Thursday, November 30, 2006

Meme Science

I've read about this in several places, but I'm stealing it now from Julia.

Scott Eric Kaufman is conducting research to be presented at a conference (MLA -- coincidentally, my professional organization is a different MLA). Anyway, Scott is trying to measure the speed of a meme. Here's how we can all do our part from meme/blog science:

  • Write a post linking to Scott in which you explain the experiment. (All blogs count, be they TypePad, Blogger, MySpace, Facebook, etc.)
  • Ask your readers to do the same. Beg them. Relate sob stories about poor graduate students in desperate circumstances.
  • Ping Technorati. (For all those wondering how to ping Technorati, if you follow the link, this will take you to a form where you can enter your home page URL, which will have the effect of causing Technorati to come have a look at what you've been up to...)

It's easy! You can copy my post! ;-) And knitbloggers will be a part of academic research!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Chicago Knitting (and other stuff)

Every year when I'm in Chicago for RSNA (no, I'm not a radiologist - I attend to teach PubMed), my college roommate Pat and I try to get together on my day off. We usually spend the day wandering down Michigan Avenue, shopping a little and talking a lot. And usually, it's cold.

Today was my day off and it was around 60 and rainy. Because this year's hotel is farther south and west than usual, we took a different route.

We walked to Millennium Park, where we saw the Bean,

The Bean, Millennium Park

watched people ice skate, despite the warm, wet weather,

A warm day at the Millennium Park Ice Rink

and wondered what these people on the giant screens were doing (that's Pat down front).

Pat at Millennium Park

We wandered over to State Street, where we bought Frango mints at Marshall Field's Macy's and did a little stash enhancement at Loopy Yarns.

Loopy Yarns

Well, I did stash enhancement. Pat knits, but is apparently not obsessed. (Too bad.... although she's a mighty fine enabler.)

Namaste and yarn

My big purchase was a Namaste "Everyday" knitting bag. I have wanted one for ages, although I've never seen them in person. I guess this is my Christmas present to myself. Besides the bag, I bought two skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Socks in cranberry (on the right). The yarn on the left is four skeins of Rowan Lighweight DK in shade 602 and 046, which was actually bought in Springfield at Nanncy's Knits.

Speaking of Christmas, some gift-knitting has been done.

Christmas knitting, 2006(Sorry about the blurry picture.)
From the bottom right, there's the beginning of a cabled scarf in Plymouth Encore, destined for the Red Scarf Project, then two pairs of Fetchings (the green ones are Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and the pink ones are Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool, knit on smaller needles for smaller hands). At the top is a ball of lace weight cashmere for a secret gift. I'm very proud of that ball of yarn - I wound it by hand using my nottespinne!

Back home soon..... it really does feel like I've been gone forever....

Friday, November 24, 2006


There were 26 people in Mom's little house on Thursday. We traditionally spend Thanksgiving with my dad's side of the family. When I was a kid, there would be 50-60 people -- my dad was one of nine kids and there are 28 cousins in my generation.

I didn't think to take many pictures, which is too bad. This is the crazy side of the family, but no one's wearing a silly hat in these!

Family Thanksgiving 2006

Family Thanksgiving 2006

Remember the baby I made these (scroll down past the sock photos) for? This is him. His mama is my honorary "niece" - her dad is my cousin.
Heather and Tyler

I love this picture of him. He's tugging on his ear because it hurts, but he was a very happy baby nevertheless. He came Friday evening with his mama and daddy to help us eat leftovers.
Tyler and Matt

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sunday Sky

I'm at my mom's this week, just outside of Springfield, Illinois. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a little while know how I think the flat prairie of central Illinois is the most beautiful landscape on earth, so you'll be getting more pictures this week.

There was a beautiful pink sunset while I was driving down from Chicago Sunday evening, but it's hard to take a good picture while you're driving about 70 miles an hour down I-55. These are the two best, although one is blurry and the other has excessive signage.

sunset 2


And here's another thing I love about central Illinois: Mel-O-Cream donuts! Although you can buy them at convenience stores and gas stations, they're best bought from the little shops around Springfield - shops staffed by grouchy older women who act like they'd rather be out back having a smoke. Luckily, there's one near my niece's school. After dropping her off this morning, my brother brought back two lemon honeymooners (my favorite) and two chocolate bismarcks (his favorite). It's probably a good thing I don't live here!

lemon honeymooners

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Interesting, considering that, when people ask me where I'm from, after 22 years in San Antonio, I'm just as likely to say Illinois as Texas!

You are 93% REAL Texan!!

High five, you're a complete Texan. People from other states should tremble in your presence because they're simply not worthy. Let them bow before you and convey their undying adoration to you while they announce their true desire to be Texan.

How Texan Are You?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Today's Excitement

ETA in case you were wondering: the spa-like atmosphere in the library restrooms only lasted that one day. Too bad -- I liked having someplace warm at work!

Also, my friend Steve in Austin (who went to the yarn shop in College Station with me) has started a knitblog. Go visit!

So, this afternoon I picked up new-knitter Jody and we headed over to Yarnivore, in order to begin development of her stash (she didn't know this, of course). However, before we got there, this happened:

bumper 11/18/06

No, it's not that something nibbled on my bumper sticker. If you look closely, you'll see that my bumper is sort of scratched up and there's a section in the center (right under the bumper sticker) that appears to be sagging.

I got rear-ended. We were just sitting there, trapped behind a bus at a bus stop (San Antonio peeps: it was in front of the HEB at Wurzbach and I-10. You know -- where there's ALWAYS a bus stopped and the street's too busy to pull around it.) There was a car between the bus and me. It managed to pull out around the bus and I pulled forward a few feet. I looked in my rear view mirror, to see if there's was a gap in traffic, and instead I saw a car hitting me!!!! It happened so fast that I didn't even have a chance to move my foot off the clutch. Luckily, I was far enough back that I didn't hit the bus.

Jody and I were both okay and by then the bus had left, so I pulled up and into the HEB parking lot and the other car followed me. I called the police, and, to make a long story somewhat shorter, the other driver claimed that another car hit her from behind, causing her to hit me. That car drove off. Now, she didn't have a single scratch on her back bumper, but her hood, which had rammed into my bumper, wouldn't close. I don't think there was another car, but I couldn't say that with certainty. And, of course, none of the dozens of people who must have witnessed the accident stuck around. She didn't get a ticket (although the law in Texas is that if you rear-end someone, it's your fault, no matter the circumstances), but that's really okay. She seemed pretty down-and-out, and at least she had insurance. She also had what appeared to be half her belongings in the back seat, and a baby (who was very happy throughout it all) in a carseat in the front seat.

After she and the baby left (her car was drivable, although I'm afraid her hood would fly up at more than about 35 mph!), the policeman who responded asked me if I had seen that third car. I said no, and pointed out the lack of scratches on her bumper. He agreed and said it would mention that when he wrote it up.

This whole incident took about 45 minutes, after which Jody and I proceeded to the yarn store. I mean, I can call my insurance company any time! I bought the needles I needed and some wool wash, and Jody bought yarn for a scarf, another pair of needles, and bought a book, which might be this one, although I'm not sure about that.

Speaking of knitting, my camera was returned from the repair shop and seems to be working fine. I found these pictures on the memory card: the flared lace smoke ring and a close-up of the stitch pattern from my feather and fan scarf. Aren't they pretty?

flared lace smoke ringfeather and fan stitch pattern

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Special Treat

We got a surprise at work today - there was no cold water in any of the 5 restrooms in the Library.

Let me put it another way: the toilets (commodes, for you native Texans) were all filled with hot water. This has happened once before. At least the campus plumbers believed us when we called this time!

It's actually kind of nice - sort of like some sort of spa treatment for your bottom. By mid-afternoon, the restroom on my floor was warm and humid, verging on steamy. And, really, when you consider how cold my office is, I didn't mind at all!

Monday, November 13, 2006

FFFO (Feather & Fan Finished Object)

Last year at Kid'n'Ewe, I bought three skeins of Brooks Farm Duet (50/50 wool/mohair blend). Two skeins were a barely-variegated red, and will, I think, become another Clapotis. The other skein -- pinks, purples, and greens -- became a Feather and Fan Scarf.

Feather and Fan ScarfSimon and I like the way
the cast-on and bound-off ends scallop.

This scarf was inspired by the Chevron Scarf in Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. In the end, though, the only thing the same was the stitch pattern. This version of Feather and Fan uses knit-front-and-back (KF&B) increases, rather than yarn-overs, making for a more solid fabric. Everything else is different from the Chevron Scarf -- wider, a little shorter, and with the occasional purl ridge to break up the monotony. Also, the Chevron Scarf is made with two different colorways of sock yarn (not just any sock yarn - Koigu KPPPM), while I used a single colorway of the DK weight Duet.

Here's what I did:

Cast on 72 stitches.

Row 1: Purl
Row 2: Knit
Row 3: Purl
Row 4: Knit

Begin Feather and Fan pattern:
Row 1: K2tog 4 times. KF&B 8 times. K2tog 8 times. KF&B 8 times. K2tog 8 times. KF&B 8 times. K2tog 4 times.
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: Purl

Repeat those four rows until the scarf is almost 65" long, or as long as you want it. Occasionally (somewhere between every 2 and 6 repeats), purl Row 3 to add some texture.

Final four rows:
Row 1: Purl
Row 2: Knit
Row 3: Purl
Row 4: Knit

Bind off and block lightly, encouraging the bound-off end to scallop like the cast-on end does on its own.

Simon and Feather and Fan Scarf
Simon really likes this scarf.
Notice the kneading action going on!

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Brooks FarmThis weekend is Kid'n'Ewe in Boerne, just north of San Antonio. Although it's not exactly Rhinebeck or Maryland Sheep and Wool, it's a lot of fun. The weather even cooperated. Although it was around 90 yesterday, the high today was about 65, allowing us to wear hand-knits. And for a lot of us, Kid'n'Ewe is all about the Brooks Farm Yarn!

Julia and Christine arranged a lunchtime meet-up of Texas knitbloggers (and knitters in general). It was great to see some of the people we met at the Yarn Harlot in Austin in July, plus meet some new folks. San Antonio was well-represented by Susan (and Ken, of course), Kim, Amy, Amanda, Enid, Courtney, and David (you should go wish him a happy belated birthday). I also dragged along my sister Linda and our friend Jody. Linda hadn't knitted in a couple years, and Jody had never knitted, but by the time we left, they had each bought a skein of Brooks Farm Four Play and a pair of needles, and were knitting. Yes, we taught Jody to knit - and tomorrow she learns to purl!

Some highlights:

Susan and Amanda spinning
Susan teaches Amanda to spin...

Jody and Linda
...mesmerizing Jody and Linda.

Kim and Ken
Kim was glad to see Ken again.

KnE alpaca
An alpaca on a leash...

and a doggie named Velcro on one, too.

And, yes, there was some stash enhancement (sorry for the lousy lighting):
KnE booty
Clockwise from the front left: a bloodwood nottespinne from Hokett Would Work, two skeins of Jojoland Harmony (lace weight wool), two bars of soap and a jar of wildflower honey from del jardin of Poteet, Texas, a skein of Hill Country Yarn sock yarn that I won as a door prize (door prizes!), a skein of just-barely variegated green Brooks Farm Four Play, and one of Brooks Farm Primero in very pale pinky-neutrals.

All in all - a very fun day!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Mostly Non-Knitting Content

I saw this on Amy's blog - and it is dead on. I'm actually from central Illinois, but since to most of the world there's Chicago and then there's "southern Illinois," they got it right. And I call a soft drink "soda."

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The South


The Inland North

The West

The Northeast


North Central

What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

I'm not sure this table is showing up correctly. It should have red lines showing how much my accent is from each region. Mine is 100% Midland, but the next one, The South, is about 75%. That makes sense, since I grew up saying 'y'all' and have lived in Texas for 20 years.

This is for Deb.
calendar Nov06It's my calendar at work, full of scenes from the University of Illinois campus. October was a beautiful autumn scene, but November is the entry to the Spurlock Museum, which opened about three years ago. In fact, I was on campus Homecoming Weekend in October 2003 and toured it during its grand opening. Much of the collection had been stored for years on the top floor of Lincoln Hall (or was it Gregory?) in a sort of shabby little museum. However, when I was in school, I always felt like it was my private museum since there were never very many people there at all. And you could run in for a few minutes between classes. I know the Spurlock is a much better venue, but it doesn't have that personal feel.

And, finally, I have to say that yesterday's election outcome and Rumfeld's resignation today make me a happy knitter!

Oh - and I'll be finishing up the Feather and Fan scarf this evening. Now they're saying the high may be 70ish on Saturday, but that's probably still too warm to wear it to Kid'n'Ewe.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Weather Report

weather report

It appears that our "cold snap" is over. I'm knitting like a fiend in order to get my Brooks Farm Feather and Fan shawl scarf finished in time to wear to Kid'n'Ewe this weekend. It will look great with my purple leather jacket.

Unfortunately, it's going to be in the 80s on Saturday. I wonder how Seraphim will look over a t-shirt?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Yesterday's Pictures

Well, the "new" camera has been packed up and sent to the Canon fix-it shop in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, since it appears that the USB port on the camera failed. Luckily, I still have my old camera, whose big problem is that it absolutely eats batteries (if I'm lucky, I'll get 8 or 9 photos from a charge).

So here are some photos that go with yesterday's post:

chevron scarf
the feather-and-fan scarf in Brooks Farm Duet
I'd like to have this done by next weekend to wear to Kid'n'Ewe,
but I don't think it's going to happen

smoke ring
the Flared Lace Smoke Ring in DROPS Alpaca
Sorry about the blurriness;
you know what the say about unblocked lace, anyway.

Black Purl Sock
one Black Purl sock

I'm not supposed to be working on the socks until the other two projects are done and Christmas knitting is well underway; however, I've just realized how cute the ruffled cuffs will be peeking over the tops of my new boots. Granted, they'll be hidden under my jeans, but still -- they'll be so cute!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


So I had this whole post planned - I wanted to show y'all knitting progress. However, my new-in-August camera has decided not to talk to my computer. I'm having a nice email chat with a couple techie-types at Canon - they seem to have located the Mac guy for me.

Although I've got five Christmas projects to knit, four are small and I am a perpetual optimist. I decided I needed to finish a couple cold-weather projects for myself. Yes, cold weather has come to San Antonio - the high tomorrow is only supposed to be in the 60s! However, I will be spending 10 days at the end of the month in Illinois -- a few at Mom's in central Illinois, then a week in Chicago at a conference that involves waiting for busses to haul us to McCormick Place. So I will have a real need for cold-weather accessories.

I had planned on first showing you the feather-and-fan scarf I began about this time last year, then put aside for other projects, despite its Brooks Farm Duet goodness. The pattern is loosely based on the Chevron Scarf in Last-Minutes Knitted Gifts, although it's wider and will most like be shorter. It's at about 40 inches now and I think I'm aiming at about 60.

I also want to finish up the Flared Lace Smoke Ring. I'm excited that I've begun the 4th of the 4 charts. However, the 4th chart goes on and on - I'm maybe a quarter of the way done!

Oh - and the ruffled sock? I'm down into the foot of sock #1, but I'm afraid it's not going to be getting much attention for a while...