Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Well, if I finished a shawl and a sock, obviously it wouldn't do to not have one of each on the needles, right? The sock is no surprise: I always have those on the needles, and here's the latest:

Garter rib sock.JPG

I'm following the "garter rib" stitch from Sensational Knitted Socks. With this sock, I've officially started my holiday knitting - yay! I should have one item done at least! The yarn is a variation on the theme of Trekking XXL, in color 41. I first attempted these on size 1 needles, but alas, they were too huge and floppy, so back to the toothpick-sized 0s I went.

Just to keep the balance of finished and unfinished objects right, I've also been working on another feather-and-fan shawl (this one's a few weeks old, actually). Mindless, goes well with beautiful handpainted yarn, and looks great, too! I'm using the Ingrid's Blues colorway from Claudia Handpainted yarn.

Blue feather and fan.JPG

This past weekend, Coffeeboy and I continued exploring our new area. This time, our travels took us up, up, up, five-thousand feet up, to the Blue Ridge Parkway, where all was fog, mist, and thunder.

Foggy Blue Ridge Parkway view.JPG

We stopped to pick wild blueberries from the bushes growing along the side of the road - a popular activity, judging by the number of people crawling all over the hillsides and by the lack of actual blueberries on many of the bushes. We didn't, however, get to go on a hike, because when we got to the trailhead, the rain started to come down more and more, a wet answer to the thunder we'd heard as we drove along.

Rainy Blue Ridge Parkway view.JPG

Friday, August 24, 2007

Real-live finished objects

I wasn't kidding! I actually have two whole FOs to show you!

First, the socks - the monkey socks! They're done! Each sock took a very small amount of time to knit, it was just the small matter of the second sock and, oh yeah, the move that got in the way! Well, here they are:

Monkey socks.JPG Monkey socks.JPG

Pattern: Monkey Socks from knitty.com, by Cookie A.
Yarn: Woolbearers sock yarn in (the yummy colorway) "Autumn Moon"
Needles: K-P Options for magic loop, size 0
Thoughts: This is indeed the fun pattern everyone says it is! I loved making these socks, especially since each one of the pair was knit at an outdoor musical event of some sort! I do think they turned out a bit tight. I'm thinking I might need to size up to 1s for future sock-making purposes, that maybe my gauge on small needles has tightened up. This should be easier to do now that I know that Knitpicks has two versions of size 1 circulars, at 2.25 and 2.5 mm. (I've been wanting the 2.25 size). Nevertheless, I'm in total and complete love with the colorway - lavenders, pinks, purples, oranges, with tiny hints of green and maroon. Yum yum.

Monkey sock detail.JPG
Close-up of stitch pattern

In other FO news, a long long time ago (try about a month or so), I finished a feather-and-fan shawl/scarf. But for reasons unknown, I didn't manage to photograph it until this week, right before sending it off to my mom for her birthday.

Feather and fan lilac shawl

Pattern: basic feather and fan stitch, repeated 5 times across
Yarn: Three Waters Farm superwash merino fingering weight, colorway "Lilac"
Needles: Size 5 Bryspun circulars (pointy tips, not too slippery)
Thoughts: This shawl was truly a dream to finish and block. The feather and fan pattern opened up beautifully and gave the shawl amazing drape and softness. My mom opened her birthday present yesterday, and was full of compliments about it! Yay!

In the above picture, by the way, I'm standing on our new back patio-area, with the oh-so-threatening creek behind me in the trees. It's an amazingly lush, tangled area right now, with weeds and trees and flowers and invasive kudzu all mixed in together. I can't wait to see how it changes as we move from summer into fall!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Music in the mountains

I know, I know. This is a knitting blog, and all I can talk about is where I live. (I also know that you'll hang in there for the knitting, too. :-) I promise, you don't need to see pictures of boxes (you've seen your own) and you don't want to hear about the article I'm revising or how I'm easing back into dissertation work. Instead, I have pictures from Asheville's "Shindig on the Green," a weekly, free mountain music festival that takes place every weekend during the summer. Coffeeboy and I caught this past weekend's Shindig, and we had a very nice time, indeed!

I got a little bit of work done on my monkey sock...

Shindig and sock.JPG Shindig on the Green.JPG

...as we watched singers, pickers, fiddlers, and cloggers, adults and kids alike, showing their stuff on the stage.

Shindig cloggers.JPG

We even got up to join in the circular square dance! Well, OK, we stayed seated for the first round (that's the one in the photo), we moved our arms around for the "seated dance" ("everyone bow to your neighbor out there in the audience!"), and finally, for the second dance, we got up and ran to the big circle up front, confident this time that everyone else would likely be just as confused about who was "odd" or "even" and how, exactly, to promenade, as we were.

Shindig dancers.JPG

Sunday was Coffeboy's birthday, so to celebrate, we took yet another hike! But before hitting the trail, we stopped to look at a few more waterfalls.

Looking Glass Falls.JPG Daniel Ridge trail.JPG
Looking Glass Falls and Daniel Ridge Trail

Then, I took Coffeeboy out to dinner at Asheville's premier vegetarian restaurant, The Laughing Seed. The food was delicious and creative (we had wild mushroom enchiladas with mole sauce and feta, as well as mushroom risotto cakes with a beet-truffle sauce: yum!) and quite reasonably priced compared to what we were expecting! We ended the night at another Asheville establishment, Old Europe Cafe, sharing an "opera slice" and drinking decaffeinated cappuccinos while reminiscing about our favorite locales in Boston's North End. Yum. (And happy birthday, sweetie!!)

Those monkey socks, by the way, are almost done... so I should have an FO - or even two - to show you soon!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Small town life

Yesterday, Coffeeboy and I decided to check out a weekly summer event in our new town - square dancing on a block of Main Street. Yes, it's really called that! It was quite fun to see!

Square dancing.JPG

Older folks, kids, middle-aged people, all tried their hands at the promenade and the doe-see-doe, while a crowd of onlookers sat in their foldable camping chairs and chatted or watched. We didn't dance - at least one of us would have had trouble remembering whether we were an "odd" or "even" couple. In front of the courthouse (that building with a steeple), a band played fiddles and banjoes for the music. It reminded me of nothing so much as, well, "A Prairie Home Companion," except in the mountains of the south, rather than among the Lutherans of the north.

Looking north at dusk.JPG
Looking north at dusk from the top of the hill.
We live sort of behind that white steeple next to the phone pole.

I've never lived in a small town before. Prior to this, my life has been either entirely suburban or in cities, the exceptions being two college towns that sported large universities of many thousands of people. This town has 7,000 or 8,000 people to its name, and its population is more affected by the comings in spring and goings in winter of Floridian retirees than by the migrations of 700-or-so students in the summer and fall. This should be a very interesting place to live!

I mentioned that we'd hiked to see some waterfalls? Well, here they are: High Falls and Triple Falls!

High Falls.JPG Triple Falls.JPG
(Click to see bigger pictures at Flickr!)

It's amazing to live in a place with such natural beauty so close by!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Settled and unsettled

We may not be settled in, but we are at least settled down, with many of our boxes unpacked, a sense of where to go to find things we need, and even some time to relax.

We eventually did close on our house. It turned out we needed flood insurance, because the FEMA map the bank had said we were in the 500-year flood plain. Um, yeah. We all know how much anything FEMA says should be trusted! Regardless, it was necessary if we wanted to buy our condo, so we're happily insured against twice-in-a-century disasters!

It's been a long few days, and as usual when I don't blog for a while, I don't know what to say or where to start! Do I tell you about the cats, and how they survived 12 hours in a car, an overnight stay in a hotel room, moving to their new home, a week of guests, and eventual sibling rivalry? Do I mention that in our first week we had Coffeeboy's family who helped us move down here, college friends of his who happened to be driving through town just after we arrived, or a grad school colleague of mine whose family gathered this past weekend a few towns away?

Or do I write about my new neighborhood, this little town? How this small-town, mountainous location is definitely not New Jersey, given that neighbors here have parties by the creekside and actually talk to each other? Should I blog about the culture shock of moving to a place that's like nowhere else I've lived before, given it's in the rural south but is culturally far more liberal than the "rural south?"

Take Asheville, the closest city, about forty-five minutes away. Coffeeboy and I have already found two Asian-fusion noodle places there that we love. After we visited one this past weekend, we stopped to listen to a guy and a girl on the guitar and violin, doing a rendition of "Closer to Fine." A few feet away, a magician performed for kids and adults alike, and a block or two away, on the way to the car, we saw some more musicians, using the entrance to a very modern furnishings gallery to improve their acoustics.

Or what about my dissertation, the books now somewhat organized on a newly set-up shelf? I need to get back into that, but it all feels so far away, and my dreams are of distance and disconnect. I don't know yet how it will be to try to do this crazy amount of work while not "in residence."

Or do I write about the hike that Coffeeboy and I took this afternoon, visiting a few of the waterfalls of our new county. We watched bathers swim and frolic on the rocks, wondered about the pine trees and the deciduous trees and how it would all look in autumn, and marveled that we were most certainly not in suburban New Jersey anymore, Toto! And after watching local trout swim in the streams, we stopped at a natural foods store and bought some local trout, just caught today, and brought them to our new home for a fresh and tasty dinner!

Yes, I could write about all of this, but I'm too busy trying to live it, processing it by mind rather than "pen." Trying to write about even some of it shows me just how "unsettled" we really still are! When I get even more organized, I might even manage to eke out a picture or two to share or a chance to visit the "sit and stitch" at my very local yarn store!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

All my bags are packed

Well, maybe not all of them. Maybe not all my clothes, the kitchen things, last-minute books, or my WIPs! But we're really doing quite well on packing and a Sunday pull-out.

Boxes and a spooked cat!

We're having a couple of those "crises" which precede a move. The main one was our sudden realization that, though we're driving our own truck, we still need folks to help us load and unload! While we had a few helpers for the loading, we don't know anyone in our new town to ask to help unload. So, we hired some professional schleppers. This will be wonderful, as Coffeeboy, his parents, brother, and myself probably reasonably couldn't have moved all our stuff. Following the same logic, we realized that the same five people, plus a few odd grad students (all over-libraried and not so hot on the weight-lifting department like yours truly), wouldn't do much better at the starting end. So we've hired professional schleppers for here, too.

The biggest confusion, though, is whether or not our new place is on a floodplain. For the last, oh, few weeks or so, we'd been told that it isn't. Now, the bank says that FEMA says it is, and we need flood insurance. Because our new town is small, the paralegal there has helped close all the condos in our new little development, and flooding hasn't ever been an issue. Until now. Suffice to say, we're hastily working on lining up flood insurance or getting the whole flood plain question sorted out. But really... couldn't this have happened sooner than 5 days before closing?

At least packing is going well, and the cats are only a little spooked:

Half-empty closet
See all the empty hangers?

We go off-line on Friday, so if you dont hear from me until well into next week, that's why! I can already feel the strangeness of being disconnected from the Great Big Interwebby Thing!