this and that.

I’m sitting here, coffee in hand, looking through the photos I took yesterday, and there is not much of a theme. It seems that I did a little bit of everything yesterday, so please excuse this post’s lack of focus.

First up, a few more pictures of the silk, which is now dry and in skein form. (Still no good rhymes for tussah, I’m afraid.)

silkskein4

silkskein3

silkskein2

Swoon.

Next, a few shots of Mara, blocked and dry. (Hmm, maybe there is a theme?)

marablocked1

marablocked3

marablocked2

It was incredibly hot and humid yesterday (see below photo of Boh), but I couldn’t help wrapping Mara around my shoulders and snapping a few pictures in my (dirty) mirror.

bohinsun

I also baked brownies:

brownies

Finished a vanilla sock:

halfavanillapair

Made some progress on my Milkweed Shawl:

milkweed prog

Oh, and tried crack, in the form of Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino. I’ve been hearing about this stuff on numerous podcasts (The Manic Purl, Gives Good Knit, and The Knitmore Girls), and after attaining a sock weight 3-ply yarn, I decided to go ahead and order a little bit to give it a try.

cmf1

Late last night, I told myself I would just split this lovely superwash merino in the Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds colorway nto 4 oz. chunks, and then divide one of those halves into 3 parts in preparation for spinning more 3-ply sock yarn.

cmfbob1

And then I sat down at the wheel.  This stuff is awesome.

That’s all I’ve got today. Happy Friday!

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disaster averted.

disaster

Disaster. (Note the amount of yarn remaining, and the number of stitches yet to be bound off. This is take 2 — I was keeping an eye on the remaining yarn as I knit the last few rows, and ended up ripping back a row to make sure I’d have enough. You can see how well that turned out for me.)

averted

Averted. (Those of you who read regularly probably have a sense for how much pink/magenta/fuschia I tend to knit with, and thus how much I have in my stash, in any fiber — very little to none. At the point of absolute despair, I went digging in the drawer where I keep dishcloth cotton and textiles I rarely use. And then I saw this yarn, knitpicks shine, tucked in the back, patiently waiting to become a Picovoli tee or something like it. The colors match EXACTLY. Phew.)

mara fo whole

mara and ring

I am quite pleased with how Mara turned out.

(Details: 2 skeins Beaverslide Dry Goods lambswool in colorway snapdragon. Size 8 needles. A yard or two in Knitpicks Shine.)

Actually, I’m way more than pleased, as evidenced by my willingness to don a lambswool shawl in crazy humidity and take 50 pictures. (Yep, fifty.)

mara whole2

By the way, it is incredibly difficult to take a non-blurry, over-the-shoulder photo of the back of a shawl. I’m just saying. I promise to take “real” FO pictures of this post-blocking, when I can stand to actually put on some clothes that I might actually wear this with!

mara blocking

And now for an awkward transition! Mara is blocking on my kitchen table (note the darkness of the wet cotton on the left there. It blends in perfectly when dry). I cut several containers (vases, mason jar, growler) worth of flowers at the farm yesterday, some of which you can see in this late-night blocking shot. Here are a few more:

flowers1

flowers2

It was so hot and sticky yesterday that I wanted to get my veggies straight into the fridge after their rather humid car ride back to the farm. Here are a few photos of parts of this week’s haul:

beans

3 quarts of beans, hand picked by moi, and some herbs.

tomatoes

Some of the best tomatoes I’ve ever tasted, straight from the farm’s passive solar greenhouse.

Lastly, a sock update:

hiyahiyasock progress

I think Boh has given up on my KAL socks, but he has kept a watchful eye on this pair. I’m into the ribbing now, so it won’t be long before I cast on sock #2!

kip: kraut-in-progress.

picklingcrock

Exhibit A: 1 gallon pickling crock, acquired on ebay.

kraut-i-p

Exhibit B: Kraut-in-progress. (Note: this is not an exercise in instant gratification. While sauerkraut requires regular checking, skimming, etc., it takes several weeks to be ready to enjoy.) This is my first attempt at kraut, and I am so excited. I always LOVE kraut made by friends (including those pictured further on down the post), and can’t wait to have my very own supply.

treman falls

To celebrate being home, Boh and I met up with friends (of the animal and human variety) for a lovely hike through a local state park.

dogs at treman

We followed up the hike with ice cream, beer, homemade bread and fancy cheese. Not a bad Sunday afternoon, if you ask Boh. (I would agree.)

Finally time for a knitting update, don’t you think?

onhold ip

I must confess that I did not touch my on-hold socks while galavanting ‘cross the nation. Sorry, Boh. I knit a few more repeats this morning out of guilt, and the rows seemed to fly by. Have I mentioned yet that I love this yarn? And that I am actually enjoying reading the chart? I know I still have eleven days to finish the pair. In all of our recent travel and excitement, Boh seems to have forgotten about his supervisory role. We’ll see how long that lasts…

mara ip

Mara continues to be blob-like. I’m into the second skein of beaverslide, and I’m going to keep increasing until I’m at the recommended width of 46″. I’m at about 40″ now. I’m okay with a shorter ruffle than the pattern calls for, so long as the wrap is a good size. This is turning out to be great TV knitting, if only I could keep my hands moving during on-screen suspense!

vanillasock ip

I managed to knit a few more inches on my plain vanilla toe-ups, due to some car maintenance that took a bit longer than it was supposed to. I’m just about ready to begin the heel, and I think I am going to attempt Wendy’s gusset heel. Despite a sort of annoying join on these needles, these socks seem to be moving right along. My current sock obsession may necessitate more short circular needle acquisition of the knitpicks variety…

loveart spinning

I also managed to sit down at my wheel this weekend, and it felt good to get reacquainted with my current spinning project: Spunky Club corriedale/nylon blend in Soul Windows. I finished the first bobbin of what I hope will be a 3-ply sock yarn. I know the yarn is way out of focus in this picture, but I really like the way this shot turned out — my lazy kate is on top of a pile of cookbooks on top of a bookshelf.

Coming down the pike:

fleeceartistmilkweedyarn

This lovely Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 sock yarn is soon to become Laura Chau’s Milkweed Shawl. The backwards loop group over on Ravelry is hosting a KAL that began on July 15, and once I make more progress on my on-hold socks, I intend to cast on and tackle my lace anxiety!

cotolinoforbuttercup

Here, I present my only yarn purchase of the trip — 8 balls of Queensland Cotolino, on sale at my old LYS. These are destined to become Buttercup — the modified version with slightly longer sleeves and a slimmer shape, I think.

It feels good to be blogging in “real time” again. Happy Monday, all!

a theory.

swift and winder

I have a theory about WIPs and startitis, and it goes something like this: without a swift and ball winder, the knitter is obligated to think on new projects before readying the yarn and diving in. Winding yarn by hand is a repetitive, sometimes meditative, often simply time-consuming, and occasionally quite annoying process. When you know, deep in your subconscious self, that you need to wind multiple skeins of laceweight by hand (a la Whisper), you think long and hard about the project before you commit. With a yarn swift and ball winder, all of that pre-project thinking (at least at first) is replaced by a little voice that says “Squee! I get to turn that little handle and make yarn cakes! In the kitchen! No oven required!”

emerald city wound

mara wound

I speak from experience.

It all started innocently enough: I needed to select and wind my yarn for the July pattern for the Socks from the Toe Up KAL (the On-Hold socks). I chose Shibuiknits sock in ginger, which has been waiting patiently for a special pattern. I’m planning to cast on later today.

Then, I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have a vanilla sock on the needles to keep in my bag? These patterned socks are stunning, but they are not mindless, throw in a bag/take out the door/knit a few rows here and there socks. They are serious socks. Enter the Yarn Pirate sock in colorway Emerald City. (Isn’t it lovely?)

And then, I thought, socks can be tough to knit on while watching The Wire — I need something squooshier and fatter to work on in the evenings, something that is so simple and soothing that I can keep knitting while crazy things happen in Southeast Baltimore.

Thus, I wound up the Beaverslide merino lambswool in the snapdragon colorway (1 skein to start), which is destined to become Mara, a supersoft, brightly colored wrap. I’m already part of the way there:

mara started

I now fully understand how easy it is to somehow have a gazillion things on the needles. And I’m not complaining! I love my new toys. (For those interested, I broke down and got the new Paradise Fibers yarn swift after watching the video on their website. It didn’t hurt that they had a coupon for a discount on the swift AND a discount on the Royal ball winder. I may have acquired some more spinning fiber as well, but that was just to get me to the land of free shipping. You understand.)

No farm picture today — instead of coming right home and photographing the week’s haul, Boh and I went to see dear people and dog friends, eat farm food, drink homebrew and frolic in the yard — a lovely evening.

I will tell you that my share included: harukei turnips, beets, belgian endive, kale, chard, mint, parsley, garlic scapes, broccoli, sugar snap peas, and a few more strawberries…

beaverslide.

beaverslide2

beaverslide1

Sigh. Swoon. I think I mentioned that I did a bit of stressed out yarn acquisition a few weeks ago. It arrived yesterday from Beaverslide Dry Goods in Montana, and I do not regret it. I am already daydreaming about what to do with these 5 skeins of super soft worsted lambswool in October Skye, 5 skeins of wool/mohair worsted in winter wheat, and 2 in snapdragon. Garter yoke cardigan? Girl cobblestone? Striped hourglass? For now, lingering over the planning process is enough. I’ve crammed these skeins into the bookshelf above all that I still have to read and process (oh, and write about) this semester. A few more weeks of the grind, and then summer!

Summer, for me, means the start of my CSA, the chance to read more slowly/deliberately, a road trip in a westerly direction with the dog…but mostly, it brings the chance to fully exhale.