Sunday, January 18, 2009

Yarn and sweets

Since my mom's been here, it has been a great relief to have an extra set of arms to hold the baby, fill a sippy cup, or put together a meal. One of the benefits, besides relieving me of some of my duties, is that I've actually been able to accomplish a little bit of my favorite activities.

This is 4 oz Romney from Spunky Club in Eclipse. I had spun these 8 oz as bulky singles this summer, and then a friend gave me her 4 oz of the club fiber recently, so I decided to create a navajo-plied (or "chain-plied") yarn to use as a scarf warp, and use the bulky singles as weft.

When spinning Romney thinly, there is always the risk of a wiry, twine-like end result. I tried to counteract this by not overspinning the singles, and then not over-plying it, leaving air inside of the yarn. To my dismay, the loops in the chained yarn are visible at the joins between the "chains", but I think that will dissapear once it's part of the woven cloth.

The result is a yarn that will hopefully be strong enough for a warp -- I'll have to be careful not to apply too much tension when I tie it up -- but I don't think I'd enjoy knitting with it. Just my preference. (I do, however, really like using softly spun Romney bulky singles.)

Sparky, Max and I have been having some fun playing with my carder. This is one of the layered batts we recently created:

Grey Merino, natural black Alpaca (from farm near my parents house), multi-colored sari silk, pink firestar.

(Sorry, kind of a terrible picture -- the weather was bad, and I wanted to spin it rather than waiting for a better photo op!)

Sparky was turning the crank, and as we added layer after layer, he would yell things like: "hey! The black is tackling the grey!!" , etc. Children take such delight in the small things.

It was fun to card, but I don't really like black twisted with grey.

"Twisted Glitz", 2 oz, 86 yds, heavy Aran weight

(Wait -- who carded the fiber together again?)

Why I prepped fiber together into something I knew that I wouldn't fully appreciate, I have no idea. The resulting yarn, however, is soft, squishy, and has fun flashes of color throughout.

Thankfully, my little sister Rachel thinks the yarn is great. It's just over 80 yds, so I'm going to get her started knitting a top-down hat out of it. If she runs out of yarn, I'll just spin a little extra in whatever color she wants for the bottom edge. Should be cute, I think. (On a cute little girl, almost anything looks good -- it's the beauty of children.)

My brother Jonathan is here for the weekend, and so my mom, Rachel and Jonathan drove to Luxembourg for the day yesterday. Rachel took my camera to photograph the trip (she'll post picture on her blog later, but for now, you can see the Flickr set here if you're interested). My little crew and I already had plans to go to Stitch 'n Bitch (I've already been to Luxembourg, and probably will go again sometime, but traveling with small children and esp. a tiny nursing baby is a little rough), so my only reuqest was that they bring us back something interesting and tasty.

They found this regional specialty pastry:

It's some sort of sweetened chestnut paste piped over a pastry cream layer which sits atop a brown-butter cake round. Delicious, and incredibly filling. One of them literally topped me off for a few hours (well, ok, maybe just a half-hour -- I am feeding a hungry little baby!)

If anyone can tell me what these are called, that would be lovely. :)

They also brought back these cookies:

Sort of like a linzer cookie; from what I could tell, it had browned butter and almond meal in the cookie part, jam sandwiched in the middle (which created an almost melting texture between the two cookies), and then a crackling white icing on top. The texture of the slightly grainy, not over-sweet cookie contrasted nicely with the crisp little crunch of biting through the icing. Lovely, but once again, I would only eat these one at a time, as it is rich, sweet and filing.

Unrelated, but I just have to show you:

Max ran into the room a little while ago. With a sing-song, slightly put-upon voice, told me that Daisy had colored on him.

I don't know about you, but he looks a little sheepish here to me.

Then my mom located Daisy and brought her in.

I have no words.

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