I wonder if I could convince Y to make more for sale? I know I'm in love with them.
Friday, February 29, 2008
I wonder if I could convince Y to make more for sale? I know I'm in love with them.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
So today, I go into the master list of blogs I read. I've discovered that I read forty (40) different blogs. Who would have thought there would be so many? I thought maybe I read 10 or at most 20 different blogs, but not 40. It's just that when I find a blog I like, I add it to my list.
I have some exciting things to tell you about that happened yesterday, but they really need photos to show them off. I will have to wait until the light is good (sunlight is so much better at capturing colour and texture than the camera flash). In the mean time, I'm off on an early Easter egg hunt to try and find which blogs I've read and which I have yet to.
ETA: Make that 41 blogs now. I know I don't comment on every blog I read, but that doesnt mean that I do not enjoy them all. I'm more of a blog lurker than a go-get-em commenter. I love the little window into peoples lives that their blogs let me see.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
I think that spinners are some of my favorite kinds of people. I always learn so much and I'm desperately afraid that at any moment they are going to do like the university does and charge me for each piece of knowledge I learn.
I receive the most wonderful gift from Kitten and Mr. Kitten: fresh home ground flour. I'm making all sorts of wonderful plans of what to make with it. I'm thinking some pizza or perhaps a lovely loaf of fresh bread. Whatever I end up making, I can't wait to taste it.
It's off to class for me today, and then I start work on my new Kant essay. Is it a bad sign when you don't understand the question, or is that just the way Kant goes? Perhaps once I read the text it will all become clear.
Monday, February 25, 2008
We arrived at the spin-in early to help finish setting up.
There is something about large amounts of fibre and/or yarn, when gathered together in one location which is also brimming with fibre people, I get a little overwhelmed and forget to take photographs. So, perhaps I can create with words a picture of what it was like at the Spin-in.
The people began to arrive quite early and almost all at once. As they entered and picked out their seats, the room filled with the bright humming sound of conversation. I met a couple from as far away as Winnipeg that migrate out to Victoria to enjoy our mild version of winter. People spied old friends and made new as they set up their wheels and then hurried off to have a look at what the vendors had for sale.
Ah the vendors. Those sweet purveyors of yarn and fibre treats. After everyone had got settled in and chosen their spot, and set up their wheel, the spinning room was surprisingly empty. They had rushed to the vendors in a joyful frenzy. One person commented that it was as if this was the last opportunity people would ever have to buy spinning supplies. Another talked of how important it was to purchase a souvenir to the day. Many spinners had brought nothing with them to spin, relying entirely on what the vendors sold to sustain them throughout the day. I too spent more than perhaps I should; yet, I came away with some lovely items.
Some corriedale silk blend, beautifully dyed from Hummingbird (whose website I can never find).
Some bamboo, also from Hummingbird. It's shines like copper in the sunlight. I have no idea what to make with this, but I think it will be exciting.
Two top knots from Aurelia (these are going to be socks).
A sweater's worth of wool from Honeysuckle Studio. I also bought Spinning in the Old Way, a book on how to spin with a high whorl spindle.
I didn't buy anything from Twist of Fate this time around, although she has some lovely things. I still have some of her fibres from the last fibre fest. and by the time I had a chance to see her lovely goodies, my budget was spent.
After about an hour, most of the shopping was completed. All but the most devote shoppers slowly re-entered the spinning room and took up their spinning.
How do I describe what happened next? Over fifty people sitting and spinning in one room together. The wheels where as different as the people who spun with them, and some dedicated individuals spun with their hand spindles. The conversation made a happy buzz around the room, and the plethora of spinning objects was purely hypnotic. There were door prizes, then lunch followed by show and tell. It was all so wonderful and it all went buy so quickly.
(My door prize, a lovely scarf made of hand spun alpaca novelty yarn.)
I think my own shyness caused me to miss out on a fantastic opportunity to learn more from the people in the room. I did learn all sorts of things, but to think of how much experience and knowledge was in that room at one time, and I didn't take full advantage of it... I'm selfish, but if I had my way, and more courage, I would have gone around to each and everyone of these wonderful people and talked to them all to learn what they could teach me. I suppose there wouldn't have been enough time in the day to do that, but could you imagine how much one could learn? There is something indescribable about seeing everyone together like that; it gives me a whole new respect for the craft and the people who create it.
And then, suddenly, the day was over. Just like that it was 4pm and time to pack up and go home. Wherever did the time go, I couldn't tell you. It was like time had no meaning when we were spinning. We were doing something that had been done by people for generations, and hopefully will continue to be enjoyed by people for many generations to come.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
I did get to learn some interesting things about bread making and flour grinding from Kitten and my spinning instructor (sorry, I haven't got a pseudonym for you yet). I'm still hesitant to buy my own grinder as it is quite an investment, but the more I learn about it, the more I feel it would be an affordable, and more healthy, alternative to buying flour at the shops. I'll see how things go as I have that money earmarked for spinning toys (carder!).
I helped set up for the Spin-in yesterday (that's where I met Kitten and my instructor/mentor) and it's sure going to be a lot of fun. If you are on the fence about coming to see the vendors, get off the fence and come (but not until I have had a chance to shop). I got to see some of them set up yesterday and I tell you this, they have lovely, lovely things for sale. I think I even saw some yarn for sale as well. Mmmmm.... yaaaaarrrrnnnnn......
Friday, February 22, 2008
The week itself has been rather busy for a reading break. So busy with little things and family matters that I haven't blogged as often as I had hoped. I've hardly had a chance even to knit.
The adventure of Jenshine's gift continues. I've frogged and re-started it again. I think this is try seven, or is it eight? Anyway, I've decided to go with a more simple design as my brain is not willing to grant me the power I need to figure out how to make the pattern work out. The new problem: I've gone for a very simple sock design and a very simple colour. It seems rather dull for such a lively individual. I think I have time to start again, but that means buying yet more yarn. ug. I'm lost in a mist of worry and hope. I want to get her something very special, so perhaps it will be the very simple socks and something else.
But this weekend is for spinning.
The Victoria Spin In is tomorrow. All the spaces filled up really quickly. There are a lot of people who spin around here; more than you think. But if you are not registered, there is still hope.
From 10am until noon, they are opening up the hall so that anyone can come and buy from the vendors. So, if you are interested in some spinning supplies, this is a great opportunity.
I'll let you know how it goes.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
In other news: I've been spinning some purple roving that Shelley of Fun Knits gave me. It's a lovely spin and I made some fun sock yarn with it. I spun the single really, really thin then Navajo plied it to make this yummy, yummy yarn.
The Fun Knits shop website is recently renovated. I love the new look. The fibre is listed on there too, so I encourage you to go have a look.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
But that's enough of that. It's time to find my way out of this grumpy swamp and recover my sunny disposition. So here we go, a list of some of the things that make me happy:
- It's a little bit sunny today. That makes me happy. Maybe spring will arrive soon.
- I am making bread today, that always makes me smile.
- English TV chefs and Nigella Lawson.
- Changing my diet so that I can eat more healthy and wholesome foods.
- Y coming for dinner, even if I was a real grump.
- My new toy (a juicer).
- Deep cleaning the house.
- Over sleeping my alarm and being woken up by bird song.
- My family.
- My friends.
- That I have the skill and the knowledge to make my own yarn.
- Knitting with yarn.
- Knitting with handspun yarn.
- Pears that I canned myself and am now enjoying for breakfast.
- Digging in the garden.
- Going for walks.
- Learning to sew.
- Receiving parcels in the post.
- Books that are published so that I can read them on my PDA.
- PDF knitting patterns.
- Things that sparkle.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Use on stains, on pots to lift baked on foods, or leave on a surface for a moment to disinfect. Also suppose to be good for that greasy film on cupboards.
1tsp baking soda
2Tbs hydrogen peroxide
Add hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to spray bottle and swish around a little bit (will get a bit fizzy). Add watter.
For wood, linoleum & vinyl floors. Also good as an all purpose bathroom cleaner.
3/4cup white vinegar
5 drops essential citrus oil
4quarts hot water.
Mix them all together and start cleaning.
You can either mix this in a spray bottle or use it from a small tub with a cloth. Works well either way. Great for bathrooms.
1/2 cup white vinegar
4cup warm watter
2-3 drops antibacterial essential oil (thyme, clary sage, grapefruit seed, &c.)
To clear clogged drains and/or get rid of nasty drain smells. (No good for toilets)
1-1/2 cup white vinegar
2Tbs baking soda
If you are cleaning a double sink, do both drains at once. Pour baking soda into the drain best you can. Follow with a vinegar chaser. Wait five(5) minutes and rinse with HOT water. Repeat if necessary.
I use an old tea tin with a very firm fitting lid. I poked some holes in the lid so it will work just like a shaker. I've put the recipe right on the container so I can mix it up at a drop of a hat when I need some more. You could use an old Parmesan cheese shaker just as well.
1-1/2 cup baking soda
3-5 drops disinfectant essential oil (thyme, clary sage, grapefruit, &c.)
1Tbs borax (optional - for extra whitening)
Mix and LABLE WELL so as not to confuse with food later on.
Works wonders. One tip if you are cleaning especially nasty windows is to scrub them with old crumpled up dry news papers afterwards. This takes a bit of elbow grease, but it makes a great shine.
1/4 cup vinegar
4 cups water
Pour into spray bottle. Recommends you use it with newspaper for a better clean.
Now this I use constantly. The hardest part is grating the soap so it really helps to invest in a mechanical grating devise of some sort that you reserve just for soap. This is a great way to use up those old soap ends as well. Works best with non-petroleum based, non-scented soap. Something like olive oil soap is ideal.
Oh, and don't forget that baking soda is sold in the bulk food section of most grocery stores. Not the best for baking, but ideal for cleaning.
8cup baking soda
4cup grated castille soap
1Tbs essential oil (lavender, lemon or grapefruit - optional, but adds a disinfecting element)
Mix in a large pail or bucket. use 30ml (2Tbs) ONLY per load. This amount is sufficient for hard water and well solid loads. If you have soft water or are doing a smaller load, use just over half this.
The reason why you use so little is that when you buy laundry soap in the shop, you pay for all sorts of filler and chemicals that do nothing to help clean your cloths, they just make the product more expensive.
To clean a toilet bowl
Pour 1cup white vinegar in the bowl and let stand 1/2 an hour. sprinkle baking soda onto toilet brush and scour. This works best when done at least once a week.
These are the ones I've tried and found to be good. They are all environmentally friendly and I've found that they cost a small fraction of the price of regular household cleaners. Also, they last longer too. I'm still on the look out for some good dish washing soap ideas as well as anything that will help improve the state of my home.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
The amaryllis is in bloom.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Jenshine's present is on the frogging block again. My sanity simply cannot handle knitting with ten, count them, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, TEN, ends all in one row. I was so focused on them during Kant class, that I actually got up and told some loud talker in the hallway to keep his voice down, then quietly snuck back into class to work on my socks. But it doesn't matter now, because I have a new plan. I will knit with only two colours, then, I will whittle away what remains of my whits embroidering the extra colours in duplicate stitch. It cannot fail.
In other knitting news, I've started the Japanese Vest, or The Japanese vest Ravelry.
As you can see, it's not very photogenic. But, with the magic of technology, not to mention taking photos every hour so as to find the best light to capture the image with, I've managed to make a photo that you can see the texture in.
No, your eyes are not broken. I played around with the colour saturation until I found something that displayed the textures of the cables better.
I really need to learn to use my camera better.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Monday, February 11, 2008
My friend Y, knowing that I was feeling under the weather lately, gave me the most delightful gift last night.
See? Stitch markers. Matching stitch markers. Aren't they beautiful? She made them herself just for me. They really cheered up what had turned out to be a rather miserable day up to that point.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
Basically, I know nothing about little dogs. Well, actually, I know they are cute, and soft, and um, cute. So basically I know next to nothing about little dogs. Enlighten me.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
Friday, February 08, 2008
Making my own food from scratch is the only thing that seems to help my health. I make everything from chicken stock to granola, from bread to soup, even the pasta in my trusty pasta roller. I'm even making my own house hold cleansers as the commercial stuff bothers me to no end and something as simple as doing the washing can send me to bed for days. It's very time consuming, but, more importantly, it is helping me to feel better. Of course I still eat poppadoms, but they seem to help so that's okay.
Yesterday was my day for making GRANOLA!
This recipe is inspired by Nigella Lawson. Now this woman is one of my heroes. There is something about her voice, her eyes, her hair that inspires absolute confidence in her cooking. I also find her body shape strangely sensual (is that normal in a hetero sexual young person?). Her recipes have that combination of good old fashioned English cooking that I crave and a modern excitement that I love.
I saw the recipe on the TV about a year a go. It's gone through all sorts of changes since then; I halved the quantity, changed several ingredients, &c.. I am not certain that there is enough of the original recipe left to call what I make 'based on' even, but that's the best thing about granola, it's so flexible.
As you can see my basic granola recipe card gets used quite often. At the bottom it says one cup of peanuts (I used almonds today).
I couldn't decide if I wanted to make it maple flavoured (mmmmm..... Canadian Maple Syrup) or cocoa flavoured so I opted for both.
First I put all the dry ingredients in the bowl and mix them up. Do you see those lushes cranberries there? They help give an immediate energy burst while we wait for the slower, longer lasting nut energy to kick in.
Add the gooey ingredients. Look at that golden syrup, I love golden syrup. I think in future I'm opting for more apple sauce and less syrup/honey as the granola always seems to turn out a bit too soft unless it I cook it an extra 15 min and burn the cranberries.
The real tricky part of this is not to get any sticky stuff on your camera while you take photos for your blog.
Mix it up and spread it thinly on a baking tray.
By thinly, I mean as thin as you can. Take the back of that spoon and spread it out as evenly as you can. The thinner it is, the crisper it will get. The more even it is, the easier it will be to get off the tray.
Put in oven, 300 degrees F for 40-45min.
When you take it out, NOW THIS IS ABSOLUTELY VITAL, you take a lifter and lift up the granola from the pan.
It should lift easily straight out of the oven. If you wait even two minutes, it will be hell to get off and even harder to clean. So just take a moment and lift up every bit of granola from the pan, mix it around and leave it to cool.
There you have it, yummy!
Thursday, February 07, 2008
I was wondering why 6:49am was such a good time of day for me. Besides that I'm awake by then most days of the month, even if I am just lying in bed listening to the radio, I do pace myself. I do best when I don't have to worry about deadlines. I like deadlines, don't get me wrong, I do need them. I just don't like it when they get too close. It's like when I write an essay: I don't like to only have a couple of weeks to write it, I would much rather be given a month or two to work on it, that way I can have it finished two weeks early and get on with the next project. When I'm rushed to finish something, it always seems to go a bit pear shape.
The same thing with Jenshine's birthday present. If I remember correctly (I wrote it down somewhere) her birthday is early to mid March. That's a month away but I could easily knit a pair of socks in just under two weeks. Faster even, if I made the effort. But I've been working on it since the new year. Why? So I can have the luxury to frog and re frog and then change yarn and re-conceptualize the entire endeavour and frog again.
I frogged it again yesterday. I couldn't get it over my heel, and since her foot is larger than mine I figured she wouldn't be able to get the sock on either. Jenshine is a size nine, whatever that means. I am working under the theory that it means her foot is 8" (or 20cm) around at the widest point. I suppose I could ask her to measure her foot for me as she already knows she is getting socks. Do you think a measuring tape is standard issue in a student flat? If I make the socks too small, well, I suppose I could keep them and make her some new ones.
But I tell you, once again, working with 10 ends of yarn to make a colour pattern (all in one row) is insane! It IS worth it for the effect. Yet, I really hope this is the last time I have to re-knit this sock.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Monday, February 04, 2008
It's almost finished as I joined up the sleeves with the body and completed the colour work in the yolk.
I love this colour-work pattern (even if it is a 30 stitch repeat). It's based on some of the oldest known knitted artifacts. I feel a real sense of connection with all the knitters around the world and when I knit this. We may all be different people knitting different things at different times with every other thing about our lives being different. But, we all knit. It makes me feel very fortunate to be part of such a noble tradition. I think the combination of all the different elements of this sweater being from different times and different places really brings that feeling home for me.