Episode 67: Handwork

cover67Snow has covered the ground at Yin Hoo and there’s more on the way. Hopefully there will be enough time between shoveling sessions to work on some thrummed mittens while I sit by a toasty fire. This episode includes the following segments: Ever-expanding Skill Set, Yarn Lover at Large, Gratitude Journal, And Sew Forth. I announce the winner of the zebra project bag pictured on the cover of Episode 66. There’s a giveaway of beautiful Kauni yarn just in time for Valentine’s Day — check out the prize thread on the  Yarns at Yin Hoo Ravelry group to make your entry.


Ever-expanding Skill Set

pantryshelvesSince the last episode, I discovered that the can-can sale may be particular to the US East Coast supermarkets. But some listeners have commented about their favorite items to stock when they go on sale: beans, broth, pasta.  My go-to is Annnie’s Mac & Cheese. I know it’s not so great in the total nutrition department, but I can never resist it!

There’s been a lot of discussion about de-cluttering and getting organized, so I thought that this week would be a good time to discuss staying organized. Without good habits, we can easily return to a cluttered, disorganized state. Adhering to the principles of mise en place helps me stay organized in the kitchen, but the principle (known to chefs as meez) can also be applied in other areas of your life. Check out this segment from NPR’s Morning Edition. The All in Its Place blog has a great excerpt from Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, where he explains how important a chef’s meez is to his efficacy in the kitchen.

This week’s question is:

What are your tips for staying organized in the kitchen?

Comment below, make a post to the Ravelry thread, or use #powerpantry to contribute your photos, tips and suggestions.

orchardhouseYarn Lover at Large 

I’ve begun a year-long Sheep to Shawl course, which will meet one Saturday a month. The event takes place at Fiber Craft Studio in Chestnut Ridge, NY. Our class meets in Orchard House, a beautiful old building on the campus of Threefold Center, a training facility for Waldorf educators.

I spent Friday night in one of the dormitory rooms (that corner room was my refuge) and awoke to a dazzling white morning.  There was just enough time before class to meet hazelDeb (L1ttleredhen) for coffee and conversation before class began.

This week, we encountered the beautiful fleece of Hazel, a Jacob sheep raised by Jenny Jump Farm in Hope, NJ. We also got in touch with our primitive roots, and spun using hitched twigs and spindles made from sticks and stones. Homework before the next class will consist of washing 2.5 ounces of Hazel’s fleece. I’m using some of the methods I learned from Sadie’s fleece processing class during the Super Summer Knitogether.

And Sew Forth

featherLast weekend, I completed eight feathers for the Birds of a Feather appliquéd skirt designed by Anna Maria Horner. The project so far has consisted of strip-piecing 6 different types of fabric, cutting right and left sides of feathers, cutting spines for feathers, sewing feathers to spines, and lots and lots of ironing to press seams out of the way and smooth the fabric for ease of sewing. I’m pleased with the way the feathers have turned out, and look forward to another sewing day, when I will make a pattern for the skirt according to my measurements, and cut the skirt fabric on the bias.

Episode 66: Orientation

cover66This week’s episode includes the following segments: Ever-expanding Skill Set, Off the Shelf, The Back Porch, The Front Porch, Yarn Lover at Large, Double Happiness, and Sew Forth. I’ve been the happy recipient of some post-holiday packages, so I thought that this would be a great time to send out a special package to a listener. You’re invited to enter and impromptu contest to win the wedge-shaped project bag featured on this episode’s cover photo. All you have to do is leave a comment below. I’ll announce the winner on Episode 67.


pantryshelvesEver-expanding Skill Set

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the ongoing #powerpanty discussion. I’m learning so much by reading listener comments. It’s a thrill to see photographs of your pantries, cupboards, and kitchen organization.

This week’s question is:

What do you like to stock up on when there’s a can-can sale at your local supermarket?

You can make a comment below or post to the Ravelry thread.

Off the Shelf

housekeepingYarns at Yin Hoo listeners are invited to take part in a read-along as part of our #powerpantry endeavor. The first selection is Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. It is a short novel. I have always thought of it as a novella, so there is at least one potential topic for discussion. Here is a link to information about the novel, and additional resources.

Week ONE (February 1-7): Chapter 1
Week TWO (February 8-14): Chapters 2 & 3
Week THREE (February 15-21): Chapters 4 – 6
Week FOUR (February 22-28): Chapter 7
Week FIVE (March 1-7): Chapters 8 & 9
Week SIX (March 8-14): Chapters 10 & 11


Yarn Lover at Large

ep66.3Have you ever been to a yarn tasting? This was only my second one, but I think it’s something that can be replicated with a group of friends. And it’s chance for a lot of fun. Joanne, the owner of Mountain Knits & Pearls in East Stroudsburg, PA, hosted an excellent event. She was informative, and she allowed a lot of time for trying the yarns and socializing too. I didn’t expect to leave with a few goodies, but everyone got to take home one of the sample yarns.  Mine was this beautiful Triologie, a wool, silk and linen blend.


 And Sew Forth

ep66.1I discuss several tutorials and projects in this week’s episode. Many of these are linked on my Pinterest board titled “Sewing Ideas.” Do you have any suggestions for beginner sewing projects that get great results?  Let me know!

Rebecca Ringquist on Creativebug. She has a blog designs really cool samplers. Her forthcoming book is now available via pre-order.

My next garment project is the Birds of a Feather maxi skirt by Anna Maria Horner.

Episode 65: Gertrude Gets a Job

cover65Happy New Year! The has been much more wintry this week. In this episode, I provide some tips for pantry organization. On New Year’s Day, I woke early and spent a few hours cleaning. Not glamorous, but well worth the effort. I found some ingredients I had lost track of, and consolidated duplicate items. Hopefully my industry will pay off in the coming months as I cook with pantry items. I’ve been using my new sewing machine and lazy kate, so there are some projects on the back porch. Plus, I will review my progress on 2014 goals and set new intentions for 2015.



Chin Waggin’

A review of my 2014 goals was quite gratifying, as I managed to accomplish each of these over the past year.

  • knit a sweater
  • try a felting project
  • buy products from new-to-me purveyors
  • record 45 podcast episodes
  • host a knit-along
  • attend a knitting retreat

As I set goals for 2015, I try to keep in mind my aspirations and intentions, rather than create a list of items to check off. I tend not to think about my goals too much throughout the year; it seems as though the process of declaring my intentions at the start of the year is enough to keep me focused.

  • knit 2 sweaters
  • learn to knit brioche
  • spin 3 and 4-ply yarns
  • extend my meditative spindling practice
  • more embroidery
  • tech-no days

Ever-expanding Skill Set

pantryshelvesI invite you to join me in an exploration of ground zero in food preparation: The Pantry.

I’d like to examine the physical space of our kitchens and kitchen storage, the history of the pantry, methods of food storage, issues of economy, and the many skills required to cook delicious food with “what’s on hand.” It’s my assumption that skilled cooks have well-stocked pantries, but what exactly IS a well-stocked pantry?

January’s theme is: Organization.

Question of the Week: submitted by Kelly (1hundredprojects) and co-host of the Two Ewes Fiber Adventures audio cast.

“I wonder if people who cook from their pantries are the same people who knit from stash.  And do people who choose a recipe and then shop for it also pick a project and then buy the yarn?”

Join the Yarns at Yin Hoo group on Ravelry and participate in the conversation thread.

toteAnd Sew Forth

I’ve added a new podcast segment so that I can talk about learning how to sew. Finally, Gertrude has a job to do besides model scarves and shawls! She is now adjusted to my exact measurements and was very helpful as I worked on patterns from Heather Ross’ Weekend Sewing book. The first pattern I attempted was the Everything Tote. Then I worked on the Kimono Dress, which is pictured on the episode cover. Finally, I made weekendawaytwo Weekend Away Bags. These were very difficult and fiddly, so I hunted for sewing tutorials on YouTube until I found a wedge bag tutorial to try. That bag is coming along nicely. I will keep track of sewing project ideas on Pinterest; feel free to look at my board.

Episode 64: Ewe-ltide Greetings

ep64.2Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope you enjoy this episode, recorded along the Delaware River–unscripted and without segment titles. I do a great deal of chin waggin’ about the holidays here at Yin Hoo, including an absolutely delicious lemon cheesecake and some recipes I improvised for our Christmas Eve open house. There is not much knitting content, but crafting will take on new dimensions with the addition of another lazy kate for my Louet and a sewing machine. Oh, the possibilities. And #powerpantry will begin in January. Listen for more details.


ep64.4Christmas Eve open house

Meyer Lemon Cheesecake: This recipe is very easy to follow, and yields delicious results.  My guests really enjoyed the tartness of the lemon after an evening of high-calorie finger foods. The Biscoff crust is delicious.  I would use this for any cheesecake recipe.

Improvised hors d’oeurves

Tangy Turkey Meatballs

Crab Cakes with Panko Crust

Spinach & Ricotta Pockets


In January 2014, I made a year-long commitment to buying and cooking with products from my local health food store’s bulk bins. And I invited Yarns at Yin Hoo listeners to join me in the #bulkbinscal. It has been an exciting year of experiments, recipes, and shared stories.

Since kitchen know-how is a valuable post-apocalyptic skill set, I plan to begin a new endeavor in 2015 — something with a slightly different twist, but still focused on practical culinary techniques.

I invite you to join me in an exploration of ground zero in food preparation: The Pantry.

Do you have a pantry? What is your definition of “pantry?” Is it the cabinet or shelving unit for canned goods? Is it the sum of food products you have on hand at any given time? Is your refrigerator your pantry? What about the freezer? Does anyone have a root cellar anymore?

I’d like to examine the physical space of our kitchens and kitchen storage, the history of the pantry, methods of food storage, issues of economy, and the many skills required to cook delicious food with “what’s on hand.” It’s my assumption that skilled cooks have well-stocked pantries, but what exactly IS a well-stocked pantry?

Keep up with new developments and take part in the conversation by joining the Yarns at Yin Hoo group on Ravelry, or following my #powerpantry board on Pinterest.  I will work to keep the board up-to-date by pinning links to listener suggestions.

Skill-building for the Apocalypse

ep64.3The podcast will now include sewing content, thanks to the addition of a new sewing machine to my studio / craft space.  It took awhile, but I cleaned and re-arranged until things fit together nicely.  My first projects will be from Weekend Sewing book by Heather Ross. I’ve also begun a sewing ideas board on Pinterest, but I try not to spend too much time there because . . . well, if you’ve been on Pinterest, you know why.

Episode 63: More than Sweet

cover63It’s the holiday season and I go on a bit about the Christmas decorations at Yin Hoo.  This episode contains the following segments: Ever-expanding Skill Set, A Little Bit o Learning, The Back Porch, The Front Porch, and Double Happiness.  Have you ever wondered why some sugar substitutions work better than others? In this episode, I review some major points about the chemistry of using sugar in baking, and relay some tips about substituting honey, maple syrup, molasses, and sucralose (Splenda). Plus, a review of my special kind of gift knitting.



xmas3Recipe links:

Buckwheat Thumbprint Cookies

Proper Shortbread

Almond Hazelnut Gateau – This recipe calls for “whipped topping,” but I recommend substituting heavy cream whipped to firm peaks. It’s decadent, but not too sweet.



Links to information about sugar and sugar substitutions:

Baking with Sugar and Sugar Substitutes

Sugar’s Functional Roles 



Episode 62: (a different kind of) Gift Knitting

cover62I also announce the winners of November’s Bulk Bins Cook-along and Another Door Opens. This week’s segments include: Chin Waggin’, The Back Porch, The Front Porch, Ever Expanding Skill Set, and Gratitude Journal. I engage in a little chin waggin’ about my Thanksgiving dinner, which features turkey grilled on my Big Green Egg charcoal grill.  It’s a bit of a departure from tradition, but works well given Yin Hoo’s teeny tiny kitchen.  My holiday knitting is complete, so I’m taking part in hashtag grinchalong. In December I’ll be knitting with gift yarn and patterns that I’ve received over the course of the year.  I’m also taking part in an Advent scarf knit-along for the second year.