leftovers (edible and otherwise).

First of all, my mom is awesome. This is what I just put into the oven — a complete collection of Thanksgiving leftovers. (There’s cranberry relish too.) Plus, my dad gave me a bottle of chardonnay to accompany all this deliciousness. (B and I celebrated Thanksgiving in different places, so tonight we get to enjoy some turkey together!)

My mom also baked a few extra half-size loaves of cranberry bread to send home with me. This is a Thanksgiving morning staple in my house. So tasty.

And now, some blog leftovers — photos I snapped last week but didn’t find time to post.

Last Tuesday, I wrapped this sweet little merino shawlette around my neck before walking Boh, and thought to snap a picture. This is the perfect extra bit of warmth on a windy day.

And then there’s this top, which has a great story that just affirms (like I needed that!) how wonderful the knitting community really is. Did you guys get the email from Quince and Co. about these mitts? (If not, you should totally get on their mailing list.) Well, I think the mitts are adorable, but I absolutely fell in love with the styling. I left a comment on the Quince and Co. blog to ask about the top the model is wearing, and within minutes (THE) Pam Allen wrote me back to tell me that it came from All Saints. And then I bought it. And wore it on Monday, for the discussion of my paper. And I felt super hip. And now all I need are some super long mitts…

Hope you’ve all had a fantastic holiday weekend. So much to be thankful for here at casa rooster.

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spindled shetland singles.

(And other stuff, too. But first, the shetland.)

bohspindle

I was digging through my fiber bin yesterday, and found some shetland in progress on a spindle, as well as some singles stored on metal knitting needles, patiently waiting to be plyed or finished. I worked on the shetland for a little while, and just had to snap this picture of Boh, laying on my left foot, back arched and ears-a-flapping, directly underneath my spindle.

shetlandsinglered hanger

This is shetland from A Verb For Keeping Warm in the Fruit Loops colorway. I have a little bit left to spin of the brown and red section, but the spindle was getting heavy, so I wound it onto the niddy noddy and set the twist. I did the same with the stored singles from the other half of this bump, which was much bluer/multi-colored.

shetland singles skeins

Picking up my spindle yesterday felt sort of funny after all the wheel spinning I’ve been doing, and it took me a few yards (or 10) to get back into a rhythm. Soon I’d like to work on thicker, even, low-twist singles on the wheel, as I really like the way these smaller skeins of shetland turned out. (The thinner, more uneven yarn on the right is the earliest spindling in this picture, before I was doing things like making plans for the kind of yarn I wanted to spin. Fun to be able to see my progress in these side-by-side singles.)

shetlandsingles2

Yardage: 145 yards of the reddish-brown shetland, 88 yards of the blue-multi shetland, and 96 yards of the thinner blue shetland. (I found a new way of doing math that is a bit easier than the 32 and 36 inch increments: Total number of strands x 5 (my niddy-noddy is 1.5 meters, or 5 feet) and then divided by 3 (3 feet =1 yards) = total # ofyards. Thanks, ravelry!)

Progress report on my Beatles’ song-inspired CMF colorway:

lsdbob2one

lsdbob2two

Bobbin #2 is moving right along. The colors are hard to capture when the light is wierd, but these pictures are pretty accurate — I love that chunk of super-bright turquoise on the right!

zucchinipancakes1

After the dilly beans, I decided to keep on tackling the zucchini that is taking over my fridge. Last night, I made a big batch of summer squash and zucchini pancakes.

zucchinipancakes2

They aren’t super pretty, but they were VERY tasty. It’s a good thing I made a hearty meal, because about an hour after I had settled in with my knitting to watch an episode or two of the second season of Mad Men, a fairly large bat began flying around my apartment. (Story to follow. If you don’t like bat stories, stop reading now.)

It is unclear how he got in, which is a little disturbing because my landlord had called to say that the folks upstairs had seen a bat in the basement. (The house is on a hill, and my apartment has great natural light on three sides, but is technically the finished side of the basement because of the building’s orientation. The idea that there is a way to move between my bright  and cheery apartment and the dark and scary basement is not encouraging.)

It is roughly roosting time, and while I have shared open-air spaces with bat families before (see posts from last summer), I am not that interested in sharing my in-town, rather small apartment with a winged rodent (as my father calls them).  I trapped the bat in my bedroom, shut the door, and packed some fabric at the base of the door so that the bat would not be able to squeeze underneath. I got out my headlamp, grabbed a dinner knife, and went outside to pry the screen off one of the bedroom windows to give the bat a clear escape route. And then I waited.

And waited.

I finally opened up the bedroom and took a look around, and it appeared that the universe had righted itself. So I replaced the screen, and went back to my evening plans. And then Boh started to bark in the direction of the 1960s-style dress I have hanging on my bedroom wall. I went back in the bedroom, only to find my bat peaking out from behind the Jackie O-inspired wide neckline of the dress. I closed the door, repried the screen off the window, and watched through the window as the bat yawned and found a cozy spot to take a nap. This bat was serious about moving in.

I called my dad for advice, and in between comparisons to a situation in which he’d had to deal with a hummingbird trapped in the garage (NOT the same thing as a bat in the bedroom), reminders of  a summer vacation we’d taken when I was a baby that involved bats and netting over my crib at night, and a lot of laughter on his part (“Well, do you think it is a vampire bat? How big are its fangs?”), he recommended broom warfare and gave me a pep talk.

At about 11 o’clock last night, I put on my raincoat, pulled the hood up over my hair (to prevent any sort of accidental touching of the bat or entanglement in my curls), barged into the bedroom, and took a golf-like swing at the wall, sweeping the bat towards the window, and likely disorienting it with the force of the blow.

It landed, stunned,  in a plate full of shiny jewelry on a shelf near the window. I picked up the plate and set it on the ledge, and gently poked the bat with the broom bristles until it flopped out the window.

And, that, my dear friends, is the complete story of Rooster vs. Bat, 2009.

That (hopefully) concludes our bat content for the year. More knitting, spinning, and cooking to come!

sleeves and shetland.

First of all, THANK YOU for all of your kind comments re: the stress of the end of the semester and my very exciting should-be-here-on-Tuesday purchase. Yay!

I turned in paper #1 on Saturday, and paper #2 Wednesday at noon. Yesterday I spent the afternoon cleaning: kitchen, trash, 4 loads of laundry, vacuuming, etc. and even made a trip to a great farmstand to replenish my dwindling supply of fruits of vegetables. I actually enjoy a lot of the parts of keeping house, but these tasks are extra-enjoyable when you’ve had to neglect balance in favor of meeting a deadline or two. One more project, due at the end of the month, and it will be summer, which to me, means the chance to read more slowly, keep getting to know New Home, and enjoy the company of the dog (and my spinning wheel)!

Enough daydreaming, it will be here soon enough! Last night I finished up the sleeves of my whisper cardigan – time to pick up a zillion stitches! Must fortify myself with coffee first.

whispersleeves1

whispersleeves2

I’m pretty bleary-eyed in these pictures, but you can see how the cardigan fits across the shoulders. Here’s one more:

whsiper sleeves3

I lengthened the sleeves — they are about 9 inches long — a half inch of 1×1 rib at the elbow, and then 8.5 inches of stockinette. I decided to make the 22 inch size across the back, and I’m happy with that choice. I’m still on my first skein of shadow, which is hard to believe. While knitting with laceweight on 7s is still slower than knitting worsted, it isn’t as slow as I thought it would be. I’m hoping to keep making steady progress on this sweater, as it seems like the perfect amount of warmth to keep tucked in a bag for when the sun sets!

Also, in anticipation of my Lendrum, this week I returned to some shetland I had started, but with an actual plan: to try to keep the colors separate and spin fatter singles. While I might not have been able to detect the differences in spinning one wool vs. another a few months ago, I am really understanding what differences in staple length and stickiness mean for spinning. I’m really happy with this so far:

shetland singles fruitloops

The fiber is shetland from the AVFKW fiber club. The colors are so rich — and coming off on my hands a bit, but I don’t mind.

Alright! Boh and I have plans to spend some serious time at the d-o-g-p-a-r-k today. He was very patient during all of the paper-writing, and has earned a lot of playtime. Happy Thursday!

returning to brompton.

It felt so good to finish 28thirty (thank you for all of your kind words) that I decided to take a look at my grad school cardigan (alice bell’s lovely brompton), so named because I was not actually IN grad school when I began this sweater in January 2008. I envisioned myself wearing a cozy cardigan, drinking my morning coffee, and digging into exciting books. I’d say that’s pretty accurate, although I’m not sure I realized when I started this sweater how fast I would have to read, and how not-so-exciting some of the books would be.

When I dug this particular WIP out of its tote bag, I found that I had knit and seamed one button band, and had begun knitting the second. This week, I’ve knit and seamed the second button band (and boy, has my seaming improved!), and begun on the first sleeve.

brompton1

brompton2

I’m pretty sure I can block the wonkiness out of the first button band, but my biggest worry is that it will be too big.  I’m a bit slimmer (or so I’m told) than when I started this sweater, and I’m not sure I totally understood things like size, ease and fit. I’m going to pay particular attention to this as I work the sleeves, and hopefully after blocking I’ll have a drape-y, good-for-layering cardigan. Fingers crossed!

spunkyjan

I also finished spinning the second half of my January Spunky Club Fiber in Twilight. I’m planning to turn this into 2-ply, and I’m anxious to see what kind of yardage and wpi I end up with. For my next project, I’d like to think more carefully about what kind of end product I want, and maybe try a new kind of plying…

Alright, time to get to (school) work!

pooch for scale.

pooch-for-scale

pooch-for-scale-2

Ta-da! My first plied yarn. By my calculations (which are often up for debate), this skein contains about 180 yards of squishy mostly worsted weight yarn, with some light worsted and light bulky here and there. I’m thinking that I *need* a new cowl, and once I finish this BSJ for the now overdue baby, maybe I will allow myself to cast on.

bsj-almost

I’m making progress, to be sure — cast off the 5 st on each side for the neckline yesterday, but there is much to do, leaving me with a dilemma: do I read for my independent study with my advisor tomorrow, or knit for him? I’ll likely do some of each, but what I cannot do — I repeat, CANNOT DO — is work on this:

fruitloops1

How did this happen? Spinning is a slippery slope, my friends. I got a new Butterfly Girl Designs spindle in the mail this month, but did not allow myself to test it out until AFTER I had finished spinning the Finn. So, while my plied skein was drying, I figured I had earned just a few minutes with this spindle and some more AVFKW fiber from the club. It seemed slightly unbalanced — likely due to how soft the gold hook is/perhaps some jostling during the shipping process, so I tried bending it slightly this way and that to make it just right — and suddenly, I had spun almost an ounce of this beautiful shetland in the Fruit Loops colorway. This is wayyy too much fun.

Alright — must stop blogging and get reading! or knitting!

plied.

full-spindle2

I filled this spindle — which split where the hook screws into the shaft just as I was finishing. (I think I’ll mostly be using this for plying, as I didn’t have much luck with it as a beginning spindle, and it seems fixable.) Plying took much longer than I expected — it takes time for an appropriate amount of twist to travel up the strands of yarn! Next I began wrapping the yarn around my arm to make a big loop — but there was too much yarn:

winding

So I started over, using a chair back, and found a reasonably priced niddy noddy online for next time. Here’s my yarn, pre-warm bath:

before-washing

I LOVE it. LOVE. After soaking in warm water/detergent, and then hot water/vinegar, and then warm water again (according to Maggie Casey’s instructions in Start Spinning), I hung it to dry on a hanger in the kitchen.

closeup-hanger

hanging

I woke up this morning to find my yarn almost dry. A few more hours, and I’ll be able to twist it into a skein (and take more pictures). I’ll also work on estimating wraps/inch and yards!

sleepingboh

Boh is pretty tired from all that plying, and I managed to pour my coffee grounds from the grinder into my glass of water instead of into my press. I might be a little tired from plying too! Today I must make progress on that baby sweater. No more spinning until it is done. (Hear that, self?)

yarrrrn.

spindles

Those of you who’ve been reading for awhile know that I’ve begun practicing with a drop spindle. I posted some practice “yarn” this spring, but honestly, I was having a hard time with drafting and getting an even, longer-than-a-millisecond spin with my spindle. Enter Mel of Pipe Dreams and Purling Plans. In September, Mel held a contest in conjunction with fundraising for the Breast Cancer 3Day Walk in DC, and I won the beautiful spindle in the foreground above. This spindle has made all the difference. It spins forever, which has given me the practice I need to figure out how to draft and spin more consistently. I’m considering this my very first yarn — spun from 2 oz of BFL in colorway Sadia from A Verb For Keeping Warm. It is a beautiful, complex gray. Here’s what it looked like when I took it off the spindles:

prewash

I then soaked it in a warm water bath, and weighted it as it hung to dry to straighten it out.  I waited all day yesterday for it to dry, and last night I wound it into a skein:

tada

And here’s the skein with a dime for scale:

tada-dime

This looks pretty thick-thin, but much of that has to do with switching spindles and making it over the drafting hurdle part of the way through this projct. I’d say most of the yarn is solidly dk weight, and none of it is thicker than a heavy worsted. I’ve begun a new spinning project already, and I can already see my own progress. This is seriously addicting.

Happy New Year! I’ll be back soon with (perhaps) a quick review of my knitting year, and some resolutions for 2009.