yo.

Yep. That was the problem. I accidentally yarn-overed at the start of a lace row, when I wasn’t supposed to. And then, in my uncaffeinated stupor, I proceeded to attempt to account for the fact that my stitch count was off, all the way through each section. I know better than to do that, at least when I’ve had my coffee.

I realize that to the untrained eye, these pictures look pretty much like what I posted yesterday. The knitter, however, will notice a key difference: yesterday’s photo has lots of extra yarn in it, suggesting the un-knitting that has just occurred; today’s photos have no such excess yardage, suggesting that things are moving along as intended. And they are. I re-knit the offending row — AFTER a full cup of coffee.

And now I’m off to campus. But since it’s Friday, I’ll leave you with a dose of sweetness:

I thought Friday would never get here. Happy weekend!

repeat after me.

I will not knit anything that isn’t garter or stockinette before finishing my first cup of coffee. I will not knit anything that isn’t garter or stockinette before finishing my first cup of coffee. I will not knit anything that isn’t garter or stockinette before finishing my first cup of coffee. I will not knit anything that isn’t garter or stockinette before finishing my first cup of coffee. I will not knit anything that isn’t garter or stockinette before finishing my first cup of coffee. I will not knit anything that isn’t garter or stockinette before finishing my first cup of coffee. I will not knit anything that isn’t garter or stockinette before finishing my first cup of coffee. I will not knit anything that isn’t garter or stockinette before finishing my first cup of coffee. I will not knit anything that isn’t garter or stockinette before finishing my first cup of coffee. I will not knit…

Sigh. I’ve been un-knitting this morning for almost twice as long as I knit. And I know better. Is it Friday yet?

pancakes, pears, and a pumpkin.

(Okay, it was a red kabocha squash. Also known as a Japanese pumpkin. I made the alliterative choice.)

Cranberry pancakes for lunch. (Fresh cranberries, from my favorite little farm/market hybrid.)

Red kabocha squash, stuffed with a mixture of local sausage, kale, onions, mushrooms and rice, and topped with some shredded jack cheese.

A double batch of pear crisp, made with pears from the tree in D and T’s yard. I’m warming this up for breakfast.

And there’s this guy. Leg up in hopes of a belly rub. Sometimes he just lays like that.

No knitting to share, folks. Despite deadlines of the knitting variety fast approaching, the work pile won out yesterday. Grading, reading, corresponding with students — the productive hours disappear. Hoping to find time to curl up with my needles today.

 

windows. (also, potatoes.)

Just now trying to catch my breath after a whirlwind weekend — and it seems fitting to post a few photos from the part of Saturday that felt like a chance to relax for a brief moment. These glimpses out the window onto one of many courtyards capture a bit of what it felt like to be back there, ten years after I first arrived. Just as beautiful, but a bit further away. Light filtered through window panes?

I’m still looking for the pause button these days. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by work and life, and trying to find time to knit.

This seems a bit heavy for Tuesday morning, so I’ll leave you with a photo of the twice-baked potatoes I was craving after Sunday afternoon’s long drive home.

Yum. More soon.

happy lace.

Isn’t it, though? Last night I proctored a prelim. I brought reading to do, but I was up and down to answer questions every ten minutes or so, and just couldn’t focus on my work. Luckily, I had tucked the lap blanket I’m test-knitting for Cosy into my bag, and as the students worked, I got through another repeat or two. I love the slight variegation in this orangey handspun.

Also, I wore my garter yoke cardigan on Wednesday, and snapped a photo before dashing off to lecture. There’s something not-quite-right with the fit/style of this for me. I think the sleeves are a bit too wide to be 3/4 length, and buttoned up, I feel sort of matronly. (This might just have to do with the fact that I spend most of my time on a college campus.) Anyway, I decided to wear it over a super bright mustard-yellow shirt, and I think that worked. Thus concludes this edition of “knits-in-action.”

I’m off to the land of my bright college years for the weekend. Not looking forward to the drive, but so happy that it is finally Friday.

FO: windschief #2.

Apparently I shouldn’t  even decrease the crown of a hat before fully completing the day’s first cup of coffee. Part of the way through both the hat and my first mug, I realized that my stitch counts between markers were slightly off. And being mostly pre-coffee, I decided to fake it, and left out a decrease in one section and decreased in a non-decrease row right before the decreases switch from every other row to every row. And on a human head (mine, above), I think any slight wonkiness is hidden by the variegation in the yarn and the general awesomeness of this pattern. So I’m calling it good. We’ll see if I can get some boy-modeled shots to share.

And now, the details. This is the windschief hat by Stephen West, size M, knit in Malabrigo Worsted in the verdeazul colorway, as directed, on size 6 and size 7 needles. I used what looks like half (or slightly more than half) the skein. And at this moment, I’m too lazy to go into the kitchen and weigh it. So you’ll have to trust me on that. Also, this pattern? I still love it.

Alright, time to finish this mug of coffee and get ready for the day. Is it Friday yet?

FO: the second half.

Here’s the rest of the grey alpaca. The top skein (you know, the one closer to the book I should be reading right now), was the softest, highest quality fiber in the bag, and I think you can see the difference when looking at these skeins side-by-side. There’s 70 yards of the softer alpaca, and then another 116 yards of the coarser stuff, bringing the whole lot to 339 yards of light-worsted singles. Can’t wait to see what N. decides to knit out of this stuff!

Last night, after a long day and a dinner of leftovers, we took a break from the kind of work that requires full mental concentration and picked up projects that would allow us to listen to an episode of This American Life. I worked on B’s windschief hat, and I am now ready to start the decreases. He should have a hat to keep him warm by the end of the week. In fact, maybe I’ll knit a few rounds before I tackle the writing I need to do today…

FO: half the grey alpaca.

So this is the first half of the grey alpaca I’m spinning for my friend N., after setting the twist and hanging it to dry. While neither of these mini-skeins is next-to-skin soft, I’m really happy with the halo and the sheen of this yarn. What you’re looking at is about 160 yards. I delivered the first half of the alpaca to N. yesterday afternoon, and decided to work on the second half after dinner last night. One of the remaining bumps of fiber felt softer, so I spun that first. Here’s the bobbin:

I think you can see the difference in the quality. N. told me that she paid five bucks for almost eight ounces of this stuff, which makes sense to me. I think some of this fiber is the “good stuff” from the animal, but I think a lot of it might be the hair from the less prize parts of an alpaca’s coat — like the underbelly, maybe? That would explain the amount of veggie matter in the first two bumps. Here’s the final (larger) bump after separating the fibers a bit with my hands:

I love the depth of color in this picture — such a complex grey. This was coarser, more like the first two skeins. I think singles were the right choice for this yarn — and hey, I’m no longer afraid of alpaca! Maybe I’ll dig out what I’ve got from my very first fiber purchase and try again.

I’m pretty sure that this expression has something to do with the fact that Boh finally understands that there is not an alpaca in the kitchen. Just some yarn hanging to dry.

A few glimpses of the weekend:

Deb’s scalloped tomatoes, made with the last of the season’s farm tomatoes.

After dinner hot chocolate made with dutch cocoa, organic sugar, and milk.

And this morning, I pulled on my down booties when I climbed out of bed in the darkness to make my coffee. I’m ready for daylight savings — I’d rather get up with the sun than rise before her.

 

an alpaca experiment.

Remember that deep brown alpaca I spun for a trade with a friend? (If you’re reading in real time, or close to it, it’s that luscious stuff in the header photo on my blog.) Well, that was only half the bag of fiber N. gave me to work with! I picked the deep brown alpaca first because it was softer and “felt” like it would be a more familiar spin. The grey stuff felt a bit more like the alpaca I tried to spin right when I got my wheel. Last night, I was feeling like  I wanted to get something done (and I needed a break from prepping for this week’s sections), so I dug out the grey alpaca. I have four mostly even bumps, almost 2 oz. each, so I decided to put the first quarter on the wheel and just see what it wanted to be. This stuff is pretty compressed, so I spread out the fibers the best I could, and then tried to work with the super long staple length and short guard hairs. I haven’t spun much alpaca, so I’m not sure my take on this particular fiber is accurate, but to me it seems like some of this is “seconds” — not the softest fiber the animal has to offer. Also, this was on the dirtier side of the spectrum of fiber I’ve encountered — veggie matter, burrs, even some dried bug parts, I think.

I settled on a low twist, thick/thin single, and once I pulled it off the bobbin and wound it onto the niddy noddy, I liked it. Because some of this is pretty coarse, I worry that plying it will make it too rope-like. Leaving it as a single seems to encourage the halo, which I think is a good thing. So I put the second 2 oz. chunk on the wheel and did the same thing. These small skeins are hanging to dry right now, and I’m anxious to get a sense for how the feel of this yarn has changed with washing. I think I’m going to spin the other two chunks the same way, as I’m getting into a rhythm, and I love the sheen on these singles. More pictures soon!

And then there’s this guy, patiently waiting for a belly rub. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

“one day i’ll be a better writer…”*

We saw Sharon Van Etten and the Bowerbirds at a neat bar near the water this week. Sharon Van Etten (pictured in the crappy photo from my phone, above) is worth checking out, if you’ve never encountered her music. What you see is what you get up there — a girl and a guitar — but man, can she write a song. And her voice — soft, clear, haunting. Check out a video of her at SXSW here.

I also recommend the Bowerbirds. Who doesn’t love a band with an accordion, a snare drum, and a homemade xylophone? Check out their tiny desk concert at NPR here.

So, some fun stuff (read: late nights) this week, but also lots of work. Which made for a very tired rooster. Thursday night I made a big pot of cauliflower soup, and while it was simmering, I slathered peach butter made by my friend K. on slices of beer bread. Yum.

And today, when I got home from campus, I curled up on the couch, watched Bones, and made progress on windschief hat numero dos, out of malabrigo in verdeazul, for B. Malabrigo is the perfect yarn to knit with on a cold and rainy day. Planning an evening of soup, knitting, and maybe a movie. I’ll get back to the pile of books tomorrow. Happy weekend, folks, and thanks for all of the sweet blogiversary wishes.

*This is a line is from “Much More Than That” by Sharon Van Etten.