FO: handspun seaman’s cap (the fourth).

This is my fourth handspun seaman’s cap. Clearly, I love this pattern. (Also, I love this hat, but this one is most definitely hopping into the mail this week so that my brother gets his Christmas present before it is too warm for super squishy handspun hats.) I knit the large size, and used 150 yards of handspun superwash merino from Crown Mountain Farms in the albatross colorway — which is almost exactly what I spun from the 3.5 ounces I estimated I’d need. Yay! I hope he likes it.

I asked Boh to do an interpretive dance to demonstrate how I (we) feel about going back to school in a few hours. This was his response. He captured my feelings exactly — as did the weather — heavy rains and high winds today — which, unfortunately, does not seem super conducive to helping me to fully kick this cold. (More Theraflu for this rooster — I’m definitely feeling better, but, as it often goes near the end of a rapidly morphing sore throat to drippy nose to head cold to cough, despite feeling much improved, I sound worse! Or incredibly sexy, depending on how you look at it…)

Happy Monday, folks. Despite my whining, there is a lot to look forward to this semester.

the perfect combination.

Spinning and reading, the heft of a pile of hardcover books and the squish of handspun skeins, superwash merino and the late nineteenth century…

I was so excited about how this was looking that I stopped plying to grab the camera.

This is 170 yards of super squishy heavy worsted 2-ply from the second 4 oz. of Crown Mountain Farms superwash merino in the Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds colorway. LOVE. Love so much that I could set aside my writing and grading and cast on for mittens for me right now. But I’m not going to. Why? Because I don’t have to do what the yarn says all the time. Really.

Actually, I spun this with a particular as yet not fully formed human being in mind, but now that I see it all skeined up, all that pink might get in the way of my plans to knit a non-gender specific baby something. Thoughts? (Sorry guys, if you were hoping to be completely surprised. While I’m sort of banking on the fact that you’re too busy prepping for the big day and might not read this, I do need the advice of the internets.)

Which brings me back to my love affair with my wheel, and my decision last night to start spinning some FLUFF superwash merino in Beach Day.

(Artificial evening light above, natural morning light below.)

I think what I really need to do is swatch to see how the colors look all knitted up. And keep spinning this bee-yoo-ti-ful FLUFF fiber. Oh, and keep writing. Perhaps in the reverse order.

boh is concerned.

What’s the matter, big dog?

If you’re worried about the fact that I spent my first hour today doing this:

Don’t be. I’m not going to ply it with the first bobbin until I make sufficient progress on that other stuff. Really.

And don’t worry, we’re still going to take a nice W-A-L-K today.

Happy Friday, folks!

pretend productive.

Let me explain: I did spend a few hours on my writing yesterday, but in a “pretend productive” kind of way — you know, the kind of productive where you don’t actually increase the word count. Now, I would argue that one of the challenges in grad school — and really, academia more broadly — involves coming to terms with what it means to be productive. Sometimes, even when I don’t write anything down, I do some really important thinking that makes it possible for me to write something¬† substantial when I return to the project. That’s not what I mean by “pretend productive.”

“Pretend productive” is when you read comments you’ve received on drafts, track down citations, request books that you know you should look at from the library, rearrange the piles or files you’re working from…and then (and this is key) derive a false sense of accomplishment from these tasks — and stop working.

I was “pretend productive” yesterday. I don’t really have pictures of what that looks like, but I think you get the idea. I do have pictures of fibery productivity, though.

First, my friend H (you may remember her as the recipient of the purple ishbel/springtime bandit brokeknits mash-up wedding shawl) came over to make applesauce and do some knitting. Boh assumed his supervisory role, and did a very good job of keeping our feet warm.

As you can see, this hat is way too big for me — which is a good thing! It should be perfect for my dad. (Apologies for the blurry photos.)

This is the largest size of the seaman’s cap, knitted even longer than the pattern called for, and made out of my handspun — Southern Cross Fibres polwarth, spun as a worsted weight 3-ply. (I still have about 80 yards left, so I may try to incorporate stripes into mittens or a manly cowl or something. We’ll see.)

H. asked me to show her how my wheel works, and because I had emptied all of my bobbins, we had to decide what I would spin next. I decided on the second 4 oz. of Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino in Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, spun as a fatter 2-ply. I started it to show H., and found it so captivating that late last night, I made myself a cup of hot cocoa and kept going.

I am in love with this, and all I want to do right now is spin the second bobbin. Alas, today I MUST be “real” productive. I received some great advice last night about how to get work done when there is really fun knitting in the house: lock it in the car. I may have to banish the second bobbin’s worth of fiber to the backseat today…

Stay tuned for pictures of the buttons that perfectly answered yesterday’s personal ad, as well as (I hope) a triumphant report about my productivity…

and then there were two.

skein2 cmfbfl fo

Two¬† skeins of handspun Crown Mountain Farms brown bfl! This second skein (on the left) is 166 yards of 3-ply. I decided to use the bobbins from the first skein, and two of them still had a bit of yarn leftover from the first round of plying, so I divided these three ounces to account for the additional fiber and hoped that everything would even out. So with that in mind (slightly more fiber), I’m really happy with the consistency of my spinning! Here’s a close-up of the second skein:

skein2 cmf bfl macro

Boh and I walked down to the reservoir to stretch our legs and check out the fall foliage, and we were not disappointed.

smc4 leaves

smc1

smc3

smc5 boh

Making time to do this is important to me. There’s something about being in a relationship that made it easier to leave all of the work that piles up and prioritize spending time together. This fall, I’m really trying to make sure I take some of that time for myself.

The weather this weekend was absolutely lovely, and I’m hoping for an October filled with cool mornings, crisp fall breezes, and clear skies.

not-work.

You know, the opposite of work. (Both are occurring this weekend, but the not-work is more fun to photograph.)

hiding1

Boh likes to “hide” behind or underneath the blanket on my bed. He also likes to chew on it, or pretend to chew on it, as a way of getting my attention.

hiding2

I see you.

slowroasttomatoes

muffins

Slow-roasted tomatoes and raspberry muffins. There was also applesauce — a lot of it — but I didn’t take any pictures. Oh, and some knitting!

botanic inprog

I am ready to start the decrease rows, and I am absolutely in love with this hat.

pastrycutter

I also adore this pastry cutter — a lovely surprise from a friend who found this at an antique shop and knew that I’ve been looking for a a pastry cutter with a wooden handle. I may have to make up a batch of pie crust to welcome this into my kitchen.

cmf bfl skein2 plied

cmf bfl skein2plied closeup

This is how I know that I’m feeling better. Last weekend, I could not spin – too much work and motion for my tired body and achy head. This weekend, I finished spinning all 3 bobbins of singles, let them rest for 10 hours, and late last night, after a fun evening out with friends, I decided to sit down and ply so that I could set the twist and hang the yarn to dry overnight. (It’s almost dry!)

getbacktowork

I think this is Boh’s “get back to work” face.

sensing a theme.

bohinknitcorner2

bohinknitcorner1

(Note the pile of knitting projects in this particular corner.)

bohcouchthurs1

I never get tired of taking pictures of this dog while he sleeps, which is a good thing: he seems to be napping 90% of the time.

cmf bfl skein2

I started working on the first ply of the second skein of my Crown Mountain Farms brown bfl. This is a sign that I’m feeling better — over the weekend and throughout this week, the treadling motion and sitting up straight at the wheel seemed like too much for me. It felt good to sit down and spin a bit just before bed last night. (Yay!)

Boh and I have big plans to catch up on reading/writing, tackle a big pile of grading, and make some knitterly progress on a few things this weekend. Happy Friday!

you gotta keep ’em separated.

gyc sleeves divided

My sense of humor is returning, which makes me hopeful that I’ll be back to my usual (healthy) self today. A few weekends ago, I was having a conversation with my officemate about The Offspring. (He LOVED them, and even seemed a bit nostalgic for the days when they were on the radio all the time.) Thus, the title of today’s post. I sat down to think of a way to indicate that I had finished the raglan increases and divided the sleeves from the body on my garter yoke cardigan, and The Offspring came to mind.

gyc sleeves divided2

I know you can’t tell from the photo, but I’m thrilled with the fit so far. I was too lazy to put this on scrap yarn, so it is still on a slightly too small circular.

gyc sleeves divided3

gyc sleeves divided4

When I joined the Cascade 220 and began working the raglan increases, I have to tell you that I had some doubts about my color choices — I just wasn’t sure that this brown was the right match for this handspun. I think I just needed to see more of the brown to get a sense for what it will look like, because I absolutely love this. Also, I think this is the first sweater I’m making with Cascade 220, and I am thoroughly enjoying knitting with it. I might need to acquire a bunch more the next time Webs has that incredible anniversary sale…

cmf bfl skein1 prewash

Here’s the first skein of my Crown Mountain Farms brown bfl before washing and setting the twist.

cmf bfl skein 1 fo2

And here it is, all finished and ready to wait patiently for the other skeins. This is 150 yards of 3-ply worsted weight. If I can maintain this yardage per each 3 oz, I should be able to get 8 skeins, or about 1200 yards, to work with.

cmf bfl skein 1 fo3

More gorgeous fiber came in yesterday’s mail, which certainly improved my mood. (I am not a very good sick person — too impatient and pouty.) I’m planning to head to campus for a little while today, but don’t worry, I’m going to take it easy to ensure that I’m over this little weekend flu bug. (Which means I’ll probably do some more knitting. And annotating.)

tomatoes, 28thirty, three-ply.

roasted tomatoes

Yesterday started out well. I blogged, put some tomatoes in the oven to roast, put on a handknit sweater, did some reading, and went out to brunch.

wearing 28thirty

While I did all of this, my head became rather congested, and by the time I got home after brunch, I was starting to feel achy. Blah. I decided to go to the grocery store because if I was getting sick, I wanted to do so with a replenished refrigerator, and while I was packing my eggs (yummy, local eggs that you can pack yourself at my local coop), I dropped one of them, which seemed to confirm that I was not really at 100% yesterday.

So rather than annotated a less than fully formed bibliography, I did the things I absolutely needed to do, watched guilty tv online, drank a lot of tea, and late at night, forced myself to eat something. (Somehow I forgot to eat dinner. When I am not hungry, something is not quite right.) Oh, and I plyed my first skein of my CMF bfl sweater spinning project.

first skein cmf bfl 3ply

LOVE. This morning, as I wait to see if this was just a 24-hour bug or if I am going to feel lousy again (I always feel good in the early mornings, even when I’m sick, so I’ve learned to delay all decision-making about the day to mid-morning), I’m going to set the twist and hang my pretty yarn to dry.

Fingers crossed that today I’ll feel better. That bibliography is not going to annotate itself!

GYC.

gyc startofbody

Despite the fact that I haven’t actively listened to any Michael Jackson since the summer, every time I go to abbreviate the garter yoke cardigan as GYC (you know, when I label photos and such), I hear the chorus of PYT in my head.

gyc startofbody2

I’m just over halfway through the raglan increases now, and I’m hoping to separate the sleeves from the body before the end of the weekend.

one oz of cmfbfl

I started spinning my CMF bfl yesterday as well. I’m going to work through this an ounce at a time, with the idea that if I keep 4 bobbins in rotation, I can spin 3 ounces and then ply them together, and then start on the next skein. In a perfect world, I’d spin all the singles first and ply the earlier bobbins with later ones to help increase my chances of uniformity, but since I only have 6 bobbins, and no storage bobbins, I’m thinking that working through this a skein of yarn at a time is the way to go, both for my storage options and my momentum. Speaking of momentum, today I should probably aim for more reading/writing and less knitting and spinning. The pace of the semester is really picking up, which means the book piles are growing.

sauerkraut saute

I’m not even going to try for a smooth transition. I snapped this photograph of my lunch sauteing yesterday: fresh farm onions, bok choy, carrots, and homemade sauerkraut.

Time to hit the books. (Well, after I pour another cup of coffee and knit a row or two.)