Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bah Humbug!

This is yarn for some rugs I was making.  Unfortunately, I spun while watching TV and my loss of concentration shows.
No Christmas knitting for me this year: I'm just too far behind on my projects.  I'm still millimetre-ing  along on the Kinsale sweater I hoped to have done by Thanksgiving, and I haven't even begun weaving rugs I've been planning for a year. 

Above is my second bobbin of the last color needed for my rug project. I tried to rush and spin while watching TV and I'm not too happy with the results--which demonstrates my need to take time and focus.  Fortunately, this is a three ply yarn, so the unevenness can work it's way out through the next bobbin I fill. As you can see in my last blog, I don't even have one skein done toward a sweater for my SIL.  Everything is going very slow plus this is yarn I definitely don't want to rush.  I'd like it to come out nice and even for a top-notch sweater.

Rather than trying to dash off some quick projects in time for the holidays, I've decided to maintain my focus and continue the projects I have.  I don't like having more than two or three projects going at a time, so this makes sense for me. This will also allow me to maintain my latest practice of only knitting for maybe a half-hour at a time and not multitasking while I spin. It leaves me time to make some headway into learning to weave.  Perhaps if my next kitchen towel project works out, I'll have a few gifts for next year.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Slow Cloth

Sustainable living includes the concept of Slow Food as apposed to fast food.  We used to just call it home cooking.  Hand in hand comes Slow Cloth, something hand made from scratch.  In this case I started from a freshly shorn fleece and worked up from there.  I've washed, picked and carded and spun the yarn and now I'm a the final stage: knitting.

You can see the work in progress above.  I'm doing Alice Starmore's Kinsale design, which requires fingering weight yarn ,and a tight gauge.  This is taking forever to knit.  Perhaps it should be renamed Snail Cloth. But the work itself is enjoyable.  It just won't be done in time for Thanksgiving.  Christmas perhaps.

The purple yarn on my Schacht is my next fleece to sweater project.  I had hope to be much further along, but below is all I have despite having started the project last month and keeping after it.  Slow Cloth indeed.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Key to sustainable living

Organically grown wheat berries which will someday be bread, brownies and more.

Cooking, I've discovered, is the key to sustainable living. You either cook, or hire a chef, or maybe ride your bike to work.  Thank goodness I love to cook as I can't afford a chef and my commute to work is five miles clogged with  irritable, half-asleep drivers--one of them being me. Plus, we have something called "winter" here.  I lower my waste and dependence on fossil feuls by buying organically grown hard red winter wheat berries and grinding them into flour.  Unfortunately, I couldn't get any locally grown--I went to Whole Foods. I purchased the Blend Tech flour mill becasue it was the only one made right here in the US and it was small enough to fit in my limited kitchen space. I love it.  It grinds coarse enough for corn meal.

I have yet to find a local source of wheat.  I've only started the "locavore-slow food" thing recently.  That's where you go to the farmer's market and seek out small farmers and patronize them.  I found a great source of local eggs, chicken, turkey, pork vegetables and fruits. These foods are more expensive since you end out paying the "true cost" of raising the food--especially the meat. Yes, it is counterintuitive to those who are trying to cutback and live more frugaly, but in the longrun, by doing my own sustainable style cooking, I will save money, even with paying twice as much for eggs and chicken. I will also have tastier food, which I believe will lead to a healthier me.

The farmer deserves to make a living too, and the truth is, you can't have small family farms without people willing to pay a fair price for the produce.  By being willing to pay more, the homesteader or small farmer gets to pay her mortgage.  And we need to be willing because the factory farms filling our grocery store shelves can do it all a lot cheaper than the small scale reflects it--the eggs I buy direct from the farm have four times the flavor as the cheapo megastore brand. This is important to all the people who dream of a more simple lifestyle on the land, because they won't be able to make a living without customers.

So, I am on my progressive soapbox, talking about supporting the little guy and protecting animals from the abuse of factory farming.  Oh dear.  I was meaning to talk about the joys of cooking and the single loaf of bread recipe I am working on.  It is coming along really well, but I forgot to photograph the finished product in its Bennington Pottery bread dish. Maybe next week after I picked up my locally grown heritage turkey for Thanksgiving .

Monday, November 8, 2010

Goodbye, Cruel Warp!

Cutting off this lousy warp was a relief. It had a lot of problem.
Just minutes ago, I gave myself permission to cut a troublesome warp off my loom.  I had started another towel when I discovered even more broken warp strings leaving even bigger gaps in the weaving.  Time to cut my losses quite literally.  As you can see, my scissors made easy work of it.
This is a tnagle of broken warps on the lease sticks.
It was a good thing.  You see the snarl above, those are all broken warp threads.  I had started weaving this on my table loom, but then decided to abandon the project when I realized the web was all tangled.  I was going to throw the warp away when I discovered it wasn't as tangled as I thought. I was able to salvage it because the crosses were still tied and  put it on my floor loom.  As it would happen, as I wound on the warp, I ran into another issue which caused many, many of the threads to snap, and so now it is about 17 inches wide. 
Problems with the warp show up in the nearly finished item.

Despite all this, I manged to weave a few towels, four in all, use up some of the yarn that came with the loom and learn quite a bit.  Sure, the towels are a imperfect.  In fact , they scream "I'm a mess" but still, it was fun.  I'm already planning a "next time" for my kitchen towels: a twill pattern with colorful stripes.  These are coming soon to a blog near you.

Thank you for visiting my blog.  For spinning tips and more you can stop at my webstite: www.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thumbs up!

The mitt mentioned in my last blog was fixed.

It took about 20 minutes and voila, a mitten with a thumb I won't have to hide from fellow knitters.  The original was too short and squared off.  So now these are really done.

I also managed another milestone today, finishing yet another towel on that warp I don't like.  Yeah!  I don't recommend weaving on a warp you don't like, but I'm too pigheaded to take my own advice.  Yes, I will finish weaving it, no matter how long it takes.  Okay, maybe I should make a pledge to have them done by Thanksgiving! 

Thanks for stopping by!