eye candy friday



Mostly, things are continuing in the same pattern. Applying for jobs, waiting to hear, doing fiber stuff in the meantime. Yesterday, though, it was a beautiful day (if a little chilly and blustery), and my dad and I went for a walk along the bike path.  My shoes were bothering me, so we stopped for a few minutes at the first overlook on the way north, and I’m glad we did.  The lake and the Adirondacks are always beautiful, and it’s good to get to see them for longer than a few seconds at a time, while out running errands.

I’m still working on Bernhardt, hoping to be able to wear it at Rhinebeck.



I’m still not certain about the sleeve cap shaping, so I’m working on the second sleeve for now.

And I’ve spun some of the yarn from the Spring Mix batch of fibers:


I’ve also been carding more, some for projects and some for just playing around:


Except when there’s construction or serious lawnmowing or something, carding (on the enclosed back porch) is really peaceful, so the just-for-fun batts are especially refreshing.

Nothing much else worth reporting on today…  So I should get back to the job-hunting and the apple-drying and the jamming.  And the knitting.


Well.  I’m still in Burlington, still looking for work, still enjoying some aspects of living in semi-suburbia.  Like this:


I haven’t seen the orioles in a while, but the hummingbirds seem happy.  We’ve got at least three, probably four, near enough that they use our feeder regularly.  And now that we’ve brought out the other birdfeeder for fall, the woodpeckers are more visible, too.

I’ve also continued to work on Bernhardt:



And I’ve been spinning, and carding, and doing some dyeing to have more stuff to card:


That’s most of yesterday’s dyeing, drying in the sun.  Maybe I’ll go out and join it for a little while.

I did a bit of long-postponed finishing the other day, which means the sparkly cowl I knit last spring is officially finished:

sparkly cowl


I hadn’t really intended it to be a double-over kind of cowl, or as floppy as it is without doubling, but it’s certainly functional, and made good concert-knitting. So…if I really want a narrower one, I’ll just knit another. The fiber was a superwash batt from Enchanted Knoll Farm, in Spice Trade.

I’ve also still been knitting on my Bernhardt:

sweater progress

I’ve started one of the sleeves! I could really use another short grey Inox 5, though. The longer Addi Natura gets in the way when it’s the inactive circ.


And there’s really turquoise in the body now! I’m still going back and forth between confidence that I’ve got enough yarn and wondering what to do about spinning more. Clearly, that means I need to be knitting faster. Even if it doesn’t help conserve yarn, I’ll be in better shape to spin more if I leave more time before Rhinebeck (when I want to be wearing the sweater).


Last week, my dad and I went on a walk along the forest-lined bike path near my grandma’s house. There weren’t a lot of flowers right along the path, but there were at least a dozen or so really impressive spiderwebs, several of them funnels. This one was particularly well lit.

This butterfly joined us in the blackberry patch at that orchard:

…and then someone on Rav pointed out that my most recent batch of batts looked a lot like it.

I wasn’t aiming for a particular color with them, just thinking that I had some bits and pieces that would look good together, but it is remarkably similar. I’m pleased with them.

Oh, and it’s not really an eye-candy shot, but I promised a sweater update:

I’m now a few rows further along, but I haven’t hit the any-time-now color shift. Well, okay, it should be in about three more rows, since it’s in the yarn that’s on break right now. I’m knitting two rows with one yarn, then two rows with another, carrying the yarn up the side, but also switching balls of yarn every couple of inches. Current plan is to knit up to the bottom of the armscyes and then get the sleeves to the same point, so any major mods to the sleeve cap shaping will match the armscyes. (And so I can put off deciding exactly how I want to deal with that, and also so I can have the sleeves use some of the yarns I’ve been using for the bottom of the body.)

In other knitting-y news, I’m working on (choosing and pricing) a batch of stuff (some yarn, some fiber) for a destash.  When it’s ready, I’ll mention it here.

I left Vermont on a Saturday evening, arrived in London on Sunday morning, then caught a mid-afternoon train to Paris. Explaining my plans to the Heathrow immigration officer was interesting. “Yes, I’m only going to be here for a few hours, then I go to Paris. No, I’m not staying there very long, either. Yes, there really was logic behind flying to London and then immediately travelling to Venice.”

But I was in London long enough to have a very nice fast-food salad and to use the wifi in St Pancras (international train station) to call my parents. And then I was in Paris for long enough to get to the other train station, and then have a nice dinner down the street, before my train to Milan.


I was in a couchette for that overnight trip. The top bunk had quite a design on the bottom. (The middle bunk on each side of the compartment, which sleeps six, was made from the top half of the seats. I was lucky that there were only five of us in the compartment, because that meant no one complained about my sleeping sitting up, leaning against the window. I had a cold, and that also let me stretch my arm over to the air conditioning vent.) It was…interesting. The other three people who got there earlyish spoke French with the equivalent of a US Southern accent–it was more drawling than I could easily understand. But they all spoke English, so basic communication was not a problem. (This theme continues.)

After an early-morning train change in Milan, I arrived in Venice and then at my hotel around mid-morning on Monday. This was, of course, too early to check into my room, so I changed clothes in the bathroom, left most of my stuff in the storage area, and went out to find food, fix my train tickets for Thursday, and wander around a bit.

Brunch was cappucino, a grilled wrap, and a marmalade croissant (note: croissants in Italy have a more brioche-y texture), just down the street from my hotel.  While I was there, a crowd of schoolkids got gelato from the other window of the cafe.  Then, I walked back to the train station (having taken the vaporetto (water-bus) to the hotel, since my Stuff For Two Weeks was kind of a lot), bought my two supplemental train tickets (for a total of ~€2.50), and hopped on the #1 vaporetto to ride along the Grand Canal (and out to Lido) while waiting for check-in time.  There are a whole lot of photos from that vaporetto ride over on Flickr, but I particularly like this one:


That’s a barge with a bit of a garden on the back, demonstrating how much they use boats for *everything*.  There were also lots of smaller barge-like boats with various cargoes, from construction materials to sodas and snack foods–anything that’d be transported in trucks in other cities.  One of the other fun things about that afternoon was that it was the first time I wore my brand-new prescription sunglasses (any prescription sunglasses, really).  I’d gotten them the day before I left, because I wanted a backup pair of glasses and thought sunglasses would be useful, and they really, really were.  And, because I got amber lenses, all the sparkles in the water looked coppery.


And, since smallish motorboats are the Venetian substitutes for cars, I liked the way this boat reminded me of a vintage car.

By the time the vaporetto got back to the stop (Accademia) near my hotel, it was late enough that I could check in.  So I did.  This is the view directly out my window:


Definitely vacationy.

Having gained access to my room, I took a shower (this being the first opportunity since Saturday afternoon) in what turned out to be a fantastic shower setup.  Then I wandered around Dorsoduro for a little while.


This is a side street sort of near my hotel.  I found dinner at that same cafe, since it was the only place open earlyish on a Monday evening (lots of places are closed on Mondays, and it was at least an hour before “normal” dinner time)–mushroom risotto.

On Tuesday, I set out bright (it was bright the entire time I was in Venice) and early for Murano, to see the Museo Vetrario (glass museum) and a lot of other glass.  The museum was smaller than I’d anticipated, but it was full of beautiful things, and there was good historical information.  They also had much of the information on leaflets that came in English, French, or German, so I could understand most of what they were presenting.  And the first room was archaeological finds–I’d never really thought about how early millefiore-style glass was made, but they had some examples from the first century CE, much earlier than I might’ve guessed.  As I said, the museum contained many, many beautiful objects, in a variety of different styles of glasswork, but there were a few particular types that struck me.  There was one vase-like object in chalcedony glass (beautiful by itself) that also had silver filigree on it.  And the filigree glass…  So beautiful and delicate and intricate-looking!  Alas, they did not allow photography, and they were pretty strict about enforcing that policy.  Though….if they had, I might’ve filled up all three of my camera memory cards before I got home.

Anyway, no photos in the museum, but I took a few others on Murano, including this one of a residential “street”.  This is pretty close to the neighborhood bread shop where I bought a slice of pizza for part of lunch.


I wandered in and out of most of the glass shops on the main streets near the vaporetto stop, looking for a couple of souvenirs for myself and for a gift for my mom.  Beautiful stuff in most of them, ranging from glass insects (rhinoceros beetles!) to millefiore platters to the kind of gradient-y glass that seems to be a Murano specialty.  I caught the last third of a glass-working demonstration in one of the factories, during which I was particularly impressed by the seeming ease with which the glassworker made a pulled-glass horse from a blob of molten glass.  I did find the things I’d wanted to buy, though not all of them were in the forms I’d anticipated, and then I had a spinach-and-ricotta-stuffed focaccia for a lunch supplement before taking the vaporetto back to Dorsoduro.

This next photo is from that vaporetto ride–it’s a nice example of Venetian architecture (the fancy kind along the Grand Canal, anyway) and the painted poles in front of many of the buildings.


Tuesday night, I took myself out for a fancy dinner, which turned out to be excellent.  Soave, white fish (gilthead) and asparagus with pesto, and then pears and light custard and caramel sauce in puff pastry.  The only thing wrong with that meal was the people at the (very close) next table, who were Americans who seemed to like complaining.  (Hey, I’d rather listen to people complain in foreign languages, if I’m going to listen to complaints.  At least that way I’ll miss a lot of the complaininess and enjoy understanding what words I catch.)

On Wednesday, I walked to Piazza San Marco:


And very impressive it is.  Especially from closer up.


The carvings are stunning enough, but all the mosaics!


This closer-up shot is from the terrace.  I wasn’t comfortable taking pictures in the museum, since there were “no photography” signs in every room, but it had lots of beautiful and/or impressive stuff.  (And the same admission price grants access to both the museum and this terrace.)  Oh, and the kinda more impressive bit was the inside of the main cathedral space, which was just stunningly beautiful and ornate.  The floors!  Sure, there are mosaics all over the ceiling, but my favorite bits were the tile/inlay work on the floors.  Several different colors of marble, mostly in geometric patterns (lots of different ones), but also including a set of three eagles in different colors, and griffins, and I think there were peacocks, and and and and…  I wish I could’ve taken pictures of just the floors.

The outside’s pretty impressive, too, though.




I especially like this quilt-like use of different patterns of marble on the side of the building.  (The statues in this photo are on the corner of the Palazzo Ducale, not San Marco.)

Again, I took lots more photos than I felt it appropriate to cram into this blog post, but they’re all on Flickr.  Anyway, after touring the cathedral, I took the elevator up to the top of the campanile (belltower) and took lots more photos of the views.  And then I wandered back toward the hotel, stopping in several shops (leatherwork, Random Interesting Stuff, and paper goods) and then in a science-and-stuff museum that had what turned out to be a retrospective on a glass artist whose name I can’t recall right now.  Fantastically beautiful work, though, with really interesting combinations of color and texture (including swirling color one way and then carving scale-like bits or divot-y shapes swirling in the opposite direction).

Wednesday’s dinner was decidedly less fancy, though still quite pleasant–pizza at a restaurant overlooking the other canal, with gelato from a side-street gelateria for dessert.

Then, on Thursday, I got up extra-early to catch my train(s) to Florence.


Funny how much less touristy the vaporettos were at 8am…  (This last photo shows a couple other vaporettos, and you can see the platform at the next stop, over on the right.)

Europe trip: Part 2 will be Florence.  Soonish.

My dad called on Wednesday afternoon to ask if I wanted to go walking through the woods. I’d had a whole bunch of other plans for the rest of the day, but hiking was an easy sell. We went to Red Rocks Park and walked up a hill and then down to the lake.

Right by the lake, we found some snow:


(And interesting rocks.)

There was plenty of evidence of spring, too, though:






And it was good to be in the woods.



It’s been a while since I’ve genuinely finished a knitting project of my own, and my recent knitting has all been a commission, but I do have a new pair of socks:

new socks!

Georg kindly agreed to knit socks for me out of my handspun in exchange for me weaving something for her. (The warp is measured and partly threaded, but it’ll probably be June by the time she sees it…)

It’s been another weird few weeks around here, including a whirlwind trip to NYC and Philly, but it’s genuinely looking like (Vermont) spring now.

Flowers and more flowers! And some leaves!

hazelnut flowers





mini daffodils


skunk cabbage

skunk cabbage

And a very full lake:


In other news, I am planning a trip to Venice, Florence, and the UK, for two weeks in May. I’m planning to do basic touristy art-and-architecture-and-glass stuff in Italy and wandering around in the countryside in England and Scotland, but if any of y’all have recommendations that wouldn’t show up in a basic guidebook, I would appreciate anything you want to share.

So… Somehow, I thought I was going to be better about blogging this month. Instead, it’s been a weird few weeks, with additional snow and shovelling, and lots of repacking and moving and reorganizing boxes. And carding, which brings us today’s eye candy.



Red batts (made for Liz) are mill-ends from Brown Sheep plus bits of alpaca/silk, sari silk, mohair locks, wool blend, and icicle. Green batts (made for Jen) are my handpainted superwash merino (from a group dye-day way back in 2008) plus grey bamboo rayon and some gold angelina. (Both sets were swapped for other fiber.)

The three main things that are keeping me from doing more carding are 1. work-related stuff, 2. the poor, lonely cat who’s still afraid to come downstairs, and 3. the weather, since my lovely carding station on the (enclosed) back porch is pretty cold if it’s below 40ºF and not sunny. But it is very nice indeed to have the carder clamped to a bookcase rather than an end table, so I can card while standing instead of while sitting on a footstool. Good thing I wanted to get going on the swap batts before I cleared all the boxes off of the former carding table!

And, yes, he does get lonely when I spend time downstairs, but Mel is enjoying at least some aspects of the new living situation:


He has a window that looks out on a tree and lots of birds! (Even though it’s not the window overlooking all the birdfeeders.)

Big Pile Of Yarn edition:



That’s the 20 oz of yarn I’ve spun over the last few months, with plans for it to become a sweater. (The second photo is the most recent batch.)

I just want to re-wind and re-wash the skein that never got properly thwacked because it tangled in its bath, and then I’ll start measuring yardage.

…the “Hey, look! Stuff!” edition.

Also known as the “work-writing has taken most of my words” edition.

So I present some of the things I’ve been doing to de-stress over the last couple of months.



Each of these skeins is ~2.5 oz, for that mixed-handpaint sweater. Actually, the bottom one is the one that showed up a few weeks ago on the bobbin.


Cheviot plying ball. Will probably grow up to be a pair of socks. I’m hoping the orange dominates over the purple.




My first attempt at warping from a warping board, and my first all-handspun item. It’s too short to be a table runner, even, so it may just be a wall-hanging by wherever I put my loom in my next home. (It’s less than 4oz, because it’s all from one braid of polwarth in Pandora, from Southern Cross Fibre; 2ply warp & pseudo-thick-and-thin singles for weft.)

…and Cat-Entertaining:

Mel has a new favorite napping spot

He seems less fond of the tuner as a napping spot now that I’ve taken to piling my shawls/hat closer to the right-hand speaker. He still sits there sometimes, to supervise dinner, but he’s gotten comfortable enough with Being Downstairs that he’s started sitting on the couch with me, even when my housemate’s cat is within sight on her couch, on the other side of the room.

San Diego photos will be up eventually. I think.

This week flew by! Maybe it was losing Wednesday to a really nasty headache/blech…maybe it was just ’cause it was Full of Stuff.

The first bit of Stuff was a Sunday evening in Northern Liberties, where a friend and I discovered that Settlers of Catan Cities & Knights works pretty well with only two players, at least for non-aggressive players. (We tend to move the robber back and forth between the unoccupied hexes.) On the way there, I saw this lovely fence.

budgie/route 66

Aaaaand I’ve finished some spinning. This is another pair of handpaints for the sweater I’m planning: polwarth/tencel in Budgie, from Southern Cross Fibre, and corriepaca in Route 66, from Spunky Eclectic. It’s washed now, so I’ll get pics when I come home.

Come home from where, you ask? Well, by the time you read this, I’ll be on my way to San Diego for a conference. I’ll have at least some internet access, but I expect to be mostly out of touch for a week. See you when I come back!

How did it get to be Friday again already? I guess that means it’s time for at least a quick review of Rhinebeck.

Over the whole weekend, but especially on the drive up, I kept noticing how much I was surrounded by my favorite colors and beautiful scenery. The crowds at the festival aside, one of my favorite things about Rhinebeck is getting out of the city. (I love living in a city, but I need not-city at least a few times a year.)

About two miles before the turnoff for the park where I stayed (with friends), I stopped at the parking area/overlook. This view kinda reminds me of all the hedgerow-divided fields in England.

Saturday morning, we took a back route from the park to the festival. Lovely as the Taconic is, the back roads were perhaps even more scenic, and much closer to my favorite kind of driving. (I was passenging, though. My favorite roads for driving do not lend themselves to free hands for even aimless photography.)

It cleared up by the time we left the fairground on Saturday afternoon. This tree is just outside the 4H gate.

And this is the view from the big parking lot just before the road through the campground to the cabin. I really want to go back there, maybe even at some other off-peak time, just to hang out at the park. (And that was quite a nice cabin, as state park cabins go. The electricity even stayed on all weekend!)

As usual at these things, I had a fantastic time despite several things not going precisely as I’d imagined. I got to see a lot of awesome people at least briefly, got to spend longer with a few of them, and got to see scenery that is very, very different from South Philly. Except for the niggling feelings of guilt for not working, I would’ve liked the weekend to have lasted several days longer.

The work is important, though–I’ll probably continue to post infrequently for the next few months, since much of my recent work-stress was building up to my committee meeting last week, at which I received permission to write my dissertation. Unless things go terribly wrong, I’ll be defending in late January.

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