Monday, January 30, 2006

Hannah has been home today with a head cold. The term doesn't capture the horror; unnatural sounds are coming out of her nose and throat. She is pretty barky when she talks, and spent most of the weekend laying on the couch under my covers and on my pillow. When she got up this morning, she had no balance, the congestion was so bad. So I've been home with her today --- couldn't leave her alone like that. A hurried/harried doctor's visit, a prescription and an Emergency Icee later, she is feeling some better.

SO. . . Since I couldn't teach my regular crowd today, it's time for your homework. This is, truly, something I ask my classes to do each quarter --- they take their choices and work through sociological terms and theories with them. None of you will have to go that far, just provide the list. Ready?

You are having a dinner party. You can invite anyone you like --- alive, dead, fictional, real --- but you are limited to seven guests. To whom do you send invitations?


Friday, January 27, 2006


Need to know where the person in the car ahead got the bumper sticker:
"My other car is a pair of boots."

Emma Thompson is a sparkling, witty delight.

There is something I'd like to "assign" to you readers, but, in keeping with my teaching philosophy, I won't do it on a Friday. Come Monday, though, be prepared for some work!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

One Down

Received an early birthday present today: an elegantly thin silver cuff (lots of silver cuffs for me of late) from Abundant Yarns. Purchased at the insistence of my mother, it is engraved with the following:

". . .as soon as I finish this row"

This is a sentiment which has been expressed in my family for at least two generations. My mother used to tell me that she "would get to it when I finish this row." One day at work, knitting because there was nothing else to do, she told her boss, who asked her something, "Let me get to the end of this row."

My mother has never been accused of not having a backbone.

Briton and Hannah know the cry as well. "Hang on, I'm almost to the end of the row, and then I'll (insert appropriate description of helpful activity here.)"

Why can't a knitter leave the work in mid-row? I know why I can't, which I'll get to in a minute, but why does the idea deserve a special phrase, which deserves engraving, which elicits knowing nods from every knitter who reads it?

When I was taught to knit, a "tip" that was delivered in a firm and don't-doubt-what-is-about-to-be-said voice was, "Never stop work on a knit row. It will leave a crease in your garment. I don't know why, but it will happen. If you're just going to be gone a minute, of course, it's OK. But if you're stopping for any period of time, make the last row a purl one."

So, if you finish a knit row, you must knit one more to avoid The Crease. And, almost without fail, having to knit back across will wake you up just enough to think you can manage another trip. Which leads to the need for one more purl row.

It's a wonder any of us ever put our knitting down, huh?

Anyway, thank you for my bracelet, Mama. And all the knitting lessons.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Just Wondering

Are any of you knitters also dream interpreters? 'Cause I've been having the same dream over and over lately: I'm having a baby. Sometimes it's a boy, sometimes it's a girl, but the dream always covers labor and delivery. I've given birth in a hospital, in a car, last night I was in my grandmother's house. I just don't get it.

And the dreams never include knitting layettes, which is disappointing.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Today Brought to You by the Letter K

. . .for Kansas!

Look what the mailman brought me from Kansas! Up top, my first package from my Secret Pal : pretty tape yarn in blues, a gold bag containing teas and chai, plus lip gloss and note cards. Splendid!

And to the left, a treasure out of the blue from Friend Rox. Just gorgeous kettle-dyed wool. Purple, naturally. What to make, what to make . . .

A quiet Friday. Both classes had tests in the last days, so I've papers to grade over the weekend. Started on them in the car waiting to pick up Hannah. If I do a few at a time, it isn't so overwhelming. "K" can also be for "kind of taking care of responsibilities."

Thank you, Kansas, and your knitting daughters, for bringing two loads of sunshine to this day!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

OK, Lots of People Knew. . .

Seems I was late to the party on the banana silk thing; I've gotten comments and e-mails from people who knew all about it. I buy the latest Vogue Knitting this afternoon, and they have a little write-up about it. I fell hopelessly out of the loop. Not hip. Not happening.

The perils of being 45.

Today, I did finally finish the first part of the Muff Shawl:

I'm feeling fairly accomplished about that. Though I'm not sure how what I have knit will morph into what is pictured in the book. I just knit on and love the color (which is a luscious dark purple) and hope it all makes sense one day.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Who Knew?

The blurry green stripe to your left is part of a sample of yarn I received in this month's Yarn of the Month shipment. It's a lovely color, soft and wonderful to work with, and it's made from banana fiber! It's called Banana Silk, and I am crazy for it. Just after knitting those half-dozen or so rows, I am in love with this yarn.

Silks I have worked in the past have been a little stiff, a little scratchy, sort of hard on my hands. If the results weren't so different from any other type of fiber, and the colors so breathtaking, I'd swear off silk forever. Then this comes along, and it's like manna from Heaven. (No puns or rhyming jokes --- none of you!) I've yet to go shopping for it, so I may be frightfully disappointed and unable to buy much. Or any. But it is a terrific yarn, and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to try it out.

What it is in is a scarf. My muff shawl is c r a w l i n g, so I thought I'd best get to work on something that showed more timely results. I cast on a lap afghan today, as it's been a while since I sent anything to Warm the World, and I am trying to work through my odds and ends of skeins. (Hence the stripes above.)

I've decided on the items for my first Secret Pal shipment; will most likely wrap and pack everything tomorrow so as to mail it out on Tuesday. I've gotten an e-mail from my Spoiler, and she promises a package soon. Guess we've all been anxious for this round to begin!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Determined not to repeat the error of last Friday (sleeping about 3/4 of the day), I made myself dress this morning and go grocery shopping after I got everyone to school. Regular readers will know by now that I detest grocery shopping, so opting to do it on a day off indicates rather remarkable will on my part.

Feeling good and a little cocky at having accomplished something, I got home, put everything away and turned on the TV to find that Anderson Cooper was co-hosting "Regis and Kelly." I think Anderson Cooper is terrific, so I am happy. Except that, because of the stupid grocery shopping, I've missed the first 15 minutes of the show. You know, the part where things are unscripted and Anderson (how many times do you think I can get his name into one paragraph?) gets to be non-reporter-y. Just great.

Though I did get a little nap in today, I also managed dishes and sweeping and knitting and reading and coming up with ideas for my Secret Pal's first package. And, I managed to get artsy:

Full moon over us, knitting sweeties. Take care with your stitchery!

A Meme Lifted Verbatim from Dear Melanie

If you read this, if your eyes are passing over this right now, even if we don't speak often, please post a comment with a COMPLETELY MADE UP AND FICTIONAL MEMORY OF YOU AND ME. It can be anything you want--good or bad--BUT IT HAS TO BE FAKE. When you're finished, post this on your blog and be surprised (or mortified) about what people DON'T ACTUALLY remember about you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Out of . . . Time. . . Sorts. . . Something

For some reason, I am not on board with this new school schedule yet. I'm still lecturing on a 50-minute loop and falling way behind. It's already almost time for a first test, and I haven't assigned any homework. Not that the students mind, I'm sure, but the more grades in the gradebook, the better.

I am still knitting, though at a literally furious pace yesterday. Someone plagiarized one of my MindFull entries, and it just enraged me. Why, I'm not exactly sure, but that, along with the school thing, sent me even more off balance.

How quickly can SP7 begin? I need some shopping therapy!!!!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Secret Pal Questions

Following are my answers to the SP7 "survey" (forgive my not knowing how to place this on a different page.) I'm looking forward to #7, though my matches from #6 will be hard to beat!!
1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Not a snob at all. One-income household, you see.
2. Do you spin? Crochet? I've intentionally stayed away from spinning, knowing I would probably become hopelessly addicted. I have the barest, most fundamental crocheting skills.
3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? A tall blue glass vase beside my bed.
4. How long have you been knitting? Around 18 years. Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I still think of myself as an Intermediate, because I can't do things like Fair Isle, or knit with DPNs.
5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? No, I don't.
6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) Gardenia.
7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Yes. Favorite candy? Caramel, toffee, Jelly Belly Juicy Pear beans.
8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? I paint and decoupage wooden serving trays.
9. What kind of music do you like? Emmylou Harris, Bee Gees, Maria McKee, Ian Matthews, Blind Boys of Alabama, among many others. Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) Nope.
10. What's your favorite color? Purple. Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? I like tweed yarns, lovely blues, earthy reds and browns. I also like grays. Any colors you just can't stand? Orange. In any incarnation.
11. What is your family situation? Widowed mother of two teenagers. Do you have any pets? Dogs, cats and a hamster.
12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Yes to all!
13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? No brand or type, particularly, just something that feels good on/through the fingers. The silks I've dealt with in the past, though beautiful, were rather hard on the hands.
14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? Silk comes closest, but the results are too stunning to swear off of.
15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s? None, really.
16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Fingerless mitts / wrist warmers.
17. What are you knitting right now? A muff shawl for myself and roses for a bouquet to accompany my "Knit the Classics" readalong.
18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Absolutely. They're priceless.
19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Straights.
20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Oh, anything but plastic!
21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? No, and I don't think I want one. I have a lot of good memories of holding my mother's yarn while she wound it into balls; having to immobilize yourself with a skein to wind draped around your knees is part of the fun for me!
22. How did you learn to knit? My mother taught me.
23. How old is your oldest UFO? If I don't finish something, I rip it out. I don't have any unfinished things around.
24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird? Character(s): Fozzie Bear and Yoda. Animal: Lion.
25. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas.
26. Is there anything that you collect? Lots! Fozzies, Yodas, lions, lion and lamb Christmas cards, Nativity scenes, Marx Brothers memorabilia.
27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? None anymore; I'm a book store junkie, and just buy them when I'm there.
28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? This one drew a blank last time, too. I'll have to let you know.
29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? I'm working to become proficient at 2-circulars-socks.
30. Are you a sock knitter? Yes, but seamed ones only so far.What are your foot measurements? Not quite 9 1/4" toe to heel, about 3 1/2" wide.
31. When is your birthday? February 12th.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

OK, so I wasn't able to spend the whole day in my PJs. I had to put on jeans and a sweater to buy milk. Walking through the store to the dairy case, I passed magazines, and saw this on the stand. It's slightly pattern-poor, but one little paragraph more than made up for that.

There's a discussion of stars who knit, with mentions of Julia Roberts and Hilary Swank and blah, blah, all the ones we already know. But it also says that --- are you ready? Snoop Dogg "has been seen with knitting in hand." How awesome is that?!?! That one sentence gave the 3 of us such delight last night! Even if he were only holding someone else's knitting, the visual is priceless.

I read more of my KTC book yesterday, wrote a couple of letters, napped, and got quite a bit done on a tie-front top I'm making from some of the yarn Susie sent me in my Sock Exchange Thingy package. I'm also contemplating the Muff Shawl from the Lion Brand book Just Scarves. I have enough dark purple Homespun to make it. Though I don't enjoy working with Homespun, the colors are lovely, and this purple is to die for. And I've liked the Muff Shawl from my first perusal of the book.

Got a Knit Picks e-mail today, and they have AlterKnits for a more-than-reasonable price. I may have to pull out the plastic and give myself an early birthday present!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Today, I shall be a Lady of Leisure. I shall prop up my feet, knit, read, write letters and watch the Netflix disc I began before the holidays. I may wear my polka dot pajama pants all day.

Much as I detest Martha Stewart, I must say: this 4-day school week? It's a good thing.

Monday, January 02, 2006

I simply adore Tennessee, and love my mother (and spending time with her) more than I can say. But it's nice to be home, to see that the cats and the dogs survived our absence, to sleep on my own pillows. . .

For whatever reason, our digital camera did not travel well, and so I have no photos to share. It's a bloody shame, too, as Mama made me a gorgeous brown tweed poncho and a simply beautiful dusty rose shawl (extra, extra long --- precisely as I prefer.) With all the charity knitting she does (and there's a full box of yarn from Warm the World there right now), she still found time to make something for me. And I am crazy about both things. Knitters honestly appreciate knitting, don't we? Forget that I can make myself a poncho or a shawl --- I know the time and care and devotion that it takes, and I am always flattered when someone knits something for me.

Along those lines, I took the socks that Susie made for me, and Mama, whom I consider a Most Expert Knitter, was much impressed with them. I cranked out 2 hats (one from her WtW yarn) and a scarf while I was there, and she commented on how fast a knitter I am. What she failed to realize is that here, I, invariably, get no more than 20 minutes or so of uninterrupted knitting time, while there, I could sit and sit and sit. No dogs to take out, no phones to answer, no papers to grade, no blog to update, no blogs to read (although I was jonesing after 3 days and made a hasty dash to the public library to see what you'd all been up to!)

The children go back to school in the morning, I follow the next day. This is our first quarter on a four-day week, which means I have to lecture longer each day, but have all of Friday off! Oh, the knits I can knit! And I found a cute little knitting diary in Nashville in which I'm going to try and keep all projects and purchases recorded to look back on at year's end. Right now, the only entry is a pair of socks.

But, you have to start somewhere, no?