Monday, November 30, 2009

Catching up

I spent the week before Thanksgiving (Wednesday-Wednesday) housesitting for a friend, licking my wounds (within the space of a week or two, I had had a moderately significant family blow-up, was asked by my roommate to move out after I told her I wasn't okay with her boyfriend living there rent-free,* and had a relationship that meant a tremendous amount to me careen off the rails, possibly beyond the point of redemption), and gradually untangling the stress knots in my back. I brought over groceries and knitting, several books, my wheel and fiber, the last couple dvds of season 5 of The Wire and a couple of audiobooks and spent all of my non-work time being a hermit or going for long, hermit-ish walks (where the route is determined primarily by which direction has fewer people). It helped.

And I got a lot done.
Subtle stripe sweater, past the point where the sleeves and yoke were joined. I think I have enough of the contrast yarn to do two stripes on the yoke, which should bring it up to a point where it won't look strange if the rest of it is in the main color.

Whatever this Starmore is called. Kilronan? Past the waist ribbing on the back here and well into the waist ribbing on the front. I lurve it.

North Sea shawl from the Oberle book, rejiggered to avoid grafting great swathes of silk/merino because I thought that the tension might be tricky to control in such a slippery yarn. So, crest of the wave on one end, whatever that arrow-y bit is in the middle, and a feather and fan-ish pattern on the other. I want to get this done by Christmas so I can block it on my mother's clean carpeting. And also wear it. I should have enough yarn left over for at least a hat, if not a pair of fingerless mittens as well.

I'm spun up more than half of this big batch of fiber from Rhinebeck, including two full bobbins while I was camping out last week. I'm pretty sure I want to three-ply it, then use it for a big, cozy turtleneck-type sweater, possibly this one.

I also started a scarf using this pattern in some handspun wool/angora I won as a prize in one of Claudia's MS fundraisers several years ago. That photo was taken in Penn Station while I waited to see how long my train was delayed. (an hour and a half, as it turned out)

I washed and blocked the raglan wrap while I was at my mom's, though I still don't have a finished photo. My mother sewed big snaps to the placket for me while I was scraping pith out of 24 orange halves with a spoon (as one does), but you can see them through the fabric and I need to get or find some buttons to sew over them. I like to safety-pin along all seams and openings when I'm blocking; it does a fantastic job of keeping everything aligned when the piece is wet, especially since I don't usually have access to a washing machine with a spin cycle I can control and so am typically wrestling heavy, soaking-wet garments in my kitchen sink.

I made marmalade! It's cranberry-orange, it's delicious, and civilizations have risen and fallen in less time than it took me to prep all of those oranges by hand. That pith scraping was just one step. Still, worth it. My mom used to make a lot of jam and jelly when I was growing up — it's entirely possible that I was in college before I tasted storebought jam — and I'd been wanting her to walk me through all of the sterilization procedures for a while. I used Elise's recipe here, using plain old juice oranges, the juice from two regular lemons, and a bag of cranberries. Seeing her note about sterilizing clean jars in a low oven quite literally may have changed my life, since that's something I can do in my current or whatever apartment I end up in next.

*She holds the lease and is well within her rights, though I'm pretty sure there's a sizable karmic smackdown coming her way soon, especially since she was very understanding to my face and then emailed me my walking papers the next day. Any leads on somewhere I can go live in January or February would be much appreciated. Prefer Brooklyn, open to other suggestions.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Raglan wrap

I meant to blog about this last week and just ... didn't.
I finished and blocked all of the pieces of the body and sewed them up last weekend.
It looks a little odd laid out like this, especially without the collar, but I really like it on.
It's hard to see here — though you do get a feel for the apartment where I've been housesitting — but it's not quite finished finished yet -- still need to block the collar and sew snaps to the placket. I'm bringing it upstate with me for Thanksgiving and should have time to make a run to Jo-Ann for some large snaps, sew them on and block the whole thing. Then I'll take a decent picture or two.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I and Love and You

Considering that I just listened to this song three times in a row, it likely deserves to be shared here.

(hat tip to metalia)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Out with the old...

New sneakers.

New baubles.

New project.

New best friend.
(not my dog. we just have a thing.)

New ... ly progressed continuing project.