Friday, May 27, 2005

Is it still Sleeve Island if you only have sleeves?

Here I present evidence that I am indeed participating in what the fabulous Anna has referred to as our non-committal, "meh"-type shrug-along. Which I quote directly from her because it made me laugh and laugh. And is true.

The directions for this shrug say that it is sized for a "close, body-conscious fit." Yeah--if you're an Olsen twin, maybe, or Lindsay Lohan. Those of us with the boobies? Need to do a little work. So here we are, after much knitting, tinkering, resizing: the first half of the Regency Defense Shrug:

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During the shoot that produced the above photo, Marc also captured this massively charming shot of Bailey, with which I will leave you for the time being.

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"Please put treats in my red bone!"

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Boring, unless you're my Secret Pal

Hooo boy I have been a bad little blogger lately. Seriously, after all that time sitting at my computer trying to finish the diss, I have wanted nothing more than to be OUT of the office and AWAY from the computer. Which is not conducive to blogging. Also, I was waiting to have some non-boring progress shots of the Regency Defense Shrug to show, but they will have to wait for tomorrow, because I just got an email from my brand-new Secret Pal, reminding me to post my Secret Pal Questionnaire. So here it is!

(Haven't signed up for SP5 yet? You've got until 5/29!)

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Or is it all the same to you?
I am indeed a bit of a snob. Not, like, a total snobby-snob-only-use-rowan brand-snob (Knitpicks? Elann? Bring it on!), but an all-natural-fibers snob (for the most part—see my recent love affair with the 25% acrylic Calmer). For sock yarns I don’t mind a little unnatural mixed in, for stretch.

2. Do you spin? Crochet?

3. Do you have any allergies? (smoke, pets, fibers, perfume, etc.)
Smoke makes me sneezy and cranky, heavy perfumes make me headachy.

4. How long have you been knitting?
Since 2002

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yep—one at Amazon and one at (both lists are general wishes, not secret-pal oriented necessarily).

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)

I prefer more subtle scents for bath/body type product—the Warm Vanilla Sugar line at Bath & Bodyworks is really the only scented stuff I use, and not that often at that.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth?

Does this question even need to be asked?

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do?

I am trying to kick my sewing into gear—but beyond that, I try not to develop more hobbies because I barely have enough time for this one!

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

Yes, my computer can play mp3s. I don’t know how to reliably describe my musical tastes generically—pop, but not top-40 radio pop. Post-White Stripes rock & roll-y pop, brit pop, alt country pop. Austin City Limits Festival pop. That sort of thing. Lately, The Shins, Franz Ferdinand, Beck, Belle& Sebastian, the Decemberists, The Postal Service. (Apparently if it’s on one of the O.C. compilations, I’ll like it. I’m such a moody teenage boy.)

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?

I really can’t stand most yellows, and I don’t tend to have a lot of use for bright red or blue. Overall I tend to prefer more muted colors—think Rowan or Debbie Bliss palettes—with the occasional pop of vibrant pink, apple green, or orange.

Generally, I tend not to like variegated yarns all that much, except for in small things like socks, and even then, I prefer the colors to be pretty close to each other. The Dissertation Socks are a good example.

11. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

My family is me and one bratty but adorable dog.

12. What are your life dreams? (really stretching it here, I know)

To finish a goddamn sweater for MYSELF!!! And wear it on a nature cruise to Alaska.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?

Koigu, Calmer and Debbie Bliss’s Alpaca Silk have been recent favorites. To no one’s surprise, really.

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

Mohair. HATE YOU MOHAIR. And it’s not a fiber so much as a weight, but laceweight and I don’t have a lot of use for each other. Also novelty yarns and I don’t really get along so well.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s?

Socks! And knitted toys.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

Hmm. Socks and Shedir have been my favorite knits of late.

17. What are you knitting right now?

The Regency Defense Shrug and Via Diagonale.

18. What do you think about ponchos?

So on the fence. Let’s just say that I didn’t take Manolo’s pledge, but I didn’t knit myself one either. But now it’s moot because it is summer, and shrugs, shrugs, shrugs are the new ponchos. And for the record I on the shrug bandwagon.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?

Circs. But it depends on the project a little.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Depends on the project. Most of my needles are bamboo, but sometimes you want the speed of aluminum. However I hate metal dpns with a deathly hatred.

22. How did you learn to knit?

My mom and my aunt taught me.

23. How old is your oldest UFO?

3 years and counting! Hate you To Dye For!

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird?

I’m not really into animated characters, although I do have a soft spot for classic pooh and Hobbes. Favorite animal? You want me to pick one? When there are koalas and dik-diks and manatees and aardvarks and chipmunks and armadillos and the Asiatic Raccoon Dog in the world? Generally speaking if it is a mammal I am fond of it. Except for naked mole rats, which give me the willies.

25. What is your favorite holiday?

Christmas, hands-down.

26. Is there anything that you collect?

No. And yet my house is so full of crap. Whyyyyy?

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

Interweave Knits.

28. Any books out there you are dying to get your hands on?

They’re on the wishlists.

Monday, May 23, 2005


Here's a little snap of the thermometer in my car as Bailey and I returned from the park yesterday:

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Why? Whyyeeeeeeeee? It is only MAY, people. It is not even SUMMER yet.

It is enough to make a girl not want to knit. But you know what's air conditioned? Yarn stores. Of which I went to two this weekend. I had to! Really! I needed more of the Reynolds Saucy for Via Diagonale, which they only have at the one store, and then I also needed Calmer, for my shrug, which they only have at the other store, so I was forced to visit both. I might maybe have picked up some other stuff too, like maybe some Lorna's Shepherd Sock and yet more Cascade, as a dissertation defense finishing present for myself:

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Speaking of which, thank you all for your kinds words on the dissertation front. Y'all know, right, that Blogger is a pain in the ass and won't show email addresses for commenters who don't have Blogger accounts, and sometimes, even if you do have a Blogger account, it won't show your address? So if you leave a comment here and I don't respond, it's not that I hate you or am ignoring you--it's that Blogger hates you.

Anyhoo, after several false starts this weekend having to do with sizing issues (One size? Does not fit all.), I've made about 6 inches of progress on the Calmer shrug. Voila:

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I think it is going to be snuggly and pleasing, if totally unneccessary in 103-degree weather.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Stick a fork in that dissertation.

Because it is DONE. All 65,008 words of it:

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The dissertation socks make a return appearance to say "nyah-nyah, we're prettier than a dissertation."

And now for some serious knitting time!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

I am going to die from the cute.

Really. I know I am a little obsessed with the knitted toys and all, what with the Pasha and the knitted toy book and the lion and tiger patterns I just downloaded from the Victoria & Albert's knitting page (Love you V&A! Favorite museum ever, except for the Museum of Natural History in New York!), but you really must go see these knitted dinosaurs RIGHT AWAY if you haven't already. I might make a couple of these and tuck them into Via Diagonale for my advisor's two kids when I give it to her, just because I want to make them soooo much.

Soon! Soon I will knit dinosaurs and shrugs and purses and stuff!

In the meantime, Bailey is doing an excellent job of helping make final revisions on my dissertation:
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Tuesday, May 17, 2005


Just a quickie, because I am seriously under the gun for my dissertation--it has to be circulated to my committee on Friday, so I am not allowed to so much as touch a pair of knitting needles until then.

I can, however, fantasize about what I am going to knit next. See, the next step is my dissertation defense, where I get to sit in a conference room and be grilled by five people about the merits of my work--which I am not feeling so meritorious about right now--and I think I will be able to stand up to that much better if I am wearing something comforting that I knitted myself. Because I know I am ok at knitting, and it will be nice to have a reminder in there with me that I am ok at something.

So I am thinking shrug, a) because it's hot here, yet there is fierce air-conditioning and b) because it's smallish and I can get it done in the next two weeks, knock wood. And then Anna was saying, what should I knit next? And I said a shrug, and she said ooh maybe, and now I'm thinking it would be fun to have a shrug-along! Anyone interested? I don't know how to make fancy buttons or anything, but I can try to figure it out next week.

Edited: Turns out there already is a shrug-along. Why didn't anyone tell me? (I'm looking at you, Google.) If you're interested it's here.

Here's what I'm planning on:

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It's from the Staff Projects page in the summer 2005 IK--I like it because it has a little cable detail, and is Regency-inspired which is good because my work is in the Regency period for the most part. Isn't that so dorky, that I am going to knit something because it's inspired by the Regency period? And yet I love it. It calls for Southwest Trading Co. Oasis, a soy silk, but I just might be crazy and see what happens if I try it in my new best friend Calmer.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Shedir? I don't even know her!

Oh, I am soooo funny.

So here, after all the drama, is the lovely Shedir:

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And a view from the top:

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How cool is that? (Meanwhile, it is much, much harder than you would think to take a picture of the top of your head. Go on, try it.)

Pattern: Shedir, by Jenna Wilson, from the Knitty Fall Surprise 2004.
Modifications: Completed only 4 main cable repeats rather than 5.
Yarn: Rowan Calmer, Peacock, less than one ball (about 15 yards left over)
Opinion? Looooove it. I will make this hat again for sure. The cabling got much easier as I went along--I found the rhythm somewhere in the 3rd repeat and it was all downhill from there (except for the part where I had to frog half the hat and redo it.) I was going to return the 2nd ball of Calmer, but instead I am going to use it in conjunction with the remnants of the first ball to make a version for myself with longer ribbing, so I can turn it up, and then I am going to make another one in the leftover Lush from Bella. I'll probably make some for Christmas gifts too. My only complaint is that I couldn't avoid making little holes on the increases between the ribbing and the cables, which you can see quite clearly right in the middle of my forehead here:

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(You can also see quite clearly how many late nights of dissertating and knitting I have had lately. Hello, undereye bags!)

To sum up: Shedir? Me likey.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Schnitzel with Noodles

Sydney (who has fancy new digs) tagged me for the Favorite Things meme--so here it is:

A List of My 10 Favorite Things In No Particular Order:

  1. Image hosted by Duh. Despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that she knocked her Uncle Marc ass-over-teakettle at the park this morning)
  2. Image hosted by Photobucket.comMy fam: me, my sister, my brother-in-law, and parents. Marc took that picture so he's kind of included.
  3. Knitting (and blogging about it)
  4. Eagles Mere, PA
  5. Real strawberry shortcake, with biscuits, not stupid angel food cake.
  6. Austin, TX
  7. The perfect nap
  8. Football season
  9. Good pens and paper
  10. Christmas
List 5 Things That You May or May Not Have Done Before That You’d Like to Learn or Try Again:

I would like to:
  1. Speak fluent French (meanwhile all my Austin friends are like, "Oh, no, not that again" because I did have a phase when I was taking my French requirement during which I would practice my Francais, out loud, ALL THE TIME. Sorry friends.)
  2. Compete in dressage. Took riding lessons and showed all through high school but stopped in college. Love it though.
  3. Sew/Quilt. My sister gave me a sewing machine last Christmas and it has been languishing. I will be practicing with it over the summer.
  4. Compete in agility with Bailey. (Why no, I'm not competitive at all, why do you ask?)
  5. Develop a reliable poker face.
I'm tagging Laurie for this little me!me!, but I would also like to try an experiment: I hereby tag any reader who hasn't yet commented here. I know you're out there! Take the meme! Say hello! (And if you do comment here, and want to take it anyway, by all means please do.)

Also, right now one of my current favorite things can be found at Naive Knitting (where there are always new favorite things waiting to be found): The Studio Confidante Project. Crafty people have cool stuff, man. Which one is mine, do you think?

Saturday, May 14, 2005

And I even have hair!

Shedir Drama Update: 18 rows to go and about 3 yards of yarn left. Things are not looking good for Homestar Knitter.

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Sigh. But, and I can't decide if this makes matters better or worse,

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my gauge might be juuuuust a titch off.

So, my choices are to bust into the second ball of Calmer for about 10 rows' worth of knitting, producing a ginormous hat that would probably fit King Kong (and people, my head is not abnormally small or anything--I just measured and it's 22" around), or rip back and do one less pretzel repeat and produce a more normal sized hat out of just one ball of Calmer, at the expense of much pain-in-the-ass work. Sigh. Neither choice is desirable, but I think I'm going to have to go with Door Number Two.

And speaking of Number Two, topping all this off is that when I was cleaning up after Bailey this morning I TOUCHED POOP. So I am off to scrub my hand with Clorox and a wire brush for the 86th time today.

The Big Question

Who knew that there would be so much excitement and drama with Shedir? The pattern claims that it is an exactly-one-ball project ("with nothing left over for swatching" which of course I took as an invitation to skip swatching entirely, rather than responsibly swatching, then frogging the swatch). I did, however, buy an extra ball of Calmer as insurance, which I'm now thinking was a good decision, since I can't imagine that I am going to finish this with one ball. Here's the status now:

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I've finished the pretzel parts, and am about to start the decrease rounds. I have 10 grams left of a 50 gram ball. Will It Be Enough? Stay tuned...

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Post-Its Are a Girl's Best Friend

Because really, who can read this?

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This, though?

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Totally manageable.

But what is it, you cry, in a frenzy to know more.

Well, the very nice lady who made me that beautiful graduation quilt has been diagnosed with breast cancer, so I thought that as a thank you I would make her a chemo cap--but not just any old chemo cap. Because that would be easy, and not quilt-worthy. No, I'm going straight for the extraspicy on this one, and making Shedir, from the Knitty Breast Cancer Mini-Issue (
here's the pdf, if you want to download it). Here's my progress so far, as modeled by the dashing George Bear, who, it must be said, looks a little like a Shriner in it:

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This is definitely the hardest thing I've ever knit. Although the directions are clear and well-written, I find myself having to chant them under my breath as I go, which I don't usually have to, and 2 repeats into the cable, I still need to read the directions each time. It might just be that I'm better at reading patterns than charts; I'm definitely a verbal rather than a visual learner. Or it might be that I am just slow. The latter is probable. That's good to know though, because my secret and selfish motivation for making this cap is that someday I want to make Rogue, and I think this is probably a good way of familiarizing myself with Jenna's lovely and complex cable work.

Here's a closeup of what in my head are the pretzel-y bits of the cable; I'm sure there's an official cable name for them, but I think pretzel will do:

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I'm using Rowan's Calmer in Peacock, by the way, and I am here to tell you that Calmer is all it's cracked up to be (Newsflash! Knitblogger loves calmer! Alert the mainstream media!). It is soft and stretchy and yummy, and I am all the sadder now that I am too poor at the moment to make NBaT. Perhaps when I am employed. (I blame my dissertation for my poverty, by the way--I just spent $50 at wretched Office Depot on binders and tabs and printer paper to make copies of my diss for all my committee members, and I just found out that I have to pay wretched UT $108 in "filing fees" to get my dissertation formally accepted. Bastards. Don't they know how much Calmer $158 would buy?)

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Dissertation Sock Details

I've gotten several requests for more info on the Dissertation Socks, so here you go:

: Koigu KPPPM in colorway p201

: 7" Clover DPNs, Size 1

: Toe-up, which I am preferring these days for two reasons: One, you get to try the foot on right away and make sure that it fits, and Two, if you have a specific amount of yarn for the project, say one skein per sock, you don't have to worry about running out before you hit the toe. You make the foot and then keep knitting until there's no more yarn.

: These are sort of Frankensocks, the child of many patterns. I used the formula in Priscilla Gibson Roberts's Simple Socks Plain and Fancy to figure out how many stitches I needed to cast on (I personally think the instuctions and illustrations in that book are confusing, but it's worth the price for that formula alone)--I'm specifically not including numbers here, because the book allows you to get such a nice custom fit that what worked for me won't likely work for you. Then I used Wendy's toe-up sock pattern for the toe, worked five rounds in stockinette, and then started the stitch pattern from these socks on the instep (anally making sure, of course, that it was centered). I used Wendy's pattern again for the heel, and continued working only on the instep stitches for one pattern repeat, so I'd have a smoother surface where the socks would be rubbing against the back of my shoe, and then introduced the stitch pattern all the way around (I had to add a few stitches to make the math work). I ended with 10 rounds of 2x2 ribbing.

So there you go! These socks have made me totally addicted to sock-knitting, by the way. Yay socks!


The most exciting part about being away was that when I got home, I had all of this waiting for me!

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Sooooo many packages. I heart the mails, I must say. They are even better than the internets. Here's what I got.

First of all, from my stitch marker pal Brenna, these very cute ocean-themed markers:

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I especially heart the turtle, which is a little blurry here. Sorry, turtle. And thanks, Brenna!

Next, from Gaile, this booty:

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There's some cute knitting-themed notecards, some more lovely stitch markers (single beads, which I love because I can use them to mark the beginning of a round and not get them confused with my other ones), and some gorgeous softy soft sock yarn, which is awesome because I scored some back issues of IK from my mom when I was home, so I can finally make the Retro Ribs I've been coveting very covetously. But best of all there is the main object of the swap, the Knit a Square Make a Toy book, featuring a charming knitted polar bear, who is knitting the very scarf that is wrapped around his neck. It's so meta. Fear not--you will be seeing pictures of many things from this book on this blog in the future. (There's a pony! And two different dogs! And a kangaroo!) I think this swap turned out very well--I sent Gaile a bunch of Austin foodie things, and I hope she likes it as much as I like my package!

And then finally, this amazing gift, with an put-out looking Bailey for scale:

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This was made for me by a family friend as a graduation gift, and I am just in awe of it. I'm not a quilter, but I'm sure that this took weeks and weeks, if not months and months, to make. So incredibly thoughtful and I can't wait to snuggle under it on a chilly Michigan night. Thanks, Mrs. Sprunger!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Sweet Home Massachusetts

Hi y'all! No blogging this weekend, since I was out of town (not much emailing either, so if I owe you an email or a blog comment, hang on, it's coming!). My parents asked my sister and me to come home for the weekend and do that morbid thing where we start laying claim to the stuff we want after they're dead. Since they're retiring and moving out of their house, this was probably the last time that I'll be in my hometown, the unlovely Worcester, MA. Which, on the one hand, there's absolutely nothing calling me back there. On the other hand, it is weird to know that it's completely unlikely that I'll ever go back to the place where I grew up. Huh.

Anyhoo. My time away was used wisely, as it turns out that socks are the ideal plane knitting:

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The dissertation socks are done (although sadly the same is not yet true of the wretched dissertation revisions. Soon! Soon!). Here's a closeup that shows the stitch pattern and also demonstrates that the socks go oh-so-nicely with jeans:

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And finally, by popular demand, Bailey In Ocks*

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Do you see how her face so clearly says, "You brought me home from that wretched kennel only to put me in ocks? Thanks a lot."? That is totally what it says.

*(Because only weirdos put their dogs in socks).

Thursday, May 05, 2005

And now for the rant...

OK, just to bring us all back up to speed, the Knitting Lessons Learned from the mohair sweater were
  1. Mohair sucks
  2. Do math, and distribute proportionally
  3. Think of the sweater as a whole, not just parts.

Now, remember Frieda? And remember how I showed you my careful math, and told you that I figured out how many stitches to add to the ribbing, and how many before the waist shaping, and how many after, and so forth? Good.

The other night I sat down with Frieda, as a break from Via (almost done, but still making my hands hurt). I was knitting happily away, watching Harry Potter on the telly, when I let my eyes wander over the sweater pattern, thinking blithely of how fun it would be when I was done with the boring stockinette back and could move on to the pleasurably challenging cabled front. And then it hit me.

Cables. Complex cables.

Which need specific numbers of rows to make them come out right.

Specific numbers of rows that
can't be added proportionally throughout the sweater, but must be done all at once as an 11-row repeat.

It turns out, my friends, that sometimes Lesson #3 cancels Lesson #2 right out. To which I can only say, DAMMIT!

Honestly, this could have been much more of a disaster. I only had to rip about half the back (I would show you the sad rippage, but Photobucket is not cooperating), and the ribbing is still good to go. And I was adding 12 stitches anyway, so it works out. But now my question is, do I want a sweater that's going to be a full two inches longer below the waist shaping, and not at all above it (or, I guess, vice versa)? Will that be proportioned bizzarely? And also, am I being stupid? Is there a way to add the rows proportionally but still maintain the cable pattern? These are mysteries I will have to ponder.

But for the time being, I am positing a new Knitting Lesson, which shall replace Mohair Sucks as #1.

Knitting Lesson #1 is now THINK IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH.


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

We interrupt your scheduled knitting rant...

to bring you a book meme. I was tagged by the fabulous and fashionable Anna for my very first meme! Thanks, Anna! And I'm going to start Cold Comfort Farm when I am done with my diss...

1)Total number of books in your house:
Hmm. Based on averaging a couple of shelves' worth and multiplying by the total number of shelves, I've got maybe 600 in the house. That's not including all the books I still have at my parents' though, or the ones in my study cube at school. Maybe 750 total?
2)The last book you bought was:
Non-Fiction--Scarf Style. So pretty. Soon I will knit many scarves from it.
Fiction--Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. LOVED IT. Susanna Clarke totally nails the 19th-century novel without being pretentious or twee about it. I actually bought this as an audiobook and listened to it when I drove home for Christmas--a 26-hour drive (I won't fly because I refuse to pack Bailey into the cargo hold of a plane, where she would probably die from heat or cold or [most likely of all] fright). Luckily it is an immensely long book and comes out to, I think, 38 hours or so of audio, so I not only got a lot of drive time out of it, but also a lot of knitting time. I am a big fan of knitting to audiobooks, since I haven't yet quite mastered simultaneous reading and knitting.

3)What was the last book you read before reading this?
Never ask a dissertating grad student this question. Officially, the last book I read was No More Separate Spheres!: A Next Wave American Studies Reader. But you don't want to know about that. What you want to know about is Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel. Right? Or maybe Bardic Nationalism: The Romantic Novel and the British Empire?

Dissertating really cuts into the whole reading-for-pleasure thing.

4)Write down 5 (or 6) books you often read or that mean a lot to you.
1) The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. Total comfort food--I often just read a chapter here and there before I fall asleep, and I always read the Christmas chapter at Christmas, especially if I am feeling grinch-y. I love the drawings as much as the words, I think.

2) The House of Mirth, by Edith Wharton. Not comfort food at all--totally unsettling, in fact, but I love Wharton's ability to be ruthlessly unsentimental about and completely unsparing of both her heroine and her society. 19th century New York was a bitch, man.

3) Emma, by Jane Austen. (Austen? You're shocked, I'm sure.) This one gets better every time I read it, and while I think Austen is more forgiving of Emma than Wharton is of Lily Bart, she's still pretty sharp. But it all comes right in the end, doesn't it? Everyone to their appointed places in society... (I also adore this book's contemporary male avatars, About a Boy and High Fidelity, both by Nick Hornby)

4). The His Dark Materials trilogy, by Phillip Pullman. Gorgeous and dark--like Harry Potter plus the Chronicles of Narnia divided by atheism and quantum physics. Technically these are children's books, but I don't know how well I would have handled them as a child. Love them now though. Also, I hope trilogies/series aren't cheating, because

5) Dorothy Dunnett's The House of Niccolo series. Basically I am a big huge nerd and loooove historical fiction, and this is historical fiction at its best, I think--meticulously researched, engagingly told, and completely addictive. There are 8 long books in this series. I've read through it twice (the first time, they were the only non-school-related books I read for almost a whole year), and am so looking forward to reading it again. Although why I don't just throw my hands up and go to Renaissance Faires instead I'm sure I don't know.

And 6) The Other End of the Leash, by Patricia McConnell. If you have a dog, you really, really need to own this book. I don't think I would have gotten through my first couple of Bailey-months without it. It's not a training book, per se, although it does have training tips; it's really more about how we relate to and communicate with dogs physically. It all seems so obvious once you read it (Hey! dogs don't have hands, or talk! So they don't really understand you when you shout and wave your hands at them!), but it was revelatory for me. Plus, here is the picture on the front.

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Now I am totally going to cheat and just mention the books I have read pretty recently (in the past year, say) that I think you should read:
The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffeneger (sad and beautiful); The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, by Mark Haddon (uncanny in its evocation of autism); Rats, by Robert Sullivan (gross but fascinating); The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (brutal, spare, enlightening); Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller (how glad am I that my childhood did not involve automatic weapons?); Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides (the epic and the domestic in one body).

5)Who are you going to pass this onto and why?
I will pass to Cordelia and Vicki, who are kind enough to comment here regularly, and Shelby, who has been reading since I started blogging. (If they want it, that is--no pressure.) And Shelby, if you want to play, I'm especially interested to know what books you absolutely cannot wait to read to Appleseed!

Ooh, update, because I am an idiot and did not notice that Anna tagged Vicki too. Instead, I am tagging Sydney, because I want to know what they are making the kids read in college these days. And because she liked His Dark Materials.

Oh, and also...

I have been told that SOME PEOPLE couldn't get to my blog for a while--that my URL was just sending them to the Blogger homepage. Did any one else have this problem? Or, if you use Blogger, has this happened to your blog, and if so, what did you do about it?

I hate when free things don't work because then you feel like you can't really complain about them. But hey! Blogger! Shape up! I know you can hear me. Don't even try to lie.

Knitting Lessons

Dear readers, have I ever told you about My First UFO (she asked for rhetorical flair, knowing full well that she hadn't)?

My First UFO has been haunting me since 2002. It was my first attempt at a sweater, the To Dye For pattern from SnB. I loved the shape, and I thought at the time that mohair was soft and fluffy. Little did I know.

Here's To Dye For today:

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Would you like to know why it isn't finished? Well, for one thing, it turns out that I HATE mohair. HATE YOU MOHAIR. Mohair is itchy as hell and it sheds like a mofo--working on this sweater gave me a rash on my (really quite sensitive) inner forearms and made me look like I'd been holding an extremely sheddy black cat in my lap for hours (bodes well for the wearing, no?). So there's that. But the real problem was with the structure of the sweater.

I was so excited when I started knitting this sweater, because, thought I, I can make it extra long! So it will fit my freakishly tall self! Yay! So I charged right ahead, and, rather than doing Knitting Math, just started knitting extra rows here and there, not really keeping track of what I was doing, and, of course, ended up with a front and a back that aren't really the same shape, and the waist shaping is, like, down at my hips, and the armpits are, shall we say, a bit short. But of course I didn't really notice any of that until I sewed together the front and back, because back then I didn't know about pinning stuff together to see how it looked before you sewed it and, well, you pick mattress stitch out of black mohair. Go ahead--I dare you.

But here's the other thing--I blithely made the medium size sweater, but decided that I should make the XL size arms, so that they wouldn't be too small around. You know what happened, right?

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Yeah. The sleeve cap is, like, three inches wider than the armscye. Why? Because I DID NOT STOP AND THINK IT THROUGH. GAH.

I'm done shouting now.

So, what lessons have I taken away from this particular UFO?
  1. Mohair sucks. (Which--ok. To be fair to mohair, maybe only this paticular mohair--the Victorian Brushed Mohair from Halcyon Yarns--sucks. Maybe other mohairs don't suck. But I doubt it.)
  2. Do Knitting Math before you knit, and make row additions proportional throughout the sweater.
  3. Remember that even though you knit the sweater in 4 parts, it's really just one garment, and the parts all have to fit together eventually.
So why, dear readers, am I telling you all this now? Tune in tomorrow--I really don't feel like I am able to talk about it right now without bashing my head repeatedly.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Alphabet stamps=crafty

I sent off my stitch markers to my stitch marker pal today, and I was quite pleased with myself for my presentation*:

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Mostly because it involved going to a store I absolutely adore, called The Paper Place, which sells expensive stationery and pens and wedding invitiations and such but also crafty items like rubber stamps. Which I bought. So now I can stamp words on everything I do!

I am sort of irrationally excited about that. The more so because the font is like little rodeo letters.

Anyhoo, I put a couple extra treats in with the stitch markers as well, so I hope she likes them. I do like making little gifts for people. I am hoping that SP5 gets rolling again, because, let's be honest, I want people to send me stuff, but also because I put together a good theme gift, if I do say so.

*Presentation, which, if I'm being honest, was totally plagiarized from Gaile, with whom I am currently involved in a swap for this lovely item.

Monday, May 02, 2005

At least it was a boring one.

Lauren asked which book Bailey picked.

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(Don't judge her.)

Sunday, May 01, 2005

She's Really Quite Busy

On Bailey's to-do list

1. Awaken Ashley for morning snuggle

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2. Spend quality time at dog park

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3. Enjoy light lunch--perhaps a salad?

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4. Choose new book for book club

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5. Con everyone into rubbing my belly

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6. Develop opposable thumbs

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