In action!

So … life lately has been a bit if a whirlwind. A good whirl, but it’s been hard to keep up.

Good thing Eugene has been around to help.


But the good news? Nashville has been having a bout with winter weather, which means one thing: handknits!

Hooray, indeed!

It must have been another month?

Certainly, if I’m back here again … good grief, the semester has been busy.  Life has been busy.  But I do have some knitting to share!

And lots of Walnuss-in-action shots! You ready?


This is how I wore it in Boston for a cocktail reception / intimidating event where I knew no one / awkward academic get-together.  It actually feels professional and I love the color: neutral but not boring.  And just variegated enough.

Also, it matches my fancy birthday dress very well.

And, even though it’s wool and all, the cardigan is much warmer than I expected.  Even the fingering-weight stuff keeps you nice and toasty, it turns out.  Without being super bulky.  Not so great for Nashville …

Photo on 1-24-13 at 11.07 AM


But.  We’re having a bit of a cold snap here, and so here it is: out this morning for a meeting on campus.  With my favorite scarf in the world, chunky baktus.

The shoulder pleats are really cute without being cutesy, if that makes sense.  And the yellow buttons are my favorite part.

Photo on 1-24-13 at 11.06 AM

See?  Variegated!  And kind of purple.  But also kind of charcoal.  It doesn’t quite know what color it is and I’m okay with that.  Because it looks pretty.

All in all, Walnuss was totally worth the time and effort.  I love it … and might have started another already.



… and you know what that means.  Finished cardigan!



By now, I’ve even managed to block it and sew on the buttons (bright yellow!).  And after months and months of knitting, slow and steady like, it’s finally ready to wear.

I did, of course, make a few mods along the way … longer sleeves (cozy!), larger-sized arms, longer body (next time: move the side pleats, too), more buttons.  (I think?)  Gauge was the main issue, as I wasn’t particularly careful about getting it spot-on correct.  Turns out, in this pattern row gauge is important.  (See, pleats above.)

But.  Despite these few bumps in the road, the cardigan is super.  I love the lighter-weight yarn, the color is perfect (understated yet a bit unusual, somewhere between purple and grey), the fit and style are just what I was looking for.  The little details–i-cord, pleats, ribbed button bands–really add up to a handsome looking cardi.  In fact, it might be one of my favorite knits yet.  Very wearable, very comfy.

Now here’s hoping the Malabrigo holds up.

And the cardigans first trip out?



For some biscuits and hashbrown casserole at the Loveless Cafe, of course.  Delicious.  The perfect end to a busy semester.


Another year almost over.  It’s been a hectic one.  Thanks for sticking around.  Here’s to 2013!


Eugene is a helper.

Oh, my, what a helper.


I’d forgotten just how busy kittens are.  Always into something.  And my knitting whenever possible.

So that’s one explanation for why progress seems largely stalled around here.

But, as you can see, I have made (the occasional) valiant effort to continue.  And the good news?  Only one sleeve left to go on Walnuss!  Actually, only a few more rows and an i-cord bind off … then some neck edging, of course … stand between me and a finished cardigan!  I’ve tried it on, added some length (oh, gauge), and am contemplating my button options.  I’m thinking red.  But we’ll have to see.

I really do think it will be a fantastic interview cardigan.  And the very, very good news?  I got an interview!!  For a tenure-track job, even.  It’s thrilling and nerve-wracking and mostly just exciting right now.  And I’ll have an awesome cardigan to wear (well, it’s a Skype interview, but still …)!

And that’s it for news around here.  The semester is winding down and I’m really looking forward to some dedicated writing time, catch-up time, knitting time.

As part of my job at the Center for Teaching, I’m doing quite a bit of blogging (about online learning) and somehow … that’s kind of killed my blogging mojo over here.  I think the “official” posts have interfered a bit, since I don’t want too much cross over of “knitting” voice and “professional” voice.  A problem I hadn’t quite anticipated.  So I’m feeling a little stiff over here, and a little too casual over there.

Also, those darn cats steal my spot on the couch every time.

Happy Thursday everyone!

Budgie for B.



Finally!  A finished knit!

Okay, a baby sweater.  But.  It’s finished.  And I knit it.  So it totally counts.

Budgie for B.


Also, it is adorable.  If I do say so myself.  This just might be one of my favorite finished baby cardigans: the stripes stripe just perfectly, the colors are bright and perfect for a fall birthday, the truck buttons are awesome for a little boy (or, I imagine, a little girl with an interest in trucks), without being all in-your-face gender normative.

The pattern was fantastic: Budgie by Grumperina.  Obviously, I went with buttons instead of a zipper … because, well, I had to be honest with myself.  Although I really liked the idea of a zippered cardigan, if I waited until I bought and sewed in said zipper, this kid would be about 21 before he got his birthday present.

So buttons it was.

Budgie for B.


I did a bit of fiddling around with the button bands and finally decided to reknit using the recommended (and so tidy!) i-cord bind off.  At first, I wasn’t sure about the contrasting bands, but seeing it finished — I love them!  It’s a baby sweater, so what’s the harm in a little mismatch fun?

To avoid all the unsightly bunching I’d been fighting on the fronts, I went up a couple of needles sizes (to a US9/5.5mm) — basically, the only needle even close to the US7/4.5mm I’d used for the body that I could find unoccupied — and made sure to pick up every other stitch.  Then, for extra stretchiness, I knit one row before binding off on the button (green) side.  On the button hole (orange) side, I picked up the same number of stitches and knit two rows in stockinette before binding off.  I added 1-stitch i-cord button holes every so often.

Just enough give and everything lies nicely flat.  Phew.  This is going all the way to Switzerland and it needs to get in the mail soon …

button bands.

The shop ladies at my LYS — where I found the aforementioned awesome buttons — fawned all over this sweater’s cuteness.  I felt very proud, showing of my knitterly handiwork to some proper Southern knitters, discussing buttons options in all seriousness on a busy Saturday afternoon.  One of them recommended these, and they’re perfect.



So neat and tidy!  The i-cord really was worth the extra bit of time and effort.  Now, I just hope it fits.

All the details on ravelry.

Autumn in Nashville.


In other news, autumn has finally arrived in Nashville!  As always, I am thrilled by the cooler temperatures and the bright colors.

But with autumn has come a whole slew of job deadlines and dissertation drafts … I’ve got a lot to do before November 1.  Another good reason to get the sweater on its way …

Happy Sunday!

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 …


more knitting.

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


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.


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.


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.