Friday, March 30, 2018

Spring (break) waves

I did a bit more work on the Rheinlust scarf yesterday, and you can see the waves a bit better:


And I got a bit of a better picture of it. I guess because I'm using a thicker yarn I get those big holes (oh, that and the yarn overs, of course, duh) but I'm really liking this. I think I'll do six repeats of the pattern--I guess I have 4 1/2 right now, and that should be wide enough I think? We'll see.

The scarf reminds me of this bowl, which popped up in an email from the Metropolitan Museum of Art store (well, if the bowl was upside down, or the scarf was):

I'm not sure what happened to yesterday but I did pull some weeds, so good for me.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Spring (break) whites

Oh, spring break, you are here for such a short period of time. I'm very fortunate to have you, and will use these next few days well.

First, some whites:

This top is done and blocked, and needs more blocking, and will need to be blocked into submission, but here it is:

There are two fronts blocked together over the back, so you are only seeing part of it.

This linen knit isn't really white but it is light. It also looks like a bag of blah in this photo, but I'm almost done with the back and then it will look better:

This little guy is being weaned. He and Tink are separated during the day, and then come together in the evening. He is drinking water on his own, and eating pellets, so really doesn't need to nurse any longer. Sad alpaca is sad.

OK not that sad. Yes, he is surrounded by carrots that he won't eat yet.

Shearing is in a few weeks and then he'll be in with some gelded boys while he grows up a little bit more.

In other news, we've been watching three new TV shows that you may be interested in:

"Instinct"--kind of "Murder She Wrote" but with Alan Cumming in the title role and he lives in NYC, not wherever Angela Lansbury lived. It is a police procedural where he 'helps' the helpless younger woman detective who goes by the book where he uses his superior intellect (and his past experiences in the CIA) to find the murderer. It is a cozy on TV, and kind of silly, but I love Alan Cumming and if you do too you should watch this show.

"Trust"--this is the J. Paul Getty mini series that is on FX. Donald Sutherland stars as Getty, and it is opulent and sleazy and kind of nuts. So of course I like it.

"The Terror"--this is on AMC and is about two British ships trying to get to the Northwest Passage.  It also is beautifully done, and has some great actors in it, and after watching the first two episodes we're not sure where it's going. The ships 'disappeared' and so obviously no one knows what happened, but there's all kinds of psychological craziness happening. You should try this one too.

I also finished "Indecent" which wasn't that good so don't read it.



Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Spring (break) things

It is Wednesday morning of spring break, and here are a Bunch of Things.

1. I'm working on the Purl Soho Notched Hem Tank Top and stepping out of my comfort zone. This yarn---linen silk--was in the stash and is by Elsebeth Lavold.

It is bright, especially for me, but for summer it might work and I feel like I should break out of my all-black comfort zone in the summer. The yarn is a bit heavier than the pattern yarn so I'm using the 'small' measurements even though I just read an article that you shouldn't do that (don't know why though).

2. I've cleaned out the yarn room, as well as the top of my dresser, and that makes me happy.

3. I read a book called "The Hazel Wood" and it is a fantasy book about a young woman who must search "The Hinterland" (a place where very scary fairy tales were set) in order to find her mom and stop a curse from being set on the world. It was kind of interesting but also kind of horrific (as fairy tales tend to be) and I actually had to not read it before bed because I thought I'd have bad dreams. So my 'before bed' reading is a book about an Oxford Professor and his 'life in books'.  Real name "The Unexpected Professor, An Oxford Life in Books." It is very, very quiet.

4. In a bit of knitting serendipity, I was looking at a knit designer's FB feed and she had a selfie with ANOTHER designer who was wearing a gorgeous scarf called Rheinlust by Melanie Berg. And while I was cleaning out the yarn room I found three balls (already wound up, go ahead, call the knitting police on me) of Sundara Merino Silk yarn. It is thicker than the recommended yarn for the pattern, and I have less of it, but I think that just means fewer repeats of some of the sections.

I need to photograph this under natural light so you can see the curves in it, because it looks really cool.

5. And I've been working out THREE DAYS IN A ROW and  hooray for me.

6. And I got a third of a new paper done. A paper that I didn't expect to do, but it is about privacy (my dissertation topic) and mechanical turk (my most recent research) and it is a match made in heaven.
 




Monday, March 26, 2018

Spring (break) Quora

Yes I just posted about an hour ago, but Kathy has another Quora and she cannot be denied.

*Have you knit with a gradient yarn? YES I like me some gradient yarns. 
*If so, was your motivation partly due to the fact that there are no ends to weave in? OH KATHY I have knitted with gradient yarn sets--six little balls of gradient color, with lots of ends to weave in! So not really!
*Do you forbid your cats to sit on the table? DOES ANYONE WIELD THIS POWER OVER THEIR CATS? Because we don't. And people who say yes to this---WHAT DO THE CATS DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT HOME?
*If you could go anywhere in the world this week ,where would you go and who would you go with? With Tim, and somewhere away from everything. Maybe Morocco. Because it is all pretend.
*Many of you suggested great shawls for me to knit next.  Thanks!  Do you want a few more that I found? YES!
*If you could pick two things that would grow well in your yard /garden/patio this year what would they be? 1. Not weeds. 2. Wisteria.
*What’s your favorite positive affirmation that you rely on to encourage yourself?  Keep going.

Spring (break) cleaning

So it is officially spring break, and it looks like a bit of a grey day. I have two graduate student manuscripts to read and a prospective student to chat with via phone.  But enough of that.

Yesterday I started cleaning up the yarn room (also known as the guest room) and sucked it up and unearthed ALL THE PROJECT BAGS and found a bunch of projects that I had sort of forgotten about. So I sorted those out (frogged one or two) and then took the projects I want to knit and matched them with yarn I have in the stash (this is assuming I can knit lots of fingering weight linen yarn tops pretty quickly). I also wound up yarn for some projects and cast on for a top, which had to be frogged a time or two when I didn't get gauge. So not a happy knitting day, but a necessary one.

And then this is where we are in house stuff:

Picking out interior paint. The tile is our planned tile for the kitchen, utility room and bathroom (it is a bit whiter than it looks like here---which is dirty) and here are all our paint options. I would love to have the job of naming paint colors. One dirty white is called "New York Winter"! I think we are considering either Acadia white (the middle color on the three-color strip at the top) or Four Winds (which is, I think, third from the top on the left? Or maybe first from the top on the right?)

Picking out whites are hard.

As it is nest-building time, I have started my annual ritual:

Hanging bits  of yarn in the trees to help out any bird that needs it.

More on knitting projects in the upcoming week!


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Finishing, starting, movies, books, plans

Friday was a rainy snowy windy day (no accumulation, sadly) and yesterday was just kind of a grey. This gave me lots of time for knitting and reading, and for thinking about what I want to accomplish during the next week.

First, I did finish the sweater and it is now drying on top of the washing machine.
Yes, it is upside down on the washing machine. I tried rotating it so you could see it 'right side up" but honestly, that just looks weird. Anyway, I did mostly knots instead of weaving in (don't judge) and still need to snug up some parts of the raglan sleeve, but this is pretty much done. I also finished knitting on the white seed stitch top and when the blue sweater is dry I'll go ahead and block that (it totally needs blocking as the two front halves are right now not matching at all, but hoping that I can just block that out).

So that means I get to cast on, which you know is one of my favorite things in the world. First, I'm going to straighten up in the yarn room and do some winding up--I'm pretty sure I know which two things I'm going to cast on for first but since I may change my mind I'll save that for another day.

We watched two movies this weekend. Friday night was "I, Tonya." Well, let me just say, I lived in Boston during the whole 'whacking' episode and I was incredibly caught up in it. I was (and still am) on Team Nancy. So, this movie didn't change how I feel about Tonya Harding and it basically just illustrated much of what we have already heard. The one interesting piece of information was that Tonya and Nancy roomed together occasionally? Off to google that. Anyway, there's good acting by Margot Robbie and of course Allison Janney won an academy award, which often goes to a beautiful woman who uglies herself up for a role. Plus, she was good.

We also watched the new iteration of "Murder on the Orient Express" and it is a little bit different from all the previous ones, with some multi-culti casting that kind of works. If you know the story, you can still enjoy the gorgeous and lush scenery, which Kenneth Branagh chews as most actors who play Poirot end up doing.

BOOKS! The unreliable narrator book I read was called "The Wife" and it was written by Alafair Burke. Don't read it. I did read "Alternative Side" by Anna Quindlen and it was good, I would recommend you read it, and it has a very reliable narrator. It is about the community we create in our neighborhood and how that effects how we see the world.

Enjoy your Sunday! The sun is out here so maybe it won't be another wet day!


Friday, March 23, 2018

Second to last photo, plus I go on a little rant about contemporary fiction

Looky here!


Yes, I finished the arms! I only have to do the neckline and then weave in five gazillion ends and we're done with this one!

I have to say---I'm really proud of this. I think it looks very cool. I'm also proud that I had a vision and made it happen--I found a pattern for a top down raglan (not hard), I found two fair isle charts that I liked (not hard), I figured out the color scheme that I think looks awesome (hard) and I knit the second sleeve to perfectly match the first sleeve (harder than the first two things, not as hard as the third thing).  There are ten colors in the sleeves---two blues, a white, two pinks, two reds, two burgundies, and a yellow. And it all comes together. The yellow (gold really) is used very sparingly, but it is in there.

Yesterday I worked on this, and also worked on a new academic study that I just had to do, it fell into my lap. So that's fun.

Now my rant. WHAT IS IT WITH ALL THE UNRELIABLE NARRATORS? I know it started with Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train but jeez, authors, does every narrator have to be unreliable? I recently read three books with unreliable narrators, and I'm kind of tired of it. In two of them, you didn't know the narrator was unreliable until the last chapter, when ten gazillion new pieces of information were presented to tie the book up into a tidy bow. THIS IS NOT APPEALING!  Or shall I say, it was interesting the first few times I read books with unreliable narrators. And there are a few authors that do this really, really well (if you haven't read any books by Ruth Ware, go read them). But now, does EVERY BOOK need an unreliable narrator?  Because I'm about to start reading every book as if the narrator is unreliable, and that takes all the fun out of it.

TL/DR: Kim is unhappy with the 'unreliable narrator' trend in fictin.

Rant over. Continue with your day.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Breaking!

Spring breaking, that is!

Meetings are done, grades are in. Three manuscripts with end-of-March deadlines are done and submitted. The first two weeks of both spring term classes are prepped.  So I feel pretty much in control of things for a moment, and am going to enjoy a day of fun (and maybe a little bit of work). Fun being knitting and reading. It is pouring out right now--had the dogs out for an early morning walk which I haven't been able to do for several months, rain be damned!

Spring break goals, such as they are, include cleaning up the yarn room and getting the next 'round' of projects in place. The ones I have on the needles are all getting to the 'done' stage. It is so odd how they do that---maybe I just work on them in a rotation so that they all get a certain amount done in order. I have a lot of linen yarn that I want to work up some summer-y tops: I have a few I'm thinking of, including Linen Top, Bolan, Ginga Top and Reposado. There was also one on the Purl Soho (I think) site and of course now I can't find it. There were also two great sock patterns and a scarf pattern in the new Knitty. And finally, I have some lovely silk and cashmere yarn to make Killua which is slip stitch and should be fun.


Yesterday's halter training went well. Ann was working with Georgia (Calypso's sister) while I had Tink (who is fine on a halter and so is supposed to be a model for the others) and Calypso.

We started in the barn because it was pouring:




And then we headed outside to join the rest of the girls.



Next week we begin the weaning pocess.

Finally, some flowers from the garden:


And the tree outside my office window finally announced that spring is here!



Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Boxes: checked!

Fallen off stitches back on needle: check! Thank you all for your sympathy, got the stitches back on without any major issues. I'm just about to the point where I can divide for the top half of that piece, and that should be finished fairly soon--probably over break.

Back of the white top: not checked. But it is moving along.


Winter term grades: check! Just sent out comments on final project and submitted grades. I have a meeting today at noon and then I'm on break! Prepare for reading, knitting and paper writing!

Halter training: we'll see! We are planning to do some halter training in a little over an hour, it will probably be quick because it is raining. Shearing day will be here soon--maybe five weeks?--so someone has to get used to his halter!

New house stuff: check! Except for a final decision on the exterior lights, we've reached consensus on all the 'finishes' of the house. Stay tuned! I did have a bit of a surprise when several of the finishes we selected showed up in my dentist's office!



Monday, March 19, 2018

Slippery

I got this out to take a photo this morning and of course the whole thing slid off:

Luckily it wasn't on a yarn-over row, so I could reconstruct it fairly quickly by Dayum.

I think I've mentioned that I really like this yarn (Lindy Chain) but it is so so slippery! I should dig up some wood needles because I think it will be less slick. The color is a bit of a very very pale mint green (it is called mint) but it does look sort of linen-y neutral here.

It was a quiet day around our house yesterday, with organizing all of our choices for the house (lights, tile, backsplash). It is really stressful because we don't want it to look crazy but also want it to have a little bit of character and style. I think we're doing OK in that area, but who really knows til it is all done.

I finished a mystery yesterday called "Force of Nature" by Jane Harper. It is set in Australia, and I guess is the second in a series featuring the same inspector. Five women leave for a weekend 'team building' event in the outback, and only four come back. WHAT HAPPENED? It was pretty interesting with a pretty good MacGuffin but the detective character was kind of bland so I'm not sure I will read any more from this author with that main character.

It is finals week: I am waiting for a few papers from my grad students and am trying to organize my work for this week and for next week. The main focus is pulling my two classes together--one I've taught a few times but I have new cases to prep, and the second is totally new and I haven't finished the reading yet (I have to read it all once and then go back and prep before class). So it will be a teaching-focused term this term.  That should be fine. I have a few little projects to work on, writing wise, in whatever downtime presents itself.

Today I must go to the Dentist to have a cavity filled (boo). So yeah, the week is starting off with a bang. Hope yours is better!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Catch up

Every so often we need catch up posts, don't we? I had a busy 'week 10' (last week of winter term) with meetings and grading and other stuff. Let me list them all!

-Knitting! I try to spend an hour or two when I can working on these sleeves:



Now that I have a bit more time I think I'll be able to finish this up by the end of Spring break (in two weeks).

-Reading: two books this week. First was "The Flight Attendant" by Chris Bohjalian. Here's the thing. If you want to read a great Chris Bohjalian book, read "Midwives" or "The Law of Similars" or "Before You Know Kindness". This book is another book in the 'unreliable narrator' trend that is pretty good at building tension and then...well....then it ends. I was not a fan of this book's ending.
I also read a sweet book called "Laura and Emma" about a woman who has a child on her own in the 1980s in New York City. It is about privilege and longing and growing up. I liked it a lot.

-Watching: we watched "The Disaster Artist" last night and it was very funny and interesting. I know there's a lot of Franco backlash out there so you might chose not to watch this but I think it is a highly underrated movie.

-Symphony: we had symphony Thursday night. It was "Tales of Hemingway", which was a bit gimmicky, and two pieces by Sibelius, neither of which was "Finlandia" (which I love).  Luckily it was a zippy program.

-Shopping: we went to see the house yesterday (it has siding, and all the electricity and plumbing insides done. It needs to dry out and then the drywall starts). We also picked out what may be the last finishes: floor tile, backsplash, and shower tile. Yay!


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Welcome to the Project of Dropped Stitches

I'm working on this tank thingee, and dropping stitches like a champ:

Gah you can even see them from far away. I have to fix that.

Anyway, not much except end of term busy-ness and I just had an AWFUL  meeting and my head hurts. How are you?



Monday, March 12, 2018

Kathy's Quora!

For old time's sake, Kathy did a Quora!

*When was the last time you went to a yarn shop that was new to you?
Hmmm. Maybe last summer when I went to a new yarn shop in Eugene--Cozy? 
*Is there a show you can watch over and over?
That might be the old comedy ' Sports Night'. 
*Do you have a cure for canker sores?
Abreva.
*When was the last time you forced yourself to get out and walk/run etc when you really didn’t want to?
Last week, when the weather was kind of cold and damp. 
*If you could sit on your couch and knit with anyone today or a few folks, who would they be?
Well, Kathy of course, and the Twinnie.
*If you could have one plant/flower/tree flourish this Spring/Summer what would it be?
Tulips. I was weeding yesterday and I think the deer have mowed down the tulips. This makes me sad.
*When was the last time your wore sandals?
Probably September?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sprung forward

Blech. Time change. I tend to not like it, given how precarious my sleeping habits are. I also like it better when it happens during spring break, so my brain fuzziness is less noticeable. But anyway, we sprung forward and so be it. Moving on!

Yesterday was a busy day. We drove to a granite showroom in Salem (about an hour north of here) to look at (duh) granite. Our GC likes these people--they are about an hour from the house. They also are the only people I can find that had one type of granite that I didn't hate (I tend to not like granite that well). Anyway--we looked at the granite and I didn't hate it but I didn't love it. So we wandered around the showroom and found one we both actually like. It is called "Viscon White" or "Silver Cloud":

And then committing to that led us to figure out a few other things, like the backsplash (we are leaning toward mosaic tiles installed vertically--but that's not a guarantee).

We got home around 1, walked the dogs, and then I went to the farm. One of the alpacas is ill, and the prognosis is not good, so I wanted to see her and Ann. There were a few groups visiting and the alpacas were very entertaining. Calypso is such a friendly guy. It is getting to be time to wean him and we'll see what happens there.

Then I came home and we talked about the house and then met friends for dinner at a new-ish restaurant. It was OK, not great, and the bartender was very slow (but we had a free round of drinks, so there's that).

Today is a beautiful sunny day so we'll walk the dogs and I may weed. And I'll work on this mindless sock which is coming along:

Dashing Dachs, I think, in Starry Night colors.


Friday, March 09, 2018

Second sleeve: zippy!

I did some work on the fair isle sweater yesterday--it was cold and rainy and sweater weather.



The second sleeve is going much, much faster (although it doesn't quite look like it here, does it?).  It is going faster for two reasons: first, because I've already worked out the colors so don't have to think in that area and second, i can see what colors are coming up next so I know whether I can break the yarn or not.  I also don't have to think so much, which makes it goes faster. I think this sweater will look great!

Next week is the last week of classes, and my students are finishing papers and doing presentations. It is crunch time, though, to get ready for spring term. And we need to do a bit of halter training on a little alpaca man. So lots of stuff coming up.


Thursday, March 08, 2018

Attitude of gratitude

It is a stormy day here---certainly not as stormy and cold and snowy as Back East but a kind of miserable day here. When I got home from work, I thought about doing a 'short' walk with the dogs but one thing I realize is that those walks are doing me so much good--they really give me time to reflect on stuff that is going on in my life. So during today's walk, I thought of all the things that I'm grateful for on this stormy day.  Shall we start?

1. Crab season is open! The crab season in the NW was delayed this year but it is now open which means the grocery store carries crab at not ridiculous prices! Usually they are whole cooked crabs, but yesterday they had crab legs already cooked and we had that for dinner. The cost wasn't much more than a good cut of beef, and it was delicious!

2. The neighborhood shows little signs of spring:


3. Hoods!

4. My front yard shows little signs of spring.

5. Dogs.




Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Well hello

I've not been a good blogger, I apologize. We are in week 9 of winter term (out of 10) and in general, this is the week when people who have forgotten to do a ton of stuff during winter term get all freaked out about getting stuff done before spring break. I went in to the office on Monday with only two meetings scheduled and got subsumed by people coming by my office and needing stuff. Today I'm working at home, using pomodoros, and getting stuff done.

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OK the stars indicated when I have to stop blogging and go back to work (I have a focused 25 minutes of work followed by a 5 minute break. This is my break). I have been working on the summer top, and here is what i have so far:

I've mentioned that I really like seed stitch, especially with cotton yarns. I find I don't get those weird 'row out' situations and the fabric is really nice. This is the front.

I've done a bit of work on the Lindy Chain top but not so much on the others. I'm guessing I'll pick up the fair isle sleeve sweater once spring break is here (although what if the weather is warm? WILL I LOVE IT STILL?).

I finished a pretty good book last night--"The Queen of Hearts" by Kimmery Martin. It is about two doctors who become friends in med school and stay friends, until a secret threatens to rip their friendship apart.


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The book was pretty good--it was less about being a doctor than being a busy mom living an upscale lifestyle but it was pretty well written, the author clearly knows doctor stuff so that was helpful (can you tell I'm trying to write this quickly during my five minute break?)

Other than that--my cold is better, I'm looking forward to a little break during spring break, I continue to love pomodoros, and I hope you are well!

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Live from my sofa

Well not really live, since this is a post, but the sofa has been my spot of choice while I'm dealing with this cold. It is getting better--I can hear out of both ears!--but I am still so very tired. I think I've slept about 9 hours a night for the past few nights so I think I'm caught up.

Tim is over at the coast house meeting with the guy who is putting in the security system and the speakers. We use cameras here as a deterrent and we'll use them at the coast as well. We also don't plan to keep anything really valuable out there for a while, and the area is incredibly safe given most people have no idea where it is. I elected to stay home given my cold and the fact that standing in a cold damp house probably won't help me that much.

This is one of the summer tops I've cast on. The recipe is True Romance and I'm using Lindy Chain from Knit Picks for the yarn. I like the yarn a lot, and bought a bunch on sale. Hopefully this one goes well.

We watched "Darkest Hour" last night and it was OK. I finished the Prince Charles book and learned a lot. He's a kook but he's a good guy kook.



Friday, March 02, 2018

Rabbit rabbit

I didn't post yesterday so let me wish you a happy Rabbit Rabbit!

The cold is still with me, but I'm glad it is just a cold and not anything worse. I had meetings and class yesterday and then had the afternoon to come home and work in my pjs.  Today I need to go to part of a faculty meeting that starts at 2:30--the part I need to go to won't start til around 4 so I'll go in later, I can miss the first part of the meeting. There's nothing on the agenda for this weekend (the security camera guy is coming to look at the house, but I think Tim can meet with him on his own). So I'll just spend the weekend recuperating.

A little bit of knitting is happening; here is a mindless sock:


It is Dashing Dachs,  I believe.

I'm reading a biography of Prince Charles (stop it, it is HISTORY). The book paints him as a flawed and somewhat eccentric individual, but certainly not the evil villain that many books about Diana do. It is a step above mindless reading (if there really is such a thing). I've also been reading "Technically Wrong" which I'm using as 'light' reading for my graduate class next term. It is an interesting book, examining how homogeneity in the makeup of the Silicon Valley workforce creates technology that is biased and even dangerous).

OH I forgot to add this. I have a recipe for you. Now, I am not known for my culinary skills but every so often I throw stuff together and it works. This is my chicken tamale pie. Cook a few chicken breasts (I just stick them in the toaster over for 40 minutes). Shred the chicken, then mix together with a can of Rotel, a can of black beans, and about 2/3 of a cup of frozen corn. Put it in a baking dish.

Get a box of Jiffy corn muffin mix, prepare it according to the directions, and spread on top of the chicken mixture. Pop it in the oven at 375 for about 30 minutes or so (check to see that the cornbread is dark brown and stick a knife in it to make sure it is cooked through. There should be bubbly goodness coming up around the edges.

Serves 4. Yum! And doesn't take a long time.