Have Ewe Any Wool?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The First Snow!

Wednesday, we had the first snow of the winter!   Not a whole lot, but it's very pretty!

The snow was even pretty today - the chill of the snow is causing some fog....very eerie!!!!


(Thankfully it came yesterday rather than Friday when I'll be traveling!!!!)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Food....Glorious Food!

This year has been my year of discovering new veggies, new varieties of veggies, and my big venture into canning, drying, roasting, and freezing veggies.

I had a beautiful cauliflower, and some luscious carrots and celery....and all I could thing of was delicious Giardinera.   So I made some!   The recipe I used has oil in it, so it really made a mess of the pans....and I'm not real sure on how "tight" the seal is.   They all sealed, and I could pick them up by the lid.  However, there was quite a bit of oil in the pot after the jars were removed from the waterbath.   The outside of the jars was slick as well.   I'm sure that once I open one of these, I'll find oil on the rim.   Perhaps I should store these all in the fridge?  Next time I WON'T be using a recipe that includes oil...that's for sure!  I dearly love Giardinera !

The CSA had a bumper crop of hot peppers this year.  I've been freezing them and/or drying them with the food dehydrator.   This is my last batch earmarked for drying.   I'm going to dry these naturally and see if I see any differences in taste/flavor.

I decided to pickle a bunch of serrano and jalepeno peppers as well.  I was a bit disappointed with the volume of liquid vs. peppers, but I'm sure they'll taste fabulous!  I had both red and green ones, so they look very festive!   (I wore food safe gloves while chopping them up to prevent getting their oils on my skin.)

Between the CSA and the Farmer's Market, I've acquired quite a number of fresh peppers in various colors of red, orange, and green.   I've blanched and sliced a number of them, but these, I decided to roast before freezing.   I dearly love roasted red peppers!

Some interesting veggies I had this past season were.....

 Purple Sweet Potatoes - how cool is this!   I love sweet potatoes....and they come in a purple variety!


Purple Carrots - in addition to the regular orange carrots, the CSA also had yellow carrots and purple carrots.   I just love how pretty and vibrant the cross section is!   They do make a bit of a mess.   Just lie orange carrots leave orange on your hands, these leave lots of purple....making you hands look dirty!

Watermelon Radishes - these were available for several weeks and were very interesting.  The first ones I got were about1inch in diameter....and later in the season, they were a good 2 inches plus in diameter.   Their flavor is very similar to other radishes, but their vibrant color is unique.   It really DOES look like a watermelon!

As far as cooking interesting things, I tried a couple of new things as well.   I had never roasted a bunch of fall vegetables, but I tried that as well.   The main spices were fresh rosemary and thyme as well as some dried basil.   The veggies were coated with olive oil and seasoned with a touch of salt and pepper.   I combined many different veggies:  garlic, red pepper, carrots, sweet potatoes, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips,  onions, mushrooms, and Jerusalem artichokes.  It was incredible!!!!

And, I made homemade Spanikopita.  I'd never worked with phyllo dough before...and it's quite challenging.  It dries up so quickly!   I hand-tore all the spinach and sweated both spinach and leeks for several hours...tearing it into smaller and smaller pieces.   (Needless to say, my hands were stained - especially around the fingernails.    I was quite pleased with how it turned out!

And the veggies weren't the only colorful things this fall.  I am constantly being treated with spectacular sunsets (in addition to sunrises).

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Annual Christmas Advent Swap

Several years ago, a tradiiton was born in the Monthly Adventures Ravelry group.   We drew names and made a hand crafted Christmas stocking for our secret partner.   We then filled it with 24 gifts - one for each day of Advent - and shipped it off in time for the recipient to receive it by December 1.  Each day, the recipient opens a gift. 

The tradition has morphed a bit and we now create a GCD (Gift Conveyence Device) which can be a stocking, a basket, a bag, a felted bag, or whatever.  It can be knitted, crocheted, appliqued, quilted, or whatever....as long as it's hand crafted.

Above is the stocking I made for my swap partner this year......I used Eco-Wool from Plymouth and used the "Snowflake Pattern" from Maurya McBride.  It was a relatively easy stocking to make with a unique way of putting it together so you could knit the pattern flat instead of in the round.

The little packages have all been wrapped and are ready to ship!


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Basket Weaving!

I haven't woven a basket since the very easy one I did in Girl Scouts nearly half a century ago!   (And that's a LONG time!!!!!)   Back then, we used a wooden plywood base and created our "weaving frame" by bringing the reeds through the holes in the base and up for the warp and then weaving with additional reeds as the weft. 

The Round Hill Arts Center offered a one day class where we would be making a bread basket during the 3-4 hr. class.   It was wonderful!   The instructor was great and she pre-cut a lot of the pieces to facilitate speed.  I can't imagine how long this would have taken if we all had to cut our own reeds.

My fingers looked like prunes when I was done, but I had a great basket when the process was all said and done!   I love it!

(The basket used several types of reeds and braided grass, as well as custom leather straps.)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Lots of Projects!

I've been knitting up a storm and have a good dent in my planned holiday knitting.   It seems like a bit of a rush, so I think that next year, I'll start a bit sooner....and take my time!

I loved the fingerless gloves I made last month so much, that I made 4 more pairs!

This first pair is made from Simply Shetland's Shetland wool yarn with a bit of cashmere.  Not the most soft or pleasant mitts, but they still look nice - mainly because the pattern is so awesome!   This color is not my favorite, but pairing it with this pattern definitely enhanced it  I've grown to love it.!

 The next pair is made from an Alpaca/Silk blend from Butterfly Hill.  These mitts are very light and airy, but they'll be very warm!

These were made from a dark blue Cascade yarn - perfect for wearing with jeans.  For some reason, the color appears more blue-purple than blue in the photos.

This pair is my favorite.  I love the drape of the 3 ply Alpaca...and it's so cuddly and warm!   I'm definitely making more of these!!!!

I just love this scarf - the colors are rather simple, but the glitz and glitter of the sequins really make this stand out.   I knit the edges (sides and bottom) in seed stitch and slipped the first stitch of every row for a nice edge.   The balance was done in a basketweave (5 stitches wide by 6 stitches tall).  This will most likely be a gift.....and it will be one that someone's husband won't "borrow and lose"!   LOL!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Belle Grove Mansion

On what was probably the coldest day of the year so far, I demo'd spinning at Belle Grove Mansion for Kismet Acres Alpacas.  We were staged in a barn...and boy was it cold!  

There were some interesting exhibits in the barn.    I loved the caning vendor....they did beautiful work.   They're fairly local (Winchester), so....I may FINALLY get my the caning grandmother's dressing table bench repaired!

The other fascinating exhibit was the old fashioned apple press.   Wow!   It really takes a lot of work to make cider with this implement!