Thursday, November 27, 2008


I am thankful for...

my family, who actually let me sleep until 9am this morning
living in a country where Mucinex is sold over the counter
having lots of knitting projects lined up
having a steady job that I love
my dog still going strong at 13 years
all the great books I've been able to read
all the books I haven't read yet
Vegetarian Times and all the great recipes I haven't tried yet
and so many other things...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

for the love of Noro

A long vacation provided lots of knitting time, although most of it had to be of the "low concentration" variety since I was also catching up with family members whom we mostly see once a year. Hence the Noro scarf: 4 skeins of Kureyon in two discontinued colorways from WEBS. I followed Jared's pattern except for casting on only 35 stitches.

The mittens then followed as the Olympics started. No specific pattern; I just used the experience gained over the past year plus a lot of trying-on and ripping-back.

I'm not entirely happy with the colors, but the combination is so cheerful and autumnal (my season!) that I'm sure I'll wear them anyway. I'm now contemplating the construction of a matching pair of fingerless mittens, too.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Another meme?!?

Who was your first prom date? Make that ONLY prom date: Matt, the high school quarter-back. I was a senior, he was a sophomore, we were good friends, so I asked him.

Do you still talk to your first love? No

What was your first alcoholic drink? Red wine, at dinner with my family

What was your first job? Computer programmer (what now would be called a code monkey)

What was your first car? 1971 VW Superbug, in light blue

Who was the first person to text you today? Dunno - I can't find my phone!

Who is the first person you thought of this morning? My younger son (see below)

Who was your first grade teacher? Miss Olmstead. Young, blond, lovely, and sweet.

Where did you go on your first ride on an airplane? I can't recall. Probably the trip to London when I was 6, but there may have been an earlier flight to Washington D.C. for my aunt's wedding.

Who was your first best friend and are you still friends? Amy, who lived up the street from us. We've lost touch.

What was your first sport played? Equestrian. I had to give it up when we moved, so I switched to tennis.

Where was your first sleepover? Amy's house

Who was the first person you talked to this morning? My younger son, who urgently needed Mommy's help with removing his diaper and peeing.

Whose wedding were you first in? I can't remember their names! They went to our church and needed a flower girl to go with their nephew the ring bearer, so my parents offered me. The dress was a gorgeous yellow. I still love looking at the pictures.

What was the first thing you did this morning? Took my younger son to the bathroom. (see above)

What was the first concert you went to? Something classical; the first ROCK concert was Eddie Brickell and the New Bohemians opening for Don Henley.

What was the first foreign country you went to? Canada.

What was your first run in with the law? Getting pulled over on prom night for being out after curfew. Fortunately, both my date and I were friends with the cop's son, so he just followed us home.

When was your first detention? 9th grade; I mouthed off to the substitute math teacher.

Who was the first person to break your heart? Truly break it? Paul. Sort-of break it? Steve.

Who was your first roommate? Afton, freshman year of college; or Bettina, 4 weeks of math camp at Northwestern before high school

Where did you go in your first limo ride? I don't think I ever have!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Groove gone missing

I thought I had my groove: after the success of the Little Coriolis Socks, I figured I would work my way through the rest of Ms. Bordhi's patterns, sized appropriately for various family members.

I have now fallen down twice on the Ridgeline Socks. First time it was a gauge problem (yes, the difference between 5 and 5.5 stitches per inch is significant!) The second time... I don't know, I thought I did everything correctly, but the sock is about an inch too short in the foot. I think I'll just rip back to where I began the increases and work another inch before beginning them.

Off for a trip to the partially-frogged pond!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The one-word meme

I got this from KnitNana, who didn't tag anyone... so I shall not either!

* 1. Where is your cell phone? purse
* 2. Your significant other? adored
* 3. Your hair? curly
* 4. Your mother? close
* 5. Your father? autocratic
* 6. Your favorite thing? chocolate
* 7. Your dream last night? weird
* 8 Your favorite drink? port
* 9. Your dream/goal? authorship
* 10. The room you're in? living
* 11. Your hobby? Knitting
* 12. Your fear? illness
* 13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? here
* 14. What you're not? thin
* 15. Muffins? blueberry
* 16. One of your wish list items? harmony
* 17. Where you grew up? Indiana
* 18. The last thing you did? laundry
* 19. What are you wearing? shorts
* 20. Favorite gadget? laptop
* 21. Your pets? Golden
* 22. Your computer? Laptop
* 23. Your mood? worried
* 24. Missing someone? no
* 25. Your car? Odyssey
* 26. Something you're not wearing? socks
* 27. Favorite store? WEBS
* 28. Like someone? Lots!
* 29. Your favorite color? Green
* 30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
* 31. Last time you cried? Yesterday

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

First sock of the summer

Book:"New Pathways for Sock Knitters, Book One" by Cat Bordhi.
Pattern: "Little Coriolis Sock"
Yarn: KnitPicks Swish DK Terra Cotta (a discontinued color, sadly)
Needles: Knitpicks wooden circulars, 16", size 5.
Gauge: about 5.5 stitches per inch
Pattern love: Yes! Clear instructions, funky construction, and I adore the diagrams that accompany the pattern.

This doesn't actually fit anyone in my life: it's a little too small for SecondSon's feet, but far too big to be a baby sock. I'm mostly done with its mate and may just keep them around as ornaments or something...

Friday, June 13, 2008

What to love in the new Knitty

Not like I've knitted anything from the LAST issue of Knitty yet, but a girl can always dream...

Seascape: lovely.
Helena: might actually happen since another two friends just announced their pregnancies.
Spring forward: love a lace pattern that's so easy to memorize.
Ziggy: I've been looking for a reason to use the new Noro sock yarn, and now I have it!

and finally... Shetland Shorty. I have to ask my buds whether they think it will flatter or fatten me before I commit to producing it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mittens are my "socks"

Yeah, I signed up for the Summer of Socks. With a little luck, it's motivate me to finish the pair I owe my Mum for LAST Mother's Day.

I'm finally acknowledging that what really floats my boat is... mittens. Yup, that's why I've got 3 balls of Cascade 220 Superwash in my knitting bag in June. I just committed to putting out another pair of toddler mittens by Saturday.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's been one of those days...

My dog (elderly, large, dearly beloved Golden Retriever mix) has a UTI.

My younger son fell off his trike and has a skinned knee.

I have a migraine.

No knitting progress to report, although last night I had a vivid dream about a pair of 3-color mittens for JN and managed to recreate something like the pattern and record it. He did say he wanted grey, blue, and green...

Friday, June 6, 2008

yeah, more mittens...

Here's a pair I knit a LONG time ago for my good friend JY. I had hoped to write them into a pattern to submit for publication, which is why the pictures didn't go up earlier, but I now think that the snowflake needs tweaking, as does the side detailing... so here goes.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

More memes!

I just read DenofChaos's meme from last week and decided to consider myself tagged (I'm not getting any knitting content, what with graduation and final exams and all.)

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?

Thinking about quitting grad school and winning the prize for best Teaching Assistant in the Sciences.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today?

Write a final exam.
Proofread another final exam.
Go to SC's graduation party.
Go shopping at Trans World Food Market in Hadley for gluten, Chinese vegetables, and mochi.
Catch up on laundry.

3) Snacks I enjoy?

Celery sticks, teriyaki-flavored nori over white rice, oranges, grapes, cheese and crackers, sushi, left-over salad, dark chocolate.

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire?

Make college free (or very minimally priced, as in Great Britain) for students over a certain level of achievement.
Invest in developing a vaccine for malaria.
Fund private day schools in areas of terrible public schooling, and have them be free or close to it.
Build affordable and comfortable senior citizen housing within a larger community. (I can't remember the book my friend pushed at me this winter that expounded this notion... but it was cool.)
Throw a lot of money at Neil Gaiman to make another movie like "MirrorMask."

5) Places I have lived?

Kentucky, Indiana, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Pennsylvania.

Monday, May 12, 2008

What's on the needles?

Still working on the slate-blue sock for my mother. (This isn't second sock syndrome, it's bored-now-that-I'm-past-the-heel syndrome.)

Stalled out on the Bird-in-Hand mitten for MG. I can't do it unless I have complete peace and quiet, which are rare commodities.

Happily working on a scarf of my own design (see previous post.)

Seriously contemplating ripping back and restarting the fingerless mitts for the DH; both of us think the colors don't coordinate well.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

the classes I wish I'd taken...

My friend over at "Half-changed world" did this meme a week ago, and while she didn't specifically tag anyone I found myself thinking about how I'd respond; so here goes:

Classes I wish they'd offered in High School:
1) Chinese
2) Spanish (they did offer it, but only 2 years worth, with a teacher who had a horrible Southern accent.)
3) Robotics
4) C or C++ (did that even exist in 1989?)

The classes I'm most grateful I took:
1) Touch-typing (7th grade)
2) History of Modern China (college)
3) Modern Physics (college)
4) Intro to Psychology (college)
5) Public speaking (high school)
6) Particle Physics (grad school)
7) Computer programming (high school, independent study)

Classes I wish I could take now:
1) Shop (wood working, metal working, etc.)
2) Modern Poetry
3) Number Theory
4) General Relativity
5) Color Theory
6) Chinese Cooking

While I was out...

I knit another 3 pairs of kiddie mittens. I sold a pair of mittens at a charity auction for $100 (the maximum bid allowed) and must now get cracking on actually knitting them to the owner's specifications (forest green, maroon, simple geometric pattern, after-thought thumb.)

Last night, while working the evening shift for the third night in a row, I had a terrible yen for lace. This is why I have a stash, right? I pawed through the box of sock yarn on my next break and came up with some scrumptious Apple Laine in a dark purple/grey/light purple colorway. Then I dug out the ball-winder and swift (which were birthday presents, and which I hadn't used until last night) and figured them out. Then I found out that the chosen lace pattern was far beyond my skills as a knitter (this would be Jeannie from Knitty) and spent the rest of the night searching for a substitute pattern.

I found the pattern. I started it. It looks good. I knit about 8 inches of lace. This morning, my wrist hurts badly. This must be the price of overenthusiasm.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Can I still post?

Really? 'cause this blasted thing has eaten the last few I wrote...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Hurray for Ravelry!

I got my Ravelry invitation last night: woo-hoo! I'm known over there as "17thstitch."

So, of course, I'm busy playing over there instead of blogging here...

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I dream of Jeanie

Having seen Jeanie on Yarnagogo's latest posts, I am once again officially in love with this pattern. I'm wondering if I can reasonably cut it down to a scarf, since knitting time will be scarce once tennis season starts.

In other news, I'm about 1.5 inches into a Bird-in-Hand mitten and it's gorgeous. The Estonian Braid just knocks me over, even though I didn't end the first round correctly and there's a lumpy little patch where there should be a smooth join.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Finished! but no photos

Well, the mittens are finished, and so beloved that I can't get a picture of them because they're always outside with their owner. I'm starting work on a blue-on-blue pair for his younger brother.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Very small mittens

Disclaimer: I did not choose these colors. The intended recipient did, and seems quite pleased with them.

Details: my own pattern, using KnitPicks Swish Superwash DK in "Terra Cotta" and "Cranberry." Knit on KnitPicks wooden 16" circulars in size 5. Gauge is about 5.5 stitches per inch and 5 rows per inch.

What I've learned: the yarn is quite nice. The needles are a hoot - just looking at the colors in the wood always makes me smile. They're grabby, which is exactly what I need when working with something so fiddly as a child's mitten. My tension has gotten a lot more consistent with practice, although getting the thumb to look really good still eludes me.

I like the way the border goes around the thumb instead of cutting it off; it looks rather like a cookie cutter or a traced outline.

Mitten #2 is still under construction: same pattern and colors, but colors reversed and thumb on the other side, of course.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Poetry, a little late

She was beautiful,
Like a haiku written for
Another woman.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

first picture?

Let's see whether this works: bad lighting, the camera on my laptop, and a 3-second delay. Plus trying to figure out how to upload said picture...

The mitten on the left is in Dale Baby Ull, on size 3 needles, and the mitten on the right is in Valley Yarns Superwash on size 4 needles.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Where's the knitting?

I don't recall deciding to turn this into a cooking/ranting blog, but the knitting seems to have vanished this month. Actually, the knitting continues apace, but the lack of camera is seriously irritating me - to the point where I don't want to blog about it if I can't show it. I'm on 2-color mitten #5 of my career, and this one (when done) will complete a pair. Maybe I can beg or borrow a camera with which to show off the completed work.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Non-Random Acts of Kindness

Today I earned my "nice human being" award for the week by helping a former student (note: not current student) prepare for a big test. He's a nice kid, and very grateful for the help, which makes it all worthwhile. I feel vaguely responsible for his plight, since I apparently didn't drill enough material into his head last year.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ahh, dinner!

Just got back from a lovely dinner party hosted by my in-laws. Good food, good company, and a relaxed atmosphere where the kidlets could run around between courses.

On The Menu
Potstickers: rice, smoked mackerel, and dried apricot, or curried cream cheese with mozzarella
Honeydew Sorbet
Homemade pasta, eggplant-zucchini stirfry, fresh bread, turkey stroganoff or vegetarian stroganoff
Endive leaves with cherry-tomato salad on top
Almond pear pie


I worked until midnight.
Came home, staggered into bed.
Realized I wasn't ready for this morning's work.
Staggered to the sofa, prepped for work.
Heard SecondSon fussing.
Sat in dimly lit hallway trying to work while reassuring grumpy toddler that Mommy was still there.
Staggered back to bed just before 2am.
Yes, I'm tired. No, I will not be pleasant to deal with this morning.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Idiots redux

I have discovered FaceBook.

Now, my students have discovered me. My policy is simple: I will not initiate by "friending" them, but if they choose to "friend" me I will accept. A number of them think this is very funny, and have chosen to do so. I spent a fascinating hour surfing their photo albums, walls, and quotes.

The amount I can learn about them is amazing. In what is perhaps the scariest example of this, the student hasn't Friended me, but I can see his prom photos (through one mutual friend) and his end-of-school-party photos (through another mutual friend.) I now know what his house and pool look like, whom he took to the prom, the names of his non-school friends, and what his parents look like. I can deduce many of the people he considers his close friends, based on proximity in photos.

In another example, I know (from reading his Wall) exactly what one of my students did for his 18th birthday. I wish I didn't know. It won't get him into any official trouble with me, but I can't help but let it color my perception of him. Perhaps disillusionment is good; I tend to be overly optimistic and a little naive about my students. Still, I think I was happier that way.

So are they being idiots when they allow me this much access to their lives? That's what I've been pondering all evening. More on this tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Sometimes we're all idiots

Today I was ranting at one of my classes about how they're all about to be grown-ups. They're about to head for college; they've got take on responsibility; they can't "slide" on me just because they got into some big-name universities.

One of them asked me if I was sorry I'd volunteered to teach several classes of seniors this year.

I said that I wasn't, because I like the subject matter and I like most of the students that I teach.

He immediately wanted to know which people in the class I didn't like.

(I was so, so tempted to say that it was him... but it truly wasn't. It was the kid next to him, who whines constantly and always has to put down everyone around her. She should be grateful that I don't teach in one of the "historic" classrooms with antique weaponry on the walls or something equally dangerous that I could easily have at hand.)

So we bantered for a minute about how I wasn't going to tell them, and while it may be a load of crock that I "like all my students equally" that's my line and I'm sticking to it. I went on to brag that I've taught people I couldn't stand and they never knew it. (I later realized that most of them did guess later, once I started to like them in a subsequent class and they understand the difference in my attitude. But that came later.)

Now for the part about the idiots. Two of my best students - I mean, smart, polite, likable, "if I had a teenager I'd let you date my offspring" type of students - asked me, in all seriousness, if I meant them. They actually came back after class was over to ask me this.

I repeated the bit about how I wasn't going to tell them, or - more to the point - even if I didn't like them I'd lie through my teeth and say I did, so there wasn't any point in asking me.

One of them is now seriously worried that I don't like him. I think the other one finally got it, or else cared a little bit less. I've promised to tell them after graduation if they still care then.


Monday, January 7, 2008

North? Are you nuts?

Today I saw two V's of geese heading... north.

Guys, it's January 7th. Yes, I know it's 51 degrees outside, but it won't last. Trust me.

Friday, January 4, 2008

And she loves the mitten...

I finally showed my "first mitten" each to two of the recipients... and they loved them.

What a relief!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Insert Rant Here

I had a rant all prepared, but now I'm too tired to remember most of it.

I don't know whether it's the antibiotics or the cough suppressant that's making me feel like I've lost 50 IQ points, but I want it to stop! Now! Teaching smart seniors with a sub-average IQ is amusing at best and humiliating at worst.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


I'm bad at New Year's Resolutions. However, here's a first pass at this year's list:

1) Lose weight.
2) Eat healthier food.
3) Spend less time watching TV.
4) Knit more.
5) Read more.
6) Spoil my dog.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy 2008!

I did not ring in the New Year; I was asleep by 9pm, with the "junk in the lungs" disease still taking its toll on my system.

Today, I triumphed over adversity by whipping together lunch for six in about 15 minutes: fried rice (left-over caramelized onions and rice, plus some butter, white wine, pecans, and grated cheese), deviled eggs (hurray for left-over hard-boiled eggs!), sliced fruit, cheese, and crackers.

Why? Relatives who were trapped at our place by the snowstorm. I hadn't thought to go grocery shopping earlier in the morning, so my resources were very scanty.