Sunday, December 17, 2006

Aren't I just the cutest thing you ever did see?

Hey there! I am away excavating in the United Arab Emirates right now, so there's only a sweet Arabian camel to admire Chez Philistine. I will be back January 18, at which time I will surely have some new knits to show off and LOTS of photos of the UAE! Thanks for stopping by...please leave me a comment and let me know you were here!


In which my superstar-archaeologist-lifestyle necessitates that I temporarily abandon knitblogland (and the U.S., as it were).

And away we go...literally. So, I leave tomorrow morning for the UAE to excavate to my heart's content for five weeks. I'll be filling my days doing nerdy archaeologist-y things, like this:

and this:

And digging, of course...this is what I'll be digging:

And a little sneak peek at amenities...

And deserty, camely goodness (in the middle of winter, I might add!)

In knitting-related news, everybody should go check out Julia's absolutely fantabulous edition of YARNIVAL! It's out now! Go read it! Julia did a SUPER-fantastic job with it, and I'm not just saying that because I got featured, either...but I DID in fact get a YARNIVAL shout out! Whoo! Hope y'all enjoy my contribution, silly as it is!

I'll be back mid-January...hope everyone has a wonderful month of holidays, and you will be hearing from me again in the New Year! (And...drum roll, please...a new Etsy handmade soap shop in early February!)


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Domesticities and Traditions, part deux.

So here they are, in all of their sweet, sugary glory: Christmas cut-out cookie decoratin' success!

There isn't really anything artistic or creative about my version of Christmas cut-out cookies (though M would defiantly disagree with me on the creativity aspect - he was so good as to include a "blow-up doll"-themed cookie, a "Barbaro"-themed one, and a "Homer Simpson"-style tree in the decorating - see if you can spot these guys! *cough* look down *cough*)...

The instrinsic decorative merit of most of these cookies lies in their "traditional-ness." This is how I decorated cookies when I was little: Rudolphs got red hot noses, Christmas tree shapes got as much stuff dumped on them as possible, gingerbread men got sweet red-hot buttons, etc. Obvious embellishments, perhaps, but the tradition of doing it is what I cherish and ultimately feel compelled to recreate year after year. The experience...and the deliciousness of the end result, of course - especially the cookies that have excessive amounts of decorations on them - they're my favorites!

And our new tradition of including the camel cut-outs among the more traditional shapes. This deserves a bit of clarification. M and I, both being happy heathens (an expression pilfered from Julia; see #16 of her 100 Things for full context of use), chose secular cut-out shapes, ones that had little embedded religious connotations of any kind. Tree. Rudolph. Snowflake. Gingerbread Man.

Then came the addition of the camel. Infused with religious connotations. Magi, for example. For M and I, however, the camel symbolizes our usual departure to the Middle East at Christmas time. Me to the UAE, him to Egypt. (Did I mention that he leaves to excavate in Egypt right after I leave to excavate in the UAE?). And, of course, the cookie shape only works because the camel cookie cutter I found depicts an Arabian camel, otherwise known as the Dromedary, it's single hump clearly distinct from the two-humped Bactrian camel. Bactrian camels are entirely inferior to Arabian camels, by the way. Though I say this as a biased Arabianist. But take my word for it: Arabian camels are far superior. So, the camel cookies symbolize our departure to the Mid-East. That is all. Clarification complete. I also really love indulging others in camel factology.

One of these days I might actually post something substantially related to turning strands of wool into decorative, wearable things by means of two pointed wooden sticks...


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tardy to the Party: in which I finally get my act together for the Stranded KAL.

For the past several days (or has it been weeks? It's hard to keep up), I've been Stranded in Grading-Undergrad-Papers-Land. Population: 1 + a bazillion papers of varying grammatical quality and degrees of meritous content. Someone throw me a lifeline, here!

And now, I shamefully appear on the KAL Roll Call as being Stranded...Somewhere...Projectless. Which, I should add, is not far from the truth. I joined the Stranded KAL because I have not yet attempted two-color knitting, but it is on my agenda of knitterly skills to acquire. The problem? The KAL is just getting started and I have to leave in a week and will be gone, not to be heard from for a month and a half. Clearly, I will not be knitting along with anyone anytime soon. But! I will! As soon as I return from the UAE I have big, BIG plans that involve multiple colors galore (well, I am actually going to stick with two...that should be plenty for this here amateur with negligible spare time).

So, as I do not want to appear as a Join-&-Lurk kinda gal, I am establishing a plan of action for when I return in late-January. My Stranded project list is as follows:

Project #1:
Bea Ellis "Flenten" Norwegian Hat. Inspiration: this one here, hot off the needles. I've decided that this project is a good one to learn the basics of stranded knitting, and my decision was confirmed by Lolly and Anne, who both have also recently mentioned that they want to teach themselves stranded knitting with a Bea Ellis kit.

Project #2:
Eunny Jang's Endpaper Fingerless Mitts. Inspiration: this one and this finished pair. The Endpaper Mitts are the new Pomatomuses! Everyone will have to have some of these...and it's not difficult to see why: they're stunning, no matter what color combination you choose!

Project #3:
Meg Swanson's Arch-Shaped Stockings (republished recently in Vogue Knitting Fall 2006). Inspiration: these babies. Okay, so they're not the Arch-Shaped stockings, but they're close enough to have me drooling.

Project #4:
Eunny Jang's Anemoi Mittens. Inspiration: Eunny's own finished pair is all the inspiration I need for these mitts!

Project #5:
Adrian's We Call Them Pirates Hat. Inspiration: this sweet lil' number, just recently finished and super-cute.

That should keep my little fingers busy for a good while. Thus, it seems I will be spending lots of good, quality time Stranded in Eunny-Land, with sojurns to Adrian-Land, Meg-Land, and BeaEllis-Land.

I'm looking forward to participating in the KAL, but for the next several weeks, I'll be stranded in the Land O' Sand!

And a big, GIANT thank you to everyone who left such awesome comments about my Hederas! You guys are the best!


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Finished: Porphura Hederas

Finished: Porphura Hedera Socks
Pattern: An amazing sock creation by Cookie A.
Fiber: Sundara Somewhat Solid sock yarn in "Grey over Periwinkle"
Needles: size 1 DPNs
Date Started: 28 October 2006
Date Completed: 09 December 2006
Modifications: None

Hederas! They're so beautiful and lacy! And despite the intricate look of these dear socks, they're super-duper easy to knit! A painless 4 row pattern repeat that is perfectly manageable to memorize and to zip right through. I enjoyed knitting these socks and they turned out just swell!

And I just can't say enough wonderful things about the fibery goodness of Sundara yarn. It's a dream to work with and look at that color-on-color action!

Details, details, and more details. This sock's got 'em. Ingenious pattern.

And the best part about these Hederas? Despite their lacy, holey-ness, these socks are still amazingly warm and toasty, because they're made from wool, of course! Mmmm...function and fashion all-in-one.

And so great to wear with my chunky, clunky old Birkenstock clogs.

These socks get a gold star for being awesome.

And due to an evening of protracted debauchery at Monk's (the drink menu at this awesome tavern is aptly referred to as the "Beer Bible") last night that involved the consumption of a goodly amount of this, there will be a slight delay on the unveiling of the Christmas cut-out cookies, as, at the moment, they remain unadorned. There will be, as many of you so astutely identified, some sweet Christmas camels frosted and ready to be eaten soon. Thanks for all of your comments!

(Side Note: I just switched to Blogger beta and there seems to be some problems in the way gmail streams comments into my email box...commenter reply emails no longer appear (even for those commenters whose emails used to show up) - it's super-annoying, because I want to respond to my comments! If anyone using Blogger beta has figured out a solution to this glitch, please let me know! But until then, I'll do my best to reply to my comments through the commenter's blog.)

Have a super Sunday, all!

Labels: ,

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Domesticities and Traditions.

M and I have been busy little house bees today. Here's a little peek at what we've been up to. If there are a few leggy shapes that you don't recognize, that's because we've added our own Christmas shape to the repertoire (a new tradition has been established!). Can you figure it out what it is?

We'll unveil the final product tomorrow!

Have yourselves a wonderful Saturday evening!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


'Tis the season for wintery wonderful ornaments and decorations, yummy-smelling spruce and pine trees bedecked with spheres and glowing with twinkling lights, and sweet knit stockings hung up on the mantle awaiting a filling from a certain jolly fellow. (My Christmas tree, this year, is the huge, towering spruce tree behind my apartment with boughs that canopy my third floor apartment back deck. No stockings hanging on mantles this year for me; instead, I have candy canes hanging cheerily from my bookcase).

'Tis the season for brimming, steaming mugs full of nog, hot chocolate, and spicy mulled cider. (I have a special fondness for delicious, piping hot chocolate made from the old single-serving tin cans with the loop on top and the instructive arrows and big letters imperatively suggesting that one "PRY HERE" to open).

'Tis the season for baking pies and cookies for mass consumption in front of roaring fires and surrounded by relatives you see only once or twice a year. (One of my very favorite Christmas activities is baking piles and piles of sugar cookies and decorating them lavishly with homemade icing colored blue, green, red, and yellow. My favorite cookie cutter shapes when I was little were the Rudolph shaped one and the Scotty dog shaped one. The Rudolphs all got red hots where their noses were, and the Scotty dogs always got plaid sweaters, as best as a kid can render plaid sweaters with a blunt knife and bowl-fulls of icing. I still don't get exactly why Scotty dogs are Christmas-y, but because of that cookie cutter, they are Christmas-y to me. This year, my decorated cookies come in the form of beautiful glazed clay star ornaments that my sister gave me last Christmas).

'Tis the season for togetherness and traditions. I am enjoying reading about all of your traditions, and two of my favorites have been Nora's weekend family crafting soiree and Liz K's ornament collection for the children in the family. Those tiny sweater ornaments! How perfectly festive! I have my own special box of Christmas ornaments that were made by one of my grandmothers for my sister and me when we were little, and I cherish these ornaments above all others. My Christmas tree just is not complete without them. (With no Christmas tree this year, my window sill has been adorned with said cherished ornaments).

Just for the record, I also really love the vintage glass ornaments. They're so pretty. (Please ignore the distracting reflection of me taking pictures of these glass ornaments).

And since were on the subject of ornaments, I have to throw in my more recent favorite Christmas ornament, given to me by my mom last Christmas as a stocking surprise. A perfectly plump Santa carved out of a pear. (And, finally, the obnoxiously bright green paint color that we "bedecked" our apartment walls with finds its own festive purpose this month!)

"Tis the season for beautiful, wintery evening skies. Look, they're here and here, too. (While dark, wintery skies aren't the most convenient for knitters rushing home in the evenings to document their latest FOs, there is just something so deep and beautiful about a grey-blue sky on the verge of erupting into flurries. I also really love barren, leafless trees because it exposes all of the warm birds' and squirrels' nests - dark blobs in the blank trees).

Being a Near Eastern archaeologist means having dig seasons in the winters, rather than the summers, because most regions in the Middle East are just too hot to bear excavating during the summer. Winter excavations, however, more often than not overlap with the winter holiday, so I miss out on Christmas and New Year's celebrations with family and friends. This year is such a year, so I have had to develop some creative strategies for celebrating the season before I leave with no tree, no decorations, no weeks of baking, no gift-making (and perhaps *most* painful: no spare holiday knit time!). Still, there's nothing like jetting off to a foreign country for a month and a half of the year and enjoying 90 degree weather in the desert, skipping out on the snow and chill of December and January in Philadelphia.

Thank you to everyone for all of the nice comments on my last post. I've tried my very best to reply to everyone, though, the curse of Blogger oftentimes interferes with that, as contact emails are not always included with comments, even when people enter them into the proper field. So, my thanks to all who kindly left me comments.

The Hederas are moments away from being freed from the needles. They should be finished just in time for a winter-in-Philly weekend update!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Philistine-hued distractions.

As everyone in my daily blog reading whips through their holiday knits with zeal and cheer, I have been feeling distracted lately by my knits. Since finishing my Inky Blanket Cardigan and Salina, I've been struggling with decisions for casting on new projects. I've met with little can only be measured these days by the Cara Enthusiasm Test (You don't like your new knit *this* much? Then stop, reconsider, and try something else!).

I really, truly wanted to participate in a mini-Demi-KAL with Ashley, but things just aren't working out accordingly for that. Demi, as Ashley so kindly pointed out, involves commitment, patience, a photocopier, some more commitment, some highlighters, and lots more patience. I cast on the back panel of my Demi, worked a few rows, realized that I'd forgotten to work the wrong side purls in twisted stitch, and ripped it out. A few days later, I cast on a sleeve, which seemed far less daunting than the back panel, worked about 15 rows of the twisted ribbing - managing to work the twisted stitches correctly this time - and put the thing down. Those darned charts are just not what a brain fried by the incessant daytime pressures of preparing for prelim exams and teaching a class full of needy undergrads how to research and write 10-page papers on the side needs at the end of the day. I'm excited about the prospect of knitting Demi - say, sometime in early summer - after prelims have been checked off the ol' To Do list. Right now, easy, boring knits = fun, relaxing time. Plus, I am having serious commitment issues with casting on a big project, knowing that I leave in exactly two weeks for the Land O' Sand. (Sadly, there's precious little time for knitting built into archaeological projects).

My newest distraction comes in the form of this awesome custom "Philistine" sock yarn dyed especially for me by the lovely Samantha of sKNITches fame. It's quite fabulous, if you ask me. There's just the small matter of deciding what fabulous thing to do with it. It's a self-striping colorway, so my initial thought was knee socks! Awesome, stripy Philistine knee socks! (Especially since my first vision for knee socks came too late for the proper calf-shaping to be built in). Now I'm even thinking along the lines of Jaywalker knee socks! But I'm not sure if I have the necessary brain power these days to figure out how to correctly build in calf-shaping into the Jaywalker pattern. A project involving round after round after round of self-striping stockinette magic sounds fantastically tantalizing at the moment.

My other distraction of late comes in the form of sudsy, skin soothing, aromatherapeutic-goodness. Handmade in small batches by yours truly and her mom.

I foresee a new Esty store on the horizon...

Have a happy Sunday, all!