at year’s end: a baby hat, an eternity scarf, a hat project.

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A baby hat for my cousin’s second daughter, born a few weeks before Christmas Day. (I enjoyed some serious baby time on Christmas Day, the wee one out cold in my arms. This hat is too big for her, but she was wearing it anyway. Yay!)

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Our traditional Christmas Eve meal: French onion soup and quiche Lorraine. This might be the first time I’ve ever snapped a picture of it.

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Also traditional: the Christmas Bloody Mary. Yum.

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This is the beginning of a hat project for P., our October houseguest. Everything in the house broke that week, and P. was pretty awesome about helping with (read: doing) re-lighting the pilot light on my furnace, locating the source of the water spraying all over my basement, and keeping me company on the porch while we waited for the power company to check out a potential gas leak. These are not the sorts of things houseguests are supposed to do, and so I volunteered to make him a hat! Stay tuned for more in progress pictures of this handspun seaman’s cap.

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Plyed, but not washed yet.

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A Boh interlude.

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More Boh, and the beginnings of a handspun eternity scarf I knit for myself amidst work-related stress.

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That was fast. This is merino I spun at least a year ago and it is SO soft.

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Here’s the beginning of P.’s hat. Such lovely dude colors.

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And here’s Boh, cuddling with my bright pink Mara shawl. And that should get us to the New Year. I’ll be back soon with more knitting and spinning from the beginning of 2014. (And thanks, you guys, for the comments, and for being here. I’m sorry I’m so behind on comments. I might just archive them and try to start fresh with my responding. Thanks for understanding.)

august?

Time for more apologizing. (And for getting used to a new version of WordPress. This is fancy!) I don’t know why I’m not knitting, and I don’t really know why I’m not blogging. But I’m not quite ready to give up on this space, and I hope you’re not ready to give up on me. I’m hoping to get back into a groove one of these days.

Until then, though, you get pictures of what we’ve been up to, both here at the lake house and further afield. Since I last blogged (in June?!), I’ve TAed an intensive 3-week summer course, joined my family for a week on the gulf coast of Florida, spent a weekend in the Catskills saying goodbye to a dear grad school friend who is moving/moving on to take a postdoc, given a paper at my first non-grad-student conference (yay!) and visited my younger brother in Colorado. (Whew!)

Want to see some of that? Here you go:

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During that three-week course, Boh spent a lot of time entertaining himself.

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And there were strawberries.

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Cuddling the papers to grade…

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Frolicking at a nearby park on our way to the farm.

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First farm tomato!

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Delicious.

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Writing.

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Bird-watching, coffee-drinking, breakfast-eating, all from the balcony of the condo my parents rented on the gulf coast of Florida.

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Seashells collected on morning walks with my mom.

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Beautiful beach.

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A snapping turtle greeting me (and Boh — see his nose in the lower left-hand corner?) in the Catskills!

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Catskills relaxation.

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And some more.

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Sam, my brother’s horse.

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Colorado National Monument.

And now — just today, actually — home again, this time for awhile. Time to settle back into lake house life, which I’m hoping will include lots of writing…

Thanks for reading, friends.

unintended absence…

Hi, you guys! Apologies for what has been an entirely unintended absence from the blog! I made it to DC on schedule, but accidentally brought a pretty nasty cold/flu with me. My first week was a bit of a blur, and now that it’s been almost three (?!), I’m finally settling into a rhythm. Here’s a little bit of what that looks like:

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National Archives at night. Last night, in fact. Snapped this on my way to meet a dear friend for dinner.

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My office — and my new shiny piece of technology. (I bought an iPad mini, and I love it. It has already been more useful than I could have imagined for my work. I’m reading and annotating articles and drafts, and using it as a second screen while reviewing documents and making notes. Super awesome.) Also, that’s a bowl of tabbouleh. I’m still getting used to packing my lunch every morning. At home, most days I split my work between home and campus or a coffee shop, and head back to the house to walk Boh and make lunch.

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Birds! I don’t intend to share lots of work stuff here, but I figured that knitters might appreciate these gorgeous, vibrant birds. (One of the people I write about in my dissertation was a naturalist who collected a lot of specimens for the Smithsonian.)

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Yarn! Foxflat was in town, and we met up to do some yarn shopping and tea drinking. Hooray for internet friends who become real-life friends!

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Consider this proof of our lovely afternoon (and my inability to keep my eyes open in photos). I have plans to knit a spring cowl ouf of that super happy Quince and Co. yarn. Also, I’m totally psyched about that sweater Katie is wearing — she posted about it here, and it is even more fantastic in person.

Alright, that’s what I’ve got for now. I’m embarrassingly far behind on replying to comments, but it’s on my to-do list. (Which, by the way, I’m working to digitize. I highly recommend Workflowy, and if you want to check it out, use this link, and we’ll both get a little extra space. No pressure, of course.)

Happy Groundhog Day — and happy weekend! More soon.

lovely/heavy.

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As in, good thing the snow is lovely, because it sure is heavy. Boh and I got home on Saturday afternoon. Can you see our foot- and paw prints in the snow? I parked at the bottom of the driveway and spent the last remaining hour of daylight shoveling a path to get the car up to its parking spot at the top of the driveway. And then it kept snowing, which meant I spent much of yesterday shoveling the whole thing again, but in batches because I was sore from Saturday’s shoveling effort. All of that strikes me as a pretty good stand-in for 2012. Some big stuff, some lovely stuff, and a lot of slow, steady working on and working through stuff.

In 2012, I turned 30. I published my first piece. I started writing my dissertation. I taught the first class that was entirely my own. I was the maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding. I returned to the Southwest for work and play. All good things, even that birthday. But 2012 was also a solitary year, filled with anxiety about work and life, about the future writ both large and small. Lots of reflection on my choices and what they might mean for what comes next. Lots of working on trying to let all that I have be enough for me right now, while allowing some space for the universe to surprise me. I’m going to keep working on that in 2013.

I read over my 2012 blog posts this morning in anticipation of an end-of-the-year entry, and I discovered that I actually did a fair amount of knitting this year. I completed 12 projects, including a handful of wedding presents and a shawl for my best friend. I finished some long-languishing projects, and even began my first destash. In 2013 I want to just keep going. There are more wedding gifts to knit, and more projects started long ago that I’d like to complete. I also want to knit up some yarn/pattern pairings I’ve been daydreaming about for years (hello, effortless cardigan, aidez, lightweight pullover, daybreak shawl, and others), and I’m hoping to use more handspun. And most importantly, I want to keep knitting as part of the pile of things I do to take care of myself.

I made solid progress towards establishing a writing practice in 2012. I struggled to balance teaching and writing in the spring, and did a better job this fall. In 2013, at least as things stand right now, I will not be teaching; only writing. I’m hoping this flexibility will allow me to create the kind of writing practice I want, and to make it a routine in 2013. And perhaps 2013 will be the year I get serious about my home yoga practice. I dabbled this year, occasionally getting out the mat and doing a few small things — dolphin, bridge, a sun salutation or two — in the morning with my coffee. But it isn’t enough. I could see and feel the impact of three classes a week on my happiness, health, and fitness, and though the two classes I’ve been able to make work with my schedule this year are wonderful, it isn’t the same. So that’s what I’m going to aim for this year: more writing, more knitting, more yoga.

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And when I finished my final round of shoveling yesterday, the sun came out.

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This guy knows 2012 is ending, and that in 2013 he’s going to spend a little bit of time frolicking at my parents’ house while I am in DC. (This was Boh’s big Christmas present, and I am so very grateful.) He crawled into my lap yesterday, and I managed to snap this blurry picture. I’m pretty sure Boh’s plans for 2013 are about the same as his plans for 2012: lounge, cuddle, eat, play, snore.

Happy New Year! And from me and Boh to you and yours: thanks for reading.

destash.

It turns out that when I’m sick I love to organize. Also, I’m gearing up for a couple of months in DC, which also means getting ready to take Boh to hang out with my brother in Colorado, and preparing my home for a subletter. I’m going to try to pack a bunch of personal stuff into my office so that there’s space for my subletter to get comfortable here. My office is also my fiber room — hence, the destash.

Ideally I’d do this with natural light, but it is getting dark before 5 pm, so I decided not to hold my breath for sunshine. I laid out a dropcloth for snapping a few pictures, but while I was busy putting the battery into my camera, this happened:

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Silly dog. Anyway, you can find all the details on my ravelry destash page: a bunch of brightly colored fingering weight yarn, and a fair bit of cotton yarn. (Also, a huge lot of black KnitPicks Gloss, from back when I was a brand-new knitter and thought I was ready to knit myself a black fingering weight pullover…) I’m still not ready. Maybe you are?

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If you see something you like, message me on ravelry or shoot me an email! Thanks!

smitten.

 

 

I’ve been drooling over Deb’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook all week. On Saturday morning I made latkes and they were amazing. Best I’ve ever made. I particularly appreciate that Deb did not specify how many people this particular recipe serves, because I ate them all.

Today, I made my coffee and flipped through the book again. This dutch baby caught my eye. I’ve never made one before, but the results were picture-perfect. (And oh-so-tasty.)

And just now I mixed up a simple and yummy broccoli slaw to counter the decadence in my weekend food intake. I really think you might need this cookbook. (Full disclosure: Not only did I buy one for myself; after looking through mine, I also purchased three more as gifts for my mom, my chair, and a dear friend. All have birthdays in the first half of November.)

And, you know, because this is, at least in theory, a knitting blog, look — knitting! Those are not my hands; they are the hands of my dear friend J. She’s such a fast learner. After one evening of basic instruction in casting on, knitting, and purling, she practiced until she’d used up the partial ball of yarn I gave her. On Friday we went yarn shopping, and that evening, J. cast on her first project (on dpns, no less!), a pair of toasty fingerless mitts! Hooray!

five (oops).

My fifth blogiversary was a couple of weeks ago, and I was out of town and totally forgot to post. This space continues to mean so much to me — it is a place to document my world and connect with folks who care about similar things (knitting, spinning, cooking, outdoor frolicking, sweet and wrinkly dogs…) as well as an opportunity to write something, and often to get unstuck (in lots of ways). I like having this record of sorts. I’m a historian, so I guess that shouldn’t be surprising, but perhaps because my academic life, though punctuated with deadlines, has reached the stage where I’m working on a Really Big Project, I particularly value this alternate way of documenting some of the other pieces of my life here in the blogosphere. Thanks for being here — for reading, for commenting, and for blogging! Now, about those socks.

Yesterday marked the ceremonial(?) putting on of the handknit socks — the first time this fall! (These happen to be handspun as well.) We’re expecting a solid seven days of rain from the storms converging on the East Coast this week, and last night, as I was leaving the house, it was just beginning to drizzle. These kept me cozy all evening. Are you wondering what’s under that foil?

Deb’s Apple Mosaic Tart with Salted Caramel. You should add puff pastry to your grocery list. Seriously. This tart was so easy that I felt guilty bringing it over to the home of D and T, even though T had seen it on Deb’s blog and requested it. (It felt sort of like microwaving my dinner might feel. You know, if I had a microwave.) These are the basic steps: put puff pastry in pan, add apples, top with sugar and butter, bake. While baking, melt sugar, add a few things, and brush the caramel over the top of the tart. And it is SO GOOD. And pretty. And because my apples were huge and a little soft, I didn’t make the spiral that Deb made. Still tasty, still pretty.

Here’s a snapshot from Friday’s Yoda Thorpe fitting. M brought over some gardening wire for the ears, and we added the appropriate level of wrinkling. I’m hoping to get a picture of M’s Sexy Yoda costume to share with you!

I’ll wrap up today with some sweetness. Boh has conjunctivitis, so he’s been extra cuddly. (Except when I put his eye drops in three times a day. Poor dog.) Yesterday he napped while I graded.

Good thing I’m right-handed! We have a few more papers to work on together today.

These are my favorite trees on campus. There’s something about the golden shade of fall leaves that looks extra brilliant on dreary days. At least I have these trees to look forward during this week of rain ahead. I hope everyone in the path of the Frankenstorm stays safe, warm, and dry.

nashville.

Boh and I spent the weekend before the last full week of research on my road trip in Nashville with brokeknits. I mostly snapped photos of the food we ate, but I can assure you that both the conversation and the scenery were fantastic.

The Parthenon. Or rather, a scaled replica first made in temporary form for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, and later re-made in concrete. Of course, we had to see Gilded Athena.

Yup. What’s sort of crazy is that this is not unrelated to my work. I mean, Athena is not in my dissertation, but the ideas surrounding things like Centennial Park and the Exposition are certainly part of it.

We honored our trip to see Athena with tater tots. (Mine are covered by an incredibly tasty scramble of eggs and veggies.) We ate them in a lovely vine-covered patio area.

And then we walked by this meter, flashing FAIL. I could do so much with that, but I’ll hold off, as I’m sipping my coffee before heading to campus for the first meeting of the class I’m teaching.

Oh, right. And then this happened. We went to eat Jeni’s Ice Cream. (I didn’t realize there was one in Nashville.) It was amazing. I think ate something that had berries and lavender, something that had almond brittle in it, and something that was mostly pecans and whiskey. All in a waffle cone. It was amazing.

Cheers! A waffle cone toast to friendships that start on the interwebs and transition to real life!

And now, off to campus. Happy first day of school!

cup(pow) of lilac wine?

Forgive me. I’m doing that thing where I try to link all the things I want to tell you about in a phrase. It’s okay if you want to roll your eyes. But when you’re done with that, look at this:

After I posted about recap mason jar lids for narrow mouth jars, blog friend dearmary offered to order me a cuppow coffee lid for wide mouth jars as part of an order she was planning. We met on Thursday, and talked for an hour. (And she not only brought me the cuppow; she also brought me a jar and a sweet, stripey handknit mason jar cozy!) All of this affirmed what I already knew to be true: blog friends are the best.  Also, the cuppow has my highest recommendation. I filled it with a latte right away, and when I was done, I flipped the lid inside out and put the regular mason jar lid disc over it, sealing in any remaining coffee drips and making it possible to toss the whole thing in my bag. I am going to use this ALL THE TIME.

I finished blocking my lilac wine cowl and snapped a few FO pictures.

I ended up using between 2/3 and 3/4 of my skein of Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 sock yarn. I could have kept going; I intended to, even, but I developed some sort of lilac wine fatigue last week and was ready to bind off.

I think I’ll get a lot of use out of this — in overly air-conditioned lecture halls and during in-between seasons, especially.

I took a few photos of the cemetery on my walk down the hill from campus. I’m captivated by the house-style mausoleums built into the hillside.

Can you tell we’re onto the random pictures from my iPhone segment of the blog? I’ve been eating strawberries twice a day this week. (I picked a gallon last week at the farm, and I’ve managed to eat them all. So good.)

More pesto, this time with garlic scapes and farm basil.

And then there’s Boh and his pile of paws. I’ll post photos of the weekend adventures that prompted such deep sleep soon.

more booty.

Apologies for the blog silence — I headed home for that baby shower (taking an unfinished booty with me), and then took a brief trip to see my grandmother out of state, and then got back here on Tuesday morning to work on a grant application. Whew! Finished that yesterday, and blogging is at the top of today’s non-work to-do list.

Here’s an iPhone shot of the second booty, just before kitchenering, and then the pair, just before wrapping. My cousin seemed to really like them at the shower — let’s hope the baby does, too! I haven’t done any knitting since finishing these on Saturday morning, maybe because I don’t have any knitting that is both portable and free of charts or counting. I should probably fix that by casting on for something new for me, like socks, though I certainly have lots more baby and wedding gifts to knit over the next several months.

None of these are recent FOs, but here’s the pile of handknits I sent to Occupy Wall Street last week. The weather is getting cold, and these handknits can be more useful there than here in my basket o’ warm things. (Side note: I should really consider knitting myself another hat with a pompom.)

And here’s a shot of the lake. The fall color has been absolutely stunning this year, but even so, the transition to winter is sort of exciting because of the way my view is changing. Now that the leaves have mostly fallen, I can see the lake even from my perch on the couch in the family room.

On blog posts and traffic: I noticed that a lot of people (500+) visited my blog last week when I posted about the first booty. Perhaps they were expecting something else? I’ll let you know if the same thing happens today…