Saturday, December 31, 2011

Update on Tea Leaves Cardigan

Back in June, I bought yarn and the pattern for the Tea Leaves Cardigan.

I was happy knitting along thinking this would be my go to sweater and it would knit up without any problems.  I was doing really well for a while until I got to the sleeves.

I followed the pattern and found that after knitting half the sleeve, it was going to be too tight to fit over my big arms.  I then realized that I was not going to have enough yarn to finish this sweater since I still needed to finish another sleeve as well as pick up and knit all around the sweater for the trim.

Off I went to the inter webs and looked all around.  I found that Jimmy Beans Wool had the Cove color I was looking for in the Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage yarn.

I placed my order with other extras to ensure free shipping and settled down to wait.  I got e-mail after e-mail stating that the yarn was delayed and in the middle of December, I finally got some positive news that even though the yarn I had on order was still not going to arrive until after the new year, Jimmy Beans stated they had the short skeins (10 yards less per skein) in stock.

I went ahead and swapped out the yarn and just in case, added one extra skein and it finally arrived.
I had to frog the existing sleeve and restarted the sleeve with more stitches.  I picked up 13 stitches to add to the 46 of the sleeve and then knit until I will reach my elbow before decreasing.  I'm estimating that there will be 120 rows of knitting before the cuff which should result in a sleeve length of 16".
I may have to make some other adjustments to make the sleeve fit before moving onto the second sleeve.

Now that I'm knitting on this sweater, I have fallen in love again.  The color is my favorite and the handle of the fabric is very nice.  I'm motivated again to knit on this sweater and hopefully finish in a short amount of time to be able to wear it while I still can this season.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Blue Face Leicester

When I first started spinning, I bought some fiber from Miss Babs Hand-Dyed Yarns and Fibers from her destash page.

I got this pretty colored batt in three bags of about 4 ounces each.
I had just gotten my Matchless spinning wheel and started spinning up the fiber. I was able to get 4 ounces of fiber per bobbin.
I sort of stashed the last batt for a long time and just pulled it out of the closet recently.  The last 4 ounces are being spun up and I have noticed that my spinning is much finer that it was.  I went back to old school by using the regular hook flyer instead of the speedy woolee winder.

My plan is to have a 3 ply yarn at the end of this project and maybe use it to restart my Featherweight Cardigan again since I'm not that enamored with the fabric that I'm getting so far with the soy silk.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Six O'Clock Scramble

I got a link to the Six O'Clock Scramble on a blog post and I went to check it out.

It is a great idea for dinner and the subscription price comes with weekly menus - recipes and shopping lists for a variety of dinners that take no real thinking.

I joined for the 10 day free trial and have gotten one week's menu and am off to the grocery store for next week's dinners.

I think this is a great idea to help me get out of my rut of eating the same things over and over again and also there is no mad dash at dinner time trying to figure out what to eat.  This is where I usually order pizza.

The first week's menu include:

Pan-browned pork loins with green beans with sweet potato fries,
Halibut with caramelized red pepper sauce with couscous and maple butternut squash,
Cheesy spinach and rice casserole and green salad with sliced onions, parmesan cheese, and dried cranberries,
Rotini with sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese with steamed artichoke hearts with baby swiss cheese, and
Vegetarian sopa poblano with avocados with homemade pita chips and pomegranates.

The recipes also give do ahead hints as well as listing out all the nutritional information.  All the recipes have about 30 minutes of prep and cooking.  The menu also includes a grocery shopping list (everything you need) to save money from buying exactly what you need.

There are also other options on the website where you can customize the weekly menu and there are selections for food allergies and restrictions as well as picking specific items if you have ingredients on hand.

I'll be back to evaluate the menu after this week.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Wrap Up

It was a beautiful 70 degree Christmas in San Diego.  My brother came down from Los Angeles and we had leftovers for dinner but did head out for lunch over the weekend.

We went to our favorite Pho place - Pho T Cali and I had a new bun dish.
The egg rolls were delicious and there was too much food as usual so I had leftovers again.

We also went for mexican - Super Sergio's based on a yelp recommendation and I had the rolled taco special.
Also very good but again too much food.  Without the yelp recommendation, I would never have stopped at this place driving by.

Of course, no holiday can pass without overeating and again this year, Pepper got into eat Sophie's food bowl and probably some of Bubby's food so she was all bloated and not feeling well.
Here she is just trying to find a good position to lay on as the food digests.

Bubby was his usual and he likes to lay on his back on the floor.  Hopefully he will relax some and not pester Pepper and Bailey.
This is a Christmas in quite a number of years where we did not have a prime rib dinner made by my dad.  My mom had jury duty over the holiday so they did not come down.

The dogs were left behind for a vacation to Mexico so now this is a household of 4 dogs.  Needless to say there are no holiday decorations up to prevent breakage.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Up and Running Again!

Well, my MacBook Pro was doing some strange thing where it would shut down by itself and then had a hard time powering up.  I braved the Fashion Valley mall, my closest Apple store and got a new hard drive.  

I had to leave my poor computer there for the day and it was crazy busy in the store.  So much so that when my computer was called up - nothing happened so I had to track down someone else and have them go back to find it.

At first the guy at the genius bar thought it was a software glitch but I got a new hard drive instead.

After getting it home (I even had to valet park my car), I restored from Time Machine and I'm back up and running again.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Sky is on Fire

It has been some weird weather days lately and I caught this photo last evening where it seems the sky is on fire.  It is the setting sun with some cool cloud formations.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Socks That Fit

I have resisted knitting socks for a long time.  I finally broke down and made a pair following the Craftsy class for making a pair of Bosnian slipper socks.  They were too big.

I then had a chance to take a class with Cat Bordhi and got the sock recipe.  I started out following her direction and have gotten to the heel decrease and they are again too big.
You can see that the length of the sock is already at my heel so no way no how will these fit.  I had a total of 60 stitches knitted on a US 1 so I'm going to have to rip back and see if 54 stitches will do the trick.

I'm really hoping that once I figure this out, socks will be easier and not so frustrating to knit.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Val's Owlings

Val asked me for a pair of fingerless mitts and originally asked for the same ones I knit for Kat, but I decided that she was special enough to do something else.

I choose the Owlings since she is such a bird lover.  I even crocheted on the owl eyes.

They turned out totally cool and I changed the pattern a bit to add some length in the hand as well as the thumb.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kat's Xmas Mitts

I got a request for an gift for Christmas from Val for her niece in law, Kat.  She had sent me the yarn which was a lovely dark grey alpaca which I then knit a pair of fingerless mitts from the Noro Fingerless Mitts pattern.

They are super soft and warm.  I think it will be a great gift for those cold Colorado temperatures.
The will go off in the mail this week to be wrapped for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Midsommer Shawl

The July installment of the Socks are for Suckers Club from Twisted included a pattern for the Midsommer and a skein of Pico Accuardi Francino in the Syvia color way.  The kit also included a small crochet hook plus two colors of beads in silver and gold.

This is the pattern that I saw on the Knitabulls podcast and prompted me to join this club.  I had to power through the two previous kits in the club before I got to this one.

I have knit Syvia's patterns before and I love her style.  The pattern was so easy to follow and the shawl flew on my needles.

The yarn is a little splity and I used my knit picks needles as they are pretty sharp.

Love the shawl.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mithril Cowl for Valerie

For the May offering of Twisted's Sock are for Suckers Club was the Mithril cowl.

I was not enamored by this pattern and tried to knit something else with the yarn.  That was an epic fail so I went back to this pattern.

I ended up knitting the plain version of the cowl and am going to gift it to Valerie who has been a good provider of gardening plants for me.  This will be a companion to the twistygoo hat for her husband Helmar.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Twistygoo Hat for Helmar

My best friend Valerie had neighbors Val and Helmar when she lived in San Diego.  They are a lovely couple from Germany and are so sweet.  Val helped me with gardening by supplying plants for my front courtyard.  She has a super green thumb.

I miss seeing Val and Helmar now that Valerie has moved to Colorado and try to make it over to the neighborhood to see them.

I decided to make this Twistygoo hat for Helmar since he has very little hair left.
It is made with Malabrigo Rios a super soft plied yarn of superwash merino.  The color is Azules.  I think this is my new favorite yarn to use.  Malabrigo colors have  always attracted me but their yarns previously were a single ply and would pill and felt.  This yarn is the best as far as I'm concerned.

I can't wait to see the hat on Helmar.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Card Making

My friend Jean invited me to a holiday card making event where I met a bunch of really nice women and had a day of crafts and snacks.

The cards are make with Stampin' Up merchandise and it was very enjoyable.  I haven't made cards in a while and it was interesting to see all the new developments and techniques.

Here are the cards I made.  The supplies were provided and all the materials were cut out for us.  We made two cards of each design and a small gift tag as a bonus.
 Butterfly and ornament punches make the body and wings.
 Very cool embossing of paper using and paper press.
 A patchwork stocking.
 Embossing, a heat gun and a ribbon effect.
This was my favorite card with the paper folding technique.  Intricate and elegant.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Supper Club Holiday Dinner at the Wine Vault

Our second annual holiday dinner at the Wine Vault & Bistro was another success.    We missed Janet as she was sick at home but the dinner was again delicious.

Amy had Nueske Bacon Raviolo | Parsnip | Apple | Parmesan as her first course.
While Kim and I had the Scallops 2-Ways: Bisque + Tempura Fried | Coconut | Vandouvan Curry Compote | Coriander.
The dish was brought out dry and the bisque was poured at the table.

We each had something different for the second course with Amy enjoying the Crispy Roulade of Jidori Chicken | Confit Leg | Celeriac | Shelling Beans | Roast Jus.
I had the 14-Hour Braised Prime Short Ribs | Sunchoke | Wood Grilled Carrots | Toasted Cauliflower Gremolata.
And Kim rounded out the last dish of Braised Winter Greens | Pepitas | Goat Cheese | Local Squashes.
The third course had Kim and I choosing the Dark Chocolate Mousse | Caramelized White Chocolate | Brown Butter Shortbread | Roast Berries | Basil.
The white chocolate had the consistency of jello and had a very bland flavor.  It reminded me of tofu but the toasted candied basil was a delicious surprise.

Amy had the Roasted Local Apples | Fennel Pudding | Crème Fraîche | Cake Crumble | Apple Cider.
The Wine Vault has this great dinner menu for $20 per person with an additional $15 for the wine pairings.  The menu changes daily.  We enjoyed it so much last year that we decided to come again making it our second supper club holiday choice.

Friday, December 9, 2011

More Kiva Loans

Since my last post on Kiva loans, I traveled a bit and took some classes and succumbed to a new spinning wheel on the infamous black friday.  After tallying up the "want" category of spending, I had to start paying forward again.

Here are my latest loanees:

Zosima Casas for abaca weaving.
Juan Alejandro Santizo Vasquez for weaving supplies.
Alfonso Esteban Sic Garcia for weaving supplies.
Melchora for purchasing wool.
And Bergard Tweheyo for graphic art supplies.
An update from my prior loans, I did get some payment back which is awesome and it already went to another loan.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Spinning Wheel on Black Friday

I currently have two spinning wheels - a Schacht Matchless and a HansenCrafts miniSpinner.  I love both of these wheels and have been haphazardly perusing the equipment ads on Ravelry for a while.

Earlier this year, Schacht announced that it was entering the travel wheel market with the introduction of its Sidekick.  I originally put my name on the list for this wheel but ended up taking my name off because I decided that I could not buy a wheel without trying it out.

I found this out the hard way with my two other wheels which I purchased and then sold before ending up with the two that I have now.

Something about the Sidekick just kept calling my name and on Black Friday here in the U.S., I noticed an ad for a used Sidekick.  I wrote the seller and she told me she was already in talks with someone from Australia and I figured that the purchase was not meant to be.

Later that afternoon, I got an e-mail stating that the sale fell through and was I still interested.  I held my breath and wrote yes and it took a week for the wheel to arrive.

It is lovely to spin on and after a few practice sessions of breaking it down and putting it back together, the steps for storage seem a little bit easier.  The spinning is a little tight but I'm banking that it will smooth out once I put some mileage on this baby.

Here is the new wheel side by side with it's older sibling, the Matchless.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Breakfast and a Walk with Andrea

I got a text from Andrea that she was visiting and we met for breakfast at Cafe 222 and then headed out for a walk along the bay front.

Breakfast was hearty with eggs, potatoes and toast with hot chocolate.  Andrea had the potato pancakes.

We then did a 5 mile walk which resulted in 10,000 steps on my new pedometer from

You can't beat the scenery here in December along the bay front.
We then headed to Seaport Village for a gift for my cousin and we stopped at the hammock store.
It was good to catch up with Andrea before she headed home.  I can't wait for her to move back to San Diego for good.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Knitting a Sock with Cat Bordhi

I was extremely lucky to take a class with Cat Bordhi on knitting socks.  The class was held at Yarning For You, a local yarn shop (well not that local to me) but close enough to spend a whole day there.

Cat walked us through the New Pathways sock architecture and we knit a baby sock with a garter toe.  But she first had us practice the heel.

Here is my result - I did one heel turn and then picked up the stitches on the other side and knit another heel.  The result was a little cap for a water bottle.
We then moved to discussing sock architecture and Cat has a great big sock to illustrate the different parts where changes are happening.  The colored areas are where changes occur.
Next, we started to knit a baby sock.  I used some of the left over yarn I had from the Bosnian slipper sock and used US 4 needles.

Here is my baby sock with Cat's book.  I used Judy's Magic Cast On and Jenny's Stretchy Bind Off with Cat's knitted sock instructions.  It takes a village.
Cat has a new book out that is only available in an ebook format.  It is called Cat's Sweet Tomato Heel Socks and is available for purchase now.

Cat also has a great mobius hat called Anemone and here I am modeling it with Cat.  It was a great class with mind blowing tips.  If you have a chance to take a class with her, I highly recommend it.
Of course, I had to shop at the store and they had a model of the Whippoorwill using Frog Tree Pediboo sock yarn.  I got the pattern and colors in green and brown for my next project.