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!

 

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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: idlewood.

I was feeling lousy when I took these pictures, so ignore the other things I’m wearing. I promise to more fully document Idlewood “in the wild.”

Swoon. That cowl! So big and cozy. In case there was any doubt, I love this sweater. Idlewood might be the most wearable sweater I’ve ever knit. I knit the 36 and 3/4 inch size, and I think a little bit of negative ease is the way to go here. I used Elsa Wool Cormo, worsted weight (but spun woolen), and I cannot wait to find an excuse to get more of this stuff — undyed, and oh so pretty. Conservatively, this took 3.5 skeins, or about 875 yards, though I don’t think I used fully half of the fourth skein. (Which means I’ve got a skein and a half for mittens, or a hat, or something wonderful for me, me, me.)

I’m sorry, Boh. Am I boring you?

Boh has been such a good sport while I’ve been sick this week. And so funny, too, in his attempts to entertain himself. I mustered up enough energy to play yesterday. It was the least I could do.

I credit my (almost-there) recovery to this incredibly delicious soup, delivered to my door by K. A hearty veggie soup with fresh herbs, it was exactly what I didn’t know I wanted to eat on Tuesday.

Thanks for all your kind words and happy thoughts — I am feeling much better, but I’m planning to take it easy (while working) these next few days to make sure I’m completely over this flu…which I hope means I’m going to make a little bit of time for knitting. If you’re anywhere that snow is falling, I hope you are cozy and warm in your handknits. We got several inches yesterday, and the internets tell me that it feels like -7 outside!

the lights go on.

The pull of the couch, knitting on idlewood, snuggling Boh, and watching Dollhouse was too great yesterday.

Luckily, I recognized this early, and, after a little bit of yoga, marched myself down to a coffee shop to at least start the day by getting some work done.

(Also, I took extra care to be wearing handknit socks to start the new year. This pair, with the gusset heel, might be the best-fitting pair of socks I own.)

Anyway, back to the coffee shop. I was the only person there. And heard a beautiful song that sounded like Beirut. When the coffee shop is empty, you can ask the barista about the music. Check out “Scenic World,” from a 2006 LP, Lon Gisland. This is now the first track on my January 2011 mix. (And this post’s title is the first line of the song.)

After a few hours of good work, I might have come home, taken Boh for a walk, done some laundry, and indulged in the morning’s temptations. As soon as I finish my coffee, though, here’s where I’ll be:

Good luck settling into 2011! More soon.

on the walls of the day.

I made my list, and hung it on the fridge. It’s a mixture of goals and reminders, things to work on this semester. (And yes, that does say “finish sweaters on the needles.”) A favorite song from a few years ago, when I was driving east to start grad school, came up on shuffle yesterday — “Challengers,” by The New Pornographers:

on the walls of the day

in the shade of the sun we wrote down

another vision of us

we were the challengers of the unknown

A good song for the start of a new year, no?