Saturday, September 30, 2006

In Which I Channel Alexis Carrington


moonlight mohair shrug
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Something about this shrug...maybe because it's a somewhat bulky knit, maybe because of the bling bling-ness..reminds me of something Alexis Carrington would wear (albeit to the grocery store or something like that, but you know what I mean). But still, I kind of like it. I made it a bit larger than the pattern (which only was 30" around) by adding an inch and a half to the body portion and several inches to the pick up ribbing.

As a reminder, I knit this for a couple of dinners I need to go to this fall that require something more upscale than black jeans and a sweater. I'll wear this with an Isaac Mizrahi skirt from target and something black on top. This is what passes for semi-formal in Eugene.

Now. On to Christmas gifts. Honest.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Reaching for the Stars...


campbell square
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
..or at least for what was, for me, the most difficult knitting I've done.

I've started this square a couple of times and just could not for the life of me get the hang of it. But for some reason, last Friday I said to myself "it is time to do this. Now." So I cast on for this and here is the result. It's not blocked yet, but on the whole, I think it looks pretty good.

I think all I have left is the border on one square left to do, and then I can start assembling it. That should be an adventure!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Station Break

Most of my knitting is in a 'not very interesting' stage, so I thought I'd take a break and reflect on the new TV season.

Every Fall, Tim and I sample a few of the new shows. What happens more often than not is that we start to watch a show and then it gets cancelled (hello Commander in Chief!). So we always watch the new shows with a bit of trepidation. Anyway...we've watched four new shows. One is a keeper, one is a maybe, and two are fuggedaboutits.

The Keeper: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, aka Chandler Bing and Josh Lymon put on a show (with a little help from Danny Kilcannon).

You have probably heard about this Aaron Sorkin show, and it's pretty good. I have a bit of trouble seeing Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford NOT as Chandler and Josh, although in the episode last night they mussed up Josh's hair a bit and put him in less-Joshy clothes. I wish his charachter's name wasn't Danny, because it reminds me of Danny Kilcanoon, which reminds me of Timothy Busfield, who is also in the show, although all his character does is sit in the control room and say directorish things. Anyway. It's pretty good. We'll watch for a while.

The Maybe: Kidnapped, aka "The Billy Show"
This is not Vanished (see below) or Runaways (on the new CW). A rich guy's son is kidnapped, and said rich guy hires Jeremy Sisto (his character's name is Knapp) to find him. Knapp is (I think) a former 'fed' who now freelances in bringing kidnapped people home (and how do you find those people? the Yellow pages?). Anyway, we are watching this show because Jeremy Sisto played "Billy" in 'Six Feet Under", which we like a lot. My guess is this will be cancelled soon, but we'll see.

The Fuggedaboutit #1: Vanished aka "The Brian Show"
Another show about a rich guy's wife being kidnapped. We tried this show once because it was on after "Prison Break" and it starred Gale Harold, who played "Brian" on "Queer as Folk". It was pretty contrived, and not too well acted, so we didn't return after one episode. I don't think it will be on too long.

The Fuggedaboutit #2: Brothers and Sisters aka "The Brenda Show"
This is a family drama where everyone has secrets secrets secrets. We watched an episode because it starred Rachel Griffiths, who played Brenda on "Six Feet Under". She's great. The rest of the show...not so great. Tim thinks Calista Flockheart has a bit of a monkey face. I just dont get her. It's getting sort of positive reviews, but we won't be back.

So that's it for our TV viewing. More knitting tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Just Call Me Blanche


sock bits
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
As in Dubois.

As in "I've always depended on the kindness of strangers".

But revise it to: "I've always depended on the kindness of knitters who read my blog."

The Log Cabin Blanket project has had a few infusions of yarn this week, so thanks to everyone who sent their stuff along. On the bottom row of this picture: a bunch of sock yarn from my SIL, Candace, she of the Amazing Knitting Talents. In the upper right hand corner, you'll see some pastel Katia from MaryBeth in Virginia...now she is a complete stranger and she totally rocks. The bag in the upper laft is from Minh , who is a member of KR and also was the source of the gorgeous green koigu I knit into some socks a while back.

So thanks all!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Shrugging it Off


IMG_0036.JPG
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I've slept for a total of, oh, 22 hours between Friday evening and this (Sunday) morning, so I'm feeling like a normal person for once.

But I thought I'd show you what I was working on during my sleep-deprived, sinus-infection-ridden week before I returned to my normal sense of being. This may look like a sleeve but it isn't...it is a one-piece shrug that is, believe it or not, about 70% done. The idea is to knit one big piece, seam the sleeves at either end (it is knit cuff to cuff) and then pick up and knit a collar around it. Similar to the Streaker's shrug I did a while back, only much less complex.

It's made out of Lion Brand Moonlight Mohair. Now, since I love all things moon-related, I probably would have bought this yarn sight unseen. But then I saw it...during my knit fancy schmancy scarves for gifts period....and thought I'd knit a bunch of fancy shcmancy scarves.

But that period passed.


IMG_0038.JPG
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Long story short...I bought a bunch of yarn that has been living under the bed (stash location #2) for way too long. But then...I received the new issue of the Lion Brand catalogue. They have really revamped that catalogue and have some great photography (the yarn is all still pretty so-so). I saw a picture of the shrug, went online and purchased the pattern, and as they say, vwa la.

To make the situation even more synchronous (sp?), the colorway I had in the stash is Glacier Bay (which we visited in Alaska a few weeks ago). Freaky coincidence, eh?

The yarn is blue, black, grey, and sparkly stuff. Did I tell you I'm making the shrug to wear to a semi-black tie dinner in November? So sparkly stuff is OK. In moderation.

Speaking of sparkly stuff, I just finished a book called "Sparkle Life' which was really good. It's the story of three women who are tenuously connected by the film business. Very well written. The author is Kara Lindstrom. I also read a book called "Lost and Found" by Carolyn Parkhurst. It's the story of several contestants on a reality game show (sort of like the Amazing Race) and how they react to the strain ithe show puts on their relationships. It sounds like it could be very twee but it was incredibly compelling.

What's up knitting wise? Christmas gifts, and the final (final!) afghan square for the Aran Afghan. I cast on for that on Friday (what was I thinking)?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Stasis in the Mansion of the Mind

Is that the best post title or what?

It is also the name of a chinese herb with which we are treating our seizure kitty, Stella.

It is also what my head feels it is needing right now.

So no knitting content today. Come back tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Something Red!


something red
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I finished my something red the other day...I know this is hard to see because of my spookily large hands and the ghost of Tim jumping into the picture.

Sorry.

And it is even...it just looks uneven in the photo.

I'll take a better one, I promise. I love the sweater and I loved knitting the pattern, and will have to make some other cardigans using my cotton ease stash.


jessie in the linen closet
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
Jessie Cat just cracks me up. I opened our linen closet (which is actually a cabinet in our bathroom) and she just jumps in there and snuggles down in the towel. I think I could have shut the door and she would have stayed there all night.

Sorry I haven't blogged more...I have a wicked sinus infection and all I want to do is lay on the couch and knit in stockinette. Did you see the new Lion Brand catalogue? There was a cute shrug pattern in there using moonlight mohair, a bunch of which was living in my stash. So I'm working on that, in between blowing my nose and taking little naplets.

Monday, September 18, 2006

22 hours of travel time...


IMG_0024.JPG
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
...and this is what I have to show for it.

I've spent the last three days (Friday-Saturday-Sunday) travelling to and from Burlington Vermont for an all-day Saturday meeting of an academic organization for which I serve as Vice President.

If you know anything about the US airport system, you can probably figure out that 1. Eugene is not a big airport; 2. Burlington is not a big airport and 3. getting from Eugene to Burlington is not fun.

Tim and I left the house at 8 am Eugene time (which is actually not bad, most flights leave between 5:30 and 6;30 am) and I arrived at the hotel in Burlington at 11:20 PM Eastern time.. So that's about twelve hours one way (via Portland and Chicago, with a massive Friday night delay at O'Hare). Had the meeting starting at 8:30 on Saturday, finished with dinner about 8:30 pm, and then I was up at 5:50 am Burlington time on Sunday to catch the 7:40 am flight home; Tim picked me up in Eugene at 2:15 Eugene time, so that was only about 10 hours travel time that day.

Ugh.

And so, yeah, I almost finished one sock (see post below for the Yarn Story). I spent much of the travel reading two books by Anthony Bourdain: Kitchen Confidential and The Nasty Bits. Both were recommended by Karin, someone we met in Alaska. Somehow, reading just was better for me than knitting was for this trip.

Wonderful Tim has been painting the kitchen since I left. I think his weekend might have been worse than mine.

AND new STR for the sock club came today. I'm feeling like a bit of a slacker since I haven't done the July sock yet. Such is life.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Whole Bunch o'Stuff


lady e is done!
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
1. Lady E. is done. I didn't do the fancy schmancy fringe that they suggest in the pattern, it just did not make any sense to me! So i didn't. I need to block this a bit and weave in the ends but I think this turned out really well.

2. Bonnie and I made the Yarn Harlot's blog entry for her trip to Eugene. Way cool. Did I mention that Bonnie brought us chocolate covered macadamia nuts? She is the best.

3. Hi Jon!!! I am still freaked out you read my blog.


yarnbean socks
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
4. I won this great Crown Mountain Fiber Farm sock yarn from Lori who had a little contest on her blog. I'm loving this yarn...I'm off to a meeting in Burlington VT and facing 8 hours of travel time, so I'm hoping to get a pair of socks done from this!

5. Speaking of Lori, she has a great entry about the Yarn Harlot's visit which features a pretty nice picture of Lori and moi. Although you may be sick of the green mandarin blouse by now.

6. Something Red continues...I'm on the second sleeve. And one whole widdershins is done.

7. I fear I must make up my mind about Christmas knitting and just START. Washcloths it is. And maybe some linen stitch placemats for my mother. I will start in earnest next week.

8. I'm guessing that the Yarn Harlot's post about Eugene got a few new people to click to this blog, resulting in several kind offers for the donation of sock yarn! So thanks to Kim, Marybeth and Martha for offering your extra sock yarn to the cause. Shout out in the comments (always wanted to say that) if you have a blog! And check out Martha's cute pup!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Alaska, Part 2


IMG_0006.JPG
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
This entry on Alaska is on perspective. This yarn, another from Rabbit Ridge in Anchorage, is an interesting look at perspective...if you look above the band it looks like one thing, below the band like another. Alaska is so big, how you perceive it depends on, well, the way you chose to perceive it. Confused?

We started our trip with a helicopter ride over the Mendenhall Glacier. I've never been in a helicopter before, and couldn't believe what a magical feeling it is to travel that way. You go from being on the ground to being in the air and it doesn't really feel any different. Flying over the Glacier, we had no idea on the size of anything...until we saw an orange basketball in the ice and asked our pilot about it, and he said it was the tent at our landing site. We flew high to get great views, but it was impossible to get any idea how big or vast anything was until we saw that little orange dot.

To go from a helicopter to our little Spirit of Discover boat was a huge shift in perspective. Our room was on the lowest deck, so opening our curtains gave us a waters-edge eye level view of everything...oh look, there's a humpback fluke right over there;, oh, look, that's an otter floating by on his back. It is a good thing our window didn't open or I'd have been reaching out to try to pet everything that went by.

Going up one deck, to the bow of the boat, brought even more views. The bow (and the 'weather deck' on the stern) gave us a panoramic view, and the ship kept someone on the bridge with binoculars looking for wildlife during most of our cruising hours. The vessel (as they call it) was small enough so we could clearly hear the engines shifting from 'full speed ahead' to 'idle', which signaled to all the passengers that someone on the bridge had seen something worth stopping for. Eagles perched in trees, wolves sleeping like rocks on the shore (but who politely woke up to be wolf like when we idled), a black bear and her two cubs, a 'bachelor pad' of stellar sea lions, and of course the magical whales; every day brought a new creature to the bow of the boat, almost as if planned.

But the best perspective of Alaska came in the little DIBS...the inflatable rafts that held about ten of us, including our DIB driver who ran the little motor. The DIBs put nothing...nothing...between us and Alaska. Whether it was getting close to the glaciers, to a flock of seabirds, or to the majestic humpbacks, we wish we could have spent much more time in the DIBs. Our full day we awoke to the good news that the weather had cleared and the 'DIB OPs' were starting that morning. We were idling among eight or nine humpbacks, and we watched enviously as the first few groups of passengers went out on the DIBS to spend time up close and personal with the whales (we were assigned a DIB group and the launch times were rotated so every group had a fair shot at being the first out on the water).

Our group was the second to last to launch, and we hurried out to where the whales had been seen (the thing about whales...they'll come to the surface and spout for a bit, and then disappear under the water, and it is impossible to figure out which direction they're going). By law, the DIB can get within 100 yards of the whales but then has to turn off the engines...if the whales want to get closer they can. After a few false starts, we finally found the whales and watched them spouting and fluking from the legal distance. All of a sudden, we heard a spout and behind us was a whale coming up to the surface, probably about 30 feet away. After that whale went back under, we turned back to the front and saw two whales slowly swimming toward us. These things are massive, and move so slowly and so gracefully it is sort of like watching a movie in slow motion. About thirty feet from us they gently dove beneath the surface and under our raft. I was both scared silly and enchanted by the whales (we had been assured they would never do anything to hurt us) and having them so close was such a gift. I'll never forget it. I keep replaying the moment in my mind.

Alaska challenged the way we looked at things, at many ways. And that's the best you can ask a vacation for.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Alaska Pt. 1


IMG_0005.JPG
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I realize I haven't really written anything about Alaska, other than a bunch of bizarre random thoughts. i think the hugeness of Alaska is just sort of overwhelming my recollections of the vacation....every day something magical happened but that magical moment was enfolded in such wonder and awe it is hard to make sense of us.

This yarn, purchased at Skeins in Juneau, reminds me of the glaciers...not the cotton-ease popsicle blue of the glaciers but the steep rock walls that provide the entryway to the glaciers themselves. These steep walls are where the glacier has recently been, so no vegetation has started to grow yet. However, the steep rocks are home to numerous waterfalls which spilled over from the heavy rains in Alaska this year.

We spent two days with glaciers: one day in a place called Tracy Arm, south of Juneau,and the second day in Glacier Bay National Park. Did I mention to you we were on a ship...a small, 80 passenger boat/ship/vessel that can get closer to glaciers than the behemoth cruise ships that hold hundreds of people? Anyway, yes we were. And we knew we were getting close to glaciers when the boat started hitting the glacial ice that floated in the water...leftovers from the calving of the glaciers. Calving is when a hunk of glacier falls off the glacier and lands in the water. It makes a thunderous noise, which the locals call blue thunder, since glacial ice is blue (but I've mentioned that about a gazillion times). We saw distant calving at the glacier in Tracy Arm...known as Sawyer Glacier, and pretty much non stop calving at one of the Glaciers in GBNP: Johns Hopkins Glacier.

I wasn't too psyched about seeing glaciers..I mean, a bunch of ice, what's the big deal? But glaciers are dynamic, changing, creating and destroying beauty virtually simultaneously...they're pretty amazing things.

I'll stop here. Believe it or not, the landsickness is still with me, and I spent most of the morning incredibly sick to my stomach for no earthly good reason. Please hold a good thought that this clears up for me soon and I get my 'land legs' back!

Friday, September 08, 2006

You Want Pictures?


IMG_0015.JPG
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
You got pictures.

I'm not saying they're great, but they're pictures.

First, the Yarn Harlot was amazing. You must go see her. She is just as funny in person as in her writing, and she is so real. Her voice surprised me...is sort of smoky and throaty and she should do voice overs for, oh I don't know, glamorous products. Anyway. Here's me and Bonnie as we swooped on Stephanie at the signing table and made everyone behind us mad because we (read, I) kept yammering.


IMG_0013.JPG
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
And so yeah, I met Bonnie from Costa Rica! Here she is working on her clapotis withTIm leaning back to make sure I get a good picture. On the other side of Bonnie is her rockin' MIL, Ceceila, who also came along. Tim and Cecelia get the Good Sports Award for sitting among a pile of giggling knitters whilst most of the humor was relatively incomprehensible to them.


IMG_0016.JPG
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
I got to meet Anthony, the s.o. of my favorite knitting buddy Jodie. Don't they look great together? Anthony was brave enough to ask Stephanie a question about any hints she has for muggles who live with knitters. Her response: yarn is always an appropriate gift.

I also got to meet Lori but the camera ran out of batteries. She was there with her two beautiful daughters who were knitting away. So cute!


IMG_0007.JPG
Originally uploaded by kbshee.
And just to get a bit of knitting content in: here are the Alaska socks, which are almost done. Magic stripes, basic ribbed pattern, cuff down. I will finish these up this weekend most likely. I did these on 3s since I wanted to use my bamboo needles to minimize the chance of confiscation.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Still Recovering

I have landsickness...that is, the feeling that you're still on a ship when you're on land. This happened on the only other cruise I was ever on (20+ years ago) and it is not pleasant. All the 'benefits' of being seasick with none of the excitement. Anyway, I slapped on my last scopalamine (sp?) patch and hope that by tomorrow I"ll be back in the swing of things. The problem with the patch is that it makes my close up vision very very blurry, and that limits my knitting, reading, blogging, etc.

Because. Tomorrow. A big day. The Yarn Harlot will be in Eugene, and I'm going! More importantly, I'm going to catch up with Bonnie from Costa Rica, Jodie and Lori from Lincoln City . Along wtih associated significant others and wonderful mothers in law. It should be fun. Please don't let me vomit on the Harlot.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Home!

The trip was unbelievable, simply unbelieveable.

And to answer the burning question: the Juneau yarn purchase was the only yarn available on the trip, although I did try to talk someone out of some beautiful mountain goat fleece in Sitka.

I almost finished a pair of socks.

The camera got drenched during a rainy sea kayaking expedition, so pics will be a bit slow.

I was 30 feet from a humpback whale. It dove under the raft I was in.

The blue of glaciers is the blue of cotton ease 'popsicle blue'. Seriously.

I flew in a helicopter.

And I'm still swaying from the boat.

More soon.