Sunday, July 27, 2008


This is going to be a short post as I am packing my van for the trip with Margie and Karen up to San Francisco (Point Bonita) to attend the summer intensive workshops at Golden Gate Fiber Institute. We'll be gone until August 3rd and it should be fun. We're all taking natural dyeing with Darlene Hayes and spinning with Judith MacKenzie McCuin.

Friday night, Paul and I watched Huell Howser's show on San Onofre State Beach -- so close to us -- so we decided to take a walk down there to Trestles yesterday. It was amazing the amount of flora and fauna we took in. Here's the famous trestles of Trestles Beach. We watched several Amtrak and Metrolink trains roll by. The ocean is just to the right.

San Mateo Creek runs down through Trestles in the winter, but in the summer, a sand berm causes the water to back up and make a beautiful marshy area which is rich with fish and wild life. We saw lots of fish and birds. (That's the railroad bridge in the background.)

It's hard to see, but there is a great blue heron in the middle of this picture.

On the walk down to the beach, we saw lots of plants: wild roses, many types of trees, including this blue elder that had pale blue berries and pale yellow flowers.

And in amongst the dry brush, this lovely white flower was blooming. Thanks, Huell, for getting us out to do some exploring of a very close natural area.

And I finished my Morning Surf Scarf yesterday and washed and blocked it. It's quite lovely and the blueface leicester wool is so soft.

And I started a new scarf with some of my handspun. It's extrafine merino wool and bombyx silk (50/50) that I dyed in pale colors of yellow, peach and denim blue. I am using a "tilting block" pattern from the Barbara Walker Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns. This pattern is very easy but looks complicated. An easy project to take along up to Golden Gate Fiber Institute this week.

Will report back on our trip up north.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Some time ago I saw a scarf on Ravelry called the Morning Surf Scarf. I really loved it and put it in my favorites folder. But, when I tried swatching the pattern, it just didn't speak to me. Well, I got the new Summer 2008 issue of Spin Off and there on the cover was a Morning Surf Scarf and an article in the magazine called "Handspun Gallery of Morning Surf Scarves." 10 different people knit this scarf and they are lovely. My interest was more than peaked.

Then, when my friend, Pam, emailed me pictures of her Morning Surf Scarf knit with her handspun, I knew I wanted to try it again. So here is my scarf in progress:

Here are the skeins of the handspun that I am using to knit my Morning Surf on a size 4 needle. This yarn was spun using Blueface Leicester rovings -- one was handpainted by Sandy Sitzman and the other was handpainted by me, and I plied the two colorways together.

I so loved Sandy's brightly colored roving and I used it all up in these skeins so I painted one similar to hers. Here's mine and I call the colorway "Periwinkle II" since it reminds me of little sea creatures.

And the other roving I used in these skeins is my colorway "Dragonfly". I always tell spinners to experiment and ply different things together for amazing yarns, and this is the proof that two colorways you might not think go together, make the most wonderful yarn.

The Morning Surf Scarf is really quite easy, even though those long floats look daunting. The pattern called for 76 stitches (multiple of 10 stitches plus 6 stitches), but I chose to do 36 stitches. This is a great and easy project for handspun and I hope some of you will give it a try.
A REMINDER -- The weaving and spinning guild to which I belong will be demonstrating at the Orange County Fair this Tuesday (the 22nd) and Wednesday (the 23rd). I'll be there with several of my friends on Tuesday spinning so if anyone comes to the fair on those days, please stop by our booth in the Home and Hobbies Building No. 4.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Had a group of about nine of us over to spin last Saturday. The weather was gorgeous, to say the least, and we sat out by the pool with our spinning wheels busy creating new yarns. We took a break for lunch and cake to celebrate our friend, Miryha's, recent nuptials. All in all, a great day of spinning and chatting with friends in the great out of doors. I don't know -- does it get any better than that?

I've been spinning some of the fibers I bought at Black Sheep Gathering. Here is Dicentra's blueface leicester in "Autumn" which I then plied with Dicentra's merino/tussah silk in "Edoras". The pictures don't do justice to the deep, deep colors -- much darker in person.

This yarn is slated for a sock knitting project.

And last week, I needed some empty bobbins and ended up plying some singles I had left on a couple of bobbins. I ended up with enough off of those two bobbins to make a pair of fingerless gloves. The fiber is merino/angora/silk plied with merino/tussah silk.

And just a last reminder that some of us will be spinning down at Common Threads in Encinitas this Friday from around 10:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The address is 466 South Coast Highway in Encinitas (north San Diego County) and the phone number is (760) 436-6119 for questions or directions.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

July 4th was a treat for me. I spent a lot of the day working in the garden, trimming, pulling out old dried up plants, and sunning myself. No fibery endeavors until the evening when I did a bit of knitting. I was so ecstatic to see that we had actually gotten a decent crop of red flame grapes this year. This is so cool! Here's my grape arbor by the pool.

Lots of bunches of grapes hanging and almost ready to be harvested.

And voila!! my best crop of grapes ever. The concord grapes are not ready to be picked, but they are getting there.

And our Meyer lemon is getting lots of fruit. We've got about four other dwarf citrus that should be fruiting in the next couple of months.
And the Fuji apple tree actually has apples on it. Now let's see if they get bigger than walnuts this year.

Here's my herb and tomato garden. Sage, thyme, mint, basil, oregano.

Many, many tomatoes ripe and many on the way. It always seems like they get ripe all at once. I'm making lots of homemade salsa and pasta sauce.

And lastly, green onions gone to seed, although we had some last night in our dinner and they were quite good.

What a joy it is to have a garden and be able to just step out and clip herbs and veggies. I feel very lucky.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Well, it's the Fourth and I have no desire to go out anywhere because of the hordes of people that will be down at the beach. It's very hot inland and looks like it's nice and cooler along the coast. So, we're just going to enjoy our lovely backyard and barbeque something later in the day -- something healthy. What I wouldn't give for a high cholesterol hotdog with sweet onions and mustard. Luckily, we can see fireworks from our backyard, so we're set for the day.

The other night, I finished the pair of Shortie Entrelac Sox I was knitting with the yarn I spun from Sandy's superwash Corriedale. The roving spun so easily and I love the yarn. Here the finished product:

And a close up of the second sock.

You know how much I love to spin. Here's a basket of some of the yarns I have spun over the past few months.

The loveliness of handspun yarn is why I try to encourage people to give handspinning a try. You just can't buy commercial yarns like these. I hope this gives those who have been thinking about at least trying handspinning a good kick in the rear to get motivated.
And finally, here's a little treasure bag that I have knit with some of my handspun. This is a "Strawberry" patch bag, designed to hold a certain little red headed lady's tooth when it's time to place it under the pillow for the tooth fairy. I've had many requests for my treasure bag pattern and hope to have it in my Etsy store soon.

Hope everyone has a great and very safe Fourth of July.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The guild I belong to -- South Coast Weavers & Spinners Guild -- had a basketweaving workshop on Monday. There were about 10 of us who attended and one of our members, Laurie, taught us how to make baskets out of the dried fronds of the dracena. The long fronds with brightly colored orange ends were soaked in water for a couple of hours beforehand to make them more pliable. Here are some pictures of baskets in progress:

And here are some of the completed baskets. I love doing these workshops because each person's work is different as the inner creativity comes out.

Some weavers decided to put moss or a plant in their basket.
I took my basket home and filled it with some colorful roving and six beautiful wooden drop spindles. The juxtaposition of the handcrafted wood and the funky handmade basket was just perfect.
Aside from the basket making adventure, I have been working on a pair of socks with the yarn I spun from Sandy's handpainted superwash Corriedale. I have finished one sock and am halfway through the second one. The pattern is Lynne Vogel's "Shortie Entrelac Sox" on US2 needles.

A group of us (spinners) are continuing to meet on the third Friday of each month down at Common Threads yarn store in Encinitas. We'll be there from about 10:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Anyone who wants to join us is welcome. The dates are: July 18th, August 15th and September 19th. This is social spinning and not a class. For anyone interested in learning to spin/spinning lessons, you can contact Nancy at Common Threads.