one, two…

secondsleeve

This morning I began the second sleeve of stripes!(!) More significantly, the beginnings of cuff number 2 (with its lovely corrugated ribbing) sat in my bag waiting patiently as my graduate school career moved from one to two.

It’s strange, but I don’t actually feel as though I’ve finished anything, perhaps because I am already looking ahead. Today’s committee meeting helped me to more clearly see the meaning in the work I’ve done, but more importantly, it did some helpful pointing towards where I might want to go in year 2.

In keeping with this broad theme of progress (small p), I’m excited to show you a few pictures of that gorgeous melon-y targhee:

targhee1

targhee2

This is my most even spinning to date, and I am absolutely in love with this fiber. I’m aiming for a strong 2-ply with a consistent wpi — maybe it will be sport weight? We’ll see. (Did you notice how I threw “wpi” in there? My measuring tool arrived today, so I’ll have that info on my next finished yarn.)

I left my laptop and camera here when Boh and I went to spend a few days with my parents this week, so I can’t show you all of the gorgeous plants and flowers in the yard, or the delicious food we ate, or even the socks I finished (yay!) and deposited with a love note on my uncle’s porch on my way out of town.

Boh and I are off to meet friends (human and animal) at the d-o-g-p-a-r-k to celebrate. Happy almost weekend!

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!

corrugated ribbing and cvm.

And cuffs, and cosy (fiber etsy shop here), if that helps to emphasize that somehow the letter C is at play here today.

First, the ribbing. I know I have been going on and on about this sweater, and also that it is a bit unfair that I have been doing so, because you can’t exactly go right out and knit it yet, but I can’t help it. I cast on the first sleeve late last night (after digging through every bin of knitting-related stuff in my apartment to find my size 8 dpns), and I just have to keep talking about it.

cuffs1

cuff2

I love this ribbing, and someday, in the not too distant future, I will be making mittens that start this way. Whitney, are you trying to trick me into colorwork? Because if this ribbing is technically colorwork, it isn’t that scary. (This is how it starts, anyway…)

The next C is for CVM, or california variegated mutant, which, apparently, is a kind of sheep. Cosy’s shop update last week included lots of this stuff, and I needed some. (Needed.) I sat down at my wheel this morning after a cup of coffee with the idea that I would just spin a little bit, see how this fiber felt in my hands, and then move on to other things.

impatienscvm1

impatienscvm2

2 bobbins and 4 oz. later, I realized that I really liked it. (Shocking.)

impatienscvm3

I spun this using my mid-sized whorl, thinking that this might help me to get a bit more twist in my singles, and in this regard, I think I was successful. At the very beginning, I thought I’d aim for a singles yarn, but now that I see my two bobbins, one slightly brighter and one a bit paler, I think they will be lovely as a 2-ply, and maybe even lovelier knit up as the yoke to a garter-yoke cardigan?! I do have some grey cascade 220, and some heathery navy blue as well…

inches and handfuls.

These were my units of measure today.

Exhibit A (inches):

stripesoncouch

(I love this picture. Can’t exactly explain why.)

bodystripes

And here it is, all 17 inches and change of the body of my stripes! sweater. I don’t think I’ve ever knit so quickly in my life. Certainly, I am currently feeling the need to distract myself; to fill the days. There is something else though, something I can’t quite pinpoint, that makes this project hard to put down. Perhaps it is the surprising softness of the eco-wool. Maybe it’s the short pattern repeat, the next stripe’s color(s) revealed in just four (three, two, one) more row(s)…

All I know is that I’m finding a particular kind of fulfillment in this project, and I’m grateful for it. Next up? Stripey sleeves!

Exhibit B (handfuls):

dinnerinpan

dinnergreens

Tonight’s dinner: an innovative greens recipe from a cookbook compiling recipes from farms and CSAs across the country. The basic premise is that you mix up a vinaigrette, boil some of it and throw in sliced mushrooms, and then later add some hearty greens and cook until wilted. Toss this stuff with less hearty greens, add some goat cheese, and add more of the dressing. I used kale, arugula, and spinach from my share, and I can’t wait to make this again. (That cookbook, for those interested, is this one.)

Exhibit C (toys?):

poutingbohwithpile

Boh, with his pile of scraps and bones…

I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up this daily blogging all summer, but for now, it adds some quite welcome structure to the day, as a friend thoughtfully noted earlier this week.

More soon!

vibrant colors.

Looking at today’s photos helped me to link the day’s activities together in my brain. While reading, knitting, and heading out to the farm for my veggies do not necessarily seem intrinsically connected, today has been filled with bright, buoyant, truly vibrant colors — and particularly now, when I am not feeling quite so buoyant and vibrant on the inside, it seems important to be able to see these things all around me.

I spent the morning watching the colors of the first skein of kureyon reveal themselves in the stripes of my growing sweater.

stripesprogress

Stripes! is one of those patterns that teaches you things as you go, and today I learned to do the math to add waist shaping tailored to high-waisted, rather boy-shaped me. (Yay!) Here’s one of those awkward sweater body-in-progress shots:

stripes waist shaping on

I hope I can keep up this pace, as I am itching to wear this sweater! We’ve had cooler, cloudier weather of late, and part of me hopes it will stick around a tad longer so that I can pull this on and sit outside on a breezy summer evening…

Today I picked up a beautifully written, thoughtful book: The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone and Sky by Ellen Meloy. (Find it on amazon here.) Meloy’s prose is artful, at times surprising, and the way she intertwines memory with story, past with the book’s present, is evocative and beautifully complex. I’m about a third of the way through, and am finding myself particularly moved by Meloy’s exposition and exploration loosely centered on blues and greens.

Lastly, today marked the beginning of my CSA’s season. Check out this week’s haul:
csa haul

In those beets and radishes, and even in the greens, I see the colors of my sweater. Red beets, chiogga beets, radishes, spicy white turnips, komatsuna, spinach, arugula, kale, oregano, thyme, mint…I braised some of the komatsuna in olive oil with some chopped garlic, and then sauteed some radishes in butter at high heat for a beautifully colorful plate — ravenously consumed before documentation could occur.

Settling in for some more stripes-knitting.  I hope your day was punctuated with moments of bright color too.

spices and stripes.

In an effort to both stay busy and create a sense of cleansing/starting some things anew, I’ve been cleaning like a fiend this week. Yesterday, I finally knit myself a dishcloth and, inspired by the yarn pirate herself, ditched my sponges. In keeping with my occcasional theme of knits-in-action, here’s a shot of my new dishcloth in its new home:

dishcloth in action

Thrilling, I know. (But seriously, these cloths are surprisingly sturdy scrubbers, and the idea that they will just go in the weekly wash with my other kitchen cloths makes me very happy.)

Also, I tackled the spice cabinet. I wish I’d thought to take a “before” picture, but I was too excited to measure brightly colored seeds and powders into their respective jars. This will be an ongoing project, as the co-op only stocks so many small jars (which I think are intended for lip balms or creams in small quantities) at a time. Still, this cupboard is much happier:

spices

In celebration, I baked some chocolate walnut cookies. I saw this recipe over at the kitchn, printed it immediately and tucked it into the binder o’ kitchen ideas. In a word: yum. My kitchen smelled so rich and chocolately that I had to open a window.

chocwalnut1

These cookies are cooling on newly available counter space — yesterday I lugged the microwave that was in the apartment down to the basement. I figured that since I’ve been here almost a year and haven’t yet plugged it in, I probably won’t miss it, and the extra space sure is nice! Here’s a cookie macro shot:

chocwalnut2

Again: yum. Yummmm.

In the spirit of starting new things, a project I’ve been looking forward to arrived in my inbox yesterday. I’m test-knitting stripes! for Whitney over at whitknits. (You can see her stripes! in this post. All of Whitney’s knitting is beautiful, and this post highlights a whole slew of inspiring projects.) When I saw her stripes! earlier this winter, I knew I wanted one so I jumped at the chance to give this a try.

swatch

Because I am taking my test-knitting responsibilities very seriously, I swatched and even washed and blocked my square of eco-wool to be sure my gauge was correct. It really didn’t take long at all. In fact, swatches dry wayyyy faster than sweaters do. Note to self: there is no reason not to do this all the time.

stripes macro

I spent a few hours catching up on podcasts and getting started on my stripes!, and I’m already loving this sweater. I learned a new cast-on, and this ribbing is so pretty. More pictures soon, as I intend to knit a few more rows before bed.