Monday, September 9, 2013

A Month Of Challenges

September is challenge month. 

First the spinning.  I have joined two challenge groups using my little Jenkins Turkish Spindles.  The first was a fleece swap, the second is a yardage challenge.  Since I'm not very proficient on my little drop spindles, this definitely taxed my capabilities as a spinner.

The Fleece Swap challenge.  We received 2 oz of fleece from a 'Mystery Person' (there are 26 of us in the group) and sent 2 oz of our own fleece to a different person.  Anxiety....would the colors go well together? Would the fibers be compatible? Would the fleece be in good condition? Our restrictions were that it must be 2 oz, be a fleece of color, that we must spin our own fleece into a single separately from our received fleece, then ply them together and finally knit, crochet or weave something from our resulting yarn.

Well, the Spinning Goddesses were with us.  Everyone of us received a fleece that was compatible to our own.
My Fleece - a Merino Combed Top.  Lovely, soft, smooth, subtle variations in colors.
The fleece I received, from Germany, no less.  A Long wool (Blueface Leiscester) hand dyed. 

Now the colors of my fleeces seemed to be pretty similar, except for the bright green in the gifted fleece.  But the gifted fleece however was quite different in texture.  For a BFL, which is usually soft and smooth and easy to spin, this was lumpy, sticky and very short fibered.  First challenge:  figure out how to make this wool behave like my Merino top.  I decided to tease out the fibers, carding them, keeping the colorways as together as possible, then roll them into rolags and finally spin them worsted, or long draw, as this would keep the fiber soft and lofty.  I kept the blues, reds and teal clors and stashed the bright Kelly greens.  I really didn't want a Christmas tree.  They plied up nicely, but still not as soft as the Merino top would have.  Yet the colors are wonderful.

I ended up with finely spun yarn, fingering at 14 WPI and 300 yds of yarn.  I found a lovely cowl neckwarmer pattern to knit for a Christmas present.

The Second Spinning Challenge is simply to spin 1 oz of singles per month until December, when we will ply it all up, then knit something from our yarn.  Not as much of a challenge, but this one required dedication and stick-to-it-ive-ness.  In otherwords - focus!

Now my third challenge for the month, was just handed to me.  Make decent soft, Bavarian Pretzels and make them Gluten Free.  You got it.  Easy as pie, well actually much easier than pie.

Rolled, risen, boiled and baked.  These little darlings came out scrumptious!  And quite good with Moroccan Mustard - just a tad spicy and a tad sweet.

After the boil and ready to bake.
Out of the oven and ready to EAT!

Challenges? Bring 'em on!  I'm ready.