2-ply and pie.

bohpliedcandle

Yay! My first wheel-plied yarn! Some ravelry forum advice confirmed my decisions to turn this into a 2-ply. My singles are a bit underspun to remain singles, so I’ll try again with something else. I am thrilled with how this looks all plied up — the wheel makes a huge difference with respect to evenness of the twist and the amount of time it takes to ply. This practically flew through my hands on Friday night. Here’s a close up:

plied candle

I’m still working on consistency, but for the most part, this looks to me to be worsted-weight yarn, with some thinner and thicker bits adding a touch of character. My math tells me that this is about 120 yds of subtly shaded goodness. What shall I make?

I believe I promised you pie: peach-strawberry-rhubarb, to be exact.

pie

M and I made a big batch o’ crust and then this delicious pie. Oh, and a big, green salad filled with radishes and beets from the farmers’ market to go with it. (I failed to photograph the salad.)

We had a lovely visit — so nice to have a dear friend here to walk, talk and bake with. Boh loved that she was here too.

Mostly unrelated, but I wanted to be sure to post this so that you know that I occasionally ruin things in the kitchen. Boh was the only witness this time.

beautiful beans

Aren’t these green beans lovely? (More green in my kitchen?!) On Friday I was planning to fix a late meal to tide me over until M’s bus got in around 11:30 pm. I rummaged through the cookbooks, and found a lovely green bean recipe in Supernatural Cooking, by Heidi of 101 cookbooks. The beans are tossed with lemon and lime zest and some fresh chives, all of which I had. I oohed and aaaahed over these as I mixed the beans with the other ingredients, sat down to take a bite, and promptly spat out a mouthful of very pretty beans. I’m pretty sure I grabbed a lime that had turned to the dark (rotten) side, as my beans did not taste citrus-y — just plain bad! I am looking forward to making this again with a lime that is NOT ready for the compost, as it sounds absolutely delicious and perfect for summer. I was so disappointed, but the beans were so pretty that I thought I’d snap a picture for you anyway.

Hope you’re enjoying the weekend. I can’t believe June is tomorrow. Crazy.

pie and daffodils.

delicious

daffodils-whisper

An oatmeal pecan pie and a fresh bunch of daffodils (with my whisper cardigan hiding in the background). The sun is shining brightly (and ever so warmly) on us today, and I am thankful for the coolness (literally) of my basement/first floor hybrid apartment. (The house is on a hill, so even though my apartment has full windows on 3 sides, it is technically the basement.)

Also, this guy wants you to know that he is on full alert:

guard-dog

And he has good reason to assume the guard dog position! Today I got off the wait list and into the Hello Yarn Fiber Club, which means that the already-full blue bucket of fiber behind Boh will soon be overflowing…

Enjoy the sunshine! I’m off to class.

it has begun.

I am officially a graduate student. I attended my program’s orientation session yesterday, and classes start tomorrow. I don’t exactly know how to describe my feelings at this moment. Several years of work in a range of positions have helped to affirm that I want to become a scholar and a professor, and I am thrilled at the particulars of the opportunity in front of me. That said, I am also incredibly anxious, perhaps beginning to feel the self-doubt that will likely rear its head many times during the next several years as I work to explore the kind of work I wish to do, and the kind of scholar and teacher I will become.

I think quite a bit of this is reasonable at this point: I’ve been out of school, and thus out of situations that require my brain to operate in a critical, academic way, for four years. Many of the people in my program are younger, and thus, while the “life” aspects of graduate school may be newer to them, their brains are likely a bit sharper when it comes to seminar discussions and critical thinking and writing. How do you reclaim that chunk of brain power and work on expanding and refining these abilities? The only answer I can come up with is to just jump in, with an eye towards maintaining a balance in my life that includes cooking, running and knitting (while READING, and this week, attempting to reacquire enough language skills from college-land to pass a placement test…)

So, pie = balance. The pie above, by the way, is fresh peach and strawberry, with a dusting of a crumb topping. Yum!

Also, while the BSJ patiently waits for buttons (and seaming), I’ve cast on for something new:

It’s the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret, and it is moving quickly. I’m using Malabrigo in Verdes, and while I worried that the variegation would be too busy for the cabled pattern, I’m liking it so far. This is heading back West, to a dear friend who requested a green hat. I am excited to get this in the mail, as I’m sure the mornings are already turning cold in the mountains.

I’ve also begun making some lists for holiday knitting — more on that soon.

second home.

A dear friend came out to Base Camp for some weekend adventuring to my second home/other mother here in the Southwest. It might be the last time I’m there for awhile, as I will no longer be a day trip away come fall. It was luxurious to ramble southward along the lava flow, eat treats, sample a range of agave-based mixtures, peer at the surface of the moon, and soak beneath the milky way in a hot tub long after midnight. (I’ll spare you the photo-documentation of some of that…)

In the morning, we had ice cream in our coffee and set to making pie. Ali is very good at mixing crumb crusts! While the pie was baking, we sat out on the back porch, enjoying the mountains, the sunshine and the company.

And the local, organic goat cheese. Okay, and we did some knitting.

As you can see, I’m making some serious progress on my gathered cardi. I have a few more increase rows to do before I knit the buttonhole and put the sleeves on scrap yarn. I’m really enjoying this — I love the seed stitch border!

Though these trips are never long enough, it was a wonderful weekend. My daydreams of a piece of land and a small pre-fab structure to escape to have resurfaced. Sigh. Someday…

and exhale…

backyard.jpg

I’ve been knitting quite a lot lately, as you can see. There are many reasons for this, but there is one big reason that I haven’t shared: I’ve been waiting. Anxiously. And not sleeping super well. This fall, I decided that I was ready to apply to graduate school. I completed each step, put everything in the mail, and began to wait.

On Saturday, I received a phone call from a professor in an excellent department of ___ at an incredible university. In August, I will begin a PhD program. I have truly loved (and/or learned from!) the range of work I’ve done over the last four years, but it is time. I am so excited to be able to devote myself to reading, learning, thinking and writing.

I had planned to run away this weekend to disconnect from technology a bit and distance myself from things like “no” letters and the anxiety of waiting and worrying. That phone call came as I was packing the car. Boh and I headed south, to explore by doing this (that’s not me!):

pie-making.jpg

And to help with this:

pie.jpg

And to enjoy this, windows down, music a tad too loud:

pie-town-sunset.jpg

And this:

route-60.jpg

Sigh. I slept soundly last night.

weekend update

On Friday, my box of yarn from WEBS arrived. Full disclosure will come, all in good time. I am sleepy, even though my clock says it is not yet 10 PM, this rooster’s body says it is 11. A few pictures of the weekend, then.

base-camp.jpg

Yesterday, I was here. The leaves have fallen from the cottonwoods, but the air was crisp, and, though I love the place when it is bustling with activity, I value the chances I have to see it when it is still.

When I returned, I decided to honor the swatch gods, and comply.

swatches.jpg

Notice that I did not one, but two swatches: one on size 10.5s and one on 11s. The yarn is Araucania Nature Wool Chunky, in color olive — it is a bit brighter than I was expecting, but I’ve decided that it is perfect for me because I tend to wear muted solids, and this will brighten up my jeans and a button down or a long sleeve tee considerably. The gauge for the pattern (which, of course, calls for Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky) is 14 st/20 rows over 4 inches. My first swatch, with the recommended needles, was 8 st/10 rows over 2 inches. I decided to see what would happen if I went up a needle size, to 11s: 7 st/9 rows over 2 inches. Both close, neither perfect. I decided to wash the swatches and leave them overnight: after a dunk in the sink, the swatch knit on smaller needles was 7.5 st/10 rows, whereas the larger needle swatch was in between 6 and 6.5 st. The yarn became considerably softer after washing, and I liked the drape of the smaller needle swatch better. Also, the sizing is S, M, L, with the M being 36-38. I am a 38, and debated making the next size up, so that 1 st over 4 inches may give me an extra inch of ease in the sweater, which should end up to be ideal.

Anyway, today, instead of doing the things on my list, I made a large recipe of pie crust, and baked a kitchen sink kind of pie, with all the fruit leftover from my CSA box: 2 big green pears, a pluot and a bright, shiny apple. The pie is delicious (eating while I type), and is a wonderful dessert to the roasted beets I ate for dinner. The 4 remaining pie crusts are in the freezer for next time.

pie.jpg

I also managed to turn those swatches into this:

back-of-bolero.jpg

I can’t believe how quickly this is coming along. I am very excited about this sweater, and I am working up the courage to seam that baby kimono I’ve been working on forever. I promise. I’ve told myself I need to seam that, as practice for finishing this one. Also, remind me: I need some longer circulars for picking up the ribbing on this sweater, when I get there.

Yawn! Time for bed. It was wonderful to wake to the sunrise at 6:10 this morning: a welcome change from waking to the alarm in the dark. The only bad part about “falling back” is that the sun will soon be setting before I even leave the office. I do love the cold; I just wish we could keep the sunshine.