twothousandeight.

2008

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to sum up my 2008. This is one of the pictures I’m most proud of from this year, and in looking back over my photos and posts, I think it is representative of much of what has occurred in my world over the last 12 months. I snapped this photo in July, during the evening light of a brief break in a classic southwestern summer storm. This year I worked through new and challenging situations at work, agonized over and then got into graduate school, packed up my life and moved it East, and returned to academic life, to a path that I hope to make a career of. I finished my first sweaters. I developed enough confidence in my sock knitting to gift them. I’m learning to spin. I’m in my 15th month of blogging.

There is quite a bit of turmoil in the photo above, but it works: the picture as whole is stunning, full of beauty. This year contained more drama and difficulty than those in more recent memory,  but it was also filled with unexpected color and opportunity.

I’m off to the north country tomorrow for a week of adventuring with the boy. Oh-nine knitting goals to follow shortly after I return.

Happy New Year, blogland.

cowls.

I know I’m way late to the party on this one, and I have to give Hilary credit — she was talking about knitting cowls out of all of the warm, beautiful yarn we were petting at my LYS, and suddenly I was buying this gorgeous skein of Manos to make a cowl for a friend. Over the weekend, while soup was being prepared, I made some serious progress on cowl #1. (So nice to be able to knit in the kitchen — not something you can do by yourself.)

Apologies for my dirty mirror. Here’s another shot:

I followed the worsted weight mods for the Dolores Park Cowl, but didn’t pay much attention to gauge or needle size (I used US 9s), so it turned out a bit more slouchy than I was expecting. It looks enormous on the table! I wore it around the house for a bit yesterday, and I’ve decided that I like it this way — with a sheepier yarn, perhaps it makes sense to go for something slouchier to improve comfort and create the right amount of warmth. I’m convinced now, but I NEEDED to make another just to make sure. I had some extra Malabrigo laying around, so I cast on 72 st, using the 9s again, and roughly followed the pattern, though I threw in a decrease row about 8 or so rows before the second purl ridge.

This is perhaps a tad snug — perfect in Malabrigo, but perhaps it would be annoying to a non-knitter in a different yarn? Also, this confirms for me that cowls should be bright! I think I’m going to hold onto this one, as it has already come in quite handy for keeping me warm while Boh takes care of his morning business. I’d also like to note that I began knitting this cowl yesterday, after beginning work on a paper for this afternoon, and that I completed the cowl last night. The paper is still only half written…

Also, I’m super excited to link to a shot of one of my pinwheel blankets in real life. Remember that wedding I went to in California last month? The one where I was weaving in the ends to the green pinwheel just before the ceremony, and thus had no picture of the finished product to share? The newlyweds in question purchased a house this year, and have been posting pictures of their progress as they turn it into “home”. Check out that blanket draped over a chair in the living room! One of these days I’m going to need to make a pinwheel blanket to keep, though I imagine Boh will fight me for it.

toast and socktober.

Whoops! Saw these last week at A Friend to Knit With and just had to cast on. I used random leftovers of Cascade 220 Heathers. Finished one immediately, and then life got in the way. I’ll be happy with my schoolwork progress if I read two books this weekend, and after I finished the first one, I sat down to knit on my second mitt. One episode of Craftlit later, and I was weaving in the ends.

I just learned that I’ve been assigned a carrel in the library stacks, and it is a bit chilly up there. These will be perfect for helping to keep my focus on my reading… I can’t believe we’re already 5 weeks into the semester. How did it become October? Now I will awkwardly transition to Socktober. I did an absolutely horrible job last year — I managed to not finish the pair of socks I already had on the needles. You heard it here, folks. I am vowing not to repeat that peformance. I’m going to finish at least one pair of socks, and to increase my chances of success, I’ve cast on for the Through the Loops Mystery Sock! Take a look:

Boh doesn’t seem to think I can do it. The yarn is sunshine yarns in a lovely variegated green — a gift from a knitting group friend months ago. These pictures do not do it justice, but I am thrilled with how the cuff is coming along. I’m going to reward myself with some more knitting time if I can make some progress on this second book. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

brought to you by the letter B.

Brussel sprouts…

Boh asleep on my Bed (note that his head is on the pillow. Silly dog)…

Beret #2. How did that happen?

(no-knead) Bread #4. This time I used bread flour, and Boy is it Beautiful!

I didn’t actually plan for today to be sponsored by the letter B, but it is nice when things turn out that way. Here are the details of my accidentally cast-on and completed star crossed slouchy beret #2:

Yarn/needles: Malabrigo leftovers from Foliage and sassymmetrical, US 11 needles.

Mods: A bunch on this version: On the increase row after the first pattern repeat, I did K3, M1, rather than K2, M1, to make it slightly less slouchy. The second time through, the pattern directs you to do a repeat and a half. I eliminated the half repeat, and began the decreases, knitting the appropriate cable row partway through the decreases. Also, I did some stripey stuff to stretch the Cinnabar color a bit further, and I like how it turned out. Again, the cables and the large needle size make the resulting hat super squishy and soft. It will be easier to put Beret #1 in the mail with this one here for me to enjoy.

Time to slice into that Bread…

FO: star crossed slouchy beret

Ta-da! This was super quick and quite fun to knit. The cables increase the squish factor of the Malabrigo, and while the variegation is a bit busy, I am quite excited to send this westward to its rightful owner. Here’s another shot of the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret, in which the dog demonstrates his usefulness as a table/backdrop:

Using the eyeballing method, this hat took about half a skein of Malabrigo. I may make one for myself out of my sassymetrical leftovers. This is where a scale would come in handy…I’ll keep you posted. In other news, here are some pictures of yesterday’s victories:

Delicious collards from my local farmers’ market, cooked with garlic, ginger and chile.

My very own yarn! (Dog for scale.) I’m not sure if you can get a sense for the thickness of this yarn, but most of this feels like a light worsted or even a heavy dk. I need to get better at spinning the spindle levelly, and at joining new pieces of fiber without getting an ugly blip in my yarn, but I am feeling really good about this. Dividing my roving into more vertical pieces, and doing more pre-drafting to both lengthen the roving strips and separate the fibers from each other made all the difference. I had a lot of fun with this, and am looking forward to practicing a bit more.

I also have a recent yarn acquisition to share, purchased at my new LYS. This is absolutely gorgeous, local, undyed alpaca. I bought two 8 oz 660 yd skeins, and I’m wondering if I could turn this into a drapey Gathered Pullover. What do you think? Other ideas include a luxurious shawl or lacey shrug.

Thanks also for all of your kind words about graduate school and the transition. It feels truly indulgent to be able to set most of my own schedule and focus on reading and writing and thinking. I’m sure my anxiety will begin decreasing once my seminars get past their introductory meetings and I am able to work through the transitional cobwebs by participating.

Alright — off to do a bit more reading, and then some baking, spinning and frolicking with the dog. Happy weekend!

pork.

Those of the vegetarian persuasion may wish to avert their eyes or return tomorrow — no knitting content today.

This was the summer of pork — as in, we roasted a 240 lb pig.  It was a brilliant idea, born of a chance interaction between our ecologist and a pig farmer, and soon we were all pitching in to get ready. We took shifts tending an all-night fire, and I helped rub down the pig with mesquite seasoning and heft him onto the grill. Pictures of this part were just tagged on Facebook, so I’m sharing them here.

After many hours of keeping the grill at just the right temperature (with tarps to keep the heat in and give the  pork a smoky flavor), we spent about four hours pulling pork before serving an enormous feast. We had a blast — and it was, without question, the best pork I have ever eaten.

My camera is still acting finicky, so I don’t have a progress photo of my BSJ, but I am getting ready to work the button holes and then bind off. I’m a bit anxious about the sizing — here’s hoping it will fit the intended recipient, at least for a week or so! More on that soon.

FO: rusted root.

Excuse the mirror. I am super happy with the way this turned out. I wore it to work on Friday, out to lunch with a friend, and then to see Wilco last night. (Perhaps the best show I’ve ever seen. Period.)

Here’s one more shot of the neckline:

I also have a few goodies to share. These arrived in record time from The Loopy Ewe. My favorite bag was stolen a few weeks ago when my car window was smashed, so I decided to look for another cavernous bag to haul around with me. I settled on the Namaste Malibu, and I love it.

This bag is deceptively large — I can easily imagine a sweater’s worth of yarn tucked into one side — and the center zip pocket is the perfect size for a sock or a dishcloth in progress. Since I was already placing an order, I picked up some gorgeous Shibui sock yarn in honey. (It matches the bag.)

WordPress was a bit cranky last night, so it has taken me roughly 10 hours to actually hit publish. Planning to do some frolicking with the dog this morning before heading up to Santa Fe for more high school rugby and touristy fun stuff. Maybe I’ll remember to take some pictures…

baking…

cupcake.jpg

Happy Birthday! I presented this cupcake to someone who is a VERY good sport about all the knitting his wife and I both talk about and do when we are together.

fo-cupcake.jpg

(I also did some “real” baking — there is a loaf of banana bread on the counter, ready to take to Easter brunch.) I loved making this cupcake (pattern from One Skein by Leigh Radford). I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, given that I do not own any novelty yarn for frosting the cupcake, but I used Cascade 220 for the chocolate base and then 2 strands of Cascade 220 Heathers and 1 strand of Madil Kid Seta (all leftover from the LMKG legwarmers) and then used some leftover cotton to make a cherry on top.

More knitting to share:

bibs-fo.jpg

These (Baby Bibs O’ Love, from Mason-Dixon knitting, made from Peaches and Creme dishcloth cotton) have been languishing for at least a month, mostly because I couldn’t find a needle that would fit through the buttonholes…needed to dig out my misplaced travel sewing kit. Let’s hope I can get these in the mail faster than I was able to sew on the buttons! (Still thinking about adding a little bit of embroidery to the red one. We’ll see.)

beaufort-fo.jpg

Beaufort, completed! (Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted, Size 8 needles.) I am a tad nervous that this will be too small for its recipient. It fit me snugly, right off the needles, and I have a small head. I dunked it in the sink with some wool wash and gave it a good tug, and it is almost dry. I think the yos in the pattern will open up with time, just like my Foliage did. I hope she likes it.

I had a Nutkin realization yesterday. You know, after I did 5 more repeats on the leg portion.

nutkin.jpg

That lovely doubled cuff I was celebrating a few posts ago? (Don’t get me wrong — it is very pretty.) Mine doesn’t quite fit over my heel. Good thing I checked before starting the heel. The thing is, I am in LOVE with how this yarn (Yarn Pirate Kalamata — my first Booty Club installment) is knitting up. I’m thinking I can add a thumb hole and do another pattern repeat or two and I will have the first of a gorgeous pair of fingerless mitts. (Does that also mean I get to decide on another sock to begin?) I will certainly keep you posted on my sock to mitt progress. Seems fitting that I was listening to the last few chapters of Frankenstein yesterday on CraftLit when I made this discovery.

Time to settle down with another cup of coffee, Boh, and some knitting. I love weekend mornings — I am always up with the sun, and on these days, I get to watch the morning become mid-day: sun rises in the sky, roosters crow, air warms up and I can fling open the doors and windows…

Enjoy your day.

stella.

stella.jpg

I made this without a particular recipient in mind — just wanted to check out the pattern, which I quite enjoyed. I was thinking that I don’t need another hat, particularly now that spring is here, but I do like this picture:

amy-stella.jpg

(Or maybe I am being tricky. Perhaps the recipient is an occasional reader here? Hmmm.)

Details:

Stella’s Hat by Knitting School Dropout

Size 8 needles, 16 in circs and dpns

Araucania Nature Wool Chunky in a bright, semi-solid green — 1 ish skeins (was using a leftover ball from the bolero jacket and needed to dip into a second.)

stella-flat.jpg

In the morning, I’m off to the Bay Area for just about 24 hours — a super quick work trip, but it should be fun. Back on Saturday afternoon!

it may be sunny and 55…

but I am wearing a sweater!

fo-shrug-mirror.jpg

(Boy, that mirror is dirty.)  I can justify the sweater, though. Take a look at the mountains:

snow-in-mtns.jpg

See? There’s snow up there! Also, I think there is some kind of rule that you have to wear your first sweater the second it is done. (Okay, not true. This isn’t exactly the first sweater I’ve made. Over the summer, I knit Coachella, but the neckline turned out a bit too low to be worn in most situations…More on that someday.)

Anyway, I spent much of last night finishing the ribbing. Here’s a shot of the shrug in vest form:

vest.jpg

I spent all morning seaming. I was a bit unclear about how everything was supposed to line up — no schematic — so I ended up seaming most of the sleeve caps, looking at them, and realizing that I  needed to seam a few inches more of the sleeeves to the body. This process created many ends to weave in.

seaming.jpg

Somebody was pouting. In all fairness, he did miss a leisurely Sunday stroll. (His life is extremely hard.)

pouting.jpg

A few more pictures of my finished Bolero Jacket:

side-view-shrug.jpg

more-shrug.jpg

The necklace I’m wearing, by the way, is made by Lisa Donald, a friend who also makes/sells jewelry. She has a great eye — this is made from a clip-on earring that feels very 1960s to me. How convenient that it matches this sweater perfectly!

Posting may be sporadic this week — a dear friend flies in tonight to spend 4 days playing with me and Boh!