April 2009

On Tuesday evening, I finished the scarf I started in December:


It was the last week or ten days of knitting while reading that did it, I think, so it’s only a week after its intended recipient defended.

And then I started a new project in some very similar yarn:


This is also long-draw-practice handspun from Enchanted Knoll batts, in Chai instead of Harvest. It’s going to have a bud lace pattern when I get back to working on it, but I needed a totally mindless project yesterday, and I don’t mind having a stockinette top-center. (It’s a design element!  Good or not, it’s planned.) I’m still pondering edgings, but I have some time.

What to do on a ridiculously hot Sunday: spin, knit, read, bake before it gets too terribly hot, and take better pictures of the new shawl:



This is Mim‘s Adamas pattern. I knit 12 repeats of the second chart rather than 14, because I was worried about running out of yarn, and then added two extra repeats of the last two lines of chart 3. I have some yarn left, but I’m happy with the narrow stripe of dark blue/green at the edging. I do need to redo the second half of the bindoff, and I’d like to eventually reblock the shawl on a surface that’s actually big enough for it, but I may try to keep the more rounded, less triangular-with-deep-scallops shape that it has now.

If I try a project like this again–making a color-graded yarn by blending two fibers–I want to make maybe five mixed-color batts instead of three; the shift from the light green to the first blended bit is more abrupt than I’d hoped.



I think I’m going to have something cold to drink and maybe another rhubarb muffin now.

Adamas is off the blocking board!


I’ll need to reblock it, after redoing the second half of the bindoff, but I think it’s going to go to Maryland more or less as-is.

The Aubrey/Maturin novels are still taking over my leisure time (I’m on book 12 now!), but I took a break last weekend to hang out with my parents in New York, where I talked them into going to the Cloisters. Fort Tryon Park was absolutely beautiful, so we spent a while there on the way to the museum.


More later–I need to fit some lunch into my midday break.




Yup, still spring out there.


Adamas is bound off–there should be pictures soon.   (New shawl for MDSW!  Which is in two weeks!  Crazy!)

So I’ve been doing more knitting than spinning, as I’m still pretty thoroughly absorbed in the Aubrey/Maturin books.



I’m nearly done with Adamas–at this point, I’m adding a couple of rows and dithering about adding a knit-on garter stitch edging instead of binding off, so I can get at least a little stripe of the darkest (unblended) blue.


And I’ve knit a few more inches onto this scarf that I’d planned on finishing a couple of months ago. Oh, well. At this point, it won’t be useful until next fall, so I refuse to let this add stress to my plenty-stressful-already life.  Even if I wind up having to mail it instead of hand-delivering it.



I spent a couple of hours last Sunday at Philadelphia’s cherry blossom festival and then wandered around my neighborhood a bit. (Yes, I took pictures of cherry blossoms, but I figured I’d post something else here.) It was a beautiful day, and lots of people were taking advantage of the weather.  I’ve preferred the somewhat cooler weather we’ve had this week, but it’s great to see all the budding, blooming, and leafing-out plants.
Four years ago yesterday, I brought home a tiny kitten:


He’s grown a lot since then…as has this blog, which I started at about the same time. As far as Mel and blog-friends, at least, these’ve been a pretty great four years.


Not much fibery stuff going on–my downtime has gotten swallowed up by the first couple of books in Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series.  Knitting while reading works okay, but it’s slower.  Good books are such a time suck.  Worthwhile, but still a time suck.  Rather like the recent increase in (unexciting but tasty) cooking.  It’s great to have Real Food for lunch, aside from its being cheaper than buying food from the café downstairs or lunch trucks, but it limits the spinning time.

It’s a grey and rainy spring day in Philly–too warm for a layer over my hoodie!–so here are some cheery photos from my parents’ yard last Saturday:





I’m not sure what that first one is, but the second photo is rhubarb and the third is hobblebush.

Last week, I decided to skim through my airfare-deal e-mail before deleting it, and it included a really good weekend fare for visiting my parents. I quickly confirmed that they wouldn’t object to my imposing on them and then bought my tickets. I am very, very glad that I did. I love living in a (walkable!) city, and I like a lot of things about Philly, but I occasionally need to be in Not A City, preferably someplace with mountains.



I spent most of the flight up on Saturday morning staring out the window. (At least, once we were far enough north of the rain around Philly that there were occasional glimpses of land through the clouds. Before that, I was just knitting.)

I would’ve been fine with simply visiting my parents on an ordinary mud-season weekend, but it was Vermont Maple Weekend, with open houses at lots of sugarhouses all over the state, so we decided to stop at a few of them as a framework for driving around the mountains and looking at scenery.


Horses!  Clearly ones that’d been living in the North all winter, too.  I’m not sure whether they were working horses, since I didn’t notice any tasks which were obviously theirs, but I don’t often see shaggy horses around here.  (Or cows or camels, for that matter.   I guess there must be at least two farms in Vermont with camels…)  The first sugarhouse where we stopped wasn’t boiling then, but they showed us their setup and described how they use a reverse osmosis filter thingy to cut the boiling volume in half (and then use some of the purified water to clean out the filters at the end of the day).  I was surprised to hear of reverse osmosis being used for something other than water purification, but it seems like a really sensible idea.

Next, we went to the Green Mountain Audubon, which looked really different from the last time I was there.  The sugarhouse is down the hill from much of the hiking area, but they’re still using metal buckets instead of plastic tubing for their sap collection.  (It sounds like they want to change that, if for no other reason than that some of the trees are hard to get to, but I don’t know when that might happen.)  They were boiling sap while we were there, which was fun to watch.



Very high-tech closure on their evaporator.



Of course, part of the reason they needed force to keep the door closed is that they have a blower under the fire, to keep the flames high.

They had fresh, warm samples of medium-amber syrup in the boiling area, which made me question my long-held preference for grade B syrup, but there was also a taste-test up the hill a bit, by the how-syrup-is-made shed and the barn where they were selling sugar on shaved ice (there not being any snow this year).  The medium amber is tasty, but grade B is better.  No question.

We stopped at two other sugarhouses on the way home, both of which offered samples of their syrup, and I was impressed at how much of a difference there was from one place to another, even with the standardization of grades.


The rest of the weekend will have to wait–it’s time for cleaning and then cookie-baking.