Monday, December 21, 2009


I had a post all written about how I spent today worried about Vinnie and Dolly, because they both seemed a little under the weather, but then I decided you might not really want to hear about it -- especially since Laurie wrote a similar, and much better, post today.

So let me just say that everyone is fine this evening, and wondering why I was worried.

Dolly says, "It was just a little hairball - and I'm always grouchy in the morning.

Harley says, "I spent the day licking Dolly's head. I'm sure that's what made her well."

Vinnie says, "I don't know about head licking, but that mineral oil stuff you gave me yesterday seems to have done the trick! Also, I just licked the powdered sugar off the cookie you left laying on the coffee table."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Stuff That Makes Me Happy

  • That Christmas is 50% off at Hobby Lobby.
  • That, despite that fact, I still only spent $8.56 at Hobby Lobby!
  • That my neighbor shoveled the 3 foot high pile of snow off the curb in front of my car, and shoveled a completely clear path to the driver's side door. He likes to shovel, plus he's a nice guy.
  • The new Knitty! (especially this)
  • That I may actually finish all my Christmas knitting!
  • That this year's Illinois basketball team seems to be much better than the football team.
  • That the simple act of wearing fingerless gloves and a cowl makes my chilly living room more comfortable. (I know - why did it take me so long to figure this out?)
  • That although the high temperature tomorrow is predicted to be 10ºF (-12ºC), it's supposed to be 30ºF (-1ºC) by Thursday.
  • That the US still uses Fahrenheit, because those Celsius temps look so much colder! ;-)
  • That two of my kitties love each other, and the third loves me!
Harley and Dolly

Thursday, December 10, 2009

3 CPs Down, 2 To Go

I've got three Christmas projects done (for my niece, my mother, and my brother-in-law) and two to go. Those two have both been started. My brother's will be from this yarn:

Cascade 220

Not the best picture -- the green is a little more subdued, as is the red. And there's only a small amount of red in this project.

My sister's gift has been started, too, but I'm definitely not showing it here!

My grey Red Scarf is about half finished, but Norma has given us a deadline extension. I think it will be done by Christmas, but I'm now concentrating on the stuff that really needs to get done by then!

I've been pretty good over the last several months when it comes to unnecessary stash enhancement, but last weekend I was in Champaign, Illinois, and forced Helen to visit Needleworks with me. (Although she was the one who told me they were having a 15% off sale....) My favorite thing about Needleworks is that it carries Lorna's Laces. I have three great LYSes here, but none carries Lorna's.

I came home with two skeins of LL Shepherd's Sock in Manzanita

LL SS Manzanita

as well as a pair of skein of Ella Rae Lace Merino (which is really more fingering weight) in the evocatively-named colorway 119.

Ella Rae Lace Merino

In addition to visiting with Helen, I also attended a football game on Saturday. If you follow Big Ten football, you know that my alma mater, the University of Illinois, wasn't so great this year. I have a friend who has season tickets and, frankly, couldn't find anyone who wanted to go to the last game of the year, on December 5, against non-conference Fresno State (and that's saying something, since his father actually lives in Champaign!).

I hadn't been to a game for probably 20 years, and the stadium was renovated last year, so I was happy to use that ticket.

This is halftime.

Hail to the Orange...
Those ROTC guys hugging each other are actually doing the traditional sway to the Alma Mater.

Looks beautiful, doesn't it? It was about 28 degrees and we were in the shade for most of the game. It was COLD, but we didn't leave -- Illinois ended up losing 53-52 at the last second. We just couldn't leave - and it was the highest scoring game ever played in Memorial Stadium!

Oskee Wow Wow
Even my handknit orange-and-blue socks and my Illini earrings couldn't help them win the game.

Of course, it wasn't as cold as it is in Iowa City today!

Blizzard of '09 from my front door

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Knitting Progress

A five-day weekend gave me some time to make progress on my Christmas knitting - but also to decide I really needed to make a Red Scarf. I've made one the last three years, but had decided to take this year off -- except Norma says they really need more scarves, so.....

Grey Red Scarf

This year's scarf is grey, not red (any unisex color is accepted), and is sort of based on this scarf - but done in worsted weight (Lion Brand Wool-Ease, which, I have to say, for a big-box store, mostly-acrylic yarn, isn't half bad) with some ribbing added.

Over the weekend, I also finished another dishcloth for Mom

Another dishcloth for Mom

and almost finished a Christmas gift (which you'll see later).

I will show you this: Mitten #1 for my niece -- it's Jared Flood's Grove mitten. The color is quite pink (this picture really doesn't do it justice).

Mitten #1

The other major accomplishment over the weekend was, of course, eating lots with about 25 relatives. I guess you can tell what was important - I managed to take pictures of all the food, but the only relatives pictured are the ones that were standing around the food.


You'll notice that the first assortment of food right after the plates and plastic-ware is the desserts!



Also - there was an abundance of noodles and mashed potatoes! Yum!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

One CP Down....

Edited to add: Did you know there are two sizes of size 6 needles? I have 2 sets of size 6 DPNs, and one set is marked 4.0 mm (which is what the pattern calls for) and the other set is marked 4.25 mm. I knew about the two size 1s (well, 1 and 1 1/2), of course, but I didn't realize other sizes had variations, too. And I'm really glad my needles AND the pattern all indicated the metric size!


That would be one "Christmas Project" and actually, it still needs blocking.

Christmas Project 1

And that's all you're getting until after it's gifted!

Christmas Project 2 is on the needles.

Christmas Project 2
It's kind of funny how my camera focused on the keyboard, not on the knitting...

Be assured that not all the Christmas knitting is pink!

Actually, Christmas Project 3 has been started, but I put it aside, because I'll need something to work on over Thanksgiving that's NOT a gift for the people I'm seeing then.

Christmas Project 4 needs some designing on my part - I should get to that soon, too. Luckily Christmas Project 5 will be a fast one, but I don't have the yarn yet.

Probably because I've got lots of Christmas knitting to do, I suddenly really want to finish some of my WIPs, particularly the Bougainvillea socks. sigh....

Bougainvillea sock

This might be because my handknit sock supply is suddenly looking pretty bad. I probably need to learn to darn, too.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Long time, no blog....

I'm constantly thinking about blogging, but nothing seems really bloggable.

For example: today was a gorgeous day - temperature in the low 70s and sunny. But around 4:30, you could tell it was already starting to get dark. I swear it's getting dark earlier this year.

Also: Christmas knitting has commenced, but I'm always worried about blogging about it. So far, it's all from stash, but I think I will have to break down and buy yarn for one project.

Christmas knitting

I really should have blogged about Halloween:

I made apple cider donuts to take to work on Halloween. They were really yummy, although I didn't think they were all that apple-y.

Donuts for Halloween

We were well-protected at work on Halloween by librarian superheroes Squirrel Girl, Clark Kent/Superman, and Thor,

Hardin superheroes

and by a Plague Doctor.

Plague Doctor

No picture of me - my costume was "librarian on Friday" -- jeans and clogs!

And look -- Harley and Dolly are best buds now! It's really cute how they cuddle and groom each other, especially since Dolly is an extra-small kitty and Harley is an extra-large. Harley really is about 3 times bigger than Dolly!

Harley and Dolly

So - that pretty much catches you up on my life. Well, except for the four new tires on my car. You'd think I'd have a picture of something that cost $600, but I don't....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Where are the pictures?

I just got back from my second conference of the month, that of the South Central Chapter of the Medical Library Association. This is my "old" chapter, the one that I belonged to (geographically) all those years I lived in Texas. My "new" chapter, the Midwest Chapter, is great, but going to SCC is like spending 4 days with 200 of my closest friends -- I've know some of them since I attended my first meeting in 1986, on a student scholarship, and some of them I've only know a year or two, but they're like family.

So I love these people -- but I didn't really take any pictures of them! Indeed, most of the pictures are of Van the Armadillo, who visited us from the Tulsa Zoo.

Van the Armadillo
More pics of Van here - I actually have a flickr tag for armadillos!

Our closing party (a very elegant sit-down dinner, with dancing, which is always amusing, considering the women:men ratio) was at the Philbrook Museum of Art, which is in a gorgeous mansion.

Philbrook Museum

Philbrook Museum
More pictures of the gardens here.

There was knitting, too. In fact, there were several knitters in attendance, and some went out on a mini-yarn crawl. I didn't go - instead, I went with about 35 people to a Thai restaurant -- much less expensive!

Hedgerow Sock #1
Hedgerow Socks, in Malabrigo Sock Yarn in the Persia colorway, which is actually much more blue and not at all brown. Stupid light....

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I have been knitting -- a lot, in fact. I am not a fast knitter. Sometime in September, I decided that I wanted to make my friend and mentor Ellen something hand-knit for her 70th birthday. I knew I would see her at a conference in October. She lives in Texas, and doesn't really need hand-knits, so I decided a small shawl would be good. I decided on Ishbel, made from a skein of the Malabrigo Sock yarn that I seem to be collecting. She can wear it under her winter jacket without adding too much bulk.

I cast on and got about half way through the plain stockinette section, but then put it aside to finish my February Lady Sweater, because I wanted to be able to wear it at my October conferences - one of which began on October 1! As you know, I finished the sweater on September 27. I picked Ishbel up, knowing I had about 2 weeks to finish it. However, looking at the stockinette, I was unhappy and felt like my stitch count was off, so I frogged the whole thing!

Off I went to my first conference, where I knitted a lot (and also bought lots of yarn, including more Malabrigo Sock yarn!). I got back home on the 7th and finished knitting on the 12th. It would have been nice if we had had a three day weekend like some people, but I had to go to work!

The yarn in Malabrigo Sock Yarn in the Solis colorway.

I have to say that this is not my best knitting. I probably should have gone down a needle size and made the large version (I made the "small stockinette/large knit" version). The stockinette part definitely looks too loose and the yarnovers are too big. There's also a wonky area at the edge, over the span of a couple rows. It's only noticeable when it's stretched out blocking, and only I know it's there -- well, y'all do now, too -- but it's disappointing.

The wonkiness is on the left edge, out of the picture!

But - I'm giving it to Ellen anyway. Crunched up in the neckline of her jacket, it will be very pretty!

Since I'm sure you're also waiting for a cat update, too, I need to tell you that Harley and Dolly are suddenly best of friends! They cuddle up on the bed and lick each others' ears. Very sweet, and it only took a year and a half! I'll try to get a picture of it for you.

I did, though, get a picture of Vinnie cuddling with my mom, who visited over the weekend.

Vinnie and Mom

It was much easier to knit with Vinnie on Mom's lap and not mine!

Saturday morning, Mom and I were up bright and early to eat breakfast at the Hamburg Inn (biscuits and gravy - yum!) before the Homecoming crowd got there. At about 8:45 we heard a murmur through the restaurant: "snow! SNOW! SNOW!" Yes, on October 10, it was snowing! And not just a few random flakes, but genuine flurries that lasted a couple hours, and even stuck to the still-green grass and leaves! Luckily it all melted practically as soon as it stopped snowing, but it's been cold - with highs in the low 40s, 20 degrees below normal - all week. I'm so not ready for winter; I'm glad it's supposed to warm up again!

snow at Home Ec Workshop
I tried to take a picture of the snow.
Here you can almost see it on
Home Ec Workshop's window shade.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Travels, stash enhancement, and photoless knitting progress

October is practically in double-digits and this is my first post. In my defense, I was out of town for the first five days, attending a conference in Columbus, Ohio. Great conference, with plenty of knitting-friendly presentations. I made excellent progress on the Ishbel I'm knitting from Malabrigo Sock yarn. Unfortunately, the pictures are being held hostage on my camera, whose cord seems to be missing. Take my word for it - it's pretty and green and blue and probably about 70% finished! For those of you who have knit Ishbel, I'm doing the "small stockinette-large lace" version. And it has to be done by next Thursday, so I need to keep knitting!

While in Ohio, I did manage to visit a few yarn shops and to purchase some souvenir yarn.

At the Knitter's Mercantile in Columbus, I bought sock yarn:

Malabrigo Sock Yarn and Alpaca Sox
Two more skeins of Malabrigo Sock Yarn in Persia and Eggplant,
and a skein of Alpaca Sox in a pretty sage-y green

I also bought stitch markers and crochet cotton, which I needed to tame Ishbel. Oh - and a skein of Online sock yarn which has already be gifted to the co-worker who cat-watched for me while I was gone.

At Wonderknit, I purchased a skein of locally-dyed sock yarn. I talked myself out of a skein of lace yarn...

Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Sock in Tenley Park
Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Sock in Tenley Park (not quite so neon in real life!)

I also had the opportunity to visit a couple shops in Dayton. Actually, they were both in the suburb of Beavercreek. Fiberworks is smaller, with some very nice yarn, including a few brands (don't ask me which - it's late and my brain is tired) that I had heard of but never seen, and a lot of fiber, for you spinners. Busy Beaver is an all-purpose hobby/crafts shop, with an eclectic mix of yarns in the back room. They had a lot of cotton blend yarns, which is what I bought there.

Cestari sock yarn and Jojoland Harmony
At the top is a skein of Jojoland Harmony, purchased at Fiberworks, which I want to use for a scarf/shawlette that will show off its color changes.
Below that are two skeins of Cestari sock yarn, from Busy Beaver, which is a cotton-wool blend.

And now I have to convince Vinnie to let me knit a bit longer....

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The October Lady Sweater is done!

My goal was to have my February Lady Sweater finished by October 1 (hence the name), and I did it! I wore it to work today, September 30.

It's made from Brooks Farm Mas Acero (wool/silk/viscose) and I had heard that it grew when soaked. Boy, did it! But that's okay - it's really about the length I thought I wanted it.

October Lady Sweater
(Rav'ed here.)

I'm really happy with it -- it's nice and soft and except for one wonky button hole, I think it turned out great!

Sorry about the crappy picture, taken in the restroom at work. I don't really have a mirror at home that works for this. Of course, I'm not sure how well the staff restroom works, either!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday morning


Did I tell you I bought myself a bike for my birthday? You know how they say "it's like riding a bike"? Well, it really is! It had probably been 25 years since I had ridden a bike, but it only took about 10 feet to stop wobbling the first time I tried out my new bike.

It's definitely an "old lady" bike, but I wanted something close to the kind of bike I rode when I was a kid. I hated the 10-speed/hand-brake bike I had in college, so this one has coaster brakes, sits up straight, and has only 3 speeds. I even considered getting just a 1-speed bike, but knew that Iowa City's hills would make me appreciate a few gears to shift between.

There's a nice bike path along the creek/pond behind my townhouse. It's practically flat (nothing here is really flat) and on Sunday morning, the only people I see are people pushing baby strollers and occasionally another middle-aged woman on a bike. Someday I'll venture beyond that path, but for now, it's nice to not have to worry about sharing space with cars.

Oh -- and why is the bike indoors? Because I don't have a garage or even anything to lock it to outside! Actually, I could put it out on the balcony, but I like protecting it from the elements. Around Thanksgiving, I'll probably load it into the car and take it to Mom's for the winter, so it won't be taking up space in my dining/sitting room all winter.

Vinnie exploring


Some of you may not understand what's going on in these two photos, especially if you've never had to defrost a freezer. Actually, I don't think I had defrosted one since about 1983 until I moved here. The fridge that came with the place is about 30 years old, and must be defrosted.

Vinnie really wanted to help out with the cooler, but I needed to bring it upstairs to the kitchen, to put the food from the freezer in it while I defrosted. (Last night, I forced myself to eat the rest of the ice cream, because it wouldn't last in the cooler.)

About 5 minutes after I set the pan of boiling water in the freezer, that giant chunk of ice fell off the top of the compartment. By the time I finish this post, I think it will be ready to wipe and fill back up. It's really not a lot of work, but its annoying - and my stove is at least as old as the refrigerator! (Insert whining about the appliances I left behind in San Antonio.)


And I have been knitting, too. I think I need two more pattern repeats on the body, and I'll be ready to move on to the sleeves of the October Lady Sweater. I really want this done by October 1, although Vinnie hates it when I knit with him in my lap. I figure he slows my already snail-like knitting pace down by 50%, as he constantly adjusts his position so that he's on top of the knitting!

October Lady Sweater in progress

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A day without cats on the internet??

Dolly says, "Oh, noes!"


Vinnie says, "No way!"


Harley says, "Meh...."


Here's the funniest cat video I've seen all week:

Monday, September 07, 2009


Original, right? I don't have much to say about knitting, or much of anything else. I should be preparing for a class I'm teaching tomorrow evening (information resources for global health, anyone? That would be "global health," as in something being studied, not "global health," as in "I can make everyone healthy with these databases!" Because if that were the case, librarians would rule the world!).

Anywhoooo..... I have been working on my October Lady Sweater, and am now into the gull lace pattern, but just barely. I know this is known as a fast knit, but I am a slow knitter and don't really have all that much time to knit, anyway. But here it is, thus far:

October Lady Sweater
In reality, the color changes aren't quite so dramatic.

I really want to have this done by the beginning of October, for my first October conference. Of course, by my second October conference, I'd like to have finished Ishbel. One of my closest friends and mentors turned 70 this weekend, and I'll see her there. It just occurred to me yesterday that, instead of buying her a pair of earrings or something for her kitchen, I should knit her something! And this yarn (Malabrigo Sock in Solis) would be perfect for her.

Ishbel is also supposed to be a fast knit - I've seen people post about knitting one in an afternoon - but I'm not so sure. Here's how far along I am right now:

Malabrigo Sock in Solis

Ha! At least the yarn is wound and the pattern is purchased, printed, and safely in its plastic slipcover!

Sunday, August 30, 2009


  • I was looking forward to wearing my new Buttercup to knitting at Home Ec Saturday morning, but it was a little chilly, so I wore Daedelus instead.
  • We've had a chilly summer, in fact. I hate to complain about it, considering what my friends and family in Texas have had this summer, but I worry that, if it's getting down into the 40s in late August, what's it going to be like in December?
  • I had some bananas on the counter, so I made these muffins this morning. Wow - talk about yum! (I used regular whole wheat flour, butter, and Greek yogurt.)
  • It's hard to type with a big boy kitty on my lap between me and the laptop!
  • Friday night, I cast on for my February Lady Sweater (which I think I'll call October Lady Sweater, in hopes I get it done!), using some Brooks Farm Mas Acero that I got at Stitches Midwest last September. I'm about halfway through the garter stitch bodice. I find garter stitch wildly boring, so I'm plowing through it.
Beginnings of October Lady Sweater
  • Before I cast on, I finished the first Bougainvillea sock. I started these back in February. I love the pattern and the yarn (Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in cranberry), but I haven't been in much of a sock mood lately. (Weird....)
  • I've finalized my Christmas knitting plans. I think it's very do-able, and I've got the planning done much earlier than usual. Plus -- it's all being knit from stash!
  • Gotta go - almost time for Mad Men!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Time Flies!

Really, I didn't mean for it to be two weeks. But since it has been, I guess I would say that the highlights were seeing the butter cow and butter Abe at the Illinois State Fair and finishing Buttercup.

Butter Cow and Butter Abe (Illinois State Fair)

And there was a butter kitten, too.

Butter Kitten (Illinois State Fair)

There were also several butter butterflies hanging above Abe and the cow. If you look closely, at the very top of the first picture, there's something small and butter-colored. That's a butterfly!

There's been a butter cow at the Illinois State Fair every year since 1922. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to keep the cow from melting back then?

I also (almost) finished Buttercup. She's laying on top of the dryer, drying, right now, and I still need to sew in some ends. I'm pretty happy with it. I wanted to make it more of a baby doll shape, and I think I may have done that just a little too well! But it's still a cute summer top.

Buttercup - almost done!
Sorry for the lousy picture. The cats are particularly unhelpful.

Pattern: Buttercup (Ravelry link -- the only place I can find it)
Yarn: Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy in Eucalyptus. Hemp, cotton, and nylon - I loved this yarn! I'll definitely use it again.
Mods/notes: I wanted this to be a little more baby doll shaped, so I increased it a bit more to make it flare. I also did five pattern repeats at the bottom, rather than one. (I got both of these ideas from Hapichick, on Ravelry.) As I said in my notes on Ravelry -- if you're one of those people who is uncomfortable showing more than an inch below your collarbones, this isn't the top for you. While this should be obvious from the photos, I was surprised at how many people seemed surprised at how wide/deep the neckline was when they finished.

This was a great pattern, and I really enjoyed knitting it. It took me about 6 weeks, which, considering how slow I am and how little knitting time I have, was really quick!