Friday, May 29, 2009

love these colorways

If I were rich, I would buy and knit all of these lace weight colorways. They all rock my world. The pricing isn't too harsh, but still a bit out of my league. Besides, the Shepherds Wool Market is tomorrow! I'll splurge there.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Knitting for Little Ones

I just listened to the knitpicks podcast, episode #96, Knitting for Little Ones. And I've once again been hit/bit by the knitting bug. Need To Knit! Can't possibly knit enough! But this one's really bad, because I want to knit tons of stuff all at once -- bonnets and socks and toddler sweaters and especially leggings! I get like this about books, too: I feel like it would be just great not only to read several different books, but to have read them, to know that I am a better person with deeper and better developed character because of all the new sequences of words I've exposed my mind to. But there is no time. And I have no attention for reading heady books. Doesn't necessarily stop me from buying them, though.

Maybe I can start a pair of baby socks tonight. With a soft worsted or maybe DK weight yarn. Something quick and satisfying that won't drag me from my other 15 projects.

New project urges are tricksome. Like devious siren mermaids. They beckon and seduce, and drag you along merrily for quite a ways, until you're deep enough into the pattern that you can't possibly turn back. Then the muse leaves you. Like, poof, gone. Or you think the muse was never there in the first place, and how the hell did you get so far into a project that now amounts to work, on par with doing the dishes that have been piling up for a fortnight?

So the trick that I'm using here is selecting a pattern that doesn't go deep. A pattern that will breeze by so quickly and be so satisfying that my muse won't have the chance to escape. Or if she does, there will only be a tiny amount of knitting work left at the end, through which I can bribe myself with chocolate or wine. Or Sam Adams Summer Ale. I love that stuff.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

My new favorite people

I love old men on bikes. I rode to the library yesterday and passed three old men on bikes. And I saw another one this morning on my way to the church I subbed at today. All of them smiled, said "hi," and seemed really friendly, courteous, and generally pleased with life. I love 'em.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Also, my new favorite word: embiggen. Found on Yarn Harlot's blog in the entry for today (5/21/09).

5/21 update

Phew. I've finally gotten through all the knitting for baby Ayla, who was born earlier this month. I mailed off the blanket on Monday. It's relieving to be done with that. It took me more than 40 hours to knit it!

And so now I'm torn about what to do next. Start new projects to celebrate my freedom? Or finish all those WIPs I put on hold for the baby knitting? I'm sort of compromising, I guess. I started a pair of baby socks last night, for a new project with minimal commitment, and I've finished the main body of the stadium blanket for Leah and Dan (originally meant to be a wedding gift last December... maybe it can be an anniversary gift?), and I'm nearing the end of the green shawl. I look forward to wearing that one!

And I'm nearing the end of The Knitting Circle. Finally things are starting to look up for the protagonist.

Tomorrow is the annual Neuroscience Retreat. Last year it was rather boring -- several really dry presentations, except for one about Brahms, of all things, and a rather nice lunch. At least it's all free, and it's at the museum. If all else fails, I'll knit. Heck, I'll knit if all goes swimmingly. :)

On Sunday I'm substituting again at the Presbyterian church across the street. I love that church. Lovely congregation, and a sweet organ! I need to pick out the prelude, postlude, and offertory tonight, and maybe practice tomorrow, because I'm thinking about going to the Springside Farm Annual Shearing Festival on Saturday.

Hmm, tomorrow's the 22nd, huh. Another 22nd. I love 22nds. It's another month anniversary for Evan and me. Insignificant, now that we've passed a year, but still. Nice to think about.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Computer Repairs

Some years ago, when I was a super-senior (5th year) at Oberlin, I had a cat, Arthur. I adopted him, a dumpster kitten, from certain death by fleas, worms, starvation, and an upper respiratory tract infection. It was perfect -- we took care of each other. I was still recovering from a particularly nasty breakup, so Arthur was massively therapeutic for me. Thing was, Arthur was also mischievous and clumsy. I was working at my computer one night, cup of hot chocolate by my side, when Arthur decided it was an excellent time to leap up on my desk and keep me company. He spilled my full cup of cocoa directly into my disc drive.

For a while after that incident, my computer had trouble ejecting discs, presumably because of the chocolate gumming up the works. So I would swab the tip of something sharp -- a needle, a pen, scissors, whatever came to hand -- with a bit of water on it around the opening to dissolve the sugary impedance; and sometimes the computer could only eject a disc part-way, so I'd have to quickly snatch it out the rest of the way before my computer sucked it back in and started playing it. Sometimes I just let the computer "rest" for a bit. Repeated eject attempts seemed to tire it out, and after a good night's sleep, it was able to redouble its efforts and spit out a disc.

Last Sunday, however, my computer finally failed. Evan and I watched Clerks (which is very funny, even if the actors do speak much too quickly). Perhaps my computer liked Clerks, and didn't want us to send it back to Netflix. Whatever the case, the disc Would Not Come Out. The computer seemed to accept the command to eject -- it flashed the "eject" symbol on the screen, and made the funny mechanical noises a MacBook makes when ejecting a disk, but no disc appeared, the ejecting noises stifled and morphed into the inserting noises, and the computer was happy to announce the presumed reinsertion of the disc. Of course I tried this multiple times, after rebooting, tilting the laptop, and with the water trick. Stymied.

On Monday I took the computer to the IT store. The brilliant person at the counter confirmed that there was, in fact, a mechanical problem. I very maturely agreed to send off the computer for repairs right then and there, not even asking to use it for one more afternoon or to say goodbye. There really is no such thing as a convenient time to not have a computer.

On Thursday I got a call with the estimate for the cost of replacing the drive. It's a bunch. But I need this thing to work. I am grinning and bearing it.

So I've been trying to think of this time as my computer-free retreat. A time for reading, for knitting, for cleaning, for exercising, for taking long baths and burning incense. Besides, I can check my email and do other computery things in the lab. And when Evan comes over, he brings his laptop, which I can use to do things like write long-overdue blog posts.

In other news:

The Lilac Festival started today. I can't wait to go tomorrow!

Jonny is leaving tomorrow, driving back to CT. He's bringing home the work of my hands: a comfort shawl I knit for Carolyn, a baby blanket and socks for Zoe's baby, to be born at the end of the month, and Mom's extra-soft micro-something-or-other neck pillow, re-stuffed and sealed and scented with lavender essential oil. As great as this bounty is, it's not everything I've been assigned to make/fix. I'm still working on this baby blanket (I really should have gone with larger needles to speed things up, but too late, much too late, now). And Mom brought over a large bag of things (skirts, sheets) that need new elastics sewn into them. I've never really learned how to sew in elastic, so that's probably why I haven't done it yet, but I'm the most fiber-inclined individual in the family, so I should rise to the challenge.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Knitting Circle

Mom sent me a bunch of knitting novels! She sent them up with Jonny (younger brother, just turned 20 --weird). Silly Jonny didn't deliver them until the 28th, his birthday, when I took him out to dinner. (Mom had also sent clementines for me, but Jonny ate them.)

Anyway, I've been reading The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood. The beginning is quite a downer, and considering that I'm only 23 pages in, I've been very downed by the book. The poor protagonist is lamenting the death of her daughter. But I'm ready for Knitting to leap in at any moment and save this woman's sanity. This book makes for fairly quick reading, and it is, as the critique pages say, "rich in sensory detail," which I enjoy quite a lot.

What does it take to get a bike? A cheap but functional bike? Craigslist has so far not served me very well. My first try was no longer available. My second had a bent back rim. And now on my third attempt, the seller isn't responding to my messages. Bugger. The weather is starting to get nice up here, and I would love to bike places, like the gym and the library, instead of driving my car, as environmentally friendly as my dear Prius is.

Friday, May 1, 2009

All right.

All right, you know what? I should write. It's been forever. Shame and more shame on me.

What's going on... Classes have just ended for the semester, which is nice. I know this wasn't a particularly strenuous semester for me, especially in light of what I did Fall semester, but it's still nice. We had huge final projects to submit for the Graduate Experience in Science Education class -- we designed a lesson, complete with powerpoint, hand outs, and whatever else it required, wrote a report on the lesson, and gave a 10-minute presentation about the lesson. I designed a lesson about Bach and the Fugue, which I actually wouldn't mind teaching. I think it's awesome, but then again, I'm biased.

Then there was the final journal club. That one was actually kind of fun. Rather than strictly paralleling the authors methods and results, we discussed the strengths and weaknesses and related them to the field, which I think is more useful than just rehashing what we all read. And we laughed a lot, too, which surprised me.

I've been trying to think of what to make for my Etsy shop. I'm thinking cards. I've made several: cards with pictures from old calendars; cards with scraps from sewing and knitting arrayed artfully on the front; now I'm considering making cards with sketches on them. Ideally, I would make a sketch, scan it, print it several times, and then paste that onto cards. Then the cards could be way less time-consuming, but still neat. I have access to a scanner, and a nice color printer, but I feel bad taking advantage of those. Maybe I'll use them just to try the first batch, see if it takes. If it's a success, I'll take my fancy color printing to a store somewhere and print legitimately. Another challenge: envelopes. I should include envelopes, but they're a pain to make. Well, not really a pain. Just time-consuming and not as artistically satisfying. They're an all right task while I'm listening to an audio book or something, maybe catching up on NPR when I get home.

I sing with a neat a cappella group, now. It's called On Call, made up of mostly medical students, with two graduate students (myself included). Lots of fun. We're meeting in 20 minutes to sing for pediatric patients. That should be great.

Speaking of which, I should go!