This week’s episode includes the following segments: Double Happiness, Yarn Lover at Large, The Back Porch and The Front Porch.
Knitting and listening to jazz while sipping wine and nibbling cheese and sopressata on a sunny September afternoon is really the best life has to offer. This weekend, I took advantage of the time to work on a few projects while visiting with friends on the hill at the Delaware Water Gap Jazz Festival. If you ever visit the Poconos the weekend after Labor Day, put the jazz fest on your list. Here’s a photograph of the ambience, with my Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure on my lap. I used the very stretchy cast on method in Tillybuddy’s YouTube tutorial.
Yarn Lover at Large
Laura Nelkin is well-known for her knitted and beaded jewelry designs. I was lucky to take her class on knitting the mudra cuff at my local yarn shop, Mountain Knits and Pearls in East Stroudsburg, PA. My skill set expanded as I learned to string beads before knitting, use double-pointed needles, and anchor I-cord onto a ringed clasp. Check out Laura’s blog for more details about her whirlwind weekend of teaching in Pennsylvania. And if you ever get a chance to take one of her classes — sign up without hesitation.
The Back Porch
After two weeks of intentional spinning, I completed my handspun from mixed Blueface Leicester in the Country Cottage color. This fiber, from Beesybee, spun up very nicely into 447 yards of sport weight, 2-ply yarn for the Batad capelet by Stephen West. I had a lot of fun wringing the water out by hand — becoming a human salad spinner and spraying water all over the leaves of the hostas in my garden.
“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” — Albert Camus
This week’s episode features the following segments: Backstory, A Little Bit of Learning, Ever-expanding Skill Set, and Gratitude Journal.
Since Episode 3, I have been working on intentional spinning. Here is half of my mixed BFL (bluefaced leicester) from Beesybee Fibers. Hopefully next week I can report on yardage. This fiber certainly has been a joy to spin. The colors are lovely earth tones. I’ve been spinning on the porch of Yin Hoo, watching the first orange leaves come floating down from the canopy. When I need a break from spinning, I look for the heron’s elegant form at the edge of the creek. We’ve seen as many as nine female Merganser swimming together and we have seen a few different bears walking along the path along the water’s edge.
Ever-Expanding Skill Set
As promised in Episode 1, I’ve recorded a segment with my steps for making kombucha. In June, I received a scoby from my friend Gwen, and have been practicing all summer. Finally, I have a refreshing, effervescent, not-too-sweet fermented tea. Instructions for kombucha begin at twelve and a half minutes into the podcast.
Begin by pouring off and straining kombucha. Always leave a small amount of tea in the fermentation container with the scoby (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). I’ve been fermenting mine for 10 to 14 days before preparing a new batch. I store the brew in swing top bottles in the fridge. Be sure to use food-grade glass for both fermentation and storage. Make a new batch of tea by boiling one gallon of filtered water.
Add about 3/4 cup of sugar and stir to dissolve. Remove the pan from heat and add 6-10 bags of black tea, or 6-10 tablespoons of loose black tea. Allow to steep for 5 minutes and then remove the tea bags or strain the tea. I put loose tea into a small cloth bag that acts as a tea bag. When tea has completely cooled, pour it into the container with the scoby. Sometimes this disturbs the scoby. I handle my scoby with clean hands. Keep the smooth, white surface of the scoby facing upwards. Cover the fermentation container with cheesecloth and store in a cool, dark place. Those who praise the benefits of kombucha usually mention its probiotic properties. I’d love to hear from you if you make kombucha at home or have a great recipe to try.
“What is a teacher?
I’ll tell you; it isn’t someone who teaches something, but someone who inspires the student to give her best in order to discover what she already knows.” — Paulo Coelho
This week’s episode features the following segments: Backstory, Yarn Lover at Large, The Back Porch, The Front Porch, and Double Happiness.
Yarn Lover at Large
A little shop in Frenchtown has nice yarn selection and a wide variety of classes. Betty is a kind and patient teacher with a lot of expertise. If you visit The Spinnery, ask about Deadly Dudley; she’ll have a great story. Aside from some timely help with wheel maintenance (that’s my Louet on the operating table) I have two tips from the class to pass along. 1) Knit with the yarn you spin. Now. 2) To improve as a spinner, select a project you want to knit, look up the yarn specifications, and spin for that project.
The Back Porch
Two finished projects this week. My Shaelyn shawl, designed by Leila Raabe, is blocking. Shifting to US size 6 needles resulted in a much nicer fabric. And I finally completed my second weaving project and took it off the loom. The yarn is handspun, made from Into the Whirled fibers made for a spin-along hosted by the Knitabulls podcast. The photo inspiration was Lavinia’s character on Downton Abbey. I separated the fiber into piles of like color before spinning, and held the yarn double while weaving. In this photo, the fringe has yet to be cut.
Three uses for lemons: 1) Combine the entire grated rind and all the juice of one lemon with roasted, peeled eggplant and some salt for a tremendous tapenade. 2) Soak thinly sliced onions or shallots (or garlic) in lemon juice for 15 minutes before adding them to a summer salad. 3) Marinate a lamb steak with the grated rind and juice of one lemon, salt, a splash of olive oil, and a handful of fresh chopped rosemary. Grill to medium rare. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing into thin strips.
This is the book that really has me thinking this week — Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.
Ever-expanding Skill Set
I’ve been working on my Shaelyn Shawl by Leila Raabe. After knitting almost the entire shawl, I decided that it looked a bit sloppy on size 9 needles. So I switched to size 6 and began the shawl again. For this project, I’m using handspun yarn that transitions gradually from pale gray to deep rust.
The Back Porch
This week, I completed the Oak Trail cloche by Alana Dakos. This is a stylish little design and I love the hat. It’s nice to knit such a great design in worsted weight yarn. There’s a great little oak leaf design and overall nice fit. Here you see it blocking on one of my ceramic porch lamps.
“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.” — Harper Lee
The cliff’s edge of Newport, RI was our destination this summer. There, on the grounds of Marble House, is a Chinese tea house that Alva Vanderbuilt installed on her property in the early 1900’s. The structure was a spectacle and the backdrop for elaborate costume parties and fundraisers to raise money for women’s suffrage. This ornate structure, we believe, served as the inspiration for our modest and rustic tea cottage near Delaware Water Gap, PA.
The Back Porch
Completed and blocked this week was Pressed Leaves, a knitted hat designed by Alana Dakos. The most challenging chart I’ve followed to date, this hat does not have a single knit stitch. The pattern, though challenging, was extremely clear and easy to follow. Here is the hat, damp and stretched over a plate to block, as suggested by the directions. I am very pleased with the result and can’t wait to knit my next pattern from Botanical Knits. Next up is Oak Trail, which has a very pleasing design and some additional knitting challenges.
My kombucha is finally effervescent and refreshing after a summer of experimentation. It is an acquired taste, for sure, but I’ve become quite attracted to the taste and interested in the health benefits. I have some ideas in mind for a kombucha episode in the future. Stay tuned.
Thank you to Samuel, who helped me navigate all of the software necessary to make this podcast a reality. He also designed the banner for this website and the logo for Facebook and iTunes. I am so grateful for your patience. Thank you to everyone who listens to these early podcasts. I am especially grateful to those who leave star ratings and reviews on iTunes.
a podcast about the fiber arts and other post apocalyptic skills