knitting in class.

I was knitting on my Buttercup when I took this picture. (And we were on a break. Don’t worry; I don’t play with my phone during class.)

And here I am today, also knitting in our lecture hall. (Also on a break.)

And here’s the gin and tonic I made on Monday night. I’ve got a great bunch of students in the intensive summer session for rising high school seniors I’m TAing, but the schedule is exhausting. Yoga, a drink, and a front-row seat for sunset was exactly what I needed last night.

Look at my pretty swatch! It’s for a testknit for foxflat — a summer-weight, super sweet beret called Joyride. The yarn is a merino-tencel blend from back when I was a member of the Yarn Pirate Booty Club, with a bit of shine and lovely colors. In a sock pattern, it would be stripey, but in a slightly larger project, the first few rows are suggesting to me that it might look a bit colorblocked. I need to knit a little bit more to see what I think. If it’s too busy for the lacework, I’ve got a solid yarn that I think would be lovely in this pattern. More soon!

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.

curry and a heel turn.

I am falling in love with Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Cooking all over again. She just seems to know exactly what I want to eat for dinner. And lunch. This is the Big Curry Noodle Pot — simple, flavorful, delicious.

Also, I turned the (gusset) heel of my second Emerald City sock. Hooray!

treadle, treadle, treadle.

cvm bob2

I could not stop spinning yesterday. I finished the second bobbin of this gorgeously rich cvm from cosy, and debated plying it right away. Instead, I set this bobbin aside to rest, and dug through my fiber stash.

jacob roving

This is 4 oz. of jacob wool from a farm just outside of town. I picked this up a few months ago at an LYS nearby. (I have the details somewhere in my fiber bin, but I would have to put down my coffee to look for it. Priorities.)

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I sat down to spin this, but oh_my_goodness. This fiber is incredibly soft, and however this was prepared (I’m still learning all my fiber preps/names) left a lot of air in the roving, which made this wool practically spin itself.

jacob first bob

And here’s the progress I made on the second bobbin(!) last night:

jacob bob2

It doesn’t look like I’m going to finish my KAL socks this month, and I think Boh might be okay with that.

bohlayoncouch

I’m interpreting this to mean that he understands that sometimes one has to spend the day (or the weekend) at the spinning wheel.

bohwithsockprog

Here’s my (our?) progress on the emerald city vanilla sock. I’m really getting the hang of the hiyahiya needle, and I’m finding that I can get more done (when I am not forgetting to knit because crazy things are happening on The Wire) because I do not have to look down to either pick up the other circ or rotate to the next dpn. Here’s a close up:

sockwithpaws

Happy weekend, all! I’m going to finish up this cup of coffee, pour another, and sit down at the wheel.

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!

a theory.

swift and winder

I have a theory about WIPs and startitis, and it goes something like this: without a swift and ball winder, the knitter is obligated to think on new projects before readying the yarn and diving in. Winding yarn by hand is a repetitive, sometimes meditative, often simply time-consuming, and occasionally quite annoying process. When you know, deep in your subconscious self, that you need to wind multiple skeins of laceweight by hand (a la Whisper), you think long and hard about the project before you commit. With a yarn swift and ball winder, all of that pre-project thinking (at least at first) is replaced by a little voice that says “Squee! I get to turn that little handle and make yarn cakes! In the kitchen! No oven required!”

emerald city wound

mara wound

I speak from experience.

It all started innocently enough: I needed to select and wind my yarn for the July pattern for the Socks from the Toe Up KAL (the On-Hold socks). I chose Shibuiknits sock in ginger, which has been waiting patiently for a special pattern. I’m planning to cast on later today.

Then, I thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have a vanilla sock on the needles to keep in my bag? These patterned socks are stunning, but they are not mindless, throw in a bag/take out the door/knit a few rows here and there socks. They are serious socks. Enter the Yarn Pirate sock in colorway Emerald City. (Isn’t it lovely?)

And then, I thought, socks can be tough to knit on while watching The Wire — I need something squooshier and fatter to work on in the evenings, something that is so simple and soothing that I can keep knitting while crazy things happen in Southeast Baltimore.

Thus, I wound up the Beaverslide merino lambswool in the snapdragon colorway (1 skein to start), which is destined to become Mara, a supersoft, brightly colored wrap. I’m already part of the way there:

mara started

I now fully understand how easy it is to somehow have a gazillion things on the needles. And I’m not complaining! I love my new toys. (For those interested, I broke down and got the new Paradise Fibers yarn swift after watching the video on their website. It didn’t hurt that they had a coupon for a discount on the swift AND a discount on the Royal ball winder. I may have acquired some more spinning fiber as well, but that was just to get me to the land of free shipping. You understand.)

No farm picture today — instead of coming right home and photographing the week’s haul, Boh and I went to see dear people and dog friends, eat farm food, drink homebrew and frolic in the yard — a lovely evening.

I will tell you that my share included: harukei turnips, beets, belgian endive, kale, chard, mint, parsley, garlic scapes, broccoli, sugar snap peas, and a few more strawberries…

FO: lacy ribs socks.

fo lacy ribs pair

fo lacy ribs kitchen

Details:

Yarn: Yarn Pirate superwash BFL in the cupcake colorway
Needles: 2 circs, 2.5 mm
Toe: Judy’s Magic Cast on (it really is magic!)
Heel: slip stitch heel, as per pattern
Bind off: Russian Bind off
Size: Medium
Start: June 16th, 10 PM EST
Finish: June 30th, 10 AM EST (whew!)

For those of you who haven’t been following along, I knit these as part of the Socks from the Toe Up KAL on Ravelry. The KAL is a long one — knitting through Wendy Johnson’s book, one pair per month. There are great prizes, folks at all stages of sock knitting, and a super supportive knitting community. I’m learning new things, and I’m having a great time.

fo lacy ribs boh

As you can see, sock supervising is exhausting work.

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!

it really is magic.

lacyrib1

Have you tried Judy’s Magic Cast On? The instructions in Wendy’s book (printed with Judy’s permission) make this purchase already worth the cost. Here I am, 4 repeats into my first-ever socks on two circulars!

lacy rib on foot

I’m knitting the medium size to account for the stretchiness of the lace. I may also knit a slightly shorter foot to create a snug fit. I am absolutely thrilled with the way this colorway is knitting up, and I’m really enjoying knitting with 2 circulars! Victory all around, even if I am not able to finish these by the end of the month (and qualify for all of the incredible Socks From the Toe Up KAL June prizes). I don’t know why I didn’t try using 2 circulars earlier — it makes a lot of sense for a patterned sock — one needles has the pattern, and the other needle is the bottom of the sock, all in one place. Rather than become a hard-core advocate of one way to knit socks, I’m beginning to see the benefits of choosing needles that fit the pattern.  I may even have another go at Magic Loop (which I liked and have used for sleeves and things, but found a bit fiddly) — my Twisted Tweed Socks (rav link) were giving me some trouble around the heel, but maybe I need to try a different way of knitting those when I bring them out of hibernation.

Here’s one more close-up of my Lacy Ribs Sock:

lacy rib close up

Here’s hoping I can stick to my goal of equal amounts knitting/spinning and reading. I’ve put in some serious time on these socks in the last 12-14 hours, so as soon as I hit publish, I’m going to curl up with a book on the Gilded Age.

I think I mentioned something about farm shares and strawberries yesterday. Want to see this week’s haul?

csa green 3

Red lettuce, harukei turnips, kale, chard, broccoli, oregano, rosemary, basil, mint, 2 qts strawberries, more komatsuna,  mustard greens (!!), and a handful of calendula flowers to brighten my kitchen.

Time to get to work!

precision.

cupcakescale

That’s right, folks. I broke out my “scale” yesterday.

cupcakemeasuring2

I needed to divide some gorgeous yarn pirate superwash bfl in the cupcake colorway into 2 balls in anticipation of today’s events; namely, the arrival of Socks From the Toe Up by Wendy Johnson. I learned of a massive KAL beginning this month and working, month by month, through the whole book. Chrissy of the Manic Purl podcast is participating, and her review of the book and discussion of the KAL piqued my interest. I checked out the group and decided that this might be just the motivation I need to keep working on my sock skills (and knit down some of my sock yarn stash).

Here’s one more picture of the yarn, which I will be using to knit the Lacy Ribs Socks for the June KAL.

cupcake measuring

This pattern seems to work well for handpainted and variegated yarns, and to be honest, I grabbed this from my stash because I wasn’t quite sure about the colors, and thought this pattern would be a good way to use it. Wound up, however, I adore it, and I cannot wait to get started!

Also in the land of precision (sort of): a whisper update! I returned to my ribbing, and late last night, bound off the collar stitches.

whisper arm1

Here’s a close-up of the ribbing-that-seemed-as-though-it-would-never-be-completed:

whisper underarm detail

It seems strange to not be posting Stripes! pictures. Do you want to see a few more? Good.

stripes and skirt

stripeyoke closup

I snapped these yesterday after grafting the underarms/weaving in the ends and before dunking the sweater into a warm bath, where it promptly absorbed ALL of the water my teeny-tiny bathroom sink can hold. Here it is, blocking on the kitchen table:

stripesblocking

I started reading a serious book yesterday, and it felt good to do some “work.” I’m planning to do more of that today, but the real news is that Tuesday is farm share day! The u-pick strawberry limit has been upped to 8 quarts (I picked 3 on Sunday), so I am planning some quality time in the berry patch this afternoon as well.

If you’ve been thinking about doing more sock knitting, check out the Socks From the Toe Up KAL group on Ravelry — super well-organized and epic in scale. (Plus, there are some great monthly prizes.)