For email, I've already changed my signature to "Sent from my iBanana."

Tuesday

[spinning] Polwarth

Not a terribly exciting post today, but this was my first time spinning Polwarth fiber:

Handspun Polworth

8 oz, two ply. This picture is two skeins twisted up together. This fiber was nice- easy to spin. Not as soft and bouncy as merino, but I like it more than corriedale. This is a helpful chart for sheep breeds and their softness. The lower the micron count, the softer the fiber.