Thursday, February 28, 2013

Inspired Morning

I wanted to drop by, and give you an update on the sweater I was unraveling.  I ended up with a dozen good-sized balls of wool yarn, which I began felting today.  They will eventually be dryer balls.  I mostly unraveled the sweater while sitting with Joseph on the couch at night. I'd say my first experiment in unraveling a sweater for yarn seemed like a worthwhile endeavor.  I forgot to weigh the yarn before beginning the felting process.  I suppose once the balls are good and dry, I can accurately weigh them to estimate yardage.

An old friend is visiting this week.  I have some workdays scheduled at a local pottery.  The first blooms of grape hyacinth were spotted today, and the pond is almost filled to the brim. Feelings of  inspiration and gratitude have filled my days. I hope the coming days bring you just what you need to feel inspired.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Unraveling a Sweater & a new Pumpkin Soup

The idea of unraveling a wool sweater for yarn has intrigued me for some time.  I'm down to one dryer ball in my shop, and all out of wool yarn, so this seemed like a good time to experiment.  I chose a thrifted sweater that had a nice loose weave.  So far, I've learned it would be a lot easier to unravel a sweater that is one color, as with multiple colors, there are many, many pieces.  It figures; I just really didn't have a clue what to expect, and wondered if they were somehow tied together, but no, they are not.  With the wool being for dryer balls that will be felted, it's not an issue, so I'm just tying them together myself, as I go along.  If you were aiming to make a piece of clothing, you'd want yards of unbroken yarn. This is the tutorial I used, which gave me a basic idea of what to expect.  My sweater had sewn seams, which was tricky to discern at first, and tough to begin unraveling.  Her sweater yielded 428 yards of yarn.  If I wasn't interested in knowing what yardage I unraveled, I could just begin felting, as I've been rolling them up into balls as I go.  But I really want to know, so I can decide the value vs my time.  So, I'll be using her tip of measuring yardage using chairs, then rewinding them.  I may not do that on further sweaters.  I guess that depends on my curiosity, but for this first one, I do want to know.  It will be an approximation, with so many knots tied in it, and likely somewhat varied tension, but an approximation is OK.  At the start, I was keeping colors separate, but I like my dryer balls with varied yarns, so just started tying all the colors together.  I'll keep you posted.  *Thanks to a fellow yarn lover, I now know I can weigh my yarn to get approximate yardage.  Thanks for such a time-saving, wonderful tip, Kellie!

There's a new recipe to share. A pumpkin soup we enjoyed.  It was my first time making browned butter, and I'm sorry I waited so long.  I left the ginger out, as Joseph is allergic, but otherwise made the recipe as is.  For toppings, I used the browned butter and brown rice, which was excellent.  I'll likely try yogurt in the future, and possibly the coconut, just to see.  I found the recipe here, an amusing blog I enjoy.  Scroll to the bottom of the post for the recipe.  Yesterday was a raw, cold, dreary day.  I decided an apple pie was in order.  Forgive the dark photo, but the one with more realistic color didn't show the paisley design as well.  The pie crust used up the last bits of flour in the house, so I made tapioca flour in the coffee grinder to use in the filling.  It turned out better than average.  Today is sunny, and the first load of laundry is ready for the clothesline.  Have an enjoyable day, friends!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Path of the Critters

This time of year, I enjoy the light that comes through the diamond-paned window in the evenings.  Soon the sun will be higher in the sky, and I'll have to wait another year to enjoy it.  When I am mindful, I find simple pleasures to enjoy.  Each season has it's blessings to savor.

Joseph recently cleared a bit of land to grow some heirloom wheat.  We are looking to grow some for our own use, and possibly will have enough left to sell a bit for seed, if all goes well.  The variety is Red Fife wheat.  We were lucky to find a baker that sells at the Carrboro Farmer's Market, who uses heirloom grains.  I bought one of each item he sold which contained heirloom wheat.  We agreed the Red Fife was our favorite, with a wonderful, rich, whole wheat flavor.  We also sampled Marquis wheat, which is a Red Fife cross, but it did not have the flavor of the Red Fife.  Wheat is planted in the fall. We're deciding on a cover crop to plant this spring, to enrich the land while it lays fallow.

The weather has been a mix of warm and cold days.  On warm days, we've worked on our cedar walkway.  We've finally reached the halfway mark, and hope to continue making steady progress.  The entire path has been dug out in preparation for the cedar, and the undone portion is quite the muddy mess during wet weather, making us take alternate routes to the house.  That's one of the reasons I'm looking forward to finishing the path, keeping us out of the mud and at least some of the mud out of the house.  Oh happy day!

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Toasty Shop and a Tasty Cake Recipe

The guys now have heat via a water stove in the shop.  The stove was in pretty rough shape when it arrived, but Joseph put some hours into getting it up and running.  The heater is a wood-fired boiler which circulates water, which runs through a radiator in the shop.

Yesterday was my sweet sister's birthday. I'd been looking for an excuse to try this cake recipe.  It was lightly sweet, moist, and my nephew had two slices, then asked if I'd make him one for his birthday.  I'm considering it a keeper.

 Orange Cardamom Yogurt Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp ground cardamom
1- 1 1/2 tsp orange zest
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly butter a standard loaf pan well.  Dust with flour and tap out the excess.
2. Whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, cardamom, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.
3. In a large bowl, rub the orange zest into the sugar with your fingers, then combine this with the yogurt, olive oil, eggs and vanilla extract.  Whisk until well blended.  Fold in the dry ingredients just until they're combined.
4. Pour the batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake in the center of the oven until top of cake is golden brown and a tester poked in to center comes out clean, about 50-55 minutes.
5.  Let the cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then, run a knife around the edges to loosen it, invert it onto a cooling rack to col completely.

The only things I did differently were using a clementine for the orange, and my homemade yogurt for the Greek yogurt.  The recipe was found on Five and Spice, which looks worth getting to know better.