this and that.

I’m sitting here, coffee in hand, looking through the photos I took yesterday, and there is not much of a theme. It seems that I did a little bit of everything yesterday, so please excuse this post’s lack of focus.

First up, a few more pictures of the silk, which is now dry and in skein form. (Still no good rhymes for tussah, I’m afraid.)

silkskein4

silkskein3

silkskein2

Swoon.

Next, a few shots of Mara, blocked and dry. (Hmm, maybe there is a theme?)

marablocked1

marablocked3

marablocked2

It was incredibly hot and humid yesterday (see below photo of Boh), but I couldn’t help wrapping Mara around my shoulders and snapping a few pictures in my (dirty) mirror.

bohinsun

I also baked brownies:

brownies

Finished a vanilla sock:

halfavanillapair

Made some progress on my Milkweed Shawl:

milkweed prog

Oh, and tried crack, in the form of Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino. I’ve been hearing about this stuff on numerous podcasts (The Manic Purl, Gives Good Knit, and The Knitmore Girls), and after attaining a sock weight 3-ply yarn, I decided to go ahead and order a little bit to give it a try.

cmf1

Late last night, I told myself I would just split this lovely superwash merino in the Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds colorway nto 4 oz. chunks, and then divide one of those halves into 3 parts in preparation for spinning more 3-ply sock yarn.

cmfbob1

And then I sat down at the wheel.  This stuff is awesome.

That’s all I’ve got today. Happy Friday!

tussah.

I’m trying to come up with something that rhymes with tussah, and the best I’ve got right now is “sucka” — so let’s just forget that I was going to try to go that way and move on.

tussah macro1

Oh_my_goodness.

Let me back up:

tussah on bob

I finished spinning the reddish-orangey-pink section of my 2 oz. braid of tussah silk (from yarn chef). Inspired by Mick’s beautiful singles, I thought I might try singles of my own. Late (too late) last night, I sat pondering this bobbin, hoping that my singles were strong enough to be wound onto my niddy-noddy. Despite it being significantly past my bedtime, I decided to go for it.

tussah macro2

No breakage! And my, what sheen! I don’t remember spinning this evenly, but I could not get over how lovely this looked on the niddy noddy.

Here’s where I need some third party verification of my math, because I’m having a hard time believing the yardage: I stopped counting strands on my niddy noddy when I reached 250. My loop measures 32 inches in length, 64 inches in diameter, so 250 x 64 (or, for ease of math 250 x 2 x 32) = 16000 inches. 16000 inches/36 inches per yard = 443 yards. (But I stopped counting at 250 strands, so I’m thinking this number is closer to 500. Whoa.)

By the way, why do I not have a 36 inch niddy noddy? That would make my longhand math much faster. And more interesting to read.

hangingtussah

In conclusion, get thee some tussah silk. You will not be disappointed!

disaster averted.

disaster

Disaster. (Note the amount of yarn remaining, and the number of stitches yet to be bound off. This is take 2 — I was keeping an eye on the remaining yarn as I knit the last few rows, and ended up ripping back a row to make sure I’d have enough. You can see how well that turned out for me.)

averted

Averted. (Those of you who read regularly probably have a sense for how much pink/magenta/fuschia I tend to knit with, and thus how much I have in my stash, in any fiber — very little to none. At the point of absolute despair, I went digging in the drawer where I keep dishcloth cotton and textiles I rarely use. And then I saw this yarn, knitpicks shine, tucked in the back, patiently waiting to become a Picovoli tee or something like it. The colors match EXACTLY. Phew.)

mara fo whole

mara and ring

I am quite pleased with how Mara turned out.

(Details: 2 skeins Beaverslide Dry Goods lambswool in colorway snapdragon. Size 8 needles. A yard or two in Knitpicks Shine.)

Actually, I’m way more than pleased, as evidenced by my willingness to don a lambswool shawl in crazy humidity and take 50 pictures. (Yep, fifty.)

mara whole2

By the way, it is incredibly difficult to take a non-blurry, over-the-shoulder photo of the back of a shawl. I’m just saying. I promise to take “real” FO pictures of this post-blocking, when I can stand to actually put on some clothes that I might actually wear this with!

mara blocking

And now for an awkward transition! Mara is blocking on my kitchen table (note the darkness of the wet cotton on the left there. It blends in perfectly when dry). I cut several containers (vases, mason jar, growler) worth of flowers at the farm yesterday, some of which you can see in this late-night blocking shot. Here are a few more:

flowers1

flowers2

It was so hot and sticky yesterday that I wanted to get my veggies straight into the fridge after their rather humid car ride back to the farm. Here are a few photos of parts of this week’s haul:

beans

3 quarts of beans, hand picked by moi, and some herbs.

tomatoes

Some of the best tomatoes I’ve ever tasted, straight from the farm’s passive solar greenhouse.

Lastly, a sock update:

hiyahiyasock progress

I think Boh has given up on my KAL socks, but he has kept a watchful eye on this pair. I’m into the ribbing now, so it won’t be long before I cast on sock #2!

ribbing.

mara rib1

Lest you were beginning to think that I had crossed entirely over to the dark side of the spinning wheel, I present some serious progress on Mara. After reading lots of posts over at the Mara KAL in the backwards loop group on ravelry, I decided to modify the ribbing slightly, opting for a k3p2 rib instead of a k2p2.

mara rib2

The pattern calls for 4 inches of ribbing after the inch of transitional rib to finish off the shawl. I don’t have enough of this luscious beaverslide to do that, so I’m pretty much ribbing until I run out. I’ll be happy if I can get 2 inches or so, and I’m hoping to finish this tonight at a new knit night (say that five times fast) I’ve been attending!

The urge to finish this despite warmer temps that are not so conducive to the wearing of squishy wool shawls comes in part from even more new projects on (or soon to be on) the needles.

swatch alpaca

Veera, of 100% rain, put out the call for test- knitters for her plain and simple pullover, and since her sweater is already in my ravelry favorites, I couldn’t help but volunteer. The sweater is knit in fingering weight yarn on smaller needles, and when I looked at the specs/yarn requirements, I realized that this is the perfect sweater for 2 fat skeins of local alpaca in my stash that have long been searching for a pattern to partner with.

local alpaca skeins

I think this is a perfect match — the drapeyness of the alpaca will complement the pattern’s minimal shaping, the foldover collar will hang beautifully, and I will get a short-sleeved, super-soft alpaca sweater that won’t be so warm that I can’t wear it indoors! More on this soon,

Silk update:

shinytussah

I spun most of the orange section of my sunburst tussah silk. It shines like this picture, but at this point, the color is more orangey than red:

orange tussah

I’m really enjoying the process of spinning this — a totally different feeling than wool. I’m hoping my singles will be strong and even enough to stand on their own in a brightly colored shawl for fall.

Alright, time to get to work!

jacob.

jacob skein1

jacob skein2

4 oz. undyed jacob fleece from Spot Hollow Farm yielded 358 yards of light worsted/heavy dk weight 2-ply (13 wpi). I played around a bit with my spinning technique (long draw, supported long draw) while using my middle whorl, and my yardage confirms that I was spinning more of a woolen yarn. This had a very airy preparation, and it seemed to want to be spun in a way that maintained it’s lightness. I enjoyed spinning this so much that I dashed out to my LYS (still having that sale) to see if they had any more in this lovely grey. Alas, none of this particular color of natural, but they did have some darker jacob from the same farm, so I picked up 8 oz.

more jacob 8oz

If I spin this in a similar way, I should have about 1000 yards to play with — maybe a striped sweater?

With the jacob off the wheel and hanging above the sink to dry, I dug through my fiber bin for the next project, and decided I was ready to try a totally new-to-me fiber: tussah silk.

tussah braid

This is just a chunk of the braid, which transitions from yellow to gold to melon to orange to a lovely pinky-red grapefruit color. I have a 2 oz. braid of tussah silk, from yarnchef’s fiber shop (yarnchefSpin) in the sunburst colorway, and I am having a lot of fun getting to know this fiber.

tussahbob

I’m trying to keep this as uniform as possible, with the thought that I’ll leave this silk as a single and knit up a simple shawl that shows off these absolutely beautiful color transitions. A question for you more experienced spinners: how do I finish 100% tussah silk? Same soaking and snapping/thwacking? None of that at all? Inquiring minds (you know, like Boh) want to know.

Time for cup o’ coffee #2, some spinning, and oh, right — some actual work!

soul windows and sunset: skeins!

soulwindows1

soulwindows2

soulwindows3

I am in LOVE. 426 yards of 3-ply, from 4 oz of 90/10 corriedale/nylon from the Spunky Club. LOVE.

This skein made me so excited that I just kept on spinning.

cvm, jacob, kate

Here’s that cvm, waiting to be plied, along with the resting jacob bobbins.

cvm plied

cvm plied…

cvm hanging

hanging to dry…

cvmskein1

cvmskein2

cvmskein3

and skeined.

188 yds of 2-ply, 12 wpi from 2 oz. of cvm from cosy in a colorway called sunset. The color is somewhere in between what you see above — so hard to capture such a rich orangey-red.

boh passed out

Boh is exhausted! (Though not from all that spinning. We took a nice long walk in the woods yesterday, and then went to meet friends at the d-o-g-p-a-r-k.)

Off to pour the coffee — and perhaps ply those jacob bobbins!

treadle, treadle, treadle.

cvm bob2

I could not stop spinning yesterday. I finished the second bobbin of this gorgeously rich cvm from cosy, and debated plying it right away. Instead, I set this bobbin aside to rest, and dug through my fiber stash.

jacob roving

This is 4 oz. of jacob wool from a farm just outside of town. I picked this up a few months ago at an LYS nearby. (I have the details somewhere in my fiber bin, but I would have to put down my coffee to look for it. Priorities.)

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I sat down to spin this, but oh_my_goodness. This fiber is incredibly soft, and however this was prepared (I’m still learning all my fiber preps/names) left a lot of air in the roving, which made this wool practically spin itself.

jacob first bob

And here’s the progress I made on the second bobbin(!) last night:

jacob bob2

It doesn’t look like I’m going to finish my KAL socks this month, and I think Boh might be okay with that.

bohlayoncouch

I’m interpreting this to mean that he understands that sometimes one has to spend the day (or the weekend) at the spinning wheel.

bohwithsockprog

Here’s my (our?) progress on the emerald city vanilla sock. I’m really getting the hang of the hiyahiya needle, and I’m finding that I can get more done (when I am not forgetting to knit because crazy things are happening on The Wire) because I do not have to look down to either pick up the other circ or rotate to the next dpn. Here’s a close up:

sockwithpaws

Happy weekend, all! I’m going to finish up this cup of coffee, pour another, and sit down at the wheel.

400+.

soulwindowsplied

drying

Hooray! My math skills tell me that I have at least 400 yards of 3-ply here (426, to be precise). I’ll figure out wpi once the skein is dry, but I am thrilled! There should be plenty here for a pair of socks.

I gave this an extra long soak because of how energized it seemed. (Am I supposed to let my plyed yarn rest, too?) You can see that it is a little curly-q-ish down near the bottom of the hanging loop, indicating some overplying, but on the whole, I’m quite happy about this. I’m still looking for that balance between overspinning/underspinning and over/under plying. (And maybe I’ll be forever looking for it!)

Anyway, I was so excited about how this turned out that I just had to sit back down at the wheel, even though it was WAY past my bedtime.

cvm sunset

This is the first bobbin of 2 oz of CVM from cosy in a colorway named sunset. I just sat down and spun, without a plan. I am already seeing that my default spinning is getting thinner, and that I need to really think about what I’m doing to make a thicker, even yarn. I love the richness of these colors — the perfect antidote to a rather rainy summer?

bohispatient

This guy thinks so (or not). I looked up from plying/spinning several times yesterday to find Boh hinting that he might want more attention. We took an extra walk around the neighborhood last night, and we have plans for either a hike or a trip to the d-o-g-p-a-r-k today.

calendar

Also, it is getting to be that time! I realized that this is the last week of my calendar yesterday, and stopped by the campus store to pick up an 09-10 replacement. I love starting a new planner. (Yes, I am a big nerd.) Yesterday I copied pertinent pieces of the fall campus-wide schdule into my calendar and thought a bit about classes/plans for the coming semester, which felt good to me.

That’s enough school talk for a Friday. Have a great weekend!

dillweed/milkweed.

pickles

Dillweed. (In the pickles. These are half-sours, from The Joy of Pickling.)

milkweed

Milkweed. (Shawl by Laura Chau.) I’m only 8 rows in, but I’ve decided that although I am way more comfortable with written directions, I’m going all-chart, all-the-time on this one.

I went back to the LYS having the sale yesterday to get a smaller hiyahiya needle for my vanilla socks. Either I didn’t get the right size earlier in the week, or my gauge loosened up a bit in the switch from 2 circs to 1. While working hard to ignore all of the yarn on sale, I decided to treat myself to an addi lace needle for the milkweed shawl, and already I’m glad I did. (My size 4 knitpicks harmony tips are otherwise occupied at the moment, and I knew I wanted sharp needles for this project.)

vanilla emerald

I didn’t spend a super long time knitting yesterday, but I made serious progress on this sock — I think the hiyahiya is growing on me, and while I’m not sure how well these needles would work for more complicated socks (duller tips and not a lot of give on the needle because the cable is exactly the right size for the stitch count, rather than a bit smaller), these may become my go-to stockinette sock needles. Also, they are QUIET. No clicking, clacking, or fiddling.

gussetheel closeup

Also, (drumroll) my first true gusset heel! I worked the heel turn on 2 dpns and then went back to the hiyahiya. Have I mentioned yet how fantastic Socks From the Toe Up is (today)? No? I continue to recommend checking it out.

One more:

soulwindowsplying

Consider this a plying teaser. I plied for a few hours yesterday, and there is still quite a bit of yarn left on the bobbins, which I am taking as a very good sign in the yardage department. Still aiming/hoping/wishing for sock weight and yardage! Stay tuned…

hiyahiya.

hiyahiya1

Whoa. Yesterday I felt compelled to do something about those needles with the other-than-smooth join. They were driving me crazy! The internets told me that a LYS is having a sale on everything this week, so I dropped by to look ONLY at needles. I was debating between 12 and 16 inch addis, and the (super nice) salesgirl asked if I’d seen the 9 inch hiyahiyas. I didn’t quite understand at the time that 9 inches was short enough to work them on circs the way I’d knit a hat, but at half the price of addis, I grabbed 2, as the join looked so so so smooth.

After one round with the hiyahiyas, I was ready to write this off as a failed experiment and give these needles away. And then I went to ravelry, stalked these needles in forum posts, and realized that it takes time to get used to knitting with needles that have a less-than-2-inch tip.

hiyahiya2

So I tried again, focusing on keeping my hands relaxed, and boy does this speed up the sock knitting! I’m not sure if I’ll use these on all of my socks, but I’m going to try to complete at least this plain-vanilla-sock with my new 9 inch hiyahiya as part of a “get-to-know-you” experiment. As you (and I) can see from this picture, I was getting a bit of laddering with the annoying needles. Not so with the hiyahiya.

sockprogress

Have you guys tried these needles? What do you think?

Other things occurring around chez rooster:

bread

I let this no-knead loaf to rise extra long (about 18 hours for the first rise) and I think that is the trick. One of my best loaves in recent memory.

soulwindows thirdbob

I did A LOT of spinning yesterday, and finished the third bobbin of Soul Windows just before bed last night. This last one has more green and brown than the other two bobbins, and I am interested to see how it will look all plyed up. Still keeping my fingers crossed for enough yardage for socks. I may start that tonight.

bohandbone

Also, Boh asked me to tell you that he did A LOT of work on his bone collection while I was spinning. They all know now who’s boss. (Boh.)

On today’s list: making pickles, plying, prepping for a meeting with my advisor, practicing some rusty language skills, and all sorts of other things that may or may not begin with p.