Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cambridge Jacket!

Not one but two FOs! The first I knit in a day, while the sleeves to my Cambridge Jacket were blocking:

Thorpe (this is the second one I knit--the first I made for my Dad for Christmas in a ginormous size, as his head is really bit. But the DH did something to the photos I'd taken and now they're lost on his computer somewhere.), in Louet Riverstone Chunky (color: bright blue). Destined to warm my mom's ears.

And Cambridge Jacket, seamed and zippered:

I'm pretty pleased with the way the zipper went it--this was my first zipper attempt. The DH seems to like it, as he's worn it several times already. He's off on his next excellent adventure in ten days, and I'm happy that he'll be able to take it with him. I might not be able to go with him, but at least I can send him wrapped in hand-knit sweaters.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sleeve Island

While the Husband is home, I decided it was time to knit him another sweater. I bought the yarn a while ago (Valley Yarns Williamstown, in a rust color), and he picked out the pattern (Cambridge Jacket by Ann Budd, from IK Summer 2006). I even swatched last spring, but didn't cast on until Dec. 28.

The back and the two sides knit up pretty quickly--lots of time in NJ hanging with family, plus several car trips back-and-forth to Boston, helped:

I'm working on the sleeves now, for what seems like forever, although I know I'm getting close to done. (Okay. I'm telling myself I'm getting close to done. 'Cause, really, how much longer can I keep knitting sleeves?) I decided to take a little break today, though, and pin out the fronts and the back to block. That way I can start seaming while the sleeves are blocking.

I've also been aquiring more yarn--I stopped at Webs (again) last week. For my mom, really, who wanted some yarn for baby blankets. So I volunteered--it was only right, since she is my mom. In addition to the yarn she wanted, I got:

Louet Riverstone, in bulky (and in the warehouse!). Destined to be a Thorpe for my mom.

Araucania Ranco Multi, in a brownish-pinkish-greenish swirl. One of my favorite pairs of socks is out of Ranco Multi, and for the price (warehouse: $8.99!), I couldn't resist a hank.

And two balls of Adriafil Knitcol. For nephew-the-elder knee socks; he saw a pair with faux fair isle, and really liked them. And he likes bright colors--this looks like it will meet both requirements!

Friday, January 9, 2009



If but some vengeful god would call to me
From up the sky, and laugh: "Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!"

Then would I bear, and clench myself, and die,
Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;
Half-eased, too, that a Powerfuller than I
Had willed and meted out the tears I shed.

But not so. How arrives it joy lies slain,
And why unblooms the best hope ever sown?
--Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain,
And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan . . .
These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown
Blisses about my pilgrimage than pain.

--Thomas Hardy. 1886.

If we begin as we mean to go on, I'd like a do-over. The semester started off well enough in terms of classes and students--nice kids, willing to put some effort and cheerfulness into a required class.

But other things seem to be stacking up--the unexpected loss of a colleague, and of a former student, and of a friend's mother. The former student, in particular, is hitting hard; he was a really nice kid who just wanted to live his life like any other eighteen-year-old, but cancer got in the way.

Hardy's poem, with its rage and sorrow, says it far better than I can.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Spring Term

It always strikes me as funny that the spring term begins in early January, often with snow on the ground. We used to be on a quarter system, which meant we'd be starting our more aptly named winter quarter this week, but we switched to semesters a few years back. Which means we have a fall term (starting quite sensibly in September), a winter break (a few all-too-short weeks barely stretching over the holidays), a spring term, which starts tomorrow, and two short-but-intense summer sessions. (Summer 1 starts at the beginning of May, though, so that doesn't really make sense, either.)

This year, the winter break didn't even stretch far enough to include Orthodox Christmas, which we celebrate, and which occurs on Jan. 7. My first class is on Tuesday--I'm on a Tuesday/Friday schedule again this term, hooray--so the plan is for me to drive from NJ to MA tomorrow, teach on Tuesday, and head back down for Christmas Eve festivities after classes. G will stay here--no sense in both of us missing all the fun.

Of course, we'll have to be back in Boston on Thursday, so it will be a short trip, but certainly better than not coming back down.

I'm looking forward to my classes this term--two upper-class writing courses, and one first-year. I didn't have any first-years this fall, and I missed them--there's more notable progress with the upper classmen, since what I want them to accomplish is on a lot of levels more measurable. But first-year students--especially in the fall--have a sort of bright-and-shiny joy to them which is lovely. They love being in college--the freedom, the new experiences, the chance to reinvent themselves--and it shows. And their enthusiasm for classes* is catching.

The upper-class courses should be good, too--I had three sections in the fall, which was too much. But two sections should be fine--enough to keep my on my toes, but not so much I run out of steam before the end of the day. Since the first-year class and the upper-level class require totally different kinds of energy, I find that the change in pace is enough to make the day less tiring.**

And I have a new knitting project to look forward to--I cast on for the Cambridge Jacket for G on Dec. 28. In a feverish burst of knitting, I've already finished the back, the left front, and about a quarter of the right front. (Saying this will probably doom me to sleeve-island hell, but I'll take my chances.) I want to finish the knitting by 12/15, so I can block the pieces, seam them, and have at least a week to deal with putting in the zipper. The whole thing needs to be done by Jan. 31, which is when G leaves for the next leg of his research trip. I want to send him off (this time to Kiev) wrapped in a new sweater!

*Granted, not all freshmen are enthusiastic. And not all freshmen want to be in college. But I got super-lucky last spring, and had an amazing bunch; I'm being optimistic about this new group.
**Maybe not less tired, but at least a different kind of tired--I'm not nearly as walleyed with fatigue at the end of it.