i feel the need, the need for speed.*

Or handspun.

Maybe it’s the weather, but all I want to do is knit with squishy handspun. And I’m okay with that. A few days ago, inspired by Lisa’s latest, I cast on another seaman’s cap — for me! I think this is handspun from Pigeonroof Studios fiber, and it is lovely. (*If Top Gun pilots were knitters, this is how fast they’d be knitting. Maybe.) I’m knitting the medium size (co 96) on US 7 needles, and I’m really enjoying how the greens and browns and yellows are interacting. Cool, damp, and rainy again today, which means I’d love to have a handspun hat on my head very soon.

Boh’s (mis)adventures over the weekend meant that I never shared some photos from last week’s research trip here. All of these (including the seaman’s cap photo above) come from my iPhone — I’m consistently impressed with the quality of the camera, which makes it easier to snap pictures without feeling like a tourist. Like when you really like the new chairs in the library you used to study in. (Note: this library has been seriously renovated since I graduated.)

My pedicure from a family wedding a few weeks ago — which, let’s be honest, is the only time my toes are painted. I looked through all the color options, and settled on this shade of deep burgundy/red/brown, partly because I needed a dark color to hide my black-and-blue toenail (TMI?) and partly because of the name. Lots of nail colors have frilly names, but this one spoke to me: Mrs. O’Leary’s BBQ. Love.

Alright, time to get to work. It’s already a few minutes after 9. Boh is snoring, which means I should be reading…

dog collar, wurm cowl.

First, thank you so much for your concern about Boh. We both really appreciate it. He liked hearing your comments so much that he said it was okay for me to share more silly pictures of him in his ridiculous cone. (I probably would have posted them anyway…)

It is so hard to be this dog. Luckily, I’m not traveling this week, and had absolutely nothing planned for Labor Day except rest and recovery — for both of us. I did some knitting and spinning, went to yoga, and cuddled Boh (well, as much as one can cuddle a giant plastic conehead).

I finished my wurm cowl (though I still need to weave in the ends), and you were right — the colors aren’t too wild, and this will be the perfect cozy thing to wear with everything this fall. (And, since I’m paying my own heat at the lake house, I imagine this will help me to postpone turning the heat on until absolutely necessary…) I’ll take better pictures in good light with my real camera (instead of in a dark corner with my iPhone) very soon.

I also did some yarn untangling yesterday. I really should emphasize the “some.” This is a skein of malabrigo sock in Botticelli Red. I bought it right when this yarn came out — and the yarn universe wasn’t kidding when they said there were knots and breaks in this stuff. (ETA: I’ve heard that this was only really an issue with the early production of this yarn — I’ve wound skeins purchased more recently without a problem.) I first sat down to wind this yarn before heading to Chicago last month, and it was such a mess that I didn’t have time to tackle it before leaving to catch my plane. I did a bit more yesterday — but lost patience after about 45 minutes. Maybe I’ll try again soon, as this stuff is so pretty. I initially pulled it off the shelf to make Melissa LaBarre’s Skinner Hat, but that’s only going to happen if I can salvage most of a skein’s worth of yarn. Sigh.

By the end of the day, this guy was a bit more resigned to his fate: about ten days in the cone. I was so happy to see him sleeping/snoring in it, as I don’t think he slept much the night before. Sweet dog.

Hope the work week (or the semester, if today’s your first day back to school) starts off smoothly. I may be keeping my pajamas on for awhile longer, but I plan to be working studiously by the time 9 AM rolls around too.

conehead.

This is me, knitting on my handspun wurm cowl, not on my couch. Why am I not on my couch in this photo? Because someone (ahem) cut himself on a piece of glass from the window he may have been involved in breaking this morning — BEFORE I poured my coffee. After cleaning up the glass, putting a makeshift bandage on Boh’s leg, and calling the animal hospital to figure out if we needed to come in (we did), I got dressed, and on the way out the door, grabbed my cowl-in-progress. I’m so glad I did, because I spent about four hours there today, at least half of them without Boh at my feet. The result? A clean wound (no stitches), antibiotics, a good bandage, and a very silly cone. (They call these e-collars. E for Elizabethan!)

Oh, Boh. I’m so glad you weren’t seriously hurt this morning. Let’s try to keep our paws on this side of the glass, okay?

handspun purl ridges.

This project is inspired by CatReading’s wurm cowl. (If you have time, look through her other projects — her knitting is lovely.) I wound up my Rhinebeck cauldron handspun on Thursday morning, and took it with me for the weekend. I cast on roughly 180ish stitches and got to work. A few mornings at my parents’ kitchen table with a mug of coffee, and an afternoon pedicure with my mom created ideal conditions for serious progress — I’m well into my second skein. The squishy-ness of this yarn makes it absolutely addicting to knit. I’m optimistic about the outcome, but there’s a chance this will be too wild for me. I guess I’ll just have to keep knitting to find out…

Boh enjoyed our weekend trip, but I think he’s happy to be home. I’m off again tomorrow for another research trip, but Boh will stay here with a friend of mine. (I sort of wish I could just curl up with Boh on the couch for the week.) After this trip, I’ll have a few weeks without travel, and I’m really looking forward to settling into a routine that encompasses more than just planning for and recovering from trips!

FO: stripey shawl.

Eventually I’ll take a wingspan photograph so you can see the size of this basic triangle shawl, but for now, I’ll just say that I LOVE this, and that it is just long enough for me to wrap all the way around with the point(s) in front. Made from 250ish yards of handspun singles in two different colorways (one is Sadia from AVFKW in bfl, and the other might be half of a 2-color bump from SCF in Hades, possibly also bfl). I can dig up those details if anybody is dying to know. The brown is a purpley brown, and the lighter shade is a lovely coral with lots of depth. Originally I had intended to use this pair to make Daybreak, but at the start of last month I got sick, needed a simple project, and just couldn’t wrap my sinus-addled brain around the pattern, so I started this instead. I used the cast on and set up from Mary Heather-Cogar’s Simple Things (a pattern I highly recommend), and the rest is really just stockinette stripes, with a few garter ridges close to the very end to stop the edges from rolling too horribly.

Here’s one of many awkward pictures I attempted to take of myself wearing this shawl — I like this one for its blurriness and for the glare on my glasses. (Adds a certain sparkle to the image, maybe?)

I’ve learned that half-assed blocking still results in lovely drape, so I’ll keep that in mind for future projects. (It is so nice to have a towel rack on the door to my shower to hang blocking shawls!)

This silliness was occurring while I was trying to take pictures of the shawl.

Coltrane considers his reading options on the bookshelf. Boh wishes he could read…

Hooray for Friday.

Sweet, silly dogs.

PQRS: an alphabet post.

P. As in, peonies the size of my head. Also, Pearl and the Beard. (Have you entered the album giveaway yet? You have until Wednesday to comment on Friday’s post!)

Q. For quantity. As in, how many retro table and chair sets can I fit on my porch? Also, aQua. (4 chairs and a table for 20 bucks, thanks to Craig and his marvelous list.)

R. Ricotta. Rich, homemade ricotta from Deb over at smitten kitchen, to be precise. This is Really good. Like, change-your-plans-for-the-day good. Whole milk, some heavy cream, lemon juice, and salt. The only reason I can come up with for not making this as soon as possible is that you need to go get a meat or candy thermometer. You should maybe go do that now.

S. Salad. And not just any salad; Summer Salad. Here at Casa Rooster, a Summer Salad is a salad that is eaten out of a larger-than-normal bowl.

Yup.

S also stands for Stripes. I’ve been making progress at a leisurely pace on my handspun stripey shawl, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Boh seems to like it too.

Happy Monday, folks. Hope your week is off to an excellent start.

FO: cosmopolitan.

Quick post today, because my parents will be here in an hour to keep working! (Today is their last full day here, and we still have so many things on the list: swap out more storm windows for screens, clear off a few inches of compressed leaves from what I think is a stone patio out the back door, hang prints, decide about curtains/curtain rods, wash the outsides of the windows…) I’m excited to show you all of our progress very soon.

These pictures are of my finished skein and change of some SCF organic merino in cosmopolitan. I split the fiber lengthwise and was aiming for long repeats, and while there is more barberpoling than I was aiming for, I’m happy with the result. This is 230 yards (205 + mini-skein of 25) of squishy light worsted weight wonderfulness. I’m so excited to check out all the patterns you suggested for my Rhinebeck-cauldron. Any thoughts on this? It is super soft organic merino, so I’m thinking hat, cowl, or super simple fingerless mitts.

Time to pour the coffee and gear up for another day of home improvements!

sick day.

I have lots to show you: homemade fire-roasted salsa, Boh being silly, millet “fried rice” from Super Natural Cooking, the ingredients that go into a hot toddy…but tonight, I’ll just stick with these two pictures of the couch. This is what a sick day looks like. (And really, it’s been two.)

I started making a Daybreak shawl last night, but (a) there was counting involved, and the sore throat that had spread to my ears wasn’t having any of it and (b) my handspun singles were not so pleased with having to knit and purl M1L and M1R (or rather, I was anxious about it — the stitches around those increases were tightening, putting stress on a single that isn’t as strong as I’d like it to be everywhere). So I ripped it out and cast on another Simple Things shawl by Mary-Heather Cogar, using the handspun I’d initially set aside for Daybreak: 2 oz. of AVFKW bfl in the Sadia colorway, and what I think is 2 oz. of SCF club fiber in one of the Hades colorways. Today I knit stripes while watching all available episodes of The Voice and three (count ’em) movies on Netflix. I also drank more mugs of hot liquid containing one or all of the following than I can count: black tea, lemon juice, honey, apple cider vinegar, and whiskey. Hoping I’ll be on the mend tomorrow.

FO: rhinebeck cauldron handspun.

My rhinebeck-cauldron polwarth puffed up after a nice long bath, and now I love it even more. I even accidentally skipped the part where I count the strands and do the math because I just couldn’t wait to see it in squishy skein form. I’m going to conservatively estimate that this is about 150 yards of 2-ply worsted weight. And maybe I’ll be allowed to cast on if I can finish a book on postcolonial Vietnam today?

Last night I made this butternut squash lasagna. Which means I have delicious leftovers that should last much of the weekend. I didn’t have any mushrooms handy, so I upped the greens (used kale instead of chard) and sauteed them with onion and a carrot.

I think somebody is glad that it’s Friday.

leftovers (edible and otherwise).

First of all, my mom is awesome. This is what I just put into the oven — a complete collection of Thanksgiving leftovers. (There’s cranberry relish too.) Plus, my dad gave me a bottle of chardonnay to accompany all this deliciousness. (B and I celebrated Thanksgiving in different places, so tonight we get to enjoy some turkey together!)

My mom also baked a few extra half-size loaves of cranberry bread to send home with me. This is a Thanksgiving morning staple in my house. So tasty.

And now, some blog leftovers — photos I snapped last week but didn’t find time to post.

Last Tuesday, I wrapped this sweet little merino shawlette around my neck before walking Boh, and thought to snap a picture. This is the perfect extra bit of warmth on a windy day.

And then there’s this top, which has a great story that just affirms (like I needed that!) how wonderful the knitting community really is. Did you guys get the email from Quince and Co. about these mitts? (If not, you should totally get on their mailing list.) Well, I think the mitts are adorable, but I absolutely fell in love with the styling. I left a comment on the Quince and Co. blog to ask about the top the model is wearing, and within minutes (THE) Pam Allen wrote me back to tell me that it came from All Saints. And then I bought it. And wore it on Monday, for the discussion of my paper. And I felt super hip. And now all I need are some super long mitts…

Hope you’ve all had a fantastic holiday weekend. So much to be thankful for here at casa rooster.