five (oops).

My fifth blogiversary was a couple of weeks ago, and I was out of town and totally forgot to post. This space continues to mean so much to me — it is a place to document my world and connect with folks who care about similar things (knitting, spinning, cooking, outdoor frolicking, sweet and wrinkly dogs…) as well as an opportunity to write something, and often to get unstuck (in lots of ways). I like having this record of sorts. I’m a historian, so I guess that shouldn’t be surprising, but perhaps because my academic life, though punctuated with deadlines, has reached the stage where I’m working on a Really Big Project, I particularly value this alternate way of documenting some of the other pieces of my life here in the blogosphere. Thanks for being here — for reading, for commenting, and for blogging! Now, about those socks.

Yesterday marked the ceremonial(?) putting on of the handknit socks — the first time this fall! (These happen to be handspun as well.) We’re expecting a solid seven days of rain from the storms converging on the East Coast this week, and last night, as I was leaving the house, it was just beginning to drizzle. These kept me cozy all evening. Are you wondering what’s under that foil?

Deb’s Apple Mosaic Tart with Salted Caramel. You should add puff pastry to your grocery list. Seriously. This tart was so easy that I felt guilty bringing it over to the home of D and T, even though T had seen it on Deb’s blog and requested it. (It felt sort of like microwaving my dinner might feel. You know, if I had a microwave.) These are the basic steps: put puff pastry in pan, add apples, top with sugar and butter, bake. While baking, melt sugar, add a few things, and brush the caramel over the top of the tart. And it is SO GOOD. And pretty. And because my apples were huge and a little soft, I didn’t make the spiral that Deb made. Still tasty, still pretty.

Here’s a snapshot from Friday’s Yoda Thorpe fitting. M brought over some gardening wire for the ears, and we added the appropriate level of wrinkling. I’m hoping to get a picture of M’s Sexy Yoda costume to share with you!

I’ll wrap up today with some sweetness. Boh has conjunctivitis, so he’s been extra cuddly. (Except when I put his eye drops in three times a day. Poor dog.) Yesterday he napped while I graded.

Good thing I’m right-handed! We have a few more papers to work on together today.

These are my favorite trees on campus. There’s something about the golden shade of fall leaves that looks extra brilliant on dreary days. At least I have these trees to look forward during this week of rain ahead. I hope everyone in the path of the Frankenstorm stays safe, warm, and dry.

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!

shake some action.

First of all, “Shake Some Action”┬áby the Flamin’ Groovies is the first track on my not-yet-finished 2012 mix. I heard it on an NPR All Songs Considered podcast about opening tracks on albums this morning (though the episode was from June 2010). I’m glad I didn’t get to this until today, because there’s something about this song that is spot-on for me right now.

I’m doing end-of-the-year things today. I made my 2012 list for the fridge (above), and I finally got around to pulling all of the books off of all of the shelves and grouping them by theme — you know, so the books I need for work are in the office. When I unpacked, the goal was just to get everything out of boxes and onto shelves. And then I never got around to organizing them. Now that my books are spread out across several rooms, I need to be able to find them. Also, the water damage of earlier this fall has been fixed, which means I am finally ready to fully re-inhabit my office. I hung my DIY-ed frame cork board (which has been leaning against the wall in the guest room for 7 months) and cleaned up the piles. I’m so happy with this space.

I even tried to snap a self-portrait. Here’s the best one:

Last night I had a hard time falling asleep. I ended up getting out of bed, chopping off several handfuls of my hair, and taking a shower. Now I feel a bit more ready for the new year. (I think I’ve told you about this before, right? That I tend to cut my hair when I am feeling stressed, and that it helps? There’s so much I can’t control in the world, but my hair? I can fix that. My curls hide a multitude of sins/errors, making it possible for me to literally cut off hunks without too much worry. I don’t recommend this if you don’t have hair with similarly awesome camouflaging qualities…)

I also found some time to knit on my touch of mink socks. I love them. (Next time I’ll snap a picture while there’s still a bit of daylight. This shot doesn’t do the yarn justice.)

Tonight, Boh and I are off to hang out with dear friends of the human and animal variety. We’re planning to enjoy dessert, bourbon, and board games. I’m not sure we’ll make it to midnight, but I trust that the new year will arrive, even if I’m not awake to ring it in. Here’s to 2012 — I’m sure ready for a new year.

FO(s): lucy socks and shaking leaves handspun.

First, thank you all for your kind blogiversary comments. I can’t believe it has been four years, and I hope I’m still finding joy in this space four years from now.

Yesterday I finished my Lucy handspun socks. I had a lot going on this week, and it shows in these socks: one of them seems a bit tighter than the other. I’m sure with a bit of wear the snug sock will loosen up. I’m fascinated by the way my emotions find their way into my knitting, by the physical (and often, subconscious) expression of things often kept inside, and by the porousness of boundaries. Stress in one area leads to tighter stitches in another. So it goes.

Also, I love these socks. So much. (And for future reference, they were 64 stitch socks, loosely based on the deeper heel flap option of the Knitmore Girls Vanilla Sock.) I did a less than perfect job of splitting my yarn, and I bet I could have added another inch to the leg of each sock. I tucked the leftovers into a bag of lots of colorful handspun bits and pieces. Looking forward to doing something fun with those.

Speaking of handspun, this gorgeous stuff has been patiently awaiting FO photos and a blog post. It is Hello Yarn Finn in the Shaking Leaves colorway, and I spun it as a 2-ply squishy worsted. I’m not sure what this wants to be: a hat? a squishy, simple cowl? It has been sitting here on the coffee table so long that I accidentally recycled the envelope I used to make my notes on the yardage. I think I’ve got somewhere between 140 and 180 yards.

Also, it has become fully fall here, which means I’ve been wearing my handknits. See?

The unfancy socks and terra. At the same time. Life is good.

Today, after a bit of reading, I’m picking up my dear friend H. and her son, and we’re heading to the orchard for cider doughnuts and maybe some apple picking. Later, I’ll be packing, as my last scheduled research trip starts tomorrow — back next weekend. I’m bringing both knitting and handknits with me, so I’ll aim to at least document them both in the wild.

FO: a pair of unfancy socks.

I’ve finished a pair of socks, and it happens to be socktober. (How did I manage that?) I might like these so much that I’m going to cast on another equally unfancy sock or two. These are 64 st socks with 2×2 rib at the cuff, knit from the cuff down. I loosely followed the Knitmore Girls Vanilla Sock pattern after abandoning the Gentleman’s Fancy Sock I began with.)

Honestly, I wish I hadn’t finished knitting sock #2 quite so soon. See, I’ve spent my morning dealing with an unpleasant stomach bug, and all I’ve been able to do thus far today is sit quietly and knit. (No coffee, even!) I just ate some oatmeal, and so far, it seems to be staying right where I want it. (TMI?) I’m hoping to swap knitting for writing this afternoon — but I guess if working is impossible, knitting is the next best thing. And now I’ve got a new pair of socks!

Also, a new pair of glasses. What do you think? (Can this rooster pull off this look?)

Boh doesn’t seem to mind the new frames — so long as he can stay curled up on the couch. I’m happy to let him handle that part of today’s to-do list!

 

the lights go on.

The pull of the couch, knitting on idlewood, snuggling Boh, and watching Dollhouse was too great yesterday.

Luckily, I recognized this early, and, after a little bit of yoga, marched myself down to a coffee shop to at least start the day by getting some work done.

(Also, I took extra care to be wearing handknit socks to start the new year. This pair, with the gusset heel, might be the best-fitting pair of socks I own.)

Anyway, back to the coffee shop. I was the only person there. And heard a beautiful song that sounded like Beirut. When the coffee shop is empty, you can ask the barista about the music. Check out “Scenic World,” from a 2006 LP, Lon Gisland. This is now the first track on my January 2011 mix. (And this post’s title is the first line of the song.)

After a few hours of good work, I might have come home, taken Boh for a walk, done some laundry, and indulged in the morning’s temptations. As soon as I finish my coffee, though, here’s where I’ll be:

Good luck settling into 2011! More soon.

hurdles.

I followed your excellent advice, and thus, victory is mine. I located some leftover yarn, ripped back four or five rows, picked up the stitches, and re-knit the very top of the cuff. Because the needles I used the first time are otherwise occupied, I decided to use slightly larger dpns and just do a regular bind-off so that the cuff would match its partner.

Also, I finally managed to successfully cast on the baby blanket I am test-knitting for Cosy. I still haven’t decided which bit of handspun to use next, but I located some leftovers in a pale grey when I was digging for the yarn to do my sock repairs, and it seemed like the perfect shade for the blanket’s middle section. I had a bear of a time casting on — which I blame not at all on the pattern, but on the general fiddly-ness of casting on a small number of stitches on dpns to join in the round, and then managing a slew of markers in the early rows. I think I’m in the clear now, and I’m excited to keep increasing!

Time to pour the coffee and earn some knitting time by working through another book on the list. (Also, I’m bundled up in my Mara shawl and my legwarmers this morning. I love wrapping myself in handknits.)