Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Yarn Diet and Cold Sheep Progress

Arctic Treasure yarn: 437 yards of 2 ply lace of 60% qiviut, 20% merino, and 20% silk.  Received as payment for knitting Dimma.
Hemlock Ring Tam: 185 yards of hand spun cormo from the Fondle This! club for October 2010.
Barad Dur: 440 yards stash yarn
Arroyo Shawl:  436 yards stash yarn
Starting total: 108,649 yards
Starting total for May: 109,220 yards
Yardage purchased:  0

Yardage received as gift:  437 yards
Yardage destashed:  0 
Yardage used in finished projects: 876 yards
Ending total for May:  108,781 yards

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spinning and Dyeing Homework

 In my spin class, we got a homework assignment and some fiber to do a practice project.

We were given three different fibers - 
Superwash Blue Face Leicester
Merino/Silk Top
Black Wenslydale

The assignment was to spin the each of the fibers separately as a single and then ply the white fibers with the black fiber.

We were then suppose to dye the skeins of yarn to see how the different fibers take the dye.

Here are my results - I decided to use the same color dye on both to really see the difference.
I really can't see much of a difference in the way the different fibers (the white stuff) took up the dye.  The colors look about the same to me.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Barad Dur

Barad-dur is the fortress of Sauron in the heart of the black land of Mordor and close to Mount Doom in the fantasy world of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.  The Eye of Sauron kept watch over Middle-earth from its highest tower.

Barad-dur was built by Sauron, the Dark Lord of Mordor, with the power of the One Ring, during the Second Age.  The building took six hundred years to complete; it was the greatest fortress ever built since the Fall of Angband, and much of Sauron's personal power went into it.

Barad-dur was besieged for seven years by the Last Alliance of Elves and Men and was leveled after Sauron's defeat at the end of the Second Age, but because it was created using the power of the One Ring, its foundation could not be destroyed completely unless the Ring itself was destroyed.  Isildur cut the Ring from Sauron's hand but refused to destroy it, so the Tower was quickly rebuilt when Sauron returned to Mordor thousands of years later.

The Dark Tower was described as existing on a massive scale so large it was almost surreal, although Tolkien does not provide much detail beyond its size and immense strength.  Since it had a "topmost tower" it presumably had multiple towers.  It is otherwise described as dark and surrounded in shadow, so that it could not be clearly seen.

This is the synopsis from the pattern for Barad-Dur from Sunflower Designs.

Here is my completed Barad Dur.
It is made from 440 yards of Knit Picks Gloss (70% Merino Wool and 30% Silk) in the Dusk color way using US 5 needles.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mystery KAL Clue 3

Progress is being made in swift fashion on the mystery KAL.  After receiving clue 3, I was able to finish before the weekend was over.

Here is the completed clue 3.
I can't wait for the next clue to come out over the holiday weekend.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blog Hub Stash Swap

As I previously posted about here, I sent one of my stash skeins to another Raveler - GabyKnits aka Gaby.  Her blog is at livinglavidanormal.com.

I decided to send her some hand spun yarn in a reddish color from some fiber I received when I first started spinning from the Yarn School at Harveyville that I purchased as part of a club on Etsy.

When I was going through my stash, I had a really hard time choosing something since my stash falls in primarily two categories - high price lace yarn and low price craft yarn.  I really didn't have anything in between and I felt it was too cheap to send leftovers from my knitting projects.

I have been going through a cold sheep and yarn diet for the past year and I have culled quite a few yarns from my stash and have pretty much kept my really lovely yarns with projects in mind.  I have also found that I'm more inclined to spin the yarn for projects I want to knit and have been having a really fun time with that even though it probably takes twice or three times as long especially, if I decide to dye the finished yarn.

I decided on the hand spun because I felt it was a good compromise between the luxury yarn that I wanted to stay in my stash and the craft store yarn which would make me feel stingy.

For another perspective, Christine, the person who sent me her stash yarn blogged about her choice here.  It is interesting to read her reasoning and question whether the swap was successful or not.

I have yet to decide what to do with this yarn and after some more contemplation, I will blog about my decision.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Warp on the Eolia Loom

I had previously discussed the new modification on my Eolia loom to increase the warp length here.  I had also placed a new warp with some wool and some hand spun yarn.

When I tried to rotate the heddle, the yarn was too thick and there was no way that I could weave on that warp.  So off the warp came and it was replaced by some Knit Picks sock yarn I got in a swap a little while back.

Here is the progress so far on the scarf.  I really like how the colors are pooling.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sheep to Shawl - Can I Be A Winner?

I have participated in a few truncated sheep to shawl events in the past few years.  Every time there is a demonstration, quite a few people in the spinning class spin roving to specification and Margaret Tyler then does all the figuring and then warps the loom.

At each event, the end result is a shawl.  Everyone who participated in the spinning or the demonstration are entered into a drawing and I've yet to win a finished shawl.  I'm thinking it must be my bad luck again.

For this last demonstration, I did spin some of the yarn but instead of placing my name in the drawing, I'm going to defer to the drawing for the shawl to be demonstrated at the Del Mar Fair.  This particular shawl has mohair and I can't wear any mohair since I end up with a rash.

The Del Mar Fair shawl is made up of white merino and merino top in two colors.  The method of spinning is to take a staple length of each of the colored top and spin them consecutively so there is a color change.  After that single is done, it will be plied with the white merino giving it a barber pole effect.

Here are the fibers that we got for spinning the warp.
Here is the finished 2 ply yarn with a wpi of between 12 - 16.
I will be weaving at the sheep to shawl event on June 19 at the barn at the Fair so if you are interested in seeing this stuff in person, come by and check it out.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Soda Jerked Beans

I had taken some cooking classes at the UCSD Cancer Center last year and one of the recipes that I have made repeatedly has been jerked beans.  It was part of the fiber class and boy were there a lot of fiber meals that overwhelmed my poor system.

I made a batch of jerked beans for my spinning peeps when we got together to spin and it went over really well.  I paired it with my fennel pain au lait buns.
It is very easy since it cooks in the crock pot and there really is no prep work except to dice the peppers and the onion.

Here is the recipe:

12 oz of Soyrizo (optional) - adds a little kick but keeps it vegetarian
28 oz can of diced tomatoes in juice, drained
15 oz can vegetarian baked beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz can butter beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 large onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sparkling apple juice soda
1/2 cup italian lemon soda
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon dried savory
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place all ingredients in a crock pot and cook for 3 to 4 hours.  Season with salt and pepper if needed.

I have never added any salt and pepper and have substituted regular soda and sometimes with only one type of soda.  I have also changed up the types of beans even though I only used the cans.

The meal definitely tastes better the next day so I cooked this the day before our get together and baked the bread fresh that day.

The only downside was at the end of the day when I walked out my guests, I came back in to see both dogs eating the pan of fennel buns.  I guess I will need to bake some more and the dogs will go without food for a couple of days.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mystery KAL Clue 2

The second clue for the mystery KAL came on May 13.  Since I had company for the weekend, I didn't start knitting until the 15th.  I got to row 25 before I ran out of yarn.

So I had to spin some more yarn to continue the knitting.  Here is the second skein.
I also exchanged beads for the nupps and after digging around my stash, I found these topaz colored beads which look great against the green yarn.

Here is the progress after clue 2.
Date of clue 3 release - May 21.

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's All About Padauk

I confess that I am lazy.....I purchased a electronic spinner, the HansenCrafts mSpinner, back on December 19, 2009 for the sole purpose of plying the singles I spun on my treadle wheels.  Back then I had the Louet Victoria and the Schacht Matchless.  The Victoria has since went on to live with someone else.

I then went to a spinning retreat with the Judith MacKenzie and the rest was history....I purchased the woolee winder for my HansenCrafts mSpinner and have been mostly spinning on it with some occasional lace spinning on the Matchless.

When I was at the espinner retreat, I fell in love with the Padauk mSpinner but having just purchased the woolee winder, I could not justify buying a new spinner.

After coming home and spinning with my peeps, the subject came up again and I'm happy to report that my spinning bud, Juliblue, will become a new mSpinner owner since I ordered my Padauk mSpinner.
The cherry mSpinner is numbered 40 and my padauk mSpinner is numbered 645.
Here are the two side by side before parting.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blog Hub Yarn Swap Adventure Match Results

As I posted here, I participated in a yarn stash swap with another Raveler.

Well, I got my delivery and this is what was in the package.
It is Caron Glencannon - a washable wool blend made of ardina yarn 80% dupont orlon acrylic and 20% wool in the color teal blue.

I also got a folded origami crane with a card from Christine aka savvychristine and her blog is at simplesavvy.wordpress.com.

She stated that her mother-in-law purchased a bunch of this yarn at an estate sale and she happily spread the love by sending a skein to me.

I'm going to have to check my stash to see what I can do with this skein of 'lovely' yarn.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lions, Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!

Since I live in San Diego, one of the city's treasures is the world famous San Diego Zoo.  I usually only visit when I have company from out of town with my membership passes.

I visited the zoo this weekend during a cool overcast day (usually the best time).  It was crowded but it was great to see all the newly renovated exhibits.  Due to the cool weather, all the big cats were out and I got some great footage of the bears.
It was a fun day!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spinning Frog Hair

When I first started spinning, I went a little crazy (well a lot actually) and purchased quite a bit of fiber from quite a few vendors.  I bought some fiber from Frog Hair fine fibers on Etsy.com.

All the fiber were in my favorite colors of purple and green.  I had stashed all this great stuff in the cupboard of my craft room - and it was out of sight, out of mind.  I figured that I would "save" this good stuff until such time that I was a much better spinner.

I have learned in the course of spinning that it pays to just start with the good stuff.  The better your raw materials, the better your end product.

I recently re-organized my craft room and all my fiber came out into the light and here were all these braids of fabulously colored fiber.

One of them is this one.
It is a beautiful variegated purple color (which is really hard to photograph) and is 4 ounces of superwash merino.  I was able to spin up 500 yards of yarn that measured 14 wpi (wraps per inch).
It is soft and squishy and I can wait to knit something with it.

I still have these others to go....

Monday, May 16, 2011

Dog Power

I was reading an issue of the Sierra Magazine hanging around the house and saw this cartoon.
I was thinking I could hook Bailey up and generate some power since his tail is always going.  Not so much with Pepper with her little stubby tail.....

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blog Hub Yarn Swap Adventure Match

In the Blog Hub Ravelry group, a new match adventure started.  I had participated in a 7 gift swap in this group before that you can read about here.

This swap is a little different in that it is to help us all churn our stash around.  We are not to buy any new yarn but only choose some from our stash and send it to someone else for blogging and then usage with more blogging.

I was assigned my partner and I need to put my yarn in the mail by the 16th of this month.

Here are the requirements:

In the package, include your yarn, your Ravelry ID, and your blog address so your partner can post with a link to your blog when s/he receives the yarn.

We will be swapping any unused skein (with the wrapper on or attached if it was wound into a “cake”) from our existing stash. Do not buy any new yarn for this swap!
The yarn can be leftover from a project, something you have too much of, something you hate, something you love, something you are regifting - really anything from your stash.
Project and Blog: 
Each swapper will write a blog post when s/he receives the yarn. After writing your post, you should PM the person who sent you the yarn so s/he can also write a post on their own blog linked to the recipient’s post.
Each swapper should attempt to make a project with the yarn and then blog about the project. Since the yarn is only one skein, it can be a small project. If the yarn isn’t your style, you can just work up a swatch of a stitch, for example. If life or WIPs get in the way, a blog post about a planned project is acceptable.
Each swapper is encouraged to blog as much about the project as possible (e.g., about picking or designing a pattern, pictures of the work in progress, completed project, etc.) with a link bank to the sender’s blog when appropriate.
I need to look around my stash and see what I should send.  My swap partner has been assigned with some requirements.  I can't wait to see what will be blogged about my choice.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Supper Club with Bite San Diego

A few months ago, I saw a deal on Livingsocial.com for something called Bite San Diego.  It was a $29 voucher for a three hour walking restaurant tour through the Gaslamp District and Little Italy.

I forwarded the deal to my supper club buds and we all purchased the deal and scheduled our date.

The restaurant stops were:

We started at Royal India where we had an appetizer plate of indian food which was very tasty.  I'm not a big fan of indian food, but I would go back to this place.  We received a coupon for a return visit.
Here is our tour guide Eddie.
We then walked to the Horton theater and then to the U.S. Grant.
A funny story Eddie told us was about President Grant who signed a bill taking the native lands away from the native americans and starting the reservations.  The U.S. Grant hotel land once belonged to the Kumeyaay band.  President Grant's wife and son built the hotel.  It is appropriate that now the Kumeyaay band now owns the hotel and they have their land back.

We stopped for sangria and cheese coated popcorn and the Currant next.
After walking past the Spreckles Theater.
Next was a stop for beer at the Karl Strauss Brewery where we got a lesson on beer brewing.  It seems that this was the first micro brewery ever.
Janet was really enjoying the tasting.
Next to the last stop was shrimp and scallop ceviche at Indigo Grill.
And our last stop were mini cannoli at Cafe Zucchero.
We had a great time and stopped for yogurt at Yogurt Land.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dinner A-Go-Go

I have been getting e-mails from LivingSocial.com which has special daily deals for things around San Diego.  You can specify any city I guess for where you live or where you are going to visit.

There was a special deal for a sample pack of meals from Dinner A-Go-Go for 50% off.

I have had friends use those prepare your own meal places in the past and although this is similar, it is a little different.  Instead of showing up and putting together your own meal, Dinner A-Go-Go prepares everything in advance - I think this is neater and there is no cross contamination of the food.

They have a monthly menu of items that you can order for meals for 2 or 4 and a special sampler pack for 5 meals for one person.

The sampler pack comes out to $20 which equals $4/meal.  I think that is a great deal since if you eat out even at fast food, it will cost over $5 and this meal is much healthier for you.

I purchased two of these "deals" and just placed my first order.  It takes a few days for the preparation and you go buy to pick up your meals to pop into the refrigerator for eating later.

I ordered the following:

BBQ Meatloaf, Rosemary Chicken, Stuffed Portabellos w/Orzo, Soft Tacos, and Teriyaki Yakitori