Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Aude Lang Syne

2008 is almost over. It was a mixed year for me--lots of good, peppered with a fair amount of bad (or at least difficult to deal with).

The Good:
  • I finally (finally!) finished my dissertation and managed to graduate.
  • As a result, I am now gainfully employed full-time. With dental, even!
  • And I'm teaching a course on Jane Austen this summer, also as a result.
  • G got several excellent grants which enable him to do his dissertation research (see, also, "The Bad").
  • I have a new nephew, who is fat and funny and smiley and completely adorable.
  • Nephew-the-elder is also funny and smiley and completely adorable, albeit in a much skinnier fashion.
  • Nephew-the-elder continues his love of hand-knit socks.
  • My friends and family enjoy (mostly) good health and happiness.
  • There has been lots of knitting.
  • I got to go to Poland where I fed the birds (and squirrels) and see the salt mine.
The Bad:
  • G's grants required him to spend the fall semester in Poland.
  • Miscarriage #3, right before said trip to Poland.
  • Too much time apart from G, which makes me sort of blah about everything.
But on the whole, more good than bad.

On the knitting front, this year I finished:
  • 1 sweater (Ramona)
  • 6 pairs of socks (4 of them for nephew-the-elder)
  • 1 baby blanket
  • 1 pair of Fetchings
  • 1 cowl
  • 2 hats
  • 3 Elefantes
  • 8 lace projects, including my favorite: Madli's Shawl
Of course, there were any number of false starts, as well, but I'm not counting them.

We had a bit of a snow storm today, so our New Year's Eve plans are lots of hors d'oevres from Trader Joe's, along with a couple of movies--I'm thinking Iron Man to start. Of course, that's our plan every New Year's Eve, so the storm really didn't change much. :)

Happy New Year's to everyone--I hope 2009 will be a wonderful year for everyone.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

12 days

It's not quite time for the 12 days of Christmas to start, but a friend sent me to this:

Grading is moving a pace. 32 down, 22 to go. And the biggest reason they're not done is that I'm goofing off on YouTube.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

grading jail

54 out of 56 students turned in their final portfolios yesterday. I wasn't really expecting the last two, as they've both fallen (yikes. I hit post with a sentence that read "they've both falled off the face of the earth. and they let me teach in the English dept.) off the face of the earth (or at least campus) as far as I can tell.

So today and tomorrow (and hopefully not Friday) I am in grading jail.

Which isn't as bad as it sounds, as
  • I'm only reading final reflections
  • Which are letters to me
  • Which makes them easy to read
  • And often full of entertaining observations on their (sometimes perceived) progress
  • Excel figures out my grades for me
  • Which means that the only maths I need to do anymore is for knitting
  • Which is more fun than the maths for grade figuring.
I should really get started, though, since even if it's not as bad as it sounds, I still have to do it.

Is it sad that I'd rather clean the bathroom?

I'm holding out several carrots for myself, including knitting and cookie baking. I have in fact finished the knitting portion of a Thorpe hat I'm making for my dad, although I cannot for the life of me locate one of the seven or eight yarn needles I know are somewhere in this apartment. I lost the last one in Poland, so I have a toe to graft on a pair of socks, as well.

And pictures to post, except G has confirmed that the camera cord abandoned ship and stayed in Poland with him, so I can't actually get said pictures out of the camera for another ten days.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Poland, part 3: Christmas in Krakow

Krakow is a charming city--fairly compact with a lovely old town. We walked all over, on Friday, and the weather was perfect. I should have taken more photos--we went to the Old Synagogue, for instance, which holds a wonderful museum, but it was starting to get dark (night falls even earlier there than it does here!) and I didn't take any pictures.

Earlier that day we went to Wawel, however, and I got this picture of Wawel Cathedral:

No photos of the dragon, alas, as the dragon's cave was closed for the winter.

That evening was the first night of the Krakow Christmas Village--maybe 100 stalls of ornaments, gifts, and food. G took a few pictures--this one give you a sense of how it looked

And this is a close-up of one of the Christmas stalls. I bought a glass ornament for my mom (not from here--a stall in the next aisle had the exact same one, only for 5 zloty less!). But I love the picture--it almost looks like a Christmas card to me!

I'd show you pictures of what I bought, and the knitting I did (almost two whole socks--albeit not matching socks, as it was the second sock of one pair and the first of a different pair), but I can't for the life of me find the cable to connect the camera to the computer. I've looked all over, and I'm afraid it might still be in Poland! Thank goodness there are less than 12 days left until G is home.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Poland, part 2: Salt Mines

The last time G was in Poland, he spent six weeks in Krakow taking language classes. One of the field trips he took was to the Wieliczka Salt Mine, which is located about 20 minutes outside of town.

Ever since he came home with pictures, I've wanted to go--both to Krakow and to see the Salt Mines. So on Thursday (Happy Thanksgiving!), we got up insanely early (4:30 a.m.) in order to catch the 6:05 express train to Krakow. We arrived in Krakow 3 hours later and found our hotel (a quite lovely Holiday Inn only a few minutes walk from the main market square), where they actually let us check in at 9:30 in the morning.

From there, we made our way to the Salt Mines.

(puts on tour guide voice)

The Wieliczka Salt Mines is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It's been in operation for over 900 years, although now it only produces small quantities of salt via evaporation, rather than actual mining. There are over 200 km of passages in the mine, with over 2000 caverns, and it's been visited by tourists for most of its existence.

Somewhere along the line (I suspect a real tour guide would know when this happened, rather than going with a vague "somewhere along the line"), the miners started carving statues and things into the rock salt.

The current tourist route starts 64 meters under the surfaces, and ends 135 m below; it follows about 2 km of the passages. The route includes St. Kinga's Chapel:

All carved out of salt, my friends. (G tried to convince me to lick the wall to see if it tasted salty, but I declined.) You can get married here (there's a restaurant 120 m. down for the reception), and they have concerts (the acoustics rock).

There's a salty John Paul II:

And salty chandeliers:

There are also salty dwarfs along the way:

We took the tour in Polish, so I'm a little fuzzy on some of the details, but it was an unbelievably neat place. And the ride up on the elevator at the end is worthy of a theme park!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Poland, part 1: Feed the birds, tuppence a bag

I'm back from my trip to Poland. We crammed so much in that I'm going to try and split it up a bit. Especially since I put off all the grading I would normally do over the break to this week, so I'm grading frantically. I've told myself I don't have to start until 8:00 this morning, but I'm up early (the advantages of jet lag coming back from Europe!), so I'm putting up some pictures.

The trip over to Poland was fine--I left for the airport after my classes, and flew Northwest through Amsterdam, with only a short layover. The flight was quite pleasant--window seat, individual screens on the backs of the seats (I watched Dark Knight, which I hadn't seen, and thought was quite good.) And the hubby was waiting in Warsaw--his was the first face I saw when I walked out of customs.

We took a taxi back to the apartment he's renting, which is a nice flat, even if it is a fifth-floor walk-up. (Stairs were a running theme in this trip, as we managed to hit both the highest and lowest points in the Krakow area within 24 hours.)

I managed to stay up until almost 7 pm local time--I don't sleep well on planes, so hadn't slept the night before. (On a side note: has anyone else noticed how flights east and interrogation tactics are very similar? Meals served at irregular intervals--we had a snack, dinner, and breakfast all in the course of 6 hours; lights turned on and off--it's evening! it's night! it's morning! all, again, in those 6 hours. Very disorienting!)

The next day we had a lazy morning--G went to get ponchkis, which are basically jelly donuts, only so much better. And then we walked over to the Royal Baths (Lazienki Park) to see the red squirrels:

Cute little guy, isn't he? They have a Pavlovian response to people--when they hear someone coming, they sit up, look hopefully in your direction, and wait. If you crouch down with your hand out, they'll spring over to see what it is.

They are not, however, very patient (or very bright--they get confused very easily and have the attention span of a goldfish). If you stand up to get more seeds, this is likely to happen:

Red squirrel attack! They climb onto you, looking for seeds. They're fast, though, so when G tried to take a picture, he focused on his boot. But you can see the furry ears and the eye, if you look closely.

The park is also filled with birds, including a ton of chickadees:

Who, while a bit more timid than the squirrels, will also eat out of your hands:

Unbelievably cool. So cool, in fact, I made G buy more seeds and go back again the next day.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Longwood weekend

I teach on a Tuesday Friday schedule, which means that normally, holidays don't affect my schedule. President's Day, Memorial Day, Patriot's Day--classes canceled on a Monday mean my week goes on as normal.

But this year, Veteran's Day fell on a Tuesday, which means that I had six days in a row with no classes. Since da honey is in Poland, I went down to NJ to hang with the parents. We took a trip, starting with a visit to my great aunt and uncle (she'll be 90 next month, he'll be 91 in January, they'll celebrate 70 years of marriage in May, and they're both totally together and even spry! I want to be them when I get old.) And then we went down to one of my favorite places: Longwood Gardens.

Where they have a new exhibit of very cool treehouses:
Beautiful chrysanthemum displays:
Purty glass gourds:
A single mum plant with 484 blooms (which is a Longwood record, although not a world record; they're using a Japanese technique called "thousand bloom," and sometimes they manage to get that many!):

The orchid room (my favorite permanent part of the conservatory):

And a new children's garden, filled with whimsical statues and water fountains:

We also hit several outlets, and I managed to get a shirt from Banana Republic, a polo for the hubby, a pair of socks, and a pair of pants, all for less than $20 total. I love shopping with my mom--she totally rocks the coupons.

There was knitting, as well--I finished a pair of socks for nephew the elder, finished the cowl, and started another pair of Fetchings. But no photos of them (and probably none of the socks, period, as I left them in NJ on the theory that he should wear them before he outgrows them, and at the rate he's growing I'm worried that will be soon) yet.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Comfort food

I swore I wasn't going to sit on the couch and watch election results as they came in.

I certainly wasn't going to do more than a quick check.


But then I turned on the t.v. and got hooked. (Although I'm still a little unclear on how the networks can predict a state based on, oh, three percent of districts reporting. Shouldn't they wait until at least half the votes have been counted?)

The anticipation was too much, so I (re) cast on for a cowl with the glamour bunny yarn I bought at Rhinebeck:

Comfort food.

(The details: July is for Quinn pattern, size 7 needles. I've already knit this once (I even wove the ends in), wore it for a little bit, and decided it was too big. The pattern is very clear on the size, but as I've never knit a cowl before, I wasn't entirely clear on what the numbers meant. So I frogged it and cast on again, starting with 90 stitches instead of 111. I've taken out the extra stitch that falls in place of the seam. I've also started the second patterned row two stitches early--the second pattern round straddles the first stitch. Since it's knit in the round, the jog was making the two YOs look uneven, and it was bugging me. Not enough to change it the first time through, but since I was starting over again anyway . . . .)

Monday, November 3, 2008

I'm sitting this round out.

November is NaNoSweMo (National Knit A Sweater Month). And NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). And NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), as well as InaDWriMo (Originally International Dissertation Writing Month, but it's grown to include all academic writing and has been International acaDemic Writing Month, and I can't find a nice link for it).

I've also seen versions for research, recording your own album, and a host of others.

If I were smart, I'd commit publicly to the sweater and academic writing versions--I'm far more productive when I feel vaguely accountable for what I'm working on. Posting progress on both a sweater and an article would motivate me to get more done.

But I'm thinking that November will be a slog, however, and I'm having my own, one-person version (characterized by the fact that I'm posting this on November 3, rather than November 1):

National Sitting-This-Round-Out Month, also known as NaSiOuMo.

I'd like to have National Sit-Around-in-Your-Pajamas-Eating-Chocolate Month, or perhaps National Sit-Around-in-Your-Pajamas-Drinking-Red-Wine Month, but I suspect that won't really be possible. So I'm going to keep busy. I'll go to work, and clean the bathroom, and answer student emails, but nothing extra. No attempts to knit entire sweaters, or to get articles ready for publication.

In another characteristic move, this weekend, in a desperate attempt to distract myself, I knit my glamour bunny yarn up into a lovely cowl.

I frogged it this morning, since it was too big. I'm going to cast on again with fewer stitches. But it pretty much sums up my "one-step-forward, one-step-back" progress of the last few weeks.

November is already proving--three days into it--to be a bit too much for me.

On the poor-little-me side:
  • I've been in grading jail for almost two weeks now, and while there's an end in sight, there's also another round of papers coming in.
  • Another round of papers means another two weeks in grading jail. Teaching three sections of the same class = early burnout.
  • It's my husband's birthday on Friday, and he's in Poland.
  • I'm exhausted from doing virtually nothing, mainly because an annoying knot in my shoulder (I've named it Don, after Don Knotts) is making it hard to get comfortable.
  • It's our wedding anniversary next week, and he'll still be in Poland.
  • I have an annoying head cold that won't go away.
  • Did I mention my husband's in Poland?
  • Student oral reports start tomorrow, and, despite giving them painfully detailed directions on what I want, the questions are still pouring in. Most of them--all of them, really--could be answered by simply reading the directions I've posted on the course site.
I feel all whiny (or, to use the considerably more charming British version, whingey--I do love the "g"), since lots of things are going well.

On the life-doesn't-suck-too-much side:
  • I'm teaching a major-author course this summer on Jane Austen. This means that I can spend my afternoon reading novels and consider the day productively spent.
  • I can also spend the day watching Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy (in both Pride and Prejudice and Bridget Jones's Diary), and consider the day productively spent.
  • I made pumpkin bread today.
  • I have lots of lovely yarn to knit with.
  • I've got Veteran's Day off, which means six days between classes, and I'm heading down to NJ to visit the nephews.
  • The election campaigning will be over tomorrow. (This is good because it's getting a little nasty. And if I see one more attack ad for either Jean Shaheen or John Sununu, I will move to New Hampshire just so I can vote against both of them.)
  • I go to Poland to see the husband in less than three weeks.
I really can't wait to go to Poland. Actually, I just can't wait to see the husband. But the trip coincides with the next major round of grading, and I'll either have to spend half my time grading, or stay up for three days when I get home in order to get it done.

I will make some tentative, not-really-commitment kinds of statements, to see if that helps motivate me. For the month of November: I want to finish my Hey, Teach! sweater, as well as some socks for nephew-the-elder. And start the husband sweater. And read for my Austen course (which really does make me do a little dance for joy when I think about it.) And knit the cowl, for the second time (the yarn was so yummy to knit with, it's not exactly a hardship).

And we'll see how the month goes.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WIP Wednesday

Hey, Teach! (Knitty Summer 2008), in Cascade 220:

I've got about an inch-and-a-half left on the armholes, and then the neck shaping. So far, so good. I am making it a little longer than the pattern calls for, as I have a long waist, and like slightly longer sweaters. I'm going to lengthen the sleeves, as well--at least to 3/4 length. Maybe full-length; I'll decide when I get to that point.

I'm supposed to be grading, but I got a package in the mail from Woolgirl (and did a happy dance, because I love getting packages from Jennifer!) and couldn't wait to play with it a little:

3 skeins of Miss Babs Yummy Sock yarn, in Denim, Pewter, and Heartache:

I was thinking about making a stranded hat using the Pewter & Denim, but I think that might be too dark--the Pewter looked lighter on my monitor when I picked it out, and it's hard to tell what the contrast will be until you can actually look at them side-by-side. But the Heartache looks really good with either of them--maybe I'll make a hat (maybe this one? any suggestions?) using the Heartache and one of the other colors.

I need to buckle down and actually grade, so this evening I will feel free to work on the back of my sweater. It's cold here today; definitely sweater-knitting weather!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


1 pair of Fetchings (they're actually black, but I was trying to photograph my own hand and decided not to worry about the color. Or the laundry in the background, evidently.)

Knit in Classic Elite Classic One Fifty (merino wool); one pair took a little less than a skein. Size 6 needles, magic loop; I might go down a size if I knit them again, especially since they're for my mom and she's got smaller hands than I do. I added an extra cable twist at the top, since the first pair I made seemed very short.

But overall I'm happy them, and I think my mom will like them--her office is pretty cold, and she's on the computer a fair amount; these should be perfect!

One husband-hat: We Call Them Pirates from Hello Yarn. I can't make the photo turn so the skulls are right side up. I didn't try that hard, though--I'm sneak-blogging during my office hours. They had a paper due today, so I don't think anyone will come, but I don't want to spend too much time here, just in case.

Knit in Cascade 220, a red heather and white. Size 5 needles, magic loop. I really love this pattern--I've repeated this pattern more than any other (this is my 4th iteration). I may need to branch out into other stranded-knitting patterns, for variety, but this is a great hat.

Monday, October 20, 2008

S is for . . .

Sunday Sky at Rhinebeck

and scrumptious skeins of yarn:
"Glamour Bunny," a mix of angora and silk. And maybe some merino wool, too, but I didn't write it down and there's no label on the skein. But it's 180 yards of worsted, so if I can ever stop petting it, it will make a lovely cowl. Purchased from the Oasis Fiber Farm Mill booth, straight from Otisfield, Maine.

Shelridge Farm Soft Touch Lace in Rust (500 yards of merino wool) from Canada. The color looks pretty accurate on my monitor (for the yarn, anyway--the bedspread under it is much bluer in real life!).

and a random door prize from the bus trip! Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Ruby River--it's much richer and more saturated in person.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Butterfly bush

Or, rather, a bush full of butterflies. (I think it's an aster, not a butterfly bush.)

Next-door to a friend's beach house in Maine--we went up for one last hurrah of summer. I absolutely love the orange butterflies on the purple flowers!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

R is for . . .


I signed up for a bus ride on Oct 19 to Rhinebeck--Mind's Eye Yarns is organizing it--and I'm so excited. I've never been. I don't know anyone who's going. But I'm on pins and needles of anticipation!

I'm studying the vendor lists, and looking at the maps, and trying to get an idea of where to go and what to look for. I'm thinking lace yarn, and maybe some sock yarn, depending on what catches my fancy.

And I keep singing (quietly, in my head so no one thinks I'm truly nuts) "I'm going to Rhinebeck. I'm going to Rhinebeck."


R is also for repeats, as in:

Repeat knit (this is my forth!): We Call Them Pirates hat. The first one (using size 3 needles) was too small for G, but just right (at the time, although I suspect it's too small now) for nephew-the-elder. The second one (using size 6 needles) was slightly too big for G, but wearable until it stretched. And then it was way too small, 'cause I over-shrunk it trying to fix the problem. The third (using size 5 needles) was just right, but made for a friend. This one (also using size 5 needles), I hope, will also be just right.

The pattern is really easy to follow--this was my first (and second and third) project using colorwork; and I think it's a good project for that. I started this version, using two colors of Cascade 220, on Thursday; last night I finished the first row of scull-and-crossbones.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Q is for . . .


It's been two weeks since G left for Poland, and so far it's gone pretty quickly. But this is the first weekend I'm home alone. The first weekend I was down in NJ, the second weekend my parents came up to visit.

This weekend, though-all alone.

I'm sitting on the couch, watching tv--lots of new episodes this week that I missed--and knitting. I've also got some chocolate-eating and perhaps even a little wine-drinking on tap for later this afternoon.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Random Bullets of Monday

  • I bought a plane ticket to Poland. I'm going to have to let my last class out a few minutes early to get to the airport, but--I'm going to Poland for Thanksgiving!
  • I have been knitting, but it's secret test knitting, so no pictures. But I'm making excellent progress and should finish soon, so I will start knitting other things that I can take pictures of.
  • I turned 35 today. It feels really strange. Not really different than 34, but intellectually hard to wrap my head around. Anything that ends in a 5 or a 0 feels that way to me.
  • I moved into a new office. There are two of us, but only one chair. And no phone. Fortunately we're not there at the same time, and I train my students to email me instead of trying to call.
  • I'm swapping classes with a colleague tomorrow. We do this every semester, but this time--due to the fact that we have classes that don't overlap--we're actually going to get to see what the other does during class. I think it will be very interesting, as we swap b/c I don't feel like I do a good job w/what she's doing, and she doesn't feel like she does a good job w/what I'm doing.
  • I need to reswatch for the Husband sweater.
  • I also need to reswatch for the new hat for him. I should know better than to swatch and then put the project away for several months.
  • I can't decide if I want to take a lace class at Webs next month. If it was only a one-day class, I'd be there. But it's a two-day class, which means I either need to drive all the way out two days running, or stay at a hotel by myself. Which could be fun, I guess.
  • I need to figure out how to knit a green T-Rex for nephew the elder. I made an elefante for nephew the younger (never photographed as I knit it in fly as we were going down to NJ), and nephew the elder thought that maybe he could share. We decided that nephew the younger could have it, and I would make nephew the elder a T-Rex. A green T-Rex.
  • I asked my mom to help me with the ears for the elefante, and in doing so learned that I've been crocheting completely wrong. Which probably explains why I think it's so hard--as it turns out, when you do it the right way? Much easier. And it looks much better, as well.
  • I also need to make nephew the elder green socks. To match the above-mentioned T-Rex.
  • I just watched last Friday's Stargate Atlantis. Holy crow, and I can't wait until the next one to see what happens. (It was a "To be continued . . . " one.)
  • I need to mail the hot pink Swallowtail to a friend for her 35 birthday in a couple of weeks. We don't usually do presents (half the time we don't even do real cards--just emails) but I think she'll really like it. And it's just random enough to be very cool.
  • I am trying to be better about posting more regularly. I sometimes think about things to post, but decide that I need a photo, or to be more interesting, or something. I read Phoeknit's post on posting the other day, and decided that she was right, and I was being too . . . something. Critical? Perfectionistic? Whatever it is, I'm trying to post more.
  • I am running out of randomness, which is odd for me. Generally I'm full of the randomness.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Christmas knitting

The first Christmas knit, done:

Hemlock Ring Blanket, Eco-Wool (1.25 skeins), size 10 needles. I really like it, and it was a fast knit--about 10 days from cast-on to blocking. I'm thinking about making a few more as Christmas presents for other people, as well.

Not too much knitting around here. My semester started 2 weeks ago--crazy in the beginning, but it's settling down nicely. I really like my classes--I've got a nice bunch of kids. About half of them are international, which has been making for interesting conversations.

I was down in NJ this weekend, visiting family--I gave T his latest pair of socks, which he was willing to take off for bath time, but insisted on sleeping in. He's so much fun to knit for--I love his response to hand-knit socks. (My brother said that it's good he's now got several pairs; initially it was tough to get them off him long enough to wash. You've got to love that in a recipient!) T & I also had a most excellent water fight. There's nothing like a four-year old to cheer you up.

And I needed cheering up, because the reason we were down in NJ was to put G on a plane to Poland, where he'll be for the next three months. doing research. in Poland. 6 time zones ahead. 4084 miles away. I've put up countdown clocks--one until I go there for Thanksgiving, and one until he comes home for Christmas. (The clocks are too big, though--the seconds don't show up. Eventually either figure out how to fix it, or find new ones that actually fit.)

So it will be a long semester, and I will be knitting up a storm, I think. First up is a new hat for G (it's cold in Poland!)--I managed to shrink his We Call Them Pirates hat (I was in fact trying to shrink it just a little bit, since it had stretched, but managed to go a bit overboard) and he wants a new one.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WIP Wednesday

WIP #1:

Lacy Ribbon Scarf from the Spring 2008 Knitty, in Green Mt. Spinnery Sock-Art Forest yarn. It's a sort of raspberry color--I think this will make a great fall scarf. The yarn is a little stiff, but I think once it's blocked it will loosen up and drape really nicely. The yarn has some tencel in it (the "forest" part) which makes it sort of silky and shiny.

I'm about 2/3 of the way done--this is a good travel project, but I've been home a lot lately, and working on . . .

WIP #2

The ubiquitous Hemlock Ring Blanket, in the equally ubiquitous Cascade Eco-Wool. I love, love, love this project--I started it on Monday, and I'm already 2 repeats into the feather-and-fan section. (And now, for the ubiquitous comment, I will say that BrooklynTweed is a frickin' GENIUS. Love, love, love him, too.)

I'm thinking of making several of these, and giving them for Christmas presents. 'Cause I'm not sure I can stop with just one!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Non-lace knitting

Finished: One pair of knee socks for my four-year-old nephew (with one of my socks, for scale):

Plymouth yarn Happy Feet sock yarn, in color #10--blues and greens and a little maroon, magic looped on size 1.5 needles. The colors are very J-Crew/Gap, which my SIL will love. The yarn is very squishy, which T will love--good for sliding around the kitchen floor, his standard test for new socks. I put one of my size 9 socks in for scale--T likes long socks ("up to my knees!" he says). I cast on 48 stitches and use a 2x2 ribbing all down the leg and on the top of the foot, which is pretty much what I've done with all his socks so they stay up. The yarn, which I bought on sale a while ago, is nice to knit with, and I like the way the colors came out. No pooling; the color repeats are very short, which I think helps. I have enough left over from the skeins that I'm going to see if I can find a nice fat-legged baby sock for T's six-month-old brother, so they can have matching brother socks. (I feel like I've ignored G in favor of knitting socks for T, since G is, at not-quite six months, a bit less enthusiastic about hand-knits than T is. And I have this sneaking suspicion that, in a few years, G will love the hand knits and T will start be be very blase' about the whole thing, so I'm getting the knitting-auntie love while I can.)

I've also started (and almost finished) another Elefante, this time in blue:

All that's left is some sewing up--I was too tired last night, and afraid of getting a crooked elephant. I'm planning on making another one as soon as I'm finished--one for G (the aunt guilt is getting to me!), and one for the son of a family friend, who's expecting his first baby soon. My mom is going to the shower in a few weeks; I thought I would stick it in with her package.

I still need to frog and re-start Cleo; I really like the pattern & yarn, so I think I'm going to try going down a few needle sizes and see what that gets me.

Beyond that, I've been a little blah--my inability to start a big project in knitting seems to be par for the course, lately. My summer class is done, and has been for a couple of weeks; my fall syllabus are done (and have been for a couple of months--I like to be prepared!), and I'm working on some course proposals for next year. G's going to be gone for a lot of the school year, though--he's off to do some major dissertation research--and while I'm glad he's getting the chance to go (and that he's got grants that will pay for it!), I'm miserable at the thought of him being gone. He leaves in a little less than three weeks; we're trying to make the most of the time we have, but he needs to get ready to go, too, so--blah. And blah, and blah, and blah. I'll be better once my classes start next week, and I'm busy. I'll also be better once he's actually gone--then I'll start counting the days until I see him again, instead of counting the days until he leaves.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In which I try to convince myself: It's all about the process

deep, calming breath. It's all about the process.

Which is a good thing, since I'm spending a lot of time going back to the frog pond lately.

repeat after me: It's all about the process.

Posh Yarn Beatrice in Claret, Cleopatra wrap from Sensual Knits, size 3 needles. I didn't do a gauge swatch (it's lace--who needs a gauge swatch?)

Me, evidently; but it will be fine, since it's all about the process.

I'm 10" in, but already 25% of the way though the yarn.

I can knit it again. More time for process.

The pattern is lovely, the yarn is perfect, the color is gorgeous. So I should be happy to have more time to knit with it, right?

Friday, August 22, 2008

P is for . . .

Posh yarn Swallowtail

Beaded, because I nupped enough with Madli's Shawl to be done with that for a while, and because I only had 400 yards of yarn and wanted to squeeze as much shawl out of it as possible. The yarn is a dream--it is, as someone of Ravelry remarked, like knitting with kittens. so. very. soft.

The finished size is 52" by 24" (unblocked it was 32" by 16"), on size 3 needles. I added a couple of repeats of the last two rows of the peaked edging chart and wound up with less than a gram of yarn remaining--it's not enough to register on my scale. (Raveled here.)

It's a birthday present for one of my college roommates--we've grown apart over the years, because we've moved, and found new interests, and time, and all the usual stuff, but 35 is a big birthday, and I though pink cashmere with sparkles was a good present for such an occasion. But that's not until October, so once it's dry I'll pack it way careful and hope I don't forget where I put it!

A bigger picture:

P is also for the pi shawl that's been languishing in my almost-but-not-quite done pile for about 3 months now--it needed to have the ends woven in, and to be blocked. I finally got myself motivated to finish it:

Lorna's Laces Helen's Lace, in Watercolor, size 5 needles, EZ's Pi Shawl pattern. (Raveled here.)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Road trip

To Green Mountain Spinnery, in Putney, VT:

Maine Organic, worsted weight wool, 250 yards. A winter hat?

Spinnery Sock Art, Forest (wool/tencel blend). It's a light fingering, so maybe a scarf, rather than socks.
Life's been a bit rough the last few days, and the DH decided we should take a ride. (Ironically, of course, we drove 300 miles round trip to buy organic yarn, but . . . ). And since he wanted to cheer me up, we drove up to Vermont and had a bit of a look around. Although we hadn't called ahead, or made any arrangments for a tour, the people at the Spinnery were super nice and showed us around, anyway.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

O is for Object, finished

The pattern: Madli's Shawl, from IK Summer 2004. (This is a really hard-to-find issue, but I think the pattern will be reprinted in Nancy Bush's new book, Knitted Lace of Estonia, which is coming out in October.)

The details: School Products baby camel lace weight, just under 2 skeins (I have 5 grams left in the second skein, plus a third that I didn't touch!). The pattern calls for 1092 yards of laceweight; I used about 725, and added in two repeats of the center panel. I also went down a size for the needles (US 4 instead of US 5), but the finished size was fairly generous--24" wide by a little over 62" long.

The verdict: I love this shawl. I'd originally earmarked the yarn & pattern for myself, but when my mom (my mom, who keeps telling me she'll never wear lace and so there's no point in making her anything) really really liked it. What's a girl to do except give it to her mom? Which is exactly what I did. But I'd make this pattern again (in a while, because even though all those nupps were fine, I think I'd like a break from them!) and I'd definitely use this yarn again. At $9.50/skein, it's a beautiful, soft, warm, and slightly exotic; since I go to NYC a couple of times a year, I'm planning another trip to School Products.