Monday, December 28, 2009

Snakewood Turkish Delight

I received this beauty for Christmas from my husband. It is made by Ed Jenkins. My Turkish Delight spindle weighs 1.3 oz; it is made out of rare Snakewood, the shaft is Apple wood.
I was using a larger Turkish spindle before, and only for plying. With this little spindle I spun some wool and silk using drop spindle method.
Amazingly easy to use, and so beautiful!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Muga Silk top

I have not visited my blog for a while: crocheting took priority again! This time it is Muga Silk top. I got intrigued by this yarn I was able to order directly from India. Muga silk is produced by wild silkworms, its natural color is creamy to golden. For the net in this Irish crochet top I used DMC cotton.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Russian/Ukrainian traditions during my son's wedding

We decided to include some Russian/Ukrainian traditions into my son's wedding celebration. I made wreaths for both bride and groom, and we greeted them with bread and salt - symbols of hospitality and plenty.
The rushniki (hand embroidered traditional towels) were also present; one of them was on the floor for newlyweds to step on. According to the old custom, whoever steps on it first will be the head of the family.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

"Art Nouveau" dress

This is my favorite project so far. One of the reasons: I had to work under time constrains, the dress was needed for my son's wedding in the middle of July. Well, it was challenging, and until a few days ago I did not know if I could finish on time. Now I feel relieved and proud.

A little bit about the design. An inspiration came from my friend Nata Mohn, and from a very talented group of crocheters from Osinka (Russina knitting and crochet community). However, the design is my own, and I loved the process of assembling elements into something unique. The threads used are Kanebo linen and Cebelia crochet
#20 in white.
A little about technique. I used various Irish crochet elements (patterns can be found online, and in books similar to "
Irish Crochet: Technique and Projects" by Priscilla Publishing Co.) The net I used is irregular: combinations of chain and double crochet. I made a pattern for a dress out of fabric, and used it to pin the elements down. The black cord decorating the dress is called "shnur gusenichka" in Russian, here is a very good description of how to make it.
I deliberately used white thread for the net; I wanted it to disappear on white background, so only "Art Nouveau" type flowers and elements will be visible.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Colonial Day spinning

I was demonstrating supported spindle spinning during Colonial Day fair in my elementary school. It was a lot of fun. Girls and boys (even more so!) were interested to see the tools and technique. I guess boys loved it because of an unusual tool.
I am wearing a Ukrainian folk blouse; it seemed a perfect fit for this type of event. A spinning wheel on a background is not mine; I only know the spindle...

Thanks my friend Vereteno for her inspiring online spinning lessons!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Kulich and Paskha

This year I was very pleased with the way my kulich and paskha turned out.
These notes on well known recipes are for Abby, my son's fiance.

1/2 cup of hot milk + 100 g flour - make a paste
1/2 cup of warm milk + 57g of fresh yeast (1 package) + 100 g flour - mix together
Combine both mixes and let stand for about an hour (covered).
Take 10 egg yolks and mix with 250 g sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt (mix until egg yolks turn lemony-yellow, about 3 min). Take half of this mixture and combine with the yeast mixture + 250 g flour. Mix well. Let stand for another hour.
Add another half of the yolk mixture and another 250 g of flour. Mix well and add 200 g melted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/3 teaspoons of cardamom and nutmeg, and 2 tablespoons of rum. Add flower (3-4 handfuls) if necessary (a tricky part), and mix until the dough stops sticking to your hands (it took me about 10 min by hand). Let rise for another hour. Add 1 cup of raisins, let rise for 15 min, and put in buttered coffee cans, or any containers that will help make a well-known kulich shape. Let rise for 10 min, and bake at 350 F until ready (about 30 min).
When cooled off a bit, make a paste of confectioner's sugar + lemon juice and cover the top of kulich.


3 lb of Farmer cheese
1 1/4 cup of heavy cream
1/2 lb butter
1/4 lb sour cream
3 eggs
1 lb sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup raisins
Mix Farmer cheese with butter, sugar, sour cream, whipped heavy cream, eggs, vanilla and raisins. Place in a cheese cloth inside the mold. Place some weight on top, and put everything in a fridge (a plate to collect liquid should be under the mold).
Let stand this way for two days, unmold when ready to eat.

A low calorie dessert I use instead (not for Easter) is Farmer cheese mixed with sour cream and raisins.

Easter Eggs from a Bosnian recipe

I used a very interesting Bosnian recipe to dye my Russian Easter eggs. I've never tried onion skins
as a dye. I have been collecting the skins for quite a while for dying yarn; however this beautiful method presented on the website above was too much of a temptation!

My Recipe:

I used 4 oz of yellow onion skins, 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and enough water to cover the skins. I boiled eggs in water first (about 5 min); meanwhile the skins were simmering on low in another pot.. I took eggs out and placed flowers and leaves on them, covering eggs with nylon stockings, and tying each stocking with a string (did not use rubber bands, but will next time: some of the designs did not come out as sharp as Ozanna's, probably because the rubber bands would have helped keeping the stockings tighter around the eggs.) Each batch (5 eggs) simmered different time giving them color variations. I was truly amazed by the intensity of brown/burnt orange color! Can't wait to dye yarn with the onion skins!
For darker colors eggs were simmering about 1/2 hour. When they were all done, my husband rubbed them with some olive oil to make them shiny.
Plants used: forthysia (cross-shaped design), periwinkle, dandelion leaves, and some others.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Various mittens

I have been busy with mittens these past few weeks: beautiful Marco's mittens design from Nancy Bush " Folk Knitting in Estonia", and a free design from Maschas Maschen on Ravelry using Riihivilla naturally dyed yarns (the mitten on the left). I changed the Ravelry design incorporating Kihnu Troi cast on, and a couple of Kihnu Vits braids (love them)!

Rupture sweater aka Evening Gala Aran

I knitted this sweater during the unplanned free time while recovering from the torn meniscus surgery - hence the name: rupture. First I wanted to name it “Torn meniscus”, but my husband advised against it, and suggested “Rupture” instead.
I did not feel like adding feathers and other bells and whistles.