weekend.

My Sunday morning began with some muffin making. I was out rather late with friends from the Southwest last night, and Boh still wanted to wake up at our regular time. If you have to get up earlier than you’d like, the wonderfulness of muffins wafting from the oven certainly helps with the expected crankiness.

I received a box from WEBS this week, containing materials for several pinwheel blankets and a cobblestone sweater for me:

Thus, I cast on for pinwheel blanket wedding gift #3 (Valley Yarn Northampton in Apple):

Also, because I have a need for a portable project for guest lectures, bus rides, etc. (and because I need to work on my goal of knitting more socks/taking advantage of my sweet Yarn Pirate Booty Club membership), I also cast on for a plain stockinette sock using this beautiful superwash BFL in June Bug:

I really like the way the yarn is striping, and these are already moving along quite quickly. Details: I’m using the basic sock formula for fingering weight yarn from Getting Started Knitting Socks, by Ann Budd, and I’m using 2.5 mm (US 2) needles.

I’m off to eat muffins! Have a great weekend.

FO: star crossed slouchy beret

Ta-da! This was super quick and quite fun to knit. The cables increase the squish factor of the Malabrigo, and while the variegation is a bit busy, I am quite excited to send this westward to its rightful owner. Here’s another shot of the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret, in which the dog demonstrates his usefulness as a table/backdrop:

Using the eyeballing method, this hat took about half a skein of Malabrigo. I may make one for myself out of my sassymetrical leftovers. This is where a scale would come in handy…I’ll keep you posted. In other news, here are some pictures of yesterday’s victories:

Delicious collards from my local farmers’ market, cooked with garlic, ginger and chile.

My very own yarn! (Dog for scale.) I’m not sure if you can get a sense for the thickness of this yarn, but most of this feels like a light worsted or even a heavy dk. I need to get better at spinning the spindle levelly, and at joining new pieces of fiber without getting an ugly blip in my yarn, but I am feeling really good about this. Dividing my roving into more vertical pieces, and doing more pre-drafting to both lengthen the roving strips and separate the fibers from each other made all the difference. I had a lot of fun with this, and am looking forward to practicing a bit more.

I also have a recent yarn acquisition to share, purchased at my new LYS. This is absolutely gorgeous, local, undyed alpaca. I bought two 8 oz 660 yd skeins, and I’m wondering if I could turn this into a drapey Gathered Pullover. What do you think? Other ideas include a luxurious shawl or lacey shrug.

Thanks also for all of your kind words about graduate school and the transition. It feels truly indulgent to be able to set most of my own schedule and focus on reading and writing and thinking. I’m sure my anxiety will begin decreasing once my seminars get past their introductory meetings and I am able to work through the transitional cobwebs by participating.

Alright — off to do a bit more reading, and then some baking, spinning and frolicking with the dog. Happy weekend!

it has begun.

I am officially a graduate student. I attended my program’s orientation session yesterday, and classes start tomorrow. I don’t exactly know how to describe my feelings at this moment. Several years of work in a range of positions have helped to affirm that I want to become a scholar and a professor, and I am thrilled at the particulars of the opportunity in front of me. That said, I am also incredibly anxious, perhaps beginning to feel the self-doubt that will likely rear its head many times during the next several years as I work to explore the kind of work I wish to do, and the kind of scholar and teacher I will become.

I think quite a bit of this is reasonable at this point: I’ve been out of school, and thus out of situations that require my brain to operate in a critical, academic way, for four years. Many of the people in my program are younger, and thus, while the “life” aspects of graduate school may be newer to them, their brains are likely a bit sharper when it comes to seminar discussions and critical thinking and writing. How do you reclaim that chunk of brain power and work on expanding and refining these abilities? The only answer I can come up with is to just jump in, with an eye towards maintaining a balance in my life that includes cooking, running and knitting (while READING, and this week, attempting to reacquire enough language skills from college-land to pass a placement test…)

So, pie = balance. The pie above, by the way, is fresh peach and strawberry, with a dusting of a crumb topping. Yum!

Also, while the BSJ patiently waits for buttons (and seaming), I’ve cast on for something new:

It’s the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret, and it is moving quickly. I’m using Malabrigo in Verdes, and while I worried that the variegation would be too busy for the cabled pattern, I’m liking it so far. This is heading back West, to a dear friend who requested a green hat. I am excited to get this in the mail, as I’m sure the mornings are already turning cold in the mountains.

I’ve also begun making some lists for holiday knitting — more on that soon.

jam-ming?

Yesterday, while in the grocery store oohing and ahhhing over the strawberries, I decided to make jam. I love those little Ball jars, and they were on sale. Done and done. Once I arrived at this point (see photo) — the “bubbling mass”, as The Joy calls it, I reached a bit of a conundrum. The recipe directs you to set a timer and leave the berries alone until the beep. Then, you are to tip the pot so you can see the bottom to determine whether the liquid on the bottom is demonstrating a “tendency to set”. I ended up allowing my bubbling mass to simmer for double the allotted time, after which I think I talked myself into the presence of said “tendency”. It seemed awfully runny when I spooned the mixture into jars, but a few hours later, after a full cooling and some refrigeration, it seems that I have jam (even if it is not quite as sticky as I’d like). I made some more bandwagon bread to serve as a delivery system.

Time for a bit of knitting content — my BSJ is off the needles, and is patiently awaiting seams and buttons. I love the colors in this sweater, and I think it will be absolutely perfect for a fall baby. I seem to know several folks expecting an arrival this fall, so it is quite possible that there will be a few more of these adorable sweaters in my knitting future.

Also, it appears that you guys like pork! I had more visits to my blog yesterday than ever before — and there wasn’t any knitting content to be found. I’m glad you’re here.

pork.

Those of the vegetarian persuasion may wish to avert their eyes or return tomorrow — no knitting content today.

This was the summer of pork — as in, we roasted a 240 lb pig.  It was a brilliant idea, born of a chance interaction between our ecologist and a pig farmer, and soon we were all pitching in to get ready. We took shifts tending an all-night fire, and I helped rub down the pig with mesquite seasoning and heft him onto the grill. Pictures of this part were just tagged on Facebook, so I’m sharing them here.

After many hours of keeping the grill at just the right temperature (with tarps to keep the heat in and give the  pork a smoky flavor), we spent about four hours pulling pork before serving an enormous feast. We had a blast — and it was, without question, the best pork I have ever eaten.

My camera is still acting finicky, so I don’t have a progress photo of my BSJ, but I am getting ready to work the button holes and then bind off. I’m a bit anxious about the sizing — here’s hoping it will fit the intended recipient, at least for a week or so! More on that soon.

bsj progress.

I am really enjoying this — the recipe format of the pattern makes me feel like this is really moving along. I’ve finished the initial decreases, and am about to begin the increases (again). I snapped this picture because you can see the wavy-ness that indicates that I’ve done a bit of frogging. I did 4 of the increase row pairs using a basic M1 — lifting that strand between the stitches, and there is just no definition. I think I’d prefer to make these increases look like those on a top-down raglan, as it looked a bit funny to have my seam just disappear after the decreases. Things like these remind me of how much I am learning each time I work on a project. Last year at this time, I would not have even considered sliding 106 fingering weight stitches off a circular, ripping back, and putting the stitches back on the needle — no matter what the reason. Today, the decision to rip back was a no-brainer: I can make this look better. Why wouldn’t I frog 10 rows and start again? As I begin graduate school next week, I think I am going to particularly appreciate how visible progress and growth are in something like knitting, as I think my own learning and development as a scholar and teacher will be harder for me to see while it is happening.

weekends during the week.

I’m treating this transition time before school (eek!) starts like an extended weekend. Not quite vacation, as I’m getting a lot of things done, but like a really good Saturday. I’m crossing things off lists (purchase and assemble composter, problem-solve the not quite cold enough fridge, do laundry, organize recipes, etc.) but also doing things I love: cooking, running, catching up with dear friends and, of course, knitting. Yesterday I finally made my own granola, using this basic formula from The Kitchn.

I also cast on for my first-ever BSJ:

I’m using a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy in the Strange Harvest colorway. I managed to get gauge (6 st per inch) using a size 4 KnitPicks harmony circ. The slightly larger than standard needle seems to be giving the fabric a nice drape. Despite my ownership of multiple EZ books, this is my first attempt at one of her recipes — so far so good! I’m not sure which baby this will be for, as, off the top of my head, I count at least 3 children who should be joining the ranks before snow falls this year. Speaking of snow, it is probably time to start planning my holiday knitting…