FO: new new shale cowl.

I was skeptical when I started knitting the new new shale cowl. I just wasn’t sure that the dark variegated silk was the right match for this pattern, but I’m glad I stuck with it, because I think this is beautiful, and a great fit for my mom. I hope she likes it. (Remember, this is a Christmas present. She picked the yarn, which I wrapped up for her, and then she chose the pattern.) I’ve decided not to block it, so that my mom can decide if she wants to stretch/open up the lace a bit more — if I were keeping it, I think I’d leave it as is.

This was my first time knitting with Blue Moon Fiber Arts Luscious Silk, and my, oh my, was it a pleasure. I used just over half the skein (to my eye, anyway), which means I’ll have to figure out what to do with the leftovers. (I know, tough life.) I followed the pattern to the letter on this one — needle size (6), length, pattern, etc. The pattern was easy to memorize, and the repeats felt rewarding, you know? A very pleasant knit, and one I’d consider making again, for me — maybe in handspun?

Also, I’ve got another soup recipe recommendation for you. Last night I made this red lentil soup, though I made mine with those neat-looking French (blue) beluga lentils. I think that’s what they call them. Anyway, super tasty — and more complex in flavor than a basic lentil soup. I don’t know if it was that I used homemade stock and added some homemade canned tomato puree instead of tomato paste, or just the addition of lemon juice and cilantro at the end, but this was really fabulous, and I’m looking forward to eating the leftovers for lunch. (Cooking note — I simmered my soup about 10-15 minutes longer — I just think the lentils I substituted needed more time. Also, I left out the water.)

Time to pour the coffee and get back to the books.

FO: rhinebeck cauldron handspun.

My rhinebeck-cauldron polwarth puffed up after a nice long bath, and now I love it even more. I even accidentally skipped the part where I count the strands and do the math because I just couldn’t wait to see it in squishy skein form. I’m going to conservatively estimate that this is about 150 yards of 2-ply worsted weight. And maybe I’ll be allowed to cast on if I can finish a book on postcolonial Vietnam today?

Last night I made this butternut squash lasagna. Which means I have delicious leftovers that should last much of the weekend. I didn’t have any mushrooms handy, so I upped the greens (used kale instead of chard) and sauteed them with onion and a carrot.

I think somebody is glad that it’s Friday.

a cauldron of rhinebeck?

Okay. You guys were totally right. All of my concerns about the way these two colorways (Rhinebeck, from SCF, and Cauldron, from Hello Yarn) went out the window when I wound this onto my niddy noddy and got to see it all together. Now it is hanging above the sink, and I can’t wait for it to be dry. The question of the day: do I have the patience to spin the other half of this, ply it together, and use it all for another eternity scarf or some kind of doubled over cowl? (Option B being to cast on for something NOW.) We’ll see…

pounding mill press and plying.

 

I ordered some absolutely gorgeous note cards from Pounding Mill Press, and they arrived yesterday. (Full disclosure: M., of Pounding Mill Press, is a friend of mine. Rather than tell you this to suggest that I might be biased, I do it in order to be able to take a moment to comment on her general awesomeness, which makes me recommend her stuff, her style, her cupcakes all the more. She also does custom projects — lots more info on her site.) Anyway, I ordered these blank-on-the-inside alphabet cards, and they are exactly what I was hoping for.

M. tucked in a sample note card or two in a different designs, and some engraved pencils that clearly I can’t live without, despite not knowing I needed them. I can’t decide which to sharpen first: Love is a Battlefield, or A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama.

If you, at this very moment, are realizing that a package of palindrome pencils would make your writing, grading, grocery-list-making, etc. infinitely better, these are available in the Pounding Mill Press online shop. (I just checked. I can think of at least ten people who would LOVE these.)

When I read these out loud to Boh, he looked at me like this:

I don’t think he liked “Go Deliver A Dare Vile Dog” so much.

Last night, at bedtime, I was feeling antsy. My reading went slowly yesterday, and I just needed to either get something else done, or unwind some more. I had just read Laura’s post about 2010, where she talks a bit about spinning, relaxing, and mind-wandering, so I got out my wheel (which needed to be both tightened and oiled — the weather has changed A LOT since the last time I did any spinning) and sat down to ply.

This is the first half of an experiment I described in this post – SCF Rhinebeck and Hello Yarn Cauldron, plied together (both polwarth). The process of plying these last night was exactly what I needed to decompress after some difficult reading, but I’m not sure about the pairing yet. I’m really happy with what you can see here on the bobbin, but there is a bit section where red and green are plied together in the middle, and it might just have the effect of muting each color. I’ll have to see what I think once it is washed and skeined, and then I can decide if I want another skein just like this, or if I want to do something different with the other half-bumps of each colorway. Either way, nice to be sitting down at my wheel again. I hope I can make time to spin this spring.

long overdue mitt repair.

Last night, after taking way too long to read a relatively short book, I was itching to have that great feeling that comes with crossing a long-overdue task off of my list. Out came my thanksgiving day mitts: knit three years ago in a purple-y shade of Cascade 220, these were my go-to mitts until Boh managed to attack one of them in fall 2008 or winter 2009. Since then, they’ve sat patiently on top of a bowl of yarn odds and ends, waiting to be mended. And yesterday was the day. I dug out my very special set of knitting needles (from a woman I think of as an honorary grandmother) in order to find a set of size 5 dpns. (So great to be able to look up what needles I used on ravelry!)

And then I re-knit 15 or so rows, including the thumb-slot, and bound off, all while my dinner simmered away on the stove. The discerning eye can tell the old from the new sections, but after a bit of wear, and the gentle felting that happens to well-loved mitts, I think it’ll be hard to tell that anything was ever the matter with these mitts!

The dinner I spoke of (soon to be today’s lunch as well) was this potato-leek soup. Simple and delicious, all from farm food. I sprinkled some smoked paprika on top just before savoring this comforting bowl of soup. Can’t wait to heat up the leftovers!

And here’s Boh, sick of me putting the camera in his face and tempting him with dinner in order to get him to look at me. (He can be surprisingly — and adorably –stubborn.) I think he knows that we’re back to school today, and his routine is about to change for the worse. Shorter cozy reading sessions on the couch, more time alone at home…poor Boh. (Little does he know that once the semester is over, he’s getting a lake house! Thanks for all of your kind comments about that. It is wonderful to have that to look forward to, as this is going to be a crazy semester for me.)

Off to campus. (Sigh.)

rooster can haz lake house.

Or will, come June. (Photo courtesy of the anonymized posting on craigslist.) This means a few things: first, this rooster hereby declares that she will be so good about being frugal and thrifty this spring because come summer, she will want to furnish and paint a space that is about twice the size of her current home; second, I’m going to have a guest room/yarn room! (And an office!) But most awesome of all, I’m going to have a three-season porch.

I know you’ll all miss my bright green kitchen walls, so I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures in there between now and June.

(This picture also courtesy of the anonymized craigslist posting.)

The house became a possibility on Wednesday, and I signed a sublease on Friday. Still pinching myself. I’ve been so distracted by hoping all the pieces would fall into place that I’ve been the opposite of productive…but I’m okay with that.

I’ve gotten back on that horse today, with something wonderful to look forward to.

creation/destruction.

On Tuesday afternoon, inspired by a recent clip from Jimmy Fallon’s late night show (where he and his guests built snowmen on the roof and then tackled them), several of us gathered in a local park with the same concept in mind. (The whole afternoon was my friend M.’s idea. Brilliant.) Here is my jackalope snowman. In this image, he has both arms, though I had to keep replacing his right arm because every time I turned around, Boh was gnawing on it.

When it came time for the destruction part, Boh was not helpful. My friends were able to jump on their snowmen. Boh, on the other hand, came to a full stop just in front of the jackalope, so I had to settle for pushing ours over. Here’s a shot of Boh in full retreat:

Nice to have a few action shots of my wurm hat. It’s the knit I grab the most — from handspun, and it has just the right amount of slouch.

I was absolutely unproductive yesterday, and this morning is looking like a wash. The upside? I might have found my next home. A HOUSE. On The Lake. Fingers crossed.

“helping.”

No knitting to share this morning, but I thought you’d like to see all these camera-phone shots of Boh’s assistance this week. What would I do without him? Hoping to squeeze in some knitting time this afternoon — and maybe even some playing in the snow!

indirect enabling.

That’s right, folks. I’ve got a story that starts with Mick and ends with new earrings. See, weeks ago, Mick invited me to try Pinterest. (Which is a super cool way to make virtual pinboards and share them with the cloud. Turns out I went to school with the dudes behind this new way to organize awesomeness.) Anyway, when I was sick earlier this week, I decided to play around on the site. And I found so many pretty things, one of which really stuck with me: this pair of earrings, made from clock hands. And so I decided to get myself an early birthday present. I mean, I’m a historian. How can I not have earrings made out of clock hands?

Exactly.

Aren’t they incredible? I love that a pair is one hour hand and one minute hand. They’re made of brass, so they’ll tarnish with wear. Which I’m extremely excited about. I’m justifying these as an early birthday present to myself. (Well, and as part of my professional duty. Or something.)

I wasn’t joking when I said I might not take my idlewood off. Today, after a much needed early morning yoga class, I put on a “real” outfit and walked in the snowy sunshine down to the coffee shop to read. The only question I have right now is what color I should knit this in next. And I’d cast on immediately, if it weren’t for all this reading. Well, and that new year’s resolution I made to actually finish the sweaters I’ve got on the needles. More on that soon.

Also, just so you don’t think I take pictures of myself all day:

Here is yesterday’s work, a cup of tea, and a new (new?) shale cowl for my mom. She picked out this 100% silk yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts as her Christmas gift (I think I have Mick to thank for talking about this yarn several months ago on her blog), and asked for an eternity scarf. But then, as we looked at pattern pictures, it became clear that when she said “eternity scarf” she meant “lacy cowl.” I’m glad I waited to consult with her about the pattern! My parents are driving down to take me out to dinner on Friday, and I’d love to have this ready for her to wear. We’ll see…

 

cold outside, cozy inside.

Snapped this picture after taking Boh outside because I realized just how ridiculous I looked. I don’t think my blue spandex tights have appeared on this blog in years. (And I pretty much said the same thing about them then.) They do help in the warmth department though, so I’ll wear them with pride.

Speaking of the warmth department, yesterday was a two-sweater kind of day. My idlewood helped me to get through an epic 850+ pager on my reading list. And then I took it to the movies and out to dessert with friends.

It seems only fair to allow Boh the opportunity to register his discontent. It has been too cold for long walks, and my books have been too long for extended playtime. He’s starting to get sick of “when I finish this book…” — can’t you tell? It is supposed to warm up enough for pleasant winter walks this week, and Boh isn’t the only one who is excited to get outside. Happy weekend from both of us!