Sunday, April 13, 2014

141 A Couple of Jersey Girls Sitting Around Talking

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Abby is joined by Sasha, formerly host of the Spin Doctor podcast, and currently owner of a new yarn company, Sheepspot! And, we digress, and digress. 

Latte: Sasha is making a “Simple Things” shawlette from sock yarn she dyed herself. She is also working on socks from Ann Budd’s  Getting Started Knitting Socks. A conversation ensued about the necessirty for knitting socks with negative ease, fear of clowns and their pants, and adventures in uncommon heel construction. Sasha is also knitting the Structured Alpaca Cowl, a pattern from Purl Soho. Sasha recommends their blog, The Purl Bee. Sasha sings the praises of Lobster Pot cashmere. Sasha talks about Indigo Dragonfly and their Dye Camp where she dyed the cashmere she is using for this cowl.  All Abby has been kntiting this week is the long-suffereing Color Affection and vows “nor more garter stitch” for a while. Abby refers to the Einstein Coat, which may be the ultimate garter stitch project.  

Chai: Abby talked about Stitches West, her “no sock yarn” constraint, and the lovely Three Feet of Sheep fiber that she is currently spinning as well as her “birthday earrings” from Sacred Laughter. Shasha and Abby both confess to having rather large stashes of sock yarn.  Abby feels that shopping at Stitches West is very difficult, and that for her, it is primarily a social event. We talk about the difficulty of having Madrona and Stitches West falling only one week apart, and decide that all of our friends simply need to attend Madrona next year. Sasha talks about finding wonderful shephards in Ontario and how getting to know them, their flocks, and interacting with them on behalf of her new company, Sheepspot has made Ontario feel so much more like home.  We hear of winemaking shepherds, Babydoll Southdowns, Ile-de-France and more! You can read about the Livestock Conservancy here.  

Caffeinated: Sasha, in case you don’t already know, is starting a “little yarn company” called Sheepspot. Sheepspot sells breed-specific, hand dyed yarns. “The natural spot for woolgathering. ”You can read all about it, sign up for the newsletter, and yes, buy yarn, right here. You will no doubt be as excited as we are!  


Abby is excited about table top games. We’ve already mentioned Ben’s game website peacoque.net but when we visited Ben last week we played Hanabi, Dominion and Carcassonne. Abby is hoping to learn Android:Netrunner, but it is complicated!

The rest of our conversation will be released as a separate episode in a week. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

140 - Baaaaaaak!

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Bravi to all who knitted for Halos of Hope! If you posted a hat on the thread in our Ravelry group, please pm me your email so I can send you a link to the Challah recipe!


Latte: Conina by Rachel Coopey for Laura the Joy of Cooking Fairy in Abstract Fiber’s Super Sock yarn in Alfalfa, Leftie by Martina Behm, Color Affection (still), 

Brewing: I need to get some socks on the needles and I’m seeking a nice self-striping pattern that is NOT a plain vanilla sock. Also, I am Jonesing to make a sweater, and trying to choose among: Queen Bee, Floriston, Pumpkin Ale, Lavendula, Thorntower and Lillium

Chai: Madrona! Mary Scott Huff’s Eeks Steeks Class, Jacey Boggs full day Advanced Spinning class and Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s Knitting for Speed and Efficiency (aka “Lever Knitting”). At Madrona, seeing the inside of Mary’s projects was unbelievably inspiring. 
    
Caffeinated: I’m excited about Ben’s new endeavor: www. peacoque.net and my new Fitbit One.

Stir: I finally unpacked my Matchless and I’m delighted to report that it is spinning like a dream. I’m spinning Frabjous Fibers “Three Feet of Sheep” in “Tropical” colors. 
    
Taste: Happy Feet by Cathy Carron and Indie Socks by Chrissy Gardiner and Donna Arney are reviewed. 

Bitter Cup: The ill-fated SPAKAL sweater remains ill-fated. I am sure I have some options, but I do not really know that they are.  Stay tuned. 

Readalong: The Power of Habit readalong is gathering steam. Please join us! A contest is brewing (pun intended) in connection with this read-along. 


Sofa: I am watching House of Cards, RuPaul’s Drag Race and my guiltiest of pleasures: Fashion Police

Saturday, January 18, 2014

138 - Breathing Fire



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Susan Dolph joins Abby for this week’s episode!

Latte: Susan is knitting a sweater for her husband, hoping to replace an old sweater with a new “Doug’s Lounger” of her own design.  
Abby has been knitting totally monogamously on the Dragons! scarf for her “Eeks Steeks!” class with Mary Scott Huff at Madrona next month. 

Grande: Susan made two Halos of Hope Hats — for Team Knit Knit Cafe, of course! She used some Florette yarn, which is very soft. Thank you, Susan! Susan also finished her pillbox type hat and matching scarf and mittens; the project is called “Warmth”.
Abby finished the Skew socks out of Fab Funky Fibres Sargent Peppers color way. They were a FUN knit!

Stir: Susan has been spinning fiber from Huckleberry Knits. Abby had challenged Susan to spin a gradient, but it didn’t work out exactly the way Susan was expecting. Still, she is happy with it! Abby sent her Matchless wheel to Schacht. It needs a lot of work, but she’s looking forward to getting it back in perfect condition. We talk a bit about travel wheels, and mention the Schacht Sidekick, the Hanson Mini-spinner and the Majacraft Aura. Susan also talked a bit about her locally-made Earl Oman wheel

Brewing: Abby has been thinking about the folly of New Year’s Resolutions, but would like to explore how to change habits we don’t like. In that vein, we invite listeners to join our read-along of Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit. There will be a thread in the ravelry group for us to share what we’re learning and what it is (or isn’t) doing for us. Susan mentioned that she gave up lists and projects for a while, but that it hasn’t made her happier. Abby mentioned the book Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert which talks about our inability to necessarily know what will make us happy ahead of time. Susan mentions the Rich Roll podcast.

Chai: Abby visited Susan at the home of Abstract Fiber and it was a delightful visit and “tour”. Abby also visited the Portland Japanese Garden which was deeply inspiring and very beautiful. Abby mentioned the book Peaceful Places Portland and she hopes to explore more of these. 

Caffeinated: Abby is excited about a pattern called “There and Back Again”, a double-knit scarf that “shows” the story of the book The Hobbit

Sofa: Susan talks about books by James Lee Burke, and his daughter Alafair Burke. Susan would like to know whether any listeners have read and recommend the Samantha Kinkaid series, set in Portland? Abby mentioned Good Reads as a place to find book recommendations. Abby mentioned A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, which Susan recommended a few episodes back. Abby recommends the movie Not Fade Away and on TV: the Call the Midwife holiday special, Psych’s new season. Abby is excited about Tim Gunn’s new show Under the Gunn. Finally, Abby recommends the podcast Books on the Nightstand, which was a listener recommendation. At that podcast’s recommendation, Abby is reading We have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Susan has just finished watching The Wire and as a result discovered David Simon’s book The Corner on which the series was based. 

Events: Abby will be at Madrona and Stitches West. Also coming up is the Rose City Yarn Crawl! Join me! Susan is doing a Knitajourney mid-winter retreat. It’s too late for you to go to this one, but you can find information here, and learn about future retreats. 


137 - Separate and Crazy



Abby welcomes Guest Barista Laura the Joy of Cooking Fairy to the Cafe!

Latte: Laura is knitting a pair of vanilla socks of Patons Kroy. For Christmas, Laura received a kit by Weta to make Bofur’s scarf from the Hobbit movie. To add one more color to the scarf, Laura shopped at Green Planet Yarn. She’s added Rimu Merino-Possom blend. 
Abby is almost finished knitting the Skew Socks out of Fab Funky Fibres self striping yarn in Sargent Peppers. The yarn and pattern combination are totally addicting. Abby received her kit for Mary Scott Huff’s Dragons. The yarn from Abstract Fiber had a flaw, and Abby is hoping to replace it. 

Grande: Laura has finished many Christmas gifts! Among them: Three Blackberry Cowls, a scarf, a pair of socks. Laura has also been on a Martina Behm binge, and finished Brickless out of Madelinetosh Vintage, and two Hitchhikers out of Abstract Fiber’s Super Sock. She also knit a Tangled River Hat and the Persephone scarf Whew!

Brewing: Lots of talk about socks, especially what works for high insteps. Laura loves the heel flap and gusset construction, is not so crazy about short row heels, and also recommends the Houdini socks. Abby recommended three books: The Knitter’s Book of Socks, The Sock Knitting Master Class, Sweet Tomato Heels and Sensational Knitted Socks as well as the Fish Lips Kiss Heel.

Stir: Abby is spinning a Bullyseye Bump from Loop Fiber Studio, and it is fabulously well prepared fiber. 

Sofa: Laura is in a bit of a TV funk but talks about three movies: Philomena, Hobbit 2 and Saving Mr. BanksLaura also talks about The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Abby tried the Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and isn’t crazy about them, but she is still binging on The West Wing and loves Orphan Black

Announcements: Keep knitting for Halos of Hopehttp://halosofhope.org/! We are beginning to make a real showing in the Podcaster Throwdown. Abby will be at Madrona and Abby and Laura will both be at Stitches West


Friday, December 27, 2013

136 - No Whine for You!

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Grande: Karen finished the Uncle Frank socks for her husband’s Christmas present, and her own Port Ludlow socks. Abby finished the “Generation Next Pullover” and her first pair of Felfs, which do not fit as well as expected.

Latte: Abby is knitting Skew from Fab Funky Fibres self striping  yarn, and her SPAKAL sweater from the Dark and Stormy pattern. These both gave her some Bitter Cup grief this week. The description of the left leaning  and right leaning lifted increases did not work well for Abby, but when she looked at this video by Cat Bordhi, everything became clear. Abby also mentioned Elizabeth Doherty's blog post about, rowing out. Karen is knitting a Gaptastic Cowl for her daughter from Dream in Color Classy. Abby mentioned the Alewives Cowl. Karen is also knitting her vanilla self-striping yarn, but wants to find a good solid color for the heel. Ben also is knitting a sock, and sent in the following photo:

Brewing: Abby is looking forward to knitting Mary ScottHuff’s Dragon scarf for her Madrona class, and is anxious to get started. We talk about knitting projects to wear at fiber festivals, such as Madrona, and the relative merits of the “wrong” side of stranded knitting.

Tip Jar: Abby has an idea about using knitting yarn to sew buttons on knitwear: just use a few of the plies.


Sofa: Abby recommends the Lady Gaga and Muppets HolidaySpectacular, if you like that kind of thing, available on Netflix. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

135 What the DK?!!

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Latte: Karen is knitting a pair of self striping socks with Felix from Biscotte et Cie, and she is almost done with the Uncle Frank socks for her husband’s Christmas gift. Abby has been having some retail accidents with self-striping yarn as well, from Thoroughly Thwacked, Fab Funky Fibres, Lollipop Yarn and Stray Cat Socks

Abby’s Latte bled into some Bitter Cup as well. She’s been working on the Meadow socks, seaming the Star Trek TNG sweater for Miss Kalendar’s son, and started (but had Bitter Cups with) two Halos of Hope Hats. One hat, still in progress is Swirl(???) and the other hat is an improvisation on that pattern. Note to self: seaming black is difficult at night. For seaming technique, Abby recommends Lucy Neatby’s book Cool Knitters Finish in Style. Abby knitted one Felf, which has not been seamed or felted yet, so it looks like a weird mini-scarf. 

Karen bemoaned a pair of pajama pants that she sewed that came out very “clowny”.  

Stir: Karen has finished spinning 8 ounces of Abstract Fiber’s BFL in Big Girl Pink. She promises to knit something out of it

Brewing: Abby has a few sweaters on the needles, and wants to finish them because she’s wearing sweaters now. She mentioned The Rhinebeck Sweater by Ysolda Teague, Thorntower by Robin Melanson from Twist Collective, Twist and the Ribby Cardi  from Chic Knits. Maybe monogamy in sweater knitting is called for? Goal: finish the SPAKAL sweater in time for Madrona. 

Karen is brewing what she is will knit out of her hand spun. She is looking for a small shawl that requires fewer than 250 yards. Do you have suggestions? A cowl is another option, Zuzu’s Petals  or Eleanor

Abby is wondering how do “do it all” or at least feel OK about not doing it all. Abby wants to read and knit at the same time but doesn’t know how. Karen suggests scheduling the activities that are most important. She also muses about why there isn’t more DK weight yarn available. 

Update: We are gathering prizes for Halos of Hope participants for Team Knit Knit Cafe. If you don’t have time to knit, you can donate money to help with shipping. Every $5.00 donated here counts as one hat — and one entry for the prize drawings. Prizes include a copy of Knitting Art, three patterns from Brenda Castiel - check out her designs here, a pattern or patterns from Elizabeth Doherty (Blue Bee Studio). More prizes to come! To donate cash rather than - or in addition to - knitting hats, go here

We are Purloining something from the Knitmore Girls: German compound nouns! Karen’s current favorite is kopfsteinpflaster which means “cobblestone”. 

Sofa: Karen recommends Miss Fisher’s Mysteries, which she heard about on the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. Both Karen and Abby are very disappointed in this season’s Project Runway All Stars. The good news is that Tim Gunn will soon have his own show, Under the Gunn , which you can read about here

Karen took her daughters to see Frozen and said the animated knitwear is wonderful.

Abby is Psyched about Psych the Musical, which will be on the USA Network. Abby also recommended the Psych parody of Twin Peaks, called Dual Spires

Coffee Cart: At Powell’s, the amazing independent book store, Abby bought a book called Gluten Free Bread. From there, she went to  Bob’s Red Mill, which is really red, is really a mill, and which Bob sold to his employees. They give tours, and their store is a treasure. If you’re in Portland, check it out. They have every kind of grain and flour imaginable, and more. They also do mail order. 


Tip Jar: Adjust your thermostat for comfort and energy savings!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

134 Sweaters & T-Shirts & Socks, Oh, My!

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This week, Abby is joined once again by Susan Dolph, semi-regular guest barista!

Announcement: The game is on, and that game is Halos of Hope. Get your Knit Knit Cafe hats in to Purlesence or send them to Abby or  bring them to Stitches West. This is a great cause and we want to support it. Abby has picked the following free patterns she’s planning to knit: Scallop Lace, Swirl and Wurm. Please join us. There will be prizes! One prize for everyone who enters is Abby’s Challah recipe/Challah cowl pattern. Photograph your hat and put the photo in the ravelry thread. Label your hat “Team Knit Knit Cafe” and send it to:
 Purlesence Yarns
564 S Murphy Ave 
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
or bring it to Stitches West, or PM Abby about how to get it to her. If you want to know more about Halos of Hope, check out their website here

Latte: Susan is still knitting Kelmscott. Abby has been knitting Leftie and Meadow Socks. Abby and Susan both love Hazelknits yarn! Susan mentioned Abby’s Meisi gloves. 

Grande: Susan has finished her “pillbox top” hat, and two pair of socks out of her hand spun! Susan mentioned The Sock Knitter’s Handbook by Charlene Schurch. 

Brewing: Susan is still working on the “non-negotiable shoulder” sweater, and feels she needs to write herself a note so she remembers where she is. Abby wants to use her Thoroughly Thwacked self striping yarn to make a pair of Texting Mitts like Ben’s

Abby reported a Holiday Miracle about Fab Funky Fibres yarn that magically appeared in her mail box. The plan is to knit Skew

Susan has spun some Navajo Churro 3 ply yarn and she doesn’t know what to do with it. Susan is thinking mittens, but they would have to be lined. Abby is thinking Felfs, also lined. Abby mentioned Anna Zilboorg’s Magnificent Mittens and Socks. Abby talked about capturing all her ideas, and she uses the GQueues app to do this. 

Caffeinated: Susan is very excited about snow!!!! Abby is excited about NPR’s Planet Money series about the making of a tee shirt. You can read about it here and listen to it here. Abby is also caffeinated about Katwise coats. You can see a charming video of how they’re made here, and buy the pattern here. We are trying to get together a Serge-Along. Who’s in?

Stir: Susan has 4 ounces BFL/Tussah silk fiber, and asked Abby what do do with it. Abby suggests a 2 ply light fingering/laceweight yarn spun as a gradient. 

Bite: Susan asks listeners how to avoid gaps along the raglan seam of a top-down raglan sweater. Abby had a few thoughts, and we would like your input!