The first step is admitting you have a problem.

My problem is, I’ve bought 4 spindles in as many weeks.  Two of them have fiber on them, one is going to be used for plying very soon, and one is waiting for my Ravelympic challenge in July, so I can’t start spinning with it until the opening ceremonies. I blogged about the Golding rooster spindle a few weeks ago. Since then there’s been one Greensleeves, one Schacht, and one Sistermaide. Let’s start with the Greensleeves:

Queen’s Sceptor, Katherine Howard in purple heart and bubinga. Pictured with Spunky Eclectic roving in Sex On The Beach.

This is my second Greensleeves spindle, and once again I’m impressed with how long it spins. The craftsmanship is superb.  Just look at the details in the grain close up here:

…and here.

I’m going to spin on this during the Olympics using the turquoise top I bought during the Yarn Crawl in March.  Once again I have no complaints at all about Greensleeves and they are a very close second to my favorite spindle company, Golding Fiber Tools. Now, on to the Schacht.

This is a very nice spindle for the low, low price of $19. It only comes in one type of wood  but it’s very pleasing to hold and it spins well.  This model weighs 1.1 ounces. It’s a good price for anyone looking for a starter spindle, though it might be a little on the lightweight side.

I bought the Schacht from WC Mercantile. They’re online and they have a brick and mortar store in Texas.  I purchased the spindle on their Etsy shop, and then I followed their link to their website. There I bought 4 ounces of undyed firestar.  Since I didn’t know about the main site beforehand, I assumed I would get two separate packages. Both items arrived within a week in the same box, with only one shipping charge.  I love how this company was on the ball, even if I wasn’t.  That’s good customer service, and I’ll definitely place more orders with them in the future.

This is my newest spindle, a Sistermaide.

I couldn’t find any reviews or any feedback on Ravelry or through Google. I liked the starburst wood inlay pattern, and I liked that Sistermaide spindles are reversible.  They can be a top whorl or bottom whorl by simply switching the hook to either end of the spindle. That said, this is a perfectly servicable spindle.  This model weighs 1.9 ounces, and there’s a notch in the whorl. The spin isn’t nearly as long as on other spindles I own, but it functions well enough, it’s pleasant to look at, and it gets the results I want.  I’m getting the same results on this spindle as I do on my others. Unfortunately, I am SO out of love with that fiber color now that I’m seeing it spun up, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Get me a mint julep, would you?

This weekend was beautiful, and I didn’t end up doing much of anything.  I wanted to go to the movies but didn’t feel like making a hike anywhere, and the local theater was playing nothing I wanted to see. No Avengers, No Prometheus, nothing! Sometimes nothing is a good thing.  I cleaned the kitchen, cleared out some old magazines and catalogs I don’t want lying around the house, and followed it all with a relaxing spell on the deck. I even had some company. Spike likes the Adirondack chairs almost as much as I do; he hops right up onto them and makes himself comfortable. He is definitely one spoiled pooch.

I made a quick and easy supper.  Nothing complicated, just a simple casserole from a book in my vintage, or “classic” cookbook collection. I love cookbooks from the sixties and seventies; no one worried about pesky fat or calories or heart attacks! Everyone ate meat, butter and cheese like they were going out of style! Tonight’s entree was an easy cornmeal casserole, i.e., polenta.

I never knew how unforgiving the camera flash could be until it revealed how much black pepper I (deliberately) put on top of this casserole. Oh well. Here’s the recipe, from 1970’s Italian Casserole Cooking by Angela Catanzaro. According to the back book jacket, Angela is a “diminutive brunette bursting with energy.” oh, you Mad Men-type publishers, you!

CORNMEAL CASSEROLE (Casseroula di Polenta)

1 cup cornmeal

3 tablespoons of butter

1 lb fresh sliced mushrooms

1 cup tomato sauce or 1 8-oz. can of tomatoes

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Freshly ground pepper to taste (emphasis mine)

Cook cornmeal according to label on package. Turn cooked cornmeal into greased 2-qt. casserole dish. Level top of cornmeal with spoon. Melt butter in skillet and saute mushrooms 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce and stir. Pour over cooked cornmeal. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serves 4-6.

Just a few of cook’s notes. I blindly follow recipes the way I blindly follow knitting patterns.  So next time I’ll probably rethink cooking otherwise healthy vegetables in 3 tablespoons of butter.  It was a lot of butter.  This type of dish is very friendly to veggie substitutions. I don’t like mushrooms so I used zucchini instead.  but polenta can be bland.  Adding parmesan cheese to your polenta makes a world of difference. What’s that? Your box of cornmeal has recipes for cornbread and hush puppies on the label, but not polenta?…just like my box. Here’s a simple polenta recipe if you’re similarly stranded:

4 cups of water, 1/2 cup of cream (or milk, skim, soy, etc.) and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese to every 1 cup of cornmeal. You can add a pat or two of butter if you want.  Bring the water by itself to a boil first, then slowly shake in the cornmeal.  Whisk it briskly and get out the lumps. Continue to whisk and quickly add the cream, cheese and butter. Whisk constantly for 5 minutes, until the polenta thickens. That’s it. Lots of people tell you that you have to stir polenta for an unbearably long time, but five minutes will do. You can tell when it’s thick enough.  Enjoy!

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