inching forward.

I’ll start with the knitting progress, as it is the most tangible. I spent a few hours knitting last night, and gained an inch or two on the foot of the first sock of this pair. The pooling is horrendous, the sock seems a little big to me, but you know what? I love this yarn, and I am going to love these socks. These were once too-big toe up socks from a KAL oriented around Socks From the Toe Up, and then they were a pair of the Gentleman’s Fancy Socks (from Knitting Vintage Socks, maybe? I’m too lazy to look), and then they became basic stockinette “vanilla” (as the Knitmore Girls say) socks because I needed something to knit on during a lecture about nineteenth-century spirit photographs.

This is from a morning last week, but it could be today, as Boh has decided that today is the kind of day for getting back into bed. It is slushy and rainy outside, and I don’t blame him.

I was really on a pizza-making kick last week. This one was so delicious that there weren’t any leftovers…

This weekend, Boh and I headed home for my family’s annual February turkey dinner, where everybody gets together for a low-stress Thanksgiving-like meal. The food was delicious, and it was great to lounge around my parents’ house with family. And Boh got a bath. (He’s thrilled.) I think I did more driving than reading this weekend, but the change of scenery helped me finish up a draft of a research proposal, so I’m calling it a productive weekend. Plus, my parents sent me home with enough leftovers to feed me through Tuesday!

Alright, time to start the week.

 

new chairs.

Craigslist victory! Now, where to put them?

Someday, these might be on the porch of that lake house.

A mixture of veggies on the stove. These colors make me happy.

Terra helped me grade 40+ response papers last night and this morning.

I turned the heel of the first of two long-neglected plain and simple socks. It helped with Monday.

Back to the chairs. I love them. In fact, I might sit in one while I read tonight’s book…

 

overwhelmed.

I’ve certainly been feeling the less-than-awesome kind of overwhelmed this week. Which is why I’m pretty psyched to get to share (another) example of the good kind of overwhelmed.

This delicious Fine and Raw almond chunky chocolate bar arrived in a box of fibery treats from dear knithound. I sat down at the kitchen table and savored it. (And then thought you might to at least see the wrapper. This stuff is incredible!)

Along with that chocolate (which I’m not sure if I should describe as heavenly or sinful), knithound sent me three special bundles of undyed luxury fiber: an ounce of merino/cashmere, an ounce of oatmeal cashmere, and an ounce of a yak/tussah silk blend, all from The Yarn Tree. I keep opening the bags to pet them.

You may have noticed that I haven’t really been spending much time at the wheel lately — there’s just so much to do. But these — these might be just the right amount for a small break, time to decompress, or work through an idea. I might even dig out a drop spindle for one of these fiber bumps.

Thank you, knithound, for this overwhelming (in the good way) box of luxury. And thanks to all of blogland for your kindness and comments on what it means to grow older and to reflect on experiences and expectations these last few weeks.

(almost) FO: terra.

Excuse the crappy late-night photos. (And the pjs.) I finished the sewn bind off on terra last night, and immediately draped myself in it. And when I woke up this morning, I wrapped it around my shoulders and made the coffee. Today was not the best of Mondays. Terra helped. And is helping, in just the way that handknits can.

There’s granola in the oven. And I might eat some for dinner. After that, I’m going to curl up with Boh (and terra) and prepare for Tuesday.

EZ’s sewn bind off.

Alright, you’ve got me. I might have finished knitting my terra shawl instead of a book on the Gilded Age last night. I’m going to finish that book this morning. Really.

I’m not going to lie; all the way through the knitting, I had been thinking that there was no way I was going to do a sewn bind off for the hundreds of stitches in the last row of this shawl. And then, last night, I shamed myself into it. Don’t you always say that you love the process of knitting? Don’t you like learning new techniques? You’ll think about not doing the special bind off when you wear it, won’t you? Yes, yes, maybe…

I’m so glad I listened to myself. And, well, Jared Flood, master of lace and all things EZ. The sewn bind off isn’t hard. In fact, it’s pretty rhythmic and relaxing. And it looks gorgeous — even and polished. The catch? It takes forever.

You’re looking at almost two hours worth of binding off, and I’m just past the halfway point. (Granted, it will go faster as the tail of my working yarn gets shorter and shorter.)

Boh, as always, is humoring me. (Hey, this is what happens when you decide you don’t want to get off the couch so I can take a few pictures against a lighter backdrop.)

He has big plans for our Sunday: sleep, chase (his) tail, take a walk, practice his catching skills (he can now catch a tennis ball most of the time if I give him a nice underhand toss), sleep some more. Me? Back to the Gilded Age.

treats.

Homemade strawberry-balsamic syrup on top of my morning granola. (I might have done this every day this week.)

A different kind of treat arrived in the mail this week: mitten cuffs from brokeknits, thoughtfully knit over 29 st to mark my 29th birthday. So sweet, and one of the best ways I can think of to make reading and writing a bit cozier.

I wore them all day today, and stayed warm as the wind howled.

terra, tretorns, and everything in between.

Literally. See, I finally uploaded about thirty pictures from my camera, and they start with my progress on terra’s lace, and end with my new rain boots, acquired in a ridiculous end-of-winter clearance. Let the show and tell begin.

Terra. I’ve got less than ten rows remaining, but these are some loooong rows. I am so excited about this shawl, but it’s probably going to be mid-March before I finish it. And I’m okay with that.

Homemade pizza with local swiss chard that I picked, blanched, and froze at the end of fall. Making pizza for one means leftovers!

Idlewood in action. Again. This might be the most wearable sweater I’ve ever knit, and is part of the uniform I think I’m accidentally adopting. Part project fake-it-til-you-make-it, part I-really-hate-it-when-winter-slush-and-salt-soak-the-bottoms-of-my-jeans, I’m realizing that some combination of leggings, boots, shorter skirts or dresses and slouchy, layered sweaters seems to be what I’m wearing most days. Somehow it seems to fit with 29. I can’t explain it.

Boh has the right idea. Usually he gets up with me, but lately, as soon as I groan and turn off the alarm, he settles into some part of the warmth I’ve generated, and I get up to make the coffee. Cuteness.

Yes, that’s right. I received a valentine in the mail from dear friend E., and this is what I found when I opened the rather battered and clearly re-taped envelope. At least the candy thief opted to reseal and re-mail the envelope. The valentine is of course the part that matters to me, and the whole thing gave me a good laugh yesterday, which might have been just what I needed after a long day on campus. Plus, it gave me a great story to leave on E.’s voicemail.

Rubber rain boots. Necessary for spring. Also, for lake houses. (Yay!)

The madness of desk #2, above, is a good indication of how frazzled things are right now. I’m not sure about my posting frequency these next few months — I’ll be here, but there might be lots more of these disjointed “show and tell” style posts for awhile, and a little less knitting. And I’ve clearly been more than a little delinquent in the land of comments. I’m going to do my best, but I have no idea what I’ll have time and energy for. I’m planning to read until I can’t read anymore for the next six weeks, and then my exams begin. Let’s just agree that if all goes well, there will be lots more knitting, spinning, cooking, and blogging come May! Thanks for being here in the meantime.

competitive paint-by-number.

That’s right. Last night I attended the first annual [alcohol-fueled] paint-by-number competition. I already can’t wait for next year. A colleague of mine in the department came up with this incredible idea, and, inspired by the problematic and inappropriate depiction of a native woman (complete with spirit eagle, wolf, etc.) in this kit, planned a competition between two teams: Pocahontas and John Smith, with the prize (of course) of a map of the state of Virginia, as well as bragging rights associated with having the winning creation hung in the office of said colleague, who shares her office with a friend (also present last night) who works on issues of race and gender, and the representation of native women in early America. If we can’t eliminate these representations, I guess we might as well do the paint-by-number…

First of all, this was way more complicated than the paint-by-number kits I remember. This involved 18 colors, as well as mixing colors 1-18 to create shades labeled A through X.

Yours truly, working on the spirit eagle’s wings.

Here you can see a bit more of the “competition.” Timed, side-by-side painting for each color, complete with painter’s smocks and penalty drinks for the painter to complete less of his/her color. (Ginger beer for me, as I was driving.)

Team Pocahontas’ creation: in a re-writing of history we all could appreciate, they won Virginia. (And continued to paint, filling in missed areas from earlier rounds to finish off their masterpiece.)

Everyone brought deliciousness: homemade bread*, tater-tot hot dish, peanut-butter cookies, and our host made pasta with broccoli raab and fancy mixed drinks. I brought my mom’s artichoke dip. Despite the competition, it was a laid-back, relaxed night of mostly history-department folks, and a chance to be a little silly among friends.

*Delicious bread — and all of the photos in this post — supplied by my dear friend K.

twenty-nine.

Yesterday I turned twenty-nine. I’ve been thinking about this birthday a lot, and trying to come to terms with where I am in my life right now, versus where I might have loosely imagined I’d be when I turned twenty. I remember feeling anxious about twenty. I had just decided not to become a doctor, and so many things were unknown. It was exciting, but scary, too. And twenty, well, twenty marked the beginning of what then seemed like the decade that would determine so much of what my life would be: graduation, the start of a career, a family? The idea that this would be the decade for all of those things weighed heavily on me.

And now? Well, I have to admit, I thought I was beyond thinking about these kinds of expectations for myself, but this birthday has brought a lot of those thoughts back. Intellectually, I am quite comfortable saying out loud that I am happy with the decisions I’ve made, and the unexpected places they’ve taken me. Emotionally, though, I think it is okay to acknowledge that maybe I’m not where I thought I’d be at twenty-nine, at least in the non-academic parts of my life, and that I’m a little bit sad about that. And that’s okay. I no longer feel like my twenties will determine my future, and I have a much stronger sense of myself than I did at twenty.

So Boh and I celebrated quietly yesterday, with an extra-long frolic in the snow, and dumplings. This is the kind of meal I rarely prepare for myself — it is a lot of work for just me. But yesterday, I decided that I would give myself extra time in the kitchen, instead of putting something to simmer on the stove so that I could continue to read. (And I’ve got leftovers for tonight.) I’m sure I’ll do some celebrating with friends this weekend, but yesterday was what I needed. I crossed some things off of my to-do list, indulged a bit in the kitchen and outside, and knit a few more rows on my terra shawl.

Here’s to twenty-nine.

FO: elsa wool pebble.

I am so pleased with how this turned out. After a few false starts — once because I wasn’t happy with the stitch count (it looked too big) and once because I twisted my knitting when I joined it in the round (what? I haven’t done that in years!) — I got into a rhythm and just knit-knit-knit to get this done in time for Sunday’s shower. I made some modifications based on other projects on ravelry: used worsted-weight yarn and size 7 needles, CO 70 st, made the garter stitch sides 5 st, and knit in the round with buttons only at the shoulder, rather than all the way up the side. I used more of the elsa wool cormo from my idlewood (maybe just over half a skein?), and oh my goodness, do I ever love this yarn. Squishy, woolly, and absolutely gorgeous.

Pebble might be the perfect gender-neutral baby gift. (I’m all about not adhering to gender-specific colors, but I can’t help myself when it comes to patterns for baby knits. I’m waiting for baby M. to arrive, and then I absolutely must cast on for either a frilly girl cardigan or an “old man” style cardigan.)

Snowy and lovely outside. Off to campus!