Friday, January 16, 2009

Cold-Weather Day

Yesterday afternoon, I decided this would be a "cold-weather day" for me -- like a snow day, but because it was so cold. The school districts in the area have been closed since Wednesday. The first day was because of the new 6 inches or more of snow, but the last two were because morning temperatures were -20F (-29C) or colder. Yesterday morning as I waited for the bus (luckily, the bus was on time, so I was outside for less than 15 minutes), the temperature was around 23 below. I was wearing tights, long underwear (upper and lower), wool socks, moleskin pants (no, not made from real moles, but really warm), sweater, long down coat, earflap hat with my coat hood over it, wool/mohair scarf over my face, and store-bought gloves under my mittens. I was almost warm enough, although it sort of hurt to breathe, and had to remove several layers once I got to work. Today was supposed to be colder (and was, by about 2 degrees) so I decided to take a day of vacation.

I started the day by watching a couple hours of the Today show's coverage of yesterday's miracle on the Hudson, which really does seem to have been miraculous. Then I talked to Helen about some updates to the Daedelus pattern, and promised to work on it extensively this weekend. And then -- well, then I spent a couple hours playing on Facebook. Facebook doesn't usually distract me like that (although Twitter does - I am, of course, jannabeth there, if you'd like to follow my riveting tweets), but I spent lots of time today checking out my friends' friends, to see who I had missed.

Finally, around noon, I got a little more productive!

I baked Chocolate Cranberry Sweet Buns, although, weirdly, I had no chocolate chips, so I chopped up five squares of semi-sweet chocolate (why do I have two boxes of this, and no chips?) and used that instead. I haven't tasted them yet, but they look pretty!

Chocolate Cranberry Bread

I also made snow

Snow I made
Throw a cup of boiling water into frigid air and see what happens!

because we don't have enough already! ;-)

Snow I didn't make

That's my car, waiting to be dug out tomorrow, when the temperature is supposed to be a balmy 26ºF (-3ºC). I did get in and start it last night -- I didn't really expect it to start, so was thrilled when it did, with just a little cough.

And I worked on Daedelus. She really is going to be pretty if when I get her done!

I know Daedelus was a man, but, really, this shawl is awfully girly!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Catching Up (Again)

Well, it's a good thing I didn't resolve to blog more regularly!

(If you don't care about my non-knitting life, feel free to scroll past the next three paragraphs.)

It's been a busy week. We had a new librarian start on Monday, which of course disrupts the usual pattern, and another librarian left last week. I suddenly find myself acting as my library's Nursing librarian, and preparing to teach quite a bit later this month. Of course, at my old job, I taught all the time, and worked with Nursing students and faculty a lot, but I've been spoiled over the last year and a half -- I guess you could say I've had people who did this sort of thing for me! Plus, of course, they expected us to work 5 whole days this week! (This was only the second week since before Thanksgiving that I worked all 5 days.)

The highlight of the week for me was the fact that the library finally has almost-hot water. When I began here in May 2007, I was surprised to discover that the staff kitchenette had no hot water (at lunch time, we keep a tea kettle on, to supply hot water for washing dishes) and the ladies' room had only slightly-warm water. Rumor has it that the mens' room had no hot water. The public restroom also had only slightly-warm water. I was told that the building (built in 1974) had been plumbed wrong and had never had hot water. An investigation sometime in the 1990s had determined there was no way of fixing the problem. And apparently no one at the library protested that statement.

There are a few of you reading who can probably guess how this affected me. I was incensed! It's not like hot running water is some sort of new-fangled idea -- it's been found in even the most rural areas of the U.S. for the last 60 years and I would bet that most of the buildings on campus have had it for the last 100 years. I insisted that the situation be checked out again. Eventually, last week -- months after I started complaining -- real plumbers, as opposed to general handymen, appeared. They were as shocked as I that the building had never had hot water. They also agreed that the building was plumbed wrong, but that they could at least improve the situation.

So -- hurray! -- as of Thursday, the ladies' room has water hot enough that I considered adding some cold water to the mix. The kitchenette's water isn't quite as hot as the ladies' room, but is much improved. I don't think the plumbers are finished either. And you cannot imagine how happy warm water has made me!

Enough about work -- there has been knitting, too. In fact, I've knit a little on several projects.

  • I worked a few rows on Daedelus (which doesn't sound like much, but at this stage, the rows are SO long that the beaded rows take me about an hour each), but it's now on hold while I wait for a revised pattern from Helen.
  • I've worked a little on the Stonewall stole (this is an old photo -- imagine about twice this much done). I'm making the middle size, with some gorgeous merino/tencel sock yarn from Jessie at A Piece of Vermont. I just loved this squooshy yarn in not-quite-solid not-really-red/not-really-pink, and I think it's perfect for the pattern.

  • I've done a couple rows on my Hedera socks.
  • I decided that one skein of Malabrigo Sock Yarn wasn't enough for my Woodand Scarf (which I don't think I've blogged about), so I ordered another skein from SuperCrafty -- luckily, Allison still had one skein of the dye lot. The colorway is called Stonechat, and it's just gorgeous.
Malabrigo Sock "Stonechat"

  • And finally, a couple days ago, as I felt the wind whipping through my hand-knit mittens, I remembered that at the end of last winter, I had started a pair of Bird in Hand stranded mittens, which would be much warmer. I pulled them out and saw that I was just about at the start of the thumb on the first mitten. I've been working on them the last couple nights and I think I'll finish the first one tonight. Here it is so far:

Bird in Hand in progress
It's really hard to take a picture of your own right hand!

The only problem is that the change in my tension is really obvious on the palm. I hope that a good soak will help even the stitches out, but I may end up frogging this one and reknitting it.

Bird in Hand palm

So -- I think I'm all caught up now! Maybe you'll hear from me again before next weekend!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Happy New Year!

A lot of bloggers have been announcing their resolutions for the year, many involving blogging and/or knitting. I'm not making any resolutions about either -- my blogging will continue to be rather sporadic and my knitting rather planless (is that a word? You know what I mean...)

The only resolution I'm making this year is to shred more regularly. Sad, huh? However, the truth is that I have months' worth of stuff that needs to be shredded waiting for me in a large wastebasket, and next to it. I got through maybe 25% of it this afternoon, and plan on working on it a little every evening. Then, at least once a week, I'll shred anything new. I'm also moving the shredder into the dining room, which is where I open the mail anyway.

So -- enough of that. There has been knitting!

Over the last couple of days, I've knit a Jayne hat for my brother. I ordered a kit from Heather Hill, which included a pre-made pompom. I don't know why I hate the idea of making pompoms (I'm not sure I've ever made one!) but having one come in the kit was a big plus! And the mailer she sent it in was covered with the most cunning stamps.

Ken's Jayne hat
Mr. Swift isn't the best model.
I'll try to get my brother to send a picture of him wearing it.

Even for slow-knitter me, this was only a few hours work. Plus, of course, it's not supposed to be perfect -- Ma Cobb's wasn't, but Jayne loved it anyway. Fittingly, I knit most of it while watching the Firefly DVDs I got for Christmas by my brother. He also gave me the Serenity movie. Netflix will be happy, because it means they can stop sending them to me. (Actually, I'm pretty sure I've only gotten them twice from Netflix...)

I also attempted to buy more beads for Daedelus, with only partial success. The bead store where I bought the original beads a year and a half ago didn't have the exact beads, so the ones I bought were more white than translucent. I think they'll look fine. I'll show you a picutre once I've got a few rows with them.