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Episode 16

julietteThis episode contains segments titled: The Back Porch, The Front Porch, and Gratitude Journal.






oaktrailThe Back Porch

I completed a second Oak Trail, a cloche design by Alana Dakos, found in her collection, Botanical Knits.  This hat has interesting construction, is stylish without being complicated, and would make a great gift.  I selected Berroco Vintage yarn, which is easy care.  As usual, I blocked the hat using one of the decorative lamps on our porch.

The Front Porch

I’m headed to Boston for the National Writing Project Annual Meeting.  With some down time there (though I’m not expecting much) I plan to knit on a few simple projects.  I still need to decide what those will be.

I’m also looking forward to learning the identity of my pen pal.  Dr. Kelly of the Ewe University podcast is hosting a Pen Pal Pair-up Project.   The deadline to fill out the questionnaire and acquire a correspondent is November 22.  So head on over to the Ewe University group page on Ravelry and sign up!

Gratitude Journal

This week, I’m feeling grateful for the Yarns at Yin Hoo podcast audience.  On the show, I answer a few questions from listeners and identify some goals I have for the podcast this year.

Nothing can match the treasure of common memories, of trials endured together, of quarrels and reconciliations and generous emotions. It is idle, having planted an acorn in the morning, to expect that afternoon to sit in the shade of the oak.          

— Antoine de Saint-Exupery                 


Episode 15

This week’s episode features: The Back Porch, The Front Porch, A Little Bit of Learning, and Ever-expanding Skill Set.

The Back Porch


This week, I completed the Ikarus shawl, by Simone Eich of WOLLWERK.  It’s an asymmetrical shawl, an enjoyable knit, and has a lot of cool features.  I’m learning to pair yarn and pattern, and the Schoppel-wolle Gradient is a good match for the design.   Simone asked to feature photographs of the finished project on her Ravelry project page.  What an honor.  I’ll be on the lookout for more WOLLWERK to knit in the future.

The Front Porch

mittensI’ve been in search of an idea for holiday greeting cards.  I like to make my own cards for close family and friends.  In recent years, I’ve been attaching a crocheted ornament to the front of the card, and enclosing a hook to give recipients the hint that they should remove the ornament and hang it on the tree.  The Holiday 2011 issue of Knit Simple has a darling pattern for knitted mittens by Loretta Dachman and I think one knitted mitten with a little loop is just the thing for this year’s greeting lotioncards. I have some Red Heart Heart & Sole in festive Christmas colors, which should work very nicely and use up stash. Speaking of holiday gifts, luxury lotion bars from Spinner’s End Farm are the perfect stocking stuffer.  They smell wonderful, and leave your hands soft and smooth after a marathon session of spinning, knitting, or baking.

Ever-Expanding Skill Set

breadpuddingWhen I cleaned out freezer this week, I found a package of sad-looking whole wheat hot dog buns.  There won’t be any hot dogs on the grill for awhile, so I decided to be inventive and use them for an impromptu bread pudding — great for dessert or breakfast!  Listen to the episode for some historical notes on bread pudding and few recipe notes from the 1800’s.

Bread Pudding with Apples

(makes 3-4 servings)

3 whole wheat buns, toasted and cubed

1 diced apple (preferably with thin skin, like Ginger Gold)

1 c. milk, light cream, or half and half

2 eggs

2 tblsp. honey or turbinado sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

dash cinnamon & nutmeg

In a large bowl, whisk together last five ingredients. Add bread and apple; toss to coat.  Refrigerate 1 – 12 hours. If the bread looks dry prior to baking, add some additional milk or cream.  Pour into a shallow, buttered baking dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  Serve hot or room temperature.

“Being creative is not so much the desire to do something as the listening to that which needs to be done; the dictation of the materials.”  — Anni Albers from Weaving in College, quoted on Sally Schneider’s Improvised Life blog.

Episode 14

This episode includes: The Back Porch, The Front Porch, On the Screen, and Prize & Contest Announcements.

pompomThe Back Porch

I’ve completed several projects, including two Pom Pom It! hats by Stephen West.  This is a great project for using small amounts of worsted yarn.  The pom pom topper pulls the whole hat together and makes it look wintery.  I experimented with different yarns in the pompoms.


clouds1I also blocked the 22 Little Clouds shawlette by Martina Behm.  Before blocking, this shawl didn’t look like anything much. I took it off the needles and it rolled up like a tube. Gasp!  But blocking worked wonders.  The colors of Frolicking Feet DK are soft and lovely without belonging to the pastel family.

ikarus1The Front Porch

I’m really enjoying the knitting on Ikarus by Simone Eich of Wollwerk designs.  It’s an asymmetrical shawl with a garter stitch center section and two stockinette sections with two different borders. The shawl reaches out to one side, which gives it the appearance of a wing. Schoppel-wolle gradient is a single-ply yarn that’s a pleasure to work with.

Prize & Contest Announcements

Congratulations to Sherry McKinnon and SallyfromIdaho, who were selected as winners in the Teacher Tribute Challenge.  And thank you to everyone who participated in Yarns at Yin Hoo’s first contest.

cactusbloomOur November contest is called Side Dish.  This contest will take place on the Yarns at Yin Hoo discussion board on Ravelry.  Please join the group in order to participate.  Tell me about your favorite side dish for the harvest table.  Recipes and links to recipes are welcome!  This contest will run for the month of November.  The randomly-selected winner will receive a skein of yarn from Beesybee Fibers in the Cactus Bloom colorway.

Episode 13

pumpkinsDid you know that a serving (1 cup) of cooked pumpkin provides nearly 200 percent of recommended Vitamin A, about 20 percent of recommended Vitamin C intake, and as much potassium as a banana?  Pumpkins are tasty, versatile, and a reliable source of fiber and beta-carotene. In this episode, I’ll provide recipe ideas that feature pumpkin for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

 Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner — It’s Pumpkin All the Time!

mousseHere’s an ingenious idea from my friend Kristy of Creative Wisdom Wellness.  I subscribe to her e-newsletter and this week it came with a recipe for Pumpkin Breakfast Mousse.  Very easy and very, very tasty. You probably have the ingredients in your fridge and pantry right now.  It might even sneak its way into my lunchbox.  I love it for so many reasons; one is that it’s the perfect opportunity to use some of my Vermont maple syrup.

Fall is the season to roast just about anything.  Pumpkin, acorn or butternut squash — even sweet potatoes will work in this recipe. Creamy Harvest Soup is simple enough for a quick lunch, and hearty enough for dinner.  I cut the vegetable in half, scoop out the seeds, and place each half cut-side-down on a baking sheet, then roast in a 350 oven until they are fork tender. Onions and apples can roast on the soup1same baking sheet, if you’re into complex flavors.  Scoop out the pumpkin flesh and freeze any extra.  Combine two cups of cooked pumpkin with one cup each chicken broth and coconut milk.  Puree in a blender.  Add salt and seasonings.  I prefer sweet curry powder in this recipe.  Ladle soup into warmed bowls and garnish by grating a frozen Mounds bar over the top of each serving.

Stuffed pumpkinAnd for dinner, Dorie Greenspan’s Pumpkin Stuffed with Everything Good.  This is my kind of recipe because there are no rules.  If you’re like me, you will read through the recipe and then go off on your own culinary adventure.  Stale bread (can you imagine corn bread in this recipe?) a variety of cheeses, eggs, milk — how can you go wrong?  I think this is also a canvas for experimenting with spices.  If you have vegetarians dining with you at Thanksgiving, make this dish!  It elevates a vegetable to the status of “main course,” and is more exciting for your vegetarian guests than a mish-mash of side dishes.  If you put your thinking cap on, you could prepare a vegan version of this recipe.

pompom-wreathPompom has its origins in the French word for pumpkin, pompon.  To make fun, festive pompom’s check out the video Stephen West made to accompany his pattern, Pom Pom It!

Episode 12

pumpkinThis episode features an interview with Sherry of Spinner’s End Farm, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.







sherryOn her blog, Sherry lists the animals who live at Spinner’s End:  a herd of Shetland Sheep, English angora rabbits, two olde English babydoll southdown sheep, three rescue llamas, two pygora goats, forty some odd chickens (but who is counting?), two ducks, three dogs, two cats, three guinea pigs, and a goldfish, not to mention the rescue alpacas that were the beneficiaries of a Kickstarter project that concluded early this spring.

sepalpacaI had been looking for a Kickstarter project to support because Samuel’s band, Bovine Social Club, had recently been successful raising the funds for their first album with Kickstarter.  I was overwhelmed by the generosity of people who gave money to a project they believed in.  The band was able to hire Tim Carbone of Railroad Earth to produce the record.  It was really special and I wanted to support someone with an innovative idea.

sepbarnWhen I found out about Spinner’s End Farm and Sherry and Will’s desire to rescue some local alpacas, I knew I had to participate.  So I contacted Sherry, who was generous with her encouragement of my spinning.  I was just about to take a beginning spinners class and she sent me the fiber and spindle that I selected as my incentive so I had it for the first day of my class.  My first several skeins of handspun are Spinner’s End specialties.

sef2A few months later, I used some sari silk fibers from her Etsy shop to create a yarn that became my first weaving project.  As soon as I launched the Yarns at Yin Hoo podcast, I contacted Sherry and asked if she would be willing to do an interview for the show.  We exchanged ideas and mp3 files via email and Facebook messages and I’m excited to introduce Yarns at Yin Hoo listeners to Sherry and her family.

Teacher Tribute Challenge

There are still a few days left to enter.  You could win one of two prizes I selected at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival last weekend. A darling project bag from rock, paper, flower, OR a set of enchanting cards printed from the batiks of Carol Law Conklin. Check out the show notes in Episode 7 or listen to any of the recent podcasts for more information.

masqueradeHappy Halloween! 

If you want to hear more of the Bovine Social Club’s, grassy, twangy, swinging breed of Americana music, check out their website.

Episode 11

yarnlogofinalThis episode includes segments titled: Yarn Lover at Large, Off the Shelf, and The Back Porch.





The Yarns at Yin Hoo website was hacked over the weekend.  The situation has now been corrected.  Thank you to everyone for your patience.  My site was one of many that were compromised and my server, Machighway, has restored regular service.

icelandYarn Lover at Large

My first trip to Rhinebeck for the New York Sheep and Wool Festival was everything I expected and more.  A sunny October day with a light breeze would be a treat all on its own; but paired with the festivities at Duchess County Fairgrounds, it was dazzling. The place was swarming with my kind of people: artsy, funky, eclectic free spirits — all with huge grins on their faces because seriously, there was nothing to do but walk around happily, among other people walking around happily. When I returned home, I was completely exhausted by my whirlwind of a day, but inspired and encouraged too.  I had little conversations throughout the day with knitters and fiber lovers from all over the world.  In the photo above, I’ve just met four women from Iceland who were questioning me about the welts in my Batad.

Videocaster Malia (rhymeswithmaria) calls Rhinebeck “knitter prom.”  It’s a see and be seen kind of event.  If you’ve ever felt that your knitwear is under-appreciated or even unnoticed, you need to go to Rhinebeck.  My Batad by Stephen West was perfect for the crisp weather.  I was warm when I walked around outside, and comfortable inside the buildings.  The striking architectural design attracted attention and lots of questions.  Best of all, I felt proud of myself for following through on intentional spinning and a challenging pattern with several new techniques.

I stuck with my shopping plan: buttons, new to me fiber, new to me yarn.  If I get to attend Rhinebeck again in the future, I will go even further and concentrate on vendors with which I’m totally unfamiliar.  This time, I did make purchases from a few vendors I knew about, but whose products I had not yet tried.  Purchases included: buttons from Melissa Jean, fiber in the honey to fig gradient from Fiber Optic, mill ends (bargain) sock yarn in Rare Gems from Socks that Rock, and worsted weight yarn in the color Bean from Creatively Dyed Yarn.  I’m attempting to complete all current projects so that I can get spinning and knitting with my new purchases.

sylviaOff the Shelf

I wasn’t thinking too much about a book tent with authors signing their work, but this aspect of the festival turned out to be one of the most rewarding.   I didn’t expect to be doing any Christmas shopping, either, but I left with two signed books that will be perfect for loved ones on my Xmas list.

Sylvia Jorrin is the author of Sylvia’s Farm. Soft-spoken and charming, with piercing eyes, she kindly chatted about her farm, her sheep and her writing process. She’s not very tech-savvy, and sends her handwritten pages off to a typist. So elegant and quaint, right?  Edith Wharton did the same thing.  Verlyn Klinkenborg, New York Times columnist, was  signing copies of his collection of essays / memoir titled The Rural Life.

trophy1On the Back Porch

The bus trip from Emmaus with Conversational Threads was a great opportunity to get a lot of knitting done.  I completed my 22 Little Clouds shawlette by Martina Behm.   This morning, exhilarated by my exposure to so many knitters, I completed the finishing work on Samuel’s Stringband.  It looks very handsome and it’s incredibly soft and warm.  Finally, I gave the porch a good cleaning, then sat outside for several hours and finished spinning my art batt from Beesybee Fibers. It yielded about 180 yards of lumpy-bumpy singles.  My plan with this yarn is to use it in a weaving project.

prizesTeacher Tribute Challenge

One of my shopping objectives at Rhinebeck was to find prizes for our contest, which ends on Halloween.

For entries to Episode #7 on the Yarns at Yin Hoo website: Batik notecards from Carol Law Conklin.

For entries on the contest thread on Ravelry: a charming little project bag from rock, flower, paper.

“Can you row?” the Sheep asked, handing Alice a pair of knitting needles.  “Yes . . . a little — but not on land — and not with needles,” Alice was beginning to say.     — Lewis Carroll