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🧶Casapinka and the Land of Penguins

Just when I think I’ve started to make a real dent in my travel bucket list…

My friend Bronnie a.k.a. Casapinka sends me a text… from Antarctica. 🤯

It just goes to show, there’s always somewhere new to explore, and always more to learn. That’s what we love so much about being Yarnies, right?!

We just released Casapinka’s Knit Stars workshop, “Colorwork Made Easy” as a standalone workshop, at the intro price of just $47. It’s perfect whether you’re brand-new to colorwork or looking to improve your skills, and includes her awesome “Sushi and Snark” pullover shawl.

And this just in, Casapinka will be the featured Star inside our Yarniverse membership for March. Look for brand-new content where we Frog, Make, Style, and Shine with Casapinka all month long! (If you’re not already a member, you can join the Yarniverse here).

Meanwhile, I asked Casapinka if I could share with you about her latest adventure, cruising the Land of Penguins. Here’s how our back-and-forth went…

Shelley Q: You just got back from teaching in Antarctica. How in the world did that come about, and what was your biggest takeaway from the experience?

Casapinka A: The hardest part was coordinating being away from home for 16 days. I still have a kid at home (he’s 17 but really needs an eye on him because he is often up to something unpredictable.)

My biggest takeaway was that I need more nature in my life. I have a difficult time living in New England in winter and it’s very easy to hibernate and work without human contact.  But even a 15-minute walk through trees makes me feel better.

I will never forget looking off of our balcony in Antarctica and seeing penguins following us, diving up and down like dolphins.  We had a brief issue when someone said they were just flying fish but when I enlarged the video I took, they really were penguins!

Shelley Q: Tell me about the penguin hat you designed for the experience. What was the inspiration (I can guess!) and what was your basic design process?

Casapinka A: Well, who doesn’t like penguins? I was sent the Blue Sky Alpaca mini-bundles to use (which are worsted) in beautiful Antarctica colors. I also reached out to Emma’s Yarn to send me some DK minis so it could also be designed with some pink adjacent colors.

I always talk about how I cannot really draw or paint, which has always been a deep frustration of mine. But with the ipad and Procreate, I can erase 1,000 times and gradually get what I want. So, I went to work just trying to get some cute penguins. When I was done, someone said, “Those penguins are too wide.” And I looked at them (the penguins) and thought, “I don’t care, I love the wide penguins – they are so cute!” It was probably one of my kids who called them too wide, anyway,  and what do they know about knitting or penguins?

But then I had to knit and reknit the hat with different colors and patterns probably 10 times to get it just the way I wanted it. I’m not fast at designing and it would probably bore people to death to see how much I frog. But it’s worth it to get a product that you feel good publishing.

Shelley Q: What do you think is the biggest myth about stranded color work and how do you bust it?

Casapinka A: The biggest myth is that stranded knitting is difficult. It is not! In the knitting world, when someone says something scary or negative about a pattern/technique etc. it becomes gospel for no good reason. I have no idea why knitting rumors are so contagious and often so untrue. You bust that myth by not listening to it and just do it.

I taught myself at 16 how to do stranded colorwork because I had beginner’s mind and nobody told me it was hard. I started with one-handed color work which is one of the ways I show people in my Knit Stars class. You’ll see progress round by round and know when you’re ready to level up your technique.

Shelley Q: Who fed Sharon from Security (Casapinka’s surly cat) while you were gone to Antarctica?

Casapinka A: Nobody. That cat calls Door Dash more often than I brush my teeth.

Shelley Q: You’ve been refreshing some of your older, more popular patterns lately. How do you decide which ones to bring back?

Casapinka A: I first got the idea when I was teaching at a LYS in California a couple of years ago. I picked up this super cute cardigan sample they had which instantly made me grumpy. When I see patterns I love, I often think “Why couldn’t I come up with this?!” (hello, Amy Cristoffers’ Pressed Flowers Shawl/Marin Melchior’s Papillon Shawl.)

It turned out the cardigan actually was my design (“The Scotlander”) but done in a happy color, cropped, and it just looked completely different! So, that made me think that maybe I could get new customers/knitters/Sharon Apologists by bringing back some old patterns, occasionally. And we are bringing back “The Scotlander” soon!

The original Scotlander design.

Shelley Q: What dyer/s are you most interested in right now and why?

Casapinka A:I’ve rarely met a yarn I didn’t like. As a designer, I use yarns that people can easily access because many people want EXACTLY what you use in the design and don’t always enjoy experimenting. But in my private knitting life, I’m currently using some gorgeous undyed Falkland Island wool that I got on my Antarctica trip and some Alpaca from Truffles, an alpaca who is from Maine like I am. I’m her human Godmother. (Don’t tell Sharon.) But I’ll use mint dental floss if necessary, as long as I can knit with it!

Shelley Q: What do you have on the horizon for 2024 that you can share with our readers?

Casapinka A: Last summer’s Mystery Knit-a-long (MKAL) took us on the beginning of the Camino de Santiago (the French Chemin de Compestelle – 780 km through France) while Sharon From Security chased a perp named Keith the Hiker who had stolen something. Keith suddenly disappeared and Sharon is absolutely bound and determined to catch him this time.

We are currently planning on walking the Camino de Santiago this summer across Spain, starting where we left off in France because he’s supposedly holed up on the route and Sharon is determined make a citizen’s arrest.  We’re hoping to make the summer MKAL into a “Choose your own” pattern so everyone’s will look different. Of course, when you have a business partner that is a cat, things can change in an instant.

xoxo,

 

 

P.S. Casapinka’s is our fourth single workshop to release so far this year, and more are on the way! In case you missed them:

Wow, y’all have been having some fun shopping the 50% off sitewide sale! Still plenty left to snag… here are just a few ideas.

If you’re near Washington D.C. today at 3pm ET, pop over to the Hotel Zena and hang out with me (Shelley), Sunnie, and Mallory in real life! We’ll have some fun Knit Stars swag to hand out, while it lasts.

If you can, fill out this quick RSVP so we know you’re coming.

We’d love to meet you! 🫶

I asked Casapinka for an easy recipe. Her response: “Rao’s pasta sauce can be used 100 ways and is at Costco. My recipes are best left for cocktails and knitting patterns!”

So instead, this week I’m sharing my go-to app of late, courtesy of my friend, Karen. I keep losing the recipe and having to ask Karen for it again (recently I told her I may just get it tattooed on my body so I don’t lose it!). So I’m putting it in the newsletter (and on the blog) so I don’t lose it again!

Karen’s Stuffed Sweet Peppers

We discovered these peppers at Carmen’s in Pensacola. Quick and easy!! Just use “feel” and number of peppers desired to judge quantities of ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • Multicolor small sweet peppers, typically available in bags at grocery. Slice in half lengthwise. Clean out seeds and membrane with a spoon. For looks, try to keep a bit of stem at top on each piece.
  • ½ lb. Manchego cheese, coarsely grated (I’ve also used shredded parmesan)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 andouille sausages small diced, then browned (not crunchy); drain on paper towel and cool. (I’ve also used bulk hot sausage)
  • 1-2 tablespoons (+ or – ) EVOO (use your judgment; intent is to make it a little bit creamier.  Don’t overdo or it will be too oily.)

Instructions:

  1. Mix cheese and cooked sausage together and chill for hour or so.
  2. Stuff peppers (mash it down into cavity) and place on parchment-covered bake sheet (for easy cleanup.)
  3. Optional: Top with finely chopped jalapenos or green onions
  4. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbling. Watch closely to prevent burning.

Ok to make mixture and stuff peppers ahead of time. Just keep in the refrigerator. Extra mixture stuffing can be kept in fridge for couple weeks.

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