urgent cuteness.

Babies in handknits are adorable — but you know what is even better? The baby of dear friends, wearing something I made for him. LOVE.

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dashing through the snow.

We only have a few inches here, but since I’m trying to get into the holiday spirit and Boh and I are hopping in the car this afternoon to head to my parents’ house, I’m going with “dashing through the snow” today.

I’m also dashing through my knitting, or trying to. Here’s mom’s Multnomah shawl. I’m three repeats (of 11) through the lace section, and I can get through a repeat in about half an hour. I’m planning to crank through as many repeats as I can tonight, early tomorrow morning, and tomorrow night (as I’ll be AT my parents’ house) — okay, maybe the next morning too — and then try to surreptitiously block and wrap this. I’m still packing/planning, but I think I’m going to tuck my blocking mats into a tote bag and try to do this right. We’ll see…

Also, my brother isn’t coming home for Christmas this year — he has to work the day before and the day after, so it just didn’t make sense. I mailed him a little something this week, but I am behind on his knitted gift. With the academic calendar as crazy as it is in December, I really need every last minute between the end of the semester and Christmas Day to get everything done! (And this year, I totally prioritized new baby knitting, but I’m not sorry about that! I’ve been excited about his arrival for months!)

Anyway, in keeping with my plan to knit everyone (well, everyone who likes wool — see Multnomah shawl above) something out of handspun, I’m making my brother some mittens out of oatmeal bfl (the lighter stuff) and dark grey local jacob. I’m going to use the Alex’s Mittens pattern by Rebekkah Kerner (whose handspun is awesome, by the way). The pattern has a nice, full hand, which I really like.

What else am I bringing home? I’m going to cast on the Lacy Baktus, finally, out of my AVFKW A King’s Ransom handspun, and I’m also bringing my GYC cardigan so that I can finally sit down and sew on the buttons. And that’s it! I always bring way more knitting than I can ever complete whenever I go home, and while options are nice, I’m working on developing more reasonable expectations so that I’m not just lugging a lot of things back and forth unnecessarily.

This is a little something I got myself for Christmas — 2 bumps of FLUFF bfl in Turkey Two-Step. I decided that I am not bringing my wheel with me this week, which means it has never left my house, despite the fact that it folds and has a carry bag. I am, however, planning to spend a week at my parents’ house in January, and I think I might bring it then. This fiber will have to wait until next week!

Also, yesterday I made peanut brittle, from Deb’s recipe. (Of course.) I made two batches, and I must not have cooked the first batch on high enough heat, because it did not solidify, and I ended up having to toss it. It stayed chewy, like caramel, which would have been fine, except that it was impossible for me to get the wax paper (even though I greased it) off of this batch. Boo. Glad I made a second batch, though because this brittle is fantastic — crunchy without being too hard to bite into, sweet and salty, yum. I think this is the perfect treat to counter all the Christmas cookies I’ll be baking with my mom tonight!

beach day, skeined.

I have no words to describe how much I love this skein of yarn. I mean, I may have pulled back the covers on my bed in order to properly photograph it against a suitable backdrop. (Okay, and I cuddled with it a little. Don’t tell anyone.)

This is 160 yards of squishable 2-ply in what looks to be a worsted to heavy worsted range, from 4 oz. of FLUFF sw merino in Beach Day. This was my first FLUFF spin. Halfway through the second bobbin, I may have emailed to get on their fiber club waiting list…

And then I spun some more. See, I accidentally happened upon a Baktus-Along thread in the Snobby Spinners group. I wasn’t planning to find something else to spin for, but a headache that would just not go away changed my plans last night at the very last minute. (Do you ever have headaches that you think are just related to food/hydration that then refuse to go away after you feed them dinner and lots of water? That was me last night, and I would’ve just dealt with it if the plan hadn’t been to go hear some live music. Headache + loud = unhappy rooster. So I pouted a bit, and then sat down at my wheel.)

Right, Lacy Baktus. I dug through the handspun pile, and didn’t find anything that begged to become this pattern, so I overturned a bucket of fiber and fished out A King’s Ransom from the AVFKW Woolly Wonders Fiber Club: 1.5 oz of superfine merino and 1.5 oz of 80/20 merino/silk. Meanwhile, Boh did this:

This is the superfine merino, which is full of subtle color changes.  I wrestled with this fiber a lot in sections, and I wonder if I should’ve tried to open it up a bit before spinning.

This is the merino/silk blend, and it spun like a dream. So fast, so smooth. Part of the way through my first cup of coffee this morning, I sat down to start plying:

Despite what it looks like (you know, that I spent the WHOLE day spinning), I actually wrote a few more pages yesterday, and did some good thinking about my project whilst spinning. I did not, however, begin tackling the pile of grading. (Yesterday, my headache was the excuse.) Today, I need to get on that.

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.

yarn in the sink.

Last night I stayed up late to finish plying my never-ending bobbins of targhee together. I wound it onto the niddy noddy, counted the strands, took a few pictures, and then placed it in a hot water bath with some soak wash. About 30 seconds later, I realized I was incredibly tired, and went about getting ready for bed: I straightened up the kitchen, took Boh out, put on my pajamas, etc. And then I went to brush my teeth, only to look down and realize that there was yarn in the sink. (I may have used a colorful word or two.) I stayed awake for another ten or fifteen minutes in order to give the yarn the bath it deserved, and then rolled it in a towel, snapped/thwacked a few times, and finally hung it to dry.

plied hibiscus

Here it is, pre-bath, nestled on one of my favorite (store bought) sweaters. This stuff is soooo soft, and it is almost dry. (I keep petting it whenever I am in the kitchen.)

leftovers hibiscus

Here’s what was leftover on one of the bobbins. This is one of my most consistent spins to date, so this massive imbalance on the bobbins indicates to me that it might be time to acquire a kitchen scale so that I can split my fiber more evenly, particularly as I start thinking about bigger spinning projects.

fluff fibers

Lastly, this came in the mail yesterday: 2 bumps of superwash merino from FLUFF fibers in the Beach Day and Jungle Flowers colorways. Yay!