Tasting Rowan Yarn’s Latest Treats
I know that I mentioned a little something I had been planning for a long while: hosting a yarn tasting party in my home. “Yarn tasting?” People eat yarn? hehe… No, not quite. A yarn tasting is when a knitter or crocheter can sample a yarn before buying it. Think of it as a test drive for new car, or when you taste foods from a caterer to find the perfect reception fare for a wedding. In many cases, yarn can be a high ticket item due to its composition of materials. When Rowan Yarns sent me a few skeins of their 3 new yarns for the Spring/Summer 2014 season, I decided I had more than enough to divide up these pretties so that my friends can try them with me. The yarns are:
- Truesilk: 100% mulberry silk chainette yarn in a sport weight at 164 yards per 50 gram ball
- Pure Linen: 100% linen plied yarn in DK weight at 142 yards per 50 gram ball
- Silystones: 48% linen with 52% silk textured yarn in worsted weight at 109 yards per 50 gram ball
For this tasting, I knew it was important to have simple foods that were not fussy to eat yet were delicious. For savory dishes, I selected Black Bean Salsa with Club crackers, Deviled Tuna Puffs, and Bite-sized Bacon Cheese Scones. The sweet dishes were my Smoky Chocolate Souffle with Cajeta for a “hot” dessert, and my Caramelized Peaches in Ginger Ice Cream as my “cold” dessert.
The Black Bean Salsa is an adaption of David Oliver’s recipe which I discovered during our May 11th visit last year. My version mixes a can of black beans, bottled lime juice, freeze-dried cilantro, chopped sweet onion, chopped bacon, and red pepper flakes. David’s version uses black beans that he soaked overnight then cooked, freshly squeezed lime juice, freshly chopped cilantro, and coarsely chopped green onion. His salsa is absolutely divine, but I discovered that in a pinch, my “on hand pantry version” is still a hit. The salsa can also be served hot or cold, as a dip with crackers/bread/chips or itself, and over rice to make a meal.
The Deviled Tuna Puffs came about from my love for BFF’s tuna salad, which combines the saltiness of tuna and the richness of deviled eggs. I baked up 2 dozen puff shells, then filled them with the tuna salad which BFF made the night before to ensure the flavors would meld. To make the shape of the shells, I used a miniature cupcake pan and divided the batter using a small cookie scoop.
Whenever I make Leites Culinaria’s Bite-Sized Bacon and Cheese Scones, I know they will be devoured. These lovelies definitely disappeared! My only alteration to that recipe is to use a miniature cupcake pan for 24 bites instead of rolling and cutting them with a cutter. Maybe one day I will bake up larger ones using a bunny-shaped cutter…
So enough about the food. Let’s talk about the party. When everyone arrived, each was curious on how I was able to decide which guests could attend because I seem to know a lot of people (at least that is what I have been told). I had made the list’s requirements simple: First, everyone was in a crafting group where I was active. Second, each person had to be on Facebook in order to make communication easy through the event posting. And third, each person was someone I had interacted often on Facebook.
Throughout the afternoon, I took delight in watching my friends trying out these fine yarns as if we were in a wine tasting. They whipped out their needles and hooks, tried various stitches, and shared their swatches with each other. Everyone checked out the booklets and patterns that featured these yarns to get ideas for themselves. The one person who had previously attended a yarn tasting was pleasantly surprised at the amount I “poured” for everyone. In both of our experiences, most places will only give you 5 gram bitess at most. I had generously dished out 10-12 grams of each yarn to each person.
With the fabulous success of the tasting in which I have converted a number of non-Rowan folks into Rowanites, I have been asked the question, “Where can we get these yarns?” Cururently none of my LYSes in the area have them. But there definitely are 2 places to purchase these wonderful beauties: Jimmy Beans Wool and WEBS. I not only have shopped at both online stores, but have also worked with these shops on other projects. FYI: Laura Zander, the owner of Jimmy Beans Wool, was born in Fairfax and her roots were all over Hampton Roads. How cool is that a former Virginian is a famous giant in the fiber industry? =:8
New job, getting my life back so I have time for family and friends, and finishing tons of UFO’s!
Chris, I hear ya on getting time back for yourself. Sometimes we need to prioritize what means the most to us.
I’ve only been to one yarn tasting, but it certainly wasn’t as elegant and classy as this one! Well done!
As for my 2014 goals, they are all pretty intertwined: My overall goal is to focus on my health inside and out. Part of this means learning to accept that I need not feel ashamed nor guilty for taking the time to care for myself. I might not literally “produce” as much as I’d like, healing myself is worthy work in and of itself and SHOULD count as productivity in my own mind. Part of this also means learning not to be overly concerned with what this process looks like to the rest of the world at large too!
Sandy, thank you! It felt like I was channeling Karen Holmes of the now-closed “Fresh Purls” yarn shop in Providence, RI. When she threw a party to introduce new yarns, she KNEW how to THROW a PARTY!
And I hope you never feel you have to do what the rest of the world expects. It’s better to be “hoppy” with yourself, especially when your fur-kids are such awesome loves. <3
We had such a good time. We need to have more get togethers. Its fun to chat with new people.
Nicole, I’m so glad you and your daughter “LaLa” had fun. I’m hoping to have more of these tastings at least every quarter. If it were up to me, I’d have them once a month. 🙂
I’d never thought about having my own yarn tasting! I’ve always gone to shops for such endeavors. After I threw an “Ark of Cheese” party last fall (details at http://www.tactiletravel.com/2013/10/my-own-ark-of-cheese/), I’d been looking for reasons to hold a hard cider tasting, and I think yarn may be a wonderful connector. Looks like it was a great event and now I’m off hunting for these yarns. Thanks!
Oh, the possibilities!
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