31 May 2012

Baa to Blanket, Part 1

It all started with my friend and a lamb named Poca Luna. Last year, Wendi decided to have Poca Luna's fleece spun into yarn, and guess who ended up with a whole bunch?!

Each of these cones has about 800 yards of three-ply wool. I decided that with this much wool it would be great to knit a big old Hemlock Ring blanket for Wendi. This was some time last year. Fast forward and now that it's about a hundred degrees and humid out I'm feeling the need to knit a blanket!

Do you see how the yarn laying on top of the cone is much fluffier? The yarn is wound super tightly on the cone, and so I knit a few swatches to see what happens to the yarn after it's washed, and it definitely plumps up! Partly because of this, and partly because it would be easier to work with for such a big project, I decided to soak the yarn before I used it.

I thought (for months!) about how to hank the yarn for soaking, and then just decided I needed to go for it. You can see my final strategy below. The paper towel holder in the kitchen didn't work, but the paper towel holder in the laundry room fit the cone perfectly. I set up my swift on top of the washing machine and figured out a great way to wind the yarn off the cone onto the swift! In the end it's much better with two people - one to pull the yarn off the cone and the other to spin the swift and make sure the yarn gets on the swift correctly.

Et voila! A HUGE hank of yarn! I put a few pieces of yarn every so often to keep it from tangling, and put it in a container in the tub to soak for a few hours.

I wrapped the yarn in a few towels to absorb as much extra water as possible, and now the hank is drying. Tomorrow or the next day I will re-wind the hank into what I'm guessing is going to be the biggest ball ever! and start knitting.

27 May 2012


This week these 14 bumbling ducklings have been exploring our backyard. Adorable!

26 May 2012


While the marshmallows were cooling I saw Not So Humble Pie's recipe for Fleur de Sel Caramels and would you believe I had all the ingredients necessary to make them? I don't know why there was a 16 oz container of cream in the refrigerator, but whatever it was bought for will have to wait. There is never cream in the fridge, so I took it as a sign that I was meant to make caramel!

We didn't have any fleur de sel in the pantry, but on the way home from my knitting group today I stopped at the store and got some. Obviously if you want the caramels without the salt that is fine - whatever your preference is, they are DELICIOUS!

As a first-timer, I thought it was an easy recipe. I used a lot of pointers from the recipe comments, and it all went swimmingly. No molten sugar burns or anything! My only advice is to get everything soaking as quickly as possible for easy cleanup. The hardest part for me was cutting the pan of caramel into pieces.


Finally! I made marshmallows. It's been on my wish-to-do list now for years and in a burst of baking productivity I just did it. They are delicious, and I don't even like marshmallows very much on their own. I am dying for a campfire right now!

In case you're wondering, I followed Smitten Kitchen's Springy, Fluffy Marshmallow recipe. They were really quite easy and you can bet I'll be making this come wintertime to put in hot chocolate.

23 May 2012

Modern Quilt Guild-ing

This month at the South Florida Modern Quilt Guild we had a pincushion swap. I used this awesome tutorial to make some awesome cathedral window pincushions!

I have also been participating in my first quilting bee. Each month a "Queen Bee" gets to choose a theme or design, and we worker bees make her a block. At the end of the year we will have each had a turn at being Queen Bee and should have a dozen blocks or so to use for our own quilts.

I signed up knowing that I would be forced to try new things, and each month so far I have been able to try out a new quilt technique. These are some not-so-great photos of the blocks I have made.

I taught myself paper piecing today and just finished the block in the lower right hand corner  (although I want to add a little button caterpillar or butterfly). I love paper piecing! I used this great tutorial on how to make her "Spring Flowers," and now I am super excited to make some other designs, especially a hedgehog and gnome from Artisania. Actually, I want to make all of the patterns at Artisania!

21 May 2012

Peachy Keen

I ordered the yarn for these socks on a whim a few months back. I was thinking ahead to spring and summer and feeling like making some fun bright socks, and when I searched on Etsy for pink and orange sock yarn I came across some in Marigoldjen’s shop. I had never heard of the seller before, but the yarn was so pretty, plus she has good reviews and a few projects from her yarn on Ravelry. (Thank God for reviews; I always rely on them!)

I LOVE this color – Peachy Keen. After my last sock fiasco – knitting a pattern but having such variegated yarn that you couldn’t really see the work that went into them – I wanted some light yarn that would show off the pattern, and also a pattern that would show off the beautiful variations of color in the yarn. I chose the Simple Skyp pattern, and the rest is history.