Not a travel post!  Whee!  There’s still a fair amount going on, though rather different stuffs.  First, as many of you know, there’s a spinners’ event called the Tour de Fleece in which much yarn is made during the Tour de France.  (Some people watch the TV coverage of the bicycling, but lots of us don’t.)  I got a fair bit of spinning done this year.  Less than I’d hoped, I’ll admit, but I’m happy with my pile of fresh yarns.


These are Shetland, Wensleydale, Polwarth, Merino/silk/camel, and Merino/Corriedale, with a couple of partly-spun batts (not my carding) in the back.  I also finished spinning a couple of other yarns that didn’t make it into this photo.  (The ones on the left side here have been washed; the ones on the right have not.)

One of the things that’s been distracting me from spinning and job-hunting has been raspberry-picking.  It’s taking even longer these days, as it’s the peak of the first crop of red raspberries (there’re fewer black raspberries, so they’re faster to pick).  This is what I picked on Thursday:

Good thing I grabbed the larger bowl.

Yes, there are some not-raspberries in there.  That bowl holds about two quarts, though, and it was totally full yesterday and overflowingly full today.  Which is why there’s also a (second) tray of raspberries in the freezer, plus two batches of raspberry jam on the counter.

The garden is full of lovely inedible things, too:



That’s a black-eyed Susan and a buttonbush in bloom.

The fall jamming edition:

cranberry applesauce

I’m calling it cranberry applesauce, though apple cranberry sauce would be similarly appropriate. It’s got a flavor much like cranberry sauce (with undertones of apples, scotch, and various baking spices), but the texture of mostly-homogenized applesauce. I cooked it for a really long time to get the apples to cook down that much. I don’t buy cooking apples, since my main use for apples is eating them whole (well, okay, biting pieces off, but not cutting with anything other than teeth)–I just cook with the squishiest of the generally crisp apples I like to eat. This means that jamlike things take longer.

In other appley news, I’ve gone through enough of the 20-pound bag of Gold Rush that I bought a month ago that I happily signed up to get another one a week from Sunday. Mmm, apples.


I’ve been doing a bit of fibery stuff, to try to stay sane for working a lot. The most recent spinning:

I decided I needed some plain wool to spin, of a breed I hadn’t spun before, and for which I didn’t have any particular project in mind. So I dug my Acadia out of the fiber pile (it’s a stack of bins, or it’d be spread all over the floor) and set out to spin a 3ply. The talk seems to have been right–Finn is quite nice to spin. That’s one ply all spun and the second one started.

I’ve also been knitting some; I’ve nearly finished turning the heel on that sock. Yes, it takes more than a week to turn a heel when I’m only knitting a row or half a row or something at a time. Maybe this weekend? Of course, I’m also planning to start a new pair of socks: I’ll need concert knitting, for someplace darker than World Cafe Live.

So, as I said, I spent a lot of last weekend cooking.  In fact, I’m still eating leftovers–it’s a good thing I don’t mind doing that.


Lamb/cauliflower/carrot curry. Local ingredients: ground lamb, cauliflower, carrots, onion, garlic, milk.



Roasted veggies. Local ingredients: cauliflower, beets, carrots, parsnips, onion.

Once I ran out of leftover rice, I switched to eating the lamb curry over the roasted veggies.  Not bad at all.



Granola. No local ingredients that I recall, except for the maple syrup. I usually make granola with honey, but I had just barely enough maple syrup in the fridge for this granola, so I figured I’d use it, instead, and get to open a new jar of syrup. This was a clean-out-the-freezer batch of granola, too–I put in the remaining bits in bags of hazelnuts, almonds, wheat germ, pecans…and enough of the wheat bran to fit it into a smaller jar. And it’s tasty. Mmm.


I’ve also been doing a bit of weaving, on and off, since I set up my loom. I finished that first sample; it’s pretty clear that I gradually learned how far to pull the weft before beating–the edges are much nicer toward the end than at the beginning.


And then I decided to play around with two-heddle weaving, to see if I could make patterns.


It didn’t come out amazingly well, but I think it’s a decent step, considering how much planning I didn’t do. Next time, for example, I’ll know to pay more attention to the exact order in which I tie the first couple of warp threads to the front apron rod–it didn’t matter much in the plain weave, or if it did, it all worked fine so I didn’t notice, but part of the reason I got impatient with this sample thingy is that I messed up the beginning of the warping. The weaving set on flickr includes closeups of several of the patterns I managed; I think the half-basketweave looks pretty nice on both sides, but I need to write stuff out and maybe just play with threads a bit in order to figure out how to get twills.

Both of these samples were warped with Rowan Linen Drape; the main weft is probably Cascade 220.

As I said, though, I was getting a little frustrated with the two-heddle sample, so I figured it might be time to warp for an Actual Project, one playing with color more than texture (well, texture just in yarn and not in weave structure). I hope it will actually turn out to be useable…


The idea is that it will become a scarf. The warp is two colors of Silky Tweed (I had one ball of teal, and two of green). Halfway through warping, I remembered having heard that it doesn’t do well as warp, but it seems to be okay so far. Probably in part because I’m not trying to make a really dense fabric (going for drapey, just hoping it’s not too terribly open and floppy) and in part because it probably wants a denser epi. But I still only have 10-dent heddles…for now.  The warps visible in this picture are a smidge of handspun merino (the light blue at the bottom), some of each color of silky tweed, and some…Mountain Colors, I think.  It’s a mohair-blend single, in “New England Autumn”, which includes almost exactly the same teal as the teal silky tweed.  I have the rest of these, plus a couple other yarns that seemed to go; I’m going to do more or less random stripes, trying to keep it somewhat balanced so it’s not too colorblock-y.


Anyway!  Enough typing for this evening, unless I’m going to do some actual work.

• I’m still spinning on my way to work most days. Yesterday morning reminded me why (aside from spindle productivity) it’s such a good thing–without it, I’m a little too likely to fret about the time, and the weather, and all sorts of other work-related things that I can’t actually do anything about until I get to lab. Especially now that I’ve messed up a second pair of earbuds so that the left one doesn’t work.

• I’ve actually done a decent amount of cooking lately. Still probably less than ideal, but I made these

black raspberry muffins

a week and a half ago. The black raspberries I’d bought the day before were already starting to go fuzzy, so I picked out the icky ones, cooked the rest of them down a bit with some sugar (like jam, but not that cooked), and subbed the raspberry mixture into my standard muffin recipe (in place of the milk). The seeds were a little annoying, but they were otherwise quite good.

And I spent Sunday evening in ridiculously geeky cookery that I’ll talk about later, when the person who took the pictures gets a chance to upload them.

• There’s been a teensy bit more knitting on the Estonian lace scarf. I was thinking about photographing it with something for scale, since it was mentioned that it kinda looked like a stole rather than a scarf, but I’ll just say (for now) that it’s maybe six inches wide and knit on US1s.

• I’ve finished the first half of the merino/bamboo Sumac singles and started on the second half. It still amazes me how differently spindles spin with a full cop versus a tiny starter one.

• I finally skeined up the Jacob roving from Gnomespun, though I still haven’t (wet) finished it. It seems to be about 660 yards. Here it is with Mel, who’s wondering why I leant it on him (and maybe why he isn’t enough reason by himself for me to pull out my camera):


• I’ve signed up for the Ravelry edition of this year’s Tour de Fleece, for which I have joined Team Suck Less, with the goal of spinning a mile not in a day, because I can’t commit a whole day to spinning any time soon, but on my spindles over the three weeks of the Tour. (And the side goal of spinning fast enough for the theoretical production of a mile of singles, at least, in a reasonable length day.)

• It’s now July, and I have yet to install my air conditioners this year.  This is wonderful.

What to do on a ridiculously hot Sunday: spin, knit, read, bake before it gets too terribly hot, and take better pictures of the new shawl:



This is Mim‘s Adamas pattern. I knit 12 repeats of the second chart rather than 14, because I was worried about running out of yarn, and then added two extra repeats of the last two lines of chart 3. I have some yarn left, but I’m happy with the narrow stripe of dark blue/green at the edging. I do need to redo the second half of the bindoff, and I’d like to eventually reblock the shawl on a surface that’s actually big enough for it, but I may try to keep the more rounded, less triangular-with-deep-scallops shape that it has now.

If I try a project like this again–making a color-graded yarn by blending two fibers–I want to make maybe five mixed-color batts instead of three; the shift from the light green to the first blended bit is more abrupt than I’d hoped.



I think I’m going to have something cold to drink and maybe another rhubarb muffin now.

I have no time, and Friday snuck up on me again, so here are a few hopefully-eye-candy-like pictures of some of what’s been keeping me busy. (No pictures of work, though.)

(a neckwarmer/cowl thing. out of oldish handspun from Spirit Trail fiber)

(apple-maple jamlike stuff. will be blogged on FTP when I have time, maybe tonight)

(fresh yarn! two of three October Hooves batts from Enchanted Knoll Farm)

Combination of Eye Candy Friday and One Local Summer, since I’m on my way to a wedding in Indiana, that is.

my new favorite sandwich

and a variation

It’s sorta borderline as a local meal, since I doubt Metropolitan buys its flour locally, but the bread as an object is local, as are the chevre, the cucumber, and the pepper, and the hot sauce is semi-local, courtesy of my dad. And it’s my new favorite sandwich, especially when eaten at home so I can toast the bread before topping it. Yum.

Happy, weekend, everyone!

I walked past the Wednesday on-campus farmers’ market this afternoon, while going from one errand to another.  I stopped to look at what was there, thinking I might find something snackable or salady.  Although there were some pretty nice-looking blackberries, and even a red pepper, I wound up not buying anything.  Instead, I was reminded of one of my peeves about some farm stands: no prices visible, anywhere.  I know it’s more work to label everything, but I hatehatehate trying to catch a farmer’s attention just to ask prices.  I’ve been accused of trying to cut in line when all I wanted to do was not wait in line before knowing whether the produce was a price I was willing to pay.  If I don’t see a price and there’s a crowd, I’ll just leave.  Waiting is fine, but not if I have to wait before deciding what I want to buy.


It’s deadly hot here (so weird to go outside after wearing a hoodie in lab all day!), so this week’s OLS meal was mostly salad. I cooked the corn while I was chopping veggies. (Although I considered skipping the corn this week, because I’d have to cook it, I hate to miss a week of corn season.)

one local summer, week 6

Local: corn, pepper, tofu, zucchini, cucumber, yellow bean. Not local: salad dressing.

Now, since my knitting time last night was entirely consumed by fixing a mistake a few rows back (note to self: don’t try to knit lace when you can barely keep your eyes open), it’s time to work some more on those swap socks.

(Also, I think it’s funny that last year’s OLS Week 6 meal was a very similar salad.  Seems like OLS started earlier this year, though, since it’s not August yet.)

Although I skipped week 3, when I didn’t really cook much of anything, I did have local meals for weeks four and five of this year’s One Local Summer.

one local summer, week 4

one local summer, week 5 ols2008-5b

That’s a July 4th dinner of lamb chops, veggies also cooked on the grill, composed salad of carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, scallions, and such, and locally-made bread; tofu/mushroom/eggplant stirfry (with nonlocal rice); and lamb-stuffed eggplant accompanied by two ears of fresh-from-the-market corn (not pictured).

one local summer, week 2

This past week was not a good week for cooking.  I’ve got a science deadline on Wednesday, so I’ve been working extra hard, and then there was a mysterious flood of water from my ceiling onto my couch, andandand….  So the only food I actually cooked last week was last night’s dinner: tofu scramble.  This is local tofu, baby spinach, snap peas, garlic scapes, and spring onions, plus dried basil from my parents’ CSA (which I count as semi-local ’cause I picked it last fall and hand-carried it home, even though I took a plane and a train to do so).  Non-local ingredients are soy sauce, sriracha, olive oil, and black pepper.


I’ve managed to spin a bit, a few minutes a day, because it’s still nice to sit in front of the air conditioner even if it’s just on ‘fan’.  I love the sproinginess of cormo.  I’ve also knit a little; my first swap sock is an inch into the gusset.

This week, I wound up making two batches of local food in one evening.

First, I decided that the asparagus I bought on my way home (at the first week of this season of the Thursday market at Clark Park) wanted to be in something quiche-y.
crustless quiche

I was impatient and hungry, so I decided to skip the crust, but this is asparagus from Eden Grove farm, onion from the farm from Rome, PA that sells eggs and pork and honey at the Saturday Clark Park market, Seven Stars yogurt, mushrooms and eggs marked local at Mariposa, and dried basil and parsley from my parents’ CSA.  Non-local ingredients: olive oil (for pre-cooking the onion and mushrooms), salt, pepper, paprika.  It came out really well, even with the extra liquid at the bottom.  (I should’ve drained the mushrooms a bit better.)

While the quiche-y thing was baking, I took some kale (Landisdale farm, from the farmers’ market a week or two ago), some more of the same onion, and some leftover New Jersey-made buckwheat pasta and came up with this:
buckwheat pasta w/kale

Maybe not as exciting as the quichey stuff, but it should make a decent lunch tomorrow.


Quite a while ago,  Nicole posted a recipe for a bulgar salad with chickpeas, shredded carrots, almonds, and dried cranberries. I’ve made several different versions of similar bulgar salads since then, along with other grain-salad things, but I think this week’s was the first one in which the only non-local ingredients were the grain and the spices.  The local ingredients are onion, garlic, spinach, crimini mushrooms, crunchy mixed sprouts, and herbed chevre.  Mmm, real food.

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