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.

Nearly two months since my last post? They zipped by awfully quickly…


I finished Leaflet:



…Just in time to wear it to NHSW. Which was wonderfully full of fiber people.

Spring has continued–it feels more like summer now–and there are lots of things growing in the garden and at the CSA farm.

pale balloonflower

(a balloonflower in the front garden)

There has been some family and personal excitement, but things are mostly better now. Going forward, anyway. I’m continuing to look for a Real Job, but I have made some progress toward feeling more productive. I went to MAS&W (also a fantastic place to see fiber people), where Jennifer of Holiday Yarns let me use some of her booth space for my batts. That went quite well, and I have since set up an Etsy shop. Sooo… With the shop (which may soon contain things other than batts and yarn) and some freelance editing work, I at least have something to do that feels less like shouting into a void than the endless round of job applications.


(one of my favorites of the batt sets. even though it’s merino.)




spring beauties

trout lily

red leaves on green moss

I’m just a little excited about the lovely weather today and all the blooming and growing things outside.

Which makes it a little weird that I’m also excited about knitting a bulkyish wool sweater, but so I am.


That’s the cast-on and first two rows of Leaflet. I’m being careful to avoid aggravating my hand, but it seems to be ok with short bursts of not-too-intense activity.


This handspun sweater thing is kind of addictive. It’s a top-down raglan this time, and I’m about an inch past splitting off the sleeves.

(Yes, I’m still typing cover letters and occasional e-mails.)

I finally finished Bernhardt!
finished sweater!

back of sweater

Specs: I started with ~20 oz of handspun, from 2ply combo spins of fibers from Spunky Eclectic, Southern Cross Fibre, and Enchanted Knoll Farm. The finished sweater weighs about 14.5 oz.

I was working with Bernhardt as a pattern, but I reworked it a little to adapt to my smaller gauge and then worked seamless set-in sleeves because it seemed easier than trying to adjust for my different row gauge.  The other major modification I made was to work different sizes above and below the waist shaping.

I am very pleased with how it came out.  It is now beautifully wearable (I wore it today, and it was the perfect layer over a t-shirt), and the shawl stick I bought at MDSW a couple of years ago makes an excellent closure.

It’s not perfect, though–the shoulder shaping and the edging shaping around the shoulders could be better, and I really should’ve figured out how to work the three-needle bindoffs for the shoulders after I’d knit them up far enough.  So that means I can make the next sweater even better.

Good thing, too, as I’ve just finished the spinning on the Spring Mix sweater lot!  Here’s most of it, minus only the last 40yd skein of Flannel:


I’m taking a break from sweater-spinning for a laceweightish gradient yarn, but I’ve got the next batch ready to go when I’m done.

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’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.)

It’s amazing how much knitting gets done when I spend seven hours knitting and talking. I worked a little on the green sock, and a little on the flames scarf:


and then I spent the rest of the time on Salt Peanuts:

salt peanuts, as of 3/15

Apparently, it wasn’t clear when I pulled it out that I was working on the back of a sweater, but I think it’s now pretty obvious that it isn’t a hat.   (Even though I do have trouble finding hats that fit over my hair, especially when it’s tied up…  And, actually, there’s not all that much overlap as I try to pretend that the sweater-back is a headscarf.)  I’m now into the increases.


Having learned from my experience with Foliage (and really wanting a sweater before it becomes spring), I’ve resumed work on Salt Peanuts.  As of the end of November, the last time I’d knit on SP, I was a few rows past the lace.  I clearly have a lot more knitting to do, but it’s nice to see progress.

I think Mel is mostly interested in the dangling yarn, here, and possibly the dangling camera cover (just before this photo was taken).  I’m impressed that the yarn is apparently so fascinating that he’s willing to sit on the blocking pins I used to keep the needle from curling and bending the sweater-back in half.  They’re the rounded-top double-pin kind, but they’re still metal…

I spent my Thanksgiving in New York, as usual, which meant I got a lot of knitting time on the train and on various buses.


Salt Peanuts is past the lace. (This is just the back, but I’m still excited.)


And I’ve started a pair of half-finger gloves for lab. As much as I was pleasantly startled by how fast knitting on 11s seemed when I knit that ribbed hat last month, I’ve been struck by how slow it seems to knit on 1s…  (Yes.  It’s still slow, this knitting on 1s.  So much so that I said it twice.  I love this colorway, though.)

One of my usual stops in New York is the Strand. I’ve had good luck in the knitting-book section lately, but this is the closest I came this time:


A novel by Cat Bordhi.

(All would be great at this point, except for the fact that I developed a stomach bug late Sunday night/early yesterday morning. Oh, well.)

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