Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Where were you six months ago?

I know where I was--welcoming this little guy into the world.

Happy Six Months Birthday to the Duke of Calypso! You are handsome and brave and spirited and happy. I'm so fortunate you have a great Nana Ann at Aragon Alpacas who loves you just as much as I do. You have friends and family who put up with your shenanigans. You are 73 pounds of fun. Happy happy six months birthday!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Bunch of stuff

I had planned a big 'catch up' post for yesterday but then we made a last minute decision to go see the house-in-progress: the rain that had been predicted seemed less dire and we decided we'd rather have a day at home today than Saturday---anyway, blah blah blah, we went over to the coast to see the house. The outside and some of the inside is framed in, and the house is covered and the shingles are there, ready for the roofers.

 The stairs aren't in yet, but Tim climbed up to the top floor to check out the view and the framing of the upstairs (where most of the living space will be).

 It looks like a real house now.
The side of the house, with two doors--the closest one to the downstairs apartment, and the 'front' door under the awning to the left of the car.

So all is well with the house, although it seems like construction will slow down a bit now.

A few bits and bobs:

  • I'm reading "Saints for All Occasions" by J Courtney Sullivan--I really like her and I'm really liking this book. I had tried starting it over the study but for whatever reason it didn't 'take' but now I'm into it.
  • We watched "Victoria and Abdul" last night. It was good, but probably a bit long.  
  • We're also watching "Detectorists"--the third season--I think on BritBox. Such a charming and quiet little show.
  • I did a bit of winding yesterday. I'm almost done with the body of the blue sweater, which means almost time for the fair isle sleeves. Yay! But I was almost out of the blue yarn. So:
    The two sweater balls are on the right hand side. On the left, from the top is "Reva" (I think) from Dashing Dachs--I think these will be mitts. The middle one is 'Starry Night" as is the bottom one, but from two different companies. The middle yarn is Rogueish Charm and the bottom is Dragonfly Fibers. I think I'll do something with the middle one, and that something might be a Casapinka pattern, but I have to go loo for one.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Running out the door--

We're headed over to check on the progress of the house on the coast (WALLS!) but I wanted to do a quick share of the shawl. I finished another section last night:

More to tell you (nothing exciting but at least more) but I'll save it for tomorrow. Here's a teaser: "Dectorists", "Victoria and Abdul" and "Saints for All Occasions".

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

More sweater

I'm working on my word of the year --FLOW--trying to be more in the moment and not anticipating all the craziness that is on the horizon.

Kathy B, stop snickering.

I feel in kind of a better place today, flow wise, although the work continues to pile up up up. I keep agreeing to projects with students, and I have to start to ration those out a bit more.

The only knitting happening has been mindless knitting on this sweater:

It is about 17 inches from shoulder to bottom right now, and I'd like to get that to 22" and then do ribbing. That should be accomplished sometime soon, then I can go back to the (fun) sleeves.

Not much else--apologies!

Monday, January 22, 2018


I really wanted something new and non-mindless to cast on for, given that I planned to watch some football yesterday. I had a skein of yarn that I really wanted to use for a shawl/scarf, and the shawl I wanted to do (Gravity) required more yarn (much) than the skein I had. So do you find yarn for the pattern, or a pattern for the yarn? Well, I found both---the pattern for the yarn wasn't non-mindless (initially) enough, so I cast on for Gravity.

The pattern calls for thicker, dk yarn, but I have enough Wollmeise that I can make the shawl bigger and it should work out just fine. Yes, I had Wollmeise in the stash---and even better ALREADY WOUND UP WOLLMEISE and it looked good so Gravity is a go!

So one color is black (obviously) and the other color is a black-green-yellow-gray variegated. These really aren't 'my' colors but they are 'duck' colors and I think it will be quite striking. I pretty much wear black all the time anyway in the winter and this is a good thing to wear with black.

In the lower picture, you can see three different 'patterns' in the variegated stripes--the top one ois a broken rib, then a moss stitch, then a slanty cable pattern which is really hard to see.

I like this. It is fun.

Other than that, it was a rainy weekend that we mostly stayed in for. We watching "Loving Vincent" Saturday night which was amazing--it is animated all in the style of Van Gogh, trying to 'solve' the mystery of Van Gogh's last days. I finished "La Belle Sauvage" and was reminded how British 'kids' books can be so, so much darker than US kids books (dismemberment! fairies suckling infants! animal(ok daemon) abuse!) I was kind of glad when it was over.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Soggy Saturday

Basically, that's most days in the winter here in the Northwest.  Rain rain rain is in the forecast--plus the temperatures are moderating (it was in the 60s here on Wednesday!!!) so there will be snow in the mountains and that's a good thing.

Yesterday I spent most of the day catching up on things that had fallen off the radar during the busy earlier part of the week--prepping for class next week, working on a paper, writing two little proposals for little things at school, re-scheduling stuff for the visit from the mudded-in candidate: I got a lot of things checked off the list.

I also finished off the Silver Storm cowl. These photos are pre-blocking:

You can see the six colors pretty well in the lower photo--from the top is black, navy, dark gold, light gold, light blue, grey. After I blocked it, it is about 9 feet around, and I think this will be a very wearable cowl.

Kathy is browsing for new projects as am I. I have two I'm thinking about.  I have some yarn in the stash for the Royal Yacht Shawl and so that's a not totally mindless project. I also am thinking of using some sock yarn for the Gravity Shawl although I don't have enough yarn for it (only one skein, which is about 400 yards and the shawl calls for almost double that) but I could do a shorter one, which I'd like better since it is a smaller project. And I found this pattern for Ridge Fingerless Mitts which looks like a good way to use up a bunch of leftover yarn.

Saturday afternoon edit: going to make the Pink Topaz Shawl with the yarn I was thinking of using for the Gravity Shawl and will re-think the gravity shawl at a later date.

I have two books going. First is one called "The Panic Virus" about the history of anti-vaccination movements in the US. It is written by someone who is hopefully coming to visit our campus and talk about science communication. The second one is the 'prequel' to His Dark Materials called La Belle Sauvage (there will be three books in this--the series is called The Book of Dust. If you've read His Dark Materials you'll remember 'dust' as a central focus of power in those books). Anyway, I haven't read HDM for a long time and the book refers to many characters in a way that I can't really recall them (except for Lyra of course) but that's fine.

Dr. Pat came to visit the new animals at the farm yesterday and Ann sent me an update. This little guy is 65 pounds and will probably level off for a bit--he's using his energy to stay warm and grow his fleece. After he is sheared in April he'll probably have another growth spurt. He's at 65 pounds--the vet says anything that is 60 or over is right where he should be. Our friend Cindy took this picture:

And how adorable is that? He'll be six months old at the end of the month.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Taking a breath

The last two days I've been slammed. I hosted a candidate for a professor job, which involves being on call from 7:30 til 5:30 to make sure the candidate is where she needs to be, where the people who are supposed to meet with her are where they should be, whether equipment is working, etcetera. We have a great staff person who helps out with this, and last week she broke her arm and dislocated her hand (ouch) so I was all on my own.  This is pretty much not a problem for me, as long as nothing else really gets in the way. But--stuff got in the way. ON Tuesday, we got a call from the second candidate saying she was stuck in Santa Barbara and wouldn't be able to get here for her interview. So we had to start moving around everything (again, no support to help me do it). Yesterday I had to be in a very contentious 2.5 hour meeting for admissions. It's basically been two insane days and I'm happy to be here updating you on my out of work life.

Which is basically, I've been doing nothing. Except for this:

It's the Silver Storm cowl with the yarns from the "Starry Night" set I bought from Loopy Ewe a while ago. I'm making the color blocks narrower and narrower (I have four colors so far---have two more to go). I think this will end up being very pretty.

And honestly, that's all I have right now. Sorry!

Monday, January 15, 2018

This and that

I have a bunch of stuff to catch you up on. Ready?

  • READING #1: Dee (I think) asked how "Daughter of the Empire" was. Well, at that point, it was a little---dull. Lots of 'growing up with my ponies' stuff. But then--it got interesting. The memoir is by Pamela Mountbatten Hicks, and her father was 'Dickie' Mountbatten and she was a bridesmaid for Queen Elizabeth and yes, her life was interesting. Once WW2 hit she was sent to NYC to live with the Vanderbilt family! Then she went to India during repartition! Then she was a bridesmaid for QE! Then she was a lady in waiting during the tour where QE became QE and then once again when QE resumed the tour! The story pretty much ends when she stopped being a Lady-in-Waiting and the death of her mother, and I hope there's another one. I had to stop several times and google things like repartition and the relationship of Indira Gandhi to Mahatma Gandhi (spoiler: there isn't one)  and how Pakistan was formed and all the things that were lacking in my education. Anyway--I liked it, obviously.
  • WATCHING #1: THE CORONATION on the Smithsonian Channel. Did you see it? It's an hour long interview with the Queen and others who participated in the coronation, along with some historians talking about the Crown Jewels. It was so interesting! And I'm a huge anglophile so I'm probably a bit prejudiced but I really liked it. The Queen! She's snarky! 

  • I knit a bunch of stockinette--the body of the sweater is about halfway done. 
  • READING #2: "A Secret History of Witches" by Louisa Morgan. This is a literary fiction story about five generations of women who are witches in France and England--the story starts maybe in the early 1800s? Anyway--it is really well written and also interesting to think about what happens when we try to  hide who we are. In retrospect, the women in the story don't really do a lot of witchcraft--mostly they concoct a love potion that really messes up their life. So in retrospect, the book is really more about being different than being a witch. Oh, and by the way, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was a witch and formed a coven to fight Hitler. That was kind of a bridge too far for me. But hey, apparently it was a royalty weekend for me.
  • WATCHING #2: Have you ever watched "Chef's Table" on Netflix? It's really interesting.
  • I love Alice Starmore's patterns, and I saw she has a new book coming out called Glamourie. The cost is $60, and amazon doesn't even have a preview of the patterns. They're also not up on Rav. I am eager to see them. The description refers to them as 'costumes'. 
  • Here's a close up of the sleeve. So many ends. So so so so many ends.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

New Faces

It was a glorious day yesterday--sunny, warm, dry. Tim and I did a quick visit to the farm, and there are some new faces there! I wanted you to meet them.
Mama Llama, who has been re-styled (as the British Monarchy says) Marigold. She is HUGE! She is huge and she is constantly ON THE JOB! Lllamas often serve as guard animals for other herds---alpacas, goats, sheep, they'll guard them. In the time we were there yesterday, all the alpacas were grazing and Marigold was guarding, the entire time. She arrived on Thursday and by yesterday was the official guardian of the ladies. I couldn't get too close to her--maybe three feet--but Ann has been able to get close to her and pet her. She needs a good haircut. She is really majestic.

This is Autumn Sun (and there's another Autumn Sun at the farm already, so I'm not sure exactly how that will work out). She is a 24 year old beauty and seems to be in excellent health. She's very friendly--I was able to pet her and speak with her.  Very calm, and the other girls are unfazed by her presence.

The other alpacas were all enjoying the beautiful day. We brought out carrots and apples, but now that they have grass they just aren't that interested. Here is my big boy, Atom, in the center:

To the left, with schmutz on his face, is Troubador and behind him (the brown one) is Gryffin. The butt belongs (I believe) to Sorrento.

Tink, as usual, was happy to see us.

Kokopelli was interested in everything going on.

Who else? Who am I missing?

Oh yes, this little guy. He's almost 70 pounds!

And now you have to sing, out loud, "ahhhhhh"--like the heavens are opening up!


Oh, and I finished the mittens.


Happy Sunday!

Friday, January 12, 2018


I googled 'comic book words' to find one to describe how I feel, and plof is it. Tuesday I wrote a post about getting back into the swing of things and then PLOF: it is like the Flu and Fever Fairy burst in, made a cup of tea and settled down for a chat. Wednesday I didn't have to go in so I spent half of it stretched out on the sofa and the other half stretched out on the bed working on a manuscript, a grant proposal, and my Post Tenure review. Got a ton done, so that's good, but I don't think I stepped outside all day. Yesterday I had class and came home right after and did some grading (I'm that Professor who gives them stuff to do immediately and I lecture during the first class) and then just sort of zoned out. Today I have to go in for a prospectus meeting at 1 and a fac meeting at 3 but I think I'm on the other side of this thing. I never felt awful, just tired.

Little knitting has been done:

I should finish these this weekend, I think--I have a bit of the second mitten to do and then comes the quick bind off, and thumbs don't take too long. I like these and these are much brighter in person than they look here. They are my bright happy mittens! I might need to make some in red.

Let's see, what else? I'm reading "The Secret History of Witches" which I like! Yay! I zipped through "The Wife Between Us"_-people on Amazon liked that book a lot more than I did.

There are two new animals at the farm! I'm going to go meet them this weekend. An elder female alpaca, Autumn Sun, needed a new home when her farm parents retired, so she went to Ann's farm. She appears to be very gentle and adaptable. Yesterday, Ann adopted a llama! She'll be the guardian to the alpacas, and that makes me very happy. Her name had been "Mama Llama" but Ann will call her Marigold. I can't wait to meet them!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Back at it

Classes started again and I went from my floaty happy la la la it is break and I'll do a little bit of work here and there to WHAM. WHAM WHAM WHAM.  I guess I should have done a bit more but at least finishing the edits on the book put me in a good position to deal with the onslaught that has begun.

For some reason, I'm Popular--as in Committee Popular, which means I keep getting invited to meetings. I've been Not Popular for a few years because of my disagreements with PTB at the UO, but apparently those days are over. So I have a slew of committee meetings, plus two search candidates coming in during the next two weeks for the search Im' chairing, and class of course. I just found out that the person who 'staffs' the search (arranges all the details) is off getting her hand fixed so I'm not sure what happens with the little details. It is someone else's problem, I'm not sure who though. I'm going to try not to worry about it.

I have divided for the arms:

I tucked in all the ends. So now it is nonstop stockinette, although I guess I could work on the sleeves if I'm bored or something. Which isn't likely.

Last night Tim and I had to pick out doors for the house we're building. Do you know how many doors there are out there to pick from? Lots and lots and lots of doors.

Sunday, January 07, 2018


Thank you for your comments on the six yarn pattern ideas. While I was really, really hoping that you all would pick #4 (and I realize I'm a grown up and can do #4), as I thought about it on this day before classes start, I decided that you all know me pretty well and so yes, another Silver Storm cowl has been cast on. I have double the stitches so I can drape it around two or three times, and I am off and running on it.

I started with black. there are six colors total: Black,  light yellow, silver, dark blue, light blue, gold. Those are the colors gong clockwise starting with the black ball with the needles through it. What order should I go in? I was originally thinking: Black, dark blue, light blue, silver, light yellow, gold but am open to suggestions.

The theme of these yarns (from Loopy Ewe) is "Starry Night" and MOST INTERESTINGLY I did a Facebook Quiz that told me that the painting that best represented who I was is:

So if I follow this, I think Id go black, dark blue, light blue, yellow, silver, gold.
Or I could flip the yellow and the silver. Oh, that's what I originally thought I'd do.

Your thoughts on the order?

I finished two books since my last post: "A Gate at the Stairs" (sad) and "Why We Came to the City" (sad sad sad).  So if you want a sad book, there you go. I wouldn't go out of my way to highly recommend either of them.

Back to work on Monday! Argh.

Saturday, January 06, 2018


I'm part way through a bunch of things.  I kind of don't like to be partway through, but I keep remembering it is the journey, not the destination, right? It is all about the flow. (Stop it Kathy).

(BTW, I got a nice surprise in the mail  yesterday when Kathy sent me a card with a really cute pattern in it. Thanks Kathy!! I love the slipper pattern!).

 OK anyway, I'm almost half way through these mittens:

I wanted to knit a bright pair of mittens and I know this photo doesn't look that bright, but trust me--the colors are teal and purple and white and brown. I'm not using a pattern--it's really just a tube knit in 2x2 ribbing with a thumb gusset and a little decrease at the top. It's sock yarn and pretty lightweight, but kind of just what I need since our weather is (sorry) pretty moderate in the winter.

And there is a sock:

This is just a plain sock but I did do a little detail (here it is on the back):
There's a little tiny twisted stitch that wraps around the leg. Just to break things up.

I'm not sure what this yarn is either, it was already wound up in the stash, and seems thicker than other yarns so will make a nice warm sock. EVen if we have moderate weather, we have wet weather and my feet get cold often!

I'm also partway through several books, because I don't have the focus (apparently) to finish one.

  • "Why We Came to the City" is the story of four college friends who move to New York and have to grow up very, very quickly. I like it, the writing is good and the characters are interesting.   There's a Serious Illness here so if those types of stories upset you, this novel is probably not for you.
  • "A Gate at the Stairs" is about a college student who serves as a nanny for a mysterious family. It isn't a mystery, it is just that the family obviously has secrets that effect the student's life in interesting ways. It's a first person narrator that is interesting.  
  • "The Fifth Gospel" is a fictional story about someone who knows the secret of the Shroud of Turin and groups don't want the secret spilled.  Kind of a Dan Brown wannabe.
  • "Daughter of Empire: My Life as a Mountbatten" because royalty.
  • "The Book of Dust"--I saved this one to read over Christmas and then I forgot to read it. Will get back to it--this is by Philip Pullman and is a prequel to the "His Dark Materials" trilogy.
I did finish:
  • The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey. This is a murder mystery set in a small town in Australia. It was pretty good, as small town mysteries go--kind of dark but not too much, and lots of secrets that get revealed.
  •  Chemistry, a Novel by Weike Wang. This is a short funny novel about an Asian PhD student who questions her whole path in life. I liked it. 
  • Nevermore: I think I did write about this one--I will try any book described as "the next Harry Potter" and this book is in contention, although it seems a bit derivative in places.

Does having a group of unfinished books make you crazy, or do you like to go in and out like I do?

Kathy asked for Calypso pictures--I was over there on Wednesday and forgot :-( to take some pictures. He is starting to eat pellets but really hasn't grown a lot. His fleece is gorgeous, it wobbles when he runs!

Thursday, January 04, 2018

FO, WIP and Input Requested!

Today seems to be kind of a crazy weather day around the country, so stay warm and be safe! I'm looking out the window right now at the sun on the clouds, even though we're expecting rain rain rain for the next several days.

Break is almost over and I've done more of some things (work) and less of some things (knitting and reading) but it has still been a good one.  I had an Annoying Work thing yesterday but I remembered to try to flow with it, and it went OK.

These are done and blocked (but still a bit wet):
I have yarn to make a hat to match but I'm not sure I'm going to, at least not right away. I don't need another hat, and I have a few other stranded projects in the works so I'm not eager to jump back on that bandwagon.

Speaking of which:

I know this doesn't look like much but trust me when I tell you there is a lot of blood, sweat and(mostly) tears in here). This is the first almost-30 rows of the fair isle sleeved sweater that I'm vamping on. Right now it all has to be knit in the round (probably another 20 or 30 rows) and that is really kind of a pain because I have so many ends. Anyway, though, this is fun and it really goes pretty quickly, considering,  it will be nice and warm and  happy and bright.

Finally, I need some input. While cleaning the guest/craft room, I found this set:

110 yards of six yarns--fingering. I love the colors (and yes, they are very similar to the hat) and I want to do some type of cowl or scarf. Here are my current options:

1. Casapink cowl because I love Casapinka. This one is pretty much 'mindless knitting' which I'm not in too great of a need for mindless knitting, especially once I divided the sleeves from the body in the sweater (above).
2. Gravity Shawl because I love samplers. The downside is that I'm not a huge shawl fan, this shawl was written for DK and while I'm ok with doing it in a different yarn, it may not look great and finally, I'm not sure I have enough yarn for it.
3. Double the cast on for the Silver storm cowl and use all six yarns. It'll be pretty and I'll get a lot of wear out of it. It is semi-mindless knitting (see #1).
4. Make up my own pattern from the gorgeous book Japanese Knitting stitch bible. This would be a challenge because these patterns are pretty complex, and if I take it on as a sampler I could try lots of different patterns and even if I mess one up I can rip it back and start again (note to self: lifeline). Downside is it would take longer and I'd have to decide which of the 100s of motifs go together.

What do you guys think?

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Stealth Knitting

I worked on this gift for Tim in secret and then forgot to take a picture of it once he opened it Christmas morning. It is the Hungry Horse Hat that I bought as a kit from the Knit and Needle Yarn Shop in Whitefish, Montana--a little shop I visited several years ago when we were on vacation there. The pattern itself is available at the Rav. The kit is great because the yarn is really, really soft, you get just the amount you need, and the colors are already matched. It did knit up a bit big and then when I blocked it, stretched out a lot so I ended up washing it in the machine and then drying it and now it fits nicely.

Look closely and you can see the three colors--the brim (golden brown), the 'mesh' middle (kind of a variegated) and the top (a dark dark blue). The website has some other cute combinations--the yarn is their own Stumptown DK and the mesh color is called "Man Cave".

What else? Yesterday was a quiet day--Christmas came down and was put away, football was watched, leftovers were eaten. Tim went back to work today and I took the dogs for an early morning walk. I would guess that about half of my neighborhood put the holidays away and the rest are still celebrating. January 1 sounds about right to us.

Monday, January 01, 2018


Happy New Year!

I was reminded when I started reading posts this morning that often people pick a word for the year. I think I did it last year but I don't think it 'stuck'. But I have a word for this year. The word is...


There are lots of definition of flow, and all of them are good (and good to think about obtaining). This is the one that really hits me:

"to deform under stress without cracking or rupturing used especially of minerals and rocks"

In addition, these are good to:
-to move with a continual change of place among the constituent particles  
-to hang loose and billowing 
-to be so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter 

I often let anxiety freeze me up, and that's not good. I also can crack and rupture easily. So I'm going to try to flow much, much more this year.  So look for me continually changing my place among all you constituent particles.

To begin, I pivoted on the scarf and made it into a hat.

It's actually a pretty cute hat.

Last night Tim made an amazing Mexican feast (ceviche and mexican meatballs, I made guacamole) and then we watched "All the President's Men". Tim had never seen it, I haven't seen it in years. I think every journalism student needs to see it, especially for Robert Redford's search through phone books for someone's phone number and his dialing of a rotary phone to talk to them.

It was also interesting to watch it given the recent interest in the film with "The Post" featuring Katherine Graham and "ATPM" having only one (I think) mention of Katherine Graham, which is not very nice.

Pilot freaked out at fireworks, and both dogs ended up in bed with us for much of the night. It got a bit crowded. But it was nice.

I am lacking a thumb, but this will be done today:

I'll spend the morning packing away the holiday (sad face). I hope this was a lovely holiday for you.