Monday, August 30, 2010

Balanced and unbalanced

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Some reflections on my weekend:

-I carded and spun more of Brownie's fleece. I focused on making a thinner yarn, and it worked...I think this is probably a light worsted weight which is what I wanted. It also seems really, really nicely balanced. I filled a bobbin with two ply and it was about 100 yards...what I got with two bobbins on the first goround. So I'm happy about that. I ordered some silk from Treenway Silks to do some blending, and I think that will go well too.

-Unbalancing thing #1. After last weekend's county fair, I wrote an email to the Fair Board. While I liked a lot of improvements (and I listed them), I was very unhappy with one exhibit they had (it was promoted as an Amazon adventure but was sadly some exotic animals in too small cages). No response from then. Until. Sunday, the paper features an ad from the Fair board talking about the success of the fair. And in the middle of the ad was my 'positive' quote from my email (not attributed but still). It sort of shook me that someone would take an email and quote it, without my permission and, arguably, out of context.

-Unbalancing thing #2: Tim and I were at an art store downtown yesterday when we heard what sounded like a car backfiring. Looking outside, it looked like a smoke bomb had been dropped down a manhole. Going outside, we hear a few more explosions...three manhole covers were blown out of their holes. It turns out there was an underground fire. I was totally freaked out. And everytime Tim went near a manhole I got even more freaked. Tim says these happen often in NYC...but not so often in Eugene.

How are you?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

And the carding continues

Originally uploaded by kbshee
I finished carding one of Brownie's fleeces it is on the drum carder. Once I spin this up, I'll move on to either Atom's fleece (his is white) or Robinson's (his is silver). I'll see how the spinning goes and then i'll decide.

We went from being almost 100 in the middle of last week to a high of maybe 70 or so is delightful! We took the dogs for a four mile or so walk along the river this morning, and then worked on projects (fleeces for me, kayak for Tim) in the garage this afternoon. Now I'm reading "World without End" and knitting and just enjoying the end of the summer.

How about you?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

No, It's Not.

Originally uploaded by kbshee
I know many of you may be thinking I've just reposted the pink sock picture from a few days ago, but honestly, I haven't.

It is just that this sock is at the point in its life where the 'ooh ah' moment has passed and now I'm just, um, finishing up the foot.

More ooh-ah moments to come on the heel and such.

We had a few hots days and now things are back to normal. I carded a bit more yesterday and did some spinning, in between working on stuff---honestly, most of it going through my inbox. And I have 8 books from the library but none of them are any good...what are you reading now that you like? I do have the sequel to Pillars of the Earth so I may just crack that open.

And there is always Middlemarch. Or not.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Parts of a sweater

Originally uploaded by kbshee
So here is the progress on the Mythos sweater from Knitty. From what I can tell, the bottom part is a sleeve and the top part that looks like a smile is one side.

I think.

I'm not really sure.

It's a fun sweater, but knitting a sweater in laceweight is only slightly less annoying than knitting lace with laceweight. The difference between working with sock yarn and with laceweight constantly surprises me.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Originally uploaded by kbshee
One of my summer projects (and in fact my only 'personal' project, other than reading Middlemarch, and let's not go there right now) is to 'do something' with the bags of fleece that have been living in the garage.

As you may know, I own two alpacas, Brownie and Atom, who live at Silk Creek Farm in Cottage Grove, Oregon. Silk Creek Farm is owned by my friends Bil and Julia Morrill, who have quite the farm operation going I've owned Brownie for almost three years now, and board her with Bil and Julia who take care of her feeding and toenails and other important alpaca maintenance. For the past two years, I've helped with the annual alpaca shearing, and hence the fleece have been stored in the garage for a while.

So the yarn you see here is Brownie's. It was sheared with my help, prepared by me for spinning using a drum carder, and then spun by me on my spinning wheel. And it will be knit by me into a hat for me (and the yarn was gong to go into a hat for Tim, but it is a bit bulky for him so that's why the first garment isn't for him).

And while I realize this post is very much me! me! me! I'm so excited for my first yarn from my own alpaca i have to be a bit self-centered for a bit.

Brownie is a bay black...the yarn right now looks very very very dark brown but it is soaking in water right now and it may end up a little closer to black. I'm sure they'll be one or two (or a gazillion) more pictures to share with you.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

And yet another mystery sock

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Here is my newest mindless sock, and another mystery sock since this is one that I balled and lost the ball band to, but it is a lovely blue/black and purpley stripe that I'm making for Tim. Mindless socks for him don't seem to go as fast as mindless socks for me (foot size differences) and this sock has been a bit, um, cursed.

I shall explain.

Pilot has been growing up and calming down (a bit), and on the whole he is a much better dog than he was 9 months ago. Yet, one of his favorite things remains to be to grab a ball of yarn and run around with it as it unravels. Thus, I always try to remember to put projects out of Pilot range if I have to leave the room for a moment.

But with these socks, I didn't. Remember to put the project out of Pilot range. As a result, when I came back into the room after about ten minutes on the Internet in the office, not only was the ball of yarn unwound but he has also chewed the cords of the two circular needles to bits. Honestly, all I had left were four size 2 Knitpicks Options tips and about three inches of purple cord. And a partially unraveled sock.

I was initially worried because I thought Pilot had eaten the cords (and even chewed on one a bit myself to see if it was a. tasty and b. chewable; answers no, not for humans). So of course that meant two days of backyard poopage inspection to make sure all was well in the nether regions and to see if I could visually see any cords. Over the next few days, though, I think I found enough bits and pieces of cords scattered hither and yon that I stopped worrying.

Too much information? Sorry.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I love this sock

Originally uploaded by kbshee
This is the Manolo (or is it the I think it is Manolo) sock by Yarnissima that I told you about earlier. It may be the coolest sock ever...can you see the little woven cable bits? It takes a bit of concentration...there is a cable on every row and increases a-go-go, but it is pretty fun when something mindless (hello Top Chef!) is on the television.

And today I took a BIG STEP in my "I want to have something to show for the summer." A hint? It has to do with fiber. Guesses welcome.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I thought I was knitting!

I wish I could fill up this post with things I've been doing, but looking back on the last two days I can't really tell you what. I've done some work stuff, yes. And some reading (but nothing that good after One Day by David should read that). I'm knitting but don't have anything great to show you. It has been hot and I've been still working on helping a colleague promote her new book via social media but what else? What else?

Today Tim and I play hooky and take dogs and kayaks up to Waldo Lake for some hopefully mosquito free paddling.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Meet the new sock!

Originally uploaded by kbshee
I started this sock before we left on vacation but didn't take it with me to Maryland since it is too intricate. The foot chart has about 70 rows on one sheet of paper. It's a bit disconcerting, but I like it!

And the sock? It's from the new Fall 2010 Twist Collective and it is the Manolo sock by Yarnissima. it has a lot of twists and cables and is fun to work, but takes a bit of concentration.

I worked on it last night while watching "The Last Station"...a very good movie about Tolstoy which makes you feel a bit smarter when it is done. And isn't Paul Giamatti just one of the best actors working today?

Yesterday it got up to 100 here...very unusual...but I'm reading a great book called "One Day" by David Nicholls that looks at the life of two people during the same day over many years. So much of yesterday was spent on the sofa, in the air conditioning, reading. One of the best things about late summer in Oregon is that it cools down very quickly at night...we turned off the AC at bedtime and about 4am I had to pull the blanket up. Love that!

Friday, August 13, 2010


Originally uploaded by kbshee
Hello! It has been a while since I've posted with anything substantial, so here goes! We're back from our trip to Annapolis for our niece's wedding. It was beautiful, and everyone seemed happy with the results. It wasn't even *that* hot (for Maryland in August). It was great to see all of Tim's family in one place and to meet my brother-in-law's family. It was also terrific to see my nephew Stephen (bro of the bride) and to meet his SO Bari. We wish Jean and Matt every happiness.

After the wedding, Tim and I stuck around to spend a few days without family and having a mini-vacation. On Sunday, before everyone left, we took a group kayaking on the Bay, and then had a family dinner. On Monday, we bid farewell to everyone and went back for more kayaking in better boats. We also explored Annapolis and toured the Naval Academy: the highlight was watching the plebes march in formation across the quad. Annapolis reminded me of a mini-Boston, which is odd of course since most Bostonians consider Maryland the 'south'.

We also ate crab whenever we could and I even had a soft shell crab sandwhich, which was just, um, fishy. It's also interesting how in Maryland crab cakes generally come on a sandwich bun when in Oregon they come with no bread. But. I digress.

I knit on these socks on both plane rides. It's a dark grey yarn by Louisa Harding with silver threads running through it, and of course look much better in person. The yarn is cotton and bamboo and nylon, I hope they stay up!

This is one of my favorite times of the year...when professors all over the country go back to school and I can gloat silently to myself because I still have six weeks off. Of course I feel miserable in May when they all are finished and I'm still teaching, but I'm smug for now.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Missed it!

Like I do every year, I missed my blogiversary! It was August 2, 2004. So yes, that means I have been blogging for six years. Wow?

And just to relive the fascination that was that first post, here it is:

Right now I'm about halfway through the sideways sweater from

I'm also about halfway thorugh the trio bag from

It is just a bit frightening to me that my prose has not come that far in six years. Oh well. Here is to six more years!

Quick update

Our family wedding is was a lovely wedding and a very fun reception. The sight of eight or more 50+ women dancing to "Mustang Sally" may frighten some people but it seemed highly acceptable at Jean and Matt's reception. Tim and I also had the honor of driving the bride and groom to an 'undisclosed location' so got to spend about half an hour in the car with them, which was really a gift. There was no last minute wedding glitches except for a forgotten boutoneire (how do you spell that?), but I saved the day by running across the hotel parking lot (in heels) and flagging down the floral truck to get the lost flowers. If every wedding has to have a little glitch, that one wasn't bad.

Yesterday we took some family kayaking in Chesepeake (how do you spell THAT?) Bay and we're going to go back for another trip today, just Tim and I, so we can explore a bit more. It is quite hot and humid here but for a couple of days it seems reasonable! Back to Oregon tomorrow.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

In Betweenery

It has been a weird week, with working on a volunteer program earlier in the week, then trying to finish some work and now getting ready for a quick trip to Maryland for a family wedding. Most of the getting ready involves getting the house cleaned for our housesitter and seeing if we can pack all of our stuff in two carry-ons each (as it stands now, the answer is yes. We'll see. The challenge is that Tim needs to take a suit, plus shoes for the suit, which takes up more space than he ever really needs). It is a trip that is shoe heavy. I need water shoes for kayaking, dress up shoes for the wedding, tennis shoes for walking, and flat shoes in case the dress up shoes hurt during the reception. So many problems!

And still trying to figure out knitting and books to take. The Milan trip suggested that I really don't need more than one project, but my head isn't getting around that. I have the book "Lark Rise to Candleford" (or I should say the trilogy) which should keep me occupied ihopeihopeihope. I think if I'm worrying about this I'm pretty much ready to go.

So the inbetweeery means I'm not ready to start something or do something or get something out because, well, we're leaving for a few days. Which is kind of making me a little nuts, I don't know why. I think this is sort of my pre-trip nuttiness!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

By the way...

Originally uploaded by kbshee
...these socks are complete. But here is how they looked not yet complete.
...I hate the new Flick site. Just hate it.
...I have been trying to finish this chapter all day today and keep getting interrupted. Very frustrating.
...All in all, this week has been a week of doing things for others that have brought me minimal joy.
...But if it only lasts for a week that isn't bad.

How are you?

Monday, August 02, 2010

Portrait of cat and sweater

Originally uploaded by kbshee
On a patchwork quilt.
This sweater is going a lot slower than I expected, but why should it go faster? It's tiny little yarn. And theoretically will block out better.

I went to the dentist this morning before my camp experience (more on that below) regarding the broken tooth. Well, it needs a crown, and the crown needs to be preauthorized by my insurance company, which takes three weeks. And three weeks from today? The dentist is closed for a week's vacation. Good times. So no action on the tooth four four weeks. It is annoying but that's all. But annoying.

I'm volunteering for a program at school called SAIL (Summer Academy to Inspire Learning). The program hosts high school kids from lower income areas around UO to come to campus and participate in different 'college like' experiences. Today and tomorrow, I'm working with my colleague Deb Morrison on an experience called "We Are Storytellers". We're working with rising 11th and 12th graders exploring storytelling with the goal of getting them in a good place to write their college apps. We have a dozen or so kids, pretty engaged, pretty interesting, and really smart. It's fun. Even with my broken tooth.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Just in case you need something to do this week... buddy and ertswhile twin Kim hosts an event called The Knitters Hunk. It's kind of like the World Cup, but with cute guys. She posts two pictures, we pick our favorite of the two, and then we keep winnowing down the hunkiness until we select the 2010 Knitters Hunk.

2009 was Johnny Depp, who as some of you know is one of my favorites.

It's all in fun, except when I want to scratch someone's eyes out because my hunk didn't move forward, but anyway, take a look, nominate, and vote!