Thursday, May 31, 2007

Such a pretty blue!

Looking for the contest? Click here!

I've been remiss about socks, lately. You see, I thought I'd run out of yarn and have one sock entirely made of pretty blue yarn, and another made mostly of blue, but partially of a partial match. Never fear, I had about a ping-pong sized ball of yarn left when I finished the second sock! Phew!

Blue Colinette socks 2

I do think, though, that as I knit the heel of that second sock - at the rate of about 3 rows a week for a while there - that the apparently shrinking ball of yarn was the cause of my dramatic slowdown. Because what's not to love about pretty blue socks?

Blue Colinette socks 3

Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in "Jay"
Needles: size 0, magic loop
Time: Don't ask... way too long!
Reason for indoor photo: It was 89 degrees out when I took the picture, and I didn't want to go outside in wool socks!
Why I love this yarn: it's very soft (squishy and sproingy!) and my other pair has worn well thus far!

Blue Colinette socks 4 Blue Colinette socks 1

For those of you just stopping by, don't forget! The contest runs til June the 3rd! Only six more posts to go till we reach the magic number 15!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Blogiversary - and Contest!

That's right, today this blog is 1 year old! Happy Blogiversary to me! I can't believe it's been a whole year since I started out on the whole knitblogging thing. I've had some dry spells, but on the whole, it's been an enjoyable way to meet new people, chronicle my projects, and pass my time. You all have reminded me that the world can be a very generous place: you've given me yarn, praised my finished (and offered encouragment over the unfinished) objects, and even encouraged not only mine, but also my spouse's, academic pursuits, embracing such non-yarny things as books as an integral part of this blog.

In some small payment for what I've gained from all of you - and because I'm moving in a couple of months and some destashing is in order - I'm having A CONTEST! Here are the details:

What you have to do: leave a comment on this post telling me 1) a sock pattern (or other pattern, if socks aren't your thing) I'd be a fool not to knit (regardless of whether or not I've already done so) and 2) which of the two possible prizes you're interested in, or both.

What you'll win: Here's the tricky part: I'll draw one winner if there are 1-15 entries. If there 16-30 entries, I'll draw a second winner! So, the more people who enter, the more likely you are to win something! (And if it gets above 30 (which would be a real milestone for this blog) I'll add something else... to be determined. The current possibilities, though, are:

Rowan Felted Tweed
A ball of Rowan Felted Tweed, color SH 152, 191 yards. The color is a bit more bluish-green than represented here.

Knitpicks Shadow
Two skeins of Knit-picks Shadow in the color "Sunset" - enough for a full-sized shawl. The color is a bit darker and less fiery than shown here (appropriately enough, in the sunset).

How I'll pick: Random number generator.

Deadline: midnight, Sunday, June 3rd (for no other reason than it's about a week away, and it's my half birthday)

Enter away!
... and thank you!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Home sweet home

Thanks for all the compliments on the house, and the get-well wishes! I'm feeling better, but now Coffeeboy (who certainly does know how to keep a knitter happy) is sick instead of me, which was pretty much a foreordained conclusion, but I'm still sorry it happened.

Now that it's the weekend, I can sit down to describe the place for all of you! It's a small 2-story condo, three bedrooms, 2.5 baths, laundry room, fireplace, garage - pretty much all the types of spaces we wanted. We'll actually have a master bath in our bedroom, a more spacious office, and a guestroom. It's right behind a grocery store (a Food Lion, whose truck entrance we share as a driveway for the complex). Thankfully, the units are surrounded by trees, not other grocery stores.

The grocery store complex itself has a small coffeeshop, a pizza place, and a Chinese food place (not sure if it's good yet). The next closest building is the Methodist church, across the street from Coffeeboy's college, which has a Methodist connection. Next to the Methodist church is another small shopping center, this one with the yarn store, a bookstore, a cool little breakfast/lunch cafe, a burrito place, a natural foods (the kind with lots of supplements, bulk items, and books, rather than the kind with those things plus groceries and produce). All in all, a very convenient place to live, especially given that the small downtown area is another 5-10 minutes away up a hill. Exercise and the relative end of suburban living, here we come!

The area itself is really nice, too - a five minute drive from a national forest with hiking trails, a ten minute drive from a summer music festival center, not to mention probably various crafty and fibery places I have yet to discover in western NC!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Brief update!

We've returned from North Carolina, and well, there's good news, bad news, and really good news:

First the good: we found a place during this second trip, made an offer, and it was accepted!

The bad news: I was ill most of the trip down, and am still sick, so I'll have to post more later. Plus, I'm missing the Lost season finale. Thank goodness for old-fashioned VCRs.

The really good news (since this is a knitting blog): The place we bought is walking distance to the town's yarn store. And by walking distance, I mean 5 minutes max! Coffeeboy and I agree that while this could be a good thing, it also might be very bad. :-)

Friday, May 18, 2007

No knitting while house-hunting

Have you ever gone house-hunting in a part of the country you don't know at all (or that your spouse only sort of knows)? It's intense! I had no idea! I don't think I can even write about it except to tell you that I'm still here and that... my brain hurts. Three people told me today that I looked tired, or not OK, or like the walking dead, which is true.

Last Friday, we left town for Coffeeboy's PhD graduation ceremonies and a weekend of eating, catching up, and good cheer, speckled by sudden downpours and moments of sunshine. We ate many wonderful meals and saw several of Coffeeboy's colleagues who also had their hoods ceremoniously placed over their heads by their advisors.

The real insanity started Sunday, when we drove to the mountains of western North Carolina, Coffee's future place of work, in order to find a place to live. I had no idea at all what I was getting myself into: houses falling off hills, bathrooms without walls, bathtubs with cracked tiles and yards full of overgrown shrubbery, on the one hand, followed by a reassessment of our needs, which led us to condos with nice layouts located far away from Coffeeboy's school. We had endless discussions in the car, over lunch, over dinner, in the hotel at night, about pros, cons, priorities, advantages, disadvantages - and not to mention this mortgage or that, whether we wanted a homeowner's association fee or would rather put that money into renovating a house of our own. Our parents by now, I'm sure, know the ring of the phone as we called for advice, commiseration, celebration, or just to express confusion.

I've never moved to a place I didn't know at all, it seems, so I had little idea that it could be so totally exhausting to try to figure out neighborhoods, price ranges, expectations, and even where to eat for dinner... all in the space of about 52 hours, the total time we spent in the area. Sunday afternoon to Wednesday morning, there and back again.

No wonder I look like the walking dead. And on Sunday, after I finish grading papers, we're headed back. We thought we had found a place we liked, and we almost put an offer in, but no sooner did we arrive home on Wednesday than we found out that there was actually an affordable condo in our most desired location, the college town where Coffeeboy will be teaching. What confusion! What a tizzy! We need to see the smaller, but more convenient place to know which one we should go with... so we're off, again! No wonder I'm exhausted.

This time, though, I might try knitting in the car, since I know there won't be time to get the needles out in the non-existent evening hours!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Getting a garden going

Classes are over for the year! While I'm pleased to have more time for my own work, I was a bit sad that it was my last class that I'd be TAing at my school. When next I teach a class, it's likely it'll be my own class, not one I'm TA-ing for, which is a scary thought indeed.

This weekend, rather than go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival like, oh, some huge, gigantic number of knitters out there, I stayed home and worked on my paper before and after working in the garden for a bit of hands-on, home-grown sun-and-garden therapy. "We're getting back in touch with the sources of production from which we've been alienated," I believe Coffeeboy said, sounding uncharacteristically Marxist. I was merely waving the hoe around, deciding whether or not to quote Edwin Markham's poem "The Man With the Hoe."

The lilac bush is blooming (and it smells wonderful, but I can't put that online), and it's a sunny day, so I thought I'd show you a picture of the lilac shawl I started a while ago. Don't they go well together?

Lilac shawl on lilac bush

Seriously, though, I'm hoping I'll have enoug yarn to make it long enough. I'm almost at the end of ball one out of two, and it's barely 2 feet long! I'm assuming some good old blocking will help once it's all knit up.

We've had a lovely weekend here in NJ, so Coffeeboy and I planted our garden. Yes, we decided to go ahead and do it even though we're moving halfway through the summer. It'll be hard to pick up and leave our plants behind, though, especially when we're not sure what the next person who lives here will do. Will they garden? Or will they just let everything rot and turn into a nasty mess? Will they enjoy the bulbs that, unless we bring them with us, will be sleeping through the summer? We decided, though, that we'll get some edible enjoyment out of the plants, and that we should go ahead and plant anyways.

Veggie garden, May 6

Those milk cartons (the things that look like bulky white plants) are keeping our pepper plants warm while the weather is in its early spring state. It's cool at night, and peppers don't really like that. If only the milk cartons didn't blow all over the yard during the dark hours, though! It kind of defeats the purpose!

Baby early tomato Young bean plants
Here we have an early tomato plant on the left, and on the right, some beans and peas. Yum!

We've also planted eggplant and summer and zucchini squash, plus some canning and salad cucumbers. In front of the beans we planted some old scallion seeds and some lettuce seeds, but those haven't shown their little green heads yet, and they might not - we kind of decided not to add nice compost to the soil, which means the soil there is, um, rather hard indeed, and probably difficult for a small green thing to press through.

If you have a garden, what are you planting this year?