So I got in the rest of the fiber from Smoky Mountain Spinnery on friday - oh man! I had almost forgotten how incredible this stuff is. I now have four ounces of superfine 150's merino and four ounces of baby suri alpaca hanging from my wall. I tried them both out for a second on my wheel, with limited success. The alpaca I can spin, but it is the slipperiest thing I have ever tried to hold on to - moreso even than silk or a greased-up toddler.*
The merino, though, is just too fine for me to spin on my wheel, at least so far. It's very nice, but the Babe, he was not built for laceweight, and his orifice is too wide, so the yarn vibrates around a whole hell of a lot, and also his take-up (even without the brake band entirely) is too much for this fiber. Ergo, I needed a spindle that was up to the job.
Now, I tend to make my own spindles, and this was to be no exception. I like 'em much lighter than I can usually find around town, and I own a dremel wireless rotary tool, so usually I just drill through a pair of wooden craft spoons, sand up a $0.10 dowel, notch it, glue it, and call it a day. This was my plan for friday, along with laundry and packing for the Renaissance Festival on saturday.
So friday I get home to discover that we're actually heading out to the Faire that day, and I have neither dowels nor craft spoons, nor laundry done and costumes packed. Oh noes! I'm not willing to leave without some knitting and some spinning, so I toss Galveston Prime and a mostly-finished Baby Surprise Jacket in my purse, some of my new merino and an ounce of BFL from Painted Sheep in the Dublin Lake colourway into a ziplock bag, clean mundanes and my toothbrush into the front seat, and I'm almost ready to go. I ended up taking off one arm of a wire coat hanger, slipping a heavy silver bali bead a friend gave me a few years back on the end, and bending the end so it couldn't come off. Voila! New metal spindle. I did not expect much.
And as with so many things in life, I was pleasantly surprised :) The new spindle is light and fast, with just enough weight to keep it from floating off (a problem I'd had with my featherweight wooden ones), center weighted so it turns fast, holds a surprisingly large amount of yarn, and is charming to boot. I spun about half an ounce of the BFL walking around during the faire (which was great, TwinSister and LittlestBrother were there and we all had a great time), and this morning I put that onto a storage bobbin *coughtoiletpapertubecough* and started the new merino on it. I am full of love. Love love love love love.
To top off a great day, I came home and made a delicious soup, with an ingredient which was actually completely new to me: butternut squash! Here's the recipe I used:
1 butternut squash (mine was 3lbs) - $3
4 chicken bullion cubes - $1
1 cup frozen chopped onions - $1
4 tbs margarine/butter or hell, more olive oil
1 tsp Pepper
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
4 cups water
1 box low-fat cream cheese - $1.50
Preheat oven to 375. Put cream cheeze (unopened) on top of stove to warm up. Cut squash into quarters, remove seeds and dangly bits. Line a baking tray with foil, pour olive oil on, plus salt and pepper. Place squash cut-side down on tray, bake 45 mins.
While that's going, sauté onions in stockpot on stove, then add bullion, pepper, cayenne, and water. Bring to a boil, take down to a simmer, cover, and wait till the squash is done. Spin for a bit if you have time. Browse through the latest Knit Picks magazine.
When squash is done, take it out of the oven and scoop all the delicious squash-meats out and add to the stockpot. We put the skin in too, but we like soup with texture. Feel free to add the remaining oil, salt and pepper if you like (we did). You'll know the squash is done because you'll have more trouble not piercing the skin than you do scooping the meats out - it will be very very squishy and delicious. Go ahead and try some. We won't tell.
Boil the soup for about 5-15 minutes, or however long it takes before the squash is falling apart in the pot. Squishing it with a slotted spatula helps at this point, or if you want a more traditional, smoother soup, take some out and blenderize the fuck out of it. We just squished it.
Take soup back down to a simmer, medium-low heat. You don't want it to boil after this.
Open cream cheese, which should be very soft by now, and put into a bowl with some of the hot soup liquid. Mix around until it's all liquidy, pouring cheesy goodness into the stockpot and soup into the cheese bowl as needed until it's all melted into the soup. Call your friends and brag about how much more delicious your dinner is than theirs; offer them some for lunch tomorrow.
Makes: a cubic fuck-ton.
* Dude, I have three little brothers, and grew up helping my mom do childcare. I've run after many a toddler whose coated him or herself in something gross. Peanut butter? Bitch to get out of long hair.