Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy holidays!

This year December has just flown by. I cannot believe that Coffeeboy and I are leaving tomorrow to visit family for Christmas, and then to visit his family for a belated Hanukah and for New Year's. Is it really that far into December already?

Part of the disbelief, I think, has been caused by the weather. A week and a half ago, it was warm enough to go for a nice hike in our beautiful mountains. The clouds and the light combined to make for a truly eerie backdrop.

Winter hike 2.JPG Winter hike 1.JPG
Winter hike 4.JPG Winter hike 3.JPG
Looks a bit like Middle Earth, doesn't it?

This weekend, however, the weather took a turn for the colder, and although it didn't snow (like the forecast said it might) in my little town, on Saturday snow did dust the ground in Asheville where Coffeeboy and I went for dinner and a "Swannanoa Solstice" concert.

I've been knitting and spinning a lot, realizing that the spinning has bitten into my plans for holiday knitting. But, I spun up the BFL from Jessica into about 220 yards. That's enough to actually make something with!

Finished BFL yarn.JPG Finished BFL yarn 2.JPG

The yarn was still quite unbalanced; I haven't quite figured out how to ply correctly. It also didn't work out to be nearly as many yards as I'd hoped; at only 220 or so yards for 8 oz, I think I made a pretty dense yarn. Oh well. I'll learn. And thank you all so much for your encouragement of the spinning!

I don't have a picture, but I think last night I did get a balanced yarn! I experimented with some plain fiber of unknown variety, only spinning enough to cover a single layer on the bobbin, and then plied it together, this time really trying not to overdo things. It worked! Let's just hope that when I return to my wheel in January, things go as well and I remember what to do!

Besides spinning, there has been a remarkable amount of Cobblestone, and remarkably little sock progress. Cobblestone has just a few inches of sleeve left before I join it all up for the yoke. Fun stuff! But now the crunch is on, and I need to finish those socks up before I can really focus on Cobblestone!

Cobblestone progress.JPG

Mock cable wave socks.JPG Retro rib socks.JPG

Thankfully, I have until after Christmas for the little red sock, and the brown/blue socks are for Coffeeboy, so that is a bit more flexible as well.

Now, the question remains, what knitting should I take with me this holiday trip? And how much work? I'll have 2 weeks worth of knitting and working and seeing family, so the question always returns, just how much is realistic? So many possibilities!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A new decade

Now that I've entered a new decade, do I feel older?

The short answer is no, not really. Turning 30 isn't that bad (despite what I've decided is a new sympathy for people trying to read menus in dark restaurants!). Many of my friends have had a lot of 3-0-angst, and I haven't suffered the same. It seems that those who have had angst have had things they're still looking for in life - feeling like they've found a career, buying a house, finding a spouse, having a kid(s).

I've never felt pressure to do any of these by a certain point, but making progress on 3 out of 4 probably eases the transition into this new decade. Turning thirty and thinking about it from this perspective does give me renewed sympathy for those who have already turned that corner (or will do so soon) and are still looking to add to that list, fill in those blanks. I have it pretty good, I think, and I'm really thankful for that. I can only wish the same happinesses for all my many friends! I'm not so sure that I'll be quite so calm when the next decade comes around - but that's not for a long while yet, thank goodness!

What did I do to celebrate, you ask. Coffeeboy and I spend the past weekend in Atlanta, celebrating in the "big city" with my/our friend Greta_Jane at Ivory Needles. We went out to eat at a yummy restaurant, went for a hike, and generally had a good time hanging out. (I'm not sure that GJ's wall appreciated being drilled into, though. We tried to put up a shelf, and in the manner of most housing projects, found that the house provided its own complications - this time in the shape of strange plaster and metal door frames. Yikes!)

My actual birthday was pretty quiet. I spent it at home, working, spinning a very little bit, and starting to listen to holiday music.

I did get some nice gifts, including a reminder that the wheel is a birthday present:

Birthday-ribboned wheel.JPG
Isn't that sweet?
My wheel was all decked out in pretty blue bows!

As for those packages that kept arriving on Friday, one of them was indeed fiber - 8 oz of reddish Corriedale. And another package was indeed a book from Amazon - Spin to Knit. Thank you, honey!

The third package, it turns out, was for me; it was just vastly larger than anticipated! I'd ordered what I thought was 8 oz. of fiber from Paradise Fibers (I typed "8" in the quantity, which to me implied "per ounce.") They sent me 8 bundles of 8 ounces each - four whole pounds of fiber, apparently by mistake! After a few thoughts of what I could do with 4 pounds of fiber (make an absolutely huge amount of yarn, enough for a couple of sweaters), the good Samaritan in me won out, and I called them to arrange to return the extra 7 bags. Because really, I'm not at a point in my spinning where I want 4 pounds of the same thing! Oh my! In return they've given me a 10% off coupon for my next order, yay! The only problem is... the UPS truck never arrived to pick up the box. I guess I'll need to call them again, hmm?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Fiber on Friday

What's this? Fiber Friday? I have some finished yarn photos for you! It's as if it were "Fiber Friday" or something!

But first, a word to the non-spinners. A long time ago, before I decided I wanted to spin, I used to read people's spinning posts and feel a bit bewildered by all the different terminology. I felt a bit left behind, if you will. I know it wasn't intentional on the part of those bloggers, and I stuck with them through the spinning (even if I didn't quite read the posts, but simply tuned in for the "oooh, pretty yarn pictures" factor).

So, to the non-spinners reading this, hang in there, this is still a knitting blog, and I sympathize if you're a bit weirded out by the sudden prominence of the word "spinning" in my topic tags. You don't really want to see a few more inches of Cobblestone, though, do you? Because that's all that's happening around here, I swear. Socks? Hats? Other holiday knitting? It's not happening. Cobblestone is on the needles and wants to be worked on, gosh darn it. (I've actually finished the body and started a sleeve, but I don't have a picture. Besides, it would look like a very small version of the body anyways, so my point stands).

That said, how about some fiber?

Thanks for all your hints and suggestions about the overplying of the blue lagoon yarn. I've decided to leave it as-is for now (partially because I lack any easy way to wind a center-pull ball).

Blue lagoon.JPG Blue lagoon dime shot.JPG
Look, a dime shot!

I also spun up all of the not-quite-4-oz. of the "autumn lake" roving. It went really, really quickly, quite possibly because I love the colors. I love how tweedy it turned out. I'm also glad that it's not quite as overplied as the previous skein was.

Autumn lake yarn.JPG

I don't exactly love that there are only 100 yards; I would have liked something longer. Nor do I like that it's a bit scratchy and scraggly, but that might be because I was playing around with letting the twist eat up the yarn.

Autum lake 2.JPG Autumn lake 3.JPG

Looking at the close-ups, I'm thinking the singles weren't very tightly spun; at least, they don't look that way in the closeups. I wonder if this is why it's scratchy and why there are so many fibers hanging out from the singles? Hmm.

Speaking of fiber, I'm highly suspicious of all the mysterious packages that have arrived at my door in the last half hour. I've seen a mail truck, a DHL truck, and a FedEx truck dropping things off. Good gracious! It's a veritable delivery parade out there. Now I only need to see a UPS truck to collect the full set. You'd think my birthday were on Monday or something, and that I'd be entering a whole new decade to boot!

(My birthday is on Monday, and I'll now have to say that my age is 3x, instead of 2x. I'm going to feel very old, I think. I also suspect I don't get to explore these enticing packages Coffeeboy has ordered until then. One of them, though, has a suspicious marking on the box, and two have really interesting return addresses that I shouldn't have looked at. Bad me! - but this is what happens when one works from home and receives the mail, I guess.)

Happy Friday, all, and have a good weekend!

Monday, November 26, 2007


On Sunday afternoon, I finally felt well enough to sit by the wheel, so I plied up the two bobbins of pretty blue fluff. Indeed, the bobbins hold about 4 oz. of fiber, as you can see from this crammed bobbin!

Blue lagoon bobbin.JPG

I then wound the yarn onto my makeshift niddy-noddy, also known as two posts and one beam from my sweater dryer. It bent a bit, but made an excellent substitution for the tool.

That's 119 yards or so.

I had read on the internet (while I was sick and couldn't spin) that it can be OK to overply the yarn, that overplying gets corrected with hot water and whacking. So I decided to go for the overplied side of things. Apparently, though, I took that little tidbit too far! When I removed the yarn, it went sproing! into a mess of coils and overplied yarny goodness.

Overplied twistiness.JPG

A soak in the tub, followed by a few very fun whacks against the side of the shower, seemed to remove most of the little coils.

Soaking in the tub.JPG Hanging to dry.JPG

As you can see, it's still quite overplied. I must have been a bit ply-happy when I was at the wheel. I didn't use the plying head, but just a regular bobbin, and the same whorl I'd used to spin the yarn, which made plying go so much more easily. (Until the flyer started sqeaking and I had to clean it, but that's another story). We'll have to work on the plying! In this picture, the yarn is still pretty wet, so I can't give you the pretty all-skeined-up shot quite yet.

Overplied closeup.JPG

I can't decide whether I like it like the overplied look or not. I really like the blue-lagoon colors of this yarn, and I'd like to make a hat or something out of it. It could make a really funky hat as is, or a really nice and lofty hat if it weren't plied so darn much. I'm half of a mind to reply it once it's dry, to get something that looks a little less squished. How, exactly, does one go about replying something?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, all!

I have a cold. Which means I've been curled up reading old, favorite books (An Acceptable Time, by (the late and beloved) Madeleine L'Engle), collapsing after getting the stuffing started in the slow cooker yesterday, and napping in front of Thanksgiving Day football, occasionally sitting up to knit Cobblestone.

That's about 11 inches. Juniper says "hello," by the way.

Coffeeboy (who's a wonderful cook and who loves to cook, by the way) did most of our holiday preparations, in the end, including: our favorite cheese-nut loaf, orange and white sweet potatoes in the slow cooker, cranberry sauce, and the best yet: pumpkin bread pudding. Oh goodness, that stuff is yummy. It turned out to be all right that we didn't have anywhere else to go after the conference in San Diego, and that we didn't have social obligations here in NC, because of the aforementioned cold.

The conference in San Diego was great, but a little long for those of us who had to present on Friday evening (before the conference really started) and Tuesday morning (after almost everyone had left). I think both Coffeeboy and myself had a wonderful time catching up with old friends and making new ones. We also got to relax in the hot tub at our truly spiffy hotel.

Today I've been feeling a little better, a little more upright and less horizontal. Upright enough, at least, to fill you in on some fiber-news.

First, I took some pictures of my 3rd skein of yarn, the first I made on my very own wheel. I kind of like how some of it's quite uneven and some of it is very even, plus, the fiber really glistens. I'm thinking one day I'll dye this (I've been imagining a moss-green shade.)

Third skein a.JPG Third skein b.JPG
Click to make 'em bigger in Flickr...

After that, I decided to spin up some of the pretty blue stuff I bought at SAFF. I worked on that last week before the conference; in fact, I forgot to take a picture of the fiber before I started spinning it. So you'll have to survive with this:

First blue bobbin.JPG

I find it really interesting that the fiber looks so much darker on the bobbin than it does in its unspun form. Any thoughts on why?

Last night I spun up the rest of that fiber, but I haven't gotten around to plying yet. My previous experiences of plying is that it's actually pretty hard work on the feet and legs, and given that don't quite want to be sitting up, I'm not sure I feel like plying right now. But I think this fiber will make a very pretty yarn, and not bad at all for a fourth go-round. More pictures of the pretty blue singles:

Second blue bobbin.JPG

Finally, I have some roving to show you. This came from the lovely Jessica in NJ. She gave this to me when I saw her and spun with her a few days before my proposal defense (she let me use her wheel, too!). She dyed the fiber herself, with really gorgeous colors: navy blue, browns, greens, a little purple in there too.

BLF roving.JPG
So pretty! Thank you, Jessica!

I also couldn't help but purchase 4 oz of this lovely-colored English Leicester roving from Etsy (The Fiber Station), in a colorway aptly named "Autumn Lake."

English Leicester roving.JPG

Oh dear. Now I can't decide which to spin next, they're both so pretty! I wonder if I'm ready to try for sock yarn? Either of those would make some gorgeous socks! Maybe I should content myself with spinning a consistent and thinner yarn before planning anything dramatic like socks. Hmmm.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

WIPs roundup

While I've been spinning, I've also done a bit of sock-knitting lately.

See? We have these Retro Rib socks, coming along nicely.

Lorna's laces ribbed sock.JPG

And also this oddball here, the Cascading Leaves sock by Jeanne Townsend of the Yahoo knitalong group:

Align CenterCascading leaves sock.JPG

I'm using Great Adirondack Yarn in their wool/silk/nylon blend, and it feels heavenly! The colors are knitting up a bit odd, but everyone I've asked says they kind of like it. I kind of like it, too, but I also kind of think it's an odd fit between pattern and yarn.

I have one other pair of socks, but I didn't take their picture, as they are currently suffering from "procrastinating on kitchener stitch syndrome," poor things. It's been a couple of weeks they've had that particular issue; maybe I'd better put them out of their misery soon.

Finally, remember how I finished a sweater recently? Well, I started another one: Cobblestone!

Cobblestone sweater begins

I'm using Mission Falls 1824 wool that I bought years ago to make Rogue. Turns out I need a few more balls to make a guy-sized sweater, and goodness knows if I can find the right dyelot anymore! (Yeah, I know. Another dyelot problem? But this one I know about in advance!) I'm thinking of using a different dyelot to do the yoke; that should hide the change in color fairly well).

I'm thinking of bringing Cobblestone to the conference this weekend (the American Academy of Religion, meeting in sunny San Diego this year), in order to get through the many inches of relatively brainless knitting I have ahead of me. It's still small enough where it might make sense, at least for a little while, to have it with me.

... Speaking of conferences, I made a little mistake yesterday:
I sent an email yesterday to a whole bunch of major scholars in my subfield about logistics for a conference, and I've just now seen that it had a couple of typos. I checked carefully to make sure the dates and times and logistical details about travel were correct, but not that I'd spelled the title of the conference right! Oops! Earlier I was quite worried about this but now I feel a little less anxious. No less embarrassed, but less like hiding is necessary!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Study in contrasts

I'm now back in the beautiful, mountainous "boonies" where my honey and I now live. After spending a week with my academic colleagues in New Jersey, I fully re-acclimated myself to a more, shall we say, cosmopolitan environment, and I felt a bit sad about leaving. Don't get me wrong, I was excited to see Coffeeboy (and the two cats and Coffeeboy's dad, not to mention the lovely new wheel!), but this switching back and forth from the big ole' northeastern seaboard to the small-town life is definitely a study in contrasts.

Certainly, I've really enjoyed getting a taste of the small-town experience these past three months, but I wonder if a lifetime spent almost entirely in major metropolitan areas hasn't affected me in ways I was hardly aware of. It'll be interesting to see if I like the quiet better for this time surrounded by people, or if I'll miss the people more. The move has certainly been a learning experience, a good one, and I'm looking forward to learning more of what this particular set of contrasts has to teach.

As for this past week, what can I say? In many ways, it was quite stressful, as evidenced by the fact that my stomach felt odd much of the time and I didn't sleep well (whether because of couch-surfing, being away from my own bed, the proposal defense, or the readjustment to grad student life, or all of this, I don't know). Despite the stress, I also had a simply a wonderful week. I got to experience sunny, crisp, cool fall weather with maple leaves blowing and crunching underfoot, something I always love. It felt absolutely great to reconnect with fellow grad students, shoot the breeze with them and faculty about things academic and things non-academic, get advice and feedback from professors, and to attend a workshop/seminar with a visiting scholar. I even feel like things are all right (and fixed if they had been broken) with people I'd parted from awkwardly, and that leaves me much more centered. Now that I know how keenly I can miss the stimulation of intellectual life at the university setting, I can think more clearly about how to take positive steps to alleviate some (but never all) of the loneliness of dissertation-writing. And perhaps it will give me even more impetus to find perspective in the woods.

Or on the spinning wheel and the needles!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


That's right, folks! I'm ABD! They passed my dissertation proposal, so I suppose I am now all but dissertation!*

The consensus of the faculty was that might be piled a lot higher and a lot deeper on the way to that Ph.D., in that whichever chapter I write first could well become the whole dissertation. Hearing that was not unexpected; my advisor had warned me that the chapters were vast. I now feel like I have a Very Important Decision to make about where to start. Hmmm.

Some plain socks on the needles might help. All the socks I brought with me to work on have relatively easy patterns, but patterns nonetheless. This has resulted in my getting almost no knitting done, as it hasn't been as relaxing as it could be. I'm craving plain vanilla knitting here, folks (or spinning, but the wheel's at home). Besides, I need to start the plain socks before the conference next weekend!


*I might have been ABD in the reckoning of my department after I finished my exams, because finishing the exams (and turning in the necessary paperwork) results in a little M.A. diploma in the mail. I guess that's not quite the same as ABD, but it's fun nonetheless.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Early Birthday: Wheel!

Just as I'd hoped it might, my big 3-0 birthday came a few weeks early this year, thanks to Coffeeboy who coordinated with my entire family to get me a wonderful present:

My spinning wheel.JPG

Thank you so much, family! I'm going to have such a wonderful time learning to use this new fiber "toy"! Coffeeboy was totally right that I'd enjoy having it be a present from all of you.

These amazing, generous people are all participating in getting me that used Lendrum and accessories I saw listed on Craigslist. Yesterday, I and my visiting relatives went to pick up the wheel, which I managed to avoid trying until after lunch and a stroll around Asheville. Late thtt afternoon, we brought it home and I could try this:

first singles.JPG

As you can see, I had a busy evening last night spinning up part of a bobbin of singles. I'm not sure what the fiber is; the wheel came with some unlabeled, undyed fiber that the seller included. (She said she included some romney and some Blue-faced Leicester, but I'm not sure which was which!)

I'm very happy with the way the wheel spins; it seems easy to control (for a beginner), solidly made, and intuitive in terms of its construction. The bobbin and/or the flyer seem to be making some sort of awkward clicking noise that's a little annoying. I don't know if the Lendrums we used in class made noises a lot, mostly because I was too concerned with the actual act of attempting to spin to worry about noises. I'm also wondering whether or not it's possible to put a darker stain or color on the wheel without too much mess or trouble?

I won't get too much of a chance to practice on my new lovely wheel in the coming days, as I'm leaving for my academic home this Sunday - my first visit back since moving! I'm very excited to connect to the world of academia again and to see my friends and colleagues. There's a very good reason for this visit: I'll be defending the proposal for my dissertation!

I leave you with a few fiber-related questions: I now wish I'd perused the fiber options at SAFF more carefully, but I didn't want to bite the bullet and buy fiber I might not use, lacking a wheel. Now that I have a wheel, though, I'm going to want some fiber: spinner-readers, what fiber sources and types do you recommend? Also, what are some great spinning blogs I should add to my bloglines?

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A real finished sweater!

Guess what? I finished the sweater! Without further ado, I present:

Eris sweater.JPG


Pattern: Eris
Yarn: Green Mountain Spinnery's Mountain Mohair, in the "spice" colorway
Needles: size 5 for the body, size 6 for the sleeves, and size 3 for the cablework
Observations: I had this sweater on the needles for 2 whole years, give or take a week or two. I knit it slowly, in pieces. My progress was stalled halfway down the body when I discovered I had one skein of the wrong dyelot. I ripped back and reknit. I probably set it aside for a while before working on the cabled edges on the shirttail hem. The sweater seemed a bit too small, so I set it aside. A while later by several months, I picked it up, hoping there'd be enough yarn for the sleeves, that alternating colorways would hide the irregularities. This proved finicky work, so I set it aside about a year ago - and didn't pick it up until last week, when I knit both sleeves that week.

Overall, I'm happy with how it came out. A wet blocking made the sweater fit better; it had been too small because I initially chose too little ease. I had to improvise underarm gussets to make the sleeves fit all right, and I ran out of yarn for the sleeves, so I did the cuffs in a corresponding color.

I learned a lot working on the cables. They really make the sweater what it is, and I really enjoyed seeing them come together. I finished them over a year ago, though - frankly I'm amazed I finished this sweater at all!

Eris - front cables.JPG
Eris-back neck.JPG

The shirttail hem is an interesting look, and I'm not sure I'd do it again for myself. However, it works well with the cabled corners:

Eris-cable detail.JPG

But most of all, this sweater has restored in me a belief in my ability to make sweaters and have them turn out all right. I'm looking forward to a few of the new items in the Winter Interweave Knits, and I am pretty sure I have yarn in the stash that would work to make them!

Monday, October 29, 2007

After SAFF

Some of you might have noticed that I didn't blog a lot during October, nor did I read blogs/comment a whole lot. I kind of dropped out of things for a while. I'm not really sure why, but I expect it had to do with visiting friends, visiting family, and the need to get a little bit of work done in between all the visits. (We have more visitors coming in the future weeks, but SAFF, spinning, and (yes) a finished sweater make me feel like blogging.

So what did I think of the fiber festival?

When I stepped into the barn with all the vendors, I immediately felt overwhelmed! All the yarn! How would I ever make my choices? Remember where I'd seen something?

SAFF Main Barn.JPG

Would I meet other knitbloggers? I did manage to meet up with Keri, who's blog I've been reading since I started blogging. We had a little adventure driving over to the EarthFare natural supermarket to grab some lunch. After that, though, it was time for my much-awaited spinning class, which I believe I've already mentioned!

Saturday, since my friend couldn't be there, Coffeeboy went with me to the fair. He's such a good sweetie. He encouraged me to try the wheels (which at this point I merely treadled at) and he encouraged me to buy yarn (of which I still need daylight pictures). He looked at sheep and goats with me, but that's not a surprise as he's a big fan of the hooved and horned set. He liked scratching under the chins of the sheep!

Coffeeboy and Sheep.JPG Big mighty creature.JPG

Saturday evening, I went back up to the festival and spun some more. I had a blast. 2 oz. of fiber passed like nothing, and after what seemed like very little practice, I was spinning without overtwisting and getting the yarn far more even than only the day before. I'm going to be brave - or is it foolhardy - and show you two pictures of the "skeinlet" I came home with:

Second skein A.JPG Second skein B.JPG

Plying, not so much there yet. But for a second bit of yarn ever, I was pretty happy with it.

Sunday, predictably, I made a split-second decision to drive to SAFF again (about 20 miles) and try wheels. At first I was nervous, but then it was just interesting to see how the different ones felt. I really wanted to like one that was "prettier" than the modern-looking Lendrum we used in class, but I'm starting to think it will be a Lendrum for me. (This conclusion is aided by the fact that I have a lead on a barely used one that comes with all the main add-ons and then some, plus possibly fiber, for a reasonable-ish price).

Meanwhile, when I was out on Sunday trying out wheels and learning about making yarn, Coffeeboy was at home, making cheese.

Ben's Queso fresco.JPG

This is a queso fresco with garlic, scallions, and cracked black pepper, his second cheese. Last weekend he made a plain queso fresco. He's had the cheesemaking equipment for a while now, but hasn't made any since a mozzarella attempt a few years ago. I think he might be getting into cheese again though, which is just about as great for me as handknit socks are for him!

Friday, October 26, 2007

A bit of meditation

The time this evening is just flying by! It turns out that Angel indeed can't visit this weekend because of her beesting. Sadness! Coffeeboy is out for the night, and I'm home, ruminating on my first day of the Southeaster Animal and Fiber Festival. What am I doing with all my free time?

...reading about spinning wheels on the internet.


Spinning felt like meditation. For at least for a few minutes at a time, and that was quite a few minutes after I might have uttered some under-the-breath cursing about things not working, twisting too much, twisting too little, the wheel turning in the wrong direction, on and on. Little by little, though, things started clicking. I remembered spinning the not-well-prepared fiber at the New Jersey festival last year, and I liked how the wheel kept the tension going, rather than all the stopping and starting of the drop spindle.

Eventually, I forgot that I was sitting on a really hard concrete bench. Somehow, my feet were doing one thing and my hands were doing another, and yarn of some variety found itself on the bobbin. I was spinning (sort of)! I forgot about the concrete bench until I realized a couple of hours had passed and my tired feet reminded me I could barely feel my rear!

Folks, I think I might have turned to the dark side, or whatever you want to call it.

I'll have more to say about the festival in a day or two after it's over; I just wanted to share my excitement about spinning! I guess the big question is: what will come of tonight's internet research? Will the cats have to learn the dos and don'ts of wheels? Can I let the fact that I'm turning the big 3-0 in, oh, about 5 weeks figure in somewhere?

Twas the night before SAFF...

The sweater is done. It's very wet from its soak in the tub, with which I managed to, I think, increase the size a bit - very necessary. I won't be wearing it tomorrow, but maybe Saturday or Sunday, if I'm lucky?

SAFF is tomorrow! My first wheel spinning class is tomorrow!

Unfortunately, though, my good friend Angel might not be able to join me. She was stung by a bee a couple of days ago and had a very major, extremely scary allergic reaction. I've really been looking forward to seeing her but the doc says travel is out. Sadness! She's hoping she feels better enough to come visit. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for her!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

No yarn, no sleeve, no sweater

In a fit of determination, this past Sunday I decided to bring out one of my oldest UFOs: Eris! Remember that sweater with the cabled collar that I haven't worked on since, well, forever? Maybe, I thought, if I work really hard, I can get it done for SAFF this weekend.

It had a slight problem: I needed to use two dyelots, alternating by row, to finish the sleeves.

Eris dyelot 1

Now, here's the tricky part. As far as I can remember, I divided the correct dyelot (of which the least was left) into two balls, and wound the incorrect dyelot into a big ball. (My previous posts on this topic didn't reveal whether or not I'd made two balls, but I'm pretty sure I did). This past Sunday, I switched from DPNs to magic loop for the sleeves and knit away, getting ready for the second sleeve last night.

Eris incomplete.JPG

I couldn't find the second small ball of yarn! I looked everywhere: in the "yarn I most likely won't use soon" tub, the "sock yarn" tub, and the "other yarns I'd like to use sometime" tub - nowhere to be seen. I even checked my random baggies of yarn ends and odd leftover balls. Nowhere. I looked again, and again. I tried to think where I would have packed it. Maybe in the sock yarn, the yarn most likely to be looked at frequently? Nope. Before the move, the little balls sat on a bookshelf in the guestroom. Maybe that was a clue to the yarn's whereabouts? But I had no idea where that might translate into in the new house.

It appears that I'm up a creek without a paddle, or rather, up a sweater without the yarn. No suddenly-revived SAFF-sweater for me. I guess this is what I get for having such a long-delayed UFO.

2 hours after first posting this:
... Nevermind! Crisis averted! I found the missing yarn! It was hiding in a drawer, presumably "where I would find it" and also to "keep away from yarn-loving kittens." I think I'll go knit now.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

As promised, a foliage report

This past weekend - as promised - Coffeeboy and I took a hike to check out the foliage at Blue Ridge Parkway elevations (here, about 5,500 feet). Here's what we found (you can visit flickr for bigger pictures, and for more pictures):

The great blaze of autumnal glory isn't quite here yet. Bits of yellow leaves dusting the tops of trees, as if the hillsides were covered in a light coat of autumnal pollen.
View from the Parkway.JPG View from Sam Knob.JPG

(Isn't it interesting how the vegetation on the hill in the left photo there changes as one moves from one side of the ridge to the other?)

Beautiful fall wildflowers attracted even more beautiful butterflies. (Coffeeboy snapped that butterfly closeup; isn't it gorgeous?)

Sam Knob wildflowers.JPG Butterfly closeup.JPG

Shrubs change more quickly than trees, as you might be able to tell from these pictures. This includes the blueberry bushes, which still had a few hardened, only slightly juicy berries left on them. (Believe me, we looked, sampled, and marveled at how many berries remained).

And, oh yes, one hiker saw fit to break out the woolen socks. It was a cold morning, after all, so he thought maybe his feet wanted something a little cozier to wear for this hike. What better than trekking while wearing socks made of Trekking yarn?

Trekking socks.JPG

On the dissertation front: I've finished a really official, penultimate draft of my dissertation proposal! This feels especially great because tomorrow, I'm heading off to somewhere between Boston and Providence to go to a wedding. The proposal has been sent to not just my advisor, but to several professors and a few trusted friends. I'll defend it in approximately a month, after they've had time to critique it, and after the proposal has had lots of time to sit on a shelf in the department, available for public perusal. Yikes. I mean, I know it's a public proposal defense, but thinking about my proposal hanging around in a public place all by itself, makes me very nervous. (How will I feel when I turn the whole thing in, then, I wonder?)

This weekend, we're off to Massachusetts - south of Boston - for a wedding. I'll be on and off the net till we get back, and when I do, I'll have pretty pictures of beads! And socks. Oh yes, more socks.