FO: emerald city gusset heel socks.

I may have stayed up way too late to finish these…but here they are! These are the best-fitting socks I have ever made for myself, and I really enjoyed knitting the gusset heel. (No stitches to pick up! Woohoo!) I knit them on size 1 needles out of Yarn Pirate superwash merino in the emerald city colorway. I have a fair amount leftover, but I still need to weigh the skein to see exactly how much.

You may remember that this pair of socks was also an experiment with 8 inch hiya-hiya needles. I picked the second sock up again after allowing it to languish in my sock bag for months, and I had to readjust to these super short needles all over again. Once I got back into a rhythm with them, the second sock practically knit itself. The ribbing at the cuff, however, is a different story. Don’t get me wrong — these needles are awesome for stockinette sock speed — but working the ribbing and the bind off was a full-on struggle. I’ll remember that next time, and keep dpns or circs handy for any non-stockinette sections. I do think the hiya-hiya needles are wonderful for stockinette sock knitting — quick, quiet, and ladder-free!

In the spirit of the new year, I’m employing a critical eye as I look at my WIPs. Earlier this month, you folks helped me decide to frog my brompton cardigan and reclaim a sweater’s worth of Rowan Felted Tweed. Next up, a gorgeous pattern that I started as part of the Socks from the Toe Up KAL. (Yep, I’ve fallen off that wagon. Still LOVE the book, though.)  I’m knitting them out of Shibui Sock in the ginger colorway, and I’m worried that think they (or more accurately, the 3 inches of the first sock) might be too big. I’m going to dig out that project today and take a look.

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the perfect combination.

Spinning and reading, the heft of a pile of hardcover books and the squish of handspun skeins, superwash merino and the late nineteenth century…

I was so excited about how this was looking that I stopped plying to grab the camera.

This is 170 yards of super squishy heavy worsted 2-ply from the second 4 oz. of Crown Mountain Farms superwash merino in the Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds colorway. LOVE. Love so much that I could set aside my writing and grading and cast on for mittens for me right now. But I’m not going to. Why? Because I don’t have to do what the yarn says all the time. Really.

Actually, I spun this with a particular as yet not fully formed human being in mind, but now that I see it all skeined up, all that pink might get in the way of my plans to knit a non-gender specific baby something. Thoughts? (Sorry guys, if you were hoping to be completely surprised. While I’m sort of banking on the fact that you’re too busy prepping for the big day and might not read this, I do need the advice of the internets.)

Which brings me back to my love affair with my wheel, and my decision last night to start spinning some FLUFF superwash merino in Beach Day.

(Artificial evening light above, natural morning light below.)

I think what I really need to do is swatch to see how the colors look all knitted up. And keep spinning this bee-yoo-ti-ful FLUFF fiber. Oh, and keep writing. Perhaps in the reverse order.

boh is concerned.

What’s the matter, big dog?

If you’re worried about the fact that I spent my first hour today doing this:

Don’t be. I’m not going to ply it with the first bobbin until I make sufficient progress on that other stuff. Really.

And don’t worry, we’re still going to take a nice W-A-L-K today.

Happy Friday, folks!

lucy in the sky, skeined.

lucyFO1

lucyFO2

My apologies, up front. I have A LOT of pictures of this skein of handspun.

lucyFO4 macro

lucyFO3

lucyFO5 macro

Just one more. Okay?

lucyFO6 macro

3-ply, 325 yards of almost 4 oz of Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino in (wait for it) Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. I didn’t measure wpi, but it is definitely sock yarn, slightly thicker and squooshier than the blue Spunky Club sock yarn I finished a few weeks ago. I say “almost 4 oz” because I stopped plying when I could not fit any more yarn on the bobbin, rather than when one of the bobbins ran out.

nplylucy

I navajo plied one of the leftover bobbins, and here’s how it looks, unwashed. The trick really is to just slow down. I did this while listening to NPR’s coverage (downloadable!) of Billy Bragg at the Newport Folk Festival, and I found myself treadling very slowly along with his guitar.  There’s something really quite graceful about navajo plying, and I’m excited to keep practicing.

I have more spinning to share — my wheel was looking so empty that I just had to start a project. Or two.

singles shetland41

This is the last of my AVFKW shetland in Fruit Loops — 68 yards of singles. While the rest was done on a spindle, I spun this on the wheel. Not sure what the collection of singles skeins will become, but I’m quite happy with the lot of them.

indigowensleydalebob1

And this. I only intended to start this last night, but I ended up spinning a whole bobbin’s worth. This is AVFKW Wensleydale in Intergalactic Space Travel, dyed with indigo, which, as expected, turned my fingers a gorgeous shade of blue. I’m still learning about how dye and fiber react, and with this stuff, I could really see how the saturated spots were different (and more difficult for me to spin) than the lighter sections. I’m aiming for a worsted-ish 2-ply with this, but it might turn out more thick and thin, as the coarser, more saturated parts were making it really tough for me to get into a rhythm and find some level of consistency. I’m really interested to see how this yarn feels once it has had a good soak, as the indigo really changes the feel of the wensleydale.

savoryzucchinibread

(One of these things is not like the others…) A friend from my high desert knitting group emailed me this recipe for a savory zucchini-cheddar bread, and I baked a loaf yesterday afternoon. I used monterey jack instead of cheddar, and upped the dill to make up for my dwindling supply of parsley, and whoa. My go-to zucchini bread is more of a breakfast loaf, but this makes it possible to have zucchini bread at every meal. So delicious.

Three weeks until the semester begins — I can’t believe it. Time to get to work!

this and that.

I’m sitting here, coffee in hand, looking through the photos I took yesterday, and there is not much of a theme. It seems that I did a little bit of everything yesterday, so please excuse this post’s lack of focus.

First up, a few more pictures of the silk, which is now dry and in skein form. (Still no good rhymes for tussah, I’m afraid.)

silkskein4

silkskein3

silkskein2

Swoon.

Next, a few shots of Mara, blocked and dry. (Hmm, maybe there is a theme?)

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It was incredibly hot and humid yesterday (see below photo of Boh), but I couldn’t help wrapping Mara around my shoulders and snapping a few pictures in my (dirty) mirror.

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I also baked brownies:

brownies

Finished a vanilla sock:

halfavanillapair

Made some progress on my Milkweed Shawl:

milkweed prog

Oh, and tried crack, in the form of Crown Mountain Farms Superwash Merino. I’ve been hearing about this stuff on numerous podcasts (The Manic Purl, Gives Good Knit, and The Knitmore Girls), and after attaining a sock weight 3-ply yarn, I decided to go ahead and order a little bit to give it a try.

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Late last night, I told myself I would just split this lovely superwash merino in the Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds colorway nto 4 oz. chunks, and then divide one of those halves into 3 parts in preparation for spinning more 3-ply sock yarn.

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And then I sat down at the wheel.  This stuff is awesome.

That’s all I’ve got today. Happy Friday!