three days

monday.  sigh.

Dear Semester,

Hi, it’s me Katie M.  You know, the old one with no stamina, a serious need for regular beauty sleep, and some pretty sweet bags from Switzerland?  Yeah.  That one.  Um, could we make a deal?  You know, maybe you could take it a bit easy on me this year?  I mean, I can handle the seminars and the teaching, even if you did throw in exams and a dissertation to write like I wouldn’t notice.  Okay, I get that.  That’s what I get paid for.  I saw it coming.  And planning the conference was totally my own fault.  But how about no curve balls?  No heartbreak?  No rashes or sinus infections?  No weeks of Doritos for dinner?  Could we just agree on that?  And plenty of time for knitting.  That would be awesome.

With love, esteem, affection, and just a hint of passive aggression,

Katie M.

I think a letter to Santa might be more effective.

Ah well, just look at all this cowl!  It was the perfect weekend knitting for a brain too tired to focus on anything more complex than Bad Girls Club and Bridezillas.  I’ve still got a good few inches to go (so big and cowly!) …

idlewood

idlewood

idlewood

… and a magically non-shrinking gigantor ball of ecowool.  It will last forever!

first day of school

first day of school

Back home, Pimm’s Cup in hand.  It was a good day.

Let’s just not talk about how it was also the first day of my fifteenth semester of grad school.  (Secretly, I’m not horrified.)

They say you learn something new every time you teach.  Well, consider me enlightened: not only do I still get nervous, but it turns out 18 year-old boys will look down your shirt if you wear a v-neck.  Duly noted.

Good thing the rooster introduced me to a project with no shortage of coverage: Idlewood.

wait, what happened?

Yeah, that’s how I feel.  A little confused, a little lost, a lot behind.  Often whiny.  Where did the summer go?

But go it did, and the new semester starts on Wednesday.  All in all, this first year (or first year and twenty days) has been very good: not just second chances and academic challenges, but hot chicken, Robert’s Western World, giant chryselephantine Athena, new and old friends, George Strait, sloe gin, and a summer full of happy surprises too.

All that to say, I can’t complain.

But on to the knitting!

I finally blocked and photographed the stormclould shawlette.  It’s soft and airy and I love it very much.

brain:cloud

See how it opened up?  With lovely differences in texture in each section … I love the movement from dense to open and back again.

Please, let’s pretend that my bed is made and my hair washed.

brain:cloud

brain:cloud

Since I like my shawls large and in charge — and was on a mission to use as much of my two precious skeins of Crown Mountain Farms sockhop as possible — this version has only a glancing kinship with the shawlette: I used almost two full skeins of fingering-weight yarn (approx. 400 yards) on size US9/5.5mm needles.  Final measurements: 68″ across the top, 20″ deep at the center.

A perfect, quick shawl.

fo : braincloud

fo : brain:cloud

This super-quick, super-easy project didn’t exactly fly off the needles, but it did go pretty darn fast.  The handspun was wonderful to work this, the pattern simple to follow and memorize.  Perfect knitting for a tired brain.

And speaking of tired, the semester hasn’t even started and I’m already feeling over scheduled … never a good sign.  Also, I’m pretty sure I don’t get to knit while teaching German 103.  Sigh.

fo : brain:cloud

fo : brain:cloud

Now with happy kitty feet: Alice approved!

fo : brain:cloud

brain:cloud

brain:cloud

I started a new project.  I wanted something quick and easy and fun … and, if possible, not too hard on the wrists.  The Storm Cloud Shawlette seemed like the right answer.

So I grabbed a little handspun, some big needles, and got started.

brain:cloud

This color is called “shadow on the wall” and I’m not really sure why.  It’s peachy-yellowy-slighly pinkish-greenish hue does not make me think of walls or shadows.  It makes me think of brains.

brain:cloud

brain:cloud

brain:cloud

Which is why I’m going out on a limb and calling my version braincloud.  Also, I know that feeling — cloudy brains — and wish it felt like super soft handspun wool.  In pretty colors.  Alas and alack … well, it’s at least a wooly feeling.

brain:cloud

brain:cloud

This is knitting up super fast: win!

Monday

How about a weekend wrap up?

Here’s Ms. Beauregarde, who has very little to show for herself.  At 560 stitches, this is point when I begin to wonder why I ever started this project.

Also, I’m concerned that I’m knitting a Utah Jazz jersey, circa the mid-eighties to the mid-ninties.  Not a particularly good ten years for basketball fashions.

chart 3

In reaction to the Beauregarde boredom, my silky Ishbel (modified) has been getting a lot more attention.  And by a lot, I mean this is what I knit during two different Criminal Minds marathons over the weekend.  The gauge is really loose and I’m still slightly worried about the resulting fabric, though not quite enough to rip and reknit.  But I do have a feeling that the miracle of blocking will need to happen in a big way.  Look at all those wonky stitches.

more stripes

In other news, The Magnificent Seven is pretty great, especially in conjunction with Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.  And let’s just say it: Steve McQueen knows how to wear a pair of chaps.

In more other news, one of my best friends — who spent the summer not in Nashville — is coming back tomorrow and I’m so excited!  I’ve been lucky enough to find wonderful friends in all of the places I’ve lived, but I feel particularly lucky to have found such a good one right here in Nashville.  And we have a summer’s worth of catching up to do!

60

60

First, the good news: I made it through chart 2 without any disasters, and managed to get started on the contrast color and chart 3 last night.  The bad news: I’ve been knitting way too much and my wrist is very unhappy with me.  It’s time for a break before things get any worse.  Because I had trouble opening up the pickle jar today … and that’s just not okay.

In other news, Alice would like you to know that bathtub water is best.

shower water is best

Have I mentioned how much I love this crazy little furball?

still boring.

Yep.

still boring

Here we are at round 36 … only 18 more rounds until … 2/3 of the way to … chart 3.

Not that I’m complaining, part of me really likes the highway hypnosis stage of knitting lace: knit and knit and knit and eventually you arrive somewhere new, but without any idea of how you got there.  It was kinda like that last night.

And considering that there’s a heat advisory until Thursday and today’s heat index is supposed to be 109 or something crazy, it’s probably better that I have plenty of indoor activities to keep me busy.

still boring

Right now, though, it’s just a blob.  Maybe, to mix things up, I’ll switch to a longer cable.  Whoa.  Slow down.

Also, I really want to knit this.  Because it does, and almost has for another year.

still boring

Look: tiny leaves and big leaves too!

In other news, Nasvhille is slowly rubbing off on me.  Not only do I consider Robert’s Western World more fun than it should be, but I’ve recently developed a fondness for George Strait.  Seriously.  (Okay, my new favorite radio station — WSM 650 AM, radio home of the Grand Ole Opry — is playing something by a band called Yarn … everyday is an adventure here.)

In other other news: I’d like to ask for some recommendations.  My camera is finally getting on my nerves enough (and is old enough) to consider replacing it … the main problem being it’s inability to handle low light … which is pretty much my apartment all the time.  You can see the problem.  So any suggestions for a not-too-expensive (read: pretty cheap) digital camera that takes decent pictures (not fuzzy and grainy) in low light?  And has a macro setting?

boring shawl progress

I’ve included the clickety round counter, just to verify my claims that progress has been made.  Because it’s not always easy to tell.

violet progresses

violet progresses

So here we are, round 22 of 54.  Then things will get really exciting … another doubled stitch-count, switching to the contrast color, a whole new chart.  My socks?  Officially knocked off.

I really like the finished shawl — it’s just the right amount of flashy for me, and with this project I was shameless aiming for something that would produce the “ZOMG, you made that?!” gasps of disbelief and wonder at my knitterly skillz  — but part of me wishes I’d stuck with traditional Shetland motifs.  Ah well.  The grass is always greener, etc.  I can tell you this, though: my first real paycheck of the fall is going toward some cobweb-weight yarn.

In the mean time, I’ve been struck by a curious urge: namely, to knit a vest.  Vests are usually not my thing, but this post over at needled led me to this lovely vest … and now visions of colorwork diamonds are dancing in my head.  And vests knit up quickly, right?

looking up, again

progress.

A little bright yellow shawl progress — frank ochre style — seems like a good way to start a Monday.  With the soothing powers of Tom Collins to guide me, I found my lost stitch (darn missed yarn over) and got everything back on track.  For now.  Because I’m certain that Violet still has some surprises in store for me.

I’ve only gotten through a few rounds of chart 2; we’ll see how much farther I get before school starts (!!).  Friends to visit on Saturday — and a very demanding itinerary of browsing, eating, and country-music-listening — prevented much progress this weekend.  The sad reality of the work I have to do might just prevent much progress this week.

progress.

progress.

That’s right.  It’s already, unbelievably August: time for getting back to school and lamenting the end of another summer, gone too soon.  July was a good month, I’d like it back.