Thursday, August 28, 2008

baby steps ...

Last week I was swatching for the lace skirt just to try memorizing the lace pattern. Tonight before pub knitting the math was done for the appropriate cast on for the skirt and off I went. The first rounds are for the gathered waist. The skirt is 130 rounds and I have 6 1/2 rounds complete. It doubles in diameter after 24 rounds of pattern and again after 48 more rounds. I just set up a little excel sheet to track the progress and I see that I have 5% of the rounds complete and 2% of the stitches. It's probably not a good thing for me to see but the pattern is quite clear so I summed the stitches and it works out to 89,640 stitches for this project. We are at 1,755 st complete. Baby steps and I will complete it in time for the next ice age. WIP pics to come soon.

I had high hopes for the Ravelympics but I didn't completely fail. I spun some Cormo that was dyed earlier in the month.

I did get one project complete and hopefully I will have more time to focus in 18 months when the Winter Olympics come around.

Last but not least I received a shipment from my upstream SP 12 partner. She contacted A Mano Yarn Center and had them to ship me some pure silk roving. Two lovely hanks of beautifully dyed Bombyx silk by Nancy Finn of Chasing Rainbows. The colors are perfect! I'll post pics tomorrow when I can get some decent pictures.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

OC Pub Knitters, alive and well

Wednesday night we returned to OC Pubknitters. Bree, the young lady with the pink hair made a suggestion to try the Goat Hill Tavern in Costa Mesa/Newport Beach. We arrived a few minutes before 7:00 and it looked like a high traffic establishment at other times of the week but subdued when we walked in.

We walked around the multiple rooms and looked for a good place to sit thinking of at least 4 or 5 would join us. Within 10 minutes, the group of six had met us and joined us at a well lit table away from the pool tables, foosball, and out of sound contact of the multiple big screen TVs showing every possible sporting event on the airwaves.

For those partaking of the "libations", their are over 121 beers on tap with mixed drinks for the non beer drinkers. Peanut shells on the floor and classic rock playing on the sound system but not too loud so we could still carry on normal conversation. Quite happy to have free soft drinks for the DD (me) Many would consider this place a dive but we all enjoyed the atmosphere and people watching between stitches. Bree, the organizer of this came back to the table after getting a beer and shared a comment from the bar tender; "I cant tell you all the things I've seen happen on that table, but never have I seen anyone knit." We all just laughed.

As the night progressed the age group got younger and the music changed in content and volume until we called it a night a little after 9:00. What a fun time! Yes I was knitting too. Swatching the flickering flames lace pattern to try and capture the repeat in my aging memory.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Complete spinning projects and dye experiments

Not much knitting going on here but some dyeing and spinning.

I finished the fiber needed for the Hush Hush Handspun Hootenanny swap. We had to swap 4 ounces of fiber unspun, 4 ounces of hand spun and goodies as you see fit. The unspun fiber was easy because I have plenty to spare. I wanted to do something special with the handspun, I chose Rambouillet because it's not commercially prevalent and wanted to hand dye it myself.
The spinning was different than what I was used to but after a little experimentation, it spun very well.

The colorway is made from four graduated one ounce segments and 2 plied into the semi-monochromatic "Malachite" yarn.

For some of you this will be a re-run. Mrs. Twisted shared some of this but I will share a few more details. She had an idea for a yarn colorway and I asked her to show me and with some crayons. I took the colors we had and blended them to match the swatch the best I could. The inspiration was pansy inspired.

The base yarn is Henry's Attic superwash merino. I tried three different dyeing styles, the left is all blue and splatter dyed with the plum. The center was dyed blue, steam set and dried. After it was dry I carefully over dyed the dry hank with plum. The right hank was normal space dyed and steam set. The goal was to see the end result in stockinette for future reference.

We liked the center version because it looks like each stitch is a different color sort of like the Araucania brand coloring.

Many of you know me pretty well, I tend to share a lot of my feelings and outlook on life here. some of you may not know I'm left handed. the only reason I even mention that is because Wednesday August the 13th was World Wide Left Handed Day. My son is a lefty too. The only two in all of the extended family. I'm not surprised though, it seems like there is a "world wide xxx day" for everything now. So to you lefties out there high fives all around.

Friday, August 08, 2008

SP Qustion for week # 9

This weeks SP 12 question came a few weeks late, or so it seems.

Question of the Week #9

This week. our question is about your knitting... In many communities, "the fair" is a great place to visit and spend time with your family. It's also where many have entered one product or another (jams, cakes, even knitting)...

Have you ever entered your knitting (or anything else) in the fair? Would you ever consider it?

Would you ever consider entering your knitting in a competition?)

I've only been knitting for a few years and never thought about entering my knitting at the fair. Our county fair has a competition here where you submit your table setting around a theme of your choice. I thought about doing that, or maybe some sort of cooked item but my meals are more consumption than exhibition. When we attended the fair this year we walked through the items submitted for judging. Lots of quilts and crocheted afghans but only a few knitted items and only three hanks of hand spun yarn. I'll definitely will be submitting some hand spun yarn as well as a hand spun, hand dyed, knitted object next year.

Have a nice Friday everyone.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sheep-less Shepherd's Pie

Question of the Week #8

What is your favorite supper for a hot summer evening?

For added flavor (Get it?..."flavor"...I crack myself up!), post a photo or recipe link.

Really, the weather here is pretty moderate year around. I don't really have summer or winter meals like you would have in the North East so I just thought I would post what I cooked tonight. I do most of the cooking in the house and we cycle through about 20 favorite meals. Occasionally I remember a meal my Mom used to cook or one that peeks it's way out of the deep recesses of my aging brain. The hardest part is to cook for 2 people. Most of my recipes are for 4 to 6 and this is for three very hungry people or four adults.

The Sheep-less Shepherd's Pie

10 ounces of lean ground beef
2 cans of condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
8 servings of mashed potato
Just a sprinkle of shredded mild cheese.

I use instant potatoes in this recipe because you can achieve the right stiffness
Idahoan is my choice of instant potatoes.

2 2/3 cups flakes
2 2/3 cups water
1cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
Prepare the 8 serving method on the box in a medium saucepan.

Brown the ground beef in a skillet and drain the excess fat
open the cans of soup (do not add water to the soup) and mix over a medium flame.
Add the peas and bring to a soft boil.
Remove from flame.
At this point I transfer the meat filling to a glass mixing bowl and rinse the skillet.

Spread the prepared potatoes in the 10" skillet to form a pseudo crust.
I use a tea spoon to lift the potatoes and give it peaks. This helps to brown in the last step.

Take the skillet and put it in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.

Add the garnish of cheese for taste and color and serve.
MMMMMM good and very filling.