Archive for April, 2011

I tested one of the Spanish chorizos last night. It has a very strong paprika flavour, but isn’t as hot peppery as I had feared. I’m looking forward to eating more.

I now have about five inches of lace done. I moved it off the dining room table for Easter, but will likely return it to the table next week. I find myself stopping to do a few stitches every time I walk by, which is a great way to accumulate inches without noticing the effort.


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Last night, my son knocked the all-but-completed wax mould to the floor and it broke in half. Though it theoretically can be repaired, I have been told it is risky so I’ll need to cut out a new piece of wax and start over.

Though I was tempted to abandon the project again (which is what I did the last time I broke a mould), I spent quite a while last night working on the second mould just so I would feel like there was some progress.

I think I am finally getting the hang of slicing away thin bits of wax; it works best if I warm it slightly in my hands. It is tempting to use dental tools for the fine work, but I have set myself the challenge of only using a small knife to carve.

Some time this week, I will try to cut out a piece of wax so I can start making another mould. It will be tricky as my workroom is rapidly filling with stuff from my family room, so that I can get some renovations done to my floor.

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The landjager sausages are quite tasty. They really need to dry for a few more days to reach the beef jerky quality that will allow them to keep for months, but so far, so good. The other sausages are drying nicely too, but I must remember not to make sausage origami with the ones being hung to dry. They don’t tend to dry as well in the middle of each group of three sausages, so I have to move them around and readjust to ensure no mold starts growing. To be safe, I will wash them tomorrow with a strong salt solution.

It is fun getting back to lacemaking. I have nearly three inches done already. I need approximately 48 inches for my camisa.

I have started yet another pair of mittens. This time I am using the naalbinding stitch I learned at l’Anse aux Meadows; it has a lovely twist that produces attractive ridges in the work. The wool is a heathery purple with the tiniest bit of blue and grey for texture. So far I have only completed the fingertips; I’ll post pictures once there is a bit more to show.

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My friend Ivy came over this afternoon to start learning lacemaking. It has been far too long since I have done any, and it showed! In the end, she did get her pillow set up with all the bobbins and started playing around with the pattern. I also started a new pattern. Yes, I could have worked on the pattern I have had on another pillow for years…. Instead, I have started a very simple narrow lace from Nuw Modelbuch, a mid-16th C German lacemaker’s pattern book. It will be used to hold the gathers on my camisa in place.

Here is what it looks like so far:

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Bentonite to the rescue

I transferred the mead to a new carboy yet again, but I think it is still far too cloudy, so I added some Bentonite to the mix today. Hopefully everything will clear in the next three weeks (and the last bit of fermentation will end) so I can bottle the mead.

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Kippered sausages

From dictionary.reference.com: before 1000; Middle English kypre, Old English cypera  spawning salmon, apparently derivative of cyperen  of copper, i.e., copper-colored

This is a perfect description of the colour of my landjager sausages. I put them on to cold smoke in the barrel smoker this morning, after having pressed them for two days. They needed four hours of smoking, and are now hung to dry for the next couple of weeks.

Here they are in my bright red smoker:

This close-up should show just how red they turned:

Here they are hung up to finish drying. The landjager is on the right, with the saucisson sec on the left, so you can see the difference in colour from smoking. Both started out almost the same colour.

The sausage casings are very dry although the sausages themselves were dripping a bit of grease as I hung them up. One casing split a bit, so I hope the sausage doesn’t break and send part of a string onto the ground.

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These are made with a combination of my handspun white wool, commercial grey wool, and madder-dyed wool given to me by Kadlin. It is the second pair I have made in this colour pattern. The first were given away at l’Anse aux Meadows last summer.

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