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.

And I’m probably about two-thirds of the way through the edging on About Damn Time, but I haven’t totally decided yet.

Of course, I’d finish both of those shawls sooner if I hadn’t picked up Spring Mix again:

And started yet another pair of socks:

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.

The fall jamming edition:

cranberry applesauce

I’m calling it cranberry applesauce, though apple cranberry sauce would be similarly appropriate. It’s got a flavor much like cranberry sauce (with undertones of apples, scotch, and various baking spices), but the texture of mostly-homogenized applesauce. I cooked it for a really long time to get the apples to cook down that much. I don’t buy cooking apples, since my main use for apples is eating them whole (well, okay, biting pieces off, but not cutting with anything other than teeth)–I just cook with the squishiest of the generally crisp apples I like to eat. This means that jamlike things take longer.

In other appley news, I’ve gone through enough of the 20-pound bag of Gold Rush that I bought a month ago that I happily signed up to get another one a week from Sunday. Mmm, apples.


I’ve been doing a bit of fibery stuff, to try to stay sane for working a lot. The most recent spinning:

I decided I needed some plain wool to spin, of a breed I hadn’t spun before, and for which I didn’t have any particular project in mind. So I dug my Acadia out of the fiber pile (it’s a stack of bins, or it’d be spread all over the floor) and set out to spin a 3ply. The talk seems to have been right–Finn is quite nice to spin. That’s one ply all spun and the second one started.

I’ve also been knitting some; I’ve nearly finished turning the heel on that sock. Yes, it takes more than a week to turn a heel when I’m only knitting a row or half a row or something at a time. Maybe this weekend? Of course, I’m also planning to start a new pair of socks: I’ll need concert knitting, for someplace darker than World Cafe Live.

Sunset on Tuesday.

From Madison Square Park last Wednesday (the 25th)–this was intended for last Friday’s eye candy, but I didn’t have my computer with me and thus never quite managed to borrow enough computer time to post. I got a “look, someone’s taking a picture!” comment while I was stopped to take this. I was amused.

Also from my Thanksgiving trip to New York:
We went to see the Mapping the Hudson exhibit at the public library, and stopped first in the children’s room to see the original stuffed animals that were the basis of the Winnie the Pooh stories. They’re clearly well-loved… And Piglet is a lot smaller than I’d’ve guessed!

I haven’t done all that much fibery stuff lately, but I knit half a sock heel at the Paul and Storm/Jonathan Coulton show last night. They turned the (rest of the) lights off after the intermission, and I couldn’t see well enough to pick up the wraps as well as the stitches, so I’ll have to finish it either at lunch or this evening. (The concert was great, though.)

Last night, as I was waiting for the bus to go to fiber night, I realized that the batt I was spinning was a good match for the skirt I was wearing:


Heh. Maybe I’ll eventually wear that skirt with a shawl containing that batt… That’s an Orange Blossom Abbybatt all spun; I’ve moved on to another, in Hibiscus. (The plan: ply Hibiscus with Orange Blossom, Girl Drink Drunk, and the remaining Hibiscus. Have a set of orangey pinkish yarns for a shawl.)

I got some knitting done on the bus, too (and at Rhinebeck, for that matter), so I have a bit of sock toe:


Not much other spinning or knitting, though–my at-home fiber time (as well as about half the housework time) this week has gone into figuring out how to weave patterns with two heddles. Maybe I’ll post pictures over the weekend, when I might get better light.

• I finished reading the 20 Aubrey/Maturin novels, in only about a month. I highly recommend them. (I do read quickly, but not usually quite so quickly for so long.)

• I started knitting a sock with my superwash BFL sock yarn, and I spun some superwash merino for the baby hat that I’m going to knit instead of socks:

IMG_3223 IMG_3221

The yarn is from Boogie’s heather batts, in Golden Banana, but I’ve been thinking of the yarn as chocolate-mint.

• There are ducklings in the biopond!


(Turtles are out, too.)

• There are columbines in the garden around the biopond:


• I’ve been listening to a less-focused playlist recently, including a lot of music I haven’t played in the last couple of years.  I continue to be impressed by how much I associate certain songs with certain time periods.


I finally have shoes that are perfect for wearing with them.  These are my shoes for Too Cold To Not Wear Socks (below 40ºF) While Too Wet To Have Exposed Sock Toes.  (This isn’t counting the waterproof hiking boots that I also use as snow boots when there’s snow.)

(Yes, I am too lazy to hem my jeans.)

(Socks pictured are these, my most-worn handknit socks.  Not just because they were the first pair I knit for myself.)

Though I packed two shawl projects last week, I didn’t work on either one. Instead, I spent a fair amount of time spinning:

targhee on a kundert
targhee, on my Kundert. I’m not at all confident that the cop will slide off, so I’ll probably just wind it off.

abby batt
the second Brick House Abby batt. I’m really looking forward to plying these and seeing how they turn out.

And I spent most of the “official” party time knitting on my chocolate cherry sock, which now has a heel:

chocolate cherry sock

Down-time knitting went toward this scarf, which I’m trying to use to learn (improve enough for practicality) Continental knitting:



The scarf is going fine, but I’ve been wondering why Continental is cast as more lefty-friendly. I’m not convinced. I still think it’s likely to be more efficient once I improve, but it seems to me to require more complex activity from my right hand than does my version of English knitting.

The socks that ate June and July (knitting-wise) are not only done, they’ve arrived at their new home.  (Yippee!) These are the finished-object pictures I took before I packed them up.

finished MWSI socks

mwsi socks with audience

(Mel wanted to know what on earth I was doing.)

The yarn I used is Henry’s Attic’s merino/bamboo (Zahar Fingering), which is on the skinny side of fingering weight. I dyed it for these socks, and I picked the yarn because my swap partner lives in Baton Rouge–I figured she’d get more use out of socks that weren’t quite as warm as 100% wool. I was all panicky about whether I’d be able to get a pair of socks out of 4oz of yarn, but it turned out that I had a lot left over, possibly enough for a third sock. Plenty for darning, I suppose, since I sent it on with the socks. I mostly used the Baudelaire pattern, but I skipped the cables up the sides, since the socks were on the snug side, and I added an extra pair of stitches to the gusset/heel/back leg of the second sock, to deepen the heel and make the leg less tight. I also knit the back leg plain after the heel until I’d gotten through a pattern repeat on the front.

Things I have learned: If I’m going to sign myself up for deadline knitting, I should try to pick something faster than a pair of patterned socks with really skinny yarn.  (I should point out that I like knitting socks for me in sport-weight yarn, on 3.25mm needles rather than 2.5mm.)  I should also try to do my deadline knitting when I don’t have big work deadlines.  And, well, I should remember that I usually spread out the knitting of a pair of socks over several months, with lots of other things interspersed.

I’m just lucky that my swap partner doesn’t seem to have minded the extra month she had to wait to get her socks.  I think it helped that it was a non-anonymous, reciprocal swap; we’ve been chatting back and forth about music and cats and sock progress, so she knew I wasn’t going to disappear.  And she seems to really like the socks, so all is well.  I’m enjoying the freedom to knit other things without feeling guilty.

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.



I have socks knit out of my handspun!  (Please overlook the cat hair on my pajamas.  Also, I have discovered what must be the purpose of the cropped sweatpants: showing off handknit socks.)

I’m amused that the ribbing patterns are different, but I don’t really care–the socks are still comfy.  These are my basic sock recipe, starting with a magic toe-up cast-on, with a short-row heel, and a cuff pattern that I could knit in the dark.  That’s crucial, considering the fact that I set up the back of the left (2nd) cuff ribbing while at the Mountain Goats show on Thursday.  (Yes, yes, it’s not like the Mountain Goats play dancey music, and it wasn’t like there would’ve been room to dance, anyway.  Better to knit than to play with my necklace.)

Maybe I’ll even manage to knit my next pair of socks in less than eight months from start to finish…


I finally, finally started the second sock of the handspun merino-mohair.  I’d finished the first sock in November, while I was in San Diego, but I’d cleverly left the second ball of yarn in Philly.  Then I kept putting off starting the second sock because it would require sitting down with the instructions–I have yet to fully memorize the magic toe-up cast-on.  A couple of weeks ago, though, I managed to make the time to cast on, and the sock is going quickly now.  That is, it’s going quickly given how much time I spend working on it, which isn’t much.

With any luck, I’ll have a pair of socks before it’s fully spring here.  Or at least before MDSW.

I’ve finished things! One and a half things, I suppose…and I do still have some ends to weave in. But they look finished, and I’m going to be proud of myself for that. I’m always impressed by how much knitting I can get done on public transit (and airplanes and in airports), and I’d forgotten how quickly the sportweight socks knit up.

So I have a finished sock:


I finished it on Wednesday evening, but had cleverly left the other ball of yarn at home. Thus, my knitting energies for the rest of the trip focussed on Foliage:


I only got as far as the ribbing before I left California, but I still managed to finish it in just under a week.

Pattern: Foliage

Yarn: Colinette Cadenza, in copper beech

Needles: bamboo 4.5mm dpns for the crown and 5mm circ for the body

Mods: I missed the instructions for the between-chart set-up round (what happens when I copy the charts but not the rest of the pattern), so I did the decreases a round late. I also extended the pattern into the ribbing, which you might be able to see if you look closely–instead of starting the ribbing halfway through the alternate-repeat set of leaves, I finished them plain and just started the ribbing between them. I think it came out nicely.

Nicely enough that I wore it for the rest of the evening after taking this picture…  I’m a little concerned that it’ll be longish on my mom, since it fits me, but I think it’ll work out okay.

I found a sheep:


You can take the knitter out of the sheep and wool festivals, but she’ll still find a sheep. (This one’s advertising an automated hemocytometer.)

Sunset. This isn’t exactly hard to find, but it’s got an unusual foreground, at least for me.

Most of a sock!

handspun sock 11/04

I’m going to finish the first of the handspun merino-mohair socks pretty soon. Too bad I left the other ball of yarn in Philadelphia…. (I do have other projects, though; never fear.)

But now it’s time for sleep, so I can absorb lots more science tomorrow.

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