So we had an excellent time yesterday spinning. I loved Mary’s Turkish spindles–two normal-sized, one tiny and adorable, all from Jenkins–they are beautifully turned, spin fast and smooth, and make a centerpull ball when you’re done, ready for plying! Rosemary Knits made a clever homemade version using Brio Mec construction toys.
Along with spindles and tons of fiber to share, Mary brought along some delicious homemade samosas with 4 kinds of homemade chutney (mint, cilantro, tamarind, and tomato) and yogurt!
Her friend’s daughter brought chocolate chip cookies to share and exuberance and energy to spare. Her 5th-grade art class sounds pretty great: apparently they’ve been wet-felting llama fiber and dyed sheep’s wool, and talking about natural dyeing with onion skins, etc.
We all took turns with spinning on the 2 different kinds of spindle and wheel. I can’t say that the Jelly Yarns drive band worked very well with my wheel, unfortunately–it would start out nice and tight, but kept stretching and popping off after a minute or two of picking up speed. Perhaps I didn’t tie the knots right… I was never a Girl Scout, and have likely missed out forever on valuable knot-tying and cookie-selling skills.
In any case, it was a fun way to spend a Saturday morning!
Rahul and I went for a nice bike ride in the Arboretum later. The leaves are starting to turn, and thinking about all the beautiful Autumn colors around me, I’m eagerly awaiting my next Sundara Seasons shipment, sock yarn in a color called Roasted Persimmon over Green Papaya–the color looks pretty different in all the photos I’ve seen so far and I really want to see how it looks in person.
In the afternoon, I spun up some yarn: a magenta-purple chunk of a Miss Babs BFL batt Mary shared with me. I loved it–the fiber was so fluffy and light and nicely prepped, it spun like a dream. I Navajo-plied it today and it’s hanging in the bathroom to set the twist–I wound up with about 60ish yards of DK/worsted weight from 1.5 oz of fiber.
And yesterday evening we had a truly remarkable coincidence.
To preface this, on Thursday, we’d gone to a dinner outing at Africana arranged via a new Livejournal group for Madison-area foodies. (When I sat down, the woman sitting next to me asked if I was on Ravelry! She’s a knitter too and recognized my name.)
Last night, we went to the Magnetic Fields concert at the Overture Center–fun, if perhaps a bit heavy on the Gothic novelty songs and short on the yearning, bittersweet, melancholy songs I like best. Though they did play a really nice version of “Take Ecstasy with Me” from Holiday, one of my favorite albums.
As we were leaving the concert, Rahul noticed that two of the women from the Madison foodies group (the Raveler and her roommate) were leaving the concert as well, so we biked up and said hi. We talked to them for a few minutes, then their companion introduced herself, and it turned out she had gone to junior high with Rahul! This was in a town of 35,000, in Southern Missouri, almost 500 miles away–it’s not as though they had both gone to school nearby in Wisconsin or something. Totally wild.
The last big excitement for the weekend (barring anything unexpected and really great happening tonight) was that we went to a restaurant called Yen Ching this morning for their Sunday dim sum. I don’t even really know if you’d call it dim sum, since it’s more Northern-style breakfast foods, but I loved it and it reminded me strongly of home–they had much better food, in my opinion, than Hong Kong Cafe, which is unfortunate since the latter is just around the corner from us.
My favorite of everything we got was the sweet soy milk with you tiu, which translates literally to “oil sticks”–I think they called them crullers on the menu. It shouldn’t be hard to make, but I’ve been to plenty of restaurants where they burned the soy milk or gave you an impossibly tiny portion. The worst offender served it in a mug. In my opinion, properly made, it should be a huge, steaming-hot bowl of sweet and slightly fragrant soy milk without a trace of bitterness or burned/smoky flavor, with hot, crisp, freshly fried you tiu to break into little pieces and dunk into the bowl. You spoon them up after letting them soak up the soy milk for a moment, and they’re wonderfully juicy and soft. Yen Ching did it perfectly. The you tiu were crisp, so fresh out of the fryer that they burned my fingers when I broke them into pieces, and the soy milk was delicious and came in a very generous portion.
We also tried steamed pork buns (plain pork, not the barbecued pork you would expect in a Cantonese-style restaurant), har gao (a little surprising in a Northern-style restaurant, I guess, but very well done–the shrimp tasted fresh and sweet, and the skin was delicate), won ton soup, steamed buns, fried buns (to my surprise, these were essentially the steamed buns, sliced and deep-fried and sprinkled with sugar, a bit like rusks, not at all what I was expecting), and siu mai. Aside from the steamed and fried buns, where our problems could be attributed to user error in ordering, I had no complaints about any of it; I really enjoyed the meal.
If I haven’t been eaten by ladybugs in my sleep, hopefully I’ll actually have some pretty pictures of craft-related content to show next time. Have a lovely, lovely Sunday!
(Edited to add: I wrote earlier and then apparently accidentally deleted a small saga about the ladybugs invading our house. Hence the closing ladybug comment, which I just realized makes no sense without the preceding ladybug story. I removed about 20 ladybugs from our living room yesterday and around 15 today. They’re EVERYWHERE! All I can say is I’m glad they’re ladybugs and not roaches or centipedes.)