Sunday, April 29, 2018

Mostly just a bunch of pictures and one insight.

The insight first: felting is a  leap of faith. I think I knew in my heart of knitting hearts that the formation of original slippers for MSP was not as 'square' as it should have been but I threw them in the washer anyway:

These are probably good for someone who wears a woman's size 5-7 shoe. Because they don't fit great on my size 9s. But that's the goal, I keep reminding myself, that's the goal--to have lots of different pairs of slippers.

I went to the farm to visit the alpacas yesterday and the boys just wanted to run:

From the left--Calypso, Navarre, Grifin and Atom. They are running around, happy to be out in the big field.

And speaking of Calypso:

There is a painter named Jerry Ross who has a studio at the farm and he did a painting of Calypso. It is gorgeous (I'll post another one with it taken straight on) and of course I had to have it. We hung it in the corner of our living room and I thnk it looks great!

Changing the subject abruptly: the dogwood is in bloom:

This tree got bent over in an ice storm two winters ago and has never quite recovered, it is still pretty though.

And the lilacs are lilacking:

But it is kind of hard to see in this picture. I may have to go pick some and bring them inside.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Satamran (Saturday Morning Random)

Our warm weather cooled off with lots of rain but today seems pretty. So many things are in bloom and I need to take pictures today. But anyway, on to Satamran.

1. I finished (but haven't felted) the first pair in MSP. The one on the left is looking 'top down' and the one on the right is the side view. I'm really hoping all this isn't superwash.
2. Lovely surprises in the mail from my Twinnie or as the Spellcheck refers to her, my Twinkie. First a project bag (as pretty inside as outside):
3. And then a notebook that I know exactly what I'm going to put in it:
4. Kathy asked to see pictures of Calypso's fleece. It needs a good wash, but this was about a fifth of it:

Here is a lock before washing:
It's really long, which is good.

And I hand washed a little bit:

I'll show you again when it is dry. But this is maybe six or seven inches long. Really beautiful.

5. I tried to read "The Only Story" by Julian Barnes but could only get about 2/3 of the way through because it is the most depressing story I've ever read ever. Ever. If you like depressing stories, this is the novel for you.

6. In the 'good news' category: I received a $3000 grant for some summer research I want to do. Yay me!

Friday, April 27, 2018

My Slipper Project (henceforth to be known as MSP)

So, I realized yesterday that all my knitting has taken a 'Fifty Shades of Gray' turn in that everything I am currently knitting (save the 'on hold' shawl) is either black, white or gray. And I have yarn I want to cast on for another type and it is -- wait for it-- gray.

(Do you write gray or grey? One is American and one is British and I forget which is which).

I digress. I wanted something a bit more colorful to work on and then remembered a project I had in the back of my mind--MSP. When we move into the new house, we'll have beautiful new wood floors and we will want to do our best to keep them looking good. Given we'll be at the coast, with sand etcetera, we will be having a 'no shoes' house but since it can be kind of damp and cold there, we want to have everyone who comes by to have access to slippers to wear in the house.

So I'm going to make a bunch of pairs (let's say 8 maybe?) of felted slippers in a variety of shapes and sizes. They go fast, they use up stash, and they'll be useful. And colorful. Win win!

I have printed out a bunch of patterns but started this one first:

This is one of those patterns where you knit a bunch of squares and then fold and seam to a slipper, then felt. There are two side pieces to that get involved (on the right piece, there's a right one at the top and a dark blue one at the bottom).  Yeah, I'm not sure either but the directions are very clear and you'll see what happens. Then into the washing machine and felting!

Here's what's coming up this weekend on the blog:
-washed fleece so Kathy can see what Calypso's fleece looks like
-a special thank you to my Twinster
-whatever else I get in my head.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Taking a breath

I'm feeling kind of caught up. The paper I was working on with an end-of-May due date is done and I think it is pretty good. One of my classes just did their first group project and that is a 'client' project so it feels good to have that one done. Our client was Eugene's new Bike Share program, and the students ended up doing some good work and the client was really pleased. I always get a little anxious with 'real' clients and this went well.

Week 4 is done--6 to go.

We had two beautiful summer-like days with a high of about 80 and no humidity. We ate dinner out on the patio and enjoyed it--apparently it is now going to cool off for a few days. It was nice while it lasted!

Shearing last Sunday was another beautiful day--probably only a high of around 60 or so that day, but we were in the barn most of the time. I was there for a little over six hours and honestly, Ann's son Paul has a group of friends who have the whole shearing thing nailed---mostly I helped put the alpacas where they needed to be, the 'younger people' did all the hard work and were very efficient. All the alpacas were pretty helpful, even the boys, and there were only a few spitting incidents. Calypso looks so skinny without his beautiful fleece, but it will grow back.

This weekend we also watched two movies: "All the Money in the World" and "The Post." They were both good. The first one is basically the same story as the TV show 'Trust' (the J. Paul Getty kidnapping) but it was told from a different perspective so that was interesting. "The Post" is about the Pentagon Papers and is a good reminder for the importance of freedom of the press in this day and age.

All my knitting is in the grey family these days, which is not very summery. I've started the front of the black top and it is going well:

I'm going to put the purple scarf in a 'time out' since it is too 'thinky' for this time of the term--I'll pick it up in the summer.

That's it from here!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Tuesday Q and A!

Kathy's daughter Al wrote the blog post today and included a Quora! BECAUSE WE LOVE QUORA!
  • Do you have a favorite place to read (or knit)? Does it change depending on what you’re reading?
I love to sit outside and read and knit (although it becomes a bit wonky if it isn't set up just right!). We have recliners and if I recline at the right angle right next to a table I can hold both the knitting and the kindle and it is perfection!
  • Do you ever cheat and skip to the end of a book? Why do you do it?
Sometimes, mostly to see if someone dies or not.
  •  Where do you get your book recommendations?
Oh from all over the place. I'm on some discount kindle lists, and I look at Amazon recommendations a lot, as well as a couple book communities, and of course on all the blogs.
  • What is the funniest book you’ve ever read? Did it make you laugh out loud?
I think it was probably 'Me Talk Pretty Some Day" by David Sedaris.
  • Last one is of course: what are you reading this week?
Reading "My Oxford Year" which is cute so far. And Oxford!

I do have a wee bit of knitting:

 This got the sleeves separated. ^^ And below, there is HORIZONTAL KNITTING that is very very loose and I'm not sure what to do about it.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Before and After

Not gonna lie, I got a little teary.

Calypso at about noon today:
Calypso at about 1pm today:


She's in the foreground.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Satamran (Saturday morning random)

I just made up a word! Satamran! It rolls off the tongue, yes?

Anyway, here is what is happening in my world:

  • I finished week 3--only 7 more to go! 
  • I finished a manuscript that is due in May, which is good, since other stuff will call me. Happy that one thing is done though!
  • Eavesdrop still looks like nothing:
    It is taking a while because it is fingering weight yarn on size 2 needles where I'm knitting the front, the sleeves and the back all at once. The fronts are stockinette and the sleeves and back are 'cascade' knitting which is a knit/purl pattern that is sort of mindless but sort of not. Right now there are probably more than 250 stitches on this, and I have still have about ten rows before the sleeves are bound off. I can do about 3 rows an hour (yikes) on this so I have a bit more to do.
  • Shearing tomorrow! It has stopped raining so the pacas should all be dry. That's good! Ann has a huge crowd of people so it is more like an all day work party. I should be sore and tired and happy by the end of the day tomorrow.
  • I have started a few different books but none are 'sticking'. Maybe I'll hit on one soon. I think I have so much work stuff on my head that it is challenging for my mind to settle. 
  • I subscribe to the "Craft Gossip Newsletter" and take a quick scan of it every day. Some crafts are kind of cute but most have me wondering 'who has time to do all these things? Or the supplies?' Anyway, today there was a link to the which I read because I wanted to see what will soon to be passe. TLDR: these things are on their way out: millenial pink, the rustic look, burlap, the farmhouse look, and inspirational signs. In some ways, this seems to be a bit of a lazy post as someone realized that "Fixer Upper" is going off the air and just listed things that occur on that show. And aren't the rustic look and the farmhouse look pretty much the same thing? Anyway, you might be interested in learning more, so go ahead.
  • I knit on a mindless sock for Tim. This is yarn recommended by Kathy called Indulgence 6-ply. It is a merino blend and very very soft.
    And that's it for Satamran! Enjoy yours!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

A day of firsts! Ok a few firsts.

My M/W schedule this term is kind of intense--I am in the office from 7:30 til 4:30 with no breaks, really, as I have non stop students coming in starting around 8:30 and then two classes back to back from 12-4. I had thought I'd have M/W mornings free to review stuff for classes but it isn't working out that way--I have students coming in to talk about their theses (I'm on six undergrad committees this year, all finishing up this term), a few grad students I'm doing projects with, admissions for our Honors program, and so hopefully that will all start to get wrapped up. I did have a student come in yesterday who had totally blown off her thesis, but the starts aligned for her--she wanted to do a study of *something* on community bike sharing programs and I just happen to have our new community bike sharing program as a client this term so I got her on a path to glory.

Certainly I have plenty of time during Tuesday and Thursday (Fridays tend to be meeting-heavy) to do stuff like grade and prep upcoming classes, but so often it gets to be 4:30 and I realize I have not stepped outside for the entire day and that is just crazy making.

So all this is coming around to sharing the first of yesterday! It wasn't raining (first time in a long time), the first time it was above 60 degrees maybe this year (maybe I exaggerate) and thus, the first outdoor class of the year! I took the graduate class (15 students) outside and we had our reading discussion outside. And OH that means I also have my first sunburn of the year, on half of my face so I look a bit like Phantom of the Opera, but that's OK. And the sunburn started to fade already (and note to self: remember you have many types of oxybenzone-free sunscreen in your office so take that with you!).

Anyway, these socks are done:

This makes them look like they are greatly different sizes. Trust me, they aren't.

I cast on the toe for a pair of socks for Tim using the yarn that I lusted for on Kathy's blog a while back: it's a six ply that is really soft. I'll show you soon.

And to answer questions on shearing: yes, Calypso will be shorn! He will look so skinny. There will be several dozen people helping at the shearing (really, you only need about 8) but hopefully I'll be helpful since the alpacas don't really scare me.  Stay tuned for those pics too!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

That top

Bolan is coming along. I finished one half of the back and picked up stitches to do the second half of the back:

You can see that the lace pattern moves in different directions, and there is a 'visible' seam that joins the two. It kind of works, especially in a dark yarn.

And I know it kind of looks like a crop top, but that's just because the 'lower part' is bunched up on a straight needle so I could stretch out the lacey part.

I like this pattern, the lace is just enough for tv-watching knitting.

Let's see, a couple of catch ups. We are watching "Unforgotten" on Masterpiece Mystery and it is really good. You should take a look! We also watched "Phantom Thread" over the weekend. It is an odd little movie.

I read "Sophia of Silicon Valley" as part of my reading about technological biases, and it was OK. It was research! Sort of.

Work life continues to be busy, but good. And the sun is out and rain seems to have abated. Which is important as we shear the alpacas on Sunday and they need time to dry out!

Sunday, April 15, 2018


A bunch of projects to show you today.

First are the socks I work on in the car when we're driving to the coast to see the house progress.
They're fun and bright. I'm also to the ribbing on the legs.

I have also cast on for Eavesdrop in (you guessed it) Lindy Chain from Knit Picks. This pattern uses 'sequence knitting' for the yoke--it creates a texture pattern that is kind of nutty because sometimes you stop in the middle of a stitch pattern--anyway--you can read more about it  here .

There are a bunch  of sequence knitting patterns on Rav, as I'm guessing you might not want to commit to an expensive hardback book to learn more.

Not much to see, sorry.

We also took a trip to see the house yesterday. Sheetrock is up and drying out (there were a few giant heaters running):

The house isn't painted yet, but here is what it looks like from the outside.

Tim and Comet in the kitchen, The door to the left leads to the pantry.

Standing in the great room, looking toward the dining room and the kitchen. Isn't the vault in the ceiling great?

Standing in the dining room, looking at the great room. The yellow thing is where the Tulikivi stove will go, the steps to the downstairs are behind that, and the door to the right goes to our bedroom.

Our bedroom.

The shower is on the right. The sauna is on the left. Yes, we are having a sauna in the house.

It is all feeling very real and exciting right now!

Friday, April 13, 2018

April Showers

They're bringing lots and lots of tulips! It is an amazing year for the tulips in my garden! I'm not sure where all the dear are--in the past they've come by and chomped the tops off, but not this year!

The upper garden also features solar lights:

Bleeding hearts and the last of the grape hyacinths (and an aspen tree trunk):

Lower garden: it is a fiesta!

The daffodils are almost  done but the tulips are raging!

One little tulip peaks out from the volunteer butterfly bush:

So much color, even on a grey morning!

In other news: I'm reading Meg Wolitzer's new book, The Female Persuassion, and even though I'm 80% done I think I have to not finish it. I just don't care about the characters. I feel bad though. I also don't have another book that I'm aching to read on the horizon. What are you reading that is good?

I downloaded the complete works of Jane Austen on the kindle so may just start there. I have never read Northanger Abbey so I think I want to read that.

Hope your flowers are blooming!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Questions from Kathy and More!

Let's start out with some questions from Kathy:
*Have you had a hostess cupcake knock off? Probably but not recently.
*Have you heard of rolled ice cream?  (Thai origin?) No, but it sounds good!
*Do you have a favorite Episode of a favorite Tv show? I love the episode of "The Office" when Michael and Jan have a dinner party.
*Do you have a hammock? No! But I have a great memory of lying in a hammock at an eco-resort, Selva Bananita, in Costa Rica.
*Have you knit outside lately? ha ha ha ha no.
*What is your go to Dk or aran  weight yarn? Is Cascade 220 Aran weight? Probably that if it is.
*What’s your noisiest appliance? Does the fan on the over-the-stove microwave count?  Because that.
*Is it easier for you to give yourself some slack or someone else? Neither is particularly easy for me!
*How many circular needles do you own? Beyond the scope of our counting abilities.
*Name of sign of Spring you are happy to see ! All the tulips in the front yard!

This isn't a good picture (the color isn't nearly this saturated), but it is coming along:

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

And just like that---

---this top was finished.

There are a few ends to weave in, it needs a block, but so far I think this one is a winner. I usually avoid colors that bright but I think in the summer it will be OK. And the back is supposed to be a little bit longer, so that little bit of wonkiness is appropriate.

I'm kind of proud of myself for getting on with summer tops before summer gets here!

School was another intense slog yesterday (I think I will just have to get used to nine weeks of intense slog, and just make my peace with it).

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Sunday update

Hello and happy Sunday! We are having a very blustery weekend--we had speedy wind gusts yesterday and lots of rain. Today it is just cloudy and misty. Fortunately, the electricity stayed on!
And thank you for your comments about my crazy eye thing. The left eye is still a little odd (this is to be expected)--I can see fine and all, and as long as I avoid looking at bright lights it isn't very bothersome. But that was a freaky thing.

I finished the first quarter of the body of the Bolan:

I need to finish off the sleeves and then I pick up stitches along the left hand side for the other half of the back. It is cool construction and I like this pattern a lot.

I'm even used to doing black lace.

Last night we watched an episode of Masterpiece Theatre called "The Child in Time".  It was a bit odd. It was a novelization of a Ian McEwan novel and I think it might have been better as a novel. But, it has Benedict Cumberbatch in it as well as Kelly McDonald and we like them both. So there's that.

I read a short book yesterday called "Good Neighbors" by Joanne Serling. It was interesting, and a great rainy day book, about how we put up a 'front' to our neighbors and how our neighbors sometimes know things about us that are, um, problematic.

Basically, it has been a nice quiet weekend, and it will continue. Enjoy Sunday!

Friday, April 06, 2018

So let's talk about yesterday

I had big big plans for yesterday--I had two writing projects I was going to dive into and really make some progress. I was going to take a  REAL lunch break and work for an hour on Rheinlust. I was going to make a nice dinner. It was going to be great! And the tulips are ready to open up!

And Thursday started fine. The dogs and I got a bit wet during our walk since it was raining, but I didn't think that much about it. I did some work on prep, took a shower, and went to the car to go to the grocery store.

Ach. First problem. I left the sunroof open on Wednesday! It was such a nice day, coming home from work I opened it up.  So I forgot to close it. The front seats were soaked, but that was it---and the car doesn't have electric seats or anything. So when I got home from the grocery, I hung a hair dryer in the car and tried to dry it out. It seemed to work ok.

Normally, I can roll with that kind of 'glitch' in my day. When I got back inside from setting up the hair dryer, I noticed a bright flash in  my eye when I opened up the computer, and wondered if there was just a computer screen glitch that I was reacting to. Then it started--a constant stream of 'c' shapes appearing in light form on the top and left side of my vision in my right eye, accompanied by active floaters (or maybe one floater, hard to say). I would get a few 'c' shapes, it would stop, and then I would move my head and it would happen again. I kept thinking it would go away. After about an hour and a half, I called my eye doctor and after answering a few questions to show that it wasn't an EMERGENCY emergency, we set a time for later in the afternoon to go.

In the meantime, what looked like a good sized floater appeared to 'stop' in my left eye, in my line of vision, so there was a small fuzzy place in my site.

I tried to work and I am looking forward to reading my writing, because I'm sure it is kind of crazy. I was pretty tense but knew that if it was a HORRIFIC emergency my eye doctor would get me in there immediately (we know each other pretty well, she's great).

At some point, something happened where I said to myself 'it's over now'---the lights no longer flashed, the floater moved away, and I felt much like myself. I still went in to the doctor (that is how freaked out I was) and had a bunch of images done (she has this AWESOME equipment where you don't have to get dilated).

And so the conclusion was: it was two probably unrelated events happening simultaneously. First was the ocular migraine, which was the lights and the little dot (I've had one other ocular migraine, and it was completely different). The second event was something called a PVD or post vitreous detachment, which is a scary term for when your eye releases a floater. The vitreous gets less gummy as we age and this happens to 60% of people in my age group, and is even  more likely when one is extremely near sighted (as I am). I'll need to get imaging fairly often for a while to make sure things stay kind of static.

So I'm fine. But what a day!

There was mindless knitting.

 I know it looks like a skirt but it is a tunic type summer top. I manipulated it so you could see the gusset thing where the shaping takes places.
It's cute.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Almost a FO!

I finished this over the weekend (finished in terms of the knitting stuff--and the shoulders are connected, yay, but the ends need weaving in and it needs blocking). BUT--I tried it on and it will be PERFECT for summer--it is the right length (I made it a little longer than the pattern called for), it is loose but not voluminous (which is great when it gets hot out) and I got the armholes just right---they aren't gappy in the least. So this is a win! And I will probably knit another one as I have the yarn for it (Lindy Chain).

At first I thought I'd have to wear a camisole with it--the lace center parts starts around my belly button, but right now it is pretty tight and doesn't make me feel like I'm walking around showing off a lot of skin. I may change the pattern in future tees to do a cable or something that feels less 'hole-y' but I'm guessing once summer is here I'll be fine with the inch wide lace motif on it.

Plus it will be like having my own personal air conditioning, right?

This is Thursday of the first week and my Mondays and Wednesdays are intense with teaching and meetings and Tuesdays are intense with prep. I'm hoping to have today more of a research day and will use Friday for prep for the upcoming week. I know there's nothing more boring about reading about a professor's continual prep/teach/research cycle so I apologize. Nothing else to discuss right now though!

Tuesday, April 03, 2018


Yesterday was the first day of spring term and it went fine, other than the Bookstore lost my book order and so didn't order it (I recovered--there's a documentary that goes along with the book and one can view it for free online so they'll watch that instead). I have 32 in one class and 15 in the other and the classes go 12-2 and 2-4 so it is kind of intense on Monday and Wednesday afternoons. But it should be fine.

The weekend was quiet--not much happening on the house so we didn't go over there (waiting for sheetrock). We watched "Lady Bird" which was delightful although it brings up a lot of not-great memories about growing up---but those are behind us now so let's all just move on). Tim made a nice dinner for Easter and we took a long walk with the dogs and we all enjoyed that.

I cast on for Bolan and now I know why you're not supposed to knit lace with black yarn.

It is an interesting construction--you knit one half (the lace goes at the top) of the back, and then pick up stitches and do a mirror image of the back (and the same for the front). I'm using my current favorite yarn, Lindy Chain.

Over the weekend, I read the book "Just the funny parts" by Nell Scovell, a great book about breaking into the writing business. Not anything deep, by any means, but worth a read.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Easter Eggs

Happy Easter and Happy Passover!

A 'contemporary' definition of Easter Egg is "an intentional inside joke, hidden message or image, or secret feature of a work." I'm defining it as finding an almost finished object in a knitting basket during the week before Easter and finishing it up.

Thus, Romeo.

This was supposed to be a 'wrap' and I had probably another foot of knitting needed on it. But then I thought--couldn't it be a cowl?

Yes, yes it could be a cowl.

So I hemmed it and blocked it and now I have a cowl and a finished object AND an Easter egg.

It is quite pretty but I remember it drove me nuts when I was knitting on it.