weekend frolicking.

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I will miss these mountains — and these friends, too. Yesterday we explored the volcanoes: a regular weekend haunt of mine (and Boh’s), and hopefully, a new favorite for the dear friends pictured above.

I spent the afternoon relaxing: baking banana bread, knitting, cleaning, etc. Check out my progress on the pinwheel blanket — it is growing very quickly!

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Monday mornings require just a bit more coffee than other weekdays — must pour another cup and get ready for work!

pinwheel!

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What is this, rooster? A new project?

Yes, it is true. Yesterday I cast on for the Pinwheel Blanket from knitalong by Larissa and Martin Brown. I know, I know. I have several projects on the needles right now, but hear me out dear reader: I don’t have anything I can work on that (a) does not require looking at the pattern and (b) uses needles of a large enough size that I can look away from my work. (I can now carry on a conversation while knitting socks, but I still need to look at what I am doing to be sure that I am not dropping stitches left and right.)

Also, it seems that there are several upcoming occasions to celebrate with knitting. This Pinwheel is intended to be a wedding gift. It is growing rather quickly, after a healthy struggle with joining 5 st in the round and completing the set up rows. After a few cups of coffee and some podcast catch up time, here’s what it looks like:

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That’s all for now. The sun is shining, and Boh and I are off to one of our favorite places — the volcanoes — this time, with friends!

friday.

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In a bit of a hurry this morning — heading to work early — but I glanced out my window and saw this. Also, Hilary of The Yarniad tagged me for a book meme yesterday. Apologies for my lack of links — if you want to know more, these should all be easy to find on Amazon or wherever.

1. What book are you currently reading?

I am between books at this split second, and am enjoying this week’s New Yorker, but next on the pile is The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I should have read this a long time ago — no excuses. A new friend shared his copy recently, which has rightfully moved it to the top of my reading list.

2. When you think of a good story, what are the first three books that come to mind?

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close — Jonathan Safran Foer

This is perhaps the most moving book I have read in recent memory. Relevant, heartbreaking, beautiful. Sometimes I catch myself being snobby about books, particularly more recent fiction. This helped me to break through that. Foer’s storytelling is excellent, and it is heightened by his attention to style and po-mo elements of narration/the relationship of the author to the reader. The way the words are presented on the page enhances their impact. I bought several copies of this book when I first read it and mailed it to everyone I swap books with.

Blood Meridian or the Evening Redness in the West — Cormac McCarthy

This is not a happy book; in fact, it may be the most violent I have ever read. A professor in college cited this, along with Lolita, by Nabokov, as the most important books in 20th century American lit. That isn’t why I keep coming back to it, though. This is why:

“The jagged mountains were pure blue in the dawn and everywhere birds twittered and the sun when it rose caught the moon in the west so that they lay opposed to each other across the earth, the sun whitehot and the moon a pale replica, as if they were the ends of a common bore beyond whose terminals burned worlds past all reckoning” (86).

Haroun and the Sea of Stories — Salman Rushdie

This is pure magic — a perfect read aloud book that children can enjoy, but is really very much for grownups. Water Genies, Processes too Complicated to Explain, Disconnecting Tools, Oceans of Notions…really. What are you waiting for?

What 3 books would you recommend for summer beach reading?

First of all, I’m swapping beach for mountains/high desert — which is where my current job takes me each summer. Secondly, I’m including poetry. Sorry if that means I am breaking the rules.

Harvest Poems — Carl Sandburg

I always look for this in used book stores — it is the perfect collection to share — great for tossing into a bag to take with you, no matter where you are going. My copy has a broken spine, and seems to attract pine needles, campfire ash and the occasional postcard from a friend.

Black Mesa Poems — Jimmy Santiago Baca

More poetry — my summers require that I pack light, which means I often choose books I will want to return to over and over again. And because, unfortunately, this name is lesser known beyond these parts, a line from a poem (titled, “What Could Have Been and What is) to tempt you: “Had I not become a poet, I would have been a bandit in the mountains, her eyes say.”

The Stars — H.A. Rey

Because the summer sky is like none other. I always say I’m going to learn more about what appears as the evening turns from blue to black, but I rarely do. This is a book I remember from my childhood — a sea-faring (and far more sky-knowledgeable) friend and I purchased copies for ourselves 5 years ago as inspiration to be able to do more than ooh and ahh.

4. Any knitting books you care to share?

Reading? Not so much. Drooling over for inspiration? Yes indeed. Current favorites? Knitalong, by Larissa and Martin Brown, and Knitting Vintage Socks by Nancy Bush are the ones I was flipping through last night…

I gather that I’m supposed to tag more folks — and as I like reading suggestions, here are my three: Mick at Much Adored, Macoco at Craft Pirate and Mel at Pipe Dreams and Purling Plans.

Happy Friday!

breakfast and button bands.

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Good morning! Thought I’d snap a picture of my colorful breakfast. This treat from my CSA box brightened the to do list reviewing/revising that needed to occur this morning.¬† I also managed to make some progress on my Brompton button band — one down! An evening of chicken soup, knitting, and movie-watching, combined with some a.m. quiet time today has produced this:

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The button band is slightly shorter than the body of the cardigan. I want to keep making progress on this, so you heard it here: I will not delay seaming this button band even though seaming is still a bit scary to me. I will not delay seaming this button band even though seaming is still a bit scary to me. I will not delay seaming…

This is our first full week of glorious weather, and it is getting more and more difficult to be inside all day at the office. Weekend, please.

good morning.

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Normally I hop right out of bed at or before my 6:30 alarm. I’ve been up later than usual this week, and keeping my eyes shut for an extra 15 minutes as the sun comes up and the dog begins to stretch is a wonderful luxury. I’m holding the day’s first cup of coffee, and planning to settle in for a little bit of knitting before I ready myself for work. Hope you are able to carve out some time for yourself today too!

brompton progress.

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Forgive the awkward light streaming through the window — couldn’t wait until later to share a Brompton milestone: I’ve completed the majority of the body stitches! Time to begin work on the button bands. I say it every time I post about this sweater, but I love Rowan Felted Tweed. (Love.) Also, with the arrival of spring here in the Southwest comes the wind, and I am in serious need of a morning/evening layer like this one. I have some work and play travel coming up in mid-April, and I am hoping to have this done in time to take with me!

legwarmers in real life.

First, an Easter photo. My landlords’ children knocked on my door yesterday morning to present me with this:

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So sweet to think that the Easter Bunny remembered me this year. I absolutely adore my landlord-family (I live in the house in their backyard), and I will miss them terribly when it comes time to leave here for the colder climes of New Home/grad school.

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So it seems there are a lot of folks out there in internet-land who have questions about wearing legwarmers. I’ve noticed that several folks have used legwarmer and wearing legwarmer-related search terms to find my blog. I happen to have a few pictures of the legwarmers in action this week, as the weather is just changeable enough to warrant them. Mind you, I am no fashion plate, and tend to subscribe to the “If You Like It, You Should Wear It” school of clothing oneself. (Also known as the “Get Dressed in Five Minutes and Try Not to Wear Exactly What You Wore Yesterday” approach to dressing.) If it is legwarmer wearing confidence you need, a few ideas:

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(Way above, and above): long underwear, twirly skirt and legwarmers. If you’re feeling particularly bold, you could wear a shorter skirt so that it looks like the second picture.

Option 2:

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Legwarmers are also appropriate for Saturday morning, and perfect for pairing with cropped loungewear when the dog needs to go out.

Option 3 (not pictured): Most of the time, I wear legwarmers because I love flip-flops but my ankles get cold. I like to keep them tucked under my heels, and people rarely notice them when I wear them with jeans. I wear them for me! If you want to incorporate a tad more 80s flair (as I typed that, iTunes in shuffle mode selected “Runaway” by Bon Jovi. Go figure) cuff your jeans so that said legwarmers are more visible.

Alright — glad we’ve addressed that. I’d hate to think that there are people out there who’ve gone through all the trouble to either acquire or knit legwarmers, but are unsure about how to enjoy them!

Onward to my Nutkin conversion:

You may recall that I ran into a bit of a problem just before turning the heel on sock #1 of this pair: The cuff, which is knit and folded over to create something super cool, does not have the stretch of the rest of the sock, and I could not get it over the heel of my foot. I’m glad I thought to try this BEFORE turning the heel. I love the pattern — easy to remember and fun to knit — and the thought of ripping out 7 pattern repeats was a bit too much for me to bear.

So: I began an 8th pattern repeat, but in the middle of the first repeat in the first row, I bound off the middle 8 st to create a thumb hole, and then continued on in pattern, replacing those 8 st in the next row. After the full 10 row pattern repeat, I did one more repeat, for a total of 9. I then knit 5 rows of k2, p2 for stretchiness at the top of the mitt, and voila:

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I think I finally understand why folks who don’t like knitting socks buy and use sock yarn. These are going to be perfect for spring: snug, subtly colorful, and thinner than the other worsted weight pairs I’ve been wearing all winter. I’ve cast on for my second mitt, and I’ve learned my lesson about gauge/sock cuffs…maybe.

baking…

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Happy Birthday! I presented this cupcake to someone who is a VERY good sport about all the knitting his wife and I both talk about and do when we are together.

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(I also did some “real” baking — there is a loaf of banana bread on the counter, ready to take to Easter brunch.) I loved making this cupcake (pattern from One Skein by Leigh Radford). I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, given that I do not own any novelty yarn for frosting the cupcake, but I used Cascade 220 for the chocolate base and then 2 strands of Cascade 220 Heathers and 1 strand of Madil Kid Seta (all leftover from the LMKG legwarmers) and then used some leftover cotton to make a cherry on top.

More knitting to share:

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These (Baby Bibs O’ Love, from Mason-Dixon knitting, made from Peaches and Creme dishcloth cotton) have been languishing for at least a month, mostly because I couldn’t find a needle that would fit through the buttonholes…needed to dig out my misplaced travel sewing kit. Let’s hope I can get these in the mail faster than I was able to sew on the buttons! (Still thinking about adding a little bit of embroidery to the red one. We’ll see.)

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Beaufort, completed! (Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted, Size 8 needles.) I am a tad nervous that this will be too small for its recipient. It fit me snugly, right off the needles, and I have a small head. I dunked it in the sink with some wool wash and gave it a good tug, and it is almost dry. I think the yos in the pattern will open up with time, just like my Foliage did. I hope she likes it.

I had a Nutkin realization yesterday. You know, after I did 5 more repeats on the leg portion.

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That lovely doubled cuff I was celebrating a few posts ago? (Don’t get me wrong — it is very pretty.) Mine doesn’t quite fit over my heel. Good thing I checked before starting the heel. The thing is, I am in LOVE with how this yarn (Yarn Pirate Kalamata — my first Booty Club installment) is knitting up. I’m thinking I can add a thumb hole and do another pattern repeat or two and I will have the first of a gorgeous pair of fingerless mitts. (Does that also mean I get to decide on another sock to begin?) I will certainly keep you posted on my sock to mitt progress. Seems fitting that I was listening to the last few chapters of Frankenstein yesterday on CraftLit when I made this discovery.

Time to settle down with another cup of coffee, Boh, and some knitting. I love weekend mornings — I am always up with the sun, and on these days, I get to watch the morning become mid-day: sun rises in the sky, roosters crow, air warms up and I can fling open the doors and windows…

Enjoy your day.

home again, home again.

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Yup, life is hard. 5 whole days of playing non-stop with your friends can make you dog tired. (Stop me now.) Boh and I re-settled ourselves into my little house, went for a lovely run, and planned an evening of hunkering.

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Netflix, the dog, and a hat project. I actually cast on for the Beaufort Hat last month, knit most of the inch of ribbing, and then realized that I needed those needles for something more urgent. (Not that I can remember what.) I put what I had of Beaufort on waste yarn and tucked it away. I went to pick it back up again, I decided to just rip out the little I had done and start over to ensure evenness in the ribbing…or something.

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I’ve made it through 3 or 4 pattern repeats, and I really like it. The pattern is easy to memorize and it moves quickly. I’m using¬† Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted in a slightly lighter/brighter shade than pictured. This is for a friend who requested a hat. Though she’s seen the blog, I don’t think she reads it regularly, so I’m going to risk it. (She’s heading to Argentina this week for a well-deserved vacation.) I should have this ready to send to her by the time she returns (and maybe enough yarn for one for me, too!)