Rural life: cooking every night

by brenda on July 28, 2014

full dyepots at phydeaux hq
Used to be that when I was super tired after a very long day of dyeing yarn working on multiple deadlines, we’d just go out to eat for dinner.

Those were the days.

When you live 40 minutes from “civilization” (meaning the closest place to buy anything to eat that I don’t have to cook), you cook dinner anyway, regardless of exhaustion levels.

I don’t always do the shopping – Dad ends up going to town more often than I do – which means I often figure out what to eat based on surprise ingredients.

And it’s tricky to keep a dinner balanced if you’ve run out of vegetables, although I’m trying to keep a stock of emergency vegetables in the freezer.

morning sunshine at phydeaux hq in the mountains

Dad likes to eat early, so I have to try to put on my last pot of dye by 3:00 p.m., allowing plenty of time to finish up, spin out and hang yarn, and clean up.

He’s usually starting to ask me what we’re going to eat early in the day. Like 10 in the morning.  I’m not that organized (but will have to start planning the week out as we approach Fall and Winter weather, to make sure we have enough food in case of icy roads)!  And I kinda enjoy making it up on the fly.

But tonight he knew what dinner was going to be and was pretty excited: fried chicken.

I haven’t made fried chicken in … maybe 20 or more years?  Roasted chicken is my thing (with tarragon, fennel and garlic, oh my).

late afternoon at phydeaux hq

But I reached back into my memory of Mom’s fried chicken, consulted the interwebs for oven fried chicken, marinated my chicken in buttermilk overnight, browned it after breading (just flour, baking powder, seasoned salt and fresh ground pepper) in the frying pan and baked it in the oven.

According to Dad (“nom, nom, nom”), it was a success.  But I have some work to do on this.  It was a little mushy (probably not hot enough oil for frying) and it was missing an essential ingredient on further reflection: paprika.  Mom always put paprika in her flour mixture.  Dagnabbit.

In any event, we enjoyed our chicken with an arugula salad and cheddar/garlic biscuits (frozen, sorry, but I do make killer buttermilk biscuits).

I love making salads and tonight’s was very good:

Big handful of arugula, washed and dried
Handful of grapes
A good sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese
Some chopped up walnuts
Chopped up green onion
Italian dressing (I used a spicy dressing, which was a nice contrast with the sweet grapes and creamy feta)

Toss and enjoy – would be very good with grilled fish (we eat a lot of salmon!).

Back to the chicken – what’s your secret for great friend chicken?


hand dyed yarn: semisolid vs tonal

by brenda on July 21, 2014

midas hand dyed yarn by phydeaux designs

Do you get a little confused about hand dyed yarn terminology?  I know I used to – and sometimes still do.

To a certain extent, maybe everybody does, because finding a rock solid definition for anything related to hand dyed yarn can sometimes be tricky.

For instance, what’s the difference between “semisolid” and “tonal” colourways?

Oh, wait, let’s back up one step: what’s a colourway, you ask?  That just means the color of the yarn or fiber.  The range or combination of colours in which a style or design is available.

I think “semisolid” is a little more clear than “tonal.”  A semisolid colourway is not quite … a solid.  You could call Phydeaux’s Midas colourway (shown above) a semisolid, with so many shades and tones of gold, but a true semisolid would be ONE gold color in varying intensities.  A semisolid can involve multiple layers of color, or maybe just one color bath, allowing the yarn to take up the dye to varying degrees, resulting in a blotchy – in a pretty way – color.

Any of Phydeaux’s non-variegated yarns could be called “semisolid.”  And many of them are, but many of them also contain subtle – or not so subtle – shifts and flecks of color.  Midas, for instance, is a lot of beautiful golds, with flecks of red and rust and pumpkin throughout.  So what do you call that?

You could call it a “tonal” colourway.  Tonals tend to involve more layers and glazes of color, resulting in pops and shifts of different colors.

alchemy hand dyed yarn from phydeaux designs

For instance, “Alchemy” by Phydeaux is a deep, dark, mysterious semisolid, which all sorts of shifting colors, from berry to deep gold to hints of green and blue and grape and red and brown.  Alchemy’s dyeing process takes at least four different dye baths of completely different colors, which creates all that shifting color, along with a lot of depth and dimension.

If you google “semisolid vs. tonal yarn,” your gazillion (or 79,500) results will all differ.  I personally love dyeing, and knitting, semisolids full of life, depth and dimension, with subtle shifts and breathes of differing colors throughout.  So I suppose I love dyeing and knitting tonals.  Or semisolids.  Or semisolid tonals.

Which do you prefer knitting:  semisolids or tonals?


phydeaux has a … fido!

by brenda on July 16, 2014

kody the bernese mountain dog

A big welcome to our new family member, Kody!  After years of being a cat only household, a dog is a big challenge.  But a good one.

Kody is an older rescue, a Bernese Mountain Dog mix, from our local animal shelter.  It’s only been a few days, but there’s a lot of love going on.  And a lot of mad reading about dog behavior and training.  :)

How are the cats adjusting?  Molly’s traumatized, the other two could care less.  Everyone’s being kept apart  while training continue (and Kody will remain on a leash during continued training).

Kody’s great company while reskeining yarn in the shop up the hill (our property is on a steady grade – it’s a hike to skein yarn!).  I think he’s pretty happy to be here – what a nice change from his concrete and steel cage, right?

Do you have a dog/dogs?  What’s your best piece of training advice?


big phydeaux change: ready to ship yarn!

by brenda on July 9, 2014

sunglow laceweight hand dyed by phydeaux

After months of weighing the pros and cons, I’m implementing a big change for Phydeaux:  moving from offering dyed on order skeins to offering ready to ship yarn.

In fact, I have a nice stack of new yarn in the shop now – and will continue to update with new yarns each week.

Ready to ship yarn will ship in two days from time of order (usually within 24 hours!).

There will still be monthly pre-0rders and limited edition colourways, along with mini skein collections and clubs.

golden pear beurre dk hand dyed by phydeaux

But as I dye yarn shop and other orders, I’ll be dyeing extra skeins for shop updates.  Along with experiments, sweater quantities as I have time, and lots of one of a kind colourways.

Want to know when a new update goes live?  You can join the free mailing list for shop updates – just a quick email letting you know that an update has just gone live.  You can also follow Phydeaux on Facebook and Instagram to be in the know.

Dyed on order skeins will still be available for the next week or so, but ready to ship yarn is available right this second, in the “new” section in the shop!