Thursday, December 20, 2007

Count down

I have finished my gift knitting, 5 DAYS EARLY! 
To the right,  you will see socks, as requested. She choose this skein of hand-dyed Kona Superwash to become cozy, by the fire, socks.  She doesn't know about the twisted-rib lace leg, but she will appreciate it.  It would be a miracle for her not to have seen these yet.  She even wound the big ol' hank into a big ol' yarn cake. She better wear them. 

Pictured just below, on the right,  might just be a surprise. The recipient is likely to read my blog, though she has already left for the Windy City. But, she does tend to work away from home, and will have computer access. So, no details about this one.



Next is a scarf made from Diasilke hombre. Lusterous and soft, luxurious and yummy are my words for this yarn.  The color gradation doesn't even interfere with the trailing fuscia lace pattern (Fiber Trends). This is a gift for my friend Sharon. She already has it - we exchanged gifts this morning. She crocheted me a rug! Unbelievable.  I'll show you a picture of that later on. The colors are perfect for my kitchen. 



In the last week I have baked  a birthday cake, two batches of cookies for the shop, two batches for the family Christmas Calorie Fest. Three pans of butterscotch sticky buns. I tinkered with the recipe - the sauce is better than ever.  I can say this because I am certain my sisters don't read my blog. I know they would be disturbed by this claim.  

I do love this holiday. Giving presents! Getting presents! Eating and drinking irresponsibly. Still, my thoughts are already wandering to the next year.  We recently hosted a Habu Trunk show at Woven Art. You can find a thorough review of that event on Ava's blog.  I swatched for a cardi last night, and am looking forward to our Habu KAL Sunday, 12/30.  I am putting a warp on my loom, and dreaming of a million projects. Move over sugar plums! I've got other visions dancing in my head. 

Monday, December 17, 2007

More than one way to exchange a cookie!

This year I changed Woven Art's annual cookie exchange from the Second Sunday knit-in, to the Third Sunday Spin-in.  No special reason. And look what we woke up to on Sunday morning. 
That is about 8 inches of fresh snow.  Still, I made it into the shop,  and brought in some of these:











Striped cookies ( we love pattern of all kinds!) and chocolate dipped almond meringues. The recipe is from Cooking Light, November 2007

Meringues
4 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Glaze:
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. preheat oven to 200 degrees
2. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper
3. Beat egg whites at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt; beat until soft peaks form. Do not overbeat. Gently fold in almond extract and chopped chocolate. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake at 200 degrees for two hours or until meringues are dry and no longer sticky.
4. Remove from oven, cool on rack
5.  To prepare glaze, place chocolate in microwave safe bowl. Microwave at 50% power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring until smooth and just melted. Variation: I added a few tablespoons of hot coffee to make the chocolate more liquidy.  And I always have a cup of hot coffee nearby. 
6. Dip each meringue halfway in the chocolate, dry on rack.  Store in airtight container. 

The recipe for the striped cookies is in the same issue of the same magazine.



A new member of the Woven Art Family: A 36 inch weaving width, 8 harness Wolf. Isn't she lovely?  Below is a picture of the bench. Yes, most of Wednesday and Thursday was devoted to putting together toys.  Seems like the right thing to do in December. 



Monday, December 10, 2007

Weak-end

Fess up!  Who was knitting during Spamalot?
They were talking about you during my group exercise class this morning. Then they went on to discuss how some people will knit anywhere, and all the time.  At that moment I was helplessly stuck under a 35 lb barbell, but as soon as I pulled out of my "turtle", I informed the sweaty gym rats that I was one of "those" people.   That shut them up.  And then they started to ask if I could teach them.  Ha! Of course! Dry off first. 

I am catching my breath from a wonderful weekend of hosting Takako Ukei of Habu Textiles at  my shop.  The woman is as enchanting as her yarns.  Friday evening was a fiber lecture.  She showed us the most exquisite and unbelievable fibers, yarns and woven fabric.  By the end of the lecture, at least half the people in the audience were contemplating pulling weeds in their backyard to make yarn. Others were contemplating making paper yarn out of Japanese paper.  I was planning my next warp.  Woven Art gets a new loom from Schacht Spindle on Wednesday.  I believe it is my duty to weave off a small piece to make sure all is well. Right? Or maybe it is my prerogative to weave on any new looms that come in my door.  

One excellent bonus to the weekend was the opportunity to get to know these better. To see "these", please be sure to scroll down to the opera length arm warmers.  They came over for dinner on Saturday. Great new friends, and great inspiration, all in one weekend. 

Lots of sweater kits were ordered. Lots of new yarns, as well as a restock of all the ones that sold over the weekend.  It was a bit of a frenzy, and I did feel for a moment like I was loosing my mind.  A common occurrence for me in the presence of Habu.  I get kind of weak-kneed. 
I do feel a little sorry for my UPS guy.  "Are they here yet? Are they here yet?"  For the next two weeks.  Sorry Santa, you've been upstaged.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

December


Happy December!  Here is the newest stitch challenge for you!


And some pictures of things from the dye bath. Here is a big lump of Superwash Merino. It is darker on the inside.  Sold by the ounce.  We'll rip off the amount you need.


This is green monte cristo on top, Tiara silk boucle (already sold) in the middle, and Rio, a rayon yarn on the bottom.  Same dye pot!
And this is two skeins of Kona Petite, a sock weight superwash merino, dyed for a customer request.  I dyed three of each, and she will only need one - so call Woven Art if you like them!
The bottom one is navy - not gray at all. 

This coming week is full of excitement.  Tuesday evening I get to teach 15 beginners how to knit at the East Lansing Public Library.  I am very happy to do this.  I really enjoy teaching, especially the newest knitters.  Then on Friday, Takako Ukei of Habu Textiles will arrive with her trunk show. I tend to loose my mind in the presence of too much Habu.  Really, my speech pattern is altered,  my knees quake, my breathing gets very shallow. Somehow I handle it better in the shop, but even so, every now and then I just stand and stare at the Habu.  I pick them up, put them down and ponder, whenever I get a chance.  So I am very excited about having the Trunk Show, with their fabulous sweater kits, for Friday and Saturday.  You owe it to yourself to come in if you are anywhere near Michigan.  Takako will give a talk on Habu yarns on Friday evening, at 7 p.m., and Saturday morning she will give workshops on how to read Japanese patterns.  They are written differently, that's for sure.  There are still a couple of spots in the Friday lecture, and more than a couple spots in the morning workshops.  Call 517-203-4467 if you'd like to reserve a place for yourself. 

On  these bitter cold days I am grateful that I have a cozy place to come too. What is cozier than a room full of yarn?  A room full of knitters!  And crocheters! And spinners!