kip: kraut-in-progress.

picklingcrock

Exhibit A: 1 gallon pickling crock, acquired on ebay.

kraut-i-p

Exhibit B: Kraut-in-progress. (Note: this is not an exercise in instant gratification. While sauerkraut requires regular checking, skimming, etc., it takes several weeks to be ready to enjoy.) This is my first attempt at kraut, and I am so excited. I always LOVE kraut made by friends (including those pictured further on down the post), and can’t wait to have my very own supply.

treman falls

To celebrate being home, Boh and I met up with friends (of the animal and human variety) for a lovely hike through a local state park.

dogs at treman

We followed up the hike with ice cream, beer, homemade bread and fancy cheese. Not a bad Sunday afternoon, if you ask Boh. (I would agree.)

Finally time for a knitting update, don’t you think?

onhold ip

I must confess that I did not touch my on-hold socks while galavanting ‘cross the nation. Sorry, Boh. I knit a few more repeats this morning out of guilt, and the rows seemed to fly by. Have I mentioned yet that I love this yarn? And that I am actually enjoying reading the chart? I know I still have eleven days to finish the pair. In all of our recent travel and excitement, Boh seems to have forgotten about his supervisory role. We’ll see how long that lasts…

mara ip

Mara continues to be blob-like. I’m into the second skein of beaverslide, and I’m going to keep increasing until I’m at the recommended width of 46″. I’m at about 40″ now. I’m okay with a shorter ruffle than the pattern calls for, so long as the wrap is a good size. This is turning out to be great TV knitting, if only I could keep my hands moving during on-screen suspense!

vanillasock ip

I managed to knit a few more inches on my plain vanilla toe-ups, due to some car maintenance that took a bit longer than it was supposed to. I’m just about ready to begin the heel, and I think I am going to attempt Wendy’s gusset heel. Despite a sort of annoying join on these needles, these socks seem to be moving right along. My current sock obsession may necessitate more short circular needle acquisition of the knitpicks variety…

loveart spinning

I also managed to sit down at my wheel this weekend, and it felt good to get reacquainted with my current spinning project: Spunky Club corriedale/nylon blend in Soul Windows. I finished the first bobbin of what I hope will be a 3-ply sock yarn. I know the yarn is way out of focus in this picture, but I really like the way this shot turned out — my lazy kate is on top of a pile of cookbooks on top of a bookshelf.

Coming down the pike:

fleeceartistmilkweedyarn

This lovely Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 sock yarn is soon to become Laura Chau’s Milkweed Shawl. The backwards loop group over on Ravelry is hosting a KAL that began on July 15, and once I make more progress on my on-hold socks, I intend to cast on and tackle my lace anxiety!

cotolinoforbuttercup

Here, I present my only yarn purchase of the trip — 8 balls of Queensland Cotolino, on sale at my old LYS. These are destined to become Buttercup — the modified version with slightly longer sleeves and a slimmer shape, I think.

It feels good to be blogging in “real time” again. Happy Monday, all!

west.

Boh and I are heading west — driving out for healthy doses of the desert and several dear friends. We’ll be away for about 2 weeks, but I imagine we may have time for the occasional post or two.

strawberrymuffins

The last of the strawberries have been turned into muffins for the drive.

maraprogress

maraprogress2

Mara has reached “blob” stage — a critical moment in the life-cycle of a large knit, if you ask me. (It’s when there are more stitches than needle space, and the knit can no longer be laid out flat.)

I’m bringing Mara, my On-Hold Socks, my vanilla socks, and my Whisper cardigan on the trip. Boh is hoping that I’ll find time for sock knitting.

layingonbedboh

The tent is packed, the ipod is charged, directions are printed, and there is big bin o’ warm stuff (including my stripes! sweater and my new snail hat) in the back of the car.

I just need to drink my coffee, pack the cooler, and load up the dog.

Take it easy.

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…