Tag Archives: the spinning room

A lovely tea, two lovely cowls, and a scaredy-cat.

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This was an excellent way to spend last Sunday afternoon:

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The Spinning Room had it’s third annual tea party to celebrate the wonderfulness of Downton Abbey.  We are all sad that it is ending.  Yummy treats, catching up with knitting friends I haven’t seen for a while, meeting some new people and knitting.  A really nice afternoon.

So the project up there in the top picture is the Song of the Sea cowl which I finished last night:


I love it.  Although I do not love the red and white dishcloth background.  Easy pattern with such a pretty effect.  Class coming up on April 9 if you are interested!

I also made the Three Way Fun cowl:


I started this at 5pm on Saturday and finished it Sunday morning at 10am.  Definitely fun, and quick, and pretty cool because you can choose several different looks to knit it in.  Also a class, coming up on April 3 if you are interested!

Also working on finding a shawl project to knit for an upcoming class. I’m having so much trouble finding one that I will love to knit and that others will love to have as a class.  I have had several false starts.  And by that I mean I have bought several patterns and haven’t started knitting them because the construction was not what I thought it would be, or it was just too difficult for a class, or it had a good stretch of purled garter stitch.  Who wants to do a purled garter stitch lace pattern?  Not me, really, even though it is pretty.  So, I’m not going to knit something that I’m not going to like knitting, only to then try and convince someone else that they really want to knit it!  So the search goes on….

And then there is this:


That is the first picture in the sequence of pictures to show you how I am going to go about steeking Paul’s vest.  That is the only picture there is.  Today is the day that I say screw-your-unreasonable-fear-of-doing-this-simply-because-you’ve-never-done-it-and-don’t-want-to-ruin-it-so-stop-being-a-scaredy-cat and TRY.  Although.  It is now 3:15pm and I’ve had a busy day and I’m a little tired.  I wouldn’t want to make a mistake because I was tired.  Maybe I should wait until Friday.  I can do it first thing in the morning when I am freshly awoke.  I’m not making excuses, just being sensible.

Bulky Twisted Rib Hat

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My latest design, the Bulky Twisted Rib Hat is now for sale on Ravelry!


IMG_4740US $2.50

Very exciting to have another design published.   Thanks to all of you who purchased my very first pattern, the Easy Cozy Cowl.  AND a thank you to Deirdre, owner of The Spinning Room yarn shop, for hosting a knit-a-long for the cowl at the shop!

Here is some behind-the-scenes goop on the hat pattern…. I enlisted Paul to take some pictures of me wearing the hats, since I thought it would be good to have pictures of someone actually wearing the hats, in addition to pictures of the hats on Styrofoam heads.  I’d actually prefer NO Styrofoam heads, but I wasn’t terribly confident in my ability to show off the hat well, so I left them in.

I went out on the back deck and stood in the snow (as in, stood in snow and stood while it snowed) because natural light is best for pictures.  Paul stood in the doorway, nice and warm and dry.   We took A LOT of pictures.  After the first few, there was a tiny bit of sighing from inside the house as I requested more pictures from this way and that way and up here and down there.   I’m not terribly comfortable being the one on the pattern pictures, but it’s got to be done because I don’t think Paul wanted to be the model.  And because I’m not terribly comfortable with it, I’m going to show you a bunch of them here, so I get used to it. (I did delete all the ones with my eyes closed and hair flying across my face.  Maybe next time I’ll show you bloopers.)

A picture of me in hat #1:


But it didn’t really show the little side detail pattern.  So, another, from up higher, and looking away:


But that seemed too dark, so another, with the pattern showing better:


(This one made the pattern picture.)

Then hat #2:


And up higher, looking away:


(This one made the pattern picture too.)

I clearly need some modeling tips.  And probably some make up.  And some sleep, apparently.  But there you have it – I sacrificed my total uncomfortable-ness to show knitters how the hat actually looks on someone, and then I put all the pictures on this blog.  Might as well just do it quick and all at once.  Like a Band-Aid.

I love my new hat.  (My favorite is the mauve/purple-y one.)

Next up is an Easy Cabled Scarf…..(which also has a rather unimaginative, yet descriptive, name.  I’m working on more creative names…)

An Afternoon Tea

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On Sunday, there was an afternoon tea at The Spinning Room yarn shop.


We had tea and goodies. And we knit, of course.

It was the second annual tea, being held to celebrate the new season of Downton Abbey, which we all LOVE.  Matt, from the Short and Stout tea house came to let us sample some tea and talk about making tea.


It was fun and interesting.  And I learned that I liked green tea.  I didn’t used to, and Matt said it was likely because I brewed it too hot, making it too bitter.  You are supposed to heat the water in the kettle until it makes the simmering sound, before it boils.  That means the water is about 180 degrees and the temp at which you are supposed to brew green tea.  Green tea is sooooooooo good for you, and now I will drink it more.  Especially the kind he brought, which was Japanese Something Something (note to self: find out what it’s really called).

I thought that it would be a good idea to bring a treat to share at the tea.  You know, something that would be easy to cut into two-bite pieces and put on a plate next to a teacup.  So I made Apple Crisp Bars (this is actually a rhubarb crisp bar recipe for which I substituted granny smith apples).

A shortbread crust:


Granny smith apples peeled and cut:

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Then tossed with sugar and cornstarch and spread on top of the unbaked shortbread crust:


Then a buttery-oatmeal-y topping:


Bake for an hour until nice and browned:


If you went to the tea and are reading this, you may wonder why you didn’t see them there. They came out of the oven an hour before I had to leave for the tea.   Which apparently was not enough time to cool, because they were still warm and when I went to cut them, they just crumbled apart.  Not good.  Definitely not a good option for a nice afternoon tea and taking an elegant bite of a treat while sipping tea.  After I got home from the tea, they cut into pieces perfectly. So, they are now in the freezer and I will bring them to the knit-in on Wednesday.

A fun Sunday afternoon!  But before that was Saturday, and a busy day of teaching knitting classes for me.

First was the Two Socks on One Circular Needle class:


I know it doesn’t look like much got done, but everyone was well on their way to knowing the magic loop technique!  They went home to practice and do their homework, and we will meet up again in two weeks to work on the gusset.

Then was another session of the popular Oatmeal Stout cowl class:


Yet again, unique and interesting color combinations.  A busy but fun Saturday!

Then, last night I finished my Simple Chevron Stripe Scarf ! :


A great pattern – really simple and relaxing to knit since it is only two, very easily memorized, rows.  It took me about a week and I used all but about 3 yards of a 437 ball of yarn.  I love it. And I’m tempted to knit another with a new yarn that came in to The Spinning Room this week called Indulgence Cashmere.  A really soft yarn with wonderful striping colors.  I don’t usually knit two of the same pattern unless I’m knitting gifts, but I would knit this again, with that yarn.  It’s a perfect in-front-of-the-tv pattern.

Next post: Soup! and Bread!  And probably more Knitting!

Cowboy Cookies

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I made these Cowboy Cookies (again) today and they got rave reviews (again) by the ladies in the class I was teaching at The Spinning Room so I felt the need to dedicate a post to them:


I got the recipe from the Beekman Boys, whom, as you may already know, I just love.  I love their recipes, their cookbooks, their home products, their Blaak Drizzle, their gardening, their goats…..

For the cookies I used homemade granola:


…..with a recipe I got here: Olive Oil and Maple Granola.  It is a small-ish cookie recipe, making 24 cookies from my cookie scoop (which is similar to this one:Norpro Grip-EZ Stainless Scoop).  At first I thought the ingredient amounts were wrong since there is a whole stick of butter, only one egg and one cup of flour with three cups of granola added.  But they turned out perfectly and disappeared very quickly at the shop.  You MUST try them. You can use store-bought granola, BUT I’m telling you, this homemade stuff is to. die. for.  And really, so, so, so easy. A little tip: don’t skip the step of adding salt to your granola.  It totally adds to the whole flavor profile (said like she’s a professional cook-er or something…).

Next up on my cooking list are some savory options:

Sausage, Potato and Kale Soup since I’m on a kale-in-my-smoothies kick and have a whole lot of kale-in-a-bag.

Beef Burrito Casserole since it just looks so cheesy, beefy, taco-y good.

Tyler Florence’s Chicken and Dumplings since it is so cold and this is just the right thing for that.  I make this recipe all the time but use stock-in-a-box and chicken breasts, instead of cooking a whole chicken and making stock from the bones, because who has a million hours to do that?  It still comes out great.

Next post: Knitting stuff.


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Sunday was the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival (aka “Rhinebeck” because it is located in Rhinebeck, NY), which always occurs around my birthday and makes for a great excuse to buy things (even though Paul and I don’t exchange gifts for birthdays or holidays).  Although, I REALLY don’t need more yarn or roving for spinning.  So, my plan was to get two things: a yarn bowl and a hand made sterling silver yarn darning needle by Leslie Wind.

First up was finding the yarn needle – of course, they sold out the previous day.   But, I did find a yarn bowl at The Spinning Room booth!:


Ha!  Not just a yarn bowl was found.  Ugh.  It’s so hard to be there amongst ALL THE THINGS.  And Paul is a terrible influence.  When I told him that I was not buying any yarn he looked at me incredulously and said, “WHAT????  How can you NOT buy any yarn????”

So…… there was the Buffalo Wool Co.  We didn’t see any yarn with bison in it in Yellowstone, so Paul said we HAD to get some here, in memory of Yellowstone and the bison we loved seeing.  And at the register, paying for the wool/bison blend yarn (the green skein in the picture), there was a book, Lovely Knitted Lace, which had a pattern in it that I have been looking at forever:


And their booth also had this sign:


….so, you know….things went downhill from there.

I came up with a plan to buy a sweater’s worth of fingering weight yarn because I’ve always wanted to make a lightweight sweater.  So that ended up being the “Juneberry” color of O-Wool up there.  Pattern TBD.

And also at The Spinning Room booth:


There were kits by Laura Nelkin, one of which is for a pattern in her book, Knockout Knits, which I recently won at The Spinning Room, and the yarn and beads were already in it so who could resist that?

And then there were the knitting sticker and pins.  Just because.

And then I had a falafel sandwich and that was to-die-for.

And then.  Then, I spotted Anne Hanson.  She walked right by Paul and me.  She is the designer of Wheaten, the wrap I recently made:


and the Longjohn Socks I’m currently working on (and worked on while flying to Yellowstone):


….and the owner of the Bare Naked Wools Boutique  which we went to in Ohio.  I grabbed Paul’s arm and said, “That’s Anne!!!!!”  He was clueless until I reminded him about our trip to the boutique on the way to his drag racing event.  I had written about that adventure here on the blog and Anne had read it, thought it was funny, and emailed me to say thanks for coming.  Paul said, “Go say hi!” And I said, “No, I’m too shy. I’ll look silly.”  And also I was thinking, she probably wouldn’t want to be bothered.  I’d probably be the millionth person stopping her (she’s got a very successful design business and popular blog) and she probably just wants to shop.  Paul said, “No you won’t look silly.  Go!”  So we ran to catch up to her and I introduced myself, reminding her of my blog.  She got a sudden realization on her face and gave me a big hug!  Then she also shook Paul’s hand to thank him for sending me back into her shop after I came out with only one skein.  The funny thing is that Anne was inside her house, which we parked right in front of with two trucks and a race car while all my running in and out of the shop (across her lawn!) was going on (the shop is right behind her house) and she had no idea:


She was so very friendly and it was great to meet her, especially since I admire her designs and her business.  Her designs and yarns are lovely (you should get some) and her blog is fun (you should read it).  Anne was with a friend, who had read my blog too, and I forgot to ask her name and feel silly now because I was so flustered about seeing Anne.  Hello to Anne’s friend if you are reading this!  (AND I didn’t think to ask if I could take their picture for the blog.)

That was definitely a highlight of Rhinebeck for me this year.  Now, on to figuring out which fingering weight sweater pattern to knit.  Oh, but I also got obsessed with the new Periwinkle Sheep Merino Aran yarn  at The Spinning Room, so I have this set up and ready to start:


Uh oh. I feel an I-want-to-knit-all-the-things-right-NOW phase coming on…..

But WAIT!!! I was making you wait until this post to show you my High Plains poncho and then I almost pushed “publish” without showing you!


love. Love. LOVE.  So cozy and comfy and I. LOVE. IT!!!!

The Knitting and The Cooking

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Pretty much nothing but knitting and cooking this weekend.   Not a bad way to spend the weekend!

The Knitting:

I finished my Kaweah hat and I. Just. Love. It.  It is cute and fun and cable-y and comfy.


I had to make a pom-pom, which I always forget how to do, so I looked it up on the line. [Anyone see The Internship with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson?  Funny movie.  He says in the movie, “Let’s look it up on the line”  because he is sooooooo not tech savvy but he’s trying to be, and it’s just funny.]   Anyway, mine turned out pretty well I think:

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The hat (and pom pom) will be an upcoming class at The Spinning Room, after the new year.

Then, I finished my toes for my sock circle:


Remember my Travelling Socks?

travelling sokcs

They got sent all around the country (and to Canada) to be knit – I knit the toes- while I knit on everyone else’s socks as they got sent to me.  The Spinning Room is doing the same thing, just within the shop.  There are 8 people in a group (group #3 is almost full!) and as we finish each part of each sock, we bring it back to the shop to by picked up by the next person.  FUN!  This weekend The Spinning Room was full of sock knitter’s learning how to start their socks at the toe.

I also blocked some items for some Spinning Room customers:


Note to self:  If you want to put a picture of things blocking on the blog, use the white towels.

And I’m making progress on my Black Cherry Lambic scarf, but no pictures since it would look pretty much the same, just longer.  Scarves are like that.  I’ll show it to you when it’s done.

Oh and I fell into the black hole of Ravelry this weekend, looking for something new to start knitting.  Has that ever happened to you?  Get on the computer to look up one thing and the next thing you know it’s tomorrow and you never found the one thing you were looking up.  BUT, you found a great new knitting pattern!  I started Terra but there are only a few rows on it, so not much to show you.  Next post.

The Cooking:

I went bananas on Sunday trying to cook all the things, so I could use up/save/freeze our veggies.  But first there was pick-your-own:


It weighed 35 pounds. We knew this because….


I made 7 pints of sauce:




A whole lot of salsa – fresh, not canned:


Then I cooked some Mashed Potato Kale Cakes:


Mashed white and sweet potato, kale, bacon.  Pretty tasty although they look kind of sad.

And I made Spiced Squash Pancakes:


Spaghetti squash, egg, flour, ginger, jalapeno, cumin, scallion.  A little mushy, but pretty tasty and they will be better today when I get some plain yogurt and cilantro to put on top.

Despite all that, these are still waiting for me to do something with when they ripen a little more:


And a whole whack of jalapenos since I had this great idea to make my own poppers.  And a whole whack of okra because I’ve never had it and wanted to try it – fried or pickled.  And a whole whack of beets that I may try to pickle.  Ask me when I’m going to do all that.


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I’ve got finishitis. I said recently that I wanted to finish one of my languishing not-done projects before I started another project, but now that I have finished one, I’m on a roll and getting some other things done too. Now, I want to finish ALL the things.  Sometimes you just get that spring cleaning thing in your mind… even though it’s the middle of July.  Plus, I did start a knit-a-long project and have two more projects to start this Saturday, as you will see, so getting more things done to balance those out is not a bad thing.

So, first up are the finished Through the Loops Mystery Sock 2014:


In my last post, I think I told you I started them in “March-ish”.  Well, I was right if you consider January 15  “March-ish”. Love them.

Then I finished my Hidden Gusset Mitts:


I only have a picture of one since one is in the yarn shop as a class sample, so, yet again you will have to trust me that they are both done!  A really fun knit, with some lifted increases to make that diagonal pattern.  Fairly quick too – they would make a great gift.  There are still spots left in the class I’m teaching for these, which starts next Wednesday so if you are local, call The Spinning Room to sign up!

And now I’m finishing my Knitter’s Brewing Company Mystery Sock VI: Cocktails for Two socks that I started January 31:


I’m pretty sure these are supposed to be mirror images.  Hmmmm.  Notice anything?  I have no idea what’s going on or what went wrong.  And I’m pretty sure my friend Lisa’s – who also knit these socks and finished them a long time ago – do not look like this.  I’m pretty sure that cable-y looking part on the left sock is supposed to be slanting toward the left alongside that ribbed part.  I started the sock with the orange marker first and got to the point you see now, then started the one with the green marker and put it down after about two inches.  Just picked it back up after many months, and started knitting from where I left off.  I swear I’m following the instructions.  And I can tell you this:  I’m not starting over.  I just can’t stand the thought, and I’m so determined to get them done that I’m going to continue telling myself that if I’m following the instructions correctly, then it will all work out in the end and that this probably actually does look the way it is supposed to.  I’m such a weirdo. [And really, maybe I should consult with Lisa.  Who will probably tell me it’s wrong and that I should probably start the one sock over which I will probably think about and then probably do.]

Ok, but now on to the good stuff.  The STARTING of things!

I started the Wendy Knits Summer Mystery Shawl 2014 KAL last Saturday and had to first clue done on Monday:


So far so good.  I love the colors in my Periwinkle Sheep Single & Looking yarn.  The colorway is called “Summer Garden”.  The second of three clues comes out tomorrow.

Also, The Spinning Room is having a Christmas-in-July-and-August knit-a-long, which starts tomorrow, to help us get a jump on Christmas knitting.  All I had to do was tell the shop what I was planning to knit and, if I finish, I get entered into a prize drawing.  Fun!  So I am going to knit the Sea Glass Cowl with this:


(Autumn Wind Hand-Dyed in the “Lily Gardens” colorway)  And, since that is a very small project, will knit the What if….? scarf with this:


(The navy blue yarn is Cascade 220)  I can’t start these until tomorrow.  I read that to mean I have to start both of them tomorrow.  Even though I have quite some time to finish them, and another knit-a-long to work on which I will need to finish a part of before next Saturday. But really, I’m just too excited, so I will have to.  If you are a knitter, you totally understand.  If you are not a knitter, it’s just another example of what a weirdo I am.

The Double Knot

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Since this is the gift giving season, my first bit of blogging today is to give you a gift giving tip:  Hand knitted items make wonderful gifts!  And I happen to have several finished knitted items for sale at The Spinning Room yarn shop, if you are local and need a hand-knitted gift!  Here are some of them:


Mostly smaller items, such as scarves, hats, cowls, felted mittens and socks.  The shop girls and other teachers have some items for sale too.

On to the other blogging stuff….

I’ve been trying to use up some of my yarn stash recently.  My non-knitting readers may not know that this can be very difficult.  I have a lot of yarn.  Like, a real lot.  But when in a yarn shop or at a yarn festival, there just is no stopping me from buying more.  It’s just like books – I have to have it then and there because it’s the best yarn ever and I’m sure I will knit the best thing ever from it.  Sometimes I come right home and start knitting with my new yarn.  Sometimes I’ve bought enough that I can’t knit with all of it right away – which would be great, as long as I had 80 arms – so it goes into the stash.

However, when I see yarn that I like and don’t yet know what I pattern I will use it for, I just guess at how much to buy.  In my head it goes something like this, “Hmmmm.  This looks like it could be a hat or a cowl or mitts.  Two would probably be enough.”  It’s usually the same conversation every time so I have two of a lot of things.  Then, when I’m browsing through patterns on Ravelry and find the best pattern ever, I go to my stash just knowing I’ll find the best yarn ever to knit it with.  But, I never seem to be able to find the right amount of the right kind of yarn.

So I go buy more.  It’s a vicious circle.  And one would think sock yarn is pretty easy, since one skein will usually always make a pair of socks and I have tons of sock patterns.  Except when I find that best-ever shawl or sweater pattern that takes more than one skein of sock yarn.  Then I have to buy more. See? A vicious circle.

On to my trying to use up some of my stash….  The other day, I tried to tackle things from a different direction.  I went to my stash, found some pretty, purple bulky yarn of which I had four balls.  Then I went to Ravelry and looked for patterns that would take that much bulky yarn.   (You’ve probably already thought of that as a reasonable way to decrease my stash, but I tell you, in the presence of a shop full of yarn, there just is no reasoning.)  I found the Gap-tastic cowl which was perfect and whipped it up in a couple of days, using all of the four balls:

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Since it used four balls of yarn, I needed to join a new ball of yarn three times.  This particular yarn was superwash wool, so I could not do my usual wet splice method of joining yarn – which helps cut down on the number of ends to weave in when I’m done.  So I used the double knot method which I had heard about on the Knitting Pipeline podcast.

In a nutshell, you make two knots (can you see why it called the “double knot”?): One is the working yarn tied to the new yarn, the other is the new yarn tied to the working yarn:


Then you pull/slide those knots together:


And trim the ends really, really, really close to the knots:


It’s amazing that they do not come un-done even when you pull really hard! (as long as you do it exactly the right way)

While you can still feel the knot, a pattern such as this one, which is in seed stitch, does not show it at all.  This kind of join is not great for smooth fabric such as stockinette, but perfect for seed stitch or garter stitch or other patterned fabric.

Here is the YouTube video that shows you how to do it, specifically the exact way to tie the yarns to each other: How to Tie a Double Knot

Try it the next time you have to join yarn!

All Spun Up

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Last night was Halloween.  So Paul and I went out to dinner.  It’s become a tradition since we live on a street with not many houses and no one comes to the door anyway.  The kids that live on the street go down to the village where they get way more bang for their buck (or way more candy per square mile).  We got to see all the costumes while driving through the village to get to dinner and, this year, at the mall where we needed to make a stop.  And since we were nearby, we went and trick-or-treated at my mother-in-law’s house and got a pack of oreos.  And an Almond Joy from a doodlebug’s pumpkin – they were there, but already out of their Superman and Ladybug costumes.  Booooooo.

The Jacob roving purchased from The Spinning Room booth at Rhinebeck is all spun and plied up:



(I just realized how terrible these pictures are.  They looked ok on the phone, but not when they got to the computer.)

This is the result of plying two “singles” or two strands of yarn together, which previously looked like this:002 (2)

I ended up with about 200 yards of what I think is about a worsted weight yarn.  I haven’t measured my wraps per inch yet, but given that I got 200 yards out of 4 ounces, that would be about right-ish.

Here it is washed, hung to dry and skeined up:

jacob handspun oct 2013 (2)

And in balls, ready for knitting!:

jacob handspun oct 2013 (3)

It looks so different in each form.   I think this is destined to be a pair of mittens. Get in line with the other yarn, Jacob.  Bring on the pretty red roving for me to spin next.

And in case you were wondering, my Umaro blanket is coming along.  Only twenty-three more rows to go and you’ll have some finished pictures to view.  For now, suffice it to say, it’s keeping me warm while I knit: