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