Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Month End Report

The month was a bit of redemption from the last.  


I continued with my broken yarn diet as I bought a panda blanket kit from Knit Picks as well as some cotton yarn to make another Old Man and the Sea in a larger size so I could qualify for free shipping.  That free shipping offer is my downfall every time.

I also had good intentions of using my stash yarn for another sweater knit-a-long but found I was short one skein.  I tried to just buy one more skein at my local yarn store, but the colors were so different I ended up buying a sweater's worth of yarn as well as a couple of skeins of sale yarn.

I picked up a couple of books and a magazine as well for more inspiration and a few more online pattern purchases from my favorite designer, Carol Feller.

I purchased a couple of spindle bowls that were designed just for me and I love them.


Tour de Fleece was a total bust for me.  I started spinning and was able to finish my polworth silk fiber from Judith MacKenzie.  I ended up with a lovely two ply lace which I started knitting the Citron.

I was able to finish a hat - the Coriander which caused lots of problems in the beginning so I stuck it in a bag.  In my quest to start as many projects that I could this month, I needed to dig around for needles so old projects started coming out of the woodwork.

The Flirty Lace tank made an appearance and the knitting is done on both sides.  Now to join and pick up and knit around the neck and arm holes and then it will be done.

I started the second Old Man and the Sea sweater in a larger size and was able to knit up the body and am now at the sleeves.  Once the sleeves are done, then they will be joined to the sweater and the top will be knit up.  It is kind of boring to knit with cream colored yarn.

I also started on the panda blanket but did not get too far as yet.  At least not to the intarsia part where the panda starts making an appearance.

Next month is the start of three knit-a-longs, the Makai (a shawl), the Circumnavigated Cardigan, and the Dacite (a cardigan) so I have swatched to obtain gauge on the sweaters and will start knitting on them next month.

I also dyed some yarn using a new technique to me for yarn in my stash that I wanted to change color for another sweater that is in my coming queue.


No purging or organization occurred this month either.  I have been traveling, but my eating habits are a bit better.  I still need to work on my exercise program.  I did get a free vitals check while in New Mexico and found that my BP and the rest were pretty good.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dyeing for the Adrift

I talked about starting the Adrift sweater by using some stash yarn which needed to be dyed first.  
I tackled that project by immersion dyeing which I have never done.

In the past, I have always painted the colors on yarn and then wrapped it up in plastic and then steamed for 30 minutes to set the colors.  I decided to try a new technique by watching The Dyer's Notebook podcast by immersion dyeing.

This way you submerge the entire yarn into a pot of color and wait 30 minutes for the color to exhaust leaving a clear pot of water with colored yarn.

First I soaked the yarn overnight.  The 3 skeins of malabrigo lace were a bit felted so I might have a bit more felt which I will have to detangle.  The yarn is a single instead of a ply.
I used four different colors starting with brilliant blue, then to forest green, then wood rose and finally sea breeze.  For the first, third and fourth soak, I tied up the skeins in different places to create a resist.
I did a great job and this is the color I ended up with.

I really like dyeing this method, but need to get some heat resistant gloves to remove the skeins in between the color changes.  The yarn needs to come out of the pot before adding new colors.

Monday, July 29, 2013

New Mexico Food

Dining was fun in New Mexico.

Dinner on the first night was at St. Claire Winery and Bistro.  A cheese plate appetizer followed by 
Pasta New Mexico which featured the Hatch green chile.
It was bit too much cheese overall, but a filling meal.

The second night was a late work day so a stop at the Olive Garden sufficed.  The drinks came out in a timely manner - I had this strawberry lemonade but the food was way late.  The manager came out and comped the food since the wait was so long.
The last night for dinner was to a sushi place, but the one we wanted to go to - Kokoro ended up being closed.  So we found the next place which was Sushi Xian which was good but not spectacular.  I had a seaweed salad which was huge and we shared some rolls.
This was the ceviche roll.
Some kind of spicy tuna with wasabi infused fish eggs on the top.  This was way spicy.
 This was a salmon roll with crunchy bits and was spicy as well.
This was a mild roll with different kinds of fish.

The last meal we had in town was a local cop hangout called Cocina Azul.
Chips and two different salsas came with.  I liked the green chile one.
I ordered the steak taco plate.
Very tasty but too much food.  The vegetable side dish was zucchini and corn and was a bit sweet and the spaghetti tasted a bit like spanish rice.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Field Trip - New Mexico

The last field trip I took before the end of summer was to New Mexico.  It has been quite a while since I have been there and I was greeted with southwest flair when I landed at the Albuquerque airport.
Since it was close to lunch time, lunch consisted of green chile chicken soup with half of a new mexico sandwich at Comida Buena at the airport.
The weather was warm - in the 90s as the day time high but unseasonably cool as it usually is in the 100s.  There was afternoon rain as seen in the distance.
But only one day where it impacted travel through the state.  Travel was on the famous Route 66 as seen in a mural at the McDonalds where pit stops occurred.
It was nice to see the pueblo style homes as well.
Cool bricks were seen on buildings which felt like marble.
And the view of the mesas.
It was a productive trip but I'm glad to be home for a bit.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Progress on the Flirty Lace

When I talked about the War of the WIPs here, I mentioned the flirty lace which is a tank top that I saw at Lambspun in Colorado.  I picked up the yarn at the shop as well.  It seems that I started it in July 2010, then restarted it again July 2011.  Something must have happened in 2012, but here it is, July 2013 and I am working on this again.

Something about this tank just calls to me in July so I'm hoping that this will be the last July that this will be a WIP.

I was able to finish knitting on the back piece.
And for the front piece, I have the green lace part finished.
All I need to do now is to join the purple yarn and knit up the front and then seam the two pieces together.  I should be able to get this done in 2013.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Coriander Part I Finished

Back here, I had talked about this hat and I had started it originally with this blue yarn which has spots of colors.  It was a total failure and I put it aside and used another yarn to knit and finish a hat.

I decided that I was going to tackle this hat again with the dark blue yarn and it still was not cooperating and I had to fudge at the end to make it work.  Dark yarn is really hard to see while knitting but I think it turned out pretty well.
The pattern is Coriander by Carol Feller.  The hat is super soft and fits great.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

I had two mushroom caps left over from the CostCo package and found this recipe to finish the last two caps.

The tomatoes came from my brother's garden which were volunteer from last year.  Ripe tomatoes and fresh basil, plus a bit of fresh mozzarella and a bit of garlic and oil made a great topping for the grilled caps.

I used a pan on the stove to grill the mushrooms.
Once I placed the salad on top, I could not wait to dig in.
I ended up adding more salad and finished up this for dinner with one more for lunch the next day.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another Sweater Project

One of my favorite designers is Carol Feller.  I have yet to finish a sweater project but have a couple on the needles as well as a hat.  She has a new pattern book available and offered a discount code when it appeared so of course, I had to purchase it.

I then looked at my queue and decided that I wanted to make the Adrift pattern and it lists Malabrigo Lace as the yarn recommendation.

I have three skeins of malabrigo lace in a butter color which is kind of bleah.
It is a single and I decided that I was going to dye the skeins.  I have been watching the Dyer's Notebook podcast and Laura has some great dye techniques that she discusses.  I am going to follow her layering technique and see what I can come up with.  Once the yarn is dyed, then I will start another sweater project.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

New Spindle Bowls

My infamous enabler, Jude, showed me her dragon spindle bowl when we were at Black Sheep Gathering, and I just followed like a sheep!

I went to Tangled Dragon Studios and scrolled through her spindle bowls and asked her to make me a couple of bowls.  I have to one up Jude so I ordered a dragon bowl as well as a panda bowl.

They arrived in a small box and are awesome.
I have done some test spinning and both work great.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Moose Mishap

On my last trip to Alaska, I purchased two crystal figurines - a moose and a polar bear.  These have been in my bathroom for quite a while and I see them every time I am in the shower.

The housekeeper decided to move some stuff around on her last visit and my poor moose fell over into a glass candle holder.  The weight of the moose pretty much shattered the candle holder, but I didn't pay that close attention to the moose since it looked okay from afar.

I happened to glance over the last time I was in the shower and my poor moose now only has one set of antlers.
Here is a close up.  I guess in nature, moose might shed some antlers so mine is kind of lopsided.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Well Trained Dog

A friend sent along this video which makes me super envious.  I don't think I will ever have such a well trained animal.  Heck, I can't even get my animals to stop trying to attack the postal worker.

I can sure wish though.....
Jumpy has some Aussie mix.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Circumnavigated Cardigan

A bunch of spinners and knitters that I know in a facebook group have decided to start a knit-a-long for the Circumnavigated Cardigan here in San Diego.  The designer does not have an online presence and the group has decided to make a mail order for the patterns and then meet to start the project.

I went ahead and order the pattern as well as a few other patterns by the designer - another sweater knitted on the bias and a vest pattern.

I have a couple of options for this knit-a-long, I can spin for the sweater using this fiber I got from Alisha Goes Around from the Texas retreat.  The fiber is superwash merino blended with tencel on the black and seacell on the red.
Or I can use this yarn which I got a few years back in Arizona.  The yarn is an aran weight and is 100% wool and I have 12 skeins which should be plenty.
The knit-a-long will begin after the Tour de Fleece is over so I have some time to decide.  I could be super ambitious and do both.  What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sycamore Vest

To prepare for Tour de Fleece, I went through some of my fiber and decided that I wanted to tackle the romeldale/cvm fiber I got as a prize from the Spinner's Lead at Black Sheep Gathering.

With 12 ounces of the fiber, I searched through my queue on Ravelry and found the Sycamore Vest.  The romeldale is suppose to be next to the skin soft but it does not seem that soft to me.  I figured the vest would be a good choice.

I separated the bump of fiber into three equal parts with a little bit extra for sampling.
My plan it to spin a three-ply sport weight yarn to knit the vest.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Rock Strata Mitts

When I last visited Sacramento, I talked to my aunt who I had previous gifted a pair of fingerless mitts made of cashmere.  She told me she used them to death and would like another pair.  She had a friend make another pair for her out of cheap yarn and they are breaking down.

I saw the Rock Strata Mitts on the Stockinette Zombies podcast and liked the striping effect.  I figured I had the perfect yarn since I had dyed up the bison yarn I got from Judith MacKenzie at the Texas retreat while at the retreat in a red tint.

At Black Sheep Gathering, I picked up a green skein of the same yarn.  So with the pattern and the two skeins, I could make two pairs of these mitts.  I think it will be fun to have a matching set with my aunt.

Monday, July 15, 2013

New Knitting Projects

With the Tour de Fleece going on, I somehow found my knitting mojo.  Weird that I'm not that excited about the spinning tour, but am more interested in knitting.

I culled through my stash and decided that nothing suited so off to yarn buying I went.  Knit Picks was having a sale on books so I picked up a copy of The Spinner's Book of Yarn Design and Knit Swirl where I saw a great sweater at Black Sheep Gathering.

My enabler pal, Jude, pointed out a link to a panda blanket pattern and I discovered the kit was on sale so I picked that up as well.  
Since Knit Picks has the $50 free shipping offer, I needed a few more dollars so I looked up some Simply Cotton Sport yarn to remake the Old Man and The Sea sweater.
Once the package arrived in the mail, I started the panda blanket as well as the sweater.  I decided to make the next larger size instead of figuring out a modification.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


I saw these pretty colors as the sun was going down from my desk window and decided to try some scene settings on my camera.

The sunset mode was way too dark so I figured it must have to be a view of the actual sun setting.  I switched to night scene mode and got these photos of my back canyon.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Green Citron

I finished spinning up the 4 ounces of polworth/silk fiber I got from Judith MacKenzie at the Texas retreat and got almost 700 yards of a 2-ply lace yarn.
I love the subtle variation of the color and decided to make the Citron after searching Ravelry patterns for a while.
The shawl is pretty small so I think I will be expanding the sections.  Here is what it looks like after the first section.
And here it is after the completion of the second section.
It is a pretty easy pattern to follow and it should start growing by leaps and bounds.