lovely/heavy.

31dec1

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.

31dec3

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

31dec2

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.

four.

Today is my blogiversary. Has it really been four years? To celebrate, I got my blog a present: its very own domain. You can now find us at barefootroosterDOTcom, though the wordpress home will automatically point you to the new domain. (Everything else is staying the same — still hosted at and by wordpress. I’m not that technologically fancy!) RSS feeds should still work, but if they don’t let me know.

Also, thanks for being here, for reading, for commenting, and for knitting, spinning, and cooking with me. I say this every year, and I’ll keep saying it because it is true: I’ve found more community on the internets than I ever thought possible. Thanks for being part of it.

mojo?

Have you seen mine? Because I’ve had a hard time finding it lately in the knitting/spinning/blogging department. (Also, the dissertation department.) But you know what? I’m newly resolved not to let it bother me. I’m sure it will come back; after all, this space is dear to me.

But enough of that. Want to see what I’ve been up to this week?

Swimming. (Suit drying on the porch.)

Eating. (More specifically, eating tomatoes: in tarts, broiled on bread with cheese, and straight from the cutting board.)

Picking flowers. (And putting them all over the house.)

Lounging with Boh.

And today? Well, today I’m taking Saturday seriously. I slept in, made pancakes, read for pleasure, and frolicked a bit with Boh. I even put on my swimsuit in order to encourage the sun to come out. See?

Still rainy, but it might clear up enough for me to take a quick dip.

I’m also macerating blueberries on the kitchen counter. Later today, they’ll become this blueberry crumble. (Berries courtesy of Laura.)

I don’t have any new pictures to share of my Whisper cardigan, but I have been knitting on it. Photographic evidence soon. Happy weekend!

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.

pounding mill press and plying.

 

I ordered some absolutely gorgeous note cards from Pounding Mill Press, and they arrived yesterday. (Full disclosure: M., of Pounding Mill Press, is a friend of mine. Rather than tell you this to suggest that I might be biased, I do it in order to be able to take a moment to comment on her general awesomeness, which makes me recommend her stuff, her style, her cupcakes all the more. She also does custom projects — lots more info on her site.) Anyway, I ordered these blank-on-the-inside alphabet cards, and they are exactly what I was hoping for.

M. tucked in a sample note card or two in a different designs, and some engraved pencils that clearly I can’t live without, despite not knowing I needed them. I can’t decide which to sharpen first: Love is a Battlefield, or A Man, A Plan, A Canal, Panama.

If you, at this very moment, are realizing that a package of palindrome pencils would make your writing, grading, grocery-list-making, etc. infinitely better, these are available in the Pounding Mill Press online shop. (I just checked. I can think of at least ten people who would LOVE these.)

When I read these out loud to Boh, he looked at me like this:

I don’t think he liked “Go Deliver A Dare Vile Dog” so much.

Last night, at bedtime, I was feeling antsy. My reading went slowly yesterday, and I just needed to either get something else done, or unwind some more. I had just read Laura’s post about 2010, where she talks a bit about spinning, relaxing, and mind-wandering, so I got out my wheel (which needed to be both tightened and oiled — the weather has changed A LOT since the last time I did any spinning) and sat down to ply.

This is the first half of an experiment I described in this post – SCF Rhinebeck and Hello Yarn Cauldron, plied together (both polwarth). The process of plying these last night was exactly what I needed to decompress after some difficult reading, but I’m not sure about the pairing yet. I’m really happy with what you can see here on the bobbin, but there is a bit section where red and green are plied together in the middle, and it might just have the effect of muting each color. I’ll have to see what I think once it is washed and skeined, and then I can decide if I want another skein just like this, or if I want to do something different with the other half-bumps of each colorway. Either way, nice to be sitting down at my wheel again. I hope I can make time to spin this spring.

FO: felicity.

I accidentally finished this hat instead of finishing a book yesterday. Oops! I used Araucania Nature Wool (about 2/3 of a skein), size 6 and 8 needles, and I cast on 90 instead of 70 stitches. And then I followed the pattern. Now, I’m going to show you a picture of me wearing this hat. I don’t think this is the kind of style that works well on short, big hair. Good thing the intended recipient has smooth, shiny hair. So it should work, right? (The other concern I have is that it looks really awkward not on a human head, you know? Too big, and sort of weird. Oh, well. Maybe this will be a test of how well my brother’s girlfriend receives handknits?!)

This hat is poofier than it looks in this picture. Trust me.

Boh was passed out in the background when I was getting ready to take this picture. And then I said, “Are you hungry?” Which was sort of cruel, as it was not yet dinnertime.

There is nothing cuter.

Also, remember how I won amazing peach rum preserves over at Libby’s blog? Well, I dug into one of the jars today, and this stuff is INCREDIBLE. Note to self: make A LOT of boozy peach preserves next summer.

Tomorrow I am going to a dance party. For my favorite (almost) eight-year-old’s birthday. And you know what I’m giving him? Yarn.

I’m told I’ll get to do the Macarena.

treats and terra.

A while back, I won a jar of peach preserves on Libby’s blog, and yesterday, a beautifully wrapped package containing two(!) jars arrived, one peach and rum preserves, one peach and bourbon. After the appropriate oohing and ahhing, it was decided: this stuff deserves the best delivery system imaginable. So it’s off to the farmer’s market we’ll go on Saturday for some extra special bread. And maybe some ice cream. (Stay tuned.)

Terra is growing. I met my writing deadline on Monday (thanks for all the kind words), and then promptly stopped posting, turning my attention instead to everything I’d let pile up. In between wrangling laundry, paying bills, and prepping for my other campus responsibilities, it appears that I managed to knit a few (or twenty) rows. I said it before, but I’ll say it again: everything brokeknits says about this pattern is true. It is just what I need right now. And with that, I’ve got a morning section to prep for. Happy almost-the-weekend!