Friday, December 30, 2005

Wrapping Up

Well, Christmas is over, and the gifts were a hit. My stepmom absolutely loved her bag, and all of the mittens were appreciated, too. Even my stepdad was excited about them, and he doesn't necessarily like the things I make. He leaves Monday for a month in Wisconsin, though, and so he was happy to get some super warm mittens he can wear. I even made them black, so that he couldn't complain that they were too bright.

Tim's Mittens

Go Hawks! I used the pattern Gifted and Knit PIcks Sierra. I used the same for Daddy's mittens, although he got bright green.

Daddy's Mitten

I think he likes them; when we were heading to Grandma's on Christmas Eve, he started putting on some ski gloves, and I gently reminded him that he had new green mittens, so he put them on and wore them every time I saw him after that.

I've still got to work on Mom's hooded scarf/mitten set, but I got her The Chronicles of Narnia, so she wasn't left out or anything. Mom didn't used to read a lot, but now that my stepdad travels a lot for work (he's a construction worker), she has a lot more time alone, and has read just about anything I've left with her. I even got her to read Jane Austen last year! I think for her birthday, I'm going to get her a set of the Lord of the Rings.

I got a lot of very nice presents, including the first two seasons of Pete & Pete on DVD. Danny Tamberelli, one of the stars, complimented a scarf I made my sister. It's a long story, but the short version is that when my sister was studying in Florence, Italy, she was at a friend's apartment, and that friend's roommate's boyfriend was there, and it happened to be this actor. Erin didn't get to talk to him, because they were trying to keep it all on the down low, but she accidentally left a scarf I crocheted for her in the living room. When she went in to get it, he complimented it, and of course she had to call me. It totally blew my story for that day out of the water; I had only bumped into Roberto Benigni that day at the airport in Rome.

Sorry if this is all scattered; I've got a cold, and I'm starting to get confused. Anyway, I'll be out this weekend, but I'll want to procrastinate next week, so I should post a list of what I want to get done in 2006. I've decided it'll be the year that I finally start making big stuff for myself. Of course, I'll still be making lots for other people, and for The Preemie Project. Starting my selfish knitting trend, though, here's my Panta in progress.

Panta in Progress

I hope you all have a great weekend, and have fun ringing in the new year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Progressing Nicely

I'm back from my long weekend of relaxation, and, well, I kind of feel relaxed. I did have a lovely weekend; lots and lots of knitting with a couple of hours set aside to grade papers and calculate final grades.

I recall saying (typing?) that I would finish a scarf, a felted bag, and some wristwarmers. Well, I shuffled the schedule again, and made a pair of mittens for Sissy-poo and that felted bag for my stepmom. I'm putting that scarf on hold until next week ('cause it's not an urgent gift), and the wristwarmers have been shifted to January birthday gift. Where does that leave me? Three or four pairs of mittens left. For the first pair, I used Lamb's Pride Bulky, and all of the mittens will be made with Kate Gilbert's Gifted pattern. Here's an action shot (it's a bit snug on my hand, but my sister has very slender hands, so they should have just the right amount of ease).

Green Gifted Mittens

I've got enought LP Bulky for another set of mittens, and the remaining mittens will be made with Knit PIcks Sierra, a bulky merino/alpaca blend. A glimpse of the wonderful colors is shown below, filling up this French Market Bag. I substituted Cascade Quatro and 220, and it worked wonderfully. It did take most of four days' knitting time, but it was neat to see how the pattern worked up, and how nicely the yarn felted.

Cascade French Market Bag

Good luck to all of you holiday knitters, working furiously until the "deadline!"

Friday, December 16, 2005


Ahhhh, I'm done with my finals. Yesterday was a challenge: my last paper was due at 8pm, and I didn't figure out what I was going to write about until, um, well, 2:30. And the only thing graded for the class is, um, this paper. And you see, I really had thought about it beforehand, but I was having problems with the topic I'd chosen, so I made a last minute switch. Also, I was done at 6:30. And this is why I procrastinate... it's worked for the last, oh, my whole life, so why change now?

Also, I finished up a Christmas Hat for The Preemie Project last night. Now I'm all ready for my weeklong post-finals nap. Wait, no, I don't have time. I still have to grade a bunch of final papers, and knit. Fortunately, I get to travel to Heather's family's house for a long weekend, and that will be relaxing. Her little sis is dancing in the Nutcracker as usual, and we've got tickets for tomorrow's show. Once I get off work, I have to go home and pack up some clothes and lots of yarn.

In the next few days, I will finish one scarf, a felted bag (I've decided to go with this pattern so that I don't have to worry about figuring out a design), and some wristwarmers. I'd also like to work on Mom's scarf, but we'll see. If I get all of that done, it only leaves mittens on the list for Christmas, and I can't start those unless the mailman delivers my Knit Picks yarn before I skip town (or if I stop by the LYS on my way out... it's almost on the way). Now that I think about it, if I get some yarn on the way out of town, I'd have enough in the KP shipment to make Mom a scarf and mitten set, for her birthday in January.

Well, then, that's a sudden change of plans, but it worked for me yesterday, so I'm sure it'll work today. You'll all find out next week ('cause seriously, I'm sleeping a lot this weekend).

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


I promised pictures, so here they are! First of all, this is me with my poster at a poster session I participated in a couple of weeks ago.

Me and My Poster

It was a very exciting poster, let me tell you. It really was fun, though, to discuss my research with people who aren't classmates, because that's when you find out whether or not you can explain it coherently to someone without the background knowledge you have.

And next up, a Branching Out in Blue Sky Alpacas Sportweight. That yarn was wonderful to use, and it blocked really nicely. One more Christmas gift done!

Alpaca Branching Out

I finished a 7-page paper this afternoon, and now I'm about to start my last paper! If I work for a couple of hours, I'll be able to take a study break for 10 cent wings. Of course, I already took a study break to bake a chocolate cake, and it smells delicious. Now I'm going to take it out of the oven, and happy knitting to you all!

Great News!

So, I have to share: I found out yesterday that I get to teach another class in the spring! This is good news for lots of reasons. See, last year I was given a quarter time teaching appointment for this academic year, which means teaching one class in the fall and one in the spring, and earning less than half than a TA with a half time appointment, which is three courses over the academic year. I wasn't the happiest about that, but I was excited for the experience, plus I had a second job to minimally supplement my income. So when I got an email yesterday asking me if I wanted another class for the spring, not only did it mean that I'll have even more work experience, it meant that I'll double my income for the year, and I might even get a bigger scholarship.

I'm so amazingly blessed; this comes at a really good time for me, because both my mother and my sister are in pretty bad financial situations. Not only does this mean that I can help my family some, I'll also have some money when it's time to relocate next summer without running up a lot of debt, AND I'll have more money for yarn. And more yarn. And, for the more practical people in my audience, new contact lenses. (And don't worry, I'm not really going to buy that much yarn; I've already got a stash two sizes too big.) (But maybe I'll get some Lion & Lamb to make myself a Clapotis.) (Although I really want to make myself a Tubey. Any thoughts on the Cashmerino? I hear it pills pretty badly.)

Continuing the feeling blessed theme, I randomly got two more people to participate in my research, and turned in an 18 page paper on my findings yesterday. It was surprisingly quick to write, but I had to spend, like, two hours teaching myself statistics. I've still got two papers to go, but one is half finished and the other, well, um, I've kind of thought of what I'm going to write about. It's not due till tomorrow night. That's plenty of time.

And finally, I was fortunate enough to have time for a Revenge of the Sith break on Monday night, and I finished up that Branching Out during the film. It's been blocking overnight, and I'll post pictures as soon as I have time to procrastinate (i.e., you probably won't have to wait that long). Also, I swatched for the felted bag I'm "designing," and I bought a button for the scarflet I've got to finish up by Friday. What does that mean? This week's scheduled holiday knitting is done (and it's only Wednesday)! Proof that even when it's the last minute, I'd really rather not do my homework.

The good news about having that done, though, is that the rest of my study breaks this week are now set aside for finishing up at least one Christmas Hat for The Preemie Project. And for playing Minesweeper.

Anyway, I'm sorry this was so long, I'm just super excited. And I'll put up pictures soon! Hope you all have a great week!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Finals Week.

Well, now that I've finally reached the last day of classes for the semester, it's time to start panicking about finals week. Which, in all honesty, I should have been doing for the last, oh, month, but I'm sure it'll work out. I only have three research papers to write, and nine essays to grade. And, of course, holiday knitting. And work. But I can't complain about work too much; it gives me a chance to update my blog!

Let's see, this week I've been working on another little scarflette, and it's almost done and ready to gift. I'm making this one out of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk, and it's pretty. Up next is a Branching Out in sportweight Blue Sky Alpaca. Also, I'm working on a design for a felted/embroidered bag, and I've ordered the yarn for a series of wonderful mittens a la Kate Gilbert. I decided on Knit Picks Sierra, which I've not tried before. Despite this, I'm sure I'll love it, because I've loved all of the yarn that's come my way from them. That seems like a manageable to do list, right? Right?

Don't worry, though, I've got it all mapped out on my calendar, and my mom doesn't care if her scarf is late. And if it'll be late, I'll just crochet up some dishcloths to tide her over in the meantime. Also, I've purchased a small quantity of gifts so that even if the knitting isn't done, there'll be stuff under the tree for everyone. And I've got to go burn some mix CDs, because I'm, like, the only person in my family who doesn't have a CD player in their car (mom, stepdad, dad, stepmom, and sister all have one, and my tape deck doesn't even work).

Best of luck to everyone on their knitting; mine will make an excellent study break for the next week, and I'm an expert at study breaks.