simple rib blues.

I did some great work on my latest pinwheel blanket yesterday — and I’m really excited to finish this because I can’t wait to send it off to the newlyweds I have in mind. (There are, in fact, three recently married friends of mine who are also sometime-readers of this blog. They know they’ll be getting something hand-knit, so I feel like it is okay to share this stuff. If I kept my wedding-gift-knitting secret, I’d have nothing to share on the blog! If you’re reading right now, this may or may not be for you! There. Now we’ve got some suspense.)

Now, on to the simple rib blues.¬†Ever get those? When all of a sudden you feel like something is taking forever, and you just need to finish it now? That’s how I felt yesterday. I was catching up on Stash and Burn, and realizing that I haven’t done very much Rooster knitting, so I picked up my Lilac Wine cowl. During the semester, this was exactly the kind of knitting I needed — soothing and satisfying. But last night, I needed to finish it. Maybe it has to do with the fact that it is summer, and I’ve got fewer things (okay, right now I have one huge dissertation-shaped thing) on my plate, but all of sudden I was so sick of this ribbing! I had been planning to knit until I ran out of yarn, but I looked at my never-ending ball of Fleece Artist Merino and decided that I couldn’t wait that long.

So I slipped my cowl over my head, needles and all, and took a look in the mirror.

And I decided that it was big enough. So I went back to the pattern to look at the instructions for the tubular bind off, only to discover that it is super tedious: four set-up rows, and then kitchenering all the way around the 180 stitches of this cowl. Nope. Not happening. So I looked at some other projects on ravelry, and decided to do Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-Off instead.

And now it is blocking on the dining room table. It feels so good to have this off the needles. I’ll post FO pictures once it is dry.

Unrelated, but here’s what I ate for dinner the other night: a spinach and arugula salad with beets and carrots, all from the farm, plus a fried egg. Yum.

And then there’s this guy. This is the face he gave me when I tried to convince him to get off the couch and go outside before bed last night.

And here are his ears, flopping in the wind. Sweet, sweet dog. Happy Wednesday!

nutkin mitts and another pinwheel.

Question: What do you get when you combine a cross country airplane trek with a yarn pirate knitting project?

Answer: Nutkin mitt #2, and just in time. While it was close to 80 degrees yesterday, today’s high is around 50 and the forecast is for rain. Perfect nutkin mitt wearing weather, if I do say so myself.

Also, I started pinwheel number 2, using Cascade 220 Heathers. This one is also not quite perfect, and I am blaming it on awkward plane conversation. I should have started this before I left, as the beginning is a bit fiddly. There is one spot where I think I missed a yarn over, but the first blanket blocked so nicely that I don’t think it will be visible at all. This is what it looks like, almost one ball into the project:

Alright. Boh is tugging on the leash, which means he has some business to do — and I have to get to work!

FO: LMKG tea cozy

Last night, after a delicious bellyful of sushi (two words: garlic sashimi), I returned home to finish the tea cozy, and I am really pleased with how it turned out.

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Here is a close-up of the top:

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I listened to the most recent episode of the Knitpicks podcast while I worked, and Kelly Petkun was talking about a French press cozy. I could most certainly use one of those, as each morning I pour the first cup of coffee from my press into an insulated mug so that it will stay warm until I am ready for it.

Hope you have a lovely weekend!

spontaneous cast on

A family that is very dear to me has experienced what can only be described as tragedy: the loss of a wonderful person — son, brother, friend — to an act of senseless, seemingly random violence. There is a celebration of his life this weekend, and the final spreading of ashes, and I am planning to head down and spend the night with them.

Last night, at knitting group, I asked, “What do you knit for someone who is dealing with that kind of loss?” In addition to the obvious: listening, hugging, being present, I have been feeling the need to “make”. A tea cozy was suggested, and upon thinking more carefully about the intended recipient, this is just right. I cast on last night, and am setting other projects aside in hopes of completing this before this weekend’s celebration.

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After looking through my pattern books, I settled on the Cashmere Tea Cozy from Last Minute Knitted Gifts (Ravelry link). I love the way this is gathered at the top, and I really like the simple stitch pattern. I am making this in a reddish-orange-brown (sort of like the color of adobe) in Cascade 220 Heathers, and the stitch definition is beautiful. It would be perfect for a man’s scarf.

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I have just under 4 inches completed, after starting with size 8 needles and deciding to go down to 7s for a tighter fabric (a decision which enhanced the stitch definition) last night, and knitting to an old episode of Cast On this morning before work. I think I will be able to get this done by Saturday morning. Suggestions for special tea to accompany this?

legwarmers and sugarplums

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When I was a little girl, I took ballet lessons. I dreamed of Balanchine, of Coppelia, of tulle and tutus. I practiced A LOT. I danced en pointe; my toes bled; my body ached. I pulled on these legwarmers last night around midnight, having just woven in the ends, and felt the urge to “gran ron-de-jaum”, to “jete”, “gran pas-de-sha”; to waltz through the kitchen the way I used to do just before dinner time, forks and knives in my hands. (It was far more fun to set the table while waltzing.)

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(Apologies for the dark, grainy picture. The urge to plie struck late last night. This was taken in the mirror.) These legwarmers are looooong. 26″ in length! I thought about binding off many times, but I am glad that I persevered: these are long enough to be scrunched and still reach up to my knees. They are incredibly soft, have a nice depth to the color, and are very warm. The nights are getting colder here, and I decided to wear them to bed last night. I woke up with the sun, about ten minutes before my alarm, with a cold nose and toasty calves.

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mini-vacation

This weekend I am house and dog-sitting for a friend who is housesitting elsewhere here in town. In my head, this was going to be a relaxing mini-getaway. I’d bring projects to finish, some reading, the dogs would get to play together in the backyard, and all would be perfect. It hasn’t gone exactly as I imagined…

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First of all, these three are CRAZY. They love each other so much that they have not stopped dashing, barking, chasing, rolling, lunging, etc. since Boh and I arrived. It is difficult to make progress on anything with the noise and the energy these puppies generate. Hard to be mad at them, though — they are adorable. After some Friday afternoon work-related errands, I found myself in the neighborhood of my LYS. There was a sign on the door about a sale on mohair. Danger, rooster! Do not enter! My internet yarn purchase earlier this week was sizeable, but it did not include mohair. I ended up purchasing 2 skeins of Cascade 220 Heathers and 2 balls of Madil Kid Seta to make the legwarmers in Last Minute Knitted Gifts. While the dogs make it hard to focus on the finishing I brought with me, I can handle this. Here are a few photos of my progress.

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I bought my first pretty stitch markers last week from Aja at Zero Markers.

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I love them! They arrived quickly, and with a few bonus stitch markers for smaller needles sizes — maybe these will motivate me to finish that tiger sock and begin the next one. One of the things I was hoping to accomplish this weekend (in addition to some reading in preparation for a meeting on Monday, argh) is a list of the projects I am planning to knit for other people. I’ve been reading lots of blog posts about holiday knitting, and while it makes total sense to try to focus on a few things, rather than try to knit something for everyone, this is my first holiday season as a knitter. My eyes are definitely bigger than my rows/hour, so we’ll see how I do. Stay tuned for my ambitious list. I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the sunrise — the dogs decided it was time to play at about 5:45 this morning, so I was up in plenty of time to watch the sky lighten as the sun came up above the mountains.

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