When I raise up my hands

;) – I snuck up to the balcony

I know we’re due for the final installment of the Motif scarf but I have to show you what’s been distracting me from everything else.

Spinning!

2 weeks ago I got myself a birthday present, a Ladybug spinning wheel, and I have not been able to stop. I had one braid of fiber in my stash, I bought 3 more and a good friend gave me a giant bag of fiber for my birthday. Everything but the bag has been spun and plied. I offer you now, pictographical proof of the learning curve.

Yarn 1 – Sheep Spin from Sheep Shop Yarn Company (color Lime)

I  got this braid of fiber over a year ago in the hopes that one day I would be able to spin it up. I loved the colors.  Sadly, I have moved it around so much and fondled it so frequently that most of the outer fibers felted and it was a bitch to draft. Also, in my excitement to get-the-damn-thing-plied, I forgot to ply in the opposite direction.  Overspin, anyone?

Yarn 2 – Louet Northern Lights (violets colorway)

I thought this one would make a great second attempt since it was pre drafted and I could concentrate on getting my rhythm down between hands and feet without worrying about spinning a fiber to thick to fit through the orofice (Shut up, Kevin! That is the actual name of that part of the wheel. Shut up.) I did get better but I made the same mistake when plying – some direction plying equals wikkid curly-uppy yarn.

Yarn 3 – Coopworth Cross hand dyed by Sojourner Design

This was where I got it. I predrafted the fiber into 4 strips and spun 2 on each bobbin in the same order to get a plied yarn with a gentle transition from the blues to green and back. I rigged up a Lazy Kate and remembered to ply in the opposite direction and – Ah, Happiness!

Yarn 4 – Frabjous Fiber merino top(Green with Envy)

This stuff was like handling butter! So soft. I predrafted this into 8 different strips and spun 4 onto each bobbin, not really paring attention to color proportion or order. I ended up with one bobbin larger than the other by half. So, I plied until I ran out of fiber on the one bobbin and then I Navajo plied what was left on the other bobbin – Hence the 2 skeins.

Yarn 5 – wool/alpaca blend

This is a ginormous bag of fiber that my friend Annie gifted me for my birthday. I have filled this bobbin and the bag looks like I haven’t made a dent. I may need to spin all of this before I ply any of it. That may just be how I roll with this one.

We’ll finish up the crochet-along soon. Soon!

Toots

Check out the hook while the DJ revolves it…

Recipe updates at the bottom of the post

YO

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I’ve got mad cookie skilz

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YO

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Today I spent 4 hours making cookies with the girls to gift to teachers, their busdriver, their afterschool provider and my coworkers. Classic chocolate chip, chocolate/pecan, Chocolate white chocolate chip/almond, oatmeal almond crisps, 7 layer bars, and gingerbread goodness.

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I love this time of year.

Toots

Rosa asked in the comments for recipes – so here you go.

In the boxes are

 

Crisp Gingerbread cookies:

6C all purpose flour

1tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

1C unsalted butter

2 large eggs

4 tsp ground ginger

4tsp cinnamon

1 ½ tsp ground cloves

1 ½ tsp salt

1 tsp finely ground white pepper

1C dk brown sugar, firmly packed

1C unsulfered molasses

In large bowl, sift together flour, soda and powder. Set asideCream butter and sugar till fluffy. Mix in all you spices, then add the eggs one at a time, then the molasses ( If you oil you measuring cup before pouring the molasses in it will all come out super smooth!). Add in your flour mix one cup at a time. Divide the dough half, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.Pre-heat oven to 350(Fahrenheit), On a floured work surface roll out your dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut your desired shapes. Transfer cookies to a parchment lined cookie sheet and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, bake for 8-10 minutes, till crisp but not browned. Remove cookies from pan to cool on wire racks and decorate at will. I used standard royal icing in a disposable icing bag with a tiny bit cut off.

 

Chocolate chip

½ C butter flavored shortening

½ C sugar

5tbs brown sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1C all purpose flour

¼ tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

8oz chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees(fahrenheit). Cream shortening and both sugars till fluffy. Add vanilla and egg. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt. Carefully fold in all chips.Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 12-15 minutes till just golden around edgesCocoa white chocolate chip

This recipe is exactly the same as the Chocolate Chip cookie recipe with two exceptions. Measure out the 1 cup of flour and then remove 1 1/2 tbs of flour and replace them with cocoa powder and replace chocolate chips with white chocolate chips. Nuts of your choice can be added to either of these recipes, this year I added pecans to the Choc Chip cookies and sliced almonds to the cocoa White Choc Chip cookies.

Seven Layer bars

1stick unsalted butter, melted

1 package plain graham crackers

8oz chocolate chips

8oz white chocolate chips

8oz peanut butter or butterscotch chips

8oz Pecans, walnuts or almonds

4 oz shredded coconut

1 sml can sweetened condensed milk

Melt butter and pour into a 13×9 inch baking pan. Crush your graham crackers and pour evenly over the melted butter, press into place for the crust. Over the crust pour your chips, nuts and coconut. Drizzle entire can of milk evenly over the surface and bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes.

Oatmeal Almond crisps

1/3 C packed brown sugar

¼ C unsalted butter melted

1 large egg

½ tsp vanilla

1 ½ C rolled oats(not instant)

½ C sliced almonds

non stick cooking spray

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugar, butter, egg and vanilla till smooth. Mix in almonds and oats. Drop by Tbs onto parchment lined cookie sheets, 2 inches apart and press down slightly to flatten and even out cookies. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheets. Careful these fall apart easily but are a great not-too-sweet cookie.

Barreling down the boulevard…

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We’re pretty low key when it comes to gift giving around the holidays. Even if we did have the kind of cash flow that would allow us to buy big expensive gifts I don’t think we would. We try to be thoughtful in our gifting, so there’s a lot of handmade gifts and of course, pictures of the girls.
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I don’t have a very long list of gifts to make and I’m quite confident that I can get them all done since our gifting meet-ups are fairly well spaced out over the last week of December.
I have some hats and scarves, mittens, socks, nightgowns, and jewelry to whip up. In a mere 2 hours this afternoon I was able to get this much done and I’m pleased with my progress. More gifty pics as they land on my needles in the coming weeks.
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Happy Chanukah!

Toots