handspun purl ridges.

This project is inspired by CatReading’s wurm cowl. (If you have time, look through her other projects — her knitting is lovely.) I wound up my Rhinebeck cauldron handspun on Thursday morning, and took it with me for the weekend. I cast on roughly 180ish stitches and got to work. A few mornings at my parents’ kitchen table with a mug of coffee, and an afternoon pedicure with my mom created ideal conditions for serious progress — I’m well into my second skein. The squishy-ness of this yarn makes it absolutely addicting to knit. I’m optimistic about the outcome, but there’s a chance this will be too wild for me. I guess I’ll just have to keep knitting to find out…

Boh enjoyed our weekend trip, but I think he’s happy to be home. I’m off again tomorrow for another research trip, but Boh will stay here with a friend of mine. (I sort of wish I could just curl up with Boh on the couch for the week.) After this trip, I’ll have a few weeks without travel, and I’m really looking forward to settling into a routine that encompasses more than just planning for and recovering from trips!

pie.

Strawberry-rhubarb-basil. It could have used a little bit of sugar, as the rhubarb was very tart, but it was bright and fresh-tasting, and the basil even seemed to sweeten it a little!

Oatmeal-pecan. Pie you can eat for breakfast. You know, because of the oatmeal. (I’m baking pies for a friend’s wedding next month, so I’ve been baking and eating more pie in order to help her make some important decisions about fillings and crusts. Tough life, I know.)

Also, here’s some stuff that isn’t pie:

Dogs and books. And me. All in a big pile.

Tango, in a rare contemplative moment.

Remember what I was saying about kitchen mojo? This has been a go-to for me this summer, in part because mojo is not required. Also, the gratification is immediate. Which I like. I have been eating this on Tuesdays. And other days, too, but especially Tuesdays. I get home from the farm, slice into my weekly bread share loaf, cut up a tomato, a hot pepper, and find some cheese in the fridge. I turn on the broiler. I sliver some basil. I pile all that stuff on the toast (this week it is a rye with caraway seeds encrusted on the outside), slide it under the broiler, and wait less than five minutes, until the toast is dark around the edges and the cheese is bubbling and starting to brown. Then I take it out and make myself go in the other room, or take out the compost, or do something to not eat this right away, because I will burn my mouth. And then I take my broiled tomato toast to the porch to enjoy. Summer food, at its finest.

It is rainy this morning, and I have a hankering for knitting with handspun. Boh and I are headed to a family wedding this weekend, and amidst the packing (so much harder to throw stuff in a bag and go when you have to look pretty where you’re going) I’m hoping to find time to wind up some squishy comfort yarn. The grey, rainy morning might have something to do with that. Happy weekend!

back to life/back to reality.

You guys remember that song, right? Okay, hold on, I need to Google it. Soul 2 Soul, Back to Life (However Do You Want Me), big hit in 1989.

Anyway, this jam (isn’t that what we used to call them?) popped into my head when I was thinking about how the routines are starting up again all around me, but that I’m not really going back to school (get it?) this semester. Instead, I have a semester of dissertation research and writing ahead of me, without any teaching obligations. (I’ll be teaching again in the spring — this time, my very own course.)

So instead of a back to school photo, you get a back to life/back to reality photo. This one’s not blurry. And it counts as a stripe-study-in-action shot! (I’m not sure it is actually cold enough to wear this out of the house, but at this very second, it is about 52 degrees outside. And on my porch. So I’m going for it.)

I’ve also got some baked goods to share:

This is Deb’s raspberry buttermilk cake (I know I’ve linked to it before) — super simple, incredibly delicious. I might have eaten it for breakfast AND lunch yesterday. Might.

And last night, when I got home from yoga, I scurried to get this tomato tart (farm tomatoes, local goat cheese, mustard, honey, thyme from my yard, and pie crust) in the oven. It took longer than usual because I was using a pie crust from a batch I made over the weekend rather than the tart dough that this recipe calls for, so I was pretty hungry by the time it came out of the oven. Leftovers for breakfast!

flour to scale.

So, sometime-blogger, always-friend K. hopped a plane to a place where the words are very long. And she left me a big box of treats from her pantry, including this enormous bag of flour.

I’ll be honest. I’ve been struggling to reclaim my cooking mojo. Maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the traveling, maybe it’s that I don’t really have anyone to cook for right now; I don’t know. But I haven’t been playing in the kitchen anywhere near as much as I’d like to want to, if that makes sense.

Enter that big bag of flour. I just had to bake something. So out came the measuring cups and spoons, and out came the loaf pan and an enormous farm zucchini.

And after an hour in the oven, voila: zucchini bread. This is the basic recipe in Mark Bittman’s big yellow book — nothing fancy, but it sure is delicious. (And this loaf had a touch of freshly grated nutmeg, courtesy of K.’s bag o’ treats.)

That was Friday.

I’m glad I enjoyed most of the zucchini bread Friday and Saturday, because today, I left the last sixth of it on the counter. Which, by the way, is where I leave most of my food. But this weekend, Boh and I have a house guest in the form of Tango, my neighbor’s loveable 3-year old ball of energy. Tango has taught Boh a thing or two about mischief…including, apparently, how to get the rest of a loaf of zucchini bread off the counter. Here’s hoping Boh was simply a witness, rather than a full-on accomplice.  All I know is that trouble has never looked so cute.

Oh, and here’s a bit of knitting! Like the zucchini bread, it’s nothing fancy, but I sure do like it. This is Ishbel, take 2, in what I’m pretty sure is still Yarn Pirate yarn from when I belonged to the Booty Club in a deep variegated purple. So lovely. Also, a little biased, because when I ripped out last time I wound it right back into a ball. Hoping I’ll be happy with it once I re-block. (Note to self: don’t be lazy about rewashing yarn…)

More soon.

big star.

So, last week I was in Chicago — and I ate these tacos, with dear friends, at a place in Wicker Park marked by a large neon sign in the shape of a Big Star (hence, the name). I also found a coffee shop called The Wormhole, complete with Neverending Story posters and a Delorian…but that’s another story.

Back to the tacos. It had been a long, but productive week. Friday was particularly lovely, because the hours of squinting at tiny handwriting in a _very_cold room occurred on either side of a much warmer (in all senses!) lunch date with another blog-friend-turned-in-real-life-friend, Jodi. (Yay!) After leaving the archives, I made my way to Wicker Park, found The Wormhole while wandering and waiting for my hosts to get into the city, saw very cool stuff in shipping containers at an art show organized by a mutual friend, and then found myself, magically, at a table of friends and tacos. (See above.)

What a perfect ending to the day. And then, when I thought it couldn’t get any better, this was discovered in the bottom of the taco bag:

Yep, that says “pollito” — and maybe “asado.” My Spanish reading skills told me to expect a roast chicken lollipop.

As I ate, and enjoyed both sweet and savory — even spicy — flavors, I wondered if the base was, indeed, some kind of chicken lard. After much musing on the subject, Google explained that, while shaped like a roast chicken, this lollipop is peach-pineapple and chile flavored: strange at first, but actually pretty amazing.

All of the above is highly recommended by this rooster.

Happy Wednesday!

whispering?

You know, the act of finishing off a whisper cardigan. I snapped these photos last weekend, before a super busy week of research travel.

I think I’m going to love this sweater. I bound off moments after these photos — just needed to make sure it seemed long enough — and then promptly tucked it into my knitting bag for safekeeping while I was away. On the list for this week? Blocking the bottom edge to reduce the rolling. And then, if it stays cool and gray, wearing it out of the house! (I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: I clearly didn’t give any thought at all to the placement of the mirror in my new home — I need to place one somewhere other than a dark hallway near the bathroom with yellowish light.) Also, I didn’t even need to break into the third skein of this Knitpicks laceweight yarn. Real FO photos to come once it is blocked.

Oh, and that blueberry crumble I posted about last week?

It was delicious. More soon.

mojo?

Have you seen mine? Because I’ve had a hard time finding it lately in the knitting/spinning/blogging department. (Also, the dissertation department.) But you know what? I’m newly resolved not to let it bother me. I’m sure it will come back; after all, this space is dear to me.

But enough of that. Want to see what I’ve been up to this week?

Swimming. (Suit drying on the porch.)

Eating. (More specifically, eating tomatoes: in tarts, broiled on bread with cheese, and straight from the cutting board.)

Picking flowers. (And putting them all over the house.)

Lounging with Boh.

And today? Well, today I’m taking Saturday seriously. I slept in, made pancakes, read for pleasure, and frolicked a bit with Boh. I even put on my swimsuit in order to encourage the sun to come out. See?

Still rainy, but it might clear up enough for me to take a quick dip.

I’m also macerating blueberries on the kitchen counter. Later today, they’ll become this blueberry crumble. (Berries courtesy of Laura.)

I don’t have any new pictures to share of my Whisper cardigan, but I have been knitting on it. Photographic evidence soon. Happy weekend!