Friday, January 29, 2010


I was looking at my stash spreadsheet this morning (the Stash feature of Ravelry just isn't enough for me... how would I survive if I couldn't track miles knit per month, or calculate average miles knit per month over the course of a year?), and decided to include my handspun for the first time.

I'd been leaving it out because some of it might be folk art, instead of will-someday-be-knitted yarn--and I didn't want to see the effect adding it would have on my total stash mileage. Lately though, I've knit more than I've bought, so my total mileage had crept downwards--so it felt like there was some room for a big jump up, without pushing the whole thing into the range where I get antsy about over-consumption and/or hoarding.

But I'm getting (slightly) more able to spin (approximately) the yarn I mean to spin (sometimes), and it was starting to feel like cheating not to count it in my stash (especially since I've always counted it in the "knitted up" yardage).

Speaking of which, I think I've mentioned this yarn before--it's the merino/seacell blend which I was going to ply but decided to keep as a single because it looked like it might stripe. (It's much stripy-er as a yarn cake.) I was planning to knit it in stripes with a neutral (like the Noro striped scarf--although that's actually 2 multicolored yarns striped together), but I have more than 800 yards just of the handspun, so it's enough for a good-sized wrap or shawl on its own.

I was thinking about another Clapotis, or something along those lines---essentially a large stockinette stitch rectangle without much texture or shaping which might compete with the yarn. (Maybe.)

I'd also like to make a couple of sweaters for myself, especially now that I've added a sweater's worth of handspun to my stash spreadsheet!

Monday, January 25, 2010


I took Gale's photography for knitters class at Knit New Haven yesterday.

Clearly, I needed that class badly...

(Wurm hat)

(Ice Queen)

...since I'm willing to post FO pictures taken inside, with my camera phone, when my photographer and I were too lazy to stand up (actually, he may have been standing when he took the first one), and where the emergency exit door is a central feature.

The class was great--a good balance of listening/looking and hands-on, and exactly geared towards the photos knitbloggers/Ravelry users want to take. I noticed at the end of the day that I haven't quite internalized the fact that pixels are free, as I took a grand total of 82 pictures--other people took between 200 and 300. (Archivist-me likes to mutter that pixels AREN'T free, since long-term preservation costs can add up quickly... perhaps archivist-me needs to put a sock in it?)

Of course it was grey and pouring today, so I didn't put all my new-found determination to stop being satisfied with abysmal pictures to work. But I will, as soon as it stops raining.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


With both bread and yogurt!

First the bread--I started it Thursday evening, moved it to the fridge, then woke up a little early on Friday so I could bake it in time for breakfast. I even did a little yoga while it cooked (it's every crunchy vegetarian's fantasy!). Of course, I forgot to start it till nearly bedtime on Thursday, then was too impatient to wait till Friday, so I had to get up the the middle of the night to move it into the fridge. How is it that even though the bread and yogurt each take 5 total minutes of work, I did 20% of it between midnight and 6 am? Twice?

The trouble is that we keep eating it before I can take a picture. Yesterday, Kevin sliced up loaf #2 when I left the room to get the camera--so that's half of it up there.

And then yesterday I tried again on the yogurt. It worked this time, but I'm a bad scientist and changed everything at once so I can't tell why.

Last time I:

-used skim milk
-probably never got the milk to 180 degrees
-let it cool by itself over 3 hours
-added 4 oz of yogurt
-wrapped it in cotton towels
-let it ferment overnight, when the house is chilly

This time I:
-used 1% milk
-added an indeterminate amount of powdered milk
-accidentally boiled the milk (just for a few minutes--when I realized low wasn't getting the milk warm enough I turned the crock pot to high... and then forgot about it till I heard it bubbling)
-stirred it to cool it down to 120
-added 6 oz of yogurt
-wrapped it in a wool shawl and sweater
-let it ferment during the day, when then house is warmer

I think it was the wool, don't you? Cotton kills.

Whatever it was, it's tasty.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Win Some, Lose Some

The yogurt... isn't. It smells like yogurt, but even after cooling overnight (in case yogurt is like Jello), it was still the texture of milk with yogurt mixed in.

After Kevin learned that I was leaving a dairy product out on the counter all day to ferment, he wanted to know how I was planning to tell the difference between yogurt and food poisoning. Since I'd been planning to distingish them by texture, the fact that my "yogurt" was still liquid seemed like a bad sign. (Ok, I did dip the tip of one finger in and taste the tiniest bit--and it did taste like yogurt. But I'm not willing to possibly poison myself for the cost of a new quart of milk!)

So I'm going to try again with a candy thermometer.

On the other hand, I taught a 30 minute class about sock heels at the FiberCamp Boston on Saturday and survived. Gale's post about the camp convinced two of us from the New Haven SnB to go up with her, and then the camp website/philosophy made me feel guilty... I mean... inspired me to teach something.

Talking in front of people is my least favorite thing ever, nearly, but this was the least stressful way to do it--it was really informal, and much more like a discussion than talking in front of people because the whole point of the camp was that everyone should speak up if they had something to add.

Then my spinning group met on Sunday (Kevin spent the whole weekend napping and watching football--don't feel bad for him), and I finished up 4 ounces of a merino and seacell blend that I bought at Rhinebeck. (In 2009--impressive, huh?) I'd been planning to ply it with itself, but when I wound it off the bobbin it looked like it might self stripe with long color repeats. So--since I keep favoriting shawl patterns meant for self striping yarns with long color repeats recently--I may leave it as-is.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bandwagon Christmas

Like every other self-respecting knitblogger, I want to bake bread in five minutes a day and make yogurt in my crock pot. Unfortunately, I didn't have the bread book or a crock pot.

Fortunately, Santa takes requests, and I'm making yogurt as we speak.

Maybe this process would be more exciting with close-up, time-lapse video of the milk?

I was home nearly all day, but I forgot to start the yogurt till just a few minutes ago... with the result that I'll have to get up in the middle of the night to mix in the starter (yogurt). I could have waited till Monday, when I should be home most of the day too--but what fun would that be?

Maybe I won't be able to get back to sleep, and then I can knit! (Sadly for my knitting, I'm a very good sleeper... )

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

Hatless, I Repeat, Hatless

I'm not longer quite so hatless. Before all of our Christmas travels (which I shall blame for the blog silence... although it may also be laziness!), I made myself 2 hats.


And wurm, which I haven't managed to photograph yet, although I've worn it more. (Felicity was still drying when we left, so she spent her vacation on a towel at home.)

This is the same handspun as last time--in the end, I couldn't resist the idea of having the angora and wool (merino? cormo?) around my neck, so I whipped up a little cowl with it right after my last post. I had plenty left over, so I made wristwarmers (which I'm wearing over gloves in the next picture). There was still a bit leftover, so I started Felicity with a band of it, worked purl row to turn, then followed the pattern as it's written (more or less--I adjusted the stitch count slightly).

Here's the lining:

I really like the hat--I have a sneaky suspicion that fitted hats make my head look disproportionately small, and the floppiness helps with that--but oddly, I'm not so crazy about the cowl. As soft as that yarn seemed, it's itchy right against my neck! (But fine on my wrists, hands, and head.)

That's two unfortunate knitting discoveries in 2009: that it's possible for me to feel to sick to knit, and that there is a yarn I think is itchy. What is the world coming to?

Although it may be something I did--it wasn't at all itchy before I knit it up. (Can a stitch pattern be itchy? Maybe I should have used larger needles? Smaller? More expensive?)

Hey, have I told the "it's not itchy, it's textural" story?