Sunday, December 3, 2017

Projects on the Go

I had a few projects on the go this week:
  1. Socks for hubby
  2. Gansey Fingerless Mitts by Beth Reinsel
  3. Mystery KAL mitts led by Donna Druchunas
  4. Spinning for the above KAL
  5. Planning a loom project for the Lervad
  1. One done, one in the finishing stretch - ankle to cuff. Socks for hubby.
  2. Finished, blocked and tested. Gansey Fingerless Mitts by Beth Brown Reinsel
    Looks like they are worn over coat cuff.
  3. On hold until Clue 3 is released today. Mystery KAL mitts led by Donna Druchunas.
  4. In progress and waiting for me to get there. Spinning for the above KAL.
  5. Books and paper are on my desk. Must gather the weft together. Planning a loom project to use my Olds Master Spinner yarns to make a 'think back on' blanket.
Books being read this week or finished:
  1. Slade House. David Mitchell. This was on my list for a couple of years. Glad I read it. Well worth the read. Well written.
  2. Crust and Crumb. Peter Reinhart. Bread making book. I have picked up some much sought after info that I may have not remembered from my earlier bread making days. Good book.
  3. Women's Work: The First 20,000 years. Elizabeth Wayland Barber. I have wanted to read this for a few years now. Excerpt from dust cover - 'For over 20,000 years, until the Industrial Revolution, the fiber arts were an enormous economic force, belonging primarily to women...In most books on ancient history and economics there isn't even an index entry for cloth or clothing, despite the enormous toil required in making them...The author presents the untold human side...the relations of women and their textile work to society and economics over the huge span of prehistoric and early historic times.' 
  4. Buried. C. J. Carmichael. Fiction. In progress. Not too bad. Still reading-a good sign.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Knitting Continues on the KAL

It's so easy to just pick up the needles and knit.
KAL with Donna Druchunas
I'm participating in a Mystery Mitten KAL on Ravelry with Donna Druchunas.

Words to describe my wool:
  • from Belfast mini mills
  • my homespun
  • Navajo or chain ply
  • worsted weight
  • warm colours
  • not enough contrast
  • doesn't match anything I have
Progress so far on mitts:
The Roving. Merino, Silk, Cashmere, Mohair

The Single

My Norwegian Wheel
 I have a corner in my kitchen where I placed the dog beds. It's in the above picture behind the wheel and at the window. It was easy to put the dogs' place there, but I really intended it for a wheel and chair. I haven't decided what I will do.

And now it's time for a tea and either a little knitting or some spinning since I managed to spend the morning on my computer.

It's nice to have something I can show for the results of the day. And my looms are awaiting attention. I have a small floor loom I would like to get a scarf warp on this week.

November Endings with Bread, a New Approach

I put off the two bedroom painting projects to nurse myself back to health. I have had a sinus cold/infection for two weeks now and just when I think it is easing off I have another night of coughing and sleeplessness. Sometimes that leads to a hot lemon and honey drink to steam the discomfort away with a book or more knitting. More often than not, it's a book I choose just in case my groggy mind leads me to a knit mistake I would have to frog back.

The book I read was 'Slade House' by David Mitchell. This is the first book I have read in a long while that really had a well written writing style. Thank you David! Sort of a ghost story, but more complex than that.

I am also researching one of my other hobbies of bread baking. This time with Peter Reinhart's book - Crust and Crumb. I used to make the best tasting bread. It looked beautiful, but it really had a wonderful flavour. I haven't been able to capture it in the last few years and I blamed the modern grains we have to work with. Modern grains may very well be part of the problem, but perhaps my methods have slipped too? So I read Chapters one and two word for word and only occasionally looked ahead.

Well I started yesterday's bread making off differently. I started with a 'biga style' preferment. I mixed up a few pounds and let it age and do its flavour development at room temperature for 6 hours. I took off a pound, broke it up into small pieces in my large mixing bowl and added my fresh ingredients for two loaves worth. I put it through two risings and one final proof before the bake.

I monitored the internal temperature of the dough and the final bread; something I haven't done before. Final temperature of the loaf just out of the oven was 207 F degrees. Actually it should have been 185F according to the book, but it looked good.

The aroma of the bread coming from the oven at the 20 minute mark, I thought, was different and more pleasant than any of my previous breads. It was baking at 350F for 42 minutes. The loaves were for sandwich bread, so not a fancy artisan loaf. When they were removed from the oven, I tipped them out to check the colour which was good and set them on racks to cool.

By now, it is 10pm and the house smelled really good! I was supposed to wait 2 hours, but my husband had to have some right away, so we tried it immediately. I am fortunate to have some 'farm butter' in the house at the moment, so we cut into the loaf, sniffed it, examined the crumb and did the taste test with the 'farm butter'.

It was delicious! And the flavour of the other loaves (I can only describe it as yeast and alcohol) I had been making the last few years was not present in this one. This one was sweet tasting and had a wonderful texture and flavour. A definite success. I'm a believer in the science and chemistry in bread baking.

I can't do this post without a bread picture. A little lopsided, but unique.
Multigrain Sandwich loaf