Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Searching for Cathy's Ghost

Last November I made a quick escape, after getting my COVID booster and immediately before the announcement of the Omicron variant becoming a thing to worry about, to my favorite overall destination, the UK. 

This time I was hiking part of the Pennine Way, and stopping in at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate.  It was a tough decision between this and the Offa's Dyke Path in Wales, but once I realized that I'd be able to walk through Brontë country, even to visit the Brontë Parsonage Museum AND make it to a knitting event, the choice was obvious.

It was a little late in the year for a trip like this, but I don't mind the rain and honestly weather than Britons consider cold and awful is mild by Colorado standards. After landing in London and taking the train to Manchester, I had the very skeptical Uber driver drop me off on the north side of the village of Diggle, to start my walk.  It was damp and a little blustery, but heaven for me.  

Something about the wild moorland is just so beautiful.  A few miles in, I spoke briefly with a man who said he'd hiked the Pennine Way 12 times. Like my Uber driver, he couldn't believe I had come from the US to do this walk in November.  I could tell he also didn't believe me when I told him I live at 8500 feet, or just under 3000 meters.  

This portion of the Pennine way crosses the M62, via a footbridge that I am sure is sturdier than it seems.  I hurried across, trying not to look down at the cars and lorries wizzing below me.  

That night I stayed at the White Lion in Hebden Bridge, which is a lovely little village in the southern Pennines. The next day I went off of the route a bit, to visit an old mill, and rejoined the Pennine Way outside the hamlet of Walshaw.  In Walshaw I met a woman who insisted that I take a "shortcut" through a nearby farm.  I had told her I was heading to Top Withens and then to Haworth and was a bit lost as my map was unclear as to which of the unmarked roads led me to the Pennine Way.  Though I know that its acceptable in the UK, I always have a worry about trespassing, but I went through the gate she pointed to, ignoring the prickle feeling in the back of my neck.  After going part of the way that she had rather adamantly advised (to the point of being visibly irritated at my hesitation) I couldn't find a path through what was obviously boggy ground.  With my cell phone showing no service, I was very nervous about being lost, so I snuck back out to the road, hoping she wouldn't see me.  I had no desire to be found by archaeologists in a thousand or so years, and be known as the fat bog lady with the purple backpack.  Luckily a mile or so further on in the direction I chose mostly based on it not being visible from her house, I found a clear sign marking the Pennine Way again and pressed on.  

 Being late fall, it was rapidly growing dark, and I was grateful to finally reach the crest, and with it, Top Withens.  Now a ruin, Top Withens is said to be the inspiration for Wuthering Heights in Emily Brontë's novel of the same name.  It's certainly a brooding location, and I could well imagine Cathy's ghost wandering the windswept moor.  

Speaking of wind, we are experiencing 50 mph gusts in Colorado today with low temperatures  Despite a warm fire in the wood stove, my hands are freezing as I type, so I will continue this post later!

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Taos-Style Breakfast of Champions

One of the things I am really missing this year is having a beautiful, decadent New Mexico-style breakfast to start my day at the festival.  There are tons of restaurants in Taos that will serve you an excellent breakfast, and my personal favorite is Micheal's Kitchen, just a few steps away from Kit Carson Park.  Something about corn tortillas, eggs, green chili and gooey cheese all together . . . oh my.

My version is not nearly as decadent as what you's be served at Micheal's Kitchen, but I hope you like it!

Main Ingredient List

4 to 5 eggs

3-4 slices of cooked bacon, cut into pieces

2 medium potatoes, shredded for hash browns

1 tomato, sliced into rounds

2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese

8 corn tortillas

cooking oils of your choice

Green Chili Sauce (or you can use 1 to 2 cups of pre-prepared)

1/2 medium onion, diced

2 clove of garlic, diced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 

1/4 cup broth or water

1 cup prepared roasted green chilies

Pre-heat oven to 350 Fahrenheit

If you are making your own sauce, start it first! Saute the onions over medium heat in oil (we use olive oil for everything but the eggs in this recipe, but you can use whatever oil you prefer) until the onions are translucent, then add the garlic and continue to cook until the onions start to brown, turn off heat.  When the mixture has cooled slightly, add the flour and stir in, turn the heat back on and after it starts sizzling again, add the broth or water and stir well.  Add the green chilies, stir, heat until bubbly and simmer for a few minutes, then you can shut off the burner (you may need that burner if you stove only have 4 like mine does!

While the sauce is sautéing, start cooking your bacon, shred the two potatoes on a cheese grater and get them going over medium heat in another skillet.  Again, we used olive oil but you can use whichever cooking oil you choose.  Turn the potatoes when you can see the bottoms are starting to get golden brown and crispy.  When this happens you can often flip them over as a mass together, which is nice for the way this recipe comes together.  Don't stir them up - just get them nice and golden/crispy on both sides.

When the potatoes and bacon are getting close to done, melt some butter for your eggs and fry over medium heat.  These we will minimally scramble in the pan, cooking them until they are almost, but not quite fully cooked, then remove from heat.  

Now for the corn tortillas!  Lightly fry them in cooking oil over medium-high heat, about 30 seconds on each side.  Line the bottom of a nine inch square baking dish with four of the cooked tortillas, then layer the other ingredients, starting with the potatoes, then the eggs, then the bacon pieces.  Spread 1/2 of the green chili sauce over this heap of goodness, then spread 1 cup of the Monterey Jack cheese on top of that.  

Fry up the other four tortillas in the same manner, and place them on top of the last layer.  Spread the remaining green chili sauce over this, and lay your beautifully sliced tomatoes on top of the sauce.  

Top with the remaining cheese, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and starting to lightly brown.   Let cool for a few minutes, then serve with salsa, sour cream, fresh cilantro and guacamole.  

You do want Guacamole right?  Of course you do, what a stupid question!

Easy Guacamole Recipe

1/2 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 large avocado
1 small tomato
juice of 1/2 lime
1 teaspoon cumin
salt to taste
fresh cilantro to taste

Dice the onion, garlic and tomato.  Slice the avocado in half and scoop out the flesh, discarding the skin and pit.  Mash the avocado flesh with a fork or ricer, and mix in the remaining ingredients.  

What I really like about this breakfast combination is you can add or remove things based on what you have on hand or like best.  For example, crumbled sausage can be used instead of (or in addition to) the bacon.  If you have jalapeños or some other type of pepper, throw it in!  You can adjust or eliminate ingredients based on food allergies or preference.  We always make ours gluten free simply by using gluten free flour in the sauce and making sure the bacon we buy is GF.  

I'm ready for a day at the Taos Wool Festival, how about you?

Friday, October 2, 2020



It's no secret that I love Andrea Mowry's designs, so when her new shawl pattern Cinnabar came out in August, I shamelessly bought it immediately.

The pattern calls for Spincycle Versus and Spincycle Dyed in the Wool, which of course are beautiful yarns, but are a little pricey and can be hard to find.  Seeing as how I know how to dye yarn and have "a few" cones of undyed yarn around, I measured out and dyed up the what I needed for my version within minutes of downloading the pattern.

Interestingly, the shawl pattern indicates a DK weight main color, and a sport weight contrast color.  This resulted in a depth and texture to the shawl that are really striking.  I used  my Silky Ewe, a DK weight 85% Polwarth Wool/15% Silk blend, and a new sport weight that I really love, (for now I am calling it "Sport" because I am just so original) which is 80% Superwash Merino Wool/10% Cashmere/10% Nylon.  

The shawl is an asymmetrical triangle, with one side section consisting of garter stitch with the two colors alternated.  The other side is a gorgeous two-color brioche.  I learned two color brioche recently and though I was not 100% confident with it when I started the shawl, I was quite confident by the time I finished this very large shawl, which gave me enough practice that things that had been intimidating and terrifying (like dropped stitches and other small mistakes) are now no problem.  


As you can see, it really is big and cozy.  I loved it so much I cast on another one in brighter teals and purples:

I love everything about this shawl, from the elegant center line delineating the two sections, to the stout, squishy brioche columns, to the soft color blending of the garter stitch section.  Mwah! 

Of course now there are kits . . . 


You can find them here!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020


I would have thought I'd be posting much more frequently, as with everything cancelled I have been home home home and having a lot of time on my hands.

When I posted last on March 22,  I did not want to mention the elephant in the yard, for fear of I don't even know what.  In March we were still so innocent.

The last show I exhibited at was Stitches West in late February.  I had bought a package of Seventh Generation sanitizing wipes from a plentiful shelf at Target in San Jose, in case the one I had in my van ran out.  I'd actually started using them to wipe off things like door knobs and remote controls in hotels a few months prior, to try to keep from getting regular colds or flu.  I had no idea that in a few weeks I'd be giving that soon to be precious package of them to a friend with CLL that had to go up to Denver for a medical procedure and stay in a hotel, because by that time they would have vanished from stores and she needed them more than me.

On my way home from California back in that naive February, I stopped in Santa Fe to visit Looking Glass Yarn & Gifts to drop off some yarn, and did a big shopping run (I always do this when I am in a "big town" since there is not a lot of choice in the San Luis Valley) getting a few extra things in case this virus I'd been hearing about on the news turned into thing.  At that time I was just happy to be home for awhile, because I'd been on the road to places near and far for 5 of the last 9 weeks.  I had more shows to get ready for (I thought) but could take a few days to rest.

We all know too well what happened next.  Some of it was particularly sinister to me, seeing headlines of the first cases of "community spread" reported on February 28 in Santa Clara County. Stitches West, where I'd just been interacting with lots of people for several days was in Santa Clara County.  I'd also been in New York City in late January, interacting with lots more people at Vogue Knitting Live.   I caught two colds since December, and still had one of them on the drive home from California.  After seeing the story about the cases in Santa Clara, I recall laying in bed, repeatedly checking my temperature, cringing with every cough, wondering if I had it.  Wondering if maybe I needed to go to a hotel so I wouldn't give it to Brian, and what we'd do if I got really sick.  I still don't know if I had COVID 19, and will never know.

Everyone has stories of how things went down for them with this virus; illness, lock downs, job losses, and even losing loved ones.  We have been extraordinarily fortunate to not have lost anyone close to us, and even though our businesses have been suffering we are in no danger of losing our home and not in any immediate difficulty.  Compared to many people, I have no real reason to complain.  I'm not really meaning to, just writing about my experience.  I'd be interested to know how others are doing.  If you are reading this and would like to share, please do.

So here, now, over four months later, what I am doing?  The next show I have that has not (yet) been cancelled is Stitches West 2021, over six months away and a full year after the last one I did.  I know that I need to re-invent my business for this new world we are in, work on getting more on social media and etcetera etcetera.  I know that many people are facing the same things, and may feel the same lack of motivation and often bewilderment about how to proceed that I am feeling.  I see lots of people in the fiber arts and other industries doing a great job with this transition, and applaud them while also being envious and wondering how they manage it.  Some days I get excited about new projects, and others I get lost in anger, sadness and a general feeling of malaise.

There is a scene in The Good Wife a TV series that I have watched about half of (its really good and included with Amazon Prime if you have that, or on CBS All Access, if you have that) in which Alicia, the main character, comes home exhausted and in profound grief after learning that her former lover, friend and colleague has been shot and killed.  She is in her professional clothes, and goes into her bedroom, where she takes off her heels and then does this sort of dive from the foot of the bed, to go under the fluffy comforter from the bottom of the bed to the top, ending up completely covered by it.  On bad days when moving about the house, putting away folded laundry or just tidying up, I see my bed and want to do that sort of swan dive under the covers and not come out until things are normal again.

I decided to write a post to just ask, offer, whatever, if anyone would like to share how and what they are doing.  Things are not going to be normal again for awhile, and maybe never.  What soothes you? What is making you sad or angry, beyond the obvious?  I am trying hard to not get political on this blog, because I do enough of it on Twitter and Facebook, but its ok if others need to.  What is making you happy?  For me, right now, it's knitting, walking, a mug of tea.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Danube Waltz

We have a new design, this one made from two skeins of fingering weight yarn - a great stash buster for those of us who have lots of that lurking around!

We were fortunate this year to have been able to take a lovely trip to central Europe over the holidays.  I'd wanted to see the Danube River ever since I was teenager reading the magnificent Clan of the Cave Bear series by Jean M. Auel.  I used to pore over the tiny maps in the books, following Ayla's journey, imagining the places where she was, excitedly noting that the "Great Mother River" must, in fact, be the Danube River, the "Sister" must be the Rhine, and that these were real places that I might some day visit.  After seeing the Rhine a few years ago, this year I finally saw the Danube.  Beautiful blue, even in winter,  making its way through the city of Vienna, which is also home to a museum that any fan of Auel's books would love, the Naturhistoriches Museum Wien,   

If you are ever in Vienna, you simply must visit this museum.  It has the single best exhibit of artifacts and interpretation related to prehistoric man that I have seen anywhere, and is the location of the famousVenus of Willendorf.  I was also thrilled by the small artifacts related to spinning and fiber work.  Imagine spinning on a spindle with these stone whorls!   I have always been interested in archaeology, especially that related to the Paleolithic Period, so I was in hog heaven at this museum.  Someday I'd like to return to the area, as there are a great many sites in the vicinity with artifacts from the same period, not to mention, the landscape in northern Austria and southern Czechia is stunning!
Our trip was originally scheduled for November, but due to a detached retina my husband needed emergency eye surgery a few weeks before we were to go.   I was luckily able to reschedule things over the last days of December, meaning we were able to spend New Year's Eve in Vienna.  I've never been abroad on New Year's Eve, nor yet spent that day in a city that rolls out a huge celebration like Vienna does - wow!  Close to midnight we joined the crowds heading towards the Hofburg Palace to see the fireworks.  I had read that at the stroke of midnight they play the Danube Waltz and everyone starts waltzing!  No one near us waltzed, but we could heard the Danube Waltz playing nearby amidst the popping fireworks.  Having grown up watching looney tune cartoons, we found this hilarious.

Right - so the pattern!  Inspired by the colors of the winter Danube.

That is, of course, the Great Mother/Danube River behind me.  It was a windy blustery day!  And no, I did not make the sweater.  It's the Elsin Sweater Coat from Prana, and I think they are on sale right now in case you want one.

The pattern is available here.  Ours is made from Cat Mountain Fiber Arts Mist, one each of the colors Rain, and Stoney Brook.  If you purchase two skeins of Mist from our web site, we'll include a free paper copy and email you an electronic copy of the pattern with your order.  If you already purchased the pattern through Ravelry, let us know and we'll refund the pattern cost to you.

Thanks for reading and best wishes for your wellness!

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.