No Guilt

This past year I’ve been working really hard on getting my ducks in a row and one of the things that I did somewhat subconsciously was to do a lot of the knitting I’ve done this year from yarn I already own.  In the knitting community this is referred to as Knitting from Stash.  I consider ‘Stash’ to be any yarn that is either a year or so old, or yarn that was purchased with no particular project in mind.  That being said, I have a fair amount of ‘stash’ but it’s tiny comparatively speaking.  But since what I have isn’t being compared to what others have, I decided that since I only buy what I love and I bought the yarn in my stash, I must love it and therefore want to knit it up.

I’ve knit pretty close to 10,000 yards of yarn this year (and we’re not done yet). That’s equal to about 9 KM or 6 miles.  I’ve been reasonably diligent, mostly in the back half of the year.  The first half of the year saw me knit about 2600 yards in new purpose purchased yarn, which is great! I knit a sweater and a shawl that make up about 2/3 of that total.

The rest was knit with yarn that was purchased over a year ago… I’m still working on knitting with yarn I already own… but this weekend was the big fibre festival and my stash needed a little enhancement.

I’ve just taken up spinning for real on my spinning wheel… I’m not that good at it yet, but I’m planning on taking a class and then I think it’s off to the races.  I can get yarn out of it, but it’s not good yarn and I think I just need a bit of technical help.

So part of my purchases this weekend included wool to spin my own yarn.  I’m not interested in spinning enough for a sweater or anything so I bought little bits that I can use to hone my skills and then knit mitts or use for trim on a shawl.
The top three were purchased from Caliope’s Fibre (spelled the Canadian way because she, and I, are Canadian!)
These are three layered batts with a base of wool and then sparkles and noils and everything lovely sandwiched in.  These are likely not ‘practice’ pieces as I’d like to get some good looking yarn out of them.  The fourth picture is a Shetland batt with some colorful silk threads added in.  I bought it from Everything Old.  Both ladies were very charming and talented!

I did also buy some prespun yarn too.  I bought one skein that was just too beautiful to pass up but I have no project in mind… two of the others are going to be mitts and the last two (one not pictured) were ‘just because’.
The first one that I bought was a skein of Little Red Bicycle.  I’d seen her stuff on Ravelry and some friends of mine have had some and knit with it so it was one of those ‘yarn fan’ purchases… don’t need to have it, but want some of her stuff.  I bought a OOAK (one of a kind) skein too that was the most dark plum color it is almost black and for obvious reasons didn’t photograph it…

The next two skeins I bought were one each from Caliope and Everything Old.  Caliope’s is a self striping handspun yarn that is one stripe of a soft mint green/soft yellow bamboo and then one stripe of a crazier ribbony multi fibre… I don’t know what to do with it yet because I have to swatch (*gasp*) to see how the stripes work out.  The one I bought from Everything Old is a 100% BFL in a colorway called Film Noir.  It was one of the reasons I went back to the show the second day.  It’s mostly gray with some red splashes thrown in and I think it will look amazing as a pair of mittens. It’s a bit washed out in this photo but it’s gorgeous in real life!

I also bought a skein of yarn that was dyed by local dyer Sweet Georgia, specifically for the show.  The colorway is gorgeous and it actually screams Vancouver to me…
Here it’s shown wound into a ball (half a ball) and then knit into a partial mitt.  Unfortunately I have to rip that mitt out and reknit it on a bigger needle.  The fabric is gorgeous but a little bullet proof for mittens… Plus, on those small needles, the row gauge is off and they’re going to be pretty short!

In that top picture of everything together there’s also a cute little owl hat and some colored sticks… the colored sticks are actually colored pencils with felt balls on top.  My plan is to use them as shawl pins altho in trying this morning, it is clear that the tips need a little sandpaper… they’re a bit rough for soft wool!
The hat was a bit of a lark… I was playing around trying it on and the artist was trying to convince me to buy it (for $30, which is perfectly reasonable for a hand knit wool hat).  I wanted to I told her but I only had $10 cash dollars left… and that’s when she said she’d take my ten bux and I could have the hat because she wanted it to go to a loving home!  I love the owl hat… he needs a bath because some jerk spilled coffee on him right before I bought him but I can wash that out no problem.

That’s pretty much the extent of my weekend… I’m hoping to make connection with someone I know that will teach me how to use my spinning wheel and then I will press my Mickey Mouse apron in to service and start spinning! (apron because otherwise you end up covered in wool).

I have no guilt about how much I bought at all!  Also, someone (wise) mentioned that ‘souvenier yarn doesn’t count’ so there’s that too!

Well then…

Fall has arrived… and by ‘fall’ I mean the part of fall that feels like winter here in Vancouver and it’s started to rain.  I’m told that the rain won’t last for long and that we’re to have a mild, dry winter.  Let’s hope so because it’s raining today for the first day in months and I don’t like it!

Last night I made spicy meatballs in a soup-ish sauce and Curry Fish Stew… Normally when I come on here and say that I made things, I share the recipe and gloat a little bit that while I don’t enjoy cooking and I’m not all that ‘cheffy’, I can come up with some pretty yummy things with nary a cookbook in sight.

I will suffice it to say that I was not entirely successful last night and there are some inedible things in the house right now that I’m hoping Mr. Fluffypants takes upon himself to dispose of while I’m at work (I’m sure I’ll be disappointed and he’ll just snooze on the bed until I get home to take care of it!)

So, since it’s fall and my apartment doesn’t have any heat, and after spending a few nights on the sofa, looking like this,

and like this, 

 I took some twitterly advice and took myself down to Costco to buy a Parabolic heater.  For the suggested $40 it seemed like a good idea… Well when I got there the heater was actually $65 and the box said it heats ‘you’ but not the air… Not exactly what I was looking for and to be honest, with tax and environmental fee, that little heater would have been almost $75!  So I wandered through the store and stumbled down the blankie aisle… and for $12.99 bought myself a twin bed sized sherpa and microfibre blanket.  It’s big enough to cover me from tippy toe to tippy top of my head when I’m laying on the sofa and it’s as soft as a cloud.  Obviously that won’t heat up the air either, but it was $13 and that’ll have to do for now.

Last weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada.  Normally a huge dinner is had with family and friends but that’s not quite how it worked out for me this year, altho I’m certainly not complaining!
On Saturday my friend and I had a little studio time and we stopped at a butcher and liquor store before arriving to get a snack.

She worked on cleaning up a mess we made last time we were there and I worked on making myself a wreath for my door.  Back in my younger days I made quite a few wreaths… Most of them have been given away so I thought it would be nice for my door to have a seasonal decoration.  The neighbors I’ve spoken to have really really liked it and I think it’s been well received.  Except for the crazy guy that lives upstairs that makes rude face and hand gestures toward it everytime he walks by..

On Sunday evening, the more popular day for the big Thanksgiving Feast, I made salt and pepper chicken wings and sliced tomatoes with bacon seasalt.  I was cozied up on the sofa with my knitting and my kitty and some tea.  Not a bad way to spend Thanksgiving.  I felt very thankful!

Last weekend I started and finished a little hat out of scraps for myself.  It was touch and go for a few minutes and I think at one point I was actually just knitting the idea of yarn and not actual yarn, but in the end it turned out cute…

It’s a sock monkey ‘inspired’ hat but I’ve been told it would be more effective with a pompom.  Since the only thing I have left from the scraps is the yarn fumes, there will be no pom pom… maybe next time.

After I finished this last item a week ago, the only thing I could think of to knit was another one in a different yarn.  I tried everything to find a new project, but the only way around being obsessed with something is through it, so I went and got myself a little ball of sunshine and started knitting.  I wish it was done today… all this rain already and I need a little sunshine wrapped around my neck!

The other thing I’m making is my Christmas Hat.  Normally I make myself a Birthday hat every year but I’m probably going to be pretty busy around that time this year, so I figured I’d take a different route.
I had to start early because it’s tiny yarn on tiny needles and it’s going to take a while but I already love it!
You can see the yarn in the picture with the chicken wings and yes, it is sparkly.  The yarn is woven with a strand of real sterling silver… very cool!  The hat is going to be a double thickness and reversible… it’ll be this glittery red on one side and on the other side i’m going to stripe in some cream so it is remeniscent of… a CANDY CANE!  What better Christmas hat than that!

And finally, altho it seems like ‘no big deal’, Charlie seems to be more interested in actual snuggling now… not lap snuggling, but normally he doesn’t make much of an effort to touch me unless he’s whapping me with his eagle talons.. so this is a big step! It could be because it’s about -10 in the apartment…

That’s about it.  I’m hoping to go to KnitCity this weekend with a friend but if she bails, I’ll just go on my own…
For those of you in Vancouver (and surrounding area) who have not heard of it, this is Vancouver’s very first Fibre Festival!
Here’s the info!

Feel free to wander over to another blog that I contribute to with my sister.  It’s one that we both post to; pictures, recipes, anecdotes.  Anything light and fun that maybe doesn’t quite fit on our regular blogs.  Go see Half A Pear

Squasha Sauce

Doesn’t that sound exotic and tasty?  It’s not, but the name makes me giggle.
Basically, I made pasta sauce… but since I don’t eat pasta, but I DO talk about what I cook, I figured that I should probably change the name to avoid the ‘but you said you don’t eat wheat’ conversations.
I’ll give you the recipe here, but I encourage you, if you want to make Squasha sauce, to use YOUR favorite vegetables and seasonings and then take all the credit for inventing Squasha Sauce to your friends and family!
I’m going to give the quantities here that I used (estimated) but basically the amount you make is going to depend on the size of your pot and freezer space or the number of hungry mouths you have to feed.
In a large pot, brown one onion, five or six chopped cloves of garlic and fresh sliced mushrooms in olive oil (I used about 14 sliced white stuffer mushrooms).  When the mushrooms have cooked down, add in chopped peppers (as many as you want… I put two pimento peppers, one orange, one yellow and a sweet red pepper in).  Continue to cook down and then add chopped zucchini (I used two medium zukes, cut lengthwise and then lengthwise again and then chopped).
Add your seasoning.  For this batch, I used one finely chopped Cherry Pepper (purchased at the farmers market… when unique peppers are not seasonal, I usually use chiracha and some cayenne).
Add about two dozen chopped ripe roma tomatoes. (I chopped them, left them on the cutting board, sprinkled coarse seasalt on them and let them rest for a couple min before adding to get the juices flowing).
In another pan, brown your ground beef (or chicken, or pork or turkey or sausage), sprinkle generously with cayenne pepper and sea salt and then add to your stock pot.
I added two jars of Classico pasta sauce, one jar of water and two teaspoons of Tabasco (it was all I had left) to the pot at this point and then simmered.
That’s your basic Squasha Sauce.  Ground meat of choice (or no meat for a veggie option), coarsley chopped veg of your choice (before I went ‘modified paleo’ I used to add corn and peas…) salt, pepper and some heat seasonings (peppers, chili pepper, tabasco sauce etc…) as to your own liking.
Because I’m dumb, I didn’t have the spagetti squash cooking while I was mucking about with the sauce, so by the time the sauce was done I was starving and didn’t want to wait for the squash.  I ate a bowl of squasha sauce for dinner.  It was actually VERY yummy by itself and I would suspect that if a bit more liquid was added, you could have a nice chunky fall soup out of this same recipe.