Friday, May 31, 2013

May Month End Report

It was a pretty productive month for me.


Knowing that I was going to be spending some money next month at Black Sheep Gathering, I tried to keep alot of pennies in my pocket.  I purchased a piece of tewelry from Leslie Wind to keep my cable needle close at hand.
I also picked up a couple of knitting patterns - a shawl and a sweater.

I thought I was in the clear until the universe smacked me down.  So I became the new owner of a Schacht Mighty Wolf weaving studio.


Knitting - I finished up three sweaters, at least the knitting part.   My less is more sweater san zipper, the feather weight cardigan, and the old man and the sea. I have lots of works in progress.  I had to take a break from knitting as my wrists were feeling used and abused.

Spinning - I started spinning up the polworth/silk I got from Judith M at the retreat and my plan is to make the shawl I purchased.  I also pulled out some stash and plan to dye the wool part and blending the fiber for a new sweater project.  However, I need a drum carder.

Weaving - With the help of Shelly, I was able to pick up and transport my new Mighty Wolf studio home.  I continued on the point twill pattern on the loom.

Sewing - I finished up three segments of the block of the month quilt from craftsy.  I also sewed hems for the some of the woven towels I had finished previously.

Organizing and Purging

I was able to scan 28 months of receipts and had a shredding party.  I moved some stuff out of the garage for AmVets to pick up.

I also sold the Bristlecone Glindle as my preferred russians are now from Texas Jean.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Old Man and The Sea Finished

I was able to finish the Old Man and the Sea while traveling.  It was a pretty easy knit once the sweater body was finished.  For the sleeves, I added a few extra rows of the lace design so my sleeve will cover my "big guns."

There were some tricksy areas while joining the sleeves and I had to have a longer cable for the needles so I could keep the curve of the sleeves as I joined them.  It is akin to magic looping on sleeves and socks.  After some decreases for the shoulder sloping, the curve diminished and the stitches were able to slide with ease.

Since I used a cotton/bamboo blend, there is really no give to the stitches so I had a big gaping hole at the armpit.  It was fortuitous that I left a long enough tail when I finished the sleeve stitches so I used it to weave up the hole.

After washing and blocking the sweater, I really like the drape and the sleeves fit well.  I don't think that I have enough fabric at the front for a clasp without pulling the sweater out of alignment.  
I inadvertently put the sweater inside out on the form so the pictures show the inside of the sweater.  Here are some close ups of the right side of the sweater.
I really like the feel and look of the sweater, but if I had to do over again, I would increase the front area so more fabric would be available - either to add a clasp or buttons.

Monday, May 27, 2013

New Weaving Studio

When I first started weaving, I quickly decided that I would not be happy until I upgraded to an 8-shaft floor loom with at least 36" in width.  On the inter webs, I went searching and made wish lists of everything that I would buy to build a weaving studio.  I made these lists, then discarded them and changed my mind multiple times and remade more lists.

Over the last few years, I have obtained some of the equipment and purchased, used, and sold some looms.  I even attended Convergence to research looms to see what was available and tried weaving on quite a few.  I thought I had settled on a model and just needed to save up the money and make the room.

A few used looms came up for sale around the area and I was unmoved to make the transaction happen and I thought to myself that maybe I didn't need a big floor loom after all.

That all changed on a chance view of the used equipment sale board on Ravelry.  It was just about bed time and I just happened to click on an ad for an 8-shaft Mighty Wolf studio residing in Southern California.  I had to see details and it took me to Joshua Tree and an almost brand new loom with all the related paraphernalia.  It was the universe giving me a smack down and I merrily contacted the seller and waited with baited breath.

The next morning after a few e-mails and a phone call, the transaction was completed.  It would take a couple of weeks before I could round up my posse (Shelly - who I enabled to buy a loom at Convergence) and we were on the road to make the pick up.

Joshua Tree is a little north of Palm Springs and the weather was beautiful and windy.  I saw joshua trees in person and on the way we saw a great wind farm.  The pass was very windy.
We stopped for lunch after a long drive at La Casita and I had the crab enchiladas.
We visited the loom and was able to weave a bit on it before it got folded up for transport.
We also toured Cindy's studio where she has a Toika mechanized loom and a Gilmore loom.  She also had a few spinning wheels and this one is beautiful.
With some help, we were able to maneuver it into the truck plus all the extra stuff.  
We made it back home and unloaded the loom and it is looking for some weaving.  
I'm so excited to have this studio package and I think the weaving universe is content for the moment so I can enjoy a little bit of weaving heaven.

Now I just need to start chanting "No more looms."

Friday, May 24, 2013

Field Trip - Colorado

I spent some time in Colorado driving around quite a bit.  The first day we were there after flying into Denver, the skies were ominous.  The day was very dark and dreary and we had no luck locating the person we were looking for.

I comforted myself with a chicken caesar salad at the Embassy Suites.
They had a great fountain in the center lobby and as usual a great cook to order breakfast.
The next day had clear bright blue skies with lots of white fluffy clouds.  Here are some shots as we were driving all day.
The colors were wonderful blues, greens, and browns.  We saw quite a few nests in the trees as we drove around the state.  In fact, I saw this sign.
I wonder if it would lead to a place where there are sheep to be had.  We didn't have time to go off the track to see.  Intriguing thought though.

In Sterling, we stopped at Gallagher's and shared the game plate and some potato skins.  The elk was a bit too well done and chewy, but the duck legs were very tasty.
After having no luck in locating anyone, we headed back to the hotel and had bison burgers for dinner.  I had mine with the sweet potato fries.
We headed home the next day and grabbed a bite to eat at the airport and saw these vitamin waters.
You are to twist the colored top and then it releases the vitamin into the water to keep it fresh and then shake and open and enjoy.  I had one with lunch and it was a pretty tasty fruit punch.  I brought the orange one home.

The Frontier Airlines flights that I booked were not very enjoyable.  The people were nice but the planes were over an hour late each way and the luggage took forever to land at baggage claim.  Very long days and no free snacks at all!  I think I will stick with Southwest when I go there again.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Lamb Shanks

While shopping at Costco for supplies, I discovered these pre-packaged fully cooked lamb shanks.
I decided to try it out one night.  There are two shanks in the package and each is wrapped individually.  I took one out and placed it in a microwave safe dish and heated it up according to the directions.  The meat is really ready to fall off the bone.
I decided to have some rice and broccoli with it for dinner and it was pretty tasty.  It is a good dish to have on hand in the freezer as it cooks in about 8 minutes.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Progress on Old Man and the Sea

I have made progress on knitting the Old Man and the Sea sweater.  I purchased a piece of jewelry that also doubles as a cable needle from Leslie Wind.  This is called tewelry and I got the piece that has a sheep on it.
Here it is in use while working a cable.
I also learned a new technique to join yarns.  I usually knit with a wool based yarn so I just felt the ends together.  However with a cotton bamboo yarn, felting does not work.  I found the magic knot solutions which you can see here.
It is ingenious and is a tight join with barely any notice.  The yarn is knitting up pretty fast.

Friday, May 17, 2013

San Diego Photography Collective

I was invited by a friend, Jim, to join a Meetup group relating to photography.  If you have never hear of Meetup, it is a social site to meet with like-minded individuals relating to hobbies, fitness, and pretty much anything you could think of.

I have been interested in photography and have my trusty point-and-shoot cameras and am wanting to improve my picture taking ability.  I thought it would be interesting as I already knew one person and the location is really close to home.

I ordered a burger and sweet potatoes fries for dinner and there was a featured presenter, Malcolm Campbell, to talk about the history of cameras and photography.  He also had a bunch of props to show and tell.
It was very informative and there were interesting people at the meeting which was pretty packed.
Here is a photog - Roy who was sitting in front of me and had a cool contraption to telescope his smart phone for recording.

There was also a picture exchange and the person receiving did a walk-about and the photographer discussed the specifics.  Great meeting and I'm looking forward to attending more.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bertolli Italian Sausage & Rigatoni

So I had another change to sample a different Bertolli classic mean for 2 and after following the instructions with a bit of a higher heat than before, this meal was much better.
There were some slices of sausage as well as small chunks of sausage with some red peppers.
The pasta was again al dente but I'm now thinking that must be the consistency they are aiming for.
I would have this meal again in a pinch.  It is not as good as pasta made from scratch - even from different bottles and packages of prepared ingredients.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Possum and Weather the Weather

I was watching episode 77 of the Stockinette Zombies where Megan talked about her Weather the Weather hat.  It is hat of her own creation and she used Yarn v Zombies possum yarn.

During the podcast, she offered to send some of this possum yarn to a few viewers to try so I put my name in the hat.  Megan graciously sent me the possum yarn (the blue) as well as some ultra alpaca fine (the red).
Also in the package was a sticker, a button, and a card stated that Megan hand wound the yarn for me.  I'm going to knit her hat.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Orange and Grey Dish Towels

While I was on hiatus from knitting for a bit, I decided to do some finishing work on my woven dish towels.

I think I learned a new trick to not leave any space between towels in the future while weaving and just insert a couple of wefts of different colored yarn.  I was able to use my trusty sewing machine to do a binding stitch and then roll the edge over and sew the hem.
The towels pre-wash are 17.5" by 27".
Here is another close up of the pattern.
The washed fabric measured 15" by 23" so there was some shrinkage.  However, the yarn bloomed up and the fabric is thick and soft.