Challenges

Sourdough bread is baking in the oven. This time I hope it’s a success. I tried making sourdough a year ago. It baked into a tasty failure. I’d used a powdered sourdough starter with a recipe that looked promising. Sadly, the bread did not rise in the oven. Instead it stayed a low lump becoming an extremely dense, chewy bread.

This time around I’m trying a recipe from a bread book that’s supposedly an authentic San Francisco sourdough recipe. It calls for making the starter the old fashioned way by putting some milk, water and flour into a bowl which sat at the back of the stove for 2 days  “capturing” the wild yeast in the air. The adventure started it last Wednesday morning with periodic additions of water and flour. The dough smelled wonderfully fragrant by yesterday morning and the scent of the baking bread right now is tantalizing.

February has been the wettest month on record in this area of Oregon. Perfect weather for soups and homemade bread. Other places have had record snowfall, fortunately we’re only about 300 feet above sea level so we only dealt with snow off and on from mid-December until the 2nd week of January. More days of snow than normal, which Ed and I enjoyed. We’re fortunate to work from home. Church was canceled on January 8th after I checked the hill to the church assessing the situation. Frozen rain early that morning on top of the layer of snow still on the ground and roads coated everything with ice.

The Surprise Jacket isn’t much larger than in the last post. It was bigger until I saw a major error way down about 4 inches from the cast on row. It sat in time-out for a couple weeks and now sees only sporadic action as spinning has taken precedence.

I joined the Jenkins YarnTools Ravelry group in the February Challenge. What a great challenge for it forced me out of my comfort zone for spinning.
The challenge was to select a mixture of 10 or more colors and/or fibers totaling 50 grams, blend & spin. Stash busting opportunity! The ten colors were from various rovings plus light grey angora, dark grey alpaca, a light brown/grey romney/cotton blend, and white BFL/silk. Working with so many colors was definitely not a direction I’d normally choose.

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Hoping to avoid a muddy looking yarn each of the above segments of colors/roving/wools were divided into 4 equal piles which were then arranged into two groups destined for the 2 singles.

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I started off using hand carders during the monthly spinning group,
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but it didn’t take long to realize a more time efficient method was required.

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Off and on through the years I’ve tackled batts and rolags but always return to spinning from combed top. I love how smooth fibers slip through my fingers. Dealing with slubs and odd bits doesn’t feel right, no matter how I try drawing the fibers into the twist.

Despite not enjoying the feel of the fibers or the way I needed to be more careful to spin such variety as smoothly and evenly as possible, I was happily surprised with the colors of the singles.
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In the end I’m very pleased with the yarn and am glad that I took on the challenge.
50 grams, approximately 82 yards.
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The bread is out of the oven and has cooled off enough to eat. It’s still more dense and chewy than I’d hoped, though not as bad as last year’s attempt, and it is delicious. I need to figure out what needs to be done to make it lighter, more airy.

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