so it seems that I’ve only taken pictures of the food.

It’s been an eventful couple of days: the pig farm was idyllic, filled with friends around the campfire, bubbly wine, one very silly movie, lots of food, and a dash of nostalgia.  Then, off to Switzerland, where I immediately put my masterplan into action: to eat as much delicious food as possible in 2.5 weeks.

So far, so good.

This is what greeted me upon arrival:

wiesendangen

fresh asparagus, sauteed left-over Brezelknödel (kinda like big dumplings made from soft pretzels), and Hollandaise sauce to make it buttery, creamy and wonderful.

The view made lunch even tastier and helped to erase any lingering memories of a ridiculously delayed flight out of Philadelphia.

wiesendangen

Then dinner with some lovely salads and vegetables, chewy bread, local cheese, and sausage (of course!):

wiesendangen

No afternoon is complete with cake and coffee:

wiesendangen

Just as no evening is complete without a full grill:

wiesendangen

And then, to top it all off, Germany won the EuroVision song contest last night.

wiesendangen

High five.

t-minus 12 hours

So I’m heading off tomorrow: first to a cabin on a pig farm in Pennsylvania for a get together with some New Jersey friends; then, to Switzerland (and Germany!) to hang out and do some research.  It’s going to be a bit more of a working vacation than I’d intended, but I was probably just in denial thinking my reading list wouldn’t find a way to tag along.

One project that won’t be coming:

girasole

Yep, girasole.  These photos are a couple of days old: I’m just a few rounds away from finishing all the charts and moving on to the edging.

girasole

Unfortunately fate has intervened … and I won’t have enough yarn.  Unless, of course, this last skein magically replenishes itself.  So unless that happens — and that’s not very likely, given how the other skeins have just petered out — it looks like I’m going to have to order more yarn.  Which means girasole will be on hold for three weeks.

girasole

Which also means I’ve got to wind some yarn.  Maybe before I vacuum.  Definitely before I pack.

I’ll try to post some pictures, but I’m pretty awful at remembering to take them in the first place.  Let alone get them off the camera and onto the internet.

In any case, I’ll be back in June … yay for summer!  I hope you’ve all got lots of wonderful things lined up.

FO : Hausfrau

hausfrau

I finally finished the Hausfrau bag.  For such a simple project, it took me quite a while (3 weeks) to complete.  I think that had something to do with my extreme dislike for mesh patterns.  All of that k2tog.

The yarn is Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in stone and terracotta.  The acrylic made the cotton easier to work with, though I am worried about extra-stretch … hopefully it will keep its shape and be sturdy enough for actual use.

hausfrau

As for size, I think it’s okay: 11″ wide and 9.5″ across (unstretched) with a 5″ handle (that is, a 10″ handle folded in the middle).  The mesh certainly has a lot of give and I have a feeling that the bag can hold quite a bit of produce.  More than one might imagine, in fact.  As I’m trying to empty my refrigerator before heading off to Germany next week (!) I don’t have a lot on hand to test out that theory.

In other news, I resurrected girasole:

girasole, revisited

I’m now on the second repeat of chart E.  It’s slow going, I won’t lie, but oddly soothing in its repetitiveness.  As long as I don’t interrupt the rhythm, I’m fine.  Needless to say, the rhythm is inevitably interrupted and I find myself having to turn ssk into k2tog or vice versa.

We’ll see how far I get.  It took quite a few episodes of Bones, Parks & Recreation, and 30 Rock to make it through about 10 rounds.  At 640 stitches per round … that’s serious business.  It’s all part of my “relax and enjoy the process” project, which is the underlying theme of all my summer activities.  As a committed and dedicated worrier, this is difficult.

and then go go go go go

Turns out, when left to my own devices I end up at the mall.  I do not like the mall.  Used to be that I went so infrequently — to the really big one out on Route 1 with the gigantor parking lot, not the ubiquitous and completely unavoidable run-of-the-mill New Jersey strip mall where all the good Chinese food is — that I’d get my ears pierced again.  It balanced things out.  Well, now I’ve got a total of seven holes and would be venturing into cartildge, which is not somewhere I trust Claire’s to go without infection and all kinds of gross consequences.  Not to mention that I like pain even less than I like malls.

So I had to go to the mall without getting my ears pierced.

Then I had to go back to return something.  The good news: I now own a few items of well-fitting intimate apparel that I’ve been needing desperately all semester.  The bad news: two consecutive days at the mall.

It’s cut into my knitting time.

1. Hausfrau

hausfrau

This one is so close: just a few more inches on the seemingly interminable garter stitch handle.  I hope it will be a useful size, it looks a bit on the small side right now.  Of course, mesh is stretchy so all might be well.  The trick will be getting the handle long enough to be functional, without being so long that it stretches beyond reason.  A delicate balance.

2. saddle shoulder aran

aran

Yep, not much progress.  I’ve got to get a big swatch started and figure out what should go where and how many stitches I need overall and … yeah, there’s still lots to do.  But I’ve got the summer.

3. Regentag

regentag

These were perfect while writing: simple, straightforward, no way to get lost or really even mess up.  The crazy yarn does all of the work, I just collect the compliments at the coffeeshop.

That’s why I love that particular place: not only are they Southern-nice, with plenty of ironic facial hair and hipster watching opportunities, they also compliment my knitting.  Once somewhere over in East Nashville, where I was just reading and minding my own business — though feeling decidedly un-trendy and tragically un-hip — some lady complimented me on my dashing mitts.  They are admittedly quite dashing.  All well and good.  Then she proceeded to ask me if I’d like to knit a pair for her.  Like?  Um, not really.  I haven’t been back there.  What I’d like is to not get hit up by strangers seeking handknits.

But I digress.  I’ve got the whole summer to dedicate to non-commissioned projects.  I’m even still holding out hope that I might find time to resurrect a few sorely neglected WIPs: lizard ridge (that thing is older than most of the children I know), earth stripe (so pretty, so tangly), mini-kate (I started this for my ex’s mom way back in 2007, when he wasn’t my ex and it wasn’t kinda weird), maybe even girasole?  This is all obviously too much, but I am overjoyed at the prospect of a summer without looming deadlines of despair.

In fact, I think the measure of my relief is somehow reflected in the extremely frivolous nature of my relaxation: all of the stuff that I never ever take time to do, or really even think of doing in the normal course of life, like painting my toenails or going to the mall or buying pretty but impractical shoes or drinking lots of wine while watching internet tv (okay, that one happens more than I’d like to admit, though not as often as you might think).

new shoes

(there are notes, if you’re interested)

Which is exactly how I ended up going into DSW looking for hiking boots and came out with these sandals.  Sandals that I both love and am almost certain to never wear outside of the house.  Maybe for Halloween.

Shark Week

You know what this means …

straw

As of 7:30 a.m. yesterday, my 14th semester of graduate school is finished!  And for the first time since 2003, I’m looking forward to a summer without the crushing guilt and fun-killing drag of incomplete work.  No catching up, no putting off, no worrying about making it good.  It’s done.

I am very tired, but so very very happy.

straw

Yesterday afternoon I pulled on a version of the outfit I’ve been wearing all week (water conservation is really just an excuse in this case), took myself down to my favorite coffee shop, and started swatching for the saddle shoulder aran.  It was wonderful: I spent a couple of hours getting to know the yarn, testing out cables, drawing up charts, ripping and reknitting.

To be honest, I don’t really know what I’m doing: I’ve never attempted a project quite this complicated or freeform, but I’m enjoying the process.  I tend towards the impatient; in this case, I’m trying very hard to appreciate the slowness of it all.

straw

Only the first steps, but a relaxing afternoon with some wool was the perfect reward.  Then I came home, bought some wine and ice cream sandwiches, and dove into my other deferred pleasure: finishing off season 1 of 30 Rock.  It was perfect.  I can’t believe I spent so many years not watching this show.

You know, I’ve never really watched Shark Week, but I can get behind the call to “live every week like it’s Shark Week.”  I’m going to try to do that more.

straw

straw

three things

Photo 33

1. sock progress: Still pretty boring.  Though I did get another compliment on the Hundertwasser yarn and my mad reading-while-knitting skillz at the coffeeshop this afternoon.

2. new glasses: It’s no secret that Stefanie Japel is my flashy muse.  In real life, I’m a wallflower.  It’s fine, I’m over trying to be different or wishing the shyness away.  Here’s the problem: I’m a wallflower who is secretly flashy, who loves to sparkle and is always looking for a sly opportunity to let the LOUDness out.  I can’t help it.  It doesn’t make any sense, but that’s what a paradox is.  So I wanted some new glasses.  Thing is, I’ve got a monster prescription to correct my ridiculously myopic eyes; lenses always cost the earth and, as a result, I go with pretty conservative choices because I wear glasses all the time.  This goes against my secretly flashy nature, but is The Responsible Decision.

Enter 39dollarglasses.com.  I heard about them from Ms. Japel when she bought some glasses online.  My prescription newly updated (but no worse, thank goodness) I ordered some flashy glasses.  I was sceptical: would my lenses cost extra for being extra thick?  Nope.  I paid 39 bucks for a pair of glasses.  In fact, I played copycat and got that top peachy-orange pair.  I’m still getting used to them and sometimes people kinda do a double take that makes me wonder if they were the best choice, but then I remind myself: $39.  And I’ve still got the old purple ones to fall back on, for those days when I’m just all wallflower.

3. The Flood: it’s pretty much everyone’s favorite topic of conversation around here.  With good reason: it’s bad.  The city is still conserving water and I haven’t had a real shower in a while.  But that’s small potatoes.  Ann over at Mason Dixon knitting has posted a couple of updates and some pictures.  So many people are starting over with nothing, the least I can do is not shower and ask you to consider making a donation to The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee here or the Middle Tennessee Red Cross here.

glitter!

Oooh, look at all that sock progress!!

glitter + Regentag

Gotcha.

Not much to see here.  But I did finish paper numero dos … and am now settling into the last one.  Or, rather, I will be once I get back from a no doubt ill-advised trip to Knoxville tonight with a friend to see this friend’s friend’s band.  Kind of a nice bookend, though: same band I saw with the same friend on the very first weekend of the semester.  Circle of life.  Just don’t tell my parents.

Also, yes, I am almost thirty and I still wear glitter polish.

boring sock progress.

No, this time it really is boring.

Regentag

In between writing, not writing, thinking about writing, and watching for the renegade buffalo (no sign of them yet), I didn’t get much knitting done.

All in all, the usual 70 stitches are working out much better.  No funky pooling, no worries about a too-loose cuff or too little yarn.

Regentag

Maybe I’ll have a sock by the end of the summer?  Certainly not by the end of this paper …

Regentag

regentag

New socks!  I was so pleased with how my last pair of Hundertwasser socks turned out that I cast on right away for another pair.  This time in Regentag auf Liebe Wellen: perhaps the most apposite of names considering Nashville’s weekend of flooding.  (Regentag = rainy day)  Given the damage around town, I’m certainly glad that my apartment sits at the top of a hill and not the bottom.

It’s a mess.  And from what I’ve seen, I’m very lucky to be suffering only the minor annoyances of low water pressure and cabin fever.

regentag

That’s where knitting comes in handy.  The bright colors are nothing if not distracting.  One of my hairbrained schemes to “improve” upon my go-to sock pattern — by casting on more stitches and incorporating calf shaping for a taller, and thus superior, sock — did not work out and I had the pleasure of knitting the cuff twice.

(It’s not that the plan is inherently flawed, just that the extra stitches were creating some funky pooling and I was beginning to worry about 1) the cuff being too loose and 2) running out of yarn somewhere in the middle of sock two.  More thought, and possibily a toe-up construction, is needed.)

regentag

Luckily, though it seems some rivers are still rising and I’ve heard it kind of smells outside, the sun is out and it’s not raining this morning.  The university’s central library is open and I don’t have to go anywhere near an underwater downtown.  In fact, I have to stay at my desk and write.

regentag

My favorite story of the flood is the one about Naomi Judd’s buffalo: Wynonna apparently Wynonna’s rep confirmed that Naomi Judd called up a local news station to inform the community that the fencing out at her mother’s farm had been compromised by the rising water and her buffalo were on the loose.  Yes, Naomi Judd’s buffalo made the paper.

I pretty much fell in love with living in Nashville — crazy apocalypto weather and all — at that moment.

regentag

And now it’s back to writing for me.  I’m attempting to work out a paper that just won’t cooperate.  It’s all stops and starts, banging my head against the (metaphorical) wall and worrying that midnight on Wednesday will, alternately, never get here and get here too fast.

der blaue mond : ist fertig.

Nashville is experiencing some kind of weather event today.  I know I haven’t been here all that long — and, truly, I like it a lot so far and have all kinds of plans for eating barbeque, biscuits, and fried chicken, not to mention tracking down the roaming hipster taco truck and watching live music — but the weather seems awfully, um, moody.
der blaue mond
So this is the best I can do today.  Kinda dark.
The thunder woke me up at 6:37 a.m. which was pretty spectacular in itself because it was so loud and sustained.  (And I’m not a light sleeper.  Or used to thunder of this magnitude.)  My first thought was: ohmygod, bomb.  Then, ohmygod the frat boys next door have a bomb.  Then finally, I should get up and start writing.
As destruction did not seem imminent, I went back to sleep.  And woke up to find it darker.  I hate these day-for-night mornings.
der blaue mond
Despite the weather issues, I’m pretty pleased with these socks.  The second one seems to fit a bit more loosely, but considering I started them in November, the size is amazingly consistent.  The Hundertwasser yarn feels sturdy — it’s a bit rough during the knitting — and the colors are wonderous: my sock got compliments in the coffee shop yesterday.
I think I’m going to start another one right now …