Friday, July 29, 2011

Fiberlicious Friday

Just yesterday I started a new and probably quite crazy-stupid project (yeah, I'm guessing you aren't shocked by this).  When I was recently in Salem spending some time with friends, we went to a nice local yarn store and I found this absolutely super squishy, exquisitely soft yarn there.  I just couldn't pass it up!  This lovely yarn is made by Filatura di Crosa and is a 70% cashmere/30% silk blend lace weight yarn called Golden Line Superior. 

The pattern I chose to make with this insanely awesome yarn is the Lacy Simple Scarf which happened to come free with my purchase :-)  The pattern is basically a bunch of lace patterns put together into one project, usually called a sample.  The beauty of this is that I won't get sick of doing any one particular design.  Another neat aspect of the pattern is that instead of knitting the scarf in one big long piece, you actually knit two halves and then graft them together in the middle where they meet at the back of your neck.  By doing this the patterns are always rightside up and both side of your scarf match in the end.  Pretty cool huh?

Now, I don't think I have ever knit with a yarn this small before... but I'm knitting the scarf on 3's, so it can't be THAT bad, can it?  Well, after one night of knitting I must say it isn't horrible, but because this yarn has a halo, which basically means it's got fluffy bits around the main portion of the yarn, things might get tricky.  The halo makes the yarn like to stick to itself and if you mess up, it is difficult to undo your mistake :-( 

Still, I'm up for a challenge!  In one night I finished the first section of the first half without too many disasters.  I've found that I can unknit my mistakes, but it is very slow going.  At least it is possible and I'm not destined for sitting with a tub of dark chocolate evil to console myself after making some ridiculous mistake at 1 in the morning.  That has never happened to me... I don't know what you are talking about! :-P

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Favorite Beach Songs

Now I don't get to the beach much, but I definately associate certain songs that I love with both the beach and summer.  These ten songs are some that frequent my iPod in the summer months and have this strange ability to crank up the volume and open all my car windows.... bizarre huh?

1) Kokomo by the Beach Boys - Classic song that I listened to a ton in middle school.

2) La Isla Bonita by Madonna - Addictive as most Madonna songs are. 

3) Summer Nights by the cast from Grease - It's amazing just how differently boys and girls intepret relationships :)

4) Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves - So positive and happy sounding that is gives you energy!

5) Daydream Believer by the Monkees - Gotta love the Monkees.... you just gotta.

6) I Get Around by The Beach Boys - Love love love this song, another one that is really peppy and energizes you.  Not to mention it is in Flight of the Navigator :)

7) Summer of '69 by Brian Adams - Ah, good old Bryan Adams, what would I have done in middle school without you?

8) Summer in the City by Lovin' Spoonful - I love to listen to this one in my car on the first hot day of summer.  It's kind of a tradition for me.

9) Life is a Highway by Tom Cochrane - Hmmmm, many of these songs seem to be about traveling.  I have always been a roadtripper, so I guess that makes sense.

10) Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo Ole' - This song is just so mellow and relaxing... I'll let it speak for itself.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tour de Fleece Update - Day 15

So far I'm cruising along nicely with all my spinning.  In the first 15 days of the tour I have three completed skeins.  You can see them below nestled in with my thyme plants.  As an added bonus they now smell of the heavenly scent of thyme (one of my favorites).

From left to right they skeins are: 
  • 154 yards of Navajo plied Merino with Bamboo Rayon by Spunky Eclectic
  • 166 yards of a two ply Cormo wool by Foxhill Farms
  • 200+ yard (I forgot to write it down!!!!) single of Superwash Merino by Mad Color Fiber arts
Not too shabby for 15 days!  I have also been using my drop spindle when I am out and about and on that is some 100% Maine Wool by Nor'east Star.  I worked on that last night at a car show at Kimball Farm in Lancaster, MA while spending time with my parents and their 1962 Oldsmobile Starfire, which also made a lovely backdrop for my yarn :)

Next I am starting on another braid of fiber I got during my visit to the Spunky Eclectic shop in Maine.  It is a blend of Merino and Cashmere and the colors progress slowly throughout the fiber.  I plan to Navajo ply it to keep those colors true since I've never tried that before.  It should produce a yarn with long sections of each color.

Well, I think that all the update I have for now.  I'm off to Salem this afternoon and before that I have some cucumber salad to make for tomorrow's cookout with the FiberKnots.  Lots to do, lots to do :)  Hopefully I'll gets some nice pics of both outings to share on the blog.  Until then... I'm off!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Recipe Box: Chicken Lo Mein

Last night hubbie tried out a new recipe for dinner, Chicken Lo Mein! He found the recipe on and I think it is a real winner. The only thing I would even think about changing is to add more veggies to the recipe. It only has some green onions and shiitake mushrooms included, but I think adding some sprouts, shredded carrots or sliced up bok choy would be really nice and give the dish more bulk with few extra calories.

Overall, it is a really good recipe and very flavorful. There was an abundance of sauce left so that leads me to believe that adding the extra veggies wouldn't affect the flavor in any adverse way. So, try this new one out and let me know what you think of it!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Vacation, Aunt-hood and some Distinctly Fibery Goodness

So, I've been bad (surprise) and haven't blogged in awhile (yet another surprise).  Turns out I just needed some down time to get back into the swing of things!  Today was my first day back at work after a week long vacation and I must say I'm feeling oddly chipper for facing reality.  I guess a week of splendid relaxation will do that to a girl.  

Foxhill Farms - 100 % Cormo - two ply yarn
During my vacation we went to the Cape and did some sailing, which is one of our favorite things to do when we are there. We also had a really nice day with some of hubbie's extended family to celebrate the 4th of July.  I did quite a bit of spinning at the Cape and hubbie really worked hard on the minis he's been painting.  It's funny just how productive you can be when relaxing :)

After a lovely five days we had to come home so he could go back to work, but the next day I floored it up to Maine to spend a bit of time with my family, which was extra nice.  My mom and I wandered around the countryside, visiting local yarn shops, the bookstore and getting yummy seafood for lunch.  

We even got to go to a fiber store that I have been longing to go to for quite some time. It's in Lisbon, ME which is not to far from our haunting grounds and is called Spunky Eclectic.  The owner, Amy, or Boogie on Ravelry is awesome.  If you aren't a local, do not fear!  She has an online store as well, so go play there until you can make it there in person.  Mom and I had a great time talking with Amy as we perused all of the lovely fiber she sells.  I even convinced mom to by a drop spindle and some fiber so I could teach her how to spin.  It's official, the apocalypse is nigh!!!

Mad Color Fiber Arts - Superwash Merino
- single ply yarn
In the long weeks since my last post, quite a few things have happened.  Definitely on the top of my list is that I became an aunt!  About two weeks ago by brother in law and his wife had a beautiful baby boy who I'll call "Moose" at least until I'm given permission to use his real name on the blog.  Hubbie and I were fortunate enough to get to meet Moose the day he was born, which was a first for us and very special.   Then, last night we were able to stop by, have some dinner and spend some quality time together.   

So other than fawning over my new little nephew and in general being a lazy butt on vacation, I have been taking part in the 2011 Tour de Fleece, which is a neat tradition that I hope to take part in for many years to come.  For most of the month of July, the Tour de France is happening and there are many parallels between spinning and biking (ok, they are mostly horrible plays on words, but go with me on this).  The Tour de Fleece is an event similar to the Ravelympics: You set goals, such as spinning every day or spinning and plying enough yarn to make a sweater.  Basically, it's a good healthy way to set goals for your spinning and have lots of support along the way.    

At first I wanted to set a goal to spin up the entirety of the Romney fleece I bought last year at Rhinebeck.  But.... well.... when you are going on vacation and already dragging a spinning wheel in the car with you, a whole trash bag full of fiber seems a bit excessive.  So instead I decided to spin up the random braids I fiber I have been collecting for the past year or so.  They are SOOOOO much more portable! 

All throughout this post are pictures of the spinning I have done since the Tour started back on July 2nd.  I haven't succeeded in spinning every day, but that's ok, because I'm doing more spinning now than I have since last fall and that makes me really happy.  I generally tend to knit and crochet throughout the year, but the heat of summer really makes spinning appealing since I don't have to have my project draped all over me.  For example, a lovely hooded striped scarf I started in mid-June has been languishing for over a week now since I pretty much have to wear it to knit on it.  There's only about a foot left too.... maybe some cool day or under heavy air conditioning I'll get it done.   

What I'm spinning currently:

Nor'east Star 100% Maine Wool -
my portable spinning!
Spunky Eclectic Merino with Bamboo Rayon -
This stuff spins up like a dream!