Monday, October 31, 2005


I finished my socks in time. This may not generally be an amazing fact unless you consider that I have not finished a pair of socks in nearly 2.5 years. Jen did a wonderful thing by taking on my languishing half-knit socks.

I started these right before the Las Vegas trip, took them with me to Vegas as my travel knitting (the sock saw some great action at the craps and poker tables) and just kept knitting on them when I got back. I've now decided that they are the perfect knitting for my purse. I know that's not a revelation for most sock-knitters out there, but I've been sock-shy for a while.

Sock specs :
Amble pattern from the Six Sox Along on Yahoogroups.
Apple Butter yarn from Apple Laine, a wonderful blend of wool, mohair and nylon.
2.25 mm needles
A tubular cast-on at the top is my only modification to a very clear pattern.

Surprised by my ability to finish a pair of socks, and Vanessa's gorgeous version, I've started a pair of Conwy socks out of some Socka from the large sock-yarn stash. Somewhat curiously, the lack of finished, knitted socks did not prevent me from buying more sock yarn.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Desert Mesa Spinning Retreat

Catching up slowly but surely.

During the Salt Spring Fibre Festival, Andrea Lawrence suggested that I might want to attend this retreat up at Cache Creek. At the time, I debated whether or not I wanted to be out of town 2 weekends in a row. As the time got closer, a couple of friends said that they were planning on going and my rubber arm and I said "sure!". It was held at a former monastery and the space is bright and airy with fabulous views. The only thing we had to do was sit back, spin, shop, enjoy the company of friends and trek downstairs for our very tasty meals and snacks.

I finally finished spinning a wonderful blend of lambswool, alpaca and mohair in cinnamon, red and white from the Barefoot Spinner. This is destined to become a Wool Peddler's. Believe it or not, this will actually be my first project from my own handspun. I think I was reasonably consistent both with grist and twist but the proof will be in the knitting.

In celebration and because this roving has been calling from my stash since the Spring, I started spinning Lisa Souza's Joseph's Coat in merino. It's truly a pleasure to spin, I barely have to draft, I just hold the roving and tug back gently every now and then. I'll fill 2 bobbins and ply it letting the colours fall as they will, or as Lisa says - Serendipity Baby.

Some of the retreat participants were hoping that I would give up some of the Joseph's Coat, or some Wild Things in Merino/Silk as my gift-exchange prize. Hah! I was nice enough to tell them where they could get their own though.

Of course, having something wonderful to spin or knit has never stopped me, nor my travelling companions from shopping before and it was no different on this trip. We were all pleased to see Andrea from Aurelia Wool, Marie from Crofton, Sharon from Homespun Haven and Margaret from Celeigh Wool. This is what the inside of the Tracker looked like on the way home.

The road home. Who's joining me next year?

Friday, October 21, 2005


It's been a while. Brief re-cap of the highpoints.

Thanksgiving Weekend found the Flame and I in Vegas with several friends.

Vegas really is a wierd and wacky town. Besides the wedding, the highlight of the trip was eating at Lotus of Siam. The food was truly incredible and definitely worth a trip off of the Strip for dinner. I'll have to plan a trip to the Phnom Penh in Chinatown to see who comes out on top. We encouraged our waiter to choose for us with an emphasis on the unusual and he delivered.

Starters comprised a spicy squid salad, and a second salad of deep-fried soft shell crab on a bed of apples, cabbage and greens. Fabulous interplay of flavour and texture in both.

Mains were scallops in a cognac-curry sauce finished with a hint of coconut, charbroiled beef topped with house-made tamarind sauce and fried dry chilies, and drunken noodle sea bass. Imagine the lightest possible coating on sea bass that has been deep fried, on wide, soft, fresh rice noodles.

Picture is from Lotus of Siam site

Dessert was sticky white rice with frozen coconut cream and fresh sliced mango. We waddled back to the monorail and called it a day.

Much gawking and some gambling followed by a restful stop-over in Seattle visiting good friends, some blogless, capped off the weekend.

Cache Creek and Socktober updates to follow with pictures of Lisa S's fabulous Joseph's Coat in Merino.