Monthly Archives: July 2009

Fire with the Blues

Strange title? Yes. But the yarn I have been working on for like forever is a two ply that was spun from two different fibers dyed for me by Roxanne of Zen Yarn Garden. I am in the Fiber Baristas Flora and Fauna Club and Roxanne was the dyer for the month of June. I asked her to dye me something extra and my only request was that she experiment with colors slightly outside of her comfort range.

Roxanne likes challenges and dyed me up two different colorways. The first one was called Mia’s Blues and the second one was Mia’s Fire. And now you understand the name of the new yarn. The fiber that Roxanne chose for me was Rambouillet. It is a fiber which I haven’t worked with before.

two ply yarn

two ply yarn

I managed to spin one bobbin very fine and the other one not quite as fine. But that is okay with me. One their own, each color is totally different even though they share some of the same colors in them. But when plyed together, the color mix reminds me of the colors you would see in the forest in early fall just as the leaves are starting to change but there is still quite a bit of green still.
DSC_59940002

I ended up with almost 600 yards of a light worsted weight yarn in the end. The yarn averages between 9 to 11 wpis which makes it a heavy sport weight but I figured saying a light worsted sounds better. There are no plans yet for this yarn. Although knitting with handspun is fun.

Edited to add – Here is a link to the colors of the top as it came in from Roxanne. She remembered to take a photo of them!

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Baby Belle

It seems like many of my friends are either still pregnant or have already had their babies. And I am always behind in my knitting. But when Cosy published her lovely Baby Belle pattern, I feel in love with it. And than she turned around and asked me if I would be interested in knitting one for a project she has in mind out of my own handspun, I couldn’t say no.

The first one is about 3/4 of the way done. I have the sleeves to knit next since I finished the body last night. I need to spin up some white yarn for the button band next. I couldn’t get gauge but I went ahead and cast on with the sweater in a 3 ply pink that I spun back in the early spring. I am ending up with a sweater that is probably a six to nine month size but with babies bigger is better.

Baby Belle pattern by Cosy

Baby Belle pattern by Cosy

I have fiber that I will start spinning hopefully tonight for a second one. The first one is definitely girly-girly and the second one will not be so girly. The fiber is blues and it will be cute with white and blue and ruffles. The trick for me will be to not alter the pattern. I never follow a pattern exactly. I always tweek them.

But I am currently swatching another handspun for a different baby sweater for a friend whose daughter is already three months old. My knit group had planned to knit her a baby surprise jacket out of a yarn I spun. But for some reason, the sweater never was knit. But that is okay because mommy will end up with the yarn and can knit what she wants out of it.

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Berries & Bites

It is still berry season here in the mid-Atlantic. I went last week to pick blueberries since the season was ending. Well, I did end up with almost nine pounds of blueberries but the bugs left me with something too. The early part of summer was full of rain. And rain means the gnats are in heaven!

It was very foggy & wet

It was very foggy & wet

I never knew that you could get bite by gnats. But I do know that now. I had several bites on my arms which weren’t a problem. But the bites on my face were a problem. I was bitten right near my right eye and that bite swelled up pretty bad. And when you really only see out of one eye, a swollen eye is not a good thing. But my eye was almost back to normal by Saturday. Antihistamines and cold compresses work wonders.

And it is full of berries & gnats

And it is full of berries & gnats

But I will remember to pick blueberries earlier in the season next year when you are up higher on the hill. And the blue berries are already in freezer waiting for the weather to cool down before they are turned into jam. Both my oldest nephew and my niece take their lunches almost every day. And according to the oldest, it is almost always PB&J. He loves blackberry jam but his mommy doesn’t always buy it. Both of them will be helping me to make the blackberry and blueberry jams when it is time. They were told that if they wanted some of the jam , they had to help make it.

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Lemongrass

Several months ago, I managed to get my hands on a skein of Lemongrass STR at my knit group. I rarely take any yarn from the pile that is always put out but I was really quick to grab this skein. The colors are not colors that I would normally go for but I like this colorway. And Lemongrass is now almost one complete sock for me! I need to add about 2 more inches on the leg from what is shown in the photo. I like longer legs on winter socks.

Lemongrass Grows

And her is a photo of my helper on Sunday. She is one very dirty girl who likes to roll in the mulch and mowed grass. Yet she is always clean when she comes inside.

The dirty helper kitty

The dirty helper kitty

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Canning

I have been busy playing with produce. I found a recipe for bread and butter pickles that my niece and oldest nephew liked. The youngest one at least tried the pickles. He is not yet a pickle fan. But we are working on him. So I have been making pickles and canning them. Sunday, I processed 9 pint jars of bread and butter pickles with more pickles that will be processed this coming weekend. I cure my pickles first before processing them. I will probably end up with 18 pints of pickles which should hopefully be enough to give me a few jars with the rest going to the kids. My niece, the oldest nephew and my brother all liked the pickles so they can fight over who gets the rest.

Nine jars of bread & butter pickles

Nine jars of bread & butter pickles

I personally love dilled green beans which are really pickled green beans. I found a recipe in the Ball canning cookbook that said it made 6 pints. I bought the exact weight of green beans the recipe called for and I still ended up with 9 pints. I have to wait at least two weeks before I find out if my dilled green beans taste as good as the ones I have purchased up in the Amish markets in Lancaster. If they are, I will be making more come fall.

Nine jars of dilled green beans

Nine jars of dilled green beans

Jam making will commence once the weather cools down. I have enough blackberries in the freezer for two batch of jam based on my recipe that I will be using. I am picking berries still and will hopefully get enough frozen to make three batches of blackberry jam. I have a certain friend who adores blackberries in any way shape or form she can get them. I will also be freezing blackberries to eat over the winter in yogurt. I still need to go and pick blueberries for jam making and general freezing too.

For anyone interested in canning, I would like to recommend two websites to check out. While I am am generally an experimental cook, when it comes to canning, I take it more serious. You are messing more on the chemistry side so I stick to recipes that I know are safe. My mom always used the Ball canning book and thanks to Priscilla, I have the newest edition that is super thick. I have also been talking to the University of Maryland extension agent here in the county and she told me that they reference the University of Georgia’s book from their Extension Office. Both sites have recipes and hints for canning and preserving. And yes, nutrition is one of the areas I am looking at for going back to school for another degree. Right now, I am still in the research stage though.

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Bursts of Color

My black eye Susans are starting to open!

hopefully a black eyed susan

hopefully a black eyed susan

Hiding

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Spin Spin Spin

There honestly is knitting going on but try to photograph a sock on the needles is not always fun until the leg is almost done. I am about halfway through the leg of sock #q in STR’s Lemongrass right now. I am loving how the color is is knitting up.

But on to the Tour de Fleece photos. I may have fallen off the bike a time or two so far. But it is kind of hard to get in the mood to spin when the sun is hot and the weather is nice. But wheels are portable so I did take the Matchless out to play on Saturday. The local children’s museum sponsored a Civil War Encampment this past weekend and the local fiber guild was asked to come out and spin on Saturday. So the Matchless and Lauren‘s Lendrum came out to play next to the Yankee camp. (I personally would have rather been near the Virginians.) We were spinning under the trees and I had carpet to place under the wheels so it was nice to be outside spinning. I ended up on the Matchless spinning a special order top from Zen Yarn Garden. I challenged Roxanne to dye me up something that was out of her color comfort range. The Lendrum was borrowed by my friend Leslie’s daughter. Felisha forgot a bobbin for her wheel so she used the Lendrum and spun up some of Karida’s Neighborhood Fiber Company‘s Capitol Hill color way.

Spun next to a Yankee camp during a Reenactment

Spun next to a Yankee camp during a Reenactment

Additional spinning has been going on on the Lendrum this week. I have been practicing some of the techniques I learned from Jacey at her workshop. Fat yarns and racing stripes? Got them nailed.

Fibre from Sarah & playing with racing stripes

Fibre from Sarah & playing with racing stripes

Coiled yarns? Well maybe practice makes perfect. It took me an hour to create this tiny skein. I am going to play with using a different filler yarn next time. I was using a lace yarn but I think I may try a cotton yarn next time and see if it makes a difference. And I will spin a different yarn to make this yarn again. I don’t like the long color repeats in the yarn I was using.

An hour's worth of work to male this tiny skein

An hour's worth of work to male this tiny skein

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