hiyahiya.

hiyahiya1

Whoa. Yesterday I felt compelled to do something about those needles with the other-than-smooth join. They were driving me crazy! The internets told me that a LYS is having a sale on everything this week, so I dropped by to look ONLY at needles. I was debating between 12 and 16 inch addis, and the (super nice) salesgirl asked if I’d seen the 9 inch hiyahiyas. I didn’t quite understand at the time that 9 inches was short enough to work them on circs the way I’d knit a hat, but at half the price of addis, I grabbed 2, as the join looked so so so smooth.

After one round with the hiyahiyas, I was ready to write this off as a failed experiment and give these needles away. And then I went to ravelry, stalked these needles in forum posts, and realized that it takes time to get used to knitting with needles that have a less-than-2-inch tip.

hiyahiya2

So I tried again, focusing on keeping my hands relaxed, and boy does this speed up the sock knitting! I’m not sure if I’ll use these on all of my socks, but I’m going to try to complete at least this plain-vanilla-sock with my new 9 inch hiyahiya as part of a “get-to-know-you” experiment. As you (and I) can see from this picture, I was getting a bit of laddering with the annoying needles. Not so with the hiyahiya.

sockprogress

Have you guys tried these needles? What do you think?

Other things occurring around chez rooster:

bread

I let this no-knead loaf to rise extra long (about 18 hours for the first rise) and I think that is the trick. One of my best loaves in recent memory.

soulwindows thirdbob

I did A LOT of spinning yesterday, and finished the third bobbin of Soul Windows just before bed last night. This last one has more green and brown than the other two bobbins, and I am interested to see how it will look all plyed up. Still keeping my fingers crossed for enough yardage for socks. I may start that tonight.

bohandbone

Also, Boh asked me to tell you that he did A LOT of work on his bone collection while I was spinning. They all know now who’s boss. (Boh.)

On today’s list: making pickles, plying, prepping for a meeting with my advisor, practicing some rusty language skills, and all sorts of other things that may or may not begin with p.

kip: kraut-in-progress.

picklingcrock

Exhibit A: 1 gallon pickling crock, acquired on ebay.

kraut-i-p

Exhibit B: Kraut-in-progress. (Note: this is not an exercise in instant gratification. While sauerkraut requires regular checking, skimming, etc., it takes several weeks to be ready to enjoy.) This is my first attempt at kraut, and I am so excited. I always LOVE kraut made by friends (including those pictured further on down the post), and can’t wait to have my very own supply.

treman falls

To celebrate being home, Boh and I met up with friends (of the animal and human variety) for a lovely hike through a local state park.

dogs at treman

We followed up the hike with ice cream, beer, homemade bread and fancy cheese. Not a bad Sunday afternoon, if you ask Boh. (I would agree.)

Finally time for a knitting update, don’t you think?

onhold ip

I must confess that I did not touch my on-hold socks while galavanting ‘cross the nation. Sorry, Boh. I knit a few more repeats this morning out of guilt, and the rows seemed to fly by. Have I mentioned yet that I love this yarn? And that I am actually enjoying reading the chart? I know I still have eleven days to finish the pair. In all of our recent travel and excitement, Boh seems to have forgotten about his supervisory role. We’ll see how long that lasts…

mara ip

Mara continues to be blob-like. I’m into the second skein of beaverslide, and I’m going to keep increasing until I’m at the recommended width of 46″. I’m at about 40″ now. I’m okay with a shorter ruffle than the pattern calls for, so long as the wrap is a good size. This is turning out to be great TV knitting, if only I could keep my hands moving during on-screen suspense!

vanillasock ip

I managed to knit a few more inches on my plain vanilla toe-ups, due to some car maintenance that took a bit longer than it was supposed to. I’m just about ready to begin the heel, and I think I am going to attempt Wendy’s gusset heel. Despite a sort of annoying join on these needles, these socks seem to be moving right along. My current sock obsession may necessitate more short circular needle acquisition of the knitpicks variety…

loveart spinning

I also managed to sit down at my wheel this weekend, and it felt good to get reacquainted with my current spinning project: Spunky Club corriedale/nylon blend in Soul Windows. I finished the first bobbin of what I hope will be a 3-ply sock yarn. I know the yarn is way out of focus in this picture, but I really like the way this shot turned out — my lazy kate is on top of a pile of cookbooks on top of a bookshelf.

Coming down the pike:

fleeceartistmilkweedyarn

This lovely Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 sock yarn is soon to become Laura Chau’s Milkweed Shawl. The backwards loop group over on Ravelry is hosting a KAL that began on July 15, and once I make more progress on my on-hold socks, I intend to cast on and tackle my lace anxiety!

cotolinoforbuttercup

Here, I present my only yarn purchase of the trip — 8 balls of Queensland Cotolino, on sale at my old LYS. These are destined to become Buttercup — the modified version with slightly longer sleeves and a slimmer shape, I think.

It feels good to be blogging in “real time” again. Happy Monday, all!

granny gear.

You know, the smallest (third) chain wheel on a bicycle with at least 3 wheels (a triple crankset). It makes it easier to ride uphill. I rode my bike across the country seven summers ago. 4200 miles, a handful of mountain ranges, and the realization that Missouri is not flat (I had conveniently forgotten the Ozarks), I was even happier to have that granny gear.

Today I moved my drive band to the “granny gear” (third/smallest whorl) of my Lendrum DT, and it struck me that the set-ups are similar: a smaller chain wheel or a smaller wheel makes something (the pedals/crank on a bike or the bobbin on the wheel) spin more easily per revolution of the wheel, making it (a) easier to turn the pedals on a bike while going uphill or (b) easier to make thinner yarn — fewer treadles required to get the bobbin going more quickly.  Among cyclists (or at least among the hardcore, of which I am happily not a member), to use the granny gear is to be shunned/jokingly ridiculed, while in the spinning world, a smaller whorl equals a finer yarn, and is often what the spinner is looking for as s/he develops his/her skills. (I think I got that right, but if I’ve switched or inverted my bicycle and wheel mechanics, I blame it on the strawberries.)

soulwindow1

This is Soul Windows, the colorway of the April 2009 Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club:  4 oz of 90% corriedale/10% nylon. I’m aiming for sock yarn, and so far, I think I’m on the right track. I am absolutely loving these blues!

soulwindow2

I’m working on a super thin single, but one that has enough twist to be sturdy. I’m about halfway through the first bobbin after about 2 hours of spinning today. It feels like it is taking longer than the targhee, which I’m interpreting as a good sign in the land of my wpi. We’ll see…

Also, for those worried about Boh’s emotional state, I did manage to cast on and work the toe of sock #2. I’m aiming to make more progress before bed tonight so that Boh can sleep soundly. It’s so hard to be a dog.

sock2lacyrib

Today was a good day: I woke up early and curled up with coffee, knitting, and Laura Gibson’s most recent album, Beasts of Seasons (link goes to an npr article with links to places to listen) which is incredible, and the perfect accompaniment to the sound of the rain hitting the plants outside my window. I made good progress on a great book I’m reading, and when the weather cleared up partway through the afternoon, Boh and I went for a run. I puttered around in the kitchen, slowly simmering a big meal of greens, and then I sat down at my wheel to spin until sundown. A quiet, calm Friday.

skeined.

myrtleskein

Spunky Club Dark BFL in colorway myrtle, 4 oz.

183 yards of 3-ply, dk to light worsted (says my eye).

wpi: soon.

I caved and acquired a tool to measure this on etsy. I hope it will be here when I return from my parents’ house on Wednesday.

darkbflmyrtleFOcloseup

Yay! I’m thrilled with this. Now, what to do with it?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

targheeinprog

I couldn’t help but put something on my empty, forlorn-looking wheel. This is targhee from the Woolly Wonders Fiber Club at AVFKW. It is so smooth and shiney that even now, this photo is distracting me from my attempts at description. This is 3 oz of deep melon-y beauitfulness in the It’s a lovely day colorway. Although the Lendrum does fold and travel, I’m going to leave it here to await my return, mostly because I might ignore my family in order to keep spinning, and that would be poor form.

One more WIP today:

thujaturnedheel2

I turned the heel of the second thuja sock for my uncle last night, and am planning to work on it a bit more before Boh and I hop into the car. I will get these done in time to deliver them, I will get these done in time to deliver them, I will get these done in time to deliver them…

3-ply and peonies.

peonies in kitchen

I have been anxiously waiting for what I think are peonies to bloom along the driveway. (Correct me, dear readers, if these are not peonies.) They began to open this week, and I noticed that some of these blossoms were getting too heavy to hold up their own heads. I figured I could help with that, and gathered the droopy ones to enjoy indoors. I think I cut 6 or 7 blossoms, which I am now inhaling in every room of my tiny apartment. I miss the desert, but this is something I could never do there: take my scissors outside and cut a few fragrant flowers to lift my spirits while I work.

I heard some great live music with a friend last night, so I was out late. (I’ve mentioned Eilen Jewell here before, and my recommendation stands — she and her band have a new album out that has a bit of a rockabilly feel to it. I really appreciate that she both writes her own hauntingly sorrowful music AND reclaims old-school country-western and rock — covering Loretta Lynn, Charlie Rich, Them, etc. But I digress.) Boh and I slept in, made coffee, and I sat down to my first attempt at a 3-ply yarn.

3plymyrtle1

3plymyrtle2

This was a whole lot of fun to ply — there’s something about watching the twist move through 3 strands of yarn that is absolutely captivating. I have no idea what weight or yardage this is going to turn out to be, but I’m excited to find out. I’m quite pleased with the amount of twist I put into these singles, and I’m considering this yarn a step in the direction of handspun sock yarn.

What about that stripey sweater, you ask?

sleeve progress1

I’m knitting away on the sleeves and loving it. Boh and I are heading home tomorrow to spend a few days with my parents, and I’m planning to bring this with me. I’m hoping to finish up my uncle’s socks today, and perhaps get this 3-ply washed, dried, and skeined up.

Also, in case the degree to which I am addicted to spinning was unclear, this is what is sitting next to my computer:
pileohandspun

A great big pile o’ handspun. Yum. Happy Sunday!

handspun and cast iron.

I should be writing. In fact, I should be writing A LOT, but instead, I’m feeling the need to dash off a quick post. I’ve written a few paragraphs for the paper this morning, so I can justify this. Right? Right. Also, it could be argued that talking about late nineteenth/early twentieth century cast iron is incredibly relevant to my work. Maybe I’ll footnote my recent ebay acquisition (just kidding):

castiron

castiron2

Isn’t she beautiful? I have been lusting after a workhorse skillet like this one, and in addition to how delicious my eggs have been this week, I really love that this new-to-me kitchen staple has a great deal of history — made in the period I study, for starters. (But enough about that. I have to save it for this paper, remember?)

Also, because end-of-the-semester paper writing is rather traumatic, I decided I needed something squishy and soft to pet nearby. I used my new niddy-noddy to skein up my Spunky Club organic merino in Twilight, and then I washed it to set the twist and hung it to dry.

twilight niddynoddy

twilightyes

I am in love. 250 yards of 2-ply that my eyeballs think is a pretty even light worsted, with some subtle dk weight interludes, spun on my Spinsanity spindle and plied on my heavier Louet spindle. Still drooling over wheels, folks…

Back to it!

plying, frying…

gradingwithboh1

Apologies for the post slowdown over here. This is pretty much what’s been happening at casa del barefootrooster: work. (Or napping, if you’re Boh.)

I did manage to start plying my Spunky organic merino in Twilight, in between paragraphs (may is the month of paper writing) or particularly bad/cheesy sentences.

twilight-plying

I also have some rather exciting food to share. We had dinner with friends last week — they brought the burrito fixings, and we made the tortillas and some modified (flour) tortilla chips. I was so excited to finally make something from The Essential Cuisines of Mexico, by the legendary Diana Kennedy. Flip through one of her cookbooks the next time you’re in a bookstore and you’ll know what I mean. Kennedy is a fantastic storyteller, and you really get a sense for what it meant to build a life in Mexico. (For more, check out The Splendid Table episode where they go to Mexico to hang out with Diana. I want to be her.)

tortilla1

Tortilla dough, with tortilla chips (made by frying freshly made tortillas) in the background.

tortilla2

Homemade chips! While these were frying in the pan, we were trying to figure out why they weren’t like normal tortilla chips. After several minutes of puzzling, the boy and I exclaimed, “Corn!” at exactly the same time. These were more like pita chips, I’d say, but still delicious.

tortilla3

Flour tortillas. These were incredible, and oh-so-simple. They even retained their flexible-ness long enough to be turned into next-day breakfast burritos! I’ll be making these again. Soon.

Since it seems we have a theme, here’s one more bit of frying from this week’s kitchen adventures:

stirfry

Tofu, kale, carrots, onions, ginger, garlic, brown rice. I’m planning to eat the rest for lunch.

One last bit of super fun news — I won some gorgeous AVFKW silk over at sockpr0n. Thanks, Aija! I can’t wait to play with it!

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!

[miso] sick.

Yep, hard to believe, but I get even cornier when I’m sick. I’d be willing to categorize this particular sore throat/headcold combination as “sick-as-a-dog” if I didn’t have a perfectly healthy canine snoring peacefully on the couch behind me. I wish he’d stop rubbing it in.

miso

I’ve consumed a couple of quarts of miso today, and I’ve also worked on ingesting as much superfood as possible — which means I even mashed up a few cloves of garlic and threw them into a homemade lemony salad dressing in order to up my allium intake. Hot showers, lots of herbal tea, a pre-bedtime mug of Therma-Flu (which I’m working my way through as we speak) — and some pouting to the boy round out the day’s medicinal treatments. I WILL be better tomorrow. I have to be. I’m so bad at being sick.

I did a very little bit of knitting today — when the full on head cold developed, it became hard to look down without also encouraging the snot to pour out of my nose. I did, however, discover that head colds go nicely with spinning. Standing makes it easier to breathe, and I felt less silly with something to do while standing in order to inhale less laboriously, which prompted me to start the second half of my January Spunky Club fiber:

twilight-part-2

Apologies for the busy and somewhat blurry photo. I didn’t have the heart to wake and move Boh off of the more plainly colored couch.

Alright. Fingers crossed that I wake rested and find my health returned.

about 5 bank accounts, 3 oz and 2 vehicles*

twilight-2oz

This is more like 2 oz.

Of fiber from the January Spunky Club.

Not anything illicit. I’m just saying.

I’m realizing that 2 oz is about all I can fit on the spindle at one time. Despite what this picture seems to reveal, I’m really happy with the evenness of this yarn. the last 10 yards or so are more irregular (and what you can see here) and I think it has to do with how heavy the spindle gets. When it is approaching full, my technique seems to emphasis the “drop” in drop spindle!

*This is Dr. Dre’s answer to the previous line, and the name of the song: “What’s the difference between me and you?” Given that the song lyrics and music references I normally post situate me solidly in the land of americana/folk/alt country, I’ll provide a little more context. This album was popular during my freshman year of college, and somehow it became clear that a friend and I knew all the words. (While this isn’t my favorite song, I have a serious memory for useless information like song lyrics.) He is getting married next year, and there have been jokes about demonstrating this particular skill at the wedding. If you know the song, you probably realize that it is pretty intense/violent and, shall we say, representative of the genre. Despite all of this, it makes me think of said friend whenever it comes up on itunes, and I smile. Music is good for that.

Plus, now that I operate in ounces — of a very different kind than Dr. Dre —  it is allowing me to creatively(?) post on my spinning progress this week…