Budgie for B.

autumn adventures

Well, I certainly didn’t mean to disappear there for a while.  Let’s catch up, shall we?

I went to Milwaukee for a conference.  And had a good time — saw some good panels, got some good feedback, caught up with a few friends, rode the polka escalator (at the Milwaukee Convention Center, definitely worth the visit), saw the Bronze Fonz.  You know, the usual.
Bronze Fonz.

And the memorial to letter carriers.  That was a kind of happy accident, as it’s tucked back on a quiet street.  Or, at least, a street quiet late on a Sunday afternoon.

letter carriers

Then, what I’d been waiting for!  My sister was in Milwaukee in the spring — also for a conference — and she told me about Mader’s.  It was fantastic, and so so much fun after a German studies conference. And the perfect way to end my first trip to Milwaukee.

Knight's Bar.

And, surprisingly enough, there’s even been a little time for knitting.  Though not nearly as much as I might hope.

Still, I managed to finish up the i-cord bind off on the body of my Walnuss — now to battle my way through the sleeves.  I really do think this has interview-cardigan potential …

More I-cord.

I also finished up Budgie a week or two ago — it’s a very quick knit.  The seaming, however, is giving me fits: I don’t know what it is, but I simple cannot get the sleeves to seam evenly.  At the time, I thought “maybe i’ll just knit these in the round” … then, decided I’d follow the pattern.  So, really, I brought this upon myself.  Still, I’ve got some time to figure it out.

I used some ancient stash Kureyon for the contrasting stripes, and I really love how the colors worked out on the body and sleeves.  It took a little fancy footwork to make sure everything matched up, but definitely worth it in the end.

However … not so with the i-cord edging.  Looking back, it probably had something to do with picking up too few stitches, resulting in unsightly bunching.  At the time, I decided to just go with garter stitch to finish.  We’ll see, I might go back to the i-cord.  If I ever get the arms seamed, that is.

Now, I just hope it will fit …

Budgie!

budgie

more knitting.

No, really.  I’ve been knitting.  Hard to believe, right?  Somedays, I have trouble believing it myself.

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The semester has started in its usual whirlwind.  Why this still surprises me, as I begin my ninth year of graduate school … that is a mystery for the ages.  I have a great belief in “this time it will be better,” meaning “this time, I’ll feel like I have it together.”  It never happens that way, but I always try again.  Persistence is key, I find.

Knitting doesn’t hurt, either.  My knitting basket is filled with half-finished projects that I’ve fallen out of love with.  So it goes.  Last night, desperate for a little instant gratification, I cast on for Budgie, an adorable stripy baby sweater.  I thought I could handle a baby sweater.

And, so far — two sleeves later — I’ve not been wrong.  All to the good, since the baby in question will have his first birthday this fall with or without my gift arriving on time.  Though, it would be nice if I could make that deadline, at the very least.

shoulders!

It’s deadline time around here again.  The job list just came out.  It’s a bit like Hollywood movie: breathless anticipation, crushing disappointment, romance, thrills, chills, twists and turns, a roller coaster of emotions.

Needless to say, I don’t think I’m quite ready to face another round of applications.  It’s such a weird space, that I’ve decided is not unlike falling in love: if it happens, it happens and there’s just not a whole lot you can actually do about it.  I mean, applying is like going on a date, you try to put your best foot forward (cover letter, curriculum vitae, etc.) and hope something clicks.  Unfortunately, it’s also every bit as awful as actual dating.  The serenity prayer is really my only hope.

Well, that and knitting.  As you can see, the Walnuss is coming together quite nicely.  I separated the sleeves and joined the body, and even tried it on.  It fits!  Which is very good news, indeed, since it was looking pretty small on the needles.  But cardigans always do, I find.

I’m thinking this has “interview cardigan” potential.

pleats!

Finally, the best part about having a friend in Switzerland?  Chocolate!  That comes in the mail!  That’s right: Schoggi-Mail let’s you send Swiss chocolate like a postcard.  Genius.  Delicious genius.

Schoggi-Mail

at Musician's Corner

there has been knitting.

No, really.

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On Saturday afternoon, despite rather grumpy about the heat, my knitting and I strolled over to Centennial Park (home of my favorite monument) to meet some friends for a little music and ice cream.  Well, the ice cream wasn’t planned, but it was delicious.  There were shady trees, good music, and the chance to just relax for an hour or two.

Walnuss and I are definitely going back next week.

So far, I’m loving this cardigan.  The construction is clever — new to me! — but easy enough to follow.  It’s like an adventure, having never knit a saddle shoulder from the top-down all in one piece before (or, really, ever).  At first, I simply went on blind trust, as I had no idea what my knitting was doing.

What is most surprising, though: just how fast Walnuss is coming along.  I’ve already separated the arms and am working, working … but, seriously, it doesn’t seem to be taking all that much longer than a worsted wool.  And, of course, the Malabrigo Sock is lovely stuff to work with.

And now, I should get the day started.  I’ve somehow picked up a couple of new assignments — tutoring, assisting — in addition to the usual researching and writing.  It’s exciting, but, well, tiring.  Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday.

Where is the week month going?  The semester starts next week … and, let’s just say, I’m trying to ignore that.

August

 

Scenes so far.

You know, I can’t complain about August.  A certain Rooster stopped by Nashville last weekend and we had a delightful time together: good food, chatting on patios, walks in the park, ice cream, take-out, and a few adventures (planned and, um, not so planned).  It’s so nice when online friends become real-life friends!  Maybe next time we’ll even manage some knitting?

As you can see, August has been filled with many things … but not much knitting.  I’d like to think that ideas are percolating.  Many ideas about  light-weight sweaters.  Many, many ideas.  Here are just a few of my favorites:

LarchPaulie, and Hay;

Buckwheat, Alga, and Paris;

Audrey in Unst and Georgia;

Indicum and Tempest;

Manu, Whisper, and Featherweight

MandelWalnuss, and Boe (bonus points for German!)

I’m sure there are many more; I seem to be collecting them as I go.  Any favorites that I’ve missed?

My dream project, however, is the slightly bonkers 4 Flowerpot Sweater from Icelandic Knitting Using Rose Patterns.  I’ve gotten as far as shopping for yarn, reading through the directions, becoming very confused, and putting the book back on the shelf.  I have not given up, though.  Thing is, this is the kind of sweater I want to wear but do not want to knit.  A dilemma.

But now: back to work!  My knitting will have to wait …

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before & after

Before:

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After:

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Goodbye contrast edge!  I think the straight bind-off let’s the lovely buttery brown silk really speak for itself.  The contrast was just too much of a mismatched distraction.  This damson knit up super fast with slightly heavier (and entirely heavenly) yarn and slightly larger needles.  In fact, it was so quickly finished that I’m not sure I even posted any photos here.  Details on ravelry.

The finish was a nail-biter, though:

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Hardly any left over!

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Monday, Monday.

Monday, again?  Oh, dear.  I am not ready for another week.

So how about a quick recap as I sip my coffee and gird myself for the day?

There has been knitting and stitching …

Progress.

stitchery!

… and trips to the post office to mail birthday boxes to a certain sister of mine.

I hate going to the post office, but I do love this particular branch with its Wall of Country Stars.  All of whom apparently … frequent the Post Office?  In any case, there are a number of recognizable faces, but the real star of this photo was Ronnie Milsap (smack in the center).  My sister loves some Milsap.

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Finally, Alice has been busy with some craft-closet mountaineering (cat-a-neering?).  This is a horrible photo, but I had to act quickly.  Luckily, we avoided a wool avalanche.

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And that brings us to Monday.

I think I’ve finally managed to clear up all the ailments that have plagued my summer — knock on wood — and spent the weekend lying low.  Now, it’s back to work.  Here’s to hoping Monday is treating you all well!

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good morning, Parthenon!

I believe my love for a certain bonkers structure edifice here in Nashville is rather well documented.  That said, I was up extra early this morning — thanks, Alice! — and, in an uncharacteristic fit of Monday-morning-this-week-will-be-different optimism, decided to set out for a walk.

After all, at a little after 7 in the a.m. it was still bearable outside.  But only just.

Good morning, Parthenon!

So, good morning, Parthenon!

And now, I’m back home enjoying my coffee, feeling quite smugly pleased with myself.

In other news: stitchery!

Stitchery.

Treat yo self, um, 2012!  That is for my sister … who — perhaps foolishly? — once casually mentioned that she’d like one of those subversive cross stitch pieces.   (Have I already told you that?  Probably.  Sorry.)  Obviously, I said: “Treat yo self!”  It’s a pattern, available here, just in case you’re also in the mood.

“This is not Love and Hip Hop — you need to get it together, okay?” has become a go-to mantra for a friend and me.  (See: here, around the :50 mark.)  What better way to welcome her back to Nashville?  Also, this is where I learned that I don’t like figuring out letter spacing or charting … so, it’s totally worth buying a pattern to do it for you (when available, of course).  I’ve still got a border to add — which I started late last night — and I’m dubious about placement.  We shall see.  Sigh.

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Finally, Alice has been taking it easy.  I love her little snoozing face.

Happy Monday!

so … it’s July.

How’d that happen?

It’s been one of those summers … I don’t know where it went.

Sunshine is the best.

Alice has spent most of her time snoozing in the sunshine, which … I have to say, isn’t the worst strategy.  This heat has been crazy!  And has left me feeling rather grumpy, slightly annoyed, and more than a little cooped up.  Maybe that’s why it seems like the past few months have blended into one long blur of bad television?

Gilbert.

The heat has also had the less lovely result of unleashing all manner of uncomfortable skin irritations and minor ailments on my Celtic self.  Turns out, I was so not made for this climate … hence, the bad television and lots of time on my couch.  Complete with an awesome crocheted birthday owl pillow from my amazing sister!  (His name is Gilbert.)

As usual, I had such high hopes, and can’t help but feel a little disappointed that the time has disappeared so quickly.

But!  Enough whinging.  There’s been plenty of good stuff keeping me busy: new books, visits from friends and family, lots of knitting, a celebrity at the coffee shop (took me quite a few afternoons to recognize Ben Folds), good food, sleeping in, birthday celebrations, and, you know, some work … and a trip back home to the Pacific Northwest.

How about some photos?

Finally!

New project!  It’s Permafrost, and it’s … very purple.  The construction is a bit different — spiral vs. pi — but so far, I’m liking it.  I did run out of yarn, though, so it’s on hold for the moment.  Right in the middle of a bunch of nupps.  Probably not a bad time for a break …

Less knitting, meant more time for nature!

Ape Cave.

Ape Cave!  Somehow, my sister and I never visited as kids.  It’s a cave … or, rather, a lava tube.  After hearing about it all my life, it was pretty fun: dark, cave-like, and luckily no bats.

Bridge of the Gods.

Bridge of the Gods.  Nothing like a trip to Skamania county … the only county where killing Sasquatch is a felony offense.  Seriously.

Cowlitz Black Bears for the win!

Cowlitz Black Bears for the win!  It was a really fun hometown outing — complete with bonkers games between innings, a slightly malicious mascot, and perfect Northwest summer weather.

Salmon Creek.

Salmon Creek.  We went in search of rocks … we found lots of mud.

It was a lovely visit home, and now I’m back in Nashville.  Time to get back to work.

Today, though, I’m working on arriving.  And maybe a little back-up knitting with bad television …

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… it’s Saturday, after all.

 

action knits!!

Okay, so it’s actually not that exciting.

Action knit!!

In fact, it’s really just a blanket masquerading as an elaborate lace shawl.  Obviously, I’m in love.

Leaves of Grass has been my constant coffee shop companion: it is perfect for keeping the chill at bay, keeping me toasty to focus on working away … at least in theory.  If there is a hand knit that guarantees productivity — that’s definitely next on my project list.