Monday, August 22, 2016

Spinning poker and a whole lotta DIY

I quit! I can't get this darn blog post to have a decent sized font! I've been formatting and reformatting it and it just isn't sticking!

This week hasn't had any spinning or knitting in it. I thought I'd get some done this weekend but I've been busier than I expected. But I want to get back in the habit of blogging regularly so I bring you spinning poker and some DIY.

Spinning poker, you say? What is that? It is something to get one out of a spinning rut. I read about it on a spinning group in Ravelry. It was apparently done in a spinning group that met f2f. I took it and adapted it for a small spinning group on Ravelry that I belong to. We use themes and such to keep ourselves motivated and spinning. 

I created a set of categories and put items in each one. Then I told people to pick.a random number in each category which would be like picking a card from a deck. The categories and items in each category were as follows. Based on the number they picked, they ended up with a series of selections that determined their spinning project. 

  • Fiber type: angora, primitive, luster longwool, alpaca, BFL, silk, Merino/Rambouilet/Cormo
  • Blend: blend or no-blend
  • Fiber Prep: hand-combed top, hand-carded roving, commercial roving, rolags/punis, commercial combed top, anything but the others
  • Drafting Method: backward draw/twist between the hands, backward draw/no-twist, forward draw/no-twist, forward draw/twist between the hands.
  • Finishing: thwacking, semi-felting, hot/cold alternate soaks, snapping, anything goes
  • Add-ins: sequins, beads, found objects
  • Plies: 1, chain, 3, 2
I had someone pick a set of numbers for me. I ended up with commercial carded roving, silk, blend, singles with beads and thwacked (or something like that). 

Since I had to a singles yarn with beads, I had to thread the beads on the fiber and that is where I ended up stuck. I started but ran out of time to finish so it is in the WIP pile. It did allow me to experiment with beads in spinning and I'm looking forward to finishing it. 

I had roving given to me by a friend so the first step was to pick out beads. These were the beads I considered. 

This is the roving. It is from the UK so a name I didn't recognize.

And my start at adding beads to the roving. I decided to put beads on 25% of the fiber and then spin these in with the rest as I spin the singles. 

I spent the weekend tackling a bunch of stuff around the house. My 4 basil plants were bushes so I cut them back severely and made a basil finishing salt with the leaves. I combined some sage, rosemary and lavender for a bit of depth of flavor although it is about 90% basil. I also put in some sea salts that I had bought in France along with kosher salt. I had previously made herb salt using a recipe from the Splendid Table but it didn't have the herb/salt ratio I was looking for. So I found another recipe that worked out very well. I highly recommend making herb salts as gifts. They are very well received, have the potential for creativity in packaging, and are a consumable gift so you can repeat them year to year. 

I also had run out of a couple of my staple spice mixtures. I have started making my own after years of getting them made in India and carrying them back or buying in the Indian store here. The acquisition of a Vitamix on my return from China made this possible. It grinds so well that I am able to get the spice mixtures as fine as the mills in India. In India, you prepare the spices - proportion and roasting - and then send it out to a mill to be ground. 

I made idli powder (also known as gunpowder because it is typically spicy). I also made a curry powder from a specific community in Tamil Nadu, whose flavors I like. I mix this with a similar one that is from my family. A lot of these mixtures are very individual to cooks and families and the one we use at home is my mother-in-law's recipe:

  • Dried whole round red chillies: 300 gm
  • Coriander seed: 400 gm
  • Black pepper: 100 gm
  • Toor dal: 100 gm
  • Chana dal: 100 gm
  • Fenugreek seeds: 2-3 teaspoons
  • Black mustard seeds: 2-3 teaspoons
  • Turmeric powder: mixed in when the curry is cooking. If I had access to dried turmeric root, I could grind it with the rest. 
I really want to be back to knitting/spinning this week. I've caught up with a lot of the stuff that kept me busy last week and hope to have freed up enough time to play.

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