My December was very full, with making stuff and going places and continuing to apply for jobs.

I identified a loom setup that works for me–sitting on a flat surface with either an upturned bin or a small cardboard box under the non-turning beam at the back of the loom–which meant that I got a good bit of weaving done:

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That’s the Not Socks rectangle for Georg, though I did twist the fringe before sending it to her. I’ve been wearing the socks she knit for me a lot lately, as it’s been cold, so I’m glad to have sent her my part of our trade.

Next up was a very late birthday present for Anju:

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A merino/cashmere/nylon/organic merino scarf, only about ten months after her birthday.  (The warp is MCN from Spirit Trail Fiberworks and the weft is my handspun organic merino, Natural Beauty from Southern Cross Fibre.  Plainweave with a 12-dent heddle.)  And the colors are somewhat more saturated than they appear in this photo.

I finished Anju’s scarf just before leaving town for a week and a half, so my loom sat idly in a corner for a couple of weeks, but I took advantage of having the house to myself yesterday afternoon to warp again:

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This is theoretically a shawl warp for me, using the leftovers from my turquoise sweater, some teal alpaca-blend handspun that was a gift from a friend, and a few other handspun yarns that I thought would go well.  I’m a little concerned that I don’t have enough weft yarn, but I’m sure I’ll work something out.  Maybe some extra green or tan.

And I’ve continued to knit, mostly on Desdemona:

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There’s a lot more border than there was last time!  It’s useful that it’s a simple pattern to knit, as the center was, because I’ve been able to knit and either talk (during family gatherings) or listen (at concerts at First Night yesterday).  The rows must be something like 500 stitches by now, but they don’t feel like they take all that long to work.

And I finally mustered the time and energy and motivation to try something I’ve been thinking about for a couple of years, a felted mask.

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This one was a midwinter gift for my grandmother.  The base is cormo/bamboo rayon, and it’s sewn with handspun merino/tencel.  I’m really pleased with how it came out, and I’m looking forward to trying a few more.

I mentioned going places as well as making stuff: these photos are from our trip south for midwinter.

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I love winter forests with trees with light-colored bark (especially birches), but this beech is interesting for more than its compact and mostly-symmetric immediate footprint.  The roots downhill from its trunk are a mix of its own, with smoothish grey bark, and roots from the red pine uphill from it, which are more of a red-brown.  I like the way they intertwine.

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And I’ve always liked the frilly shapes and tonal colors of lichens.  I’m not sure the tree is thrilled, but I was happy to see these.

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I am hoping for a new year full of more making things and finding beauty in the world, and I wish the same for all of you.

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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 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:

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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.

Whee, creative post titles.  Heh.  Well, I’m still in Vermont, still looking for work, still spending most of the rest of my time on fiber stuff.

I have done a bit more travelling, including the not-so-fun (clearing out the apartment that had been my grandmother’s) and the fun (visiting yarnfriends).  I turned 30 two weeks ago and spent the following weekend back in the NYC metro area, going to museums and generally hanging out with friends (and knitting a lot).

I took a fair number of pictures in the newly-reopened Islamic art galleries at the Met, where we spent a good chunk of that Saturday.  These are a few of my favorites (objects more than photos):

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interesting texture

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And I mentioned knitting! It looks as though I haven’t posted earlier progress pics of this shawl, but I started a Desdemona just before I left for my trip to Europe. After a few months of feeling like I was close to finishing the center square, I finally did, and I picked up the 400+ stitches for the border. I also learned that picking up stitches is hard when there’s only one stitch between the edge and the first YO–I was a few stitches off count for the other three sides (-2, +5, -2), but I had such trouble figuring out where to pick up stitches for a scant two stitches per three rows that I had 15 stitches too many on that last side. Next time, I’ll make sure I have an extra selvedge stitch.

Here’s what it looks like now:

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It’s scrunched up because it’s too small for the needle (I’m doing Magic Loop for now), but it should be plenty big by the time I’m done.

I’ve also started a really simple shawl with some spindle-spun singles. I’d tried this yarn in the Prairie Rose Lace Shawl last spring and thought it was too busy, so the new project is a stockinette shawl with probably a feather-and-fan border. (If not that, some other lace pattern that works well with stripes.) I am quite fond of the way the striping is working so far:

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And I’m nearly done spinning my Spring Mix combo lot, so I’ll try to get a group photo of that by this time next week.

October has been a pretty decent month.  I’m still unemployed and feeling antsy about it, but I’ve gotten to spend some time admiring the fall color and hanging out with awesome people.

Two weeks ago, I drove over to Manchester, NH to visit people at SOAR.  Once I got there, I spent the rest of the day inside the hotel, but the drive was utterly beautiful.  I’m not really a fan of getting up early, but it was lovely to be off in time to see the sunlight on the morning valley fog.  SOAR itself (okay, the marketplace and the collection of people, since the only activity I observed was the fashion show) was great.  I ran into friends as soon as I walked through the door, and I got to spend hours and hours with people I don’t get to see enough.  The one problem, really, was that I only had ~13 hours of interaction.  Internettily, though, I suppose it didn’t happen, since I took no photos.

Oh!  But I do have a photo of a bit of yarn I spun on Friday morning, when Rosemary let me play with her milk-cap spindle (made by JimBob):

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That was quite an interesting spindle. I usually spin on medium-sized spindles that start off weighing about an ounce and weigh at least twice that by the time I’m finished. So a spindle that can’t possibly have weighed more than ~10g…it wanted to spin very, very fine yarn. The sample above is from singles I wrapped around my fingers and then allowed to coil up, so it’s effectively something like a 2×6 cabled yarn.

And then, this past weekend, I drove down to Rhinebeck. I camped at Lake Taghkanic State Park again, in a cottage this year (rather than a cabin), and it was almost perfect. The setting was lovely, and the rain politely allowed me to unload and then reload the car in the dry (even if the ground was squelchy).

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Again, I didn’t take any pictures of people (though I know I’m in a few), but I did take some of sheep and goats:

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It was a weird Rhinebeck for me–for the last few years, I’ve made a thorough circuit of all the booths and spent most of my time looking at things, even when I didn’t buy much. This year, though, I prioritized finding people. So I started with booths where I knew people, and then flitted (a bit) from one set of friends to another, wishing I had at least three times as much time with each group.

Except for Sunday morning, when I wasn’t wandering about with people because I was in a class: Getting More Done With Spindles, taught by Abby Franquemont. It was a lot of fun, and it’s gotten me thinking about actual productivity versus perceived productivity, and I’ve learned at least two new techniques.

I learned something else last Sunday, in a much less enjoyable situation: if I’m going to attempt a 4+-hour drive on back roads on a Sunday evening (or, really, any evening), it is wise to acquire plenty of caffeine when it is there, whether I need it immediately or not. Since I miscalculated (and the restaurant where I’d intended to stop must’ve been closed and unlit, since I totally missed it), what had been a 4.5hr trip on Friday turned into a 7-hr trip on Sunday night.  (On the trip down, I spent much of the drive looking at the gorgeous foliage and plotting how best to get those colors into fiber/yarn/garments.  More about that later.)

I’m back now, though, much to Mel’s satisfaction.

Bliss.

It is definitely lapcat season around here.

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

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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:

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

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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.

I’ve posted a bit of a destash on Ravelry.  It’s a mix of fiber and handspun and commercial yarn.  Prices are reasonably firm, but I am open to some negotiation, especially with cash-funded (cheaper) PayPal.

And for something pretty and not for sale, just bloggy:  I’ve been doing some more carding, with some of the stuff I dyed last week and various other things.

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This is mostly dorset and wool blend. It’s been sitting next to my chair as a bit of a talisman through the last few days of job-hunting. (Even if all it means is “if I make progress faster, I have more time for making more batts”.)