Thursday, September 27, 2007

spice

Here's a photo-heavy post of the goings-on here. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, I am trying hard to get all my knitting designs up at Ravelry, but what's this database like?
The professor went on a butterfly collecting jaunt. He went to a biological preserve nearby. He was in a field, and fell into a 3 foot deep sinkhole. He is ok. That is a real sinkhole, but Ravelry is a metaphoric one! You could fall in and never get out. If you've wandered over here from Ravelry, say hello in the comments, by the way!

This is some handspun I've worked up recently. The turquoise is lofty worsted weight Romney-cross (?I think? or Cotswold?)--250 yards and the burgundy and blue is fingering to sportsweight Cotswold. I offer the close ups so that those of us who need a little yarn fix can check it out!

I spun the first full skein of Finn lamb wool, roughly sportsweight. I talked about this in a post in August. It's good that I'm teasing each lock of wool--there are some bits of lamb fleece that are tippy. This means they break off and could cause pilling. By teasing each lock, I pull off any tippy bits and make this come alive. I was hoping to knit this into Selbuvotter mittens but now I'm wondering if the texture will look good in that complicated a pattern. I'm not giving up the texture of this, it's luminous.

On the knitting front, Thermal is cruising along and is very enjoyable. I love the yarn--it's a machine-washable fingering weight yarn called Merino Bambino, and I bought it in Australia in 2004. It's made by Cleckheaton, but sadly not imported to the USA. I had to mail order 5 extra skeins from Oz to be sure I had enough. I may have to adjust the bust area of the pattern an inch or two--I think I sadly underestimated, uhh, those parts. I'd knitted several inches before I took out the tape measure (this design fits very snugly) and remembered my actual measurements. Oops. No way I'm ripping out that many stitches. I like knitting...but not that much.

What makes life interesting? Lots of spice...tangibly good touches, smells and tastes. We've still got very warm temperatures here, and I may have to wait until we start going to fiber festivals again in October to see and smell the spiciness of Autumn leaves. In the meanwhile, a dinner guest brought us these zinnias, and I couldn't resist shooting a still life of dining room autumn shades. (nope, still haven't framed my sister-in-law's painting, but I still love it!)

In the real spices department, I depend on mail order and Kalustyans for the things I just can't get here. This is: Ras El Hanout (Morrocan spice mixture that is great for tagines and couscous), Za'atar (thyme, sesame seeds and other spices, perfect for salad dressings, roast chicken or homemade breads)-I like the Lebanese kind, but there are many different blends, Aleppo Pepper (not as spicy as cayenne) and Sumac. (lemony astringent red powder, great for fattoush or other salads.)

Oddly, this place also sells my favorite soap. This is dense, pure olive oil soap that doesn't cause my sensitive skin to have any allergic reactions. I bought it the first time when I was at college and 13+ years later? This is still the only soap that never causes me problems. Plus? $6.99 for a kilo. You can't beat the price, and it smells good.

I think it's little things that make life good...and spicy, right?!

9 Comments:

Anonymous Diane said...

I used to use that yarn all the time back home ;-) It's great stuff!

September 27, 2007 at 3:08 PM  
Blogger Katie K said...

You got some great stuff. Kalustyans also carries tellicherry black peppercorns in bulk, it was $10 a pound the last time I was in. Compare this to what your supermarket charges. They have wonderful spices which are really inexpensive if you buy in bulk. That said, some of their prices for other things are not such great bargains.

September 27, 2007 at 4:05 PM  
Blogger Joanne said...

I think this is where the big city/rural divide kicks in. See, bulk black peppercorns? I couldn't get them in this town at all. It's a 70 mile drive to Nashville, where I might be able to get such things at Wild Oats...but definitely not Aleppo Pepper or Sumac. I've stopped worrying so much about "deals" and started focusing on how to get what I really wanted to eat/cook. Mail order spices used to be hard to come by! I didn't start cooking Middle Eastern food seriously at home until I moved here and I couldn't just go out and get it at a restaurant. There is no Middle Eastern restaurant...until you get to Nashville.

September 27, 2007 at 4:11 PM  
Anonymous Jan said...

Lovely handspun! Such loft and bounce--I want to reach through the screen and pet it.

September 27, 2007 at 5:29 PM  
Blogger Gammy aka Peggy said...

Your yarn is always so beautiful. Spices sound awesome, I'm still kicking my butt that I didn't act like I was starving when I was over that day. :)

September 27, 2007 at 5:50 PM  
Anonymous marti said...

i love the first two handspun, the colors just pull me in.

September 28, 2007 at 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Janet said...

Glad to see you're soldiering on, despite the hate horrors and sinkholes. Allow me to note that I'd be more than happy to take that beautiful white piece you're knitting if it won't fit you. :)

Meanwhile, bummer about the spices. The local natural foods co-op here carries rows and rows of spices in bulk. Come on over!

September 28, 2007 at 8:46 PM  
Blogger vanessa said...

joanne, your thermal will be so cosy :-)

September 29, 2007 at 7:29 AM  
Blogger e's knitting and spinning blog said...

Glad the Professor is okay! That is a long drop even for a tall guy!!
I love thermal and I think it will look absolutely great on you. I just want to reach out and touch it it looks so crepey!

September 30, 2007 at 5:58 AM  

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