Sunday, December 31, 2017

NYE Cast On Extravaganza

OK so maybe extravaganza is overpromising. But there are lots of new things on the needles, none of which look like anything remotely real, but you get to look at them anyway.

Mindless sock. I have no clue what yarn this is. I cast on and knit it while we drove over to the 'Building Site' yesterday (still can't call it a house yet as it is a bit more than a hole in the ground but not much more).

This is a mitten. Or a glove. Or a mitt. I'm not sure. But I knew I wanted to knit something bright for my hands after seeing Kathy's bright mitts.

This is the fair isle sleeve sweater that I'm just kind of making up as I go along. It takes lots of little balls of yarn, especially now. So there isn't much to see other than, well, I'm working on it.

You know that grey scarf? I'm going to call it done and make a cowl. Well, I have to knit on it a bit to make it done but I will make it a cowl. Life is too short.

Yesterday as alluded to we drove over to the coast and checked out the house progress. There's now a lot of concrete structures and the framing will start this coming week. Three deer were hanging around the property when we drove in. They didn't seem to want to leave and one, I swear, gave me nasty looks.

So Happy New Year!  We will have a festive evening of Mexican Meat Balls, "All The President's Men" and trying to stay awake. May yours be just as festive. And maybe a tad more.

Friday, December 29, 2017


We drove up to the carousel in Albany yesterday and it was just magical. The carousel is a community project--every animal is hand-carved and painted by members of the community. The actual carousel mechanism is a 1909 Dentzel Carousel Corporation mechanism (per the website) that was donated to the carousel. There are some original horses from the Dentzel Carousel on display.

The plan is to have 52 animals on the carousel itself and 11 more 'extras' to rotate in and out. Right now there are about 35 on the carousel.

hey were beautiful.
 Not surprisingly, one of my favorites is Taffy, the alpaca.
Taffy was a 'non moving' animal and of course we wanted to move.

Tim rode a fish.

I rode this one.
Each one is a work of art.

The level of detail is astonishing. Look at the mane and the saddle:

And this is on top of an elephant:

It's a mouse with a songbook.

We also saw a few of the animals being crafted:

If I had to pick a favorite, though, it would be this one:

We had such a good time.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Not much

I'm not sure why I haven't been knitting more this break, but I haven't. There was Christmas, of course. Tuesday we celebrated Boxing Day with friends, I cleaned off my desk (that was an event, let me tell you--sorting books to take to the library book fundraiser, separating papers that must be saved and papers that must be shredded and papers that just went into recycling, cleaning the surface when it finally showed itself-- and then Tuesday evening we watched a documentary about a chef, Jeremiah Tower (it was good. It was a DVD on Netflix).  Yesterday I finished book revisions, Tim worked on his dissertation, we took the dogs for a good walk, and then went to a gathering at the farm (I didn't see Calypso, the alpacas were all in for the night). But I have knit this:

This is supposed to be a long scarf (two equal halves are knit and then grafted together) but now I'm wondering if I'll instead make this as a cowl. I don't know. I'm just kind of bored with all the grey stockinette. I think today and tomorrow will be another one of my 'cast on' days as I want to cast on for the sweater I'm going to design and then also for that beaded thing. I need a 'car' knitting thing though since we're going to check on the house on Saturday, so I'll probably just keep at the big hunk of grey stuff.

OH! I've also been Wobbling. Tim gave me a Wobble board for Christmas.  I've done a few workouts on it and I can feel it already in my core. When I got it out of the box the first thing I saw was "for ages 18-55 only" and I thought "Not Today, Wobbleboard" and just defied that warning.

I'm reading a YA novel called "Nevermoor" which is yet another "Next Harry Potter" but is actually good.  The main character is a girl (Morrigan Crow) with a horrible family who gets spirited away to compete for a place at a school in a magical kingdom.  Sound familiar? It is good though.

Today we're going to drive up to Albany (about half an hour or so from here) to see a carousel made by hand by local people. There's an alpaca. Of course there is.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The day after

Happy Boxing Day! Our Christmas Eve and Christmas day were great mixes of activity and relaxation. Christmas Eve was a big cooking day---Tim made bread and got the beef in the sous vide bath; I made poached pears, spinach and mushroom stuffing, and twice baked potatoes. We then watched "Love Actually" and then went to bed where Comet joined us to sleep on top of the bed for the first time (she usually sleeps in her favorite place, oops second favorite place, her crate). Christmas morning was presents and breakfast and phone calls, then a long walk with the dogs, then an early dinner before we went out and looked at Christmas lights. Today we're headed over to friends' for brunch and then hopefully some down time.

Some alpaca and knitting gifts were thoughtfully provided by Santa:

An alpaca calendar, a book about alpacas and llamas, and Calypso! Amazingly, Tim found a perfectly miniature Calypso wtih both the tail and chin marks! (kidding on that. They were achieved with the help of a Sharpie).

Four books! I'm so excited to dive in and pick a project!

The dogs had 'indestructible' ginger bread men that lasted about ten minutes before Dr. Comet performed a squeakerectomy and then was exhausted from the effort.

Please note the missing arm on the gingerbread man, which is the proper way to perform a squeakerectomy.

Yesterday we also played the Oregon Trail card game (my first two cards: you have died of dysentary) and also a Celtic knot game that I had gotten for Tim. It was very fun.

I know from zipping around your blogs today that Christmas was eventful! Let the festivities continue!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Let the holidays begin..

It seems the blogosphere has already started shutting down for the long Christmas weekend. May your days be Merry and Bright. And if you want a white Christmas, I hope you have that too.

At our house, cookies (just three kinds) are baked, presents are (mostly) wrapped, Christmas eve dinner ingredients are (almost) purchased, and--most importantly--the dogs have their bows on.

I've worked this season on celebrating the whole season and not just making the weeks before Christmas a long check-off-the-to-do-list period, and that has made me feel a little more peaceful and less depressed this season (it happens some times).  We've watched "Elf" and "Rudolph" and the SNL Christmas special (Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Schweddy Balls.

One of the many things my Twinnie and I have in common is that we both enjoy when the whole world slows down on Christmas eve and people retreat into their circles of family and love.  I hope your Christmas Eve slows down in just the way you wish it to and that your holiday weekend is filled with peace.  See you next week!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Happy Solstice!

Yes I'm a day late, but happy Solstice anyway. I was in another insomniac-daze yesterday and had nothing to really say. A bit better today, so Happy Solstice!  I went to the grocery store yesterday and they had crab! Crab season is still not officially open for commercial fishers in Oregon, but apparently it is open in Washington, so I guess the crabs were imported. They were delicious!

Isn't this a cute card? It is two-dimensional and hand made. Carol, one of the checkers at the grocery store I go to all the time, made it for me! I guess that means that I talk about Calypso a lot. Anyway, she came running up to me in the aisle yesterday, so excited to give it to me. She said "I know it is a llama (!!!!) but I wanted to make it for you anyway." 

I was really touched--I got all teary at the store. It was so thoughtful. I'm going to keep it forever, and maybe make an ornament for the tree with it.

Baking has commenced. This is toffee. It uses two cups of butter and is yummy, but given it has four ingredients (butter, chocolate, nuts, sugar) what is not to like? I also made those brownie cookies that are supposed to crack but they did not crack but are still good. Today: almond crescents.

I was hoping to finish the Liab sock yesterday but it was not to be. I have about half a foot (human foot, not measurement foot) left so it will be done soon. I need to visit my knitting priority list and see what will come next! Probably the sweater.

Are you ready?

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Office hours

Here's my office, and my office mate, for today.

Not much news here, as I'm using the holiday break to catch up on a lot of writing projects and prep for class next term. We are on quarters, and I have a new prep next term and then ANOTHER new prep Spring term so I have to get on top of stuff fairly quickly. Plus, the book revisions (I'm trying to do a little every day) and manuscript deadlines (March!) that I"m trying to work on a bit at a time.

PLUS I have my 'post tenure review' (the first one I've ever had, and I've been tenured for (yikes) 17 years) and that just means putting a bunch of stuff together and writing a document that makes sense of it all. Not fun.

But on the fun news, I have one Milet done:

The pattern as written was way to big for my hand, so I skipped some of the 'rice' in the middle. It does need blocking (and that apparently is the story of my life) but I'll wait until I finish the second one. I like this a lot.

Yesterday I finished this mitten, finished one of Tim's gifts, and started on a fair isle hat using Koigu. I am not sure the colors I picked are going to work that well but I'll keep at it and we'll see. Pictures when there is something to see.

The plan today, once I finish working, is to make toffee and maybe those chocolate cookies that crack. I think it is going to be quite the Powdered Sugar Christmas.

Monday, December 18, 2017


Kathy says this will be the last Quora ever!
Thank you Kathy for always providing an entertaining start to Monday mornings. I know I'll miss the Quora but I clearly understand the challenge of finding things to ask every week. In fact, last night (during a little insomniac period) I thought "hmm, I could take over the Quora" but I thought that there would be NO WAY I could come up with even ONE question each week, much less a few.
So here's a digital round of applause for Kathy! Yay Kathy!
On to the Quora:

*Have you asked your kids to do something you wouldn’t do?
 Well, if by 'kids' you mean the animals who live with us, then yes, I do ask them to do things I wouldn't do. Mostly eat kibble and go to the bathroom outside.

*Do you understand: Football, Bridge, or Cricket?
I understand Football. I don't understand Bridge but think I could if I wanted to (I don't think I do). I have tried to understand Cricket but it is challenging. I do understand Rugby though.

*Have you talked to your family about Organ Donation?
I think we both signed up for organ donation when we got our Oregon driver licenses.

*Did you knit something that you thought you might not be able to this year?
I never tempt fate but planning out knitting beyond a few weeks, so I guess the answer is no.

*I-phone or Samsung?
I-phone but I am one of those luddites who really only uses it for the phone. And pictures. I am not a good or eager text-er, much to the chagrin of the rest of the world.

*Do you put bows or trinkets on your packages?
We wrap our gifts in fabric that we can reuse every year, and so the 'ribbon' tends to be yarn or stretchy gold cord (like they used to have at Marshall Field's). So no bows, and probably no trinkets unless it is part of the ''theme' of the gift.

*Do your pets get a Holiday treat?
Yes the dogs get greenies often and this year they'll get (toy) Gingerbread men wearing shirts that say 'bite me'. Calypso is still nursing and eating hay--he hasn't started on pellets or apples or carrots, so I don't know what to do for him! Tink and Atom will get apples. Jessie Cat will get--oh who knows what? I won't move her off my feet at night on Christmas, how about that?

*Do you use headphones, earbuds or nothing when you watch something on your phone, computer or tablet?
Depends. If I'm at work, nothing. If I'm at home and Tim is working at home, then earbuds.

*If you could take a craft/knit/crochet class in January for free, what would it be?
Oh that's a great question. Maybe weaving? On one of those big old looms?

*Have you ever made a traveling knit? (you knit part and send it on?)
Yes I have. I remember one that I did got very very held up at someone's house after it left my house--I'm not sure if it really ever got finished.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Fresh Air

The two week air stagnation alert that we were under finally blew out (bringing in a bit of rain). The two weeks was unseasonably cold (below freezing, down to almost 20 at night, which is very unusual) and of course no rain. One challenging thing was there was a ban on fireplace smoke--we have a neighbor or two who (I think) only use fireplaces so they get put in a bad position during inversions---stay warm and pollute the neighborhood, or stay cold and keep the air clear?

Lots of randomness for you today on the blog:

Every so often we do a gingerbread house. This comes out of a kit that we got at the grocery store--it was a bit pricier than the Wilton kits but it had one big benefit--the sides were notched so the walls fit together really well. THey probably didn't even need 'cement' icing but we used it anyway.
This kit also has the most solid icing I've ever used. That gingerbread house is gong to withstand all kinds of geothermic activities. The candies included with the kit were varied, colorful, and tasted absolutely awful. I'll share some pictures of the sides later.

Here's the scarf I'm working on--it is knit in the round and I'm using Cascade 220 and something else for the white (maybe Paton's something). In a few rounds this will be all grey. One does two separate hunks of tubes of scarves and then they are grafted together.

Two different sides. You can see the position of the stitch marker changes.

Yesterday was the Las Vegas Bowl where our Ducks went down in flames to Boise State. What can I say? We had no running game. Time to close the book on this season and move on.

Last night we watched a movie called "The Queen of the Desert." It was interesting and good. Please do not confuse this with Priscilla, Queen of the Desert because it is nothing like that. The Queen of the Desert is the story of Gertrude Bell, who was a real person who spent time with the Bedouin and apparently was instrumental in establishing the post-Ottomon-empire in Arabia. It was interesting, as I mentioned, because we knew nothing about her and I know nothing about that part of the world (that is a huge lapse in my education, I know).  The movie, directed by Werner Herzog, was slow and kind of dreamy----Gertrude would go out into the desert with maybe four servants on camels, they'd be ambushed (for lack of a better word) by tribesmen on horses with guns, and then Gertrude would be invited to have refreshments with the Sheikh and they'd have a moment of insight together. This happened twice (three times?) in the movie and we both thought that there would be some violence at some point but nope. Just kind of dreamy desert stuff.

What was also interesting was that there were some highly recognizable actors in this movie. Nicole Kidman played Gertrude Bell, and she ages about 20 years in the movie (maybe less, not sure) but this was accomplished with a number of lens filters that softened out her face which I found highly distracting.  Don't get me wrong, she looks great, but she was playing 20-25 years younger than she really is in the film, so filters were needed and it was bothersome. Robert Pattinson (Cedric Diggory! Edward Cullen!) was Lawrence of Arabia (luckily we've seen the movie Lawrence of Arabia so we understood that part) (and I always am taken aback when R Patt speaks in his natural british accent because Edward Cullen!). And Soames, the guy from Billions and Homeland (have to Google his real name) (Damian Lewis, love him) was in it as one of several men who falls in love with Gertrude. James Franco was in it too, also as a man who falls in love with Gertrude.Anyway--if you need a nice, quiet, pretty, warm movie, this could be the one for you.

This post is already too long so I'll end it. One week til Christmas eve!!! But you knew that.

Friday, December 15, 2017


I was excited to cast on for these mittens yesterday. First, I need mittens (I have gloves and fingerless mitts out the wazoo, but really have felt a need for mittens these days). Second, I love this pattern!!! Third, I like intricate little things because even if I mess up, fixing isn't hard.

And these are great to knit. Enough interest to pay attention, but enough repetition to make it soothing. And some interesting construction to boot!

First, you knit the fair isle cuff and then you start some ribbing above that. When you're done with the ribbing, it gets turned inside out to work on the rest of the mitten.

This is how it looks right now, before it is turned inside out.^^^^^^

And now I turn it inside out, and fold up the cuff, and--

There you have it. the yellow ribbing peeks through a bit.

These are a bit big but I think I can skinny them down a bit with blocking.

So I love them. The blue isn't quite as dark as it looks in this picture but it is a nice blue. And the white and gold are good too.

So yes, if you're counting, I have four projects OTN right now--Milet mittens, snowflake scarf, snowflake hat (you haven't seen those yet) and cabled socks. I think those cabled socks are my next focus to finish. But I really wanted to get these mittens going.

Other than that---outside lights are up and almost working correctly. We have laser projection lights and got some news ones with a remote control that needs a battery. Well, the batter is one of those vague, unpopular batteries and we had to order it on Amazon. It should be here today.

And cards are in the mail (box).

And so we progress. We've been under an air-stagnation warning for the past week or so, and it has been cold and clear with inversions which really affect me greatly (are we the only place in the world with inversions)? It is supposed to warm up today as a rainy system comes in, so I guess that will help. Off to the farm this morning too.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


This post is entitled 'almost' as it describes where I am in preparing for the holidays. There will be knitting content, I promise!

I'm almost done with cards (goal: in the mail on Saturday) and if you want a card from me please leave your address in the comments OR email your address to me at kbshee AT comcast DOT net. This is a once-in-a-lifetime card! Twinnie, yours is ready to mail. Kathy B! I need your address!

I'm almost done with decorating. We hung our silver sleighbells the other evening (we have a silver sleighbell from every year we've been married) and yesterday I bought the front door swag.

This is from a little florist called "Rhythm and Blooms" and we get door swag there every year. It is quite simple, just some addorted greens, some pinecones and a bow, but I like swags more than wreaths. And unlike other years, I didn't drop this one this year when I hung it (resulting in those red berries to fly all over the porch and the front entry, where they are eaten by a dog and THAT results in a call to poison control to see if I poisoned Pilot).  But that DIDN'T happen so all good.

And the decorating is almost done because we're working on a Gingerbread House and the instructions told us to let it sit over night once we put it together. It is now hard as a rock. I bought a kit at the grocery store and it has house pieces that are notched so they hold together well. BRILLIANT.

I almost have Christmas eve dinner planned---I went out to get the Roast Beast (tenderloin) yesterday and Tim butchered it a bit and put it in the freezer.

Other than that, I have finished Tim's present and will drop out birthday gifts for two friends with birthdays today and next Monday (they are related, the friends).

There has been knitting. This is a drop stitch cowl made with some STR with glitter in it, but neither the drop stitches nor the glitter show up particularly well.

 There is one spec of glitter seen above.

Yesterday I had a morning meeting with "my publisher" (that's so arrogant, isn't it? He's not really mine. He is a colleague who started a small academic publishing house and has published several books I've written, and I was his 'first' signed author so I call him 'mine'). Anyway. I have a manuscript that is just not..quite..right and we talked out the problems and came up with A Plan to fix the book. I probably need about two solid days to make the changes, so I can schedule those early on in Winter term before things get nutty. I also have a revise and resubmit due in January (I need to  make one last pass through that) and have two other pieces with March deadlines so that's my Winter term right there. But all things I want to do.

Now if I could just get through this bout of insomnia. That would be good.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017


  • Winding UP: grades are in, syllabus for next term is done and printed, the first few weeks of class are pretty much ready to go, and so I can wave goodbye to the teaching obligations of my job.
  • Writing UP: I am almost done with a revise and resubmit for one paper, and am through the 'hard part' of another paper (just have the discussion to write up). Yesterday I spent the morning cutting 1050 words out of a 4500 word paper, co-written with one of my former PhD students. Lucky for me, his writing is a bit 'flowery'.
  • Soaking UP: I finished the Magic Scarf (well, the knitting part) and here is the last section.
          It badly needs blocking and I have a dilemma. The scarf is almost eight feet tall, and I have       no  where to lay it out. So I think instead of blocking with wires I'll have to steam iron block it. Not great,    but I think my only choice. I did give it a bath and it opened up quite a bit, so that's nice. I also have the drop stitch cowl in the sink right now since that one is done too.
  • Warming UP: I've kept up taking a two+-mile work every Tuesday and Thursday with the dogs--we leave at about 7am. Usually by this time I've given up on the walks because of rain, but it hasn't been a problem this year. What is hard is that December is usually our coldest month (what is UP with that?)  and this December is no exception. I keep reminding myself that when I lived in Chicago and Boston, I went JOGGING if it was above 20 when I woke up. So walking the dogs in 26 degrees weather shouldn't be that hard. But it is. It is cold! But they like it a lot, I guess lots of good smells.
  • Gearing UP: now that school is done I guess it is time to get going on Christmas. Gifts are done but not wrapped. Tree is UP and decorated. Cards are in progress. I have printed out cookie recipes and plan to shop for cookie stuff today. 
  • Catching UP: on reading! I have a few books in the works--"Under Sea, Over Sky" because the second book is set during Christmas and I thought that might be a good Christmas book. The new prequel to His Dark Materials. But I'm fascinated---FASCINATED--by Tina Brown's "Vanity Fair Diaries". She was the editor of VF when I was involved in advertising (and hence tangentially to the publishing industry) and had seen at some luncheon or another many of the people she mentions. So it's fun.
  • Knitting UP: I'll have lots to show in the days to come. Obviously I've finished the Magic Scarf and the cowl. I have cast on and have worked the 'hard part' for the snowflake scarf. I have cast on for a hat. I'm hoping the mitten yarn comes today so I can cast on for that. Today's goal: finish Tim's Christmas gift.
  • So I think that WRAPS UP this UPdate. What's UP with you?

Monday, December 11, 2017

Two Quoras Before Christmas

Will there be a Christmas Quora? You'll have to keep checking Kathy's blog to find out.

You should go there anyway to see Miss Pie in her hat.

*Have you knit Christmas Ornaments or Hanukkah things?
Last year I knit the 12 days of Christmas mitten thing but honestly, I don't thinkthere are any knitted things on the tree. There are, however, handmade things on the tree--Tim's mom makes an ornament for all of her kids and grandkids AND now I guess Great grandkids every Christmas. That's 11 this year and 12 next year, so she cranks 'em ou.

This is one of my favorite ornaments--it is paper cut, incredibly delicate, about two inches high:

I also really like the rainbow one behind it--that came from a little shop in a little town in Colorado

*Have you seen a shooting star this year?
No--either too cloudy or too cold.

*What’s your preference:
cuckoo clock, digital clock, grandfather clock or a face with hands?

Hmm. I think a face with hands. We have a digital clock in our bedroom that I try not to look at because of my bouts with insomnia. We have a lovely grandfather clock in our living room that the bells are turned off because insomnia (time and bells start me down an obsessive vortex that doens't help with sleeping).

*Do you prefer chex mix for cereal or snack mix?
I've never been a big Chex person, but I do love some snack mix.

*Is you milk expiration date before or after 12/25? (see I am running out of questions!)
Pretty sure it expires before but I just got up to check. Best by 12/13 (note to self--buy milk).

*Name a bird you’d love to see in the wild-A kiwi bird!

*What is the last color you knit with? Oh this is boring--grey and white. I am doing that fair isle scarf and the last round had grey and white. Probably the last color--officially---was white.

*Do you know anyone who BELIEVES in The big Red Guy?
I'm sure I have kids of colleagues who still do!

*Do you have any solar decorations?
We have yard lights that are solar and so rarely shine now since it is winter.

*Mrs. Claus is knitting something for you. What is it?
A cashmere tube that I can snuggle down in.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

This should work

I posted yesterday about my planned knitting, and today I wound the yarns necessary for said plans. The yarn for the beaded scarf is wound already,  as is the yarn for the Snowflake muffler (I don't have enough black yarn, but I do have enough grey yarn, and so it will be grey.) (Grey is probably better because cat hair). So those projects are ready to go. The yarn for the Milet mittens will come wound (I really want to make those NOW). And so the winding included:

 Cascade 220 for the fair isle sleeve sweater. The blue on the right hand side is the main color. I have ten colors here--I may not use them all but I probably will. I wrote the other day that I think I needed some gold in there but wasn't going to buy new yarn. Yesterday I did a deep dive into the yarn stash and found a ball of Cascade 220 Superwash which isn't the same yarn but I honestly think for the little gold pop of color I want for this it will work.

And then two more projects:

I keep forgetting I want to make the Pair of Foxes mittens and I had a few skeins of fox-ish yarn around and think I'll do it with this Louet Gems yarn. And then at the bottom is two skeins of Koigu for Elska.

I finished the Silver something cowl and just have to drop the stitches on it. And I'm 1/3 of the way through the final section of the Magic Cowl. So things are wrapping up!

So if I cast on for the mittens (one of the two pairs), the hat, and the sweater, and continue working on the muffler, that should be good for now. 

And I have to keep remembering I have to finish Tim's Christmas present. That will probably be next week's project.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Updates and plans

I've done a bit of work on the second Liab, and it is progressing well.

As a bunch of things are finishing up at the moment, it is time to think about what comes next.

First, I'm definitely going to make Milet mittens--I ordered yarn from Knitpicks and these will cost something like $9 to make. Awesome! And so pretty. It is quite chilly these days (December in Oregon) so these will be welcomed.

The Snowflake Muffler might get cast on and worked on this weekend, as this will be 'mindless knitting' for much of it.

Also on the list is elska, which I'll make with one skein of solid Koigu and one skein of patterned.

And there's also that beaded cowl pattern that I promise myself I'll work on.

And finally, the Fair Isle Sleeve sweater, and I've already found the fair isle pattern I'll be using (it's from these Fair Isle cuffs.

As you might recall about me, I like to cast on for ALL THE THINGS at one time, and I'll probably do that over the break. But first I must WIND ALL THE THINGS which is not that fun.

On the Christmas front:
-I downloaded two recipes--one for crescent almond cookies from the Viking Cruise line website (I guess they're---Norwegian??) And then those brownie cookies that get crackly and you dust powdered sugar on the top. I will also make toffee again.

-The tree was purchased last Saturday and we brought it in last night and Tim put lights on it. It smells AMAZING. There is a Christmas tree shortage in Oregon (is there one at your house??) and even last Saturday it was pretty picked over at the place we go to get our tree (it isn't really a tree lot, it is a garden center that does trees at Christmas). The Tree Lot Guy said that the lot ran out in mid-December last year, so a lot of people came in during Thanksgiving weekend to get their tree because they were worried they'd sell out. So it is a bit wonky, our tree, but we still love it.

-Tonight we're going to the symphony where the program is Handel's Messiah. I have never heard the whole thing through so I'm looking forward to it. My friend Tim W. (as opposed to my Tim) is singing in the chorus. It should be beautiful!

Three papers left to grade, or shall I say I'll grade them if/when they are turned in. Tomorrow I have to attend the PhD students' preliminary dissertation proposal (I have two presenting) and hopefully they'll go fine.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

More Magic (cowl)

All of a sudden, the magic cowl is quite a respectable length. There are basically six sections of this scarf. I'm done with four and working on the fifth now, so I am close to the finish line.

I have to say, this is a scarf I knit solely because 1. it was red and 2. it was inspired by one of my favorite books, The Night Circus, and if I had looked closely and noticed all the lace I would have probably skipped it. In my list of favorite things to knit, lace is--not on it. But I think I got distracted by the color and the inspiration and that I did see some cables in there.

This is the 'circles' section--fourth out of six:

 It needs blocking.

Here is the whole thing:

The whole thing needs blocking.

I'm awaiting the final five papers for the prospectus class and then I'll be done grading (although I've moved on to other, more interesting, work stuff so I'll just sneak those in when I can). I didn't get a lot of writing done this term and like many academics, the 'break' for me isn't really a break but rather a chance to get some good writing accomplished without a lot of distractions like students and meetings. While I kind of envy professors who turn in their grades and say 'see ya in January', I also kind of don't because the research and writing is my absolute favorite part of being a professor.

I have  a few kind of interesting studies that have managed to click together quickly, and that's nice too.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Design thinking

Stay with me now.

While perusing one of the gazillion holiday catalogs that arrive these days, I got a hankering to knit another fair isle sweater (and no, I haven't woven in the ends on the black and white one). But not one that is all over fair isle. One that is just fair isle sleeves. 

So as I thought about it some more, I thought I'd love a raglan sweater, top down, with solid fronts and backs and fair isle sleeves--and I have some great cobalt blue yarn for the body (Cascade 220). I wondered: might I have enough colors of 220 in the stash---that would look OK with the blue--that I could use?

But first--how many colors do I really need? I looked at a few fair isle patterns (thank you Rowan, thank you Debbie Bliss) and found that the magic number seems to be 8 or 9. I thought 'oh there's no way I have that many different colors' and then dove into the stash.

The blue for the body is in the lower right hand corner. Above that is pink, then maroon, then white, then red.
The the side, from far left, is a purple red color, purple, kind of a dark purpley brown, and a dark pink.

Nine colors, my friend. Nine.

I kind of wish I had a skein of gold but I'm pretty sure that the colors I have are enough contrast and that they will work.

How about that? Now to wind the skeins and start knitting.

But first---I have stuff to finish, and another scarf and a hat to cast on for, and then this. So maybe Christmas week knitting?

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Oh That Kathy

She is all full of questions, yet again. Shall we answer them?

Have you been to a night parade? 
I'm guessing--ready for it--that this is a parade at night. And I think the answer is no.
Do you know of a good sight for people who are eating gluten free? 
I'm guessing--ready for it?--that she's asking about websites for gluten free. And again, no.
Do you get tense when you knit things that require shaping thinking? 
HA! Sometimes I get tense. But my overall approach to knitting is 'it's only knitting--I can block the hell of out it."
Did you watch the Carol Burnett 50th Anniversary show?
No, but I bet Kathy did?
Do you listen to holiday radio or your own playlist or cd’s?
We have a bunch of Christmas music on our computers so we use this.
Have you used a deer deterrent?
Ha! No. Someone at the grocery store told me egg wash works. I always am worried they'll eat my tulips (as they did one year) but it hasn't happened for a while.
Do you taste the free samples at the grocery stores? 
No, not really, mostly because it is weird stuff.
Do you use a travel website to plan your trips? 
Depends, really, where we're going.
Have you purchased yarn since Thanksgiving?
How particular are  you about wrapping paper? 
Not at all! We wrap our gifts to one another in fabric. I order most of my other gifts online and have them shipped wrapped. We have a few things for friends that I wrap. But I should be more particular---I was a professional gift wrapper at Marshall Field's in Evanston when I was in college. I was trained well by my amazing boss, Jane Schwall, who believed gift wrapping was an art AND a science.

Not this purple

This cowl is not as purple as it looks here:

It is really more browny-purple than purple purple, as shown here.

But regardless, this is the Silver Storm cowl by Casapinka and it is somewhat similar to 'One and Done' except it is a cowl. I haven't dropped the stitches yet, but there will be dropped stitches. And it isn't silver, but it does have silver thread in it! I think this might be STR with silver yarn in it.

If you know how to take photos of yarn with silver thread let me know, please.

Not much knitting happening--last week was the last week of classes and the upcoming week is one of grading and meetings. I did the wise thing of assigning the 'big' paper to be due before Thanksgiving, and during the last week the students gave presentations where they graded themselves (2/3 of the grade was the grade from the rest of the class). (FYI, they're easy graders). So all I have are the honors prospectuses (prospecti?) from the other class, and that class is pass/no credit, so I'm pretty much done.

At the end of last week I also dove into a "Revise and Resubmit" and got that done. I had a boring faculty meeting to attend but I spent the whole meeting reformatting references, so that's a good thing. So that's a big thing pretty much wrapped up as well.

Yesterday (Saturday) we had our ad major 'extravaganza' where students present their work around a central idea. It went well! We also got our tree yesterday morning, although it is sitting out on the patio right now.

One more Silver  Purple Storm photo:

Public Broadcasting is airing "Eight Days a Week"--Ron Howard's film about the Beatle's touring years, and we watched it last night. It was good. You should watch it if it is airing where you live.