Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I've done quite a bit of stash busting this last year and have really been wanting some new and beautiful yarns. So, the timing was perfect when our Stitch N Bitch group decided to plan a "Yarn Crawl".

We met up early on a Saturday morning and piled into two cars to head out on our adventure. It was a cold and cloudy day and we went through some pretty heavy rain on our way toward the Los Angeles area. Since we don't get weather like that very often, it added a little more excitement to our day. We visited four yarn shops that I had never been to. And, I found some pretty fabulous yarns that had to come home with me!

Most of my new yarn came from my favorite store of the day, "Twist", in Manhattan Beach. I loved just about every yarn they had, the staff were wonderfully friendly and helpful, and they had lots of comfy seating. Right after I walked in the door, the gasps of "ooohs" and "wowwws" began and didn't stop. Even though the shop is small, they had LOTS of beautiful yarn...more, to me, than many large shops. I was in yarn heaven! I will definitely go back to this store and maybe very soon. It's worth the hour and half drive (one way)!

I may be a little behind the times when it comes to Malabrigo yarn. I've seen it a lot on Ravelry and heard people talking about it but I honestly don't remember ever seeing it in the shops I've visited. Twist has a LOT of it. Now, I know what all the buzz is about. Their yarn is beyond gorgeous! It's also super soft and affordably priced. I bought two skeins of this Malabrigo lace yarn in the colorway, "Nostalgia". I think I have a pattern picked out for these beauties! They are 100% baby merino wool, have 470 yards in each skein, and they only cost $8.80 each!

This is the first yarn I saw when I walked in the door of Twist. The colors are sooooo pretty! The cranberry, purple and green colors are so wonderful together! It was hanging on a dress form with a shawl that had been knitted with the same yarn. It was such a wonderful shawl that I may attempt to knit the same one. It's called "Herbivore" and it's available on Ravelry for $6. Although, rumor has it that the pattern used to be free. What's up with that?! The yarn is sock weight, superwash merino and has 440 yards in the skein. It was only $18.40.

I also got this one at Twist. See how much I love this store?! I couldn't resist the variegated cranberry and berry like colors. Beautiful! It's another Malabrigo yarn called "Arroyo" and the colorway is "Jupiter". It's also a superwash merino, sock weight yarn with 335 yards in the skein. It was only $18.40.

One of the shops we visited was "Unwind" in Burbank. It was a bright, airy store with pretty yarns, fun notions, a couple of seating areas, and friendly staff. I found this yummy, pumpkin colored yarn in their clearance area. It's Berroco Vintage DK and it's 288 yards were only $3.75. What a deal!

We visited two other stores that day. One was "Wild Fiber" in Santa Monica. I love this store! It's crammed full of beautiful yarns. There are so many choices that it's almost overwhelming. Unfortunately, I didn't find anything that day that I had to have. Although, their large selection of Koigu was very tempting!

The last shop we visited was "Yarn Lady" in Lake Forest. It's a large store with several large tables and seating areas to work at and lots of yarn choices. However, it was our last stop and I was shopped out for the day. I'm pretty sure I'll be popping back there for a visit someday. In fact, I wish I lived local to this shop because they have a spin night each week and a weaving night once a month! How cool is that?!

A couple days earlier, I made a trip to Riverside for my mom's knee surgery. On the way to the hospital, I made a stop at "Knitting with Sandra" and found a yarn I had to have. I'm not usually drawn to greens but this variegated green fingering yarn is so pretty! It's from a company I'd never heard of, "Hazel Knits". The yarn is called "Piquant Lite" hand painted fingering yarn. The colorway is "Woodland". It's 90% superwash merino and 10% nylon. There are 400 yards in the skein. It was a little pricier than my other yarns at $26. These pictures don't accurately show how gorgeous the greens are. But, trust me, they're pretty!

I wanted to try my hand at knitting more lace and I had a certain look in mind of what I wanted to make. I searched through patterns on Ravelry for days before deciding on the "Strangling Vine Lace Scarf" pattern. There are a lot of pretty examples by other Ravelers and the pattern is free. So far, so good. It's actually very easy to knit. So much so that I think I'll be able to work on this while chatting with others or maybe even watching TV. It doesn't look like much now but when it's finished and blocked, I think it will be beautiful.

I'll be spending most of tomorrow with my parents for my mom's follow up doctor appointments for her knee replacement. I imagine I'll be getting a lot of knitting time tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Homemade Chicken and Noodles

My mom's knee replacement surgery went well. She stayed in the hospital an extra day because of a weird reaction she had to one of the pain medications, vicodin. She was hallucinating that they moved her to a kitchen and that there were ants all over the walls, ceilings, everywhere. Yikes! She kept asking my dad to take her home. I had no idea vicodin could do that. Since then, I've heard other people say that they experienced similar things when they took that drug. We were also told that a reaction like that is more common in older people. They stopped giving it to her and she started feeling much better by the next day. Whew! She's already been having some memory issues so that was a little scary. She's back home now. A physical therapist goes to their house a few times a week and is expecting her to ditch her walker very soon.

My dad is now in charge of cooking. He's not feeling very confident about that and seems to be a little lost about what to cook or how to do it. Some of their friends have taken dinner to them a couple of times. He really enjoys those home cooked meals. My mom tends to cook very simply with a lot of frozen foods and the microwave or they eat out and that's often at fast food restaurants. So, home cooked food is a real treat for them.

I wanted to help out and knowing how much they would enjoy another home cooked meal gave me a great idea. On Saturday, I made a batch of homemade chicken and noodles. It's a family favorite with a recipe that has been passed along for generations. The recipe is a little vague. So, I imagine that most family members put their own twist on it just like I do. It's always amazingly delicious!

This pot full was made with organic, free range chicken (we like to call that "happy chicken"). It always amazes me how different it looks, smells, tastes, cooks up and how tender it is. We try to never eat normal grocery store meat any more. Many of the other ingredients were organic as well. With the help of my Kitchen Aid mixer, I was able to whip up an extra large batch of noodles very easily. I love that thing! We roasted some brussel sprouts too. That's another one of my parents' favorites. The dinner was a hit with lots of "mmmm" going on throughout the meal. There was even enough left over for them to have it again the next day.

I know that a lot of people show their love with cooking. I usually show it with yarny things. I'm not comfortable cooking for other people because I don't do it very often. So, it was extra rewarding to not only cook something so tasty for someone else but to know that it warmed more than their tummies, it also warmed their hearts.

Friday, March 16, 2012

African Violets

My aunt in Texas loves African Violets and has lots of them in her home. She definitely has a green thumb because they're beautiful and the envy of many who visit her. On a recent phone conversation with her, we started talking about African Violets and wondering if they really come from Africa. So, while we were on the phone, I Googled them and found some interesting history about them. And, yes, they are from Africa. I also found a little pot of crocheted ones. I immediately logged into Ravelry, found the pattern, queued them, and knew I had to make one for my aunt in Texas and my mom, who also loves them.

I finished my first one last night and gave it to my mom today. She's in the hospital for a knee replacement. It seemed like a perfect little gift to bring her some cheer and well wishes.

The pattern is available on the "Planet June" website. She has lots of other cute patterns too. I especially like the adorable cactus gardens.

I used an "F" size hook and Red Heart yarn. It was a little fussy with all those leaves, flowers, pot and soil to make but it was very easy and quick. I took the advice of other Ravelers and attached all the leaves and flowers to the soil before sewing the soil mound to the pot. That worked great! I was a little concerned about how floppy the leaves were and that they wouldn't stay in the arrangement I wanted. Once I sewed the flowers on, everything seemed to stay in place.

I crocheted the pot in a spiral to avoid having a line from the ends and beginnings of all the rows. I think it looks a lot nicer that way. I simply placed a marker at the beginning of my spiral so I'd know where to end and keep it even. I finished it off with a reverse single crochet edge. It gave it a sturdy edge and a nice detail.

For stuffing, I double bagged some barley in ziplocs and put the bag in the pot. It came to the top edge. All the yarn ends from the leaves and flowers worked great as stuffing for the soil mound. I simply pulled them all together and twisted them into a neat little coil. I stitched the soil on just under the reverse single crochet edge using yarn the color of the pot. The stitches don't show!

My mom is still in pain from her surgery but I think she liked her little gift. I'm sure I'll find out in a few days when she is feeling better.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Road Block

I was on such a roll with posting and so many other things but I seem to have hit a road block. Some kind of bug has decided to run through our house. First, my hubby was sick. Then, last weekend, my daughter and I came down with it. Ugh! Just when we think we're feeling better, we feel worse again. Being sick is such a waste of time! I have so much I need and want to do! I can't wait to get rolling again!