Treefall

Treefall in the dyepot

Treefall in the dyepot

The latest yarn is off the wheel and I’ve decided it looks like the season upon us.  Treefall started as a mixed breed wool combed top dyed.  I’m going to have a big project with lots of browns, so I started experimenting to see what kind of browns I could get.

Bright yellow and pinks laid the foundations, then greens were added to muddy the color.  The wet roving looked like I was going to get some really dark brown, but once it dried the color was lighter and warmer.  The fun surprise was that in places the brown color broke and I had some greens peek through!

Treefall finished roving

Treefall finished roving

I spun the yarn into a single and then loaded it onto a ball winder.

Treefall single loaded on a ball winder

Treefall single loaded on a ball winder

The colors looked very warm and crisp on the ball.  After I plied them into a 2-ply, the skein had a more heathered-effect.  Lovely!

Skein of homespun and hand-dyed wool

Skein of homespun and hand-dyed wool

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Homespun Honeysuckle

I’ve had fun this summer learning to spin on my Cassandra wheel by JMS Spinning Wheels.  Part of the fun is playing with the colors that develop when the wool spins onto the bobbin.  Now as I look around my yard, I see so many colorways that I would like to duplicate in yarn.  This yarn was inspired by my honeysuckle.

This yarn started as an experiment in using pokeberries as dyestuff (I’ll talk about that more in another post).  I also dyed some wool roving using food coloring.  After dyeing the wool roving, I hung it up to dry–my, it turned out so bright and pretty!

In the dye bath

Drying in the sunReady to spin!

The next step was to spin the wool onto bobbins.  One of the best thing about my wheel is that it came with 8 bobbins and a lazy kate.  (I never thought I would need so many bobbins, but it is amazing how many projects you can get going at once!)  After the singles were prepared, I plyed them to make the finished yarn, about 450 yards worth.

Pokeberry on the left and food coloring on the right.

Pokeberry on the left and food coloring on the right.

Homespun Honeysuckle Skein

I think this project turned out very nicely.  This skein is already into the hands of a knitter, so hopefully I’ll have some pictures to show how the yarn works up.

Shepherds of the Trees

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Blackforest, Fall 2007.

Ents are some of the most fascinating characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s universe.  Ents are trees with souls, charged with protecting forests from destruction by dwarves and orcs.  Fangorn (or Treebeard) is the most famous Ent, making his appearance in The Two Towers and giving protection to Merry and Pippin, two very adventurous Hobbits.  Ents looked a great deal like the species of trees they shepherded, and their personality was exactly what you would expect of that type of tree.

Whenever I visit a forest, I look around.  Perhaps if you are quiet and wait long enough, you will find the Ents shepherding their trees.

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Blackforest, Fall 2007.

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Florida, March 2010.

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Florida, March 2010.

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Florida, March 2010.

 

Rose Hips

roses5Rose hips (or Rose Haws) are the fruit of the rose that forms following successful pollination after the petals drop.  They are definitely edible although the seeds are held inside by tiny hairs that can be irritating if not removed.  Fresh, they have been compared to cranberries–tart and very fruity-flavored.  They can also be dried or preserved to use at a later time.  One method for making rose hip tea is to grind a little powder from the dried hips and steep it in hot water, straining the dregs before drinking.  Many countries make their own concoctions from rose hips:  nyponsoppa in Sweden, palinka in Hungary, and cockta in Slovenia.

The rose hip contains many beneficial chemicals.  By weight, rose hips contain more Vitamin C than citrus fruits (about 1-2%). The also contain Vitamins A, D and E, as well as iron, carotenoids (including Beta-carotene), lycopene, and flavonoids. Historically, they have been used for laxatives and diuresis.  Present research is looking at the benefits rose hips may have in the treatment of arthritis and depression.

Rose Hips in the Black Forest, 2007.

Rose Hips in the Black Forest, 2007.

When I went to Germany, I enjoyed the roses which seemed to be present everywhere. I was astounded by the size of the rose hips on some of the plants–I never knew they could be so large!  I suspect it is because the newer varieties of roses are chosen for specific weather or disease-resistance.  I have long noticed that the older, more “wild” varieties of roses have the best aromas (and probably the most beneficial phytochemicals, as well!).

 

Frukt Soppa (Fruit Soup)

I inherited my grandmother’s cookbook and found this recipe tucked inside. This fruit soup is good served hot or cold, as a course in a meal or for dessert. Try topping it with whipped cream to make it extra delectable!

Green Apples, 2012.

Green Apples, 2012.

Frukt Soppa

Prunes – 1/2 pound

Raisins – 1 cup

Apricots, dried – 1/4 pound

Orange, fresh – 1 peeled & sliced

Lemon, fresh – 1 peeled & sliced

Tapioca – 4 tablespoons

Sugar – 1 cup

Cinnamon – 1 stick

Apples, fresh – 3 peeled & diced

Cherries, canned – 1

 

In cooking pan, add prunes, raisins, apricots, orange, lemon, tapioca, sugar & cinnamon.  Add enough water to cover and soak overnight.  In the morning, add diced apples to the soup; add enough water to cover again.  Cook on medium until fruit is soft.  Add canned cherries last and heat through.