April 2008


I’m still really excited about my new camera. And I’m starting to get really, really excited about Maryland Sheep & Wool. I’ll be taking all sorts of rain gear, and extra shoes of various sorts…

Say hi if you see me. I’ll be wearing one of the lace headbands I knit this spring (one Saturday, one Sunday).

• The food blog to which I contribute, Farm to Philly, is organizing a One Local Summer project for this year. It’s primarily aimed at people in the Mid-Atlantic, but it sounds like it’s open to everyone else, too.

• Someone’s set up a Google map of public fruit in Philadelphia. Brilliant.

• I haven’t been doing a lot of spinning lately–my weekend went mostly to housecleaning and rearranging my kitchen so I could fit three people at my dining table–but I did spin this on Sunday:


…out of one of these, which I made on Brook‘s carder a couple of weeks ago.


• I’ve also been knitting a bit, when I can fit it in around the cooking. I’ve picked up the Peacock Feather Shawl again:


It’s another row or two along–I’ve finished chart 4–but it doesn’t look appreciably different from this. I love it, but I’m out of practice with laceweight yarn, and the knitting is slow.

• I got a shiny, new camera! It’s not the DSLR I mentioned a few weeks ago, because I am indecisive. (Anyone have recommendations re. the Canon EOS 20D or the Nikon D60 versus the Canon XTi?) However, my five-year-old digital camera has been turning itself off for no reason, including right after I turn it on and before it lets me take even one picture, so I decided to forestall cameralessness. On numerous recommendations, including Claudia’s, I picked up a PowerShot A720IS. I love it! I have a lot more figuring out to do, since it only arrived yesterday afternoon, but it has lots and lots of control options, and it’s the same size as my old camera!


Mel was sad that I stopped waving the cat dancer around and started flashing lights in his eyes. (I was wondering if the face-recognition thing would work with cats. I think it does.


When I turned 5, one of my friends gave me a hibiscus plant as a birthday present. I still have the plant, more than 20 years later, and it’s one of my favorites. It doesn’t flower all that often, but this cutting from it flowered even before I managed to get it into soil.

wisteria at sunset


a whole treeful of wisteria

I’ve loved wisteria since I was small–I read The Ordinary Princess numerous times, and I always wanted wisteria vines I could climb down. And, y’know, to live in a tower.

No picture-worthy knitting at this point. I’ve been swamped with work, and I’ve been trying to rest my arms when I’m at home.



Ahhh, fresh yarn.  This is 4oz of corriedale/silk from Handspun by Stefania.  It’s not as evenly spun as I’d really like, since it became long-draw practice halfway through, but I’m sure it’ll knit up fine.  And it’s ~450 yards, so I’ll be able to do something decent with it.



These are both from last Sunday, in the neighborhood around the art museum. (Shot on my “real” camera, since I’m still debating about DSLRs. Anyone have opinions on the Nikon D60 v. Canon’s Xti or 20D?)

This week’s fiber time has nearly all gone into plying and carding, so, with any luck, I’ll have new yarn to post by Sunday night–even with a quick trip to NYC for Passover.


My first stop today was at the art museum–four of us from my lab decided that we hadn’t been to the Philadelphia Museum of Art recently enough, so we took advantage of the pay-what-you-want rates for Sunday. This quilt, from ~1890 if I recall correctly, was made entirely from ribbon. (Note to self: learn to quilt, and then learn to weave ribbons.)




The pansies and baby maple leaves are from my roundabout walk home.

I’ve continued to work on Salt Peanuts.


I’m a few inches away from the back-neck shaping, and then I’ll be done with the back. However, I will still have the fronts and sleeves and finishing to do. I’d been hoping I could wear this sweater to MDSW, but I’m having serious doubts about the feasibility of that plan.

As I see it, I have three options re. knitwear for Maryland:

1. Hurry up and finish this sweater

2. Pick a medium-weight yarn and knit a new shawl (yes, this is probably even less feasible, but it is appealing)

3. Decide to stick with my flower basket and diamond fantasy shawls and/or my two lace headbands.

Time will tell, I suppose.  At least I’ll have six hours on trains next weekend during which I can work on the sweater.  Portable though my Lendrum is, I’m not about to spin on a train.  (I’d love to see someone else doing so, though.  That’d even get me to talk to strangers on public transit, when I’m usually focussed on my knitting or book or crossword puzzle.)


“What are you doing?  Why won’t you let me play with that grey dangly thing*?  Why did you wake me up?”

It’s been a while since Mel’s shown up here, so I figured it was time for another feline ECF.


I finished those mitts on Monday night, and I’ve been wearing them in lab since then. So wonderful! Microscopes are such heat-sinks…

DSCN7516 DSCN7517

Both colors are from Boogie‘s almost-solid fiber sampler–the cuffs are moonflower, and the hands are juniper. I knit them on my Brittany 5″ size-5 dpns, until I lost one of them and subbed a bamboo size-6 for half of the second mitt; 44 stitches; afterthought thumb.

I’ve also been doing some dyeing, carding, and spinning.  I decided a while ago that the brown-and-white blend of cormo that I bought at MDSW last year wasn’t really any fun to spin despite being really soft, so I figured it’d be a perfect candidate for blending.


This is a skein of onion-dyed wool, with two more (smallish) batts behind it–I have a lot more to spin, but my attention has been elsewhere.  I was trying to get a fluffy singles yarn, but there were too many stretches of really fine yarn for me to leave it unplied.  I think it’ll work out well for something that won’t see much wear, but its specific use will depend on what I do with the rest of the wool.


This is a pile of freshly-dyed wool: white wool blend, grey wool blend, and the cormo (same wool inputs as above), which I threw in a pot with Jacquard’s “russet” dye.  I think it might be worth doubling the amount of dye next time, but I really like the color of the dye on the grey.  (Yes, I specifically wanted patchy dyeing.)

The real problem now is that I want to spin both of these, and the corriedale/silk that’s on my wheel, and also knit on Salt Peanuts and the green freeform blanket and my Peacock Feather Shawl.  Maybe this’ll help my buy less at Maryland…which would be a good thing, considering how much the car rental is going to cost.

granola, 6 Apr 2008

I make granola every few weeks (including today). I find that I focus better when I eat breakfast, and I prefer my homemade granola to commercially available granola or cereal because it’s less sweet and more full of nuts. Granola + yogurt + some sort of fruit = awesome breakfast. I use the basic recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book: 10c dry ingredients, 1/2 c honey (I prefer dark honey), 1/2 c oil, 1 c water; bake at ~325ºF until it starts to look toasted.  This batch is about half oats, with wheat germ, wheat bran, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, rye flakes, and flax seeds.

Thanks in part to Wednesday night’s concert, I finished the aurora headband last night/this morning. (I finished the knitting last night but didn’t seam it until morning.)

new headband

aurora is sparkly

I love the sparkle. And the gradual stripes. And the softness. And the fact that, this being birthday-present yarn, I get to think of my friend E. every time I see or touch it. And H. said that she couldn’t tell that it was seamed (at least while I’m wearing the headband), so I’m even happier with it.

Basics: about half a ball of Noro Aurora, knit on 4mm bamboo dpns, 24 stitches, mostly feather-and-fan with a bit of the Dream Swatch pattern at the beginning. Knit until it stretched to fit around my head.


In my paranoia about running out of concert knitting, I started a new (pair of) sock(s) on Wednesday. I got as far as splitting the yarn and two rounds of post-cast-on knitting before the show, and then I didn’t run out of headband, but I went back to sock-knitting at fiber night last night.

stripy sock

This is Trekking XXL in a brown stripe colorway that I picked up a while ago from the sale bin at Loop. I’m finally feeling like I’m remembering how to do the magic toe-up cast-on; maybe I’ll test myself on the second sock. The true milestone on this sock: I’m knitting it magic loop, thanks to some clarifications from Rebecca. Yay, new techniques! I may regret not having a longer needle when I get to the heel, though…


Now, a little more about the concert. I have concluded that World Café Live is my favorite venue, because it not only has reserved seats, good food and beer with only slightly exorbitant pricing, the occasional concert at which I don’t need earplugs, and is a comfortable temperature, it is also extremely conveniently located. (I like not having to take buses, especially late at night.) Paul and Storm were, as I said, the best opening band I’ve ever seen. Especially because I have to wear earplugs in order to not be in pain during nearly every concert I ever attend, I really appreciate enunciation. And witty lyrics. They had a lovely range of songs that were a very good complement to Jonathan Coulton’s, and they included some fake commercial jingles and a number of musical imitations. Nearly all of those were hilarious, even the ones that were imitations of musicians with whom I am not familiar. I know they also played a few songs that were more….suited to repeat listening and listening-at-work, but it’s been long enough that I’ve forgotten what those were. I should look into that. (They were definitely good enough, both as musicians/writers and as performers) that I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them as a not-opening band, and I will happily see them again, but I’m hesitant to buy an album that’d be half full of things I wouldn’t want to play at work.) Jonathan Coulton’s set was also full of clever lyrics and highly enjoyable audience participation. I think I’m running out of even vaguely useful things to say, but, basically, love songs that include mad scientists or moons/dwarf planets as characters make me happy.

rosebush and brick wall

rose hip

Rose hips, from a couple of weeks ago. There are lots of gorgeous flowers out now, but I also like the patterns of wear on these.

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