unintended absence…

Hi, you guys! Apologies for what has been an entirely unintended absence from the blog! I made it to DC on schedule, but accidentally brought a pretty nasty cold/flu with me. My first week was a bit of a blur, and now that it’s been almost three (?!), I’m finally settling into a rhythm. Here’s a little bit of what that looks like:

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National Archives at night. Last night, in fact. Snapped this on my way to meet a dear friend for dinner.

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My office — and my new shiny piece of technology. (I bought an iPad mini, and I love it. It has already been more useful than I could have imagined for my work. I’m reading and annotating articles and drafts, and using it as a second screen while reviewing documents and making notes. Super awesome.) Also, that’s a bowl of tabbouleh. I’m still getting used to packing my lunch every morning. At home, most days I split my work between home and campus or a coffee shop, and head back to the house to walk Boh and make lunch.

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Birds! I don’t intend to share lots of work stuff here, but I figured that knitters might appreciate these gorgeous, vibrant birds. (One of the people I write about in my dissertation was a naturalist who collected a lot of specimens for the Smithsonian.)

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Yarn! Foxflat was in town, and we met up to do some yarn shopping and tea drinking. Hooray for internet friends who become real-life friends!

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Consider this proof of our lovely afternoon (and my inability to keep my eyes open in photos). I have plans to knit a spring cowl ouf of that super happy Quince and Co. yarn. Also, I’m totally psyched about that sweater Katie is wearing — she posted about it here, and it is even more fantastic in person.

Alright, that’s what I’ve got for now. I’m embarrassingly far behind on replying to comments, but it’s on my to-do list. (Which, by the way, I’m working to digitize. I highly recommend Workflowy, and if you want to check it out, use this link, and we’ll both get a little extra space. No pressure, of course.)

Happy Groundhog Day — and happy weekend! More soon.

exam (knitting) prep.

So this morning I made an important decision: I settled on my exam knitting project. I know I said I was going to get going on the second sock, but I’m decreasing the first toe right now, and I just don’t think I’m going to feel like kitchenering and knitting the ribbing on sock #2 before Tuesday. Which means I need something pretty and soothing to knit on, just a little bit, this week.

Lately I have become obsessed with Veera’s Stripe Study Shawl, especially the versions that are made in neutrals. I want this one — but I want to knit it out of my stash. This morning I went stash-diving, coffee in hand. I came up with some gorgeous color combinations, but I’m just in love with the idea of natural/grey. Ideally, the grey would be less severe, but this Trekking Pro Natura in a charcoal-ish tone is what I’ve got in the right weight and yardage, so I’m going to give it a go. This natural yarn is local, organic wool, and I’ve got almost 800 yards, which means I’ll be able to use it again in another stripey shawl. Yay!

Unrelated, but I snapped some pictures of Boh making his crazy face.

It might look like he’s not having a good time, but trust me: this is the face he makes when he is very happy about being scratched. He almost looks like he has bug-eyes! Silly dog.

Last night some of my cohort got together for a delicious dinner at E.’s place: homemade pizza and two colors of Jello! I made salad with farm spinach I picked in the greenhouse last weekend, and it reminded me of how excited I am for spring and summer vegetables. Today I’m going to try to crank through the big ideas of a handful of books so that I can keep my plan of a book-free Monday. Knitting, dog-walking, yoga, good food: all of these are on the list.

indirect enabling.

That’s right, folks. I’ve got a story that starts with Mick and ends with new earrings. See, weeks ago, Mick invited me to try Pinterest. (Which is a super cool way to make virtual pinboards and share them with the cloud. Turns out I went to school with the dudes behind this new way to organize awesomeness.) Anyway, when I was sick earlier this week, I decided to play around on the site. And I found so many pretty things, one of which really stuck with me: this pair of earrings, made from clock hands. And so I decided to get myself an early birthday present. I mean, I’m a historian. How can I not have earrings made out of clock hands?

Exactly.

Aren’t they incredible? I love that a pair is one hour hand and one minute hand. They’re made of brass, so they’ll tarnish with wear. Which I’m extremely excited about. I’m justifying these as an early birthday present to myself. (Well, and as part of my professional duty. Or something.)

I wasn’t joking when I said I might not take my idlewood off. Today, after a much needed early morning yoga class, I put on a “real” outfit and walked in the snowy sunshine down to the coffee shop to read. The only question I have right now is what color I should knit this in next. And I’d cast on immediately, if it weren’t for all this reading. Well, and that new year’s resolution I made to actually finish the sweaters I’ve got on the needles. More on that soon.

Also, just so you don’t think I take pictures of myself all day:

Here is yesterday’s work, a cup of tea, and a new (new?) shale cowl for my mom. She picked out this 100% silk yarn from Blue Moon Fiber Arts as her Christmas gift (I think I have Mick to thank for talking about this yarn several months ago on her blog), and asked for an eternity scarf. But then, as we looked at pattern pictures, it became clear that when she said “eternity scarf” she meant “lacy cowl.” I’m glad I waited to consult with her about the pattern! My parents are driving down to take me out to dinner on Friday, and I’d love to have this ready for her to wear. We’ll see…

 

super boh?

This is what my simple things shawl looked like on Tuesday morning.

And here it is today. I struggled with trying to get it to lay flat enough to take a good, representative photograph. And then I decided, why fight it? In this stage of the knitting, my simple things shawl might work better as a cape for Boh.

That’s more like it.

He’s a good sport — and good company. We spent most of the afternoon curled up on the couch reading and knitting. (Well, Boh mostly slept.) I’m hoping to finish this over the weekend!

A box o’ yarn arrived yesterday, along with a little bit of fiber. There was a great sale (50% off, though for a sad reason — after three years, they are going out of business) over at Sonny and Shear, and I decided to celebrate getting through the colloquium with some truly gorgeous yarn. This is Shalimar Zoe sock yarn in Saffron, Pagewood Farm Denali in Navajo, Hazel Knits Sock in Greenlake and Sailor’s Delight, and at the bottom, a skein of Madelinetosh Worsted in Malachite. (I also acquired a few bumps of Pigeonroof Studios merino.) I think I’ll be knitting socks and shawlettes for spring!

goodies.

At least prepping for reading groups involves both reading AND baking. These are Deb’s our favorite chocolate chip cookies, and they are super tasty, despite the fact that I may have slightly overcooked some of them because I was too busy reading…

Also, check out what arrived today! I won the blogiversary giveaway over at Doodles in String — as commenter #1. Chris blogs about all sorts of inspiring knitting and spinning, so you should head over there if you’ve never been. These goodies are awesome: gorgeous yarn, beautiful fiber, and a book filled with patterns for kids. (And while I do not have children, all of the babies I’ve been knitting for lately are growing!) Thank you, Chris!

And since I don’t have any new knitting to share, here’s another knit-in-action. Remember this?

I realize it is hidden under several layers, but today I’m wearing my Rusted Root. I haven’t worn this in ages, and I have no idea why.

Alright, off to a new reading group. Happy almost weekend!

precision.

cupcakescale

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

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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.

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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.)

handspun and cast iron.

I should be writing. In fact, I should be writing A LOT, but instead, I’m feeling the need to dash off a quick post. I’ve written a few paragraphs for the paper this morning, so I can justify this. Right? Right. Also, it could be argued that talking about late nineteenth/early twentieth century cast iron is incredibly relevant to my work. Maybe I’ll footnote my recent ebay acquisition (just kidding):

castiron

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Isn’t she beautiful? I have been lusting after a workhorse skillet like this one, and in addition to how delicious my eggs have been this week, I really love that this new-to-me kitchen staple has a great deal of history — made in the period I study, for starters. (But enough about that. I have to save it for this paper, remember?)

Also, because end-of-the-semester paper writing is rather traumatic, I decided I needed something squishy and soft to pet nearby. I used my new niddy-noddy to skein up my Spunky Club organic merino in Twilight, and then I washed it to set the twist and hung it to dry.

twilight niddynoddy

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I am in love. 250 yards of 2-ply that my eyeballs think is a pretty even light worsted, with some subtle dk weight interludes, spun on my Spinsanity spindle and plied on my heavier Louet spindle. Still drooling over wheels, folks…

Back to it!