transitions.

moregarteryoke1

I couldn’t help taking more pictures of this, as I just love the way the transitions between the colors occur.

moregarteryoke2

I only knit about 5 rows yesterday, and late at night, at that, but it was enough to see the golden yellows and browns return, which made me quite happy.

kitchen scale and corriedale

Also, my kitchen scale arrived! I’m hoping to set aside a little bit of time this weekend to divide some of my Crown Mountain Farms BFL into ounces and do some sampling to plan for my first me-sized handspun sweater. (Yay!)

equilibrium.

cmf grey corriedale

cmf brown bfl

Believe it or not, I’ve been spinning faster than I’ve been stashing fiber. (The rate I’m knitting my handspun? That’s another story, but I’m working on it.)

Anyway, Chris over at Doodles In String has been encouraging me to spin for a sweater, and her kind enabling, in addition to last week’s realization that I had spun more than I had left to spin, required immediate action. On Saturday, I ordered a pound and a half each of grey corriedale and brown bfl from Crown Mountain Farms, and it was here on Monday afternoon. A few bumps of fiber are on their way here from places further afield, but I do feel that I am much closer to stash equilibrium now. Phew!

targheebob2

targheebob2dog

I spun up the second bobbin of AVFKW targhee in the Hibiscus colorway last night, (note the lazy dog in the background) and I’m hoping to start plying before I head to class this morning. Apparently this particular blend of reds and oranges routinely speaks to me: the throw on the couch above Boh is the same mixture of colors, and this morning, I put on my sassymmetrical cardigan, only to realize that I knit it in a very similar shade of malabrigo.

sassymmetrical in action

closeupsassymmetrical

I love this sweater, but I rarely wear it out of the house. I think this is because of a mixture of several factors: (a) it is bright (b) I don’t have a lot that seems to look “right” under it (c) cap sleeves in practice aren’t the most flattering on me (though I love them in theory) and (d) the texture and variegation of the malabrigo in this particular incarnation make it look hand-knit in a way that makes me a little self-conscious. Does that make sense?

Despite all this, I’m wearing it today, and it is making me happy.

simpleyeteffectiveblob

Lastly, my simple yet effective shawl is growing. It’s the wrong color family for today’s post, but I can’t get over how much I like the way this is knitting up. I’m thinking I may keep going once I run out of handspun and continue with some commercial yarn leftovers to give it a more finished edge.

This post’s title is also apt because I think I’m getting closer to a routine: I’ve made lists of my personal and academic priorities for this semester, mapped out a tentative breakdown for working at home with Boh vs. working in my office, and I’m feeling okay about it all. I guess it is about time to stop planning my work and get to it!

lucy in the sky, skeined.

lucyFO1

lucyFO2

My apologies, up front. I have A LOT of pictures of this skein of handspun.

lucyFO4 macro

lucyFO3

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Just one more. Okay?

lucyFO6 macro

3-ply, 325 yards of almost 4 oz of Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino in (wait for it) Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. I didn’t measure wpi, but it is definitely sock yarn, slightly thicker and squooshier than the blue Spunky Club sock yarn I finished a few weeks ago. I say “almost 4 oz” because I stopped plying when I could not fit any more yarn on the bobbin, rather than when one of the bobbins ran out.

nplylucy

I navajo plied one of the leftover bobbins, and here’s how it looks, unwashed. The trick really is to just slow down. I did this while listening to NPR’s coverage (downloadable!) of Billy Bragg at the Newport Folk Festival, and I found myself treadling very slowly along with his guitar.  There’s something really quite graceful about navajo plying, and I’m excited to keep practicing.

I have more spinning to share — my wheel was looking so empty that I just had to start a project. Or two.

singles shetland41

This is the last of my AVFKW shetland in Fruit Loops — 68 yards of singles. While the rest was done on a spindle, I spun this on the wheel. Not sure what the collection of singles skeins will become, but I’m quite happy with the lot of them.

indigowensleydalebob1

And this. I only intended to start this last night, but I ended up spinning a whole bobbin’s worth. This is AVFKW Wensleydale in Intergalactic Space Travel, dyed with indigo, which, as expected, turned my fingers a gorgeous shade of blue. I’m still learning about how dye and fiber react, and with this stuff, I could really see how the saturated spots were different (and more difficult for me to spin) than the lighter sections. I’m aiming for a worsted-ish 2-ply with this, but it might turn out more thick and thin, as the coarser, more saturated parts were making it really tough for me to get into a rhythm and find some level of consistency. I’m really interested to see how this yarn feels once it has had a good soak, as the indigo really changes the feel of the wensleydale.

savoryzucchinibread

(One of these things is not like the others…) A friend from my high desert knitting group emailed me this recipe for a savory zucchini-cheddar bread, and I baked a loaf yesterday afternoon. I used monterey jack instead of cheddar, and upped the dill to make up for my dwindling supply of parsley, and whoa. My go-to zucchini bread is more of a breakfast loaf, but this makes it possible to have zucchini bread at every meal. So delicious.

Three weeks until the semester begins — I can’t believe it. Time to get to work!

boh in the creek with potatoes.

And plying. (Forgive me. I finished plying the Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino in the Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds colorway late last night. And now “Boh in the creek with potaaaaatoes” is in my head.)

Lots to share today! First up:

flowers

Some of the many reasons I love my farm. There is nothing like wandering through rows and rows of flowers, scissors in hand, carefully selecting a big bunch for the week. After snapping this photo, I put a vase (or mason jar) in every room. It was pretty hot yesterday, so the veggies went straight into the fridge, but this week’s haul included eggplant, tomatoes, 5 lbs of potatoes (more on those later), cabbage, carrots, chiogga beets, basil, oregano, dill, parsley, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, and 3 quarts of beans — green, yellow, and the flat roma beans — that I picked myself while talking garlic and dilly beans with other CSA members in the fields.

It was too nice a day to sit inside and work, and the rain we’ve had has meant that Boh and I have a been a bit more sedentary than I’d like, so we hopped in the car and drove a few miles to the trailhead of one of our favorite walks, which gently slopes down to follow the pebbly banks of a good-sized creek.

monkeyrun1

monkeyrun2

I know he looks concerned (doesn’t he always?), but Boh does seem to be taking a shine to the water. He waded alongside me this time without complaint, and when I encouraged him to swim a bit in the slightly deeper sections, he tentatively reached out one paw, and then the other, to doggy paddle. (Last time, he pulled back on the leash hard, as if to say, “Are you crazy? I can’t reach the bottom!”)

monkeyrun3

Proof that we are both in the water. (Nope, I didn’t get a haircut — that’s just the part that does not fit in a ponytail blowing around in the breeze.)

monkeyrun4

I even got some reading done while Boh and I dried off in the sun.

Now, about those potatoes. The bad news is that potato and tomato blight have finally showed up on the farm. This was expected; the blight has been sweeping the Northeast for the last several weeks. The farmers sent out a really great email explaining what that means — and highlighting what is so incredible about the CSA system of farming: we all buy in and share this risk, rather than simply leaving the farmers to handle it all. So, the bad news is that the potato and tomato crops need to be mowed and burned so that the spores do not survive. The good news is this: we’ll probably get tomatoes from the farm greenhouse for a few more weeks, and we get our potatoes NOW. While blight is not damaging/dangerous in the least to humans, it does mean that potatoes do not store well at all, which is a major bummer in the land of root vegetables.

This translates to one simple directive, which made me smile when I saw it scrawled on the chalkboard above a huge, lovely crate of potatoes: “Gorge Thyself.”

potatoessalsaverde

I love potatoes. Have I told you that yet? Roasted potatoes are serious comfort food for me. I like to roast potatoes in the oven for about an hour, and then either add lots of herbs for the last few minutes, or simply pour the potatoes in a bowl and liberally apply ketchup. Yum! Last night, I enjoyed a more glamorous version of this meal, thanks to this post over at Orangette.

salsaverde

I tossed my potatoes in Orangette’s salsa verde (subbing red wine vinegar for lemon juice/zest), and it was so good that I found myself wiping the bowl clean with slices of bread to get every last bit of this capery, garlicky goodness. You should make this. Tonight.

full bobbin cmf lucy

Last, but certainly not least, I present the yarn that has inspired today’s silly blog post title. This is a mighty full bobbin of Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino in Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. I tried to ply this with a little less twist than my last 3-ply, in order to make sure there would be a little bit of room for the yarn to bloom. I’m aiming for squish instead of just sturdy twist, and so far (it is still hanging to dry), I’m really happy with it.

cmflucyniddynoddy

Awkward, late night niddy noddy picture. Details to come once this is all skeined up and ready for her close-up!

a special shawl, another sock.

heathermalabrigo

One of my favorite people here in New Home is getting married next month. Remember that first pinwheel blanket I knit as a wedding present? It went to the folks who hosted me when I came to visit last spring. Apparently, when H. saw this blanket last summer, she said something like, “Where did that come from?” And when they replied that I had made it for their wedding, she responded, “Well, I want to get married if it means Rooster will knit me a lap blanket!” With this in mind, I asked H. for a few color suggestions, as they are moving into a new-to-them home this month.

Last week, H. asked if, instead of the blanket, I might be willing to knit her something to wear at the outdoor reception as the sun goes down. She came over to look at patterns and yarn, and we settled on this deep purple malabrigo sock yarn to go with her pale grey dress and soon-to-be husband’s purple tie.

This means I’ve cast on yet another project — and this one has a firm deadline! Here’s what I’ve got so far:

hshawl

I’m knitting a modified springtime bandit, following the brilliant mods of brokeknits: fingering weight yarn, plain triangle shawl to start, and then the leaf pattern and edging. You can see hers here — and I highly recommend taking a look. I have been drooling over her version from the moment she posted it on her blog!

I’m honored to be able to do this for H., and I hope the knitting goes smoothly. I’m aiming to be done with the knitting by September 1, which gives me time to block it before the wedding on the 5th.

diamondguernseytoe

Also, last night I cast on another sock. I know, I know, I didn’t finish the on-holds by the end of July, but I need to catch up, right? These are the Diamond Gansey Socks from Socks from the Toe Up — the August selection for the KAL — and I am using Araucania Ranco in a pale blue, with a size US 1 needle, magic loop.

bohlooksaway

When Boh saw what I had done, he looked away in disappointment and disgust. I know he doesn’t think I can get back on track with the KAL and finish these socks on time. I’ll just have to try to prove him wrong.

One more photo on this fine Monday morning:

lsd bob3

I’m into my third bobbin of the Crown Mountain Farms SW Merino in Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, which means I should be able to turn this into a 3-ply by the end of the week.

Which only means more socks, of course! Boh is glaring at me from his perch on the couch…

spindled shetland singles.

(And other stuff, too. But first, the shetland.)

bohspindle

I was digging through my fiber bin yesterday, and found some shetland in progress on a spindle, as well as some singles stored on metal knitting needles, patiently waiting to be plyed or finished. I worked on the shetland for a little while, and just had to snap this picture of Boh, laying on my left foot, back arched and ears-a-flapping, directly underneath my spindle.

shetlandsinglered hanger

This is shetland from A Verb For Keeping Warm in the Fruit Loops colorway. I have a little bit left to spin of the brown and red section, but the spindle was getting heavy, so I wound it onto the niddy noddy and set the twist. I did the same with the stored singles from the other half of this bump, which was much bluer/multi-colored.

shetland singles skeins

Picking up my spindle yesterday felt sort of funny after all the wheel spinning I’ve been doing, and it took me a few yards (or 10) to get back into a rhythm. Soon I’d like to work on thicker, even, low-twist singles on the wheel, as I really like the way these smaller skeins of shetland turned out. (The thinner, more uneven yarn on the right is the earliest spindling in this picture, before I was doing things like making plans for the kind of yarn I wanted to spin. Fun to be able to see my progress in these side-by-side singles.)

shetlandsingles2

Yardage: 145 yards of the reddish-brown shetland, 88 yards of the blue-multi shetland, and 96 yards of the thinner blue shetland. (I found a new way of doing math that is a bit easier than the 32 and 36 inch increments: Total number of strands x 5 (my niddy-noddy is 1.5 meters, or 5 feet) and then divided by 3 (3 feet =1 yards) = total # ofyards. Thanks, ravelry!)

Progress report on my Beatles’ song-inspired CMF colorway:

lsdbob2one

lsdbob2two

Bobbin #2 is moving right along. The colors are hard to capture when the light is wierd, but these pictures are pretty accurate — I love that chunk of super-bright turquoise on the right!

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After the dilly beans, I decided to keep on tackling the zucchini that is taking over my fridge. Last night, I made a big batch of summer squash and zucchini pancakes.

zucchinipancakes2

They aren’t super pretty, but they were VERY tasty. It’s a good thing I made a hearty meal, because about an hour after I had settled in with my knitting to watch an episode or two of the second season of Mad Men, a fairly large bat began flying around my apartment. (Story to follow. If you don’t like bat stories, stop reading now.)

It is unclear how he got in, which is a little disturbing because my landlord had called to say that the folks upstairs had seen a bat in the basement. (The house is on a hill, and my apartment has great natural light on three sides, but is technically the finished side of the basement because of the building’s orientation. The idea that there is a way to move between my bright  and cheery apartment and the dark and scary basement is not encouraging.)

It is roughly roosting time, and while I have shared open-air spaces with bat families before (see posts from last summer), I am not that interested in sharing my in-town, rather small apartment with a winged rodent (as my father calls them).  I trapped the bat in my bedroom, shut the door, and packed some fabric at the base of the door so that the bat would not be able to squeeze underneath. I got out my headlamp, grabbed a dinner knife, and went outside to pry the screen off one of the bedroom windows to give the bat a clear escape route. And then I waited.

And waited.

I finally opened up the bedroom and took a look around, and it appeared that the universe had righted itself. So I replaced the screen, and went back to my evening plans. And then Boh started to bark in the direction of the 1960s-style dress I have hanging on my bedroom wall. I went back in the bedroom, only to find my bat peaking out from behind the Jackie O-inspired wide neckline of the dress. I closed the door, repried the screen off the window, and watched through the window as the bat yawned and found a cozy spot to take a nap. This bat was serious about moving in.

I called my dad for advice, and in between comparisons to a situation in which he’d had to deal with a hummingbird trapped in the garage (NOT the same thing as a bat in the bedroom), reminders of  a summer vacation we’d taken when I was a baby that involved bats and netting over my crib at night, and a lot of laughter on his part (“Well, do you think it is a vampire bat? How big are its fangs?”), he recommended broom warfare and gave me a pep talk.

At about 11 o’clock last night, I put on my raincoat, pulled the hood up over my hair (to prevent any sort of accidental touching of the bat or entanglement in my curls), barged into the bedroom, and took a golf-like swing at the wall, sweeping the bat towards the window, and likely disorienting it with the force of the blow.

It landed, stunned,  in a plate full of shiny jewelry on a shelf near the window. I picked up the plate and set it on the ledge, and gently poked the bat with the broom bristles until it flopped out the window.

And, that, my dear friends, is the complete story of Rooster vs. Bat, 2009.

That (hopefully) concludes our bat content for the year. More knitting, spinning, and cooking to come!

dilly beans and diamonds.

dillybeans

I’ve been meaning to try my hand at dilly beans every day this week, so this morning, I got right to it. I even filled up the canning pot and put it on the stove alongside the water intended for my french press. The lids have been going “ping” — a good sign — so we’ll see how these turn out once they’ve had a few weeks to pickle themselves. (I learned that head-space can be a little tricky when you’re packing something into a pint jar and then pouring boiling liquid over it…)

lsd bob1

And for the “diamonds” portion of the post, I present bobbin numero uno of the CMF SW Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds merino. I’d abbreviate the song title, but I’m not sure I want to generate that kind of blog traffic…

I absolutely adore how this is spinning up, and I’m interested to see what the yarn will look like when it has been plyed and finished. I’ve read that this particular roving will plump up quite nicely, and I’m aiming for a squishier, slightly thicker sock yarn than last time.

Other goings-on around here:

zucchini bread

The first zucchini bread of the season!

pure and simple ribbing

The ribbing at the bottom of the pure and simple test-knit I’m working on!

That’s all for now! Boh and I have plans to take a long walk and stick our paws/feet in the creek, and I’m looking forward to a quiet, productive August (holy cow!) weekend.

this and that.

I’m sitting here, coffee in hand, looking through the photos I took yesterday, and there is not much of a theme. It seems that I did a little bit of everything yesterday, so please excuse this post’s lack of focus.

First up, a few more pictures of the silk, which is now dry and in skein form. (Still no good rhymes for tussah, I’m afraid.)

silkskein4

silkskein3

silkskein2

Swoon.

Next, a few shots of Mara, blocked and dry. (Hmm, maybe there is a theme?)

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marablocked3

marablocked2

It was incredibly hot and humid yesterday (see below photo of Boh), but I couldn’t help wrapping Mara around my shoulders and snapping a few pictures in my (dirty) mirror.

bohinsun

I also baked brownies:

brownies

Finished a vanilla sock:

halfavanillapair

Made some progress on my Milkweed Shawl:

milkweed prog

Oh, and tried crack, in the form of Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino. I’ve been hearing about this stuff on numerous podcasts (The Manic Purl, Gives Good Knit, and The Knitmore Girls), and after attaining a sock weight 3-ply yarn, I decided to go ahead and order a little bit to give it a try.

cmf1

Late last night, I told myself I would just split this lovely superwash merino in the Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds colorway nto 4 oz. chunks, and then divide one of those halves into 3 parts in preparation for spinning more 3-ply sock yarn.

cmfbob1

And then I sat down at the wheel.  This stuff is awesome.

That’s all I’ve got today. Happy Friday!