pancakes and procrastination.

My friend T. and I picked a few pounds of blueberries on Tuesday afternoon, which meant that on Wednesday, I made pancakes for breakfast and lunch.

Boh has continued his efforts to take over the couch at every opportunity.

And I have directed all of my powers of procrastination into my hemlock ring blanket. I’m sure I’ll be able to get back on track once I’ve exhausted the episodes of Arrested Development available on Netflix. (I’m halfway through Season 2.)

I’m still reading, just nowhere near as quickly or effectively as I’d like. Note to self: get on that.

false start.

I know the Superbowl isn’t until Sunday — and let’s face it, I will be at yoga Sunday afternoon instead of anywhere near a television — but I couldn’t resist the penalty reference.

Today, my slow and steady progress on Kerrera came to a screeching halt. Somehow, I managed to drop some loops or otherwise majorly $%&* up the double garter stitch in such a way that I could not repair it. In fact, my attempts at fixing just made it worse.

I think that qualifies as a false start, no?

An hour ago, I was exasperated, so I took a few deep breaths, made a cup of strong cocoa, and decided to attempt productivity at something in the work pile.

After dinner, though, I’m casting on again.

KAL cast on.

Mick, Laura, and I had so much fun KALing with our garter yoke cardigans that we decided to do it again. We agreed on a start date of February 1, and I’m not gonna lie: the knowledge that at some point tonight I’d get to sit down with my needles and some luxurious Berroco Ultra Alpaca to cast on for Kerrera helped get me through a very long Monday.

After looking at other projects on ravelry and reviewing the pattern, I decided to cast on for the smallest size. I have a rather boyish shape — no hips, no waist — and the pattern seems to be written for women far curvier than this rooster. My plan is to work the hips for the smallest size, and then only decrease down to the body/bust stitch count for the 36.5″ size so that I’ll get a cardigan that skims my shape, rather than someone else’s. Good plan? Boh doesn’t seem to have much of an opinion on the matter at this point.

Something else that helped with a long Monday? This recipe for cheesy pasta. Simple, delicious, and sometimes exactly what I need.

I’m exhausted from a super busy day, but I think I’m going to make one last cup of tea and knit a few more rows before heading to bed.

Happy February, folks.

before winter?

That’s the goal for my Garter Yoke Cardigan, and it looks like I might make it!

I’m leaning towards a bracelet sleeve length — longer than three quarter, but not so long that the cuff will get in the way of knitting and working. Also, there’s something about a slightly shorter sleeve on me that at least makes me feel like I’m a bit more put together (even if it is only in my head.)

When I tried on the sweater before starting the sleeves, I was concerned that the sleeves were going to be a bit baggy. The pattern calls for knitting the sleeves straight to the cuff — no shaping — so I decided that instead of playing with decreases, I’d just go down a size and use size 6 dpns. (It didn’t hurt that I could actually reach these needles from where I was curled up on the couch at the time…)

I’m really happy with how the first sleeve is fitting, and I think it is time to start digging around for buttons!

I might not post again before heading home for Thanksgiving, so I hope your holiday is filled with people you love and food you enjoy! (And maybe some time to rest and knit.)

giant bunch of tat soi.

I had to completely rearrange my fridge to get this bunch of tat soi inside. Isn’t it beautiful? I’ve been buried under a pile of grading this week (one more paper to grade before I head to campus), and while I do most of my reading on the couch and writing at my desk at the computer, I grade at my kitchen table. I have devised a strategy to help keep me on track, and (big surprise here) it involves food! Having something in the oven — granola, applesauce bread, squash roasting, etc. gives me something to occasionally check on AND a way to peg my progress to a more specific timeline without getting out the timer for each paper. Plus, there is something delicious for break-time.

I made a big pot of carrot soup and let it simmer away while I graded on Tuesday, and I’ve been enjoying the leftovers all week. I followed this recipe!

I also roasted some butternut squash this week while working through my grading pile. Yum!

And here’s a knitting shot. Here lies my garter yoke cardigan. It seemed appropriate to leave it in a big pile, as I’ve really only been able to knit half a row here and there this week, but I am so close to finishing the body. (Like, 4 rows away!) I decided not to use handspun for the bottom edge, as I like the simpler look of the brown Cascade 220. I can’t wait to wear this!

Alright, I think there is enough coffee in my system to warrant the last of the grading. Back to it!

 

socktober 2009.

socktober

Here are my socks-in-progress. (Last year’s Through the Loops Mystery Sock is in my office, nowhere near completed.) As you all know, I’ve made great strides in the sock-knitting department this year: toe-up, magic loop, lace patterns, chart reading, oh my!

Despite these gains, something happened to my sock knitting mojo with the change of the seasons. Yes, it is getting cold enough to warrant the wearing of socks, but the arrival of fall signifies prime sweater-knitting time. I’m hoping to establish a bit more of a balance this socktober, and it would be great to get back on track with the Socks from the Toe Up KAL. (See the July and August socks languishing above.)

hot toddy

Thanks for all your kind and comforting happy thoughts about the flu I’m trying to beat. Even though I spent several hours sitting on the couch yesterday with my knitting in my lap, I managed to knit only about 4 rows of my garter yoke cardigan. (Boo. Sick Rooster.) After lots of whining, several mugs of turkey broth, and a few hot toddies, I woke up today feeling cautiously optimistic that I’m improving.Though I am going to head to campus for a few hours, I promise to continue taking it easy. Happy Socktober!

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…

spontaneous snail.

Yesterday I saw this post over at cosymakes, and this post over at knithoundbrooklyn, and decided that my pink cvm handspun (from cosy’s shop, of course) needed to become a snail hat (a la Elizabeth Zimmerman).

snail1

I dug out my copy of EZ’s Knitting Without Tears, and cast on. A few podcasts later, I was ready to decrease. Things may have gotten slightly wonky near the top, but handspun covers a multitude of sins — errr, mistakes.

snail2 above

snail three

Though this looks like a pretty pink snail, it knits up in a manner that more closely resembles the gait of a cheetah. (I’ll stop with the jokes now.)

I have no picture of Boh for you this morning, but as you can imagine, he is worried. Bright pink bulky handspun is NOT sock yarn, and he was glaring at me from his perch on my bed as I worked on this.

Happy Friday!

two pairs concurrently?

bohyarnpiratesock

You’ve got to be kidding me.

emeraldcity1

emeraldcity2

Don’t worry, Boh. I’m making good progress. See?

onhold wip

I even cast on my On-Hold socks for the KAL and knit the toe AND one whole pattern repeat.

bohypsock2

You still look very, very worried.

Maybe it’s because you’ve seen me knitting quite a bit on something that is not a sock?

bsdmara

(Boh is actually laying on my bed, whimpering quietly to himself as I write this. I thought it was sock-related, but upon investigation, it seems that he managed to drop his bone between the bed and the radiator. Opposable thumbs are required for retrieval. The whimpering stopped the moment I returned the bone.) Don’t worry, big dog. We’ll be okay.

a theory.

swift and winder

I have a theory about WIPs and startitis, and it goes something like this: without a swift and ball winder, the knitter is obligated to think on new projects before readying the yarn and diving in. Winding yarn by hand is a repetitive, sometimes meditative, often simply time-consuming, and occasionally quite annoying process. When you know, deep in your subconscious self, that you need to wind multiple skeins of laceweight by hand (a la Whisper), you think long and hard about the project before you commit. With a yarn swift and ball winder, all of that pre-project thinking (at least at first) is replaced by a little voice that says “Squee! I get to turn that little handle and make yarn cakes! In the kitchen! No oven required!”

emerald city wound

mara wound

I speak from experience.

It all started innocently enough: I needed to select and wind my yarn for the July pattern for the Socks from the Toe Up KAL (the On-Hold socks). I chose Shibuiknits sock in ginger, which has been waiting patiently for a special pattern. I’m planning to cast on later today.

Then, I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have a vanilla sock on the needles to keep in my bag? These patterned socks are stunning, but they are not mindless, throw in a bag/take out the door/knit a few rows here and there socks. They are serious socks. Enter the Yarn Pirate sock in colorway Emerald City. (Isn’t it lovely?)

And then, I thought, socks can be tough to knit on while watching The Wire — I need something squooshier and fatter to work on in the evenings, something that is so simple and soothing that I can keep knitting while crazy things happen in Southeast Baltimore.

Thus, I wound up the Beaverslide merino lambswool in the snapdragon colorway (1 skein to start), which is destined to become Mara, a supersoft, brightly colored wrap. I’m already part of the way there:

mara started

I now fully understand how easy it is to somehow have a gazillion things on the needles. And I’m not complaining! I love my new toys. (For those interested, I broke down and got the new Paradise Fibers yarn swift after watching the video on their website. It didn’t hurt that they had a coupon for a discount on the swift AND a discount on the Royal ball winder. I may have acquired some more spinning fiber as well, but that was just to get me to the land of free shipping. You understand.)

No farm picture today — instead of coming right home and photographing the week’s haul, Boh and I went to see dear people and dog friends, eat farm food, drink homebrew and frolic in the yard — a lovely evening.

I will tell you that my share included: harukei turnips, beets, belgian endive, kale, chard, mint, parsley, garlic scapes, broccoli, sugar snap peas, and a few more strawberries…