sweetness, a soaker, and first sweaters.

This dog has been such a comfort to me this week — a mixture of silly and sweet. Last night when I got home from a reading group, we played a game where I told him to sit, walked five paces, turned around and said, “Come on!” and he raced towards me. I think I got tired before he did. Dogs know when you’re having a hard time, and I am so thankful for Boh’s company right now.

I’m almost embarrassed to show you this — the beginning of a soaker that I started six weeks ago. It has succumbed to the curse of my in-the-bag knitting. It seems like I never actually work on the project I take everywhere. I can’t explain it. I started this alongside my dear friend T, who is expecting. (Yay!) We began them together, with the idea that I could help with troubleshooting if anything came up. T. has already made close to half a dozen of these sweet soakers, while I’m still knitting the ribbing of my first. (For shame.) At least I still have a few months before she’s going to need this!

I was talking with my friend P. yesterday about sweater-knitting — she called me on the way home from a yarn shop, her first sweater’s worth in the backseat. And as I bundled up to head out for a reading group last night, I grabbed my first sweater. The seaming is completely wonky, the ends are woven in weirdly, the size isn’t quite right…but I LOVE this sweater. Together with thrift-store boy jeans over long-underwear and a couple of long-sleeve layers, it was the answer to single-digit December temps — and to the transition I’m coping with right now. Handknits are magical like that.

spinning/silliness/sunday.

The sun came out yesterday while I was spinning the first bobbin of my first (of two!) bump of Hello Yarn shetland in Sour Fig, from the Fiber Club. I had to stop and take a picture. Twenty minutes later, my bobbin looked completely different:

I’m super excited to see how this ends up. I’m aiming for a 2-ply dk weight, but this stuff wants to be spun fine, so we’ll see what happens.

And now, the silliness:

I am a lucky girl.

Yep, another picture of this sweater. The fit is a bit awkward, the armholes are huge, the seams are wonky, even the ends are poorly woven in. I love the big ribbed collar, but I think the reason I wear this sweater more than any of the others I’ve made is that it was my first, finished in February 2008.

I wear it to late night reading groups, to dinner at friends’ homes. I pull it on to take Boh outside in the morning, I curl up in it on the couch. I buy groceries and write papers in it. It fits over many layers, even other sweaters, which is often how I wear it. It warms me, in more than the obvious way. I’ve been reading/discussing Rushdie this week, and these rather silly ruminations on my green sweater make me think of something his narrator says in Midnight’s Children. “Reality can have metaphorical content; that does not make it less real” (230, in my 1991 Penguin edition, though this was first published in 1980).

Time to slip my arms into the green sweater and get back to work.

brought to you by Theraflu.

Yup, that mug is full of Theraflu — and if I haven’t sung its praises here in blogland, I am now. I’ve gotten sick more in the last two years than in the several years before (I blame the undergrads and their germs). Also, I hate cold medicine — or rather, that foggy haze that seems to accompany the good parts of cold medicine. Theraflu, on the other hand, works quickly, forces the sick person to drink more liquids, and for me, anyway, does not create the kind of fog that can impair drivers or slow down traffic. Really, they should sponsor me or something. (Thus concludes the advertising portion of today’s post.)

For lunch, I made this rutabega chipotle soup, only I made it with a goldball turnip, a potato, and a chipotle in adobo sauce that was languishing in the fridge. It was so delicious, with just enough spice to clear out my sinuses, that I ate a second bowl. And then scraped the saucepan.

I cast on for Snowbird, in Queensland Kathmandu DK (after getting gauge on size 5 needles), and made some progress on the collar and yoke.

Boh made some progress on destroying his current tennis ball, and put in some quality time organizing his scraps of fleece.

Good work, Boh.

I had dinner with friends (pork and sweet potato fritters are definitely good for whatever ails you), and took along my fourth handspun seaman’s cap — the one for my brother. Amidst conversation and decadent bites of chocolate treats, I managed to make it all the way to the decreases, which means my brother should receive his Christmas gift before February. (Win.)

Today’s plan? Knit, read, cook, emotionally prepare for the start of the spring semester, and most importantly, convince this sore throat/head cold to hit the road. (Thanks for all of your happy, healthy thoughts. I’m feeling so much better today, and am aiming to be fully recovered by tomorrow.)

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!

action shots.

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close-up

Brrr! It’s cold outside! (And inside, in my apartment, often mid-day, when the heat takes a break.) That means it is time to bundle up and take Boh out for a stroll. Nothing much to report over here — today was an uber-productive day. My long paper is half written, I have a better sense of where the paper is going, the boy came over and made dinner/impressed me with his crossword skillz, and I’m currently listening to Neil Young croon, “Baby mellow my miiiiind…” (Okay, so I’ve been listening to that song on repeat.) If I can read and summarize an additional book for class tomorrow, I get to do a bit of knitting before bed.

Hope you all had restful holidays — good luck getting back into your Monday routines tomorrow!

it may be sunny and 55…

but I am wearing a sweater!

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

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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:

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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.

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

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A few more pictures of my finished Bolero Jacket:

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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!

pick up st.

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Thank you for all of the happy thoughts on my grad school news — it has been hard not to write about all the waiting over these last several months. I am so excited — and trying to transfer this energy into my UFOs — I cannot wait to actually have some of the sweaters on my needles actually in my wardrobe.  I’m making progress on the ribbed collar/edging of the bolero jacket (226 st/row takes a long time!)– almost ready to start the short rows.

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I also made another boy hat — but in my sleep-deprived stupor, I gleefully gave it away before photographing it. It is just like the first one — in super soft malabrigo in a colorway of deep greens and blues.

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Here’s another almost FO — just needs a button and the ends woven in. I have two entire bibs to show for the stress of the last few weeks — knitting these was calming, and I needed it.

Oh, and I must share this:

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He can be such a ham. This is from dinner at my house a few weeks ago -had to check with my dear friend (of pink and white VD frosting fame) to confirm that she would not mind being featured here with Boh.

happy turkey day!

Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday, and though I will not be heading East to spend it with my family, this year will be no exception. I am heading to a magical place (in fact, the place pictured in my blog header). There, we have ice cream in our coffee at breakfast, sit by the wood-burning stove and enjoy the company of folks willing to make the trek. Boh and I will hit the road tomorrow morning, windows down, enjoying mountain air and anticipating the smell (and for me, the taste) of the persimmon pie on the other end of the drive.

Still no modem — perhaps in Friday’s mail? Here’s what I’ve been doing…

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The color is, predictably, in between these two representations. Also, I finished Dashing!

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weekend update

On Friday, my box of yarn from WEBS arrived. Full disclosure will come, all in good time. I am sleepy, even though my clock says it is not yet 10 PM, this rooster’s body says it is 11. A few pictures of the weekend, then.

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Yesterday, I was here. The leaves have fallen from the cottonwoods, but the air was crisp, and, though I love the place when it is bustling with activity, I value the chances I have to see it when it is still.

When I returned, I decided to honor the swatch gods, and comply.

swatches.jpg

Notice that I did not one, but two swatches: one on size 10.5s and one on 11s. The yarn is Araucania Nature Wool Chunky, in color olive — it is a bit brighter than I was expecting, but I’ve decided that it is perfect for me because I tend to wear muted solids, and this will brighten up my jeans and a button down or a long sleeve tee considerably. The gauge for the pattern (which, of course, calls for Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky) is 14 st/20 rows over 4 inches. My first swatch, with the recommended needles, was 8 st/10 rows over 2 inches. I decided to see what would happen if I went up a needle size, to 11s: 7 st/9 rows over 2 inches. Both close, neither perfect. I decided to wash the swatches and leave them overnight: after a dunk in the sink, the swatch knit on smaller needles was 7.5 st/10 rows, whereas the larger needle swatch was in between 6 and 6.5 st. The yarn became considerably softer after washing, and I liked the drape of the smaller needle swatch better. Also, the sizing is S, M, L, with the M being 36-38. I am a 38, and debated making the next size up, so that 1 st over 4 inches may give me an extra inch of ease in the sweater, which should end up to be ideal.

Anyway, today, instead of doing the things on my list, I made a large recipe of pie crust, and baked a kitchen sink kind of pie, with all the fruit leftover from my CSA box: 2 big green pears, a pluot and a bright, shiny apple. The pie is delicious (eating while I type), and is a wonderful dessert to the roasted beets I ate for dinner. The 4 remaining pie crusts are in the freezer for next time.

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I also managed to turn those swatches into this:

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I can’t believe how quickly this is coming along. I am very excited about this sweater, and I am working up the courage to seam that baby kimono I’ve been working on forever. I promise. I’ve told myself I need to seam that, as practice for finishing this one. Also, remind me: I need some longer circulars for picking up the ribbing on this sweater, when I get there.

Yawn! Time for bed. It was wonderful to wake to the sunrise at 6:10 this morning: a welcome change from waking to the alarm in the dark. The only bad part about “falling back” is that the sun will soon be setting before I even leave the office. I do love the cold; I just wish we could keep the sunshine.

yarn arrives…

Remember how I told you that I did some serious internet yarn purchasing last week? It has begun to arrive. I am very excited about making the Bolero Jacket, which is on the cover of the Debbie Bliss pattern book, “Simply Soft”. I’ve been looking for a cozy shrug/sweater/cardigan pattern, and this one over at A Friend to Knit With is the one. The pattern book is surprisingly hard to find, and Yarnmarket came to the rescue. Shipping was a flat rate, so I decided to throw in a few skeins of a pretty artyarns color in deep pinks and purples. It arrived today, and I’ve already begun to wind it. My Webs order should arrive at the office tomorrow, with the yarn for the Bolero Jacket.

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