Sunday, July 30, 2006

First Novelty Yarn

I've been talking so much about coffee I thought I would share something from my knitting past. I taught myself how to knit back in college but re-taught myself and more seriously after I got married. We lived back then in a gorgeous apartment down in Redondo Beach with a partial ocean view, just on the other side of the street from the ocean. Partial, because we could only see the ocean if we leaned out of our balcony and peered between the buildings across the street. We had all the advantages of beach living with the cool breezes, the ocean air and a pier with the churros, ice cream and seafood within a 5 minute walk. It was a pleasant two years, and a time I look back on very fondly.

However, my husband was a dot com-er who was looking for a new job and he had an interview in silicon valley. I went with him, and to celebrate the job offer, we took route 1 back home and stopped for the night just north of Cambria. In Cambria, we stopped at Ball, Skein and More since I had just started to become more passionate about my knitting. My patient husband came in with me and was impressed by all the colors and different yarns. He happened upon a table of really soft scarves and made me touch the scarves. I had not ever bought any novelty yarn or even considered it. I was still just using Joann's and Michael's yarns with the exception of yarn for a pair of socks. I bought two balls of black Trensetter Zucca to make a simple garter stitch scarf. It was the softest yarn I had touched up until then and at something like $7/ball it was the most extravagant yarn purchase I had ever made!

The scarf ended up being a Christmas gift for my best friend. She was finishing up her last year of medical school near New York City and needed more scarves. Last time I visited her at her place, she still had this scarf although it looks pretty ratty. I've had the intention in the last two winters to replace the scarf, and I'm really happy the gift was so appreciated. She's one of the few people that I will always knit for since she appreciates what I make for her.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


So the Fresh Roast and I have made a compromise without having to send it back and without further complaint. I'm still not as pleased with the roasts as I was with the first roaster, but I think I'm getting pretty close with some changes. The roaster now gets connected to a 100ft extension cord borrowed from my husband's shop. Then I make sure the a/c, 2 fans and the tv is on. For some reason when the roaster is set up to the extension cord, the fan works a little better and the heating element is a little less hot. I'm now getting roast times up to the 9-11 minute mark. I still think anything under a FC roast will be too grassy, but the coffee is getting tasty again.

I picked up some Guatemalan from Jones coffee in Pasadena, and it already smells great from roasting yesterday. It'll be really convenient to have a local source of beans without having to stress about shipping rates and availability. I'm so hoping it won't disappoint.

I'm having a lot of fun with the beading books my husband brought home. I made an alligator for the wife of the couple that took care of my husband in Japan as a thank you gift. We are sending some other things as well, like coffee from Jones coffee.

I also made a flying piggie for my older sister and it has to be one of my favorite beaded projects so far. She is also getting 3 necklaces that we collaborated on while she visited. One is from a Tiffany bracelet given to her by an ex-boyfriend. It was oval pearls that was only knotted between the last 2-3 pearls and although pretty, was not really her style. So it is getting reincarnated into a long necklace with oval czech glass beads in the Tiffany blue opaque with a delicate chain in between the beads. It's simple and will be very pretty. The nice thing is we'll incorporate all the original bracelet's components, and if she gets bored down the road it can get done up a different way again. The gift that keeps on giving.

On the knitting front, I should finish my flower basket shawl, but in typical style, I already have my eyes on another project. The Japanese knitting book my husband also gifted me with has a great sweater with an acorn and oak leaf cable up the front. I already have yarn set aside and have started to play with swatches in another comparable yarn. I really need to think about getting pictures up!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


My older sister is visiting this weekend, a short visit, but that's ok. She lives in Manhattan and I don't get to see her very often. We talk a lot on the phone and she is someone I can always rely on to give me a mostly unbiased opinion. If I'm complaining about my husband, she usually takes his side! But she's usually right.. darn.

I wanted to have some homeroast ready for her when she arrives this weekend so roasted two batches yesterday that should be perfectly rested for her on Saturday morning. I put the Fresh Roast on a 100ft extension cord with the 45gms, and I was finally able to replicate my times with my other Fresh Roast. Still marginally on the fast side, but I'm happy that I can get the slightly deeper roasts again. I'm not a big fan of bright coffees but I'm trying to learn to appreciate them.

My husband is back from his business trip. YAY!! He brought back many gifts and I got quite a haul of japanese beading books, as well as one knitting book and one crochet book. I keep on looking at them over and over, not knowing where to start. I will try to take pictures of them. No knitting going on, although the house looks great. My husband came home and wanted to do a complete reorganization which drives me crazy on one hand but I know is necessary. The house does look great and he did 90% of the work. We have my childhood piano coming in soon so we now have room for the piano. I hope I don't drive the neighbors crazy playing it!!