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!

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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. (!!!!)

handspun and cast iron.

I should be writing. In fact, I should be writing A LOT, but instead, I’m feeling the need to dash off a quick post. I’ve written a few paragraphs for the paper this morning, so I can justify this. Right? Right. Also, it could be argued that talking about late nineteenth/early twentieth century cast iron is incredibly relevant to my work. Maybe I’ll footnote my recent ebay acquisition (just kidding):

castiron

castiron2

Isn’t she beautiful? I have been lusting after a workhorse skillet like this one, and in addition to how delicious my eggs have been this week, I really love that this new-to-me kitchen staple has a great deal of history — made in the period I study, for starters. (But enough about that. I have to save it for this paper, remember?)

Also, because end-of-the-semester paper writing is rather traumatic, I decided I needed something squishy and soft to pet nearby. I used my new niddy-noddy to skein up my Spunky Club organic merino in Twilight, and then I washed it to set the twist and hung it to dry.

twilight niddynoddy

twilightyes

I am in love. 250 yards of 2-ply that my eyeballs think is a pretty even light worsted, with some subtle dk weight interludes, spun on my Spinsanity spindle and plied on my heavier Louet spindle. Still drooling over wheels, folks…

Back to it!

stress knitting.

I finished my Sunday Market Shawl tonight. It is way past my bedtime, but it was such a slow, unproductive day of writing that I just needed to make progress on something, you know? Ends aren’t woven in, and it could use a good blocking, but here it is.

sms-done

sms-done2

I love how vibrant this is! Originally, I thought I’d make this huge, with 2 skeins of Fleece Artist Somoko (or a yarn named something close to that) in the Masala colorway, but this is exactly one skein, and it is plenty large!

Also, here are a few more silly pictures of Boh. He just has to be on the couch with the boy. He makes room for himself:

bohcouch1

bohcouch21

Also, I have been seriously internet-stalking spinning wheels. I imagine I’ll take the plunge this summer. It is now wayyyy past my bedtime, and tomorrow I am planning a VERY productive writing day. Good night!

plying, frying…

gradingwithboh1

Apologies for the post slowdown over here. This is pretty much what’s been happening at casa del barefootrooster: work. (Or napping, if you’re Boh.)

I did manage to start plying my Spunky organic merino in Twilight, in between paragraphs (may is the month of paper writing) or particularly bad/cheesy sentences.

twilight-plying

I also have some rather exciting food to share. We had dinner with friends last week — they brought the burrito fixings, and we made the tortillas and some modified (flour) tortilla chips. I was so excited to finally make something from The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, by the legendary Diana Kennedy. Flip through one of her cookbooks the next time you’re in a bookstore and you’ll know what I mean. Kennedy is a fantastic storyteller, and you really get a sense for what it meant to build a life in Mexico. (For more, check out The Splendid Table episode where they go to Mexico to hang out with Diana. I want to be her.)

tortilla1

Tortilla dough, with tortilla chips (made by frying freshly made tortillas) in the background.

tortilla2

Homemade chips! While these were frying in the pan, we were trying to figure out why they weren’t like normal tortilla chips. After several minutes of puzzling, the boy and I exclaimed, “Corn!” at exactly the same time. These were more like pita chips, I’d say, but still delicious.

tortilla3

Flour tortillas. These were incredible, and oh-so-simple. They even retained their flexible-ness long enough to be turned into next-day breakfast burritos! I’ll be making these again. Soon.

Since it seems we have a theme, here’s one more bit of frying from this week’s kitchen adventures:

stirfry

Tofu, kale, carrots, onions, ginger, garlic, brown rice. I’m planning to eat the rest for lunch.

One last bit of super fun news — I won some gorgeous AVFKW silk over at sockpr0n. Thanks, Aija! I can’t wait to play with it!