Monday, December 17, 2018

Pilot Update

Apparently this is the busiest week of the year at the vet's with no appointments available, so after a phone consultation with the office, describing the lump (very small and squooshy), it's location (in a low-risk place on his leg) and Pilot's engagement with the lump (none) we are going to go over to the coast and have the lump looked at as soon as we get back, barring any significant changes that we'll on the lookout for.  We have a monitoring plan, and while this is not the outcome we wanted, we have reassurance from the vet's that 'this is what I would do if it was my dog' and 'after this week we'll have no trouble seeing you immediately' we're ok with it. Thanks for your kind thoughts.

Lookie lookie!

It's the grey sweater! I know you've been wondering where it is!

The body is done, and I'm working on the sleeves. Here is the front:

 And here is the back:

It's dark this morning still so it's hard to see the cable, but it goes all across the back. And now I'm adding the rest of sleeves so the cable will go all the way down the back of the sleeve with plain stockinette on the front.

In other news:
-we're getting ready to leave for two weeks at the coast. Do you think three large WIPs, one small WIP, and 10 additional balls of yarn is too much to take? Plus counted cross stitch?

-hoping to get a vet appointment today or tomorrow--Tim found a lump on Pilot's inner leg and while most of those are non-worrisome, we worry.

-I'm reading a really good book--"Radiant Shimmering Light" by Sarah Selecky.  It's a satire on self-help and the cult of personality. Plus dog auras.

-we're supposed to get 5 inches of rain here this week. Or up to five inches.  Yee!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Dewing the Dewberry with fingering yarn

Several of you all have asked about my revisions for the Dewberry cowl as I am using fingering yarn for it (String Theory Self-striping yarn).
I really like how it looks in this yarn, sort of like one of those crocheted mandalas. That is, if I had straightened it out carefully as opposed to plop it dwn on the table as a big blob,

So anyway, I am using a Size 5 needle and followed all the directions for the setup and for section 1 and 2 as written.

Section 3 begins with an increase row, and I did that row (row 1) and then added two rows.   The first row is on the wrong side and I did k2, [p4 m1] all the way across and ended with k2 (it might not have come out even, that's ok). Then I added a second row that was k2, [k4 m1] all the way across and ended with k2. Then I did the rest of the section as written--there is another increase on Round 9, and I just did the k6m1 11 times instead of 8 times and that seemed to work out fine. There's another increase in the final section that I'll just figure out when I get there.

This results in a cowl that will lay down pretty close to your neck (I think--hasn't been blocked yet) and that might be too 'chokey' for some people. You could add two additional rows at the start of section 3 to give yourself a bit more 'space'.

I hope that helps!

In other news:

-secret project is going really, really well. I think it might be done for Christmas!
-I watched the Starz version of "Howards End" while Tim was gone. The movie version (with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson and Helena Bonham-Carter) is one of my favorite movies of all time and the book is also a really good book (although I refer to it in my head as "Howards' Bleedin' End" in my Julie- Walters-in-Educating-Rita-voice). This version was really good, and it had Matthew MacFayden whom I love, and Tracey Ullman as Aunt Juley, and it was just really good).

Friday, December 14, 2018

Crafting Catch Up

I've spent a lot of time crafting this week, while Tim's been gone. Crafting and working and walking dogs--very little else, which is fine, although I kind of want to curl up and read but few of my knitting projects are conducive to knitting and reading.

I did more on the MKAL:

I think I am a little more than halfway through Clue 1. Clue 2 came out today. My first thought was "oh I'm going to be at the coast when Clue 3 and 4 come out and won't have a printer" and the second thought was "I can read the pattern on my Kindle" and the third thought was "who are you kidding, I won't be done with Clue 2 til after New Year's".

The grey sweater is coming along--I'm working on the ribbing at the bottom and then I go back to the shoulders and the cable. So that's going pretty well.

Lots of projects will go out to the Coast for Christmas, because a girl must have choices.

Spoiler ahead: if you are Tim, please stop reading.

Yesterday I made more progress on Tim's present---it probably won't be done for Christmas but most of what is left is 'background' and not important stuff. Here is  a little teaser:

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Meet my grandma

During an appointment earlier this week, I started talking about my grandmother.  When I was growing up, I lived most of the time with my grandparents. My grandfather was awful, and my grandmother was a somewhat quiet and weak woman who was needed silence and quiet. Not your holly jolly pair, those two. But that's not what I want to share today. I want to share this:

I grew up in St. Louis, and this is a monument in Forest Park. It is on one side of a lagoon that you can paddle boat on in the summer.  It is a tribute to "Vater Jahn” was known as the “father” of gymnastics  in the 19th century. When she was growing up, my grandmother often went to what was known as the 'Turner Club" in St. Louis, where she and her brother and sister did gymnastics. She eventually became a gym teacher. And she posted for the statue on the right.
At some time in the 1950s, before I was born, she was subjected to electro shock therapy and then became the quiet and meek woman that I knew. I'm not sure exactly what happened, and I know that type of treatment was somewhat standard at that time.

I'm replacing the somewhat sad memories of my grandmother with better ones, and this is the one I am holding tight on to. She was an active, vibrant young woman who is immortalized in my home town. That's really something.

Here is to you, Lucille Belzer Ondr, 1895-1977.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

So much color

I'm loving the Dewberry cowl, and can see why people make lots of them. I'm knitting this in fingering yarn so I had to add some stitches on to it so it will go over my head but that isn't a big deal.

I think it will be like having a carnival around my neck. It is fun!

Still plugging away on Tim's gift. The 'major' part is done and now there are two 'minor' parts left to do, and I figure that if I only get one of the 'minor' parts done I will still have a decent gift.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Morning Walk

The dogs and I enjoy our morning walk--it is often so quiet and calm out, and I have time to think and plan. I never listen to the radio and rarely talk on the phone (plus, two dogs) and it is just special. This morning it was dark when we started by lightened up gradually (we started a bit after 7). Today our walk was to the 'new neighborhood' which is up the hill from my neighborhood--it takes about five or ten minutes to walk there. 

Well, unlike my neighborhood (which I guess would be the 'old neighborhood), the 'new neighborhood' people keep their outside lights on all night. So enjoy the holiday lights in the new neighborhood!

First is Strider and Luna's house (dogs, of course. I know people by their dogs).

Then we walked by Ida's house (Ida is a new pup and lives in a house that looks like a gingerbread house).

Then a bunch of bright houses in a row_

I think those are reindeer? And one more.

It is so lovely to walk through a neighborhood of lights.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Sunday Craft Day

Yesterday was cold and rainy, and so after walking the dogs in the morning I decided to just stay in. I worked on three different projects--the grey sweater, the secret project, and the Mystery KAL.

The MKAL is called 'midwinter moon' and the idea is that you start in the dark (like it is out now) and then move to the light. So here are the first 40 or so rows:

There are two colors here--the darkest (the biggest parts) and the medium (the lighter lines). The first 'clue' is this pattern repeated over and over, so I may be at the point where I can knit and read and do this. I like it so far.

I'm reading (along with "Once Upon  a River") a book called "The Dakota Winters" which is about a family named Winter who live in the Dakota apartment building in New York (that surprised you, didn't it? Honestly, I would generally quickly pass by a book called "The Dakota Winters" because I think it would be about--well---winter in North Dakota. But it isn't, it is interesting, and set in the early 1980s which was of course the heyday of my youth.  There is a sense of dread that is building and of course John Lennon was killed in front of the Dakota and he is a character in the book (and it isn't weird at all, I promise).

I needed a day like yesterday, and was joined by my loyal companion Pilot.

Today the rain has turned into thick, thick fog.  It was dark when we walked this morning and it is always a bit strange to be out as the day is starting when there is a heavy fog:

It was foggier than that looks.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Colors for your Sunday

Yesterday was a bit of a lost day--we got up very early so I could take Tim to the airport and then I was kind of out of it all day (except I did get a good chunk of the surprise gift done).  I do have some things to show you thought:

First, the blossom cowl (very early days):

I'm using a self striping yarn from String Theory. This is so cheerful! I was working on it at the faculty meeting on Friday and someone asked me "how does the yarn know exactly when to change color?" I think I gave her a head tilt and said 'well I guess it is magic.'

I signed up for a Mystery Knit Along even though that way madness lies. It is the Midwinter Moon MKAL sponsored by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. They had a good deal on kits for this one, so I wound it up yesterday.

The two on the right are different, I promise. One  has blue in it, the other doesn't.

The clues come out every week, and the first clue has 148 rows and there is no way I'll get that done in a week. And the last line of the pattern makes me smile: "Leave all sts on the needles with Colors A and B attached, and set aside to wait For Clue #2!".  WAIT FOR CLUE 2! HOW I LAUGH!

Finally, I visited the farm yesterday and had a good catch up with Ann. She had showed me some yarn from Kokopelli (Calypso's dad) that she dyed a few weeks back and I really liked it but had no clue what to make. Well the new Knitty has a project called Kilim and I think that one will work well. Here are the colors I've chosen:

I think these could be very cool. The one on the far right is a purple yarn.

 I think that's it from here!

Friday, December 07, 2018

Questions from Kathy

I have a busy meeting day today so I wasn't going to post but Kathy asked some questions so here you go, a post!

*How difficult is it for you to throw out a broken ornament or decoration?
IT'S HAAAAAARD. Why is that so I wonder?
*Is anyone you know counting the days to the Solstice as if the day is going to magically BE the cure for SAD?
Definitely counting the days. 
*Do you own an apron?
Yes and I even use it occasionally
*What’s your favorite way to use up yarn leftovers?
I should say "I wind them up into mini skeins and then create a one-of-a-kind keepsake baby blanket for every baby that every friend has ever had." But the real answer is "wait til they get hopelessly tangled with one another and then chuck them in the bin."
*Mini skeins…yes or no?
See above.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Silver Bells

Not a lot to show on the knitting front, although I did finish the 'body' of the grey sweater and last night did one last row of horizontal stitch (it takes a while. Each stitch gets knits twice and there is much to-and-fro of the stitches so it took about an hour to do that row). I also had insomnia the night before so I was not in a great place to do anything too intense yesterday. I also did my required time on the surprise present and I THINK I CAN GET IT DONE! Although I think Miss Mindy's thought that a half an hour a night would be sufficient was a little off.

So in lieu of knitting, here are our silver bells.

We have one of these bells for every year we've been married--my mom gave us the first twenty (one each year) and then she stopped so we guy them for ourselves. I should polish them more (I have actually polished them a few times so I'm not a total laggard). Each one has the year on it and a little design and they're all different (design wise, that is, obviously the years are all different).

We hang these from a high window ledge that also serves as Tim's cactus garden, and we like it so much we won't be taking these out to the coast til we move there permanently.

Let's see, what else. I finished grading and submitted grades. Yay! That kind of gives me the day off today and i have meetings all day tomorrow. I did just find out that a manuscript just got returned as a 'revise and resubmit' and it's from a good journal that I've never published in, so that is good, and we'll work some on that during the break. I have two other papers that I'm working on with co-authors but I'm trying not to start any new topics even though I really want to (ok maybe I will). I also have three things--no four things---out under review right now so those should start coming back soon. Ah academia.

I just started "Once Upon a River" by Diane Setterfield--she wrote 'The Thirteenth Tale' which has always been one of my favorite books. I have just started it but so far it is great!

We are having our last few 'winter' days---it has been quite frosty on my early morning walks with the dogs. The way it (it being weather) tends to work here on the West Coast is that we get a high pressure system and it gets cold, and then the high pressure system goes away and it gets a bit warmer and we get rain. Winter weather is rare but is getting more common (maybe a little snow once a year, but no one knows what to do with it here). So I'll be sad to say goodbye to cold mornings (although sometimes there is fog, and that is the worst) when the rain comes later.

There is your weather report for the day.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Sometimes you just have to pivot

So, you may recall I was working on a gift for Tim for Christmas (we give each other a hand made gift every year). Since he reads my blog, I've just sort of teased the gift, and it looked a bit like this:

Here is the thing. I was NOT feeling this project. I wasn't enjoying knitting it, I am far behind on where I should be with this one, and it was a chore, not a joy. (You note the past tense. You know what is coming, don't you?)

I'm pivoting. I was out running errands yesterday and found something I wanted to make for him that I was so much more excited about. And yes, we are just a few weeks from Christmas but Store Person told me 'half an hour a day every day and you'll have it finished' so we'll see. Tim is going off to a conference next week so I will have time to work on it beyond the half an hour a day so we'll see if it gets done.

This Christmas is all about the pivot. We are taking most of our decorations to the coast so we have just a small tree and a few things up in the Eugene house.

It's kind of weird to not have the house all Christmass-ed out, but it is OK.

And one tradition not to give up is the swag on the door.

Wish me luck with my pivot!

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Because you can't get enough--

--of my grey sweater.

Even though it seems like I can only knit three or four rows in an evening, it is progressing. Here is the measurement of the armhole:

which suggests that I am about an inch away from starting the 3" of ribbing for the bottom.

Or else I'm ready for the ribbing--do you stretch out your knits to add that extra inch that will allow you to move on to a more interesting part?

Now on to CONTROVERSY IN THE FIBER WORLD. Or I guess the clothing world.

First, Clara Parkes (who ran the late Knitter's Review website) got into a little slap down with Duluth Trading Company: read about it here.

And then, a Canadian sheep farm got upset about these tags on Lucky brand clothes:

And published this on their Facebook page:

Now, I have to admit I have a fake-fleece coat (purchased from LL Bean 7 or 8 years ago). I feel a bit guilty but I also feel a bit OK because I've only washed it once or twice (yes, that is once or twice too many). It is important to think twice about those things now, I think. 

Monday, December 03, 2018

Need some color!

I've been working on the grey sweater and it is nonstop stockinette in dark gray, so I'm craving a little color. And I misplaced a hat.

So Saturday and Sunday I whipped up a little braided headband out of dark blue (hey it's a color) yarn (some type of Elsebeth Lavold, which may have some rabbit in it):

I'm going to make a hat with this braid as the brim, as well. But I need to finish Tim's Christmas surprise present before I start too many other things.

Even though I wound  a bunch more yarn:
The blue and gold is 'Ravenclue' by STR. The other two are by string theory colorworks. I think the Ravenclue will be a cowl that can be used as a hood, the blue with the brights on the bottom will be the Dewberry cowl that Kathy loves so much. And the white and black and green (ok mostly green) coudl be a hat but it could also be a little cowl for spring.

And this happened this morning:

A crescent moon with Venus beneath it at 6:40 am this morning.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Friday Night Lights

Last night we traveled 20 miles south to the little town of Cottage Grove to visit an outdoor light display. It is sponsored by a golf resort and while the resort has always put up lights, this year they added a lot more and there were arguably 750,000 lights at the outdoor event.

We almost didn't go--it was pouring down rain at 4:30 and then it kind of let up at 4:45 when we planned to leave. However, driving south, it let up even more and we spent an hour walking through the lights without a drop of rain. And it started up again about five minutes after we started heading home.

It was very cool.

Lights everywhere.

If there was something that could have a light on it, there were lights on it. This was a 'lake' with swans.


This was the gingerbread house.The candy lights (in the foreground, just off center) were formed by lights put in a carry out salad container and then wrapped in colored cellophane. There was all kinds of ingenious lights here--they made flowers out of taking a white light and surrounding it with peach lights, that kind of thing.

Tim eats a giant cupcake.

Tim and aforementioned cupcake.

We got some food and sat in a little shelter on hay stacks. There was a fire burning in front of it and it was stoked continually while we were there. And we had a lovely view of Santa's house, and enjoyed watching little kids go in to see Santa.

We're standing in the tunnel of lights, which is a big draw.

And here's a bit of a panorama.

And one last one. It was fun.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Slow Going

My best laid crafting plans did not come to fruition. I started on a new counted cross stitch but it is challenging as I was used to perforated paper and now it is all tiny holes.

But it is started.

Two and half hours of work, right there.

It's busy at work--end of term stuff and I have one semi-problematic student who doesn't listen well and it is coming back to bite him when he didn't change something in his thesis and now it is down to the wire and he needs help with getting the thesis done and he exhausts me.

I also finished this:

Not exciting but it is a textbook. 450 pages! I have three co-authors but two were worthless. I have one more book project to finish by the end of the year (probably two days of revisions) and then I think no more textbook writing for me.

In terms of reading--I'm reading my friend Lauren's new book called "A Grip of Time". Lauren runs a writing group at the Oregon State Penitentiary and she works with men who are serving life terms. The book is great--it will change the way you think of other people. It comes out in April and I hope you all read it. You won't be sorry!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Nothing to see here

I posted so many photos on Sunday that I have nothing to show you!

The grey sweater is slowly growing, and you can now see the armhole:
And we are becoming quite competent at building fires.

It is very rainy here and maybe some crafting might occur this afternoon.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Packing it up

Today is Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, and that means we close down the house here and head back. We'll be back in a few weeks for a longer visit over Christmas and are looking forward to that. This weekend seemed to sort of fly by.

First, I've done our Christmas decorating for the house here (kidding) (sort of):

Yesterday we drove up to Garibaldi to a tiny little restaurant with wonderful seafood. There's a port at Garibaldi (would it surprise you to know that there aren't that many ports in our area? Garibaldi to the North is 30 miles away, Netarts is a bit closer, maybe 15 miles North, and then to the South you have to go to Newport which is about an hour away). We walked the dogs around the port--there were lots of boats there--and drove back along the ocean (we drove up inland).

This morning the sunrise was gorgeous.

I did finish the mitts. They're upside down here:

And a few rows were added to the grey sweater, but it doesn't look very different. I have about 2 or 3 inches added since the underarm join, and I have a lot more (8 or 9). This is upside down too. I'm having some photo issues this morning.

Hope your day isn't as upside down as mine!

Pilot Update