Archive for the 'Love it!' Category

Ivan Hat

I mentioned a while back that our fiber mill had finally sent us the spun yarn from Ivan’s first shearing (well, aside from my awful attempt). A couple months ago I used some of it to knit hubby a cabled hat:

The pattern is Knotty but Nice, which hubby chose himself. I used 2 strands of the (sport-ish weight) yarn held together and went up 2 needle sizes for the cable portion to avoid the tightness others had mentioned. The project is Raveled here. It fits pretty well, although I think I might go up 3 needle sizes for the cable section if I knit this again.

In other news, we very recently got back our spun yarn from BOTH Ivan and Hamlet’s Fall 2010 fleeces from the wonderful folks at Central Virginia Fiber Mill. Both turned out very well – I’ll post photos soon!

I’m back! Sort of.

Hello, dear readers! Huge apologies for my long absence – life has been going at break-neck speed, and I’m afraid that pace will continue for the next year or two. I returned from Norway in early January and am back at grad school in the States. I should graduate by May 2012, so this is the home stretch! Unfortunately, that means I have less free time for knitting & crafting. I’ll continue to update this blog when I have something to say / share, but I’m afraid my posts will be infrequent until graduation happens. After that I’ll devote loads of time to my crafty side – I hope you’ll bear with me in the mean time!

One of the few projects I managed to finish while in Norway (though I started tons), was the Simple Yet Effective cowl in Handmaiden 4-ply cashmere, which I purchased while visiting my friend Meghan in London last November. It’s an understatement to say that this is the softest thing I’ve ever worn around my neck. And so warm!

The colors remind me of the sunsets in Tucson. I went to college there and will always have a spot in my heart for it…but I digress. Here are a few cowl-wearing action shots from this winter:

Keeping me warm and stylish on a particularly cold walk to work in Norway.

Alright, that’s it for now. I hope you’ve had a wonderful start to 2011 – crafting and otherwise!

Greetings from Norway

Hello, dear readers! I’m sorry I’ve been away for so long without an explanation. I’ve just started a 5-month research collaboration in Trondheim, Norway. I had been meaning to post before I left the States, but wrapping things up / packing dominated the last few weeks at home. I’ve just now gotten myself settled in Norway (with Lucas’s help) and am on my own (he flew back last week).

After I finished the Hex Blanket, I made a couple small things but didn’t have the time to devote to a more involved project. Now that things have settled down, I’ve just cast on a sweater that I’ll be posting about once it develops a bit more. In the mean time, I wanted to share photos of the two yarn shops I’ve checked out in Trondheim (I’m told there are several more).

Jens Hoff is located in the Torg (or Mall):

It’s packed with all manner of DROPS yarn & patterns, as well as ready-made Norwegian knits.

Garnhuset (Yarn House) is my favorite of the two because of their amazing selection:

They carry DROPS in addition to yarn from several other Norwegian/European companies. Amazing selection!

I also want to quickly share photos of Norwegian Knits on display at the National Museum of Decorative Arts in Trondheim. Unfortunately, the descriptions were in Norwegian (which I don’t understand), so I can’t provide further information on the pieces.

I really enjoyed the dress immediately above this text. Such an interesting use of felting / texture. I wonder if it was felted, then sewn, or knit then felted. I can’t identify any seams, but it’s not the best photo. Can you imagine knitting a dress to be felted??

I also had the good fortune of meeting two Americans and one Norwegian through Ravelry this past week. They are lovely women and I hope to spend much more time knitting / hanging out with them in the months to come!

New Stash Yarn

Juniper Moon Farm is one of my very favorite fiber farms. I’ve been following their blog (and falling in love with their sheep & goats) since a knitting buddy brought them to my attention – right around the time they moved to Central Virginia from Martha’s Vineyard.

I’ve been drooling over their yarn for quite some time and finally took the plunge. Last weekend, two lovely skeins of sock yarn (100% wool) in the “Persuasion” colorway were delivered.

I can’t wait to knit them up! I’m trying to decide between this lightweight cardigan (raveled) and Romi Hill’s Merope shawl (raveled) – two very different items. Stay tuned…

Blackberry Jam

Hubby has been growing amazing fruits and veggies in his garden this Summer. He nearly doubled its size from last year and has added many new varieties and types of plants.

Let’s be honest, I was not the most helpful gardener last year (I have pretty heinous allergies), so this year I decided to trade in my gloves for the responsibility of post-harvest management. Freezing, canning, cooking, etc. While I can definitely handle freezing and cooking, canning has been looming. I appreciate the idea of canning, but after hearing horror stores of molten fruit / veggies boiling over onto the stove – well, let’s say I’ve been apprehensive about trying it.

My family visited us at the farm last weekend, and their trip coincided with our blackberry bushes (brambles?) bursting with ripe berries. My siblings and hubby set to work picking, while my Mom (also a canning novice) and I read Blackberry Jam recipes. My mother-in-law (and resident farmer) came across this book from way-back-when and passed it along to me:

[Photo borrowed from eCrater.]

This is a small fraction of the berries they brought in for us:

We used a little less than half of the yield for a batch of Jam (we froze the rest). The recipe called for 9 cups of mashed berries and 6 cups of sugar boiled together until the temp reached 8 deg F past the boiling point of water (which varies with altitude).

It took quite a while to reach the correct temperature, but then again I was too nervous about boiling over to increase the flame beyond medium-low. Meanwhile, we filled the sink with hot water and placed our canning jars inside to avoid thermal shock (and breakage) when filled will boiling Jam.

Once the fruit finally reached temperature, I put on big silicon gloves and filled the jars, while Mom wiped off the threading and added tops. Then we placed them in a LARGE pot (which Lucas uses for brewing beer) partially filled with hot, but not boiling, water. We had put a kettle on just before filling the jars, so once they were full and in the large pot, we added boiling water over top, such that the water level was 2 inches above the jars. It took 2 kettles to accomplish this! Then, we brought the large pot to a rolling boil and waited 15 min.

Boiling the jars causes the air inside to expand and escape. As they cool to room temperature, the seals on the jar lids prevent air from getting back inside, creating a vacuum – and lasting freshness. I placed the jars on a baking rack to cool, and within the first 30 min you could hear the lids ping as they caved in due to the vacuum pressure. Success!

Please excuse my ultra-cluttered counter top, dear readers!

Ultimately, we made 8 half-pint jars of Jam. There was 1/2 cup or so left over that we stored in the fridge…after we all stuck a finger in to taste, that is. YUM! Quite a positive, not-at-all-scary experience, and some good quality bonding time with Mom!

I’ve definitely caught the canning bug. Perhaps pickles next?

Finished Hexacomb Cardi

Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans out there! I hope you’ve got something fun planned this weekend (yes, knitting definitely qualifies!). I’m celebrating the holiday weekend with a new finished object – my hexacomb cardigan, which I have written about previously here and here. It had been languishing for a couple months with only half a sleeve to go (totally embarrassing), but I finally finished it and spent yesterday morning sewing on the sleeves and buttons. I’m very pleased with the result – and thrilled to have finished my very first cardigan!

Looks a bit lopsided in the photo above. This is due to poor adjustment…as in, I forgot to look in the mirror before I went outside. The sweater is actually quite symmetrical 🙂

Thanks to my wonderful husband for taking the photos! [The project is raveled here.]

UPDATE: Looking at the sleeves again, I should really block this. There are a couple wonky stitches glaring at me…nothing a little steam can’t fix!


Hello, dear readers. I have been working on a post to explain my long absence from the blog, but I must interrupt with some breaking news. I won the This American Life App giveaway at not martha! I occasionally enter these giveaways, but have never had the good fortune of winning – until now. And a TAL item, too. What luck! A huge thanks to Megan of not martha, whose website I love – lots of wonderful tutorials, recipes, and general awesomeness.

I’ve been a huge TAL fan for years. In my opinion, it’s hands down the best radio show out there – and I listen to a lot of NPR! I download the podcast every Monday morning and let Ira Glass & the TAL crew entertain me on the long drive from the farm to grad school. If you have never listened to This American Life, I highly recommend it. You can download the weekly podcast from iTunes or listen on your local public radio station each weekend. If you like TAL and listen to it regularly, I also highly recommend you make a donation ($5, $10, anything) to keep them in business. Happy listening!

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I love hearing from my readers! Feel free to contact me via comments or at this address:

rambleonrosemary [at] gmail [dot] com

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