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No spring chicken

spring chickens

Silverspun yarn

I got a skein of SilverSpun yarn from the Feel Good Yarn Company a couple of weeks ago. I love the concept behind this company – yarn sustainably made and spun here in the US. Sounds like my kind of thing, right? Well there’s a twist* This is a cotton yarn, no wool at all.

feel good baby sweater

And you know me, I love my wool. So I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try this yarn. But they said the yarn is like wool. Bouncy, but not too stretchy, cushy, and with the silver it’s supposed to be a bit antimicrobial too. So I figured I’d give it a test drive.

The people behind SilverSpun actually recommend this for socks. But since I don’t knit a lot of socks these days I decided to knit up a Wee Cria. This brilliant little sweater is designed by Ysolda, and she highly recommends a yarn with the bounce of a wool. Seems like a good test, right?

feel good baby yoke

So what do I think? So far I’m very impressed! In the skein this yarn feels like Green Mountain Spinnary’s Cotton comfort – an 80% wool 20% cotton blend. I hand-wound it into a ball. In the ball it does feel a bit dense, more like a cotton yarn. But once knit up it’s back to cushy and soft.

The yarn handles the modular construction of this wee sweater very well. The garter stitch doesn’t seem to stretch out of shape, and the button holes don’t seem to gape or grow. The yarn is a bit splitty as you knit with it, but not to the point where it slows down my knitting. I just have to pay attention when doing something like picking up stitches along the edge.

feel good baby WIP

I tried to unwind the yarn to see how many plies it contained, and it doesn’t unwind like a stranded yarn. This made me think maybe it was chain plied? But as I picked at it more that didn’t make sense either. I have to admit I don’t actually know exactly what the construction here is. I think it may be either chain plied or two strands twisted – but in either case they’re bound together with a silver thread.

feel good yarn

One thing this yarn isn’t? It’s not that weirdly bouncy cotton yarn that is so stretchy you can’t see the stitches once you’ve knit with it (no offense Cascade Fixation, but I have two skeins of that upstairs that I don’t know how to knit with…)

I would definitely recommend this yarn if you’re looking for the bounce of wool, but don’t want to use wool. Whether for allergies, or for ease of care, or if you’re just knitting something for the summer and want a light, non-wool option. SilverSpun is a great choice. I haven’t quite finished this little sweater yet (it’s a gift for a friend) but I’ll let you know how it turns out.

*haha, a yarn with twist, get it?

(Please note that I did receive this skein free for review purposes. However my opinions are my own, I won’t review something I don’t truly enjoy and think that you will like.)

muffin challenge

We narrowly averted a breakfast crisis this weekend. We had run out of bread the day before, and the chickens have gone all sneaky and are hiding their eggs on us. Which meant that Saturday morning we had very few breakfast foods in the house.

I figured I could whip up a batch of muffins to fill the void. But it turns out that most quick bread recipes call for eggs. Flipping through my beat up copy of Joy I found just one egg free quick bread recipe – and it make beer bread. Their beer bread is dark, dense, and crumbly. It’s amazing with soup, but not really something I’d turn into breakfast muffins.

But I was working on a deadline (we were getting hungry) and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time researching. So I figured I could make it do. The flour in this recipe is half all purpose and half whole wheat. I changed that up, replacing the whole wheat portion with buckwheat. I added butter to keep things moist and fluff them up a bit. And I added raisins – because I like my breakfast muffins with fruit. I used the lightest beer we had on hand, which also happened to be a fruity flavor.

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These muffins were not just passable, they were GOOD. They still had that hint of yeastiness that beer bread always carries. But they were much lighter, and fruitier – which is a good thing in a muffin (probably not in a soup bread…)

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I felt like a breakfast hero all morning!

Go Bernie!

I have no idea how this is playing out in the national media. But I just wanted to speak up as a voice from Vermont – a short thing about Bernie Sanders.

He’s been representing Vermont for as long as I’ve lived here. And if we have any chance of getting the money out of politics, I think he’ll find it. Can we all agree that would be a good thing?

And if you’ve been around here for awhile you’ll know I’d also be really happy to have a politician or two who could talk seriously about climate change.

But don’t worry, this isn’t all going to be political. Let’s get back on the topic of knitting – shall we?

This one time, I was on a plane back from DC. And it turns out one of the better known Vermont politicans was sitting in the row behind me. So I pulled a quick Yarn Harlot manover and asked him to hold a sock:

berniesanders

(aside: I’ve been on flickr for eight years. Geeze I’m old.)

briefly

I love this blog as a means of telling stories. I can show you the behind the scenes process of writing a book, developing a new pattern, or even just the week by week growth of my veggie garden. But for the times that I have trouble sitting down and writing a blog post there are other options!

If you want to know what I’m up to in quick sound bites, I’m on twitter as BeckyinVT.

If you want to SEE what I’m up to, instead of reading it, you can also follow me on Instagram – also as BeckyinVT.

And of course, if you want to see what I’m knitting right now, look me up on Ravelry. Of course I’m BeckyinVT there too!

Please look me up, if you’re also on one (or more!) of these platforms I’d love to follow you as well. If you’re following me somewhere else, feel free to send me a note (or a DM, or a tweet, or whatever. Geeze, social media has a lot of lingo…)

Testing a recipe

For the last two weekends I’ve carefully baked a pie. Starting with the same recipe each time; I carefully adjust the amounts of every ingredient.

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I’ve made up plenty of recipes in the past. And while we were writing the book I tested several of Calley’s finished recipes. But this is the first time I’ve approached the development as methodically as this.

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I’m perfecting this pie recipe for publication! I’ll let you in on the details, eventually.

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spring, dawn

lilace buds

Anders

Well. That was an unexpected radio silence. We’ve been having issues with our DSL internet getting slower, lagging more and more, and sometimes outright giving up the ghost since January. Last week we got tired of it all and finally ditched that provider. But the problem with living in the middle of nowhere is that we don’t have a lot of other choices. We’re back online now, running our data through our cell plan. But I’m not sure how affordable that really is…

All this is the long way of saying, if you need to get in touch please be patient. I’m doing almost everything through a smart phone these days. (and it still looks more like living in the future than living in the past – even with the desktop playing the part of a word processor)

Had enough with the technology talk? Me too. Let’s look at some knitting:

anders folded

This is Anders. It’s the little brown and white baby sweater I was knitting from Mrs. Crosby Play’s yarn. It was gifted to the new mom-to-be two weekends ago, so I’m happy to finally have the pictures uploaded!

anders finished

This is a really well written pattern. I buy a lot of PDFs to see how other designers do their thing. This one has a layout that makes me wish I had time to re-do all my own patterns. Not that THAT is likely to happen any time soon.

anders angled

It was also my first experience with the Vikkel braid – the horizontal line of stitches around the hems. It’s cute, and not really hard at all! A great finishing touch.

anders sheep

Oh yeah, and the sheep. This new mom is also a knitter, so I wanted to put something sheepy into the pattern. The Anders design includes just the tree chart, but I added the sheepies. I always have to modify something, apparently. Check out my project on Ravelry to see more details.

Side Projects

A friend of mine has a kombucha that’s been perking along happily, and she finally felt confident to split off some of the scoby and pass it my way. We’ve just about finished drinking my first batch, and it’s really yummy! I occasionally treat myself to store bought kombucha, so I knew what I was getting into – the drink is a bit vinegary and not everyone likes it. But the home brewed stuff is much smoother, and mine is flavored with black currants, so I think it’s a bit fruitier than the commercial stuff too.

kombacha

That weird sludgy thing in the big jug is the scoby. It’s a combination of bacteria and yeast and it is what ferments the tea. After a week or so in the big jug I pour off the tea into secondary jugs and add fruit. After about 4 more days it’s ready to drink.

The great thing about this is that it’s not time consuming. Steeping more tea is much faster than brewing a batch of wine (to reference another hobby of mine that’s taken a serious back-burner these days) and if something ferments for a couple of extra days there’s no harm done.

I really enjoyed my sourdough starter one summer a couple of years back. I’m curious to see how long I can keep this going.

Have you tried any live culture sorts of kitchen projects?

The state of things

Spring is slowly creeping into Vermont (we had snow again this week, and there’s more in the forecast) and I realized yesterday that the only seeds I’ve started are the mixed handful that Windsor and I threw into a pot of soil two weeks ago. My garden plans are sorely limited compared to some previous years.

It’s not just living with a toddler, have I told you my current schedule? I used to work 8 hour days, and take lunch breaks online. Since maternity leave ended I’ve been working 9 hour days and taking lunch breaks with Windsor. The combination means a lot less time for everything. I miss reading other blogs, I miss digging in the garden after work, I miss many things. There’s plenty I don’t miss (I don’t really care about the dishes, or the sweeping) but all life is a balancing act. And right now I feel like by blog is as neglected as my garden.

grassy stone

Do you feel like our blog conversation is covered in weeds? I apologize! I hope you’ll stick around, because I hope to be back soon. This summer holds some big changes for the Herrick family. Neil will soon be done with grad school. We’re looking forward to him having a regular schedule, which will let my schedule level out – finally. I have some new designs that should be out this year, and someday I’ll even get some garden and chicken pictures for you!