Stitches West 2015

It’s been a crazy and busy few weeks, so I’m a little behind on this post.  

I managed to get down to Stitches West this year for only one day!   I was able to attend a class on Knit-Weaving with the fabulous Lily Chin.  The class was pretty cool, and just the right level of theory and practice!  We learned a few different ways of utilizing weaving 

In addition to class time, I was able to squeeze in 2 hours of market time!  I think it was the fastest that I have ever run through the market ūüôā  I got to visit some old friends very briefly and find some new awesome vendors.  

Included in the super fast shopping spree are bags from Slipped Stitch Studios,  Miss Babs Hand-dyed YarnsRedFish DyeWorksDizzy BlondeDimensions RakuFiredClay,  Western Sky KnitsShaky K Fibers, and Wagtail Yarns

The class was amazing, the market was fantastic!  It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t find more time to cruise the market ūüôā For those who can afford the time and money, Stitches is a great place for goodies and learning!  For folks who are a bit tighter on money, it’s a great place to browse!

Blending boards fun

Colorful Rolags

Colorful Rolags

At Stitches this year, I purchased a blending board from Clemes & Clemes. ¬†Clemes & Clemes are a family run business, with at least 3 members of the family involved in either the creation of product or the running of the business. ¬†I got to know them a bit at SOAR in 2012, and they are a great bunch of folks. I’m always happy when they have something that I want because I know that the quality will be great and they will back their products completely. ¬†I managed to get the last blending board that they had at Stitches this year!

For the non-fiber folks, a blending board is one of many tools that the fiber artist has to mix fibers together.  The blending board allows the novice to get striped and mixed-fiber preparations much more easily than other options such as drum carders.

Checking Values

Checking color values for rolags

A couple weeks ago, I found myself at home with nothing that I had to do, and I thought that I’d give the board a try. ¬†I had a bag of differently colored wool, some sparkle and some nylon, so I played with fiber! ¬†I got a photo of a color wheel and mixed and matched a bit! ¬†Using the black & white option on my phone photos, I checked values. With the color tool, I checked for contrasting colors, and in the end, I came up with a LOT of rolags! ¬†I’m looking forward to spinning them and making socks or shawls … or maybe a tank top out of them!

Never stop learning

Learning is one way to stay young. ¬†It’s a great way to keep yourself young and your mind flexible.


Sole of commercial yarn

I love making socks, so I’m always seeking out new techniques to learn with socks! ¬†Lately I discovered a book called “Solefull Socks” by¬†Betty Salpekar. ¬†The premise of this book is that socks often wear out on the soles, so why not make socks that make it easy to replace or repair the sole? ¬†Salpekar took inspiration from a number of other designers who knitted socks sole first, and came up with her own technique. ¬†The socks are pretty easy and fairly adjustable for different feet shapes and sizes … and they really fit very well!

My first pair of Solefull Socks was the Irises. ¬†I used some commercial sock yarn for the soles, and then my handspun for the tops! ¬†I love the idea of being able to put commercial yarn in the “danger zones” and keep my handspun where it can be seen and is safer from the wear and tear of shoes.


Pretty handspun tops!

I wore these shoes in a pair of boots that I have that highlight any issues with sock fit (they’re useful, and sometimes frustrating!) and they worked just fine!

I’m looking forward to trying out some of the other techniques in this style and maybe even designing a few of my own!

Caramel Apple Beer!

appleCrateI’m so happy with the way this beer turned out! ¬†It’s my first recipe that I’ve modified myself.

The original recipe, the Apple Crisp from¬†“Brooklyn Brew Shop‚Äôs Beer Making Book: 52 Seasonal Recipes for Small Batches” was tasty but I wanted something a little sweeter and a little less earthy. I think I’ve managed to make a yummy beer.

Maybe next year I’ll make more than a gallon.

Here’s the export of the recipe from BeerSmith – the program that I use to track and scale my recipes.

Caramel Apple

Brewer: VictoriaV
Asst Brewer:
Style: American Amber Ale
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: The caramel is barely there, but it adds a lovely complexity to the beer. The apple flavors come out much more when the beer is just barely chilled.Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 1.60 gal
Post Boil Volume: 1.35 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 1.00 gal
Bottling Volume: 1.00 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency: 68.00 %
Boil Time: 60 MinutesIngredients:
Amt Name Type
1 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
2.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM)
1.0 oz Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM)
0.8 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)
2.0 oz Candi Sugar, Amber (75.0 SRM)
8.50 g Willamette [5.50 %] – Boil 60.0 min
1.00 Items Cinnamon Stick (Boil 30.0 mins)
2.00 Items Apples, peeled and diced (Boil 20.0)
2.80 g Hallertau [4.50 %] – Aroma
0.5 pkg Burton Ale (White Labs #WLP023)

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge

Total Grain Weight: 1 lbs 13.8 oz
Name Description Step Temperat Step Time
Mash In Add 2.17 qt of water at 168.2 F 156.0 F 45 min

Modified from the Apple Crisp recipe from “Brooklyn Brew Shop‚Äôs Beer Making Book: 52 Seasonal Recipes for Small Batches”.

Created with BeerSmith 2 –

Image from

Spinzilla 2013

Organic Cotton from Cotton Clouds - Spinzilla 2013

Organic Cotton from Cotton Clouds – Spinzilla 2013

This year The National Needlearts Association (TNNA) put on an event called Spinzilla.  The goal of the program both to build encourage spinners to talk about their art, and to raise money for  a spinning mentor program.

The Needlearts Mentoring Program goes out and teach needlearts to teach children crochet, knitting, embroidery, cross-stitch, needlepoint and now, spinning.

I joined up with the Cotton Clouds team to spin cotton! ¬†I spun on my takli and spun more in a week on it that I’ve ever spun on it before!

Our team didn’t place, but we had a lot of fun spinning, and everyone spun tons!

All told, Spinzilla spinners spun more than a million yards of singles!

CSA Pesto

About 2 months ago, C and I started getting a CSA box from Farm Fresh to You. ¬†They are an aggregator of local organic or near-organic produce that delivers to the office AND allows for an “exception list” for those of us with picky eaters to feed.

In the last couple of boxes, the box has included carrots and fennel with full tops included. ¬†I hate the idea of throwing away the fronds, so I looked up what I can do with them … pesto!

Here’s the recipe I use for my CSA pesto!

One quick note:  this recipe is designed to be adjusted to your own tastes.  Feel free to experiment!


  • 2 cups packed fronds & herbs – carrot tops, fennel tops, cilantro, basil, etc
  • 1/4 c grated¬†Parmesan¬†cheese (freshly grated is best, but the pre-grated stuff works just fine)
  • 1/4 c nuts (pine nuts are traditional, but you can also use walnuts, hazelnuts or almonds depending on your choice)
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic (more if you like garlic!)
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil (or flavored oil of your choice)
  • Optional: a pinch of kosher or sea salt


  1. Put all the greens in the food processor with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and process until the greens are finely chopped and have a thick paste texture
  2. Add the nuts, garlic, lemon juice, cheese and remainder of the olive oil. ¬†Process until they’re all mixed together into a smooth mixture.
  3. Serve with pitas, vegetables, chips, pasta, chicken, or whatever you’d like. ¬†This recipe keeps in the fridge for up to a week.

I’ve mixed about 3 tablespoons of pasta with 10 oz of chopped chicken and half a box of pasta for a great meal for 3!