Of Snowflakes and a Stubborn Winter

As May approaches it feels like Winter is having a hard time letting go, letting the light from the sun warm up the land. We woke up yesterday morning to another couple of inches of snow on the ground. The daffodils, which had been enjoying some previously warm days, were probably as surprised as us.

Daffodils in Snow

Maybe “surprised” isn’t the right word. I think “disheartened” is more fitting.

I’m not one for finger pointing, but a certain someone has been knitting several snowflake-themed items recently. And I wonder if, like a rain dance, there’s a power in the act of creating snowflakes out of wool.

Handknit Socks - detail

Handknit Socks

This pair of socks is from a pattern by Crissy Gardiner, appropriately called “Snowflake Socks.” Virginia knit these using Smart yarn.

Handknit Socks

She also finished this sweater, “Adelaide” by Kate Gagnon Osborn in Vintage Modern Knits.


It is knit using Rowan’s Kid Classic in an appropriately winter color palette.


To round things off, this second pair of socks was finished a couple of days ago. It’s “Harika” by Stephanie van der Lind, knit using Gems Merino.

Handknit Socks

Handknit Socks

See the theme? Wonder why there is still snow in the forecast? Fortunately, last night she started working on a crochet blanket using the “African Flower” hexagonal pattern, and it seems to be having the right effect. As I write this post, though a bit on the chilly side, the sun is out!


Recently, we both faced large projects in need of finishing — Virginia, a sweater pattern; me, a pound of roving. There were days when it seemed like neither of us would actually finish. But, even with projects that seem to drag the most, there’s always a possibility of finding that nugget of inspiration to push you through to the end (even if what motivates you is just getting it off the dining room table).

Virginia’s project, a pattern in Berocco #228 called “Nopareil,” was knit with some beautiful Blackstone Tweed.


Sometimes projects take on a more generous amount of inertia, making forward progress more of a slush. From what I overheard, this also must have been aided by choices made by the designer, in terms of construction, details and a collar that would not end.


Still, all in all a nice sweater.


My own project was spinning up a pound of roving. If you have been a regular follower of ScratchCraft you may have noticed a drop in the number of spinning-related projects. I have started to kick things back in to gear, but got a little ahead of myself when deciding to tackle a 16 oz. blend of Pygora, Wool, Mohair and Silk.

Handspun Yarn

All told, I spun approximately 1050 yards of 2-ply yarn. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely fiber making a lovely yarn. But, if you aren’t spinning regularly, 16 oz. can feel like it’s taking forever (must be some sort of fiber equivalent of ADHD). At any rate, it’s done, and I think Virginia already has a sweater idea brewing.

Handspun Yarn

My motivation to finish came with the arrival of my installment of fiber from Hello Yarn. This is “Scorch.” I knew that in order to dive into this luscious 4 oz. pile of goodness, I had to free up the spools.


And, now I can — tonight, in fact.

The Essentials

I’m sitting here Sunday morning, hunkering down as the second snowpocalypse begins outside. I was up early, warming up the house with baking bread. Specifically, I was attempting to make buns, being once again discouraged by the mile-long list of ingredients in the store-bought varieties.


These appear to do the trick (we’ll be testing them out later today as they sandwich a black bean burger with sautéed onions and mushrooms), and they were super easy to make. I modified an existing recipe to work with the ingredients I had on hand. The recipe is as follows.

Combine and heat to about 120 degrees :

  • 1/2 cup Fage
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp butter

Mix together in a separate bowl:

  • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Then, add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, including 1 egg. Mix thoroughly, then slowly combine about 2 to 2 1/2 cups white flour and knead until dough is smooth and elastic (I used my KitchenAid stand mixer for about 2 minutes). Take dough and pull apart into 10 to 12 pieces, which you then roll into a ball then place, slightly flattened, on a baking sheet (or, in my case, a silpat covering a baking sheet). Let rise for 30 to 40 minutes and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes (or until golden brown).

One of the biggest satisfactions of making food from scratch is the total control over the ingredients. I’m not sure why sandwich buns need high fructose corn syrup, or any of the other “enhancements.” These may not have the shelf life, but chances are they will be long gone before they expire.

Still on the topic of essentials, I’m happy to say my spinning wheel has been getting some use (not quite the 15-minutes a day I had hoped to accomplish in the new year), enough to finally finish some lovely 3-ply yarn.

Handspun Corriedale

This is spun from some handdyed Corriedale that Virginia picked up for me from cloudlover (at last year’s Shepherd’s Harvest festival). I navajo-plied the yarn, yielding approximately 370 yards from a little less than 5 ounces of roving. I believe a pair of socks are being planned with the yarn.

And, speaking of socks, Virginia has been working on several pair (as usual), one of the most recent are these:

Handknit Socks

Knit following one of Charlene Schurch’s four-stitch reticulated patterns in her book Sensational Knitted Socks. These are made with two colors of Jawoll “Aktion.”

Well, I’m off to make some lunch, and to draw in some energy for the piles of snow that will need to be shoveled over the course of the next 24 hours.