Friday, July 26, 2019

What’cha Wanna Weave?

Pennsic XLVIII

-        Questions to ask before you begin:
o   What kind of project are you weaving?
o   What width?
§  Wide fabric? Full loom
§  Narrow fabric? Belt loom
§  Band/belt? Inkle, box, table loom
o   What length?
§  Continuous warp
§  Open warp
o   How intricate?
§  Rigid heddles
§  Finger picking
§  Card weaving
§  Floating heddles (punch cards)
§  Fixed shape

-        Full/floor loom
o   Width of your wingspan
§  How far you can repeatedly throw a shuttle
§  Normally up to 5’ (60”)
o   Infinite length
o   Varied complexity
§  Rigid heddles (4 is common)
§  Punch cards
§  Finger picking
o   Takes up a large space/small room

-        Belt/back strap loom
o   Most traditional fabrics, still used by modern native cultures
o   Only requires a couple of sticks, two bands (or belts), and an anchor (tree)
o   Shoulder width
§  Vikings ~ 26”
o   Infinite length
o   Varied complexity
§  Rigid heddles
§  Punch cards
§  Finger picking

-        Small looms
o   Box, Inkle, Card weaving looms
o   Inkle
§  Normally has one set heddle
§  Small work space that can be used for card weaving but can be tight
§  Has a set maximum yardage
§  Has small width (couple of inches, depending on loom)
o   Card weaving loom
§  Set maximum yardage
§  Small width
§  Larger working space
o   Box loom
§  Variable length
·        Weighted warp or wrapped around peg
§  Width often up to a foot
o   Weighted loom
§  Open ended warp that wraps around a peg on the finished end and floats off the edge on the far end with weights on each warp
·        If using poppable bobbins or washers, you can run a bolt through the centers to keep them in order
o   Tapestry/Pin/Frame loom
§  Hand weave each thread
§  Constrained to a fixed shape

-        Warp
o   Depending on the tension of your warp, your fabric can be Warp Facing or Weft Facing
o   If using a fixed length loom, your warp is going to get tighter as you work, and your image will begin to lengthen.
o   Tablet weaving can quickly tighten up your warp if you continuously rotate your cards in the same direction and twist up your warps.
o   You want to make sure you “pack” your wefts evenly so as not to distort your image (a plastic ruler works very well)
o   You also want to keep your warp threads at a consistent width
§  Keep the tension in your weft consistent so as to not choke the warps
§  Different cards can space your warps more (wood, bone, hard plastic) or less (poker cards)
§  Rigid heddles and combs will space them out a lot
§  You can use a spacer (which also helps keep threads from switching places)

-        Thread
o   Make sure you are using the correct thickness and “polish” for your project
o   Crochet cotton has a good thickness and resilience for beginners
o   Wool can felt if it rubs together too often
o   Silk can chew through thinner cards
o   Metallic thread can be used but isn’t very structural.  You can run a structural weft thread and then shadow it with the foil.
o   Card weaving will produce a fabric twice as thick as other techniques because it alternates between four (or six) threads per stitch instead of two. This also allows for different designs on both sides.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Decanting for Pennsic

Six boozamahals have been steeping for this year's Pennsic!

I did the first sitting for about a month, decanted and refilled with vodka and let sit for another month.  Today I checked the flavor and bottled it and I'm not in love.  I don't know if it is that I used a different vodka than previous years (Platinum 7X instead of 360) or I just need epic fucktonnes of sugar and some water.  But it is lack luster anyway so I just left it as is with about a cup of white sugar.

I only had one vodka pour of about two cups and five or six weeks.  I ended up adding about two cups of white sugar and a cup of water.  It's drinkable, but not my best work.

This one had only been going for a week. I poured out about 12 oz of liquid, then combined the blueberries with more vodka and brought it up to a simmer since I'm only going to be able to leave it for a couple of days.

So far, so good!  I had about 3.75C of liquid after pulling out the coffee beans.  It could have been ok to just add potato vodka as is, but I'm greedy and filled it up with coffee grounds again,

Is divine! Got two cups of liquid put aside, and added two cups of potato vodka to the solids for a couple of days before adding to the first pull.

This is also amazing in how it brings out all of the spices.  Same process as the mango.

I have no idea when I'll be headed to Pennsic (sometime this weekend? whenever I finish sewing) but I'll probably decant everything right before I leave to allow for maximum steepage.


In egg news, I rejarred a bunch last week and added a can of sliced beets to that batch.  They tasted ok at first, but I am glad to say they did pull in more of the beet flavor in only a few days.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Sesame seed and soy sauce eggs

  • 2 dozen eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

Boil soy sauce, water, and seasonings together.  
Add oil, vinegar, and eggs.  
Bring back up to a boil and split into two quart sized mason jars.
Refrigerate and let pickle for at least a week.


  • peel of two naval oranges and one grapefruit
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 2 tablespoons honey

  1. Combine peels, water, and sugar in blender and pulse a couple of times to a coarse texture.
  2. Heat in a pot right below a boil for about an hour.
  3. Filter out solids and combine with vodka.
  4. Correct flavor balance by adding water, vodka, and/or honey as needed.
There was a call for gifts for the Royalty of the East Kingdom (SCA).  In her writeup, the Queen stated she liked limoncello, which I know I can make.  But I decided to take some liberties to make something more palatable for camping in August.  Originally I wanted to use tangerines or Little Sweeties, but the only ones at the store were shriveled and unappealing.  The naval oranges ended up having the nicest of rinds, plus one grapefruit for more depth of flavor.  At the end of the flavor correction, I decided to add some honey to have a bit of softness that offsets the bitterness of the grapefruit.  The combination worked surprisingly well.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Honey and Anise pickled eggs

2 dozen eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon anise seed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
1/2 cup honey

Dissolve honey in water and add garlic and seeds, bring to a low boil for half an hour. Add vinegar and eggs and bring back up to temperature. Split into two quart jars and top off with more vinegar if needed.

Based on the article The Ancient History of Deviled Eggs: (emphasis mine)

According to Apicius, a collection of Roman recipes believed to have been compiled sometime between the fourth and fifth century A.D., boiled eggs were traditionally seasoned with oil, wine or broth and served with pepper and laser (which was also known as silphium, a plant driven to extinction by the first century A.D.). Another recipe called for poached eggs to be dressed with soaked pine nuts, lovage (an herb of the parsley family with an anise, celery flavor), pepper, honey, vinegar and broth.