PODCAST : Episode 4 : Finished Knits, Brainstorming, and Basement Sounds

Happy Friday! Today the Buckaloo View Shop has been updated with some new yarns dyed with things like elderberries and tulips and I finally wound up and listed the turmeric skeins I dyed a while back. A striped butcher's apron, more lavender sachets and bags and zip pouches.

Plus, there is a new episode of the podcast up! In this episode, I share the above items that were added to the shop and some recently finished knits (which I've posted about here on the blog already.) As well as three works in progress (another pair of Charcoal and Ash Mitts, Farmhouse and Fair Isle Flower Socks.)  My Spring Swap package arrived from my partner Fran from La Lainiere. No chicken talk this time, but I did mention a little about how the garden is doing and how I want to make mock-version of Takuan, which are pickled daikon radishes.

I also threw some ideas out there to get your feedback. In case you aren't into watching the podcasts, I'll mention them here as well. /// I'll be hosting a Summer Swap soon, similar to the Spring one, so keep that in mind. /// I'd also like to host a Local Fiber Swap later in the summer, if you would be interested. Participants would send their partner yarn or fiber that was sourced within 100 miles from them (or some such similar criteria.) /// A Scavenger Hunt Giveaway to help promote our small shops is another idea I had. Clues would be hidden in a series of shops. To enter, you'd have to find all the clues and a winner would be drawn from the correct answers. Fellow makers with shops, let me know if you want to participate! /// To help promote my own yarn, I'd love to team up with knitwear designers. If you're a designer and would like me to contribute the yarn for an upcoming pattern, just send me an email with your idea/sketch/concept/swatch, what yarn would need and the links to your designer profile, blog, etc. /// Would you be interested in me doing a couple special podcast episodes: one where I share my personal natural dye stash (and/or other yarns in my stash) and one where I review my library of natural dye books?

Have a great weekend!

KNIT : Charcoal and Ash Mitts

It seems a little odd to be finishing a pair of wool fingerless mitts in June, when the peonies are in full bloom. But they will be ready and waiting for me come fall and winter. The yarn is Brooklyn Tweed's Shelter in the colorway Snowbound. This was my first time working with this yarn. It's been on my to-knit-with list for quite a while and in that time I read a lot of mixed opinions. I can now say that I fall into the 'love it' category. It's not the softest to knit with but softens nicely when washed. Mostly, I love the woolen-spun nature, how it's surprisingly warm for being so light and fluffy.

The pattern is the Charcoal & Ash Mitts by Alicia Plummer. You actually get two stitch pattern options for the price of one. I went with the Charcoal stitch, which features a pick-up slip stitch that produces a nice texture. I enjoyed knitting them so much that I've already started more for gifts, knit in my own dyed yarn. 

 

KNIT : Two Shawls

It just occurred to me that I never took photos of my Canopy Shawl! This might possibly be the longest I've gone between finishing something and taking a photo of it. According to my Ravelry notes, I finished it at the end of March! Normally, I'm so excited about completing a project that I risk taking the photos before it's even dry.

I realize this slight when I was taking photos of my recently completed (and perhaps still al ittle damp)  Lieselotte Shawl. I am so happy to have both of these in my collection! Summer-like heat has arrived so I don't see myself wearing these shawls too much, except on cooler evenings, draped over my shoulders. Then, come winter, they will be perfect wrapped around my neck, kerchief style. 

MONTHLY SOCK CHALLENGE : 10 of 12

If you watched episode 3 of my podcast, you'll know that I hit a bit of knitter's block and couldn't bring myself to finish my Up + Down Socks for April. Already well into May, I struggled with whether or not I should cast on for May's pair. Finally, I realized I'd rather be knitting something than hemming and hawing about what I should or shouldn't be knitting. For May, I went with Laule'a since it was worsted weight and simple in design. Turns out, this pattern was just what I needed to pull me out of my knitting slump. My pair of Laule'a Socks were knit with yarn that I dyed with marigolds last year. They are perfect in their simplicity. I'm pretty sure I'll end up knitting all cabinfour patterns, eventually. Especially the socks.

FOOD : Black Locust Blossom Syrup

A little over a year ago, I learned that black locust blossoms were edible (thanks to this post.) The very black locusts that surround our home! The very flowers that rain down in late spring and litter the ground! So, I waited (im)patiently for the showy blooms last year. My Grandmother had told me before that they only bloomed every other year. I couldn't find any information to back that up, so spent the bulk of that spring, staring up at the towering trees, searching for signs of blooms. After only spotting a few clusters way up in the tops of the trees, I realized she might be right, especially considering the year before the trees were coated in heavy globs. I still don't know if it's true but it she has lived here since the early forties so I won't question her. Especially after this abundance this year.

Making a cake wasn't my mission. Instead, I wanted to make a syrup, similar to one I make with elderflowers.  But like I said, the trees we have here are tall and being able to reach the blossoms was the first (and maybe only) challenge. Thankfully, my Uncle spotted a tree that had come down and was sending out new shoots, not much higher than an arm's reach. So, I filled my bowl. In the kitchen, I sat pulling the flowers off the stem (word of warning: the leaves, stems, and bark are considered toxic so only eat the flowers and always be a smart forager by double or even triple checking that what you're about to eat really is what you think it is!) The smell filled the room and everyone suddenly became infatuated with them--What is that, like honeysuckle or something? Locust!? How did we not realize they smelled so amazing? Can you bottle that smell?

I followed this recipe and made a simple syrup then left the flowers to steep overnight. The next day I strained and added the ascorbic acid. The raw flowers themselves simply tasted like...well, flowers. But the syrup, with the addition of the sweetness and tartness, is quite nice.

GARDEN : Mid-May Notes

The time of new beginnings. Little seedlings emerging. Trees blossoming. Red cabbage growing strong, thankfully still untouched by the cabbage worms that have been nibbling on the broccoli. Marigolds and nasturtium planted everywhere. One tiny asparagus. The flower bed bordering the milk house is now devoted to dyeing--marigold, cosmos, jet black hollyhock and Hopi black dye sunflowers. The locust blossoms hang heavy in the trees and the flowers rain down like snow. (More on that come Monday.)

Wishing you a beautiful weekend.