flour to scale.

So, sometime-blogger, always-friend K. hopped a plane to a place where the words are very long. And she left me a big box of treats from her pantry, including this enormous bag of flour.

I’ll be honest. I’ve been struggling to reclaim my cooking mojo. Maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the traveling, maybe it’s that I don’t really have anyone to cook for right now; I don’t know. But I haven’t been playing in the kitchen anywhere near as much as I’d like to want to, if that makes sense.

Enter that big bag of flour. I just had to bake something. So out came the measuring cups and spoons, and out came the loaf pan and an enormous farm zucchini.

And after an hour in the oven, voila: zucchini bread. This is the basic recipe in Mark Bittman’s big yellow book — nothing fancy, but it sure is delicious. (And this loaf had a touch of freshly grated nutmeg, courtesy of K.’s bag o’ treats.)

That was Friday.

I’m glad I enjoyed most of the zucchini bread Friday and Saturday, because today, I left the last sixth of it on the counter. Which, by the way, is where I leave most of my food. But this weekend, Boh and I have a house guest in the form of Tango, my neighbor’s loveable 3-year old ball of energy. Tango has taught Boh a thing or two about mischief…including, apparently, how to get the rest of a loaf of zucchini bread off the counter. Here’s hoping Boh was simply a witness, rather than a full-on accomplice.  All I know is that trouble has never looked so cute.

Oh, and here’s a bit of knitting! Like the zucchini bread, it’s nothing fancy, but I sure do like it. This is Ishbel, take 2, in what I’m pretty sure is still Yarn Pirate yarn from when I belonged to the Booty Club in a deep variegated purple. So lovely. Also, a little biased, because when I ripped out last time I wound it right back into a ball. Hoping I’ll be happy with it once I re-block. (Note to self: don’t be lazy about rewashing yarn…)

More soon.

a grown-up rooster?

So, yesterday this rooster voluntarily bought a blazer. My first thought, in the dressing room: Wait — does this make me a grown-up? (As soon as I walked out of the Gap, I called my mother. I knew she’d be proud. I mean, I did own a blazer in high school, but it was more of a costume. I wore it for Mock Trial. This time, I actually went looking for the blazer.) Feel free to skim down to the actual knitting at any time, because I’m going to keep talking about this. Every season, but in the summer, especially, I try to purge things I don’t wear/don’t need from my closet/life. And this year I had a realization. I am harboring two entirely different wardrobes: one for the girl who lives in ripped jeans and beat-up carhartts, fleece, long underwear, plaid shirts and puffy vests while she camps, cooks, and wanders, and one for the girl who wears dark jeans, big jewelry, and aims to at least feel like a confident/hip grad student as she attends classes and meetings, reads, and teaches section. The line between these two roosters is blurrier than I’m making it sound here, and I hope it stays that way. I don’t want to lose that first girl — and I’m not just talking about attire — to the second. And I don’t think I will, though I want to be mindful of the ways in which my life has changed over the last few years. I had to chuckle, though, when I realized that I could no longer just get rid of things I haven’t worn in the last year — because the next time I’m in the desert, the next time I’m pitching a tent, the next time Boh and I are adventuring — I’m going to both want and need that stuff! Besides, there’s something about a blazer that dresses up even the rattiest, most comfortable shirt.

Finally — some knitting! I’m making progress on my textured shawl. I love the way the textured stitch looks in this handspun, but I’m anxious about the size and drape of the overall shawl. I’m going to keep knitting, though, and then cross my fingers and block the hell out of it. (Good plan, right?)

It is zucchini-time at the farm, which means it is zucchini bread-time in my kitchen. Here’s the first loaf of the summer. Yum.

Boh wants you to know that he is being VERY good this morning.

A knitterly friend has proposed a trade: I’ll spin this fiber, and she’ll do something painterly (her work is stunning) or sewing-related for me! I am really excited to dive into this spinning project. These bags of natural fiber are both labeled alpaca, though I’m thinking that the brown stuff is a blend…or at least baby alpaca. It is so much softer! I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Happy Friday!

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!

dilly beans and diamonds.

dillybeans

I’ve been meaning to try my hand at dilly beans every day this week, so this morning, I got right to it. I even filled up the canning pot and put it on the stove alongside the water intended for my french press. The lids have been going “ping” — a good sign — so we’ll see how these turn out once they’ve had a few weeks to pickle themselves. (I learned that head-space can be a little tricky when you’re packing something into a pint jar and then pouring boiling liquid over it…)

lsd bob1

And for the “diamonds” portion of the post, I present bobbin numero uno of the CMF SW Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds merino. I’d abbreviate the song title, but I’m not sure I want to generate that kind of blog traffic…

I absolutely adore how this is spinning up, and I’m interested to see what the yarn will look like when it has been plyed and finished. I’ve read that this particular roving will plump up quite nicely, and I’m aiming for a squishier, slightly thicker sock yarn than last time.

Other goings-on around here:

zucchini bread

The first zucchini bread of the season!

pure and simple ribbing

The ribbing at the bottom of the pure and simple test-knit I’m working on!

That’s all for now! Boh and I have plans to take a long walk and stick our paws/feet in the creek, and I’m looking forward to a quiet, productive August (holy cow!) weekend.