Wednesday, January 13, 2016

20 lb challenge revisited

Thrummed mitts
 Last summer I resolved to spin 20 lb before next summer,  I am doing quite well on that.

I also resolved not to buy yarn and apart from a bender at Stash Lounge, totally not my fault,  I had to spend a gift certificate,  I am doing quite well on that.

What I failed on was not buying more fibre.  I blame the thrummed mitts.

Mohair Wool blend

How can I resist locally produced fibre sold at my farmer's market by A and B Fiberworks of Linden Alberta
Super wash Merino
How can I resist just the right colours and fibre for baby knitting, local market and local dyer.
This mohair is produced and dyed in southern Alberta and will make lovely thrumms.

Merino Medley from Shuttleworks,

It was on sale, it is just what I need for a class about thrumming.

And it's all Mary J.'s fault she dragged me to the store.  Cal and Diane are having a going out of business sale,

So I have a couple of new resolutions,  I am of the age and location that is betwixt and between on the Metric and Imperial systems but I am going firmly metric.

It is now the 9.071kg. challenge, plus all the fibre I have bought since.

I like to keep my fibre stored neatly in tubs in the basement, but that leads to out of sight out of mind syndrome, so I want to browse my stash more, look at all the pictures in Ravelry so I remember that I have Stash beyond life expectancy.  And I just added 3 more kg according to weight on the bag,  but Shuttleworks is getting very generous and there was more than the stated wight in every bag I weighted.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Not Knitting, really

 This was an interesting project, photographing food is hard.  These photos were taken over a 30 hour period and the light varied a lot.

3 cups of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of low fat soy flour (extra Protein)
1/2 gluten flour ( extra protein and extra gluten)

one tablespoon yeast

mix together with 4 cups hot water

mixing the yeast into the flour first keeps the hot water from killing the yeast

This is called a sponge, mix thoroughly until the flour is all moist

Go away, knit, read, I went to the farmers market

3 hours later it was  bubbly and bigger, it also smells yeasty.  I could have kneaded it then but I was tired.  Stired it down and left it overnight sitting on the kitchen counter.  I didn't bother this time but if there was a lot of dust or bugs I would cover it.

Fruit flies are really attracted to the gases
 See the lines, that's gluten.  Gluten when developed forms thin, long stands that hold the gas in to make bread light  and developing gluten is the whole point of kneading the dough.

Next morning put  2 tablespoons, a good dollop of oil and 1 tablespoon of salt in and mix.

I use olive oil and gray sea salt but I'm a food snob.

Put 4 cups of white floor (could use whole wheat but the bread would be heavier) on the counter. Dump the sponge on and work the floor in and knead (forgot to take a (picture) The sponge doesn't want to take in all the flour, work at it. Knead for a good 20 to 30 minutes.  You can take breaks,   I bird watch, there's a feeder right outside the window.

 This is the baby bottom stage, smooth and alive.  It is possible to over knead bread and have the gluten collapse but it's not very probable.  one of the things I should have done taking the pictures is put in a ruler for scale. the tiles are 8 inches square

 This is one of the best tips I know, I like to give credit but I can't remember where I learned this put another good dollop of oil in the bottom of the rising  bowl,  Put in the kneaded mass and swirl it around, flip it over and swirl again, this coats the mass with oil so it will rise without drying out.

Four hours later, doubled in bulk, in the top left you can see where I put my finger in it and the hole doesn't fill up.

cut in half with a bread knife  I like big loaves, knead a moment and shape into loaves, oil a big cookie sheet,  and plop the loaves on, slash the loaves that lets them rise more evenly, and it looks good.  Spray with water or cover with a damp cloth to keep the outside from drying out.
 notice the difference in how far apart the loaves are. I put chopped olives and cheese in one loaf. Let them rise again 2 hours or so. Preheat the oven, 375  and put them in, reduce oven heat to 325.  Bake about 50 minutes.


 And here they are, golden brown and bigger than when they went in the oven.
Thump with your knuckles, and enjoy that hollow sound.

I tied to take a picture of the first slices but it didn't turn out,I ate it.  the slice of bread not the picture.
Not Just Mittens
Thrumming for warmth and comfort

thrummed mitts.JPGThrumming is a method of adding little wisps of fibre or yarn to objects to add insulation, padding and decoration.  It goes back to at least the 1500’s   It can be done knitting, crocheting and weaving.

This class will create a knitted sampler/gauge square with 3 methods of making thrums, different fibre choices for thrums, wool, alpaca, and mohair and different patterns of placement.

Patterns and examples of mitt making will be available, so you will be able to start your first pair right away.  And examples of other thrummed garments.

Participants must be able to do basic knitting and being able to knit in the round is a plus.   If you can, bring a variety of needles, 3 mm to 5mm,  straights, double pointed and circulars,  I will have some loaners and some needles for sale.  Paper and pen, scissors too.

Yarn will be provided, several different kinds, and the thrumming materials, several different kinds.  And enough yarn and fibre to take home for a pair of mitts.

Materials fee 20.00
Class fee 60.00 for guild members, 70.00 for non guild
Time 9 AM to 3 PM Apr 2

Please register by email to