playing and plying.

bohfc1

fc2

It was so hot and humid yesterday that Boh and I needed to get down to the creek. We spent about an hour in the water doing a mixture of wading (me) and swimming (Boh). He’s making progress, and no longer needs to be “encouraged” to doggy paddle. By the end of our playtime, he was even prancing around the shallow sections of the creek!

fc3

fc4

While I sat in the sun to dry off, Boh did some serious work. He always seems to be looking for a particular rock that is buried way down beneath the water. When he finds it, he chews on it a bit, puts it somewhere else, and then it is back to finding the next rock. He (and, let’s face it, I) find this endlessly entertaining.

fc5

Though I have no photo-documentation, this outing also included the purchasing of fruit, the returning of a whole slew of library books, and the enjoyment of a mint chocolate-chocolate cookie ice cream cone.

jacob plying

Before heading off to the farm and then to dinner with our dog and people friends, I spun the second bobbin of the dark, undyed, local jacob and began plying. I continued working on my long draw as I spun bobbin #2, and I must admit, I was doing quite a bit of cursing as I struggled to balance twist with the take up of the bobbin. There was a lot of breakage, but every so often I’d get into a great rhythm and produce a consistent, sturdy, appropriately twisted single using a “true” long draw rather than a supported long draw. I love the loftiness of this yarn, and I’m hoping the finished 2-ply will be sturdy enough to do something with!

why hello, skein.

fpp1

fppmacro

fpp2

fpp3

LOVE.

238 yds. of squishy 2-ply worsted weight yarn, from 4 oz. of falklands wool in five plum pie from Hello Yarn.

fpp nply full

fpp nply

I navajo plyed what didn’t fit on the first bobbin — so here’s 28 more yards of practice yarn. This is still overplied, but I’m getting into a rhythm with this technique. It is really hard to slow down my feet!

zucchini pickles

Also, zucchini pickles! I made these on Thursday, but the recipe said they’d turn a lovely shade of chartreuse after a day in the fridge. I know the green of my kitchen is tough to beat, but the zucchini really is absorbing the color of the brine. I’m taking these to a backyard bbq later today!

five plum pie.

First off, if you clicked through from Joy the Baker’s site because you, too, wondered if roosters wear shoes, welcome! I don’t have any pictures to prove it, but I did use my oven continuously yesterday (zucchini bread, granola, roasted potatoes). And I was barefoot.

(I won an awesome set of Baggu bags, and I can’t wait. In fact, I’ve been doing some serious winning lately, as I was the lucky commenter selected in Jodi’s blogiversary contest over at A Caffeinated Yarn. Yay!)

bob2plumpie

Amidst all the oven use yesterday, I did manage to get a lot of spinning done. I finished both bobbins of the Hello Yarn Fiber Club falklands wool in Five Plum Pie, and late last night, I decided to do a little bit of plying.

full bobbin

Which turned into A LOT of plying. That bobbin is so full that it no longer turns independently of the flyer. I’ll have more pictures of this 2-ply when it is done drying, but I’m really happy with how nicely the colors lined up. Instead of breaking the roving into 2 pieces, I stripped this in half lengthwise, and was carefully to spin them the same way to keep the color progression. In a lot of places, the colors match exactly, and the transitions between colors seem gentle and subtle. Also, not that it needs to be said, but this stuff was incredible to work with — smooth, even, and solid without being compressed. I fully understand the HY hype.

Public Service Announcement: Have you seen this navajo-plying video over at Spin-Off? I found this link through the Spunky Club on ravelry, and I feel moved to share. For folks new to navajo-plying, this video makes it really easy to see how it works and what it looks like. For old pros, the video demonstrates a particular way of holding the yarn and pulling out the loops that is easy on the shoulders and very rhythmic.

For those following my bat saga, Boh and I were winged-visitor-free last night. Here’s hoping it stays that way!

slow.

Do you have those days that seem to take forever to progress? Yesterday was that kind of day. I tried to fill the hours, but the time refused to pass.

All of that changed just before evening, when I ran into a friend on the street, finally started another book, met friends from out of town for a great dinner, relaxed with the dog, and (wait for it) chased our friend, the bat, out of my apartment with a broom around midnight.

cofeebydesk

An incredible lightning storm and the ruminations of my brain kept me up quite late last night, so the morning’s cup of coffee must again feature prominently in today’s post.

More glimpses of yesterday:

undergrowthprewash

undergrowthonboh

I finished spinning and plying the AVFKW falklands fiber in the silent undergrowth colorway, but I couldn’t capture the depth of the browns and greens with yesterday’s overcast sky (even with the change of background.) The skein is still hanging to dry — I’ll try again tomorrow.

vanillatoe2prog

worriedonbed

A bit more of the toe of my second vanilla sock, and a particularly concerned Boh. It must be Monday…

know your parts.

know your parts

My new favorite shirt: Know Your Parts, from AVFKW. It was a little chilly yesterday when Boh and I stepped out for our morning stroll, so I grabbed Mara, and snapped a photo in the mirror:

mara and t-shirt

I love my Mara, and I realized something incredibly practical about this shawl (and who knows, maybe all wool shawls) — the wool grabs a bit, which means that Mara stayed put on our stroll — a particularly important detail when you’re walking the dog and holding keys, phone, leash, and a certain pup’s “business,” if you will.

indigo plyed

I wore my spinning wheel t-shirt while spinning the second bobbin and plying the 2 together. (See that transition?) I still noticed a difference in the saturated versus the more lightly colored fiber, but this bobbin was easier to spin. My troubles might have something to do with needing to adjust to the incredibly long staple length of the wensleydale.

bohandindigoskein

indigo macro

126 yards of 2-ply wensleydale from AVFKW in the Intergalactic Space Travel colorway. There is something a bit otherwordly about the sheen of this stuff, don’t you think?

boh and indigo closeup

Boh certainly seems to like it.

Time to pour another cup and get to work. Happy Friday!

boh in the creek with potatoes.

And plying. (Forgive me. I finished plying the Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino in the Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds colorway late last night. And now “Boh in the creek with potaaaaatoes” is in my head.)

Lots to share today! First up:

flowers

Some of the many reasons I love my farm. There is nothing like wandering through rows and rows of flowers, scissors in hand, carefully selecting a big bunch for the week. After snapping this photo, I put a vase (or mason jar) in every room. It was pretty hot yesterday, so the veggies went straight into the fridge, but this week’s haul included eggplant, tomatoes, 5 lbs of potatoes (more on those later), cabbage, carrots, chiogga beets, basil, oregano, dill, parsley, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, and 3 quarts of beans — green, yellow, and the flat roma beans — that I picked myself while talking garlic and dilly beans with other CSA members in the fields.

It was too nice a day to sit inside and work, and the rain we’ve had has meant that Boh and I have a been a bit more sedentary than I’d like, so we hopped in the car and drove a few miles to the trailhead of one of our favorite walks, which gently slopes down to follow the pebbly banks of a good-sized creek.

monkeyrun1

monkeyrun2

I know he looks concerned (doesn’t he always?), but Boh does seem to be taking a shine to the water. He waded alongside me this time without complaint, and when I encouraged him to swim a bit in the slightly deeper sections, he tentatively reached out one paw, and then the other, to doggy paddle. (Last time, he pulled back on the leash hard, as if to say, “Are you crazy? I can’t reach the bottom!”)

monkeyrun3

Proof that we are both in the water. (Nope, I didn’t get a haircut — that’s just the part that does not fit in a ponytail blowing around in the breeze.)

monkeyrun4

I even got some reading done while Boh and I dried off in the sun.

Now, about those potatoes. The bad news is that potato and tomato blight have finally showed up on the farm. This was expected; the blight has been sweeping the Northeast for the last several weeks. The farmers sent out a really great email explaining what that means — and highlighting what is so incredible about the CSA system of farming: we all buy in and share this risk, rather than simply leaving the farmers to handle it all. So, the bad news is that the potato and tomato crops need to be mowed and burned so that the spores do not survive. The good news is this: we’ll probably get tomatoes from the farm greenhouse for a few more weeks, and we get our potatoes NOW. While blight is not damaging/dangerous in the least to humans, it does mean that potatoes do not store well at all, which is a major bummer in the land of root vegetables.

This translates to one simple directive, which made me smile when I saw it scrawled on the chalkboard above a huge, lovely crate of potatoes: “Gorge Thyself.”

potatoessalsaverde

I love potatoes. Have I told you that yet? Roasted potatoes are serious comfort food for me. I like to roast potatoes in the oven for about an hour, and then either add lots of herbs for the last few minutes, or simply pour the potatoes in a bowl and liberally apply ketchup. Yum! Last night, I enjoyed a more glamorous version of this meal, thanks to this post over at Orangette.

salsaverde

I tossed my potatoes in Orangette’s salsa verde (subbing red wine vinegar for lemon juice/zest), and it was so good that I found myself wiping the bowl clean with slices of bread to get every last bit of this capery, garlicky goodness. You should make this. Tonight.

full bobbin cmf lucy

Last, but certainly not least, I present the yarn that has inspired today’s silly blog post title. This is a mighty full bobbin of Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino in Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. I tried to ply this with a little less twist than my last 3-ply, in order to make sure there would be a little bit of room for the yarn to bloom. I’m aiming for squish instead of just sturdy twist, and so far (it is still hanging to dry), I’m really happy with it.

cmflucyniddynoddy

Awkward, late night niddy noddy picture. Details to come once this is all skeined up and ready for her close-up!

first attempt.

navajoply attempt1

One of my goals for the summer was to learn how to Navajo-ply. There are a few parts, on the right side, that look alright, but the rest is an overtwisted mess. (I wound this right off the bobbin, so the twist isn’t set at all.) I watched a few more youtube videos, which illuminated some important things to keep in mind:

1. You really do need to pick up the loops with one hand. If you try to use a second hand (like I did, because the first hand was not doing a very good job), you no longer have a hand to control the twist, and you end up with the aforementioned mess. (Unless, of course, you have three hands.)

2. Treadle SLOWLY. Very slowly. If you don’t have a rhythm down for picking up new loops, there are several moments in the process where the twist has nowhere to go because you are grabbing the next loop.

I have A LOT of practicing to do, but I think I understand the concept now. I’m going to practice Navajo-plying with all of my leftovers, so I should have a bunch of mini-skeins that (in theory) chart my progress.

bohinknittingcorner

Here’s Boh amidst all of my knitting projects. He looks concerned. Also, I caught him investigating the other side of the room:

timetoply2

Taking inventory is getting to be a serious task around here!

soul windows and sunset: skeins!

soulwindows1

soulwindows2

soulwindows3

I am in LOVE. 426 yards of 3-ply, from 4 oz of 90/10 corriedale/nylon from the Spunky Club. LOVE.

This skein made me so excited that I just kept on spinning.

cvm, jacob, kate

Here’s that cvm, waiting to be plied, along with the resting jacob bobbins.

cvm plied

cvm plied…

cvm hanging

hanging to dry…

cvmskein1

cvmskein2

cvmskein3

and skeined.

188 yds of 2-ply, 12 wpi from 2 oz. of cvm from cosy in a colorway called sunset. The color is somewhere in between what you see above — so hard to capture such a rich orangey-red.

boh passed out

Boh is exhausted! (Though not from all that spinning. We took a nice long walk in the woods yesterday, and then went to meet friends at the d-o-g-p-a-r-k.)

Off to pour the coffee — and perhaps ply those jacob bobbins!

400+.

soulwindowsplied

drying

Hooray! My math skills tell me that I have at least 400 yards of 3-ply here (426, to be precise). I’ll figure out wpi once the skein is dry, but I am thrilled! There should be plenty here for a pair of socks.

I gave this an extra long soak because of how energized it seemed. (Am I supposed to let my plyed yarn rest, too?) You can see that it is a little curly-q-ish down near the bottom of the hanging loop, indicating some overplying, but on the whole, I’m quite happy about this. I’m still looking for that balance between overspinning/underspinning and over/under plying. (And maybe I’ll be forever looking for it!)

Anyway, I was so excited about how this turned out that I just had to sit back down at the wheel, even though it was WAY past my bedtime.

cvm sunset

This is the first bobbin of 2 oz of CVM from cosy in a colorway named sunset. I just sat down and spun, without a plan. I am already seeing that my default spinning is getting thinner, and that I need to really think about what I’m doing to make a thicker, even yarn. I love the richness of these colors — the perfect antidote to a rather rainy summer?

bohispatient

This guy thinks so (or not). I looked up from plying/spinning several times yesterday to find Boh hinting that he might want more attention. We took an extra walk around the neighborhood last night, and we have plans for either a hike or a trip to the d-o-g-p-a-r-k today.

calendar

Also, it is getting to be that time! I realized that this is the last week of my calendar yesterday, and stopped by the campus store to pick up an 09-10 replacement. I love starting a new planner. (Yes, I am a big nerd.) Yesterday I copied pertinent pieces of the fall campus-wide schdule into my calendar and thought a bit about classes/plans for the coming semester, which felt good to me.

That’s enough school talk for a Friday. Have a great weekend!

dillweed/milkweed.

pickles

Dillweed. (In the pickles. These are half-sours, from The Joy of Pickling.)

milkweed

Milkweed. (Shawl by Laura Chau.) I’m only 8 rows in, but I’ve decided that although I am way more comfortable with written directions, I’m going all-chart, all-the-time on this one.

I went back to the LYS having the sale yesterday to get a smaller hiyahiya needle for my vanilla socks. Either I didn’t get the right size earlier in the week, or my gauge loosened up a bit in the switch from 2 circs to 1. While working hard to ignore all of the yarn on sale, I decided to treat myself to an addi lace needle for the milkweed shawl, and already I’m glad I did. (My size 4 knitpicks harmony tips are otherwise occupied at the moment, and I knew I wanted sharp needles for this project.)

vanilla emerald

I didn’t spend a super long time knitting yesterday, but I made serious progress on this sock — I think the hiyahiya is growing on me, and while I’m not sure how well these needles would work for more complicated socks (duller tips and not a lot of give on the needle because the cable is exactly the right size for the stitch count, rather than a bit smaller), these may become my go-to stockinette sock needles. Also, they are QUIET. No clicking, clacking, or fiddling.

gussetheel closeup

Also, (drumroll) my first true gusset heel! I worked the heel turn on 2 dpns and then went back to the hiyahiya. Have I mentioned yet how fantastic Socks From the Toe Up is (today)? No? I continue to recommend checking it out.

One more:

soulwindowsplying

Consider this a plying teaser. I plied for a few hours yesterday, and there is still quite a bit of yarn left on the bobbins, which I am taking as a very good sign in the yardage department. Still aiming/hoping/wishing for sock weight and yardage! Stay tuned…