Saturday, July 23, 2016

18th Century Cooking & Just Cooking with Fire

Good morning,
    Since the heat and humidity here are still brutal on a daily basis, I have been reading and watching videos to learn more about cooking over a fire and in dutch ovens. I will then be ready to cook and bake up lots of goodies come fall.

   I thought I would share some links and books that I have discovered with you, in case any of you would enjoy exploring recipes and this kind of cooking-baking out in your back yard or if for camping. I am someone that has always cooked from scratch so I just enjoy this kind of cooking.

   One of the most informative sites I have discovered for 17th and 18th century cooking is with Jas. Townsend and sons videos and blog. If you are into reenactments this is just a wealth of how tos and information. 
    Their videos are here I have been watching them early in the mornings when we get a break from the cost with our internet provider. (we get charged time for streaming and watching videos) 
     I have learned so much already. I am so enjoying these-learned how to bake beans in a pit, breads, all about salt pork and salt beef, ash cakes, gingerbread, meat pies, mushroom catsup and so much more. Videos on using the dutch ovens and videos for making and using a clay oven.
   Their blog Savoring the Past is here

For books; I had mentioned Hearthside Cooking by Crump which I have read through now and anxious to try some recipes. Her recipes mentioned the mushroom catsup and a recipe to make as did a video from Townsend that gave me more insight for its use. It was a main condiment before tomato catsup came about.

I also bought two books by the same author who is a chef.  The author Francis Mallmann wrote Seven Fires and then wrote On Fire.  I had purchased the Seven Fires on sale for kindle and was hooked and knew after reading it that I would want the actual book. These are large gorgeous books.
    When I searched amazon for a used book I discovered he also wrote On Fire.  The author explains fire and how to use it. and his recipes are not so gourmet that one can make them at home. I highly recommend these books if you have an interest of cooking over an open fire.

So are you in an extreme heat wave as well?? we had sooo much rain day after day and now this-the rain returns next week sometime lol   I am greatful for my air conditioner and don't think our health would survive without it. Gives me a better appreciation for my ancestors lives.

Stay cool everyone

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Quilters Crafters Sewers Fabric for Sale

Hi everyone,  I am working on destashing lots of quilt fabrics this week. I put a few in my Etsy shop and I also am listing on Ebay as well.  lots of fat quarter batiks which I am still listing-all are quilt store quality no cheap fabrics.
   If interested or know someone that is please spread the word thank you. I have decided to devote my craft-art time to spinning and weaving now.
     I have not wanted to at all, but I am getting close to parting with my collection of reproduction civil war and 1800s fabrics which I have lots of-if interested in those please contact me I am just not going to get those quilts I have always wanted to make accomplished-just not enough time, especially with my non cooperative left hand now--if I find the right person interested in taking all, I would include some patterns for those as well.

Friday, July 15, 2016

I Can See Improvement With my Spinning

  I just finished up my first bobbin full of spun yarn after my weekend spinning class early this morning. I am so thrilled to finally see that I am improving. I had gotten myself at a stand still on not making nicer yarn.
   This wool is roving from the breed cheviot that I got on Paradise Fibers last year when I was finding sales for practice. This is by Ashland Bay which I really like for a commercial roving. This is actually pretty soft considering the breed.
   The teacher had shown me a different way to hold the fiber while spinning and after coming home and practicing a bit everyday-wow it just clicked yesterday afternoon-don't ya just love it when that happens? My spinning wheel even works better now too-really amazing lol
  And I was able to use my new yarn bowl to get the bobbin yarn on to the niddy noddy-made me smile to use this beautiful bowl (see photos on my blog post of fiber u and photos)

   I also purchased a spinning class while it was discounted over on Craftsy.(thank you Gene for letting us know about the sale)  It is woolens and worsted and just listening to the first part this morning I learned so much more about my spinning wheel and how it works-that right there was worth the money for the class. I am not quite ready for the class yet I don't think but I love the teacher already.

  Knowledge is an amazing tool! and it is never too late to learn that is for sure.

  Happy Friday everyone!!


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I have Been Plying up my Homespuns-Photos

  After I finished up with spinning the last of the romney from my class, I wanted to try the plying with the one pull in the middle ball of yarn that the teacher taught us. (made the ball of yarn in a ball winder)  I didn't want to forget how to do it. I did my first one late yesterday with the white romney from class.
    This technique was pretty nifty I thought. A friend on facebook wanted me to make a video, but instead I took photos and I found an explanation by Carol Leigh who is well known here in Missouri. here  This must be an older technique as I did not find much about it online.

   Here are photos from yesterday afternoon and today's progress so far. I turned my hanks of yarn into a ball with my ball winder first which has the center pull-so it gives you the two strands. Fun!  
    Since most of my yarn is pretty thick-newbie yarns I didn't think I wanted to ply it-but I love it so better now. Makes me smile.   (all the photos will enlarge)

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Back From Fiber U & Photos

   I must say even though I went by myself  both Saturday and Sunday I had a really good time, loved my classes, and since I had money this year so I could  just "go for it" lol I enjoyed shopping too.  This is the 7th year and I have attended all of them mostly to just look around and perhaps buy something.  Last year I did take the drop spindle class which I really enjoyed and did purchase mostly natural dyes and a little alpaca roving.

   I brought my camera but totally forgot to take photos-and it would have been uncomfortable to do so except in my spinning class which I just totally forgot about. 
    This event is not publicized enough for the vendors in my opinion. Allot of the vendors do also teach classes so they make money that way but some do not. I had a 1pm class so I went in early so I could take my time and visit with some of the vendors-and there was no one shopping that I could see but me from 9 til noon as the rest were in classes. I made a suggestion on their comments form that they really need to bring in the public for the vendors. If vendors don't make money they won't be back. Anyways I felt kinda wierd bringing out my camera with no one else visiting the vendors.

   Saturday's class was Woology which I did learn allot of new things, and there was a nice handout, but the teacher was a little scatter brained lol meaning she jumped all over the place, talked really fast, got off topic allot and she thought our class was 1-4 instead of 1-5. I didn't have a watch so didn't realize it until most were leaving and someone said something to her-she tells everyone to come back to class if they want to lol  It was sooooo cold in that room that everyone froze so I think they were all ready to leave. 
   She went over the fleece. tools, methods of prepping the fiber etc-so it was really useful. She had brought one of her own shetland fleece to show us what it looked like-then gave us bags and said we could take home whatever we wanted. I have washed allot of raw fleece before so I filled up my bag as did one other person.
   As we were leaving the teacher asked me if I would like to take the rest of the fleece home to process-YES of course I would love it lol  So that was cool.  She even gave me a cloth pillowcase with zipper to put it in. I only store my fibers in cotton bags too and I was surprised how many in the class were keeping it in plastic bags-not good.

    Here is a photo of the bag with the shetland fleece (note: all photos will expand to full size just click on them)

Before the class I had spotted her booth with the Unicorn fiber wash and rinse-I really love this product and she had a better price than what I paid online last year. We were given name tags to wear and she looks at my name and says well if you are from (the town I am in) than you must be Kathyinozarks-I am I say lol turns out she was my teacher for the woology class and she lives in my town too-which actually is not really a town but an area in the woods. She breeds long wools and I found out she is part of a fiberarts group here locally-so am excited to check that out and meet new people.

Here are photos of my finds--it was really fun

The first two photos are little bags of alpaca they only had one bag left of that dyed which I thought would be fun to use on my blending board-(second photo is a close up) This was from a local alpaca farm-which I really must find time to visit some day

I really loved this really dark alpaca which I found above in a small bag and below from another alpaca breeder that I always buy a bag or two from-she has such good prices and I love her rovings.

Below was a bit of a splurge for me but I totally fell in love with the colors. This is Ashland Bay the mixed colors is merino and that pretty melon is merino-silk.  I want to play with some of this on the blending board too.  These ladies were referred to me from the facebook page of Fiber U to visit for information about my vintage European wheel. They were so helpful answering my questions that I really wanted to purchase something. My spinning teacher was part of this trio of elder ladies that tour the country selling and teaching. They had just returned from an Alaskan cruise teaching.-I bet that was fun.
   I had taken photos of my vintage wheel as I wanted to ask more about the drive band which I was told was a scotch tension set up-wrong-turns out my Ashford Traveler is a scotch tension and my vintage wheel is a double drive which was good to know.
   While sitting in the lunch room waiting for my class someone came in with a Kromski wheel that looked like the modern version of my vintage.

Visiting this event over the last several years I have always wanted to purchase a pair of alpaca socks and this year I did just that. These come from alpaca fleece grown here in the USA and then these socks and other articles are made in the USA-so it helps out those that raise alpacas.
   The first pair are slipper socks-I love the little alpaca grippers on the bottom of the socks. These will be perfect at my spinning wheel or in my new living room-I don't let anyone wear shoes in there lol 
    I bought these from the two alpaca booths I bought the alpaca fibers from above.

And this was my big purchase of this event--that I had planned for. I talked with an Ashford dealer that would be at this event and she said she had a jumbo flyer for my wheel that she had had for awhile so she would give me a discount. 
     This will enable me to make fat art yarns-so I am excited about this. I need to find my dark stain and stain this up-put the hooks on and take the one maiden off and put this on.  I also found out, which I wish she would have thought to bring since she knew I had an older Ashford wheel is a piece that goes on the maiden that will enable me to use this jumbo flyer and then take off and put my regular flyer back on without having to also take the maiden off too--which would be a good thing as I don't want to be screwing off and on that maiden and possibly wearing out that screw hole in the wood. (hope that made sense lol)

My Sunday class was beginning spinning from 8 am to noon. The original reasoning for the Ashford traveler was so people like me could take them to class easily. However cars made in 1978 and now are much different I can see-lol This wheel was advertised to easily fit over the hump between the seats in a car where the spinning wheel would ride well-not so in my suv type car now. It was too tall to fit in in the back seat area or in the front passenger side-and no big hump anymore either . It did fit way in the back-so I piled up blankets around it so it wouldn't tip over while driving-I was definately in panic attack mode there for awhile lol
    I could not have had a more excellent teacher. There was just 4 of us which was nice-she only wants 6 in her class, and she just started from the beginning explaining the wheel etc.  I had been doing allot of practicing but my yarn is just not improving at all and should by now. One of the reasons I decided to take this class.
    So she watched me and says "quit fiddling with your wool" and she showed me another way to do it. I was glad I had the basics down first before taking this class, but I do need to re learn over what I have been doing for the last year so that is difficult right now. With practice I believe my spinning will improve.
   There were two that were total beginners-knew nothing at all about spinning so they were grasping the idea but having a difficult time for sure. The other lady was doing really well-she had the newer Ashford like mine. She ended up telling us that this was her 3rd beginning spinning class and with this teacher and her past experience she finally "got it"  I am hoping I feel the same after a week or so.
    The teacher also told me that my scotch tension line was too short and that is why I am having problems with my tension adjustments. The spring is not to be fully expanded and there is just not enough length on the fishing line--so that was a plus to learn. Since hubby is an avid fisherman I can easily put new on.

   Have not attempted to ply my own yarn yet-actually my yarn has been definately singles until just recently. She showed us a really cool way to do this-at least totally new for me. I had purchased a lazy kate when I had sold off allot of quilty things but for a two ply this was nifty. She had one of those ball winders that gives you a center pull-I actually have one of these that hubby bought at a garage sale thinking I could use it-well now for sure lol  anyways hers had a little clamp on the back that she just clipped to the spinning wheel-she took the spun yarn from the bobbin and put the end right on to the ball winder and wound it up-then she took the center pull and the outside end yarn attached it to the bobbin and then holding the two pieces apart she spun it the opposite twist right back onto the bobbin-very cool I thought-and then she would put on a niddy noddy and wet finish.
   Our teacher has 30 years plus spinning experience so we were all just asking questions in class-an awesome learning experience for me

   One nice tip for you spinners that do not already know this-she told us a less expensive way to buy oil. Buy one bottle of the spinning wheel oil cause the container and long tip is perfect to use-but after that buy 30 weight non detergent motor oil at a wal mart type store and re fill your bottle  Loved that one. I asked how often to oil and she says every new day she sits down to spin she always oils everything that moves.

So an awesome weekend learning experience for me.

A few months ago I was on Etsy looking at handmade pottery knitting bowls-I love and collect handmade pottery and thought this would be really nice to use and place my spun spools into and get them on the niddy noddy, and also when using the warping board to also put my yarns in there-through the holes to keep everything tidy and not running all over the place. I know I could just grab a big plastic bowl or something but what fun is that??
      I found a potterer that I totally fell in love with-and we designed a bowl together-I wanted it to be larger not so tall and with motifs of the plants that I use here in my woods for natural dyeing. Over the weekend she sent me photos-that it was done-I Love it!! So beautiful

I told you it was gorgeous can't wait to get it she is in Colorado here is her shop

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Getting Ready for My Classes at Fiber U and Still Raining

    This Saturday and Sunday is Fiber U in a city near me. They host this event once a year now in July. Lots of vendors selling all things fiber, spinning, weaving, and more, and several classes offered.
   On Saturday afternoon, I am taking a 4 hour class all about raw fleece and supposed to have allot of handouts. I am anxious for this one to learn more. I don't think at my age now I will buy too much more raw wool to process but I wanted the knowledge on what to look for.  I had bought some raw romney wool last year on Ebay and the white was in really really bad shape-the grey romney seems better. Of course I wouldn't be able to examine when buying on Ebay but I will be better prepared on what questions to ask. I have found some really nice wools there.
   I will go in early to shop and talk with an Ashford dealer too. I ordered more bobbins, and want to inquire about a jumbo flyer so I can make some bulky fun art yarns. I had seen a video about spinning in mini crochet flowers and still want to do that-I found some nice ones over on Etsy handmade in Switzerland. I thought the price seemed reasonable and I do not crochet or knit. I just think that would be some fun yarn.
   I bought my Ashford Traveler back in 1978 and when I inquire about different updates like this-they cost half as much as what I originally paid for my wheel back then-lol She said she had an older model jumbo flyer so will compare prices and see if it is too much of a hassle to change up the flyers.
   They have a little showcase area where we can show off something we have made and can put down information on how one can purchase. So I am hoping to sell my handwoven shrug there, or at least hear about feedback from it.
   Saturday will pretty much be a long day for me. I decided to take my 4 hour spinning class early Sunday morning instead of taking both classes the same day. I think I will be more alert for my classes that way.
   My spinning has improved from 3 months ago, but I am still not getting my yarn fine enough. I also have questions on using the different speeds on my flyer. This was an update from the original flyer with 3 speeds that I bought last year. I have no idea really how to use the different speeds-must depend on the type of wool? not sure. 
   I am thinking of also bringing my wheel that came from Europe that uses a scotch tension-to have the teacher show me how to do that-I had tried it but not sure I got it right-and at the time-wasn't getting it to spin right.
  So I am excited for this coming weekend of spinning fun.

and it is still raining here-almost every day and the extreme hot and steamy conditions are upon us again. I have been anxious to try out my dutch oven cooking but the weather is just not good yet. 110 heat index is a bit much for open fire cooking or dutch oven cooking lol


Sunday, July 3, 2016

It's a Very Rainy Weekend & Update Photos

  We don't complain about rain too much here as we are usually in drought conditions during the summer months-and we finally got an awesome cool down-loving that for sure. The steamy hot returns on Tuesday so enjoying the rain and cool fresh air for now.
    I had hopes to try out my dutch oven baking this weekend but it is pretty much a wash out here til late Monday-but in time for those going to the fireworks on the 4th.
    Here is my latest photos with more gravel brought in-I still need lots more in the area but my back has been good to me so far, so a needed break with that for a week. I am really loving the outcome.
  The second photo shows the back-I brought in some rocks that I found here on the property for more of a fire break back there-Miss Calico thinks I have built her a new kitty box-not so I keep telling her lol
   And a photo of the rain coming down out the front door.
(all photos will enlarge)

We had a nice visit with our Chicago friend. He drove down and just stayed a few days. He did not want to go fishing or anything, just needed to get away from the city and some stress stuff. It was really hot still at the time too so I don't think fishing on the lake would have been very enjoyable. I always enjoy cooking for one more.

I needed a couple nice trivets to put inside my dutch ovens to hold up pies and breads especially from sitting directly on the bottoms of the dutch ovens. I could have improvised with tuna cans or something like that-but I enjoy pretty tools so went online to hunt. I fell in love with the Le Creuset cast iron with porcelain trivets I found lots of them on ebay. But wow the prices they get. 
    They retail for around $70.00 to start with so the bidding prices mostly started around that price and went way up. I had my limits of what I would pay so did find one seller with three of them that she had put out at low prices-lost those. Then I totally fell in love with a seller's matching pair of blue trivets that he said he picked up at an estate sale. The bidding started out low and I never saw any bids so I put my bid in and could not believe that I won them-$20.00 a piece with shipping-I can live with that although still pricey.  
    I did feel bad that for some reason this item was not found by others, or perhaps people did not want two, or perhaps I was just meant to have them. So I wrote him a note that I felt bad that he did not get much money for these but wanted him to know that his trivets went to a good home and would be used and loved. He told him he appreciated my note and we was disappointed in the bids but still made money so he was pleased I got them.
   When I went to town to pick up a few things at our Wal Mart I checked at the grill area and finally found gloves that I hope will keep my hands from burning-it said these were totally heat resistant so we'll see. and then I found those stainless kabob pieces. I had seen these used on a Food Network show and thought they were brilliant-so was surprised to find them there. Of course hubby and others are laughing at me that I bought  I think they will be perfect for grilled veggies and mushrooms.

If the rain should move out earlier on Monday I am still hoping to bake at least a pie in my new dutch oven-if not first clear day I am anxious to do that.

Hope your Holiday 4th is a good one.

A card for you here


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