sunset and sweet stripes.

On Tuesday afternoon, the last day of January, it was easily in the mid-fifties here. And on my enclosed porch, it was a warm and cozy seventy degrees, due to a handful of hours of direct sun. I put on my flip-flops, brought my teaching prep to the big yellow table, and enjoyed my view of the lake. And when it got too dark for actual work, I just sat and took in the sunset. (And snapped a few pictures of it for you.)

It was a lovely way to say goodbye to January.

And here are the sweet stripes I made mention of: a basic baby hat, modeled on one of the many awesome hat patterns in cosy‘s book, Knit One, Embellish Two. I knit this with grey Cascade 220 and some super soft undyed mystery yarn that I think was left over from something my friend M.’s mom was making. I did more subtraction to turn a child’s hat into a baby hat, and I’m hoping it fits the wee one in question, born on Sunday morning. It went into the mail on Monday, so I’m counting on it arriving today. (I may also be counting on the new parents, one of whom is at least aware of this blog, being too busy to find this sort-of-spoiler alert.) This was so much fun to make that I’ve cast on another. I’m sure I can find a baby to put it on.

I’m reaching back to Monday morning (excuse the artificial light) for this knits-in-action shot of my Idlewood. This is the first time I’ve worn it this year, and I love it just as much as I did when I finished knitting it. I even put it back on as a cozy layer as I was walking out the door to yoga on Monday night, and when it was time for savasana, I pulled the huge cowl up over my head for deep relaxation. I may need to make another. Or at least put it on to help me with today’s tasks: a grant application, a student recommendation letter, and maybe, hopefully, some time spent going through my research.

mirror, mirror.

Idlewood. Again. Clearly I need to make another — after my exams. I snapped this picture before heading to one of my reading groups, where we discussed an excellent graphic novel (Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home) and talked about memoir, history, and voice — and about what makes something not feel self-indulgent. Which got me to thinking about blogging, especially because lately I’ve been snapping pictures of whatever I’m wearing (knits or otherwise) and posting them here. (Which seems incredibly narcissistic.)

On some level, blogging is self-indulgent. Really, all writing is. And I’m okay with that. The question we were wrestling with on Thursday night had more to do with the reader’s experience than the decision to write (or blog), and we kept returning to things like empathy, linking the ordinary and the particular to bigger (in this case, literary) themes, leaving space for interpretation rather than limiting how the reader understands and situates a particular moment, encounter, memory.

I want to think more about blogging as a form and as a personal process. How do conversations about blogging connect with discussions about memoir? In these genres, how do form and content interact? Can we identify conventions particular to blogging? In my own work, I’m thinking a lot about how I use the first person — what am I signally by choosing the personal pronoun? Am I actually revealing something personal, or is it a technique to make the reader identify with the “I”? (I’ve taken to calling this the “pretend personal” voice.) How much do I protect or reveal — here? In my academic writing? Once I’m on the other side of these exams, I’d like to spend some time (and space, maybe here?) thinking through, or maybe more accurately, writing with these questions.

Time for another picture of what I’m wearing? Clearly.

No knits in this shot, just a scarf that hasn’t been in rotation for awhile. Still faking it ’til I make it, and most days, I think it’s working. I managed to grade 10 papers yesterday, all dressed up. (She says, still in her pajamas.)

I knit less than five rows on this sock, and soon I’ll be ready to start decreasing for the toe. Ideally, I’ll finish the first sock this week, cast on the second and get through the ribbing before my first exam. That way I’ll have easy knitting handy to help with hard thinking.

Finished the carrot soup leftovers yesterday. There is another pot of this in my (near) future.

boh knows.

That pretty much says it all.

I made a big batch of carrot soup from Super Natural Cooking tonight — I love this recipe, especially when made with homemade veggie stock and farm carrots. So good. And there’s plenty for lunch (and dinner?) tomorrow.

Another idlewood action shot. Just for fun. (Well, and for P., who has just cast on an idlewood of her very own!)

Are we there yet? (There being any number of places: bedtime, post-exams, lake house, summer.)

terra, tretorns, and everything in between.

Literally. See, I finally uploaded about thirty pictures from my camera, and they start with my progress on terra’s lace, and end with my new rain boots, acquired in a ridiculous end-of-winter clearance. Let the show and tell begin.

Terra. I’ve got less than ten rows remaining, but these are some loooong rows. I am so excited about this shawl, but it’s probably going to be mid-March before I finish it. And I’m okay with that.

Homemade pizza with local swiss chard that I picked, blanched, and froze at the end of fall. Making pizza for one means leftovers!

Idlewood in action. Again. This might be the most wearable sweater I’ve ever knit, and is part of the uniform I think I’m accidentally adopting. Part project fake-it-til-you-make-it, part I-really-hate-it-when-winter-slush-and-salt-soak-the-bottoms-of-my-jeans, I’m realizing that some combination of leggings, boots, shorter skirts or dresses and slouchy, layered sweaters seems to be what I’m wearing most days. Somehow it seems to fit with 29. I can’t explain it.

Boh has the right idea. Usually he gets up with me, but lately, as soon as I groan and turn off the alarm, he settles into some part of the warmth I’ve generated, and I get up to make the coffee. Cuteness.

Yes, that’s right. I received a valentine in the mail from dear friend E., and this is what I found when I opened the rather battered and clearly re-taped envelope. At least the candy thief opted to reseal and re-mail the envelope. The valentine is of course the part that matters to me, and the whole thing gave me a good laugh yesterday, which might have been just what I needed after a long day on campus. Plus, it gave me a great story to leave on E.’s voicemail.

Rubber rain boots. Necessary for spring. Also, for lake houses. (Yay!)

The madness of desk #2, above, is a good indication of how frazzled things are right now. I’m not sure about my posting frequency these next few months — I’ll be here, but there might be lots more of these disjointed “show and tell” style posts for awhile, and a little less knitting. And I’ve clearly been more than a little delinquent in the land of comments. I’m going to do my best, but I have no idea what I’ll have time and energy for. I’m planning to read until I can’t read anymore for the next six weeks, and then my exams begin. Let’s just agree that if all goes well, there will be lots more knitting, spinning, cooking, and blogging come May! Thanks for being here in the meantime.

february?

Whoa. This week totally got away from me. Last night I realized that I haven’t blogged since Tuesday! Consider today’s post a rather disjointed “show and tell” from the week.

Tuesday’s outfit, ready for dog-walking. (I love my Sorels — perfect for frolicking in snowbanks and walking through slush-puddles.)

Quick, warm, hearty lunch: sauteed mushrooms simmered in homemade tomato puree, pasta. I might have accidentally eaten the whole bowl. Sometimes it is hard to shake that “big spoon” mentality — I have to remind myself that I’m not camping, and that leftovers are not just allowed, but desirable! (Big spoon is where everybody takes another spoonful, and another, until it is gone. With a group, it isn’t that hard, and that way there is nothing to pack out — and you can do the dishes.)

A homemade treat from my friend M. She’s already finished with her comprehensive exams. Isn’t it beautiful? I can’t wait to try this pear-honey wine (also known as liquid encouragement).

No handknits in this picture, but one of those accidental outfits that somehow made it out the door. I like all the pinks and purples.

Mushrooms and komatsuna sauteed in a balsamic vinaigrette. I ate this over fresh spinach from the farm. A winter treat, to be sure.

Friday night. late. A hot toddy to keep me company while taking notes. So good.

Parsnip soup (with maple syrup and mustard) in a favorite mug. Baby-shower knitting. And reading. The shower is today, so I’ll post less cryptic pictures soon!

knits in the wild (and shh, don’t startle it — actual knitting progress).

Yesterday. (Garter yoke cardigan.)

Today. (Idlewood.)

I’m about a third of the way through the first lace chart of the edging for Terra. I cannot wait to wear this — maybe it has something to do with the snow that just keeps falling? (I’m not complaining. I love snow.) Hoping to knit a few rows after I finish today’s reading. Stay warm!

indirect enabling.

That’s right, folks. I’ve got a story that starts with Mick and ends with new earrings. See, weeks ago, Mick invited me to try Pinterest. (Which is a super cool way to make virtual pinboards and share them with the cloud. Turns out I went to school with the dudes behind this new way to organize awesomeness.) Anyway, when I was sick earlier this week, I decided to play around on the site. And I found so many pretty things, one of which really stuck with me: this pair of earrings, made from clock hands. And so I decided to get myself an early birthday present. I mean, I’m a historian. How can I not have earrings made out of clock hands?

Exactly.

Aren’t they incredible? I love that a pair is one hour hand and one minute hand. They’re made of brass, so they’ll tarnish with wear. Which I’m extremely excited about. I’m justifying these as an early birthday present to myself. (Well, and as part of my professional duty. Or something.)

I wasn’t joking when I said I might not take my idlewood off. Today, after a much needed early morning yoga class, I put on a “real” outfit and walked in the snowy sunshine down to the coffee shop to read. The only question I have right now is what color I should knit this in next. And I’d cast on immediately, if it weren’t for all this reading. Well, and that new year’s resolution I made to actually finish the sweaters I’ve got on the needles. More on that soon.

Also, just so you don’t think I take pictures of myself all day:

Here is yesterday’s work, a cup of tea, and a new (new?) shale cowl for my mom. She picked out this 100% silk yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts as her Christmas gift (I think I have Mick to thank for talking about this yarn several months ago on her blog), and asked for an eternity scarf. But then, as we looked at pattern pictures, it became clear that when she said “eternity scarf” she meant “lacy cowl.” I’m glad I waited to consult with her about the pattern! My parents are driving down to take me out to dinner on Friday, and I’d love to have this ready for her to wear. We’ll see…