Saturday, April 28, 2007

Change is the only constant

I have just turned in the last final exam of my graduate career. It's strangely... mellow. A sort of lovely, mellow joy, with just the slightest touch of melancholy. Last Friday I turned in my Master's Project, the culminating experience of my graduate experience. All that's left between me and graduation is Western Field Trip, a week-long class trip to Washington State -- not a particularly stressful class. I celebrated with a very indulgent weekend that involved little time at the computer, dinner parties, quite a bit of cheese-eating, wine-drinking, BBC-miniseries-watching (six wonderful hours of it), and of course, knitting.

At a celebratory barbecue, a rare fellow knitter and I met up to discuss the Urban Aran, and picking up stitches for the collar. My poor Urban Aran! It's been so lonely, but now I'm ready to go at that collar and seam it up. Exciting!

This turning point in my semester happily coincides with another exciting time. It's time to pick a new project! With the Jaywalkers nearly complete, I'm looking for another project to bring on WFT for the round-trip flight and a fair amount of time in vans. So -- socks, or shawl? Socks may be more mindless, and better for travel, but I'm itching to do lace...
The contenders
Toe-up of my own design

Kiri (pattern here, better pictures here)

I'm falling more and more in love with this yarn I bought at the Carrboro Farmer's Market from Three Waters Farm. A 50/50 merino tencel blend, the shiny tencel lends the purple and green colorway an iridescent sheen. I knit up small gauge swatch yesterday and the short color repeats look just lovely. I bought the skein for socks, but I'm thinking about picking up another and making a shawl.

Also up for socks, Emerald from RubySapphire Yarns, and Marrakesh or Brick House from Fearless Fibers.

A new skein showed up (with excellent timing) on Thursday, and spent the night reposing next to my computer at school while I pulled a nearly-all-nighter. Isn't it lovely? It's Laughing Rat Studio's silk/wool laceweight in the twilight colorway. I've already begun to knit this up into the Kiri shawl, my first real lace-with-laceweight project.

Most recent podcast: Wow, I can't even remember.
Currently listening to: Cloud Cult, The Meaning of 8
What I should be doing: Returning three weeks of email.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Eye candy...Monday?

I have little to report given the craziness of the last week of school. I know that I lose interest in a blog if it doesn't update once a week. Or if it doesn't have pictures. Since my readership is so teeny, I figured I needed to post something, or I'd fall off the map. It's not like I'm knitting anything to draw y'all , so I appreciate you stopping in for anything I might post!

Photo by Jocelyn T. Please do not use or distribute without the permission
of the photographer -- it's not hard to get. (Not that I think anyone will, but I'm just sayin'.)

This picture is keeping me sane at the moment. My Master's Project is due this Friday, and I've got a lot of work to do. Lately it's been getting so that I can't see the forest for the trees (heehee, a little ecology aphorism for an ecology student). But pulling out pictures of my travels in my study area (western Washington) reminds me why I'm doing what I'm doing. And why I've been doing it for the past decade.

Knitting related: the Jaywalkers also keep me sane. I just get a row or two a day in these days, but it helps. I'm on the gusset of the second sock, plugging on to the toe. And then I can figure out which sock project to take with me for my week-long field trip to Washington and Oregon. Want to help? I'll post my options, once I've got it narrowed down.

Meanwhile, go look at my sister's blog. No, there's no knitting, but she's posted lots of fun stuff for you to look at. Look, two blogs for the price of one!

Most recent podcast: It's a Purl, Man, back episodes.
I've decided to venture into new knitting podcast territory, and this is the first 'cast I'm checking out.

Currently listening to: The Go! Team, Everyone's a VIP to Someone
courtesy of Dave's Music, Christmas 2004 playlist

What I should be doing: Pick one: Western Field Trip Paper, due in three days; MP, due in four.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


My Master's Project is due in one week. Tomorrow is my last day of class ever. I'm working on half a dozen job applications. If all goes well, I'll graduate in less than a month.

It makes sense, then, to blame my lack of blogging on this:

That's TreeHugger boyfriend in the foreground for scale. (Not to worry -- only the tree was harmed in the making of this photo.) No electricity, no refrigeration, no hot water. For three days.

The Jaywalkers and my paper grow. Perhaps a post this weekend. The paper is due next Friday. I expect I'll be in no shape to blog that evening... but who knows, that might be fun.

Most recent podcast: This American Life.
Currently listening to: Cat Power, The Greatest.
What I should be doing: Editing a cover letter for a dream job.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The socks will save you

The ennui brought on by a crazy school week and frustrating projects has been erased by sock knitting. Behold, my first Jaywalker sock! (And behold, my first sock-weight yarn sock!)

This past week was so very nonstop -- I was presenting my Master's Project -- that the knitting fixes that needed doing were just turning me off to knitting. I didn't want to have to deal with the thought of frogging five of six capecho pentagons, or the planning required to pick up a collar for the first time. But my fingers itched, and I picked at everything: bottle labels, my cuticles, you name it. So I picked up the Jaywalker (I was just past the heel) and returned to knitting for peace of mind. Simple knitting. Wool-on-wood-dpn's, tactile knitting. It was rejuvenating, and I got my mojo back.

The yarn is Ruby Sapphire Yarns' Ruby Superwash Sock Yarn in the Nina colorway. The colorway is lovely, particularly the deep, dark brown and the absolutely vivid turquoise blue. I don't think the Jaywalker pattern did it much justice (there's quite a bit of pooling) but I love them.

And -- at least for now -- I've avoided second sock syndrome. I think this stems from the same frustrations: my mind is just not open enough for the many new projects I have lined up. So it's been comforting to cast-on 84 stitches again. Rib for 12 rows. Again. Start the increases and decreases -- again. I can't imagine this is something I'll enjoy for most pairs of socks, but for right now it's just... perfect. I can't handle much else, and that's fine by me.

Of course, that didn't stop me from picking up another skein from Ruby Sapphire (on sale, no less. Sign up for their newsletter for the inside scoop and some sweet benefits). Ruby Sapphire's Tenderfoot yarn, a thin sport weight, in Emerald. Super-soft and petable. I think the color is quite appropriate for an upcoming week-long class trip to western Washington. We'll be in vans quite a bit, and I'm currently deciding on what sock project to bring with. This yarn is up there on the list; now for a pattern...

Most recent podcast: KEXP's Live Performances Podcast: Beirut at SXSW.
Currently listening to: Same.
What I should be doing: My Forest Vegetation Sampling Lab.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Fifteen seconds of semi-fame

I'm presenting my Master's Project tomorrow, so I'll be brief here -- more to come in a day or so. But: If you don't listen to Quirky Nomads, you should. Sage Tyrtle puts out a daily podcast from Toronto that is just endlessly entertaining -- she has a limitless imagination that keeps me coming back for more. But you should definitely listen to today's episode, because I'm on it. Or rather, a sentence I wrote is on it, for an interactive podcast version of the game telephone. It was surprisingly thrilling to hear my name on a podcast, and hilarious to hear the path the game took. Like I said -- you should listen.