Thursday, March 31, 2016

Spring in pictures

 Tim made these homemade birds nests for Easter! They are my favorite candy and Russell Stover apparently no longer makes them.
 I took this yesterday or the day before--these are now full-on open.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Just Because

As you might recall, I was searching for the perfect sock pattern for a skein of turquoise yarn that I uncovered while I was decluttering. I wanted something with beads and figured it would have cables, but the pattern I found--Just Because--is sort of lace-y but kind of looks like cables.

Here are some highlights of the sock in progress:
Above: the front of the sock.

Here is the side:
Can you see the beads?

I think the yarn is a bit more turquoise-y than it looks here but so far, I love these socks!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

TOT: Let's go outside!

Carole asked about ten things I like to do outside. We are lucky to live somewhere where we can be outside all year long (mostly--once you get used to the rain). I think the prompt could be 100 things and I'd run out of stuff to say. So let's go!

  1. Walk the dogs. Absolutely my favorite thing. I love seeing the world through their eyes (and noses). We have several walks in our neighborhood of varying lengths and they get on one of them every day.
  2. Hike. A bit more effortful than a walk, for us a hike generally involves driving somewhere to start the hike. We live close to mountains and to the ocean and so we have lots of great options for beautiful hikes. With dogs, of course.
  3. Kayak. In the summer we try to get out on the water once a week. We have hard shells for lakes and an inflatable for rivers.  
  4. Garden. I get in 'moods' when I must garden. I was in one on Sunday, and got a lot of leaves and weeds cleaned out.
  5. Have class. Nothing is better than taking a class to sit in the sun and Think Big Thoughts. 
  6. Eat. I love eating outside--either on our patio or on a restaurant patio. 
  7. Look at the ocean. I love the ocean--walking by it, or sitting somewhere and watching it. 
  8. Drive with the top down. I miss Tim's red miata, and we hope to have another convertible at one point. We will rent a convertible for Hawaii this summer.
  9. Frisbee. We live close to a small park and will bop over to play frisbee to take a break.
  10. Read and knit. Two for one!

Monday, March 28, 2016

First day back!

Let's celebrate with a meme from Kathy!

*Does your knitting reflect your address?
In other words, if you live in a wonderfully warm climate do you knit warm wooly hats and scarves? 
Ha! I live in a climate that is cool and rainy for 9 months and sunny and dry for 3 months. I knit mostly with wool--almost no summery stuff--and lots and lots of socks.

* Do you love your home?
Do you plan to move in the next ten years? 
I do love our home--this is the place I've lived the longest of anywhere in my life! But yes--we will move in the next ten years when we build our dream house on the Oregon coast! And then, it will be cool and rainy for 11 months out of the year (and that final month isn't a solid block of days--it is sunny days here and there throughout the year). 

*If you don't have the luxury of a nearby yarn studio,
what are your go to's  for mail order yarn companies? 
I'm not buying yarn these days (the stash is pretty big) but I liked Webs, Jimmy Beans, and Pacific Wool and Fiber when I was a shopper.

*Is there a knitted or crocheted blanket being used in any room of your home today?
Yes--our bed has a crocheted blanket by Tim's Aunt Ola and an aran blanket by me. And I have one that I need to seam together for Tim (just remembered that, thanks for the reminder Kathy!).

*Are your windows open today?
Nope but they probably could be--it is 52 out.

*Have wool pests ever invaded your knitting in your home?
Nope knockwoodknockwoodknockwood.

*Can you view the sunset from your home? 

When there aren't clouds.
During that three months.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Lots of Pictures!

Here's a visual peak at my last few days:

1. Socks!  Trachentensocken are done and even have woven in ends!

2. Flowers! The tulips are about to burst open (that is, those who have not yet burst open):

3. Cat on high alert! Jessie Cat was watching asquirrel on the fence and did not like being interrupted. Apprently squirrel has left the fence by the time I got this picture :

Have a lovely Easter everyone!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Lots of Socks

Well not lots, just a few. Anyway--today is my last day of sabbatical (I guess)--the last day of spring break--and a new term starts Monday. I have one class from 8-10 on M/W and lots of meetings and such--we have a dean search happening and other end of year stuff. 

I'm not thrilled, but I can suck it up for ten weeks and then hopefully we have a new dean to make things better.

But in the meantime: SOCKS!

First--some socks I'm doing for Tim out of CoBaSi--corn/bamboo/sillk yarn. It is yummy. I almost never call yarn yummy. And it is cheap--I think $7 a skein and you'll need two for socks.

The Trachtensocken are almost done--about 12 rounds of the pattern are left and then the toe:

Yesterday Tim was working from home so I treated him out to lunch at the Original Pancake House. Yum!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Lookie! I finished something!

This is pre-blocked. I already dunked it and hung it up--it has grown about a foot in length and is spreading out nicely. I like it a lot. There are lots of ends to weave in, though.

I'm already thinking about the next project although I do need to finish up on some things. I have some stainless steel and silk yarn from Habu so may have to do a summer weight scarf with that. I also have found the perfect sock pattern for the turquoise yarn (with beads) so want to start that too.

I read a book called "Finding Jake"..meh.

We watched "And then there were none" on Lifetime. It was pretty saucy for an Agatha Christie but maybe they sauced it up a bit for the modern audience. I haven't read the original so I don't know how much (or whether they even) deviated from the original.

Other than that, enjoying my last few days of freedom! Happy Spring!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

ToT: The Superstitious One

While I'm not a really superstitious (or that was my immediate reaction upon reading Carole's blog this morning, I'm going to jump in on this one with a twist (of course)--how much of these superstitions do I actively devote cognitive resources to?

  • Knock wood: 100% or thereabouts--if someone says something positive will happen I almost always SAY 'knock wood' and almost always look around for wood to knock.
  • Bad things come in threes: probably about 100% in terms of stopping and thinking what other bad things have happened lately.
  • The Daisy 'love me love me not'--95%--as when I was a teenager I killed many daisies looking for the right outcome.
  • Coins in wishing wells: 50%--why not?
  • The Scottish Play: 50%:  there is a theatre superstition that you NEVER say the name of Shakespeare's Scottish play out loud (not sure if it is in a theatre only where this ban occurs). I try not to name the name out loud if I can help it.
  • Don't let a black cat cross your path: 0%. One better get over this one pretty quickly if one has a black cat as a housemate.
  • Friday the 13th: 0%. I forget this one all the time.
  • STabbing your needles through yarn gives you bad luck: 0%--I do this all the time.
  • It's unlucky to wear opals unless they are your birthstone: 0%--I have some opal earrings I love!
  • Boyfriend sweater superstition--not sure as I have never knit Tim a sweater. So maybe that one IS 100%

Monday, March 21, 2016

What I MEME to say---

OH that Kathy, always with the questions on Monday!

 1. Last thing you finished: I had to go look this up on the blog. It is the grey Kato sweater.
 If only it was a bit chillier--I'd wear this!
2. Favorite pattern to knit again and again:  either a plain pair of socks (I don't even use a recipe) or else Clapotis!

3. Do you prefer to drive or fly ? I like to drive if it means going somewhere with Tim and the dogs. I chose to fly to Seattle because it isn't that fun to drive alone.

4. Do you use a paper map or your phone's directions? Oh lord, I'm so lame with the phone direction thing, I have to admit, it is embarassing.

5. Would you rather a National park or an Amusement Park? Definitely a national park!

6. Do you like to go to the same place for vacation over and over or somewhere new?  I like to go to Pacific City and would be happy going there every year, but I'm embracing the new.

7. Car knitting necessitates ingenuity sometimes. How ingenious have you had to be?   I usually just do plain socks in the car, especially because I get car sick and have to do something that requires little looking at.

8. Have you ever seen another knitting in the passenger seat knitting on the road? No but I would give them a thumbs up.

9. Do you collect anything on vacation?  I used to collect those tacky beaded belts but now I try to collect shells and rocks.
10.  Do you get homesick? All the time. All. The. Time.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

All I got

In case you can't see it, Comet is pointing you to a tiny little toe on a sock. I cast on for it before I left and did not knit on it at all. No knitting for three days! Not even on the plane! That's what happens when your plane ride is short.

Back from the conference and happy to be home.

It is a rainy day here so we are thinking about snuggling on the sofa with the dogs and watching movies. Doesn't that sound like heaven?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Number 2

I've been working on the second sock and it is coming along pretty well:

I do love this pattern, and I love knitting cables.

I'm off to Seattle for two nights tomorrow--and having a bit of travel and conference anxiety. I think a lot of times when I'm around other people who 'do' what I do I find myself comparing myself to them and finding myself wanting (I haven't achieved enough or published enough or whatever enough). I also am having some issues with the organization that sponsors the conference so all in all I'm not in a great place to go. On the other hand--I get to visit with several former students and see my friends from Australia and that is what I have to focus on.

The good thing is that the anxiety didn't start til last night (yay), probably because it is a very short flight (an hour) and I know if something happens I can get home pretty quickly.

Deep breaths!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Stitch Sampler Shawl

I mentioned I'm doing a stitch sampler shawl with mini skeins of Koigu, and it looks so bright and cheerful:

This probably has about eight or nine mini skeins in it.

Some close ups:

This will look better blocked (famous last words!).

Monday, March 14, 2016

Socks you say?

Kathy has a few questions about socks. I have answers! It is dark and rainy here (boo) but everything is becoming so green outside!

#1 Do you have a favorite sock yarn?: I have many favorites. I love Wollmeise and I also love String theory colorworks and Miss Babs. I am overloaded in sock yarn (see post from last week) though and won't be buying any more any time soon.

#2 Do you knit top down or toe up? If I'm doing a basic sock (no pattern), it will be toe up. If I'm following a pattern, then I will do as the pattern instructs. I'm good like that.

#3 Have you ever knit a Holiday Stocking? Yes--I knit stockings for both of us to match our tree skirt this year.

#4 Have you tried KnittersPride Karbon needles? No--should I?

#5 Do you knit through the back loop on your gusset pick ups on the first round? No--should I? Why has no one told me this/

#6 Do you know someone famous who knit socks? No?

#7 It is Pi Day.  This is Miss Pie's designated Birthday. 
She is 3 now. 
Will you have Pie today? Happy birthday Miss Pie! I wasn't planning on it but I will get some at the grocery store!

#8 Have you seen the see through clogs that show off your handknit socks? Yes, I even got some once but they were incredibly uncomfortable.

#9 What's the biggest pair of socks you've ever knitted? I guess the christmas socks?

#10 What color is your current or last pair of knit socks? Brown and navy. I have some lovely turquoise blue that I've been experimenting with for a cable and beads pattern. I gave up and found a pattern on Rav and I'll start that one soon.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Spring Forward

I'm not a fan of daylight savings and wish we could just pick a time and stick with it.  How about you?

Let's see, what can I update you with?

Knitting: did a bit more of High Seas:

Somehow it doesn't look any bigger than the last picture but I promise you it is!

Reading: I read two books in rather quick succession. First was "What Remains of Me" which is a mystery--it wasn't great but I stuck with it to figure out who did it and why. It is one of those books that is described as 'for those who liked Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train' but I  liked both of those books and this one, as they say, is not like either of those.

The second one is a historical novel called "The Stargazer's Sister" which was based on a real life pair of siblings named William and Caroline Herschel (summary: he built telescopes and she discovered comets) (more here) and it was pretty good but dragged on a bit. If you like historical stuff you might like this one.

Viewing: We have either 3 or 4 episodes left of "House of Cards" and it is an odd season: it seems almost like two different seasons (the first few episodes Frank is worried about the primaries, and then SOMETHING HAPPENS and now for the last few he's not worried about the primaries. At all). Anyway, it continues to be good but it seemed to sort of restart right after the SOMETHING HAPPENS part.

Last night we watched "Our Brand is Crisis" and between this movie and "House of Cards", I can't help but find myself thinking "if I had seen both of those six months ago I would have told you they are totally unbelievable. But now...yeah."

We went to the Home Show and didn't see anything inspirational.

Lots of rain and wind here. Hope it is drier where you are!

Friday, March 11, 2016

E-O-S Musings

It is the End of Sabbatical (E-O-S) today. OK technically--classes don't start up for two weeks (one week of winter term finals and one week of spring break) but today is the last official day of classes and so I declare it the E-O-S. Please allow me to muse for a bit.

  • I'm proud of what I accomplished this sabbatical: I submitted four papers to academic journals, I contributed to a fifth paper that is due in about a month, I wrote two chapters for books that someone else is editing, and I wrote nine chapters (half a book) for a book with my colleague Larry and three chapters (1/4 of a book) for a workbook with two other colleagues. The academic papers weren't all started from scratch, so it isn't like I conceived five new studies. But most of them involved data collection, they all involved concentration (something lacking when you teach a lot) and several of them were outside my comfort zone (they involved the Theory of Moral Development, which is an ethics thing). 
  • I'm OK with what didn't get done---one paper was in the queue and I just didn't have the feels for it. I also have no where to submit it and it is WAY outside my comfort zone. Plus, I need something to do this summer. The other thing I didn't get a chance to do is read the pile of academic stuff I brought home to read--oh well. Now that I don't have to stress about summer research I can spend the summer reading all that.
  • I knit some good stuff, including this that I started on using the Koigu mini skeins (close ups in a future post, but this is very fun).
  • I also got a good start on some home decluttering projects: I took a first swipe at our two hall closets, I did some drawers in the office, and did a straighten up of my clothes closet. I'm working now on our guest room/yarn room. A few years back Tim built a wall of cubbies that I thought I could use to display yarn like in a yarn store. DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME. Yarn store employees must spend most of their time putting back and straightening yarn from those cubbies. So I bought some storage bins from Target and now I'm reorganizing the yarn wall. Yesterday was reorganizing the already-rolled sock yarn balls by lining them up in the hallway and grouping them by color and putting them in the bins.

    I'm off to a conference next Wednesday--conferences always are hard for an introvert like me, and this one in particular is for a group for which I served as President a few years ago, and the current organizers have done some things I don't agree with. Whatever. They also rejected several of my submissions so I'm kind of annoyed by that too. Oh well. I'm going to get together with old friends and grad students who are now professors and I'm looking forward to that. Plus it is in Seattle and it is nice that it is close by. 

    Not sure what is up this weekend as it is supposed to rain--a lot--again. So we'll see. 


Wednesday, March 09, 2016


I finished the first Trachtensocken!

I did a shorter one than the pattern recommends because this seems to take a lot of yarn. As you can see, I did a contrasting heel and toe because I was worried about having enough of the brown yarn.

Cables are my absolute favorite thing to knit, and these socks look complex but are really really fun.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

WOODn't you like to know?

Today, Carole asked about ten favorite things in the house made of wood. 

Tim grew up in a family of woodworkers, and I grew up in a family in the wood business, so we both tend to like wood. A lot. Plus now we live in the PNW where wood is plentiful. So yes, I can zip through this one pretty quickly!

1. The dining room table: I bought it when I bought my first (and only) condo in Cambridge, Mass in 1990 (it was on Centre Street, halfway between Central and Harvard Squares. Central Square was still a bit 'dicey' then but it was the closest T stop so I spent a lot of time in Central Square.  There was a great arts and crafts store called Pearl, and a great bar called Miracle of Science. I miss Central Square). Anyway--it is cherry and it came from the Crate and Barrel Furniture Store on Mass Ave in Cambridge which probably isn't there anymore. But I digress.
2. The chairs. You might remember this post where I documented Tim's loving restoration of the chair seats.
3. The Grandfather clock. This was a gift from Tim's parents for his 40th birthday.

4. The Type case. This is a piece that was Tim's before we got married--I think he found it at an antique store? It now shelves knitting books and projects and a few CDs that we can't seem to let go of.

5. A wood wall hanging in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright.
6. A strip built box that holds the remotes (Tim built this).

7. A wooden spinning wheel
8. The strip built kayak in the garage (pictures soon!).
9. Our wooden bedframe.
10.Both dressers in our bedroom: one built by Tim, another was custom made for us (we gave it to ourselves as a wedding present).

Yes, we are one woody family!

Monday, March 07, 2016

Monday Meme!

Kathy wants to know:

*Is sleep my friend or your foe: 90% of the time I get all the sleep I need. However, I do suffer from anxiety and if I start down the anxiety rabbit hole I can't sleep at all. I have techniques for dealing with this but it is always something to work on.

*Mindless knits or lace charts: I always have a mindless knit on the needles. I am not a big lace fan but I have one on the needles right now too.

*Should we hike or should we bike? I'll always be a hiker, although I have a bike. It is kind of hilly here.

*Do you knit at a certain time of the day or impromptu: I always knit while watching TV in the evenings, and can do a mindless knit while I'm reading a book. I can't knit while I'm working although I do take knitting to faculty meetings.

*Stephen West or Ann Budd designs: hmm. I know who both of these are and I'm pretty sure I've never knit a Stephen West design (mostly because they cost $6 each).  I think Ann Budd wrote those 'recipe' books for sweaters which I've definitely used.

*Shawls around your shoulders or backwards snuggling your neck: not big on shawls, but around my shoulders.

*Haircuts planned and frequent or whenever the hair is driving you crazy: I was just thinking I need to ask Tim to trim my hair this week!

*Faux fur fashion or chalked hair fad: I have a vest with a faux fur hood that I adore.

*Stitches convention or Sheep and Wool festivals: been to both, they are both a bit too crazy for me, although I do like seeing the animals.

*Keeping your New Years resolutions or fa ghetta bout it: ha!

Sunday, March 06, 2016

New Project

I started the Split Back Tank right after I finished the Koto sweater--could two things be any different? One is grey and wool and warm. This is peach and bamboo and cool. And hopefully I'll be able to finish it by the time summer comes!

The yarn is some type of Crystal Palace bamboo that I've had forever, and it is a bit splitty but I still like it.

IN other news:
-we watched "Bridge of Spies" which I keep wanting to call "Bridge of Sights" last night. Kind of talky but good.
-I'm reading "The Lightkeepers" which is interesting--a photographer goes to stay on an archipelago 30 miles off the California coast and things get, um, interesting.

I'm off to wind some yarn. Hope your weekend is good!

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Big Bag of Little Yarns

For a while, I subscribed to the Koigu Mini skeins program and have several dozen little 25 yard skeins.

I found a pattern called the Stitch Sampler Shawl and I think I'm going to attempt this with all these little skeins. The pattern calls for 600 yards and that translates to 24 little skeins. There are 24 in that bag.

I am thinking of maybe adapting this to a cowl. We'll see. And luckily I have a wonderful husband who will wind these little skeins while we watch movies.

In other news:
-Taxes done! I love Turbo Tax.
-Front closet decluttered and organized! And I didn't even need KonMari to do it!
-First episode of the new House of Cards watched! So good, even if I don't remember who some of the people are and why they are doing the things they're doing (why is the reporter guy in jail? And why is he afraid of Armenian mafia?).

Have a good day!

Friday, March 04, 2016

Got it together.

Yes, I still have to weave in the ends but this has the collar on it, the arms are attached, and it is blocked! If it wasn't 60 degrees here I'd be wearing this today.

I have a large picture so you can see the curved hem---it dips low in the back.

I ended up doing an icord bind off on the neck. I like how it looks and it adds a bit of stiffness that sometimes necklines need.

I immediately cast on for a summer top just to do something different!

I also submitted my final paper to a journal yesterday (final paper of the sabbatical)--I wasn't expecting to finish it up so quickly but as I read it over yesterday I thought 'this isn't that bad--and it makes some good points so just send it somewhere.' So I did. I'm not one of those people who obsess over every minute detail of papers--just send 'em out and see what hits. Needless to say, I get rejected a lot. I'm used to it--it bothers me a bit but now my attitude is that there's a home for it somewhere.

I'm adding a few news exercises to my workout--planks and tricep pushups. I hate both of them. But I think I've avoided them for too long!

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

In and out of comfort zone

So I now have two sleeves:

The body is already seamed so all I have to do is attach the sleeves and do the collar--I think there's a bit of stuff in the collar but maybe not. This is SO BORING to knit on but I should just suck it up and finish it. I might even be able to wear it this year. This is the 'in my comfort zone' part of the post, just so you can keep track.

Meanwhile--outside my comfort zone:
-the last piece I'm working on for sabbatical is about ethics of social newsgathering---two areas I"m really not familiar with but I got some funding for it so there. I think it will get done and I have a journal to submit it to so we'll see what happens. My goal is to get it done by the end of next week.
-I'm doing the 30 Day Pilates Challenge--ten minutes a day of Pilates. Today is day 2 and we did upper body and I want to give up. I hate push ups. I hate planks. Luckily it was just ten minutes. Yesterday (day 1) was legs and I did great.
-I don't like stopping books, but I had to stop "Queen of the Night' because it was so uninteresting and set in a time period that I know nothing about (early 19th century france) and I don't really care that much about it either. I also started reading a light chicklit book and am slowly realizing I've read it before.

Hope all is well in your world!

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

ToT: The Extra Hour Edition

In honor of Leap Day yesterday, with all its promise of specialness because A WHOLE EXTRA DAY, Carole asked what we would do with an extra hour. Irony alert: Daylight Savings does something next weekend (either starts or ends) so we lose an hour--and so that extra hour would really be welcomed! (Note to self: double check definition of irony so you don't become that person who doesn't know what irony is).

1. Walk the dogs longer. We try to walk the dogs every day and too often it feels like a chore rather than a fun thing. An extra hour would help me feel more present in that walk time.
2. Clean. There's always something that I'd rather do than clean, but maybe an extra hour would make it not so bad? (Note to self: who are you kidding?).
3. Read serious books. I had a stack of serious books that I wanted to read over sabbatical and now I'll read them over summer break (which is OK, really). But an extra hour would be time to read something a bit more challenging than I usually read.
4. Garden. I like gardening. I'd do more of it if I had a bit more time. And it is getting nice out there too (Note to self: take garden pictures for the blog).
5. Take a nap, and then maybe stay up a bit later in the evening.
6. Fret less over lines, traffic, events that go long, etc.
7. Be neater.  (OK I'm trying to think of things that don't involve chores, and it is hard).
8. Venture farther afield---more time for the coast and mountains.
9. Throw stuff out of the fridge as it gets gross as opposed to waiting for the monthly purge.
10. Obligatory 'knit more' statement.

As I write this (and maybe this is what Carole intended) it becomes clear that I can easily grab an extra hour every day--play less Papa Pear, spend less time looking at Oscar gowns, less time checking online for all my medical symptoms the minute I feel not 100%. I'm going to be more mindful of the time wasting on the computer and get some of that hour every day. Thanks Carole!

ET to fix the start of Daylight Whatever to the weekend after this coming weekend--thank you Bonny for the fact check!