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emmy [AT] curious-notions {dot} net
May 2007
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triumphant

I have made, with my own two hands, from scratch:

bread in the oven

I really wish I had pictures of the trials I went through to get the bread to this point. There were several points at which I should have liked to be able to take pictures, but my hands were a bit full and Bear was living up to his moniker this weekend:

There was killing the mixer. (bread dough travels up mixer thingys to attack the part that has the motor. Not good.)

There was gluing my hands to the chopping board I had decided to spread the dough onto. (Really, when making bread, really do use a spoon and add flour while IN the bowl until it’s not gloppy and glue-y anymore, THEN spread it on the lightly floured surface. I cannot stress this enough.)

There was the oh, crap, I’m out of flour moment. (Really, you can’t use a bag that has around 6 cups of flour in it if you are making bread. Really. Go buy more flour first, ‘k?)

There was the constant can I stop kneading now? now? now? now? NOW???? Finally, after what felt like three hours, but was really probably only 20-30 minutes (the gluing of hands to the chopping board and not having enough flour ensured my arms were ready to fall off by the time I was sure that I wasn’t going to get any more smoothness or elasticity into the bread dough (who the hell writes instructions that say the dough should be ELASTIC??). I was kinda worried I’d killed the yeast or something awful by overkneading, but really, most of the 20-30 minutes wasn’t actually kneading, it was trying to add flour without getting bread dough stuck to every imaginable surface in the kitchen. My hands were claustrophobic and having panic attacks by the time I finally got most of the dough off.

Can you tell how excitable this whole process made me? Isn’t making bread supposed to be therapeutic or something?

But finally, I had bread.

bread

(I have no wire rack. Ok? The foil was covering the bread to keep it from over browning the last few minutes, so I flipped it over and used it to sit the bread down while it was cooling.)

Bear had to be beaten away to let the bread cool at least for a few minutes. But while I was beating him away, I asked him, “Why didn’t you come downstairs and help me? There were a couple moments there when I could have used a third hand.”

He looked me dead in the eye with a completely serious face. “It was too stressful.”

Who knew making bread was such a thrilling, nail-biting venture? Thank goodness it had a yummy ending.

The weekend was pretty great. I managed to accomplish some other good stuff. Not a single one included making a lightbox or getting a haircut, but I’m pretty damn pleased with the weekend.

I spindled some laceweight.

Laceweight singles

then plied it up

plied laceweight

(Crappy picture. I know. I’m sorry. Really, really, I am.) That’s about 46 yards of 27 wpi laceweight spindle spun. I plan on using the yarn as a template for spinning more of this on the wheel.

I also managed to clean the house, dirty the house, do laundry, read a few stories, and spin outside while the landlord’s played with their grandson and tried to keep him from sticking his hands on the wheel while it was spinning. (I would stop it every time he came close, but then they started getting upset like he was bothering me. He wasn’t bothering me, I loved entertaining him. I miss cousins at home. But he’s just learned to walk and was enjoying his freedom of roaming the rather spacious front porch we share.)

I thought I had finished haruha too, but the scarf is way shorter than I’d like it to be. I know it’ll stretch with blocking, but I kind of wanted it to be longer than the branching out scarf since it’s wider. So probably I’ll go back and unpick the bindoff and the three finishing rows and knit a few more inches with some of the yarn from the third and final ball I have of this handspun that I’ve knit branching out and haruha with. The last ball is the largest (at least the same size, if not bigger, than the amount of yarn it took to make the Branching Out scarf and haruha combined) and I’m thinking about knitting the La Dentelle Belle scarf with the last of it.

pictures and stories

So I have no pictures, because I was trying very hard to take pictures of some spindle spinning I’ve been doing. I was inspired by the Spun Stitches blog/KAL/SAL(?). I’ve loved watching the different people spin (in some cases learn to spin) on different spindles and wheels. Now, I know the last two scarves have both been knit from handspun, but I have this tiny light spindle and I have this unknown breed soft sproingy easily drafted white roving that I bought on ebay because the deal was just that good. So this weekend I’m bound and determined to make a lightbox and find a tripod and take some good pictures so I can share my spinning. It’s also been perfect for those moments when I need a break from the haruha scarf and I want to watch Bear play on his computer.

The other thing I’ve been up to lately that I want to share is listening to podcasts. Now, I’ve tried books on tape and generally it’s a failure because speech is just too slow. I can read oh so much faster. And I tried listening to Brenda Dayne’s Cast On podcast a long while back, but it just didn’t click. Well, except for Franklin Habit’s (this is a link to his blog, since his essays are scattered in a few of the Cast On podcasts) guest essays. I love love love those. Then the other day I was visiting Knitpicks because I needed some new needles and I saw they have a podcast now. And, on a whim, I listened to the first one. And I loved it. So I went back and tried Cast On again. I couldn’t figure out what it is about the Knitpicks podcast that I enjoyed so much that isn’t quite the same in Cast On. I love Brenda Dayne’s voice. I’m not sooo crazy about the music, but it isn’t bad music at all.

Then when I was looking forward to hearing about her sweater that it hit me. Knitpicks is all about someone telling you about themselves or their experiences and Brenda has a regular feature where she tells you about her adventure in making one of her sweaters. It’s her experience. Her story. And I love hearing those snippets. And gradually, I’ve just started to get used to her style and I’ve been enjoying the whole podcast and not skipping pieces like I was before. But I think it’s funny. What I love about podcasts is the same thing I love about blogs. I don’t mind downloading a podcast anymore than I mind visiting someone’s blog. I want to hear their stories, be it knitting stories or life stories. Their adventures. I mind tends to wander otherwise. Blogs are a little different, because somehow, to me, I’m more willing to read something than hear it.

But this has me thinking about my blog. Sometimes I think I achieve little stories, but I’m thinking most of the time I fall short. So in addition to trying to be less lazy about taking pictures, I’m going to try to figure out what I can do to create what I love. Stories.

Haruha and Nightshade

I’m completely and utterly enamored of the Haruha scarf. I realized I neglected in the last post to say where I got the pattern from. Go clicky the link. I was vastly amused when I realize that part of what enchants me is also enchanting Anne with the bee shawl she’s designing. I can’t get a good picture of the wavy columns on my scarf. I think I’ll pin it out this weekend to show. Actually, on the scarf, because there are two sets of “grass” or “leaves” or whatever this looks like you to, I get this middle “leaf” instead of a wavy column around the bees like Anne does. If you want to see what I’m talking about her on her blog, scroll down until you see 5th picture. See the bees in the middle and the wavy grass on the sides? See the column of wavy stitches next to the bees?

Haruha (lightly stretched)

See in that picture (please ignore the jeans, I snapped that picture in a hurry so I could try to show this) in the middle how there’s the open stitches? And I know you can’t see the sides, but you do get wavy stitches at the sides. It keeps me entertained while I’m knitting the scarf. Sometimes I’m easily amused.

Haruha bumps Haruha dips

Other things that I love about this scarf? I love the texture while it’s unblocked from the back and the front. I’m pretty sure I’m actually going to miss this scarf when it’s gone. But I have plans. I’m not letting myself think about them too hard, because once I’m finally done with this I’m not sure what’s going to be calling my name the loudest, but I do have plans with this stitch pattern for myself.

I also got the May Fiber of the Month from Spunky Eclectic (aka Boogie Knits aka Amy).

May FOTM

The colors appeal to me immensely. But the fiber is Coopworth, which is a bit too rough for next to sensitive skin wear. Which probably means socks, but the idea of not being able to wear these colors so that I can see them is kinda making me want to cry.

Bunched Nightshade

I have a ton of stuff to spin though, so I have time to think about it. I might just say to hell with it and make sock yarn anyway. I don’t wear shoes in the lab, so I’ll be able to see my socks then.

Spread Nightshade

Can y’all see how gorgeous those colors are? Maybe not. I’ve also been thinking about photos. As this post clearly shows, I’ve been pretty lazy in taking the photos, which means the photo quality kinda sucks. To fix this I’m thinking about making a lightbox and buying a tiny cheap tripod. Hopefully soon the quality of the photos around here should improve.

upkeep

So the blog suffered a bit when I upgraded wordpress, but it should be back to normal now. Let me know if it isn’t.

orenburg

So y’all remember this right? Remember the growling when suddenly I stopped being able to make forward progress?

timeout

See that? That is the moment when I realized I was actually knitting backwards. I kept ripping and knitting and somehow I was making enough mistakes that the ripping was more than the knitting. So I talked to my friend Linda and she gave me permission to give up on it.

new potential

So I did.

haruha

And now I have this (this picture is a bit old, I’ll show you how far I’ve gotten tomorrow. Much progress has been made.)

Actually, that picture makes me pretty excited about how much progress I’ve made. Yesterday kinda sucked. I toasted my linux partition on my work computer and if I’d known better, just had that little more experience, I could have saved it. But instead I made it worse. My linux guru friend came over after his work day was over and spent a little while showing me what I should have done, backing up as much of my files as we could save and getting me started on the reinstall. New thing I learned? Don’t do kernel updates unless you absolutely must and when you do, make sure you know how to boot from the grub command line and how to edit the grub.conf file. Thankfully the W1ndows partition (it has other people’s work on it) was safe. Oh and make sure you have a boot disk. Oh and if you decide to make banana nut bread, make sure you have eggs first.