something new

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If you follow along on Instagram, you probably noticed that I picked up a new hobby. Many years ago I went one Saturday to a knitting group that met in Balboa Park. A woman was teaching spinning with a drop spindle, and I gave it a try. It was awkward and slow and not very fun. I bought a cheap drop-spindle and some fiber and tried again at home, but it just seemed so laborious and still not fun, so I decided that I was definitely not a spinner.

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I have no idea what happened, but all these years later, it suddenly seemed like I should try spinning again. I think it just gradually entered my subconscious and niggled at my brain and I suddenly just needed to get another drop spindle and some pretty hand-painted fiber and give it another go. I blame the podcasts I listen to and watch (Prairie Girls, Knitmore Girls, and The Fat Squirrel, to name a few) for sparking this interest and fellow Instagrammer Quiltotaku for sending me over the edge with her beautiful yarns and spindles.

So I carefully studied YouTube videos and bought myself an inexpensive spindle (which even came with a niddy-noddy!). I combed through all the pretty fiber artists on etsy and settled on a braid of Targhee wool from Pigeonroof Studios, and a tried it one more time. This time it clicked, and I went from parking and drafting to flicking my spindle and letting it go while I drafted my fiber bit by bit. That first skein is full of fat and thin sections, the colors are barber-poling all over the place, and it’s a big, bulky yarn. But it was so much fun and by the time I was done I was completely addicted. I knit it up into a squishy, slouchy hat and I couldn’t be more pleased.

I quickly placed an order for more fiber, this time some beautifully carded batts of merino from Nunoco on etsy. I also invested in a Bosworth spindle that is equally pretty. I managed to spin this second batch of fiber a bit finer and more evenly than the first, I love the gradient shift from pink to gold to green. I’m still looking for the perfect cowl pattern for this little ball of yarn.

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In February I found a spinning class that meets Wednesday evenings, not too far from where I work. It’s through the local adult education and has been meeting for years. The teacher is brilliant and many of the ladies are talented fiber artists themselves. I can’t believe how much I’ve learned in the past few months. I’ve never had real-life fiber friends, so I can’t even express how happy I am to have found this group. I don’t have a spinning wheel of my own just yet, but there are class wheels I can use during class and everyone has been so generous and allowed me to try out their wheels. I’m saving my pennies and hope to get one before the year is out.

In the meantime I’ve spun more fiber and invested in more spindles and made more yarn. It’s so much fun. BUT. There’s only one cloud in all this. I managed to give myself a repetitive motion injury. My left thumb has developed an annoying pain from flicking the spindle, so I’ve had to set aside my drop spindles. Luckily I can still spin on the wheel during class, but I have to be careful not to overdo it. It twinges a bit when I knit, so I’m also limiting my knitting time just a bit. I’ve learned my lesson, though, and I’m doing what I can to make sure this heals and then I’ll get back to my spindles. I just have to remember to take frequent breaks and not spin for hours and hours at a time.

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tumblr of the week

Every now and then I remember that tumblr exists, and I find little gems like this one.

Swag hood Joyce

Swag hood Joyce

Enjoy!

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my new favorite band

During my long blog break my brother released a new album with his new band. As usual, I love it. I rarely listen to the radio anymore, and why would I need to when I can listen to this great album? It’s available all over the place, including iTunes and Spotify. They’re on Pandora too.

They recently did a cover/mashup of their favorite artists. It’s pretty darn good too.

Buy The Vacationist on iTunes.

 

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fairy stones

Finally! I finally got it together and wrote up a pattern for the Fair Isle hats I made late last summer. After spending time the past week or so re-visiting my hats, I think I want to knit another one. Hats are the funnest projects for stranded knitting. They’re small enough that the extra work of juggling two colors doesn’t turn into an endless slog, but the changing colors and patterns keep you going. I know I have to fight the impulse to do just one more row when I’m working on something colorful and fun.

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The name for this hat came from a friend who told me about the famous cross-shaped stones that are found in a national park in Virginia. I don’t have a fairy stone of my own, but I hope to find one some day. It includes two sizes, a S/M, which fits up to a 20″ head and should work for most older children, and a Large, which stretches up to 23″ for most adult heads. You can get the pattern on Ravelry, right here, and it’s just $4!

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Photos in this post were taken by Sunnie Lynne (aren’t they great!).

Fairy Stones Hat Pattern

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something delicious

I can’t decide what to do with this here little blog. I don’t know that I have anything terribly unique to say, but I do  like having a record of the things I make and find and like. Instagram and Pinterest make it easy to share and save a lot of those things, but I think this can be a space to elaborate a little more on some of them. So that’s what I’m going to do more regularly here, I think. We’ll see how it goes.

chipotle mushrooms

Here’s a little something delicious to try. Recently Mr. Heylucy and I went out to eat at a local cantina. I was intrigued to find a mushroom appetizer on the menu, since I don’t usually think of mushrooms when I think of Mexican food. They were so delicious that I had to try to replicate them at home. It took a couple of attempts, but they were really quite easy to make. This is my usual non-recipe recipe, exact measurements aren’t essential and should be adjusted for your own tastes, and for the number of servings you need.

You’ll need:
Cremini Mushrooms, thickly sliced
Minced Garlic
Minced Yellow Onion
Canned Chipotles in Adobo, minced
Optional, if you can get it: Epazote, minced
Butter

For two servings I use about half a pound of mushrooms, a couple big cloves of garlic, and an equal amount of onion, and one chipotle along with whatever adobo sticks to it when removing it from the can.

Melt a generous knob of butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute until softened. Add the mushrooms and turn up the heat just a bit to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to get a little brown. Add more butter if the pan starts to look dry. Add the chipotle and epazote if you have it, and stir to combine well with the mushrooms. Cook, stirring regularly just a few minutes more, until the mushrooms are tender and a little crisp around the edges.

These are delicious just as they are, but you can sprinkle a some queso fresco on top and just eat them like that. They make a nice taco filling if you have some good, fresh corn tortillas, and they would be perfect as a side with some carne asada.

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mice

Since I still have Fair Isle on my brain, here’s a quick little project to get your toes wet and use up your tiny scraps. Fair Isle Mice! How adorable! I might need to make one this week.

mice

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all the knitting

How about a knitting update? I have been just knitting my little heart out. It’s the perfect thing when you don’t have much energy for anything else. I was also motivated by the fact that my sister is having a baby girl in October, and there isn’t much that’s more fun to knit than tiny, cute, baby things. I’m doing my best to make sure she’ll be cozy and warm for her first winter. These photos all showed up previously as Instagram photos, but I’ve sent everything away, so they will have to do for now. Click the photos for my Ravelry project pages, links below go to the pattern pages.

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Patterns are:
Cascade // Beyond Puerperium // Sleeping Cedars

Is this not the cutest set? I also added little pearly buttons to the cardigan.

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Semis de Printemps // Béguin de Printemps

I didn’t want my other niece to be too jealous of her new baby sister, so I made a couple things for her as well. I love that little teddy bear pattern, and will probably make more, including one for myself because he’s just so cute. I added the garter stitch scarf in yarn to match the sweater.

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Sweet Peasy // Brambles Bear

I did make some things for myself, but need to get some better photos. There are also multiple adult sweaters underway at the moment, but they take so much longer than baby sweaters, I admit that I’ve fallen victim to the instant gratification of knitting tiny things. It’s still so warm, but I’m sure my motivation to finish the bigger projects will increase once it starts cooling off.

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