lovely/heavy.

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As in, good thing the snow is lovely, because it sure is heavy. Boh and I got home on Saturday afternoon. Can you see our foot- and paw prints in the snow? I parked at the bottom of the driveway and spent the last remaining hour of daylight shoveling a path to get the car up to its parking spot at the top of the driveway. And then it kept snowing, which meant I spent much of yesterday shoveling the whole thing again, but in batches because I was sore from Saturday’s shoveling effort. All of that strikes me as a pretty good stand-in for 2012. Some big stuff, some lovely stuff, and a lot of slow, steady working on and working through stuff.

In 2012, I turned 30. I published my first piece. I started writing my dissertation. I taught the first class that was entirely my own. I was the maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding. I returned to the Southwest for work and play. All good things, even that birthday. But 2012 was also a solitary year, filled with anxiety about work and life, about the future writ both large and small. Lots of reflection on my choices and what they might mean for what comes next. Lots of working on trying to let all that I have be enough for me right now, while allowing some space for the universe to surprise me. I’m going to keep working on that in 2013.

I read over my 2012 blog posts this morning in anticipation of an end-of-the-year entry, and I discovered that I actually did a fair amount of knitting this year. I completed 12 projects, including a handful of wedding presents and a shawl for my best friend. I finished some long-languishing projects, and even began my first destash. In 2013 I want to just keep going. There are more wedding gifts to knit, and more projects started long ago that I’d like to complete. I also want to knit up some yarn/pattern pairings I’ve been daydreaming about for years (hello, effortless cardigan, aidez, lightweight pullover, daybreak shawl, and others), and I’m hoping to use more handspun. And most importantly, I want to keep knitting as part of the pile of things I do to take care of myself.

I made solid progress towards establishing a writing practice in 2012. I struggled to balance teaching and writing in the spring, and did a better job this fall. In 2013, at least as things stand right now, I will not be teaching; only writing. I’m hoping this flexibility will allow me to create the kind of writing practice I want, and to make it a routine in 2013. And perhaps 2013 will be the year I get serious about my home yoga practice. I dabbled this year, occasionally getting out the mat and doing a few small things — dolphin, bridge, a sun salutation or two — in the morning with my coffee. But it isn’t enough. I could see and feel the impact of three classes a week on my happiness, health, and fitness, and though the two classes I’ve been able to make work with my schedule this year are wonderful, it isn’t the same. So that’s what I’m going to aim for this year: more writing, more knitting, more yoga.

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And when I finished my final round of shoveling yesterday, the sun came out.

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This guy knows 2012 is ending, and that in 2013 he’s going to spend a little bit of time frolicking at my parents’ house while I am in DC. (This was Boh’s big Christmas present, and I am so very grateful.) He crawled into my lap yesterday, and I managed to snap this blurry picture. I’m pretty sure Boh’s plans for 2013 are about the same as his plans for 2012: lounge, cuddle, eat, play, snore.

Happy New Year! And from me and Boh to you and yours: thanks for reading.

picking up.

Well for one, stitches. (Time to start knitting the edging!)

Also, work. I’ve managed to get a decent amount of reading done since Thanksgiving, which is good. (I’m not counting today…)

And myself, too. I bought some holiday booze this week — a small indulgence, a reminder that fancy things can be just for me. You know, like extra olives and good gin while cooking dinner. I’m trying to remember to be good to myself. (B. left a year ago today. And what a year it has been — my exams, moving to the lake house, writing the dissertation prospectus, all this research travel. I think I get an extra gin-soaked olive or two for all of that.)

Picking up….? I’ve got nothing for this one. Boh looks pretty happy with the pace of things around here. Can you believe it will soon be December? Stay tuned for more pictures of the hap blanket edging. And give yourself a treat. You deserve it.

 

FO: reflection.

Swoon. 178 yards of some of the squishiest, evenest, prettiest 2-ply bfl I have ever spun.  So excited to get this in the mail to a dear friend. (This is Southern Cross Fibres bfl, from the July 2010 Fiber Club, in Reflection.) There are some leftovers on my bobbins, so I should have enough for a small skein to toss into my bag(s) o’ handspun for later. If that doesn’t make Monday just a bit more bearable, I don’t know what does.

pie and plying.

First of all, thanks for all of your input on my handspun blanket. This time around, the oranges have it, and I am hoping to make some time to wind yarn later today!

I wore my Sunday Market Shawl yesterday, and it was just the burst of color I needed. I reach for this far less often than I thought I would — maybe because of the colors — but it certainly brightens my day when I wear it out of the house. Someday I’ll get around to actually blocking this…

Meet the first pie (for me) of fall. Pears from the tree in the yard of friends, plus one apple to fill out the pie pan, and a crumb topping. Delicious. In fact, this is reheating in the oven right now.

I plied most of my SCF bfl in the reflection colorway while the pie baked, and today I have plans to wash the yarn and set the twist.

Okay, time for pie!

blanket possibilities.

Nope, no hidden meaning in this blog post title. I’m going to cast on a blanket out of mostly handspun as a test-knit for Cosy (you know, and a treat for me!), and I’m looking for some input!

Here’s the first option: greys, reds, burnt-oranges.

And here’s another: greys, yellows, greens, a touch of lavender. What do you think? Pairing solid/commerical yarns is tough enough, so I’d appreciate any thoughts you folks have about how to choose yarns for a project (ahem, for this project!) out of a pile of handspun. Thanks!

Other things going on around here:

I finished spinning the second bobbin of the SCF bfl in the reflection colorway. Boh helped.

A lot.

And I’m making progress on my windschief hat. The more I knit on this, the more in love I am with both the pattern and this yarn. In fact, I’m going to let myself knit a few rows before I dig into the work I’d like to accomplish before I head to campus…

peaches + bourbon = weekend.

I subbed bourbon for the rum in Kaela’s Pirate Peaches, and boy, am I excited to enjoy these. My entire kitchen (okay, apartment) smells slightly of sweetness and spirits. (Yep, present tense. Batch number 2 is simmering away on the stove, prompted by the fact that a tiny piece of peach prevented one of my jars from sealing properly. Rather than re-process a single jar, I dumped the contents back into the pot with another pile of peaches that were macerating in the fridge, along with the partial jar of leftovers that I didn’t process yesterday [to get me back up to 3 lbs of peaches], added more sugar, more booze, and the appropriate amounts of lemon juice and zest, and I am once again enjoying the aroma of peaches simmering in bourbon.) This time, I’m going to try to get the peaches a bit softer than they were yesterday, and I may even break out the immersion blender to make more of a sauce. I ran into trouble yesterday with the ratio of end-of-season peaches (which I think are harder than peak juicy peaches) to booze/syrup, which is why I had some leftovers.

Also, I have no idea what kind of peaches I picked up at the orchard, but I can tell you that they are not freestone. (Ask me how I know that.) Also, the skins did not slip off as I expected they would, which made for some serious peach wrangling…good thing the bourbon makes it worth it. Another lesson from this project? Simmer peaches with the lid (mostly) on. There may have been a slightly sticky residue coating much of the kitchen floor this morning…

See? I also did some spinning. I am mostly through the second bobbin of my reflection SCF bfl, and am looking forward to plying this soon. Happy weekend!

rooster can can.

(A tired joke in canning circles, to be sure. But it is early, and I need a title for my blog post…)

On Sunday morning, I woke up early and set to making a full batch of tomato puree (a la Local Kitchen again). I paused mid-puree to take a picture. (That food mill was actually tucked way in the back of one of my kitchen cabinets when I moved in, despite the fact that my apartment was previously occupied by a solitary male undergrad who made a big mess of the stove and otherwise, to my eye, anyway, did not use the kitchen so much. Whenever I move out of this apartment, I’m taking it with me.) I simmered and simmered the juices from several quarts of paste tomatoes, and ended up with 7 pints of tomato puree.

I am in love with the super bright red of this puree — and am excited to be able to make homemade sauce from on-hand ingredients later this winter! (I also see adding this to hearty soups and stews.)

It is Tuesday again, which means farm day, and I am still struggling to put up all of the additional produce we picked in the fields last week! These peppers need to be frozen or pickled, and I’ve got a full canvas bag full of green beans that need attention.

The canning pot is on the stove, and the jars are on their way to being sterilized for a batch of dilly beans. I’m intending to pick as much as I can this afternoon and then try to freeze or can in all of my spare time this week. Temps have been in the high 40s at night here in town, and up at the farm, the first frost is imminent (after which, much of the field produce that is available for preserving/freezing will be done for the season). I’m just going to keep doing that can can until then — it is (and will be) super rewarding, but man, preserving is exhausting! I may have gotten into bed at 9:30 last night.

I did grant myself a small break from canning on Sunday night, and instead, sat down at my wheel to listen to a podcast or two and finish up the first bobbin of this bfl from SCF in the Reflection colorway. I love these colors, and am really excited to spin up bobbin #2, get this plied together and washed, and then in the mail to a dear friend who knits. (It would be nice to get this to her before the cold comes, so that she has time to knit herself something warm with it!)

Okay, time to pour another cup of coffee and get back to those beans!

reflection.

I put something new on the wheel yesterday. I have another bump of alpaca to spin for my friend, but I thought it might be nice to switch up fibers first — sort of a wheel palate cleanser, if you will. This is SCF bfl top in the Reflection colorway — the July 2010 club fiber, and the colors are so vibrant — very autumnal, with bursts of blue and purple. This will be a gift, and I am already excited about it — the colors strike me as just right for the knitter I have in mind.

I haven’t hit my stride yet in terms of this semester, and I’m hoping to get closer to a routine that works for (all of) me, and soon. I’ve been stressed out, tired, and rather cranky these last few weeks, and the knitting/spinning I’ve been doing has consistently made things feel just a little bit more manageable. I need to remember that.

oh-nine.

Well, here they are: the 2009 knits still in my possession. This year I knit 3 sweaters (4, if I manage to get the GYC butons on today), 3 pairs of socks, 10 hats, 4 baby gifts, 2 pair of toast mitts, 4 shawls, and a cowl (in a pear tree).

I took a look at my oh-nine goals, and I’m feeling pretty good about my fibery progress this year. I wanted to finish 28thirty, and I did. I wanted to knit toe-up socks, and I did. I wanted to successfully knit a short row heel, and I did (though the pair isn’t done). I started knitting socks on 2 circular needles. I wanted to learn how to ply on my drop spindle, and I did. I wanted to spin a 3-ply sock yarn, and I did (though I did it on the wheel, not the spindle).

Things I didn’t quite get to? Cabling without a cable needle, knitting more of the sweaters on my list.

Things not on the list? I knit my first “real” lace shawl, for my friend H’s wedding. Oh, and I bought my wheel, and learned to spin on it.

In life beyond knitting, this was a huge year for me. 2009 contained some of the best and some of the hardest moments of my life. I’m pretty sure I fell in love this year, and those of you who read regularly know that I also had my heart broken. (Apologies for the passive voice, but I’m not sure it is totally fair to say that he broke it. Heartbreak was certainly the result, but the experience of trusting someone enough to allow myself to become more codependent than I imagined I’d be — and then dealing with the aftermath — was very much about me.)

I’ve spent quite a lot of time in my head this year, wrestling with my own dreams and expectations, and I imagine that will continue. It isn’t always easy, but it is important, I think, to keep doing it.

This year I started canning. I discovered a passion for pickling. I found yoga. I taught my first section, gave my first lecture, did archival research for the first time as a grad student. I made a home here, and then set about making it anew, slowly reclaiming places that had been “we” places for me.

2009 was not what I expected. I’m not sure I’d change it, but I’m rather relieved that it is time for 2010.