FO: snow drops and snap peas shawl.

I did a lot of knitting last week (and Boh did a lot of sleeping). We spent a good deal of time in this position on the couch, and we finished the shawl with plenty of time for blocking and packing.

Here it is, almost done.

Blocking on the dining room table. (So nice to have a table that is big enough for a substantially-sized shawl.) Speaking of, I ended up knitting a size in between the medium and large sizes — I did one less overall repeat, just to make sure that I wouldn’t be rushing, and I’m really happy with the sizing. I do need to work on my blocking skills — I’m not so good with the long flexible wires for blocking a shawl into a perfect half-circle, as you can sort of tell. There are a couple of scalloped edges, but I aimed to make them symmetrical so that it wouldn’t look sloppy.

This lace pattern is gorgeous — and not too difficult to execute, which was perfect for this project and the timeline I was working with. I knit this on size 7 needles, using Shibui Sock in the Pagoda colorway. Right after I cast on, I panicked about not having enough yarn (I had about 600 yards) and so I ordered another few skeins, which was a great idea. For a size a bit smaller than the large, I used almost half of a fourth skein. And now there’s plenty of yarn for something fun for me — tall socks? My very own shawl?

Here’s a crappy mirror shot of me wearing the shawl, for scale more than anything.

And here it is, Snow Drops and Snap Peas, all folded up and ready to be packed and then gifted to the bride.

And here’s a glimpse of my maid of honor bouquet — so lovely. I don’t have any pictures of the wedding to share, but my head is filled with wonderful images of my dearest friend, radiant and happy, marrying her partner. The weekend was filled with celebration, and I’m so thrilled to have been able to be part of it. There’s something really special about getting to participate in your best friend’s wedding, and it meant a whole lot to me to get to support her in all the small ways (bouquet-holding, dress-bustling) and to get to write a toast for M. and her husband(!). I’m still on a bit of a high from the whole thing, even as I’ve been struggling to jump back into the pile of things that must get done.

Off to campus!

pictures from last week.

I did it again: I uploaded and formatted photos last week with the intention to post. And then I didn’t. So I’m doing it now. (What’s sort of fun about this is that I can’t remember what I took pictures of last week, so this will be a bit of a surprise for me, too.)

Oooh! I finished a sock — the first of the pair I’m knitting out of Plucky Knitter yarn in the touch of mink colorway. This sock is on the snug side, but I’m hoping it will loosen up a bit with wear.

Knits in action: my first eternity scarf. Still holding my coffee mug. I’m guessing this is from Monday or Wednesday, which are my early-to-campus mornings.

Research! I’ve been really good these last two weeks about blocking off several 3-hour chunks of time to look at the materials I gathered on all of my late summer and early fall research trips. I really need to start writing soon, as I’m giving a paper in April. I’ve been telling myself that I have to begin this when I get back from the wedding I’m in this weekend.

It’s official. I’m obsessed with the carrot-miso soup Deb posted about earlier this winter, except instead of drizzling it with toasted sesame oil, I’ve been lacing mine with sriracha. So good. Why have you not made some of this yet?

Boh lounging in the sunshine on the porch. Is it really February?

Inspired by Boh, I spent some time working on the porch.

I managed to snap a picture of the train going by. Can you see it?

Thursday morning omelette: spinach and cheddar, drizzled with sriracha. Yum.

I love these wrinkles.

Procrasti-knitting? I finished the first sock and cast on the second, instead of just buckling down and finishing the wedding shawl. I can tell you this now because the shawl is currently soaking, and soon will be blocking on the dining room table. Time to go pin it out. Stay tuned for more photos!

snow drops, snap peas, sh*t together.

Apologies, friends, for my utter lack of posting. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with a lack of knitting. I give you exhibit A:

This is the Snow Drops and Snap Peas Shawl, by Kirsten Kapur. I’m knitting it out of Shibui Sock in the Pagoda colorway, and I absolutely love the way it is coming along — which is a good thing, because I absolutely love the person it is for: my best friend. She’s getting married in a few weeks, and I’m her maid of honor. She picked the yarn and the pattern, and I think they look fantastic together. The only question is whether to make the medium or the large, and I’m hoping to be on top of this enough (hence the last part of this post’s title) to go big. The pattern is written for a sport-weight yarn, and while Pagoda is closer to fingering weight, it has a bit more heft and sproing (technical terms) than a lot of sock yarn. I’m knitting this on 7s, and I’m into the 6th repeat (of 10, if I am able to knit the large). Basically, if I spend an hour or so on this every day for the next ten days, I should still have a cushion for dealing with a super long bind off and any mishaps along the way. And then it needs to be blocked and color-set with vinegar during the soak. It would be the opposite of awesome if this bled onto M’s stunning gown.

I know I said exhibit A like there would be other examples of my knitting, but really, this is it. (There is other knitting — including gifts for other dear and recently married friends — but this shawl has a firm deadline. It isn’t a wedding shawl if I don’t finish it in time for the wedding!) I’ve finally got a dress and a pair of tall shoes, I’ve begun making notes for my toast, and now I just need to finish knitting the shawl.

I do have a couple more pictures for you, though:

Latte art and a pile of grading from earlier in the week.

And some serious Boh-snuggling. (Ooh, and the flats I bought myself for my birthday.) Happy knitting!

flour to scale.

So, sometime-blogger, always-friend K. hopped a plane to a place where the words are very long. And she left me a big box of treats from her pantry, including this enormous bag of flour.

I’ll be honest. I’ve been struggling to reclaim my cooking mojo. Maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the traveling, maybe it’s that I don’t really have anyone to cook for right now; I don’t know. But I haven’t been playing in the kitchen anywhere near as much as I’d like to want to, if that makes sense.

Enter that big bag of flour. I just had to bake something. So out came the measuring cups and spoons, and out came the loaf pan and an enormous farm zucchini.

And after an hour in the oven, voila: zucchini bread. This is the basic recipe in Mark Bittman’s big yellow book — nothing fancy, but it sure is delicious. (And this loaf had a touch of freshly grated nutmeg, courtesy of K.’s bag o’ treats.)

That was Friday.

I’m glad I enjoyed most of the zucchini bread Friday and Saturday, because today, I left the last sixth of it on the counter. Which, by the way, is where I leave most of my food. But this weekend, Boh and I have a house guest in the form of Tango, my neighbor’s loveable 3-year old ball of energy. Tango has taught Boh a thing or two about mischief…including, apparently, how to get the rest of a loaf of zucchini bread off the counter. Here’s hoping Boh was simply a witness, rather than a full-on accomplice.  All I know is that trouble has never looked so cute.

Oh, and here’s a bit of knitting! Like the zucchini bread, it’s nothing fancy, but I sure do like it. This is Ishbel, take 2, in what I’m pretty sure is still Yarn Pirate yarn from when I belonged to the Booty Club in a deep variegated purple. So lovely. Also, a little biased, because when I ripped out last time I wound it right back into a ball. Hoping I’ll be happy with it once I re-block. (Note to self: don’t be lazy about rewashing yarn…)

More soon.

dog days.

Hi, folks. Sorry to disappear this week! I’m TAing summer school for high schoolers for the next three weeks, and my schedule has gotten kind of crazy! Hoping to be back into a rhythm very soon. In the meantime, here’s a whole bunch of pictures of Boh and his best friend Coltrane, who spent five days of his summer vacation here with us this week!

More soon!

PQRS: an alphabet post.

P. As in, peonies the size of my head. Also, Pearl and the Beard. (Have you entered the album giveaway yet? You have until Wednesday to comment on Friday’s post!)

Q. For quantity. As in, how many retro table and chair sets can I fit on my porch? Also, aQua. (4 chairs and a table for 20 bucks, thanks to Craig and his marvelous list.)

R. Ricotta. Rich, homemade ricotta from Deb over at smitten kitchen, to be precise. This is Really good. Like, change-your-plans-for-the-day good. Whole milk, some heavy cream, lemon juice, and salt. The only reason I can come up with for not making this as soon as possible is that you need to go get a meat or candy thermometer. You should maybe go do that now.

S. Salad. And not just any salad; Summer Salad. Here at Casa Rooster, a Summer Salad is a salad that is eaten out of a larger-than-normal bowl.

Yup.

S also stands for Stripes. I’ve been making progress at a leisurely pace on my handspun stripey shawl, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Boh seems to like it too.

Happy Monday, folks. Hope your week is off to an excellent start.

sick day.

I have lots to show you: homemade fire-roasted salsa, Boh being silly, millet “fried rice” from Super Natural Cooking, the ingredients that go into a hot toddy…but tonight, I’ll just stick with these two pictures of the couch. This is what a sick day looks like. (And really, it’s been two.)

I started making a Daybreak shawl last night, but (a) there was counting involved, and the sore throat that had spread to my ears wasn’t having any of it and (b) my handspun singles were not so pleased with having to knit and purl M1L and M1R (or rather, I was anxious about it — the stitches around those increases were tightening, putting stress on a single that isn’t as strong as I’d like it to be everywhere). So I ripped it out and cast on another Simple Things shawl by Mary-Heather Cogar, using the handspun I’d initially set aside for Daybreak: 2 oz. of AVFKW bfl in the Sadia colorway, and what I think is 2 oz. of SCF club fiber in one of the Hades colorways. Today I knit stripes while watching all available episodes of The Voice and three (count ’em) movies on Netflix. I also drank more mugs of hot liquid containing one or all of the following than I can count: black tea, lemon juice, honey, apple cider vinegar, and whiskey. Hoping I’ll be on the mend tomorrow.

last stripe/last exam.

Yesterday was windy, rainy, and grey. When it became clear that the wind was blowing at speeds that could easily overturn trash cans, I dashed outside and cut a mason jar’s worth of the daffodils which have just begun to bloom. These flowers helped me to get through most of the pile of grading I’ve been hiding from all week.

Boh is struggling to keep his eyes open this morning, which is pretty much how I feel. It has been a long semester, and I am so close to the other side of these exams. One more.

My last exam begins tomorrow, so today I’ll be doing my best to feel ready, by reading more, reviewing my notes, and organizing my thoughts. I’m also going to knit a few more rows on my stripe study shawl. Another row and a half and it will be time to begin the border. I should be able to finish the shawl before the oral part of my exams in a few weeks, and I think I’ll bring this with me as a tangible representation of all of the energy I’ve put into this process.

Onward.

another stripe.

Still here, still knitting! I didn’t mean to disappear this week. I was just waiting until my stripe study shawl “looked” bigger. As the shawl grows, each stripe takes longer. I’m not convinced that I’m doing the increases at the off-center center correctly, because the point of the dark stripes looks a little wonky. I wonder if a less open increase, like a kfb, might help with that. (Because I’m totally going to knit this again. And again.)

I’ll leave you with some visuals that demonstrate to me that spring is almost here:

Me, last week — wrapped in my terra shawl, a warm sweater, long underwear, and warm house boots.

Me, yesterday: in a lightweight shawl, a floral print, and pink! As I type this, the sky is clear and the birds are chirping. I’m headed back to the library as soon as it opens, but first, Boh and I are going to take a nice walk. Happy weekend!

stripe study shawl start.

I stayed up past my bedtime last night just to finish one more row, one more section, one more… I’ve missed this. You know, the need to keep going, the way that everything else gets a little blurry when you’re focused on the squish of the wool, the click-clack of the needles; when the podcast ends and you barely notice.

I didn’t do it on purpose, exactly. I finished terra and I didn’t cast on anything new. I have WIPs, sweaters, even, that I can’t wait to wear. But they’re all in stages that require counting, thinking, more brain power than I really have.

This is dangerously addicting in just the right way. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to take a guilt-free day off. Already I’ve been slapping my own wrists: no, don’t pick up that book; no, not that one either. Even in the shower this morning, my mind was drifting toward the pile of books it might be nice to just get a feel for.

Today is my day off, and this shawl is going to help. Well, this, plans with friends, a rainy walk with Boh, and an evening yoga class.

I’m not sure if I’ll be here in this space this week. Sometimes I find that blogging helps me to start writing in the morning — it gets my fingers moving in a low-stakes (well, lower than 30 pages of exam-writing) kind of way. So I might be here. But I might not.

Either way, I’m sending a great big thank-you out into blogland for all of your words of encouragement. All of this exam reading, more so than other kinds of reading (due to the pace and specificity of it), is necessarily quite solitary. Thanks for keeping me company.