Thursday, August 29, 2013

Corn & Loom Socks

As I am sure you will agree, corn has such a wonderful golden colour. The dark variety you see however is blue hopi and it is a deep blue almost black. This year we were just interested in seeing which plants were best suited to our environment so that next year we can sew just those varieties. I was also looking for the corn with the smaller grains so that we could feed them to the chickens, but they are just going to have to leave fuss aside and eat all grains, big and small. Needless to say we will not hear any complaints.

The varieties that came out winning were the blue hopi, 2 local varieties and one that came labelled "Nuno Tejo". You can also see from the beautiful varied weirdness of our corn that some major cross pollination took place, as was expected seeing as they were all growing so close together and the very fine corn pollen can drift considerable distances in favorable conditions. Another drifting agent we had to contend with were the birds that enjoyed half our crop right before our eyes, dodging the hanging super reflective CDs and even a tiny wind mill with propellers shaped like little baby animal cartoon faces. Very scary... but not for the birds who are busy storing their grains for winter... many sadly forgetting where they so carefully hid them.

I am not starting to prepare for the winter, but I started again working on making socks. I say starting again because it can take me a long time to make a pair and if my warmth depended on it I would have frozen two winters ago. The sock loom is really easy to use and the heel and toe are just as easy to make as the rest. I have a Kb sock loom. It is adjustable so you can make different size socks, the foot that is, because the length of the leg can be as long as you desire. The wool I have been using is from Germany and is proper for making socks, it is Crazy Zauberball by Schoppel Wolle and it is 75% pure wool. The wool you use to make socks needs to have a very high content of pure wool otherwise the sock has very little elasticity, you will even feel how much harder it is to work with acrylic on the sock loom, it just does not give.

Last year I also started making a sock with 5 needles, but this has not gone as well or as quickly as expected and it is normally the first project to be put to the side. Just today I considered giving up on it and using the wool on the loom instead. I envy the ladies in town that make a pair of socks in a day and say that they used to make them much faster but that now they cannot see so well. I wish.

Ps. I won a prize in the sweets competition in the town´s festival. I came third almost by default, with a beetroot and chocolate cake. I won something because there were only 4 cakes in the competition, one of the entries was an apple tart and one of the jury did not like apple and so did not even try it. I won a toaster and would have seriously still preferred a truck load of manure. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Little Dudes 2013

Dear little dudes and dudettes,
I am happy to inform you that I have been invited to collaborate on this wonderful Berlin based project. Yes! I am going to make a dude. And you can make one too! All the information you need you can find on the little dudes site. There will be an exhibition with all the little dudes and also a book that will be launched on the opening night with the little creations. You just need to download the template and be creative. I will show you the progress of my little dude over the next month, little sneak peaks here and there. It will be super fun.

Should I weave him a poncho or make him a patchwork eye patch? Or both? Only time will tell.

So what are you waiting for? Get creative! Create a little dude. :-)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hexagon patches and wind chimes.

I have embarked on a long journey. I started making patches for a quilt using hexagon blocks. It will be a hand pieced project and I have estimated that I may need a little over a thousand pieces. At this moment in time I have managed to make about 30 patches, so I clearly have a very long way to go. I decided to use my african fabrics. I had a lot of small left over pieces and figured this project was the perfect way to put them to good use. Of course I will need quite a bit of fabric for this quilt and so I have my pile of fabrics out and ready to go. I estimate that at this rate, if I worked on nothing else but making the hexagon patches I would have all the pieces I need in one month. But then I would still have to piece them all together, which I supposed would easily take up another month of solid work. and even then that would just be the front of the quilt finished. Perhaps this time next year I might have a hexagon patch quilt..

I have also started to get the wool ready to make a jacket. I am still very keen on the idea of making a ´bog´ jacket or a variation of it. You can read more about this kind of jacket here. A friend of ours Kent and his lovely parents came to visit us this week. I was very happy to learn that Kent knits. I gave him some burgundy, white and blue wool and he is going to make me a pair of mittens and a pair of knee high socks. I can´t wait to see what he comes up with. We have not figured out an exchange yet but surely it will be something woven, a bog jacket, who knows.

The rest of the week was spent making wind chimes to cheer up the garden and hopefully distract sneaky hungry birds from eating our corn and sunflower seeds. I hope that of course it does not have the opposite effect. I also took this opportunity to make the garden a little brighter and added some coloured strips of fabric. The town of Meimão is throwing its annual party next week so I may as well start getting into party mode. There will also be a cake contest and I am keen to enter it. I have not decided what cake to make yet. Perhaps the watercress cake would go down well, or maybe a zucchini or a beetroot cake just to use something seasonal. I hope I can make a winning cake. The prizes, if last year is anything to go by, are rather appealing as I am sure you will agree. The first prize may well be a whole leg of prosciutto or some cured meats like chouriço. If I am lucky I will get the second prize which could very well be some kind of blender, although a food processor would come in quite handy since I broke the one I borrowed trying to make nettle pesto. Even a small truck load of manure would be an excellent prize, perhaps I could suggest it to the organizing committee.