cup(pow) of lilac wine?

Forgive me. I’m doing that thing where I try to link all the things I want to tell you about in a phrase. It’s okay if you want to roll your eyes. But when you’re done with that, look at this:

After I posted about recap mason jar lids for narrow mouth jars, blog friend dearmary offered to order me a cuppow coffee lid for wide mouth jars as part of an order she was planning. We met on Thursday, and talked for an hour. (And she not only brought me the cuppow; she also brought me a jar and a sweet, stripey handknit mason jar cozy!) All of this affirmed what I already knew to be true: blog friends are the best.  Also, the cuppow has my highest recommendation. I filled it with a latte right away, and when I was done, I flipped the lid inside out and put the regular mason jar lid disc over it, sealing in any remaining coffee drips and making it possible to toss the whole thing in my bag. I am going to use this ALL THE TIME.

I finished blocking my lilac wine cowl and snapped a few FO pictures.

I ended up using between 2/3 and 3/4 of my skein of Fleece Artist Merino 2/6 sock yarn. I could have kept going; I intended to, even, but I developed some sort of lilac wine fatigue last week and was ready to bind off.

I think I’ll get a lot of use out of this — in overly air-conditioned lecture halls and during in-between seasons, especially.

I took a few photos of the cemetery on my walk down the hill from campus. I’m captivated by the house-style mausoleums built into the hillside.

Can you tell we’re onto the random pictures from my iPhone segment of the blog? I’ve been eating strawberries twice a day this week. (I picked a gallon last week at the farm, and I’ve managed to eat them all. So good.)

More pesto, this time with garlic scapes and farm basil.

And then there’s Boh and his pile of paws. I’ll post photos of the weekend adventures that prompted such deep sleep soon.

wednesday, start to finish.

Yesterday morning, I swatched for Buttercup with my coffee. I bought the yarn for this three summers ago, when I was back in the southwest the summer after my first year of grad school. It’s Queensland Cotolino, and I’ve got 8 balls of it. 8 balls x 105 meters = roughly the amount required for the XS size. Good thing I’m not working on a Ph.D. in math…

So I swatched on 5s, and got gauge. But then I went down a needle size, because I know that this is going to grow when I block it. I like the drape with 4s, and it isn’t so tight that I will hate knitting it. Decision made. So I unraveled what I had, because I’m going to need every last inch of this stuff. Normally I swatch — for real — and wash and block the swatch to make sure I’m happy. This project officially goes in the “by-the-seat-of-my-pants pile.” I don’t think I’m going to go as A-line flowy as the pattern suggests, though I do want some of the increases. Also, everything I read on ravelry suggests that I should go down a size so that the neck isn’t too low and open. I’m knitting the small, and we’ll see what happens. Worst case? Someone I know will get an adorable summer sweater.

Then I had radish toast for lunch. (Radish toast, in this iteration, is toast, butter, arugula, radish slices, and salt and pepper. It is even more delicious than you think it is. Trust me.)

My progress right after lunch, strawberry smoothie in hand. (Note: I picked a gallon of strawberries at the farm on Tuesday, and I’ve already managed to eat 3 quarts. I’ll probably polish off the last one today.)

No, I do not normally stand like this. But these are the jeans I bought to replace the ones I ripped. And they are straight — or even tapered — at the leg. And that wasn’t clear in the pictures I snapped where I was standing not awkwardly. So here you go. I think I like them.

Boh and I took an afternoon walk with our friend J. and the dog she is taking care of this week. It was lovely.

More buttercup. I’m really enjoying the feel of this yarn, at least right now. And the stitch definition makes me swoon!

So does this sunset — truly the golden hour.

bachelor buttons and wedding pinwheels.

Bachelor buttons in the late afternoon.

One and a half rows to go on the wedding pinwheel. (I will finish it today. I must, if I’m going to block it before I head home for the wedding!)

Tuesday = farm day. Thus, my kitchen overflows with flowers.

If I were to hang this photo on the wall, its caption would read: Pesto. Soon.

The boy and I picked about 12 pounds of sugar snap peas today…and ingested another pound or so, I’d imagine. After a string of hot, humid, sticky days, today was perfect. Breezy, partly sunny, and cool. An afternoon in the pea patch followed a morning spent with my friend T. picking strawberries on the second last day of the season.

A perfect day. These are destined to become jam.

I love summer.

And now, back to that pinwheel.

i blame the strawberries.

I did not knit AT ALL yesterday, despite my KAL deadline. Boh is displeased.

bohdispleased

Also, I may have developed a repetitive strawberry hulling injury.

7plus colander

I blame the strawberries.

I picked 7 more quarts early yesterday morning, plus a big blue colander full. I mean, I couldn’t help it. I brought the colander along just in case, and I just had to fill it. We had a lot of rain on Friday, which meant that the berries grew even more rotund and juicy. Saturday morning was cool, humid and overcast, and I had the patch to myself. If I didn’t pick a few more, those strawberries were going to overripen on the vine, and we can’t have that. No, we cannot.

Thus, my adventures in water-bath canning began. I didn’t necessarily intend to make jam from the start; I simply got home with all of my berries, looked at my overflowing freezer and the abundance crowding my countertops and realized that jam might be the way to process some of this deliciousness. I ventured out again, intending to try to scavenge a canning stock pot and rack from a thrift store, when I discovered a special on a 21 quart canning pot with its own rack at the grocery store for 24 bucks. Throw in a 12 dollar “welcome to canning” set complete with tongs, jar lifter, funnel, seal checker, and some other thing I can’t remember, a few boxes of lids and some more half-pint jars, and I was ready to go.

Adventures in water-bath canning, take 1: strawberry-balsamic jam.

jam1

jam2

I used Eugenia Bone’s Well Preserved (which I heard about over here) as my guide, and found the instructions to be clear and logical. The book is organized by “master recipes” that require some kind of preservation technique, and then Bone provides a handful of recipes that utilize the preserved food in question. I like the layout and the emphasis on using your preserves, but I may supplement with a massive canning/pickling book to be able to look through a range of options for one particular fruit or veggie.

jame3

I am so excited about this. In fact, as soon as all the jars were in the water bath, I mixed up a batch of no-knead bread (in its second rise right now) to properly enjoy my jam. The tough part about canning is that you have to wait another 6-8 hours for the jars to cool and the seal to set. This morning, as per Eugenia’s instructions, I tested all my seals by unscrewing the tops and picking up the jars by their lids: success! Those seals are tiiight, baby.

So, back to the tough part about jam: no instant gratification. Hence strawberry recipe #2: strawberry-rhubarb compote with mint.

compote1

compote2

Simple, aromatic recipe. I’m planning to enjoy this over yogurt in a few minutes. Plus, it used up another pint of strawberries.

Had enough? No? Good, because I did not stop there. (Boh begged me to pick up the socks, but I ignored him.)

dipped strawberries

No recipe here — I just melted some chocolate chips, added some butter until it was runny enough for dipping, and twirled the biggest, prettiest berries in my colander in the chocolate. I laid them out on wax paper and slid the tray into the fridge to chill.

whatstrawberry

I just couldn’t help it.

in the kitchen.

berriesx7

I picked 7 quarts of berries this morning. (Notice quart #7 — upper right, not in line with the rest. I learned today that a quart-sized yogurt container fits perfectly into the shallow outer rim of the cupholder in my CRV. Thus, I ate most of a quart on the drive home from the farm. Consider #7 to be exhibit A.)

berriesfreezing1

The  farm is offering unlimited berry picking as part of the share now that the strawberry patch is super ripe. I prepped most of what I picked today to be stored: trimmed off the tops, lined them up on a baking tray, froze them enough that they won’t stick together, and put them in small freezer bags so that I can slowly defrost them as I see fit later on this summer and fall.

glowingberries

I may go back tomorrow. There is nothing like picking berries in the sunshine; today it felt like a reminder that everything will be okay.

pestopasta

Last night (after an incredible yoga class that has me feeling a really good all-body ache today) I broke out one of only a few mechanized pieces of kitchen equipment in my possession to make garlic scape-arugula-cilantro pesto. For dinner, I tossed it with pasta, and sprinkled on some walnuts and parmesan, which were tasty, but totally unnecessary. This pesto can stand on its own!

pesto sandwich

For lunch today, I made what P (of the farm) calls “pan toast” (aka toast in a cast iron skillet) and made 2 sandwiches of greens, pesto, and a slice of swiss cheese. Heavenly.

pesto omelet

Because you can never eat too much pesto, for dinner tonight I made an omelet with eggs from P’s chickens, the last bit of the arugula I harvested, and of course, the pesto. I have a little bit left — enough for another meal or two that matches my kitchen!

You may be wondering about my knitting. Boh was quite worried about my progress on the lacy ribs socks, as is evident from the following photograph:

bohuneasysock

Good news! Boh can stop fretting (well, about the sock, anyway) because tonight I finished the first sock of the pair.

onelacysock1

one lacy rib sock2

I could have done a few more leg repeats, but I was starting to worry about the tightness of the bind-off and the fit of the ribbing — this was a problem with my last (the first) pair of toe-up socks. I was so excited about using all of the yarn that I don’t think I increased enough or in the right places to get a perfect fit around the fullest part of my calf, and the bind-off on those socks is a bit tight. (Also, to be completely honest, there is a timeframe for this KAL. I started late, so I’m cutting it close!)

I did the Russian bind-off here, and it created a super-stretchy cuff, which is perfect. I’m quite pleased with how this sock has turned out, but more importantly, I love that this week, with this sock, I’ve learned a new cast-on, a new bind-off, and a new heel!

Tomorrow, I will cast on sock #2.

happy dog mirror

Now there’s a happy dog. (He may be happy about my completed sock, but it might also have something to do with the walk we took down to the creek so that we could put our toes/paws in the cool water.)

Bedtime for this rooster. Happy almost Friday!

from yolk to yoke.

I wish I had taken a picture of my most recent quiche — it would be perfect for my cheesy blog post title. Stripes! is the first bottom-up, yoked sweater I’ve ever knitted, and thus I rarely type “yoke.” “Yolk,” however, is a word that gets a lot of play here at chez rooster. Aside from the obvious rooster-chicken train of thought, eggs are a staple in my kitchen. (In fact, fried eggs, homemade toast, and some avocado slices comprise one of my favorite pre-seminar lunches.) Therefore it should come as no surprise to you that every time I sit down to label photos or type about my stripey sweater, my fingers seem to want to refer to the upper portion of this sweater as a yolk, rather than a yoke.

No more. Why, you ask? Because I have actually gone and knitted a YOKE. See?

yoke middecrease

[Boh still can’t work the camera; forgive the dirty mirror and awkward self-photography above and below.] Here is the yoke mid-decrease, and here are several photos of the yoke as it exists at this very moment:

yokehandonhip

yokebackview

yokehandinpocket

One more:

yokehandinfront

I love love love this sweater. (You will too.)

I knit this with an inch and a half of ease, which seems to be the right fit for something I intend to be worn over a layer or two. I knit the sleeves to be a bit long for pulling down over my wrists — in these photos, they look a little baggy, but I think once I graft the underarm seams that won’t be a problem, as I was happy with the fit on my arms before I joined the sleeves to the body.

I have been knitting on this nonstop: several hours when I got home from a barbecue last night, and then for about 3 more hours this morning. I just couldn’t put down the yoke. I’m hoping to bind off, graft the underarms, weave in the ends, and get this baby blocking by the end of tomorrow! I’ll do a real FO post with measurements/specs/details once it is ready to wear.

On a note entirely unrelated to sweater yokes or egg yolks, except maybe that the activity I’m about to describe occurred in the general proximity of chickens, here’s a photo of today’s haul:

3quartsstrawberries

My CSA does a bunch of u-pick produce, and with all the rain we’ve seen this week, the farmers sent out an email saying that the season picking quota thus far had been upped to 5 quarts! I picked up the owners of that lovely greyhound pictured earlier in the week (they are also members of my csa), and we spent an hour or so in the strawberry patch, picking and eating, the sun shining and a slight breeze blowing. All those strawberries had us thinking about ice cream, and we headed up along the lake a few extra miles to a local creamery for a treat. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday afternoon…