Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cold Sheep Anniversary

Well, it has been a year since I climbed up on the sheep.  It is very hard to believe that a year has passed.  I'm ashamed to reveal that for an entire year, my total stash numbers have not gone down much.

It has been a productive year in knitting and weaving, but it has also been productive on the spinning side as well.  This month I finished:

Ishbel Redux - 546 yards
Aloha Scarf - 462 yards
Here are my monthly totals:

Starting total for June: 108,781 yards
Yardage purchased:  0

Yardage received as gift:  0
Yardage destashed:  0 
Yardage used in finished projects: 1,008 yards
Ending total for June: 107,773 yards

And here are my annual totals:

Starting total:  108,649 yards
Yardage purchased: 4,556 yards
Yardage received as gifts and stash exchange: 3,642 yards 
Yardage destashed: 2,862 yards
Yardage used in finished projects:  8,784 yards (not including hand spun)
Ending total: 105,201 yards*

Cold Sheep conclusions:

I definitely have had a change in my buying habits (i.e., lusting after yarnie goodness). I think I have realized that there is always going to be yarn for purchasing and that I don't need to buy like the stuff is going away like the dinosaurs.  I think that I'm well padded and am enjoying the yarn I have in my stash and that I will slowly make my way through the yardage as patterns catch my eye.

My new goals are to spin to knit and weave so I believe my yarn purchasing mojo will be greatly reduced except for some exotic and hard to come by fiber.  To prevent going to crazy town, I'm restricting myself to only in person purchases at fiber events.

It has been a revelation to be on the sheep so to speak and I think I will be a life long sheep rider and will keep track of my stash yardage but not stress to much about it.

*Found some additional yardage not counted in the monthly totals throughout the year when reviewing everything for the entire year.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Not a Winner Again....

Well, I'm sad to say that I did not win the raffle for the sheep to shawl that I wove at the San Diego Fair.  I figured I had a good chance since I had two entries this time, but it was not to be.

I hear that the finished shawl turned out well and is amazing and very soft.  I hope to see a picture of it since it has gone to someone else.

I guess it is time to get cracking and find some stash and start spinning for my own shawl since it looks like that is the only way that I will be getting one.....

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bailey has a Twin!

I adopted Bailey from a shelter in Ventura in December 2005.  He was a runt of the litter of 6 male puppies and he was one of two that did not look like the rest.
I took Pepper to meet the litter thinking I was going to adopt the one that looked most like her.
But she did not like any of the puppies.  The only one she did not react to was Bailey who definitely was the low man on the totem pole.  That is him under another puppy.
He was a cuddle bunny right from the start.
After getting him home, he explored and got Pepper interested enough to play.  He definitely has a timid personality and has some fear aggression issues with other dogs that he is not friends with.
Val just sent me a photo of a puppy at Emmylou Harris' animal rescue in Tennessee and he looks almost exactly like Bailey when he was a puppy.
What do you think?

Bailey has grown into his legs and is 5.5 years old now.  He still thinks he is a lap dog.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Del Mar Fair

Spinning and weaving demonstration at the Agri-barn at the Del Mar fair for Father's Day was another success.  I spent the morning sitting at the loom weaving for spectators while others spun fiber into yarn.
This is the shawl that we are entered into a drawing to win that I discussed here.  The loom was warped in 4 hours and Margaret Tyler hemstitched the start before I started weaving.  The weaving commenced at 10:00 am and was completed at 2:15 pm.
After lunch, I wandered to the Home and Hobby building to check out my entries to the fair.

Hemlock Ring Blanket
Hemlock Ring Tam
Orenburg Lace Shawl - First Prize
We also saw some farm animals including sheep, cows, alpacas, and this cute polka dot goat.
There were also these giant turkey drum sticks that people were wandering around gnawing at.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Aloha Multi Scarf

As I discussed here, I warped my newly modified Eolia loom with additional length.

The yarn is Knit Picks Stroll in the color way - Aloha Multi.  These are my favorite colors and the sock yarn is the exact size for the special heddle on this loom.

The variegated sock yarn provided an interesting pattern for the scarf.  The finished scarf used 2 skeins for a total of 462 yards of yarn.

I machined hemmed both ends and folded the ends over and stitched again.

Here is the finished scarf pattern.  
The loom modification is a success in that I got a length of 59" for the scarf.  A perfect size.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Janet's Birthday Celebration at Cucina Urbana

In lieu of regular supper club this month due to vacation plans, we decided to meet for dinner to celebrate Janet's birthday.  She picked Cucina Urbana for dinner.

Kim and I had reviewed the online menu and pretty much figured out what we were going to order.  However, we discovered that the menu online is about a year old and not all of the items are being offered.

First were the cocktails.
Then the appetizers.
 Squash Blossoms
Chicken Pate
Then the entrees.
 Polenta Board with Ragu
Spicy Lamb Sausage Pasta
Finally for the birthday girl.
The final bill for the night.  We got a kick out of the "liver jar."

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Last Fiber Sandwich

As spinning class is coming to a close, our last assignment is the fiber sandwich.  In an effort to destash all of the fibers purchased for class, all the left over fiber is piled on the table in chunks and then divided up amongst the class members.

As this is also the last class to be held at Helix high school and moving all the fiber and equipment is daunting, all the left overs were in play.

This is the resulting fiber.
I got 3 ounces or 84 grams of mystery fiber.  Next up is carding the fibers before spinning commences.

I have some ideas floating around but haven't decided what this will be in the end.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

May Queen Shawl Finished (May Mystery KAL)

The may mystery knit-a-long is complete.  I used 666 yards of hand spun merino/silk yarn in the lichen color way and added some topaz colored beads.
It was a enjoyable knit and the finished shawl is beautiful.  I will be entering it in the Black Sheep Gathering.

Tiziana has not come up with a name for this shawl as yet, but I will update when that happens.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Woven Scarves

I finished some woven scarves from my Ashford loom.  I used leftover yarn from my sample shawl piece.

I tried really hard to make them all the same length but it was an abject failure.  One is really long and the other two are shorter.  I threaded 4 shafts and used the 4-shaft pattern book by Interweave and used three patterns.
I finished them off with my sewing machine and the next step is the washing machine for fulling.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hawaiian Bread

I have been having fun making bread and decided to try my hand at Hawaiian bread since I love eating King's Hawaiian rolls.

Here is the recipe I followed:

1 (6 ounce) can of pineapple juice
2 1/4 teaspoons of dry yeast
3 cups all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup warm 2% milk (100 - 110 degrees)
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
cooking spray
2 tablespoons all purpose flour

Place pineapple juice in a medium sized microwave safe bowl.  Microwave at high 45 seconds or until 100 to 110 degrees.  Dissolve yeast in warm pineapple juice; let stand 5 minutes.

Place yeast mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.  Add 1 cup of flour to yeast mixture; beat until combined.  Add warm milk, egg, sugar, butter, and salt, beating to combine.  Add 3 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until combined (dough will be very soft and sticky).  Beat at medium-low speed 2 minutes.  Scrape down sides of bowl.  Lightly coast sides of bowl with cooking spray.

Cover bowl with a damp towel.  Let dough rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 1 hour or double in size.

(Gently press two fingers into dough.  If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat 2 (8") round pans with cooking spray; dust each pan with 1 tablespoon flour, Divide dough evenly between prepared pans.  cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 45 minutes or until doubled in size.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

I decided to use a smaller bowl for the proofing which worked fine.
After separating the dough into the pans, I discovered that my oven has a proofing function.  Since I have never used it before, I had to pull out the dreaded manual.  I turned it on and stuck the pans with the dough into the oven and set the timer for 45 minutes.

I then took them out and heated the oven and then baked the bread for 30 minutes.
They didn't exactly fill out the pans, but the consistency was good but the taste was off.  Val had a bite and stated it seemed just like King's Hawaiian bread.

The bread is tasty but just did not meet my expectations.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mystery KAL Clue 4

I was able to finish clue 4 of the mystery KAL and start clue 5 before I ran out of yarn again.
I have to spin up another 2 ounces of yarn before I finish the shawl.  I can't wait to see it blocked out.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Puni in Disguise

A while back, I was carding cotton fiber for spinning.  I described it here and proclaimed myself the puni queen.

Well, the other day, I saw this on the floor.
It looks quite similar to my cotton punis and is naturally formed.  The dogs have been shedding their coats and this "puni" formed on its own by the drafts and movements of the dogs.  I might be able to spin this.....but the question is should I even try?

Monday, June 6, 2011

New Battery for the mSpinner

The search has been one for the smallest longest running battery for my HansenCrafts mSpinner.

I confess that I currently have four batteries and they range in running time.  The first battery I purchased comparatively is large and bulky but lasts for days on a charge.

I then purchased two more based on recommendations from the HansenCrafts Ravelry group and those two batteries only differ by a manual or auto select button.  Those batteries last at least two days with off and on running and since I have two - I alternate between them.
The last battery I purchased came from an ebay seller in China.  Wouldn't you know that someone managed to have a no frills small battery that is estimated to last 15 - 18 hours on a charge.

Here is what the battery looks like - definitely no frills.
It is definitely smaller and more compact than the other three batteries that I have and so far is the cheapest.  I have started using it from its first charge and so far everything is working exactly right.  There are no extra tips but the one it has is an exact fit for the mSpinner.

I'll report back when I get an accurate read of the longevity of the charge.  I do wish that the cord was a little longer so I could keep the battery stashed in the bag with the mSpinner on top.