blurry.

sunset2041

sunset2042

Apologies if these make you dizzy. Yesterday was a blurry kind of day, so it seems only fitting that the pictures I attempted to take of a stunning sunset turned out this way. (It probably didn’t help that I was fresh out of the shower, still in the process of getting dressed, and therefore more than a little exposed to a backyard mob of mosquitoes that made keeping the camera steady more than slightly difficult.)

A bit of a sock is all I’ve got for you today:

sock2inpr

Oh — and my bat came back last night for round 3. My landlord will be here in half an hour to strategize. Hope your day is bat-free!

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disaster averted.

disaster

Disaster. (Note the amount of yarn remaining, and the number of stitches yet to be bound off. This is take 2 — I was keeping an eye on the remaining yarn as I knit the last few rows, and ended up ripping back a row to make sure I’d have enough. You can see how well that turned out for me.)

averted

Averted. (Those of you who read regularly probably have a sense for how much pink/magenta/fuschia I tend to knit with, and thus how much I have in my stash, in any fiber — very little to none. At the point of absolute despair, I went digging in the drawer where I keep dishcloth cotton and textiles I rarely use. And then I saw this yarn, knitpicks shine, tucked in the back, patiently waiting to become a Picovoli tee or something like it. The colors match EXACTLY. Phew.)

mara fo whole

mara and ring

I am quite pleased with how Mara turned out.

(Details: 2 skeins Beaverslide Dry Goods lambswool in colorway snapdragon. Size 8 needles. A yard or two in Knitpicks Shine.)

Actually, I’m way more than pleased, as evidenced by my willingness to don a lambswool shawl in crazy humidity and take 50 pictures. (Yep, fifty.)

mara whole2

By the way, it is incredibly difficult to take a non-blurry, over-the-shoulder photo of the back of a shawl. I’m just saying. I promise to take “real” FO pictures of this post-blocking, when I can stand to actually put on some clothes that I might actually wear this with!

mara blocking

And now for an awkward transition! Mara is blocking on my kitchen table (note the darkness of the wet cotton on the left there. It blends in perfectly when dry). I cut several containers (vases, mason jar, growler) worth of flowers at the farm yesterday, some of which you can see in this late-night blocking shot. Here are a few more:

flowers1

flowers2

It was so hot and sticky yesterday that I wanted to get my veggies straight into the fridge after their rather humid car ride back to the farm. Here are a few photos of parts of this week’s haul:

beans

3 quarts of beans, hand picked by moi, and some herbs.

tomatoes

Some of the best tomatoes I’ve ever tasted, straight from the farm’s passive solar greenhouse.

Lastly, a sock update:

hiyahiyasock progress

I think Boh has given up on my KAL socks, but he has kept a watchful eye on this pair. I’m into the ribbing now, so it won’t be long before I cast on sock #2!

dillweed/milkweed.

pickles

Dillweed. (In the pickles. These are half-sours, from The Joy of Pickling.)

milkweed

Milkweed. (Shawl by Laura Chau.) I’m only 8 rows in, but I’ve decided that although I am way more comfortable with written directions, I’m going all-chart, all-the-time on this one.

I went back to the LYS having the sale yesterday to get a smaller hiyahiya needle for my vanilla socks. Either I didn’t get the right size earlier in the week, or my gauge loosened up a bit in the switch from 2 circs to 1. While working hard to ignore all of the yarn on sale, I decided to treat myself to an addi lace needle for the milkweed shawl, and already I’m glad I did. (My size 4 knitpicks harmony tips are otherwise occupied at the moment, and I knew I wanted sharp needles for this project.)

vanilla emerald

I didn’t spend a super long time knitting yesterday, but I made serious progress on this sock — I think the hiyahiya is growing on me, and while I’m not sure how well these needles would work for more complicated socks (duller tips and not a lot of give on the needle because the cable is exactly the right size for the stitch count, rather than a bit smaller), these may become my go-to stockinette sock needles. Also, they are QUIET. No clicking, clacking, or fiddling.

gussetheel closeup

Also, (drumroll) my first true gusset heel! I worked the heel turn on 2 dpns and then went back to the hiyahiya. Have I mentioned yet how fantastic Socks From the Toe Up is (today)? No? I continue to recommend checking it out.

One more:

soulwindowsplying

Consider this a plying teaser. I plied for a few hours yesterday, and there is still quite a bit of yarn left on the bobbins, which I am taking as a very good sign in the yardage department. Still aiming/hoping/wishing for sock weight and yardage! Stay tuned…

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!

Progress.

This week, I’ve been reading a lot about Progress (with a capital P) and modernization in the 19th century. Something about all the language of improvement, advancement, expansion, etc. made me pick up my toe up sock project again (despite the fact that I think I most enjoyed reading things that explored the uneasiness with ideas of modernity that existed alongside the narrative of Progress).

toe-up-first-sock

Strange light in my house this morning — these socks have a lot more green in them than you can see in this photo. The lights and darks are definitely pooling, and there is a big weird dark splotch near the top (a function of the calf shaping I’m adding rather sporadically), but I actually love the big chunks of light/dark that make stripes.

After several false starts, this sock is flying. This expansion of my sock-knitting skill set would not be possible without this tutorial over at knitting by bicycle. The heel does not involve wrapping, and for that, I am extremely grateful. I’m so excited about being able to knit tall socks without worrying about how much yarn I’m using, and I’m thinking that this is going to turn into an almost knee-sock! (Yay.)

eggs-and-bread

I took this picture last week: fried eggs, homemade bread, good coffee, and at least ten minutes with the New Yorker = a good day.

Back to work — hoping to reward myself with finishing this sock today!

two coffee mugs, a yardstick and a soup bowl…

…walk into a bar. Nevermind. Instead, they enable this rooster to attempt to determine (in an incredibly unscientific manner, mind you) if she has divided a skein of sock yarn into balls of roughly equal weight:

homemade-scale1

This was necessary because yesterday I was determined to start a toe-up sock, encouraged by this tutorial over at knittingbybicycle. If one of the benefits of toe-up socks is being able to use up all of your yarn, I reasoned, I need to divide my yarn so that I can take full advantage of this approach to sock knitting. First I wound the yarn, and then I wound a ball from the ball I created, thinking I’d just stop when they looked about even. But even though they looked even, one of them seemed a bit tighter, and therefore, heavier. But I wasn’t sure: hence, the contraption pictured above.

toe-up-tosh-11

Here’s what I’ve got so far. I’m following the tutorial for the 64 st sock, which might be a tad roomy for me with these needles (US size 2, 3 mm) and this yarn (Madelinetosh superwash merino in colorway pool), but I figure I’ll rib the whole leg if that seems to be the case. It’s a bit too early to tell. Here’s another picture of the sock:

toe-up-tosh-21

I absolutely love the striping, and the yarn itself is wonderful to work with — it is slightly thicker than the other sock yarns I’ve used, and I’m finding that these are moving along quite quickly.

Also, I’ve added a bit to my sock yarn stash. I couldn’t resist the gorgeous pictures of Malabrigo sock yarn over at The Loopy Ewe. This came in the mail on Monday:

malabrigo-sock1

From left to right: Malabrigo sock in Ochre, Boticelli Red and Alcaucil, and Cherry Tree Hill sock in Slate. This yarn is gorgeous. I was initially thinking that the darker shades would be good for boy socks, and I may make a dressier pair for my dad out of one of these skeins. I’ve ordered a few more options from Webs, and I’ll share those when they arrive. The particular boy I have in mind lives mostly in hiking boots, so something thicker (but still superwash) seems like a better fit.

Time for another cup of coffee and a bit of sock knitting before I tackle this morning’s pile o’ reading. The sun is shining here. Have a great Wednesday!