thirty.

My parents sent flowers, which was super nice. Boh was intrigued.

And silly.

And here’s some knitting — another striped, sweet baby hat. It’s been a crazy week — and it isn’t over yet. I’m hoping for some serious knitting time this weekend — stay tuned!

overwhelmed.

I’ve certainly been feeling the less-than-awesome kind of overwhelmed this week. Which is why I’m pretty psyched to get to share (another) example of the good kind of overwhelmed.

This delicious Fine and Raw almond chunky chocolate bar arrived in a box of fibery treats from dear knithound. I sat down at the kitchen table and savored it. (And then thought you might to at least see the wrapper. This stuff is incredible!)

Along with that chocolate (which I’m not sure if I should describe as heavenly or sinful), knithound sent me three special bundles of undyed luxury fiber: an ounce of merino/cashmere, an ounce of oatmeal cashmere, and an ounce of a yak/tussah silk blend, all from The Yarn Tree. I keep opening the bags to pet them.

You may have noticed that I haven’t really been spending much time at the wheel lately — there’s just so much to do. But these — these might be just the right amount for a small break, time to decompress, or work through an idea. I might even dig out a drop spindle for one of these fiber bumps.

Thank you, knithound, for this overwhelming (in the good way) box of luxury. And thanks to all of blogland for your kindness and comments on what it means to grow older and to reflect on experiences and expectations these last few weeks.

treats.

Homemade strawberry-balsamic syrup on top of my morning granola. (I might have done this every day this week.)

A different kind of treat arrived in the mail this week: mitten cuffs from brokeknits, thoughtfully knit over 29 st to mark my 29th birthday. So sweet, and one of the best ways I can think of to make reading and writing a bit cozier.

I wore them all day today, and stayed warm as the wind howled.

twenty-nine.

Yesterday I turned twenty-nine. I’ve been thinking about this birthday a lot, and trying to come to terms with where I am in my life right now, versus where I might have loosely imagined I’d be when I turned twenty. I remember feeling anxious about twenty. I had just decided not to become a doctor, and so many things were unknown. It was exciting, but scary, too. And twenty, well, twenty marked the beginning of what then seemed like the decade that would determine so much of what my life would be: graduation, the start of a career, a family? The idea that this would be the decade for all of those things weighed heavily on me.

And now? Well, I have to admit, I thought I was beyond thinking about these kinds of expectations for myself, but this birthday has brought a lot of those thoughts back. Intellectually, I am quite comfortable saying out loud that I am happy with the decisions I’ve made, and the unexpected places they’ve taken me. Emotionally, though, I think it is okay to acknowledge that maybe I’m not where I thought I’d be at twenty-nine, at least in the non-academic parts of my life, and that I’m a little bit sad about that. And that’s okay. I no longer feel like my twenties will determine my future, and I have a much stronger sense of myself than I did at twenty.

So Boh and I celebrated quietly yesterday, with an extra-long frolic in the snow, and dumplings. This is the kind of meal I rarely prepare for myself — it is a lot of work for just me. But yesterday, I decided that I would give myself extra time in the kitchen, instead of putting something to simmer on the stove so that I could continue to read. (And I’ve got leftovers for tonight.) I’m sure I’ll do some celebrating with friends this weekend, but yesterday was what I needed. I crossed some things off of my to-do list, indulged a bit in the kitchen and outside, and knit a few more rows on my terra shawl.

Here’s to twenty-nine.

cake for breakfast.

Nope, not birthday cake. Just cake leftover from saturday night.

We watched a movie last night, which means I got some dedicated knitting time. My windschief hat is flying, and I am absolutely in love with the way this yarn is knitting up. The depth of color! The stitch definition! Discuss.

And here’s one more shot of Boh and the birthday boy, because today is the day. Aren’t they sweet?

sundays are for birthday brunches.

The boy is celebrating a birthday this week, so yesterday we headed west, one lake over, for a special birthday brunch. On my plate: poached eggs on top of sausage smoked in house and grilled focaccia bread, with incredible rosemary roasted potatoes. And a glass of organic local grape juice. On B’s plate: focaccia french toast with raspberry puree, rosemary roasted potatoes, and a link of a different homemade, in-house smoked sausage. And a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. And coffee.

B, looking serious. Also, a jazz band! They did a blues-y cover of Springsteen’s Hungry Heart. Swoon.

The view from the porch of the cafe — looking out towards the lake.

And here we are. (I share these here even though clearly I have much to learn in the taking-attractive-photos-of-yourself-with-your-arm-outstretched department. I also have a perpetual problem with closing my eyes during photos.)

And here’s the beginning of my windschief hat. I am very excited about this. Time to start thinking about making dinner after a very long Monday on campus.

knits/no knitting.

I haven’t picked up my needles this week, which makes me sad. I’ve been wanting to blog, but I couldn’t come up with anything to show you!

So yesterday I decided that even if I didn’t have any knitting, I could at least post a few pictures of knits, to continue with my occasional posts that feature knits-in-action.

Mara-in-action. Whenever I wear this, I am happy. The cheeriness of the pink, the squish of the beaverslide — this shawl generates happiness.

And now, a confession. I haven’t yet worn my garter yoke cardigan out of the house. I’ve worn it several times, but only when I am home. I love the squish, I’m thrilled with the handspun yoke, but the fit just isn’t quite right on me. Something about it being too big to be a fitted cardigan, and too small to be a slouchy cardigan. See?

I haven’t blocked this yet, in part because I can’t decide how to make it fit better. I’m thinking about aggressively blocking it to make it longer and narrower — sleeves too. What do you think? (I took this picture half an hour ago, but I am already wearing a different cardigan. Boo.)

Now, insert an appropriate transition here, because I don’t have one.

For my birthday, my friend K. baked me the most delicious cinnamon raisin swirl bread ever. I have been eating it for breakfast, snack, and dessert. (Well, and I might have eaten some of it as part of a breakfast-like dinner on Tuesday. But don’t tell anyone.) In fact, I intend to eat the last two slices for breakfast in a moment.

More knitting soon, I hope.

golden.

Today is my golden birthday. No, I’m not turning fifty. (Yet.) I am, however, 28 on 2-8, which is apparently what makes today golden.

Mondays are super busy for me this semester, so in terms of celebrating with friends, I’m pretending that my birthday isn’t until later in the week.

I do think that birthdays require deliciousness, though, so last night I baked myself a cake — one that I can justify eating for breakfast.

This is the walnut jam cake that Deb posted earlier this week. I topped it with my homemade strawberry balsamic jam, and as soon as I finish this blog post, I’m cutting myself a hearty slice. (I may have eaten a small piece last night after this photo was taken…)

Other things worthy of celebration?

I finished the double garter stitch waistband of my Kerrera. Despite the frustration of my false start, this went a lot faster the second time through.

Boh understands…something about Kerrera, and I’m happy that he’s keeping an eye on it. He was clearly less worried about it yesterday, don’t you think?

Also, on Friday night I cut off my hair. I can’t exactly articulate why it became so important for me to rid myself of most of its length — something about my hair being sort of inconsistent with the person I am and would like to be. And more specifically, it was getting way too long to spontaneously eat soup. And it required detangling.

So I got out of bed on Friday night and chopped it off. In handfuls. I tried to take a few pictures over the weekend, and here are two of my favorites — more for the way they demonstrate my complete incompetence when it comes to photographing myself than for how they highlight my haircut.

(This is me attempting to capture how long/short it is on the side. But it just ended up looking silly.)

And this one…well, you get the idea.

Time for cake!

birthday weekend.

I have a whole slew of unrelated (or maybe loosely connected) photos: knits in action, kitchen adventures, knitting mistakes… Hmmm. I promise NOT to name this post something about the letter K.

Friday:

bolero-in-action1

Bolero Jacket in action. I feel like I read a lot from folks about how sometimes knitting is not super wearable, and my blog gets lots of visitors who are looking for advice on wearing things like legwarmers, so I’ve been a bit more mindful of snapping photos when I am actually wearing things I’ve made (not that I consider myself remotely fashionable). This sweater gets a lot of wear around the house, and steps into real life when the weather is variable enough to warrant a heavy sweater but not a winter coat — this works best for me with a big puffy vest. I wear this when I need to bring a bit of comfort with me — in this case, the discussion of a tough book.

fork-for-scale

Friday night, we made pizza and lemon tart (from deb at smitten kitchen, of course). No pictures of the pizza. Note the fork for scale in this picture. I also discovered some serious errors with my increasing on the BSJ I’ve been working on — I literally had 6 ridges left to knit when I realized that my increases (for the fronts of the sweater) were uneven. I don’t even have the heart to photograph the problem, nor could I stomach ripping back. I just put it aside, dug through the stash, and cast on for a baby version of the bolero jacket.

Saturday:

biscuits1

moroccan-stew

Moroccan Stew (from deb) and biscuits (a la Mark Bittman). Also, a new spindle arrived:

newspindle

I LOVE this spindle. I spun the sample fiber it came with immediately, and may need to dig through my fiber stash to start something new so that I can put it to work. The spindle is from Spinsanity, and it spins wonderfully. Hooray for birthday presents to myself.

Sunday (actually anniversary of my birth):

birthday-cake

Homemade birthday cake, not baked by me. Honey-Rosemary Cake with Lemon Frosting, from Apples for Jam. This is incredibly delicious, the kind of cake you can eat several pieces of during the day and not feel like you’re overdosing on sugar. I intend to have some for breakfast after I post this.

replacement-sweater

And since this purports to be a knitting blog, here’s the progress I’ve made on my replacement baby sweater. Just about halfway done already — what a difference worsted weight yarn makes. I’ve had enough distance from my BSJ to take a look, and I imagine I’ll rip back and keep going — it may go to this baby, or to the next. Lots of folks in my life are adding to their families this year!

Hope you all had lovely weekends. Sadly, you don’t get to stop reading when it is your birthday, but I did slow down a bit. Time to have some of that cake and prep for class!

birthday sky.

birthday-sunrise.jpg

birds-sunrise.jpg

Wow. I didn’t even see all those birds perched on the top branches of that tree in my neighbor’s yard. Clearly the universe knows that today is my birthday — what a beautiful way to begin the day!

No big plans over here: took the day off from work, crawled back into bed to lounge with the dog, having lunch and dinner with friends, hoping to get a nice run in this afternoon…taking a rooster day.

I do have some knitting progress to share with you:

schrodinger-progress.jpg

It is official: I am a convert to the magic loop method. These socks are flying — and using a long circular means I am not searching under the couch for the needle I dropped. I also really like the way this pattern is working up. These are Schrodinger’s Twisted Tweed Socks, and I’m using Trekking XXL, the recommended yarn, which I happened to have.  I took this sock with my yesterday to my Democratic Party Ward Meeting to elect delegates to the pre-primary convention, which was fascinating. The protocol requires that you have to sit for 30 minutes after the meeting has been formally opened so that each ward can confirm the voting credentials of the folks who show up. I managed to finish turning the heel, all while participating in the democratic (and Democratic) process. This pattern has a short row heel, and I think I need some advice. Take a look at my first attempt:

short-row-heel.jpg

I am practically positive that I did the wraps correctly, and it looked very pretty before I put this on to take a look, and then these holes became evident. The pattern said that it didn’t matter how I picked up the wraps, so long as I was consistent. Maybe I should twist them? Advice on how to do this better on the next pair would be much appreciated. In the meantime, I am thinking that I can do some cheating on the inside at the end of this sock to sew up these gaps. I am approaching these as a “learning” pair of socks!