yellow.

It was a quiet Friday, spent trying to catch up with the week: lots of list-making and stock-taking, but also a longer walk to the reservoir with Boh to clear my head and stretch his (okay, our) legs.

yellow1 six mile creek

yellow2 six mile creek

It was a proper eve of Halloween — the sky was grey, the wind, howling, and the familiar scent of leaves settling and decomposing whirled about us. The seasons are starting to turn again, but there are some leaves, branches, whole trees, even, that seem to resist. These solitary bursts of yellow made me smile, and I found myself looking for pockets of color in the muted beauty of these woods.

leaves six mile creek

leaves2 six mile creek

wind in weeds six mile creek

late fall six mile creek

Everything always seems more manageable after a walk along this path.

ming muffins1

ming muffins 2

The oven helps, too. A friend of mine from college has this gorgeous cupcake website that you should all check out, and yesterday she posted a recipe for savory cheddar and scallion cupcakes. Moments after reading this, I was in the kitchen melting butter and measuring out flour. Yum.

winter storage first bobbin

I also finished the first bobbin of Winter Storage, and I’m hoping to start the next one this afternoon — but only if I can get some writing done today.

boh admiring himself

I’ll leave you with a bit of Boh humor. I caught Boh admiring himself in the mirror yesterday. He was so engrossed in his own reflection that I was able to snap a few pictures before he starting looking at me in the mirror. Silly, silly dog.

reward/recovery.

amondale batt1

Thank you for all of your happy thoughts about Tuesday’s lecture! I finally was able to do a bit of knitting and spinning last night in order to recover from all of the week’s stress and extra adrenaline, and I decided to reward myself by spinning a special treat: a gorgeous batt from Amondale Farms that Lisa Knithound sent my way as a Rhinebeck souvenir. (I was going to try to crack a Halloween joke or two about batts/bats…but I won’t.)

amondale batt2

I know, Boh does not look pleased. But these are his colors! Lisa said that this batt reminded her of the southwest, and I agree: these colors make me think of the gorgeous sunrises I witnessed almost every morning when I lived there.  I did a little bit of reading about spinning batts, divided the 1.5 oz. batt into two equal chunks by unrolling the rectangle and splitting it down the middle, and sat down at the wheel.

amondale battplied

I mostly used the long draw technique to spin this, but I did a lot of smoothing of the single before I let it wind on to the bobbin, so it certainly wasn’t a “true” long draw. I let the singles rest an hour, and then plied them together!

amondale batt niddynoddy

Here’s the plied batt on my niddy noddy…

amondale batt FO

And here is my finished skein: 51 yards of lofty 2-ply that runs a bit thick and thin, from dk to worsted.

amondale batt FO close

I’m already thinking about turning this into a calorimetry for me!

Spinning and plying this batt last night just made me want to get something else going on the wheel. It was so much fun to try something new — this is my first batt! — that I decided to take my fast flyer out of it’s plastic wrap and put it on my wheel.

winter storage bob1

This is Finn, from the Hello Yarn Fiber Club, in the Winter Storage colorway. I’m aiming for a 2-ply light-fingering/laceweight.

Happy Friday!

 

kind of a big deal.

Nope, no pigtails yet. And nope, I didn’t finish my plain and simple pullover, though I do have progress to share.

Yesterday was kind of a big deal for me because I gave my first-ever lecture. I’ve done a fair amount of talking in front of people before, and I generally don’t mind it once I get going, but there was something different about this, in terms of the significance of the opportunity: this was a chance to do the thing I want to do, a chance to practice a big part of the career I’m working towards, and I was really nervous. I worried about all the usual things: that I’d talk too fast, that it wouldn’t go well, or worse — that I wouldn’t like it.

I still have a lot to think about in terms of planning and pacing a lecture, and quite a bit to learn, but I did enjoy myself yesterday, and the students even laughed at my jokes. And there won’t ever be a “first” lecture again — just a “next” one.

Onward to my pullover progress:

plain and simple front st1

plain and simple front st close up

Under Boh’s watchful eye, I finished the body, and moved on to the next step in the pattern, which involves working the front stitches back and forth. I panicked, thinking that there was no way I had a set of size 2 straight needles, but some digging through my vintage lot of aluminum needles (an ebay acquisition born of my new-knitter excitement a few years ago) yielded a mismatched pair.

plain and simple boh supervise1

plain and simple boh supervise2

As you all noted, Boh takes his job very, very seriously. I wish he’d step up and supervise the huge pile of grading I have to get through today…

fifteen.

plain and simple 15in

Inches, that is. (Actually, more like a smidge under fifteen when laid perfectly flat, but hey, I’ll take it.) The pattern says to knit 16.5 inches for my size, but as I am a little anxious about running out of yarn (and short-waisted, and generally seem to knit my sweaters a tad too long), I’m going to knit to 15.5, the length for the smallest size, and call it good.

Last night, friends hosted a Radio Party potluck, which meant we all brought food, drank wine, and listened to This American Life at the appropriate time. I got in about an hour and a half of solid knitting on my plain and simple pullover, and I’m going to try to finish the body before getting back to my pile of grading this morning.

plain and simple 15 boh

Also, for documentation purposes, I snapped a picture of my hair last night.

long hair.

I’m aiming for low, braided pigtails. Not quite long enough yet, but getting there…

slow and steady.

pure and simple 13

I’m test-knitting this adorable short-sleeved pullover for veera, over at 100% rain. The stockinette portion is taking me forever, which makes me feel like a super slow, and thus, ineffective test-knitter. (I have actually found myself wondering if Boh is ripping out inches of knitting while I am asleep.)

The good news is that I’ve got thirteen solid inches of the body, and I only need a few more. The other test-knitters have been posting pictures of their projects on ravelry, and the results are absolutely lovely.

fo: second super hero helmet hat.

super hero helmet hat green

green super hero2

Just over half a skein of Araucania Nature Wool later, I have a second super hero helmet hat. This hat is all about instant gratification, and the squoosh factor is incredible. I made the 68 st Medium this time, and it fits nicely without being too snug. (Again, good for all of this hair!)

fo: super hero helmet hat.

super hero helmet hat 1

super hero helmet hat 2

This is perhaps the squishiest, warmest hat I’ve ever made. (It may also be the biggest hat I’ve knit, but I’ll get to that.) I was so excited to discover that I won this pattern over at Cosy’s blog because I’ve been meaning to purchase this pattern, especially now that I have a pile of handspun that is just begging to be knit into smaller projects. I settled on some of my early wheelspun: AVFKW corriedale in The Candle’s Nimble Flame.

Using size 10.5 needles, I cast on for the larger size medium (if you have the pattern, you’ll know exactly what I mean), and knit to the decreases. The hat is knit back and forth, so I wrapped it around my head and realized that it was going to be way too big. I tend not to swatch with hats, as most of the time it seems like I can eye it and the hat will fit someone, but I hadn’t really taken into account how thick and thin this handspun is, and clearly my powers of estimation are less accurate when evaluating something knit flat. I frogged what I had and started over, casting on 8 stitches fewer and beginning again.

I finished late last night, and I absolutely love the earflaps and the shape of the hat. It may still be a bit big — I didn’t think really think about row gauge, and I probably should have accounted for that in adjusting for my surprisingly thick yarn.

super hero helmet hat 3

That said, this may become my go-to hat for super cold days, dog-walking, hiking, etc. I can fit my growing expanse of hair under the hat (see first picture), no problem, and this hat is loose enough that I can stay warm without flattening my hair while out walking with Boh. (This matters on days where I have to head back to campus for afternoon and evening events.)

Most importantly, this is an incredibly satisfying, soothing knit. I have a lot going on this week, and I just really needed to finish something last night — to feel productive, to see progress on at least one task, and I think finishing this super squishy hat and snapping a few (bleary-eyed) pictures helped me to sleep more deeply.

I might even cast on for another before the day is over.

Thanks, Cosy, for a clear, cute, satisfying, straightforward pattern. I highly recommend the Super Hero Helmet Hat!

Any and all wonkiness in the land of sizing rests solely on me, the variation in my thick and thin yarn, and my lack of patience! (I just needed to get to that garter stitch happy place, and ignored gauge issues in order to blissfully knit back and forth — and I do not regret it!)

polwarth (swoon).

fo polwarth bw1

fo polwarth fo 3

fo polwarth bw closeup

220 yards of squishy 2-ply worsted weight yarn, from 4 oz. of Southern Cross Fibres polwarth in the Boogie Wonderland colorway. I’m low on natural light this morning, so the colors in these photos are a little bit off. The actual color of this skein is somewhere in between the olive and forest green in these pictures. This has more squoosh than any skein I’ve spun, and I can’t wait to knit with it.

Time to pour a cup of coffee and prepare for the day.

FO: calorimetry.

blackberry pancakes

In order to face the week, I needed blackberry pancakes. (Mondays can be tough!) I ate them for breakfast and lunch, and they helped, like they always do. Moving on…

five plum pie calorimetry

I knit this over the weekend for my friend H. (of wedding shawl fame) because tomorrow is her birthday! I just couldn’t wait any longer, so I gifted this yesterday, which means there is absolutely no danger of spoiling the surprise. I used more of my Hello Yarn Five Plum Pie handspun, and I still have about ten yards leftover — truly, a never-ending skein.

calorimetry button view

Calorimetry was one of the first patterns I attempted to knit — and while I finished it rather quickly, my skein of filatura di crosa 127 print (or whatever the pattern calls for, because I had not yet learned to substitute) won the day, and I finally understood why gauge matters. My first calorimetry was enormous! This time around, I read up on the pattern and followed some common modifications:

I cast on 88 stitches using size 6 needles, and worked only as many (decreasing stitch count) short rows as seemed like half of the width I was hoping for, and then completed the same number of (increasing stitch count) short rows to get to the other side, being careful not to run out of yarn.

calorimetry side

Yay! I tried this on to take some pictures, and now that my hair is longer, I really like this. I may need to make one for myself.

plied polwarth bw

I did manage to ply the polwarth. Here’s what it looks like before washing/thwacking:

prewash

This may be the softest, squishiest yarn I have ever spun. It is hanging to dry in the kitchen, and I can’t help but pet it each time I walk by.

superherohelmet1

In keeping with “hat-tober,” I cast on for yet another handspun hat — Cosy’s Super Hero Helmet Hat. I won the pattern on her blog a few weeks ago, and I am knitting it out of some of my earlier wheelspun: AVFKW Woolly Wonders corriedale in The Candle’s Nimble Flame. I’m using size 10.5 needles, and I love the squoosh of the garter stitch.

bohcouchsilly

Apparently Boh also had a very busy day. (While I read, wrote, cleaned, knit, plied, grocery-shopped, cooked, etc., Boh moved bones back and forth from his box, growled at the electrician through the window, took notes on squirrel movement, and perhaps dreamed of rabbits, chipmunks, and deer.)