Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Stormy Day Best Spent Indoor

We went for a long walk yesterday, so today with the stormy weather, I'm not feeling guilty about spending all day in the house.

To celebrate the newly replaced heating element in our oven, and thanking Paul for doing it, I made a  banana bread.
It's one of the few things I can do well in the kitchen.
I used my favorite recipe from Cooking Light - Classic Banana Bread.
Instead of plain yogurt, I used vanilla yogurt since we're out of vanilla extract. Then I added 1/2 tsp of almond extract.
In addition to what the recipe called for, I threw in some chopped walnut, chocolate chips, and some chopped up ginger candies.
With all the candies and chocolate added, I cut sugar down from 1 cup to 3/4 cup.
And potato masher came in handy for mashing the bananas when I didn't have a working mixer.


After 3 days on the wheel, I finished 4 more oz of spinning.
This time it was Doodles In String Polwarth, color Rose Garden.
I love this delicate, and spring-like color combo, a nice change from the high contrast, vibrant, saturated colors I'd been spinning lately.  It totally put me in a different mood seeing the colors come together.
I didn't try to spin as fine this time, and I got 486 yards of fingering weight.
It is now waiting for a good pattern.


and finally, the view outside after a stormy, snowy day...

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Two weeks ago I spun 4 oz of pretty polwarth from Two if By Hands. The yarn came out in beautiful reds, browns, and pale blue. However, much to my dismay, the yardage was a lot lower than my expectation.  With the finished yarn being sport weight, I got measly 265 yards before washing.

Determined to get better yardage and improve spinning skill, I made myself learn to spin woollen.  Although woollen long draw was supposed to be done with batts, which I had none, I was not gonna let that stop me. I began spinning total disastrous, and perhaps comical if you're not me, yarn using the Pigeonroof Studio SW Merino fiber. After wasting about 1/4 oz I stopped. I freaked at the thought of wasting the not inexpensive goods on practicing new method into unusable yarn.

Then I remembered having a bit undyed Corriedale in my stash. And Finally I got to a point where the fiber wasn't breaking off every few seconds. I returned to the SW Merino, wasting more here and there due to breakage. In the end, 198 yards of DK yarn. No, not enough!

Immediately I got started with the next 4 oz of BFL from Two If By Hands. The colors were bright including some neon colors, a bit intimidating for someone who was not used to working with glowing colors. This time 4 oz yielded 270 yards.  I was still disappointed. I thought spinning woollen was supposed to get me a lot more than that.

Still wanting more yardage and practicing woollen spinning, I started on the next BFL from Two If By Hands. I got better at spinning woollen. It broke only coupla times with each half of the fiber. Yardage also improved a bit to 305 yards of fingering weight. And I was happy to have made myself learn how to spin woollen. But I wanted more. More yardage!

Looking at my stash of spunned yarn from earlier in the year, I was actually not doing as bad, specifically the BFL/Silk I spunned into lace/light fingering weight.  For 8 oz, I got 1144 yards.  What happened between then and now? Hmmm... I distinctively remembered discovering short backward draw while spinning that yarn.

I jumped back on the wheel and set out to spin the finest yarn I'd ever spun, and praying for evenness and yardage.  All the while listening to Moby Dick downloaded from Audible.

I'm very happy to report that I got pretty even 650 yards out of 4 oz of Polwarth/Silk again from Two If By Hands.  And I'm 1/5 way through the book.

........  Summer break is good for obsessions.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Summer Knitting

has begun...
on the needles, Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy, color Sand
a very simple dress

Monday, May 14, 2012

Another Wheel

I found this spinning wheel when I was at my parents house for mother's day.

Paul spotted it when he was helping me with getting things down from the attic shelf of my parent's garage.
He said, "there is a treadle for something."  We realized it was a spinning wheel when he pulled it down.

It must've been left there by the previous house owner.  Mom and dad have been living in that house for nearly 20 years.  So this wheel had been forgotten for at least that long.

At first I thought it looked very similar to Ashford Country Spinner for bulky yarns. I brought it home, and googled it.  I believe it's a Cowichan Style Spinning Wheel made by Sid Sharples and Jack Daniel.  It was for spinning bulky yarns to make Cowichan sweaters.

Paul told me the wood is Hunduras Mohagany. She is a beauty, heavy comparing to my Ashford Traddy and Traveller. It has a giant bobbin. I think the wheel is in working condition. I'll have to change the drive band and break band and retie the connector of treadle.  I just have no clue how much use I'll actually get out of it.

I'm not even using my Traddy after I tried it with a jumbo flyer/bobbin.  It still needs some tweaking to make it run better.  But the extra wheels around the house sure makes me feel so rich, not to mention giddy knowing both the Traddy and this one were found free in garages left by old owners.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Crazy Morning - Oven on Fire

I don't like to cook, much.  Every once in a blue moon I'd get into it, but normally it's not something I get a lot of pleasure out of doing.  I do cook when I have to for meals, but I'd never cook to entertain.  I think that would surely turn into an entertainment of a different kind. On the other hand, I do love eating, and my waistline can attest to that.

Paul is usually the one that cooks most of the meals around the house.  Part of it is of pure survival for him.  If I follow a recipe I'm good, but the thing is I really don't like to read directions, of any kind. There are only a few dishes I can whip up quickly without consulting cookbooks, and Paul is not a fan for most these dishes.  So he cooks, and he is much better at it than I am.

This week he is visiting his dad at East Coast.  Before he left, he joked that I may starve while he is away.  I was determined to prove him wrong.  Last night I made pesto, something I rarely made. It was all great until I realized I didn't have parmesan cheese.  I was very tempted to throw in ceasar dressing as substitute, but I came to my senses.  It turned out pretty good  even without the cheese, if I may say so myself.

This morning I wanted an egg sandwich.  I scrambled some eggs, put it on bread, and put a slice of cheese and a slice of fake, vegetarian ham on it, and wrapped it in foil and put it in oven.

After 7 minutes I went to get the sandwich out of the oven and saw the top coil /heating element was on fire, albeit a small fire, it was fire, and not from debris in the oven, it was the coil burning. I completely freaked out.  I grabbed the sandwich out of the oven, turned off the oven and couldn't figure out what to do.  I took my water bottle and sprayed the burning coil with water (exactly what NOT to do according to many sites I read afterwards.)  It just kept burning, and sparks flew.  I was in panic mode and grabbed the ancient fire extinguisher we have, but couldn't figure out how to use it and I wasn't sure if I should use it or not.  I kept spraying water onto the coil like a total fool, and watched the coil continued to burn towards the end.  I was envisioning an exploding oven, thinking I have no time to run next door to ask our neighbor for help, or if  I should call 911.  Finally, the coil darkened from glowing red to orange, to gray, and the fire fizzled out.  I totally freaked out during the whole time.

Since I cannot pull the oven out to unplug it, Paul told me over the phone to go to the garage and turn off the breaker of the range.

Now I have very good reason not to cook - the oven is broken, and the stove is off power.

This totally scared me.  I feel like I have to stay home all day just to keep an eye on that crazy oven, and I really want to go for a walk.  Maybe once my imagination quieted down, I'll think logically and will be able to leave the house.

What bummed me out the most is that I can't dye up some spinning top over the stove as I'd planned for the weekend.

The top coil is broken off from the burn.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

New Shawl Pattern

I made a second Large Colors and Circles shawl using Quince & CO Chickadee in color honey.  It was actually finished over a month ago but I never bothered to take photos of it. Because of the publication of the pattern, I finally got around to taking some photos. As for the yarn, I really enjoyed working with it. It was soft but  durable as well. Yellow ochre is definitely one of my favorite colors, and I can see myself making a sweater in this color one day.

After much procrastination Colors and Circles Shawls pattern is now available at Ravelry.

Much thanks to Nicole, aka chirimoya on Ravelry with test knit.

One item off the to do list.  I'm about to start a second "Thinking of Waves" so I can send the pattern to the testers.  I know there are a lot of errors in stitch counts in my original notes, so I don't feel good at all about sending out a pattern to testers without re-doing it first.

Hopefully during the summer I'll write up patterns for the sweaters on my to do list, This Wednesday Morning, Pink Cardigan (Spring is Here...), and Midsomer Sunshine.

And summer is just around the corner!