Thursday, August 30, 2012

New KIVA loan to a Weaver

With a balance in my KIVA portfolio, I found Mario who is looking for a loan.
Here is his story:

Mario is a weaver who specializes in hand-woven Zapotec rugs and handbags. He would like to expand and improve his workshop and invite other weavers to collaborate with him. He also plans to stock up on materials, such as wool.

Mario has been selling through NOVICA since 2004. This is his story:

"I come from a family of weavers in Mexico. It is a legacy I inherited from my great-grandfather. Nowadays, my designs are different from those of my great-grandfather, but my aim is to preserve and promote the beauty of the Zapotec art. We dye the wool with natural colorants such as cochineal, walnut tree bark, and local flowers. We work on pedal looms, a process that can take anywhere between one day and a whole month, depending on the size and design."

"I want to thank you for making it possible for us to preserve the art of Zapotec weaving and share our designs with the world."

Use the link below to view Mario's rugs on the NOVICA site:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Craftsy Shrug Progress

I started knitting this shrug back in November when I signed up for a Craftsy workshop.  I think it was a free workshop when I signed up but there is a fee associated with it now.

A workshop from Craftsy is different from a class.  The workshop does not have any video, just pictures with instructions and a pattern to make one item.  In this case it was a shrug.

I dug around my stash and found some leftover Bernat Soy yarn in the celery color and thought I had enough to finish in the size I chose.

Halfway through the knit, I had a problem understanding what was going on and it went into the UFO (unfinished objects) bin until this month when I was searching for some stuff.

I pulled it out and in the time that it was resting, comments and questions were posted to the workshop and I got an answer to my issue and I started knitting it again.

When I separated the sleeves onto waste yarn, I decided to try it on and I could barely get the sleeve openings around my fat arms.  I had to tink back and add many more stitches to the body before separating the sleeves again.

One problem with adding more stitches to increase the size is (you guessed it), I did not have enough yarn to finish the project.  On a search, this yarn is no longer being sold so I went into Ravelry and looked through people's stashes and found some skeins for sale or trade.  When I queried, an awesome Raveler offered to send me another skein.  A lifesaver for sure - why oh why do I have this impediment always?

Now it is a waiting game for the yarn to get here so I can work on the sleeves. I used Jenny's super stretchy bind off for the body and it is super stretchy and I think it will be a perfect fit.

Here is the front.
And the back.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Hood for Chicago

I have been pretty lucky that when I travel to Chicago for work, the weather has been mild most of time.  There have been a few times in the winter that I feel my face froze.

The last visit I made to Chicago included dinner with a friend and a stop at the local yarn store - Loopy Yarns.

I purchased this sparkly green yarn and matched it to the pattern Roisin by Ysolda Teague.
The project got into the queue since the Knit 1 Heart Too podcast had a knit a long with sparkle yarn.
Finished in time for the deadline.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Spin Group Gathering

It was another great day with my spinning peeps.  We all have such a variety of wheels and it was great to gab, spin, and then eat.

Here are the wheels while we were at lunch.
Lunch happenings.
It was pretty cool so we ate out on the patio.  Good times.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chicken with Honey Beer Sauce

At the grocery last week, I picked up a copy of Cooking Light.  I had subscribed to this magazine when I first moved to San Diego and have cooked many a recipe from its pages.  Actually, my supperclub started from an article in this magazine.

I was flipping through and there was an article for super fast and budget friendly recipes and I decided to make one since I had all the ingredients, or so I thought.

For the chicken with honey-beer sauce, I had to substitute French's hot mustard for the dijon and hard apple cider for the beer.  I also had these freakishly large chicken breasts from Costco in the freezer and I ended up with a great meal.
You can tell how large the breasts were since the pan is a 12" skillet.  The chicken was moist and the dish paired well with the beans and couscous dish from the last supperclub.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hiya Hiya Sharp Interchangeable Needles

I saw a sale ad on Ravelry for these needles and had to check them out.  I had previously heard on the Wolfe Farms podcast about these needles which are super light, super sharp, and have the swivel base.

With the sale price, I decided to try them out and they arrived in a super secure box from Canada.  Very pretty case that has pockets for everything.  I added an extra pair of tips in a size that did not come with the set and some extra cables.
I pulled out the tip of my Knit Picks interchangeable needles for a comparison and the Hiya Hiya tip is much sharper (the one on the top).
I can't wait to try them out on some knitting.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sick Sewing Machine has New Life

The saga of my sick sewing machine has come to an end.  It went back to the Janome mother ship and got a new power plant as well as new cords and it sews like a dream again.

I can tell it is glad to be home with new parts.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mystery Knit A Long - Clue 1

So clue 1 for the mystery knit a long was released as well as the instructions for knit companion and I have enjoyed following the instructions for the set up on my iPad.  I learned a new technique - both electronic and manual (knitting).

The start of the clue was very fiddly but I persevered and here is the finished clue 1 ready for the next clue.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

August Supper Club

Hot days of summer and Kim hosted supper club with the following menu:

Peach/arugula/mozzarella salad

Janet didn't make it so we did without the salad.
Israeli couscous with green beans
Red chile oil chicken  The chile oil had to be stirred and applied as a paste to the chicken.  Brined beforehand ensured moist breasts.
Lemon parfait with berries and Lemon poundcake 

It was a nice light dinner for such a warm summer day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Paper Crafting

I went to a Stampin Up! paper crafting event and made some cards.  It was fun to change up the crafting.  Gail hosts the camps and you can check out her blog.

Here is what I accomplished.
I also made a little memo book.
And I won a door prize - little note cards.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mini Sock

I started watching a new podcast called Single Handed Knits by a knitter in Kauai and the scenery where she podcasts is beautiful.  Melissa is also very upbeat and she started an event called Sock the Vote to correspond to the political season without all the negative energy.

The sock knitting (voting) begins on October 1 so we have a lot of time before the starting gun.  She offered a little challenge while we are waiting and it is to knit a small sock.

I belong to the Green party (for those who know me IRL, you can see how fitting this is) and my socks have to have the color green.

I dug out some leftover sock yarn and knit this small contribution.
The yarn is Malabrigo sock in the aguas colorway and the pattern is Toe-up Mini Socks.

This is way more fun than the real political race.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Cast On Baby

With the parody video of "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen which I saw from the US Olympic swim team, I came across this one which is totally awesome.

Everyone looks to be having so much fun.  I hope you enjoy it too.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Ah! A Cooling Trend

After nearly a solid week of hot humid weather, there are some clouds in the sky and a sea breeze.

The windows are open and Pepper is totally relaxing with the relief.  She is in her usual spots.

Friday, August 17, 2012


I have undertaken a few new projects and I decided to really pay attention to gauge.

This of course has to be addressed with knitting a swatch.  My first project is the Portulaca sweater from a Celtic Cable class from Craftsy.  The yarn is green and the needles recommended are US 7 (4.5 mm).  The gauge should be 18 stitches to 4" and 26 rows to 4."

I have been told that one should try to match stitch gauge instead of row gauge.

It is also important to wash and block the swatch and measure afterwards.  I started with the 7s, the moved to 6s, and finally to 5s.  I separated each size by a row of garter stitch.
My next project starts a mystery knit-a-long on the 17th and the gauge is to be 22 stitches and 30 rows on US 5 (2.75 mm) needles.  This swatch also needs to be blocked.

I started with the 5s, then to 4s and finally to 3s.
The conclusion is that for the sweater, I got gauge on the 5s and for the shawl, I'm going to have to go down to the 2s.

Ready for knitting now.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sakaki Finished

I was able to finish my Sakaki with handspun from the Tour de Fleece.  I tackled the beading as well as the leaf motif in the center.  I really love the shawl and can't wait for cooler weather to wear it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dog Days of Summer are Here

I know that I really can't complain but it is too hot for me here!  We are totally spoiled and are not use to this excessive heat and have been holed up at home with the AC cranked.

The pups are feeling it as well as here are some ways they are combatting it.
Pepper tried under the bed first thinking it would be cooler, but that only lasted about 10 minutes.
She then moved to her bed under the ceiling fan but that only last about 20 minutes.
She then hit the spot right under the AC vent and stayed there until it kicked off.
Bailey just found some tile floor to lay on and it seemed to keep him cool enough.  He doesn't have has much fur as Pepper.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Batts Prepared

As I posted here, I need some more dyed fiber for spinning for my Featherweight Cardigan.

I was able to spend some time with my drum carder and here are my batts. 
I think the resulting yarn will be much more purple than my existing yarn, but that is okay.

Now to spinning...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Another Attempt at Sakaki

I had previously tried to knit this shawl with some commercial yarn and it was a total failure.

For this past Tour de Fleece, I spun up some baby camel/silk blend and it turned out beautiful and soft.  I decided to conquer the Sakaki and pulled out the pattern.

Since the last time around, I have invested in the iPad app - knit companion.  It is an awesome app although it is more expensive than most apps but it is like a program.  There is a steep learning curve right off the bat, but once you master the set up process, it is the best knitting tool ever.

Here is a snap shot of the program.
I have been using this app and there is no more pencil tick marks and magnetic boards and everything is backed up to the cloud.

Here is the start of the shawl.
I added some beads and that should add a bit of sparkle.