30 June 2006

I'm so tired...

I'm still alive, I promise. Just spending the week at banjo camp. I've been getting home so late, and I have blisters the size of texas on the major typing fingers of my left hand. owie. Not condusive to blogging. But, there will be knitting updates. Just let me recover first...

21 June 2006


FO's of a different sort. Look what I did today:

The red is strawberry jam. The yellow is peach mango (with hint of lime -- ran out of lemon juice).

The real test will be tomorrow, once they've set.

Contest Winner!

At long last, the results of the mini-contest.

As I said earlier, part of my motivation for the mini-contest was selfish -- I was curious to know how many, if any, people could identify Jean Ritchie by sight (yes, it was Jean Ritchie). This was not a very scientific process. Clearly, people who didn't know didn't guess (where's the fun in that?). But, I was pleased to see that three of y'all got it right.

Congrats Bitterknitter, Trek, and Kat. You guys have good taste :)

For those of you who don't know much about Jean Ritchie, check this out. She's pretty amazing.

And now, for the contest winner... also a very (un)scientific process. While I was tempted to give all three of you prizes (sheesh, it's only three!), I stuck to my guns and picked one winner. Drawing a name out of a hat seemed a pretty ho-hum way to pick a winner (besides, when there are only three names, that seemed a little unnecessary). Instead, I wrote each of the names on a piece of paper (a post-it note, to be precise)

And let the kitties decide.

First, they inspected the paper.

Then, after I threw them in the air, they kicked them around a bit.

Hank made the final selection, picking up the piece of paper he liked the best, carrying it across the room, and snuggling with it (these days, Hank loves to snuggle-fight with paper. Strange cat).

And the winner is:

Trek, send me an e-mail with your address and I'll try and get that prize in the mail tomorrow. Congratulations!

I'm hoping for some FO's tonight. I've been a viscious frogger this week, taking out a lot of knitting that wasn't working (including the first few inches of my second New England sock and this:

which wasn't knitting to gauge and was huge - if squishy and beautiful).

And, for fear that I will be accused again by friends of mine that I love Hank more than Phoebe (how is this possible? She is so sweet and little and she gurgles when she's happy to see me!), some photos. Look where I found her yesterday afternoon -- she was in hot pursuit of a fly:

19 June 2006

Blue Socks!

Pattern: My own (loosely based on the Conwy socks from Knitting on the Road)
Yarn: Knit Picks Memories in "Yukon"
Needles: metal dpns US 1
Begun: March 20th (ish)
Finished: June 19, 2006 (with a loooooong break in the middle!)

Thoughts: Well, if you remember back in March, when I finished sock 1, I was feeling frustrated with variegated yarn. I wanted to make the Conwy socks (evidence of which can be seen at the top of sock 1) but the pattern was lost. In the end, I love these socks. They are soft and cushy, and I really, really like the fraternal dark-light patterning between the two socks. Now I have to wait until fall to wear them (it was almost too hot to sit through the photo-shoot tonight, and it's almost 8 p.m.!)

In honor of the completion of the blue socks, I leave you with this:

My friend's cat had kittens, none of which I thought were gonna make it. I gave them all temporary names (my friend is out of town right now -- she should probably name her own cats!) I was calling this one "Blue" because, well, when he was littler (and even a little now), everything about him was tinted blue -- his eyes, his fur, etc.

16 June 2006


So tired, off to bed to read. But first...

For fun, and for my own self-indulgent reasons, I'm having a little no-occasion contest. I'll send a prize to one person (drawn at random) who posts or e-mails to tell me what famous musician I giddily met last night. I am pictured with her (and her husband) here:

(pardon the greasy hair and shiny face -- I'd just been sqaure dancing.)

Obviously, and this goes without saying, Mom, Dad, and who ever attended the concert with me last night -- you're all disqualified (sorry). My plan is for this to be a knitting related gift, but if (by some chance) you happen not to be a knitter, the prize will be modified accordingly. You have until Monday at midnight to make a guess.

Good luck.

P.S. Look for updated Steel sash window pictures tomorrow, as well as my Amazing Lace update.

14 June 2006

Windows and Winners

Not in much of a mood to post. I've had an emotionally draining few days, and today just kicked my ass. But I thought you would all appreciate some steel-window pics, to back up yesterday's post. And if not, at least my parents now know what I've been up to. Doesn't the light look beautiful?

This is what the windows looked like before:
They were all painted over and the steel was covered with paint and glazing that was chipping off. It was awful and dark.

This is the outside once we started working (see how many there are? There are four more on the other side!):
We removed the glass from those three windows, chiseled all the old glazing out, and sanded until we were down to metal and it was all smooth. This took FOREVER.

Then we painted the steel. See how pretty and red:
Tomorrow, we'll put the glass back in.

And just for kicks, this is what I looked like all day today:

I made a brief stop tonight to a party some friends hosted, before I realized that my thin veil of feeling like partying was quickly fading, and left. I received this as a "party favor."

It says "winner."

To be honest, I'm feeling like the opposite today.

Just think -- tomorrow is another day (one that hopefully will contain some knitting content).

13 June 2006

Windows, Baking, and other miscellany

[before I get started, I'd like to mention that 'miscellany' is one of my favorite words. Really. Along with 'marginalia' -- both for its meaning and for the way something so innocent can sound so dirty -- and chaos. I have recently added, by suggestion, eleemosynary to this list. Now that's a kick-ass word. Is it weird that I have a list of favorite words? I didn't think so. Anyway...]

What was I thinking when I decided tonight that I wanted to bake not one but two different deserts, both for no reason. Under normal circumstances, this would be no big deal. I like to bake. I do it frequently. Despite the fact that I'm not big on sweets, I enjoy baking sweet things for others, especially for no reason. But today... today was a lethal combination.

I spent the better part of my day in Whitesburg learning how to restore early 20th century steel sashed windows [photos to come]. There are no words for how much fun manual labor is when you've been in graduate school for what seems like an eternity. Not to mention the fact that I love to restore things and have a great amount of respect for history (this is the only thing that can explain why I argued to save from destruction a set of painted-over windows -- not original windows, I might add, but ones that were probably put in sometime in the last thirty years that would have cost us only $2 or so to replace -- with the cry "But what price do you pay for the patina of history?" Yep. I love old things. And I don't think that there is an age at which something isn't worth preserving. Well... ok, maybe some of that energy-crisis, 1970s architecture. And some of the fugly stuff from the '60s. But still, that's a time in our history we don't want to lose, and some of it is valuable for kitsch factor alone... but I digress). I returned to Virginia around 6:00, happy and exhausted, with a dead right arm and a fine dusting of caulk-dust and glass from head to foot. After a shower, dinner, work, and finishing my book (Unquiet Earth, but Denise Giardina. Sequel to Storming Heaven, a must read), it was still light out and I had nothing to do. I was bored. So I decided to bake cookies. Drei Augen cookies (you know, those double layer cookies with the raspberry jam in the middle). I've never made them before, but new recipies have never stopped me. I like an adventure in the kitchen. After setting the (what seemed like suspiciously crumbly) dough in the fridge to cool, I made the fatal decision to make a cake, on top of the high maintenance cookies. The recipie for honey cake appealed to me -- what with the entrance of bees onto my radar, I think a lot more about honey these days. Just in case any of you were wondering, it's incredibly messy to bake with honey. And this cake calls for about 2 cups of it. After spilling honey everywhere (and I mean everywhere) I finally got the cake into the oven. The dough tastes a little bit like graham crackers, but really, really, really good graham crakers.

2 hours later, the cookie dough is ready and I'm regretting the decision to bake in the first place. I'm tired. My arms hurt. All I want to do is get in bed, work on T-SALP and go to sleep so I can get up early and sand, paint, and glaze steel sashed windows. But no -- I have the dough for 36 cookies waiting in the fridge. Grudgingly, I pull it out and am greeted with a cold, crumbling, buttery mess. The cookies won't cut. They fall apart all over the counter, the floor the cookie sheet. What few I manage to cut won't take holes for the jam. The whole thing is a disaster. Now what?

Well, I just decided. Oven off. Crumbly buttery dough in trash. Jennie with glass of wine.


As for knitting related things, I covet this sweater.

I bought the pattern. But it seems silly to get wool yarn to make it in June. I won't be able to knit it until October. Not to mention the fact that I think I have enough projects on my plate right now. But... I think I like it so much because it reminds me of this sweater:

My grandmother made this sweater too. I would wear it every day if I could. I was thinking the other day that I might try and duplicate it, just to see how she made it. The seaming on it is almost completely invisible. It's amazing. Some more photos, because I have them:

Sock progress and Amazing Lace posts are coming soon, I promise. Just as soon as I get my right arm back in working condition!

12 June 2006

Monday, monday

Back again, after what feels like a long absence. I started a post yesterday, but it was high energy and cranky and I'm still working on it. In the meantime...

I had a terrific, if exhausting time, and the Seedtime festival. Lots of good music, lots of good fun, and a watermelon eating/seedspitting/and hollering contest (I got to be an official watermelon rind inspector... might be the best job I've ever had). I met a fellow knitter on Saturday, working away on socks at the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth booth (sorry -- camera was unavailable at the time!). He (Erik) informed me that Saturday was World Wide Knit In Public day. Can you believe it -- all the times I knit in public and I can't manage even a stitch on World Wide Knit in Public Day. I felt like a sorry excuse for a knitter. But I didn't have time -- I was too busying carrying watermelons.

I did get a chance to do some knitting before the festival kicked in. I started the second New England sock while waiting for my car to get inspected. The guys in the garage didn't say a word about it, and I loved them for it.

No progress pictures, though, because I was cocky and over-confident and knit the first two inches without the pattern in front of me. You guessed it. I messed up. I messed up in a way that absolutely cannot be fixed without frogging back a few rows. And right now, I just don't have the stamina to do it.

In the meantime, I've been plugging away on T-SALP (progress report to come later on my Amazing Lace page)... right pattern + right yarn = enjoyable knitting. I got a bunch done yesterday, but was thwarted by the second monster thunderstorm in the last two days. The power went out for several hours and the kitties and I were thrust into pitch darkness. I picked up blue sock #2 (remember blue sock?) and worked a few inches by candlelight. No mistakes, at least not that I can see now.

Lastly, I've been a week remiss in posting about this package (sorry about the horrible light, but it's pretty dark here today and the photos without a flash are just awful)... I ordered some yarn from Yahaira at Pure Knits and, like everyone else, was completely blown away by the service. In addition to getting some beautiful yarn (Nature's Palette sock yarn and Habu Alpaca Lace), the "presentation" was lovely. And a personal note! AND she sent me samples of some yarn that I covet -- fable alpaca and hipknits silk. Mmmmmm. She sure knows how to enable a yarn addict (and interest a kitty -- Hank was very excited about both the ribbon and the Fable alpaca)! I'm trying to be very rigid about this sock yarn -- I am absolutely not allowed to cast on for another pair of socks until I finish at least two of the pairs I have on the needles right now. So... second New England and second Blue sock and then I can start a sock with the Nature's Palette. It's a sock-lovers yarn, folks, I can tell you that much without ever having knit a stitch. It's got such softness and squish and the color has a lot of depth without being in-your-face. Finally, a good yarn for patterns. We'll see what it becomes...

06 June 2006

One down...

It's late. I need to get up early and have a BIG weekend ahead (for those of you in the SW Virginia/East Kentucky area -- come to Seedtime on the Cumberland this weekend!), but I felt the need to post these insanely dark and senseless photos. A teaser of what is to come...

New England #1

[The beekeeper's report? "I like it that it shows skin." He'll be converted to lace knitting yet!]

05 June 2006

Let's Talk Dirty In...

Guess who's gonna be sunning herself (and reading a paper about coal mining and music revivalism in Central Appalchia) in sunny, beautiful Honolulu in November? Oh yeah.

[And for those of you who don't get the title, check out this John Prine song. The infamous Jellybean introduced me to it and I've had it going through my head ever since I heard about the conference. I'm just so damn excited.]

Knitting content to come tomorrow.

02 June 2006


Today is just one of those days that I woke up happy... tired, disoriented, and in dire need of coffee (as I am these days when I wake up to an alarm -- a rare occurence), but happy. It's summer, and the kind of summer where something about the heaviness of the air conjures up memories of digging up onion grass and playing in the yard as a kid, early morning trips to the pool, hanging out with my older brother and his friends on people's porches, running down the natural stone steps the dock at the house on Lake George -- a flood of memories all wrapped up in the smell and taste and weight of summer in Virginia. I love it. There are times now when I drive with the windows rolled down and I can feel my childhood... it's hard to explain in words. But it feels good. I feel peaceful and motivated and... happy. And I can only experience this in the summer.

And because I've been griping about it, I'll share that I heard back from SEM -- they'll be telling us about our abstract submissions on June 5th. So... I guess I should consider this a lesson learned. And I've stopped holding my breath, because now I've gotten all of the worry out of the way.

I'm away from my camera right now, but I've got progress to show. Remember when I threatened to throw down my needles for good? Well, instead of throwing them down, I'm to the heel flap on my first New England sock. Wow, these puppies knit up quick. And so beautiful... Hopefully there will be pictures this weekend.