Monday, January 31, 2011

Yarn Diet and Cold Sheep Progress

Well, this month ended up going in the wrong direction.  Apropos for the beginning of the year.  There are so many things I want to do this year.  Since I am not planning anymore leisure trips, I hope to accomplish some of my wish list.

I decided not to make any resolutions this year.  I'm going to take it slow and easy and be happy with whatever I can accomplish.

I fell of the sheep with my purchase the Woodland Winter Mittens from KnitPicks to make those cool mittens.  So that increased my stash yarn by 3,234 yards.

I also purchased 4 ounces of bison/merino (97/3) fiber from Judith MacKenzie at the espinner retreat in Forks, WA.  I'm planning on spinning a lace two ply with another fiber yet to be determined.

From my fiber pusher, I purchased a pound of superwash BFL, a pound of Polworth, and a pound of Merino/Bamboo/Silk.

I also purchased 8 ounces of BFL/Silk (85/15) from Sacramento when I was there for a work trip.

Finished Projects:

Shamrock Tam - knit for Mary in trade for sewing lessons.  136 yards.
Hemlock Ring Blanket - hand spun alpaca.  659 yards.

Starting total: 108,649 yards
Starting total for January:  107,172
Yardage purchased:  3,234

Yardage received as gift:  0
Yardage used in finished projects:  136
Ending total for January:  110,270 yards

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weaving Greta

My floor loom has been very lonely with nothing warped on it.  A few months back, I purchased a weave kit called Greta on sale from The Woolery.  Greta is a Cottolin Towel Kit yielding 4 towels approximately 16" x 24".  Cottolin is a combination of cotton and linen which is very absorbent and easy to care for.

I decided to tackle warping the loom front-to-back after reviewing the video Warping Your Loom from Interweave Press.

The kit came with the warp already wound in two bundles.  The threads are quite a bit thinner than I have used in the past so it was tricky to keep every strand separated.

Even though the pattern comes with four patterns - plain weave, twill, broken twill, and herringbone or goose eye, I decided to thread the heddles consecutively  I can weave three of the patterns with this configuration.

It took quite a bit of time but I finally got the loom warped.  I think it was easier warping front-to-back with the video right in front of me.

Here is the warp on the loom.
I really liked the method used to tie the front beam.  My bar is metal so it was quite a bit heavier so I had to supplement additional tie ups and then tighten them up later.  The tension is exactly even.

I also wound up a bunch of bobbins for my boat shuttle so everything is ready to weave.
I started the weaving and found it very easy, however I seemed to be having a problem catching the end thread.  Not sure why this is, but I missed both edges.  The instructions stated to try to start from the other side, but that didn't work either.
I'm doing a twill here for the first one.  Maybe even the second one and changing to the broken twill for the next two by just changing the treadle tie up. It is the first time I attempted that too!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dinner with Andrea at the Beach

My friend Andrea was visiting San Diego on vacation this week.  I previously met Andrea through supper club back in 2001.  She has since moved to the east coast and is hoping to move back to San Diego in the future.  After Kim and I finished with our tamale class, we headed to JRDN restaurant in Pacific Beach (right on the beach).

The four original members of supper club still here in San Diego had a very nice dinner outdoors at the beach.  The weather was fantastic and the food great.
Here are some photos of the beach view at sunset.
Life can't get any better than this.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hands On Tamales

I have always loved to eat tamales.  So when Great News Cooking School had a class on making them, I was ready to sign up.  I tried to get my fellow supper club peeps to join and was delighted when Kim decided to join me.  She also brought her mom along who was visiting.

We learned how to buy the ingredients as well as prepare the masa (corn filling).  The types of tamales we were to make included: traditional spicy shredded pork, salsa verde chicken, deviled crab, oaxaca cheese and sweet potato, and grilled pineapple and macadamia nut.

We all got to eat each one of the tamales and then make one of each kind to take home.
Here is Kim demonstrating how to assemble a tamale.  We learned to use certain tools to help the process along and of course had to buy a few items with our 10% discount.
Great News is also running a class promotion where if you purchase 10 classes you will get the 11th one free.

Next up for our supper club is the Farmer's Market class.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ontario Quilt Show

Val and I attended the Ontario Quilt Show this past weekend and it was visually overstimulating.  I have been to different trade shows in the past, but the color diversity and the samples/competition pieces were overwhelming!

The entrance fee was $10 for the day with parking of $8.  We arrived after a lunch at the Panda Inn just down the road from the convention center.  We were lucky in that the up close handicapped parking lot was open for everybody.  We got a really close parking space.

The crowds here were as large as the ones at Maryland Sheep and Wool.  In some aisles, we just had the "put on our patience panties" according to Val and just wait it out.

At the entrance to the exhibit hall, a Boy Scout Troop had this sign.  You can have your purchases "bag sat" by the troop as you continued to shop.

There were fabrics, sewing machines, long arm quilt machines, buttons, thread, patterns, needles, gadgets, and more fabrics.

I walked away with a quilt kit - here are some photos of it.
I also got some patterns, some fabric, and an iron.  There was a show special for this iron and it came with a free board cover.  See the video of this one of a kind iron their website.

Here is the store from San Diego demonstrating a long arm quilt machine.
There were also aisle upon aisle of competition pieces.  I took some photos of a few that caught my eye.  I can't imagine the work that went into some of these pieces.  I wasn't able to take down all the quilters or names of the pieces.  A few of these pieces were works in progress for over 5 years.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

HansenCrafts Service Outstanding

At the epinner retreat with Judith MacKenzie in Forks, WA, I was able to purchase a cherry Woolee Winder for my miniSpinner.  At first, Kevin Hansen stated that I would need to e-mail him my request when I got home, but on the second day, he showed up with a Woolee Winder for me.

Once I installed it, there were no adjustments to be made and I ready to go.  It spins like a dream.

I only bought the one bobbin since Judith made a recommendation that for the cost of another Woolee Winder bobbin, I could buy quite a few weaving bobbins or spool bobbins to wind my yarn for plying.  Judith had previously recommended that each spinner should have at least 30 bobbins for their spinning wheel but it is now quite cost prohibitive.

On the trip home by car and plane, the Woolee Winder bobbin had a mishap.  This is what I found when I unpacked it.
I quickly e-mailed Kevin and asked what could be done.  He replied promptly and told me he would send me another bobbin and to return the broken one.  No questions asked.  How awesome is that customer service?  Kudos to HansenCrafts!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tom Bihn and His Knitting Bags

The last stop before heading home from the espinner retreat was the Tom Bihn factory store in Seattle.

They don't usually have retail hours, but Jude had a special connection and they opened the store just for us before we headed to SeaTac to catch our planes.

They have the coolest bags and the best thing was that Tom Bihn was there in person.

Here are some pictures of their small store which will become larger when they move to their new space next month.
The company has found a niche with the knitting community and their knitting bags are great.  I really like the construction of their products and ended up picking up a few bags.  They have a lifetime warranty on defects and the staff were really nice.

I admitted to Jude that I lust after bags and containers and I was surprised when she confessed to the same affliction.  It is good to be among your peeps.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Beautiful Scenery from the Pacific Northwest

We left Forks after a hearty breakfast.  There was no frost on the car but it was pretty chilly.  Judith and Sue Shane (the coordinator of the retreat) came by to join us for breakfast.  We hustled and got on the road by 8:30.

I took some photos on the first morning at the Miller Tree Inn and it was what winter should look like in my mind.
Jude drove back to Seattle and we passed some beautiful scenery.
We took the ferry route and had a nice time out of the car sitting in the heated passenger compartment.  The time passed quickly and soon it was time to head back to the car.

It was the first time that I had driven in a car on the ferry.  The cost of the ferry ride was $12.15.  It seemed like a strange amount.

We were able to make it back to SeaTac on the same tank of gas.