2 0 1 6.

Thanks for continuing to stop by, friends. Things have been busy, but very good. Instead of wasting time reading my apologies for not posting, want to see A LOT of pictures from November and December of 2015? Here you go — and here’s to 2016.

1jan - 17

Soup, chicken salad, and iced tea at my favorite lunch spot.

1jan - 3

More soup, more iced tea. (And prepping for class, which is a pretty accurate reflection of my life most days.)

1jan - 2

Fall leaves on my driveway sometime in November.

1jan - 1

This dog, being ridiculous.

1jan - 16

Course prep outside at my favorite coffee shop.

1jan - 15

Documenting a Friday professor costume. (I didn’t start off the semester wearing jeans, but by November, it was necessary. At least on Fridays…)

1jan - 14

More soup, but this came from my kitchen. Sweet potato miso soup, I think.

1jan - 13

Soup prep. Around mid-November, I started making a big pot of something on Saturday afternoons. Adjusting to professor-life has meant re-learning how to feed myself; sometimes there’s just not enough time in the day. (I’ve eaten more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches this fall than I think I have since kindergarten…)

1jan - 12

An afternoon walk with my favorite dog.

1jan - 11

Holiday treats from a new and already dear friend.

1jan - 10

Sweet, sweet dog.

1jan - 9

Pesto pasta salad in my car — on the holiday road trip I took to my parents’ house.

1jan - 8

An old and very warm blanket that was my grandmother’s. Check out that tag!

1jan - 7

Southwestern butternut squash soup, simmering.

1jan - 6

Late-night self portrait. Mid-December, maybe? (WordPress scrambled the order of these photos when I batch uploaded them, and I’m too lazy to put them back into chronological order.)

1jan - 5

At least one of us is doing yoga…hoping to return to my practice in 2016.

1jan - 4

Cozy.

1jan - 22

Took a road trip to participate in an event organized by grad students on the other side of the state; saw this gorgeous heron on a walk through a beautiful garden.

1jan - 20

Evening sky.

1jan - 19

Those wrinkles!

1jan - 18

Celebrating the end of the semester with another new faculty member: fancy lunch and cocktails in the middle of the day!

eternity scarf - 1

Oh, and look! I did do some knitting this fall. I made two of these eternity scarves out of some luxurious Lorna’s Laces (maybe it’s called Lion and Lamb?) silk/merino blend. One for a dear friend’s birthday, and another as a holiday present for my amazing faculty mentor. I love this pattern; knits up beautifully no matter the yarn, and it is so, so wearable. I’m already behind on some wedding blanket knitting; maybe I can get some of that on the needles before the semester starts up — in less than 2 weeks! Better get back to course prep and syllabus-writing. Happy New Year, friends. And happy knitting.

roasted tomato soup and a sleeve.

Well, and this Peanut Butter Popcorn. I doubled the amount of popcorn so that there would be a better ratio of savory/not so bad for me : sweet/bad for me, and I’m happy with that decision. (Plus, there was more popcorn.) This totally helped me power through a lot of comments for my students yesterday.

And here’s that soup: Heidi’s Roasted Tomato Soup fromĀ Super Natural Cooking. This one has been in my fall and winter rotation for a couple of years now, and every time I make it I am oh-so-happy.

Last night’s debate gave me some dedicated sleeve knitting time — one down, one to go!

Boh doesn’t seem anywhere near as excited about this as I am. (Maybe that’s because I made him wait until I bound off the sleeve to go for today’s walk…)

Also, thanks for all of your ideas and comments about my mice! I don’t want to jinx anything, but so far so good. I’ve caught a few, and I’ve filled every gap I can find with steel wool. I also got some pouches of spearmint and peppermint labeled as natural, pet- friendly mouse deterrent. I figure it can’t hurt, especially with my critter-filled attic and earthen floor basement. Despite last night’s temps in the high 30s, I found no evidence of mice in the kitchen this morning! Hooray! I’m going to wait a few days to move everything back into the half of the kitchen I moved into the dining room, but I’m optimistic.

boh knows.

That pretty much says it all.

I made a big batch of carrot soup from Super Natural Cooking tonight — I love this recipe, especially when made with homemade veggie stock and farm carrots. So good. And there’s plenty for lunch (and dinner?) tomorrow.

Another idlewood action shot. Just for fun. (Well, and for P., who has just cast on an idlewood of her very own!)

Are we there yet? (There being any number of places: bedtime, post-exams, lake house, summer.)

FO: new new shale cowl.

I was skeptical when I started knitting the new new shale cowl. I just wasn’t sure that the dark variegated silk was the right match for this pattern, but I’m glad I stuck with it, because I think this is beautiful, and a great fit for my mom. I hope she likes it. (Remember, this is a Christmas present. She picked the yarn, which I wrapped up for her, and then she chose the pattern.) I’ve decided not to block it, so that my mom can decide if she wants to stretch/open up the lace a bit more — if I were keeping it, I think I’d leave it as is.

This was my first time knitting with Blue Moon Fiber Arts Luscious Silk, and my, oh my, was it a pleasure. I used just over half the skein (to my eye, anyway), which means I’ll have to figure out what to do with the leftovers. (I know, tough life.) I followed the pattern to the letter on this one — needle size (6), length, pattern, etc. The pattern was easy to memorize, and the repeats felt rewarding, you know? A very pleasant knit, and one I’d consider making again, for me — maybe in handspun?

Also, I’ve got another soup recipe recommendation for you. Last night I made this red lentil soup, though I made mine with those neat-looking French (blue) beluga lentils. I think that’s what they call them. Anyway, super tasty — and more complex in flavor than a basic lentil soup. I don’t know if it was that I used homemade stock and added some homemade canned tomato puree instead of tomato paste, or just the addition of lemon juice and cilantro at the end, but this was really fabulous, and I’m looking forward to eating the leftovers for lunch. (Cooking note — I simmered my soup about 10-15 minutes longer — I just think the lentils I substituted needed more time. Also, I left out the water.)

Time to pour the coffee and get back to the books.

long overdue mitt repair.

Last night, after taking way too long to read a relatively short book, I was itching to have that great feeling that comes with crossing a long-overdue task off of my list. Out came my thanksgiving day mitts: knit three years ago in a purple-y shade of Cascade 220, these were my go-to mitts until Boh managed to attack one of them in fall 2008 or winter 2009. Since then, they’ve sat patiently on top of a bowl of yarn odds and ends, waiting to be mended. And yesterday was the day. I dug out my very special set of knitting needles (from a woman I think of as an honorary grandmother) in order to find a set of size 5 dpns. (So great to be able to look up what needles I used on ravelry!)

And then I re-knit 15 or so rows, including the thumb-slot, and bound off, all while my dinner simmered away on the stove. The discerning eye can tell the old from the new sections, but after a bit of wear, and the gentle felting that happens to well-loved mitts, I think it’ll be hard to tell that anything was ever the matter with these mitts!

The dinner I spoke of (soon to be today’s lunch as well) was this potato-leek soup. Simple and delicious, all from farm food. I sprinkled some smoked paprika on top just before savoring this comforting bowl of soup. Can’t wait to heat up the leftovers!

And here’s Boh, sick of me putting the camera in his face and tempting him with dinner in order to get him to look at me. (He can be surprisingly — and adorably –stubborn.) I think he knows that we’re back to school today, and his routine is about to change for the worse. Shorter cozy reading sessions on the couch, more time alone at home…poor Boh. (Little does he know that once the semester is over, he’s getting a lake house! Thanks for all of your kind comments about that. It is wonderful to have that to look forward to, as this is going to be a crazy semester for me.)

Off to campus. (Sigh.)

FO: idlewood.

I was feeling lousy when I took these pictures, so ignore the other things I’m wearing. I promise to more fully document Idlewood “in the wild.”

Swoon. That cowl! So big and cozy. In case there was any doubt, I love this sweater. Idlewood might be the most wearable sweater I’ve ever knit. I knit the 36 and 3/4 inch size, and I think a little bit of negative ease is the way to go here. I used Elsa Wool Cormo, worsted weight (but spun woolen), and I cannot wait to find an excuse to get more of this stuff — undyed, and oh so pretty. Conservatively, this took 3.5 skeins, or about 875 yards, though I don’t think I used fully half of the fourth skein. (Which means I’ve got a skein and a half for mittens, or a hat, or something wonderful for me, me, me.)

I’m sorry, Boh. Am I boring you?

Boh has been such a good sport while I’ve been sick this week. And so funny, too, in his attempts to entertain himself. I mustered up enough energy to play yesterday. It was the least I could do.

I credit my (almost-there) recovery to this incredibly delicious soup, delivered to my door by K. A hearty veggie soup with fresh herbs, it was exactly what I didn’t know I wanted to eat on Tuesday.

Thanks for all your kind words and happy thoughts — I am feeling much better, but I’m planning to take it easy (while working) these next few days to make sure I’m completely over this flu…which I hope means I’m going to make a little bit of time for knitting. If you’re anywhere that snow is falling, I hope you are cozy and warm in your handknits. We got several inches yesterday, and the internets tell me that it feels like -7 outside!

double cowl.

Sort of the winter equivalent of the double rainbow, I would argue.

Vegetable stock is simmering on the stove. Squash and mushrooms are roasting in the oven (on their way to becoming this). One of the veggie drawers in the fridge is freshly washed. I even scrubbed the mat that goes under my dish-drying rack. Many of you know what this means: there are final exams covering every inch of my kitchen table. I’m about two-thirds of the way through my grading. At least I’ll have soup to keep me going.

One of the good things about grading final exams? The final, which for me, meant two and a half hours of knitting time, interrupted only by the occasional student question. I managed to both knit and kitchener my soaker (clearly I’m a bit out of kitchener practice). Maybe I’ll let myself pick up and knit a leg cuff tonight.

Good luck to everyone working through end-of-semester writing and grading!