Monthly Archives: July 2009

I broke down and made gazpacho

This is not knitter-friendly weather!!!!! At 106 degrees it is completely gazpacho weather. FYI I’m too hot and bothered (not in a good way) to put up a photograph.
Here’s what I used:

4 medium sized tomatoes from my garden (sweet ones)

1 red pepper seeds removed and chopped coarsely

1 small-med-sized red onion, chopped

2 cucumbers peeled, seeded and chopped

4 large cloves of garlic (we love garlic)

1 tablespoon white balsalmic vinegar

2 tablespoons high quality olive oil

1 large can of tomato juice

Bit of salt

Bit of white pepper

1 1/2 – 2 c. bread crumbs (I use french bread to make mine).

Basically you puree all the vegetables including the garlic and pour into a large refrigerator friendly bowl or pot. Then you stir in the remaining ingredients until it’s all well combined. Let it chill in the refrigerator for a bit. I was impatient once and put it in the refrigerator (this time I didn’t put the breadcrumbs)…. I took a nap and when I awoke I had a granita/sherbert-like substance which made a bloody wicked frozen bloody mary 🙂

I serve my gazpacho with grilled shrimp and a sprig of parsley on top and a bit of bread on the side. Best thing to deal with the scorching heat.

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The best care package I ever got, ever!

I got this last week in the mail & I’ve been meaning to put up my photo of my care package I received from a Ravelry swap I participated in, and I just found the blasted USB cord for my camera this morning. I apologize, Leanne for not being able to blog about this sooner.

I about cried when I opened the package.  I have never received anything as wonderful as this My care package giver surely outdid herself here.

I love everything here and greatly appreciate the thought and care that went into putting this package together. I’m especially excited to spin the  roving she sent me. The salted caramels taste like delicious stroopwaffles or caramel cookies I tried once in Amsterdam. I’m thrilled to use the “Pattern Tamers,” in fact, I’ve often wished I had something like these.  Also I love the little buttons with the “El” stops marked on them. I remember Belmont and Irving Park. And the cute little aqua blue purse with the bamboo handles… I can actually put my current sock project in this and tote it around with me.

After I got this package I got a keen craving for Harold’s Fried Chicken, later that week when we had dinner at “Tad’s Chic Dump,” I ordered a very fancy Fried Chicken dinner, but it just wasn’t the same thing. I miss the day-glo orange sauce they poured all over Harold’s chicken… so pungent it made your eyes sting when you opened up the package. Tad’s was good but not quite Harolds and instead of day-glo sauce I used a healthy serving of Tabasco.

Care package from ChiTownKnitterGal (Leanne)

Care package from ChiTownKnitterGal (Leanne)

Not shown here: A fabulous Chicago T-Shirt (which is in the wash because I wore it already).

Tons of gorgeous photos of places in the Windy City including my favorite place “The Art Institute.”  I used to hang out there on the “Free Day” or Tuesday because I was a starving student back then.

A handy dandy Chicago Public Library reusable bag!

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Artfibers Yarntasting Part Deux

Wonderfully thick yarn called Udon in color 05
Wonderfully thick yarn called Udon in color 05

Hello there again!

Leila Wice of Deboko Design was kind enough to send a load of photos from the Artfibers Yarntasting event my way. I’m posting a few more here.  I’m also including most of the photos in a gallery below so you can see more of the swatches people made.

Looking through the photos, I remember that it was just so much fun!  Thinking back upon the whole event, I enjoyed the whole bit. It was great to see so many knitters intensely enjoying what they were doing as the diligently knitted away through as many samples as possible. If you are interested in hosting your own yarn tasting you can find out about it on their website &  contact Artfibers directly.

It's nice to knit in the warmth of the sun
It’s nice to knit in the warmth of the sun
It's always good to have your kit ready
It’s always good to have your kit ready
Smart knitter Rachel tagged all her swatches with Avery labels
Smart knitter Rachel tagged all her swatches with Avery labels
It's so pretty it hurts to look at it all
It’s so pretty it hurts to look at it all
Working with limit amounts allows you to try all the yarns
Working with limited amounts allows you to try all the yarns

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The truth about myself

… now that’s scary… or is it, really?

April tagged me for the honest bug.

1.) Knitting and Fiber is a big part of my life, but I don’t know that I can make a living at it. I’m deathly afraid that I will be one of those people who will no longer enjoy it because it is my job. I am content to self-medicate my fiber addiction while teaching others how to knit and crochet.

2.) I like sweets – but not as much as I used to.  I think I’ve finally become my mother because I’m willing to settle for a piece of fruit for dessert. Though I will admit cheesecake is my kryptonite.

3.) I am lactose intolerant – once I ate a piece of Chicago Style pizza (cheese on top and in the middle) and I thought I was going to keel over. I have to drive by the Burgerville and scream lalalalalala when I see that they’re offering their signature blackberry milkshakes. For now I’m content to drink soy and hemp milk. Thank god I can digest yogurt.

4.) I am lazy – I like to work smart not hard. In fact I’ve been known to spend hours maybe weeks coming up with a solution for something that will save me an awful lot of time in the long run. I blame my experience in Corporate America for this one. It pains me when people are manually cutting and pasting into Word or Excel. I can only do so much to restrain myself from teaching them how to use a macro or make their own automated form:) That’s just me.  I have heard somewhere that it’s more important to hire people who can help bring efficiencies to a workplace rather than follow things by rote (unless you’re working in a hardcore assembly line factory).

5.) I love to teach – I forgot how much I missed it until I started teaching knitting and crochet at the Naked Sheep Knitshop.  Every now and then I teach a resume writing class for high school students.  I really get a spark when I see any student regardless of the subject light up when they’ve learned something new or something cool about themselves.

6.) I need to laugh every day that’s probably why I married my husband. Hell for me would be being married or having to work side by side with people who have little or no sense of humor. Though even if that’s the case (with the work situation), I’ve learned to cope because I can always make myself laugh… inside my head 🙂

7.) I love the Carpenters – I can hear people (including my husband) saying, “Dude, that’s lame.”  I think it’s from hearing their music as part of some of my earliest childhood memories. The music just makes me happy.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crWGGy2oBT0]

8.) I’m fairly easy going but have a hard time letting go if someone’s wronged me – I’m pretty much loyal to friends from thick and thin, but if someone has done something not so nice to me, stuff sticks in my head. While I can be civil to that person, the rest of my dealings with them will be affected by the past.

9.) I can be stubborn and loud and sometimes I open my mouth when I shouldn’t– I don’t really subscribe closely to astrology of any kind but the my Chinese Astrology sign makes the most sense to me. I am a Rooster.

In groups they are vivacious, amusing and popular. But Roosters can be conceited creatures, vain and boastful, with a strong egotistical need to constantly be the center of attention. Excellent at small talk, they can be the life of any party. Roosters are talkative types, outspoken, frank, open, honest — but a little too blunt at times. A polished debater and able to cogently refute any opinion, the Rooster is a talented polemicist, and could be an excellent journalist or writer.

You can read more about Roosters at this site: http://pages.infinit.net/garrick/chinese/rooster.html

I laugh at the 33% compatibility with another Rooster because it’s true. And surprisingly enough my husband is an Ox and we were extremely lucky to find each other:)

10.) I am a pop culture snob– I once decided I couldn’t have anything to do with someone outside of work because they didn’t know who Abbot and Costello were (and they were older than me.) I know it was very Seinfeld of me, but I couldn’t help it.  They really didn’t know about the “Who’s on Second, What’s on First” bit.  As a eight year old child, I first heard this on the airplane as part of the comedy show/channel and I laughed so hard the stewardess told me to be quiet. I just watched it on Youtube, and I still can’t stop laughing at it.

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPu5KKrvp3I]

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I’m full. I can’t possibly knit anymore

No, not really. I could actually keep knitting.

Yesterday I hosted a Yarntasting party in Overlook Park.

At least over twenty people showed up from the invitee list. It was such great fun!!!! Surprisingly, it was a bit chilly and windy early when we started but the sun eventually came out. Many people brought food and drink to snack on while we were knitting.  There was a bit of a mix up with the parks area because they double booked the spot.  A poor woman showed up around 12:00 puzzled because she’d booked the site from 9:00 to the end of the day.  The last hour of the Yarntasting was a bit rushed, but all in all it was great! And I got to meet a lot of wonderful Portland Knitters.

A few people did try to crochet their samples. Others like Puppydog knits created a sample mini scarf from their swatches.

Artfibers Swatch Scarf

Artfibers Swatch Scarf by Puppydog Knits

Located outside of San Francisco in Pinole, California, Artfibers has been producing their uniquely gorgeous artisan yarns for over 15 years. At our Yarntasting there were about 180 different gorgeous fiber samples of 38 different yarn lines to choose from ranging from blends made from alpaca to yak. You can see all of the yarns (and more) we tried at this event on the Artfibers yarn page.

I’m going to try to keep a log of fibers I both tried and took smaller samples from. It was virtually impossible to try all of the them but my favorites on the spot were (I will post photos as soon as my camera battery is charged up and I can find my blasted USB cord for my camera):

  • Cassanova (Tussah Silk/ Mulberry Silk) – So beautiful I made swatches of two colors. Gorgeously soft with just the amount of sheen from the silk. It doesn’t hurt that the colors are absolutely gorgeous from a deep velvety teal to a pink and plum multi-color shown here.
  • Casanova 18 & Safa 12

    Casanova 18 & Safa 12

  • Bunnuit (53% Tussah Silk/40% Angora/7% Mulberry Silk) – I normally don’t like angora in such a large percentage in a yarn, but married with the silk it seems to work for me. The black angora bathes the rich multi-colored variation in this yarn in a halo of dark softness. The result is an amazingly rich texture and colorway. Did I mention that it’s super baby soft too?
  • Bunnuit 03

    Bunnuit 03

  • Chutney (100% Wild harvested silk bourette) – While Chutney isn’t as soft as the previous two yarns, I still love it because of how it shows off beautiful hand painted colorways.  Lately, I’ve learned to love the rawer silks because they produce lovely summer garments with a good deal of breathability and drape without skimping on the warmth coverage when you need it on those cool summer nights. I actually crocheted the swatch you see in the photo below. (Still need to take a photo).

Almost all the favorites I picked have silk in them. I suddenly realized that this was because Artfibers has mastered the secret of making truly fantastic soft and luxurious yarns using silk and silk blends.

Other yarntastees are posting their photos and pictures. I’ll be posting these up here as I find them.

Me forgetting how many inches were in a yard... Doh! Excitement gets to you.

Me forgetting how many inches were in a yard... Doh! Excitement gets to you.

Yarn1

The yarn samples

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Artfibers Yarntasting this week

A glimpse into my Artfibers stash

A glimpse into my Artfibers stash

Joy! Joy! And SUPER-EXTRA-JOY!

I’ve decided to host an Artfibers Yarntasting on July 19th.  I had to reserve a spot with the Portland Parks bureau so we could hold it outdoors. You might ask… What on earth is a yarntasting? It’s basically a party where you get to swatch or sample various yarns. In this case, Artfibers gorgeously unique yarns. I first learned about Artfibers via the Stash and Burn podcast, but I became seriously enamored of these yarns soon after visiting their old location in San Francisco. I became a regular online customer.   I’ve even purchased their undyed yarns for a future dye project.

Unique textures and fiber blends combined with color palettes that seem nature-inspired can be knit or crocheted into gorgeous heirloom projects or special gifts. I have Artfibers stash reserved for some of the most special members of my own family.  My favorite sweater is made of Artfibers Rush:

My favorite pullover in Artfibers Rush (Egyptian cotton)

My favorite pullover in Artfiber's Rush (Egyptian cotton)

Yesterday I received an e-mail from Rox at Artfibers that the Yarntasting kit is on it’s way.  Each yarntaster will get several samples of yarns to knit or crochet into swatches.  After the Yarntasting is over they’ll get an e-mail with a survey to provide feedback on the yarns. I’m pretty darned psyched about this! I’m hoping that people will bring their cameras so they can take photos of their swatches and share with others.

If you’re interested in hosting your very own Yarntasting you can check out the Artfibers website. It’s a wonderful way to learn about these gorgeous yarns.

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“Learn to Crochet” starts July 20!

My Favorite Crochet Beanie (Koigu)

My Favorite Crochet Beanie (Koigu)

There are a few spaces left! If you’re interested please check in with the Naked Sheep Knit Shop via the link posted here. I’m excited to teach Learn to Crochet in a few weeks at the Naked Sheep. I’ve posted details and a link to the Naked Sheep site in an earlier post. Actually, teaching crochet to beginners is one of the classes I enjoy the most.  In my experience, many people take to crochet like a duck takes to water.

During the class we go over the basic crochet stitches in the first day (single crochet, double crochet, half double crochet, treble crochet).  Then we learn how to crochet in the round and learn how to shape both flat and round pieces with increases and decreases. I also go over how to read symbols on crochet charts and hopefully get students on their way to learning how to make their own beautiful crochet objects with an unlimited variety of stitch patterns. If we have time I teach the basic shell stitch pattern from a simple chart.

Crochet Cropped Cardigan is done using just three basic stitches Half Double Crochet,   Single  & Double Crochet

Crochet Cropped Cardigan is done using just three basic stitches "Half Double Crochet, " "Single" & "Double Crochet"

I’m also at the Thursday “Knit Night” at the Naked Sheep (unless I have a family gathering or cannot make it on that night) so I can help students who have questions or difficulties with their work.

I love, no adore, the fact that most crochet symbols and charts are universal so there is very little guessing and translating when it comes to using the charts. As you may have noticed from my earlier posts, I’m a big fan of Japanese crochet books as all the instructions are charted and visual. I DON’T need to know how to read Japanese to finish these projects 🙂

By the time the students finish the course their well on their way to crocheting stitch patterns and objects like these:

This looks complicated but its not. Its a simple shell stitch pattern repeat. You can do it if you know two basic crochet stitches.

This looks complicated but it's not. It's a simple shell stitch pattern repeat. You can do it if you know two basic crochet stitches.

Cheongsam collar done in simple shell stitch

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