shake it out.*

A slow start today, folks. Yesterday I managed to get some serious revision done on the prospectus. (The trick? A five o’clock latte. I think I’m starting to resign myself to the fact that I need an afternoon change of scenery and a fancy espresso drink to get shit done and feel good doing it.) Boh looks like he could use a latte, and it isn’t even noon.

I’m making slow, steady progress on that BSJ I started a few weeks ago. I love this shade of green — so bright, so happy.

Here’s the side view of that sweet pout. Looks like somebody needs to give Florence and the Machine’s new album a listen. Seriously. I downloaded it yesterday, and it got me through a whole sink of dishes. There’s something about Florence Welch’s particular brand of big and epic that I love. (*”Shake It Out” is the second track on Ceremonials.)


beginning again.

Long-time readers will recognize this yarn as the Dream in Color Smooshy that I intended to turn into a Baby Surprise Jacket in February of 2009 for my advisor’s youngest son. I did a less than perfect job of lining up the increases, though, so when it was super close to being finished, I ripped it out, put the yarn on a shelf somewhere, and knit a Baby Sophisticate out of Mission Falls 1824. (It was adorable, and the right idea, as the baby in question was a big baby, and I’m not sure the BSJ would have fit him for very long.) Anyway, lots more babies are on the way in my circle of friends, so over the weekend I found the Dream in Color Smooshy, along with Elizabeth Zimmerman’s brilliant BSJ recipe, and cast on. Right now this fits into a sock project bag, so I’m bringing it with me on my research trip.

And this? Well, it isn’t quite a beginning, but I had to share this picture of an enormous plate of dumplings enjoyed by candlelight on the porch. My cousin and her husband were here for a few days last week. They are in the midst of an epic year of traveling, and in a few weeks, they’ll wrap up the North American segment of their adventures and head to the other side of the world. They’re going to spend three months in Southeast Asia, so we made dumplings. (I’m hoping they’ll visit my favorite dumpling shop in Vientiane, Lao PDR.) I’m so excited for them.

Speaking of traveling, time for me to stop blogging and get back to packing for this week’s research trip. More soon!

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.



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.


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.




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


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):


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.


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!

pooch for scale.



Ta-da! My first plied yarn. By my calculations (which are often up for debate), this skein contains about 180 yards of squishy mostly worsted weight yarn, with some light worsted and light bulky here and there. I’m thinking that I *need* a new cowl, and once I finish this BSJ for the now overdue baby, maybe I will allow myself to cast on.


I’m making progress, to be sure — cast off the 5 st on each side for the neckline yesterday, but there is much to do, leaving me with a dilemma: do I read for my independent study with my advisor tomorrow, or knit for him? I’ll likely do some of each, but what I cannot do — I repeat, CANNOT DO — is work on this:


How did this happen? Spinning is a slippery slope, my friends. I got a new Butterfly Girl Designs spindle in the mail this month, but did not allow myself to test it out until AFTER I had finished spinning the Finn. So, while my plied skein was drying, I figured I had earned just a few minutes with this spindle and some more AVFKW fiber from the club. It seemed slightly unbalanced — likely due to how soft the gold hook is/perhaps some jostling during the shipping process, so I tried bending it slightly this way and that to make it just right — and suddenly, I had spun almost an ounce of this beautiful shetland in the Fruit Loops colorway. This is wayyy too much fun.

Alright — must stop blogging and get reading! or knitting!

purple potatoes, pickled onions and progress.

Apologies for my kindergarten-esque approach to blogging this week. I’m going to chalk it up to the fact that my brain is tired — first “real” meeting with my committee this morning. It will be fine, but the meeting does have the word “exam” in the title, and I’m still a tad nervous.

Onward to the letter “P”.


Purple Potatoes. These are, in fact, from my friend P.’s farm! Aren’t they beautiful?


Pickled Onions — fromĀ  (where else) Smitten Kitchen — Deb made a pickled red onion and escarole salad last week that sounded incredible, so I made the onions, put them on a bed of spinach and fried an egg to make it dinner.


Progress. This baby is going to arrive any moment now, and I really would love to be able to give this to my committee chair next week. I have a knitting date right after the meeting with my committee. Knitting friends + garter stitch = therapy.

Happy weekend.

more letter b’s.



Baking… (triple ginger cookies from 101 cookbooks, and some giant muffins from one of many Moosewood cookbooks in my collection)


Baby Surprise Jacket… (the chair of my committee is expecting a baby boy to arrive next week)


and Brightness, in the form of new green sheets and a comforter. I’m still looking for a pale quilt or blanket to fold on the end of the bed for Boh to lounge on. This makes a huge difference in the overall cheeriness of my room!

Must get back to reading — hoping to settle into a routine/rhythm for this semester by the end of the week.

Happy Monday!

si, se puede!


Apologies for co-opting a slogan of hope to mark the completion (finally) of my first BSJ. I’ve somehow misplaced all of my teeny tiny needles, and had to use a paperclip to poke the yarn through the holes of the buttons before rethreading my yarn needle and weaving in the ends. I hope to have this off to baby William later this week. He’s just over a week old — let’s hope he gets to wear this a few times before he outgrows it!

I hope that my subtle display of partisanship above does not offend. Four years ago, I worked as an organizer for a nonpartisan youth voting initiative, and despite my extreme disappointment in the partisan outcome of that particular presidential election, I remain committed to the importance of civic participation in the democratic process, despite its flaws.

Regardless of who you support or why, please vote today. It matters.


Yesterday, while in the grocery store oohing and ahhhing over the strawberries, I decided to make jam. I love those little Ball jars, and they were on sale. Done and done. Once I arrived at this point (see photo) — the “bubbling mass”, as The Joy calls it, I reached a bit of a conundrum. The recipe directs you to set a timer and leave the berries alone until the beep. Then, you are to tip the pot so you can see the bottom to determine whether the liquid on the bottom is demonstrating a “tendency to set”. I ended up allowing my bubbling mass to simmer for double the allotted time, after which I think I talked myself into the presence of said “tendency”. It seemed awfully runny when I spooned the mixture into jars, but a few hours later, after a full cooling and some refrigeration, it seems that I have jam (even if it is not quite as sticky as I’d like). I made some more bandwagon bread to serve as a delivery system.

Time for a bit of knitting content — my BSJ is off the needles, and is patiently awaiting seams and buttons. I love the colors in this sweater, and I think it will be absolutely perfect for a fall baby. I seem to know several folks expecting an arrival this fall, so it is quite possible that there will be a few more of these adorable sweaters in my knitting future.

Also, it appears that you guys like pork! I had more visits to my blog yesterday than ever before — and there wasn’t any knitting content to be found. I’m glad you’re here.