Tuesday, September 24, 2019

A Quilted Mouse Pad

This week I made a tiny quilt for my computer.


The optical mouse didn't track well on the stone countertop in our new kitchen (my desk is in the kitchen), so any excuse to make a new quilt!


I pieced little scraps of fabric together, and cut the piece into a rectangle.


Used a scrap of Soft and Stable batting, because I had it.


I used the walking foot to quilt dense parallel lines. I knew from trying to find something to work as a mouse pad that it needed not to move (I have lots of mini quilts, mug rugs etc but they didn't work), this piece of carpet underlay did the job.


I attached the underlay with a few random quilt lines. I did have to help it move in the machine by pulling slightly - for quilting and binding.


The little quilt is 7"x8", and it works quite well even with the seams - I think it is the dense quilting and stiff batting.


I finished spinning the sparkle fibre (282yds, 109g of a sport weight yarn).


I couldn't wait to start knitting some socks (toe-up, two-at-a-time, 56 stitches). This is my new take-along project.

I picked the last of the apples this week - well the ones I could reach from the top of our tallest step ladder.


We have two kinds of apple trees. I wish I knew what kind they are, they are both delicious. The ones on the left were the earlier ones (past their prime now). 



I made another batch of Maple Apple Butter with the later apples using the recipe from Homespun Seasonal Living, but omitted the apple juice since it would just add sugar and the apples were sweet enough, and since the apple sauce had to boil for quite a while to thicken up I didn't see the point of adding more liquid.

Photos from around -

sunrise
sunset 
I love the silhouettes against the sky.
so many bees
fall geese
I should have named her Shadow, she follows me everywhere (her name is Maggie - for Magpie because when she first came around she just chirped, like a Magpie, and she is black and white).

All the best!♥︎

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!♥︎