say yes to … terra

Terra and I just got back from a Thanksgiving trip to California …


… my sister and I ate yummy food — which, being the camera-forgetting dorks that we are, will have to be imagined –, did some work, and watched a lot of Say Yes to the Dress, Toddlers & Tiaras, King of Crowns … yeah, it was that kind trip.  But bad television also means: knitting progress!  Violet Beauregarde has grown.  Photos soon.


In other news: look celebrities!  At a place I actually go!  Not that I was there, or have much investment in Taylor Swift … but still, I’m just enough of a dork to feel quite pleased that I recognized those booths in the background.


terra, tarrying.

I couldn’t resist.  Terra is steadily growing …

Here’s where I was yesterday morning:

terra, almost there

terra, almost there

terra, almost there

And … this morning:

terra, tarrying

terra, tarrying

I’ll admit to some ambivalence about the stripe, but it ensured that I didn’t run out of yarn for a second time.  I’m even binding off a few rows early, just to be on the safe side.  Note to self: this pattern takes a lot of yarn.

Monday strikes again!

I left my knitting at school.  This is sad.

And I’m still deciding contrast vs. no contrast on the Terra (thanks for all of your reponses!) … so it looks like I might have to do some serious digging to find a project for this evening.  Or start a new one.

Stupid Mondays.


[ETA: Then I turn on OnDemand and find that a 2-hour Bridezillas awaits me.  Suddenly, the evening looks much better.]

dear internet,

… what do you think?




I believe my love for a contrasting edge is well documented.  So last night when the opportunity presented itself (or, rather, when I remembered that I had some Ultra Alpaca leftovers in charcoal and in between episodes of Rock of Love) I decided to give it a try.  After all, I’m going to have to buy another skein of yarn no matter what.  But does it work?  Or is it just contrast for the sake of contrast?

It’s a bit like the coffeshop dilemma: I want to be all hip and stylish and monochromatic, but there’s that part of me that just can’t do it and must embrace my (secret) flashy tendencies.

Also, for some reason these colors makes me think of Jem and the Holograms.  I’m okay with that.

alice considers

Alice is thinking it over.  She’ll get back to me later.

today's project

And now, since I’m out of yarn, I’ve got to get on to today’s main project.  (Could I knit the albers shawl in all that kidsilk haze I’m probably never going to use for the dreamy wrap?  A high-stakes move, since kidsilk is both expensive and impossible to frog.)  No, must stay on task.  I’m going to talk about etymology: I love etymology.  Not as much as I love kidsilk haze, but … let’s be honest, Derrida does not write much about mohair.

It’s bird by bird for me:

“So after I’ve completely exhuasted myself thinking about the people I most resent in the world, and my more arresting financial problems, and, of course, the orthodontia, I remember to pick up the one-inch picture frame and to figure out a one-inch piece of my story to tell, one small scene, one memory, one exchange.  I also remember a story that I know I’ve told elsewhere but that over and over helps me to get a grip: thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day.  We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead.  Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.'”

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (New York: Anchor Books, 1994) 18-19.



Lately, I feel like school is seriously interfering with my crafting life.  Blah, blah, dissertation, blah, surprise! exams in January, blah, blah, where’s your proposal?  See what I mean?  It’s all highly disappointing (well, from a crafting perspective; from an academic perspective it’s really quite exciting and motivating and invigorating in that ohmygod-I’m-never-going-to-make-it kind of hyperventilation way).  Even if I do managed to work in a chapter about knitting, well … it’s still only writing about knitting and not actually, um, knitting.

And call me crazy — after all, it’s mid-November and all the fall Nashville can seem to muster is naked trees and 73 degrees — but all I want to do it knit.  Just knit knit knit …


Terra is just zipping along for that reason.  Can I tell you how much I love this pattern?  Lots.  It just makes sense … the perfect kind of almost automatic knitting that I crave at the end of a long day — nice, meditative rows where everything comes together into something beautiful — that still offers just enough interest (look, there’s a purl row!) and attainable milestones (another repeat down!) to keep tedium at bay.  That Mr. Flood.  He sure knows how to write the heck out of a pattern.


The purple also helps.

In other news: how did I miss this?  This being a new online magazine: Knitting Iceland.  Yes, yes I do want to knit Iceland.  Very much.

I also want to knit modernly from the top down: why did I think I wouldn’t like this book?  There is so much prettiness to be had.  Silly Katie.

Finally, I might have just bought two new patterns: cedar leaf shawlette (this one has a shot of actually being completed within my lifetime) and the albers shawl (which will be nice and cozy when hell freezes over and I get it finished).

Right now, I have so many to-knit patterns on my wishlist (cardigans!  shawls!  all of them!!) … I shudder to open my closet of crafty dooooooooom and find all of my works in progress staring back at me with woolly accusing eyes: pocket-less Idlewood, Violet Beauregarde, dreamy mohair wrap (how I want to wear you!  how I dread knitting you!), ugly office socks, a bespoke Selbu Modern

I slept in this morning (really slept in, roll over and OMG it’s 10:30 sleeping in) and it was everything I’d dreamed it could be.  But now I should really get to the coffeeshop and get that presentation under way.  (How YOU doin’, Derrida?)  Nashville has lots of semi-fancy, semi-hipsterish, semi-bougie coffeeshops … and yet, despite my profound wish to be 1000% cooler than I am, I seem to be the most productive at the crappy Starbucks right across from campus.  Why?  Perhaps the stakes are lower at a place so obviously uncool and corporately corrupted.

bird by bird

Right now, it’s bird by bird* here.  I’m pretty okay with that.  After all, it seems to work for knitting.  Can you tell the Terra has grown?  Only 20 more rows to the lace …


It’s squishy and wonderful and really the only thing that keeps me in my chair some days.

Inspired by Nadine’s recent peek at her home office, I thought I’d share too.  What you don’t see: the heating pad that is soothing my physical therapy bruises (the bad man found lots of places that hurt … made them feel better by poking really hard, then sent me on my way to await the inevitable = ouch).

bird by bird

Now, back to the next bird.

* If you don’t already know Anne Lamott, her writing is lovely.  Bird by Bird — and, well, Lucky Jim (but that’s another story) — have both gotten me through the tight spots.  Maybe Calvin Trillin and Elizabeth Zimmermann, too.  And countless detective stories.



Apple crisp was just the ticket.  I followed this recipe, but possibly added more apples (I had 8 smaller apples in 4 varieties!) and most certainly did not do any of the fancy layering.  Instead, I coated the apples with cinammon sugar and then (unceremoniously) dumped them into a deep-dish bowl, covered with a think layer of buttery-sugary-oaty crispy crust.  They did not seem to mind in the least.

The different varieties were just different enough that the flavor is quite interesting and not at all boring … a little tart, a little sweet.  Perfect, really.


In the end, the crisp was the perfect way to go.  I am very particular about my apples — tart and crisp, thank you (4103 Braeburn is my trusted favorite) — and these, while a nice sampler of new flavors, colors, and textures, were all much too mushy for my very picky taste.

And just in case you’re wondering, I did a little research into the question of crisp vs. crumble.  According to wikipedia the difference is largely geographical: crisp in the US, crumble in the UK.  There does, however, seem to be a general consesus on the interwebs that the crumble crust tends to be finer — like breadcrumbs — using only butter, flour, and sugar, while the crisp crust tends to add oats and is thus chunkier.

Thank you, chowhound.  Now, if it could just find me some good Szechuan food around here.


In other news: pretty yarn!  My dear friend here in Nashville has requested a selbu modern for her birthday (thankfully not until February).  I had this combination in mind, which she recently approved, so now I just need to get started.

get happy!!

How could one be anything but with so many apples?


I love apples.  So much.  And fall is their time to shine.

October was the month of the funk — and not in a good way — and my sister gently reminded me the other day that I was becoming something of a drag.  An espeically worrywartish grandmother might have been mentioned.  It’s time to turn this around, people.

All of that to say, I went to the farmers’ market downtown last weekend and bought lots of apples.  Then I finally tracked down the giant map of Tennessee in Bicentennial Park and wondered anew at the weirdness tucked away in unlikely corners all over Nashville.


It was a busy week and these guys — 4 varieties I think: Cortland, Winesap, Arkansas Blacks, and one I’m forgetting — had to hang out in the fridge.  But today, oh today, they will achieve their destiny and be united with much butter, cinammon, and flour.

Because fall is here, though it feels like winter, and I’m going to a botanical garden tonight despite the frost … and apple crisp just might be the perfect thing to come home to and read with.

Speaking of perfection …


Terra is shaping up nicely.  I love the pattern: it’s so intuitive and only 2 rows of purling (per 10-row repeat) produces a lovely, simple bit of texture.  I’m almost to the lace border, and truly can’t wait to get this off the needles and around my neck.



Happy weekend!

good morning

I don’t want to jinx it, but I’m pretty sure fall has finally come to Nashville.  To celebrate, I decided to knit a new shawl.
good morning

And drink coffee out of a new mug.  It’s very yellow and though it’s been hibernating on a shelf in my kitchen for some time now (as part of my souvenir mug collection), this morning it seemed like a good way to start the day.  I feel like a bit of a cheat because I’ve never actually been to the Mystery Spot, but my sister assures me that it is indeed as awesome as it sounds.  And she’s been … and she bought me the mug … so it’s someone’s souvenir, at the very least.
good morning

But the real interest is next to the mug: Terra in that very lilac Ultra Alpaca I bought a while ago.  So far, it’s a dream: squooshy and soft with lovely heathered depths; easy enough to knit while reading, and just enough variety to prevent wandering away.  Actually, I find knitting to be the perfect way to get through some otherwise, um, difficult academic reading … I don’t necessarily want to keep reading, but I do want to keep knitting.  “Just one more row” = “just a few more sentences/ pages/ chapters”.  That’s how I got through some Judith Butler (whom I like very much but who is not know for her transparent prose stylings) on Sunday.  Everyone wins.

But especially me.  New shawl on the way + completed reading in the works = very happy day.  Now, I have to get to physical therapy, where they do not let me knit.  In fact, last time it was me and a very large man who called me “grad student”.  Is this how some athletes feel in literature seminars?  I was definitely a fish looking for some water.