Sharing is caring: Tudor Monastery Farm

If you have seen the other sharing is caring posts you know I have a great love for all things farming and I simply adore the BBC series on farms of the different eras. This time I'll recommend to you the Tudor Monastery Farm. There are 5 episodes that I know of, but I was only able to find the first 4 here, so please enjoy the show and then go find the 5th on youtube. 

Sharing is Caring: On The Anatomy Of Thrift

On The Anatomy Of Thrift is a brilliant series of videos on butchering pigs and using everything but the oink. THey have a gripping way of telling stories to illustrate how things have changed over time and why.  And a beautiful way to show you how to cook things. Being raised on head cheese, patés, blood sausages and more, these videos are close to my heart. Take your time to watch each of them - hopefully you will be curious enough to try some of these odd bits. They really are delicious.

Please notice that the quality of the first video is nowhere near as good as the later ones. You know practise makes perfect  better. When you come to the last video you will know why I am sharing this, because word of mouth - or blogging - is really the best way!

Securing embroidery in a hoop

This is not a how-to per se, although I guess it could be used as one if you would like. I am however sure that real, good how-tos exist out there on the interwebs. This is simply a recording of how I finished the last of this year's christmas presents in due time.

After finishing the actual embroidery I took the inner hoop and laid it on a fabric to trace the backing. You could get beautiful fabric that matched your embroidery in some way, but doing this on the cheap I just found a scrap I had at hand. 

I traced the inside of the loop cut out a circle about 1-1,5cm (1/2 inch) bigger.

Next, I placed the embroidery inside the hoop and made sure it was tight.

Then I cut around the hoop, again about 1-1,5cm from the edge.

Now it was time to press the edge inside the hoop.

Then I turned the backing in at the line, by cutting slits and pressing them down.

When they had all been well pressed, I pinned the backing to the pressed over embroidery fabric.

Then I turned the work to make sure the embroidery was still sitting nicely in the frame. 

After finding the best match of thread available, I started to sew them together with small whip sts.

This took a while, but if something is worth doing it is worth doing it well. And while the result is far from perfect, it is pretty good for a first try in my eyes.

And here you have it, the final christmas present of the year, done and ready to be wrapped up.

An early christmas present

This year my man gave me my christmas present early and I have been playing with it almost every day since I got it. Want to know what it is? Here is a picture:

Why yes, it is indeed an (or is it a? sounds wrong with an, but it does begin with a vowel...) ukulele and I am so thrilled to be learning chords on it every day. I have been lusting after an ukulele for a while and so has my man, but we just haven't gotten around to buying one, because it was difficult to justify the purchase, so when I didn't know what to ask for from him and he heckled me, I said an ukulele and he loved the idea.
I started out wanting to play songs from the beginning, but then I found Uncle Rod's Bootcamp and read there, that:
 "When you are new to the ‘ukulele, trying to play 
songs right from the start may NOT be the best way to 
learn to play the ukulele because you do not yet know 
what the chords are, how to form them, or how to 
change from chord to chord smoothly."

I decided he was propably right so I started working on the 5 practise sheets, and have mastered about half of the first. I can't play for too long per day because my fingers are not used to playing yet. I'm taking it as slow as I need to. Actually, I'm finding it almost meditative to just strum down and shift back and forth between two chords. At the beginning it is so difficult and my fingers have no idea where to go or how to place themselves, but after a while the change happens more smoothly and I can even do a few of them now without looking.

I've wanted to learn how to play the guitar for a decade and have own one since 2005, but it just hasn't happened and one reason is that I have to digg it out and put it away again every time I use it. This little instrument however, is small enough to stay out and I'm making an effort to play on it for just 10 minutes every day. Once I sit down with it, I'll play for more than 10 minutes, because it is so much fun.

I enjoy doing the practise sheets, which is odd because it fells like doing scala work and I have always hated scala work. Maybe I have matured enough to value the knowledge you gain from it, allowing me to find more pleasure in the repition, than ever before. Who knows one day I may even be playing songs and singing along with friends and family.

Giveaway winners

This is one of those things that always brings a smile to my face, announcing the giveaway winners.

Can I get a drumroll please... No? okay then we'll do without one...
The winners of the Dogyarns pattern giveaway is:

Christina, who have won the Southern Belle Socks


Catherine, who have won the Braided Gems  Reversible Mitts

Please contact Elizabeth on Ravelry (Dogyarns) to recieve your prize!

Make do and mend

First off, let me excuse the poor quality of these pictures below. Our camera is currently on a plane with my man making its way from Barcelona to Copenhagen.

With the dark nights growing longer it was time to do some of the mending I have been putting off. We don't mend all our cloths, some thing are discarded as they get stained and torn, but some are worth my time. Among those are especially bras and of course knits, even commercial knits.

This particular bra had already been mended before...

The other item that needed mending was my man's sweater:

He tore a hole in it helping a friend move.

I'm getting better at mending everytime I do it, so good in fact that I could hardly find my mend when I was ready to take a picture of it..

Are there things you mend? Do you mend everything or do you darn the Yarn Harlot way, i.e. holding your socks over the bin letting them go as you say 'darn'?

New things

This week has brough in lots of new things.

- A new calendar, the same as the past two years because after searching high and low I finally found one that fits my life just right.

January, I'm ready for you!

- 3 skeins of Arwetta, the best sock yarn I have ever knitted with. Enough to make me two pairs of socks.

How I love gray.

- A new WIP, as I finally got the pattern for the scarf I promised to knit for my mum from the yarn I spun for her.

- All of the items from this list have been purchased and I'm already enjoying them immensely.

The krenit bowl

- Two of the books have already arrieved and I can't wait to read them. Good thing we are coming up on long dark nights perfect for some comfort reading.

Remember to enter the giveaway for two Dogyarn patterns, there will be two lucky winners!

Dogyarns interview and pattern giveaway.

Today I have the joy of sharing an interview with a lovely person and a double pattern giveaway. 
I came to know Elizabeth through Ravelry and was honered when she had chosen me as the recipient of a random act of kindness, letting me chose a pattern from her large collection
When she agreed to do an interview and a giveaway I was so excited, but this lady is very generous and wanted two of you to be able to benefit from this, but first a chance to get to know her...

Tell us a little about yourself.

Fun and excitement are what I look for in my crafting life. If it were not fun or exciting, why would I do it? That is probably why I have plenty of hand knitted and crocheted puppets around my house. No one can be sad around a puppet. I also do animal rescue and have three dogs and multiple cats around me all the time. I adopt out stray animals to good homes and am always happy to hear they are doing well.

Your ravetar is Dogyarns, please tell us how that came to be.

With my love of dogs and my love of yarn, it just seemed like the best ravetar anyone could have! When I started my group on Ravelry, it seemed just as natural that it should be called A Big Comfy Doghouse! That’s where we talk about our ‘fur kids’ and have test-alongs of my new designs and where everyone gets to hear about my new designs before they are released on Ravelry.

How did you learn to knit, crochet and spin?

Knitting I learned from my grandmother when I was a wee lass. I took to it like a fish to water. I know some people have periods of their life when they stop knitting for a while, but I never have. If there were such a thing as a ‘natural knitter’ then that would be me. To be able to create something with two sticks and some string is simply amazing to me! I learned to crochet by reading a book about it when I was in my 20s. I don’t do as much crocheting as knitting, but have been trying more and more complex crochet patterns the last couple of years to increase my skills. I even have a free crochet pattern in my designs on Ravelry now: In The Doghouse Business Card Case (even in crochet, its all about the dogs! LOL!).

I learned to spin by taking a beginning spinning class at a local guild. It was so much fun and I held a skein of yarn I spun myself after just a few hours, so I was hooked. I love that I can make fiber into different types of yarn just by how I prepare it, spin it and ply it! One of my 2014 goals is to knit and crochet more items with my handspun yarns.

In my mind you are Elizabeth the snowflake lady, how do you come up with your amazing snowflake designs?

There are so many beautiful lace patterns in the world already, but I just can’t resist designing these tiny and delicate flakes. I just get a picture in my mind of the lace-like patterns of frost on a window. Then I sketch out an outline on paper, followed by putting that on graph paper and placing a lot of yarn overs all over, and eventually it will look just like a snowflake. Taking up needles and yarn then lets me work out all the bugs in the pattern. I usually work up at least three samples of a design to be absolutely sure it will work and try to knit them in sparkly threads whenever I can! I love sparkly threads!

You also design beautiful sock patterns, one of which you are giving away on the blog, where do you find inspiration for them?

Inspiration for my sock designs come from wherever my curiosity and/or a challenge takes me. The Southern Belle Socks came about because I was asked to contribute to a book of ethnic socks. My heritage is in the deep South of the U.S., so I wanted to do something that represented that. The silk and wool yarn I chose represented the Steel Magnolia aspect of women in the South – they can get the work done, while maintaining a lovely femininity. Also, being in the South where the heat can get pretty unbearable, I wanted something that would be light and airy! Lace in a laceweight yarn seemed just right! For my Winter Games: Snowboarding the Halfpipe Socks, I was watching the last Winter Olympics snowboarding competition with all the flips and somersaults and sliding into the finish and kept wanting to interpret that in knitting. Cables and cabled cables are the result! I am already working on other Winter Games socks designs for the 2014 Winter Olympics. I want to feature the yarns of indie dyers for these new designs because I want to support all those who give their time and talent to produce such beautiful yarns for us.

Southern Belle Socks

Besides the Southern Belle Socks, I also want to do a giveaway here for my latest pattern, the Braided Gems Reversible Mitts pattern. They have a fun braided pattern that does not require a cable needle and is so easy to do. They can be made with or without beads. The best part is that the stitch pattern is very stretchy so they can fit many different sizes of hands. This means that you can go from the braided side to a ribbed side just by turning them inside out and that they can be shared by both guys and gals.

Braided Gems Reversible Mitts

What would you say the best part of being a knitwear designer is?

Taking a design from my imagination and interpreting it into knitwear. To watch what was in my imagination take form on the needles is simply the best fun and never ceases to amaze me.

If you could be any fibre or skein of yarn, which would you choose and why?

Cotton! I love the way cotton feels against my skin, how smoothly it works up, and how beautifully it knits and crochets into beautiful garments, useful items for the home, and lace. I love wool for all its great properties, but when you live in one of the hottest states in the U.S., a lightweight cotton garment feels luxurious and cotton yarn is much cooler to work with in the summer months.

Thanks so much for having me as a guest on your blog! Have a wonderful time giving away the Southern Belle Socks pattern and the Braided Gems Reversible Mitts pattern! If anyone has any questions about the patterns, please feel free to contact me at dogyarns at gmail dot com!


For your chance to win either the Shouthern Belle Socks or the Braided Gems Reversible Mitts please follow this blog and leave a comment about which of Elizabeth's Snowflakes you like the most. The giveaway will end Sunday 10/11-13. 

50% off Easter Snow

Since winter is just around the corner, I wanted to celebrate by offering you 50% off my Snowy Easter hat and headband pattern. It is usually 30 DKK ($5,5), but for a limited time you can get it for 15 DKK ($2,8) and make it in time for winter.

A trip to the pond

The frog pond that is. On Sunday the 13th I decided to frog the pants I was knitting because they weren't bringing me any joy. I just didn't feel like knitting at all and that is when you know something is wrong.

This was how far I had made it on the right leg. I frogged it all and then I cast on for Still Light and all of a sudden I felt like knitting again and knit I have. So much that I'm already this far on the tunic/dress.

Do you have anything that you need to frog hiding somewhere on your needles?

Making candles.

We all have them, those odd bits that are left over when you burn a candle. I hate throwing them out so this past winter my mum and I have been saving up all those odd bits and today we turned them into new candles.

You will need:
- a bunch of leftover candle bits from 100% stearin candles
- a can
- a pot (for a water bath)
- something to protect your hands (gloves, oven mittens...)
- containers for your finished candles
- whick
- long matches (or something else to tie the wick to)
- coins with holes (or something else to hold the wick down)
- a tray or large plate
- newspaper to cover your work area

Fill the pot with some water and place the can in it. Make sure that the water cannot reach the top of the can. If water gets into the stearin your candle will not burn well.
Put candle bits into the can and let it slowly melt, keeping the water below boiling at all times. You can add more bits as they melt.

Prepare the containers with the whick while the stearin melts and place them on the tray.

Now you are ready to don your gloves and pour the fully melted stearin into the containers, don't worry about the whicks in the can, they will stay at the bottom. 

Make sure the whicks are still centered and bring the candles outside to set. 

Once the candles are cool remove the matches and untie the knots. Cut the wicks 1-2 cm long and enjoy your new candles. 

And the winner is...

First of all I want to thank Malabrigo for enabling me to do this giveaway. It has been so much fun and I have enjoyed every comment you guys have made. We made it all the way to 24 comments (excluding mimi's comment) and the winner is...
Which means that the winning comment is:

Please get in touch with me, Catherine on Ravelry, so that I can send the prize to you. I hope the rest of you will stay around and hopefully I'll be able to do another giveaway again.

Let's Review: Malabrigo Nube and Giveaway!

At the beginning of summer Malabrigo kindly sent me 5 wonderful samples (pictures are borrowed from their site) of their new spinning fibre Nube and lets just say I know why it is called 'cloud' because it was wonderful to spin. But I'm getting ahead of myself here so lets go back to the beginning. 

809 Solis
139 Pocion
48 Glitter
66 Lavanda
43 Plomo
I sat and petted the 5 samples time and again, trying to decide which one to give away and it was really very difficult, but I finally made a decision. 

Next I had to decide which one to spin first. I was torn between Lavanda and Plomo, these two are my kind of colours. Greys and purples are my big loves. There was another issue as well, I have never spun multi-coloured fibre before. In my 3-4 years of spinning I've never spun anything but solid colours. Additionally, I have no clue what I should use 113 grams of yarn for. I would love to get about 400m out of 113 grams, but that isn't a lot to play with when you look at what I normally knit. Oh, the knitting, I don't knit with multi coloured yarn either! But nevertheless I feel so drawn to the Nube. 

After staring at the Lavanda and Plomo for hours I noticed that it was really the same colours. The Lavanda is purples with some greys, the Plomo is greys with some purples. This is when I knew I had to make a swatch. So I grabbed 10 grams of each and spun them, then after a proper rest I plyed them together, one strand of each colour and it turned out beautiful in my opinion.  

The 20 grams total resulted in 90m of 2-ply yarn and if I spin the rest consistently then I'll have 990m when I finish all the yarn. This is enough to make a garment of some sort I should think.

So how was it to spin? Great! The darkest purples were a little harder to draft, but everything else drafted so easily, that it wasn't a concern at all. The colours faded into one another wonderfully and while my skills took a little while to get into gear, it was easy to spin consistently when I got into the right groove. I can't wait to spin the remaining of the Lavanda and Plomo.

But who am I kidding? I bet you have been sitting there going, "yes - fine, now what about that giveaway?"

You have a chance of winning the Glitter, 113 gr. / 4 oz. of 100% merino fibre. You can earn one entry    by following my blog on bloglovin or blogger and leave a comment saying that you do so. You can also earn entries by sharing this giveaway on your blog, facebook, twitter etc. and leave a link for it in the comments. Please only leave one link per comment. You can share the giveaway as many ways as you want, each way will earn you an entry.

A winner will be randomly chosen on Friday 11. October 2013, the giveaway is open to all nationalities.  This giveaway is now closed and the winner has been found.

48 Glitter

Say cheese!

 I browsed youtube to entertain myself and watched a few cheese making videos (you do that too, right?!). You know rennent and the lot, making it sound difficult and expensive. Add my lactose intolerance and the fact that you can only get a low fat lactose free milk here I had convinced myself that cheese making as with yoghurt making was not in my near future. 
Then I came across some videos where all they used were whole milk and lemon juice. And since whole milk is, at least in its raw form, milk with all the cream still in it, a lightbulb turn on in my head. You can get both milk and cream lactose free here. What if I add those two, heat it to the boiling point, pour in the lemon juice and it seperates into whey and cheese curds? Could it really be that simple? 

Well, a picture says more than a thousand words, right?!

It smells like cheese, looks like cheese and tastes like cheese ergo it must be cheese. 
Now I have a few questions for you cheese makers out there:
- What is this type of cheese called?
- When do you add seasoning, like salt or herbs?
- Can you make other cheeses this easily?

On the list for christmas

As we are drawing near to October it is time for me to start thinking about christmas and what I want to do for it this year. The presents aspect is actually very low on my list with my dad's gift already done and my mum's nearly there I don't have a lot left to do on that front. Christmas to me is more about the entire month of December. What cookies would I like to make? How should we decorate our home?

On the list is
- making candles out of leftovers
- making the starter for honey hearts
- deciding on 4 cookies, finding recipes and buying ingredients
- making salt dough decorations
- gather decorations from the woods
- making marshmellows

I'm sure the list will get a lot longer as we get nearer. What is on your list for christmas?

Gleanings from a fibre weekend

When I went to Fanø this weekend to take part in the knitting festival I thought I was going to a fibre festival. I was wrong. It was in fact a knitting festival, not a bump of fibre or a spinning wheel or spindle in sight, barely some crochet. To put it mildly it didn't live up to my expectations in any way and I won't be going back any time soon. 

But I still had a great weekend. I really enjoyed the company of my mum and 3 lovely ladies, although I was probably the youngest of us five by 30 years or so. I also enjoyed the scenery. The wonderful houses, the great Vesterhav and driving on the beach. 

 All I came home with were 2 silk scarfs for my hair and a tiny teak tree mouse from the 50's. 

 I did enter a couple of contests while there and actually won one.

 I have been knitting today and I'm making good progress on the pants. Being only a few cm. from letting the right leg rest and starting the left leg.