Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Hey, all! I'm back! Hey, Philly! I've missed you! Ahhh, it's good to be home. M and I had a fun (and busy!) trip to Atlanta/Athens, filled with family (hi, sis!), barbecues (veggie burgers, yum!), beer (Dogfish Head, of course!), baseball games (Phillies whooped the Braves), movies (28 Weeks Later is way scary!), and lots and lots of Grit food. An all-in-all good time. And, as always, I came back with a far heavier suitcase than I brought. I always seem to accrue the best souvenirs when visiting my family (see, for example, the awesome gnome mug I got from Helix, my favorite little Athens shop).

There was much gabbing about knitting with my mom and rifling through patterns with my sister (the knitting bug runs in the family), but surprisingly, I didn't go to any of the local yarn stores. I meant to stop by Knitch, but it never happened (Leah! I promise, promise, promise we will meet up next time I'm around!). You know how it is, all these plans and too little time to do everything and see everyone one you intend to.

My mom and sister made sure I didn't go home empty-handed, though. I somehow returned home with a suitcase laden with yarn - beautiful juniper green Mountain Colors Bearfoot yarn from my mom (along with some other goodies) and a whole bag of Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4 ply in black tweed from my sister.

And - dare I admit that I am determined to try some more Lorna's Laces? My sister gave me some Shepherd sock yarn in an intriguing colorway (upcomig Project Spectrum colors!), "Embers." She also gave me some Shepherd sock in "Black Pearl." My mom and sister both swear that Lorna's Laces makes the best Jaywalkers ever, so I'm going to give it a go.

And, of course, my mom had a stack of handmade pottery for me that she had picked up from a local craft fair to add to the ever growing collection. Thanks, mom! I love all of it. The best souvenirs are family souvenirs.

Coming up next: a teensy bit of knitting progress on the latest socks and sweater. And coming soon: a meet-up with two super-cool gals. Stay tuned!

And thanks SO MUCH for all of the congratulatory comments on my newly-acquired Mastery of the Arts!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

official mistress.

Sometimes, seeing is believing. I officially got my Master's degree last May, but because of some logistical issues (*cough* a professor lost my French reading exam and THEN forgot to turn my German reading exam in to the appropriate person on time *cough*), my degree wasn't conferred until last December. And only now did I actually get my paper degree. Ah, the throes of academia.

At any rate, I officially have a Master's and am now blithely skipping struggling tooth and nail toward my PhD. Next up: preliminary exams. September.

The Summer of Non-stop Studying begins in one week. But for now, I am off to Atlanta/Athens to spend some time with my family. There will be copious amounts of eating at the Grit. And maybe I'll have a finished sock or two when I return. Though they'll likely be an unmatching pair, but we'll see.

Be back in a week!


Sunday, May 20, 2007

After school special.

Life as I once knew it (ahem, *not* grading papers and exams non-stop, 24 hours a day) has finally returned. At some point since my last post, I finished all of my work with immediate deadlines... grades submitted, preliminary exams scheduled to be taken in late September, meetings set up for beginning dissertation research.

And a small, much-needed resurgence of knitting time has finally resumed. I decided to rip my mossy twisted flower seeding, as the Sea Wool just wasn't doing justice to the intricate pattern. In its place, I cast on the dark green vintage cardigan, which is a nice respite from sock knitting. Sometimes it's so nice to escape into row after row of stockinette. Unending. In a deep, dull green. I considered joining the mason dixon Slogalong for this project, as I am knitting this cardigan on size 3s and 4s, but there's just nothing sloggy about this project thus far. Nothing but enjoyable row after row of stockinette.

And I've re-cast on the Child's First sock by Nancy Bush, after frogging the first attempt using Lorna's Laces. This time 'round, I am using Fleece Artist Sea Wool, and I've flown through 6 repeats with nothing but glee and joy. I love this yarn. Love. This. Yarn. New. Favorite. Yarn.

Just look how shiny and pretty! Stitch definition is fabulous, the Seacell blended into the wool is smooth and shimmery. No fuzziness like 100% merino can be sometimes (especially superwash merino). Perfect thickness (I am knitting on 0s, not 1s, but it's okay, somehow). Nice and sproingy, too. Love. People, you need to try this yarn. I'll be interested to see how the Sea Wool holds up to a ton of washings, though, since I read somewhere that the Seacell eventually washes out of the wool. I'm hoping it doesn't get all fuzzy as this happens. We'll see. Meantime, I'm in love with Sea Wool.

AND I finally got to leave the house to do something OTHER than catch the train to school. Oh, glorious day! The bikes were unleashed (mine's the orange Veloce and M's is the silver Pista) and M and I got to enjoy a nice gallivanting around town today. In M's words: an adventurous adventure was had.

It had been so long since we'd been to the Art Museum. Too long. And we never miss a good "Pay What You Wish Sunday". Mmmmmm, art for exceedingly reduced price. My favorite kind of art. That and some good Rothkos and we're in business.

And a sweet owl sculpture by Picasso. One of my favorite pieces in the Museum. A good Sunday, indeed.

Next week M and I are off to Atlanta to visit my parents, then it's back to the grind for me. A full time job in Special Collections and non-stop cramming for my prelim exams await.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

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Thursday, May 17, 2007


Apparently, I'm it. I got triple-tagged by Ann, Kris, and 5elementknitr to do the 7 or 8 Random Things thing. Triple-tagged? How is that even possible? Conspiracy, I say! Y'all must know how terrible of a sharer I am. When I was notified of the first tag, I was already conspiring on how to get out of it. Then the second and third came. Clearly, I am just going to have to do some sharing.

It isn't clear to me whether I am supposed to share 7 or 8 random things about myself, and if I'm tagged thrice, do I have to share 21 or 24 random things? I'm going to stick with the least amount of sharing possible and go with 7. So, 7 random things about myself:

1 :: I am a huge slob. I leave piles of my stuff laying around everywhere. Books, papers, knitting, shoes. My worst habit is the anomaly known as "Clothes Mountain," a big pile of discarded clothes (not necessarily dirty, just discarded) next to my bed. It drives M crazy. There is nothing feng shui about my slobbery.
2 :: My favorite part of speech is the adverb. In my humble opinion, describing the ways things are done is by far more fun than describing things themselves.
3 :: I'm a vegetarian. And while I avoid confrontations about vegetarianism and rarely feel compunction to spend any amount of time trying to convince others to be one, I cringe when I hear, "I'm a vegetarian. I mean, I eat chicken on occasion, but only if it is free range."
4 :: Sarcasm makes my world go 'round.
5 :: I have a strong aversion to white walls and white socks. And, really, most everything white. (I am sensing Nora cringing).
6 :: I am a happy heathen, as well. If I were to believe in a god, it would be Camus.
7 :: I am supremely indecisive. I can't make a decision to save my life. It took every bit of decisiveness I have in me to choose what 7 things I'd reveal about myself, the whole time asking M, "What are 7 things about myself? What should I write about myself? Do YOU know 7 good things for me to say about myself? 7 things? Do you have any ideas?"

Speaking of being tagged, I was recently tagged (see it there, in the above photo?) in another way. A most fabulous way. The fantastically talented Pamela Wynne agreed to swap soap for a beautiful handmade blouse of my fabric choice. And I've never properly thanked her for this great swap and beautiful, beautiful blouse.

So thank you, Pam. I love the blouse. And I promise I'll get some modeled, action shots of it soon. And should you need any more soapy goodness, you know where I'm at.

And now I'm supposed to tag 7 other people? I say that if you want to share, you should share, and consider yourself tagged. But there are 7 people that I would like to know 7 random things about, so if I had to suffer, so do they: Brooke, Beth, iSeL, Brenda, Christy, Specs, and Stacy, prepare to share. Or to send me some yarn. Your choice.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Greens are good for you!

Where has the time gone? A whole week has gone by since I've last spoken 'round these parts? If you're wondering where I am, I've been spending copious amounts of time here (staring wistfully out of the above window), the good old standby, as my life has devolved back into this familiar scene. It seems like forever ago that I finished my Rosy Baltic Socks and got showered with copious amounts of the nicest comments ever about them. Thanks, everyone! Apparently, they're keepers!

What am I up to these days? Well, this. And this. And still more of this. Which really leaves little room for much else. I did manage to start some twisted flower socks using some amazing mossy green Fleece Artist Sea Wool. The pattern is great and the yarn is wondrous, but I'm already having doubts about my progress. The Sea Wool may not be the best match for this intricate pattern; the slight variegation and shininess of the yarn seems to be obscuring the pattern somewhat.

See what I mean? Hmmm. You can see it, but it doesn't really stand out like it should. Like it does in this beauty. I REALLY love the pattern, so I don't want to stop knitting it, but I think I might, and find something else to knit with this gorgeous yarn. Speaking of, I just so happened to have stumbled upon the perfect pattern for it! Vinnland Socks! People check this pattern out! Best part about it is it is free on the internets. It's toe-up, though, and I am not yet equipped to perform the toe-up. I have to invest in some of these first, which will be happening very soon, I suspect. (Thanks, Bockstark, for introducing me to the Vinnlands and encouraging me to learn the magic cast-on for toe-up socks, which is FAR more doable than figure 8!) And you all should go check out Bockstark's amazing Vinnland sock beginnings!

I've also been doing a good share of ogling this stuff (above: Classic Elite Skye Tweed in "Spruce") that I bought for a song on WEBS many months ago, and that stuff (below: Rowan 4 ply soft in discontinued color "Military"), also acquired for a pittance when it was discontinued. Ahhhhh, deep, dark, dull greens! Yum.

I've been feeling a bit overwrought by the brights and pastels I've been steeping myself in. I'm so NOT a lover of these colors, usually, but I've vigorously embraced them lately for Project Spectrum - pushing comforts and boundaries is a good thing, sometimes. But I'm finally feeling the effects of all of the color, and lately I've begun to feel the urge to work with darks and dulls and stave off pinks, yellows, pastels, and bright colors.

I'm thinking this might be a good solution. A nice vintage-y pink deep, dull, dark green cardigan designed by Norah Gaughan (pattern from IK Spring 2005). Problem of overabundance of brights solved. And nicely, I might add.

Here's another project that I've been contemplating, though this one would be less suited for spring/summer knitting: an intriguing collar cardigan in a nice dark, foresty spruce tweed (pattern from the new Jo Sharp Knit Issue 3, which Nora was kind enough to send me straight from Aussieland). I'm still contemplating the functionality of the collar on this sweater, though. I'm afraid it might tug and weigh heavily on my neck, or that the collar would flap awkwardly when I walked. So, perhaps I'll stick with the vintage cardigan for now.

I'm off, now, to resume doing... surely you can guess... more of this. One day I'll be able resume knitting (and blogging, and reading others' blogs, and commenting on others' knitting progress) with some sort of regular frequency.

Until then, have a happy Sunday evening, everyone! And Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Finished: Rosy Baltic Socks

Despite my spearheading the Single Multiple-Women Single-Sock Liberation-Movement (thanks to these great gals for joining me!), I've managed to finish a pair! Two! A complete set!

Finished: Rosy Baltic Socks
Pattern: clementine's Baltic Socks by Di of clementine's shoes
Fiber: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock lightweight in "Rose Quartz"
Needles: size 1 DPNs
Date Started: 10 April 2007
Date Completed: 05 May 2007
Modifications: I cast on 68 stitches instead of 64 and completed 8 pattern repeats on the leg instead of the 10 called for in the pattern. I reduced the number of pattern repeats because STR does not have super-great yardage. I may have had enough yarn to do 9 pattern repeats, but definitely not 10.

The reason for my ability to finish these socks? This must easily have been my favorite sock pattern I've yet knit. What a great pattern! It is written clearly and it is super easy to memorize, making it a fun, quick knit. And the best part is that you end up with some really cute lacy socks that look somewhat complicated without the fuss of following charts.

See how cute? They go with my Birk mary-janes like nobody's business! Love!

The other reason I was able to finish these socks without procrastination is because it turns out I *am* a fan of STR... with two very important qualifications: it must be the lightweight version and it has to be the semi-solid "Shaded Solids." I love that the STR base yarn is perfectly spherical. It is sproingy and really tough (doesn't break easily, which is a characteristic I like in sock yarn). It also has great stitch definition. I will admit that even the shaded solids pool a little bit, but paired with the right patterns, like this one, it isn't incongruous and doesn't make me shriek in terror, like the pooling effects of some of the multicolors. I am no longer hesitant to openly praise STR. I like it, I like it!

Some favorite details of this pattern: I got to try out the short-row heel technique again. This time 'round was much easier, and, well, I love the short-row heel. Having done it a couple of times now, I am more able to appreciate the not having to pick up gusset stitches and try desperately to avoid gaps and holes. I also love the pattern the slightly variegated yarn makes on short-row heels.

I also love the vertical lacy-leaf pattern on the front and back of the socks. The lace panels are separated by panels of stockinette stitch on the sides, which makes the socks fit really well, as they provide a bit of stretch. You can also add or subtract stitches from these side panels to customize the fit of the sock for your leg size, too. Ingenious.

I love these socks. They may very well be my favorites that I've knit thus far. I know I will knit this pattern again, no question about it.

And now that I've finished a whole pair of socks, be prepared to see several new beginnings of socks-to-be popping up shortly!

Have a terrific Sunday and can't wait to see everyone's MDS&W Festival loot!

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Secret swap-tastic.

Since I don't have the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival to look forward to this weekend (ack! too, too much work to do! MDSW treats and yarn donations will, however, be accepted), I'm looking forward to other summery events. Like Sockapalooza4. It's my first time doing a Sockapalooza, so I'm excited. I started my blog at the end of last July (oh yes, there will be a contest come July), and I distinctly remember reading a million different knitblogs about Sockapalooza, and then of course I had to suffer through everyone's grand reveals during August. Well, this time I won't feel out of the loop because I am in it to win it! Oh, wait... it's not a contest... we all win! Yay mystery socks!

So, I have my sock pal, the yarn, and the pattern. The yarn is that baby above--some STR lightweight in Star Sapphire. I've been saving it for a special occasion, and, well, since I am having such fantastic luck with STR these days, I figured it would make the sock pal knitting a breeze. I'm thinking Lombard Street Socks for the pattern. Free pattern, which I'm all about these days, interesting lace, and some great details like the picot cuff and the eye-of-partridge heel. Fun and interesting to knit AND my sock pal will appreciate a little bit of schmancy, I think. What do you think? Would *you* like to get these socks? I was also sort of considering the Lacy Quill Socks, too, but these might be a bit too holey for my taste.

And at the very last moment, I joined the Knitting Gnome Swap, because I'm a big sucker for a sweet roaming garden gnome. This gnome is a sweet knit gnome (like this one) who is sent to each person in the swap, and each person, upon receipt of the gnome, takes it for a tour of their hometown and then packs it up with some yarny treats for the next recipient, and sends it on. So at some point this summer, I will have a gnomey visitor. Should be entertaining.

Now, if only I would hear something from my Sockapalooza4 pal. I haven't yet been contacted, which makes me a little sad... do I have a secret pal? Is someone getting advice about what to knit me?? Please contact me, secret pal! Please? Woot! My shout out worked! My sock pal sent me an email! I have a sock pal! Yay sock pal!

I have heard from my Gnome Swap pal... yay!! (Hi, Gnome Swap pal, if you're reading this! Thanks for the email!)

And if you want to know where my awesome Etsuko squirrel family is from, go visit Maritza's Etsy shop, soto softies! (My Etsuko squirrel family just got a little bigger tonight, too! I can't wait for this little guy to arrive at his new home!)

Have a great rest of the week, everyone!

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fresh start.

Having done all of that ripping recently, I decided that I needed a fresh start, you know, to keep my sock love and knitting mojo from slipping away entirely. And, having had such great success with the STR Rose Quartz yarn, I decided to get out some more STR and cast on a new sock--you know, to replace those two that were ripped. I can't rightly expect others to take my One-Woman Single-Sock Liberation-Movement seriously with just one sock on the needles, right?

Enter a skein of Blue Moonstone. And Anna's super-schmancy Giotto pattern. These two things combine to create a most happy resurgence of sock love. Throw in a gorgeous stitch marker handmade by Nora and you have, well, heaven.

Picot attempt number two was a success. Golly, I love picot teeth. And the lacy, holey, YO-y Giotto cuff is clever and so, so pretty. (I am already planning to make many a pair of stockinette socks with this Giotto cuff, as Kris is planning to do with her pretty Fleece Artist Giottos.)

Thin yarn be gone (I'll be destashing some thin yarn, soon)! Hello, sweet STR friends. So sproingy and substantial. So full of pastel goodness (who knew I was capable of loving such soft, sweet, pretty colors?).

A happy beginning to more single socks (see? one done!). And look! It seems as though I have a partner-in-crime for single sock knitting! The Two-Women Single-Sock Liberation-Movement has been born!

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