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8 hours. 12 people working in shifts. 97 pies.

Definitely not the record, not even close but it was a great weekend and we raised over $900 for our P-Patch garden. The awesome thing is that the workload and stress that normally comes along with this event wasn’t as bad as usual. I have not developed my usual aversion to all things pie that typically surfaces after the pie fundraiser. That isn’t to say I had an easy weekend but all in all I’m tired yet not exhausted. In previous years I’ve oftentimes been hellishly sick the days afterwards due to the stress. Not this year!

Oh and in case you were wondering…Total flour used: over 60lbs. Total Crisco used: 24+lbs. The stack of empty Crisco containers on my kitchen counter was mildly nauseating to look at.

I had 2 cases of apples leftover after the pie baking was completed so I donated one to the local food bank and took the 2nd one home (I’m smart enough to know I don’t need 2 cases of apples at home). I see a batch of my caramel apple butter in the future plus who knows what other yummy things you can do with granny smiths. My new canning cookbook has a recipe for apple pie filling that you can but I’m not sure if I like the idea. I don’t know if I need apple pie filling so readily available in a jar when I have a handy new tool at my disposal.

Picked it up for $15 and it’s going to come in VERY handy when I make apple butter. I don’t mind peeling and cutting apples, heck I’m pretty damn fast with a peeler due to my time at the bakery but this gadget is just a lot of fun.

In other news…there has been knitting!

The 1st pair of Christmas presents is done! (The Rose’s Wristwarmers are mine so those don’t count as Christmas knitting). The pattern is the Princess Mitts from The Knitters Book of Yarn (pattern free on Ravelry). Didn’t make any intentional mods on this although when I cast off for the second pair I noticed the last cable on the first pair was going in the wrong direction. I won’t tell the recipient if you won’t.

The pattern was really easy to figure out once I paid attention to what I was doing and while I wasn’t keen on how the thumb gussets were made they ultimately were easy. Glove 1 actually has a better looking thumb than glove 2. About the only frustrating part of the project was that I couldn’t get a pair out of one skein. I used a measly 5 grams from the second skein in order to finish the pair. Frustrating but not the end of the world.

I also decided to unpack my wheel this week. It had sat in the corner since my class with Carol Rhoades a couple weeks ago and before that it had seen little to no spinning since late Sept. Almost a month without spinning. How did that happen?

Nicki was thrilled beyond belief when I opened up the bag. He LOVES the lendrum bag. I forgot to get pictures but first he darted inside and reveled in the darkness. Eventually he got bored sitting inside so he reverted back to his usual MO…sleeping on it. I’m not sure what about the bag makes him love it so much but I’ve given up trying to keep him off of it. He even ignored Ginger when she stopped by on Monday and decided to lounge on the bag instead.

See….spinning. This is the beginning of the 8oz of superwash merino from Crown Mountain Farms (colorway “wish you were here”). I’m hoping to spin it up and give it to my mom before she leaves on Nov 18th. Depending on how many bobbins I fill I might go for a heavier 3ply since I know she hates knitting on tiny needles.

I’m also trying something new with the way I handle the roving. Well ok not really new…more like lazy. I have buried my spinning basket under a pile of other stuff so instead of dumping the roving on the (dirty) carpet where it can become a makeshift cat bed I’m attempting to ward off the chill in my apartment by having the roving draped across my lap. I’m well aware the amount of time to vacuum the carpet is minuscule but I’m oddly entertained by the current process. When I’m done spinning for the night I just twist it back into a rough skein and it stays nice and tidy.

I’m also trying to work my way through my mini stash of kitchen cotton. I only have 5 balls of it so panic has started to set in that I will run out. Keep in mind I rarely knit with this stuff but the dishcloths that Ginger gifted to me when I moved into my apt in January are showing signs of being well used. They are perfectly usable yet I find myself wanting to stockpile more for when the original ones have to finally retire. Since the kitchen cotton selection in our local craft stores is somewhat limited I keep finding myself on the Peaches and Cream website. They have colors I’ve never seen before! I’ve resorted to begging my friends to stop me from buying any and thankfully I think my Mom might be done raiding my stash (I used to have over twice as much until she went ‘shopping’ in my stash). I’ve told myself I can’t buy anymore kitchen cotton until I use up everything I currently have.

I’m definitely looking forward to regrouping a bit this winter, it’s been an oddly hectic and stressful year (the past few weeks have been a doozy) but I’m hoping the new few months will be easier. The pie fundraiser did something kind of interesting to my emotional wellbeing. Rather than wiping out any desire to cook like it usually does I find myself poking through recipes online and in cookbooks for something fun and new to make. Earlier this week it was donut muffins that I brought into work for the guinea pigs (oops sorry…my department) to try out. Powdered sugar coated cinnamon muffins that are inspired by those powdered cake donuts. I wish I could take credit for the idea but I pinched the recipe off a blog I’ve just started reading again (orangette). Then there is the urge to make apple butter, even more bread and of course sticky toffee pudding.

For those of you who are local…you know where to find me 🙂

The list of 3 grey WIPs have been narrowed down to 2!

Check out my spiffy new Rose’s Wristwarmers. Cast on and knit in 9 days (a timeframe that for me is pretty speedy).  I made a couple mods to the pattern, one intentional and one that I discovered when I cast on for the second warmer.

I cast on for the second one at Sat knitting which of course requires me looking at the instructions again.

“start pattern on row 4”

Huh? Really? I don’t remember doing that for warmer #1.

A quick check of warmer #1 (good thing I had it in the bag) confirmed that yes I had started the pattern on row 1 instead. Oh well, no biggie. It looks good so I’m not going to worry about it.

The second mod was more intentional. I forgot to take a picture of the before but ultimately it came down to the cast off edge. The palm of the warmer is knit in stockingnette and well we all know how that likes to curl. I had cast off the first warmer without even really thinking about it and got that annoying curl right on my palm. This might not bother some people but it bugs the hell out of me. I also thought it looked terrible to have a loose flappy curling edge when the rest of the warmer is so structured.

With warmer #2 I decided to add just a few rows of ribbing on the palm to hopefully flatten it out.

Just what I wanted, the ribbing isn’t too obvious but is just enough to keep the edge from curling outwards. I unpicked the edge for the 1st warmer and knit down for the ribbing (was too lazy to frog 3 whole rows even though that would have been faster).

Now I just need it to be cold enough for wristwarmers. 50F just isn’t cold enough.

I realized this morning about 5 minutes before I had to leave to catch the bus that I didn’t have bus knitting. (yes I’m aware of how obsessive that sounds). I still hadn’t cast on the second Gin sock and the FLS is way too big for commuting knitting. Crap! I considered grabbing a ball of Sugar n Cream and a crochet hook and calling it good. Then I remembered the 3 other pairs of mitts I wanted to make as presents. I also decided that each pair will be different because as much as I enjoyed making the Rose’s Wristwarmers I also don’t think I would like them nearly as much after finishing 4 pairs of them.

There won’t be much knitting/dyeing/spinning going on in the next few days. It’s the time of year again when my entire weekend and evenings leading up to said weekend get sucked into the pie hole. Yup, it’s pie fundraiser time again.

We have lost use of the house we typically bake at because the owners have left the P-Patch and are in the middle of selling their home. It’s a huge loss not only for the fundraiser but also the garden because the couple were our garden coordinators for years. The last few years have been hard on them due to layoffs and brain cancer so I can understand their need to simplify and move into something smaller and easier to manage but they will be missed.

So this year we found a wonderful kitchen at the community senior center to rent for a nominal fee and with some changes to our offerings we are ready to go. So far we are assuming only 80 odd pies to make over the weekend which is far less than our usual 130+ but I’m actually kind of happy it is less work this year. I’m not sure I have the energy to do much more than 80.

My next 3 days are going to filled with this.

In case you were wondering, that is a 50lb bag of pastry flour and 18lbs of crisco (I will likely need to buy more). I decided against showing you the 5lbs of evaporated milk, 14lbs of canned pumpkin, 4 cases of apples, 30lbs of frozen berries….I think you get the idea.

The blog has been pretty quiet lately, it seems like no matter how much time I spend on knitting/spinning/dyeing I don’t seem to make as much progress as I used to. Perhaps because back in 2006 when I could whip out a pair of handknit socks in less than a week it was because all I did was knit. Back then I was still responding with “I never want to learn how to spin” whenever someone would ask if I had signed up for the drop spindle class at VYT. Back in 2006 I hadn’t even THOUGHT of dyeing my own spinning fiber because well I didn’t spin yet so what was the point?

Now in 2008 it seems like knitting FO’s are few and far between. Some of it is due to the transient state of my sock mojo, sometimes I feel the sock love and other times (hello failed STR socks) nothing I try will work. Then came the realization that if I can’t knit a sock well then damn it I will knit a sweater! Now I’m not sure about you but the amount of knitting required to cover my torso so that I meet a minimum standard of modesty is significantly more than the amount of knitting required to cover my feet.

What am I getting at (abet slowly)? Well I was feeling a little down about the lack of FO’s under my belt this year until I realized that 1 or 2 sweaters is way more knitting than 5 pairs of socks. It’s not that I haven’t been knitting…I’m just knitting way bigger things. Nothing to be ashamed about at all!

And if you still don’t believe me when I say I’ve been knitting I have some proof.

1 almost finished Gin sock (just need to kitchener the toe but since I had 3 drinks at Happy Hour today I won’t be doing it tonight). What is sad is that this sock languished for close to a month at the heel flap before the flap and foot were knit within a week. Now I just need to cast on for #2.

The FLS is making good progress although it has slowed due to the increasing size of the sweater. It’s been relegated to house knitting since it can’t fit in my work bag anymore. The impressive part is that despite the numerous naps I took on vacation I still managed to knit the entire body from the armholes down while in NM. Not too shabby. Sadly this sweater is also at that awful stage where no matter how many rows I knit it never seems to grow. Only a few more inches and I think I’m well on my way to finishing so all it needs is a little love right now.

Finally a new project. Rose’s Wristwarmers for me. Since I decided on knitting wristwarmers for non-knitting friends this Christmas I thought I should make the first pair for me. (Sheila if you are reading this then ignore what I just said). That way if I hate knitting wristwarmers at least I end up with a pair 🙂 Progress is going well, this is currently bus knitting although I am discovering the intricacy involved in knitting cables with cabled yarn without a cable needle on a moving bus. Sounds impressive doesn’t it. 

Also in case you haven’t noticed there might be a slight theme to my projects right now. I’m not quite sure how I managed to have 3 grey projects on the needles at the same time. i have absolutely nothing on the needles that isn’t grey (unless there is a WIP at the bottom of a basket that I have totally forgotten about). I’m apparently afraid of bright colors right now. I do have a plan to remedy that though.

8oz of Crown Mountain Farm superwash merino in bright pinks and oranges. This is going to become sock yarn for my mom (pink and orange aren’t really my colors but she loves them) since she will soon be heading back to Hong Kong for a few months. She is likely heading back in mid Nov to take care of my 3rd aunt (yes I refer to them by number….mom was one of 15 kids) who has just been diagnosed with end stage lung cancer. My mom will likely stay until the end so I don’t expect she will be back before January. I was debating spinning this and knitting a pair of socks for her before she leaves but I think I will run out of time. So my plan is to provide her with yarn to keep her busy while over there. While I can’t get away to go back to say goodbye at least something I’ve made can be there. I’m going to hunt through my handspun tonight and see if anything I have spun will make a good chemo hat for my aunt.

Warning: this might get long and could be a picture heavy post.

First…Sobe was an awesome host. She gave me a mini tour of Albuquerque (that oddly enough involved pointing out several strip clubs) before we made our way to our lunch destination….only to find out it was out of business 😦 We drove around some more and finally settled on an Argentinian grill. Our hostess kept bringing out skewers of meat until I just couldn’t eat anymore. The grilled pineapple was wonderful.

Then there was Village Wools. The shop is HUGE with several big classrooms in the back, one filled with floor looms, another for knitting and the third was apparently for spinning and dyeing classes. I wandered and puttered around and somehow left with a rented Minstrel for the week (only $10!!!!).

The next few days were a blur, there was good food, good knitting and great company. We did head back to Village Wools on Friday so I could drop off a fiber sample kit for them to play with and I then took advantage of their Louisa Harding sale.

10 balls of Louisa Harding Kashmir DK for assorted Christmas presents for friends/family and of course myself.

See that fluffy ball of yarn? That was all Sobe’s fault. I hadn’t noticed their ‘new yarn’ basket by the register until she pulled out one of these balls. Laceweight 70/30 cashmere/silk, 330yards, 25gms. Only $24. I have no clue what to do with this but it was like petting a cloud. Don’t worry…Sobe didn’t walk away unscathed either (in fact I think she left with a lighter wallet than I did).

As for Taos… I totally forgot to take pictures of everything so I only have a few random photos.

First….

The festival. Small but definitely good. I’m not a raw fleece person (came to that realization last month) but there was one booth that made it very difficult to remember that. There was one cvm fleece with so much lanolin that you could actually see chunks of it. There was a grey/black one from a sheep called Miss Beautiful that I had my eye on but I managed to walk away. That isn’t to say I walked away from other booths with the same luck.

2 skeins of sportweight alpaca from Milagro Farms plus a bar of wonderfully scented orange goats milk soap.

8oz of 90/10 alpaca/merino in ‘Fudge’.

unknown amount of natural colored mohair locks from Kai Ranch.

Solo silk from Brooks Farm in an unknown colorway.

The Brooks Farm was a happy find for me, I had seen their yarns online but never in person yet after being able to touch all their yarns I will definitely be shopping from them in the future. The Mas Acero was wonderful and the only reason I didn’t walk away with a sweaters worth of yarn is because the one colorway I was eyeing only had 1 remaining skein.

There was the Ravelry meetup where we got to meet and greet other Ravelers. The location of the tent on Saturday was a little odd…outside of the main circle of tents and by the portable toilets. Turns out the Taos organizers didn’t know about Ravelry and apparently thought we were some crazy religious group so they put us where they did. That was all changed on Sunday and the Ravelry tent was smackdab in the middle of the park.

Casey, Jess and a Raveler from the Dr Who group. (I can’t remember her name)

Taos was fun and so different from the fiber festivals I’ve been to so far. It was great to see such a vastly different product than what I’m used to (even if I didn’t like all that I saw). Plus Sobe got us one of the last rooms in the historic Taos Inn (about half a block from the festival) where we got to sample this….

mmmm margaritas….

The rest of my trip was spent doing as little as possible, we saw some balloons, we did some napping (something I desparately needed), we knit (pics of that tomorrow) and I made some new friends.

Sprocket had me pegged from the moment I walked in the door. I swear he knew the cats would shun me until the second to last day of my visit so he took full advantage of my attention. How can you resist that face?

Ben took a little more convincing. I won him over by fetching him an orange balloon from Trader Joes on the first day, until then he wasn’t sure about “Miss Emma”. Boundless energy and such a sweet kid. I’m told he got a little sad after I was dropped off at the airport despite his proclamations to me that he was happy I was leaving 🙂

The one thing I forgot to take a picture off is where we had dinner on Friday night. I had mentioned how frustrating it was to see ads for restaurants back home that didn’t have locations near you so on Friday I finally got to eat at…..Sonic! Yes it is just a fast food place but they don’t have them here in Seattle yet they keep showing those damn ads. I’m pretty certain we don’t have any in the entire state.

I’m sure I’m missing large chunks of my vacation in this quick and dirty summary. Truth be told I was having so much fun relaxing that I failed to pay attention to everything I saw, ate and did. I think that might be the sign that my vacation was exactly what I needed.

Flickr Photos

blackwork sampler

More Photos

Dragonfibers

On the needles

February Fitted Pullover

Sapphire Waves of Grain

On the Bedside Table

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (ok not really since I can't find the book anymore)

on the wheel

Absolutely Nothing.

Stashdown 2009

January 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 233 Total Weight:33.13lbs Total Miles: 27

February 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 213 Total Weight:30.09lbs Total Miles: 26

March 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 218 Total Weight:31.95lbs Total Miles: 27

April 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins of Yarn: 217 Total Weight:31.45lbs Total Miles: 26.5

May 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 229 Total Weight: 33.8 Total Miles: 28.4

June 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 210 Total Weight: 31.9 Total Miles: 27.7

July 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 201 Total Weight: 30.5 Total Miles: 26.5

August 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 228 Total Weight: 34.0 Total Miles: 28.8

October 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 254 Total Weight: 38.2 Total Miles: 31.8

November1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 224 Total Weight: 34.9 Total Miles: 29.9

December 1st 2009

Balls/Skeins: 206 Total Weight: 31.9 Total Miles: 27.1

KAL

World Bread Day '07

October 2008
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