A loom a-visiting

I am getting a housemate! And… she’s a weaver! In fact, that’s my fault, but we won’t get into the history of her yarn addiction.

So yes, there will be another – though temporary – member of the loom family. Another rigid heddle! In fact, I’m hoping my guys don’t get upset that this loom is fahnsy with its own stand.

There is also a small risk they’ll unionise and we’ll end up with formal representations about neglect and other working conditions. I think both of us humans have been guilty of loom neglect (yes the purple weft-float scarf is on the loom still). There may be dust complaints…

Of course the big question is whether more weaving will occur, because we can weave-inspire each other. Or, and this is possible, we’ll be too busy distracting each other! Could go either way really.

I am definitely looking forward to having an extra pair of hands for warping! I should write that into the rental agreement…

Other things I do when not weaving…

So, yes, I’m knee deep in a writing challenge at the moment and it’s going OK, but the other thing I’ve been doing is travelling (again!). This time, just within my own country and that is my excuse to post some pics of local fauna… cute, cute fauna…

A quokka
What am I? Well, cute, yes, but I’m also a quokka.
Eucalyptus tree with a sleeping koala
Koala (sleeeeepy) in a tree
A wallaby with an itch! She also has a joey in her pouch… soooo cute!
Small bird sitting over the water on a rope
One for the bird lovers… a martin maybe? Not sure.

Droid food

I like droids (and Star Wars), so when the opportunity to get one for my kitchen arose, I jumped at it. Okay, it’s not really a droid… it’s a droid shaped convection oven, otherwise known as an “air fryer”.

Yes, I’ve joined the air fryer cult.

If you aren’t familiar with this type of kitchen appliance, it’s probably one of the least necessary appliances ever invented! Because it’s an oven and you probably already have one of those. Yep, it doesn’t actually fry anything – it convection bakes/roasts like any fan forced/convection oven. So why buy one…?

Well, they are fast. The super turbo fan forcing of them and the small volume space means things generally cook in about half the time of a normal convection oven. Also, if you have a crappy oven, they’re a lot cheaper than a new oven.

If you do like deep frying things, then they give an okay result just like a convection oven should. Of course, the fact it’s called an air fryer gets people baking/roasting things they’d normally not think to put in an oven! Clever marketing people…

Personally, I like the speed and I like the small size because I’m cooking just for me most of the time. I also like the non-stick basket you put things in, because it cleans so easily – unlike a lot of my non-stick oven trays.

So far, the only thing my droid has failed at is prawn crackers! Pappadams, frozen chips, frozen chicken, frozen fish fillets and lamb chops have all cooked quite well. I’m still to try chips made fresh (actually quite excited about them as I’ve never had much luck in the oven).

An airfryer from kmart
This is my little guy… a budget droid!

A dishcloth report…

So, for those of you who have kept up with the whole “lunchbox project” thing, you may have been wondering what happened after I shrunk the dishcloths. Well, no you probably have far more interesting things to wonder about, but I’m going to assume you’d like the sense of closure that comes from hearing the end of a story.

The shrunken dishcloths were a lot denser than in their original form and that was both a good and a bad thing. Good because they felt more solid, which was somehow satisfying. Bad because they seemed to hold more gunk.

Really though, I don’t think it changed the use or drying either way. If they were being used at home, then I’m pretty sure drying might have been more of an issue with the higher density. In an office block with constant air conditioning running, they were going to dry overnight if not while I was present.

I quite like both pre and post shrinkage cloths.

They are nice to look at, massively cut my paper towel usage and they are easy to clean and dry in a big office building. My only gripe has been that I get a bit of fluff off them on my hands when I wring them out. Small gripe.

So, I might make some more… We shall see…

The weaving itch

It’s been a while since my rigid heddle loom has been dressed and I gotta say there’s an itch growing.

Unfortunately I’ve been a laggard about painting my walls, so the craft room is still drop-sheet land. I do have my test patch done though and I think it’s going to look a-maze-ing!

When the woman at the paint shop popped the lid for the mandatory inspection, the two other customers at the counter made various exclamations about the… um… intensity of the colour. One bloke commented that you wouldn’t want to wake up to it with a hangover! Good thing I don’t sleep in the craft room, ey?

I like my walls to have visual interest.

As evidenced by the metallic, coffee paint I used in my guest bedroom. No one quite got it until they saw the end result. I’m thinking that’ll be the case for this room too, because everyone seems terrified of the fuchsia.

Anyways, I’ll be weaving again before xmas… hopefully.

Bringing home the bacon

Guess who got a delivery of home-smoked, maple bacon? Ohhh meeeeeeee!!!!!

Yep, the scarfs for mum and bub were a success and I was paid in pork-product. Delicious.

I won’t need to buy bacon for quite some time and this makes me very, very happy. Also, I have quite a bit of yarn left over so I’m thinking of weaving type ways to use it up!

Mind you, the reno of the craft room is still barely begun (me lazy) so that might have to wait a little while. Though, as I’m hosting the family xmas this year, I really do need to get the metaphorical skates on!

Oooh I remember this… it’s called knitting!

I haven’t knitted since I became a weaver. So that’s what? Three years? Four? Not really a conscious thing, but weaving was intended as a knitting replacement so it makes sense.

Then a colleague picked up my last knitted scarf one day and suddenly I found myself with a knitting commission! (I’m being traded home smoked bacon….yaaay!)

But it’s weird. I can cast on with my eyes closed. I can knit and purl with my eyes closed. Like, if you put needles and yarn in front of me I’m just going to start aknittin’ somet’ing. And it feels goooood.

So, I’m knitting. With pink cotton. A matching mum and bub scarf set (of all things). Photos will follow.

Putting the loom away seems weirdly wrong

You might have guessed that I haven’t been weaving much recently. Thus the lovely sound of “crickets” on the bloggy. But just because I’m not weaving, doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about weaving, or looking at the loom and going “you’re naked – you need dressing”.

Today, however, I had to pack the loom and all the bits into it’s nifty carry bag and it felt wrong. Like I was saying out-loud “no weaving to see here, move along”.

Of course no weaving can happen in my craft room while it undergoes a bit of renovation – that’s why the loom is in a bag for a few weeks.

What are the odds that I will end up dressing it and weaving in the loungeroom again? Just to prove the point that I don’t agree with this enforced non-weaving period. Yep, that’s quite likely.

Laundry balls and how sometimes things surprise me

For years now I’ve used a laundry ball / wash ball in my washing machine and so I was surprised to discover that these balls are considered a bit of a scam. Surprised and puzzled.

You see when I bought mine it was marketed as a way to use less soap powder. It also said something about not needing to use soap at all on lightly soiled loads, but it acknowledged you would need some soap the rest of the time. I always use the spoon it came with (15mls) to measure my soap and it’s awesome!

Apparently the wash balls have become some kind of hokum thing, with outlandish claims for how they work and what they do. They are also being marketed as a 100% soap replacement, which they aren’t! Well, some types do fractionally better in tests than just running your machine without soap.

I was really surprised to find this out. Also a bit sad, because I love my ball.

Like I say, I use mine with the reduced soap quantity – it’s between 1/2 and 1/3 of the scoop that my brand of soap powder recommends you use in a wash – and clothes come out nice and clean. And I know, from forgetting to put the wash ball in once or twice, that the smaller amount of soap doesn’t clean a load without the ball!

Makes me feel better with putting grey-water on the appropriate bits of the garden too, though I wish someone would do a test to see what the affect of a laundry ball and less soap is on the waste water. That would be good to know.

Oh, and I don’t use mine with wool or delicates, because I assume there is increased agitation involved and that’s not going to do those fabrics any favours.

So…um…well…

Okay, I know this is a weaving blog, but right now I’m distracted by… cooking.

Last week it was my first attempt at home-made yoghurt. This week it was my first attempt with a slow cooker. And more yoghurt. And avocado, chocolate truffles. And pear and sour cream slice.

Not all at once.

So, if you’re like most people you were stopped by the proximity of the words “avocado” and “chocolate” above. I don’t blame you. In truth there was a lot of skepticism among my tastebuds about this idea. But I like trying new things, so I did.

The avocado has to be well mashed so it mixes fully – probably no surprises there – but it works as a butter/cream replacement. My recipe was a bit heavy on the cocoa though so I didn’t like the texture, but the overall chocolate-y-ness was satisfying. You couldn’t taste the avo though I guess the overall effect was earthier than you’d get with a milk product (also from all that cocoa).

I would go another way with the chocolate content, but the concept worked!

Yoghurt… ahh yoghurt. I have made one batch according to instructions and then – predictably – had to experiment. That’s just the way I does things. Experiment 1- failure. Experiment 2 – awesome success. So, you know, a good learning process.

And then the slowcooker, which I picked up from a colleague who was moving interstate a few months back. I made possibly the least interesting thing you can make in a slowcooker – chicken and veg – but it came out really well. The only question with this device is whether I can reasonably consume the vast quantities its 6ltr capacity creates! My freezer won’t know what’s hit it.

In a slowcooker side note: the recipe I’m most excited to try is actually the baked potatoes. Why? I can’t really tell you. I just like the concept of baking potatoes in a slowcooker. It fits 20 or something insane so that also tickles my fancy. Let’s see if I’m right about a long standing hunch I’ve had; that I can’t ever get sick of potatoes.