Muti Poncho

I started this in August, just before I left on vacation to Cancun. Worked on it during both legs of the flight back & forth, while on the couch watching TV, during breaks at work. It seemed like this project was never gonna be finished. 

But last night I made it to the light at the end of the tunnel. And while watching mindless reality TV shows, I finally finished my rendition of the Muti poncho by Taiga Hilliard. It still needs blocking & stray ends weaved in, but happy with the way it came out. And that I can finally move on to focus on my next work in progress. 

Kings County Fiber Fest 2016

Despite the rain and the dreary weather, I made the trek all the way to Brooklyn for this year’s fiber festival. This year featured several new vendors, most notably Signature Fiber Arts. I picked up a small stash of goodies, mostly non yarn items since the plan is to save most of my cash for Rhinebeck next week. 

Pictured here is a T-shirt I bought from Red Bridge Studios in Brooklyn. Two really small crochet needles I plan to use in the future for bead knitting projects. A rubber grip and stitch marker gifted by the Signature Fiber Arts booth, who were offering 10% discounts on their products. Some goat milk soap from River Valley Farm in Massachusetts. 

Also of note is a new yarn vendor I came across that also manufactures and sells their own yarn spinners. The machine above is spinning 2 ply yarn from the yellow cone. Then another spool spins blue thread around the yellow yarn and winds it onto the bobbin. 

I almost left the festival without buying any yarn. After being so undecided about the color choices I settled on this pair of skeins of merino/cashmere/nylon yarn from Lambstrings. 

I told myself I wasn’t going to buy anymore sock yarn, but the colors were just too tempting. 

Tres leches cake…….minus the leches

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Tres leches cake gives me life.

Every time I order lunch from the local Spanish restaurant across the street from work, I always include a slice for dessert.

And then I feel guilty after eating a dessert that is so heavy on dairy. And not just milk, but milk in 3 different ways like the name indicates.

So, like all the other cakes & ice creams that I love dearly, I want to find a way to enjoy a healthier version of this decadent dessert.

Since the traditional version uses evaporated and condensed milk, which after looking at the ingredients on the can one day and now abhor, I want to attempt a dairy free version. So I searched and found a few recipes online.  Most of them call for combinations of soy and coconut milks, which sound alright but I don’t suspect will have that same impact on the taste buds.

Then I found instructions to make condensed coconut milk, and my interest piqued even further. My quest is to make a dairy free tres leches cake, using variations of coconut milk. If I can pull this off, it will be epic. Wish me luck.

Purple Sea Moss

I’ve always heard of Irish moss, specifically in reference to the Irish moss drink that is popular in Caribbean countries, and its health benefits. But I’ve never heard of purple sea moss until some friends mentioned they were using it.

I’m learning among a number of things that this purple version is a lot healthier compared to most of the conventional tan colored moss that is being sold on the market.

So eager to try this purple version, I ordered and just received the other day my first batch of purple moss.

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When I opened the package it has a pleasant salt water smell. It literally smells like the sea, which indicates to me this is really natural. It’s my first time working with this moss or any form of Irish moss. I’m reading about people making gels, teas, mixing it with smoothies, etc. I’m in the middle of soaking my first batch right now.

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Having watched a bunch of videos with folks instructing you to rinse the moss multiple times to remove the salt its been preserved with. I’m glad to see I don’t have to take that step with this batch, as it has been dried naturally with no salt preservatives. I really hope this batch retains much of the purple color, but let’s see what happens.

Vogue Knitting Live 2016

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Due to my work schedule, I’ll be missing Vogue Knitting Live this weekend. Luckily I have a couple of projects on deck and enough yarn in my stash to last until Rhinebeck later in the year, but I’ll still be jealous of those of you who get to go, LOL. If you get to make it there this weekend, enjoy, and don’t forget to post pics of your stash.

Yarn bombing

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Yarn bombing has finally come to NYC. I jumped off the bus on the way home from Macy’s just to take a photo of this tree in front of El Museo Del Barrio on the east side of Manhattan.

Holiday knitting

This post will be told mostly in pictures, but I’ve been busy mostly working on knitting & crocheting holiday gifts for the family.

My goal was not to shop at the mall & give all handmade gifts. I made that goal, but did have to buy a couple gifts online.

This year was all about the hat & scarf sets. I made a bunch. The only regret is that I didn’t get an earlier start, so I could enjoy more of the holiday season in peace.

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I crocheted this hat & scarf set for my coworker who said she liked pink. It was a quick crochet with puff stitches throughout. The hat turned out to be a little too big but she was able to adjust the size with a brooch pin.

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This set was made for my sister. The scarf is a knit pattern I found online but couldn’t find an equivalent knit pattern for the hat so I decided to go with the puff stitch hat in matching yarn.

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These two sets I made for my niece & another sister in their favorite colors. My sister was surprised to get a set in her favorite green color, when I reminded her she not so subtly hinted she wanted me to make her a hat & scarf. The blue scarf is a crochet pattern I found online, the green I randomly made up by alternating rows of single & double crochet stitch. I made puff stitch hats for both because I was getting short on time.

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For my nephew & brother in law, I knitter their hats & scarves in  fisherman’s rib. My nephew works for the MTA so I used the gray & blue colors to match the uniforms he has to wear to work. The brown & beige for my brother in law were just randomly chosen as nice colors for a man’s garment from the selection at Michael’s, lol.

Finished another scarf yesterday as well but will add that in a later post once it’s blocked & given to its recipient.

Rhinebeck 2015

Didn’t mean to wait this long but last week I made the annual trek upstate to what is officially known as the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool festival. But knitters, crocheter & yarn spinners everywhere know it simply as Rhinebeck.

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For the last few years it has been an annual pilgrimage for myself and Nicky from D’NALI. Nicky decided not to travel this year, I have missed encouraging her to splurge on yarn, wool and such.

Rather than ride the Amtrak alone, my family decided to make the trek upstate with me. So it’s my mom, sister, niece & 4 year old nephew loaded up in a huge truck rolling upstate for the 2 hour ride.

Since I’m the only knitter in the group & would be the one yarn shopping, I directed them to the food pavilion. Then made a beeline for the yarn shopping. I didn’t aim to buy too much since I still have a lot of stock left over from previous years & recently bought a bunch of yarn from Michael’s to make holiday gifts.

Always a bargain shopper, I did manage to find these great deals though.

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On the top is handspun yarn from one of my favorite vendors, Fessler’s Spinning & Weaving out of PA. I’ve managed to buy yarn from them almost every year without fail. What I love about them is not just their yarn, but for the price they give a lot of yardage. This time I bought 3 skeins of worsted weight eggplant purple yarn that will be a future shawl, maybe a sweater, not sure yet. I’ll decide when I’m ready to work with it.

The orange multicolor yarn I found in the discount bin from

BitsyKnits

Fiber Arts. I didn’t mean to buy anymore sock yarn, but this was too nice to pass up for the price.

The pink yarn is from Rose Spring Farm, also out of PA. I bought on a whim simply because it looked so pretty. It’s worsted weight which is my favorite to knit with. The sellers offer a 10% discount on your next purchase when you bring your knitted project at the next fair they participate in along with their product label.

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The folks at Harrisville Designs, from New Hampshire were running a clearance sale on this yarn the entire weekend. By the time I found their booth, this was all that was left. Skeins were reduced to only $5 each. This was totally an impulse buy. I saw all those blue skeins & instantly thought there’s enough to make a sweater.

While my sister & niece fawned over the pastries in the food pavilion, I headed straight for the wines.

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The Cocoa Island & Wellesley Island White are favorites of mine from last year that I bought from Thousand Island Winery. I’m happy to report their wine is stocked at one of the local wine shops I frequent but not these varieties. Raspberry Isle is a new dessert wine flavor that literally tastes like raspberries, which I’ll definitely enjoy during the winter months.

If you’re there on sundays at the food pavilion, later in the day, vendors will begin to discount their prices to move produce on perishable items. I bought 3 large pastries for $12 when normally they sold for $7 each.

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Sis & niece claim they will return next year, for the pasties no doubt. The best part of going to Rhinebeck though, besides the yarn is to view the autumn leaves.

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Stitches and Ribs: Kings County Fiber Fest and IKEA

Yesterday began the first day of my vacation, or should I say more accurately, staycation. Started out by deciding to check out the Kings County Fiber Fest in Brooklyn.

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I first heard about this festival last year after missing it by about 2 weeks. Occurring annually the weekend before the huge Rhinebeck festival, I made it a point to see it this year as a possible alternative to making the trek 2 hours upstate.

So I made plans to meet with my friend Nicky from D’NALI and made the long trek all the way to Park Slope, Brooklyn. Thanks to constant MTA track work & rerouting of subways, what should be a hour or less commute from Harlem ended up being an adventure.

I finally get to the site, which turned out to be a neighborhood park with a small, stone house in the middle of the block, aptly called the Old Stone House which has an interesting history in it’s own right.

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I expected to see dozens of stalls from what I read online, but was disappointed to find only a handful of vendors situated along the the perimeter of the park. Outside of the house was a table of folks demonstrating arm knitting, looming and a man spinning wool into yarn. By the time I got there Nicky had already stocked up on raw fiber, but I did manage to find a couple skeins of variegated merino wool from a vendor out of Pennsylvania.
Not certain what plans I will have from this yarn yet, but it has a soft feel and a nice light drape, perhaps a fancy scarf or shawl.

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After the festival Nicky and I ride the bus over to IKEA. You will all forgive me after reading this, but the last time I was at an IKEA store was the first one that opened up in Elizabeth, NJ. Since then, 3 more stores have opened up in this area so it’s been years since I stepped foot inside of an IKEA.

Made a beeline straight for the cafeteria since we hadn’t eaten all day. Nicky amped me up for some ribs, only to be derailed at the last second when we got to the counter to find out they ran out and told us it would be 20 minutes before the next batch. The woman serving behind the counter had multiple tattoos and was clearly in a bad mood. I don’t like to judge folks based solely on looks, but she reminded me of one of the characters from Orange Is The New Black as I watched her almost throw plates of food at waiting customers. I ended up settling for some chicken tenders with fries, feeling defeated, lol.

But then it was on to the shopping. Stores like IKEA are dangerous for me. A huge warehouse style space full of lots of things you didn’t know you needed. I didn’t do too bad, but I did need one of those iconic blue bags, and it was a good thing I didn’t come with a car. On the shuttle ride back to downtown Brooklyn, we listened to a young man who grew up in the local area give us a tour and tell us stories of his struggles having grown up in the old neighborhood. One of 8 million stories that make living in NY interesting.

I’m sure I’ll be back to IKEA. If only to get the baby back rib plate that I pined for. But first it’s off to Rhinebeck next week.

Block ticket

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I haven’t seen one of these in years. But if you ride the subways in NY, you’ve probably seen them many times. So of course you’re dying to know how I acquired one of these block tickets.

I had the commute from hell going to my loctician for a hair appt. The drive usually takes about 45 min but my mom had another errand to take care of, I had to go by public transit.

If you’re familiar with the NYC subway, then you may or may not know about the “A” train to Queens. If you’ve ever rode it to Far Rockaway, then you know how long, though somewhat scenic, that ride is. The initial plan was to take one bus to the subway station, then ride the train the rest of the way there. That bus was taking too long to come so I found another bus that would take me closer but not all the way to the destination. I rode that bus to it’s last stop, then headed for the subway across the street.

I only made it as far as Arverne, but I’m thinking at least I madr it to the Rockaway peninsula. I’m on the platform for about 10 minutes when someone suddenly comes upstairs on the opposite platform and announces there’s a power outage and folks have to take the bus.

A large crowd is waiting on the platform for the train headed in the opposite direction. Of course folks are grumpy as we all file our way down to the station clerk. He’s behind the booth giving out block tickets for people to take the bus. So   preoccupied with telling folks how to get to Rockaway Blvd where they could catch the train again & continue their travel, leaving the rest of us wondering how to get to Mott Ave. Clerk blindly without thinking tells us to take the 52 bus. The same one I rode over to the Rockaways that terminated at the subway.

I take a block ticket. Haven’t seen one of them in years, not at least since riding the subways regularly in high school. MTA workers still don’t know how to give proper alternative route information, that hasn’t changed. I eventually made it to my appt, 1/2 hour late. Happy that I didn’t stick with my initial plan to take the subway & probably end up stuck on a train over the water.

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