Saturday, December 30, 2006

"The Gentleman's Sheep"

Or, I've been learning about the Leicester while in Williamsburg with my parents.

These are the sheep raised as part of the Colonial Williamsburg rare breeds program.. They are lovely. One not very well known tidbit, they do sell fleece. The adults must be bought by the fleece, but the lamb's wool can be bought by the pound. So, I now have some amusingly authentic fleece for my stash. I hope to get it washed and spun at some point in the not too distant future, but I think we all know it's been a long time since I posted about spinning, and there's a reason for that.

As George Washington said, "It is a shame that it is illegal to import them (the Leicesters), for they have greatly improved my flock." I believe the rationalle used was that since the illegal action had already occurred (importation of the breed to the colonies), that breeding to them and using the sheep was valid... I happen to think that's a bit of a stretch, but..

Oh, and Virginia is a bad place to try to raise sheep. It can be done, but the climate is, a bit more humid that would be, strictly speaking, ideal. It's also a bad place to raise cotton as a cash crop because the type that grows here has a sticky green seed instead of the smooth black seed of cotton that requires an even warmer climate to grow.

I have seen a bed rug. Goodness those are unattractive. Especially the one that looks like a refugee from a 1970's VW minibus (black ground, blue octagons, orange squares, 1.5" loosely spaced tufts of yarn for the pile). I wouldn't want to make one, I might, actually like to sleep under one, but then I called my mother one year looking for suggestions for heavy non-insulative blankets. Yup, I'm odd, I like to know where my blankets are and in the summer, that means heavy cotton no batting.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Links.. and knitted ornaments

The raglan pullover agreement is hilarious.

The little cork elves are terribly cute. My mother thinks the korknisser are scary.

The jingle bell buns are also terribly cute.

I am unlikely to make either of the ornaments. Much as I might like to. I find knitted ornaments are great fun worked up free form. This is what I did for my ornamental pal (they also make great kitty toys, just ask my kitty!)

Bethieee's ornament recipe:

Decide how many sides you want your ornament to have.
Cast on that many stitches (I suggest between 3 and 5).
Increase however you want until you get bored or are worried you won't have enough yarn to finish the ornament (I use the little samples from the yarn of the month club so running out is a very real possibility)
Decrease however you want, remembering to pause and stuff the bottom half of the ornament at some point while you can still get your finger into the ornament to manipulate the stuffing (ask me how I know this is important...)
When you have the same number of stitches as you did when you started, work i-cord until you have enough to make a little loop.
Thread yarn through stitches to "bind off".
Sew i-cord tail into loop, weave in other end.
Hang from tree merrily.
Retrieve from cat.
Repeat last two steps ad infinitum.

This is rather more detailed than my recipe for squash and pumpkin soup.

Muppet's pumpkin soup recipe:
(Forewarned, if this is made too early in the fall, people in the cafeteria look at you funny and wonder why you're eating pumpkin pie in September. The looks get funnier when they determine you must have run the pie through a blender. Explaining that it's soup doesn't help much, they still look confused.)

1 can pumpkin
1 butternut squash, chunked
1 can coconut milk
some water
some cinnamon, salt, pepper, ginger, cumin and cloves

On medium heat, cook pumpkin, squash and enough water that it doesn't burn until the squash is squishy.
Add coconut milk, salt, pepper and spices until it tastes right. (more cinnamon than salt, more salt than any of the other spices... yeah, helpful, I know..)
Stir together and cook on low heat for a bit.
Squish squash or puree, your choice (I prefer mine slightly chunky)

I'll know in about a week if this recipe freezes well. Tonights leftovers are in the freezer. I'll probably eat them early next month.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Finals done, holiday blues

Hey there folks.
I know I owe you a couple of posts.
I've been knitting, but not finishing anything.
I've been taking pictures, but not getting them transferred off the camera.
I've been eating, but not really what I should be.
So, yeah.
I'm falling behind.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Toes of socks - II

Today we talk about toes again. Once I get home from school and finalize the post, we'll see toes as well. (I found my camera cable, and have been having a slight argument wiht my battery about whether or not it's going to keep a charge... I appear to be losing that argument, I need a new battery)

I made pointy toes for my Sockapaloooza pal when I followed Nancy Bush's pattern earlier this year. They fit decently and I really enjoyed not needing to kitchener the stitches at the tip of the toe, however, most people I know do not have a very pointy middle toe. So, this toe was less than perfect for actual use.

I figured when I worked up the green Lorna's socks that I'd try modifying my standard toe to alleviate the need for the dreaded kitchener stitch (I have actually conquered the kitchener, I think I can even do it without going and looking up the directions again, but that's beside the point). My new favorite toe works up quite nicely to the shape of my feet. It's here in the green picture.

In the red picture, however you see a toe that I should have realized would be problematic and modified it accordingly ahead of time. I love the lace on these socks (Thank you Sundara). The pattern is from her Petals Collection fall mailing. The yarn is a lovely slightly varegaited collection of reds like one sees in fall leaves and it's a joy to work with. However, the toes of this sock are square

and mine are, most definitely not, see?

I wish I'd thought to modify the toe before I did a couple of repeats of the lace, but I'll rip it out and do it again because I am quite enamored of how the lace looks. I'll probably use the same lace chart for a scarf at some point in the not too distant future, it's just pretty.

And, just because they haven't shown up on the blog in person before now. Here are the Socks that Rock socks that I finished during Socktoberfest. The pattern is the same one as the sockwars pattern, but with more stitches. Aren't they pretty?

I mostly don't even mind the pooling around the ankles. There are days when I wish I had more patience for doing contrasting color short-row heels just so the color patterning on the leg and foot wouldn't be interrupted. Alas, I prefer heel flaps and even if I did a contrasting flap, the gusset would still throw things off. I'll just pretend I don't notice that part and love them anyways.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

December already

So it's already December. Finals are next week and I'm not quite sure how they got so close.
I have a post about sock toes written, and need to get the pictures put into it before I post it.

I also need to post about the lovely box I got from my Secret Pal over the weekend. It was fabulous, but that's all your going to hear until I get pictures.

So I'm still here, stressy as all get out, but classes are wrapping up and one by one I get to tick them off my list. Tonight I go into town (DC area) for a reading and tomorrow is class. Friday's class is already technically finished, but I have things to do that morning, so it's not (quite) a long weekend.

Ooh, and the current knitting. I made the cutest alien skull patch. Pattern courtesy of Sol, modified by the both of us. It's terribly cute. And socks, the ever present socks, only one pair on needles at the moment, but that will change.

I knit and pulled out a scarf width version of Lady Eleanor (in green Silk Garden); I didn't have enough yarn. I really enjoyed entrelac though, so I'm thinking a felted entrelac bag.

Anyways, off to edit the paper that's due tomorrow.