the perils of pooches (and some oh-nine goals).

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One minute, the hat was where it always is when it is not on my head: in the basket by the door. The next, Boh is galloping gleefully through the apartment, a destroyed star-crossed slouchy beret in his mouth. At least he looks sad, right?

A few other things I’ve been working on:

blurry-pizza

Reacquainting myself with my kitchen (yay!) through pizza-making. (If you haven’t checked out Smitten Kitchen, do so now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, etc. I love Everything I Make from Deb’s blog, and you should see the pile of printed out recipes in the kitchen queue.)

Also, dishcloth knitting — some thank yous for hosting us on our north country adventure:

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Apologies for my link-laziness: it is unlikely that I will actually connect these patterns to their internet homes. Quick rav searches should do the trick…

So! I’ve been making lots of lists, clearing space on my bookshelves for a new semester’s pile o’ reading, and thinking big thoughts about what I’d like to accomplish this spring, and this year. I won’t bore you with the Grand Academic Plans And Worries just yet, but I do have lots of exciting knitting ideas. I recognize that purely by virtue of writing all of this down, I will not accomplish all of it, but at least I’ll be able to come back to this post for inspiration, should I need it throughout the year.

First up: sweater knitting, or rather, sweater completion!

Right now I have Brompton and 28thirty on the needles. I’m happy with how they are coming along, and I just need to find some slightly longer chunks of knitting time to feel like these are worth pulling out — a row here and there simply doesn’t work when you are trying to keep track of increases or knitting huge rows. I desperately want to wear these, though, and I really think I can get Brompton finished in time to turn it into the cozy grad school cardigan I have been envisioning forever!

Other sweaters on the list:

Valia (Santa brought me a bag of gorgeous Malabrigo and the pattern, and I’d love to have this ready for next fall’s holiday trips home, if not sooner.)

Drops Jacket (I’ve had yarn for this forever, love all the FOs I’ve seen, and my apartment gets cold in the afternoons. This is obvious, right?!)

Cobblestone (for me), Tangled Yoke, Salina, Francis…I have yarn that would work for all of these, and they all have long stretches of stockinette: exactly what the frazzled grad school mind requires.

Next up: Socks! I’ve been a member of the Yarn Pirate Sock Yarn Club this year, and I have a gorgeous stash of Georgia’s yarns, but I’ve been slow to turn them into socks. I’ve unsubscribed after this 3-month round as a way to motivate myself to knit with what I have. I think socks have finally clicked for me as great mindless knitting — I can now turn a heel on a basic sock without having to dig for the instructions, and socks really are perfect take-to-school for extra free moments waiting to meet with professors or for class to start.  No specific pattern goals here, except to master the art of both toe up socks (I’m working on my first pair now) and the short row heel (mine are always hol-ey. I think Cat Bordhi will rescue me on this one, as a knitting friend pointed out last year).

I’m also working on learning to cable without a cable needle, so this year, I’d like to develop confidence/comfort with this technique.

Spinning goals: I think I’m finally getting the hang of (and the addiction to) spindle-spinning, and to this end, I want to make time each month to work on my spinning and learn how to ply. By the end of 2009. I’d love to spin up a 3-ply sock yarn to knit (toe up?) socks with.

All that should keep me busy, don’t you think?

FO: star crossed slouchy beret

Ta-da! This was super quick and quite fun to knit. The cables increase the squish factor of the Malabrigo, and while the variegation is a bit busy, I am quite excited to send this westward to its rightful owner. Here’s another shot of the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret, in which the dog demonstrates his usefulness as a table/backdrop:

Using the eyeballing method, this hat took about half a skein of Malabrigo. I may make one for myself out of my sassymetrical leftovers. This is where a scale would come in handy…I’ll keep you posted. In other news, here are some pictures of yesterday’s victories:

Delicious collards from my local farmers’ market, cooked with garlic, ginger and chile.

My very own yarn! (Dog for scale.) I’m not sure if you can get a sense for the thickness of this yarn, but most of this feels like a light worsted or even a heavy dk. I need to get better at spinning the spindle levelly, and at joining new pieces of fiber without getting an ugly blip in my yarn, but I am feeling really good about this. Dividing my roving into more vertical pieces, and doing more pre-drafting to both lengthen the roving strips and separate the fibers from each other made all the difference. I had a lot of fun with this, and am looking forward to practicing a bit more.

I also have a recent yarn acquisition to share, purchased at my new LYS. This is absolutely gorgeous, local, undyed alpaca. I bought two 8 oz 660 yd skeins, and I’m wondering if I could turn this into a drapey Gathered Pullover. What do you think? Other ideas include a luxurious shawl or lacey shrug.

Thanks also for all of your kind words about graduate school and the transition. It feels truly indulgent to be able to set most of my own schedule and focus on reading and writing and thinking. I’m sure my anxiety will begin decreasing once my seminars get past their introductory meetings and I am able to work through the transitional cobwebs by participating.

Alright — off to do a bit more reading, and then some baking, spinning and frolicking with the dog. Happy weekend!

it has begun.

I am officially a graduate student. I attended my program’s orientation session yesterday, and classes start tomorrow. I don’t exactly know how to describe my feelings at this moment. Several years of work in a range of positions have helped to affirm that I want to become a scholar and a professor, and I am thrilled at the particulars of the opportunity in front of me. That said, I am also incredibly anxious, perhaps beginning to feel the self-doubt that will likely rear its head many times during the next several years as I work to explore the kind of work I wish to do, and the kind of scholar and teacher I will become.

I think quite a bit of this is reasonable at this point: I’ve been out of school, and thus out of situations that require my brain to operate in a critical, academic way, for four years. Many of the people in my program are younger, and thus, while the “life” aspects of graduate school may be newer to them, their brains are likely a bit sharper when it comes to seminar discussions and critical thinking and writing. How do you reclaim that chunk of brain power and work on expanding and refining these abilities? The only answer I can come up with is to just jump in, with an eye towards maintaining a balance in my life that includes cooking, running and knitting (while READING, and this week, attempting to reacquire enough language skills from college-land to pass a placement test…)

So, pie = balance. The pie above, by the way, is fresh peach and strawberry, with a dusting of a crumb topping. Yum!

Also, while the BSJ patiently waits for buttons (and seaming), I’ve cast on for something new:

It’s the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret, and it is moving quickly. I’m using Malabrigo in Verdes, and while I worried that the variegation would be too busy for the cabled pattern, I’m liking it so far. This is heading back West, to a dear friend who requested a green hat. I am excited to get this in the mail, as I’m sure the mornings are already turning cold in the mountains.

I’ve also begun making some lists for holiday knitting — more on that soon.