Monday, January 16, 2012

Righteous Real Ale.... the explosion

A new batch of beer was created yesterday, just as we are finishing up the Christmas beer. Fermentation started quickly and was quite vigorous. I expressed a bit of concern about the quantity of hops that could be seen at the top of the carboy but Mr. Wildknits seemed to think all would be fine.

I woke up this morning to find this:

The power of fermentation...

Hops on the kitchen ceiling.

Back in it's container, having cleared its throat of hops.

We slept through it. Which is a bit surprising as we have had a similar explosion in the past and it is quite loud. We live in a small house (some would say tiny at 800 sq ft) so it seems reasonable that we would have heard this.

Some of the hops have been cleaned up, the carboy was put back to rights and fermentation is progressing - still quite vigorously.

There is rumor a bock may be brewed up for this spring....

Monday, January 02, 2012

A Different Sort of Wrap-up of 2011

I think my audience is split between runners and knitters - not sure which dominates, but would guess runners at this point. So, apologies to you folks as I post about some of the knitting I have accomplished in 2011.

I believe every infant born in a northern climate should have some woolies to wear. So I started 2011 off by knitting a Baby Surprise Jacket for some dear friends expecting their first child.
Then there was the experiment in knitting toe socks, from the "toe" up. I heavily modified a pattern I found on line for these socks.
Somewhere in the midst of all this knitting I did get out for some runs, and soccer, and in the process ended up with a stress fracture of my right fibula (which I was in denial about for far too long, which just delayed healing). This did mean I had more time for knitting which worked out well as by late April I was inspired to embark on a rather large project.
I finished this shawl/stole with just the amount of yarn leftover pictured above. I love being able to do this! Once done and blocked I used this as a reason to take a little road trip via motorbike to deliver the shawl in Ely and then visit friends in Embarrass, MN.
In between all the knitting I managed to volunteer at a race or two (if you can't run, or even if you can, you should volunteer!) and to co-host my youngest daughters wedding (at a state park, in July... the shutdown ended two days before her wedding date - whew!!!). As I had chosen a sleeveless dress for the wedding I thought it would be prudent to finish up a shawl I had knit for myself, just in case the weather was cool.
Here it is blocking (being stretched to it's final dimensions). Turns out I was right to have gotten this done as the day of the wedding we woke to storms and temps in the upper 50's/low 60's.

L to R: Miss G; Miss S, Son-in-law E, Mr. Wildknits, Wildknits

In the midst of wedding preparations I was also working furiously on another baby sweater for a co-worker (nothing like working in worsted weight wool in July and August). It accompanied me on a camping trip to the Gunflint trail
and was finally finished a month or so after the babes arrival, but in plenty of time for colder weather.

I also managed to sneak a trip to Isle Royale in this fall. And, as always, my knitting came along. I find socks or hats to be perfect island knitting. This pair was cast on right before the trip and finished off shortly after - with only a yard of yarn to spare!
In October it was time to get to work on a hat to donate to the NMTC trail series (I also threw in another pair of socks somewhere in here). I had picked up a lovely skein of yarn dyed in Duluth and whipped up my basic hat pattern.

I went to a talk at the studio where this yarn was dyed and managed to come home with 5 skeins of yarn. Something about "buy 4, get one free" and yarn fumes overcame me I guess. With so much fun yarn around (as if I don't have a stash that takes up two plastic totes plus overflow) I found myself designing like crazy and knitting was flying off my needles. First a scarf in a silk/merino blend; seen here in the initial pattern writing process:

and here after blocking

Little Arrowhead Lace Scarf

Then a hat from a pattern I had written several years previously and have always wanted to reknit. This turned out to be a study in color, and how what may look like high contrast yarns in the skein may not turn out to be so once knit up. Still, though the pattern is hard to discern, I really like the hat. It is also a silk/merino blend and quite warm.
In late November I was "commissioned" to knit a shawl for a friend and co-worker for Christmas. Initially I wasn't sure it would be possible, but with the right yarn and some serious seat time I was able to finish it in just over a week.

Then it was back to another scarf I was working on, this one in a fingering weight merino.
Ploughed Acre Scarf

I finished that just before Christmas and cast-on for a pair of socks in a colorway that, it turns out, just wasn't quite what the recipient was looking for.
I ripped those out and, in desperation for a way to use that yarn, searched through my pattern library and found a hat I had been meaning to knit for years.
In process, about 2/3 completed, worked from the top down. Cross-Country Chullo

I spent New Years' Eve blocking the two scarves in order to finish them before 2012 and also working on the hat which has me intrigued (I am a sucker for colorwork, it is right up there with lace as endlessly intriguing to me). Today I took advantage of the sun to take pictures of the scarves and hat before heading off to meet friends for a late lunch.

OTC (obligatory training content):

I am back to running regularly with no, apparent, ill effects from this years early season injury. I managed to get to 1,000 miles this year and celebrated that milestone with a friend on a lovely Christmas Eve run on the SHT in Duluth.

See you on the trail in 2012!!!