Thursday, December 17, 2009

The pared-down holiday crafting.

And stuff.

The first thrummed mitten will be done by bedtime. (Come hell or high water.) Right now it looks like this:

Those are the thumb stitches, with double-points stuck through them. The ends are darned in, so all I have to do is knit the thumb, darn in THOSE ends, and it's done. (But for the washing.) Since I did this one in, I think, three days? It's a reasonable goal to have the pair done by next Thursday when we head out to see the family in Ohio.

There were some questions about the thrums. All they are, are tufts of wool (or silk if you're allergic and have the money) knit into the fabric of the mitten. The tufts work much like low-tech fleece lining and are (to quote someone, I don't remember who), "freakishly warm". You can see the thrum lining hiding if you look down the wrist of the mitten.

The photos you see of people wearing mittens with tufts sticking out all over? They're just being silly and turning the mitten inside-out. They do look ridiculous that way.

Last night Sekhmet was helping me with the thrums. (I make a whole round's worth at once.)

You can see what evil little paw there on the arm of the chair, edging up to pat all that woolly softness. She just can't resist soft fuzzies; she got some alpaca top stuck between her toes the other night, sticking that paw into my spinning basket. It was really funny.

And that's the other project, the one I'm sweating:

Alpaca top, loosely spun into a sport-weight two-ply. It doesn't look like much, but I swear this stuff is as soft as cashmere. My mother-in-law is a knitter who is seriously into soft and fuzzy (between her and the cat...) so if I get this done, she'll be very pleased with it.

And I want it done so I can tear into THIS:


There was a question about onions and where they're native to. I was gonna put the long answer here, but I think it needs a blog post of its own. (Plus it's interesting. No, really.) Short answer? There are lots and lots of related species that 'act' like onions, shallots, leeks, chives, or some bastardization thereof. To my knowledge, there are Allium species (that's the name of the family of plants) all over the world. So while native Americans almost certainly had some kind of Allium tangy flavor going on, they did not have what we call onions. Or leeks. Or garlic. I shall research and blather on in much more detail, later. In fact, I'm betting modern onions aren't native to anywhere, but are a human-engineered crop. I KNOW sweet onions are 'made by man', so to speak.


Donna Lee said...

I loved spinning alpaca. If I could afford it, I'd only spin alpaca. I have one thrummed mitten done and the cuff of another one started. I like how they make my hands look like a cartoon character! I used alpaca for the thrumms and it is really warm.

Mandy said...

That alpaca is lovely! Are you gonna dye it for her? Or leave it natural? Either way, I'm sure she'll love it!

Roxie said...

Your MIL is a lucky woman! And ooooh, that pastel beauty! Lust and desire!

Alwen said...

True, the Americas don't have the large bulbed alliums (onions, leek, garlic).

The native ones here in Michigan are wild onion (Allium stellatum), wild garlic (Allium canadense), nodding wild onion (Allium cernuum, and the OMG what is that SMELL wild leek or ramp (Allium tricoccum).

All of the first three look more like chives to the modern eye. The ramps are slender wild leeks, very strong. (Around here, their important function is to tell us when to hunt white morels.)

Older people we used to hunt morels with remembered going to school and being able to tell whose families served wild leeks by the smell, just like garlic.

Amy Lane said...

Okay--it's starting to get so that I want to learn to spin, just because it SEEMS SO TRANQUIL. Lovely stuff! And what smart cat!