Autumn Orange

Oak

It’s been an unseasonably warm autumn (although, many “unseasonable” weather patterns seem to be becoming more “seasonable” with the climate warming up). Still, temperature  aside, the trees and plants still respond to the fewer hours of sunlight, getting ready to sleep in the coming winter months.

Oakdale Park

The leaves promise to be extra vibrant this year, and already we’re seeing some pretty landscapes close by our home. This park is a short hop, skip and a jump from our back door and we try to make a pass through the trails once a week. Fun to see the landscape changing throughout the year.

This time of year also inspires the use of orange in some of the needle felted critters. Particularly, those enjoying the types of things most readily associated with this time of year.

Pumpkins:

Pumpkins

Acorns:

Owl holding acorn

and, Pumpkin pie!

Owl eating pumpkin pie

Shoe Polish, Superwash and Strawberry-Rhubarb Goodness

Shoe Polish Socks

Virginia has a new sock pattern available knit with Madelinetosh Twist Light. It’s an asymmetrical pattern that incorporates both cables and lace. Simple, but elegant.

Shoe Polish Socks

Pattern can be found on Ravelry.

Handspun Superwash Merino

And, my spinning has yielded about 230 yards of 3-ply (using the chain-ply method) yarn from 4.5 oz. of superwash merino. It’s a little thicker than what can reasonably fit through my CSM (another thing to be shared later), so this yarn might have to wait to become something else.

In the meantime… we enjoyed “harvesting” some fruit when organizing the freezer, yielding a super simple strawberry-rhubarb crisp. So simple, that a written recipe is hardly needed. Essentially pile the frozen strawberries and rhubarb into a big bowl, defrost for a bit. Add some honey (1/4 cup, more or less depending on desired sugar load), a sprinkling of flour (I use a gluten-free blend) and cinnamon. Spread that into a 9×13 pan, top with some ground-together pecans, oats, olive oil (just a drizzle) and molasses (another drizzle). Bake for 50 minutes at 375ºF (more or less until the bubbling is on the thicker side).

If you’re feeling a little more decadent, top with a little vanilla ice cream!

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Hedgehogs, Otters and Ballooning Bears

I’ve been working on adding some new critters to the shop these last few weeks. And, a few most recent additions are some of my favorites, and some of the more fun to work on.

Hedgehog

Hedgehog v. 2

Otter

Otter

Ballooning Bear

Ballooning Bear

It’s getting to be the time of year where I have to focus more on production and less on coming up with new designs. But, I’m happy to have been able to sneak these guys in.

On Spinning

Spinning Mojo

After a restful night, it’s a good idea to use some time to transition between sleep and wakefulness. Quiet contemplation or meditation is one way to help the brain and body restore its senses, and put some order to the day. I’m really trying to use this time to get back to my spinning wheel and spend fifteen minutes working some wool through my hands, twisting the soft strands into yarn, working with only the soft morning light of dawn. It takes a few minutes for my hands and feet to wake up, but once that happens I can sit peacefully and allow the process of pedaling, drafting, and feeding to turn into a meditative rhythm.

Spinning Mojo

Spinning wool, flax, cotton or silk into yarn is something that humanity has been doing for many thousands of years. And, not until organized groups of workers in the 18th century came up with methods of mass production, families relied on each other to create yarn and string for use in clothing and textiles. I admit, there is no way I would be able to spin enough wool and cotton to be able to clothe even just myself, let alone my family. But, the process continues to instill in me the wonder that comes from taking such a raw material as wool and working it into something that can, in turn, be knit or woven into a garment. So, even though humanity has gained a lot more time to do other more economically fruitful things by not having to spin, we’ve also lost the joy and pride that comes with being able to custom-make garments for ourselves and loved ones.

Spinning Mojo

These days there are so many great places to find wool to spin, it’s a way to connect with wool producers and get that much closer to the source of what goes into making knit garments and goods. Admittedly, these last few years I’ve slowed down on my spinning ritual, and my collection (or stash) is still fairly significant, so I have given myself a year or so to work through the excess before I go out seeking new fiber. This particular batch is some merino (what I call fun fiber) to help me get back into the saddle, and to loosen up the cobwebs in the “drafting” area of my brain. It’s not a perfect skein, but like riding a bike, I’m sure the actions will become a little more fluid like they used to be.

Spinning Mojo