Thursday, June 30, 2016

Yes I'm not

an alpacanana,
I am not an alpacanana today.

I have puppies, and kittens,
Half a fair isle mitten,
And birds at the bird bath to play.
But yes, I'm not an alpacanana.
I'm not an alpacanana today.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesday Wee-cap

Here's a short recap (wee-cap, get it?) of my life.
  1. No cria yet.
  2. I cast on for what looks like a cute top: Construction zone. I'm using some Rowan Calmer that has been in the stash forever, even though this is supposed to be made with a somewhat thicker linen yarn.
  3. Linen yarn: it is SO DAMN EXPENSIVE. I mean linen is a plant, right? Like a weed? Isn't it growing wild everywhere? Why is it so expensive?
  4. We're going to the Oregon Bach Festival tonight---another lovely thing about Oregon is a two week festival of classical music here in Eugene. The focus is obviously on Bach, although tonight we're hearing a trio of Viennese Masters: Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart. 
  5. I'm reading "Before the Fall" and it is unputdownable. 
  6. So here's something weird: at night I put on a bunion splint (it pulls my big toe out and stretches it to relieve the pain of a bunion). For the past several nights, I've been taking it off (I think in my sleep) in the middle of the night. Generally the movement wakes Tim up--the first time it happened  and I asked him to ask me if I was awake when I take it off. Two nights ago, I was awake and taking it off and he asked and I replied that yes, I was awake. And I was. Last night, the same thing--only I wasn't. I have no recollection of it this morning.
  7. Exercise update: I'm walking 2-3 miles every morning and then following that up with 15-20 minutes of weights. This is good--my exercise guru Lauren told me that doing the same DVD workout every day starts to decline in effectiveness after five or six weeks. So now I spent the 15-20 minutes per day alternating between arms, core and lower body, and I have enough short workouts on different DVDs I can create a different workout every day for about a month. That's a good thing! I like working out with weights because I can feel things becoming easier--and then I can add some weight to it to make it challenging again. 
  8. Did I mention? No cria yet.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tom Petty knows

The waiting is indeed the hardest part. Where is the cria, you ask? Still not here. I thought it might be today but it didn't happen--I got some errands done and am now pretty clear for the rest of the week. Hopefully the cria will be here soon!

The second mitten pattern was released yesterday, and I got a start on it today:

So I'm about a third of the way through and I'm being a 'better' colorwork knitter and I do think it looks better. This one is two turtle doves. I'm sure we'll see them soon.

I also cast on for a new top and will work on that when I finish this post and take some time with a book.

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods--THINK POSITIVE CRIA THOUGHTS!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Quora Ahora!

 If it is Monday, Kathy is going to have questions.

*Where do you keep your favorite old patterns? I once did notebooks with fancy schmancy plastic things but then I threw most of them away. Now they either all live electronically on Ravelry or in a pile under my desk.

*When was the last time you got to bottle feed a baby? Last Thanksgiving--one of my PhD students and his wife had a baby and I got to feed her. Speaking of babies: no cria yet.

*What knitting will you pick up and enjoy today?
I think it is a new '12 days of christmas' mitten day so probably that!

*Can you do a flip turn? I think I could for five minutes when I was nine.

*You just won a raffle.  What's your pick? *Independent yarn dyers sock yarn. I've been burned by too many mystery things and I'm not a fan of online classes.

*You can photograph anything perfectly and show us on your blog tomorrow. 
What will it be?The baby cria!  
* Name a New knit website to check out please-

*Name something you only drink in summer-shandies! We had them yesterday because it got hot out.

*You are give a new skill
Do you choose:
a) talk to the animals
b) talk to the dead
c)talk on the radio and have your own show for a night
Anyone who knows me, just a bit, knows that I would pick A--talk to the animals--immediately!


Sunday, June 26, 2016

No Cria Sunday

So it is almost 2pm so the chances that the cria will come today are small. Oh well.

I finished the scarf last night and blocked it today, and I must say it looks great!

Pre-blocked (with bonus Comet butt): 

 Post blocked!

Here's a close up of one of the blocked stripes:

In other news: I read "The Excellent Lombards" and it was OK, nothing great. We watched "Exit Through the Gift Shop" which was kind of fun (on Netflix).

Hope your weekend is better than mine!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

It May Be Today!

I heard from Ann at the farm this morning and there's a few signs that the new cria may arrive today (milk is in, cria seems to have 'dropped'). I'm just waiting for the summons to the farm!

UPDATE: no cria today. Oh well.

Here is a butterfly in our butterfly bush this afternoon.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday stuff

I'm still not quite in the swing of summer--I have plenty to do and plenty of time to do it, and I think that might create some issues with getting focused and getting stuff done. Next week I do have a few meetings so that will provide some framework, and of course we're on cria watch for a while. My twinster asked if alpacas can be induced--I did a bit of research and learned they can be induced. The gestation period is 344 days, and in general once they get about 365 days there are induction discussions. Rachel--do you ever have to induce caribou?

1. I went to the Black Sheep Gathering this morning--not a lot to tempt me since it seemed to focus on wool and sock yarns and I have plenty of those. In the olden days, some big stores would bring boxes of stuff and have nice sales. Now, it is mostly independent dyers with beautiful yarns but just nothing I'm in the market for given the size of the stash.

I did buy this for the table runner I"m planning:

It is 22/2 cottolin and looks like it would be nice for a table runner (it isn't soft at all, and it seems to be kind of stiff given that it is 40% linen).

2. I blocked the mitten and it looks a bit better. I forgot to show you the 'other' side--since the theme is the '12 days of Christmas' every mitten has a number that can be on the mitten itself or knitted on the thumb. I chose the 'back' of the mitten--

3. I'm almost done with this:

Here's a close up:

4. Finally, we have a volunteer hollyhock that is dark magenta and glows in the sun:

 I do not have a green thumb but I've been very lucky with volunteers--this one and all the digitalis in the garden are all volunteers.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Update: No cria, but I do have a mitten.

It is now post-solstice--and that means the cria should be here soon. I'm eager to meet the new little one!

I finished the first mitten of the 12 days of Christmas mitten KAL. The first one does not look that great.

The pear is not pear shaped and the whole thing is a bit wonky, which means I'll probably re-knit this one once I get my two color knitting game down. It is hard! I didn't do any of the things you are supposed to do like twist things around etc. So I need to really focus a bit more and hope #2 looks better. Argh.

I really am not good at this, but I am committed to working on it.

OK what else? I'm working on two manuscript revisions and are pretty close with both of them. I've been doing good walks and then exercising in the mornings, so that's good. It has been nice and cool so that's good too.

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Quick on Tuesday

1. I didn't do ToT because I don't listen to audiobooks.
2. No cria has arrived since I last wrote that no cria has arrived.
3. My perception of my colorwork skills is very true. I cannot do colorwork.
4. We did our first paddle of the season on Sunday and it was great!
5. Two days in a row of 'core' exercises and why don't I have a six pack yet?

Monday, June 20, 2016

I adora Quora!

What's your preference? Butterflies or Hummingbirds?
SOPHIE'S CHOICE!! I love them both. We have a huge butterfly bush outside the office and this is shaping up to be a good season for butterflies. Yet--there is something magical about a hummingbird.

*What's your preference? Boxed water or bottled water?
Boxed water--what? A box of water? And Kathy--what is it better than? 
I"m very lucky that we have wonderful tap water in Oregon. 


*For next to your skin softness,  do you prefer  angora, cashmere, alpaca, or acyrlic?
 Cashmere I think--alpaca is beautiful but it is very warm which leaves to itchiness. Angora--itchy. Acrylic--let us not speak of that.

*Do you have an interchangeable needle set or do you  prefer the individual circs?
 I prefer individual circs--I have an original pair of Knit Picks but I"m always losing portions.

*Do you prefer an alcoholic drink before, during or after your dinner?  
 Growing up my family was cocktails ONLY before dinner. I don't drink a lot but now it is one glass of something (cider?) to last both before and during dinner.

*What cuts into your knitting time more,  others in your home or your own wanderings on the internet? 
 Hmm. A bit of both I think.

*Would you rather have a snowstorm as in Blizzard, or a heatwave with violent thunderstorms. 
 Hmm. Can I have the thunderstorm without the heatwave? When I lived in Chicago I DEFINITELY was a Blizzard girl--probably so in Boston too. Now I think I'm a heatwave girl.

You just won a all expenses paid trip to a Fiber Festival. Would you go alone or try to bring a knit pal along? 
 I'd take you and Kim.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

Saturday update

1. Irina: I have the first five or so inches done. I really like this knit and I think I can even knit on this while reading.

2. Book Bingo:
Not doing too bad--the yellow ones are the ones that I've completed. I'm reading 'Smoke" right now and I will complete it--it is interesting. I started reading it because someone described it as a mix of "Harry Potter" and "His Dark Materials" and at first I was disappointed (it is nothing even close to Harry Potter) but once I got my mind around it being much more like "His Dark Materials" I started liking it much  more.

3. Watercolor: I signed up for a class in July and I'm excited about that!

4. Anniversary recap: we went out for a delicious dinner at the Excelsior last night. We shared a "Fritto Misto de Mare" appetizer (seafood), I had filet and Tim had duck, and then we shared a delicious chocolate thing for dessert. We took a nice walk after dinner and had a really lovely time.

So those are my updates!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Slowly growing

I really love this pattern:

I'm using a bunch of Koigu mini skeins and am alternating 'darker' and 'lighter' and using things primarily in the 'blue family. The 'solid' stripes are a set of five gradient yarns (I'm almost done with the second blue) to create some interesting color stuff in that area.

I'm finally DONE--advanced a student to candidacy (for a PhD) yesterday. This poor guy was about to drop out of the PhD program because he wasn't connecting well with his adviser and his dissertation proposal was a mess and kept getting messier. Our grad director suggested that I step in for his adviser and he said that he was sure I was too busy--but this is a great student and I'm thrilled to work with him. So we went through three or four additional iterations on his proposal over the last month (yes, the timeline is short since he needs to get dissertation credits) and yesterday he got approval from his committee. So that is happy.

Today is our 21st anniversary--we are going out for a nice dinner tonight and we look forward to being DONE.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

An Animal Post

I have a lot of knitting to show you but instead--animals!

I went out to Aragon Alpacas today to meet the new cria Stryder (this is not my cria--mine will be here in the next two and a half weeks or so).

What a cutie!

Here is a back view of Brownie--I could feel the cria's hoof under her skin today!
Last weekend we went to Delta Ponds to see what we could see. And we saw:
the heron.

The turtle.
Baby ducks.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Christmas in June?

No news flash: cria not yet born.

So--those who know me and my knitting know I'm not a big colorwork person. I've done some fair isle stuff but I'm not that good at two hand knitting. I tend to knit too tightly and it doesn't look good.

But hey! I also love a good KAL  and I also love to knit for Christmas but in general I forget to get started until, say, Thanksgiving and that's not good.

That's why Just Crafty Enough's 12 days of Christmas mitten garland knit along is perfect for me. This is the second year she's done this (I didn't do it last year, but I have yarn to knit the mittens) but I'm doing it this year. Every two weeks there's a new pattern for a little mitten and at the end of the KAL you have enough for a garland! A little mitten garland!!!

I worked on Mitten 1 (a partridge in a pear tree) for a bit yesterday:

See? The head?

And it has beads
So this is fun and I'm happy--I'm building my colorwork skills and doing a cute Christmas project. My thought is that I'll do the 12 days and in between each day I'll put one from the Advent garland which is pretty too.

So what else? I read two books, "Under the Influence" by Joyce Maynard which was good, and "The Last September" which was OK (interesting construction of the story though).

We watched an interesting and light documentary, "The Search for General Tso", which is about how General Tso's Chicken became a staple of Chinese restaurants in the US. There's some interesting history of the Chinese diaspora and why you can find semi-decent Chinese food anywhere in the country. It's on Netflix.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

TOT: The Summer Bucket List

Summer is finally here for me, and Carole wants to know about the Summer Bucket List! So here we go!

1. Learn to watercolor. I know this sounds like I am stalking Carole but I'm really not. I bought a set of paints because I have a hankering to learn, I've looked at some online tutorials and I'm keeping my eyes out for a class to take this summer.

2. Bike. We have bikes but for some reason don't use them very often (at all) in Eugene (Tim rides his from work to school in Corvallis). I want to bike more, especially now that I'm in better shape to tackle the hill up to my house.

3. Spend time with the baby cria. Any day now, my alpaca Brownie is going to give birth to her first cria. There are three pregnant alpacas at the farm where she lives, and Ann at Aragon Alpacas posted this picture of the first cria, Stryder, just the other day:

4. Garden. I'd write 'weed' but that doesn't sound fun. The garden needs some love. I will give it some love.

5. Lots of knitting projects, of course, and I'm casting on for a new one today--and it is a holiday knit so there's that!

6. Reading of course--I have a pile of books about science and I want to get through them in preparation for a new class next year (on communication science, and why it is so hard).  Plus it might be "Magic Mountain" time.

7. Farmers Markets--after the Great CSA Disaster of 2015 we didn't join a CSA but we have farmers markets almost every day here in the lush Willamette Valley. I need to get in the habit of going to those instead of the grocery for fruits and veggies.

8. Pesky work--I have a couple of work projects but nothing I can't handle or that will take me too far away from this bucket list.

9. Hiking and kayaking. We didn't get a lot of kayaking in last summer--drought? Too hot? Not sure? But we'll change that this year.

10. Hawaii. And then we'll shut the Summer Bucket with a trip to Hawaii in September. Aloha!

Monday, June 13, 2016

I adora Quora!

Kathy has renamed her inquisitive Monday posts to Quora Time! So let's go!
 I think I've taken knitting on camping trips. I also knit in Costa Rica when we stayed places with no electricity. So yes!

Do you play board or card games in summer?
We play Bananagrams every once in a while!
  Are you hooked on Amy Beth?

I have no idea what this means.
Are you angry at a bird? 

The ones that start singing at 5:15 am, yes I am.
Have you discovered you were wrong about something? Want to share? 
Oh I'm wrong about stuff all the time.

You are given a gift.  To a spa.  Would you get a massage, a facial, mani pedi or scalp treatment? 
A massage!

Do you use a provisional cast on?
I hate these. I can never get the stitches back on the needle. I tend to just seam stuff together.

Have you lost a swift? 
The swift and ball winder live in a felted bag in the closet, so no.

Is your 2016 New Years Plan still rocking it?
I don't think I had a plan?

Have you made lemonade pie? 
This sounds good but sweet!

Do you ask SIRI , What planes are overhead?
OK I learned two things today--that I can make Siri an Aussie guy and he'll tell me planes. Off to go do that. Thanks Kathy!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

All done!

Grades are in, annoying student has been slapped down, awards have been awarded, diplomas delivered.

Today was the J school graduation and the honors ceremony. In the past, the honors ceremony has been the day before graduation (which is on Monday). Because the UO has grown so much, there are few venues that can hold all of the students/families in the 'big' schools (us, the business school, the Honors college, and the School of Ed). So the J school graduation got moved til Sunday (the rest of the UO graduates tomorrow) and our honors ceremony stayed on Sunday because the NCAA Track and Field Championships were going on til yesterday AND there were no hotel rooms for visiting parents.

Did you get all that? TL:DR: sometimes living in a small town is a logistical nightmare.

Our graduation has gotten way too big and impersonal---we handed out 614 diplomas to J school grads today (that includes summer grads and fall 2015 AND 206 grads, and winter 2016 grads). How do I know that exact count? Because I had the important job of handing a stacks of diploma covers to my colleague Regina, who then handed them to our interim dean to give to students. My colleague Peter and I stood on concrete floors for 90 minutes moving about ten steps either way to pick up or deliver covers. After about half an hour I was exhausted and Peter--who is 20 years younger than me (at least) was also exhausted (and he is a marathon runner). So that was my day.

But there is knitting! This is Irina:

I like the pattern--it is  some very simple cables but they kind of alternative in some interesting ways.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Wrapping up

My grades are in and the first complaint is also in. Awesome!

I had two defenses and a meeting about a research program yesterday, and then a 'party' for the Interim Dean who didn't get the real dean job. That was interesting.

I've added a bit on to this:
And I have a bad case of stratitis--Tim is winding off 1000 yards of fingering weight silk in bright pink and orange that is really fun.

Graduation is Sunday--the Honors awards are at 9 and the ceremony at 12 so that will be a long day but THEN I'm done (except for one more defense next week....)

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Behold Blue Things

I'm knitting blue things.

I finished this and need a warm day to block it.
The book--"The Last Days of Magic"--don't bother.

Mindless sock for Tim. No idea what the yarn is.
Oh, I also read "Sweetbitter". It was OK (and this has been HYPED as one of THE books of the summer).

This is Irina from Knit.wear. Haven't gotten too far on it.

I need a nap.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Tot: Curiosity

Carole admits she isn't curious and asks ten things we're curious about. I love this prompt since curiosity is one of the areas I've studied academically--it is a precursor (arguably) to creativity and many people who say that they aren't 'creative' readily admit that they're curious. Creativity (arguably) can't be learned but curiosity is a like a muscle that can be worked out. So great topic!

Ten things I'm curious about:
1. What will happen in the election. I think we will have some type of October surprise but I'm not sure what.
2. What the weather will be like this summer--will it again be the hottest one on record?
3. Who is moving in to the student rental across the street.
4. Where do bats go all day?
5. Why do we see a few deer at the same time and place for a few days and then we go to look for them and POOF they are gone?
6. Where does all the fur in our house come from? All of our animals are short haired with almost no undercoat. Yet the fur keeps coming! Is it from me?
7. What does Jessie the cat think about all day? And why does she sleep with us every night for six months and then one night decide the living room chair is the best place?
8. There's a house near ours where yesterday I saw, hanging in the yard, two ducks, two wild turkeys and three cats. How does that harmony happen?
9. Why do people need to play music SO LOUD?
10. Why the cherries from the tree are only good for about four hours before they start to turn?

Summer is the best time to open your eyes and see what's happening!

Monday, June 06, 2016

Lots of 6s!

Today is 6-6-2016, many sixes today! It is also D-Day and the first day of finals week (graduation is Sunday) (hoorah).

Kathy has a meme:

1. Do you prefer:
frozen custard
hardpack ice cream
soft serve ice cream
Shaved ice 
this Shaved dessert that isn't just ice, its sort of milky?
I have been trying to eat less dairy but I do love ice cream. The best is Ted Drewe's frozen custard!
2. Of all the colors of the rainbow, which is your favorite? 
Indigo or Purple. Or red.

3. How do you keep your sock needles together? 
Oh Kathy you and your silly silly questions. Perhaps you should revise this to 'do you keep your sock needles together?" so I can answer 'no!". I do have one of those envelope holders for circular needles but it is less than helpful.
4. This is Koigu.  
If you could run through a knit shop and pull as much of ONE yarn as you could carry, what would it be?
Anything cashmere. Or a merino-cashmere blend. Probably a sock yarn. Hmm.

Are you over shawls? 
I tend to make narrow shawls that look more like scarves and that works for me. 


Do your peonies open with or without ants?
I have no peonies and thus cannot answer.

7. As a young girl I loved the book Charlotte's Web. 
I also loved: James and the Giant Peach
Snowbound with Betsy.
Want to share your favorites? 
I loved all the Betsy-Tacy-Tibb books, Little Women, Nancy Drew, The One-of-a-Kind family

Al is knitting BONNY. 
This lace shell is so pretty!
She can't wait to get past the stockinette.
I love stockinette. 
Is it nothing but boring to you to knit stockinette? 
or do you love it like me?
I  like mindless knitting so I can knit and read. Stockinette works great for that.

Are you more likely to get up early in summer or winter?
 Definitely summer--can rarely stay in past 7 am even on weekends.

If you are disappointed with the way a yarn pooling  is working up,
do you:
a. Carry on
b. Mix it with a complimentary color
c. overdye it
d. give it away
I've come to expect pooling in socks and so pretty much just carry on!
Thanks for another fun meme Kathy! 

Saturday, June 04, 2016


My mindless knitting for a while has been Papeda.

And no! It isn't a midriff baring thing. The straps are actually a lace piece that is knit separately and then attached.  I got about half of the lace piece knit last night:

This goes all the way around the yoke. You can see in the pattern picture on the link above. Anyway--now I have to find some other mindless knitting!

The yarn is a cotton/bamboo--I have both pale peach and pale pink, not enough to do the whole thing in either color, so most of it is pale peach with pale pink at the top. I think it will be nice!

Friday, June 03, 2016

Under control

My grading is under control (and they're not due for a bit), I have a few defenses next week and then I'm done for the summer (with a caveat, I just received two small grants -- yay -- for two projects to work on this summer. But I'm excited about those! Plus have a new piece of research to get underway).

I've added a bit to this:

And it is working well (it looks kind of dark, which it kind of is--but I think in real life it is maybe one tone lighter--the solid colors in between are blue which may not be showing up so well here).

I like this.

Plus, I finished a stockinette tank in cotton/bamboo and just have to do the straps/neckline in a lace pattern--so that is kind of a surprise finish. It looks huge right now but will probably fit ok.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Yes, I do knit other stuff--

--but this one seemed easiest to photograph this morning:

This is one entire repeat and I think two repeats in total will be plenty.

Yesterday was my last class--it was a bit of a disaster with one student blowing off the class (and his two person team). The remaining student was in tears. Another student, in her group evaluation comments, said one of her team members had spewed misogynistic hate speech in their last group meeting. So yeah. That is our future.

I know I need to focus on more positive things but after 23 years of this I'm pretty done.