Wednesday, December 20, 2006

......Merry Christmas to ME......

A scenic shot taken - from the end of our street - over Thanksgiving.

This will annoy my husband to no end (I know this for certain, as I *just* got off the phone with him where he told me in no uncertain terms that it annoyed him to no end) but this afternoon I bought myself a new jacket (in plum). Let's all sing together now "Merry Christmas to youuuuu, Merry Christmas to youuuuuu, Merrrryyyy Chrissssssssttttmaaaaassss Dear Suuuuuuuusan.........Meeeeeeery Chriiiiiiiiiistmasssss toooooooo youuuuuuuuuuuu..........."

After I had the Munch I did major, major breastfeeding time that took my pregnancy poundage right off - with absolutely no effort on my part - with not a little amount of chocolate, brie, pasta, and other yummy carbs being shoveled into my mouth - with no harmful effects. However since the little guy is almost completely weaned, my metabolism is finally returning to it's normal sluggish-at-best state, and while my weight briefly creeped up a few pounds this semester, it's now back to where it was pre-pregnancy. Which is approximately 10-15 pounds above where I'd like it to be. Which is where the lovely Health Magazine article on amping up your basic metabolism comes into play. While I had swam through my pregnancy & afterwards, my enthusiasm for it is seriously waning these days - something about the walk to the pool, the changing, the dampness of it all, the cold, the showering, the changing back into my work clothes - it's just something I have no interest in. But now walking - I never get tired of walking. In a bad mood? Go for a walk and amazingly enough I come back feeling better. Anxious? Depressed? Sad? A walk will clear my head like literally nothing else. Angry or frustrated? Walking just mellows me out better than a glass (or two!) of wine.

So when the Heath article tells me to amp up my resting metabolism (and in a nutshell, amp up your resting metabolism & you simply burn a ton more calories by sitting & existing than you otherwise do) by walking four times a week (twice for 30 minutes, twice for 45 minutes) and lifting some weights twice a week to pack on some calorie-burning muscle I realized that this is something I can totally do. So my walking shoes are already at work, and I know where I can go around campus to walk for just the right amount of time. However that first day that I happily went outside for a walk I came back knowing that some things would most certainly have to change so that the whole walking experience could be the lovely, lovely thing that I know for certain it can be for me.

(oh how FRUSTRATING - bear with me - this is the 2nd time I'm writing up this list, as Blogger lost it the first time around!)

Here is my list (so far) of what I need to have from here on out:

1.) A new jacket. As you already know, this has been recently purchased. In plum. It doesn't get brutally cold here, not really. Not like it does in Vermont or in Wyoming or anything. But still because of our bizarre humidity it gets wet & cold in such a way that a decent warm, padded, closely fitted jacket that keeps the coldly-freezingly wet wind off of your more tender tissues a serious necessity. And even better, the jacket unzips to be three jackets - a single outer layer, a single inner layer, and a single+outer together for the Ultimate Experience. Well worth the cashola, I'd say - staying warm while still being un-bulky enough to fit behind the wheel of a Jeep Wrangler & still easily haul the Munch in & out of his carseat? Yep yep yep - worth the price!

2. A decent wear-to-work-sportsbra. For the love of Pete, why are bras so HORRIBLE so often? The stupid strap-holding bits slide down to where they're roughly 3 feet long and before you know it you're losing - seriously losing - to gravity. A look that - correct me here if I'm wrong - we typically try our best to AVOID. Add that to a brisk 30 or 45 minute walk & add in chafing, scratching back hooks, dripping sweat as there is NO wicking ability in a basic bra - and you've got a very annoyed walker. Find a typical sports bra and you've suddenly got one huge monobreast that spans the entire width of your chest and makes you look like you've been drawn through the eyeball of a cyclops who can't focus on two things at once. I wanted & needed something that I could wear to work and keep me separate & lifted & comfy yet could also handle a sweaty walk in the middle of the day. Leave it to the folks at Title Nine to know exactly what it was that I needed. I ordered one yesterday in black - if I like it a second one will most certainly be purchased in white in a few months.

3. Sunglasses. Man but it's bright out there! I go out & squint which means eyestrain which means headaches & problems. And as someone who is already legally blind without her glasses/contacts lenses (but I have 20/15 vision with my contacts in!) more eyestrain is simply not allowed. Preferably with truly decent UV protection & maybe even polarized to kill the glare.

4. Chapstick. Needing it & not having it is seriously, seriously annoying. A tube that will never, ever leave my new & nifty jacket.

5. Gloves. My hands do lots of swinging when I walk - which means that they get very very cold. I'm not a hands-in-pockets kind of girl or walker, I guess. Plus I need gloves for my drive into work - I had a lovely lined leather pair last year but the dog ate them. Bad dog! Bad dog! Which is why when I saw these for the eye-bulging price of $49 I was seriously reluctant to order them - after all, that's an expensive dog toy in my book! (Plus - honestly - who could choose - brown or black?) I'm guessing that I'm instead going to go with these in (again) plum to match my jacket when they're back in stock.

6. A hat. I was browsing through the hats online at LL Bean & Title Nine & Athleta when suddenly I smacked myself on the head and thought "ohmygod are you KIDDING ME? You're thinking of BUYING a hat when what you obviously need to do - you stupid braindead woman - is make one for yourself????" Now the question is not what hat to buy but rather what hat to make. As I've had my eye on this one and this and this other one for quite some time now. Huh - although I just saw this in the new Knitty issue..... (A note to folks - in order to find the above links I had to search through Knitty's revamped archive/pattern pages about a million times - now instead of one master archive page divided by category - socks, hats, cardigans, etc. - you have to click on then search through each issue one at a time. A very, very bad reorganization decision on their part!!!)

So that is what I have been doing, thinking about, and working on all day today. And not working on the book intro like I'm supposed to have been doing. Ah well - tomorrow is yet another day!

And just so that this blog isn't completely picture-less I just put in a pic up at the very top - we live near a large cemetery in town and at the back of the cemetery there is a large & lovely pond. That was the view across the pond back in November.

The picture above is of *the* most incredible banana bread that I've had in a long long time. Clotilde's flamed-banana bread made with Emily's pecans that she sent me in my care package. YUM YUM YUM. Must make more very very soon! The only thing I'd do different is to coarsely chop the pecans after I was done praline-ing them, as - as you can see - they were a bit big in the end product.

Thursday, December 14, 2006


The past several weeks have felt like I've been submerged, under very very thick & choppy water which in reality was too much work & stress at work, a young son who has been waking up much MUCH too early (4:50 AM, anyone?), a violent allergic reaction due to a mold infestation in the building, and just general insanity & traveling & holiday cheer-lessness.

This afternoon - after a good 15 minutes of watching home video clips of said young son, I finally feel as if I'm emerging and surfacing from my pool of stress and general malaise.

So here - finally - are pictures of some mega-finished-objects. Two single socks, one partially finished sock that will finish up the pair, and some shots of finished Red Knee-Highs on Mr. Peggers himself. Now, unfortunately, remember that one of those knee-highs will be ripped back so that I can knit the toe longer than it currently is. I don't think that I'll be able to salvage the yarn enough to re-use it, so an extra skein of KnitPicks will need to be purchased. Which, as I'm hoping to buy a bunch of KnitPicks after the holidays to knit myself Amelia's Jemima - which I am totally and thoroughly in love with and have high high hopes for (especially after my J. Crew chocolate brown cashmere sweater went missing over a year ago) isn't really any sort of a tragedy by any means!

First, after such a long wait - Red Knee Highs, modeled by Mr. You-Know-Who himself!

This first picture cracks me up, as just behind Peggers you can see The Munchkin come running into the kitchen to see what Mommy & Daddy have the audacity to be doing without him!

Calf shaping. If you squint, you can *almost* see it!

Next some socks. I'm almost done with both of my Dusk socks (selfish selfish me!) and just two days ago finished the first sock for my friend S. She was owed socks from ages ago when she decided to start knitting them on her we both ordered sock yarn and some really nice Addi circs to get started. Then she decided that knitting tiny yarn on tiny needles just wasn't at all her thing, so she gave them ALL TO ME. All of them - the Addis, the yarn - all of it! So I promised her a pair of socks in return.

So - the blue socks are for yours truly, while the single green one is for her. The yarn I used for S's sock is actually an incredible, incredible gift from Emily. For which I have never - horridly - thanked her. But will certainly & properly do so very soon.

The cuff is a basic k/p with twisted knitting stitches, and then plain for the leg. I did a Sherman heel (love love love those!!!!!) and the toe I did a-la Mean Girl Jen & did it in twisted ribbing to match the cuff. Like that ribbed toe, I do I do!

One green, one blue.

Stunningly enough, I actually took truly properly detailed notes on this sock! The cuff is done on 72 sts and done in a basic feather/fan pattern. 9 repeats & then in one round decrease to 64 sts for the rest of the sock. I did the heel in a heel flap - eye of partridge. (I figured w/ these peacock-y colours, that keeping to a bird motif would be appropriate - oui?) After I did the flap & picked up for the gusset I just did the basic decrease until I was down to 64 sts again I knit until it was time to do the toe, then I decreased for that in a star decrease like the directions for the Embossed Leaves sock told me to do. Then when I had 4 sts left I ran the yarn through, and wove in my 2 ends. Easy as can be! I double-checked it with S and it fits perfectly - so I cast on for the pair yesterday & will join and begin knitting on it again tonight.

The yarn is Schaefer in the superwash-blend "Anne" that (again) Emily gave to me. Isn't it STUNNING?????? The woman obviously has very very good taste!

So in a brief yet picture-heavy nutshell, that is what I've been doing with myself for the past - oh - 4 or 5 weeks!

I'm still working on my Super-Secret Project - and will update you on that as soon as possible. Gee, could it possibly be Christmas knitting???????????


Friday, December 08, 2006

I Lied

I have done no knitting this week. NONE. It's been another icky busy week at work, full of running around during the day and collapsing in a heap at night. To add to the ickyness my building has become infested with mold in the ventilation system - a substance that while I typically adore in cheese and other foodstuffs, I am violently allergic to when it's floating around in the air. This has meant me shuffling around from building to building, trying to bum a wireless-capable laptop and trying to find a wireless-capable spot to park my bum and get necessary work done.

I finished the Red Knee-Highs on Sunday - and of course knitted the second foot too small. {SIGH} Would have helped tremendously if I would have actually taken notes on what I was doing the first time around, huh???????

I'm hoping knitting will happen before the month is out!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Still Here...

...just buried under tons of grading, final exam insanity, and the particular hellishness of three candidates visiting campus this week. Next week promises to be better.

Happily enough, though, I *have* been knitting. What I have not been doing is photographing that knitting. That will be next week.

I do, however, have a photo for Eye Candy Friday.

It's been very, very foggy here lately. 'Tis quite cool.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

My Life My Blog

Concept courtesy of January One's website......

...self portrait with Takezo, the wonder puppy...

Friday, November 10, 2006

More Sock & More Monks

I'm just not too sure about this sock. I think the monks are fantastic, and they're totally sending me good vibes & karma & everything...................but this picot edge just isn't doing it for me. Neither, I have to say, is the size. I did a test swatch and EVERYTHING and measured my calf......just like the YH tells you to in her 'sock' chapter, but somehow it just seemed way too big. 10.5" around my calf, at 7 sts/inch comes out to 75 stitches, that's a no-brainer, but the more I knit it, the bigger it looked until finally this afternoon I totally chickened out and decreased every five stitches down to a grand total of 60. Now I'm thinking I'm totally s.o.l. and that I need to un-stitch down the picot edge and un-ravel everything and re-cast on again for the sucker. Which might mean that I totally skip the picot edge this time around and instead go for a k2p2 ribbing, where I knit into the back of each knit stitch - a look that gives me total hand cramp but I like nonetheless.

(Okay, I just tried it on and I am **so** not in love with this sock. It totally has to go. As I can only find 4 of my size 1 dpns I was knitting on three - and I'm just not good enough to knit on three without having ladders appear at the needle junctions. Knitting with five needles is NO problem, but knitting with a grand total of four is just beyond my ability. So a picot edge that I don't like PLUS ladders? Bye-bye sock! This yarn is just too amazingly beautiful to not do it right. It was actually a gift from R in exchange for knitting her clapotis - isn't that just the best gift in the world???)

Anyway, on to the monks!

The Munchkin's daycare is closed today, so my mother-in-law has graciously come up for the day to babysit the little guy. This morning (before nap!) she brought him over to work to visit the monks - also so that she could see them herself. I took a few pictures that I thought you might like to see...........

(Okay, this non-fuzzy one above I didn't take - my office mate walked over w/ his wife to take a look themselves & this is one of the pics that he sent around the office...)

Do you notice that this is not at ALL the mandala that I thought it was yesterday? I've searched the Drepung Loseling website & can't find out which one it is. I'll have to go back & visit in just a few minutes to see if I can't find out!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Knitting with the Monks

The Drepung Loseling monks are here - and will be creating a sand mandala over the next few days. I was able to watch the opening ceremony yesterday afternoon, and I went over today for about 45 minutes and sat and watched them work on the mandala while I knit on my picot-edged Sundara socks. I'm having a wee bit of trouble with the socks in that I wasn't at ALL able to do Wendy's "knit the cast-on edge together with the current row of stitches" like she said to - in fact I tried a few stitches and then had to give up and just knit instead - I'm going to go back this afternoon and sew down the cast-on edge instead to create my picot top. I think this is because I did a twisted German cast-on instead of the long-tail cast-on that she says to - and as such my cast-on row is way too tight (and twisted?) to work the knit together step. I'll do a long-tail cast on for the second sock and see if I have any better luck.

But I have to tell you, running into a knitting snag while watching three monks create the most incredibly intricate thing in total harmony and peace and unity is a GOOD thing, actually - as you just stay as mellow about it as can be. Any other time and this would have been frustrating - today as I realized that I had run into a snag I just mentally shrugged and kept on knitting, happy as a clam.

Here's my progress so far - when I first sat down this afternoon to watch the monks I was maybe two rows past the yo/k2tog row.......................'ve just got to love those monks & their very mellow and productive knitting atmosphere!

As far as I can tell, this is the mandala that the monks are currently working on. I plan on going back several times in the next few days to watch them work - and will most certainly attend the closing ceremony on Sunday at 2 PM. That is when they will sweep all of the sand together into a large pile (dispersing half to the ceremony attendees!) and then take it to our local city park & river where the sand is put into the water "to disperse the healing energies of the mandala throughout the world."

While I have contributed in the past to the Dulaan project, and wholeheartedly encourage my fellow knitters to likewise lend a hand (and totally adore Franklin's Dulaan Knit Along that he threw last week!) , I wanted to start doing something a little bit in addition to my other endeavors. To that end I picked up a flyer for the Drepung Loseling Educational Fund and decided that once again in honor of my most incredible maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Jane, that I would once again start to sponsor a monk. I did this the last time that the monks were here - Grams was taken out of school when she was in high school and never allowed to return for financial reasons - and as such she is absolutely passionate about education for absolutely anyone and everyone. So the last time the monks were here (always in the fall) I sponsored one in honor of her and her birthday (she's a November girl, dontcha' know) which I have decided to do again this year. You get to look at all of the monks that are "available" for sponsorship and this guy simply called out to me - he reminds me very very much of my mom's now-deceased best friend's son, Gerald. There was something about his grin (and ears!) that made me reach right out for his picture. I really like this for a number of reasons - not only can I feel like I'm helping directly (food, medicine, and education!) but also there is an address in Karnataka, India where I can write to him..............or more importantly, where I can send him hats, scarves, and maybe some socks to keep him warm in the cold clime where he's currently living and studying.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you!

Lobsang Dhaphel was born in Denma (a place that I haven't yet had any luck looking up) on January 10th, 1980. He entered the monastery in 2004.

Now if only they had the foresight to tell me his shoe size.

Here's hoping that the man isn't allergic to wool!

Icky Sicky Day

This past weekend The Munchkin started to come down with a nasty, sniffly cold. Don't you know that after only about two days he managed to shake the worst of it (knock on wood!) but in the meantime (sneezing ALL OVER ME in the most disgusting & sticky ways!) he passed it along to yours truly.

Monday morning I woke up feeling like I'd been hit by a very solid and completely unsympathetic train - so I went in to do a teeny bit of 'must do' work and then left around 9:30. A stop for a first cup
of coffee and a second stop for some DVDs at the public library later, I was back home and getting ready to settle down on the couch for some serious resting-up time.

This is what I did during my R&R day off:

I drank coffee.

(My too-expensive Cuisinart coffee grinder/brewer having gone kaput on me about a week ago, I'm currently relying on the more time-consuming but always-fail-proof French Press method.)

I sat on the couch with the cats and knitted and watched multiple, multiple DVDs of Sex and the City

I watered a few of my African violets.

(What, like you guys don't have plastic
eyeballs in your potted plants too????)

I worked on my Top-Secret Knitting Project until I ran out of yarn and was forced to stop.

(The project? It's inside the brown bag. You don't think
that I'd actually SHOW it to you, do you?
C'mon! It's Super Top Secret, after all!)

And after I ran out of yarn for the T-S KP I started
swatching for a quickie pair of luxury socks for myself.

(This is some Altacama handwash yarn that is just lovely and gleaming and wonderfully soft, but the swatching check has resulted in the winner being some Sundara superwash sock in Dusk, with a cute little picot edge a-la Wendy, in straight stitch. With a short-row heel. I

I also:
Did one (just 1!) load of laundry
Started the Roomba vacuum upstairs
Prepped that night's meatballs for dinner

Here, however, is a (random and extremely abbreviated) list of what I did NOT do............yet felt that I should be doing on my day to rest & put my feet up & recover:

Put away clean laundry (it mostly belongs to Peggers) ;>

Vacuum the rest of the house
Clean the stairs

Wash all the dirty dishes

Scrub out the bathroom
Mow the lawn
Wash our stinky dog

Finish painting the stair risers

Dust the house
Sweep the downstairs to get what the vacuum missed
Put away the clean clothes currently on the bedroom floor
Clean out the guest bedroom
Clear out & prep the perennial bed for winter
Write thank-you notes for gifts

(You guys all know this list - it just stretches on for EVER, doesn't it???)

Then as I work until 10 PM on Tuesdays, I went in to work VERY late that day (*ahem, late being a euphemism for 5 PM!) after having lazily sat and knitted some more pretty much all day. I finished Peggers' red knee-high that afternoon (and my apologies - I didn't explain it very well at all, but all I needed to do to fix it was remove the sole from the previous sock, and rip it back to the beginning of **just** the foot area, at which point I re-measured then knit JUST the top of the foot over again, then did EZ's pick up & knit moccasin sole thingy for the bottom - easy as easy can be. And while I still have holes along the pick-up edge, they're not NEARLY as bad as on my first pair! And even better? This new single knee-high FITS HIM!!!!!) and also on my lazy Tuesday in addition to knitting the knee-high I:

did dishes
did multiple loads of laundry
washed the dog (85 pounds! With tons of thick fur! That's QUITE a wet job!)
tidied the house

......and the end result of all of that resting and a bit of work over two days? A clean house, a finished red-knee-high, a Top-Secret Knitting Project that is now about halfway finished, several sock swatches that will be revealed later but have major, major promise, and a new interesting in watching the first two disks of the Cazalet series from Masterpiece Theatre. (What ever inspired me to grab the last disk from the public library and watch the second-to-last episode first????)

Oh yeah, and no more sniffles or aches on my part. It was either the resting or else all that knitting & Carrie Bradshaw. Who will ever know for sure which it was......or hmmmm...........................maybe it was all three?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Post 2: Huge-mongous Red Knee-High Socks

As I couldn't get Peggers to pose for any pictures, and I do want to get these knitted and off of my needles (and off myTo-Knit list!) I decided that I'd simply have to self-model them myself.

Now bear in mind that one of the reasons that I'm frogging these is because they're too long on my 6'4" husband......................and I'm only 5'7". So consider that extra length AND difference in proportions when you see them on my own (shockingly-pale) leg!

(I have to say that this yarn - KnitPick's Swiss Superwash - really is VERY soft. It feels lovely as a sock - it would be sheer heaven as a sweater.)

The pattern I used for these was straight from EZ & her Knitting Without Tears (which I was able to effortlessly get from my Inter-Library Loan department at work) and knitted up as quick as quick can be. Knit at a gauge of only 5 or 6 stitches per inch I cast on 74 stitches for the ribbed cuff (K1P1) and knit that for about 2 inches. Then I decreased straight down in one single round to 64 stitches, knit at that rate for about 6 or 7 rounds, and then started gradually decreasing for the calf, tapering it every four rounds until only 58 stitches remained.

I did a vaguely fancy thing with the ribbing for the main body of the sock (and note that I say vaguely fancy, meaning that it is something that all other normal proficient knitters would do in their sleep without even realizing it, but it was something that I thought about and debated before trying out....) - instead of jumping from the K1P1 ribbing of the cuff to the K2P2 ribbing of the main sock I instead did a little segue way into the main sock ribbing that resulted in it looking something like this:

I know - not at all fancy for most folks, but still pretty satisfying for me to plan out and then actually LIKE the way it looks. And when I showed it to Peggers? LOL. He just nodded his head & said "yup" and motioned for me to keep on knitting!

So I knit for what seemed like FOREVER (about 16-18" actually) and then after several fittings (and {ahem!}I must say, after my husband said those fatal words "It can't be too long of a sock, honey!") decided that it was finally time to start doing the whole slipped-stitches thing for the top of the foot. For, you see, the sock is made in true EZ fashion - which is to say utterly bizarre when you're knitting it up and absolutely brilliant once it's finished!

So you put about 8 or so stitches (the heel stitches, ultimately) on a holder and then keep knitting for the rest of the foot, slipping the first and last as you go until the foot is about two inches from where you want it to end. After you've done that you go back and pick up all along that slipped-stitch edge, pick up the stitches on the holder, and then pick up along the second slipped-stitch side, and then start knitting in the round for what turns out to be a really bizarre shaped yet totally sensible foot.

Now mind you the foot doesn't look too bizarrely-shaped here (but OH! Those holes!!!) but that's because it's stretched out on my foot - which is where, incidentally, EZ's genius comes into play. But see what it looks like when it's NOT stretched out on a foot?????

I mean, whose heel is ever THAT pointy and whose foot ever......oozes (for lack of a better word) down that far??? See? EZ was just a wee bit mad and more than a wee bit brilliant, I'm thinking......

Anyway, you knit for a bit just in the heel area (short rows) and then you knit halfway around until you're at the toe area and then you knit for a bit just in the toe region (again, short rows) and then once you're done with that you knit all the way around several times, do a decrease row, etc. until you've only got a few stitches left. Now this is the only place where EZ failed me where I failed EZ - I did the decreasing exactly as it said (& in her usual way the instructions were pretty vague) and when it came time to thread all of the remaining stitches together & pull the yarn tightly & weave in the end I realized that I was left with - oh - 30+ stitches and that this meant that Peggers was going to have himself a VERY uncomfortable pair of fire-engine red knee-highs unless I did some quick decreasing - so I decreased exponentially in another round or so and then was left with 7 or stitches to pull tight and weave in the end for. It looked bizarre but it worked, and that's what matters in the long run. Because uncomfortable socks just Don't Get Worn.....and I'll be damned if I'm doing all of this knitting for something that isn't going to be worn!

(Oh, and somewhere in there around the toe - as instructed - I started knitting with both the Swish & with a strand of Wooly Nylon that I got to help things stay sturdy & shapely. My first W.N. choice - a deep merlot red - oddly enough showed up when stretched & knitted as grape popsicle purple. So my second choice of W.N. - a rusty orange - actually worked out much better - that was more of a pale red when stretched & carried along with my working yarn.....)

I stayed up until 1-ish in the morning to finish these, I was so excited to be *so*close* - and was quite crushed, actually, when I realized that they were too long on Pegger's leg. Drat! However I have since recovered (nothing like a few Very Satisfying Finished Objects to smooth over one's ruffled feathers, huh?) and have realized that in fact this was probably all for the best. After all it's always on the SECOND item that you work out all of the snafu's that you knitted in the first! So that means that I:

* need to figure out how to eliminate those holes along the entire freaking foot from where I picked up all of those slipped stitches. I knit into the back of the stitches and EVERYTHING to avoid the holes - which obviously didn't work (but makes me shudder to think of the absolute caverns that I would have ended up with if I hadn't twisted the stitches!) - so I need to come up with a second plan.

* need to decrease faster & more (Kate, please forgive me for causing you such pain, as that's horrid horrid horrid grammar, I know - bear with me as it's a Friday afternoon & the Munchkin woke up this morning AGAIN at 5 AM and it's just the best that I'm currently capable of) so that I'm not left with 30+ funky stitches and nowhere to go with them except a big bunching mass of them right under the arch of the foot.

* I also need to make the foot longer - bizarrely enough - it's far too big for my foot (duh!) but on P's size thirteen feet the sock is stretched too much around the toe region and so that needs to be longer. So what I might do is slip this sucker on his (sleeping) leg tonight once he's asleep and then measure & scribble as needs be - so that while he's gone this weekend I can get started {sniffle, sniffle, sniffle} ripping out ALL of that knitting and re-knitting all of those twisty miles of sock over again. Properly. Both longer and shorter - and all at once...

2 Post Friday - Post 1: Eye Candy Friday

For Jessie - so that she can say how someone else has chicken-related pictures in her blog....


We are (founding!) members of our sole local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group, Provident Organic Farm. "Our" farmer - Jay - has recently added chickens to his mix, and last week my husband bought a dozen lovely, freshly-laid eggs to add to the kale, butternut squash, scallions, lettuces, swiss chard, and other lovelies that were part of last week's share.

With some major persuading, and a firm grasp on his wayward arm, I persuaded Munchkin to hold somewhat still ("somewhat" being a very relative term for a 19-month old child!) so that I could take a picture of his egg.

Hence - my Eye Candy Friday picture.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


You mean you actually want to SEE the finished clapotis?

Really, now, I'm shocked.

Don't you instead want to see the little weeny baby hat that I whipped out in only 3 episodes of Sex & the City last night??? KnitPicks Wool of the Andes (Andes? Himalayas?) in a pumpkin-ish hue.

Ironically enough blocked on a tiny pumpkin for the perfect baby-noggin shape. This one is going to my office-mate (his wife is due in January even though she looks like she's ready to pop any second!), and a second will be made tonight/tomorrow night to give to some inter-league volleyball players that Peggers regularly competes against (their little boy is 9 weeks old). The pattern is from One Skein - it's a breeze to cast on for & whip out once you get the first 12 rows (the 'umbrella pattern') down. I myself had tremendous problems with it - had to cast on & rip off twice before I nailed it for the third time - mostly because I simply cannot get my brain to process reading a pattern like that in such tiny font with repeats and suchlike in linear form. I actually have to re-format the pattern in order to get my brain to master it - once I've done that I'm completely good to go. I found this out (the hard way) with Birch...

For example - here is round 2 and round 3 as written:

Rnd 2: *K1,yo,k1,p2tog,p1,[k1,p3] 2 times,k1,p1,p2tog,k1,yo;rep from * to end of rnd.
Rnd 3: *K3,p2,[k1,p3] 2 times,k1,p2,k2; rep from * to end of rnd. that goes on for 12 rounds all squished together in tiny type. Even though I'm no Harlot or Grumperina or anything you'd think that I'd totally be able to do that simple a pattern without royally screwing it up, right? NOPE! Not unless it's vertically formatted in a column-like way - I put 3 or 4 rounds on each page and for some totally bizarre reason my brain can handle vertical instructions like that without a single snag or hitch. Here is Round 2 as I can finally understand it:

Round 2
[k1,p3] two times
repeat from * to end that's what I did last night. I soaked and blocked R's clapotis, then knitted the baby hat, then soaked and blocked it on a little punkin' and then crashed into sleep happy & content - two finished objects in one night!

Don't the little swirls on top just look too cute????

.........okay, okay, okay - on to the clapotis!

Before I stuck it in the sink to block last night I laid it out on the kitchen floor to get a pre-blocking measurement. This sort of thing is always extremely interesting to me - my own clapotis (Noro Silk Garden) got HUGE after blocking - I mean seriously huge - so I was interested to see what this would do - even though being knit from 100% rayon I didn't expect a huge amount of growth like I saw with the silk/wool blend of the Noro.

Before blocking the clapotis measured at 61"x20" - quite respectable measurements in and of themselves, I'd say!

A nice soak in some lavender-scented Eucalan (I know, Eucalan is for wool, but hey - it probably didn't HURT the rayon, so why not?) and a swish and a rinse (and a little bit of colour bleeding, but nothing horrid like others had led me to believe was par for the course with every Interlacements dye job) and then I laid it out on two towels on our guest bed to dry overnight. Several hours later out of curiousity I peeked in - the shawl seemed to be completely dry but the cotton towels underneath were still wet (!) so I gave myself a stern lecture and left it alone until this morning.

At which point I got out the measuring tape again and found that the soaking and drying flat had allowed it to increase to 68" long and 26" wide - not too shabby! It also evened out some of the snagged stitches and some of the odd-laying twisted stitches on either side of the ladder rows. All in all, I have to say, I'm quite pleased with this and think that R will be too. I even stuck it on my scale this morning just to be thorough and can report that it weights a satisfyingly hefty 9.5 ounces.

Then I tried to photograph it and was extremely disappointed. It just.....lays there! To really come alive I think that you'll need to see it on someone - to see the way that it drapes and flows and hangs - and the way that it can twist up into a perfectly-sized scarf and the way that it can also effortlessly expand into a shawl.....and all the many variations between.

.......and R, you know what that means, right?


But without further ado................................. me this shot on the floor just looks **so** much like oil on water.....and I just love that to pieces!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

le clapotis...

.......c'est fini.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Numbers Game

Number of nonstop hours I get to work today - 14.

Number of doughnuts I've eaten to get my backside in gear for an 8 AM class - 2.

How many minutes I was late arriving for said 8 AM class - 3.

How many times I've regretted eating both doughnuts (so far today) - 64.

Number of laps I swam yesterday to burn off past & future doughnuts - 26.

Episodes of Sex & The City I watched last night - 3.

Number of times I thought that 'Steve' from S&TC was really the best character on the show - 8.

Total cups of coffee (so far!!!) - 1 2.

Number of times I've thought an unkind thought about my co-worker - 7 22. ;>

English 101 classes left to teach today - 1.

Hour of the morning when Munchkin woke up - 6.

Number of books I read to Munchkin between waking up & leaving for work - 5.

Number of stitches left on needle for R's clapotis - 67 44.

Number of dropped rows left to go before I'm finished:

(lovey picture courtesy of Keith Haring's estate)

Update - 3:45 PM. Make that -

Number of dropped rows to go before I'm finished:

Monday, October 30, 2006

My Cheatin' Heart

I had some time the other day to try and catch up on my blog reading and so I went a-browsing and a-clicking...... I use Pluck to keep track of everything & keep updated, and I had an overwheming 300+ unread posts to choose from (and only about 15 minutes) and so I resolved to **only** hit my favorite places and skim them quickly so that I could get in the maximum amount of reading in the limited amount of time.

I was doing well until I hit Jessie's site and the following picture.........and then all was lost.

Jessie's Fetching pair of Fetching
In a hand-dyed wool/silk blend that is just......fetching. (Forgive me, I couldn't resist!)

Oh no no no no. I can't! I have a sock to photograph & then unravel (to use an EZ term) then re-knit (not to mention it's mate) and a clapotis to finish (I'm sooooo close I can almost taste it - only 12 more rows of decreasing dropped stitches to go before I'm DONE!) plus Peggers has requested a baby hat plus the mate to the Embossed Leaves sock plus, plus, plus.............


Paton's wool for the green - with self-dyed (Kool-Aid & Wilton's) Paton's for the cuff and thumb bits. Love love love at first sight. The above is only one of what will soon be a pair - the first pair (yes, there was a first pair) in solid green was mailed out today to a lovely friend who is currently rehabilitating her mother in Canada after an extremely debilitating stroke.

So that is that. But I plan on watching some Season 3 of Sex & The City tonight and working on clapotis - after all, I can only stray so long before the (self-created!) guilt kicks in........... ;)

And now I must fly - I had to wait until my office-mate left before I could start recording for LibriVox - and I have an entire chapter to somehow complete before Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

As requested!

Two (badly shot) pictures for the curious!

I'll see if I can't find the time to take a full-foot full-sock picture and post it - unfortunately I volunteered for reference desk duty tomorrow morning at the ungodly hour of 8 AM (ouch!) and have to teach library instruction for two series of English 101 classes Thursday morning again at 8 AM (double ouch!) so I don't know when 'twill be done. Maybe Wednesday afternoon I'll slack a wee bit & do it. Or Wednesday night. Maybe I'll even ask Mr. Peggers himself to model the too-long knee-highs so that all of you can get the full effect...

...& here's a quick pic of the work when it was just a wee lad, so to speak.....

p.s. Just uploaded more pics of R's clapotis and J's finished 'Rib & Cable' socks into their respective Flickr links to the right!

Monday, October 23, 2006

...emerging blinking from my cave...

Wow, but it's been a LONG time since I've last been here!

We've had some long, tough days - too much work, too much grading, too many dirty dishes, too many toddler temper-tantrums, too many sick dogs, too many traffic jams..............................

But I'm starting to emerge from where I've been hiding, and I have one FO to show off from - oh - 2 weeks ago that I'm just now getting around to posting. (And 1 other semi-FO to show off {before I - grrrrrr! - unravel it significantly}, and one very-close-to-being-an-FO to brag about...)

So, without further ado! (and forgive their poor quality & total un-edited-ness - it's seriously been a long tough haul these past, oh, 3 or so weeks....)

Aren't they ust too crazy for words? I just hope that J likes them - and more importantly she remembers that SHE was the one who picked out these crazy colours!!!

Mama-E's 'Mousie Masala' sock yarn in 100% superwash. Knitted using an Interweave Knits pattern (rib & cable, if memory serves) - a lovely pattern even if the cable does do some funky things around the ankle area as you pick up the stitches from the heel flap.... Knitted over a too-long period of time - roughly 6 weeks, I'm guessing - and done mostly while listing to Cast-On and the Radio Detective Hour broadcasts. (Thank GOD for podcasts!)

The colours were radically different from one sock to the next - eeny stripes on one leg to wide stripes on the other, striping on one foot with pooling on the other. S'okay for me - I don't mind mis-matched socks OR pooling, but thank goodness Grumperina didn't knit these puppies, you know?

So, on to my bragging then frogging (4 minutes & counting until I have to run to daycare to get the Munch, so this will be FAST) - I knitted all of Peggers' knee-high sock. And he tried it on & mumbled the fatal words "It's too long" - which (I'll have you know) he swore to me that it never ever COULD be. "It can't be too long!" was the exact sentence that came out of his mouth, I think. So, one huge honkin' knee-high will now be ripped back an impressive 12 or so inches to shorten the ankle by a few inches and then the foot will be re-knitted then the sole will be re-picked-up and knitted. Oh well, don't we all always do things better the second time around anyway? And honestly - at a gauge of roughly 5 sts/inch it's not like it takes THAT long to knit anyway. I knit heavily on it while watching Disk 1 of the HBO series "Weed". Funny stuff, that. (K - update - Blogger won't let me put in any more pics, so I'll shove in the knee-highs in a post later this week..........PROMISE!)

So that was the froggin - and the bragging?


It's been a long haul, but man o man this one is turning out nicely.........................

I absolutely promise you a full set of photo-session pics on that one - complete with personalized modeling from R herself. Of course she doesn't know this yet {snicker, snicker} but give that woman a few cups of Starbucks (or rum & cokes!) and she'll agree to just about anything.....

Friday, October 13, 2006

Eye Candy Friday

at last!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

For R

Quickly, as I have 10 minutes before I'm due to go and scoop up my little Munchkin...

Monday, October 09, 2006

News & More News

I simply cannot get this idea out of my mind today. I have asked if they still need help with the knitting - I'm hoping they do, but will certainly contribute financially to help defray the costs if they don't...

In other news, I finally caught up on Emily's blog this afternoon and guess what I found out......?

It's certainly a long, strange trip, Emily, but goodness only knows it's the most incredible one you'll ever go on!!!

These two things in such immediate juxtaposition really makes you understand with a sort of an almost physical ~smack!~ how much of a cycle life really is......