28 August 2017

Lots of Not Very Big Skeins !

 
 I have this terrible habit of washing one batch of a new fleece, 
processing and spinning a skein from that,
and then putting the fleece away to move on to another one.

I have way too many 'one skein wonders',
with either more washed or raw just waiting for me
to get back to it...
It's a bad habit I need to break!

I really wish just once that I could follow through
with the same fleece from washing to spinning all of it...
...in the same year!!

I just get so excited when I get a new fleece!!

I know it's fleece ADD, but really...
I know, I know, some people have oodles of started
knitting projects, waiting to be finished,
 I don't usually have more than two knitting 
projects on the needles at a time...
 ...with me, it's fleece. 

Has been from the 1st time I laid my hands on a raw fleece.

One of my latest fleece purchases was from a fellow guild member
who raises Romney and Romney cross sheep.
We had been talking about her sheep and fleece
and I told her I might be interested in a raw fleece.

At one of the meetings, she had several bags in her truck...
very bad for me...
 As an addict, I have a VERY hard time
saying 'oh, very nice fleece, bye".
It's usually, "oooooh, what pretty colors you have!
What's this one, a lamb fleece? Hmmmmm"

Yes, I carried that lamb fleece with me to my car...
...hanging head in shame, as I have no control...
like I need another fleece? 

HECK NO!!

But I enjoyed that fleece smell all the way home...hahaha

 Wanna see?...here it is...



My friend who keeps the sheep is a one woman show when it comes
to their care and shearing.
She actually did a really good job with the shearing as I have come 
across very few second cuts!

The tips are weathered, brown and stiff.


But below that, is a gorgeous medium grey color!
I have only washed about enough for one smallish skein... so far.
I decided to spin the whole lock, as opposed to cutting off the
weathered tips. 

Using a sturdy dog comb...
I gently combed the tips open.

Then I proceeded to comb them on my Valkyrie Extrafine Combs.

The top has these brown streaks in it from the brown tips. 
I kinda like it!



Made for some very interesting combed top!


The finished skein weighs 1.8 ounces and is only about 
88 yards long. Not a very big skein by most standards.

More info here... http://www.ravelry.com/people/krzyknitter/handspun/romney-x-hogget-from-sandra-2017

But it's nice, even and should make up into something interesting...
Maybe wrist warmers, or part of a hat...or ?

I gifted it to my friend who raised the sheep.
I like giving skeins back to the shepherds sometimes, 
especially if they're just getting into spinning :)

I will snip the tips off the next time and see what that looks like.
It will be much more grey.

Hold on a minute, this gorgeous merino is calling me...


...on to my next not very big skein...

Happy Spinning! 
-Kimberly :)




24 November 2016

Being Thankful


What do the weather forecasters know? (They threatened with a chance of rain)
Naught! 

What a perfect day!

Was able to lounge in bed for a while this morning and check out a few blogs.
Then it was up and outside to clean out the chicken house, which for too many reasons I had been putting off.
Yesterday I picked up shavings and a nice bale of hay, which I think they appreciate in the cold weather.

Nice and clean chicky house !
The nest boxes full of fresh hay !

While I was outside, I started smelling a skunk. There have been sitings in the yard in the past few months and one won't be coming back. They'll kill a chicken if they have the opportunity. I took a very careful walk around the yard to see if I spotted one. I didn't, thankfully, but I did take a few pics of the beautiful farm I am lucky enough to call home.

View of the pond from the yard.

The beautiful old house I get to live in :)


The chickens got to be out for a while, while I was cleaning their house. One of the cats, Midge, watching the chicks!


The donkeys get to enjoy being out in the big fields in the winter.

He really has something to be thankful for ! :)



So I have many things to be thankful for...
A cozy, roomy home, big enough to house my fiber 'stuff' !
Beautiful views from every side of the house !
The perfect, sunny and not freezing day to do some much needed outdoor cleaning !
Plenty of wood for the winter, that we cut and split from right here on the farm !
An adorable man who is talented, sweet and loves me ! (Still can't figure out why ;)
I could go on, but you get the gist !
No complaints here...
Now to shower and work inside the house...maybe make some cookies...or bread...yes...bread..mmmmm
Or apple crisp!



04 October 2016

Tasha Tudor Day 2016


The 28th of August would have been Tasha's 101st Birthday! 
It was my 7th year hosting a crafty get-together in her honor :)
It was too hot to have it comfortably outside, so this was the first time 
I hosted it inside.There was knitting, spinning, weaving, eating, laughing...
just a good time had by all!! 



Weaving on a rigid heddle loom.      

Happy knitting hands!      

Some serious spinning!      

Beautiful handknit sock!


Smiling. Happy. Spinning!      

One happy knitter :)      

Twins? Nah, but make 'ya look ;)      

These tomatoes were dehydrated on the hood of a car! Yes, it was that hot out!!






23 August 2016

Apple Crisp

    
      Ahhhh....home made apple crisp...what could be better?

This has been one of those special desserts that goes back as far as my 
earliest childhood memories. My mother made it and I learned from her. I don't 
know exactly where the recipe originated. My copy is hand written on an index card.
 If you do a search for apple crisp you will get many variations. Most I found 
included brown sugar and oatmeal with various spice mixtures. Sometimes it  
just needs to be kept simple. I think this is the simplest, most delicious 
apple crisp recipe you will find anywhere!!  

Give it a try and let me know what you think!

Make the topping mix first
  The topping consists of flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon & butter.
 I usually make this first so that the apples won't have to sit and start browning.

The basic recipe is: 1 Cup of Flour, 1 Cup Sugar, 1/2 tsp Cinnamon,
 1/4 tsp Salt and a stick of cold Butter.

  You can tweak these to suit your tastes. I usually put more than a tsp of cinnamon because I really like it. You could use other spices or make it more or less sweet. Blend all of the dry ingredients together and then cut in the butter. It helps to slice the butter into several pieces before cutting. I mostly use a pastry cutter but you can use the two knife method and cut into the butter like scissors.  The butter pieces should be about pea size. Set it aside when mixed. 
 
I think Macintosh is the best apple to use!

I have always traditionally used Macintosh apples. You can use any variety 
you like but I think the tartness of the Macs goes well with the sweetness of the topping.

Very handy manual slicer/peeler!

I used to use a knife to cut them but that took forever,
 so I invested(all of about $20) in a manual peeler/slicer.

It works great!


Get out your favorite pie dish and fill it about half way with your peeled & sliced apples. Add some topping to the apples. I do this because I always seem to end up with too much for just the top. Finish adding apples. Remember that the apples will cook down, so pile 'em high! 


Thank you to my friend Louisa for help with the photo shoot :)

Finish it off with the remaining topping mix. If you slightly shake the pie dish,
 it will settle the topping down into the apples a bit. Bake at 375 (pre-heated) for about 45 minutes. You may want to put foil or a cookie sheet on the rack underneath to keep any drippings from getting on the bottom of your stove. Cool on a wire rack for a little while. While it's cooling, I often go ahead and make fresh whipped cream to top it with. It makes it just perfect! Vanilla ice cream is good too!!


Enjoy! 

~ Kimberly :)
                         



















14 August 2016

Hosting My First Fiber Retreat

         Since I was home alone for almost two weeks, I thought I'd host 
a fiber retreat and invite all of my fiber lovin' friends!
                                                             
     Here are a few pics from the weekend...
Direct warping a rigid heddle loom.  
Getting some help with knitting.  
Threading the reed(heddle).  
First time combing fiber :)
 
 

19 February 2016

Chickens are Funny :)

  
My daughter with chicks from years ago when we raised several batches of chicks.

   Once upon a time, long ago, I had chickens...then a raccoon killed them all! This was at Merrie Mill. No kidding...it took forever to find and fix the problem, but by then, they were all dead :(  Well, all but one, which I took to the bf's farm, but wouldn't you know it that that house had a weakness that the raccoon there found and also killed that last chicken...and the remaining peacocks and turkey hens that were there. So frustrating...I have stopped naming chickens for the most part. They are just too darned easily killed by marauding wild critters... so as sad as that all was, new chickens aren't hard to come by and in spring of '14, I bought 6 new chickens. They weren't chicks, but a few months old. I had gone through the babysitting of little chicks more than once, and, while fun, I just didn't want the responsibility again, so...I bought older ones.

   This is the newest batch of chickies(when they were still smaller) that I got. 6 in total.

                      Unfortunately two of them got killed by another raccoon who was getting into the chicken house. Luckily we found the hole and sealed it, but we are down to 4 now.


  This is Sid, he was the lone bird after the raccoon killing spree, I guess he was just too big to deal with. Now he has a Mrs. Turkey...needless to say, he is much happier now!

 
         So, why are they funny? Well, since they have been able to be free range(the last dog, who would have killed them, died), they have slowly gone further and further from the safety of their house. I looked out the window and saw them on the house side of the boxwood hedge. I slid open the sliding patio doors, which they heard and promptly lifted their skirts and ran off(see above). That made me laugh!!
Seems any noise gets them nervous. They don't usually go far, then turn and look back.



  Here, they are on the other side of the box hedge, closer to their house, so they feel safer.


      This is the only red hen I have. She is a sex-link. The best layer!! I hate to say I have any favorite, but I do...and it's her! She's easily the friendliest and most inquisitive of the four.


                    
    Most of the time when they see me, they run over, sure that I have bread to give them. They LOVE bread...I can throw out fruit, which they will eat, but if I put it out first, they look at it and look at me with the look of "is that it?", which I find hilarious!! Then they get their bread, which they always fight over. If there is a particularly large piece that one gets, they grab and run as far away from the others as they can. They DO NOT like to share!

    Anyone who has chickens, knows how amusing they can be. I hope to get a couple more, maybe this spring :)