And we’re back!

I have so much today now that we are home and rested a hardly have the time to stop and write this post.

I’ve just ran around to the house of a lovely lady from Auckland Freecycle who has given me several bags of Romany fleece (white and black). My Ashford Book of Spinning tells me that Romney is a great fleece for beginners to spin, which would be me. If you don’t know about the Freecycle network you should seriously research it for your area. It’s a great resource for those 3 R’s.

Ashford Spinning WheelAmong our clothing and christmas gifts I also managed to bring back my spinning wheel and spent a lovely time (except for the bit when I was swearing at the stupid screw thinging that wouldn’t go back into the hole it had come out of and had to grumble until Craig came and fixed it for me – love husbands *grin*). Anyway, I mostly happily put my spinning wheel back together, which gave me a much better understanding of how it all works, oiled up all the oiling up parts and now have a lot of reading and practice to do.

My new drum carder should arrive on Monday (yay), so I need to make sure that I wash at least some of the fleece I now have (I think I now have about 8 big bags). Researching my drum carder and my spinning wheel as made me realise there are still few things I need to add to my arsenal of wool craft tools. The most important ones right now being that it seems I have only 1 bobbin for my spinning wheel – which will become a problem very very quickly and I don’t have a Lazy Kate (but I may be able to make one or improvise) *sigh*

Aside form the crafty things today, I’ve also been in kitchen whipping up a batch of Kombucha Tea (or Manchurian Tea, whichever you prefer). This tea is apparently renowned for all sorts of health wonders, it’s a fermented iced tea, basically, and I tried some and liked it so am now the proud owner of my own “Kombucha mushroom” (which is the started, somewhat like you would do for yogurt or sourdough). Once I finish writting this I will FINALLY get around to having a go at making my sourdough starter.

Woodworking wise, Craig and I purchased a bed on TradeMe.co.nz, only to get it how and find it was WAY too short so we drove al the way back to the North Shore (North East of us) to give it back (long story) and thus we have decided to make our own bed again, so this Saturday is early morning farmers market shopping followed by bed making in the workshed, should be fun.

Gardening – my three sisters are doing wonderfully and people have been telling me how many courgettes they’ve been taking, the corn is coming along wonderfully and the climbing beans look so cool  winding their way up the corn stems. I also purchased a bunch of new seedlings for the balcony planter box (spinach, basil and chives) as well as an aubergine (egg plant) to go in a garden somewhere. I need to clean out the last of the “potato box” broadbeans and tulip bulbs and I’m going to fill it with some lettuces. I left paper bags over a few things – spinach and celery) to collect their seeds but it didn’t really work – partly because it seems that a few bugs really like to nibble at the paper resulting in big holes *pout* so my seed saving in that regards has failed. It also seems that all my broad bean plants have been harvested and sacrificed to the new clothes line/pagola and nobody has mentioned saving much of the seeds (which was the point of that planting) – so my seed saving efforts for this past season have gone a miss, ahh well, it’s the journey and the learning right 🙂

The last thing I wanted to share today was the recipe for tonights dinner, I really enjoyed it and before I forget what I did I need to get it down:

Chili Bean & Pork Mince

  • Heat pan and oil
  • Add garlic, chilli and onion – fry till fragrant
  • Add 1/2 kilo of pork mince – brown
  • Add a dash of saki, tamari and sesame oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (frehly ground of course)
  • Add a handful of flat beans  cut into 2cm lengths and cook  to taste (we like our beans to still have some crunch).

Serve on a bed of lettuce (next time we would add some light items like cucumber to the lettuce and perhaps also serve with some asparagus).  Delicious!

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Carding & knitting

When I return home there are several bags of fleece for me to wash and play with and several bags awaiting my collection. Apparently my shearing friend Kevin says that he can’t sell coloured fleece, so any fleece that is not considered to be white is mine for the taking – free! This means that I will no longer have to worry about “waisting” fleece as I practice and play and I have packed up my spinning wheel and will be bringing it home to Auckland (from my parents house in Wodonga) and dedicating a chunk of time to relearning to spin.

Also, for christmas my mum has agreed to either buy me a knitters loom (about $180NZD) or to contribute towards a drum carder (about $350NZD) and now I have decide which one I wan/need more. At the moment I think I’m leaning more towards the carder as I don’t even have any hand carding paddles anymore so…

While researching drum carders I did come across the most coolest toy and would LOVE to get my hands on it. It’s a double carder

Double Carder

and it’s probably about the size of my lounge room. Now if I got everything I wished for I would need a museum to keep it all in I think. We just went for a visit to a second hand store in Yackandanda, which is about 15 minutes from my parents house and I found a very cool butter churn, two 19th century cameras (they are HUGE, and cost several grand each), add that to the double carder and the floor looms *sigh*

Now I know that I’ve been silent for the last several weeks, but I haven’t been totally no crafty while I’ve been visiting oz. I’m actually proud of myself really, I’ve been knitting, well I’ve knitted one thing, a beret, it’s the first knitted project I’ve ever actually finished and didn’t give up on out of boredom (scarves suck and so do blankets that are essentially scarves sewn together). Doing this hat, I managed to do increases and decreases, undo and repair mistakes (I made a lot of them) and pickup dropped stitches, and I’m very proud of my finished item.

Freedom Spirit Pattern

I still need to do the little flowers to make it extra pretty but they will take very little time to whip up. I’ve never been very excited about knitting, my grandmother was an amazing knitter and I’m sure I’ll never match her for speed, but I have decided to attempt a little more knitted projects – just no scarves thank you very much.