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Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Swedish Tea Ring

After all the fibre stuff over the last few weeks  I thought it was about time that I had a change and baked something ~ so here's a very easy Swedish Tea Ring. This is quite a versatile recipe, you can use any filling you want, the possibilities are endless, in this one I used raisins, craisins and chopped glace cherries. Another version I make is lemon curd & sultanas, I've also made it (on request) with nutella and chocolate chips as the filling. The dough recipe is easy and gives a light, soft, sweet dough.

50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
500g strong white flour
1 x 7g sachet of instant yeast
7g salt
40g caster sugar
230ml milk
2 large eggs

For the filling:
2 tablespoons of butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
100g dried fruit, raisins, craisins etc

1 Rub the butter into the flour, rubbing it in with your fingertips until integrated.

2 Add the yeast, stir, then add the salt and sugar. Heat the milk very gently until luke-warm, whisk in the eggs, and pour this into the dry mixture. No point messing around with a spatula here just use your hands to mix the dough so that it comes together in the bowl.
3 Tip the dough on to a clean work surface and knead well, for about 10 mins, or put it in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment and knead for 5 mins.

Let the dough rest for 10 minutes then roll it out quite thinly into a rectangle. Brush over the melted butter, sprinkle over the brown sugar and cinnamon, then the dried fruits and finally roll it up nice and tight, swiss roll style. Curve it into a ring and tuck one of the ends inside the other pinching it together as best you can. Place it on a baking tray lined with non stick paper. Make slashes all around the outside using either a very sharp knife or a pair of sturdy kitchen scissors.

Cover with oiled cling wrap and leave it to rise in a warm place or about an hour. It will looked puffed up and the slits you cut will have opened up considerably.
Heat the oven to 200 deg C. Bake the ring for about 20 - 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Decorate it with a simple water icing if desired.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tour de Fleece Diary Collage

Here's my last post on the Tour de Fleece, my diary collage:

Tour de Fleece Days 17 ~ Finish Line

I found myself constantly running out of dry combed fibre for the last few days and felt as if I didn't make much progress. I didn't post any pics or updates because it all looked the same, brown, more brown, yes I'm over the brown lol. But, I'm happy with what I have achieved in the last 22 days:

I started with a 2.8 kg NZ Half Bred Brown/grey fleece. All the fleece was washed during the tour. 
All the fleece has now been combed. 

From this fleece I spun 5622 mtrs of singles which made 1029g, 1874 mtrs of ‘N’ ply yarn so far. I still have 372 g of combed fibre to spin. 

I then dyed some white half bred fleece, from this I spun 787 mtrs of singles which were ‘N’ plied to give me a total of 262 mtrs of finished yarn in 3 different colours. I also dyed a further batch of the white in plums/purples and have only combed part of it so far and spun 1 nest.
To sum up my achievements during Tour de Fleece: 
I washed and combed a lot of fluff, spun 6409 mtrs of singles and have 2136 mtrs of finished 3 ply yarn. 
On challenge days I spun some hand combed polwarth into very fine singles (probably about 30g so far which I haven’t calculated into my singles amount), then made a DIY spindle and managed to spin some yarn on it. 

Things I would do differently next tour: try to be more organised and have my fleece washed and dried before the start, I kept running out of dry/combed fibre and found myself waiting for fleece to dry many times (it’s Winter here). If I had done this I think I would have finished the whole fleece. But, in saying that I’m extremely happy in what I have done, it's far more than I would have achieved had I not participated in le Tour de Fleece. 

I have this basket which is 372 g of combed fibre left to spin, I'm going to work on that over the next few days and hope to get it finished. I'm estimating it will make another 680 mtrs of yarn so I will have more than enough to knit a sweater. Then the hardest part ~ deciding what I'm actually going to knit!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 16

Day 16, I 'N' plied another bobbin for 442 mtrs of finished yarn:

I calculated what I have achieved since the start of Tour de Fleece 16 days ago:

I started with a 2.8 kg fleece.

979g of fibre hand combed
5460 mtrs singles spun
which gave me 1820 mtrs 'N' ply yarn
Yarn finished so far weighs 979g

I have another 192g combed fibre waiting to be spun
I just washed another 400g of fleece which will be combed once dry
I have 500g fleece left to wash/comb/spin

There's still 6 days of Le Tour to go, maybe I will get this fleece finished after all!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 15 ~

Day 15 was a challenge day. My challenge (as a non-spindle spinner) was to make a D.I.Y. spindle and spin some yarn on it:

Challenge successfully completed..........It's amazing what you can do with an old cd, a bit of dowel, a tiny hook and a rubber grommet!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Tour de Fleece Days 12 & 13

Day 12 ~ ran out of combed fibre so had to comb some more.
Here's day 13:

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 11

It's more of the same ~ more washing & combing fibre and a little spinning:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 10

I shouldn't have counted the rest day as day 10,  getting confused with it!
This is what I did on day 10:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tour de Fleece Days 9 & 10

I'm a wee bit behind at posting here.

Day 10 is a rest day, although I did do a bit more fleece washing & combing.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 8 ~ Challenge Day

Day 8 was a challenge day, for me this meant taking a break from spinning the brown/grey half bred to continue working on spinning some very fine Polwarth singles:

I also washed 4 bags of fleece which is till drying, did a bit of combing and plied some of the brown half bred, which is also still drying. Today I hope to comb some more fibre and spin/ply more of the brown!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Tour de Fleece ~ Day 7

One week of Tour de Fleece is over already and I feel that I have achieved quite a bit.
The raw fleece volume seems to be steadily decreasing, it seems to take forever washing bag after bag yet there seems to be no decrease in the amount remaining. Today was the turning point for that.

I've also done a wee bit of dyeing ~ some silks and a bag of orphan fleece that I found while rummaging in the cupboards, I have no idea what it was but it was a mid brown colour ~ so into the dyepot it went along with some burgundy dye that I mixed up. I shall post pics once it rinsed and dried.

TdF day 7, here's my storm in a teacup:

At last I have 2 bobbins full so I may get to start plying that later today. Each bobbin has 260g of singles. In the meantime I'm washing and combing more of the fleece it as I'm about to run out of combed nests. It's a sunny, cold but blowy day here today, good for getting fleece dried.

Silk/merino lace weight, 100g cakes. The grey one is a gradient of violets to grey.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Tour de Fleece ~ Day 6

Here's yesterday's progress, I finally got some small skeins of finished yarn:

Such a dull, grey day so not very good light for taking photo's.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Tour de Fleece ~ Day 5

I bet you all thought I had fallen off my spinning wheel with me not posting here yesterday!
I had a long day at work and it was dark when I got home, I spun the fleece that I had dyed and combed ~  here's yesterday's progress:

I also washed some more brown/grey fleece as I've almost run out of combed top. Hope to get ahead with that over the next few days.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Le Tour de Fleece ~ Day 4

I'm feeling all spun up and combed out today ~ here's my progress:

I added my colour inspiration for the 3 colours of dyed fleece to my basket, a dried out Hydrangea. I'm working tomorrow so I won't have much to report unless I get up extra extra early and spin before I go!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Tour de Fleece Day 3

My day 3 was spent much the same as the previous 2 days ~ more dyeing locks, combing and spinning.

I'm dyeing some of my white half bred fleece in various colours to tone with the brown/grey of my other fleece, it's hopefully destined to be a colour work sweater. So far I've dyed copper and mango shades and today I did a rose gold colour - which looks much better in real life than I could capture with the camera:

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Tour de Fleece Days 1&2

Day 1 yesterday and most of the day was spent washing and combing fleece.
Day 2 today, I spent the morning and afternoon spinning, combing and dyeing a little more fleece. It's been a very unseasonably warm day ~ great for getting my fleece dried. Here's my progress of days 1 & 2 in pictures:

I started with a raw half bred brown/grey fleece, washing it in batches, hand combing then spinning. Alongside that I'm dyeing a white half bred fleece in different colours to comb and spin. Enjoying myself immensely, what a fibre-y few days it has been!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Tour de Fleece 2016

It's that time of year again, and this year I actually managed to remember to sign up for the Tour de Fleece spin along over on Ravelry which starts tomorrow. It runs July 2nd - 24th. I missed it for the past couple of years. Hopefully it will help me be more focussed and time-organised with my fibre prep and spinning. This year I joined the Lantern Rouge and the Raw Wool Lovers Team.

So, I've been busy prepping and here are my TdF goals for 2016:

1. To continue washing and combing this gorgeous brown/grey half bred fleece that has been lurking in my cupboard for almost a year, and to hopefully make a start on spinning it:

I've scoured and combed for 93g of nests so far.

2. To spin more of this lovely combed polwarth fleece:

3.To dye my remaining white half bred fleece, comb it and spin at least a sample skein.

I will post any progress I make over the next few weeks. I'm excited to be taking part again.

I was trying to cover all bases for myself in having white, coloured and dyed fleece, if I get bored with one I can move to another and so on. I doubt I will even get all of the brown/grey fleece washed and dried as it weighs 2.8kg, that's a lot of fibre to wash in batches. I got a bit of a production line going with it today, but looking at it  now still laid on the table ~ I don't seem to have made much of a dent in it!