Episode 48: Home Sweet Home

cover48This episode contains the following segments: The Back Porch, The Front Porch, Ever-expanding Skill Set, and Double Happiness. Welcome to Yarns at Yin Hoo. I’m especially happy to have new listeners who may have heard about the podcast at SSK. 


audio coming soon 

The Back Porch

nymph2Since returning from Nashville, I’ve completed several projects that have been in the works for about a month. The Nymphalidea shawl took flight with a wingspan of over seven feet. The wing-like design is a very nice way to feature my handspun Pollination from Beesybee fibers. I recommend the pattern for any special handspun or yarn with color changes. I found the rows easy to memorize, but I did make a few modifications, which are explained on my Ravelry project page.


For those of you who are not so familiar with the fiber arts, spinners take on a very big challenge during the Tour de France; they participate in an event called Tour de Fleece. I know. I know. Last year, I did all of my spinning on my new Louet, and dragged it with me during a busy three weeks. This year, I spun on a Turkish drop spindle — much more portable. To my surprise, the spindle was also very productive. I plied all of the yarn on my Louet and came up with 417 yards of beautiful lace weight yarn.


The Front Porch

rooftopSpinning with TeamJenkinsTurkish2014 was so much fun that I’ve decided to set another spindling goal and spin for the Fall Mini Spin-along. Between August 1 and September 30, I will attempt to spin an entire braid of Polwarth/Silk from Three Waters Farm on my drop spindle. I’ve been very intrigued by this small and simple tool, and have even begun a practice of meditative spindling.

In order to “win” Stash Dash, I need to use up another 1200 yards from my stash.  That will be difficult, considering there is only a week left to cross the finish line. Certainly, I will be starting Tiffany, a shawl by Simone Eich of WOLLWERK designs, and I’ll be dipping into my stash for the yarn for this project. I may also pull out an unfinished project and try to complete it. Join in the fun and start a project on August 1.

Ever-expanding Skill Set

Thai Quinoa Salad

quinoa2Rinse and cook 1 cup quinoa according to package directions in water or stock. I added 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, cut fresh ingredients into bite-sized pieces. Use anything from the garden! I used 1 cucumber, 1 cup carrots, 1 small zucchini, 2 stalks celery, and 1 cup blanched edamame. Toss vegetables with 1/2 cup Thai peanut dressing and the juice of a lime. Stir in 1/2 cup almonds or cashews for extra crunch and protein.

When quinoa has finished cooking, allow it to cool before tossing with vegetables. Sprinkle with large coconut flakes or chopped peanuts before serving.

This dish makes a great salad for lunch or a side at dinner. Add diced chicken or tofu for more protein and serve it as a main course.

Double Happiness

tdf4SSK is over, but it has been fun to re-live the experience by watching and listening to podcast reports. There are even a few new podcasts on my list now. One I’d like to recommend in particular is Transient Wool Merchants,  featuring Amy of Ross Farm Fibers.

I’ve also been digging into my new purchases from the SSK market. As promised, here’s a photo of all the goodies. I’ve been learning to use a top whorl spindle — I was very lucky to be a door prize winner during the opening and closing ceremonies. On Wednesday evening, I won a kit from Nelkin Designs and on Saturday evening I won a gorgeous drop spindle and fiber batt from Dawning Dreams.

Episode 47: The Capitol Steps

ph11This episode, recorded on location from the steps of the capitol gardens in Nashville, is lightly edited and includes ambient noise. I talk about the final two days of the Super Summer Knit Together, including my fleece processing class with Sadie of the Yarnivore podcast and Knitter’s Knitmare; a trip to the Nashville Night Market to see the Haus of Yarn bus; Helen’s hot chicken; the Try It On room; SSK Market; a visit to Antique Archeology; and some thoughts on fellowship.







Episode 45: Observation Deck

cover45This episode includes the following segments: Yarn Lover at Large, The Front Porch, The Back Porch, and Double Happiness. I also announce the five winners of WOLLWERK patterns in anticipation of the Asymmetri-CAL, which begins on August 1. This podcast is loosely structured and lightly edited.



WebYarn Lover at Large

This episode is brought to you from Nashville, Tennessee. I’m in town for the Super Summer Knit together (SSK), a retreat hosted by TheKnitGirllls. My plan is to record a few episodes on location, and upload them right away–like an audio diary of my experience. I hope you enjoy them. In this episode, I talk about the classes I’ll be taking: spinning with Malia and fleece prep 101 with Sadie.

tdf.progThe Front Porch

“What projects do I take to SSK?” has been foremost in my mind over the past few days. Conventional wisdom demands a simple design that I can work on while socializing, and bright colors or color changes to keep my interest. I’ve decided on taking a pair of yoga socks that will be a holiday gift, the Nymphalidia shawl, which is a bit more intricate, and another skein of rustic handspun to work into cord using my lucet. I anticipate that I’ll spend a lot of time spinning on my Turkish spindle. Seriously, it’s addictive.

hatThe Back Porch

It’s Tour de Fleece time and I’ve been doing lots of spinning. Most of it has been completed on my Aegean Turkish spindle from Jenkins Yarn Tools. I have a personal goal of spinning every day during the Tour de France, and hopefully I’ll complete the battlings I purchased from Hobbledehoy at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. When I have some time at home, I work on my Louet. This week I completed spinning the Papaya braid from Beesybee Fibers. This BFL/silk blend yielded 375 yards of a fractally-spun 2-ply.

Asymmetri-CAL Update

Congratulations to the folks who’ve won WOLLWERK patterns. Please contact designer Simone Eich, wuscheltigger, by sending a personal message on Ravelry. Let her know which pattern you’d like to receive. Thank you to everyone who has expressed interest in this craft-along. The official start date is August 1. You’re invited to craft any pattern that is asymmetrical in design, construction or use of color. The Yarns at Yin Hoo group on Ravelry is growing, so join us. Chatter here. Post photos of finished projects here.

For those knitters spinning chunky handspun during Tour de Fleece, you might be interested in the Asymmetricowl, a pattern by Denae Merrill. It’s available for free during the month of July. Thanks, Denae, for this generous offer!

In case you need just one more reason to participate in the Asymmetri-CAL, here you go. Susan, the dyer of Riot of Color, has offered up a skein of cobweb silk as a prize. Check out her shop to see the beautiful colors and dazzling yarn bases.

lentilDuring the week of July 7, I facilitated an Open Institute at Rutgers University. Designed to help participants deepen their experience as writers, the institute is always inspiring. On Friday, we read aloud from writing we’ve produced during the week. I began this poem on Wednesday, when visiting poet Toney Jackson prompted us to write about significant objects from our homes. Immediately, I thought of Gertrude, the vintage dress form that was a Christmas gift from my sister, Laura.

On Being Gertrude

An actor inhabits a character, beginning with her feet.  Mine

are heavy metal, for a start.  I’m an hourglass,

upholstered in grey fabric, fragmented into several parts.


My chest can heave, and float apart, or shift together—no body

type is too trim or too remote for me to assume her shape

if she’s a lady.  Sorry, fellas. My plate tectonics are of the feminine


kind, and are like to drive you crazy.  You’ve seen smooth-skinned

mannequins in department stores—they’re bland as hangers.

Those gals are caged in their pre-ordained proportions,


but my physique says, more is more. My poem is for you women,

not the girls.  We’re shape-shifters. We’re full of surprises.

Look in our closets; we wear many sizes. What I mean is this:  My heart


is full-figured. I’m petite when it comes to petty concerns.

In terms of my singing voice, I’m just about average.  Don’t talk to

me about some salad-eating, calorie-saving—don’t say the word diet.


I’m expansive, not expensive.  And my curves do the talking ’cause

I don’t have a mouth. Vogue, Cosmopolitan, — you’d best keep quiet.

They can dress me up, honey, but they’ll never take me out.


Episode 44: Mother Grain

southernbelleThis episode includes the following segments: Yarn Lover at Large, A Little Bit of Learning, and Ever-expanding Skill Set.








spinneryYarn Lover at Large

On the way back from Vermont, I took a slightly different route in order to visit Green Mountain Spinnery. This worker-owned cooperative is a special destination for knitters. Mom and I were given the informal, but highly-informative tour. We gaped at the vintage machinery and inhaled the sheepy fumes. Then, there was a little time for shopping. I selected a skein of Simply Fine, a single-ply mohair/wool fingering weight yarn.

A Little Bit of Learning

quinoaThe health benefits of quinoa have been making headlines for several years. There’s so much information that it’s all a little overwhelming. Most of the information I share in this episode comes from the Whole Grains Council. I also heard a news story on The Splendid Table about the politics of quinoa. If you think you’ve learned everything there is to know about this amazing pseudo-cereal that grows high in the Andes mountains, you may be interested in Quinoa Quarrel, an interview with journalist Lisa Hamilton, which focuses on the politics of seed sharing. If you are concerned about exploitation of South American growers, and interested in learning more about quinoa grown in the United States, check out this article for more information.

Ever-expanding Skill Set

meezInspired by swentea’s post about a quinoa salad with kale and coconut, I set about combining some of my favorite flavors in a recipe of my own.

Southern Belle Quinoa

In a small saucepan, place 2 cups water or stock, 1 tablespoon butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon sweet curry powder, and 1 cup tri-color quinoa (rinsed and drained). Bring to a boil and cover. Turn off heat and allow to rest (in a hot kitchen) or simmer (in a cool kitchen) for 15 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, prepare a small bunch of kale by rinsing in cold water, then removing ribs and ripping into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, toss kale with grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon and a dash of salt. It will begin to wilt.

Coarsely chop 1/3 cup dried apricots and 1/3 cup pecans. Add to kale in large bowl. Add cooked quinoa and toss contents with a few tablespoons of honey.

Garnish warm or cold salad with 1/3 cup whole pecans and 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes.

puddingJust when I thought I would turn my back on amaranth for awhile, I came across a recipe for Chai-Spiced Amaranth Pudding. This preparation is an appropriate match for dense, sticky amaranth. I like the chai spices, too. I don’t keep low-fat milk on hand, so I used 3 cups of whole milk and two eggs, omitting the cornstarch and halving the sugar. I only had a few golden raisins, so I added diced ginger. I also replaced the brittle with roasted, salted pistachios. The texture resembles that of tapioca, but it is not as light.


The poem for this episode is “Morning Swim” by Maxine Kumin. You can find this and other poems on Poetry 180.

My bones drank water; water fell
through all my doors. I was the well

that fed the lake that met my sea