Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Spinning

I finished spinning the blend of silk and linen -


I ended up with about 400m and 100g of a fingering weight yarn (65% Silk/35% Linen).


It goes well with the skein of silk gima that I dyed along side the fibre. I purposely spun the fibre for texture to contrast with the smooth silk ribbon. I noticed that there isn't much pink showing in the handspun yarn, I guess the other colours overpowered it. I will make some kind of a shawl with the yarns.

Now I am spinning some fibre that I bought on Friday at a local fibre festival.


It is so bright and sparkly! Since I usually dye my own fibre it is fun to be spinning something I didn't  dye.

first bobbin

This is a super wash Merino/nylon blend with some stellina for sparkle - perfect for socks.


Speaking of bright - I finished this pair of socks, although these are a bit garish. Regular, 64-stitch, toe-up, heel flap and gusset, knit two-at-a-time on 2.5mm long circular needle. The yarn is a commercial super wash Merino and nylon blend that I had dyed (it didn't come out how I had hoped). This was my take-along project.

Photos from around the place -

still working on the roof
harvesting soybeans next door
a sunflower from the garden

All the best!♥︎

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Late Blooms

This past week involved more canning of apple products, and house renovations - both are nearing the end for this year!


I did dye up some fibre and yarn for a 'spin your most precious fibre' challenge on Ravelry. The yarn is silk gima - a ribbon type yarn, and the fibre is a silk and linen blend - both were purchased last year  from the Silk Weaving Studio in Vancouver.


They came out exactly how I had hoped (I was a bit worried about dyeing them because I find that blended colours tend to split on silk). I dyed them with Jacquard Acid dyes in the colour ways Sun Yellow with a bit of Jet Black (to make the khaki green), Pink, Lilac and a bit of Grey over the whole thing to tone it all down. The plan is to make a shawl with the two yarns.


The gray sweater is progressing nicely.

Fall is around the corner (it was 3ºC the other night!), and lots of flowers have started blooming-
Sedum
Cornflower blooming again
Big Bluestem - a prairie grass
This is a perennial from here that I didn't know what it is until it started to bloom - an Obedient Plant.
This plant is a perennial from here that I still can't figure out what it is (the last one) - it is kind of like a mint (square-ish stem, serrated leaves on alternating on opposite sides of the stem...), but it doesn't smell. I was hoping that it would bloom so I could figure it out. In the spring I moved perennials from an overgrown, weedy flower bed, so maybe it is a weed (I moved plants that had dug-out sections next to them, assuming the previous owners only took some of the good plants. It has been fun trying to figure them out - there is a great selection of 'new-to-me' flowers).

Some photos from around-
 This Morning Glory was blooming late in the day in a weedy section of the yard.
  Out for an evening walk.
 The oldest grain bin is getting a new roof.

All the best!♥︎

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

More Indigo Dyeing and Canning

This past week my sister came over to try out indigo dyeing (I guess I think everyone should see how interesting it is).


This time we used the indigo kit from Jacquard. It worked really well - created that nice dark blue I was hoping for the last time I dyed with indigo.


I sewed a top with one of the pieces of fabric (the pattern is the Bondi Top by Sew to Grow - it was harder to sew than I thought it should have been, but it is comfy and I like the fabric. I had to add some pleats at the neck because it was so big).

I also finished spinning a project that I started spinning in July during Tour de Fleece.


This is from a local raw fleece that I had processed and dyed. Ended up with over half a kilo, and over 2000 metres of about Sport/DK weight yarn.


I started knitting the Autumn League Pullover, a free pattern by Alexandra Tavel.


Canned Apple Pie Filling -

We have been making canned apple pie filling this week (this is the first time we have had apple trees so we are trying every way to preserve apples) and I wanted to share my experience. I am really pleased with the results.

the first two batches
I used the recipe from a canning magazine I had bought at the beginning of summer, but here is a link to the same recipe with lots of helpful tips
The recipe calls for ClearJel (a modified corn starch) as a thickener. I couldn't find it anywhere in Winnipeg (a large city) so I ordered it online from Ontario. I had read a lot about thickeners while I was searching out the product and apparently you can't substitute regular, ie. easy to find, thickener because they don't withstand the canning process. I also read that some people didn't add a thickener when canning apple pie filling, just used their regular thickener when they baked a pie. We have been canning all kinds of apple products, Maple Apple Butter is delicious, as well canned apples in light syrup, the canned apples just floated, so I don't think making apple pie filling without a thickener would work as well.

Since my package of ClearJel was only enough for a couple of batches of pie filling we decided to see if we could find the product locally and decided to try the nearby smaller towns, with better luck. Prairie Foods in Plum Coulee had Thermo Flo - a different brand of modified corn starch. I used the same amount of starch for the latest batch of pie filling and it didn't seem as "gloopy" as the ClearJel, but thickened nicely (there isn't much online about Thermo Flo, ClearJel seems to be the popular one).
After the first batch we have been experimenting with the recipe a bit each time, it was a bit too sweet with lots of 'sauce' - we are up to 16 cups of sliced apples instead of 12, a bit less sugar and an extra 1/2 cup of water. We do leave a good 1" of headspace (up to where the jars start curving in) when filling the jars, and leave the jars in the canner (regular water bath canner), off the heat, for 10 minutes, to minimize siphoning.


A jar from the first batch on the left (without the ring) and the latest batch (first with the thermo Flo) fresh from the canner on the right (with the ring) - a better fruit to 'sauce' ratio for us.

Photos from Around-

 Swallows on the wire.
 Our first ever homegrown watermelon - tiny but so delicious!
We thought it was funny that our oldest was so surprised that there were so many seeds - he has only had seedless, and we remembered why we only ate watermelon outside when we were young.
Surprised by a couple of deer on our walk.

All the best!♥︎

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

York Apron, Apples and a Gnome

This week I made a York Apron.


This is from fabric that I recently purchased at a fundraiser sale at the Costume Museum of Canada in Winnipeg (this is just the start of sewing with the fabric I purchased - great deals!). This one is a quilting cotton.


The apron has a nice cross-back. All the edges are trimmed with bias binding (made from some green cotton I was given). I changed the pattern a bit - I made the front top a bit wider for better coverage, so the straps on the front and back are wider too. I made the short length, with bucket pockets and the high neckline. Next time I would use a walking foot to sew on the bias binding (it is one long piece all around). The apron is so bright and cheerful, and lovely to wear.


Since I had leftover fabric, and the fabric is bright (something that I don't have too much of) I made the cat a new anti-predation collar. This time I didn't make the full circle (so that it would be less clown like).


It is the same size as her break-away collar.


It lays flat on her (looks more like a shirt collar, she just needs a tie, maybe a bow..... somehow the little outdoor cat now has her own bedroom and a wardrobe! When I suggested to my family that now that we live on a farm we should raise a beef calf or a pig for meat, to become more self sufficient, this was pointed out to me). 
The collar seems to be working - it has been a few weeks and I haven't seen her catch a song bird, just lots of mice, voles and ground squirrels.


This week I spun a tiny amount of rabbit fur.


So fluffy! To make the beard of a tiny gnome!


This one is for a friend. The rabbit fur comes from her daughter's rabbit.

This past weekend we had high winds, and with a loaded apple tree it marked the start of apple canning season.

A few batches of apple sauce.
A batch of apple jelly.
and the latest batch fresh from the canner (I learned that it seems much easier to make apple jelly when you let the juice drip overnight).
 This tree is still loaded, plus there is another apple tree not quite ripe and a crab apple tree, so lots more to can - apple pie filling next!

Photos from around -

A Hummingbird at the feeder
A Winnipeg Parks Rose from the garden
So many Blackbirds
Berries on the wild asparagus 
All the best!♥︎

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Another Ashton

I don't really know how the weeks are passing so fast! Summer is almost over. 
I have been starting new knitting projects and then taking them apart (I always find it hard to settle on a new project when I finish a large one - and I finished two recently), plus doing lots of canning (the garden has been very productive).

I did finish sewing another Ashton Top-


This time following the tulip back hack on the Helen's Closet blog -


I used some fabric from a stash I inherited, I think it is a cotton/poly blend. It was fun to make, but definitely sticks out in the front more than the regular top (on the Helen's Closet blog she says that the top is more a-line in the front view with this hack). It has been fun experimenting with this pattern, it is great practice.

Photos from around-

Birds enjoying a bath in the heat-

A bird's nest beautifully woven in the bullrushes (I think it might be a Redwing Blackbird)-

 Sunflowers in the ditch-

A flock of Canada Geese in a harvested field-

The cat staring at her empty food dish (this happens a lot)-

All the best!♥︎