Friday, August 31, 2012

"Luv R Pacas" Part II - The Fiber!

I finally got around to photographing the yummy yarns and fiber that I brought home with me from Luv R Pacas. As I mentioned in my previous post on Aug. 23rd titled "Luv R Pacas" Part I - A day amongst the Alpacas, they do offer alpacas for sale as well as fiber lots. So needless to say, I indulged myself in choosing 6 hanks of their luxurious yarns. I came home with 1000 yards of alpaca spun yarn that I can play with! I'm really looking forward to creating some new designs with these. They are very lustrous, soft and smooth to the touch. I just love holding and squeezing them! They're so squishy! Mmmm... If I can get past playing with them maybe I'll get them wound into balls that I can actually knit with!  ;)

I chose a variety of gorgeous natural colors to work with. The textures are absolutely wonderful! A knitter's delight! 
I also came home with a sheet/blanket of felted alpaca fiber. This is not a knitted piece. This was created by layering the raw wool and felting it together. This sheet is very unique in that each side has a different look. It measures roughly 3' X 4'. Below you'll see the differences on each side. I photographed one side and then flipped it over and photographed the other side.

Side A

Side B

Which side do you like better? It's a tough choice, but I guess whichever side I choose, I could still make something that would be reversible, thus still showing off both sides! And what on earth would I be planning to make with this huge chunk of fiber you might ask? Well, the options are endless really. One awesome idea would be a hat! I spotted this lovely hat on display the moment we walked in the door. Donna made this gorgeous felted hat from a sheet of felted wool just like the one above. I think it's lovely! Her granddaughter modeled it so that I could take a picture. Isn't she a cutie?

Donna's granddaughter Taryn

Well, I've really enjoyed sharing my photos and telling you all about our trip to the alpaca farm. If you missed Part I and the photos of the alpacas, please read my post titled "Luv R Pacas" Part I - A day amongst the Alpacas.
Go pay Luv R Pacas a visit and tell them I sent you! Hope you've enjoyed my story!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Where was I one year ago?

I was just doing some reminiscing recently. Thinking back to where I was in my knitting a year ago... I had not yet taken the leap into designing myself, but I was working with a few local designers. At this time last year, I was doing some production knitting for Mlle Sophie of BREAKING THE WOOL. Sophie is a French designer. She was based here in San Francisco at the time, but has since moved back to Paris. Her company "Breaking the Wool" offers the highest quality of handmade fashion accessories for women and men, uniquely made here in San Francisco. I was one of her "makers". L'Original *for him* was the shawl I hand knit. I made several of these for her company. 

L'Original *for him*
The "Original" is Breaking the Wool's "It" shawl. A subtle mix of alpaca and mohair. It's incredibly soft yet substantial texture is perfect for every day wear by women as well as men.

What a pleasure it was to work with Sophie and to have the opportunity to create such luxurious items. Thank you Sophie for inspiring me to try my own hand at design! Please visit her online at BREAKING THE WOOL to see what she currently has to offer!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Luv R Pacas" Part I - A day amongst the Alpacas

Here I am really enjoying the moment

Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting an Alpaca Ranch just outside of Los Banos, CA. in rural Merced County. "Luv R Pacas" was started in 2008 by Donna & Dennis Morris. After seeing alpaca commercials on television, they decided to visit an alpaca ranch and it was love at first sight. I can definitely relate to how they felt because I felt the same thing yesterday. I could have stayed and played with these adorable creatures forever! 

This one decided to check out Jen's camera

A total of about 27 alpacas reside at Luv R Pacas, including both Huacaya and Suri Alpacas. They do offer alpacas for sale as well as fiber lots. I myself came home with several hanks of yarn. But of course!
As you probably know, alpacas love children. Alpacas are so luvable, huggable, gentle and approachable! So my friend Jen and I took our kids along with us for the visit. As you can see, we had an amazing day!

The kiddos and the alpacas

My son Brandon

My daughter Caitlin

Owner Donna Morris showing her Luv

 It was such a pleasure meeting the owners of this ranch. The alpacas play a very important role in the current life style of Donna and Dennis Morris. It was easy to see the love and care that they feel for their animals. They're more than just livestock to them. They are their pets... their babies! Donna and her husband love to talk alpacas!

My thanks goes out to Donna and Dennis for giving us the tour and such an amazingly memorable experience! This was my first, but definitely not my last visit to Luv R Pacas. Check out their website and/or pay them a visit. It would be their pleasure to show you their herd in person. Bring the family and sit a spell with them amongst the alpacas!

Part II of "Luv R Pacas" will be posted as soon as I take some photos of the gorgeous yarn and fiber I came home with!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Malabrigo and my Knitter Profile

Where should I begin? I have a couple of things to share with you tonight. The first one being that I was featured on Jordana Paige's blog today as this month's "Knitter Profile". I had a lot of fun answering all the questions in the interview. So head on over to Jordana's page and get more of an inside peek into my personal life.

Elizabeth, Jordana, Author Julie Turjoman, and myself
As you may already know, I'm working on a knitting book. So when possible I will be sharing bits and pieces about the process. One of the yarns I have chosen to use in several of my pattern designs is Malabrigo Yarn. Talk about a yummy yarn! I also love the fact that they are taking steps to improve sustainability and to reduce their carbon footprint. Liat Gat of Knit Freedom fame just recently fulfilled a dream that seemed almost impossible to her — She visited the Malabrigo Yarn factory in Montevideo, Uruguay. Check out this video of the tour she was granted and share in her dream come true!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Cottage Crafts Boutique

If you're in the San Francisco Bay Area, come join me today, Saturday, August 18th at Cottage Crafts Boutique. They're having a Cottage Festival. It's their official kickoff to The Fall Holiday Season. 10am to 5pm with Tea Tastings, Sidewalk Sale, Drawing & fun. I'll be selling a few of my own crafty items outside on the sidewalk! ;) — at Cottage Crafts Boutique.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Road Trip and Some Knitting

Photo I snapped with my cell phone of the beautiful starfish at the Sea Life Aquarium - Carlsbad, CA
I love road trips! Just last week we headed south on a mini family vacation. My children don't go back to school until the 27th, so this made for a nice "end of summer" outing. We decided to visit Universal Studios as well as Lego Land. We spend 3 wonderful, fun filled days theme park hopping! I didn't realize that Lego Land was 3 parks in one. So we purchased the "Resort Hopper" package which included admission to LEGOLAND® California, SEA LIFE® Aquarium and LEGOLAND® Water Park. The kids had loads of fun! But I was in awe of the beautiful Sea Life. My favorites were the starfish (what lovely colors they have) and the stingrays. I was captivated just watching the stingrays glide around. I could have watched them for hours. But children and husband beckoned. They were headed for the Water Park.

Meeting Scooby & Shaggy at Universal Studios Hollywood with my family

And of course no road trip is complete without a little knitting. The drive alone was about 8 hours from our home to Universal Studios in Hollywood. Then another 2 hours from there to Lego Land in Carlsbad, CA. I had planned on knitting a pair of fingerless mitts while my husband drove. But alas, I ended up driving more than half the way there that first day, because he had a headache. By the time he got behind the wheel there wasn't much daylight time left. So needless to say, I didn't complete my set. But I did get in quite a bit of knitting time while standing in lines! We ended up waiting more than an hour to ride some of those rides! But it's amazing how fast the time flew while I was knitting. ;) 
By the end of our trip, my husband was ready to do all of the driving and I was able to complete one mitt and get started on the second one on the way back home.

One mitt completed and the second one was well underway
I just realized how nicely the color of my mitt coordinates with the starfish in the photo above. Coincidence? Maybe that's why the starfish caught my eye. I just love that shade of purple! It's always been my favorite color. :)
It's been a busy summer. Have you taken any road trips? What are you knitting?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sliced Banana Bread

All I need now is a nice cup of English Breakfast Tea! This banana bread recipe is in the post below...

Banana Bread Recipe

I just removed the banana bread from the oven and have set it out to cool! In the meantime I would love to share this good old country recipe with you! I found it in a recipe book that my dad gave me a few years ago. His church put the book together as a fundraiser. So without further ado, straight from the Heartland comes this Recipe of Worth from Choctaw, Oklahoma!

Banana Bread:

2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. butter (melted)
2 c. flour
pinch of salt
3 over-ripe bananas (mashed)
1 c. pecans (optional)

Mix sugar and butter. Add eggs, flour, baking soda and salt. Add mashed bananas and nuts. Pour in loaf pan and bake at 375 F degrees until done, about 30 - 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Note: I left out the nuts and I only used 2 bananas because that's all I had! Still turns out awesome! My son LOVES this recipe. I'll be lucky if there's any left by days end.

Baking in the Morning

Our bananas had gone all mushy, so what better use for them? I've mixed up a batch of banana bread batter which is being popped into the oven right now! :) A photo of the finished product along with the recipe will follow!