I might have spoken too soon when I said I was feeling better, so let’s just do Karmic Balancing gifts and try not to think about it. I’m taking today and knitting a sock, and working on catching up on paperwork, and trying to put my business to bed for the week that I’ll (hopefully) be away, and I’m trying not to whine. Thanks for the donations my petals, you guys are so amazing that I’ve now met my public goal – I’m looking now to blow it out of the water. Last year you guys took me way, way over my private and public goals, and I know that there’s no force out there like knitters. None. Every ding on my phone makes me feel a little better, and makes me more hopeful that this is going to be okay. Let’s hope that Karma works, and that trying to put something good out there does something good for how I feel. A miracle cure by tomorrow would be nice.
Anne at The Twisted Fleece has two beautiful gifts the first one is for Grace T:
100 g of handdyed Shetland roving. Dyed by Anne, and the fleece came from her friends’ flock. Comes with a handcrafted (again, made by Anne) orifice hook, of sterling silver, embellished with a handcrafted lampwork bead.
Anne also has 3 skeins of 100% merino worsted weight yarn. Dyed using food safe dyes. 120 yards/skein, 1.75 oz, 50 grams, and she’ll be mailing those to Kay W..
Belinda went for a stash dive, and came up with these two beautiful skeins of Malabrigo Lace. Turns out they’re for Helen H. Enjoy!
The Oswego NY Coffee Connection knitters would like to donate two skeins of Berroco Weekend in colors 5947 (salmon swimming upstream) and 5966 (blue sky in summer). They’ll be mailing it out to Peg L, and I hope she loves it.
Helle has two beautiful skeins, going out into the world to make a little magic. Heritage Yarns 100% tencel, colour is Sunrise Serenade 8 ounces; 1680 yards for Donna G.
and Knitted Wit Worsted, 100% Super wash Merino, Colour: She Persisted (how appropriate) 4 ounces, 200 yards for Lisa B. Thank you Helle!
Our good friend Kathleen Sperling has three lovely gifts of e-book pattern collections. First, her blanket trilogy, consisting of Cervelli, Around the Block, and The Celtic Knotwork Baby Blanket. That’s for Donna B.
Last, but not least, she’ll be sending her Darling Layette eBook to Maggie B.
Tim has a set of four 3 X 4 1/2″ wonder wallets, each with five pockets. They are great for extra credit cards or cash or for giving gift cards. Those are going to Pippi S.
Next, a copy of a great new book from Tracy Purtscher, Dimensional Tuck Knitting.
It’s not out until September, so there will be a tiny delay in getting it, but when Tracy H does, I hope she loves it.
We’ve got a few from an amazing person who would like to be an anonymous Balancer, one 8oz bag of Elsie’s Discount Roving & Dyes “Amethyst”, and one in purple. The secret Santa will be mailing those to Rhea K.
Our mystery person also has approximately 20 batts, each weighing about 40 grams, of a creamy white Finn-cross roving. Hand processed by Anonymous Balancer, those are for Robyn R.
She’s also parting with one 40 oz. bundle of Plum Crazy Ranch Fiber Art Mulberry Silk Sliver, and one 1oz bundle of blue-green, hand-dyed Firestar, and mailing it to Linda L.
Last but not least, she’s somehow parting with THREE braids of Upstream Alpaca “Hand Painted Combed Top 100% Baby Alpaca” in “Pinot Noir” – 4 oz each braid. Those will be winging their way to Kelly M.
Emily has an amazing gift. 8 balls of gorgeous blue angora, in its original box. Emily says “It is old, though I don’t know by how; I received it from a fiber artist friend who is retiring and downsizing. Her only condition of giving it to me was that I “make something awesome”, and since you are doing that with PWA and the Rally, it only seems fitting.” I hope Holly W makes something awesome!
Karen Fletcher’s got a good one, TEN free copies of her pattern The Texture Block Cowl. It’s a good one, takes a single skein of worsted weight yarn, and looks like a charming defense against the elements. (And a good Christmas present, if you’re in the mood.) She’ll be sending those along to Kathleen R, Cherilyn P, Sarah R, Barbara J, Tara W, Jaime P, Beth W, Maggie H, Alicia R, and Belinda H.
Finally, a gorgeous “Rainbow is the new black” project bag from Jan Smiley. (Peek at her shop, it’s all lovely.) This bag is for Janis M, and I hope she loves it.
Now, if you’ll all excuse me, I’m going to go lie down and wait for my miracle. I’m sure it’s on its way. Cross your needles, everybody.
You know what uses up a ton of eggs, is healthy, versatile, and tastes good cold, at room temp, or warm? The fritatta.
Get 8 eggs and your big cast iron skillet. Turn your oven on to 350 and heat up your skillet on the stove over medium-high.
Whisk your eggs with a half-cup of dairy stuff. I go half-milk, half-cream. You do you. Season that shitnit up. Salt, pepper. Maybe a little cayenne if you’re feeling sassy. Got some fresh herbs? Great! Add em.
Fully whisk the eggs, but don’t immersion blend or anything – if you get too much air in your eggs, they think they are becoming a souffle and get very depressed later when they realize that’s not their life path.
Depressed eggs have bad texture.
Is your pan hot yet? Good, pour some olive oil in there. Add in some veg. I like zucchini, but the sky’s the limit. Onion, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, chard – it’s all good. Potatoes are traditional. Maybe not beets. Your frittata will look bloody.
You can do meat too – like sausage or bacon – but I tend to go for veggie frittatas.
Cook your veg and remember to season. You can’t ask your eggs to season your vegetables. That’s your job, not theirs.
When your veggies are soft, pour off any water that’s in your skillet. Water will make your eggs think they are being poached and…well…depressed eggs. We’ve been down this path.
Add more oil if your pan looks dry. It’s olive oil, it’s healthy. Pour in the eggs. Throw some cheese in there too if you want. Feta makes it betta.
Give the eggs a few swirls around the pan right at the beginning. Pretend like you’re scrambling eggs while on quaaludes and then lose interest.
The idea is just to get the eggs firmed up enough that the yummy veggie and cheese stuff doesn’t all sink to the bottom, but not to stir so much that the eggs think they are being scrambled and have an identity crisis.
When your eggs start to set on the edge, don’t touch them any more. Let them cook for couple minutes until that edge around the pan starts to look nice and brown. Pop the whole pan in the oven and cook until the eggs stop jiggling in the center if you shake the pan. This’ll take a few minutes. Maybe ten.
Remove your skillet from the oven.
Get your frittata out of the skillet through incantations and magic.
Put a big heat-proof plate or sheetpan upside-down on top of your skillet, put one hand on the downside-up bottom of the plate and another (well protected with a side towel or oven mitt) on the bottom of your skillet.
Hold your hands out like you are using your arms to imitate a crocodile eating a skillet and a plate, and then invert everything in one ballsy motion.
Your skillet should end up upside-down on top of the plate, which is now right-side up. Now just carefully pull the skillet straight up and the frittata should remain behind on the plate. If it sticks, the skillet gods are gently suggesting you work on your cast iron seasoning.
This is easier to do than it is to read, I promise.
If you wanna do like me, make a tangy vinaigrette with tons of chopped parsley and basil and dribble that over your slice of frittata. Look! It’s like an Egg Angel!
Voila! Versatile, easy, almost instant deliciousness.
Today’s post is inspired by a reader question that came in from Adam. Adam wrote:
I’ve been researching lacto-fermentation and I have found that some recipes call for whey from live and active culture yogurt, but some people are just adding salt and calling that lacto-fermented.
Can you help me understand why adding the whey culture is important and why some people don’t add whey but still call it lacto-fermented? I’ve read a few ebooks and watched several videos on the matter and haven’t found anyone that explains it.
Great question! And a surprisingly common one, thanks to a quirky mix-up of the language.
Let’s start out with the most important part: you do not need yogurt whey to lacto-ferment vegetables. Ever. At all. There are some situations where whey or another starter culture might help your ferment, and I’ll cover those in a bit, but whey isn’t necessary for vegetable fermentation.
So to answer your question: why is adding whey important? It isn’t. If, in a specific recipe, whey is called for, it might be needed for that recipe, but I guarantee there are ways to modify that recipe to remove whey from the ingredient list if you want.
Lacto-Fermented: What’s In A Name?
Now onto your question about why people can call ferments made without whey from a dairy product lacto-fermented.
The “lacto” in this case comes from the name of the beneficial bacteria that preserve lacto-fermented foods, not from the addition of a dairy component in the the recipe.
These bacteria are called “Lactic Acid Bacteria.” They make lactic acid as a byproduct of eating carbohydrates. Nearly all of the microbes we want to encourage in lacto-fermentation come from this family.
The most famous bacteria group from within the Lactic Acid Bacteria family (but by no means the only bacteria group important to fermentation) is called lactobacillus. You have probably heard the term lactobacillus before – this particular bacteria group is often mentioned in the marketing for products like yogurt.
Lactobacillus – literally “Milk Rod-shaped Bacteria” – have that name because they were first identified as the bacteria that sour milk. But wait! Lactobacillus are not limited to a milk diet. There is some member of the clan that has evolved to happily chow down on almost any form of simple or complex carbohydrate and convert that carbohydrate into lactic acid.
In short, the lacto in the term lacto-ferment refers to lactobacillus, not lactose. While lactic acid bacteria named after milk are necessary for a successful lacto-ferment, adding a dairy component to vegetable ferments is not necessary.
The LAB microbes including lactobacillus exist on any fresh vegetable. They are ubiquitous in the environment. They are already everywhere, just waiting for the right opportunity to start eating carbs and making lactic acid. You don’t have to do anything special to introduce them.
In conclusion, people who claim that whey or other dairy starters are necessary to ferment vegetables or to call such a fermentation “lacto-fermented,” are wrong. You have my permission to ignore them.
The Role of Lactic Acid Bacteria in Fermentation
In the right conditions, Lactic Acid Bacteria including lactobacillus eat sugars – simple or complex – and make lactic acid as a byproduct. This excreted lactic acid is critical to the preservation of our fermented vegetables. As a vegetable ferments, the increasing quantity of lactic acid pushes the pH of the ferment lower and lower, preserving our vegetables through a natural form of lowered-pH pickling.
So what are these right conditions?
The metabolic process that results in the lactic acid we want is anaerobic – it takes place in the absence of oxygen. And Lactobacillus prefer to stay away from nasty corrosive oxygen, anyway. So excluding air from your fermenting vegetables is very important.
The lactic acid bacteria are also uniquely tolerant of a moderately high salt environment. Salinity levels where the LAB bacteria thrive discourage other, more harmful microbes.
In fermentation, our job is to set up an environment – oxygen free and moderately high in salt – where the natural lactic acid bacteria already on the vegetables will proliferate, grow, and rapidly dominate the microbial profile of the ferment.
Essentially the creation of the successful ferment is a byproduct of creating the right environment for the right microbes. The easiest way to do this is to submerge vegetables in a brine of the proper salinity.
Why Do Some Recipes Call For Whey In A Lacto-Ferment?
Active culture whey or other starter cultures are jump-starters, basically. If you use whey from a live and active lacto-fermented product like yogurt or a naturally fermented sour cream, you’re introducing a pre-grown, ready-to-go colony of billions of friendly, viable lactic acid bacteria to your ferment. This tends to make the ferment move a lot faster, and can help ensure you create an environment dominated by beneficial bacteria quickly.
Any homebrewers out there will understand this concept. It’s like the difference between pitching a packet of dry yeast into a carboy, vs growing out a yeast starter the day before and pitching that in. With an active, huge, bubbling colony of yeast, your fermentation in the carboy is going to start faster and stronger.
However, in the case of lacto-fermentation, faster isn’t always better. Many fermenters, myself included, have actually found that salt-only, slower ferments can lead to a better long-term texture and flavor in a ferment.
But, there are cases where you might want to jump start your lactic acid bacteria and give the whole thing a boost. If you are planning a very fast ferment, something that will be on the counter for just a couple days, a starter can be very helpful.
If you are fermenting something really thick and condimenty – like ketchup or chutney – adding that extra boost of lactic acid bacteria can be helpful because without a proper brine – either an added brine or a self-brine, the lactic acid will have a hard time colonizing the ferment.
And then there’s the issue of salt. You can reduce the salt levels in your ferment – down to about 1/2 the level you’d otherwise want – if you incorporate a big kicker of starter along with the salt. This is because, if you are already carpet bombing your ferment with the bacteria you want, you don’t have to worry quite so much about setting up an environment that favors ONLY the lactic acid, salt-tolerant bacteria.
Conversely, you can typically take any whey-inclusive ferment and adjust the salt in such a way as to no longer need that whey jump starter. For more information about exactly how much salt to add if you want to skip whey altogether, check out this article.
Final Thoughts On Using Whey In A Ferment
When it comes to adding whey to ferments, I really don’t anymore. I don’t think there’s much advantage compared to a salt-only ferment for 99% of the ferments I make, and I have come to prefer the texture and longevity of higher-salt, non-whey ferments.
In addition, I have become skeptical of how much benefit there is to adding dairy ferment starters to vegetable ferments, given that yogurt ferments at warmer ideal temperatures than vegetables. Personally, if I needed a starter culture for a tricky ferment, like ketchup, I would look to the brine from an already established, successful vegetable ferment (like traditional sour pickles for example) before using yogurt whey.
If you have a situation where a microbial power boost makes sense, and you want to use whey, please remember that to have any benefit at all, your whey must come from something like yogurt that is already lacto-fermented. There is absolutely no advantage to adding whey from a dairy product that isn’t already fermented.
For example, if you make fresh cheese you’ll end up with a TON of whey. I’ve seen recipes that call for whey from making ricotta to be added to lacto-ferments. This makes absolutely no sense. There are no additional beneficial lactic acid bacteria in whey from an unfermented, pasteurized dairy product.
Do you add whey to your lacto-ferments? Why or why not?
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Want To Ask Me A Question?
It’s easy, and I love it when you give me fun things to write about! Just follow these steps to make it easier for me to answer your question:
- Send me an email with “Question for Erica” in the subject line.
- Ask your question in one or two sentences.
- Start a new paragraph and provide any additional details that are relevant to your question.
If your question has broad applicability and I can answer it, I’ll do my best to cover it in a post like this.
This question originally came to me in my recurring role as an Expert Council Member on The Survival Podcast. My Expert Council answers to productive homekeeping and food preservation questions can be found on selected Survival Podcast episodes.
In testiment to the timing of this break situation, Yoko's was hit with another Level 10 Migraine while she was working on the flats for this page. If you click back a page, http://www.daughterofthelilies.com//
REMINDER: DOTL WILL BE GOING ON BREAK NEXT WEEK.
There's a possibility that we may have to extend the break, depending on how Yoko's migraines are and where we are in our production and how things are going for me at work, but in the meantime we will be posting Reader Questions to fill those update days. If you would like to ask a Reader Question, consider becoming a Patron on Patreon! Only Patrons can submit Reader Questions.
ANOTHER REMINDER: I'm cleaning up the archive today and deleting most of the Filler Content submitted over the Ch6/Ch7 break! If your work was featured during that time and it hasn't yet been linked to in the Extras section, you need to send me a URL for your work.
Thanks for everything, guys! Sorry we got off to such a rocky start on this chapter. The next part is such a good one, too!!
Remember this cosmetic bag for my then 14 year old who when on a trip?
Well little sister who is now 14 is going on a trip today - not alone, but she's discovered the teenage joys of makeup and ... well ... she finally allowed me to make a cosmetic bag for her too. :). Lucky for her that her mama just so happens to have designed some fabric that she likes (sort of ... I may have nudged her in this direction, but can you blame me?)
Anyhow, she didn't give me as many rules as her sister did, but she wasn't all that flexible either. No pink, no flowers, no top stitching, no trim ... the lace tab and leather label were hard sells. And the inside is a plain linen so not much so show there.
But I think it turned out super cute and it put a really big smile on her face. I even got a hug, which is all the payment I need from her. ;)
I love my girls. And my fabric stash.
It's time to hang up the metaphorical 'gone fishing' sign on the blog for a few weeks.
The school's have broken up for the summer holidays in these parts and that means lots of fun and frolics for me and Little Miss as well as a chance for us all to get away together as a family - yippee!
As it also means that getting much meaningful done is nigh on impossible, it's the perfect time to have a little break from my usual day to day world of Cherry Heart too. So in theory I'm hanging up my typing fingers for a few weeks to rest, relax and re-couperate for a bit.
In reality of course I'll be busier than ever, arranging lots of exciting things to see and do to keep the small (not so small) person entertained, prepping to go away, dealing with the aftermath of going away, and generally being scintillating company to my darling girl at all times.
All good fun, but fairly exhausting too. I know I'll be begging for my normal routine and some quiet time in front of the computer come September, but we've lots to enjoy before then.
See you soon!
We’re going to take the scenic route to breakfast.
Don’t worry, I do this often in life… usually it’s because I’m stubborn and I don’t like to use the navigation app on my phone.
By way of breakfast, we’re taking the scenic route by first… making a casual loaf of really lovely lavender brioche bread.
Ok yea. It’s a scenic detour that requires heart and soul, time and self-patience.
It's also fairly easy, relying on garter, M1, and kfb for most of the shaping. The points of the Ws are made by double decrease. However, it does use short rows. This is, apparently, a reason many people I know do not want to make it.
This is like my at least fifth short row project in a year. I really love short rows. I was, thus, exceptionally confused a couple months ago when someone at the knitting table said, "I don't do short rows. They're difficult and fiddly and I don't like them."
So I poked at them to explain this. And this is when I discovered that this person was under the assumption that there's only one technique for short rows. Guys, here is where I admit: every person I know who likes short rows has their own personal favorite technique. But most people who have met short rows and run away screaming have never said, "I hate this technique, but maybe I won't hate another technique." Mostly because there are like five different ways to do it, but since they evolved in different places, not everyone's heard of them. So, this is me, giving resources in case you want to knit the above project (or a different one) and you just really cannot bring yourself to like short rows.
I loathe wrap and turn with every fiber of my being. It doesn't work for me. It just doesn't. My first couple projects used the yarnover technique. Unfortunately, this doesn't work for all projects. So the first project I made that used wrap and turn I dropped in a heap and said, "NOPE" at very loudly. And then I got a book from the library and studied all the different options to try and figure out what might work for my brain.
And when I found one that worked for me, I hung out at the knitting table, checked my phone a couple dozen times to make sure I was doing it right, and clung to it like it was the best thing ever. Now, I use that particular technique any time there's a short row project I'm doing. It saves my sanity. (It also means I've never had to use safety pins in my work; there was a project where I may have, in frustration, snarled out the words who the hell thought that the Japanese short row technique was the fastest technique on the planet and or their favorite. However, there are people who do so, and this is fine. [When I am not being introduced to new and fun ways to torture my brain mid-project setup. I am not at my best mid-project setup.])
For me, German short rows are my very favorite thing. This is a good tutorial for them: http://www.lamaisonrililie.com/
This is a good instruction for wrap and turn: http://knotions.com/techniques/how-to-
This is a free class by the author whose book saved my sanity: https://www.craftsy.com/knitting/
And this is the book in question: https://www.amazon.com/Short-Row-Knits-
As an important note, for patterns like the Wonder Woman wrap, where they use w&t, you knit the stitch you're supposed to wrap, flip around to the other side, and do the german short row technique on that side.
So, what's your opinion on short rows? Or Wonder Woman? Or both? :)
*This is, I note, not a "I don't like fingering" but "I have two projects in fingering right now, and even on size five or six needles (let's not talk about the idiocy of the size 4 project), it still makes my poor, abused hands [thank you chronic illnesses] make me nauseated and need more pain meds." But some yarn is really pretty, so I do about three projects a year in fingering and the rest in medium, chunky, or bulky yarns.
Hello Petals, and greetings from the other side of yesterday’s long, dark teatime of the soul. I don’t know if it’s the rest, ice, baths, massage, chiropractic, physiotherapy, drugs, whiskey, homeopathy or donations that helped, but today I feel hopeful and optimistic, and my arse and I have resumed speaking terms. It still doesn’t feel great, but it feels better, that much is sure, and last night I slept the whole night through. It took a lot of pillows, but when I woke up I felt like maybe things are improving for sure. (I will not be getting on my bike until Sunday to be sure, and I’m going to keep doing all the things I’m doing. One of them is working.) I also had a rather fantastic snuggle with Elliot this morning, and the healing impact of his glorious cheeks cannot possibly be understated. He is the most delicious chunk. Fat and happy, and slept the whole hour his mother was in the dentist, while I walked him up to the drugstore and back, and then, wonder of wonders, resisted the urge to scream in the car. (This is his favourite trick. He resents the carseat and all that it is, and generally acts like he’s experiencing death by a thousand cuts all the way wherever he’s going, then brightens right up the minute he’s free of it – though a minute before you would have sworn he was starving or had mere minutes to live. It’s really not hard to tell he comes from a cycling family.)
Also, a minor fibre miracle. The other day, tidying a basket I keep spinning things in, one tucked way back in the cupboard, I found two bobbins of camel/silk singles.
I pulled them out and for a minute, couldn’t even remember spinning them, but then it came back to me. They’re spindle spun, wound onto the bobbins to empty the spindle each time it filled, and I spun them at least ten years ago. Ten years! (Let us gloss over entirely what it means to my housekeeping skills that I can lose things for ten years in a tiny house.) My wheel was still right there, oiled and clean, and so I popped them onto my Kate (I refuse to call it a lazy kate. I has a sexist ring to it. Why is it always a lazy woman? Lazy Susan, Lazy Kate… how come nothing is called a Lazy Gary?) A little while later I had the most delicious tiny skein of laceweight camel/silk. Just a weensie 210m, but still, it’s delicious, and when I told Joe what I’d found and done, I realized that his conversion to Fiber-support-spouse is complete. “Wow honey” he said, “That’s like finding $50 in your winter coat pocket when you put it on in the Fall.”
That’s it exactly.
Karmic Balancing gifts? Let’s do them until I run out of time. Tonight is our last Steering Committee meeting for the Rally, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to say that. It turns out that my dedication does know bounds, and it’s meetings. Only because I can knit at them is this all possible.
First up, Gauge Dye Works has two beautiful skeins for Virgina Y. One skein of classic sock, one shawl. (Man, Catherine who runs that place is so clever. That’s the yarn my most recent pair of socks were knit from.)
Tia has three skeins of Shibui Knits sock weight yarn in 50’s Kitchen (I love that, it’s the colours of my kitchen!) that she’ll be sending to Susan G.
The lovely Suzanne Visch is donating the pattern of their choice to five lucky knitters. (Lucky is right, what gorgeous things!) Congratulations to Nichole B, Heather K, Mary Jo M, Anisa S, Jennifer W, and Susan D.
By the way, yesterday’s yarn went happily to the highest bidder, who asked only two things. That I not mention their name, and that the yarn not go to her, but to someone new to knitting who would adore it, and be inspired by it. I love that idea, and I know just the knitter. Thanks to everyone who bid, it was charming, flattering and made the world a better place for people who need help. You guys are amazing.
More tomorrow – It’s a desk day. Thank you all for everything, you’re my favourite.
I have been accused, more than a few times in my life, of being overly optimistic. You wouldn’t think that such a thing could be a negative, but it works against me from time to time, as I persist (usually in the face of terrible odds) in thinking that most things will work out just fine if I apply myself to the problem. If something is properly doomed, this can occasionally spell heartbreak, and that’s what I’m thinking about as I sit here writing to you with an icepack on my left arse, chock full of pain meds, and pondering my week. The Rally begins on Sunday morning, and while I’m sure I’ll be able to ride, I’m not sure I won’t be able to do it without some suffering, and I’m reaching for my optimism a bit.
I’ve done everything I can think of for the last few weeks to try and clear this up. Apparently it’s my SI joint (didn’t even know I had one, but there you go) and I’ve had a bike fit, seen a sports medicine doctor (I know! I laughed all the way there. Me! At a sports clinic. I kept thinking they’d look at me like a sloth that had wandered into the gazelle pen at the zoo, but it turns out that when I told them how much I was riding, they wrote down that I was a “serious cyclist.” I almost had to bite myself to keep from laughing out loud.) The doctor prescribed physiotherapy, and I’ve been doing that, and all my exercises, and I felt like maybe things were getting better, but Sundays’ ride has left me whinging and limping around – and it’s hard for even me to be optimistic under these circumstances. Today after the gym I thought about having a bit of a weep.
I can’t tell you how disappointing it is to prepare for this for months and months, and then get a small but miserable injury right at the end. The whole reason I train is to prevent suffering. This week I’ve been prescribed rest, ice, baths, sleep, massage, anti-inflammatory stuff and… no bike. We’re going for maximum healing before Sunday, when everyone agrees that the worst thing that can happen is pain. I won’t do any permanent harm, and the great thing about going to a sports medicine clinic is that nobody has suggested I don’t do my sport, which is pretty reassuring. (I believe them too, the dude who has the appointment before mine is an Olympian. They must know what they’re doing if he’s there.) I’m going to pack, eat well, do as I’m told, reach for that optimism, and hope for the very best. I’m also going to keep my eyes on the prize, and that’s fundraising. Me on my bike doesn’t help PWA- it’s the donations that give it power, and they’re behind in the money department this year. I’ll heal, but a lot of the people that look to the agency for important help won’t have a the same chance, so – I’m going to focus on why I do this, and not let the circumstances get me down. I want to thank you all for your support and donations over the last while. It makes a huge difference, and I’m so grateful.
Enough of that, want to see some spinning? Sure you do. It’s way more interesting than my arse. Remember this?
It’s that gorgeous braid of Fiber Optic Yarns merino/silk. I sat down at the wheel with it when I had that devastatingly tiny cut on my finger, and worked at it a few hours a day. I wanted to preserve the gradient, and I tossed around the idea of spinning it all into one long single, and then chain plying it, but I was really hoping to get decent yardage, and a laceweight. I decided I’d split the whole braid down the middle, lengthwise, and then spin each half as it was, and ply them together afterwards. This sometimes works, and sometimes not so much, but I was (see above) optimistic. I launched.
When I was done, I had two bobbins full that I hoped were more of less equal, and then started to ply.
This is where the whole thing can go sideways. If I hadn’t split the roving equally, I’d have more of one of the other, and it wouldn’t match up as I went along. That happened a little bit, but as I plied, if it started to not match up, I’d break the single from the offending bobbin, pull out a metre or two until they matched again, and then rejoin and keep plying. (I had to do that three times, which is pretty good, considering that I’m human. One bobbin was about 10 metres longer than the other.) When I was done, voila.
It’s about 450 metres (492 yards) of a really lovely laceweight. Well, it’s a little heavy for laceweight, but it’s quite light for fingering, so I’m going with the former. It’s the tiniest bit wonky, like all handspun, but I’m totally in love with it. It is soft, and strong and pretty, and it’s going to make a beautiful… something.
I don’t know what it will be though – because I’m not going to knit it. You can, if you want. If it calls to your heart, let me know, and let me know what it would be worth to you. The knitter who makes the best offer of a donation gets it. Email me at email@example.com (subject line “that yarn” please) and tell me what you’d be willing to donate to my fundraising, and the highest bid gets it mailed to their house. (I’ll choose tomorrow afternoon. I’ve got to babysit in the morning.)
Happy Tuesday everyone. See you tomorrow, and I’m sure everything is going to be just fine.
At least once a month I’ll find myself in a line at the airport, shoving a small container of my folded belongings through an x-ray machine hoping they make it, without suspicion, to meet me on the other side. I know what city I’m in based on airport tiles and carpets. I have no shame attached to occasionally gate-checking a bag. I will sit patiently and wait for the system to do it’s thing around me.
Ruins are incredibly dangerous places because of the hundreds (sometimes thousands) of monstrous creatures that occupy them. Luckily, the Dragon residing in each site is pretty good about keeping monsters in, and foolhardy explorers out.
HEY SO: Yoko and I are kind of struggling to keep up with updates, Yoko because of her migraines and all the pages she has to shade/finish on top of upcoming ones, and me because work is kind of crazy and I haven't had as much time to actually make pages. With this in mind, we're going to take a break next week and get caught up on work. We'll be updating with two reader questions on Tuesday and Thursday next week.
Thanks for your patience!
The interview starts at about 1 minute in, and runs about 30 minutes.
This was recorded on Day 4 of ConVergence, earlier this month. (Which seems longer ago than that, already.)
posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on July, 24