i was almost defeated by this yarn.

ranco multy 301, originally uploaded by katie:m.
I think I have mentioned before that Araucania insists on tying their skeins in such a manner as to completely and utterly defeat my every attempt to wind them 1) into a single corresponding yarn cake or 2) in a timely manner.  These skeins were almost my undoing.
Which is too bad, considering it’s gorgeous souvenir yarn from my sister.  Okay, yarn she bought for me on a trip to Arizona — of which I was not part — but still.  It’s a souvenir for someone.
After much wrestling, cursing, some ill-advised snipping, and perhaps even a display approaching a tantrum, I managed to wind the stuff into four yarn cakes: two mini mutant cakes and two more reguarly sized giants.

mara

But all is well that ends in the well.

Since this yarn (Ranco Multy) is so very variegated, I went with the simplest pattern: Mara.  The Barefoot Rooster finished a lovely version that first brought the pattern to my attention.  The garter stitch is perfect relaxation knitting; and though the wool I’m using is fingering-weight, I hope I can get a good sized shawl out of it.  After all, I did manage to wind two skeins: approx. 750 yards.  And large shawls are in demand lately: the office I squat (approved but unofficial) is kept at a chilly 60 degrees, for reasons best known to those in authority.

Alright, the coffee is almost finished and it’s time to get reacquainted with some Freud.  Saturday was a free day, after my very first Nashville concert on Friday night, but today it’s back to work.

alice in action

And Alice runs a pretty tight ship.

tanzanite

Main Entry: tan·za·nite
Pronunciation: \ˈtan-zə-ˌnīt\
Function: noun
Etymology: Tanzania, Africa
Date: 1968: a mineral that is a deep blue variety of zoisite* and is used as a gemstone
tanzanite, originally uploaded by katie:m.
This lovely yarn arrived in my mailbox yesterday — the perfect antidote to a tiring day of seminar and research work.  Every time I consider cancelling my Booty Club subscription — the expense, the mounting yarn storage concerns, etc. — she sends in a skein that I can’t resist.  And as a result I convince myself that the pleasure of receiving (surprise!) yarn each month is worth the money.
I don’t know yet what I’m going to do with this.  Milkweed, maybe?  There are so many shawls I want to knit — and thanks to the chilly office problem I now have a reason to wear them all — but when?  The eternal question.
* an orthorhombic mineral that consists of a basic silicate of calcium and aluminum and is related to epidote (because that clears it up nicely)

cherry blossom bandit; or, it’s time to get caught up.

There doesn’t seem much to say about this project: yarn and pattern came together so well, it practically knit itself.  Though luckily not, otherwise I would have missed out on the tactile pleasure of such super soft silky merino.
I’d never worked with Sundara’s yarn before: undoubtedly expensive, but, I would argue, definitely worth it.  This is the aran silky merino — it was heavenly, bunny soft and silky shiny.  I’m so glad I have some more coming from her Year in Color offerings.  Difficult to keep it financially responsible with so so much pretty wool.

cherry blossom bandit

This yarn, however, is from years ago.  I don’t even remember when I bought it, only that I was still living in NJ apartment no. 2 (The University Housing Years), which puts it at about 2006/07.  At the time, I had dreams of a sweater, so I have a couple of more skeins still to use.

cherry blossom bandit

As I didn’t want to dip into a third skein, I was a bit conservative about the lace repeats.  Looking back — and with plenty of skein two left over — I think I could have slipped in one more repeat of the body chart before beginning the edging.  As it is, it’s just  shy of Perfect Shawl Proportions: wingspan of 48″, depth of 22″.

But it does keep a person warm in a freezing office.

Further details here.

Prunus domestica

How much do I love the Malabrigo sock?  Well, to quote Elizabeth Barrett Browning might be a bit over the top … but headed in that general direction.  On the wool spectrum, anyway.
I’m pretty sure I still love my kitty more.  Unless she keeps waking me up in the middle of the night.  Then the Malabrigo might just have the edge.

Prunus domestica

The Damson is just speeding along.  I’m so glad that Ysolda decided to put together a second whimsical collection (have I already linked there?): not only will there be lots more cute things to knit, but the imminent arrival of #2 has reminded me how much from #1 still remains only queued.  Indeed, it was with Ishbel that I went over the triangular-shawl precipice.

Prunus domestica

My only concern at this point is that the body is seeming a bit on the small side.  From the scematic, the shawl looks to be diminutive, so I’m not worried yet.  But I do know that I get more use out of — and enjoy wearing — slightly larger shawls: my silk springtime bandit has revealed itself as the most perfectest size ever (60″ across the top, 24″ at the center).  And the slightly heavier weight of the silk makes it drape beautifully.
On the other hand, the small size makes this shawl a very portable project.  And as I’m trying to start up a campus-going routine, that seems ideal.  Computer, books, notebooks, lunch, wallet, and and and … not much room left over for the knitting.
p.s. Thanks for all of your nice comments about the delayed furniture.  I needed a good whinge.  It should be here soon, though.  Fingers crossed!

blurry yarn love

This is going to be a bit rambling.
Here’s my new yarn.  I checked out the Haus of Yarn this afternoon, searching for some wooly love.  Thanks to Jodi I found out about Ysolda‘s new shawlette pattern.  Obviously, I needed some yarn.  And by chance, I decided on the very same shade used in the pattern.  It’s just so lovely.  And I’m casting on right now.
It’s a kind of therapy really.  See, we went with cheap movers and we should have known better.  Turns out, my furniture has never left New Jersey.  They packed it up August 1 … and it’s just been sitting around in some warehouse since then.  Um.  I don’t even want to think about what will be “lost” after all of this.  The company kind of promised to have it here this week.  Seriously ridiculous.
So, I went to Target (again) and bought some kitchen stuff so I can cook dinner for myself.  And, you know, have a mug for my coffee.  Funny thing, though, standing in Target looking for a cheap knife I randomly met up with my first grad school roommate.  She’s here for the year.  Weird.  If I weren’t so tired by all of the running around getting stuff for a temporary kitchen (not to mention getting slightly worried about of the bills piling up as I attempt to find stop-gap stuff) I’d make it into an entertaining story.  Instead, the bare fact: the academic world is really very small.
Now I’m going to knit.  And then wash some dishes for dinner.  Because my dishwasher is broken.  Figures.

sunday

Alice and I are on our own today — my mom left this morning for the great northwest and a visit from my sister.  Still no furniture, but I’m hopeful it might arrive next week.  Air mattress living is undeniably luxurious.
To ease the transition back into my single life, I spent the morning on home improvement: hanging the curtains (from the antique mall downtown), getting some plants for outside, making one more trip to Target.  I would make dinner, but the pots and pans are MIA.
Alice concentrated on the snoozing.

silk kerchief

Tonight, I’m going to tackle the silk kerchief.  It’s growing at an amazing rate and it’s almost time to decide: bind off as directed or keep on going?

nashville

We made it! My mom, my cat, and I pulled into town on Monday, picked up the keys, and got the air conditioning going.  And though I don’t know my way around town and get lost every time I set foot on campus, I have found a local yarn store.  So that’s handy.
Right now, we’re just waiting for the furniture to arrive.  Last we heard, it was in South Carolina.  Close, but not close enough.
It’s not a big deal: at the moment, I’m having a passionate affair with Kate Gagnon Osborn’s designs.  A couple of days ago I finished up another Springtime Bandit in some lovely Sundara yarn that has been in the stash for ages.  It just needs to block.  And now I’m involved in a daliance with the Silk Kerchief (when not having my head turned by street maps).  The Kerchief got off to a rocky start, as I managed (somehow?!) to buy the wrong yarn: regular Silk Garden in shade 245 does not do the trick when paired with sock-weight naturals.  It took me a rather long time to figure out this mistake.
That’s it for now.  Nashville seems like an awesome place and I can’t wait to get to know the city.  And, you know, go to school.