I feel like I blinked once and it was April, then I blinked again and it was May, and then May got swallowed up by wool and travel and friends. And now it’s the end of June.

I’m still here; I’m enjoying living in Boston and continuing to work with fiber and with scientific editing. The Arnold Arboretum is one of my very favorite things about where I live. Lots of green space (though it turned white for a few months), some wildlife…and it’s clearly favored by a few other fibery people, too.

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I’ll post about fiber things and travel (including my spindle-spinner’s tan line) soon, but first, a recipe. I promised Anju that I’d write this up, and it was a wonderfully easy and decently nutritious thing that I can imagine other people also appreciating. So!

We were discussing dinner options, and Anju sent me a link to this recipe for butter chickpeas. It sounded interesting, but my dislike of tomatoes means I don’t keep tomato products around. (I also don’t keep cream in the house.)

My variation:

3 tablespoons garam masala
1 t black pepper (I’m pretty sure my garam masala doesn’t include black pepper)
sriracha to taste
2 cans (the ~15-ounce kind) chickpeas, drained
2 T tamarind-date chutney
1/3 c plain yogurt (I like Seven Stars reduced fat because it’s just milk and bacteria)
1/2 lb frozen chopped spinach
1/4 c white wine

Okay, that’s more than 5 ingredients, and it does require care in timing for adding the yogurt (too soon, and it’ll curdle; I turned off the heat and waited a minute or so), but I expect it to recur at least once this summer. Effectively doubled, at least for the chickpeas, it made a good meal for me four times over, even without rice. (I can be a very lazy cook.) It came out a little bit more sour than I’d’ve preferred, but I think subbing some other form of hot pepper for the sriracha and maybe adding some tahini would make it more balanced in flavor.

Last year was quite something. I’ve started several draft posts since the last time I blogged here. They’ve all started with something like “it’s been such a long time since I posted!”. But every time, I’ve gotten sucked into Doing Stuff again before I came anywhere near catching up on post-worthy events, which then made catching up here seem even more daunting.

I’ll cover the most important things, then, and I’ll mention the other interesting things as they come up. The biggest change since June is that I’ve moved to Boston. I’m still doing a combination of freelance editing, job-hunting, and Etsy-shop-running, but in my own space, and back in a city.

The other big not-work event since my last post was a spinning workshop with Abby Franquemont. I spent a few days at the end of June on apartment-hunting in Boston, before carpooling up to Newburyport for Abby’s Drafting Methods class. It confirmed that I need to spin more cotton, not that I’ve actually spun much more cotton since then. (In my defense, most of my leisure spinning lately has been walk-around-town spinning, and I’m not confident enough with cotton for that yet.)

I’ve also been knitting, still, primarily on my fall-colors shawls:

I’m nearly halfway through the edging on Desdemona.
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And I’m probably about two-thirds of the way through the edging on About Damn Time, but I haven’t totally decided yet.
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Of course, I’d finish both of those shawls sooner if I hadn’t picked up Spring Mix again:
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And started yet another pair of socks:
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At least these socks have a decent chance of being finished this year, since they’re not only handspun but stockinette (nice yarn and easy to pick up after being distracted for a while).

In 2013… I’m hoping to show up here a little more often, to actually finish some of these fiber projects, and to get back to doing science. I think all of that is doable.

Nearly two months since my last post? They zipped by awfully quickly…

Well…

I finished Leaflet:

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…Just in time to wear it to NHSW. Which was wonderfully full of fiber people.

Spring has continued–it feels more like summer now–and there are lots of things growing in the garden and at the CSA farm.

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(a balloonflower in the front garden)

There has been some family and personal excitement, but things are mostly better now. Going forward, anyway. I’m continuing to look for a Real Job, but I have made some progress toward feeling more productive. I went to MAS&W (also a fantastic place to see fiber people), where Jennifer of Holiday Yarns let me use some of her booth space for my batts. That went quite well, and I have since set up an Etsy shop. Sooo… With the shop (which may soon contain things other than batts and yarn) and some freelance editing work, I at least have something to do that feels less like shouting into a void than the endless round of job applications.

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(one of my favorites of the batt sets. even though it’s merino.)

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amalanchier

forget-me-nots

spring beauties

trout lily

red leaves on green moss

I’m just a little excited about the lovely weather today and all the blooming and growing things outside.

Which makes it a little weird that I’m also excited about knitting a bulkyish wool sweater, but so I am.

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That’s the cast-on and first two rows of Leaflet. I’m being careful to avoid aggravating my hand, but it seems to be ok with short bursts of not-too-intense activity.

My hand and wrist are feeling much better, but I’ve been using my still-limited dexterity and strength on typing. (Mostly cover letters and venting about the job-hunt process.)

But TheGeorg on Ravelry had a spinning challenge for last week, and I was getting reeeeeally agitated without my usual calming activities (knitting, spinning, weaving, even most iPod games), so I decided to see how much I could spin without aggravating my hand.

I started with the skein on the right, on the Friday evening two weeks ago:

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And it zoooooomed. That, and all the other white yarn in this post, is from some mixed fleece I acquired in 2009 and sent off for washing and carding. It was just about perfect for real, unsupported long-draw. I had to make myself stop pulling out all the VM, and I definitely didn’t let myself care about making it even, but I kept going for about a week. With a break to ply up that Pond Scum once I worked out a setup for my ballwinder so I could use it comfortably, and not all-spinning-all-the-time, because that stuff did zoom along.  It only took a little over an hour per full bobbin of singles.

I ended up with this:

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It’s certainly more thick-and-thin than my usual yarn (and also a lot bulkier over all, but so fluffy!), but it’s remarkably consistent from skein to skein. I got between 115 and 135yds of 2ply from each of the eight bobbins I filled with singles.

But as much as I enjoyed spinning all that bright white yarn (I really did, which surprised me), I didn’t want a bright white object. One of the other Rav groups I’m in is running an ongoing SAL/KAL for sweaters, and someone linked to Leaflet, and I decided that this pile of yarn would be nice as a Leaflet with half-sleeves instead of cap sleeves. So…what color to dye it all? I went with the easiest option: onion skins. Which also has the side benefit of matching the cat, so his fur shouldn’t show up too much.

I ended up with this:

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Right now, I am waiting impatiently for it to finish drying (inside, now), and hoping that my hand will be recovered enough to swatch when the yarn is ready.

Alas, now it’s from a sprained hand & wrist. (Typing one-handed is no fun.)

The job hunt continues, though slowed by my inability to type normally. More pleasantly, spring is here, and there are now flowers outside.

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(Actually, the croci are all done for the season.)

More later, when I can type again.

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This handspun sweater thing is kind of addictive. It’s a top-down raglan this time, and I’m about an inch past splitting off the sleeves.

(Yes, I’m still typing cover letters and occasional e-mails.)

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