floral wool shawl

While I was making the striped shawl, I was also making this floral shawl.

I spun the brown yarn from the last of the BFL/Cormo lamb fleece that I had.  It is so soft.  It is rather large and cozy.  Another good shawl for being cozy with a cup of tea and book.  It is not as heavy at the striped shawl but I think it may be warmer.  That may be because the lamb fleece is softer.

All the variations of brown are from the fleece.

I have been enjoying embroidering flowers on wool.  So I did it here.  All the yarn is from other projects.  Mostly hand dyed from other artisans.   It makes me happy.

It is going to be for sale in my shop.  Even though I would rather keep it.  But that is part of what happens with almost of everything I make recently!


A not exciting Saturday night

I had such a not exciting Saturday night but so much me!  I have been drooling over a crochet artist on Instagram, Isa Catepillan.  I think her work is lovely and she makes me wish to up my crochet game.  I have some yarns of a lace weight that I thought:  shawl.  I am now playing with granny squares and am going to learn cables so I up my game.  Maybe make a dress?  

I am doing this by not going by any pattern.  I am going to use my favorite dress pattern as a go by and work within those constraints.  I like Isa's cable accents and I can see where they add a lot of structure.  Again, something new to learn.  Cables in crochet.  Something I have wished to learn for awhile but this is letting me take the jump.  I may have a wedding to go to next summer and if this dress is wearable I might just wear it.  It is truly about learning skills though.

Koda Bear learned a new skill this weekend.  He has been helping me sew since he was interested.  That was before he was a year old.  But on my treadle sewing machine, you have to be tall enough and strong enough to work the treadle.  When we moved the stool closer to the machine, he was big enough.  

We started off simply with him guiding fabric through the machine.  Can he make the stitching go where he wishes it to?  Can he control his hands and feet at the same time?  He did a very good job.  Then my Beloved said he needed a sleeve for his paint ball marker hoses.  The two of them found fabric, measured, and cut.  I pinned the sleeve together and Koda Bear sewed.  Koda Bear still has problems with the initial pinning.  It is a dexterity thing.

Then the sleeve was done.  Koda Bear did not realize that it was actually going to be used on the paint ball marker.  He was so excited and proud that something he made on my sewing machine was actually going to be used!

I am still threading the machine.  And filling the bobbins.  But the filling of the bobbins will happen soon.  Threading will get there.  So proud of Koda Bear.


beer vinegar

That cookbook I was reading recently that was about Icelandic cooking?  The Chef there had this interesting vinegar he was making.  It was from beer.  He does not use pepper but he uses this.  Makes it himself.  It made me go mmmmmmm....

There is a lot of fermentation that goes on in my kitchen.  Vinegar making is one of those so I thought why not?  The worst would be that I would give it away to one of the boyos.

I poured two bottles of porter in a quart jar and covered it with muslin.  I let sit on the counter for a month.  I did have some vinegar mother so I put that in but the recipe said you did not have too.  It was one of those things I liked about the fermentation recipes in this cookbook.  They told you how to start from scratch!

A month later I had more mother grown and vinegar.

I had to strain the mother from the vinegar.  But I still have mother growing in the jar pictured at the top of the post!

The taste was not too beery.  I have been using this vinegar in place of the rice vinegar for sushi rice which we use in poke bowls (yes, I am getting there).  I already have more fermenting and wish I had started a larger jar.  But the boyos drank the extra beer.  I think I am the only one who thinks beer is extra.  Not my beverage.  But this is good vinegar and I will continue to make it.  Now I just need to figure out how to ship it across international boundaries for a baker on the east coast of Canada.  And make larger quantities.  

Bigger jars.  I need bigger jars!




I have had an interesting week.  I have not been able to figure out where the time keeps going.  I also had one day where my joints were very hot and stiff.  They felt swollen.  I felt swollen.  But other indicators would have said not.  So I sat in my chair with this shawl, yarn, and hook and finished it!

I really liked how it turned out.  All the colored yarn is from the same fleece that the farmer dyed.  I spun all the yarn in this.  This is one of those times where my Dad would say the actual crocheting takes the least amount of time.  It would if I had not started it three times.  I kept having different thoughts about it.  I get laughed at on how many times I will start a project.  It is part of my process.  But in the end, I really like it.

Why do I like it?  Because there is a cozy weight to it.  I could see myself cuddling under this with a cup of tea and a book.  Especially if there was a fire place near.  I do make things I like so I admit to being very tempted to keep this.

But no, it is going into the shop.  Both here and on Etsy.

Though, if it does not sell, there will be great temptation!


slow life

I was going to post about making beer vinegar today.  I am not because I had an interesting conversation with a pastry chef/baker this weekend.  It ties right into making vinegar.

She believes in slow food.  The using of yeastie beasties to make bread.  The putting the pork shoulder on for hours to braise.  The fermentation of mustard to make tastiness and to make other tastiness.  But she does not feel she gets appreciated.  Especially when a whole loaf of bread or a tray of rolls that took two days to bake are gone in 30 minutes.  

I do understand where she is coming from and I understand her perspective.  I also know what has helped to create that perspective because I know some of the chefs she has worked with and what kitchens she has worked in.  She was not appreciated.  Bread was reviewed by diners and food critics and not thought well off.  I have boyos who thank me for every cup of tea I bring them.  I am also told things like my hummus is as good as the best in town.  Koda Bear tells people we do not have a menu but we have good food here.  We can just bake something out of dough.  Or I bake something out of dough with the help of his hands.

We live such a fast life.  A life that if we send the words out we expect to get a response immediately.  This type of life makes it hard to understand that mustard should ferment for three days minimum.  That it takes a month to make beer vinegar.  That it takes six months to make bitter or orange extract.  That you may eat the cabbages right away but they can sit and ferment on the counter months at a time and they are still good to east.

I know I have been talking about food but there is such a thing as slow fashion.  Mend something.  Remake.  Make from scratch and do not even go to a store.  But it is not instant.  There is no instant reaction to what is hanging.  "Oh, I want that.  Now."  It all takes time.  And thought.  Is it really what you want.

My Father loves to point out when I am crocheting that the fastest part of the process is actually making the sweater, hat, mitts, or shawl.  I have not raised the sheep.  I have not shorn the sheep.  Yes, many times I do wash the fleece, card it, and spin it.  It adds so much more time until the garment is finished.  It is why I understand that if a sweater is out grown it should be made in away that it can be taken apart and made into another garment.  Even if a stripe of a different color needs to be added.  This is all slow.  It all takes time.

It adds up to a slow life.  A slow life is always what I wanted.  Where I made or grew most of what was in my life.  I am much closer to that now then I have ever been before.  I still feel like I move to fast some days.  But I keep working on moving slower.  I have people who appreciate slower in my life. 

I just wish more did appreciate the slow.  A slow life is a very good life.