Wednesday, September 12, 2007

apple of my eye

It's traditional to have apples and honey for a sweet new year...and I've already told you about how my husband (the professor) and I go apple-picking every year. My refrigerator is still full of Michigan apples (ok, so I haven't canned those!) and I've been cranking out the apple chocolate chip cake, the baked apples in dinnertime frittatas, (good sweetness with potatoes, onions, eggplant, and the usual egg, cheese and milk topping) and other delights. In lieu of an apple photo--since we in a Biologist's household love genetic diversity and heirlooms of all varieties... here are at least a thousand words at All About Apples.

About spinning, well, a single (or singles) means...a single ply. If you look at knitting yarn, or the twine at the hardware store, it's made up of several plies of thread/yarn. Some knitting yarn, like Lopi-style yarn, is only one ply. All handspun is done one ply at a time, and usually today's knitters like handspun that is 2 or 3 ply. That's because all the possible bumpiness or unevenness is halved in a 2 ply. If you double the yarn, you'll end up with all that texture evening itself out, and a more consistent fabric.

Back when I learned to spin (approximately 1985, I guess), spinners and knitters were still pretty into lumpy thick singles even though the back to nature 70's were over. For years, I spun single ply knitting yarn. Some technically minded folks insist that this will skew in knitting. Perhaps it does. However, I made literally dozens of pairs of mittens during college for friends and for myself, several sweaters, and many other things out of single ply. I still have a lot of it, and it kept me warm. I don't even think I'm more lopsided than most, even after years of wearing supposedly skewed knitting! This is why, every now and again, after months of 2 ply, I return to spinning 1 ply yarns, just for fun. All the knitters who love Malabrigo and Manos yarns now available will know what I mean--knitting this yarn is fun!

Mrs. J asked in the comments if I could recommend more reading about spinning. Anything on Spin-Off's "Getting Started" page will be a help. There are many websites, books, DVD's, and other spinning materials out there. Go for it! Dive in! Connect with your artsy side and your ancestors! Become a spinner! (ok, conversion spasm is now over, sorry...)

The second half of this week will be busy. Last year, the holidays and the spinning event and fleece auction at the Tennessee State Fair were not quite all at once. This year, it all happens this week. So, I will be parted from you, loyal blog readers, for a few days as I am busy, both celebrating and writing up another event for my book. I feel lucky to have all your suggestions (horse ear plugs! who knew?) and lovely warm comments. Please feel free to say hey. According to my map on the side of the blog, approximately 60 of you are reading a day. Wow! I'd love to hear from more of you, and someday, even to meet y'all. In the meanwhile, have some apples dipped in honey. Celebrate life's sweetness with me, through cyberspace.
PS: Ramadan Mubarak to my Muslim friends!


Blogger Nancy said...

I steam our apples from the tree out back and then the apple juice collects in the bottom of the pot and goes into water bottles in the fridge. I've also traded some out for some trout! But have been making cobblers and such. Back to checking on my pot of tomatoes simmering/reducing down for the freezer...,

September 12, 2007 at 1:45 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

Does an orange dipped in honey count?

September 12, 2007 at 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does an apple with slices of cheddar cheese count? Apples have just arrived at our farmers market and we are very happy! Enjoy your holiday and fair.

September 12, 2007 at 6:17 PM  
Blogger Kristin Nicholas said...

Happy holidays and enjoy your fair!

September 12, 2007 at 9:12 PM  
Blogger sarah said...

This morning I picked a half-dozen Egremont Russets from the tree by the path. My favourite eating apple, sweet and tart. Sadly it's been such a strange year that, even after thinning, only about half the crop has grown to eating size. I must think of something special to do with the rest; I'd share them with you, but I lay odds it's not allowed (besides, they're not good keepers).

September 13, 2007 at 3:33 AM  
Blogger annmarie said...

What a wonderful resource the All About Apples is! Thanks so much for that link, Joanne, and a very happy new year to you and the professor. :)

September 13, 2007 at 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am kind of chuckling about the apples... between two trees we had a total of 4 apples this year. I won't be doing much canning. Maybe next year....

September 13, 2007 at 6:02 PM  
Blogger SueJ said...

Thank you -you have started my education as a spinner. It may be a long and slow road but one I hope to work. The 'information junky' in me will love looking up some of the sites suggested for a start.
I am eating an apple as I read/type!

September 14, 2007 at 6:59 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

I like working with singles too. My understanding is that if the twist angle of the single is around 27-30 degrees then the resulting knitted item won't be skewed.

Shanah tovah!

September 14, 2007 at 10:53 PM  

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