Saturday, March 31, 2007

So many decisions.

Corn, or flour? Beef, or chicken?

Mexico has a new holiday. Go out and celebrate!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Something's in the water.

Does anyone see any similarities between this craze and this one? Just sayin.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sometimes I feel/I've got to ___ away.

I came home from the gym, with every intention of taking a shower and making myself dinner. This quiz stopped me in my tracks.

Yes, I am a dork. But the quiz is fun, and it's actually got the answers too, once you're done.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Monica progress.

Spring has made it to Austin; I went rollerblading yesterday at the Veloway and got to see quite a few wildflowers. There was a crop of bluebonnets right where the path begins, but since I'd left my purse and cell phone in the car, I couldn't take any pictures. Bluebonnets, which are the state flower, grow like crazy along the highway medians, but for me it's rare to see them close up.

It was a nice overcast day, too--much better, in my opinion, than the sun beating down on you as you're huffing and puffing up a hill! Today, it's actually raining. I like rainy days, as long as they're not cold. Right now, it's perfect.

Here's a shot of color to liven up this gray day:
Monica is almost done! Just the seaming, and it'll be ready to go. My niece's birthday is coming up in April, and I don't think I've knit anything bigger than a hat for her in a while. It was a good stash-busting opportunity; I had some left-over Cotton-Ease (pre-discontinuation), and it was just enough to eke out this top.

The gauge is different from the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece the pattern calls for, so in a rare moment of attacking the maths head-on, I converted the gauge and cast on 53 (which is the smallest set of stitches in the pattern, but which will give me a medium sized top).

I also knit the straps in one long piece and made buttonholes, so that she can adjust them as the top stretches out. Experience (sad, sad experience) has taught me that cotton tops will always stretch out; I've had to reknit the straps for almost all the cotton tops I've made. I don't think this top was meant to hang around the belly button, so I'm hoping that this will be a good solution.

Here are the buttons I found at Joann's this weekend. The blue matches perfectly!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

A Very Merry Unbirthday Sweater.

Now that I've got that particular Alice in Wonderland ditty running through my head (courtesy of the Disney mind meld), I present to you the Phyllo Yoked Pullover! I'd been calling it my birthday sweater, because Knitting Nature was a gift from my B., and the yarn was bought with birthday cash from Mom and Dad. But since my birthday was, oh, well over half a year ago, the pullover has now become my unbirthday sweater.


Pattern: Phyllo Yoked Pullover from Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature
Yarn: 7 balls of Rowan Calmer in Peacock
Needles: Size 7
Modifications: shortened the sleeves

Notes: Part of the reason this sweater took so long was because knitting stockinette is so. BORING. It is utter Dullsville, which actually turned out to be the place that I needed to be right before my exams last month. The reason I abandoned it in the first place became the reason I picked it up again in January. Nothing like mindless knitting to counteract test anxiety.

This sweater is knit flat in pieces up to the part where you join for the yoke, and if I'd had half a brain, I would have knit the thing in the round or knit both the front and the back at the same time on a long circular.

I didn't run out of yarn, as I'd feared. I'd gotten to the part where both sleeves and the front and back pieces were knit, and I only had two balls left. Since the front and back ate up so much yarn, I panicked and didn't knit the sleeves as long as the pattern directed; I just stopped right after the last increases. I think this turned out to be a good thing for my short arms, but the sleeves sometimes crawl upwards and I find myself tugging them down.

But other than that, I love the finished product. The simple lace pattern was a delight to knit. The sweater is more snug than the model's is in the book; I knit the XS size because I only had 7 balls of yarn. I think it looks OK in its form-fittingness. Honestly, I thought the Calmer would grow after a soak, but this yarn has got some serious memory.

Oh, and it's also the most delicious thing against your skin.

I'm already cranking out Monica for my niece's birthday next month; progress pics for next time!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Spring break!

My friend Cristina and I took a little road trip to Memphis last weekend to visit our friends Vero and Mike. Vero has been teaching at a small liberal arts college up there, and since spring break was coming up and we've been talking a lot of smack about visiting her, we finally decided to put our mileage where our mouth is.

Memphis is about a 10 hour drive from Austin, so it was eminently doable, with Cristina driving from Austin to Texarkana, and me all the way through Arkansas. You would think that Arkansas would be the tougher drive, but anyone who's driven in Texas knows that it takes a loooong time to get out of this state.
We only stayed two days, but we had such a great time! Some of the highlights were:
  • Graceland
  • The National Civil Rights Museum
  • Drinks in the Peabody Hotel lobby
  • Dinner at the Germantown Commissary
  • Cheesecake at the Cheesecake Corner
  • Breakfast at Brother Juniper's
  • The Memphis Zoo
  • Sun Studio tour

You'll notice that most of the highlights had to do with drinking or eating. I'm sure I gained about ten pounds and will spend the next two weeks working it off. But it was definitely worth it.

There are loads of pictures on my Flickr page, if anyone is interested, but I'll share a couple of pics here from the Yarn Studio:

My friends were super good sports for indulging my little yarn fetish, and Vero already knew about this place because she'd passed it before on her way home. The Yarn Studio is a cute little store, with a decent stock and a nice salesperson. I snagged some Jawoll Cotton Superwash sock yarn on sale, and we picked out a ball of Trendsetter Swing for a funky scarf for Vero.

Here's Cristina and Mike admiring some Colinette yarn. Cristina was talking to her brother on the phone, and her conversation went something like this:

Hi, I'm in Memphis, at a yarn store. Yes, a yarn store. Olga wanted to come. Well, I don't know, I guess she likes to find yarn stores in the places she visits.

After she hung up, Mike asked if her brother's end of the conversation went like this: You're at a yarn store? Why? Why would she do that?

I forget sometimes that our yarn hoarding habits can seem a bit strange to people.

Ah, well. I'm milking my last couple of days off before I have to get back to work. But I have good news! The Phyllo Yoke Pullover is done! And yes, happily, I did not run out of yarn and even had a goodly amount left over (maybe about 1/4 skein). Pictures to come in the next post.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Holding my breath.

You would think that, now that my prelim exams are over, I'd have nothing to do but knit and blog, wouldn't you? Ha! I thought so myself, until the week following the exams, when I had a graduate student journal to edit, a fellowship deadline to meet, an MLA panel to apply for, and general teaching-related deadlines.

But I gotta say, I'll take a post-exam day over a pre-exam day, any day. Thank you to everyone who left comments wishing me well and congratulations. I think it's finally sinking in that I'm a Ph.D. candidate, finally.

But my knitting? I wish I could say the prospects were as good. Witness:

The Phyllo Yoke Pullover from Knitting Nature is hitting the home stretch. And guess what? I have a mere two balls left of Calmer to finish this baby with. Because I bought the yarn on Ebay, the color (Peacock) is discontinued, of course. I'm knitting this and holding my breath; if it doesn't work out, I saw that Fluffa! knit Cece out of six and half balls of Calmer, so I have at least one alternative if I have to frog.

Hoo, boy. Yes, I may be the last person in the blogosphere to knit the ubiquitous Jaywalker. I cast on with the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn I got last year at Purl Soho, and I love the colorway (I think they call it china stripes, just to avoid getting sued for calling it Wedgewood. But it is definitely Wedgewood blue).
But ew. Witness the unsightly blotchiness. It's worse than a fourteen-year-old's complexion. I must confess, I'm not loving this sock. Maybe a ribbed pattern would conceal the pooling better?

Ah, well. At least I have the Airy Scarf from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. It may look like something that the cat threw up, but at least it's coming out the way it should.
After the fate of the Phyllo Pullover has been decided, I need to boogie on my niece's birthday present! I'd had a design in mind ever since I bought a few balls of Katia Sonrisa--basically I wanted a child-sized Picovoli, with lace on the lower half and no waist shaping. And then, yesterday, I saw this in the new MagKnits! It's close...not exactly what I'd pictured, but I think I could easily modify the neckline to make it a little wider. And it's knit from the bottom up; I think I'd rather knit it top-down.
Has anyone knit a kid-sized Picovoli? Any advice?