Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Productive Day

I feel like I got a lot accomplished today...I learned something new, dyed some BFL/Tencel batts for my scarf classes next week, and updated two hats that had been big flops.

First I learned how to make my own French Vanilla coffee creamer! You all probably know how to make it already, but it was a revelation to me. Stan and I are addicted to that stuff and it's expensive in the local grocery stores.  WalMart (25 miles away) has it cheaper, but driving 50 miles roundtrip seems a bit counterproductive. So this morning I finally Googled "how to make coffee creamer" and found out that all I have to do is combine a 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk with 14 oz milk (we drink skim milk) and a tablespoon of vanilla in a glass container and mix thoroughly. Wow! It's so easy and I actually think it tastes better than the name brand stuff we've been drinking.  Also, I don't need a science degree to decipher the ingredients, it's just sugar, milk, and vanilla.  There are no preservatives, so it will only last two weeks in the fridge, but we'll go through it in less time than that. I'm thinking we'll save at least $1 to $1.50 a batch making it ourselves, not to mention the gas savings and less plastic in the recycling bin.

Here is a shot of the updated Shetland hat. I started it a few months ago and I had ripped off the Romney fiber because it wasn't attaching, so it was a VERY thin Shetland hat. Today I needled on leftovers from the dyed batts I used for the colorful felted jacket (Shetland/BFL cross). After needling it in, I wet it down and worked in the colored fibers. I like it much better now!  The color in the photo below is more representative of the actual hat than the color in the front view above.

I also dyed the Finn hat I made a couple months ago.  I loved the sturdiness of the felted Finn wool, but I hated the white color with blue silk caps felted in. Now it's a purple/blue hat. I still need to add a hat band.

I've got two projects on the needles right now. One is a baby sweater for my niece's baby shower and the other is a lacey scarf knitted from laceweight yarn which is Suri alpaca blended with my BFL and nylon. Thanks to Susan Simonton for sending me a sample of the yarn she had made. It's very nice stuff! One of these days I will get that scarf finished - I'm half way through it now.
The baby sweater is my take off on Elizabeth Zimmermann's Tomten.  I wanted to use acrylic yarn for it since new moms don't have a lot of time to care for wool garments, so I went with Bernat Baby Jacquard yarn.  But once I got started, I just couldn't stand to waste that self-patterning yarn in garter stitch.  So I'm doing the Tomten in stockinette with garter borders.  I hope it turns out okay.


  1. Beautiful work Becky. I can't say enough good things about those hats, they are true works of art. The colors in that first one are my favorite, I gravitate to blues.
    I sure hope you are going to enter some of this stuff at WSWF this year!!!

  2. Gorgeous, Becky! I love that first hat. Your projects are inspiring. :-)

  3. Thanks Kelly and Franna!
    Hmmm, about Jefferson - it would sure be nice if they would add a felting category to the Shetland fiber competitions...I am looking forward to the UK judge doing the handspun skein contest this year. Hopefully I will have a skein to enter!

  4. The hat is beautiful Becky! And thanks for the coffee creamer recipe!

  5. Thanks Terri. About the coffee creamer, it was great the first day, but the vanilla flavor kind of languished in the next few days. I'm thinking I would use half and half instead of the skim milk next time. If you try it, let me know what you think.


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