Sunday Morning Pancakes

Mmm, fresh wild blueberries from Mosborough Market picked up yesterday while I was out all day with the dogs tracking. That can only mean one thing Sunday morning: pancakes. Delicious plain, but the pancakes taste best with fruit in or on them.


In a mixer or by hand whisk together:

2 eggs
1-1/2 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

To this add the combined dry ingredients a little at a time until smooth and light. (I use my electric mixer with the wire whisk attachment to make them light and fluffy.)

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (the salt enhances the flavours, the pancakes are better when you don't omit it)

To this batter add blueberries, shredded apples or fruit of your choice. If adding frozen instead of fresh berries, toss them until coated in flour before adding to the batter. These pancakes stay warm for a surprisingly long time.

There's been spinning too. I haven't spun all of the natural undyed brown bfl yet, I was too eager to try some colour. This is Pigeonroof Studios "Greener Celadon" in bfl. I wish there was more of it. I haven't decided to ply it on itself from both ends of a wound cake (how I think it'll look bettter) or if I might spin some undyed white Falkland I have and ply it to that (there'd be more yardage).

I'm ~as in handsome hubby Don I hope ~ going to make a Niddy Noddy with the directions from Celeste at Nebula Designs to skein up my home spun. Oh geez, 'my homespun', hang on - I need second to savour that though... Ah. Thanks Celeste, I really appreciate the instructions and dimensions!

Enjoy your Sunday everyone!


so much fun! check out the fiber

SpindleFrog corriedate combed top in Stained Glass

Greenwoods Fiberworks bfl in Persimmon

SpindleFrog bfl combed top in Shark Infested waters

Greenwoods Fiberworks in Tiger Lily bfl - 2 x 40z.

FLUFF bfl superwash in Tulip Buds & bfl in Understated

Once I finish with my undyed combed top I'm going to spin up some gorgeous colours. I've ordered a variety of colours, stepping away from my usual watery blues, greens and grays into some fun summer garden colours. They're all purchased from indie dyers on etsy. I have no idea how long it'll take me to spin all this gorgeous fiber, but I'm definitely seeing a disadvantage at only having 4 bobbins. There's going to have to be plenty of plying happening soon...

The bobbin on lower left was my first spinning attempt, the one on the upper right is my current spinning. My singles are coming along, the consistency in the thickness and twist is more even and drafting feels more natural. The dvd from Maggie Casey arrived finally, it was delivered in error to a neighbour who called me up last night amused that I'm learning to spin. I've watched disc one which covers the same basics as the spinning books. Later today I'll get to watching disc 2.

There's been a little knitting too. When I get around to knitting with handspun will be a hoot I'm sure. Have a great day everyone!


meet my new Lendrum spinning wheel

16.5 lbs. of Canadian maple crafted into one very fine spinning wheel by Gord Lendrum of Odessa, Ontario. I love its sleek, modern lines and the tilted angle of the wheel. More than anything I love that I'm making what is starting to resemble actual yarn.

You know the saying the 'Straw that Broke the Camel's Back'? That one thing that pushes you over the edge, makes you take the giant leap... all that cliche stuff? I blame/thank Elaine for that and her post on her new wheel about a month ago. She made me crave spinning more than chocolate. That's a lot of craving. Why yearn, why not just do it? Her post was the straw that made me leap. Both feet. No looking back, take backs or any of that other stuff. Elaine aka 'yes, I'm a YarnSnob' ~ you were so right ~ it does smell good, I gave it a sniff like you suggested. You were the shove I needed after 10 years of wishing I could spin, thanks.

Nicole and I drove to Toronto last Friday to pick up the wheel at Romni Wools in Toronto. The bedlam of a 5.5 million populated GTA vs. our "small town" of 200,000 was like stepping into another world. After an hour drive plus 25 minutes searching for a parking spot we were swarmed by a Goth group of theatre students on the sidewalk making their own movie with 2 big shoulder cameras. Shortly after we returned home Don and Ryan headed up north to Algonquin Provincial Park for 5 days of camping. Nicole and I had a long planned dinner out with our friend Mary whom we haven't seen in ages that took up the rest of Friday evening. Why the details of our Friday night? To let you all know how good I was not ditching everything else just because every 2nd thought in my head was about the box sitting in the kitchen at home with the Lendrum in it.

We were up at dawn on Saturday morning to set things outside for our garage sale. This is the 3rd garage sale I've held. They average on every 10 years. Not sure if that says something about me or not? If you can figure out what it means, let me know. 9 hours of hot, humid 95+ degree temps to sell dozens of things that tallied only $55 in sales was hard work but worth cutting down on our storage clutter. Most of what we sold was from the kids infant, toddler and preschool years. 24 hours after the Lendrum came home it was still in the box. It was killin' me.

When I finally got the wheel out of the box late Saturday I realized my digital camera was at Algonquin Park camping with the guys, bummer for the blog. It only takes seconds to set up the folding wheel courtesy the helpful videos from Paradise Fibres and Yarns. I spun an entire bobbin of BLF natural brown top my first sitting. Addicted? Oh yeah, baby! Big time. First thing Sunday morning I was up at it again. Even Nicole was impressed. Peering at the bobbin thoughtfully she said, "Hey mom, it's actually starting to look like yarn." That my dear friends is high praise. She sees no point in my knitting endeavours and spinning is something she hopes her friends don't find out about. It adds to my crazy poodle lady mystique ~ which isn't a good thing in her opinion. The answer to everyone's next question is NO: I do not want to, I will not, and I have no intention of being talked in to spinning poodle hair. Nicole wants to try spinning, I know she does, she just doesn't want me to know. I saw her treadling when she thought I was upstairs in the shower. I wonder how long it'll take before she gives it a whirl, just to appease her curiosity?

I've contacted the local Spinning Guild and hope to hear from them soon. The Spin Control book is wonderful. The pictures are really helpful when I've got the goods in front of me playing with the wheel. I can see from the photo examples when my yarn has too little, too much or an acceptable amount of twist or energy as it's explained in the book. I can already see an improvement in the consistency of my singles. I'm looking forward to plying. I love the feel of the wool as it slides and twists, slides and twists between my 2 hands and then feeds onto the bobbin.

Maggie Casey's spinning dvd Start Spinning with Eunny Jang is still en route via mail. I'm learning mostly by doing so far. Hopefully I'm not teaching myself bad habits I'll have to eliminate in the future...

I have chronic insomnia. Reading is a bad plan for me because when I get into a good book I'll keep reading until morning. Sewing is wonderful, but the noise wakes everyone up. Knitting I'm usually not alert enough in artificial light to do for long and cutting for quilting makes me want to sew. House cleaning and unloading the dishwasher also taboo because it's noisy. Spinning - now that's the perfect nocturnal time burner. It's quiet, it's peaceful and it produces (or will produce) yarn for knitting. There's some really great groups for spinning and a super Lendrum group on Ravelry. There's a long thread on oiling the wheel and addressing various places it can emit annoying squeaks and noises. Maybe I lucked out, but My Lendrum is whisper silent and it's just the very faintest, appealing whirring sound as it spins. If the tv or music is on I can't hear it at all.

I've ordered bfl and corriedale hand painted roving and combed top from indie dyers on etsy. Hopefully once I make my way through the pound and a half of brown bfl I picked up at I can start playing around with pretty dyed colours too. Don't get me wrong though, I really, really like the natural raw fibres. Can anyone recommend a particular favourite roving or dyer that I should check out? I'm not keen on 100% merino, pills too much for my liking knitting so I doubt I'll spin with it. Other than socks I'm not crazy about the squeakiness of superwash... but when I knit socks for non-knitters I always use it so they don't felt them when they ignore my hand wash/cool water instructions. I've been googling to see if/how wool becomes superwashed and to see if I can superwash a project like socks after they've been knit. I haven't found any info yet. Does anyone know about it that can help educate me? I'm guessing it's probably some evil chemical process that's environmentally unfriendly - hoping it's not too bad - superwash does have it's uses.

A few people have mentioned leg cramps and issues with their knees when they get started spinning. Maybe because I'm used to being heels down in a saddle and using my hands and legs as aids independently for riding it's easier for me, but no problems with cramps or pain. The motion is light and barely uses pressure, the action comes from the ankles. That's probably amazing in itself because I do have a lot of back issues and my neck/right shoulder from a car accident a million years ago. No problems with the spinning in that respect. The double treadle is smooth and comfortable. Like Celeste mentioned, the foot treadles are a nice width apart and I think using both feet keeps my balanced and centred in the chair with proper posture for my spine.

Why a Lendrum? Lots of reasons: Price point is reasonable by comparison. It comes with 4 bobbins, the Lazy Kate and I picked up a Fast Flyer. It's sleek looking and compact, folds to almost nothing and fits under a bed or in a closet. It's light weight enough that people buy or make backpacks to fit it for travelling. It's recommended as a suitable beginner wheel being user friendly and has enough options you can add to it to make it more versatile for advanced to experienced spinners. You can buy more options for drive ratios in the future. It's a wheel I shouldn't outgrow. There are a lot of ads for spinning wheels and how to get started articles. I found Abby's site extremely helpful. Her reviews and advice on picking wheels is fantastic and her whole site is filled with useful and interesting info. She's definitely a spinner that gives back. Her article on The Wheels: Which and Why is excellent, as are all her posts and articles. She's got some great clips on You Tube for spindling. I decided to wait on spindling, I want to produce yarn faster than spindling it and might pick one up in the future for interest and learning, but a wheel feels right for me now.

A special thanks to everyone who took time to offer help and advice in getting this spinning thing rolling. Loving spinning on my new Lendrum! Should've started this years ago, but better late than never.


Kim Hargreaves ~ Precious

It's that time again ~ Kim Hargreaves newest book is available and it looks gorgeous! I love the colours these knits are sampled in. There's no such thing as too much gray or blue as far as I'm concerned.

I'm not a hat person. I wear them to keep from freezing ~ but they look dorky on me. I just don't have a "hat head". I really like the texture and cables of this pattern. It might look ok on me, maybe even presentable, since the model has a long narrow face like I do. If it could make me look like her it would be some sort of magic hat...

My favourite knit from this release is 'Vivienne'. Described on the web site as:
A sweater with button trim on a garter stitch yoke, knitted in Rowan Pure Cashmere DK.
Oh, yum!

'Ronnie' in Rowan Big Wool for those weekends by the fire after being out snowmobiling really appeals to me too. I'd shorten it to just past my hips, I'm not keen on the length.
If you haven't tried a Kim Hargreaves book yet, check them out. The patterns and Rowan yarns are lovely and the photograph in the books is exceptional.


A peaceful Friday evening

Thank you everyone for the help with my spinning questions, especially Celeste! I've spent a lot of time visiting Ravelry spinning groups as recommended by Joansie and watching spinning clips on YouTube.

After work today Ryan and I went to Chapters where we picked up a novel for him and these goodies for moi. Why did I pick these in particular? Well, mostly because while there's a ton of spinning books online from Chapters and Amazon, this was the extent of spinning material in stock in the actual store. I'll be enjoying a peaceful Friday evening reading them.

These blooms have survived all the wind, thunderstorms and hail we've had of late, a lot of others have been shredded or crushed. I haven't watered the garden all summer and there's plenty more rain in the forecast.

Have a great weekend everyone.


Spinning advice? Where to start?

Have you ever had a yearning to try something new and been completely at a loss in what direction to start? I'm at that point. Along with my many fiber hobbies I've been thinking about learning to spin for - oh - maybe the last decade or so...

I love repetitive motion hobbies. Knitting and sewing are up at the top of my list. Here's my question: For those of you that spin, how did you get started? Spindle, wheel, take a class, buy some roving and just do it? I don't think it'll be a matter of wondering IF I'll like it, it's more a matter of how to get started. What brand of wheel, what weight or type of spindle? I really need to slow down, settle and relax more. Many people have told me spinning can be very centering and relaxing.

It's been a toss up between dyeing and spinning. After a lot of thought whilst knitting I've decided that spinning and hand dyeing will both happen eventually ~ but spinning is intriguing me more. I practically drool over skeins of hand spun. Well - I do drool, but I try to be discreet about it.

How did you start to spin? Any words of wisdom to help start me on this journey would really be appreciated.


winner and a smile

Congratulations Andrea ~ At Home Mommy Knits!! The roll of a dice says Stitch 'N Bitch Nation is heading off to your house to live. Please send me your mailing address at rycole at hotmail dot com I'll be sure to send it off after this Long Weekend is over.

These old fashioned orange lilies grow at the corner of our garage where I can see them every time I pull in or out of our driveway. My maternal grandfather had dozens of orange lilies growing at the back of his garden. When I was about 5 or 6 years old one of my last memories of him was of asking him why he had so many? He said because they always made him smile. Every time I see these blooms I remember Opa and smile. :)

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