It All Pays Off

So, after months of spinning on my Corriedale fleece I finally decided it was time to ply. This decision was, in part, due to running out of yarn to knit with. Within the last 24 hours, I have plied 1048 yards of yarn. This took some time, but a weekend full of relaxation took the edge off the time spent at my wheel. I feel confident that I can finish the entire cardigan with this yarn, but I intend to keep spinning the rest of the fleece this way because the resulting yarn is just to die for.
The picture contains a skein plied, washed, finished, and dried as well as one that just came off the niddy noddy and is soaking now.

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Just a Beginning

I decided I needed to knit a faroese shawl, since I’ve never done so before. I wanted a new shape to attempt. But in typical Shells fashion, it wasn’t enough to pick something simple. Instead I chose Dracula’s Bride. In black, since I’ve got a huge cone of black laceweight in stash. Then when I realized it had optional beads, I just had to add beads too. In red. It all seems a bit campy, but I haven’t been this excited about a lace project in I don’t know when, so I am going to go with it. So here she is, Dracula’s bride in the very early stages.

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Progressing. Slowly

I am almost done with the body of the featherweight cardigan. I am about half an inch from being done with the ribbing. But, I ran out of yarn. So, I’ve got a bit more spinning to do before I can show that off. Then there’s the pair of gloves I’ve been working on. I have an index finger and a thumb left to work on the first glove. I do not anticipate this will happen before next week, as they are staying at work. It seems to take me a day per finger, so while progress is slow, it is still progress. I hate gloves! The more I work them, the more I remember how much I hate them!

I got a new set of arms for my trindle. They are heavy! I’ll try them with fiber, but they are mostly for plying, and I can’t wait to give them a try. Which means I’d better get spinning.

I started my faroese shawl. Now, I must say, not much has been knit on it. However, the beads have now arrived and I am looking forward to a little progress on that as well. As for my meadowlark vest, I haven’t worked on it very much, but it is still in the rotation.

Last night there was cooking. We did Chicken with Olives and Lemons. Another favorite of mine from childhood. We didn’t make many revisions last night though we did add a cayenne and I upped the amount of fresh parsley by….quite a bit. This one was a smashing hit, even with Miss Bug. We may add more sauce next time, and it is certainly going into our main meal rotation. We had this with brussel sprouts, but have decided that brussel sprouts are really too flavorful and heavy with this dish. We are considering either peas or spinach next time.

It was awfully dark by the time we ate, but Jeremy did his best with pictures anyhow.

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It isn’t just that…

The excuse I’ve been using for lack of knitting content is the bike. But it really isn’t all about the bike these days. I’ve been spending a ton of time on something I never imagined I would. Cooking. Yes, I can hear the collective gasp. It is such a far cry from, say, a year ago. A year ago I was lucky to get one decently home cooked meal in a week. Everything else was leftovers, quick snacky foods, and to a lesser extent eating out. But, at this point, situations in my life have conspired to make me into someone who cooks far more regularly.

I’d say this is a combination of events. You see, I’ve got a wonderful man in my life who loves to eat and at least acts like he loves to help in the kitchen. He takes an active role in meal planning as well as cooking and is always helping to think of what next addition to the meal we should try in order to make it even better than before. No running off and sitting in front of the TV while his woman cooks for this guy, he takes pleasure in the kitchen activities. For me, it has almost become relaxing. Coming home, focusing on the planned meal, pouring a couple glasses of wine and getting to work helps me remove the cares of the work day and wind down for the evening. At first I did a lot of instructing, but these days the roles are almost seamless, he just steps in where he is needed and gets to work. And the sharing of our days and the laughter is just the icing on the cake.

We have yet to have a meal failure. And while our successes are great, we also keep adding to the recipes we grew up with, improving on them and suiting them to our tastes. I’ve always had a great deal of insecurity when it comes to cooking. This has everything to do with having a mother who is a cooking genius. I never felt that I could compare, and where kitchen stuff is concerned, I just always felt like a bumbling fool. Now, however, with so much success in the kitchen and a man who tells me regularly just how good everything tastes, I’ve gained a fair bit of confidence, which just makes me want to cook more.

Now, all of this would already work toward ensuring that I’d cook a heck of a lot more than I had in the past, but there is another factor at play as well. Our very dear friends and the couple that we spend the most time with also enjoy cooking together. And we enjoy them. And because of this, we decided that the best way to get us together each week without it costing an exorbitant amount of money is to set aside one evening a week to cook together, all 4 of us. The fact is, all the same ways cooking relaxes me applies to this as well. Now instead of being with one other person who won’t judge if my meal fails, I am around 3 people, all actively participating in the cooking who won’t judge if the meal fails or if I’ve just had a bad day. They’ll cook with me, they’ll listen to me, I’ll hear about their days, and by the time the food is consumed, I am full, happy, and relaxed.

And so, because I have a lot less knitting content, and because there are almost always pictures taken of the food, I intend to post about food a bit more. Don’t expect the meals to be healthy, though they sometimes will be. Don’t expect them to be fancy, because I seriously doubt they will be. Don’t expect someone who makes a plate look like it does in a restaurant, because I don’t care about that, and don’t expect the portion sizes to be small. I am not even particularly interested in posting recipes, though if you were to really ask, I’d do so. Maybe. But I can’t commit to it. This is entirely unknown and uncharted territory for me!

First up is our version of boiled dinner. The boiled dinner I grew up on, which we called Ala Nana, was very basic. Onion, potatoes, green beans, and Kielbasa. You’ve got your food groups pretty well covered there, and the meal appeals to picky eaters like my brother and I were. (Some would argue still are!) When Jeremy and I started cooking this dinner, he thought to add carrots to it. I didn’t love this idea, but I went along with it. Turns out it is a fantastic addition. While growing up I think the green beans were generally frozen, I’ve been using fresh green beans. I also add a fair amount of garlic for no other reason than because I believe garlic belongs in just about everything. This dinner is quick and easy for a week night and is a consistent hit with us. Each time we make it, we are thrilled with our meal. However, the other night, we came by some thai chilis, and decided to add just two of them to the boiled dinner. It took the entire meal up a notch or two in the heat department, and way up in the flavor department. We could not have been more thrilled with the dinner, I don’t actually think there is anything we could do to improve it at this point. We also had brussel sprouts, something I will post a bit more about another day. But, really, we cannot get enough brussel sprouts. I do not think it is even possible.

 

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Winter Is Coming

And I lack a pair of hand knit gloves. I have one glove, but managed to lose the other on a bike ride last spring. Such a sad tale actually. I don’t think I’ll be using handknit gloves on bike rides anymore. But I still need a pair of gloves, so I am knitting a pair to match my swallowtail shawl. The pattern is called Vanalinn from A Gathering of Lace. I’ve had the yarn for these gloves sitting in my stash for ages, and I’ve even tried to knit these gloves before. I ended up ripping them out because I didn’t get around to actually knitting on them. This time the project is at work so it is going quite a bit better. Just being able to devote about 45 minutes a day to it makes it far less of a chore.

Short updates on other knitting news. The Cloud Chaser vest continues to sit in a pile in a corner waiting more yarn which is not quickly forthcoming.

My featherweight cardigan did see quite a bit of action this weekend. I am at a point where I could start the ribbing on the bottom of the cardigan at any point. Since I like a nice long sweater though, I have been avoiding beginning the ribbing, choosing instead to continue down the body of the sweater while the mood strikes. I am still spinning yarn for this. I have a bobbin and a half of singles for it, and am hoping to have 2 full bobbins to ply up shortly. This should, technically, give me all the yarn I need to finish the project.

My meadowlark vest is growing even though not overly quickly. I have been working on it and I’d say I am about halfway up the back of it.

I haven’t touched my trindle, so I’ve no new spindle spun yarn even though I have high hopes for more spinning time this weekend. While I’ll be done with the featherweight yarn shortly, I still have a bag full of corriedale fleece to finish. I had anticipated that I’d spin it differently, not laceweight. But, I love that laceweight with the white and silver so much, that I have decided to continue with the rest of the fleece in laceweight hoping for enough for a very large shawl once I am done.

I am anticipating a very large lace project soon, a faroese shawl. I’ve never knit one before, but I’ve got a cone of black laceweight burning a hole in my stash and I am ready to get to work. I ordered a “blond” needle set for this since the last time I knit with black laceweight I had a terrible time seeing my stitches. I’ve also decided to accent it with red beads, because I suppose if I am going to get involved in an insanely large lace project, I might as well go all out and bead it too. I am also hoping to potentially knit a wingspan shawl out of the sid fishious yarn I spun up on the trindle while on vacation.

I have NO IDEA what happened to my color affection shawl. I am not even certain I know where it is. Perhaps it is safer this way, as all that garter stitch can just go die in a fire.

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Transitioning

Well, it is official. I ran out of yarn for the cloud chaser vest. This was no huge surprise. I had hoped to pick up some leftover yarn from someone on Ravelry, but turns out there was only one other person with that particular yarn in her stash, and she’d given her leftovers away already. So, out of luck, I had to purchase more yarn. BMFA is coming off a sale at the moment and are a bit behind, so I don’t really expect to even get the yarn for the cloud chaser for at least 3 weeks. I’ll be devastated if I have to pull the entire collar off and alternate skeins, but that could be the case. That project is well due for a time out, so I put it away figuring I’d get back to it once the new yarn comes in.

That was quite a relief. I have since been able to enjoy knitting on both the featherweight cardigan and the meadowlark vest I started before I started the cloud chaser. Really there isn’t much new to see with the featherweight, but the meadowlark is looking fun. I am using an alpaca fingering weight yarn I got at my first stitches midwest trip. I don’t actually know just how much of it I have, as it didn’t have good labeling to it, but I have more than enough for this project for sure.

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Again with Awesome Friends

So, only a week after my awesome friends gave me a new scarf, it happened again! My friend Mary had been working on this amazing noro shawl. It was just gorgeous and soft and wonderful, I fell in love with it as she was knitting it. And again considered purchasing yarn for something similar. Once it was done, she complained that she couldn’t see herself wearing it. And I am pretty sure I complained louder about how I couldn’t understand that because it was SO VERY BEAUTIFUL. And apparently my loud complaint worked, even though I hadn’t intended for it to, as I ended up with a new shawl. Thanks Mary!

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