Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Taos Wool Festival (and how did it get to be October already?)

I swear someone keeps turning up my treadmill when I am not looking.

Taos Wool Festival was beautiful and fun, thank-you to everyone who stopped by!


We had lots of Nightshift kits, including in our new color way, The Neutral Zone (remember me musing about one in browns months ago?)  Well, I did one.   



AND I did the cowl.  


I love these patterns so much!

Check our Etsy store in about a week for these, after I restock.  We completely sold out in Taos!

So next I am off to Pennsylvania and New York to visit my brother's family and, for the first time ever, attend Rhinebeck.  I can't wait!  I have been running like a lunatic for what seems like months, and the prospect of 6 whole days where even if I wanted to I can't work at my business has me a little bit dizzy.  I have queued up a silly number of books on the IPad, and of course am taking yarn for more knitting than I could complete if I knit for every single minute that I am gone.  Does anyone else do this?  

Here's hoping that if I see Andrea Mowry at Rhinebeck that I don't act too much like a fan girl!

Happy Fall!







Saturday, June 8, 2019

Catching Up

Other than last week, I haven't posted in a long time.  Mainly its because I spend so much time dyeing yarn, going to shows, knitting samples, and waah waah waah.  Anyway, I haven't actually been twiddling my thumbs for the past two years, and its time to catch up on some patterns!

Starting with my favorite new one:


One of the things I love about the drea renee Find Your Fade pattern is the asymmetrical "kite"shape. It wraps so nicely and has that subtle "v" that looks so pretty with variegated yarn.   So I figured out the formula for making shawls in that shape, and not running out of yarn before you get to the end (basically you use 40% of your yardage on the first section, leaving 60% for the part after you stop increasing on each side  -  I explain it all to death in my pattern!) 



This one is made out of a Fusion 800, in Stormy.

So fun with the eight textures of yarn, and the 800 yards makes it a very nice size.  Its mostly garter stitch, with an optional eyelet row to make it a little more interesting if you want that.  




I'm thinking one out of Fusion 750 might be nice too. 

Meanwhile, this pattern is added to the right side bar with our others,and as always is free on Ravelry.   If you aren't on Ravelry and would like to have it emailed to you, just drop us a message.  








Sunday, May 26, 2019

Nightshift

First I want to start off by saying Andrea Mowry is a genius.  I have knit several of her patterns and they are all exquisitely written, very clear and just so clever.  

First the Fades, oh the fades. Love them!!  I am not comfortable confessing how many of them I have knit to date.  Maybe when I get to know you a little better I will tell you.



So then this Nightshift shawl came up in the Ravelry top 20 patterns.  And stayed there. And stayed there, sometimes falling out of the top 20 but I've never seen it out of the top 40.   I didn't actually like it at first, because it seemed too big, blocky and chunky.  Then I saw a few up close and thought that it actually was pretty cool looking.  

And just let me gush for a minute here.  Have you seen the flipping darling "Shifty" sweater yet?  It is so cute.  Not for me, mind.  We's way too big of a girl for a cropped sweater with horizontal-ish stripes, but I have a few skinny pants little nieces that it would be very cute on.  Right, done gushing for now.

Being someone who now only buys "other" yarn under the rarest of circumstance (since I make my own) I decided that rather than spend nearly $200 for the yarn it calls for (which I am sure is awesome yarn and well worth the price - I'm in no way disparaging it) I piddled around with some colors in a nice DK weight that I get from one of my suppliers.  Its an 85% Polwarth Wool and 15% Silk blend that blooms delightfully when its dyed, and is super soft to boot.  I liked the way the colors in the pattern sample looked, so I tried to get reasonably close to those.  


Yummy earth-ish tones.  My favorite is that carmine, second from the right.  When I was first knitting it, I actually went back to my original "too blocky" opinion, and didn't like it much.  I decided I was going to soldier on at least until I got through the initial section, where you knit the first background color completely through with all of the other colors.  As soon as I started with the second background color, I decided that I did, in fact, love it.  Abso-freakin genius pattern.  Here it is finished, whee!


Next, I did something I have never, ever done.  (Ok, maybe I did do this on those darned addictive Find Your Fades.  Seriously though we are not going to talk about that.)  This thing was so fun, I immediately started another one, and whacked it out in about 2 weeks.  It would have been faster if I had not been frantically dyeing as much yarn as I could for my first time vending at Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  




I'm knitting something else right now, but I have to own up to fantasizing about one in beiges and browns.  I even have a color name picked out.  Stay tuned for that.

Since you asked, these are available now as kits, currently in our Etsy Shop and very very soon on The Yarn Gallery web site.  The first one is named "Eartha" and the other one is "For the Love of Purple."  





Monday, April 25, 2016

Gluten Free Recipe - Polenta with Veggies and Duck Eggs

My husband Brian was diagnosed with Celiac Disease a few years ago, and this has changed and limited our diets.  We both love to cook, so I am always looking for new things we can try that are healthy, tasty and gluten free.

My most recent adventure occurred because a bag of polenta that I was storing in the freezer split open, making an annoying mess in the bottom of the freezer.  As I cleaned up the tiny specks of corn grits while on my hands and knees, I thought "now why was that at the bottom of the freezer anyway - you should use it!"

Right.

I love the fresh corny taste and smell of polenta, love it.  In the past we've cooked it up and put it in a loaf pan, slicing off portions to fry in olive oil with eggs or just by itself.  This time, I decided to use it as a "bedding" for a dinner meal, cooking it to a soft consistency.

I really like Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Polenta.

   

Now that we are using it more,  I order it with our monthly subscription on Amazon, and its an excellent deal that way (free shipping too!)

The polenta takes about 45 minutes to cook thoroughly, so start with that.

Enough Polenta for two people:

1/2 cup Bob's red Mill Gluten Free Polenta
2 1/4 cup water

Heat the water in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, and while its warming up, stir in the dry polenta.  A general rule of thumb for good polenta is one part polenta to four parts water.  I use extra water because we live at 8500 feet elevation and grains always take a bit longer to cook, and use a little more water.

Cover with the lid slightly ajar, and cook over medium heat, stirring every few minutes to keep it from sticking (it will stick a little bit anyway, but stirring will help).



About 20 minutes or so after you start the polenta, cook up the goodies you are going to top it with.  The first time I made this dish,  I used bell peppers, onions, garlic, green chilies, and duck eggs.  

We keep chickens and ducks, and have a large number of eggs this time of year.  Duck eggs have a richer and stronger flavor than chicken eggs and I generally don't like them for breakfast.  But for dinner with the other ingredients, they were perfect!

Additional Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 Red bell pepper
1 Yellow bell pepper
1/2 White onion
1/2 cup 505 Green chilies 
2 cloves garlic
2 duck eggs
1 Tablespoon butter

Chop the bell pepper and onions and mince the garlic, set aside.  Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet, and starting with the bell peppers, add them to the oil and sauté for about 2 minutes.  Add the onions and stir, sauté this mixture for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions start to soften.  Add the garlic and lightly brown it, then add the green chilies.  When everything is combined and nicely bubbling, reduce the heat and start the eggs in another small skillet.  (Don't forget the stir the polenta occasionally while you are doing all of this!)


Cook the eggs in a small skillet in the butter.  I did ours over easy-ish, but you can cook them any way you prefer.  



The polenta should be done by around now.  You can tell its done if it has thickened nicely and the individual granules are not visible because they have dissolved and cooked completely.  

Spoon the polenta into bowls, and top with the veggies and eggs.  Garnish with cheese, sour cream, and slices of avocado.  Salt and pepper to taste.



Polenta with Veggies and Duck Eggs

You can easily add chicken, sausage, beef strips or anything else you'd like to this.   It was surprisingly hearty and delicious with the eggs, and made a very nice low cost, nutritious and satisfying dinner.  

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Knitting Across the Pond

Last month I had the amazing opportunity of exhibiting at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show in London.  Having decided to do it on relatively short notice, I had only four days after getting home from Stitches West before I was on a plane heading to the UK.  Whew!

The Spring event is held at the Olympia exhibition hall, located on the west side of central London.  I had the tiniest of stalls, but that was all I needed, since I wasn't exactly bringing truckloads of product with me.


Brian designed a special scaled-down banner for me, and made these dandy little velcro hangers (the walls provided are velcro compatible - jolly!) for me to hang things from.  The table and shelves were rented.  Probably won't do that again - they were very expensive, and the black paint on the shelves rubbed off on my labels, ack.  


Knitters in the UK are every bit as enthusiastic about yarn as they are in the US and I had a blast talking with them.  I met some fantastic people!  

Imogen, owner of Fig Tree Yarns on Jersey (Channel Islands) had actually purchased a skein of my yarn at Yarn & Coffee in Santa Fe, and now is carrying my yarn in her lovely shop.   I also made contact with editors from  Simply Knitting and Simply Crochet magazines, both of whom took some Cat Mountain Fiber Arts yarn for their design team to create projects for features this coming fall.  Whee!  

I even had a little time to play tourist: visited the Victoria and Albert Museum, went to the Borough Market, walked in Hyde Park, and ran across this landmark outside of the Earl's Court Tube Station


I learned a ton about what to do and not do should I decide to exhibit again, and was overall very pleased with how the show went.  There is another one at Alexandra Palace in London in October RIGHT after the Taos Wool Festival.  As in, I'd need to leave the next day.  Not sure how that might work out, but we'll see.  


Friday, March 18, 2016

Stitches West 2016

Thanks to everyone who stopped to see us at Stitches West this year - it was a fun time and lots of nice people!

I had help from Brian this year, which was SO wonderful; having him along always makes an event more fun, and he has a great knack for making our space flow (not to mention for doing the heavy lifting, phew!)































My favorite bit of the whole weekend was when the lovely group of ladies from last year's Stitches visited to show me their Woodland Capelets made from the kits they bought  last year!



Happy Knitting!











Sunday, January 3, 2016

Zig, then Zag - One for Crocheters!

Finally a Fusion Yarn pattern for crocheters!

Mainly I am a knitter, so it took me awhile to come up with something for people who prefer to crochet - apologies for that.




As the name implies, this is a zig-zag pattern scarf, worked on the length.  I chose to work this on only one side (ending with each row on the left and starting a new row on the right, rather than turning the work).  My friend created hers by knitting through the back loop only, and that gave an interesting effect as well.  This project uses a 500-yard skein of Cat Mountain Fiber Arts Fusion Yarn.  Sample was made from Alpine Autumn.  

This scarf is very long - about 100 inches, and the zig zag pattern reminds me of old crochet afghans from the 1970's.  The pattern includes instructions for how to reduce the length and make a wider scarf, if you so choose.  Happy crocheting!


Ravelry link to Zig, then Zag

Many thanks to friend Regis for modeling the scarf for me.