My Chinese New Year Dinner went well even though it was a lot of work. I don't cook Chinese Food that much and now I remember why. There is so much prep work involved before the food could be cooked. My mom gave me recipes over the phone and like most Chinese recipes past down, there is no measurents or quantities. Luckily, that is my style of cooking anyways.
Want to see what I got for my birthday? I got to open my gifts from my sister early because she was here for Melody's birthday party. She got me a set of cute Ice Cream Sandwich Makers which I will have to give it a try soon. And a Domo Kun calendar because I started collecting Domo Kun stuff when they were available at Target during Halloween. And for the knitting related part of her gifts, this book.I can't wait to make something from this book.
My good friend made me these socks! She is the one that I stay with when I go to NYS Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck. The yarn is from Shelridge Farm, called Soft Touch Heather in the color, Leaf. I picked out the yarn while we were in Rhinebeck last year and she promised to knit me some socks. I told her that she could pick the pattern and she chose Monkey by Cookie A.I love them! My first pair of hand knit socks. Sadly, I have yet to knit a pair for myself.And she also gave me FIBER! Fiber Optic Yarns, 50% Superwash Merino & 50% Tencel. The colorway is called Limehouse Blues. Which segways perfectly into my next topic.
My first spinning wheel. This is a combined Christmas and Birthday Gift from DH. I spent a lot of time researching and bothering Julie and Micki through emails. Orginally, I thought I was going to buy a Louet Victoria because DH and I saw someone spinning on one at a local fair over the Summer. I liked that is was small and can fold up. And then I entertained the idea of a Ashford Joy which is also portable, folds and is small. Ever since, I gave up the second bedroom to Melody, there isn't much space in the house for my hobbies anymore, so I thought something small would be good.In the end, I decided on the Rose by Majacraft. Small is good, but the small portable ones all had limitations. And if I know myself, I will probably out grow it. I only intend to own one wheel and I didn't want to have to upgrade late on. With the Rose, I will never have to upgrade. I am not sorry I bought it. It's beautiful and spins like a dream.Surprisingly, this is not a hobby that I thought I would try. After seeing someone at the local fair, DH, asked if I would want one and offered to buy me one. Boy, was he sorry when I checked the prices on the Internet as soon as we got home. My only attempt at spinning was with a Drop Spindle many years ago and I was horrible at it. I was really worried about making such a large purchase and not knowing if I will like it. I thought that I might take some classes, but Rhinbeck arrived before I even got to sign up. So, I got to play with the spinning wheels at Rhinebeck. I got mini lessons from the Vendors at Rhinebeck, but I still was pretty horrible at it. One of the women that I was shopping with (a friend of a friend) was good at spinning and she was very patient in explaining things to me. She said that I had the treadling part right and just needed work on the drafting and twist thing. I had a tendency to keep treadling without releasing the yarn and it would get all twisted. Spinning takes a lot of coordination with your hands and feet.The wheel came with one free pound of Louet Wool Fiber. So, as soon as I assembled it (which was really hard for me), I was able to practice on the free fiber. The brown one is the free wool and on the right, Julie generously sent me some of her wool. The fleece came from a sheep named Tarragon. Julie bought the sheep's fleece and had it processed at a mill. She also sent along some hand lotions that she makes. It's a good idea to keep your hands smooth and supple while spinning.Everyone kept telling me at Rhinebeck that if I keep practicing, I will have an "Ahah!" moment and everything will makes sense. It's true. While I did horribly at Rhinebeck (granted it was my first time ever), I got the hang out it on my own wheel at home. I had a great time spinning with the fiber that Julie gave me. I spun up two bobbins worth.Then I plied both the yarns together and I got YARN! My first handspun yarn. Lots of mistakes were made, but I am pretty proud of it.I ended up with 346 yards of handspun yarn. It is thick and thin in some areas, but I would say that it is mostly Sport weight to Worsted weight. A huge Thank You to Micki for virtually helping me spin my first yarn. I think I emailed her a thousand times while I was doing it and she patiently answered all my questions.