Post-it Notes

I have been trying a new thing where I write down the first couple of things I want to accomplish in a day on a post-it note and attaching that note to my phone. The idea is that if I have a note of 3-5 things already laid out then I don’t need to unlock my phone and I can get to doing things. I lose so much time to getting distracted by things on my phone that, even if this saves me a little time, it helps.

I’ve only been doing it for a week, but I do think it is helping. I look forward to playing with the idea and thinking about different types of tasks. It will be interesting to see if it is more or less helpful if the items are more personal or more professional.

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Trying to work through it

I’ve been working on my mitts. I had hoped to at least be half finished by this point, but I’ve done something to my hand and the thumb muscles hurt. I am, of course, still excited about starting an MKAL this week but I’m worried that I won’t be able to knit as much with an injury. But, look at this color pooling. This yarn is so beautiful.

This is And be brazen about it, for grace’s sake! by Fiber Dyet

Not being able to use my thumb like I normally do is pretty rough. Thumbs are pretty useful. But, I’m working through it. I’m am winding up my yarn and waiting, ready to try and get my knit on. I’m so excited about the colors. It makes me think of Fall, looking at these colors. I can’t wait to see what I’ll be knitting.

Sweet Georgia Yarns Rowle set for the Tullameen Mystery Knit-Along. Photo from Sweet Georgia Yarns.

The night before an MKAL. Ahh! It’s like Christmas!

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Free to a good home

A tomato

At the beginning of the summer, I was working at the library. There were plants, tomato and pepper plants (green? jalapeño? We don’t know!), that were free to a good home. I picked up two tomato plants and a pepper plant. They were smaller than the plants that I bought at the nursery, and I didn’t think that they’d bloom or fruit. But, it turned out they were just taking their time.

We’ve got three tomatoes coming in, one on one plant and two on the other. I’m so happy these plants are doing their thing on their own schedule. It’s like the plants are saying, “Patience,” and “Take your time.” These are two thing I can never hear enough.

Two Tomatoes

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Garden Goods

I have joked in the past that gardening and canning are some of my zombocalypse skills. Should the worst come to pass, I, theoretically, will still be able to feed myself and a few others. Of course, that widely exaggerates my skills. I don’t collect seeds and start from seedlings. I grow a selection of plants that I am interested in and not necessarily plants that’ll get someone the full complement of vitamins, minerals, etc. that a person might need. Even though I have a collection of recipes in a notebook that I have tried and made notes on, I almost never cook out of that book. I seem to prefer checking my pinterest boards. (Also, that notebook is in storage right now, so I couldn’t even update it if I wanted to without having to go through the hassle of retrieving it from an unknown box in my storage pod.) But, it is a nice story to tell myself. Especially after weeks in which I both foraged, harvested and canned.

First, it turns out there are elderberries growing wild at my parents’ house. What a delight to discover that. So, I collected the tiny berries (they’re little plants, so they have little berries) and then I made a syrup. I’m pretty proud of that.

Cooper helped destem the berries

Then, I added some farmers’ market cayenne peppers to my own harvest along with some ground mustard seed, and garlic to a brine. I am currently fermenting my own hot sauce. So. Excited. About. That!

It looks horrifying but it will be delicious. Unless you don’t like spicy things, in which case it’ll be horrifying

Finally, I tried again to make cherry chili jam. This time with a jalapeño. (I had previously tried using a single cayenne pepper. It did not have the kick I was hoping for.) You can definitely taste the chili this time around. I had it with butter on an english muffin earlier. It was so good. Just what the doctor ordered. (The doctor being me. I’m a doctor. Wow, that still hasn’t snuck in.)

Cherry, jalapeño, and lime jam with butter on an english muffin

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But now what?

Last week, I discussed a project that I have been working on that I was thinking about unraveling and starting again. As I wrote the post, I realized that was the right thing to do. It’s beautiful wool and its a beautiful pattern and I owe both of them to do them right. This has left me projectless. Do I start the same project again? But, what about everything already queued up to do this year? Including The Tullameen Mystery Knit-along by Sweet Georgia which begins next week. So, I have a week to start a project that’ll hopefully be finished by the time I start the MKAL so that it doesn’t languish on my needles while I try to keep up with the mystery piece.

Ideally, this new knit should also either involve yarn that I purchased or spun in July and a pattern I already have. Matching yarns and patterns is sometimes harder than you’d think. Plus, I’d really like to knit a shawl. But, I don’t have time to finish a shawl this week and I’ll be starting a shawl next week. So, I cycled through scarves, then hats. I finally landed on mitts.

I’ve had the pattern for Liliom Mitts since the days of the Badass Women’s Yarn Club (which, thankfully, wasn’t that long ago. Only 2016. I was worried it was 2013.) I’m using some of the yarn that I bought from the Tits Out Collective dyers. It isn’t the dk weight that the pattern calls for, but I think I can make it work. I’m making a bigger size than I normally would have. I think they’ll be a beautiful pair of mitts for fall.

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Consistently a Day Late

I meant for this post to be a WIP Wednesday, but somehow Wednesday got away from me. I’ve picked up this old WIP that I found when I was cleaning out my storage unit at the end of June. It was exciting to find the project. I like both the pattern and the wool. The wool is natural, undyed Shetland wool that was spun into a lace weight two-ply. My friend Joy Killjoy, the ’52 Spitfire spun it for me. The pattern is Dark Passenger by Oblivious Knits.

I’m not sure about finishing this project, though. There is a hole near the top that will have to be darned, so it’ll always be a little off. And, I think I misread the pattern at some point earlier on in the project, so I don’t think when its blocked it will look quite right.

I’ve finished another repeat on it, but I’m still unsure. What would you do in this situation? Carry on or frog it and try again?

Dark Passenger by Oblvious Knits in handspun Shetland wool

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Drafting

One of the best and worst things about long term projects is that you revisit the same materials over and over again. It is the best because when you revisit something, you get a chance to see it differently. This allows you to gain new insights and make new progress. But, it is the worst because you see everything that you did wrong or would do differently and you know that, for some of it, there is nothing you can do about it.

I’ve been working on a few drafts of things and it has been both heartwarming and cringeworthy. It has been heartwarming because I am enormously proud of the work I’ve done in the past three years. Some of it is undeniably the best work I’ve ever done. And, it is cringeworthy because even as the best work I’ve ever done, it is still flawed in places. That’s hard because I don’t just want it to be my best work, I want it to be recognized by others as good work. Also, part of me wants it to be perfect. Of course, research and writing are never perfect and I can’t let this desire get in my way of completing that.

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Still in Bloom

It is very hard to share space with people. Especially when you share space with people who do not communicate the way you do. I’ve run up against the wall a few times this week trying to accommodate other people’s communication styles and other needs and feeling like I’m not getting that back in return. Mercury Retrograde, amirite? It is hard to feel like you said what you needed as clearly as possible to find out someone else wasn’t listening. Or, to say something, make note of having said it, only to be told later by the person you were speaking to, “You didn’t say that.” But, while that has been a frustration this week, I have had the comfort of sharing space with my plants and my cat Cooper. It has been a good week for working and reading outside and I’ve really enjoyed being in the open space.

Summer skies always astound me. The sky really is that blue. It blows my mind

My plants have been doing really well. We’ve gotten some rain and some heat and I think that’s doing them good. I’ve gotten more tomatoes off of my grape tomato plant and there is a new tomato coming in on one of the other tomato plants.

This tomato plant was the smallest tomato plant and the slowest to really start growing. I am so proud of its work


The cayenne pepper plant is still doing well and one of the other pepper plants is starting to fruit.

I got this pepper plant from the library. The librarian said, “Free to a good home. It’s… maybe jalapeño?” So, we’ll see!

The third one is starting to bloom.

Gypsy Pepper in bloom

I am happy to say that the eggplant is also flowering again. I don’t know if I’ll get another eggplant, but the blooms are still lovely to see.

I was trying to be artsy with the picture. I think I only succeeded in crowding the frame with leaves


I have my last deadline of graduate school this week; the revisions to my dissertation are due to the graduate school. It is nice to be able to spend time working on those revisions in the garden.

Cooper, supervising my work over my shoulder. Also, if we start a band, this might be our album cover

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I Like Blending My Own Tea

Another lifetime ago, I thought I would take an introductory course on herbalism and how to be a herbalist. It was part of a series that was a training course. It was right after I had finished my Masters. I was looking for jobs and applying to PhD programs and because I can’t very well help myself when it comes to learning, I thought I’d try it out. It was something that I was interested in; I very much like plants. My then fiancé was working toward a film certification; that was his dream. He didn’t have the money for a screen-writing course. Herbalism was an interest, not a dream, so he took his course and I didn’t. I don’t regret that decision. He and I had very different upbringings and I was sure there would be another opportunity for me to explore this interest. I’d take the class another time. But, he scraped by for everything and it was nice to be able to give him that without him having to break himself trying to get the money for the class. For him, being able to pursue his dream was… well, a dream come true. I don’t think it was something he had really thought was possible. I’m not glad about a lot things about that relationship, but I am glad that I was able to give him that.

Anyway, now I’ve finished my PhD and I’m looking for jobs and thinking about what to do next. The Herbal Academy has announced its offering a mini-course on becoming a herbalist for free. It would seem that it is time.

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Tour de Fleece Wrap Up

What a ride! It was such a delight to get back to spinning and to also watch the first Welsh man to win the Yellow Jersey! Well done, Geraint Thomas!

I went in to this tour hoping to remind myself what I loved about spinning my own yarn and to spin up some things that I’ve had plans for. I was reminded about how much I love spinning, I was less successful at picking up projects I already had outlined plans for. I am so easily distracted. Especially when it comes to roving.

I started spinning some roving that I have been in the middle of for…a year. I can’t believe I didn’t spin anything the first half of 2018 and the last few months of 2017. It was a lovely blue, a tropical sea blue, with greens throughout.

The blues and greens of a tropical sea

This was then either spun, Andean style, back on itself or was plied with some natural brown Shetland wool.

And, then, instead starting in on one of the things I had a plan for, I picked up something that I’ve had for awhile that just looked so lovely, I couldn’t help myself. I’m happy with how it turned out, though.

This is the colorway Briar Rose from the Critter Ranch.

After that, I moved onto some mystery roving. I remember buying this fiber at the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival. The idea that they had this roving, all ready to go, the lone leftover or lost bit for a batch that was processed, just tickled me. Mystery fiber. Unknown cross breed. Sign me up. I didn’t have a plan for it when I started, but I do now. It is destined to be knit into something beautiful.

IT IS UNKNOWN. A MYSTERY.

I didn’t finish the mystery fiber. In the last week, I switched it up and started on some goat wool that is dyed to be a gradient and seamlessly transition from one color into another. I have ideas for what I want to knit this up into.

The purples are killing me

All in all, I’m pretty proud of all the things I’ve spun this month. I have three new yarns and two in progress. I’d say this is a good tour.

Three recently spun yarns, two yarns on a bobbin, a cat and a cup of tea!

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