Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Kitty Toys

One of my co-workers told me about this great 'kitty tunnel' she found at the dollar store for only $4 (something ironic about that price - maybe it should be the 'multiple dollar store'). It sounded like something Harley and Simon would enjoy, so I picked one up after work this evening.

Hmmmm, what's this?
What's this?

I think I'll just ignore it.
I'll just ignore it....

And you thought your kids were difficult.....

On the knitting front -- progress but nothing fun to look at. Oh, and remember this? I finally got the check from insurance. Now I just have to figure out who you call to cart away a slightly damaged 8x10 foot metal shed!

Monday, May 29, 2006


I finished the Sixth Sense Socks (part of the Six Socks KAL) yesterday, and I'm very happy with them. Here's the beauty shot:

Sixth Sense Sox finished 2

And here's the action shot:

Sixth Sense Sox finished

Yes, propping up my feet on my computer is action around here!
and, yes, my right ankle is swollen.....

Pattern: Sixth Sense Socks (available only to those of us in the Six Sox KAL)
Yarn: Koigu KPPM colorway P717, purchased at Hill Country Weavers in Austin
Yardage: just under 2 skeins
Needles: Colonial rosewood US2 DPNs
Comments: This was my first short-row heel, and was done in garter stitch, which I understand helps with the hiding of any wrap-and-turn holes. I found it harder than the heel flap/gusset method, but it's prettier. And I thought heel flaps were hard the first few times, so I'm sure this will get easier. Also, I've probably said this before, but I love the rosewood needles!

Saturday I stopped by my LYS to pick up a little something for my Secret Pal and bought no yarn at all! However, I did pick up a couple patterns: the Karabella Gossamer Cardigan - I've got some Kidsilk Haze in my stash, which I think I'll use for this (someday) - and the Noni Baguette purse pattern (plus the separate pattern for the chrysanthemum embellishment). I have no idea when I'll knit these -- after I finish the Seraphim shawl, the knitted laptop case, the surprise project for someone who reads this blog (yes, all 10 of you can wonder if it's for you!) and the Brooks Farm feather and fan scarf, and perhaps the other felted bag and the pink mohair cabled shawl, all of which are currently on the needles!

I need to knit.....

Saturday, May 27, 2006

What I Do When I'm Not Knitting

It's funny that I rarely write about my day job, because being a librarian really defines me. I can't imagine doing anything else. Librarian is one of those jobs you do for love, not money, although I don't like to complain about the money part - I do well enough to own my own home (in a city where you can still buy a decent house in a safe, although not fancy, neighborhood, for $125k).

Specifically, I'm a medical librarian. Medical or health sciences librarians are librarians who work in hospitals, medical schools, pharmaceutical companies, or, like I do, health sciences centers (specialty universities usually granting the MD degree and other health science professional degrees - mine has schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, allied health professions, and masters and PhD programs in things like microbiology and biochem). We're not the people who manage medical records, although they are sometimes called librarians, too. Like other professional librarians, the vast majority of us have masters degrees in library and/or information science.

Medical librarians are, on the whole, more like academic librarians or special (corporate) librarians than public librarians, although inevitably, we are all big supporters of the public library, even if we don't think we want to work there!

Librarians in general are wildly misunderstood. That stereotyped timid mouse of a librarian is rare, although I guess I've met a few. Although I don't like to talk in generalities, some of the characteristics librarians tend to share are:
  • intelligence
  • curiosity
  • compassion
  • commitment to serving others and the belief that doing so is important
  • the belief that everyone has a right to the information they want or need (and the government has no right to interfere with this)
  • the desire to teach people to find information, not necessarily to find it for them
  • a love of techy stuff
  • the belief that the internet is not doing away with our job, but is just making it better
  • liberal politics
  • and a lot of us knit, too!
Computers don't scare us; in fact, we can't imagine doing our jobs without them. Libraries have been using computers for much longer than many other professions. My library converted to an online catalog in the early 1980s, and, in the mid-1970s, when I was 'student help' at the University of Illinois Undergrad Library, I helped with the conversion to an online system which had originated at Ohio State's library. It's the rare library today where you'll see a card catalog, unless it's there as a conversation piece. (It's funny, though - I know many librarians who like little boxes and drawers - it must be our compulsion to organize stuff!)

If you really want to know more about medical librarianship, or even librarianship in general, there are lots of librarian-bloggers out there. One of the best is T. Scott's. Scott is a medical library director, former editor of the Journal of the Medical Library Association, and founder of the Bearded Pigs, an all-librarian rock band. This combination doesn't surprise us in library land at all! My friend Stewart's is good, too, with an emphasis on library use among Millenials. I've known Stewart since he was a 'baby librarian' in Oklahoma. I'm not always sure that I agree with the idea that different generations have to each be served differently, but I do like a lot of what Stewart says. (I'm a baby boomer - back in the 70s, our parents thought we were outrageous. Now we're the parents and even grandparents.... My point is that it all seems to come around eventually, with every new generation thinking they'll change the world. The world is not convinced.)

So - welcome to my world! I should have written this months ago, I guess. I promise knitting content next time!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Yet More Yarn

I was in Phoenix for the annual MLA conference (that's the Medical Library Association, not the Modern Language folks), but got there a day early -- early enough to drive out to Scottsdale to go to Knitting in Scottsdale. It's a nice shop, although with perhaps just a little too much novelty yarn for me. Of course, that could just be me, and there was really nice stuff, too. So I bought some!


Here we have 3 skeins of apple green Baby Alpaca Brush by Plymouth, 3 balls of Feza Tango in black, and one great big (400 yard) skein of Schaefer Yarns Laurel, in the Emily Dickinson colorway. It's 100% cotton. I have no idea what I'll do with it, but I loved both the name of the colorway and the actual colorway itself, so I had to buy it. Really, I have no idea what I'll do with any of this yarn, although my friend, who I made these for and who I dragged out to Scottsdale with me, fell in love with a triangular garter-stitch shawl they had knit up out of the Tango, so that may be its fate.

There was another yarn shop in Scottsdale called Jessica Knits, but it was farther off the beaten path, so we didn't make it there.

In addition to buying yarn, I've done a little knitting, too. I worked on both the second sock and the shawl during a couple plenaries. Although I've seen knitters at MLA before, they seemed to be everywhere this meeting - during one plenary, there was one in row behind me and one just in front of me! I also had loads of quiet time to turn the heel last night during my 4 hour lay-over in El Paso. It was only supposed to be an hour, but delays meant that, instead of taking off at 8:25 p.m., we left at about 11:30. I got all the way home around 2:45 this morning. My poor sister, who had planned on picking me up at the airport at 10:45, came for at 1:45 instead!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Just a little post to let you know I'm still alive. I'm in Phoenix at a conference - I'll be home late tomorrow night. I did manage to do a little stash enhancement here, at a yarn shop called Knitting in Scottsdale. Pictures later this week.

Oh, and you know the "it's a dry heat" thing? Well, remember that the inside of your oven is also dry heat, but you don't live in there!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Cat Blogging

It's been a while since I posted any cat photos, so here ya go -- a picture of Harley, the 'big girl' kitty.

Harley lounging

You can't tell it from this over-exposed picture, but her left front paw is tan, which I find absolutely adorable! In fact, it was that paw that convinced me that I had to adopt her, back when she was a scrawny, almost-feral, living-in-a-parking-lot kitty.

I usually post pictures of Simon because he's so friendly. Harley, on the other hand, is shy and, for some reason, scared of the camera. Here's what most of my pictures of her look like.

Harley walking away

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Knitting and Frogging

Or maybe that should be "frogging and knitting." Here's the (blurry) re-beginning of the Seraphim Shawl.
Seraphim Shawl beginnings
I was about 2/3 of the way through the first section, but so many of the yarn-overs looked sloppy, and a couple of them were really hideous, beyond what I could hope to fix in blocking. So this morning, aided by a fit of PMS, I frogged the whole thing.

Sixth Sense Sock + cuffAnd here's the first Sixth Sense Sock and the cuff (the hardest part) of the second. This will be my knitting next week during my Phoenix trip -- although I think I'll probably take the shawl, too. Colorwise, this is probably the best depiction of this pretty Koigu that I've managed.

And, finally, my latest project:
Laptop case
You may be thinking, "Oh, my god! What is it???" It's going to be the felted laptop sleeve from IK (and from AlterKnits). It's Lamb's Pride, in Lotus (bright) pink, RPM (light) pink, and Purple. These colors are off; however, even if they were "on," it would still be mighty bright. The felting should tone it down a bit, and besides, I love the idea of a pink and purple laptop sleeve! I'm really looking forward to finishing this, but won't take it to the conference next week - it's a little bulky to drag around, plus the unfelted colors might shock some of my colleagues!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Look what I got!

Yes, it's a Mother's Day card from the cats! It was signed by my cat Harley, my sister's cat Schuster, and, of course, the infamous Simon, who my sister and I share.

I'm pretty sure that they talked my sister into mailing it -- and addressing the envelope, of course. None of them write very well!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Yarny Goodness

While some of you go to exotic places like MdS&W, NHS&W, and even Shepherd's Harvest S&W, I went to Oklahoma City. No, no fiber festival there (at least not this week). Sometimes life just takes you places and this week it was OKC. However, I did have enough time for a brief yarn crawl. (No pictures of the actual yarn crawl -- I didn't even think about taking my camera!)

Oklahoma City has two yarn shops, twice as many as San Antonio, which is more than twice as big with only one LYS. Both are apparently fairly new, but I'd be happy to have either of them as my LYS. I think I liked the yarn selection more at Carol's Knitting (no website?), but Gourmet Yarn Co. had a wonderful pair of couches where you can sit and stitch. Gourmet Yarn Co. also seems to have more 'accessories,' although it may only seem that way because by the time I got to Carol's I didn't need more accessories!

After consulting both Mapquest and a real map, I went to Gourmet Yarn Co., on the north side of OKC, first. There, I bought accessories: Kookaburra wool wash, circular needle tags, and a Knit Sticks Sack for dpns. (The Eucalan was bought at Carol's, later in the day. Why two wool washes? Because you CAN'T buy either one at my LYS!)

After a quick stop at Penn Square Mall, I made my way to Carol's Knitting, on the south side of town. Carol's had a really great selection of yarns, although I definitely had to control myself. She doesn't take credit cards!

From the right, you see one skein of Opal Petticoat sock yarn (farbe/color 1290), two skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Lucky Stripe, and 4 skeins of Lamb's Pride worsted -- two pink and two purple. I can buy Lamb's Pride worsted at my LYS, but Carol's had more colors. Unfortunately, I want to make the felted laptop bag from the Fall 2005 IK, so I need two more skeins. Fortunately, I need those two skeins in a third (undetermined) color, so I'll be picking that up Saturday afternoon.

In knitting progress, I finished the first Sixth Sense Sock and will be casting on for the second tonight. I'm also making nice progress on the Seraphim Shawl -- I'm a little more than half done with the stockinette section.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Secret Pal 8 Questionnaire

Possibly more than you really want to know about me.....

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Merino, alpaca, mohair – anything wooly. Cotton is okay, but I like the stretch in wool. I’m pretty anti-acrylic, although I’ve used an acrylic blend recently for a baby sweater.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have a nice needle roll made by my mom for my straights, but I need to find something better for my dpns and circs.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I’ve been knitting for a little over two years this time, although I first learned as a child. I’d say I’m somewhere between beginner and intermediate.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Amazon and WishCentral

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I love vanilla-based scents and in the summer, I like citrus-y scents, too. At the moment, I really like orange/tangerine.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Chocolate!!! (any kind, and I think I may be addicted to peanut M&Ms)

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
No, I don’t spin and I don’t really want to learn. I have enough hobbies – I also scrapbook and stamp. I know how to crochet, although I haven’t done much in quite a while. And I used to cross-stitch a lot, and at one time knew how to tat. On the non-crafty side, I also work on my family history,

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
Because I am old, my favorite music is 70s rock, but I really like almost everything, except maybe rap (although some hip-hop is okay). And I have an iPod.

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I love pinks and reds and everything in between. There aren’t really any colors I hate, although in general, browns and earth tones aren’t high on my list (although I do like greens).

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
Single with two kitties.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
No ponchos, but I like shawls, scarves, hats, and mittens, despite the fact that I live in South Texas.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Right now I’m into socks.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Well – socks! And a Seraphim shawl.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Of course!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Circs, I guess, although sometimes I feel like I just have to knit with straights. Mostly I use bamboo, although I have a one set of rosewood dpns that I love and a set of Denises I use regularly.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Yes to both.

17. How did you learn to knit?
Grandma taught me to both knit and crochet as a child. At the time, crocheting “took” and knitting did not. About two and a half years ago, my sister decided she wanted to learn to knit, so we took lessons at our LYS.

18. How old is your oldest UFO?
I have a cable shawl in mohair that I’ve been working on for about a year and a half. It’s very pretty, but awfully warm to work on during all but the coldest months.

19. What is your favorite holiday?
I guess I’ll be boring and say Christmas, but I do really love the decorating and the presents and the cards and the seeing of family and everything else about it.

20. Is there anything that you collect?
Old or unusual cake stands and “Pink Daisy” pyrexware. I used to collect teapots and still have a soft spot for them.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
The only subscription I have is to IK. I’m always jealous of knitters with good LYSes that carry those “exotic” yarns, like Lorna’s Laces and Koigu. There’s lots of sock yarns out there I’d like to try.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I have really bad knitting form – I just sort of grasp the yarn in my right hand and toss it around. I’d like to improve my form, but that may be impossible. Ideally, I'd like to learn to knit Continental, since it looks so elegant.

I'm also a beginner at lace knitting, and at the moment am enthralled with it.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes. I wear a woman’s size 9 shoe. My foot is about 9 1/2 inches long, and I have a rather high arch and, a, ummmm, sturdy ankle.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
July 30.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Do You See What I See?

The first title for this entry was "Oh, Crap!" Do you see why?

I'm working on the toe decreases for my Sixth Sense Sock. I thought it looked big -- although it's for me, and nothing about me is particularly petite. So I slipped it on, to discover that if I keep this up, I'll have at least an inch, maybe an inch and a half, too much sock. I want to wear these socks (they're Koigu!), so I'll be ripping back tomorrow. Too tired tonight....

Storm Damage

UPDATE: My sister, brother-in-law, and boss came over this afternoon and helped me pull the patio cover down. Actually, the guys did most of the work -- I just pulled on an extension cord we were using for a rope when they told me to, and the whole thing fell over. And my sister missed the whole thing because she was in the house taking a phone call. We also pushed the shed to one side, so if a big gust of wind comes up, it won't smash into my bedroom window.


We had a big storm last night - 4 and a half inches of rain in my backyard, with wind and hail. Wind came across the currently-empty lots behind my house, knocked down part of my fence and....

yes, that's my shed, upside down. It landed about 4 feet from my bedroom window. It looks like it was just picked up and flipped over. The weird thing is that the contents of the shed are mostly intact, although very, very wet.

My patio cover is also about half down. It's supposed to rain more later today; I hope I can get the patio cover down before it storms again - I don't want it coming through my windows into the living room!

You can see more pictures, including the contents of my shed, just sitting there shed-less, here.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Back to knitting

Fiesta is over, and I'm exhausted! Thursday night was NIOSA, a big street fair in the La Villita historic district. Thursday night is traditionally "college night." I was in college once.... Friday was the Battle of Flowers Parade and Saturday was Fiesta Flambeau, the "Night Parade" where not just the floats but even the bands are lit up. Sunday I went up to Buda to the Wiener Dog Races (okay, not really a Fiesta event) and Sunday afternoon was our weekly knitting group.

It was actually cool enough both Friday and Saturday that I was able to knit while waiting for the parades to begin. I worked on the scarf for my cousin, which is now about 35 inches long. Stephanie's new book (which I love, by the way) says a small woman's scarf should be a about 40 inches long; my cousin is a small woman, so I'm almost done! (Okay, I know it's the scarf that's small and not the woman, but in this case, both are true!) You can't really tell much from this photo - take my word that it's 35 inches long. It needs to be in the mail next Wednesday, and I should make it with no problem.

I've also worked a little bit on the Sixth Sense Socks, but unfortunately I seem to be having my first case of second sock syndrome. What makes it even worse is that I'm not even quite done with first sock yet! I think I need to put it aside for a bit.

Luckily, I have a new project to distract me. (You were worried, right?) I cast on for the Seraphim Shawl, in Elann's Peruvian Baby Silk (80% baby alpaca, 20% silk) which is just a wonderful yarn - so soft, so silky! And it's in a very pretty raspberry color, which this photo doesn't do justice.
Yes, I have a ways to go - you begin by casting on 5 stitches, and you increase to 247, before the pattern really begins. I'm up to 51 stitches. I'm forcing myself to work on the scarf to get it done, but I figure next week I can really work on Seraphim.