17 November 2006


Sorry for the long silence. I'd write, but I'm here:

More photos, stories and knitting (thank god for 10 hour flights!) when I get back. Mahalo!

07 November 2006


I've managed (for someone with some crazy politics) to stay pretty politically neutral on this blog. But I did just want t send out a reminder -- no matter your politics, don't forget to vote today. Change starts at home, real action takes place locally. Make a difference and make yourself heard.

Today I start my trip north. No knitting content today, but I will leave you with another anniversary. A year ago, I found these cute fuzzies in the middle of the road (weren't they so tiny?). Can't imagine life with out them.

Happy Acquiriversary, Hank and Phoebe!

06 November 2006

Three blind mice

It has been pointed out that perhaps my stress might be causing stress in others. I would hate for that to happen, and since I have nothing else to share right now, I leave you with my mice:

Pattern: from knitwhits (thanks mom!)
Yarn: Scraps of Manos and Lambs Pride
Needles: Lantern Moon US 8 straight needles, and Clover Bamboo US 7 dpns (for the i cord)
Notions: Cat Nip (thanks Sprite!)
Begun: 6 November 2006
Completed: 6 November 2006

Woo hoo! You can meet them all (yes, they are named)

Name: Harriet
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay, in a beautiful shade of purple

Name: Edgar
Yarn: Lambs Pride and a smidge of pink Manos
Note: Edgar is a gift for Spitey's cat, Flea. Spitey tells me that Flea lost his tail today at the Vet, and I thought he might need a pick-me-up. Since I'll be in Philly this week, I can hand deliver it.

Name(s): Abigail (on the left) and Amelia (on the right)
Yarn: scraps of Manos for all
Note: Neither of the As have been stuffed yet. They just came out of the washer today, but I couldn't resist the cuteness of Amelia's little multi-colored ears!

And lastly,

Name: Silas
Yarn: Manos

Silas belongs to my little kitties. They loved him right away. He doesn't stand a chance.

05 November 2006

Absent Minded Professor (or why I knit mice)

Folks, I'm turning into my worst nightmare. Today, I have lost my tea (lost my TEA!) five times. I set it down, I do something else, and then I have to spend five minutes figuring out where I set it down. I heated up some lunch, and then forgot I had heated it up, worked for another hour, realized I was hungry, and found it (cold) in the microwave. I can't concentrate on a single knitting pattern that doesn't invovle needles larger than 5s and straight knitting and purling. No patterns. No colorwork. No decorative edges (this is why I still have a sock incomplete, a mitten almost finished, and two fingerless gloves that only need decorative stitching). The only thing I can knit right now? Mice. Knitted mice. See? Here's one (pre-felting):

They take half an hour to knit, then I have to felt them up, stuff them, and voila! Happy cats. I made three today. They are a compulsion (and a good way to use up the scraps of manos that I can't bear to throw away).

Proof that I'm nuts? My best friend from college, Melissa, is getting married on Thursday (Nov. 9). This is a kind of sudden thing... it's a city hall wedding (no, she's not knocked-up; just impulsive) taking place in New York conveniently the same week I'll be in Philly (I'll be in Philly from Nov. 8 - Nov. 13... these dates are important). Unfortunately, I can't go even though I'll only be two hours away because I have to give a colloquium at my University. But a few days ago (Nov. 2), she sent out an e-mail to all of us girlie friends asking about the possibility of doing a "bachelorette" party on Saturday. This is what she wrote in her e-mail -- "on Saturday." And I'm thinking, "Hot Damn! That works out perfectly! I'll be in Philly... I can just hop on the train and be in the city and even if I miss the wedding, I'll make the bachelorette party). Anyone catch the flaw in logic here? I spoke to Melissa yesterday, early evening, and told her my plans to come to NYC on Nov. 11th. She seemed a little confused and then said something I didn't understand about how we could have dinner and drinks with another friend of ours that night. I figured "Ah, Melissa! Crazy and loveable. She's so distracted with wedding stuff, she didn't process that her bachelorette party will be that saturday." Yeah. It wasn't until my mom pointed out tonight how strange it was for Melissa to have her bachelorette party AFTER her wedding that I realized that I'm totally insane. Her bachelorette party was yesterday. Sigh.

If you stuck with me through that ramble, you're too kind. I'm a little off my rocker. These grant applications are killing me. If I have to sit in my cage, oops, I mean office, one more day I'm gonna scream. And I have to sit in my office for two more days. I keep trying to remind myself that in a week, I'll be on a plane to Hawaii. But there is just too much to be done between now and then (insert sound of head being hit against desk here).

Thank you all for your kind words on yesterday's post. It means a lot to me to know there are people out there willing to listen to me ramble and offer advice on all things knitting and personal.

P.S. I made a dinner that comes out of a bag and says "just add water" (about as complicated as I feel like I can handle) and I burned it. Oh god, I better finish these applications before I burn the whole house down!

04 November 2006

One Year

One year ago today, I packed up everything I own into a U-haul, said goodbye to the city I love, the friends I love, and the boy I love and headed south to face the unknown in Virginia. Not for a moment, not even in the long, dark, cold, and incredibly lonely first few months I lived here, have I ever regretted this decision. This year has been one of incredible growth for me. I’ve learned so much – about music, about other people, about life, and about myself – since I moved here. I’ve learned to be alone, sometimes for days at a time, and love it. I have gained an appreciation for solitude and silence. Which, in turn, has given me an appreciation for the appropriately timed loud, late, and irresponsible ruckus. I’ve become an infinitely better musician, dancer, and scholar. I’ve gathered a vast body of knowledge about things natural. I’m a better cook. I read more. Thanks to a distraction-free lifestyle, I knit more. And thanks to this blog and the friends I have made through it, I have become a much more knowledgeable knitter.

All year, I have tried to look forward, to appreciate the present and focus on the future. So, it’s strange to be sitting on the other side of this year, finally looking backward. Part of me is so excited, because I live here now. I went from being a visitor, an outsider, to a community member. My priorities have changed and I’m independent now. I feel stronger, alone. But then part of me feels so sad – I still feel longing for the life I left behind. It has been so challenging every time I’ve returned to Philly. I’m reminded of what is gone, what I had to sacrifice for this growth -- the friends who have moved on, the love I lost, the coffee-shops and bookstores and bars that I used to frequent… I don’t know. I can’t help but be nostalgic. In the end, I’m not sure I’ve found my place in the world yet. But maybe I’ve learned how to be patient and wait.

Anyway, what with the stress of finishing grant applications and getting ready to go out of town for a month, I've been all about the comfort. I made chicken soup from scratch earlier this week (is it weird that I love deboning a whole chicken?) and made the comfort dinner of all comfort dinners last night:

That's steamed cabbage and sweet potatoes topped with onions and wine-sap apples caramalized in bacon fat. A weird mix of nouveau German and Irish cuisine (made even weirder when I drank it with an English style American stout, but whatever...) but hot damn! it was good.

Then there's academic comfort:

Nothing makes me feel better than knowing this puppy is backed up.

And lastly, knitted comfort. Despite the fact thtat I have five projects so close to being done, I could probably finish them in an evening, I can't seem to concentrate on anything that isn't really simple. So instead, I made this:

Pattern: My own (if you can call it a pattern -- its just sand stitch with "hidden" decreases)
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay, color #113
Needles: Clover bamboo dpns, US 7

Thoughts/Meditations: Two years ago, this skein of Manos was the reason I started knitting again. I went with my roomate to Sophie's to hear Debbie Stoller speak on her book tour for Stitch and Bitch Nation. Afterward, I walked around the store, looking at things, touching things, and then I saw this skein of Manos and NEEDED it. I bought it, some size 8 dpns and that evening relearned everything I had known as a kid (and then some). The next day, I experienced my first morning of compulsive knitting, sitting on my bed for hours, listening to NPR (I do this all the time now). Within three days, I had my first hat. I loved it, but it was too big. I tried to wear it around, and then finally acknowledged it wasn't very useful. A year later, I ripped it out. I've not been able to use the yarn for anything else... it's too special. Two days ago, I went out to get my mail and realized that over night winter had hit. It's COLD now. So I pulled out the yarn, sized down my needles, decreased the number of stitiches and knit another hat. Guess what? It's a little big :) I think that's because it's stretchy. I LOVE it. All my hair fits in it. It's alternately a little hippy (totally, totally not my style) and a little 1930's (totally my style). Most importantly, it keeps my head warm. I also think it has magical brain power... I wear it at my desk while writing, and I feel smarter.

02 November 2006

What do you think?

Remember my frustration from the other night? Here's my solution:

I used a little bit of complimentary Lorna's Laces to bind off. I did it on both gloves. It solved one problem which was bothering me -- the bulky bind off got in the way when I tried to play banjo with them on. But... I don't know. Does the color variation look weird?

Here's the inside of the hand (I got both gloves to look the same).

That crumb in the photo drives me crazy -- what I get for eating cookies at my desk.

Should I use a little of the same yarn to create a similar effect on the bottom of the glove? I'm feeling a little ambivalent. If these weren't commissioned, it wouldn't bother me so much. But she bought the yarn and everything. Hmmm...


I interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this:

The cutest tiny baby lamb EVER.

My friend Greg (known to those who love him as "Jellybean" or sometimes, just "Jelly" for short -- don't kill me, Greg!) is doing fieldwork/living in Chilean Patagonia. If you think it's pretty where I live, you should see where he lives. Really. You should. He's a kick ass photographer (and a funny guy, to boot).

01 November 2006

Voyage from afar

** Disclaimer** for those of you who hate yarn-gift-related "bragging", you might want to skip this post. I don't mean it to be a "lookee what I got?" post, but rather more of a "amazed at the insane generosity of (almost) strangers" post. Take it as you will.

To make up for yesterday's frustration, today I was greeted by a welcome visitor: Leif Erikson stopped by on his adventures in the new world. I'll admit -- I knew he was coming. Kirstin was worried that I would be off in warmer climates when he arrived, so she double checked (through Amanda) before shipping him off. But this knowledge made the anticipation almost unbearable. And when he arrived, it totally made my day.

First of all, I want to say that I'm so psyched that I got the Leif Erikson box. I have always had a soft spot for good ol' Leif, ever since I was wee and my dad told me that he was actually the first to discover the so-called New World. I loved it that his name was Leif (probably because, at the time, I thought it was "Leaf". How hippie of me). I loved it that he was the underdog of explorers. Why doesn't he get his own holiday? Well, today we celebrated Leif.

Kirstin was TOO kind. The box was so full, it was bursting (no kidding! When I pulled it out of the USPS packaging, things were falling out. She had to use rubber bands to shut it), and full of all kinds of goodness. I am not to embarassed to admit that I actually teared up while opening it. How can someone who has never met me know me so well?

There were delicious things (K, I already ate two of those cookies... hot damn! They are something else! And oatmeal raisin is totally my fav):

There were musical things: (Those CDs are awesome and the magazine? Well, let's just say it's been so long since I've been in touch with the popular music scene that I've been a little confused when all y'all in the blogosphere start talking about the Decemberists. Who are these people? Well. Now I know).

Most importantly,there was yarn. Beautiful, beautiful yarn (Woolarina superwash sock yarn):

And yarn related goodies (those little pins are the cutest!):

Check out the way those stitch markers match my yarn:

I just want to say that Kirstin hit the nail on the head. I own no stitch markers. I always use random rings or earrings. Sometimes rubberbands (that's some hillbilly ingenuity). I love these. I started a project just so I could use them (don't worry, it's Christmas related). And the Yarn Harlot book? God, I've wanted one for ages and couldn't justify buying one because I've got so much work-related reading to do. This is gonna be one rockin' plane ride to Hawaii.

This was my first yarn exchange/gifting/secret pal type thing, and I'm just floored. Thank you so much!

And thank you from the kitties, who despite never expressing an interest in catnip before, went totally crazy over the stuff you sent. Phoebe was sniffing out the box minutes after I brought it in the house. When I tried to take the bag away from her after snapping this picture, she actually grabbed my hand. Sweet things.

Stay tuned to check out Leif's adventures in the mountains before he heads off to his next port.