Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Great Day to be a Dog

We took the dogs to the canoe canal to celebrate yet another beautiful summer day. Cody had another up and down week...mostly characterized by a lack of appetite and very stiff joints...but we decided that a swim could only be a positive thing for him. And indeed it was. I made a little video of him swimming...listen very closely at the start and you'll hear him doing a little vocalization which in Cody language means "I'm so excited I just can't stand it please throw the float please please please."

Juneau, who has avoided the water for two years, seemed to change her mind about it yesterday. I was standing up to my knees in the canoe canal filming Cody and Juneau was walking in and out of the canal on her own accord. Then Tim came out in the canal, and Juneau followed him in and did her very first doggy paddle! Then she freaked out and stood on her back legs with her paws on my shoulders...we almost both fell in the water. But she can swim! We're so proud of her. And I think she's a bit proud too.

Enjoy the video.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Originally uploaded by kbshee
Well what do you know? We've had a week of summer and apparently at least a week more. Highs today above 80 (normal summer) and lows in the upper 40s or so. Just lovely. Clear sunny skies. So unusual for us...usually this kind of weather can't be guaranteed until after the 4th of July. But no complaints, even though it is hot out and in.

The sweater is all done except for the last little sleeve on the one side. I don't know how I managed to take a cool picture (imho) like really isn't floating...but it looks good. The cables are lovely and did I mention I love the yarn? I might have it done by this weekend. Then a couple other calmer projects are in the works.

With the nice weather so early in the summer, I can definitely empathize with people who don't want to knit in the summer. But I'm slogging on. :-) I have lovely pink cottony yarn to do a Cookie A sock, which I might start on when I'm done wtih the sweater. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Originally uploaded by kbshee
So it's like we're living on top of some nuclear thing, because the poppies this year are big as dinner plates. Dinner plates!

We've had these plants at least four or five years, and have always had nice sized poppies. But this year there are easily three times the blooms and did I mention, they're big as dinner plates!

I'd like some poppy colored yarn. Any ideas? Of course it has to be under $20. Grin.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Yet another in a series...

Originally uploaded by kbshee
...of pictures I take outside (to take advantage of the natural sunlight) that end up looking just plain bizarre.


Memorial Day! Traditionally this weekend is rainy and cool in the Willamette Valley, but apparently climate change is again working its 'magic' and giving us a beautiful three-day weekend: sunny and highs right around 70, which is absolutely perfect. Saturday we took the dogs for a pretty good walk along the river, and yesterday we paddled the Canoe Canal in search of baby water fowl. We saw two new duck duck mama had six and the other had eight...and they all looked fairly new to the world. We had paddled the canal two weeks ago with no signs of ducklings, and were worried that the eggs were washed away given the rainy spring we had. So we (esp. me and the big black lab in the canoe we passed) were overjoyed to see the ducklings. We also saw some goslings which we had seen on our previous trip, as well as some brand new goslings.

Originally uploaded by kbshee
The socks? A basic sock in Yarn Pirate yarn, label long gone, it might be the 'I Want Candy" colorway but I'm not sure. I like the yarn, I think it has tencel in it, but I"m not sure. Sense a theme here?

The garden this year is absolutely gorgeous. The irises are in bloom now, and this is one of my favorite ones (someone needs to do a yarn colorway using these colors...cream, purple, peach and just a few flecks of orange. Anyone?). This one smells like a creamsickle. Yum!

So today the plan is to take the dogs for a little swim. Cody has been a little on the 'down' side this past week (lack of appetite, not energetic, limping during walks) but has been feeling good over the weekend, and he loves a good swim. And it has to be good for him, at least for his little puppy soul.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Pink Socks

Originally uploaded by kbshee
After several aborted attempts to photograph these socks inside, I finally realized that I could take them outside in the natural sunlight and get a picture that accurately shows their colors.

But then when I go outside, it is so bright I can't see the image before I take the picture, and hence end up with little socks in a big picture.

But then again, if this is my biggest problem today then I'm a lucky woman.

I have a little break today after some non-stop busy-ness. I had seven defenses this week (academics will understand) on top of my regular work, plus I guest lectured in a colleague's class. I had 60 student projects to grade today, which I started early and finished earlier than I thought I would, so I'm left with having to do the answer key for the final exam or goofing off. Apparently goofing off is winning.

I hope your memorial day weekend is beautiful and memorial-ble!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Originally uploaded by kbshee
So here is the picture of my halfway point of the little sweater. You can see the button bands with one entire side done and one side not done at all, and you can see the top of the back 'wedge' like piece. It looks needs a good blocking to make the cables pop even more, but I'll wait til I get the other side done. If I had more yarn I would have made this long sleeved, but the short sleeve is just fine for summer...this will look cute over a tank or a short sleeve t shirt.

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Here is the seam of the sleeve. I must admit I am enchanted by my mad kitchener skills.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Too Lazy to Upload Pictures

I've finished half the bizarro sweater, and a pair of socks, so I'll post some pictures soon. I do have a good excuse: I've had 5 master's defenses in two days, plus teaching my class today, so I'm a bit brain dead.

But I do have a gripe (of course I do!). This new LYS thing: yarn tasting? Where you get to go to a yarn shop and 'taste' the new yarns? A great idea, but LYSes are charging $20. To go shopping. TO GO SHOPPING.

I also noted that at the Sock Summit, you have to pay to get into the market if you're not signed up for a class. You have to pay TO GO SHOPPING. Please. Don't these people realize we're in a recession? It's only $2 or something like that, but please.

I just don't understand what people are thinking regarding we knitters. That we have money hanging out of our noses? These people are knitters too...what are they thinking?

It makes me love the Black Sheep Gathering, where the classes are cheap and the shopping is least to get in the door.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Weekend! Hooray!

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Finished this week of two defenses, a job hunt workshop, and a social media workshop. Three weeks to week is my tough one: six thesis defenses and one comps defense. I'm trying to keep next Friday free and clear to give myself a four day 'weekend' (with 55 advertising student portfolios to grade) but still.

So, not much knitting happening. It's a lot easier to buy yarn when I'm stressed than to knit it up. My newest discover is a british dyer called "Laughing Yaffle".

I'm checking out new and relatively unknown indie dyers for a few reasons:
1. I'm not going to pay more than $22 for sock yarns ever again. Seriously. Even $20 is crazy talk.
2. Life is too short to worry about whether I'll hit a Wollmeise or Sundara update.
3. It can't be easy being an indie dyer, and it is important to support new people!
4. Given the exchange rate, british yarns (like laughing yaffle) are a pretty good deal, even with the shipping and
5. New yarn makes me happy, and new discoveries are cool, and sharing new yarn discoveries is extra cool.

Plus the picture turned out kind of fun.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

From Wiki Answers

When you begin to drive a wooden wedge under an object you are trying to lift, the major problem is getting it started: in other words, getting the 'thin end of the wedge' under the object. Once you have the thin end in place, the rest is inevitable and much easier - you keep driving the wedge until it's all the way in place. So the 'thin end of the wedge' is the difficult start of a process which will inevitably lead to something much more significant happening.

Here's My life

Read thesis...go to thesis defense...listen to student whine...repeat a gazillion times.

I'm sort of at the thin edge of the wedge...I don't even know what that MEANS but I'm there.

Right now, I figure if I can make it til 5/22 then I have a long weekend and then it is all downhill. So that's the plan.

I knit maybe four rows last night.

But here is a question for you: have you ever taken a houseboat vacation? Our vacation 'plans' fell through (details later) and now we're trying to figure out an interesting, relatively inexpensive trip with the dogs. We've done beach houses for the last few years, and we both want something better, so Lake Shasta houseboat is being considered. We'd go after Labor Day when the crowds should be gone...although the whole thing smacks of a drunken sorority weekend, doesn't it?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Big Bag o'Fleece

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Bil and Julia at Silk Creek Alpacas posted some good pics and a little video of shearing have to scroll past a lot of chickens to get to the alpaca pics. They also had a picture of all the bags of fleece, and that reminded me I haven't posted a picture of Brownie's fleece, and so, here it is!

It is a deep deep brown in this picture but in reality it is pretty much black, the tips are lighter brown due to amniotic fluid. I've read the tips can be problematic to prepare to spin (the term 'like velcro' has been used) but we'll see. I've decided to try flick carding to prep Brownie's fleece...basically, you use a brush like a dog brush to just tease out each end of the lock of fleece and that gets the dust and vm out of the fleece. I have the flick carder to get started on this, now I just need some time. So that's my June project.

I'm going to keep this whole fleece for myself, since Brownie will never have a 'first shear' again. Future fleeces...we'll see.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Originally uploaded by kbshee
I just checked my calendar for the last several weeks of school...

....yes, we still have school. Oregon is on the 'quarter' system, so we have classes through the first week in June. However, we don't go back til the last week in September.

...anyway...I don't have an unscheduled minute for the next several weeks (slight exageration, but only slight. And how do you spell exaggeration? Oops, two gs.). So I uploaded a bunch of pictures and will write pithy quick little blog posts for a while.

For those academics out there, in addition to my regular class, I have (coming up) 9 masters project defenses, 1 masters thesis defense, 1 comps defense, 1 dissertation proposal defense, and 2 honors college (undergraduate) thesis defenses. My head is spinning just a tiny bit.

BUt let's look at the amazing hard-to-get-your-head-around-sweater. I am about ten rows from calling the fronts 'done' and then continuing on with a sleeve. I love the definition in the cables, and that, my friends, is due to my new BYFF (best yarn friend forever) Calmer.

In fact two packages arrived today with enough Calmer for two summer tops. Yay!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Finished ShiBui Socks

So I finished these shibui knits socks about a week ago...I like them. As I mentioned before, this is a nice, nice yarn, a pretty tight twist, and nice saturated colors. Nice I know is sort a lightweight word, but I can't help it. Basically, it is what all yarn should be...good colors, good weight, good feel.

I'm glad my last post helped everyone picture the sweater. We are at a difficult point in our relationship, the sweater and I. The cable pattern does not come with a chart, it is only written out line by line. So I created my own chart, but I misread one of the lines and forgot a cable cross row (row 14 of a 20 row pattern). SO...I finished the first pattern repeat (ie 20 rows) and compared my sweater to the picture, and pretty quickly saw my mistake. So frog 7 rows, and then start again.

But we are still friends. Calmer yarn, I love thee.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

So Let's see if this makes more sense.

How annoying is blogger today? Very. Anyway, the construction of this sweater is hard to get one's head around...I had to read the instructions and stare at the schematic for about an hour before it made sense. So. It starts with knitting the button bands, which you see here modeled by my pink t shirt. Then each side of the sweater is knit sideways off the button band. If you looks at the left hand side of the picture, you'll see some sideways cables coming off the button band.

Then, if you look at the back, you can see that the two button bands are joined by sort of a wedge that connects the two. This allows for some shaping in the sweater and also keeps the sideways cables from being 'too' sideways (you know how some of us don't look that good in horizontal stripes).

Finally, if you would stretch the whole thing out like on the picture a couple of posts down, you'll see the back part on the left hand side and the front' button bands on the rightwaiting for the sideways cables.

It sort of makes my head hurt.

Remember that I"ve got the whole 'side' on a long circ and so it doesn't lay out very flat.

It really is a cool construction. But very hard to explain.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Yes, it is confusing!

Ok. Here's a small picture of the cardigan I'm working on. It's a Fibra Natura pattern done by Helen Hamann. And yes, it is confusing.
You can see on the thumbnail that the sweater has the side and the sleeve all in one piece. You can see the bands (that I've already completed) but you can't see the back...which is what I've completed. Click this for a bigger picture:
I'll work on the side a bit more tonight and take another picture...maybe it will make more sense then.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Old Kitten and New Sweater

Rainy weather here, although I did get a picture of a black kitten in a sunbeam.

Pay attention, now, because I'm only going to go over this once. And yes, there will be a test. I've started this new sweater with the most interesting construction I've ever seen. You (meaning me) start by knitting two button bands, each 40" long. Then, you (meaning me) knit the back by knitting a wedge in between the bottom halves of two of the bands.

The sweater is on its side, and yes it looks like a loincloth, but stick with me now. Just sort of tilt your head to the left. Thank you for your cooperation.

Then, after the wedge is done, you (meaning me) pick up stitches on the OUTSIDE edges of the button bands and knit the entire right (or left) hand side of the sweater, one third the front, one third the sleeve, and one third the back.

So basically, each side of the sweater is knit side to side, and they are connected by the button bands. And the wedge thingee in the back gives it some shape that it might not have without the wedge thingee.

Sides gets kitchenered together and voila, a sweater. I'm excited. Rowan Calmer yarn, I love you. Any questions? Oh, I'd love to answer them, but our time is up now. We'll revisit this topic later.

I just noticed that in addition to a loincloth, it also looks like a bull head with horns, or maybe even a minotaur. What does it look like to you?

Friday, May 01, 2009

Oh Yeah. That.

I sewed up this sweater on Saturday and then worked on the collar this week. It is hard to get excited about it because it is alpaca, it is warm, and it is warm outside too, so those two things don't mix

It also needs a good blocking, which I don't feel like doing for all the above reasons. But without blocking it makes me look chunky, and in general a peplum tends to be a little more flattering on me. I think I need to get the peplum better placed near my waist.

Regardless of said chunkiness, I must admit I love sweaters where you don't have to sew in the sleeves. I may have found my forever sweater pattern. More on that over the weekend.