Sunday, November 25, 2007

Playing catch-up

Here I am, a week into blogging, and already falling behind. (It is easier to let things slip when I haven't even told anyone that I'm blogging yet, though...)
I haven't announced that I'm blogging to anyone yet; I wanted to get some actual content up before sending it around, so there's a little less pressure to post regularly. Yeah. That must be it, right?

This has been a very nice 4 day weekend. I wish every week could have a 4 day weekend. I used to really look forward to going into lab to get work done, but I'm afraid it's been a while since I've actually wanted to go to work on Monday. I tell myself that it's just some mild burn-out, and I hope I'm right. It would be a real pain to finish 5 or 6 years of grad school and then realize that I don't actually like what I do anymore. But that's a topic for another day. Today, we discuss how much fun it has been to not work for the past 4 days. We spent Thanksgiving with friends, some of whom we saw last at Thanksgiving last year. Time does fly, doesn't it? It was really nice to catch up with everyone, and we've all sworn now that it won't be another year before we get together again. The holidays seem to give off this wonderful feeling of invincibility, where you can make promises about finding time for things without having to think about whether or not it will really happen. I hope it will, though. I always mean to keep in touch better, but then life happens and I don't. But then, maybe this is the year. =)

On Friday I cooked a turkey for us, along with a shorter list of side dishes. We are now set on leftovers for a whole week's worth of eating. Who says you need fast food? Just cook once a week and then have fun reinventing leftovers. I'm excited about this week's cooking; turkey pot pie, turkey soup with orzo, mashed potatoes and gravy, leek and potato soup, etc. One day of cooking, a week of food. Pretty productive, I think.

In between turkey cooking activities, I managed to finish the first of Branden's new alpaca handwarmers. I'm now extra in love with the Frog Tree alpaca yarn. Not only is is silky soft, it knits up super-fast. I'm using a garter-stitch rib combination from Vogue's Stitchionary, which ends up looking like a herringbone pattern. I was afraid that it wouldn't show up nicely with the dark and fuzzy yarn, but I like it. The lighting has to be just right for it to show up, but it's definitely there.

I also finished and blocked my Bearfoot scarf. I love it! I fell in love with the yarn this summer on our LYS tour, and bought it for a linen-stitch bag that I have yet to make. It didn't mix well with the other yarn that I chose, and so it needed a new project. While it's technically a sock yarn, I wanted to use it for something that gets seen a bit more than a pair of socks. I started out making a very lacy short-sleeved sweater shell, but chickened out and decided that there wouldn't be enough yarn. So, I decided to go with a scarf. The lace endeavor had taught me that this yarn would not do well with a complicated lacy pattern; it's varigation is just too strong. So, I wanted something a little less intricate, fast to work, but still a little on the lacy and light side. I ended up going with a vertical rib broken by the double eyelet rib in Walker's first book.

It turns out that I had underestimated the Bearfoot. When I made it into a ball, it looked like there wasn't much there. I was afraid I'd run out. I decided to just start and see how far it would go; at worst, I'd have to frog it all and start over with another idea. Well, that ball took forever to run out. I'd be sure I was almost at the end, and I'd look at the ball and it hadn't gotten any smaller. At first, this felt like it was just the normal middle of the scarf takes forever syndrome. But then the scarf was getting really long, too. And longer. And longer. All told, it ended up being about 7 feet long. From one skein of sock yarn! I am so impressed. It's gorgeous yarn, and there's a ton of it packed in that one skein. It didn't look like much unblocked, but after blocking, it's a really pretty little lace. On size 6 needles, I got about 420 square inches, I think. And that's not even stretched!

We hit a coffee shop Saturday morning and I finished up the handwarmers while basking in the unexpected fall sunshine. It's been gorgeous this weekend; the sun has been out every day, which is an unusual and welcome occurrence in November in Seattle. We found the perfect window at Peet's, and spent a few hours just soaking up the wintery sunshine. Soft yarn, warm sun, time with my husband, and a cup of tea. Not a bad way to start the day! We did the same today, and I'm about a foot into the matching scarf now. I think I may see more Frog Tree in my knitting future. Not the immediate future, though (more on that in the next post).

(Doesn't he make a good hand model?) It's a little easier to see the pattern in this one:

I also got some spinning done. Much to my disappointment, the Romney wool isn't getting any softer as I spin. I'm going to leave the spinning saga for another post also, but for the moment it's sufficient to say that I'm about to have a lot of not very soft wool yarn. I have no idea what to do with it, either. Any ideas?

I've only added another inch and a half to the cable sweater, unfortunately. After about 2 hours of working on it, my hands were really not happy with me. I'm afraid to push it much, because once they get bad, there's no more knitting until I manage to appease my carpal tunnel. So, the sweater moves along very slowly. It's annoying; I'm very excited about that project, and sweaters are my favorite kind of knitting. But then again, I am getting all kinds of small projects done, so I guess it's not all bad.