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Friday, September 21, 2012

And Sadly, the Week Comes To A Close

My week off that is, which means I get to go back to work tonight... Lovely! Actually, I'm not going to complain one bit since after this week on we return the foster dog to her rescue association (for the better I hope, she has been great this last couple days!) and are looking at some time with friends and jaunt to the south possibly.

But before I get myself wrapped up in all that I have to get through the next week of working, but this is a normal length work week, not crazy stupid like the last couple. And by stupid, please read that I myself signed up for those extra shifts. I know; ridiculous. so I can't whine much about it.

However, I started out my work week on the perfect foot forward. This arrived in the mail today:

Well, the undyed silk mawata on the bottom and the orange and yellow corriedale top did. the blue is the mawata I worked on the other night. But back to what arrived today, I found on Etsy Alma Park Alpacas who had undyed mawata in 2oz hankies for as much as I bought the dyed blue stuff in .5oz hankies. So I ordered three. And then for some strange reason, the Fire roving caught my eye. I'm not really an orange and yellow person so I found it strange that I had to have it, but I've found the perfect use for it so hopefully you should see it again here soon.

The Blue stuff is some of Knit Picks Silver Falls mawata that I purchased a couple weeks ago. I finally got around to spinning it, and what you see there on the bobbin is a cobweb/lace weight half ounce hankie. I have one more currently all drafted and ready to go and decided that it wasn't near the yardage I wanted so I ordered a third of this colorway and then ordered three of the Cascade Head ( a blue, purple, a green mix) to spin up separately and ply with this stuff. I think it's going to be lovely!

Unfortunately, that little bit of spinning and about 130 yards of undyed peruvian highland in about a worsted weight is all the spinning I've managed to do this week. I did get to finish one of the large knitting items that I've felt has been sitting over my head threatening to drown me in it's lusciously soft alpaca fibers all finished and blocked.

I'm very happy with the finished product and I hope Andrea is too since it's going to live in her store for the ones that complain of being cold all the time (I'm sometimes one of those, especially if I'm feeling tired). I can't wait to see the rest of the Knit Along Members finished items. There are some lovely yarns that were chosen for their projects.

That's about all the fiber related stuff I got done this week. The rest of the time was focussed on the house, the guy and the furry kids. Hope you had a less tired but just as good week as I and you all have a wonderful weekend. I'll leave you with thoughts of this wonderful apple crisp with dreid cherries and crystallized ginger that I made for the knit gathering last night. It smelled as wonderful as it looks.

Recipe is as follows:


1 and 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1 and 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or to personal taste, I like my cinnamon)
1 1/2 sticks (should be 3/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature cut into cubes
3/4 cup pecans or other favored nut lightly toasted and coarsely chopped (I pan toatsed mine with about a 1/2 tablespoon grape seed oil.
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger

Combine oats, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon and mix well. Cut in butter until it forms soft crubly texture. Stir in in nuts and ginger. You can make this in advance and refrigerate until ready to use. I start with the topping so my peeled apples don't turn brown while I make the topping and just cover and refrigerate until ready for it.

1 1/2 cups dried tart cherries
1 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark, you're preference)
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 tablespoon plain tapioca
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon (like I said, I like my cinnamon, add as you like)
1/2 teaspoon all spice
A splash of vanilla extract (again, I cook to taste so I literally don't measure and just  pour it in as I see fit)
A pinch of ground clove, again, I like my clove but depending on how fresh your clove is, it may be very strong, so add as desired or leave it out if you wish.
4-5 pounds peeled, cored and sliced apples of your choice. For baking I prefer tart apples like granny smiths (oh hell, I always prefer tart apples), but for this recipe I used apples from our tree in the back yard. It came with the house and I have no idea what kind they are but they start out green and lovely sour but this year faded to a greenish yellow and our hot late days have blushed them to red. They ended up sweeter with still a touch of sour bite. And in the true nature of organic back yard farming, they have worms, but I was diligent in cutting out the affect apples, but we're losing a lot of them to the blue jays that are pecking out the worm and leaving the apple to rot.
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400F
Grease a 9x11 baking pan

Combine cherries, water, and cinnamon stick in small sauce pan. Bring to a slow boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. When cooled, you may notice some brown wrinkled skins floating free of the cherries, remove these (you can eat them...) Pour off fluid (this while still warm is a lovely drink), discard cinnamon sticks (I throw these in the liquid while drinking it, just extra flavor) and reserve cherries.

 As you peel your apples douse them with lemon juice to slow the affects of turning, You can also make a vinegar bath for them but I prefer the taste of the lemon juice in the finished goods. Once you have your apples prepped, in a large bowl combine apples with the rest of the filling ingredients and mix well.

Fill prepared baking pan and place in middle of oven for 10-15 minutes to start softening apples. Do not overcook or you'll loose all the juices to evaporation. Remove from oven, cover evenly with topping, and place once again in oven for 30-45 minutes until topping is golden and filling is bubbling around edges.

Now, if you're trying to score points with the significant other you do all your dishes while this is cooking and serve it still warm as they walk in the door with their favorite ice cream. Heck, you might even get some thank you sex out of it... Just say'n.

Happy Izzy?
 Sorry, the Blue Jays won't hold still long enough for a good photo.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Butterfly Flaps it's Wings...

So, once again I have no pictures of yesterday's event. I apologize. I even left my camera out so that I would hopefully jog my memory to snap a couple but as usual, I spaced the whole concept of using my camera in times of fun. Because yesterday was fun, but it may have been my exhaustion talking to. To everyone that was at my house yesterday, I apologize for the glazed look that I know fell across my face occasionally as I sat there a few times and just vegged...

So, back to the event. The Nebraska Fiber Fair had unfortunately decided to cancel it's planned classes that a couple of people from our local yarn store were planning on attending. In a fit of creativity myself and a couple of other spinners decided to hold an even here at my house for those interested to bring their stuff, relax around a hearty lunch of lasagna and play with fiber. So, a little butterfly of cancellation flapped its darkling wings in Scottsbluff and created what I hope is the first of many (maybe quarterly everyone?) miini fiber festivities in Casper.

Now, it was great fun, or I wouldn't be asking for more, it was so much fun I'm kicking myself for not using my camera to share with those who couldn't be here. It was a very laid back unstructured, bring your stuff and spin, knit, and in one case walk away with a new Ashford Traditional wheel... But I was beat. We've had family troubles going on all week that involved many a trip for Bob and I back and forth to Douglas that's about a 45minute trip down I25 for the last week and a half, I worked a lovely 9 day stretch of 12hr night shifts, in addition to the fact  that in the last three weeks (21 days) I've had 18 days of time on the books for my job, 15 of those being full 12 hour shifts. Throw in working until 7am Friday and running to the grocery store before diving into cleaning my house (sorry guys, it wasn't up to it's normal standards), washing dogs, and cooking, equaled to a tired me. And for the record, washing your dogs the day before an event at your house makes vacuuming absolutely useless since all five dogs decided to blow their coat withing 8 hours of such an event. And I still don't know why my oven decided it didn't need to bake properly yesterday.

Regardless of it all, I got the sauces started at midnight Friday night so by Saturday morning I could boil the noodles, whip up the ricotta and layer and bake two lovely deep dish lasagna's and have fun with some good company. We laughed, played at being Kathy Lee and Hoda with noon Mimosa's, spun, and ate to our hearts content. Everyone walked away with a bit of new fiber or yarn to play with and hopefully enjoyed themselves as greatly as I (This is where you all agree...).

Then after everyone left, Bob kindly attacked the pile of ever growing dishes, I vacuumed up all the loose wool parading as dust bunnies and put all the furniture back where it belongs. Oh, and FYI, if you plan on having several spinning wheels laying around, things like coffee tables should just be removed from the room. Then I laid down, and that I think was my first mistake. I really just meant to cuddle with the pooches, but my eyes shut. I opened them about 20 minutes later to say goodbye to Bob as he ran off to attend to his Mom, and I decided the best way to wake up would be to walk the dogs. After getting home about 45 minutes later I still couldn't keep my eyes open. I fed the little furred and scales mob of heathens that live under the roof with us and decided to hell with it, I was going to bed. So what if it was only five thirty? And all I can say is, I must have needed it. I think after all the excitement, fun, and dare I say stress, my body had decided to reset itself. So, as my eyes finally peeled awake at six thirty this morning I realized that I slept for thirteen hours with only one potty break at about ten that I recall. I'm sure Bob will inform me of others or even conversations that may have occurred that I won't ever remember.

So, with a new day dawning, I tick another lesson into my book. Have fun, spin with friends and go all out with such events, but dammit boy, you better sleep a bit more before hand.

I hope everyone elses weekend was as much fun as mine, but I need to go buy a birthday present for a 4 year old and get a training plan drawn out for today's agility class.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Heads a Spinning

Well, maybe not my head. I can't say I'm necessarily in need of an exorcism. But something in my world is spinning, that's for sure.

Whether it's me or the wheel, I'm still not sure. In three days I managed to roll out three batches of yarn. That also includes Sunday night while I was working... Don't ask and I won't tell. It didn't come up in my evaluation yesterday and I hope to keep it that way.
Old Ironsides
Plyed Old Ironsides

I started with finishing up the melon/orange colored one on the left to get my bobbins empty for our planned spinning event next week. That led to the arrival of my new fiber from huckleberry knits in the middle which I just had to to dig into. When I got all that done, I wanted to play with the beautiful bfl (Blue Faced Leicester) that Andrea bought me, which led me back around to emptying all necessary bobbins... Add that to the the projects on the needles, I haven't gotten much house work done. But I did get up early today to clean the fish tank, take dogs to the river before hitting the road. Okay, maybe my priorities are skewed, but then so am I.

Okay, off to play with the kids, you have a wonderful day.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Lazy day. Well, not truly lazy, just not focused where it should be.

I feel quite productive today actually, though I only did one thing productive. Emmitt and I went to a dog training session with a young lab who is starting agility with his owner.

But why I truly feel productive is because I finally got the last of this stuff spun up and plyed.

Just in time for me to get more fiber from the fiber club through huckleberryknits that I joined last week. I can't wait to play with some of it later this week. All in all I think I have about 150meters of what looks a lot like one of those orange sherbert cups they used to give out in elementary school for ice cream treats. It's funny, because unspun the fiber was a beautiful cantaloup color, and spun it appears more orange. Oh well, it's still pretty. No idea what it is to become as of yet.

Oh, and last night I whipped this off the needles because all I seem to have lately are large shawls I don't want to work on for one reason or another and I wanted something small and quick.

Andrea at the local yarn shop got in some kind of cool Berocco Boboli so I picked some up and found this bandana cowl and had at it. It made me feel all productive and crap to actually get something done and cast off and blocked. It's still a bit damp but it's done otherwise.

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend!