Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Making stuff

Though I haven't been blogging, I have been busy...
...processing fiber with my newish drum carder. I've been wanting one for quite a while, did a ton of research and ended up with a Strauch Petite. I love it. It's compact, does a great job with fine fibers and is helpful at separating the thel from the tog of my icelandic fleece. (Icelandic sheep have double coated fleeces...the tog fibers are longer and more lustrous, the thel fibers are shorter and finer.) On the advice of someone on Ravelry, I've been taking a lock, holding on to the tip, letting the drum carder pull away the short thel, then placing the remaining tog on my English 4 pitch combs to be combed into top. Here's before:
and after (thel to left, tog to right):
The roving and top are resting on fabric being woven on my dobby loom. I experimented with weaving with energized yarns this month, spinning singles and weaving with them without first setting the twist. The pink threads are cotton threads which I used to gather the fabric into pleats once it was woven. I then washed the fabric in hot water to release the energy of the tightly spun singles and once it was dry, I removed the pink threads. The fabric remains permanently pleated like so:

Warp is commercial noil two ply (not sure what material, thought it was silk when I warped it, but it didn't take dye at all, so it is definitely not silk). Weft is handspun merino/seacell hand-dyed in the "berry" colorway a little while back.
In other spinning adventures, I used my Spindlewood bolivian rosewood spindle purchased from Carolina Homespun at the California Wool and Fiber Festival to go from this (hand-dyed merino/seacell, fig colorway):
to this:
and finally this:
Dyeing with acid dyes:Freshly dyed yarn being rinsed:

Other projects include the Morgan hat from Knitty in 6 ply rayon held together with bamboo-silk-kid mohair from Artfibers (my favorite yarn store in San Francisco which is sadly closing its retail store...so check it out for a fantastic sale).
Note the glass double pointed needles because I didn't have a circular needle in that size and it was easier to make some double pointeds then go drive to the yarn store in Sac.

I've also been making hats. Inspired by Mel's experience at Camp Plucky Fluff, I used my drum carder to make a couple fluffy batts of kid mohair and sari silk, then corespun it around some white alpaca singles I had sitting around to make ridiculously thick and fluffy yarn. My poor spinning wheel doesn't like thick yarn, it has little tiny hooks that like to catch thick yarn, so the whole thing was rather taxing, but it came out nicely. I then knit it into a warm and shapeless hat in an amazingly short evening. It looks much better on a head. It's exciting how fast thick knitting goes when you've gotten used to knitting with size 0 needles and smaller. Have I mentioned my other souvenirs from the California Wool and Fiber Show? Circular needles in sizes 2-0(1.75mm), 3-0(1.5mm), 5-0(1.0mm) and 6-0(0.75mm)! Only exciting to fiber nerds like me.
Another yarn to hat pic:

Another hat:
And to the kitchen...this was earlier in the fall, but I finally completed a wood project in a
reasonable amount of time. Spice rack for the kitchen:
Meanwhile, I've been obsessed with these little tapioca cheese puffs one of our friends brought over for a dinner party. So yummy. And gluten free. And the dough is so nicely sticky. Pao
Pão de Queijo:
Bring 1 cup water, 1 cup milk or substitute (works fine with just water too), 1/2 cup oil, 1 tsp salt to gentle boil, pour into bowl containing 2 cups tapioca flour, stir into a sticky mass, add two eggs and beat into batter, add 1 cup grated cheese of choice. Make little balls onto baking sheet, cook in preheated oven at 400 for 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned. If you like the insides drier, cook longer.

Aaron and I also made pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. The gluten-free crust was made with almonds ground up in the extra coffee grinder which is reserved for noncoffee things like nuts, seeds and spices. The filling was made with pumpkin from Aaron's garden as well as yam, cream and eggs. 'Twas yummy.

1 comment:

Mel said...

Ooo! Everything is so beautiful! I'm going to try those cheese puffs for a party I am throwing tomorrow night. I think tapioca's ok for me, since it's a root-starch, not a grain.

I am loving your merino/seacell top. Also the hats! You didn't use the Woolee-Winder for the corespun yarn? The round orifice / not-hook setup might have been nicer for those mohair yarns. :)