December 2007

First thing: I really did finish the Dashing mitts, and my dad likes them:


I also spun up a sample skein from some local wool I received to review:


The official review is at Farm to Philly. Briefly, I’ve been impressed by how soft it is, and especially how soft the VM is, but it’s a little too neppy for my preferred spinning. That said, it’s a loose enough roving that I used it yesterday to teach Cyn how to spindle-spin. (That makes two people I’ve taught to spin since Rhinebeck. Heh. It certainly is fun…both spinning and enabling spinning.)

There’s more to say, but I think I’ll wait until I can take pictures in the daylight of the new year. Happy 2008, everyone! Here’s hoping it’s better than 2007.


I finished the one knitted gift I’m giving tomorrow, in time to go off to Christmas Eve dinner at my aunt and uncle’s and happily knit away on a wristwarmer for myself.  (Yes, there’s only half a pair here; the pics of both of them together didn’t come out at all.  And it’s not that stripy looking without the flash.)

These are Dashing, for my dad’s birthday (New Year’s Eve, but I’ve give him his birthday present on Christmas because we’ll be hundreds of miles apart by his birthday).  I knit the larger size, on 4.25mm needles, with Elann’s Peruvian Highland Wool worsted-weight yarn.  I only knit 18 rounds between the last cable and the thumb, though, and 10 rounds after the thumb, because my row gauge was off.  (And I didn’t want them to be opera-glove length.)

Happy Midwinter, everyone, whether you’re celebrating a particular holiday this week or not.

[For those of you who may be confused right now: we do what I like to consider a belated Solstice thing because we like lights in midwinter and because all of my dad’s siblings married Christians, so they do the trees and gifts thing.  I also have real trouble objecting to anything that involves mulled cider and cookies and yule log cakes.]

Due to some addressing mixups, I only got my hands on one of my birthday presents this afternoon, one from my college roommate. (My birthday was November 3rd. The package apparently arrived on Halloween but was stuck in the mailroom.)



A skein of Noro Aurora (shiny!)


And a skein of wool from the farm where my friend worked for a couple of years after graduation (better than shiny).

Any suggestions for the Aurora? I’m going to keep both of these around for a little while as pets, and they’re both going to be things for myself, but I haven’t decided exactly what to do with them.


I’ve discovered how to get Mel to curl up in my lap: put the Lion Brand Homespun blanket I knit as my second rectangular project in my lap first. The one problem with this is that it’s awfully hard to make myself make him get up.


I’m off today to visit family, for simple pleasant, holiday socializing. It’s going to be great to be out of the city, and great to have a chance to cook with my dad, but I’m really looking forward to an end to these months of travel. (Note to self: do not apply for any truly travel-intensive jobs.)

Happy Solstice, everyone.  I hope you’re enjoying the lights everywhere.

In addition to spinning some of that BFL over the weekend, I spent Sunday afternoon making cookies and candy. The cookies were…cookies, tasty but not exceptionally pretty, but the candy was really fun to watch.


Super-sugary bubbles! They lasted a really long time.


Broken-open honeycomb candy.


Honeycomb candy that was spread before it started to cool, rather than after.

I got the recipe for honeycomb candy from   We used corn syrup instead of golden syrup; I would probably use maple syrup next time, because I like the flavor, but this stuff has gotten good reviews from my labmates.  (It tastes like cold, toasted marshmallow.)


On the gift front, I decided that the knitting was going to take too much time and cause too much stress, so I’m giving prints of my favorite photos from this year as holiday presents and saving the knitting for birthdays.  I’m just about to the first cable round in the second Dashing.  I should be able to hide for long enough to finish whatever isn’t done by tomorrow night….

roy-bfl-1216, originally uploaded by enting.

I spent nearly all of the weekend in my apartment. Saturday, I was feeling hermitlike and antisocial, so I alternated bouts of housecleaning and spinning. It was great to take a break from deadline knitting to spin, even if I still haven’t finished the knitting I want to have done by Thursday. This is when I wish I had a teeny portable wheel–my Ordinary Princess Amy’s fine for going across town, but not so great for fitting into a sedan with four people and luggage. So I can’t take her with me when I head south to visit family.

This weekend, though, I spun a bit for the first time in way too long, mostly this bobbin of some bluefaced leicester that I dyed at our big summer dye-day. I think it’s going to be wonderfully orange when it’s plied. (Of course, once I decided to shirk the knitting responsibility to spin, I also avoided the stuff that I really ought to spin by the end of the month. Ah, well. That’s what the 29th & 31st are for.)


Another sunset from lab. (This time, there were people in the lab next door, who took a couple of minutes to realize why I wanted to turn off their lights.)


It took me until last night to realize that Dashing, as written, is 3.5 inches longer than Fetching. I’m too far along for it to be worth ripping out, but it’s a good thing that I’m knitting Dashing for someone tall.  (And this is what happens when the pictures don’t show the entire thing and I’m too lazy/distracted to read the entire pattern before I start.)

I’ve been sucked into the gift-knitting vortex. I’m sticking to four five small projects, but it’s starting to feel like a bit much.

Maybe part of the problem is that I decided to dye the yarn for two of them.


I had a couple of dyestocks left over from last summer’s big dye-day, and no yarn in quite the colors I wanted…so I threw the dyestocks and some taupe wool I had lying around into the big dyepot. I’m actually pretty happy with them, despite the fact that they didn’t turn out the way I’d expected.

The reddish one, in fact, has already started to become a pair of Dashings.


The Fetchings are now done except for the end-weaving, and I’m tempted to keep them for myself.  Not only are they both pretty and knit from yarn that’s hand-dyed, hand-carded, and handspun, but I’m not sure they’ll fit the intended recipient.  That’s why I dyed up the greenish yarn.  Oh, well.  If I can knit up a very slightly larger replacement pair, I’ll give those instead.

Or I could finish the half-knit hat, or try to hand-full the improvised bowl I ran through the laundry three times this evening….  It’s the decisions that are causing me problems, it really is.  Well, the decisions and labwork and Ravelry and housework, anyway.

Tuesday's sunset

There’s a lovely view from the lab next door to mine, which is great for sunset pictures.  And pretty sunsets are a very nice way to get a second wind for an evening of labwork.


Yesterday’s big adventure was taking Mel to the vet for a teeth-cleaning, but I also started the second Fetching.  I’m just past the last cable round of the cuff.

This notepad is adorable.

(In other news, I finished that Fetching last night, but I’m not sure I want to do much on its mate until I’ve washed it–it’s just slightly scratchy enough that I’m concerned about its suitability as a gift.)

I am feeling substantially better (as of Saturday), but I’m now busy and tired. I’m tired for at least somewhat good reasons–I was out late-ish last night, at a Sixers* game, and then I stayed up late knitting. That’s only a somewhat good reason because I discovered just before midnight that the nearly six inches of hat I’d knit since Sunday afternoon (mostly either at the game or in transit there and back) was about an inch too small around. I’m now worried I may not have enough yarn for the hat if it’s the right size, and it’s the one present I really need to have ready.

To console myself, though, I knit a bit more on Fetching.


I decided that the onion-dyed yarn was too subtle for the multidirectional scarf pattern, so it’s being repurposed as a midwinter gift. I really like it here–there’s just enough texture to not be boring, but the various browns show up well.

Oh, I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here yet, but I’ve been writing for a local food group blog called Farm to Philly. I just posted about some jamming from Sunday–apple-maple stuff that’s somewhere between apple butter and jam in texure.

*It often surprises people, but I like watching the occasional team-active sport, especially when I can get free tickets. Just don’t try to make me watch baseball or expect me to show a strong preference for any particular team.