Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas (almost) to those of you who celebrate. And if you don't -- Have a Happy Monday! Of course, my family doesn't get here until Tuesday night, and we're not having Christmas dinner until Saturday, so I'll be celebrating all week!

There has been progress on Christmas knitting. The Knitted Robot is finished, and although I'm not absolutely thrilled with him (my seaming skills are obviously lacking), I'm at least happy with him. Here he sits in my Christmas tree.

Knitted Robot

I've also finished a fourth pair of Fetching, in Midnight Blue Elsebeth Lavold Classic AL. No picture - you know what they look like by now!

Remember the Shetland Triangle I was knitting? Apparently the DROPS Alpaca really did not want to be a Shetland Triangle. Instead, it will be a Forest Canopy Shoulder Shawl. I'm halfway through the sixth of ten repeats (each repeat is 8 rows, and 16 stitches wider than the previous repeat). I need to have it done (and blocked) by Saturday. I think I'll make it.

Forest Canopy Shawl

I also got my Christmas cards addressed and stamped. I'll mail them tomorrow - they'll be "Christmas week" cards! I actually got them made last weekend, but didn't bother to address them!

Here's the outside (a little blurry, as most of my non-flash photos are):

Christmas card 2006

And the inside:
Christmas Card 2006 inside
(For those of you who stamp -- Joy is heat-embossed in silver over the stamped snowflake.)

I've also got a loaf of that New York Times No-Knead Bread (that link will only work, I think, if you subscribe to TimesSelect) rising, and my handbell choir is playing at Midnight Mass tonight. Tomorrow I need to make one more batch of Carrot-Coconut Bread and wrap some presents.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Carrot-Coconut Bread

As promised, here's my recipe for Carrot-Coconut Bread. This is a sweet, dense bread. The recipe makes 8 small loaves at once and is a great "office gift" when made in foil loaf pans. I got the recipe years ago from a friend of my mother's who ran a little bakery business out of her home.

A note about shredding carrots: I can't imagine making this without a food processor! One recipe takes 4 cups of shredded carrots, which is about a pound and a half unshredded. I scrub the carrots with a vegetable brush and trim the ends, but don't usually peel them, although you certainly can if you like. I shred the carrots using the the shredding disk on my food processor. If yours has two shredding disks, like my old one did, use the finer disk.

Carrot-Coconut Bread

Makes 8 small (approx. 5 ½" by 3 ½") loaves

4 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
¾ t. cloves
¾ t. nutmeg
½ t. ginger

6 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil
2 t. vanilla
4 c. shredded carrots
14 oz package coconut
2 c. chopped walnuts
2 c. golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease loaf pans.

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.

In a very large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat eggs until fluffy and light-colored. Add oil and vanilla. Stir in carrots, coconut, walnuts, and raisins.

Add combined dry ingredients. Using a large, strong spoon, stir into carrot mixture. The batter will be very thick. If it seems like you can’t get all of the flour mixed in, let the mixture sit for a few minutes, then stir some more. (Next time, beat the eggs longer - I've discovered this really makes a difference!)

Divide mixture among greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, until nicely browned.

These freeze really well – 8 of the loaves will fit in a 2½ gallon ziploc bag.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Sixth Weirdness

I could say that it's that I can't count to 6, but, really, I can. So here's number six:

6. Although I like dark chocolate just fine, if I had to choose (like, if I was stranded on a desert island), I'd choose milk chocolate.

Monday, December 18, 2006

That Meme

I have been knitting, but what's left are yet another pair of Fetching and holiday knitting for someone who might see it here. And the robot is still drying and waiting to be seamed and stuffed.

So, instead -- we have a meme, in which you will learn some things about me that might seem odd to some people. We all have our little quirks, right? Eric at Ethical Thought, who is another knitter/medical librarian, tagged me.

“THE RULES: Each player of this game starts with the '6 weird things about you.' People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says ‘you are tagged’ in their comments and tell them to read your blog.”

1. I’m stealing this first one from Theresa, who mentioned that she is phone-o-phobic. I really dread it when my home phone rings. I’m not sure why, but you get so many charity calls and stuff, and I hate saying no to them.
2. But what is really weird isn’t that I hate answering the phone, but that, despite that fact, I don’t have Caller ID.
3. I have a whole bookcase of cookbooks in my kitchen, but I rarely cook anymore (although I do bake).
4. I have no children, but I enjoy scrapbooking. Personally, I don’t think this is weird, but others seem to.
5. I have to be able to see the clock when I wake up at night, which is a frequent occurrence. Before I had lasik surgery to correct my vision, I slept clutching a little alarm clock whenever I traveled.

I’ll probably think of some really weird stuff after I post this! And I’m going to tag Steve (another knitting medical librarian), Susan, Amy, Kim (who is probably too busy with her adorable baby boy to read blogs), the other Kim, and Courtney.

Tomorrow -- my recipe for Carrot-Coconut Bread, which is a great from-the-kitchen holiday gift!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Who put that "kick me" sign on my car?

car.jpgIt probably says "hit me," not "kick me." Remember this? Well, it happened again today, only worse. On my way to work, a woman turned left in front of me. Her right front corner hit my left headlight area. Luckily, no one was hurt, but I was SO mad, which now makes me feel a little guilty, since she was definitely a little old lady/granny. I refused to move my car, or let her move hers, until the police got there so he could see that she had just turned in front of me. That shiny thing in the photo is the headlight assembly, not broken, but shoved up to a 90 degree angle from where it's supposed to be. So now my car is sitting at a shop, while we wait to find out if her insurance will pay for it, as they should.

This has been another long, busy week at work, but I've done a little knitting. Here's the front of a knitted robot, from the no longer available Jess Hutchison booklet. (Luckily, Kim owns it!)

In spite of the intarsia squares, it's a fast knit. In addition to the front, I've done the back legs and started on the body. I'm hoping to finish the body tonight, which only leaves the little arms -- and seaming, stuffing, and applying eyes (after I buy them). It's a Christmas gift for a co-worker who saw the Jess Hutchison robots online and wants one SO bad. She knows I'm knitting it for her, and even helped choose the colors.

I tried to get Simon to pose with the robot, but all he wanted to do was wrestle with it.

Simon says, "I need one of these!"

Friday, December 08, 2006

I think I'll live...

For a while, it was a little doubtful. I felt worse on Wednesday, but dragged myself into work anyway, since I had to infect teach a class of nursing students. Thursday, though, I woke up with my throat on fire. When I tried to say hello to the cats, nothing happened. I got up, emailed the faculty member with whom I had a consult scheduled, to cancel it, and emailed a co-worker, asking her to cancel my dental appointment for me (pretty sure Dr. H really didn't want to peer into my mouth!). Then I went back to bed and slept most of the day.

Today I felt 100% better. However, I apparently looked and sounded pretty awful, because I was told to leave around 11:00. I felt a little guilty, but it was probably a good thing.

I know I felt a little better, though, because I was able to knit and to frog. I had started the Shetland Triangle from Wrap Style, but since I was using a heavier yarn than called for (Garnstudio Drops Alpaca, instead of Jaeger Cashmina), I had gone up from a US6 needle to a US9. I got about 25 rows in, and decided my needles were too big. So I ripped it all out (actually, I had already ripped it out once before, but there's no need to talk about that) and started over on US8s. So far, so good!

Shetland Triangle

Christmas tree 2006

I also got the Christmas tree up. Yes, it's fake (so I'm not allergic to it) and it's pre-lit (which was a great invention on somebody's part). No decorations yet - hopefully, that will happen tomorrow.

Harley is very interested in the tree....

Oh -- it sleeted in San Antonio this afternoon. It was in the low 40s, which is pretty cold for us, so it melted before it hit the ground, but there was, nevertheless, a mild panic.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I hab a code

Or maybe it's a cold. I'm pretty sure I brought it back from Chicago. I thought I was getting sick Sunday morning and by Monday, I was sure. Of course, since Monday was my first day back at work after two weeks gone, I had to be there. Besides, I was assisting with one class and teaching another. This morning, I did a presentation for approximately 75 dental students. In addition to my laptop, I took my box of kleenex and bottle of water. About twenty minutes in, I had a coughing fit - one of those that you feel in the back of your throat and know isn't going to go away easily. I coughed. I drank water. I coughed more. I drank more. I tried to speak. I coughed again. Finally I thought I was done coughing, and tried to speak. It came out as a croak! The students thought it was hilarious... I finally did recover my voice, but I finished the class sooner than planned!

There has been no knitting. My eyes hurt. So instead, here's the Holiday Meme that's been making the rounds.

1. Eggnog or Hot Chocolate?
Hot chocolate, I guess, although I like eggnog, too.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Huh? All presents are wrapped!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Usually all white, but I need new outdoor lights, so I’m thinking of getting colored ones. White on the tree, though.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No – it’s dangerous for the cats.

5. When do you put your decorations out?
Usually the first weekend of December but I’m running late this year.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
“Purple Salad,” a family tradition. Bing cherries, pineapple, mini-marshmallows folded into cream cheese and cool whip. And when my grandma was alive, homemade noodles. I can make the noodles, but I can’t get the chicken broth right.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
Going to Grandma’s the Sunday before Christmas, for dinner with Mom’s side of the family (this is the more sedate, less crazy side).

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I’m pretty sure Dad told me before I started kindergarten so I wouldn’t here it on the street somewhere.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
A lot of my ornaments are from the three years I lived in Germany – glass icicles, crystal snowflakes, and little wooden ornaments.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
I like the idea of snow, but not the reality!

12. Can you ice skate?
No, I have a lifetime history of bad ankles!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
My favorite story about a gift wasn’t one of mine. The sedate side of the family always drew names for Christmas. One year my cousin Steve, who was a teenager, had my sister’s name (she was maybe three). His mom had of course bought the gift, and included in it was underwear. He was so embarrassed!

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Spending time with my family, whether we’re here in Texas or in Illinois, and even if it's not exactly on Christmas Day.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Pumpkin pie. Or maybe bourbon balls.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
I make lots of little loaves of carrot-coconut bread for work friends. At the beginning of the season, I count out how many loaves I need to make, and I’m usually a little overwhelmed. But I’m always so happy I did it!

17. What tops your tree?
It used to be a German angel, but her wax face melted a little one summer. Now she stands on the mantel and I’ve got a vintage looking “spire” on the top of the tree.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
As someone said on their blog – who over the age of about 8 would say receiving???

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
I can’t choose just one. “Silent Night,” accompanied by just a guitar. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas.” Dean Martin’s version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (which isn’t really a Christmas song!)

20. Candy canes?
Maybe one, but usually they’re for decoration (and definitely not those mutant green and white ones!)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Back Home

Back home in Texas, that is. Sometimes, you know, "home" means Illinois!

My 7:25 flight out of O'Hare on Friday evening quickly became an 8:30 flight. We were actually on board before 8:30, but then they decided de-icing was necessary (hard to argue with that!). A de-icing truck arrived, but didn't do anything. A second de-icer arrived to do the job. Then the pilot announced that the first one had broken down, and would need to be towed away before we could take off. So it was 9:45 before we left O'Hare. However, we made good time and arrived in San Antonio around 12:30, where my sister was waiting to haul me and my luggage home.

An interesting thing happened at O'Hare. I was sitting on the floor beside the phone bank, so I could plug my iBook into one of the few available outlets. A young man knelt down beside me and asked, very slowly and with an accent, what money he needed for a phone call. He had a handful of change, but needed know how to make a call. I knew the number he had written down was Chicago-area, but since the multiple area codes there confuse me, I just dialed the number on my cell phone for him. He spoke to someone in Spanish, and when he hung up, said he needed to find baggage claim. I pointed out the sign to him and he walked off.

About five minutes later, my phone rang. A woman asked me if I had loaned my phone to someone. After I said yes, she asked if the young man was still around. They were worried because he hadn't arrived at the baggage claim yet. She asked that if I saw him again, would I help him find baggage?

I said sure, but since we were a long way from the baggage claim, I really didn't think I'd see him again. But then, a few minutes later, I looked up and there he was! He said he had walked and walked, but couldn't find baggage claim. I actually sort of wondered if I was on Candid Camera (or maybe being tested by some social researcher to see if I was a nice person). But the young man -- his name was Javier -- was so sincere, not to mention cute, that I left my laptop with the nice lady who was watching my other stuff for me, and set off with him toward baggage claim.

I tried to call the number for his friend again, and got voice mail, where I left a message, telling her that I had Javier with me and we were heading towards baggage claim. While we walked, Javier told me he was here on his first visit to the US, for vacation, but he hoped to go to college here. He was also very excited by the snow, since he had never seen it in Colombia. His English wasn't bad, but he was obviously nervous about speaking it. Just as we got to the escalator to baggage claim, where I would have to let him go by himself, my phone rang. It was his friend. They were waiting at the bottom of the escalator. So -- Javier shook my hand, got on the escalator, and waved good-bye. I worried for a while, but I'm pretty sure that I would have gotten a call from his friend if they hadn't found each other!

It was an interesting experience. It isn't surprising he asked me about making a call, since I was sitting right under a pay phone, but the fact that he came back to find me when he decided he was lost is. I mean - there were LOTS of other people around who he could have asked! I guess I looked sufficiently Mom-like, and he knew that I would help him. Obviously, he was right. So -- good luck, Javier, wherever you are!

Oh - and there's been very little knitting this weekend, although I did frog that red scarf. I just wasn't happy with the pattern I was using.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Blogging from O'Hare

Really, just because I can. $6.99 a day for internet access seems pretty reasonable.

Even though American cancelled dozens of flights out of O'Hare today (here's why), it looks like my 7:25 p.m. flight is going out on time, or close to it. So far, the travel gods have been with me:
  • the airport shuttle arrived at the hotel 5 minutes early;
  • we made it to O'Hare in less than half an hour (there was almost no traffic, probably because practically everything in Chicago shut down this morning due to the snow);
  • the curbside check-in guy didn't charge me, even though my big bag was "just a little bit" overweight (it's probably those two skeins of Lorna's Laces);
  • and there was NO line at security.

Of course, I had figured an extra two hours into the trip, so I'm killing some time now.

I might have Cinnabon for dinner.....

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...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

You say potato.....

(Actually, this post should be called something like "Random," except that I just had one of those!)

Okay, so I know it's Rhinebeck, not Rheinbeck. But you know that river in Germany? We English-speakers spell in "Rhine," but the Germans spell in "Rhein." I guess it was those 3 years I spent in Germany....

Today's big news is that our new LYS, Yarnivore, opened today. It's not quite ready for primetime -- in fact, after selecting my purchases, I spent about an hour helping put things in order. I think if stop in over the next few days, you might be put to work, too. But it's so, so cool that we finally have a second yarn store in San Antonio, and frankly, playing with the yarn was a lot of fun!

cashmerino and graceToday's purchases were two skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in a lovely cranberry color (300610, to be exact), and two skeins of Louisa Harding Grace Silk & Wool in a pale rose (color# 30). I want to knit myself another pair of less bulky Fetchings, and couldn't decide which I liked better for them. Now I'm thinking I may make a pair out of each, as Christmas presents for the two women at work who tend to be as cold - or colder - than me. The Grace will knit up smaller than the Cashmerino Aran (which is the suggested yarn), but that's okay - the person I have in mind is a small woman. In the last 48 hours, I've gone from two Christmas projects to five, but the three I've added are quick knits, I hope!

Oh – and one more bit of randomness: Yay, Cards!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


  • Did I mention that we ate at a really good restaurant in College Station? It was called Cafe Eccell. And it was Sunday night, when most of the wine is half-price!

  • And, no, librarians at conferences don't walk around going SHHHHH! In fact, we attempt not to shush at all -- too stereotypical. My library's not at all quiet, except for the top floor, which is the designated quiet floor. If people really are being overtly loud for no good reason, I'm more likely to tell them to shut up, or, on a polite day, "keep it down."

  • I'm thinking of using that cursed Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Lucky Stripe to make a pair of fingerless gloves, probably a variation of Fetching. The gauge is wrong, but I'm sure I can modify it.

  • I fell out of my clogs yesterday and really banged up my left leg from knee to lower shin. If the bruises develop into something interesting (you know - purple/blue/green/yellow), I'll take a picture.

And now for true randomness: 48 Things You Could Care Less About

1. FIRST NAME? Janna

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? No, although Mom says she read my name in a book.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Cara made me laugh when she said, “Must have been watching a TV show - but that kind of crying almost doesn't count because it happens so frequently. Like peeing.” Because I am exactly like that – a frequent, even daily, cryer. Most of my co-workers would be surprised to hear that, except the ones who have been to the movies with me. I cry at almost every movie I go to!

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? Sometimes. I have about 5 different handwriting “personalities,” and some are very nice!

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT? I guess deli turkey – honey roast or something like that.


7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? I guess you’re reading it. I also keep all my emails to a couple really close friends, to keep track of my life.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? Yes, despite frequent bouts of strep throat as a child.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? I wish I could say yes, but, really, probably not.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Special K. And I love oatmeal.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Very few of my shoes tie, but usually not.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Actually, I am.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? I’m not much of an ice cream eater – I’m somewhat lactose intolerant. However, I recently tried Dreyer’s Slow Churned in French Silk. Yum!!!

14. SHOE SIZE? 9, which used to be big, but seems pretty average now.

15. RED OR PINK? My two favorite colors, but if I had to choose one, I guess pink.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF? I am a champion procrastinator. On the flip side, I really do work well under pressure!

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? I guess my Mom, even though I just saw her a couple weeks ago, and will see her again at Thanksgiving.

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? If “send back” means “post on their blog” – why not?

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? Pink plaid flannel pajama bottoms, a maroon T-shirt that says “Get marooned. SCC/MLA 2006” (see previous post), and no shoes.

20. LAST THING YOU ATE? Dan-Dan Noodles from Pei-Wei



23. FAVORITE SMELL? Anything vanilla. I especially like vanilla/spice combinations.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? A guy from Time-Warner asking me about the quality of cable service. And entering me in a contest for a $20 Visa gift card. (Woo-hoo!)

25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? You’re supposed to say eyes, right? But I’ve got to say it really is mouth/lips/teeth.

26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON YOU STOLE THIS FROM? This has been all over the knitblogworld – I’m not sure who I stole it from – but if I read their blog, I must like them!

27. FAVORITE DRINK? Diet Coke. A non-fat latte with one pump vanilla and one pump hazelnut. Bourbon. (Not necessarily all at the same time.)

28. FAVORITE SPORT? Definitely college basketball

29. EYE COLOR? Green

30. HAT SIZE? I think the last time I knew my hat size was in high school, for that hideous hat they made us wear for marching band. I do know it’s larger than average.

31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? Used to. I had lasik surgery a few years ago, which was a great investment.

32. FAVORITE FOOD? Are peanut M&Ms considered food? On the healthier side, I love spinach salad with apple, walnuts, stilton cheese, and raspberry vinaigrette.

33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS? Definitely happy endings.

35. SUMMER OR WINTER? Since I live in South Texas and tend to be cold, I guess summer. But really, it would be Fall in the Midwest.

36. HUGS OR KISSES? I would say it would depend on who was doing the hugging/kissing. Both are nice.

37. FAVORITE DESSERT? I like almost anything chocolate, but I also love lemon meringue pie. And a good bread pudding.

38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? I guess one of my SA knitting friends.

39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? I’m not sure anyone will respond, so it’s hard to say who won’t!

40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Team of Rivals: the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin, which is kind of weird – I usually read murder mysteries! However, I just bought the new Elizabeth George, What Came Before He Shot Her, this evening, so Abe may be set aside for a while.

41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? No mouse pad right now – I’m using my lap top on my lap. However, the mouse pad on my computer table is a picture of me standing next to my then-new red Saturn Vue (taken and made for me by the local Saturn dealership).

42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV? Lost and Letterman.

43. FAVORITE SOUNDS? The sound of a room full of people laughing and talking. It always makes me happy.

44. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES? Hmmmm…… I guess the Stones, although I like the Beatles, too.


46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? I am EXTREMELY patient when helping people find information. It’s part of being a reference librarian. Unfortunately, this talent doesn’t always extend itself to dealing with co-workers.

47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Champaign, Illinois

48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I’ve seen it everywhere!

So – now it’s your turn…

Aggieland, not Rheinbeck

While most of the rest of the knitblogworld was at Rheinbeck, I was in College Station, Texas. College Station is the home of Texas A&M, the Aggies, and is probably the ultimate college town. College Station and its sister city, Bryan, sort of remind me of Champaign-Urbana. In both cases, there's nothing except the university -- although the obsession is a little more cultish in College Station. Nevertheless, I love a college town!

I was in College Station for the annual meeting of SCC/MLA, a.k.a. 200 of my closest friends. SCC consists of health sciences librarians from Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, and we are a smart, fun group. SCC is a great little conference -- large enough that we have some really good presentations, but small enough that it's easy to get to know people. (Okay -- the fact that I just finished my past-president year probably makes me a little prejudiced…)

black purl marietta

I made nice progress on my ruffle-topped sock (it's actually the Marietta Rib Sock with Scalloped Turn-Over Top, from Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks Warm Feet). My switch to the LLSS Black Purl seems to have gotten me over my sock-knitting issues.

As you may have noticed, knitting is fairly common among librarians. One day, over lunch (literally, an hour between two committee meetings), two other knitters, Greg and Steve, and I made a quick visit to the Hook and Needle, Bryan/College Station’s LYS. (I can’t believe I didn’t think to take any pictures!) It's a small, new shop, but with a nice selection, including some fleece and spinning supplies. The owner was extremely gracious, and had little gifties for us. I also managed to acquire two skeins of dark teal Lang Jawoll and a much needed crochet hook. I must own 30, but I managed to get to College Station without one.

Jawoll and giftie

It’s hard to see, but the giftie was a purse-sized note pad, a pen, and a pretty little stitch marker tied with a pink ribbon. Isn’t that a nice idea?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

And so begins another sock....

In our last episode, the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Lucky Stripe was sent to time-out (a.k.a. the top drawer of the stash dresser). I still was really in a sock-knitting mood, so I pulled out another pair of Shepherd Sock skeins, this time in Black Purl, an amazing combination of purples and black. In what may have been an unwise decision, I pulled out the pattern for Marietta Socks with Scalloped Turn-Over top from Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks Warm Feet. You may remember that the Lucky Stripe was briefly used for this pattern, but was way too big. Of course, the reason it was too big was that my swatch lied! So, this time, I'm assuming that I'm getting right at 7 stitches to an inch (which is what I was getting when I frogged Lucky Stripe). I've finished the scalloped turn-over top which may or may not be obvious in this blurry photo that is simultaneously over- and under-exposed.

Marietta sock

So far, I like it! Next up -- ribbing! I leave tomorrow for a conference, and I think this will be good conference knitting.

Speaking of going places -- my sister just returned from a visit at Mom's in central Illinois. While she was there, they visited an orchard, which is something you do in the fall when you live in a place that has fall. She brought this back for me:

apple butter

Can you see the ingredients list on the label? It says: Ingredients: apples, sugar, spices. YUM!!!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006


My feet are big, but not this big.

the last sock photo

For those of you who haven't been paying attention, this is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Lucky Stripe. I love this yarn, but it apparently hates me. I'm not sure whether this is the 4th or 5th sock attempted. For now, the yarn is going into time-out.

It might be a little bit my fault. The gauge for Lorna's Laces is 7 stitches per inch. When I swatched (yes, I did!) and then when I began the toe, I was getting very close to 10 stitches/inch. Now I'm at about 7 1/4. It may still be my transition to continental. If you look closely, you can see that the stitches look pretty wonky, too. I don't know. But for now, I'm not going to worry about it. I'm just pulling out my favorite US1 rosewood needles, frogging this thing, and tucking the yarn back into the stash.

I've got at least 6 more skeins of Lorna's Laces in the stash -- including 4 bought just yesterday at Yarn Barn -- so I hope the rest of it is better behaved!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Saturday Sky

I've been really bad about Saturday Sky. I should have taken a Saturday Sky picture last weekend, when I was in Nashville. Oh, well -- here's the sky this morning around 10:30, in San Antonio. It's rainy and cool (which is all relative - the last couple days the highs have been in the 70s, which is cool compared to the 90s we've been having!) The tree on the right is in my front yard; the others are across the street. Unlike my backyard, which is a barren wasteland, I've got a beautiful native oak tree in the middle of my front yard.

Saturday Sky 10/14/06

Friday, October 13, 2006

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Did you know that I knit?

Yes, I do! And there is actual knitting content here today.

This is the latest sock from my Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Lucky Stripe. This is at least the fourth sock I've started from this yarn. They've all been frogged. I've decided to do something simple, so this is footlet #1 of Nona's toe-up spiral socks, although I started off with the magic cast-on (a version of the figure 8 cast-on) from the Spring '06 Knitty.

lorna's laces sock
It looks big,
but I'm pretty sure that's just an optical illusion.

And this is a blurry photo of the beginning of the Flared Lace Smoke Ring. I'm on the fourth row. I've also frogged this several times, too, but I think it's working now.

lace smoke ring

There was a shocking occurence at last night's SnB. Susan even has a picture!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Lack of Progress

Apparently finishing Seraphim shut down my knitting mojo, or something. Since then, I've begun, frogged, and begun again the Flared Lace Smoke Ring. I've been planning on making it ever since I saw it on Eunny's blog last winter. At that time, I hadn't done anything even resembling lace but I knew I wanted it before this winter. (No, I probably won't need it here in San Antonio, but I'm always in Illinois for 10 days or so around Thanksgiving.) I even bought the exact yarn she used -- DROPS Alpaca in a kind of raspberry. The first time I began it, I was using needles that were just not pointy enough, so Tuesday I spent my lunch hour dashing to Yarn Barn (look! a web site!) to buy Crystal Palace 16" circs in both US6 and US7. I'm using the 7s, and I think it's going to be okay, although I've only done a couple rounds.

And remember the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Lucky Stripe that I bought on my trip to OKC? I started two or three different patterns (check out my posts from June and July and you'll see them) and was working on one during the Yarn Harlot's visit and she even held it! (Oh -- did you see that she and Joe got married for real?) However, I hated the short row heel. I've made one pair of socks with short row heels. I like the look, but hate the doing. And frankly, this one didn't look so great, either. So I frogged and started the Marietta Rib Scoks with the Scalloped Turn-Over Top from Lucy Neatby's Cool Socks Warm Feet. I'm not positive about them - I may need to go down a needle size - but I'm going to wait until I get down the leg a bit before deciding. I wonder how many froggings a skein of yarn will survive?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

More Seraphim

I had to add these -- Seraphim is blocking in one of Harley's favorite places, and she finally came to investigate (and, yes, I've noticed that one side seem to be curved):

Harley and Seraphim Harley and Seraphim
Harley and Seraphim