Sunday, January 28, 2018

Winter Orange

The early mornings have been chilly and foggy but warming up later in the day. The goaties are starting to shed their downy coats and the chickens are laying an egg or two.

Winter is moving on.

Our Talley Farms Fresh Harvest CSA weekly box has been awash with the color orange. Sometimes a little creativity is required to discover new ways to use up all the produce.

Butternut Squash Soup

Sweet Potato Chips

Candied Blood Oranges

Yum: Toasted sliced almonds topped with small wedges of candied fruit and melted dark chocolate.

We've also been happy recipients of both fresh and dried persimmons from Jerry and Jan's trees. Although the sweet Fuyu persimmons can be eaten sliced like an apple, the Hachiya needs to be eaten spoon-soft. Take a bite into a crisp Hachiya and you'll remember the difference between the two, trust me.

Jan passed on the discovery that Hachiya persimmons loses it's astringent flavor when dried. I gave it a try; how sweet it is.

Yellow and orange - fresh and flavorful - are the winter colors for the Central Coast of California.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Rocket Science

It's been awhile since I've done any spinning on the Ashford Traditional wheel. I was in a holding pattern because all of my bobbins were full so I needed to do something if I wanted to spin more fiber.

Gray Romney & White Bluefaced Leicester Handspun

I had two options: (1) I could wind off onto plastic weaving bobbins (and have it disappear in my stash) or (2) I could go ahead and ply the singles together. It was early evening so I went with option two and decided to ply.

Like I said it's been awhile since I sat with the Traddy and I was enjoying getting back into the rhythm of the wheel and playing with my handspun, la-la-la-la-la.

I think I plied for about two hours. It's slow going, kind of a slog really. And every once in a while I stopped to check the twist of the plied yarn and let it twist back on itself (just like I'm supposed to). And every time I checked the twist I thought, hmmm, it seems a little loose but I'm sure the twist will even out when I give the yarn a good soak, la-la-la-la-la.

That night, just before falling asleep, I suddenly realized what the yarn had been trying to tell me all evening, "Hey you, you're going the wrong way!"

Uh, oh.

Guess what, I had been plying the yarn in the same direction that I had spun the yarn. To ply, to twist the two yarns together, I was supposed to have changed the wheel direction and spin counter-clockwise.

The next morning I looked at my non-plied two-colored yarn on the bobbin and thought about my options: I could knit with it and then felt it, or I could unwind it from each other into two separate balls. Again, option number two.

It's going slowly. Very very slowly. But here's the good news: (1) my spun singles are holding together nicely even with all the manipulation it's going through so I guess I spun the yarn tight enough, (2) I didn't care for the Romney and BFL yarn and will probably not ply them together the next time, and (3) now that I've made my newbie mistake, I don't think I will be making the same mistake again. I should've known there was something wrong with my loosey-goosey plied yarn. It ain't rocket science, after all.