More Flowers, More Socks

I’m glad I’ve decided to include more flora (and fauna) in this blog. During the spring, when surrounded by all of this blooming glory, it’s easy to start taking it for granted. So, having a record of what we can expect each spring will, I think, not only lighten up the darkest of winter days, but remind me now that this is a good time to be awake and aware of all that surrounds us.

Virginia definitely takes advantage of our new “cutting garden” (planted exclusively for brightening up the house), and I’m glad she does. I just wish we could have a show like this in mid-January.

Tulip Bouquet

Alas, unless you want to spend an arm and a leg for tulips in the middle of winter (not to mention encourage the enormous amount of energy and fuel expended in trying to get them from farm to store), we have to enjoy them when we can. Fortunately, there are other things that we can take advantage of in the middle of winter, that are harder to enjoy in warmer weather. Things like…


…handknit socks! Virginia’s sock needles are starting to pick up steam again, and I suspect we’ll be seeing more of those around here.

Shepherd’s Harvest (a.k.a. the weekend haul)

For those of you who live in or around the Twin Cities, MN and did not make it to the annual Shepherd’s Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival, you missed out. I’m so glad to see how much this festival grows each year. Just in the short time that I have been spinning (has it been four years already?) the vendor section has grown to fill three large buildings (quite a jump from the initial one building). That, plus the many classes, music, events, demonstrations and, of course, the knitter/spinner’s source of material…


From sheep to alpaca, angora goats to bunnies, kettle corn to french fries this should be on your list of places to acquire stash. So, make note for 2009… we’ll be there.



Obviously, we didn’t go just for the animals. I use this festival to build my spinning stash for the following year. I was surprisingly restrained this year (probably because I still have quite a bit unspun from last year… and maybe the year before… and maybe even the year before that, but who’s keeping track?). Restrained enough, that I’m not ashamed to show you what I hauled in:

SHSWF 2008

SHSWF 2008

SHSWF 2008

Some great finds include a pound of Mulberry Silk (undyed), a pound of combed Cormo top (incredibly lofty), some beautifully dyed Merino blends, and a new fiber for me to try, bamboo… should be an interesting experiment. If only I had finished up what I currently have on the wheel, I’d be able to play with new fiber tonight.

Note: Virginia made a few nice acquisitions of her own, including some beautiful organic cotton, which I’m sure will be featured at some point on this here blog.

A Welcome Change

Well, Spring is in full swing around here, and the yard is suddenly coming to life… with a show that is attracting an interesting crowd. My favorite this week is Mr. Toad.


We found him (her?) sitting, trying to act like a stone. A stone with a view of this:


and this:


I think, if I could, I’d spend most of my time hanging about the garden. But, we humans, instead, think we need to busy ourselves with jobs, politics and bathroom remodels… more about that in a couple of weeks!


Even though the record has been lost because we changed blogs, Virginia has not forgotten her attempt at a “major-project-a-month” challenge for 2008. So, for April she has finished this.



This is Geno from Rowan No. 43. She finished it just in time for the warmer weather we’ll be getting (at least I hope we’ll be getting).



She knit this using Rowan 4-ply Cotton, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you see future projects made with it.

Carb Loading

In an attempt to shoo away another round of cold weather and snow, or at least the frustration that it brings (Barb, after reading your comment, I feel your pain), I fired up the oven for an afternoon of baking. And an afternoon of baking it was.


I’m constantly modifying my bread recipe, and I feel like I’ve found a decent base from which to explore different adaptations.

Today, I started with:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2+ Tablespoons of black strap molasses
  • 2 Teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of ground up caraway seeds

Next, I mixed in the following ingredients with the liquid, and whisked/stirred until a consistency of yogurt:

  • 1/2 cup gluten flour
  • 1/2 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 cup wheat germ

Then I added:

  • Approx. 3 cups white flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt

The rest is pretty much standard bread-making instructions (knead for 10 minutes, let rise twice, proof before putting in oven that has been preheated to 400ºF, bake for 30-35 minutes or until done — I like to spray the oven with water a couple of times during the baking to give the crust a bit of a crunch).

That was the bread. As you can see, there were a few more things besides the bread. Jane Brody has a good zucchini bread recipe, and the peanut butter cookies, though not as good as Virginia’s grandmother’s recipe (are they ever?), have still been approved for household consumption.*


What can I say? I am a fan of wheat.

*And, as much as I’d like to dive into all this baked goodness, we’re actually going to be feeding a group of people.