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.