Monday, April 30, 2007

Cooks Symposium

Easton, MO. Beautiful weather!!!! Fabulous weekend!

We arrived around 10 pm Friday night and fortunately the rain had come through a couple hours earlier. Things were damp, but the ground was soft and we could easily put in stakes for the tents. We set up in the dark with the aid of the nearly full moon. We managed to find flat ground.

Chris and I stayed in the tents and Jenny and Samia stayed in a cabin. Considering the driving I did that day I could have been convinced to stay in a cabin as well, but I was really looking forward to staying in my tent and buckled down and got to work setting it up. I'm getting better at setting up this particular configuration and I don't think anyone would guess that it was set up in the dark. I had the perfect amount of covers and was very comfortable each night. The ladies who were at the gate were very helpful getting us settled and I brought them a treat of Lienenkugle's Sunset Wheat for their help.

"Of course it's good beer, it's from Northshield!"

I test drove the fire pit from Danr. It worked really well and I don't think it needs the little wall sections in the center. I felt the slopes on the edges did just fine containing the coals. I do think the legs need to be higher. There was not a huge amount of clearance under the firepit and raising the legs by a good 3-4 inches would really improve that. I placed the firepan over a gravel path so that I would not scorch the grass. The weeds coming up through the gravel were fine, but I had a very short fire. I will make a bag for the pan prior to Quest. We were a bit out of the way so not many folks had a chance to see it. Perhaps it will have more visitors at Quest.

I took 4 classes on Saturday. The first was a class on honey and the best part of it was the instruction on making a short mead. It was really nice. Super simple and I am inspired to make some short mead for a feast or any of the events coming up. I have the small 1 gallon kegs (at least I think I still have them) and I should be able to make a quick batch to try out before Quest to see how it tastes. I want to try a ginger spiced quick mead with wildflower honey. That just sounds good to me. We got to sample all kinds of honey. It was a lot of fun!

Next class was on German cookery texts and that was really helpful. I'm inspired to improve my German reading comprehension. My favorite book was the Munich handwritten recipes. I just loved looking at all the different script style. It was so much fun!

The next class was Italian Cookery texts, which was nice, but I didn't learn anything new. She had a nice handout and a good set of resources in the back which will be helpful to add to my library.

Lunch was served and his Grace Cariodoc spoke briefly about cooking, his beginnings in period cooking, his view on respecting the period approach, his interest in doing the research first, pretty much all the things that I agree with. I had a chance to spend time speaking with him and Gueniver from Atlantia Saturday night (for FAR too late) so I could tell him it was all his fault. He laughed. I also asked if I could knit him socks and he said yes, so that will be fun. I think I need to find Sasha's foot size as well so I can knit up a pair for him too.

I took a class on spit roasting after lunch. I didn't learn anything exactly new, but I did get to look at a neat tool they used to keep their spit from spinning. It's a 4 prong item that is placed at the end of a spit and can slide along the spit itself. You slide it forward (towards the meat) turn the spit and then slide it towards the handle to brace it against the upright. It was wicked cool and I need this! After the spit roasting I was exausted and went to the camp to relax.

We had been told that the pot-luck was at 7 so were planning our food prep accordingly and then found out just as we started to get our fire hot that the potluck was starting 30 minutes after court (so approx 6:30) and we had 10 minutes to get our food ready. That made us scramble just a bit, but we got everything ready and on the buffet table shortly after the head table went through. All of our items were well received and there was a LOT of fabulous food to try so it was all good. The sausages were quite good, I was very pleased. His Majesty was very funny and said that he thought there must be someone who looked like me cause it wasn't Lilies or Kris Kinder so I shouldn't have been there. I laughed.

I did my best to spread the word of Mead Meat and More and I hope that Cinniu receives a lot of submissions and a lot of subscriptions. I told people that my sausage recipe would be in the next issue so I better get to work on it. I started Aurelia's socks on Saturday so they are on the way. I can hardly wait for the silk to arrive so i can start on the silk stockings, but first more shade flys and more tents!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Sausage recipe

I tried out a new interpretation of Platina/ Martino's sausage last night. Platina copied Martino, which is why I mention both names. Both were writing about food in Italy in the mid to late 15th c.

The Art of Cooking, Maestro Martino of Como
Platina: On Right Pleasure and Good Health

"How to prepare king of meats with pork or young veal" : Martino
Take some lean meat trimmed of all its sinew, in other words, from the haunch, and some good pork fat or veal fat. Then take some good aged cheese and a bit of fatty cheese and some good spices and two or three eggs and take the necessary amount of salt; and carefully mix all these things together and make them yellow with saffron; and take some large pork intestines and clean well, making sure they are thin and that no fat has remained; and fill with the mixture and press into the intestines, making the sausages as long or short as you like, and they should be boiled within two days because after that they will no longer be as good. Nonetheless they can be conserved for fifteen or twenty days, or longer, if properly handled.

Sausages: Platina (Book VI #22)
Into well ground veal or pork fat mix grated cheese which is not only aged but rich, well ground spices, two or three eggs, beaten with a paddle, and as much salt as the batch requires, and saffron so as to make everything saffron colored. When they are mixed, put them in well washed intestine which has been drawn out exceedingly thin. Mot good unless they have hardened for two days, they require cookings in a pot. they can be kept, however, a fortnight or more, if you add more salt and spices or if you keep them in smoke.

My redaction.

Instead of the haunch (loin) I chose to use a shoulder cut. Most of this choice was based on the difference in cost/ pound (almost $2 less/ pound for the shoulder) but the other reason was that the last time I used loin I felt that the sausages were too dry and I wanted to use a more fatty cut. The shoulder had good marbeling and I carefully trimmed the sinew and bone chunks. I ended up with approx 10 pounds of ground pork and fat. I used a large screen on my grinder for first grind.

To this I added:
10 oz grated parmesan/ romano cheese
3 whole eggs
3 T salt
2 t fresh ground black pepper
3 T fennel seeds
3 T dried marjoram

I omitted the saffron, even though it was called for in each recipe, because I don't care for the taste. I fried up a small sample of the sausage to check to taste. This is a good way to check your batch so that you can add more spices/ salt until you are satisfied.

Once the ingredients were mixed in I ground everything a second time using a finer screen. The meat was stuffed into sheep's intestines. I use an electric grinder and stuffer for my sausage making. I shaped the sausages into lengths measuring the width of my palm and placed them in the refrigerator over night. I boiled them for 10 minutes the next day and will grill them prior to serving.

This was the first time I stuffed sausages on my own. I usually work with another person and was uncertain how it would go by myself, but it was ok once I got the hang of it. I had a small portion of sausage left over that I fried into patties for breakfast. It was heavenly!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sassy Stripes

Loving my new socks!

Can you tell that I was thinking Spring when I picked out this yarn? The colors are so fresh, they remind me of easter eggs.

The yarn is from Cascade and it is the Sassy Stripes Sock Yarn in color #707. It is a superwash wool and is super soft. I used one of the sock patterns in the beginning of Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks. I love how they turned out and they fit very well.

The flowers are the bulbs in my front garden. The perennials are slowly catching up with the warm weather that we have had lately.

This weekend is camping in Calontir for the Cooks Symposium. I can't wait!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Loving the new doors

I'm sewing the wedges with the alternate door design and I have to say that I LOVE it way more than the old design. It is much easier to work with and there is less waste than the old door design. That's not saying much, since the design is very fabric friendly, but this design is even better. It will also give the tent a wider footprint which will add to the stability. Once again, it is pretty stable to begin with.

I cut out both wedge tents, the shade fly, and the new Yeti shade fly. I completed 2 storage bags, the shade fly, 3 stake bags and did all the initial sewing on the wedge tent components over the weekend. All 4 sets of doors are complete and the 2 roofs are complete. Tuesday will involve sewing the doors to the roofs and adding the ground loops and ropes. Everything should be complete and ready for delivery at the business meeting on Wednesday.

The recipients and I discussed the possibility of sewing a kitchen tent like mine and as far as I can tell they should have enough remaining canvas. I used 58 yards so far so they should have 27 yrds left and they only need 21 for the kitchen shade. Or they can hang onto the canvas if there is something else that they would like.

Tonight I'm helping to cut out 3 spoked rounds and watch HEROS!!! They're back!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Everyone is getting "in tents"

Thank you, I'll be here all week. Try the veal.

This is my spoked oval, which is still going strong and still being lovely. I'm still happy with it, which is not too bad.
Soon I will be camping in it at Lilies and WW. Can't wait!

I have 5 friends who are getting period tentage this year. One couple already has a large marquee, but they want a pair of wedge tents and a shade fly and I am going to start sewing them this weekend. I get paid and everything so it works out great for me. Yay!

This is the rough size and shape of the tents I am making. I wrote the pattern and sewing instructions for this tent specifically for people who wanted a period tent but thought they were too complex to make, too hard to transport and too expensive. The tent uses 23-25 yards of canvas and the entire cost including wood, hardware, rope, canvas, grommets, thread, ties, and webbing is $165. You are on your own for stakes and a ground cloth, but with a wedge you can get away with the longer modern metal stakes just fine. The whole thing can be put up by one person (except for raising the ridge) in 20 minutes, about the same time as a modern tent. It measures 8' high, almost 10' long and 8' wide. The 2 I am making will be wider, at 10', so they will use more fabric and a different door design.

My other 3 friends are making spoked round pavilions and I think are doing their own sewing, but I probably will get them started and get the measurements for them, etc. We will start cutting them out on Monday. Although we will need to take a break for Heros. I'm just saying.

At least 3 other people I know ordered canvas tents this year so I am excited to see the spread of canvas in Northshield!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Beautiful weather

I took advantage of the weather yesterday and set out to explore one of the parks in Battle Creek, and the bike trail along 61. I walked for over an hour and covered quite a bit. What a nice end to the day.

I didn't take any pictures, but I found a photographer's site with many pictures of St. Paul neighborhoods, including mine.

Here are some shots of what I saw on my walk (it's not quite this green yet, but it is getting there.)

I was not the only one who was enjoying the day and passed many people enjoying walks, bikerides, climbing the cliffs and having a picnic. It's days like this where I consider purchasing a bike and riding to work. However that would mean I would need to get up earlier, which is pretty hard some days.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

You've come a long way baby

I've known Niklos for a long time. He was one of the people I remember meeting at my first Nordskogen meeting. Saturday he took the baldric of Master of Arms.

He's come a long way from this...

To this...

Good times....

Monday, April 16, 2007


Went to Rochester Saturday, saw two fabulous people step down as King and Queen and two fabulous people step up. Good times. I never got a chance to ask if G2 was wearing the socks, let alone see them, but I will assume that she did. I didn't get a picture cause I'm a moron.

I surprised our new King with a knitted bag to go with his socks. I finished it at the 11th hour and didn't get a picture. Maybe later. Tarik picked up a bronze tombstone for my Halloween Village at Estrella. It is way cool!

I made new purple wool socks for Niklos in honor of his knighting, also didn't get a picture. I'm really sucking at this camera ussage. I purchased enough yarn to make 2 pair, so I will probably make a second pair for my former apprentice sister. If she is agreeable. I caught him while he was getting dressed and had already put on the felted socks that I had made months ago. I made him change cause I'm like that.... The purple socks went with his garb (which was gorgeous purple silk) and they were more period. I spoke for him as a rep of the Laurels and was told that I spoke well, and that people could hear me.

Rachel surprised me and showed up at the event. That blew me away! I hope she had a good time. I agree that she might be happier at a demo or a moot. Coronation is all day court and it's hard to enjoy if you don't know what is going on.

It was decided on Saturday that I will be taking a student in July. I am very excited, and she is as well. I really hope this is a good choice, I have very positive feelings about it. I know there will be some surprised people at WW. My apprentice was at the event so I had a chance to introduce them. She truly showed her grace by taking a cast pewter plaque from her belt and presenting it to my student to be. That was way spiffy and I was very touched.

Sunday was relaxing with gardening and barbecue.

I removed the foot of straw that P had placed on my bulbs last week as the temp dipped to zero and we got an inch of snow. Sunday was in the 60's. I cleared off the hay, prunned the 2 ugly bushes, hooked up the hose and gave the garden a good drink. There are a number of buds getting ready to open.

I spent a good portion of the afternoon sitting in the sun, sipping a Mike's, knitting and taking a nap with the cats.

P was the grill master.

One should be properly attired when handling meat.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I finished the new camica last night to wear at coronation this weekend. When I received my Laurel 2 years ago my friend presented me with embroidered bands that I could use to decorate the cuffs and collar of a shirt/ shift/ camica and I finally got around to using them. I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out. I finished the hand sewing last night and tried it on this morning. It's a bit snug in the underarms, but not horrible. If I need to I can always add gussets.

Saturday I FINALLY dug out a project that I have been delaying for 4 years. I was given some silk knit fabric to make some fitted shirts for my sisters friend. I normally do not work with knit. My sewing machine does not really know what to do with it. Since I was going to see the person on Sunday I thought I should give it a try, so I made a pattern and cut out 2 and sewed them up on Saturday. I am not happy with them, but they are out of my house, which is a good thing.

I started the fabulous purple socks on Sunday night and I'm still a few inches away from turning the heel. I would really like to have them done for Saturday, but I don't know if that is possible. I still have to block Icarus and it is not looking like that will happen this week, too much other stuff taking priority.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Binding off!

I finished the FINAL row of the Icarus shawl at knitting last night. Took a deep bow to encouraging applause and put it away so I could concentrate on the binding off process when I got home, since it seemed (at least on first reading last night) to be "a process". Upon arriving home I decided to look at the directions again, and it is not that bad. It's slow and tedious, but not that bad. I should have everything bound off tonight and if I'm really good, I will have it blocked as well. (of course I started binding off last night, I'm nearly to the center)

Today I had an eye exam and my prescription has not changed in the last 5 years, which is great. I had everything checked and while I currently look like an alien with my large pupils, my retina's are very photogenic. I ordered new frames since my current glasses are 10 yrs old. I can still keep them around as a back up pair, which is great. I don't think I will be ordering new contacts. I am all astigmatism (Latin for: god hates you) so contact lenses are very expensive for me. Oh well. During the screening I was asked if I do any detail work. LOL! I told them knitting, sewing, embroidery, etc. One of the techs expressed interest in my felted bag. If she is still there when I pick up my glasses this evening I will give her my card and let her know about the Thursday gatherings.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

100 years

I have been going over some of the words from Harlot's speech last night (to paraphrase): " less than 100 years we have changed from a society that would not consider purchasing something that we could make, to a society that would not consider making something that we could buy...". She continued: "....not only is this new practice of commerce the norm, but people who have interest in making things are considered odd and out of place...".
(once again paraphrasing, I was not taking notes)

As I sat there and watched the nodding heads around me I couldn't help but feel out of place myself, and I really resisted the urge to leap to my feet and yell "then they need to join the SCA cause we make stuff all the time and no one thinks twice about it!"

As a participant in the SCA for 16 years, my norm is being surrounded by people who encourage others to make things, teach them if they have troubles and are interested in hearing what you are up to. The announcement of "I'm hosting a gathering of metal workers at my house and we are going to learn how to cast bronze" is never met with the question "Why?" The usual response is "COOL!" followed by "can I come and what time?" To me this is normal. It is normal to make shoes, to cast pewter, to sew a gown, to knit replica Egyptian stockings, to start a fire with flint and steel, to construct a pavilion. Yes, I do buy things that I do not have the skill, knowledge, or equipment to make; but I, like others, enjoy the process of creating things. I really believe that people who don't like such activities or who can't understand that some people like such activities are dead and souless inside.

What is so different between sitting in an arena and watching cars/ dogs/ horses go round and round and sitting around a list field watching armored fighters go round and round? Are both sets of people passionate? Yes. Do we both think each other are odd? Probably. Is that fair? No. My passions are just as interesting/ quirky/ wierd/ fun/ and expensive as the average scrap booker/ NASCAR fan/ hunter/ doll collector/ etc. (no offense to people who enjoy these pursuits, but they are examples of activities that I would never get into.) That being said I understand them. I understand their mentalities, cause they are the same as mine, just focused in a different direction. I think there are more people in this world who are passionate about activities then we give them credit for. My wish is that we could recognize the passion that is in each of us, even when it is expressed in different ways and respect that passion even if we can't get behind it.

Oh Harlot....

This is the second time that I have heard her speak and she has yet to disappoint. So much fun! The talk was at the William Mitchell College of Law in the auditorium. It was sponsored by the Yarnery (celebrating 35 years!) I believe that there were 400 in attendance. All those wool fumes was enough to make anyone a bit overcome! Naturally Stephanie was funny, articulate, thought provoking, and impecably dressed. (her bohus is astounding) I am concerned about the rasp that she is developing in her voice. I hope someone gets her some herbal tea with honey soon. Perhaps this is a holdover from the harrowing trip to MI?

I wore my freshly finished socks:

The yarn is Onlinie yarn, Supersocke 100, Walking Color #851. I did find that a LOT of green dye was expelled when I first washed them so I do recommend hand washing. The ribbing is a simple K1 P1 for the cuff and a K3, P1 repeat for the body. The pattern is found in Nancy Bush, Knitting Vintage Socks. It was a very simple knit on size 1's. I made the sock for the key chain sock blocker out of the same yarn.

I also wore my maroon mohair sweater that I knit from yarn that I purchased on my first trip to Germany. I traveled through Europe with my sister when I was 20 and she was 18 for 10 weeks. (I still can't believe that our parents let us do that) Naturally I needed something to do on the trains so I purchased yarn and needles in Germany and knitted a sweater as we traveled the rail system of that country. A few years ago I frogged back the original sweater and re-knit the neck (changed it from a boat to a turtle). I deffinately needed the sweater yesterday, and my wool socks, and my cashmere hat, and my scarf, and my gloves cause it was COLD! P was fabulous and dumped an entire bale of hay on our front garden to help protect the spring bulbs that are all coming up (my tulips are a good 8 inches out of the ground). Fingers crossed that we got to them in time and the hay will be enough to keep them sheltered from the cold snap. Silly flowers should know by now that we can get snow in May.

I brought socks to work on during Harlot's talk (as did the other 399 people in attendance).

Cascade Sassy Stripes, color 707

I doubled their length while laughing, cheering, and whooping it up in the back with all the other Woodbury knitters. Sarah was excellent and pulled together a lovely care package filled with discontinued yarn, needles, coffee and chocolate.

I must confess that I have not purchased her new book yet. I'm still debating about buying Knitting Rules instead. She's contracted for another 2 so that will be fun to see what she comes up with.

When I got home I knit 2 more rows on the Icarus shawl (took me close to an hour!). Only 2 more rows to go and then another 4 and I bind off. I'll be so happy when I block this puppy.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

It is the shawl that never ends....

Icarus, I am your bitch....

I am half way through chart 4, the final chart. Once that is done I have 4 rows and then I bind off. I'm nearing 500 stitches so it takes a good long while to finish each row. I'm so close, but it seems like an eternity. I would really like to finish it and have it blocked and ready to mail soon, especially before starting a new project, but I don't know if I will have that luxury.

Yarn Harlot is tomorrow and my socks are done and ready for her talk. I am looking forward to it! I restarted my Cascade stripey socks on size 1's (the zeros seemed a bit on the small side). I'm knitting both at the same time on 2 circular needles. I have approx 3" knit on both. 5 1/2 more inches before I start the heel flap.