Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Exciting Knits to Come

Tomorrow begins a anniversary sale at WEBS , a quality yarn shop, and I have my shopping list ready to go. One of my favorite yarns, Cascade 220, will be going on sale as well as a couple others I would like to try. Today I shall share with you my shopping list and the projects in the line up for the yummy colors.

This very soft looking gray shall become this simple, functional sweater. And yes, this will be for myself. Have I told you yet that I am addicted to sweater knitting? Well, I'll admit it, I am. Oh and this yarn is Berrco Peruvia.

This amazing blue on the right has been chosen, by me, for a pattern test knit. It is Cascade 220. I am planning to offer a simple beginner hat pattern for free and I plan to do the test knit with this great color. Here is a look at the hat style.

Next on the list of test knits are my leg warmers. A friend of mine has agreed to do this test knit for me so she has chosen this great shade of green, again it is Cascade 220. Green is just a wonderful color! I am certain I own too much of it, but heck I can wear what I want, right?

Last on the list of pattern test knits are my convertible fingerless mitts. I just couldn't resist some yummy alpaca for this test knit, Schachenmayr Alpaka. Who doesn't want a cheery color in the winter? So I am going to test knit these with this squash yellow alpaca.

Once these yarns all get discounted I will be saving myself a pretty penny and spending one at the same time, but this is what I get for not owning a "stash". Truth be told, I enjoy buying yarn for each specific project, it gives me a chance to be spontaneous (if I want to, ha ha).

Anyhow, these are the project in my knitting line up. Until all this yummy yarn arrives I'll keep working on some spinning and knitting up afghan squares. What are you all working on?

Monday, March 30, 2009


So... I love my husband. You may ask what in the world that has to do with the above image. Well, let me tell you.

A few weeks ago I checked "The Joy of Cooking" out of the library on the recommendation of a friend (she said it was her "go to" book) and because I had used it a few times here at there when house-sitting. After checking it out I was completely hooked!

Not only did I like the wide variety of recipes, but it also has high altitude options (greatly needed here at 7,500 feet) and so many helpful kitchen techniques.

I decided to make David several recipes out of this book to convince him that I needed it. I made his birthday cake and some cookie dough (yes, dough just for eating, not baking) and I'd have to say he did like them. But his comments were, "can you renew that book?" or "how much longer do you have that one?". Sneaky guy.

Today the UPS man came in my office with package, for ME! I thought it had to be citizenship materials or something, but nope. As I opened it I saw the big red dot on the cover and I did my best not to squeal too loudly, but I still can't wipe the smile off my face.

I can't stop flipping through it and flagging new recipes that look great. So what are your favorites from the cookbook? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to try them.

My current recommendation is the Creamed Cabbage. I'm not a huge cabbage fan at all, but this is very good served over sausage. In fact, it is my leftovers lunch for today, I think I'll go heat it up.

Buen Provecho!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Alpaca Socks, check. Snow, check.

Yup. Last night we had a bit of blizzard. I'm not talking a little Colorado snow storm, but a for real mid-west type blizzard.

But, since that was mostly in the middle of the night and since we had our crazy winds the worst of the snow blew away and left a with us with a small blanket that is quickly melting away.

I am very glad it is melting away because tomorrow is the wonderful Alamosa Art Walk. There are so many amazing events, artists, local food, and music.

I hope the sun keeps shining to warm this place up for all the events. I'm planning on doing some drop spindling at the Fiber Arts location and show off my entralac wrap and linen market bag.

But as for today, I have on my alpaca socks, llama fair isle leg warmers, and merino/silk scarf. It's a good day to be a knitter.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

On The Wheel

This lovely blue mix is on my wheel right now. I finished it up this morning and now I'll start a solid navy strand to ply with it.

Also look at these amazing colors that were gifted to me as a treat from New Zealand! Aren't they just gorgeous!

Each ball is 25 grams. I am milling through some ideas of how I want to spin this lovely stuff. What project ideas you have for me?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spicy Beef Curry for two (in 30 min)

My fridge is looking bare this week, end of the month and all. I have been longing to cook a good meal, but didn't have the moo-lah to run to the store so this is what happened.

Oh and I only had one hour to cook, eat, and get changed for a volleyball game - hence the 30 minutes. To make this meal in 30 minutes it would be best to follow a certain sequence of steps that have you prepping one thing while another cooks - I'll lay it out in my directions.

I apologize there are no photos - darn rushing around.

Ingredient List:

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 small Potatoes (any kind ya like)
1 medium yellow onion
salt - to taste
1 sirloin steak
1 1/2 cups beef broth (divided)
scant 1 Tbsp. Green Curry Paste (I used Thai Kitchen - available at your regular supermarket)
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. curry powder
1/2 t. garlic powder (I used powder to save time, you could definately use fresh)

(Note that if you are going to make rice to serve with this is is perfect to start it at the beginning of your prep.)
Walk in the door, put a bit of olive oil in a skillet to heat up (over med- high heat) while that heats thinly slice two small potatoes - I used purple ones. Toss those in the oil and cover with a lid.

While the potatoes start to fry slice up your onion and add it to the skillet. Stir them together, sprinkle with some salt and cover.

While your potatoes and onions fry (stirring occasionally) Slice your sirloin steak in strips about a quarter inch thick. Once it is all cut add to your skillet and stir in with potatoes and onions. Place the lid and remove from the heat.

Place a medium size stock pot on the heat and add 1 cup beef broth. Whisk in scant 1 Tbsp. Green Curry Paste (here is where you can adjust the heat (spiciness) to your own taste - less for mild more for hot hot). Dump all skillet contents into the pot and simmer with lid on.

While that simmers add 1 Tbsp. butter, 1/2 cup beef broth, and 2 Tbsp flour to your skillet and cook over medium/low heat, whisking as a past forms.

Once you have the paste whisk it into your simmering beef mixture. Add 2 Tbsp. curry powder and a 1/2 t. garlic powder. Stir it up and add any further spices to taste and serve over rice.

I hope you enjoy my yummy simple curry ~ I was super pleased with the results.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


It is just so beautiful! This past weekend I made apple butter and when I went to put it away I realized I only had single jars left of a few items I canned previously. This meant it was time to photograph all my canning accomplishments together. Here on Flickr each jar's contents is noted.

A little about my apple butter experience... this is the recipe I sort of used. I say sort of because like most of the other users I did end up reducing the butter for 24 hours in the crock pot, instead of the 8-10 it suggests.

I pureed all of my apples and filled the crockpot (5-6 quart). This was good because I got 13 - 8 ounce jars out of one crockpot batch, but bad because it did boil over in the night. So I had a sticky mess to clean up, but after that is was smooth sailing.

In fact I let it on high for 1 hour, then low for 20 hours, and high again for 3 hours. I used 2 and 3/4 cup sugar and did the spices to taste. I really liked that I could add spices let it cook and then adjust them to my taste, very handy.

At this altitude jars have to be processed 15 minutes extra, but it worked and all my jars sealed perfectly. I just love hearing the popping sound as they cool.

Also, a little shout out to my neighbor for the jars, thanks again.

What have you all been cooking lately?

Sunday Dyeing

On Sunday I spent the day dyeing a pound and a half of wool! Yup. Claire and I had gone out to lunch at the Organic Peddler the day before and she mentioned having so much wool that she wasn't motivated to spin because it was all white, well... we just can't have that.

I took all her wool home and went to dying. I divided it into 4 ounce bunches and out of the 6 bundles there is only one that I don't like the result, not too bad.

In the days to come you'll be seeing some of the spinning that results from this dye fest and possibly I'll list some of the roving as well... we shall see.

Have a lovely Tuesday, time for me to go make a cup of chai.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cozy Frenzy

I just went on a stash busting, cozy knitting binge. I'm in the process of listing four new french press cozies today. I believe this little rampage is the result of couple things.

One motivation has been that my chalkboard cozy has continued to get attention around Etsy. This gets me excited and motivated to continue designing and creating.

The other cause of my ramped knitting has been a family emergency regarding the health of a new baby in my family. I have been trying to keep my hands busy while I pray for them so far away in the mid-west. You're thoughts and prayers for health and healing of this sweet baby girl would be much coveted as well.

Thank you.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Fleted Bag for Etsy

It is done and I wash my hands of it. Okay, that sounds harsh - it is just one of those projects I am completely tired of working on so although it turned out lovely I am sick of the site of it!

Let's focus on the positive here. The bag is a great size! It
is large enough to hold all the stuff you need in your purse, plus your water bottle, book and such.

Another plus is the straps are soft and have some give because they are knitted, not felted, so the bag should be comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

I am glad I chose to embroider a swirl - thank you Claire. It did seem to take forever though, but adds a nice accent and some depth to bag.

Here is the Etsy listing for more information.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Yarn Survey

I have had some hand spun/hand dyed yarn in my Etsy shop for awhile now and I seem to be missing the mark with most buyers. Almost as soon as I knit my yarn into something (a hat or scarf or gloves) folks snatch it up, but for whatever reason it doesn't seem to have yarn appeal in-and-of-itself. For those reasons I am asking for you help.

Below I listed five questions and if you are a hand spun or hand dyed yarn buyer please copy the question into the comment section and respond. I really would appreciate and look forward to hearing your opinions.

1. How often do you purchase hand spun/hand dyed yarn?

2. Do you have a preference of fiber content?

3. Do you base your purchase on how many yards or ounces a skein has? If so what is your basis?

4. Do you shop for your yarn by weight (ie: sport, worsted etc.)? If so what weight is preferred?

5. Do you prefer variegated or solid colors?

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and if you would like to do a further critique of my yarn here is where you can find my current hand spun listings (the yarn pictured above will be listed later this week). Thank you so much!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My Knitting Journey

(this post is a bit longer than my usual posts, but I wanted to share with you my knitting journey and where I am heading - I hope you enjoy learning a bit more about how I learned to knit)

Initially I taught myself to knit from the internet. A new yarn shop had opened down the street from my apartment and I had snuggled with some Manos del Uruguay yarn which made me decided I should do something with it. I bought the yarn and a pair of birch needles (even before I started I knew metal wouldn't due) and ran home to my computer.

I was successful, for the most part, learning to knit and purl. Sadly though the only thing I attempted with my lovely skein of yarn was a stockinette scarf. It was holey and wonky and sat in the closet for a year or so. I felt accomplished enough, but the knitting bug didn't bite yet.

Awhile later a co-worker of mine had mentioned that she had a friend who was a great knitter. She also mentioned that she was interested in learning to knit something more than a dish cloth and so was I! So her friend took us on and began teaching us how to knit socks.

We met a few times at this patient woman's house to learn how to cast on, start our cuff and so on. My co-worker gifted me a great pair of crystal palace sock needles (that I still love today) and I was on my way.

Whenever I had time at work I would knit on my sock. And I had my issues: making the sock too big, somehow knitting it inside out, making the foot too wide, and all kinds of problems.

I am not sure how many times I tore the sock out, but it was plenty. A couple weeks later David and I moved from Indiana to Colorado and I knit the whole way (and yes that does mean he drove the entire way). I finally finished that pair of socks and started another pair with the yarn from unraveling Manos del Uruguay scarf and I haven't stopped since, literally.

Because I began knitting without a written pattern that is how I continued. I got circular needles and guessed how to make a hat. I knit scarves that weren't wonky and ventured into the wondrous world of yarn. When I got bored of those items I found my first pattern - fingerless gloves from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation.

These days I still write my own patterns, but I also love looking through the awesome patterns that are already out there. Ravelry is an amazing resource for personal knitting and a great way to share my own creations.

Because of Ravelry and my Etsy shop I am getting motivated to write out my personal patterns and make them available to other knitters. This task seems a bit daunting, but I am excited to get some of my own designs out there (and I hope some people will be excited to see them).

Currently on the list to write out... leg warmers, fair isle hat, fingerless mitts, convertible fingerless mitts, a simple beginner hat, and a to-go cup cozy. Any one you would like to see first?

And if you are considering learning to knit - go for it!!! Knitting Help is an AMAZING website and be sure to hook up with a local group of knitters for encouragement!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Little on Life and Canning

It is finally the middle of the week, a day that seemed it would never come. Tonight I have two knitting groups, my jury duty for today was canceled, and I have one class to teach. Sounds like a lovely day doesn't it?

I thought today we could catch up a little on life and I'd share with you my latest canning endeavors.

The above photo is from Raspberry Point near RMMC where we spent the last weekend in February.

We played a lot of ping-pong, foosball, Dutch Blitz, Greedy, and other games. We also played an afternoon of broomball. My team took second place, but I did score our only two goals! (Note that I am sporting my awesome llama hat)

I have also been doing some canning lately. Because we are part of a food share network we have been receiving large amounts of produce that we cannot consume before it goes bad. So we have been dehydrating, freezing, and canning.

First we got two boxes of lovely red bell peppers and a box of apples. I canned some Balsamic Red Pepper Jelly (the jar on the far left) and the other housemates froze applesauce. And most recently we got a LOT of tomatoes so I made some salsa (jar on the right). I haven't tasted it yet, but I intend to very soon. I did, however, finally try my bruschetta! I put it on toast and broiled it with cheese, but it will also be great on pizza!

All of my recipes for canning are from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New in the Shop

Yesterday I added a couple of super cute cup sleeves. This black and white one is knit from my own hand spun angora. I would have to say it may be the softest to-go cup sleeve ever.

I knit this green sleeve with the last bits of my hand dyed upcycled alpaca sweater. I must admit that I am sick of looking at this yarn. Everyone who sees it seems to love it, but I just want it out of my sight. I supposed that makes sense after reusing an entire sweaters worth.

Lastly, sometime today I am planning to add this little teal number with purple buttons.

So does this post make you want go to your nearest coffee shop? If that coffee shop happens to be a starbucks I highly recommend their tea lattes (with half the syrup)!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hand Spun Linen Market Bag

This weekend I got in gear on the two projects in my "hibernation basket". The first of which was market bag I had started for myself. I know this is shocking that I would actually start one of these awesome linen Shetland Shopper market bags for myself, but I did!

I began knitting this bag with some tow flax that I was learning to spin. I didn't mind spinning flax for a bobbin (for non-spinners these are "bobbins") or two, but then I was tired of it. So, I decided to knit my bag with what I had, knowing it would end up smaller than most of my other market bags.

The size turned out to be great! It holds a nice amount of produce and looks great hanging in my kitchen hold my other cloth grocery bags!

The other project I worked on was a felted purse that I did not have high expectations for. I know this sounds pessimistic, but the only reason I wasn't excited about it is because the project was turning out to not be my style.

In the end this worked out o.k.. The bag still isn't my sort of style, but I'm sure it will be someone's style. The photo here is before I knit the red handle for the bag, which have definately given it some pop! I am still trying to decided what I want to embroider on the side of the bag (in red). Any thoughts or suggestions out there?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


My blogging silence hasn't been in vain. I spent the end of last week out of town at a conference and then the weekend up in the mountains. So I will have some lovely photos of the mountains for you very soon, but first my current knitting thrill - Poppy.

This little cutie isn't quite complete, but even so I am so excited to share her with you. Poppy is yet another fabulous pattern by Ysolda Teague.

This dolly is for a wee one who is scheduled to arrive in this world in a couple short months and I hope she loves it. Well, I mean, I don't expect and infant to get psyched about a doll, but you know, eventually.

As usual with Ysolda's patterns this one is written wonderfully. Easy to follow and a joy to knit. I will mention that the mary janes are explained, but they are easy enough to figure out from her close up shot of the feet.

Obviously she isn't quite complete. Today I will stitch on her dress buttons, give her eyes and a mouth, and I'm going to improvise some little underpants for her.

In short, I highly recommend this doll. I can just imagine a little girl carrying her by the arm everywhere. It is a very fun pattern! Enjoy!