Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Happy new year, everyone. So far, my year's off to an ambivalent start. Things are mostly good - my best friend from high school is visiting, my house is clean(ish), and I've enjoyed having time with my family as well as time to do some of the fun things I enjoy. The only real negative experience I had was an asthma attack while running yesterday. I'm pretty disappointed about that, but life will go on.

While doing laundry, I noticed that the husband's socks now have holes in the bottoms of them. This is after he washed them with other clothes, inadvertently felting them (he claimed they were even better). So now I need to knit some new socks for him. He's requested a warm thick sock, and after consulting with him and poking through the stash, I'll be starting a pair of socks for him in this yarn:
Which is Blue Beetle from Dyeabolical Yarns. I've not knit a whole lot of socks for my husband, so I'm going to try to make a few pair for him this year. At least they're in the queue, although my track record for finishing things is not that high. The Blue Beetle is going to be used for a pair of standard plain socks. I'm also thinking that he'll get a pair of Charade socks in

I'm still working on finishing the ribbon lace scarf. It's still enjoyable, but I really am hoping to finish that up soon.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Project monogamy

Doesn't make for the most exciting blogging. I'm still knitting the lace ribbon scarf. It grows, on and on, slowly. I'm still enjoying the process of knitting it - the Handmaiden Sea Silk is some seriously nice stuff, and the color is gorgeous. This is a good thing, because ultimately, this scarf is for my mom, and it should be something good. Last night I worked on it while watching episodes from the first season of Ballykissangel. I'm a Netflix user, and the new "watch instantly" feature has been getting a lot of use from me lately. I had gone through much of what I wanted to see already on hulu, so it's nice to have some additional options for when I'm up late and knitting. Especially when they are things my husband isn't really interested in seeing. I watched the original version of The Office while knitting and baking last week.

I continue to give away handknits. The latest thing to leave my house was my Midwest Moonlight scarf, knit back while I still lived in the midwest.
The date on this in progress shot is June 24, 2005. That's a while ago.

It's been gifted to my office mate, who appreciates these sorts of things, and is a really really nice person.

My schedule for the week has radically changed, and I'll be on vacation instead of at work. I didn't get in some supplies I needed, the lab has mostly shut down, and I don't really feel like spending $10 for someone to watch TV with my son while I read at my desk. So, I'm hoping to take advantage of this time to play and catch up on some things around here. This hopefully includes some time to catch up on photographing some things, and posting a bit more.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Now that's just weird.

This morning I'm up remarkably early for me. I'm a little anxious and not sleeping well, and I woke up at 5. Instead of going back to sleep, I had some coffee and chatted, thinking that my son would be up at 7. However, he's not feeling well and has instead gone back to sleep. This means I have some blissfully quiet and relaxing time in my home to myself. Two nights ago, I was reading a mystery novel in the kitchen while making cheese risotto (every bit as good as it sounds, and yes, another Nigella Express recipe). I have no idea where I put my book. It wasn't very good anyways, so it's not so bad that I can't find it, but it would be nice to finish it.

In the meantime, I'm off to sit in the front room, drink coffeee, knit and read a different novel.

Pre-dawn quiet is even nicer than the silence of the middle of the night.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


It's 33 degrees outside today.

I just spent a good 15 minutes looking for a sweater to wear, and couldn't find one. Seriously. Of the sweaters I have knit - 1 is too cropped, 1 is too big, and the third needs buttons (and is probably a little cropped, too.) Let's not mention the sweater still on the needles, the one that needs seaming, and the half-done sweater vest I threw aside in disgust because I made a massive mistake and need to rip back the front.

Good thing I have a few days off coming up. Sadly, I still doubt I'll get anything finished. I need more time!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Almost a week later...

And almost no knitting. Still knitting the same lace scarf I've been working on, and plan to finish it someday. I've been working a lot, and doing some reading, although nothing too exciting, or at least not worth mentioning.

I painted my fingernails.
Photo 171.jpg

I made rice crispy treats.

I made cookies (blogged by someone else, here) from Nigella Express.
I baked some pumpkin cranberry bread, that, despite being non-photogenic, was delicious. I've been on a bit of a cooking tear, actually. I've been having a good time with Nigella Express, and have been nibbling on martini olives (green olives marinated in gin and vermouth), and chocolate pistachio fudge, which was way too simple to make for my own good. Tonight I made an incredibly simple salmon dish from the book, and it reminds me that I want more of Nigella's cookbooks, no matter how many miles I would need to run to continue to fit in my jeans.

And today I went to the beach in December. It was windy, chilly and overcast, but still beautiful.

Enjoy your holiday preparations, and time with your families.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Unusually single-minded

It took several days and a location shift for the orange sweater to finish drying. I still need to sew on the buttons and get someone to take decent photos of it.

In the meantime, what little knitting time I have has been occupied with the scarf for my mom. The color is called periwinkle, and it shifts from a light blue to a deeper blue to a purple shade. I think the effect is fairly subtle, and it plays nicely with the shine of the silk. I've really been enjoying working with the Sea Silk, and the pattern really only requires memorizing 4 rows. But, since it is a scarf, and it is lace, it's growing slowly. I'm estimating the length to be about 27" right now, and I'm guessing I'm about halfway done. I'll be honest and say that despite enjoying the pattern and yarn, and wanting to get it done to gift to my mom around her birthday, I'm not at all certain I'll make that deadline. It's taken me about a month to get this far, and jumping projects tends to help me continue to enjoy what I'm working on.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I spent a good chunk of time here this weekend, and did less knitting than I had hoped for. On the plus side, I got some encouraging results on a test I ran, so I think I know how to modify what I've been doing to get better results. Not as good as new data, but it's always good to know what I need to do to make things work. My new orange sweater is still drying, very slowly. Elizabeth knows me too well, and guessed that I would start on Mr. Greenjeans already. Which I did, then realized I made an error and ripped back. Just as well - I realized that I need to think through a few things, and take some measurements before I go on. I may be actually working on other things before I get to it, come to think of it. I'm making slow but steady progress on the scarf for my mom, and I organized my works-in-progress area that tends to collect (and rapidly grow out of control) located next to my couch.

I did get a few other things accomplished - we got a tree, went to a holiday party, attended to some minor but critical household shopping errands, cleaning and laundry, and I even got a run in. Sadly I'm still doing laundry, although I would much rather be getting ready for sleep right now. I'm not really ready for the week to start, but I'm not completely dreading it either. It was nice to take some time away from work to relax and tend to other parts of my life. I'm starting out the week a bit behind, but it's nice to know I'm in more control of my schedule this week than usual.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Well how about that.

I just finished knitting the neck band on my Orange Crush. It needs a bath, and I have buttons to sew on, but it's done. I'm curious what another good wash will do to the sweater, but overall, I'm really pleased with it.

You might ask why I want such a heavy sweater in SC, and I don't have a good answer, other than that I do get cold, and it would work as outerwear. The color is fantastic. The drop sleeve? Not very flattering, and it fits a little oddly. But I will wear it, because, as I mentioned - I love the color, and sometimes you just need a snuggly sweater.

My choices now are a) to seam up the Cutaway Cardigan I started ages ago, which is probably a good plan, b) to finish up the Cable Yoke sweater that's been marinating beside the couch, or c) to start Mr. Greenjeans. Now, I have to admit, seaming isn't that bad. It's just not as enjoyable to me as knitting, so choice a isn' t the most appealing. However, the sweater is really cute, and it's cool enough to wear it right now. Choice b requires working on another sleeve, which I don't find incredibly motivating, however, there's not that much finishing to the sweater, so I could potentially have another wearable sweater in a relatively short time. Choice c is in some ways the most appealing, because I like novelty. However, it means confronting my confusion as to what flipping size I should knit for myself. I'm guessing the medium, as it gives some ease at the bust, but I'm not sure if the ribbing is really going to take care of the 7 inches of ease that I'll have at the ribcage. Yes, short rows are an option, if I knit a smaller size, but I suspect swatching some more may provide the answers I'm looking for. I get the impression that the sweater model in the photo may be a curvier gal than some of the people on Ravelry who knit the sweater and were complaining about how much the garment pulls in at the waist. For my short-waisted self, this is a good thing.

Photos soon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Back to the knitting

I'm embarrassed about my post yesterday, but I want to say thanks.

Anyhow. Moving on...

Finished up:
Pinwheel blanket
Pinwheel blanket. Less blurry in person, and I can't really capture the actual red of the blanket as it is just not making my camera happy. This is a big blanket - larger than I realized, which might explain why the last rows took such an incredibly long time to finish. My son loves it, which was the intention. I didn't use up all the yarn, but that's approximately 4.75 skeins of Cotton Fleece. Pleased with this one. Also pleased with my jogless stripe. It's the little things.
I've made 2 of these blankets now, and I'm done with them. They're cute, but I'm not revisiting this again.

Half finished (as in, I knit one)
Miss Babs sock
Plain sock, yet again. Miss Babs yarn, which is very nice. 64 stitches, wing it for the heel and toe. I'll start the second one soon, maybe. They are not thrilling to knit, but I do find that I wear my simple knit socks the most often.

After saying that, I started this crazy loud thing:
Nutkin sock, Fleece Artist Somoko yarn, I think. Color is tropical fish or something along those lines. It's bright and obnoxious, and I'm not sure that it's going to stick around in this form. I like the pattern, but I'm contemplating something different. If I can figure out what's going on in the pattern, I think this yarn would look very nice as one of Cat Bordhi's new pathways socks. I had a hard time with the sizing and figuring out what was going on with those, however, but maybe over the holiday break, assuming I actually have any time off.

SAFF lace scarf
I have no idea what I called this. It's a lace scarf, made out of a rayon material. I made a mistake, and should rip back a few pattern repeats, or I can ignore it and move on. Considering that I'm the only one who knows the mistake is there, I'm not sure which option I'm going to choose. (I'll probably rip back, as long as I remember to get a needle and some dental floss first. It's not a big mistake, but it does nag at me.) I can't get a good photo of this, despite trying. It's much prettier in person.

Ribbon lace scarf
And, because I'm so original, I'm knitting the lace ribbon scarf from a few Knitty's back. The yarn is Handmaiden Sea Silk, the pattern is very simple, which makes for a comforting luxury knit. I'm making this for my mom, because the color really suits her, and it feels soft, and I want to give her something. Yes, I'm on a bit of a lace kick. I'd really like to have this finished by her birthday, but I don't think that's going to happen. I'm maybe at the halfway point, and I'm short on time to knit, and my attention is divided between other projects. My guess is that I'll be done with this by February?

In the meantime, I still have 2 sweaters I'd like to sew up and finish. The husband is off to a meeting on Thursday, so I could work on those Thursday and Friday night, after the wee beastie goes to bed. I do have things I should be doing for work, as well as for hopefully finding a way out, however, and I should focus on that as well. Then again, I might not.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The deeply personal post

This morning, I told my husband that I thought I might be depressed. He agreed that I certainly was. It's probably not a big surprise to anyone who knows me, and it's probably not unexpected right now.

I was with family at Thanksgiving. This is only the second time I've seen my mom and my sister since my father died. The other time was to put his ashes to rest. It was the first time being back at my mom's house. I was only there for a day and a half, at most, but long enough for my dad's absence to follow me back home. It was inescapable while in the house. Memories of his life, memories of his death. It was intensely painful being there, and yet, I have to fight a strong urge to go back there and stay with my mom.

Yesterday, I had a stomach bug. I could probably have gone in to work by noon, but I had no desire to do so, and I stayed home, sat on the couch, watched CSI:NY and knit. It's 8:00 now, and I should be packing up my belongings and heading in, but I don't really want to. Dragging myself out the door is going to take a great deal of effort, and frankly, my interest is low. Really not a great time for a low point in my career. The economy is bad, and my field is taking a hit, like many other people out there. I keep contemplating whether or not I want to continue to go on. Part of me does - at times, I love what I do. But it's a job that demands a lot of time and effort, and at the end of the day, the work follows you home. Nights, weekends - it doesn't matter. I still should be working, because someone else is. That doesn't leave a whole lot of time to live a balanced life. I like to read. I like to knit, and cook, and run, and play with my son, and even interact with my husband. It's hard to cram all that in to the few hours I have in the evenings and when I'm not at work on the weekends. It would be nice to be able to enjoy it, without the guilt.

So I'm contemplating a big career change. For those reasons, and for the fact that well, things aren't looking so good for me. I've performed poorly, and there's not a whole lot of recovery from that. I could move, find another postdoc position, hope for the best, or intentionally go somewhere I might actually belong (not the south), and find a job, find fulfillment in other areas of my life. Maybe doing what you love for work isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Of course, now isn't the best time to be making big decisions, so I'm trying not to. At the same time, the recession and the fact that my job isn't going well isn't helping. I know I should try to look on the bright side. I have a job for almost a year still. I could still see things turn around, and I could walk out with more options. The perfect next job might appear. I might start to feel better soon.

I guess all of this is in part my explanation for why I'm not posting much. That, and a self-indulgent need to put it out there. Going back to running is probably a good thing, and might help my mood. I don't want to be a whiny, complaining blogger, but I'm far from my happiest right now. Time to do battle, put the armor on, head to work, and pretend to be okay.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Wednesday Ten on Tuesday

I don't really want my blog to go the way of the dinosaurs, so I'm making an attempt to post. I'm trying something new - Ten on Tuesday, and I may try to come up with something for another day of the week to get back in the habit. I haven't got a whole lot to report on the knitting front, but I have a long car-ride coming up later today, so things may change rapidly. I do have miserable insomnia tonight.

10 Things You Are Thankful for This Year

1. My family. Losing my father has been rough. I'm not okay yet, and there are days when the sadness just leaks out with surprising intensity. Keeping busy has kept a lot of it at bay, but there's still a deep visceral hurt. I'm glad to be able to spend Thanksgiving with my mom, my sister's family, and my own. I think my cousin is coming too, and I like him a great deal as well. Cuddling with my son has been one of the few things that's gotten me through this time.
2. My job. Oddly enough, despite the fact that it's causing me a tremendous amount of stress, I do love what I do. I don't love where I'm doing it, I'm not infatuated with exactly what I'm doing, and I don't love the fact that I'm soon facing unemployment and some serious uncertainty about the future. I do have a paycheck, and there are moments where it seems worthwhile.
3. My friends. I just got back from a conference where I was able to spend time with some amazing people who love me. I'm lucky to have the friends I have, and I don't know what I'd do without them.
4. Books. Part of blogging less and reading fewer blogs has been related to reading more. Some work-related reading, but also novels have snuck back in. I just finished Ghostwalk, and am partway through Prep and Kushiel's Chosen. Great literature it's not, but reading feels good. I like the escape.
5. Running. I haven't been out in a while, but running was working for me. It felt good, in a very simple way. I enjoyed seeing myself get stronger and better at it. Hopefully, I'll get back to that soon.

For now, 5's good enough. Especially since it's 4:30 in the morning, and grabbing another half hour of sleep could only do me good.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Your result for The Find Your Philosophical Era! Test...

The Modern

19% Ancient, 13% Medieval, 44% Modern and 25% Post-Modern!

Congratulations! You are: a Modern!

(Keep in mind, by Modern, I mean the era which began around the 17th century and ended in the 20th century.)

Throughout the Modern era, philosophers and scientists were forced constantly to do battle with the forces of censorship, philosophical conservatism, and pure inertia.This was the age in which “innovation” was a bad word, and the Moderns were all about innovation. Despite all the opposition they faced, Modern philosophy is the most optimistic of any era. The Moderns seem really to have believed that, for instance, giving men freedom from kings and priests and tyrants will make men happier and better. Their goal was a political community based on reason. But while some Moderns concentrated on becoming more and more scientific, rational and civilized, others, such as Wordsworth and Rousseau, reacted against this trend by turning back to what they saw as the pure, uncorrupted truths of nature. However, the Romantic and the Scientific trends in Modernism are two sides of the same coin. The two are united in their disdain for the status quo and for social norms, and their search for more real, trustworthy truths upon which to build the new society they all dreamed of.

Some modern philosophers: Newton, Voltaire, Bacon, Hume, Rousseau, Hobbes, La Rochefoucauld, La Bruyère, Darwin, J.S. Mill

Some modern artists: Da Vinci, Molière, Shakespeare, Bernard Shaw, Mozart, Cervantes, Swift

Typical modern art forms: opera, comic plays, portraiture, the concerto, the confessional memoir, descriptions of nature

Take The Find Your Philosophical Era! Test
at HelloQuizzy

Monday, November 10, 2008


Ok, it's not a great photo, but I'm actually wearing a handknit today. This scarf is incredibly comfortable, even if it was painful to do the finishing.

I've worn a few of my knit items out in the wild, including one sweater (Sprout), several scarves, hats, and of course, socks.

I'm craving cardigans.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Unrelated photo

It's a bit of a blogging tradition that especially if you don't have much to say, you should still post a pretty photo. I haven't been out much lately, so this is a bit of a stretch. We've officially hit my crazy time of the year, and my sporadic updates get even more scattered.

I leave for Washington DC very early Thursday morning. After that, things will slow down very slightly, but I'll be with family for Thansksgiving, which is coming up fast, then it's just a few weeks before Christmas and the new year. It starts to all blur together for me starting around Halloween, frankly.

This year, I'm not doing any holiday knitting. My plans are to get through my meeting, hang out with friends, and to come back and work to generate more data and hopefully be working on a manuscript by the beginning of 2009. Other than that, I'm just hoping to survive the holidays.

This year, I'm not planning on any crazy baking, either. Last year I was so sick of baking that the smell of butter made me ill. It is baking season (I made a loaf of pumpkin bread and some chocolate zucchini bread today) but I'm not going overboard. I'm planning on making a few batches of cookies and cooking lots of soups and roasts for my family. Maybe some more breads, too.

On the knitting front, well, I finished a dishrag this weekend, but that doesn't seem exciting enough to post. The big red blob is ALMOST done, and I'm looking forward to the end of that project. There are some tough memories knit into it, but also, well, it's boring. I'm working on some garter stitch rounds and then binding off, but the stinking thing is huge now, and each round takes me a while. I started a Lace Ribbon scarf out of some really nice yarn, Handmaiden Sea Silk in periwinkle. It may be for my mom. It's my kind of comfort knitting right now. My orange sweater still needs seaming (I need time that I don't have to work on it.) Oddly enough, socks are beginning to sound more appealing again, and I'll take some yarn and needles with me for my flights, but I don't expect to get much done.

Facebook is still sucking up a lot of my time, thanks to word games I play obsessively. But now I really should go read and prepare....

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Something big just happened. I'm glad I was part of it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

On my to do list...

Catching up on the blog is up there, but more pressing things to deal with. Just a quick note to suggest that people check out this. If you like photography, even if you aren't that into science, these are phenomenal images.

There is knitting to talk about, some seaming, and yes, some buying happened again. Will spill all, but first I have to finish a poster for presentation next month.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

On a totally other note.

Browsing through the WEBS catalog today, this caught my eye. Great color. Pretty sweater (I think I know someone who knit this, and it's cool). But... Was that really the best photo they could get? The model looks either possessed, or she's really worried about a piano or a very large pigeon in the sky above her. Oh, and I think she might be really cold, too.

Sometimes this hits too close to home:


And I have to say - those are some well-compensated non-tenure track faculty.

Sunday, October 19, 2008



While the parts of the orange sweater are drying after a bath in Kookaburra Wool Wash, I'm back to working on one of my two blanket projects. This is the pinwheel blanket, started in late August. It's for my son, from yarn originally intended to be a sweater for him (and then I realized it was only handwash). So now he gets a bright red circular blanket to snuggle under on the couch. I've got about 1.5 skeins of yarn left to go, and the rounds are getting LONG. I'll be glad to call this one done soon.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Orange crush


Can't stop. Three days of obsessive knitting. Peace Fleece Everyday Cardigan. (The older, boxier version, but that doesn't really bother me.) I love this yarn beyond reason. The color isn't quite right in my photo, but it's not quite right here either.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Photo 2
Badia is in time out.
Time for something else.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Negative progress.

I just spent the past 2 hours knitting several rows on a vest, then ripping them out.
Yesterday I unknit about an inch of cabling.

I'm thinking that garter stitch might be a better plan.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Decisions, decisions.

Despite the simple sock and the blanket that are already on the needles (things I can't pick up as I was knitting them while my father was dying), despite the vest that's ALMOST done, despite the cardigan that needs sleeves and a yoke, despite the cardigan that just needs to be seamed...

I'm thinking about starting another sweater. Yup, really. I started swatching for Mr. Greenjeans last night. I've been obsessing about what size to knit, but I think I've accepted that I'm knitting the medium. I think the critical decision with this sweater for me will be where I start the ribbing section - and yes, I'm going to decrease a needle size for the cable and ribbing section as otherwise, the sweater won't have enough shaping on me, and it's a pretty boxy fit. I still need to wash my swatch. I get stitch but not row gauge with one needle, and row but not stitch gauge with the larger needle. I prefer the fabric on the smaller needle, go figure. The yarn's a screaming electric blue color, (Louet Riverstone, color Royal if you're wondering) and I'm not entirely certain about it, but it was a good deal at Webs.

Anyhow. Pretty clearly I haven't been doing a lot of knitting. I haven't been sleeping a lot either. Much of my time I've spent playing with this:
I sometimes impulse shop when I'm anxious (usually for yarn or electronics.) So I have a new iPod nano, in shiny shiny green. And I got a Nike + sport kit, a cool little gadget that allows me to obsessively track my runs using a chip in the shoe and a receiver that plugs into the iPod. Now I like running even more because I make graphs! Yes, I really am that much of a geek, but data is good. There is an annoying flaw in the system and I've lost information for about 3 of my runs so far, but theoretically a fix is in the works.

I've also been obsessively playing word games on Facebook. I am ashamed, but I have been totally sucked in.

I also restocked on coffee.

This weekend I cleaned my house, which was filthy, and I made cookies. I normally go for things that don't require box mixes, cereals, and that sort of thing, but these taste really good. Plus, they allow me to sneak fiber into my son's diet. Hah.

Tomorrow is Monday. I'm not happy that I have to go back to work. This probably sounds terrible, but I'm really tired of well-meaning people asking me if I'm okay. I'm not, honestly, but my way of coping at the moment is by living in denial. Anyhow. Hope everyone has a good week.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


In my mailbox recently was an ad for this, which is not my normal thing. However, I'm experiencing strong project lust. Colorwork has never been my thing, but I like this a lot.

Julie, Elizabeth? Comments?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

There, and back again.

My father passed away September 18th, at 9am.

I can't talk yet.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

This is not my originally scheduled update

Imagine some knitting photos here - they are supposed to be, but I'm taking an unscheduled trip out of town today. Knowing that I need to drive south, I've been obsessively tracking Hanna - luckily the winds are in my favor, and it's a non-issue today. Also because I have no idea when or if school will be canceled. Despite beautiful weather, after-school care was canceled yesterday, as the elementary schools around here are emergency staging areas. I'm not feeling terribly concerned about this, since it's sounding mostly as though we'll get a lot of rain. I do have minor worries about my roof, which is old, and needs replacing, but there's little I can do about that. I tend to worry about it most of the time.

Woke up unfortunately early this morning, which is due to a combination of falling asleep early (for me, it was about 10pm) and waking up at 3, realizing all the things I need to do this morning before I hit the road. Insomnia isn't fun, but it does let me catch up on blogging. It is weird to wake up this alert this early. Yeah, I'm a little anxious.

I'm packing knitting to take with me, even though the last time I did a trip like this I didn't knit much at all. I've been making a Pinwheel Blanket for the wee beastie. Imagine a big, bright red blob here. I've been working on this one for about a week now. I didn't document it on Ravelry. For the record, I'm using Cotton Fleece in Barn Red, and one skein of charcoal, once I get there. I had purchased 3 skeins of the stuff to make Sherwood for said beast, but I had a realization that a) he grows quickly, b) it's not machine washable c) I'm slow to finish things d) I live in the south and d) did I mention it's not machine washable? So it's going to be a blanket for snuggling under. I ordered the other 2 skeins from Webs when I realized I wanted this to be bigger, and figured stripes would take care of any lot number differences. At last check, I roughly estimated it was about 24 inches in diameter with 2 1/4 skeins left to go. I do like the yarn - yardage is good, it's a reasonable price, and it's pleasant to work with. I don't know how much additional warmth the 20% wool adds to the fabric, or how much this will ultimately grow, but I would use it again if I were looking for cotton in this weight. It's not a really portable project right now, so I think I'll be throwing a sock into a bag to take with me, even if I'm still not that excited about knitting them right now. They are mindless, and I don't think I can concentrate really well right now.

Time for more coffee, packing, and soon getting the little one ready for the school bus. I can be contacted in the usual ways, even if I'm a little out of touch right now...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Food meme silliness

I'm totally a follower, so I'm doing what Julie does today. And I'm curious about my readers - I love food, but some of these things are out there for me.

1. Venison - I don't care for it.
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare - I was going to say no, but then I realized I did have it. It was okay. I won't eat it again.
5. Crocodile - nope.
6. Black pudding - no. And you can't make me.
7. Cheese fondue - I like it, but it doesn't like me.
8. Carp - I don't think so, but I did eat some catfish my friend fished from a rather dirty river. At least I think they were catfish.
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush - yum.
11. Calamari - Unlike Julie, I like tentacles. I like octopus sushi too.
12. Pho - my love of this is well documented. I do prefer it with thin sliced beef as opposed to tripe or meatballs.
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart - I only eat kosher hot dogs, and those sort of scare me.
16. Epoisses - German cow's milk cheese.
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - Japanese plum wine
19. Steamed pork buns -yum
20. Pistachio ice cream - ice cream and I aren't friends
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras - kind of bland, really
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese - oh heck no.
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche - yes please!
28. Oysters - not my favorite.
29. Baklava -
30. Bagna cauda. Had to look this up. Sounds okay, but haven't had it.
31. Wasabi peas - love.
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi - doesnt sound appealing.
34. Sauerkraut - delicious on kosher hot dogs.
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar - cigars stink.
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo - love it.
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects - not intentionally.
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more - only the cheap stuff.
46. Fugu - I prefer my sodium channels unblocked.
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel - as sushi, yum.
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut - overrated.
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi -I don't think I liked it.
53. Abalone
54. Paneer - I'm really not good with dairy.
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal - but not anymore.
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini - extra olives, thanks.
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads - eww.
63. Kaolin - yup, worked, too
64. Currywurst - ew
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs - I like frogs too much to eat them.
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake - liked it as a kid, too sweet now.
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho - yummy.
72. Caviar and blini - surprisingly good, especially with the creme fraiche
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail - I have... issues... with slugs and snails.
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum - I prefer pho.
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant - quite possibly. It was a tasting menu, it was amazing, it was in Manhattan, and I couldn't tell you where it was or how I got back to my hotel.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare - only Welsh Rarebit for me.
87. Goulash
88. Flowers - good in salad
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish - was okay.
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox - my favorite breakfast
97. Lobster Thermidor - I would probably like it, but I prefer my lobster steamed.
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Only 43. I would try another 20 on the list, but no more.

Sunday, August 24, 2008



Finally done. I like it - it's not inspired knitting, but it makes a pretty scarf. Now, according to my Ravelry page, I started this about 6 months ago. Technically, I finished knitting this back in June. Braiding the fringe took forever and a day, and weaving in all the leftover ends took me about an hour this afternoon. The pattern instructions call for ironing this to flatten things out after dropping all the stitches, but my scarf sat around so long that this wasn't necessary. (Which leads further credence to my theory that things that need ironing just need to sit around long enough for the problem to take care of itself.)

Would I make it again? Maybe. I would definitely knit twisted stitches before the dropped stitch sections. I think this would actually be a fun way to use yarn with sequins or beads, show off a ribbon yarn or a variegated silk. I didn't have a problem with the cast on row, and I can't remember how I did it at this point.

Will I wear it? Yes. It's striking, and I'll probably wear it to dress up a white button-down shirt and slacks or jeans when I go out in the evening for post-conference events this fall. It won't add much warmth, but it's a good accessory. Plus, it does feel nice. The bamboo yarn has a pleasant heft and silkiness to it. I wouldn't knit a garment out of it - it would be too heavy, but I think this makes good use of the yarn. Even if braiding and weaving in those ends was dull beyond words.


I found this sweater in the J.Jill catalog (link provided so you can go check out the details) and I'm finding myself intrigued by the construction. At first, I thought it was just another raglan sweater, but now I'm not so sure how this was made. In any case, I think the look is sort of cute, and since I'm always cold here, but the weather is hot, I'm actually contemplating knitting something like this.

I'm considering Wren (non Ravelry link here.) I'm trying to actually work through some of my stash, and use up some of the yarns I purchased for other projects that I have since rejected as they aren't really going to work on me.

Of course, it would be nice if I actually finished something for a change. Which I am in the process of doing - I picked up Badia again and should be able to finish it this week, perhaps. I also might actually weave in the ends of the Phiaro scarf and iron it, so I can finally call that done. Someday I'll do some seaming and finish up other things, but it's really hard to find a time and place for that. And of course, I might have started another project and bought yarn for another sweater, but we won't talk about that. At least not today. I will tell you that I'm off socks for a while, and I really don't feel like knitting them right now.

In the meantime, I'm off to make a grocery list. Ground turkey meatballs and spaghetti for dinner tonight, and I have no idea what else for the rest of the week. Suggestions welcome - seriously!

And everyone, please read this. Consider it a very tiny rant on my part.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Levity for this evening.

I need a laugh, so I'm sharing something sublimely ridiculous.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fashion! turn to the right

I am magazine obsessed.

I'm also not the right demographic for Knitscene, but there are some pretty things in the Fall issue, and I'm tempted by several, despite my inability to finish anything.

Opulent Raglan, Wendy Bernard. I think this is very pretty, although I would be better off if it were shorter for my stubby, short-waisted self. And I know that some people rail against 3/4 length sleeves, but I like them - I almost always have my sleeves pushed up when I'm working. Plus, I think they can be very flattering.
Riding to Avalon - Connie Chang. I think this is a really pretty sweater. I even think I have a yarn that it would look nice in, but I haven't checked yardage. Happy to see a sweater in dk weight.
Big Thaw Pullover - Amanda Berka. This is the first sweater my husband has approved. Of course, he has no need for a sweater, but finding one he likes is a big deal.

Canopy Cardigan - Amy King. I really like Amy's aesthetic. This cardigan has an interesting construction, a little different than I'm used to. I knit a cardigan similar to this one from one of Amy's patterns, and I really like it. Admittedly, it's one of only 2 sweaters I've actually finished, but I wear things like this.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fashion! turn to the left

Julie commented on Vogue Knitting. I'm going to torment her with some shots from Knit.1... That's what you get for threatening me. I hit you with Zoolander.
Now, I actually kind of like a few things in this one.
This shawl is kind of pretty, although I find it peculiar that the model was styled with lipstick that exactly matches the color of her knitwear. And no, I'm not going to knit a shawl out of Tilli Thomas yarn.

I find the styling in the main photo to be absolutely atrocious, but in the dark blue, it's a perfectly serviceable vest. I would wear something like this. Just not with skintight cheetah print pants.

I'm clearly not the right demographic for this magazine, and I don't really know why I keep picking it up at the store.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I do still knit. Just not much. The green sock (Miss Babs Yummy Sock in Rock Wall) got ripped a few times until I could decide the number of stitches and needle size I was happiest with. This particular combination (64 stitches on size 1 dpns) seems to work pretty reliably for me. I like my socks to be densely knit, and without a lot of ease. So the green grows, sporadically.

Below it is the start of a new sock, or rather a cuff, knit in twisted k1p1 ribbing. That is slow slow going for me. Not the most practical ribbing, but it's pretty. I'm hoping this will grow up to be a pair of Bavarian Twisted Stitch socks, from Cat Bordhi's Socks Soar on 2 Circular Needles. This isn't my favorite knitting technique, but the pattern is interesting and different. The pattern instructions are not the clearest things I've ever read, and the socks require attention, which I'm sadly short on.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sometimes you just need something simple.

It's a little further along now.

I wouldn't say that I'm back in the swing of things, but it feels closer to what my hands want to make. Thanks for all your kind comments. It's Wednesday. So far so good. It's a week.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Why yes, I did hang out with Julie.

And she instructed me to inform you all that she really does play nice on her blog. She does. I sat with the woman while she looked through the latest Vogue Knitting. Go poke her until she posts. It should be a good one.

In the meantime, I'm still sort of missing my mojo. I found some sock yarn I wanted to knit, and well, it wants to be a boring, zen knitting kind of sock. I tried a pattern, but the color pools too much, and fought with the texture. I thought I might be able to get away with it as it was a forced movement sort of thing, but it was too much. When the sock is a little bigger, I'll post it, but right now it's still very small and could be frogged at any minute.

Feeling a little off this morning, sorry. It's a year since I lost someone to cancer today. Life goes on, but I feel the loss still. Today it's a little more acute. Take care of yourselves.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

It's official.

I'm in a bit of a knitting funk. It's not unusual in August, at least not for me. I frogged the Go With the Flow socks. They were okay, but the pattern wasn't centered and I'm not sure I really like all the holes in the socks. Maybe lace socks aren't me?

I'm thinking I might use the yarn for the Lace Ribbon scarf that was in Knitty. But I don't feel like working on it. And I'm not in the mood to knit Badia right now, because it's humid and the yarn feels sticky. The Twisted Yoke Cardigan is making me feel guilty as I've neglected it so long, and it's absurd that I haven't seamed Cutaway.

I have 2 other socks on the needles, and I don't want to knit those. I frogged a shawl I was loving as I knew I had made an error and I lost my place in the charts. I picked up a lace scarf I was working on, ripped back a mistake, and put it down. I'm going to try casting on a new pair of socks while I do some social knitting this afternoon, but really, I'm afraid I've lost my mojo.

When nothing's really grabbing you, what do you do? Rip out all the stuff that isn't working? Cast on something new? Take a break for another hobby?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Karmic balance.


This week has just been crazy. Absolutely, positively bizarre.
Huge things have gone wrong, balanced with huge things going right.

I'm looking forward to this weekend. I'm going to start the weekend out with a run, then go shop and take advantage of the sales tax-free weekend. After that, a short stint in lab, then back home. Sunday is wonderfully, perfectly unplanned. I'm very excited about that.

Expect some progress on some knitting. I'll be back. But now it's time to unwind in front of the tv with a sock or a vest or something.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Because Bells wants photos...

The socks.

These will look much better on a foot than on my hand. But Bells wanted photos, so she gets photos. Even if they are taken in the dark.

So for now, a little more knitting, a little Dance Dance Revolution, and some Wii Fit. Maybe tomorrow I will go for a run. It's nice to be home.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I should feel guilty.

And I sort of do. I spent most of the time I was awake on Saturday working in the lab. I started an experiment so I can have something to talk about for my individual progress meeting on Wednesday. But I did sleep half the day, went book shopping after work, and spent the evening watching a movie. I finally got around to seeing Pan's Labyrinth. I'm rather behind on movie watching. It was a good movie - I'm glad I saw it, but I can't say that I liked it. I'm wimpy, and the violence in the movie was a bit intense for me, and more gruesome than I honestly care for.

Today was not a productive one. I did a lot of laundry, hung out with my family, knit, and read. I don't have a photo, because I am a bad blogger. I'm working on Go With the Flow Socks (ravelry link) from Interweave Knits, published within the past couple years in the magazine and also in Favorite Socks. It's not a quick knit for me, and I don't know why. The stitch pattern is dead simple, and even I have it memorized. I have been creeping along on these, and finally managed to turn the heel and almost finish the gusset decreases after some prolonged knitting. I read The Alchemist's Daughter. It was okay. Since I picked it up on sale, I think I got my entertainment dollars out of what I paid for it, but I wasn't that impressed. I needed some escapist reading today, and I got that much out of it.

Spent part of the evening getting some desperately needed exercise, and have put in a bit of time on working on reviewing a manuscript. I don't think it's ready for publication, but sometimes it's harder than you might think to put your criticism on paper. I'm almost done, but need to commit some more time tomorrow. To which point, my boss has already e-mailed me tonight and asked me if I had intended to provide feedback. Sigh. I can't win. And really, I don't want to go back tomorrow. It's become far more aversive than I want to admit lately, and I wish I could stay home more and more each day.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Summer of what?

Doesn't look a lot like a sock, does it?

Badia in progress.JPG
Badia cable.JPG

It's a free Berroco pattern, and I'm knitting it with some Softwist that has been marinating in stash for at least 4 years. Originally I had purchased the yarn to knit a lace tank, but I became less enamored with that idea as time went by. (Wool - tank top? No.) The yarn isn't my favorite thing to knit with. It's a worsted weight wool/rayon blend that doesn't have great yardage. It's splitty and slippery, and doesn't feel fantastic in the hands. I hadn't been knitting long when I purchased it, and I wouldn't do it again. Should work okay for a vest though, and the pattern is kind of cute.

My sock mojo isn't working very well right now. I have 2 pair on the needles from before the SOS officially started, and I did knit one pair, but honestly, I haven't been knitting much. I've managed to develop a sinus infection, ear infection, and pink eye. So, since I'm taking a few days off work (I'm a little wobbly, despite antibiotics), I'm knitting. Or at least I've felt well enough to knit for the last 2 days. I admit that I'm looking forward to not being sick - it's been 2 or 3 weeks of this, and I'm kind of bored with it.

Been doing some cooking, but not taking photos of the goodies. I did make chocolate chip cookies, not from the Jacques Torres recipe recently in the NY Times, but the standby Tollhouse Cookie recipe. I did make one variation to the recipe, other than my usual addition of extra vanilla. I let the dough rest overnight, which did make a tastier cookie. I didn't cook the entire batch after the overnight rest, and left it in the fridge for a total of 3 days, and made larger cookies than usual. Frankly, the cookies were better at the larger size, and they were better than usual with the overnight rest, even tastier after 3 days. Try it if you don't believe me.

My other cooking find was a Nigella recipe - and oh my, it was good! The recipe was for Mirin Glazed Salmon, and it's definitely going to be cooked again at my house. (Here's a beautiful photo of it, better than mine looked.) Watch out for the glaze - it's hot and will cause blisters if it lands on you.

That's all I've got for now...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Food books

There are times when I think it would be fun to be a serious food person. I'd love to have the time to cook - really cook - learn good techniques and some technical skills. Unfortunately, my lifestyle and my schedule don't really fit that dream. So I make up for it by reading.

One of the last times I went to the bookstore, I picked up Garlic and Sapphires, but Ruth Reichl. (Image from Amazon.com, as is the link). It was on the bargain book table, something I have a hard time resisting. A hardcover book for $3.00 usually needs to come home with me if I think it might be at all good.

I had not read anything by Ruth Reichl before, so this was more or less a pleasant surprise. This is not an incredibly substantive book - it's light and fluffy, a memoir of working as restaurant critic for the New York Times. Reading the reviews on Amazon.com, I can see how people come to the criticisms they do. It does become a bit repetitive, and there is only so much reading I can do about how wonderful a food tastes. Personally, I'd rather be eating it than hearing how good it tastes, but I can get some vicarious enjoyment out of it. There are elements of this book that do become tiresome, but the book was also clearly written during a time that was very important to Reichl, and one she remembers fondly, and wanted to memorialize.

I wouldn't rush out to buy this book, but if you like reading about food and high end restaurants, pick it up at the library or at a used book store. I'll be keeping an eye out for her other books, which are supposed to be better than this one.

More to come this weekend. Things are a bit brighter than they were at my last posting, although I won't claim things have suddenly become sunshine and roses. My family is doing better, and I'm able to see some positive things again. (Thank you for the e-mails etc. They helped, even when I didn't feel like talking so much.) Somehow I have also forgotten that I need to be at work today, and now I need to run the vacuum to suck up at least the top layer of dirt in my house, shower, and run off for a few errands before I spend the rest of the day in the cave of the lab. I'm hoping to find enough time this weekend to cook something good for dinner, maybe try out a chocolate chip cookie recipe from the New York Times. Evidently, if you leave the cookie dough to sit for a day, the cookies are better. This is something I want to test, even if my waistline doesn't agree.

I am not my job. It's not my whole life. What doesn't kill me will only make me stronger. Lather, rinse, and repeat.

Monday, July 7, 2008

What do you do.

Do you blog the bad stuff? The days when you think, ok, now we've hit bottom, it's not going to get any worse, and yet it does? What do you do? What can you say? I know my blog is getting boring. That photos are happening less frequently, that I'm spending even more time saying nothing.

Right now I'm knitting. I'm knitting because I quit smoking and will never do that again. I'm knitting because I'm not hungry and the thought of eating makes me sick. I'm knitting because it's too late to go for a run and I can't run long enough or far enough or fast enough to make things feel better, to escape what's going on. I'm knitting because work isn't solace anymore, because I can't pay enough attention to a book, because I don't want to dump this on another person. I can't escape into drugs or alcohol, and it's just getting to be too much.

I don't want to parent my parents. I don't want anyone to be sick. I'm tired. I can't sleep, and things just continue to get worse. I don't want to be a grownup. I want a vacation.

Friday, July 4, 2008


I just don't know about this yarn.


We've talked about it before, a long time ago. I don't like it. If I had seen it in person, I'm not sure I would have purchased it.


I did start knitting Leyburns out of this, and it was okay. I stopped because I needed to make changes to the pattern to fit my own foot better. I really don't like this sock now, and I don't know what I was thinking. Well - I do. The yarn was there, and I felt like casting on for this pattern RIGHT NOW, and I got gauge, and now I'm not sure. This is the Bartholemew's Tantalizing sock pattern from Cat Bordhi's new book. It's interesting, but I'm finding it too fiddly for my current mood.

So I just spent the better part of an HOUR ripping the sock back. Why and hour? Because the yarn tangled as I was trying to rewind it. It wound up on itself. It tangled at both ends. It attempted to choke my ballwinder. When I finally pulled the yarn cake off, it came off a total mess. And now? Now I am so annoyed by this yarn, yarn that I was seriously considering taking scissors to, that I have thrown it on the couch upstairs and walked away. I'm not knitting it anymore.

Do you want this yarn? Can I send it to you? It's a mess - I know, but if you love it, it's yours. Because we're done here. I'm happy to send it to a good home. Otherwise, I'm either going to be found guilty of yarn abuse or I'm going to chuck it.

Now I'm going to start a vest. I need a momentary sock break, and I had a sudden vest obsession this morning. I still have a cold. Happy 4th of July.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Summer of Socks, first sock

Home sick today. Either my allergies are on high alert, or I've picked up a cold. Whichever way, I'm not feeling so great today. The nice thing is that it did give me time to finish a sock as I sat on the couch feeling lousy and watching bad television.

Lo, a completed pair:
Whitby toe.JPG
The details - Whitby sock from Knitting on the Road by Nancy Bush. Y'all probably know that already. It's a good pattern, after all, Nancy Bush includes lovely little details so I feel like I'm learning something every time I knit one of her designs. The heel on this sock is a little different. It's not the best fit for me, as I need something a little wider (yeah, I should have photos, but it's hard to take photos of your own feet) but it's pretty. She extends the usual slip-stitch heel flap pattern for the turned part of the heel.

The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy Sock, color Happy Forest. I have to admit that the name of the yarn kind of irritates me, but the color is great. I'm happy to have a quickly completed pair of socks, but I really do prefer a thinner yarn for footwear. There was some bleeding onto the needles I used, so I'm curious as to how much dye is going to come out when I wash these. The yardage is very generous, and there's plenty left over for a pair of kids socks, or a hat or something fun. However, despite the fact that I really love the color, and I like the sock - I'm not running out to get more. (Ok, part of that is related to my feeling I have enough yarn and not enough time to knit, but that's another story.) I would definitely consider trying their aran or lace weight yarn sometime.

Now off to be warped by Cat Bordhi. I have some swatching to do.