Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Dying Yarn With Tumeric

I tried my hand at dying some hand spun yarn with Turmeric last night.
It was very easy. Set a pan with about an inch and a half of water to simmer on the stove. Add a couple of teaspoons of turmeric powder. Stir and let simmer for about 20 or 30 minutes. I had to add a bit more water as time went on. Then I added the hank of yarn and gently pushed it under the water with a wooden spoon. Let simmer for another 30 minutes. I liked the color at that point, so I then took it out and dipped in a bowl of very hot water for a few seconds. Then transferred it to another bowl of cold water. Kept changing the cold water until dye no longer came out of the yarn. Squeezed it gently to remove the water and hung it over the bath tub to drip dry over night.

I'm really pleased with the results!

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Monday, February 07, 2011

Winter Knit-Along

I joined the girls on the fiber forum at Homesteading Today in a KAL. We're all knitting this pair of fingerless mittens.  The pattern is free but you may have to sign up for ravelry.

We've each been assigned a partner to swap with. My partner is Shazza and she's in Australia. She's probably sitting outside in her shorts, drinking tall cool drinks, while knitting my mittens, since it's summer and pretty hot down there. I, on the other hand, am stoking up the wood stove and gobbling down comfort foods, like these cheesy, drop biscuits!

Recipe from Joy The Baker  I just used regular cheddar for these.

Had to abandon the first mitten attempt when I saw a glaring error. I'd missed a whole row of the pattern! See all the tops are missing from the zig-zags at the bottom?

The yarn used is Blue Sky Alpaca sport, in streaky brown and light gray. It's extremely soft and will hopefully be keeping Shazza's hands all cozy and warm when I'm out in my shorts weeding the garden!
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Wednesday, February 02, 2011

It's Alive!

I'm sorry, I fell off the blogging waggon. Right after New Year, we all came down with lousy colds and I lost all my inspiration for a while. It's that time of year. Not much exciting going on. We've been getting snow just about every week, but it hasn't accumulated very much. This week has been rather warm and melted what bit was left, except for a thick layer of ice on the road from the house to the barn. So we still have to wear Yak-Trax on our boots to keep us from falling and breaking something.

Anyway, the title is also referring to that bottle of milk in the picture. It really is alive! I ordered some Kefir grains from a lady by the name of Romey, over in Washington State:

 You place the grains in the decanter and add regular milk. Let it sit out on the counter top over night, and the next morning you strain out the the grains and you have Kefir, which is a cultured milk, full of probiotics that are very good for you. The grains, which don't look like grains at all, more like little florets of cauliflower, feed on the lactose in the milk and grow and multiply. So once you have the grains, you never need to buy more. The milk has a slight yeast smell ( though it's not a yeast) and is a bit sour tasting. Some people, especially in eastern Europe, drink it straight, but it's really good when mixed with banana or other fruit and honey or maple syrup, kind of like a smoothie. You can also add it to pancakes or whatever recipe calls for milk. Not only that but if you leave it out for about 48 hours it gets thick. You remove the grains off the top ( they float to the top) put the thick kefir into a cheese strainer and leave to hang over night. The whey seeps out and you're left with a kind of cream cheese. I made some and added a few herbs and a bit of onion powder. It's delicious on crackers. Some, I just left plain except for a bit of salt, and that's good on toasted English muffins with jam for breakfast. Mmm, I'm so happy with my Kefir!
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