Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Well phooey.

Today was the first night this week that I left work before 10pm. Yes, you read that correctly. Tonight I got home at the early hour of 7:45, and made something dinner-like to eat. I was looking forward to relaxing and finally finishing that blog post I'd been meaning to finish up.

Only 2 problems.

1) Tonight is game 1 of the World Series.
2) My neighbor is blasting music. The bass is making my head vibrate, and I'm not exaggerating. My entire living room is vibrating, and it's really ticking me off. I had a glass of water on the floor, and there were waves forming. It's not even 9pm yet, however, so I can't really complain. I can't definitively tell if it's from upstairs or next door, or from the bar. It is loud, regardless.

At this second, I hate apartment living. I suppose I could just go back to work. I just wanted to be able to relax for a few minutes.

I'm going to go see if I can hide somewhere else in my 2br apartment. I need to escape this noise.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

So. Rhinebeck.

It didn't get off to the greatest of all starts. I woke up 10 minutes before I absolutely had to leave my apartment to get to the train station. This is lucky, because I messed up setting the alarm on my clock. I'm pretty amazed that I woke up at all, considering it was 10 to 6 when I bolted out of bed. Once I got to the station (in record time) I waited at the wrong track for a while, then I struggled with figuring out the ticket machine, as I clearly am in desperate need of caffeine in the morning. The trip itself was easy. Once I got on the (correct) train it was a fairly short ride up to New Jersey. I got off the train just as Cordelia and Kathy were coming to meet me - and they had coffee. This was a really fun meeting, as Cordelia and I have been emailing for years, but hadn't ever spoken in person. (I think we are both shyer in person than by email.) Kathy drove us to meet Kim, who I also had never met before, but have been a long-time blog friend of. All three women are lovely people and I hope to see them again soon.

Let me say that the drive to Rhinebeck is gorgeous -lots of rolling, tree-covered hills, which were stunning in the fall. We got in around noon, and first headed for food. I think the most popular item there had to be the "Artichokes French." The line was insane, and as much as I like artichokes, I'm not a big fan of waiting. After a quick lunch, we headed for the barns. Rhinebeck is the second fiber festival I've attended, with the first being SAFF. I knew I didn't want to go nuts the way I did at SAFF, so I tended to be much more cautious with my purchases this year. In fact, it was really hard for me to get started. I'm also not very good with crowds. Too many people + too much stuff = a strong sense of claustrophobia and a need to flee. Which is part of my explanation for why I don't have photos of any of the crowds or the stuff.

My general feeling is that if you spin, this is a great festival to attend. There was a lot of fiber. Really gorgeous fiber, and I almost walked home with a Golding spindle, but that's just something I don't have time for right now. There were some beautiful naturally-dyed yarns, but I wasn't finding a lot of things were really grabbing me. Some booths were just too mobbed for me to browse in, as well, which may also have held me back a bit. I stared very hard at the Brooks Farm booth, thought hard about Creatively Dyed yarn (seasilk, particularly) passed by The Fold a few times, and I really wanted to buy something at Briar Rose. In the end, I made my purchase at Sliver Moon Farm. I really like the way variegated yarn looks in the skein. I love it. BUT - I seem to not like knitting with it as much as I like semi-solid yarn. So I ended up with this.



Not a whole lot of sock yarn there, which may or may not have been a good thing.

The most fun part for me was seeing all of the knitwear. It was fascinating being somewhere and having the experience of people focusing on looking at your knits, not you. There were some amazing things there. I spotted one "famous" blogger, and I'm ashamed to admit I did that thing where you openly stare at someone (I suck at connecting names and faces, so I was trying to figure out why she looked familiar for a really long time) - but she smiled at me, so I feel a little less ridiculous. I got a few compliments on my Selbu Modern hat, which was very flattering. I still see all of its flaws, but I'm really proud of it.

That's all for now. Except for the required animal photos.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursday bullets

  • I went to Rhinebeck and I had a really good time and I need to blog about it and download photos from my camera. I also need to take photos of some yarn that I bought there and track some other acquisitions I've made since I moved here.
  • There are 2 completed knitting projects I still haven't blogged. Not only that, I've worn both of them. Not only that, but I still haven't woven in the ends on one of them, and they're really obvious. Also, they aren't socks.
  • I have a new bedroom window so every post from now on out shouldn't be about how cold I am. (To be fair, it was very chilly with the breeze and not turning the heat on.)
  • This weekend I'm hoping to do some food shopping and knitting in addition to going in to work. I'm planning on cooking soup and starting up breadmaking again next week. If I'm really motivated, I might watch a movie or read a book.
  • I'm very tired this week. After coming home from Rhinebeck on Saturday night, I went to bed. Sunday I went grocery shopping, went out to lunch with a friend, went to work, and then cooked soup. Work is very busy right now. (This is good. Really.) On top of that, I'm fighting a cold, and if you know where I live (and that my apartment is located above a bar), you will also understand my stating that it's been a bit loud in the evenings. Particularly so last night.
  • I want to knit some mitts and some gloves and some mittens and a sweater and some socks and I don't want to start anything new until I have finished some of the old things that are taking up space in my living room. I'm not very excited about working on most of them. The item I most want to knit is stalled due to a backorder of additional yarn. Hopefully it will arrive soon.
  • I'm going to try to knit now, maybe with some tea and honey for my sore throat, and possibly with some crappy tv streamed over my computer. So much for my attempts at daily blogging.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I need pictures.

Yes, I know. Yet another photo-less post. In my defense, when I got up at 7 this morning, it was grey and rainy. When I walked home from work, via the grocery store, it was cold and grey and rainy. Photos? Hah. I'm concentrating on staying warm.

There's a significant draft in my living room. Specifically, one of the new windows put in the apartment before I moved in is not sealed well, and it leaks when it rains. In the bedroom, there's still a missing window pane. In a word, I'm cold. I'm thinking about buying some caulk to fix the living-room window. As I said, I'm cold, and I'm responsible for the heating bill come winter. It's only fall now. At the same time, 42 and rainy with no heat doesn't feel very warm.

I have a need to knit something, immediately, but I have no idea what. I am in desperate need of mittens. I also could use a warm sweater or three. Instead, I have a shawl, socks, and a scarf on the needles. I'm feeling a need to finish things up, too. I am also afraid that I have lost my sock mojo. I have some great yarn, but I'm just not getting into it. (I just looked down at myself and realized I am a handknit nightmare - over a Land's End sweater and yoga pants, I am wearing my purplish chevron scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, my red and orange Clapotis wrapped around my waist, and blue striped socks. Perhaps there is a reason I am avoiding cameras?)

This weekend I am going up to Rhinebeck. I'm excited, partly because I am meeting 2 blogging friends who I feel like I almost "know" from years of chatting back and forth, and also because it sounds like this festival is a sight to behold. I'm not planning on buying much - but tomorrow may be a time to revisit the Ravelry queue and think about what I might want or need.

Other than a heated mattress pad, that is. I'm thinking of getting one of those on Sunday. Plus a second pad to put over the memory foam cushion that makes up a significant portion of my mattress, as I'm sleeping on a futon.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I'm back north, after a weekend away. It's cold up here! Tonight it's in the low 50's, which would probably feel less cold if it hadn't been in the 80's and 90's for me this weekend. This upcoming weekend? I may be even colder, but let's see how that develops... I may have some exciting (at least for me) news later this week.

Tonight was knitting, and it was good. I've decided that my mystery project (which isn't done yet) needs a second skein of yarn. The big reveal? It's a Shetland Triangle out of Malabrigo Sock. I'm going to buy the second skein and keep going. It's a great pattern, and I love knitting it. But I am also sick of all the dinky little shawls I have been knitting lately, so this one will be bigger, and deserves to be so.

Photos soon - I promise. I need light, and right now I need to find someplace warm to go hide. There's a wicked draft that I'm sitting in, and the window to my apartment isn't fixed yet. I'm cold! I'm even contemplating fingerless gloves to make my joints stop aching, which is just sad commentary.

Late, and I need sleep.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I missed a day, but not for lack of trying.

Yesterday was just kind of busy, what with the dissertation defense, experiment, meeting, and flying out of town. Got back to the southern state around 10 something at night, took a taxi home and tried to hold up my end of a conversation about football, which is sort of the equivalent of asking me to speak fluent Chinese.

Have spent most of today attached to my son, or rather with him sitting on me or otherwise touching me. It's nice to be missed, and it's wonderful to see him, but IT'S HOT HERE, and disgustingly humid. Plus, there are mosquitos. And I'm really not used to it anymore, especially since I have been experiencing pleasant fall-like weather up north. It's good to be back, however, as I missed my family, and my washing machine. I find myself oddly overwhelmed by the size of my house, and it's not big. I guess I've adapted to the city more than I thought, as it was also odd to be driving and to not hear sirens last night when I went to bed. It's strange being here, because I don't live here anymore, and it's decidedly not home. Of course, it's also clear that we're in transition, because my husband isn't really living here either, and my apartment is for the most part, undecorated.

I am not sure what our plans are for the rest of the weekend. Right now, husband is out picking up burgers and fries for dinner. I am still protein-starved, and I'm fitting into my "skinny" jeans again, despite my scale saying that I have not lost an ounce since I moved, so I feel no guilt. Even after the Krispy Kreme donuts and the cookie earlier today. Hah. We're possibly going to go play mini-golf on Saturday, if the weather holds, and I think there's potentially interest in seeing Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. I don't really care what we do, as I'm happy to be with them. Tonight is likely to be movies/TiVO and hanging out with some knitting.

On the way out of my apartment, I realized that I left my camera, so photos will not be happening this weekend. There's also been no knitting yet today, and I suspect that time will be somewhat limited. I did finish another mystery, however. One thing I love about travel is that I essentially have a lot of uninterrupted time to read. I just finished reading Shot Girl, which was a light, but fun read. If you enjoy mass-market mysteries, this one is better than many I've read lately. Food's here, so I'm off.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Packing, with knitting.

I just unraveled a sock. I liked the yarn. I liked the pattern. They just weren't quite right together. Bad proportions, or just an ill-fitting sock for my foot.

I'm not sure what to bring with me. I'm going to be away for a few days, and I am close to the end on the mystery project, I have a mindless sock that is about a day from completion, and a mindless scarf I can take with me. I don't know how much time I'm going to have to knit, and I hate the idea of running out of knitting. But I'm also liking finishing things a lot.

Too late now to write, and I'm too tired to think. Leaving tomorrow afternoon, and I'm delighted.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

What I do, and a turtle.

As I kind of expected, things went from a relaxed and easy pace to all kinds of insanity at work today. It's a short week for me, as I'm taking off to see the hub and kid this weekend, and I'm vacating work a day early. Of course, now that I have plans for that, all the supplies I had ordered are now trickling in, and there's work (a lot of it) to be done on the 3 experiments I'm working on.

I was going to head over to knitting tonight, but I was starving (forgot to eat) and I'm tired. So I picked up a sandwich on the way home and watched Heroes and House instead.

The front half of the week is typically brutal. I have a regularly scheduled experiment on Monday, and I'm usually busy with that all day and through most of Tuesday. It's not difficult work, but it requires fairly intense attention during the active times, and for a good chunk of time, it's a matter of constant, careful motion. All the steps are time-sensitive, and there's a lot of moving from one place to another. This week I got a reprieve (sort of). I was able to pause my experiment at a point where I don't usually stop, and I'll take it up again next week. Of course, now I have to look forward to working with some seriously scary reagents, and I'm more than a little nervous about it. (Next week, I get to work with trifluoroacetic acid, and yes, I will be working in the fume hood for a change. Acetic acid is no big deal, neither is hydrochloric, but this stuff intimidates me a bit. Okay, a lot.) Plus, I really want everything to work, so I have to be very very careful how I do things next week. Should be interesting - I need clean, non-contaminated samples, but maybe, just maybe, I'll have some good results by the end of the month.

Anyhow, I got to do something very cool today, and I played with lasers. No kidding. I'm learning how to use a million dollar piece of equipment, which oddly seems less intimidating than it used to. (We really have excellent toys here.) There's more training tomorrow, plus a session on how to use a much less interesting piece of equipment in the lab (it doesn't have a laser.) I spent the afternoon staring in frustration at my computer, finally figuring out that the answer to a problem I was having was much simpler than I thought, but does mean that I lost some time and have to repeat something I did last week. Then I did a little bit of prep work for the third project that I'm doing preliminary work on, which I'm super excited about. I have a laundry list of small things to do waiting for me in the morning, and with any luck, I should have another shipment of supplies arriving, because I'm waiting for a custom order to come in.

Sometimes I gripe about my job - it's busy, it's hard, and the personalities around me can, at times, be a little different. At the same time, I love the variety of things I get to do. Most of the time, I'm not sitting at a desk; instead, I'm doing and making things. I am however, tired. Tomorrow will come soon, and it will be busy. Time to knit another row or two, and then to collapse and hopefully sleep. I'm hoping for a quiet night. I'm also grateful for an iPod app that generates white noise. There's little else that knocks me out so quickly.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day 5, i guess - Interweave Knits Weekend

I'm a sucker for a knitting magazine. I like to look at them, and I frequently find "Special Issues" to be more exciting than the actual magazine. (Actually, Interweave, I'm looking directly at you on that one. Lately I like Knitscene better than IK, for whatever reason.) Anyhow, here's my take.

The bottom line: Do you need this? No, it's not essential, but there are some interesting things in it.

There are a few attractive patterns, but there's nothing that really jumps out at me as an amazing fantastic "wow, I really need to knit that 5 minutes ago," but there are things I would make out of the magazine.

First, an article on novels about knitting.
Next, "Friday." Starts strong, with a pretty Kathy Zimmerman guy sweater, and a cute kid's sweater by Wendy Bernard. Two of my favorites in this issue. Kid pants, and a capelet are next. Then a sweater that is meant to be reversible. My feeling about this is that anyone who has seen me in person will realize that the shape of my chest and my back are rather dissimilar, and this sweater is designed for a much different body type than my own. A blurb about sizing things for kids, and some simple socks. The patterns follow, with commentary. Much more mixed than the current layout of IK.

Next, an article on teaching kids to knit. I admit to have not read this yet. "Saturday Morning." A really basic, very wearable women's cardigan. (I would knit this, and actually might.) A cute baby jacket, and a kitchen towel. A very interesting basket out of some ridiculously huge yarn. Probably costs a fortune, but at least it was done to make a sculptural piece instead of clothing. A pillow, with a super simple and elegant design. I really dig it, actually, and am intrigued by the color. Probably a deceptively expensive project. Awesome button. Next an apron and a hat. More pattern information and words.

An article on fiber festivals. More patterns - a guy sweater and a scarf by Ann Budd, and a cardigan by Annie Modesitt. The cardigan is not me, but it's interesting. Next, "Sunday," and a cardigan that is cut in a current style that I personally don't find flattering, and can't pull off, but I like the color a lot and the stitch pattern. Another guy sweater - I get the concept, but I'm not sure I like the placement of the design element. A cute cloche hat, which would either look adorable or horrible on me. A cowl neck sweater. Can't personally wear them, and this particular one would add a good 30 pounds on me. Kid shrug. A lace cardigan in bulky wool - again, not my style or cut. Very current lines, but I'm not shaped right for it.

Simple colorwork hat and mittens. Some designer interviews (They're all very cute, and look happy. I like the photos.) Staff projects - a vest, a scarf, a bag, and a vest. Next page is a dog vest (? Really not for me.) Two plain simple cardigans I like a lot, and would personally wear. The down side to both of them is bunching of fabric around the armhole - oh, and the patterns are online, not in the magazine. An absolutely ridiculous hat - I'm sorry - I get what you're doing, but I'm not that much of an exhibitionist.

Overall, the layout reminds me a lot of the first IK that came out when Eunny Jang first took over. I don't have really strong feelings in favor of or against this issue - and I think it does serve it's purpose of patterns for relaxed, low stress weekend knitting of casual clothing.

Peek for yourself here. Thoughts?

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Today, for something different, you're getting an intentionally bad photograph. Really. It's bad, and it's intentional. I'm curious as to how much can be identified by this shot.

Here are the clues:

1) It's a popular (possibly even viral) knit.
2) At least one of you has knit one.
3) It's an incredibly addictive pattern, and I've done nothing but knit this since I cast on last night. I had to rip back completely once, because I made a mistake and it bothered me, and I had to do some significant tinking twice. The first time was because I was knitting in bed without my glasses on before I got coffee. This was a big mistake. The second time I got distracted by the show I've been watching (Dead Like Me) and couldn't figure out where I dropped a stitch.

I'm also curious if anyone can identify the yarn. I promise there will be better shots of this. It's working up rather quickly, but I also think it will end up being a bigger knit than I expect. For indoor flash photography, the color's actually fairly true. In person, in daylight, the color is a bit more crushed grape, and it has almost a velvety quality.

Now to sneak in a bit more knitting on the couch before I collapse. I should by all rights do that now, but I'm not quite ready to call it a night yet.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day 3.

It's Saturday night, my apartment is clean, and mostly tidy. I have some laundry in the machines downstairs, and the rest of the evening is mine to spend relaxing. I did very little today - I slept in, talked a little on the phone, napped, knit, and watched silly tv shows. It's been very nice. I'm a little blue today. Weekends are harder than the weekdays, and I have a tendency to become overly tired. It affects my mood a lot, and it's easy to slide into a negative mood. Tidying up helped, sort of symbolically moving on and getting ready for the week. A fresh start, I suppose.

Things are, for the most part, good. I like my job, and I'm learning a lot. I still feel behind, and under pressure, but that's going to be true regardless of what I'm doing. I haven't taken the easiest path, but there's still hope that this will all work out. I've met a really neat group of people to knit with, and if I were in less of a hermit mode, I could probably go out and socialize more with them too. I'm trying to do things for myself.

I just started knitting a new project - a Shetland Triangle Shawl. I just finished 2 triangular shawls (no, I didn't take photos yet) and I'm not sure why I really wanted to knit this, but the yarn and the pattern were calling to me. I actually have a few things clamoring at me. The other is a pair of Fiddlehead Mittens, which I'm likely to start tomorrow, and there's a sweater that has tried to materialize on my needles. So far, the sweater hasn't taken, so there's a possibility I can hold off on that until I finish something up. It's fall. I think this is the equivalent of spring fever, and I'm feeling a strong urge to swathe myself in handknits. I know it makes for boring blogging, as I keep starting things and having little followthrough. I knit for myself though - what I want, when I want, with no pressure. It's one of the few things in my life that is like that. Maybe the only thing.

Part of trying this daily blogging is to determine if the blog is something I'm going to continue or not - I know why I knit, but I'm not sure why I'm blogging. I have met some really neat people, friends even, online. However, I'm finding it much harder to connect these days. I like Ravelry, but I don't do so well on message boards. I don't leave comments often, and I don't think I have many readers left. I'm okay with this, but I wonder if it means that I'm done with blogging? On the other hand, I don't email much either, and it is a way of keeping in contact with the friends I have who do read this.

Sorry for the moodiness tonight. Weekends are hard, and I miss my family. Tomorrow is a work day, but hopefully the light will be better and I'll get some shots of knitting.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Last minute post

Ok, so I'm sneaking in under the wire today.

Just finished watching season 6 of Wire in the Blood. I don't know if I liked the series or not. It started out strong, but I think it lost something as time went on. Interesting to see how much grittier of a crime show is put on by the BBC. I hate that the male psychiatrist became the key to solving every crime, and that the female lead police investigator depended on his input way too much. There was more humor and incompetence on his part earlier on. I think the writing got sloppier, but it was entertaining enough for me to watch 24 episodes.

I'm watching a lot of junk this year, since many things are on Hulu and elsewhere online: Heroes, House, Gossip Girl, Castle, Vampire Diaries (yes, I know, it's crap), Bones, Dollhouse. I think that's all, and that's a lot. By the end of the day, I'm wiped out, and don't have much left for anything else.

I finished another scarf last night - that's 2 down. Photos tomorrow, as I got home far too late to take any shots.

Tomorrow will be a better planned and more interesting post than this one.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

So I've got this thing...

But it's not golden. (Ok, I thought it was funny.)

Anyhow, when I moved, and left my washer and dryer behind (oh, how I miss them so) I purchased this thing on sale from

I paid a lot less than that asking price for it, but I have to say - it's a nifty little gadget. I'm not a big fan of drying a lot of my clothes, and I used a drying rack a lot at my house. I did think this would be a pretty cool accessory for a knitter. Basically, it's just a fan blowing air over the stuff you have laid out flat on a mesh shelf, but it does cut down on drying time significantly. If, like me, you are both cold and impatient, this is a good thing.

At the moment, I'm using it to dry a Simple Yet Effective Shawl. Once it's dry, I'll weave in the ends and eventually I'll take a photo and post it here and on Ravelry. I used less than one skein of Trekking XXL, and honestly had a lot more yarn left over than I intended, but I was ready to move on and at the end it was really about deciding that it was more important to end with a garter stitch section than to use all the yarn.

Next up is another less fabulous than practical knit, which is another triangular scarf-like item that is very close to completion. It comes with a mildly cautionary tale, which I'll share as soon as I am done.

It's October 1st, and I see many of my friends are doing daily blogging. I'm too noncommittal to commit, but I'll take a stab at it without officially joining anything, because for me, joining increases the likelihood of my failing to follow through... Tomorrow's topics may include: "You have no idea how glad I am it's Friday," "E. Coli, or Bacteria really do not smell good," or "I'm so old and out of touch I can't tell if my new friends are hipsters or not and who cares anyhow because they have yarn."

See you then.