FO: lacy ribs socks.

fo lacy ribs pair

fo lacy ribs kitchen

Details:

Yarn: Yarn Pirate superwash BFL in the cupcake colorway
Needles: 2 circs, 2.5 mm
Toe: Judy’s Magic Cast on (it really is magic!)
Heel: slip stitch heel, as per pattern
Bind off: Russian Bind off
Size: Medium
Start: June 16th, 10 PM EST
Finish: June 30th, 10 AM EST (whew!)

For those of you who haven’t been following along, I knit these as part of the Socks from the Toe Up KAL on Ravelry. The KAL is a long one — knitting through Wendy Johnson’s book, one pair per month. There are great prizes, folks at all stages of sock knitting, and a super supportive knitting community. I’m learning new things, and I’m having a great time.

fo lacy ribs boh

As you can see, sock supervising is exhausting work.

taste-testing, peas, pesto.

jaminaction

Strawberry-balsamic jam on a slice of fresh-from-the-oven homemade bread. Not a bad start to Sunday morning.

compoteinaction

Strawberry-rhubarb-fresh mint compote over plain, local yogurt. A mid-Sunday morning snack.

pickled sugar snap peas

Deb does it again — saw this recipe for pickled sugar snap peas over at smitten kitchen, and had to mix up a batch. I can start eating them this evening…

pesto

More green in a jar. In the spirit of eating everything in my share, I chopped up the remaining garlic scapes, picked my basil stems clean, tossed a few walnuts and a generous helping of olive oil into my mini-cuisinart and began blending, adding more olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste to get it right. My new favorite sandwich, courtesy of the folks up at P’s farm, is toasted bread (in a cast-iron skillet), cheese, pesto and as many greens as you can fit into a sandwich — fried egg optional. Yum!

But where are you, you may be wondering, on that sock? Is there a chance you’ll make the KAL deadline? I don’t even want to show you what Boh looks like this morning. He’s concerned. Very concerned. He thought the weekend’s canning adventures were over, and then yesterday he watched as I left for about an hour, Border’s coupon in hand, and returned with 2 more books on pickling and preserving…

sock2gusset

I did get a few solid hours of work on sock number 2 in yesterday, thanks to the very last episode of Season 2 of The Wire, and some knitting podcasts. I’m in the midst of the gusset increases, and if I can turn the heel and get an inch or two of the leg done today, I just might be able to eek out a full pair before it becomes July.

i blame the strawberries.

I did not knit AT ALL yesterday, despite my KAL deadline. Boh is displeased.

bohdispleased

Also, I may have developed a repetitive strawberry hulling injury.

7plus colander

I blame the strawberries.

I picked 7 more quarts early yesterday morning, plus a big blue colander full. I mean, I couldn’t help it. I brought the colander along just in case, and I just had to fill it. We had a lot of rain on Friday, which meant that the berries grew even more rotund and juicy. Saturday morning was cool, humid and overcast, and I had the patch to myself. If I didn’t pick a few more, those strawberries were going to overripen on the vine, and we can’t have that. No, we cannot.

Thus, my adventures in water-bath canning began. I didn’t necessarily intend to make jam from the start; I simply got home with all of my berries, looked at my overflowing freezer and the abundance crowding my countertops and realized that jam might be the way to process some of this deliciousness. I ventured out again, intending to try to scavenge a canning stock pot and rack from a thrift store, when I discovered a special on a 21 quart canning pot with its own rack at the grocery store for 24 bucks. Throw in a 12 dollar “welcome to canning” set complete with tongs, jar lifter, funnel, seal checker, and some other thing I can’t remember, a few boxes of lids and some more half-pint jars, and I was ready to go.

Adventures in water-bath canning, take 1: strawberry-balsamic jam.

jam1

jam2

I used Eugenia Bone’s Well Preserved (which I heard about over here) as my guide, and found the instructions to be clear and logical. The book is organized by “master recipes” that require some kind of preservation technique, and then Bone provides a handful of recipes that utilize the preserved food in question. I like the layout and the emphasis on using your preserves, but I may supplement with a massive canning/pickling book to be able to look through a range of options for one particular fruit or veggie.

jame3

I am so excited about this. In fact, as soon as all the jars were in the water bath, I mixed up a batch of no-knead bread (in its second rise right now) to properly enjoy my jam. The tough part about canning is that you have to wait another 6-8 hours for the jars to cool and the seal to set. This morning, as per Eugenia’s instructions, I tested all my seals by unscrewing the tops and picking up the jars by their lids: success! Those seals are tiiight, baby.

So, back to the tough part about jam: no instant gratification. Hence strawberry recipe #2: strawberry-rhubarb compote with mint.

compote1

compote2

Simple, aromatic recipe. I’m planning to enjoy this over yogurt in a few minutes. Plus, it used up another pint of strawberries.

Had enough? No? Good, because I did not stop there. (Boh begged me to pick up the socks, but I ignored him.)

dipped strawberries

No recipe here — I just melted some chocolate chips, added some butter until it was runny enough for dipping, and twirled the biggest, prettiest berries in my colander in the chocolate. I laid them out on wax paper and slid the tray into the fridge to chill.

whatstrawberry

I just couldn’t help it.

granny gear.

You know, the smallest (third) chain wheel on a bicycle with at least 3 wheels (a triple crankset). It makes it easier to ride uphill. I rode my bike across the country seven summers ago. 4200 miles, a handful of mountain ranges, and the realization that Missouri is not flat (I had conveniently forgotten the Ozarks), I was even happier to have that granny gear.

Today I moved my drive band to the “granny gear” (third/smallest whorl) of my Lendrum DT, and it struck me that the set-ups are similar: a smaller chain wheel or a smaller wheel makes something (the pedals/crank on a bike or the bobbin on the wheel) spin more easily per revolution of the wheel, making it (a) easier to turn the pedals on a bike while going uphill or (b) easier to make thinner yarn — fewer treadles required to get the bobbin going more quickly.  Among cyclists (or at least among the hardcore, of which I am happily not a member), to use the granny gear is to be shunned/jokingly ridiculed, while in the spinning world, a smaller whorl equals a finer yarn, and is often what the spinner is looking for as s/he develops his/her skills. (I think I got that right, but if I’ve switched or inverted my bicycle and wheel mechanics, I blame it on the strawberries.)

soulwindow1

This is Soul Windows, the colorway of the April 2009 Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club:  4 oz of 90% corriedale/10% nylon. I’m aiming for sock yarn, and so far, I think I’m on the right track. I am absolutely loving these blues!

soulwindow2

I’m working on a super thin single, but one that has enough twist to be sturdy. I’m about halfway through the first bobbin after about 2 hours of spinning today. It feels like it is taking longer than the targhee, which I’m interpreting as a good sign in the land of my wpi. We’ll see…

Also, for those worried about Boh’s emotional state, I did manage to cast on and work the toe of sock #2. I’m aiming to make more progress before bed tonight so that Boh can sleep soundly. It’s so hard to be a dog.

sock2lacyrib

Today was a good day: I woke up early and curled up with coffee, knitting, and Laura Gibson’s most recent album, Beasts of Seasons (link goes to an npr article with links to places to listen) which is incredible, and the perfect accompaniment to the sound of the rain hitting the plants outside my window. I made good progress on a great book I’m reading, and when the weather cleared up partway through the afternoon, Boh and I went for a run. I puttered around in the kitchen, slowly simmering a big meal of greens, and then I sat down at my wheel to spin until sundown. A quiet, calm Friday.

in the kitchen.

berriesx7

I picked 7 quarts of berries this morning. (Notice quart #7 — upper right, not in line with the rest. I learned today that a quart-sized yogurt container fits perfectly into the shallow outer rim of the cupholder in my CRV. Thus, I ate most of a quart on the drive home from the farm. Consider #7 to be exhibit A.)

berriesfreezing1

The  farm is offering unlimited berry picking as part of the share now that the strawberry patch is super ripe. I prepped most of what I picked today to be stored: trimmed off the tops, lined them up on a baking tray, froze them enough that they won’t stick together, and put them in small freezer bags so that I can slowly defrost them as I see fit later on this summer and fall.

glowingberries

I may go back tomorrow. There is nothing like picking berries in the sunshine; today it felt like a reminder that everything will be okay.

pestopasta

Last night (after an incredible yoga class that has me feeling a really good all-body ache today) I broke out one of only a few mechanized pieces of kitchen equipment in my possession to make garlic scape-arugula-cilantro pesto. For dinner, I tossed it with pasta, and sprinkled on some walnuts and parmesan, which were tasty, but totally unnecessary. This pesto can stand on its own!

pesto sandwich

For lunch today, I made what P (of the farm) calls “pan toast” (aka toast in a cast iron skillet) and made 2 sandwiches of greens, pesto, and a slice of swiss cheese. Heavenly.

pesto omelet

Because you can never eat too much pesto, for dinner tonight I made an omelet with eggs from P’s chickens, the last bit of the arugula I harvested, and of course, the pesto. I have a little bit left — enough for another meal or two that matches my kitchen!

You may be wondering about my knitting. Boh was quite worried about my progress on the lacy ribs socks, as is evident from the following photograph:

bohuneasysock

Good news! Boh can stop fretting (well, about the sock, anyway) because tonight I finished the first sock of the pair.

onelacysock1

one lacy rib sock2

I could have done a few more leg repeats, but I was starting to worry about the tightness of the bind-off and the fit of the ribbing — this was a problem with my last (the first) pair of toe-up socks. I was so excited about using all of the yarn that I don’t think I increased enough or in the right places to get a perfect fit around the fullest part of my calf, and the bind-off on those socks is a bit tight. (Also, to be completely honest, there is a timeframe for this KAL. I started late, so I’m cutting it close!)

I did the Russian bind-off here, and it created a super-stretchy cuff, which is perfect. I’m quite pleased with how this sock has turned out, but more importantly, I love that this week, with this sock, I’ve learned a new cast-on, a new bind-off, and a new heel!

Tomorrow, I will cast on sock #2.

happy dog mirror

Now there’s a happy dog. (He may be happy about my completed sock, but it might also have something to do with the walk we took down to the creek so that we could put our toes/paws in the cool water.)

Bedtime for this rooster. Happy almost Friday!

gone.

Yesterday I finished reading Ellen Meloy’s The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky. This book truly moved me. It made me ache, hurt, long, dream, exhale. I know some of Meloy’s places, and I hope we all know, or grow to know, our places as well or as intimately as Meloy knows hers. I set the book down yesterday thinking that I wanted to share a chunk of it here with you, and this morning, sobered by unthinkable news, I opened it and it fell to a page upon which I had underlined these words:

“In those days my friends and I strode through an uncertain world, strong-limbed and reluctant to settle. Our emotions were nearly torrential but not very durable. In our young lives, in those glorious mountains of summer, this swing was, like the waterfall, a necessary flight from the sheltered to the wild.” (p.115)

These words are far more powerful in the context of the stories Meloy is telling about her youth, but I share them here partly in rememberance of the energy, encouragement, inspiration and exuberance of a knitter whose company I was lucky to enjoy weekly at my knitting group out west. I was the baby of this group, and she was always so excited about the things in my life for me, about the discovery and adventures in my future, about what was around the bend. From where I sat, she was someone I wanted to be like: confident, capable, silly and selfless.

She was out riding her bike on Monday evening, and was struck by a car. She died there on the road.

She commented here on the blog occasionally, and I learned of the accident because I happened to glance at my blog stats, and noticed that several people had done searches of her name and found my blog. I googled too, wondering why.

I write this here for two reasons:

(1) These kinds of accidents tend to incite heated, hyperbolic, angry debate between motorists and cyclists. In the eyes of the law, bicycles are vehicles, and they/their operators have legal rights and responsibilities as such. The majority of cyclists understand and obey the rules of the road. Many motorists respect cyclists and obey the law. Despite this, there is still quite a bit of confusion and anger, on both sides, about what the rules are. We need more education, for both cyclists and motorists, about how to peacefully and safely coexist on the road.

In this particular case, it seems that my friend did everything right. It wasn’t enough.

(2) I write this because I’m saddened that it takes something like this for us to tell the people in our lives what they mean to us. I have lost someone who inspired and encouraged me — someone whose kind words convinced me to go home from my very first knitting group night and seam up my first sweater. I imagine that this particular person had a similar impact on a whole slew of people, and my thoughts are certainly with her husband, her children, and her community.

Comments are closed on this post. Instead, please make sure someone who has inspired you knows it.