every day is Caturday!

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Alice has something important to tell you all:

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There’s a kitten in the house now.  This teeny guy (only 1.2 lbs.!) was in the hedge by my apartment building, mewing for all he was worth.  I got him out and …  now, after an early-morning trip to the vet and plenty of kitten food, he’s snoozing in my bathroom.  Since I only have two rooms with doors, we really didn’t have a lot of options.

He and Alice are going to get to know each other slowly.  We’ll see how it goes.

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His name is Eugene.  He is adorable.  But, oh my, I haven’t had a kitten in a long time.  I don’t know what I’m going to do when he’s not so worn out …

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Alice is afraid her days of whiling away the afternoon on her favorite living-room pillow are over.

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!

stitchy business …

… and a new hobby is born.

of course you care.

My sister (who, as far as I know, does not read this blog … fingers crossed) mentioned a while ago that she’d really like one of those salty cross-stitch samplers … you know, the kind that are sometimes on regretsy.

(Which site, in a moment of kismet, just featured a sassy cross-stitch photo stitch pattern maker.)

(Probably NSFW, just sayin’.)

Anyhoo, I wasn’t having any luck tracking a ready-made salty sampler down on etsy … then it hit me: I could probably handle some cross stitch.  So … with my basic crafty knowledge, I decided to try to keep it simple and within my skill set.  And ordered a kit from subversive cross stitch.  Just one evening later, I am the proud stitcher of a very awesome birthday sampler.  It was so much fun, so quick, so easy (and admittedly very beginner-friendly) … that I immediately ordered two more kits.  I can’t wait until August to send them off, and can only hope that la sœur is as enamored of the salty results as I am!

She’s plenty salty, that’s for sure.

my desk.

my desk.

So, I organized my desk.  And put up a new shelf.  Obviously, this chapter is just going to write itself now.  Oh lordy, fellow dissertation writers out there, it’s time for a little Anne Lamott methinks.  Bird by Bird makes everything better.

“Your day’s work might turn out to have been a mess.  So what?  Vonnegut said, ‘When I write, I feel like an armless legless man with a crayon in his mouth.’  So go ahead and make big scrawls and mistakes.  Use up lots of paper.  Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend.  What people somehow (inadvertently, I’m sure) forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here–and by extension, what we’re supposed to be writing.”  (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott (New York: Anchor Books, 1994) 32).

Can I get an amen?

Seriously, I’m no evangelist but this book has gotten me through more writing crises than I care to count.  It’s my everything’s-going-to-be-okay talisman. 

winners! and more stripes!

First off: winners!  Congrats to April and Noas’ Libellule!  Though the competition was not at all stiff, I hope you both enjoy the CD!  And the crazy sweater blueprint that seems to be included.  I’ve sent an email so we can figure out address details.

more stripes

In less exciting news, I’ve been slowly but surely working my way through another stripey project.  As you might notice (or I might have already mentioned), I totally swiped the color scheme from weaverknits’ yellow on yellow scarf.  The lemony yellow (= sauterne) works so well with the kinda avocadoy yellow (= frank ochre) and the Malabrigo is fabulously soft as always.

Now that the rows are getting longer, progress is slowing down … in fact, I might have picked up a long-forgotten half-finished basic stockinette sock the other night.  I’d forgotten just how satisfying the almost instant gratification of the basic sock can be — perhaps I should get back to working on filling my drawer for winter?  Besides, socks make the best gifts.

more stripes

 

Socks aren’t the only new project around here: just last week I picked up a fancy new computer with a really big screen.  It is perhaps my most awesome acquisition in quite a while.  So big.  So shiny.  It required some desk reorganization and I still don’t have everything set up, but so far — I am thrilled.  Now, if only it would write my dissertation for me.

I also picked up a drying rack at Target.  So it’s been all big news all the time lately.

more stripes

And now it’s time to get the day started.  Happy Friday!  (Wait, how did that happen again?  Sheesh.  Summer sure does fly right on by.)

 

free stuff!

I’m definitely tardy to the party on this one, but perhaps my dillydallying is someone else’s gain?

If you read knit blogs, you’ve probably already heard about Pearl and the Beard, their album, and their amazing three-person sweater.  It’s fun and stripey and knit in affordable yarn, so pretty much the perfect project, right?  Especially if you have a lot of arms or very close associates.

Somehow, though, I do not think my cat would be amused if I tried to get her involved.

The album sounds like it might be just about as much fun (if not so stripey): harmonies, clever lyrics, guitars, strings and percussion, maybe a little bit blue grass (there is a mandolin involved somewhere, anyway).  Something about it reminds me of really good dinners filled with friends and cheap red wine.  So the best parts of being a grown up.

Here’s a sneak sample of “Reverend”: Reverend.mp3

Do you want to win a copy?  Perfect — I’ve got one to give away!  In celebration of another tri(couleur), leave a comment on this post up until midnight on Bastille Day, July 14.

Enjoy!

on the go

.. on the move.

It’s weird.  I really hate traveling, the actual to-ing and fro-ing and getting to that new place.  Once I’m there and arrived I can relax a bit, do a little knitting, and not worry so much about the fact that I spend most of my time somewhat lost.

more stripes

Stage 2 of the research adventure begins today and, well, let’s just say I haven’t gotten enough sleep.  Somehow my irrational fear is always, always, ALWAYS that my bags (why am I one of those “just-in-case” travelers?) will not only 1) cause a huge hassle on public transportation, but that they will 2) be refused passage.  Like that time in Switzerland where after many calls to the airline, confirming appropriate allowed on-board cat kennel size, the lady just looked at what I had (with Alice inside) and said, “No, it’s too big.  We never allow anything that big.”  Um.  Keep in mind this was smaller than many backpacks, not to mention smaller than many cats.

At those moments all I want to do is cry.  And I am not a crier.  It’s just the pure arbitrary power of the airline.

So, that’s it really.  I hope to get back to the knitting soon — as you can see, not much progress to report.  Maybe this morning, at the airport?  It will soothe my nerves.

howdy stranger

So it’s been a while.  How about we start there?  March has been crazy busy in all kinds of good ways, few of which have had much to do with knitting … let’s recap:

I finished physical therapy, defended my dissertation proposal (!!), and then, as if by divine design, spring break appeared; I did nothing but watch Law & Order and knit until: friends!  Three very special ladies descended upon Nashville — and my apartment — for a seriously good time.  (They are now all bona-fide PhD professional ladies, so … I’ve kept the discretion to a maximum.)

First, there was hot chicken at the hot chicken shack:

pickle button!

Oh yeah, I finished my cardigan (Shalom in EcoWool) — just in time to add pickle buttons.

The next night there were fancy drinks downtown …

fancy cocktails

… followed by some honky tonking on Broadway.

Broadway

Robert's!

The Stage

It was one of the best night’s out ever: we bought cowboy boots from someone named “Brad Butter” (it was embroidered on his shirt), put on our best clubwear, and danced till the honky tonks closed.

After that, we pretty much decided to concentrate on eating as many fried/ butter-positive foods as possible.  Luckily, Nashville is that kind of town.

There was pickle tempura …

pickle tempura

… and, the next morning, delicious biscuits to go with country ham, plenty of bacon, hashbrown casserole, and other assorted side-dish staples for breakfast (at 3 in the afternoon).

biscuits!

Finally, I met my Waterloo: the sidecar.

sidecars; or, my Waterloo

The ingredients might look innocent, but don’t be fooled.  We toasted, we lounged, we watched It’s Complicated, I gave away almost all of my handknit socks to very deserving recipients …  And then it was time for everyone to get back to their real lives.

It was a wonderful, tiring, just-right long weekend.  Such reunions are made possible, and so much sweeter, by distance … but how I do miss easy proximity and that casual by-chance glass of wine on someone’s couch in the evening.  And how lucky I am to have had a weekend of nothing but laughter and fun and friendship.

[thanks to M. and B. for all the fabulous photos]