2-ply and pie.

bohpliedcandle

Yay! My first wheel-plied yarn! Some ravelry forum advice confirmed my decisions to turn this into a 2-ply. My singles are a bit underspun to remain singles, so I’ll try again with something else. I am thrilled with how this looks all plied up — the wheel makes a huge difference with respect to evenness of the twist and the amount of time it takes to ply. This practically flew through my hands on Friday night. Here’s a close up:

plied candle

I’m still working on consistency, but for the most part, this looks to me to be worsted-weight yarn, with some thinner and thicker bits adding a touch of character. My math tells me that this is about 120 yds of subtly shaded goodness. What shall I make?

I believe I promised you pie: peach-strawberry-rhubarb, to be exact.

pie

M and I made a big batch o’ crust and then this delicious pie. Oh, and a big, green salad filled with radishes and beets from the farmers’ market to go with it. (I failed to photograph the salad.)

We had a lovely visit — so nice to have a dear friend here to walk, talk and bake with. Boh loved that she was here too.

Mostly unrelated, but I wanted to be sure to post this so that you know that I occasionally ruin things in the kitchen. Boh was the only witness this time.

beautiful beans

Aren’t these green beans lovely? (More green in my kitchen?!) On Friday I was planning to fix a late meal to tide me over until M’s bus got in around 11:30 pm. I rummaged through the cookbooks, and found a lovely green bean recipe in Supernatural Cooking, by Heidi of 101 cookbooks. The beans are tossed with lemon and lime zest and some fresh chives, all of which I had. I oohed and aaaahed over these as I mixed the beans with the other ingredients, sat down to take a bite, and promptly spat out a mouthful of very pretty beans. I’m pretty sure I grabbed a lime that had turned to the dark (rotten) side, as my beans did not taste citrus-y — just plain bad! I am looking forward to making this again with a lime that is NOT ready for the compost, as it sounds absolutely delicious and perfect for summer. I was so disappointed, but the beans were so pretty that I thought I’d snap a picture for you anyway.

Hope you’re enjoying the weekend. I can’t believe June is tomorrow. Crazy.

the candle’s nimble flame.

verbfibernest

The title of this blog post is the name of this colorway of corriedale from A Verb For Keeping Warm’s Woolly Wonders fiber club.

But I should back up: Thank you. Your kind words  and, perhaps, the catharsis of blogging about my hurting, helped me to sit down at my wheel late last night and early this morning.

Thank you.

Now, would you like to see what I spun? I thought so.

verbcorriecandle

verbcorriefullbob

One more, involving me playing with the macro button:

verbfulbobmacro

This is a bit thick and thin, and to my eye, mostly light worsted. I initially thought I would try for singles, but now I’m thinking I should ply this (I filled two bobbins of 2 oz. each) to even out the thickness and to make a sturdier yarn. I’m beginning to understand that singles require more spin to make them sturdy, and I am still learning to balance the pull of the bobbin with the treadling of the wheel (and thus, twisting of the yarn). These colors are hard to photograph, but absolutely lovely in real life. I am being good and letting the singles rest, but I’m hoping to ply this yarn soon…

katie

A morning surpise: a facebook wall scribble told me to take a look on my porch — friends headed west (for good) left a love note and this lovely plant on my stoop long after I was asleep last night. I found her a nice spot in one of my bedroom windows, and gave her a good drink. Here’s a close-up:

katiemacro

And I had to grab a handful of these mums at my favorite farm stand today:

mums

Boh and I went for a great run today, and I may or may not have cleaned out the bottom half of the refrigerator. Keeping busy indeed.

Things to look forward to: my best friend M (who offered to be on a bus moments after I called last week) will be here for the weekend. My farm share starts Tuesday. Inching forward…

break-up pancakes.

breakup pancake

The lines between real life and blog-life are hard, and I’ve been ignoring this space this week in part because I just don’t know how to write this post. You all know the boy through this space — his hands are in the food photos of the last 8 months, our adventures are pictured here, I’ve grown comfortable writing posts full of “we’s” and “usses,” and now…

Now I will miss those traces of him here. No anger, just sadness to work through. Sometimes the fit just isn’t quite right, and no amount of wishing or wanting on either side can fix that. I’ve never cared this much for someone in this way, and thus, I hurt more than I thought possible.¬† We’ve had a week of tears, quiet walks in the woods, long talks, and, moments ago, a physical goodbye dictated by a research project. I thought it would be horrible for him to be away so long. Now, it seems a good thing, as time and space are probably what we both need in order to heal and transition to friendship.

I’ve never done this part before — the hurting that comes after something so meaningful — and I’m at a loss. Also, I never make pancakes. I like savory breakfast food. But today, I had half a cup of buttermilk in the fridge and saw a link to a recipe over at smitten kitchen that seemed just the thing.

castironpancake

breakuppancake2

These are the best pancakes I’ve ever made, and I’m not going to lie: I think they helped a little bit.

Last night I made some granola for the week:

granola

And last week, in the immediate aftermath, the most beautiful bread came out of my oven. See?

pretty bread

The boy and I have each received some TERRIBLE break up advice that we are choosing to ignore as we work through this, but I got something really good from a dear friend yesterday on a long walk in the rain: do something for someone else.

I’ve had a really hard time knitting or spinning this week — too meditative for the way I feel — but this bit of advice has helped me to pick up the needles today. I kitchenered the first sock of the pair of thuja I am working on for my uncle. I’m heading home for a few days next week, and I would really love to give these to him. I worked a few inches of the cuff of the second sock today, and the squish of this cascade 220 superwash felt really good in my hands. Here’s a picture of my progress — socks in the foreground, dear snuggling companion in the back.

bohandthuja

Thanks for being here, dear readers. I know this is a lot to lay on you, but it feels good for me to write it down here. I imagine there will be a narrative of recovery, of hopefulness, and of willingness to do this all over again buried somewhere in the subtext of this summer’s knitting and spinning progress. I’m lucky to have good people in my world to take care of me right now, and I know it will get better. It has to, right?

strawberry shortcake.

Warning: lots of photos today.

So last week, when I was not quite finished with my last project, dear (blogless) friend K came over to make this cake. Our scheduled cake-date was the perfect motivator. I made a lot of progress on my paper that day, and was able to thoroughly enjoy this process. Also, while I tend to have help in the kitchen, I tend to make desserts by myself, you know, in preparation for an event or an evening or what-have-you. When there are two bakers in the kitchen, more pictures are taken. K is a phenomenal baker, so these pictures feature her at work!

cake1

cake2

cake3

cake4

cake5

cake6

And, as with all tasty things prepared in this kitchen:

cake7

More knitting and spinning soon, I promise. Posting may be light this week, as it is a week of transition: dear ones leaving for the summer or longer who deserve proper send-offs. And over here, a new routine to establish and settle into. Bittersweet, but also much needed: summer is here.

that other stuff.

sillydog

Lots o’ pictures today — I have a (digitized) pile of shots (like this one) to share! Yesterday, the wheel won out, and rightly so. I may have spent another hour and a half spinning last night. I’m still breaking the yarn every so often because I haven’t quite balanced the pull of my bobbin with the speed of my treadling, so I was getting underspun yarn that wasn’t quite strong enough to be pulled onto the bobbin. (Does that make sense?) I am already way better at starting and stopping the wheel, and at sliding the guide around to get a more evenly filling bobbin. Though the specific mechanics are the same, drafting with your hands in your lap is different from spindle spinning, but I like it. (I like them both.) More writing today, but I will be rewarding myself with time at the wheel — that luscious undyed oatmeal BFL is going to be all spun up by the end of today.

First up: Food. Here’s a picture of the last piece of quiche. I forgot to take a “before” shot. We were too busy eating.

last piece quiche

A strawberry cake I baked last night, totally impulsively. Deb at smitten kitchen posted this around dinner time, and I could not resist.

strawberrycake

Pile o’ cookbooks — they looked pretty to me when I was in the kitchen snapping food pictures.

pileocookbooks

Those pears need to become pie, stat. We’ll see how far I get with the paper today. This next one does not fit into a category, but it was chilly early in the week, and I was wearing my 28thirty for added warmth. (I’m one of those people who would rather throw open the windows and put on a sweater than keep them shut and not need layers.)

28thirty in action

I love it. I may have made the upper sleeves a tad tight — in response to how loose the shoulders seemed — but I think with a little more wear, these will stretch just enough.

Next: Work photos.

workspace2

This enormous primary source was way too big to rest on the desk next to my computer, so we had to curl up on the couch. Boh was not pleased that the book took his spot. There’s my whisper, about an inch into the ribbing, for “thinking” while working.

yarnwinding

Yarn-winding is work, right? Here’s my technique. I’ve got about an inch and a half of the whisper ribbing, and I’m ready to start the second ball. I’m glad it is already wound!

spinning corner

Okay, one more wheel pic. This is my spinning “work” space, at the moment. Bright yellow bowl for fiber, sturdy chair to sit in, rug for wheel to stand on…Have I mentioned yet that I love my new wheel?

Blogging helps me to get words in my fingers — time to pour the coffee and switch over to academic writing. Have a great day!

rooster = in love.

I actually have a bunch of pictures to show you — boh being silly, the last piece of quiche, the couch covered in books, etc. but I know what you really want to see…

treadle

I know I said I wasn’t going to take this out of the box until I met my last deadline. But I wrote 4 pages before lunchtime! And I have no will power. None.

yarnonwheel

I heart my new wheel. I opened up some of the softest BFL I have ever touched (from Paradise Fibers), and set to it. Here’s an up close shot of the bobbin after about an hour:

wheelyarnmacro

The yarn at the bottom (what you can’t see) isn’t quite this pretty, but man! I love this! I got out my Maggie Casey book to look through the spinning wheel section, and have been playing with the tension on the brake band. This wheel is so intuitive. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to tear myself away this afternoon to keep writing. Boh was (of course) terrified of the cardboard box the wheel came in, but has been surprisingly calm, if a bit wary, of the wheel itself.

lenbohinback

Hooray! I have a spinning wheel! Can’t wait to be on the other side of this chunk of writing so that I can spin, spin, spin.

Along these lines, do you, oh wise readers, have any recommendations in the realm of books on spinning technique? Maggie Casey’s book is fantastic, and covers a few different kinds of drafting and some troubleshooting, but is there something else I should be reading/working through to build a good foundation?

let’s make pasta.

When the boy said this to me yesterday, I rummaged through the cabinets for a box of spaghetti. It wasn’t until he asked me how many eggs we should use that I fully understood what he was suggesting…

eggspasta1

longdoughpasta2

We (I should really say he) loosely followed Alice Waters’ pasta recipe in The Art of Simple Food. I brought my parents’ pasta maker home with me several months ago with the intent to do this sooner. I wish I had! When it was time to run the pasta through the machine the last time to cut it into noodles, I realized that the accompanying pasta rack was way in the back of the cupboards, behind all of my loose containers and lids. No problem. I think the boy said something like, “If only you had some, oh, I don’t know, yarn in the house…”

stringpasta3

Tada! Dishcloth cotton to the rescue. Let me back up to show you the rest of this scene:

bohpasta4

Somebody is hoping to get lucky by hanging out underneath the noodles.

deliciouspasta5

While we (and by we, I mostly mean he) prepped noodles, a fresh sauce was simmering away on the stove. These noodles were incredible, and this recipe is definitely going into the regular rotation around here.

More knitting/spinning content soon!

non-academic productivity.

I took the day off from academic work, but I have a hard time stopping. I have a hard time not doing things, which is one of the reasons why knitting adds so much to my life — it helps me to slow down, because I am still being productive while I am doing it!

Anyway, the day involved some serious d-o-g-p-a-r-k time, which was particularly enjoyable because Boh was the ONLY dog there at 9 this morning, so we got to play together in a big open space before a few adorable german shepherd mixes came along to frolic. I went the the coop, made granola, did some general straightening of things, knit and spun a bit, and even got out my entire fiber stash (which is rather sizeable, due to my membership in the Woolly Wonders club over at A Verb for Keeping Warm and 4 months of Spunky Club fiber) to photo-document it and enter it into ravelry. (This move may also have been prompted by some anticipatory-wheel-arrival acquisition of small amounts of undyed corriedale, merino, alpaca, norwegian, bfl and cotton from Paradise Fibers for practicing.)

fruit loops

I snapped this photo of the fruit loops shetland from AVFKW that I’m currently working on. In the background, you can see how I started — fairly even, thinner single for plying. Upon returning to this project, I decided to try something new with the shetland, and really try to keep the color repeats. In the middle, you can see the rest of the first half of the fiber, and on the spindle in the foreground is the beginning of the second half. This section is all reds and oranges, and I am in love.

Also, a treat came in today’s mail:

roman numeral

Remember how I told you that I won this contest over at sock pr0n? Well, the merino-silk blend in colorway Roman Numeral arrived today, and it is gorgeous. This picture does not do it justice. Plus, Aija tucked in a sample of a yak/merino blend from Tactile Fiber Arts that is just lovely. Somehow I managed not to snap a picture of that, but I’m sure you’ll see it here soon, maybe even spun on my wheel!

I also got this project out again. It’s been so long, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t recognize it…

thuja1

Thuja, for my uncle — promised at Christmas-time, when measurements were taken. He has size 11 feet. After noting his ankle circumference, I decided to up the st count to 48 st from 44. It is time for the toe! (Clearly I do not wear a men’s 11.) I don’t know why I’ve had such a block in my brain when it comes to these socks. Maybe I was tired of frantic gift knitting. Either way, I really want to finish these by the next time I head home and see my (favorite) uncle — which could be as soon as the end of the month.

Something totally random: I decided to post this evening because I returned home from a bit of celebrating with a friend who passed a grad school milestone today, and realized I wanted to take a shower before getting into my clean bed. Though I am very tired, my hair is wet, and if I want it to look reasonable enough to just wake up, make coffee, and head off to some Friday morning meetings, I need to let it dry a bit. Hence the post. Sigh. Happy almost Friday!

sleeves and shetland.

First of all, THANK YOU for all of your kind comments re: the stress of the end of the semester and my very exciting should-be-here-on-Tuesday purchase. Yay!

I turned in paper #1 on Saturday, and paper #2 Wednesday at noon. Yesterday I spent the afternoon cleaning: kitchen, trash, 4 loads of laundry, vacuuming, etc. and even made a trip to a great farmstand to replenish my dwindling supply of fruits of vegetables. I actually enjoy a lot of the parts of keeping house, but these tasks are extra-enjoyable when you’ve had to neglect balance in favor of meeting a deadline or two. One more project, due at the end of the month, and it will be summer, which to me, means the chance to read more slowly, keep getting to know New Home, and enjoy the company of the dog (and my spinning wheel)!

Enough daydreaming, it will be here soon enough! Last night I finished up the sleeves of my whisper cardigan – time to pick up a zillion stitches! Must fortify myself with coffee first.

whispersleeves1

whispersleeves2

I’m pretty bleary-eyed in these pictures, but you can see how the cardigan fits across the shoulders. Here’s one more:

whsiper sleeves3

I lengthened the sleeves — they are about 9 inches long — a half inch of 1×1 rib at the elbow, and then 8.5 inches of stockinette. I decided to make the 22 inch size across the back, and I’m happy with that choice. I’m still on my first skein of shadow, which is hard to believe. While knitting with laceweight on 7s is still slower than knitting worsted, it isn’t as slow as I thought it would be. I’m hoping to keep making steady progress on this sweater, as it seems like the perfect amount of warmth to keep tucked in a bag for when the sun sets!

Also, in anticipation of my Lendrum, this week I returned to some shetland I had started, but with an actual plan: to try to keep the colors separate and spin fatter singles. While I might not have been able to detect the differences in spinning one wool vs. another a few months ago, I am really understanding what differences in staple length and stickiness mean for spinning. I’m really happy with this so far:

shetland singles fruitloops

The fiber is shetland from the AVFKW fiber club. The colors are so rich — and coming off on my hands a bit, but I don’t mind.

Alright! Boh and I have plans to spend some serious time at the d-o-g-p-a-r-k today. He was very patient during all of the paper-writing, and has earned a lot of playtime. Happy Thursday!

breaking news.

I had to. I couldn’t help it. I cannot focus on the paper I am writing because I am so distracted by the idea of a spinning wheel. It is all I can think about. What kind? How much can I spend? Where will I put it?

I know this isn’t supposed to be an impulse purchase, but I think I’ve just made a great choice: The Lendrum DT Complete. I’ve been reading and re-reading reviews, comments, shop descriptions, and this is the best fit for me for the price.

For others agonizing, here’s why I picked the Lendrum:

(1) Small, but heavy enough that reviewers say it doesn’t “feel” like a travel wheel.

(2) Can travel. Because I’ll likely need support, and that means going to the local guild.

(3) Can be tucked away into its bag — my apartment is teeny.

(4) intuitive. The videos at Paradise Fibers’ website show how simple it is to put together and use. I like the way the kate is designed, I like how the bobbins come off the flyer, I even like the little storage place for the orifice hook.

(5) it is maple.

(6) it comes finished, so i can spin immediately, don’t need to go find the right stain or oil, and don’t have to agonize over whether the money to get a finished vs. unfinished wheel is worth it.

(7) scotch tension. good for beginners, and it makes sense to me. which matters.

(8) the Complete models come with: a tensioned kate, 4 bobbins, a bulky flyer and head, and a high speed flyer. when i realized this, and did some quick calculations in the realm of what these elements would cost were i to get a different wheel, i got out the credit card.

(9) it is SO pretty.

(10) it will be here AFTER i finish this paper, which means i should be able to focus now. eeeeee!

time to write, i hope.

ETA: Of course, the second I finished posting this, I got a call saying that Lendrum DT Complete are backordered. So…I called every shop I could find online and found a Lendrum DT without the plying head or fast flyer – last one in stock. It ships tomorrow. (!!!!)