I entered the Spinning Bee competition at the Altamont Fair this weekend. The object was to see who could spin the longest continuous single in 30 minutes, and there was a prize for both spindle and wheel categories. As I learned afterwards, there was also a third category for spinners who didn't sign up with the fair officials ahead of time, for ribbons and glory. I spun 17 yards in 30 minutes, which is pretty good since I've only been spinning about two months, and for my efforts I actually earned a second place ribbon in the latecomer category! Of course, there was only one other person in the category and she took first. But still, I went and managed to make yarn and that's actually an accomplishment.
My friend Leslie introduced me to zucchini pie a few years back and it's been a staple of our summer diet ever since. This recipe is adapted from a recipe on Allrecipes.com and Leslie's version. One of our neighbors brought over two enormous zucchinis and I can't wait to make this again! Leslie just posted a recipe for chocolate zucchini cake on her blog that I want to try out too!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Unroll crescent rolls, and press into a 9 inch pie pan, covering sides and bottom. Brush on mustard. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat, and cook the zucchini, garlic and onion until tender. Season with parsley, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Remove skillet form heat, and mix in the eggs and cheese. Garnish with sprinkled paprika if desired. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until set. Cool 10 minutes before serving.
I thought it would be fun to get all my works-in-progress that aren't slumbering in the back of a closet somewhere together for a group picture.
So let's see... we've got some fiber on the spindle, (continuing clockwise) a Mythos cardigan coming along in purple, an Iced sweater taking shape in blue, Zee's baby blanket, and my mermaid socks. Stop me at any given moment in the last week and I could have been working on any of these, or my traveling scarf start which is already mailed off (and the only pics are on my camera, which doesn't talk to this computer yet...).
Except for yesterday when I started six new projects in order to only lose one point for my day of starting new stuff.
So I went on vacation with my family last week, a real vacation with extra relatives and the beach and out-of-the-ordinary foods and everything. I had this plan to write blogs and publish them during the week, and I didn't do it. I had my computer with me and on day 2 I received a text message from a friend telling me that she was getting email spam from me. I changed all my passwords from another computer and that seemed to do the trick, but I know I have a virus on my machine so for the time being I can't go back.
In both good and bad news, I've got a desktop in my craft room. The good news is that I can still communicate with the outside world inside the computer box. The bad news is that in here with my drying rack full of partial quilts and my dresser full of yarn I'm finding plenty of distractions from communication, like actually crafting. Maybe I'll get the sewing machine revved up. Maybe I'll send off some squares to charity that have been piling up. The ideas are flowing and the kids are entertained and the materials are handy. Anything can happen.
The worst news, though, is that there won't be new decent pictures until the virus computer is fixed. Maybe. There's a card reader I haven't explored just yet, and I may yet improve my skill with the cell phone camera!
Well no two ways about it, July was hard. First it was hot. Then I had to have my appendix removed because it was staging a rebellion. Nevermind the keeping up with life that carries on even when the mom is sick. July was my last month of three months cold sheeping (not buying any new yarn, hardy har har) during which I managed to buy yarn every single month.
But before I throw myself a pity party for buying too much yarn - me, a person who has actually been nicknamed "Yarn" hence the name of this blog - I think it's important to note three things. One, I like yarn. Yarn makes me happy. I love the potential I see in every skein and it's a joy I feel every time I see it. Yarn is a keepsake. Yarn is a comfort. Yarn can be anything. Two, I have a spreadsheet I've been using to track my yarn in and out all year long. Spreadsheets make it easy to have graphs, and graphs make it easy to calculate trend lines (see where this is going??). Yes, I acquired plenty of yarn in May, June, and July, but it was a lot less than if I'd kept up my previous rate. I'm trying hard not to think about the fact that in this case, yards vs. date, the slope of the line is the average acquired yards per day. Three, cold sheeping makes me feel constrained. It makes me want to rebel. I know different strategies work for different people, and although I bought less I was supposed to not buy any except the monthly club yarn, and that didn't happen.
It's interesting to me to see my own habits boiled down to bare numbers. If nothing else, I'm learning a lot about myself, my crafting speed, and how long I'll cling to hope on what already looks like a rather hopeless goal!
July yarn in: 2,370 yards July yarn out: 1,107.9 yards Year-to-date in: 34,368.75yards Year-to-date out: 11,568.6 yards
Only 22,800.15 yards left to break even.
I'm going to a meetup at WEBS tomorrow. August looks to be a very productive month. I wonder how it will all add up - I guess we'll find out together.
Last April I was planning what bigger projects to tackle over the spring term for the HPKCHC on Ravelry and ran across a free pattern that intrigued me. It's a shawl written for fingering weight yarn with a truly unique construction called In The Pink.
In order to fit a prompt category for my group, I decided to add beads and make it my Astronomy OWL. The description indicates that beads or metallic yarn should be used in a project to represent a star chart (just the overall aesthetic, not necessarily an actual star chart). For the yarn I chose a cone of grey laceweight wool and silk blend that I bought on ebay years ago without any clue what I was doing. I don't think the estimated 800 yards put a dent in this thing.
It starts with a circular cast-on in the center spiral.
Once the spiral is done, each side wing is cast on and worked until the spiral parts are the same width as the center spiral. Next, the part that goes along the back of the neck/top of the spiral is knitted on from the second wing across the spiral top. The first wing is then grafted to the back of the neck section and through part of the spiral. Then the rest of the second wing is grafted to the spiral.
Finally, all those live stitches are worked together (adding the short row triangles along the way, one of which is in this picture).
There are a few rows all the way across to set up for the knitted-on border. The border was tedious, and several seasons of Doctor Who have helped me make it through. But I made it, and I got it done in time.
This was a real challenge for me. The pattern is written out line by line, and some of my stitch counts didn't come out quite right on the setup and border (but were easy to correct as I went). I don't know if the errors were mine or in the pattern but they weren't much trouble. Doing anything with beads is a little more difficult with children around, and each bead was placed individually using a size 13 steel crochet hook. My yarn snapped a few times when it caught the interest of one of the kids, but it spliced very easily. I tested the limits of my interchangeable needles, my stitch marker collection, my grafting skills, and my patience with a fiddly bit of knitting. I can honestly say it was worth it.