Monday, August 27, 2007

Powering Up

Power came back on late yesterday. I am so so happy. I can finally shower in the light (my house's only full shower is in the basement), I can do laundry, and I can keep things cold in the fridge again. Losing power for so long makes you grateful, both for when it comes back, and that you didn't lose things like water or phone service. Thanks so much for all your concern. Even though living without electricity for so long was tough, others had it much much worse. I saw a story on the news the other day about a couple in Ohio trying to pull off their wedding in the midst of massive flooding, while I was here trying to keep the freezer from melting all over the floor. I do think it's pretty funny though, that TV news reporters give advice for those still without power, like how to protect your food or how to contact the utility. C'mon now. The power is out and much as we'd like it otherwise, that includes the TV.

Anyway, I finished the yolk part of the Somewhat Cowl, meaning (I think I've got the terminology right) I've put the sleeve stitches on stitch holders, which is making the rows shorter. Not that I'm complaining of course, I'm loving this project with miles and miles of stockinette. I need a project like that every once in awhile.

I spent a lot of time on Ravelry this weekend, and goodness, is it a gem. I can't wait to keep exploring this site because I keep finding things that just make me excited about knitting again. Like the designer profiles. Click through them and I promise you'll find some awesome patterns you didn't even know were out there.

Bonus surprise: I found out my own pattern, Heartwarmers, is already on there. Crazy!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Bit of Change

Change seems to be my operative word for this week. I began student teaching on Wednesday (institute days at least, which are so far filled with meetings, speeches, and organizing the classroom), which is a HUGE change for me, but the school is also experiencing some changes like a new principal and bell schedule.

The biggest change though, looks like this:

As most of you have probably heard by now, most of the Midwest as been having some strange weather in the past couple of weeks, but a string of massive storms ripped through all of Northern Illinois on Thursday, leaving very large trees and power lines laying on the ground like twigs. There's no real damage to my house, but we're on day 3 so far without any power. I'm hoping it will be back tomorrow, but no real promises. Whole neighborhoods and towns around here are dark. A weird sight, to be sure.

Right now though, I'm hanging out in a cafe with free WiFi, trying to catch up on everything. The Somewhat Cowl is coming along nicely, and is a little greener than the picture shows. Every time I start a new top-down raglan I'm impressed all over with how simple and beautiful this technique is. So easy to execute but also such a great way to ensure a great fit.

Yikes, I better get back to it while daylight allows!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


You wouldn't think that a few little washcloths would take this long, but like it or not, I still have three more to go. How is it that with all the time I've spent making the rounds in the doctor's, dentist's, and optometrist's offices that I'm not done with these yet? The stitch patterns are interesting, and I'm looking forward to having the complete set, but the 100% cotton yarn is a bit hard on the hands. Actually, a lot hard on the hands after half an hour or so. It always seems to go like that, the little things take forever (the Roomie's mittens, for example) while the big things, like a full size sweater in fingering weight yarn, just breeze by. A knitting mystery, perhaps?

And with such a tough assignment, I needed something to balance it out. Here's the beginning of my Somewhat Cowl: another beautiful sweater in another beautiful color I'm not sure will work on me. The yarn is delicious though, so it's definitely a nice break from the cotton. I'm a little nervous about some of the reports from Ravelry, though. Most people ended up ripping theirs at some point, and more than half of those who finished aren't happy with how it turned out. I'm wondering what the problem is, as the reasons vary among knitters. We'll have to see I suppose.

Sorry about the picture quality; it's been raining for days with no real hope of sun anytime soon. This is about as good as it'll get. Though bad for pictures, the rain is bringing some great cooler weather. Can't wait for fall!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hello Again

Sorry for the long absence, the time sure is flying around here this summer. Plus, as many of you are experiencing also, it's been uncomfortably hot. My house doesn't have air conditioning, so that combined with just finishing the Rusted Root (I promise there's a proper post coming about it with pretty pictures and everything, but I need to find a place where it can dry after a good blocking; something that will take at least a couple of days given the humidity) led me to a quite a few days in a row without any knitting at all!

It's cooled off a bit around here and I'm working on a couple of smaller things, namely Back to School for my sister, who, incidentally, is going off to college for the first time.

I made a whole bunch of washcloths last summer (the perfect summer knitting project, I think), spurred on by Ann and Kay and their love of the ballband warshcloth. While they advocate using them for dishes and in place of paper towels, I found I used them more as facial clothes, which I think is what these are meant for. Anyway, I really liked using mine while at school, so hopefully my sister will enjoy these while she's so far away from home.

I've also been inspired by both some birthday yarn and the new Interweave Knits magazine, which I picked up yesterday. There are some beautiful projects in that one! I'm so excited to see the direction that Eunny is going to take the magazine. Below is the birthday stash (clockwise from top): some Trekking XXL, Malabrigo laceweight (which I think might be the exact same color Wendy has just whipped a pattern together for - score!), some Cascade Ecological Wool, and then some Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca and Silk for Wendy's Somewhat Cowl. Just looking at it all makes me excited for all the fall knitting in my future.

And speaking of Wendy (twice now), I loved her post today about the use of the term "muggle" to speak of a non-knitter or someone who doesn't "believe" in knitting the way some knitters do. I think this is mostly being made popular by the Yarn Harlot, but I think it's a bit disturbing. Creating a name for a group of people seems to also create a us versus them mentality, that I don't think is helpful to bringing more people to the craft or bringing acceptance to people that knit (especially in public). While I know it started out of good fun, I find it very judgmental and condescending, implying that knitting is the best hobby for everyone, regardless of personal preference. I've also seen this happen with vegetarians judging the food choices of those around them, and since I'm a vegetarian a lot of people have expected me to yell at them for eating meat. They seem surprised when I say that I've made their choice and they've made theirs, so why get all upset about it? In a way, I think this whole muggle thing is sort of the same way. There is so much pulling people apart these days that this needless labeling doesn't do any good, and I believe actually does some harm. I sure wouldn't want to be treated like a "muggle" by someone, no matter what the activity was. I don't really understand extreme fandom, or people who love manga comics, or people who love cats more than anything, and that's cool. We don't all have to be the same. We just have to respect each other.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Birthday Flowers

Aren't they wonderful?

And what's that on the table?

Yep, that's all that was left once I finished the Rusted Root. Let's take another look at those flowers shall we, as we contemplate the nervousness of working with such a small bit of excess?

That's a little better.

All in all, the sweater's done. Tomorrow I'm going to block it, as it has a few ladders in it and the sleeves are a bit tight, but for now I'm just enjoying it.

P.S. Still hot as blazes around here. I could barely stand to put the silly thing on for a few minutes. Initial impression: the yellow might just work after all.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Twenty-two years ago today, I burst forth, late as usual.

Ha, let's not go there. We'll save that for the sentimental and lovingly critical guest blogging of the Mom. You know, when I fully explain what blogging is.

Anyway, I've mostly recovered from the family and work stuff, just in time for my birthday and some time off. I'm sleeping, reading, knitting, catching up with some friends, and reading blogs. I found some great new ones, so check out the updated (again) link list. I'm sure that list will be a work in progress as I keep discovering all the talent and beauty out there. This and this are especially drawing my attention right now.

Thanks for all your notes while I was away; I think we all need a breather once in awhile. Not that this space is a chore: even in the short time that I've been blogging I've loved every minute of it and wish I could devote more time to it, but at least for me, I sometimes need to give myself permission to put things on the back burner for a little bit.

I've been knitting like crazy these past couple of days and I'm almost done with the Rusted Root. So close I'm doing the inevitable race as I try to knit faster than the yarn (how does that make sense at all?). In the next day or so I'm hoping to finish it and show it off, especially now that it's so HOT. After a relatively cool spell, we're back into what a Chicago summer usually feels like.

You'd think with me being born in the summer I'd be loving it, but I can't help but feel sticky, all the time. And we all know that feeling of wanting to have nothing to do with the pile of knitting that would be on your lap. I'm trying to win out, but tomorrow I'll probably have to cave and find some good air conditioning.

Maybe that's what I should have wished for - a good breeze.