Monday, March 31, 2008
I am hoping to do a lot of knitting on the airplane. I've almost finished knitting my bitter orange yarn into a plain garter stitch scarf (inspired by a similar scarf by jared at brooklyntweed), and now I think I'm going to make a Baby Surprise Jacket with my handspun bark yarn. Next up is the Minimalist Cardigan, which will definitely satisfy my current desire to make a sweater (which I haven't done in years), and I know it is something I will actually wear for a change! And on the sewing front, I can't wait to make some things with this new fabric line, Cake Rock Beach...I really want to make these pillows, and I have some other ideas up my sleeve too!
I have to quell some of my creative urges for a while though, because now that Adam is done with his dissertation, it is my turn to finish mine!
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
And I learned something about myself. When I am not 100% satisfied with a yarn, I just want to knit it right away! So I discovered a way to get myself to knit more: spin yarns that I'm unhappy with! Just kidding, I won't do that, but check out how amazingly gorgeous the bitter orange is in this knitted garter stitch swatch I made.
I LOVE it. It's tweedy and interesting and it drapes really well (because of the silk)...and I love all the colors. Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to make with it. Unfortunately I only have about 200 yards, which isn't a whole lot. I'm really anxious to knit with it though, so hopefully I'll figure out something good.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I did a double-fold binding, which involves hand sewing the entire binding onto the back of the quilt. I was dreading this part because I've always heard how time consuming it is, but it was my favorite part of the whole process! I really liked the slow precise hand sewing, and it was the only part of the process where I felt somewhat in control. It didn't even take that long...basically two nights of sewing. Look how cute my little polka-dotted binding is.
Making a quilt was on my "life list," or list of things to do during my lifetime. It is always such a good feeling when I actually accomplish one of these things. And the greatest part is that I really want to keep making quilts, so this definitely will not be a one-time thing. In fact, I just bought some gorgeous fabric for my next project! There will definitely be some hand-quilting in my future too, since I enjoyed the hand sewing so much.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
It's about 360 yards, 4.1 ounces, and once again it fluffed up into a really soft squishy yarn. Back in my spinning heyday (just over 5 years ago when I lived in Moscow, Idaho), I never spun yarns like this...I mainly spun drapey, very fine yarns with a looser ply. It is probably partly because I am spinning a lot of merino these days, which is really springy, and partly because I've been making a conscious effort to ply tighter. I'm really really happy with my current spinning though, and it is very knitting-friendly (though obviously I haven't even been knitting with it!), so I guess I'm just going to keep it up. I did recently buy some chocolate brown bombyx silk, which I can't wait to spin, and that will be a nice change of pace from all this fluffy merino.
Anyway, stay tuned (my two readers!) because my quilt is officially finished, and I will try to get some decent pictures this weekend and post it. It turned out really great, and I'm so glad that I did the whole process myself instead of having someone else quilt it.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
The daffodils are from Adam. It always amazes me how much something so simple, like a vase of flowers, can brighten my mood! When we lived in Portland, I had fresh flowers in my house almost all the time. But here, it is really difficult to find nice flowers...and there aren't any growing outside yet since we're still buried under snow.
This is pretty much the only knitting work in progress I have going on these days. The photo is blurry, but I'm not going to take the time to re-photograph it until it is done! It's a hydrangea lace scarf in malabrigo lace, probably the softest yarn I've ever felt. I'm actually not so crazy about the lace pattern (though I do love hydrangeas!)...I grabbed the pattern and the yarn one day at Webs when I was in a hurry (code for Adam wanted to leave). They had a sample of this scarf knit in this yarn and it was gorgeous and soft. I probably could have found or designed a pattern I like more, but I'm happy enough to do something fairly mindless and I figure you can't go wrong with malabrigo lace!
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Our supply of garlic was getting completely out of control. Not only did we have the garlic from our winter CSA share, but we also had our own crop of garlic...about 50 heads that we planted during our last fall in Portland that were harvested by my brother about a month after we moved to New Hampshire. Well, now it is getting warm and inevitably some of our garlic has started to sprout a little and we had to find a way to preserve it.
Adam came up with the idea of putting it in the food dehydrator and making little dried slivers of garlic. We are storing it in the freezer to further its shelf-life. At first I wasn't quite sure what to do with dried garlic, but I was making a recipe the other day that called for garlic powder and I don't have any because I typically prefer to use fresh garlic. I figured I'd give the dried garlic a chance and Adam ground some in a mortar & pestle into the finest most wonderfully fragrant golden garlic powder I have ever seen. It probably comes as no surprise that freshly ground garlic powder is far superior to anything that has been sitting in a jar for months or years...but really, this stuff is amazing!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
On Sunday, I helped inaugurate the 2008 maple sugaring season out at the farm. We tapped about 60 more maple trees (they had already tapped a bunch a few days prior), and then spent the whole afternoon collecting sap to bring down to the sugar shack.
Most of the trees are hooked up to tubes that all drain into huge 250 gallon collecting tanks, but a number of trees are still done with the old fashioned bucket hanging from a tree. Most of the trees with buckets are along the road, but it is really difficult to climb up the huge pile of snow on the side of the road (all the while risking the chance that you'll fall through the thin icy layer on top and end up waist-high in a snow drift!) and make your way to the buckets, empty them into your bigger bucket, then make your way back down the snow drift...without spilling too much sap!
All in all, we gathered almost 600 gallons of sap, which sounds like a lot, but with a ratio of 40 gallons of sap to every one gallon of maple syrup, that is only enough for about 15 gallons of syrup! But the sugaring season has just begun, and the sap is likely to flow like crazy this week since we are expected to have daytime temperatures above freezing for the rest of the week.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Also at the farm...more than 20 lambs have been born over the past couple weeks! They are so curious, and entertaining to watch. My favorite is this little reddish lamb below (I guess I can relate...I have red hair too).
These two (my reddish lamb and another with reddish legs) were definitely interested in me, and the camera...so it was easier to get pictures of them than the rest of the lambs running around like crazy! There was a really cute black lamb that I wanted to get a picture of...but he was uncooperative.
So, it seems like spring really is on its way! (Finally!)
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Monday, March 3, 2008
These two yarns are from amazing batts I purchased from Loop. The brown yarn was spun from batts called "Butterscotch Sundae." It is three colors of baby alpaca: Dark brown, light brown, and white, topped off with some gold tussah silk. I love what silk does to yarn...the beautiful glowing quality that it gives. The brown skeins are spun pretty fine...a little heavier than true laceweight yarn, and I have no plans for it yet.
The green skein below is from Loop batts named "Sour Apple." It is a blend of 50% gray and green alpaca with 50% green bamboo and a touch of tussah silk and silk noil. It is a silky, drapey, and strong light worsted weight yarn...and I love the color! For some reason I think it would make a beautiful throw pillow cover. I was thinking of using it as the weft in a piece of woven fabric that I could make into the front of a pillow cover. My thought is that it would be really pretty aside my birch forest pillow on the bed that will (someday) be home to my quilt.