Friday, May 30, 2008

Sam was right.

I haven't made great Sock Club progress this year. I've barely started the January/February socks, and didn't go to either the March or April meetings. So after Wednesday's Charity Knitting I resolved to pick up the May/June pattern, and get back on the Sock Club track.

This month's pattern is Fiber Trends' Chain of Hearts, a simple looking pattern written for three weights. While it was tempting to use worsted, River Knits was encouraging Panda Silk for the pattern, so I thought I'd give it a try.

I thought about pink, but I'm not really into the fluffy pink hearts thing. I don't think the pattern really looks much like hearts, anyway. But Elizabeth had a couple balls of black yarn in the basket, and I've been thinking about making black socks (sometimes you need something a bit dressy, right?), so I thought I had a perfect match.

Sam, however, took the black yarn out of my hands and recommended I choose the pink. That's right - Sam was pushing the pink yarn (click here to see why this is odd). She said black yarn is a huge pain to knit. She said you need really good lighting. She said I'd probably ruin my eyesight. But I didn't give in.

She was right.

I've just started, and this pattern is not black-friendly. Black yarn is a huge pain to knit. I need really good lighting. I'll probably ruin my eyesight.

There's a funky "left cross" stitch where you have to bring the needle from the back to twist around and knit through the front, and it's not what the yarn wants to do. So not being able to see which bit of yarn is which is a serious handicap. I'm a bit worried that the Panda Yarns tendency to split may be a problem, too.

So do I continue knitting with this pain in the neck yarn, or do I give in and buy something new? I don't like the pattern well enough to use stash yarn for it. But I'm concerned that buying even more yarn may be going a bit too far in the yarn-collecting business.

If I do buy new yarn, I think it's gonna be worsted!


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Secret Pal 12

I've given in to temptation and joined Secret Pal 12 - another international exchange of knitting goodies. I know I have enough knitting stuff already, but it's so much fun - and I've gotten to know (or re-know) several other knitters while doing this, so that part has been really nice.

So here are my answers for the Secret Pal 12 questionnaire. I have similar sets of answers from Secret Pal 10, the 2007 Hurricane Sock Party, and Secret Pal 8.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Natural fibers, especially 100% wool, especially when it's superwash. I'm not a big fan of synthetics, although I'll use them when appropriate (I'm knitting a bunch of acrylic preemie caps right now). I've still never tried knitting with linen.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
I have a nice holder for DPNs that was a gift from Darlene, but most other needles and hooks are not so much "stored" as "scattered".

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been knitting about 28 years. I learned in Bluebirds, from my aunt, and from a book (it took a few tries). I'd call myself an advanced knitter. I pick things up from books pretty easily, usually.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes, my Amazon wish list is here. I'll have a wedding registry soon, but there probably won't be much yarn on it.

5. What's your favorite scent?
light florals - lilac, lavender. Anything fresh and crisp - I'm not such a fan of the heavy stuff.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
I eat sweets occasionally - usually cookies and pastries more than candy. I like all kinds of things, especially candy with nuts and/or mint, and prefer dark over milk chocolate. Chocolate is a migraine trigger, so I only indulge in the good stuff.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I spin a little, with a drop spindle. I do lampwork, embroidery, other needlework, and I sew. We're a pretty crafty household - while I'm writing, my boyfriend is bottling some homemade hard cider, and sewing a leather pouch.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)
I like a little bit of everything, although I'm not very cool, musically. When the "Yes, we can" video for Barack Obama came out I knew enough to guess that the people involved were probably famous singers, but couldn't identify any of them. I can play MP3s.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
Blue, green, purple. I'm usually not a big fan of browns and 70s colors, but I wouldn't say there's anything I can't stand.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I live with my fiance right now, but he'll be moving away in the fall. We have two VeryBadDogs.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I wear scarves, hats, and mittens. I haven't worn a poncho since I was 5 or 6, but that's more a reflection of my commitment to big knitting projects than of my taste.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
Socks! Bags are cool too, and I'm trying to get going with shawls. I really NEED to make shawls.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Socks for a sockday exchange, something for the Hogwarts exchange, preemie caps for charity, the Kauni Cardigan, and I have a bunch of WIPs that I can't touch until I finish the sockday socks.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
Yes! Like to make 'em, too.

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
I'll use both. Usually I turn to straights, but circulars are great for on-the-go projects. Bamboo is my favorite material, but I'll use others.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

17. How old is your oldest UFO?
32 years or 11 years, depending on whether we're talking about knitting, or needlework in general.

18. What is your favorite holiday?
Race Day, and the 4th of July

19. Is there anything that you collect?
Fish, a few hedgehog-things, and random stuff. Someday I'll get into glass collecting.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
No subscriptions. I can't think of anything in particular - but new stuff is always fun!

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
I'm about to start lace design, and moebius knitting. That should keep me busy for awhile. Sometime I want to try double knitting.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
Yes! My feet are 8.25" around and 9.25" long. I wear a size 38 Birkenstock.

23. When is your birthday?
June 15

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Quidditch, Round One

Did I mention that the Hogwarts Swap involves a lot of work? Here's the latest - a Quidditch game. We'll have three rounds, each with a set of trivia questions to answer, a scavenger hunt, and a Snitch to find. I thought I was a big Harry Potter geek, but I'm learning that I'm really not.

So here are my answers:

1. Which of Arabella Figg's cats ran out from under the car?
a. Tibbles

2. Which of the following is NOT one of Albus Dumbledore's middle names?
a. Ignatius

3. Which educational decree introduced a High Inquisitor to Hogwarts?
d. 23

4. Apart from Harry, Ron and Hermione, who was the first person to enter the Hog's Head that showed an interest in Harry's Defense Against the Dark Arts classes?
b. Neville Longbottom

5. In the first Quidditch match of the year which player attempted to score first?
a. Angelina Johnson

6. What kind of bush does Harry hide behind to listen to the news?
b. A hydrangea bush

7. Why is Mundungus Fletcher disguised as a woman when he witnesses the DA (Dumbledore's Army) meeting in the Hog's Head pub?
b. He was banned from the Hog's Head pub 20 years ago.

8. When Harry and Cho go on their first date to Madam Puddifoot's in Hogsmeade, what is it decorated with for Valentine's Day?
c. Golden cherubs and pink confetti

9. How old is Sturgis Podmore and where does he live?
a. 38 and number 2 Laburnum Gardens Clapham

10. What did Fred and George Weasley do to Montague?
a. Forced him head-first into a Vanishing Cabinet on the first floor.

After the Trivia, there's a Picture Scavenger Hunt:

Fred and George Weasley, together

Hog's Head Pub

Sirius Black

Mr. Weasley & Harry, together

Draco Malfoy

Now it's on to find the Snitch!


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Winter Knitting Revisited

There's been a decent amount of sunshine, the 500 is over, and I sincerely hope we've seen the last of the snow. That probably means it's time for me to go over my list of winter knitting goals, and see how I did. This is not going to be pretty.

Edit: Ali, of Skeins Her Way, has brought back the "Summer Knitting Goals" contest that inspired me to do this in the first place. So if I'm really lucky, I'll be adding to the to-do list!

Out of the original list of 13 things to knit, I've finished exactly one - the Christmas Socks - and I didn't finish those until after 12th Night. A handful of other projects sneaked onto the list a bit later:
  1. Silk toe socks
  2. Norwegian Socks
  3. Fiber Fish Mittens
  4. Killer Hat
  5. Lickety Split Socks
  6. Jacobean Socks
Of those, I've finished half: the toe socks, the Jacobean socks, and the Killer Hat. I'm going to give myself extra credit on the hat, since I've knitted five of the darned things. Even counting each hat as a finished object that negates something else on the list, I'm at 50%. If I just average in all the hats, I'm at 38%. I'm not really improving performance, here.

There were, I should note, a few other projects that never made it to the list. The Zombie socks are the only notable one, although I'm also quite pleased with my Obama hat. If I try to bring all the undeclared projects into the list, the dishcloths for the Yarn Harlot are really going to hurt me in the completing-things department. And I only finished half the set of Sock Wars socks before I died, so that doesn't look so good, either.

The non-knitting list isn't much better.

I cleaned the apartment, but only the visible parts. It's still a mess. I haven't done any work on photo albums. My dead computer has gone untouched. I sold my old car and replaced it with a new one, so that sort of counts as "fixing," but the person who got the old one has a "to-do" list that keeps growing.

The one thing I managed was to work for the Obama campaign - having the still-going primary helped there. I didn't do as much as I'd like, but I've discovered that I really hate knocking on doors and making phone calls to strangers, so it's been a learning experience.

Now it's time for the new list. When I started it, I didn't know I'd be planning a wedding.
  1. Amanda's Sockday Socks
  2. Finish the Dog Sweaters
  3. Travelling Socks, if I can figure out how to knit them
  4. Reversai Socks
  5. Lickety Split socks (in time for my birthday, although I probably won't need them then)
  6. The Red Scarf
  7. Finish the Kauni Cardigan in time to wear next fall
  8. Avoid the temptation to cast on "Isabella" until I've finished the Kauni Cardigan
  9. "Hope" socks, in time for November
  10. Preemie caps for any remaining primaries
  11. Deliver the IN preemie caps
  12. Other Obama charity knitting
  13. My Hogwarts kit, for the swap
  14. Join the SP12 swap
  15. My Wedding Shawl
  16. Fiber Fish mittens
  17. Bavarian Strolling socks
  18. Sidewinders socks
  19. Bulgarian Rose socks
  20. Cotton socks
  21. Coriolis socks
  22. The "Walkies" pattern
  23. Nordic Socks
  24. March/April Sock Club socks
  25. May/June Sock Club socks
  26. Something fun - preferably with a fish!
I think that's it. I hope that's it. I'll be resisting the temptation to do hand-knit attendant gifts, I think.

In the non-knitting activities, I have
  1. Book a wedding location and date
  2. Go over my new car to make sure everything works
  3. Clean the apartment. Seriously.
  4. Empty one box of papers a month, including putting away all the stuff I keep.
  5. Finish that silk dress from last year
  6. Write an article for the Indiana Historical Society
  7. Finish my Munich/Greece photo album
  8. Put together an Oldenburg album
  9. Make new SCA garb
  10. Finish my Viking shoes
  11. Make beads again.
Let's see how productive the summer can be!

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Saturday, May 24, 2008


Here's something you don't knit every day:

Knitted pasties. For the Knit Girls exchange on Ravelry.

These are Brittany Wilson's Starfish Pasties, made with some of Lion Brand's "Thick -n- Quick" Chenille yarn. Normally I wouldn't use such a thing, but I was a little worried that wool pasties might not be too comfortable. The beads in the center may make them look more like flowers than starfish, but the shell charms I'd planned to use just didn't look as nice.

Why pasties? "Why not?" seems to be the motivating factor in the exchange. That, and all the naughtiness complaints every time shows an inch of skin. These are intended to cover about an inch and a half of skin - did you know that pasties come in sizes?

I do have to say that the pasties exchange is really cheering my feminist heart. Lots of women are modeling theirs with pride, and very few of them fit the modern standard of feminine beauty. I don't think I'll be posing for any pin-up shots with mine, but they'll be a lot of fun to have.

They're definitely fun to knit! You can complete a set of pasties in about an hour - choosing a pattern took longer. It's a real shame I can't use these as Christmas gifts for the whole family.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hufflepuff Quiz #2

This Hogwarts swap has a lot of homework! Here's Quiz #2

Unscramble the Potions Ingredients:

1. colimamhe - chamomile

2. hianeaecc - echinacea

3. lgveoa - lovage

4. nsaie - anise

5. itlhhawcez (2 words) - witch hazel

6. ladeevrn - lavender

7. oynranlype - penyroyal

8. iwelnrepki - periwinkle

9. aavvakka (2 words) - kava kava

10. waoalhmlsrm (2 words) - marsh mallow

11. gseginn - ginseng

12. uwgtrmo - mugwort

13. What is your favorite thing to do besides knit and crochet? - koordeabs (2 words)

14. Do you collect anything? (yes and no are invalid answers) - shif

15. What is your favorite flower? - calli


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dead Again

I'm an early casualty in Sock Wars III. It's easier to handle the second time around. In fact, I'm glad I'm dead, because I wasn't making really good progress on the Detonator Socks.

I came home today to find these waiting for me. It's really a lovely way to die - not only do I get these beautiful green socks, but my assassin even made me a pretty little pair of sock earrings as a consolation gift. I'm definitely consoled - and even feel guilty that I'll be dumping a half-finished set of socks on her after she's gone to so much trouble for me.

My assassin/benefactor is Linda, who I don't believe has a blog. But she says she's been reading my blog, which is pretty exciting. I didn't know I had an audience!

So thank you, Linda! While I'm sorry to be dead, I love my new socks - I'm wearing them as I write this, because I wanted to be able to show them off at work. I've been wanting to make green socks for a long time, and now I have a great pair. It's been a pleasure to be killed by you!


Saturday, May 17, 2008

He's On It!!!!

Aaron and I are both a bit overwhelmed by all the good wishes we've received over the last week. I can't figure out how to respond to comments individually, so I'll do it here - thanks so much, everybody! You're helping convince me that this is really real.

We've even received a card already, and this one's pretty exciting. Just in case you can't read the handwriting, it's from Helio Castroneves. No, we don't know him personally, but my mother went to an autograph session and had him sign this for us, and had it waiting when we visited Indy this weekend. We're pretty moved by that, because I'm sure my mother was so overwhelmed by meeting Helio face-to-face that it's really touching she thought of us, too. "Almost as cute as Helio" is her highest praise for describing someone's good looks. Personally, I think "almost as cute as Aaron" is a pretty flattering thing to say about Helio.

While the official purpose of our trip was to check out wedding sites, we also wanted to visit the Speedway, since it's been a few years since we've been free to spend any time there. We went out for Saturday's qualifying, and the weather couldn't have been better.

The fun thing about qualifying days is that there's a lot more freedom to wander the track, so you can see everything. Tony Hulman always placed a high priority on fan access, and his legacy still holds strong.

This means you can get pretty up close and personal with everything. For example, the Borg-Warner Trophy, 153 pounds of sterling silver which sit in the pit to inspire the drivers, each hoping to add his or her likeness to the trophy. Even the Detonator Sock was allowed to get close enough for a picture - and since it's the Speedway, no one thought this was weird.

There was a lot going on in the infield, so even those who don't share my obsession with fast cars could've found something fun to do. The Army and Navy brought out a mess of equipment, and let people climb over and through it. My deadly sock is working on its intimidating look by hanging out with an Apache helicopter. Are you scared, bleusheep?

But the real action was on the track. They were just open for practice when we got there, so we settled in with an awesome view of the start/finish line and the flag stand.

At some point, they've changed the colors of one of the flags from blue and orange to blue and yellow. And they were waving the blue/yellow flag a lot today, which isn't something I've ever seen before. I'll have to find a racing expert who knows what was going on. Amanda, can you save me a call to Donald Davidson?

We also had a nice view of some of the pit activity from our seats.

And I Karen & I both tried to take pictures of the cars. This is a lot harder than one might think - it's hard to imagine 220 miles an hour, even when it's going on right in front of you. I don't know how many times I took this picture without a car in it, but here's Thomas Scheckter, in his spiffy black & yellow car, going very, very fast.

Wandering around along the pit area offers all sorts of adventures for race fans and socks. We stood on the Yard of Bricks (as it extends to the Pagoda, not on the track). That's Karen waiting patiently behind me. She understands a sock's need for pictures.

And we met the Firestone Firehawk. I'm so glad I don't work as a costumed character anymore.

When we were settled in our seats, I kept hearing the announcer talk about the windy conditions and the importance of tower sock. "Wow," I said to my sock, "a sock is an important part of what's happening here. You've gotta see this!" So we found this Very Important Sock -

- on top of the scoring pylon. Aren't socks great?

When it looked like there might be some qualifying runs, we moved to seats right alongside the lane back to Gasoline Alley. This is another Hulman legacy - it means that all the cars and all the drivers move through an area where it's pretty easy for the public to see them.

So we saw A.J. Foyt IV's car being pushed out to the line. He didn't actually make a qualifying run - they said he couldn't get his car out of 2nd gear on the warm-up lap. But the last driver of the day - Marty Roth - made a successful run, so Aaron got to see a driver take the checkered flag and qualify for the 500, something he'd never seen before.

Marty Roth drives for Marty Roth Racing, so his car is pretty plain right now. I don't know if he'll line up any sponsors before the race or not. A few years ago the guy who won the race only had one small sponsor - but now that the purple Rachel's Potato Chips car is in the Hall of Fame, everyone's heard of them.

We hit the driver-photo jackpot in our new spot. First Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon were signing autographs. I didn't go see them, because I've Chip Ganassi went slinking off to CART when the IRL was formed, but the sock still thought a picture was fun. And we're all supposed to be friends again, and it's really amazing that the leading participants in the greatest sporting event anywhere, ever, (Dixon and Wheldon are qualified 1st and 2nd).

We also saw Milka Duno - who qualified 27th, making this the third consecutive year of having three women in the field.

And Ryan Briscoe, who is so cute that I really can't hold driving for Penske against him. I guess I've become reconciled to the Penske empire, since I bought my new car from them, and they saw the light and returned to the IRL long ago.

Then there's the driver everyone wanted to see. Here's her car....

And here's Danica. Every driver gets mobbed on the way back to the garages, but Danica drew a bigger mob than most. When Karen was trying to get pictures of one of her friends on Danica's crew, she had a hard time working around the crowds even when Danica wasn't in the pit.

She really is as small as she looks. But that's not unusual - a lot of the male drivers look like jockeys.

As the qualifying shut down, I wanted to go look for one really big driver - A.J. Foyt. I'd seen him speeding by in a golf cart earlier, but I hoped his grandson's last-minute qualifying attempt would bring him out into the pits. Seeing the little Foyt would've been cool, too.

And while we didn't get to see any Foyts, it's a good thing we lingered, because look who turned up for an interview after most people had left the track!

Yep, it's Helio, two-time Indy winner and "Dancing With the Stars" champion. We were standing with a bunch of Brazilians who were calling out to him in Portuguese, so they told us he'd be coming by to shake hands and sign autographs.

Speaking of Brazilians, we had a funny encounter. We were surprised by the number of Brazilians there, but then started trying to think of how many drivers were from Brazil. One of the first I mentioned was Emerson Fittipaldi, which prompted a man standing nearby to pipe up "you mean that orange-juice drinking son of a...." I think Aaron may have thought I exaggerated the response to Fittipaldi's failure to respect the milk, but here we have a spontaneous display of how important tradition is at Indianapolis. Helio respects the milk.

And the sock. I didn't ask him to take the time for a posed picture, since there were a whole bunch of people there, but the sock had a chance to hang out while he was giving me an autograph - which will probably go along with the sock.

On the way out, we stopped for one last picture on the MotoGP track, just in case anyone wonders if I'm taking this car racing thing too far. I think that's impossible, when you're standing in the Racing Capital of the World!


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Wedding Planning

We've started to think about wedding plans, and I've lost track of how many times we've asked, "can't we just go to Vegas?" Our plan for a small wedding of just family and a few close friends still means 300 people, so we're finding it difficult to make plans on anything resembling a reasonable budget.

At least I've already made one important decision:

I picked out the yarn for my wedding shawl. I was at River Knits for charity knitting yesterday, and thought I might as well get started. So what I envision is something that's mostly white, accented with the green, and with a hint of the blue.

The green and white yarn is Fino, an alpaca/silk blend by Alpaca With a Twist. The blue is a treasure from my stash - reeled silk that was given to me at a rug factory in Turkey. It's in 4' lengths, so I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to incorporate it. But I've been saving it for a special project, and I can't think of anything more special.

And there's more news from home - we have a new neighbor.

We first noticed the nest a couple of weeks ago, and for the last few days we've seen babies. There seem to be three of them, and Mama Bird is nearly always with them.

The dogs are going to be on a short leash for awhile.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hufflepuff Quiz #1

Joining the class at Hogwarts makes for a challenging swap! We have homework, and quizzes. It's a good thing housemates can study together - and nice to get to know my housemates.

Hufflepuff Quiz #1

1. Is from a muggle family and the first to attend Hogwarts?
Perenelle Ballycastle

2. When knitting socks you use dpn's, 2 circ, 1 circ 1 sock, 1 circ 2 socks?
5 dpns, or 2 circulars

3. Their owls name is Owlbert?
Eleanor Wigworthy

4. Beat Agatey Mirrofold in a contest?
Lily Clearwater

5. Your favorite non 'puff color?
Blue, purple, green

6. They learned to knit for a school play?
Emma Kettleburn

7. They got engaged last week?
Me! Selena Starfire

8. One sentence/statement you would use to describe your stash?
It's metastasizing.

9. Their best class is Divination?
Daisy Chang

10. Last term everyone thought you were your sibling?
Antonio de la Weasley

11. When not going to Hogwarts your favorite thing to do is?
Read, drink wine, bake, make glass beads

12. You have read the books, watched the movie or both?

13. Your family includes?
My fiance Aaron, Max the VeryBadDog, and Oscar the EvenWorseDog

14. They have frogs in their room?
Clidonia Acromantula

15. Has a dog named Kluane?
Ursula Longbottom

16. My favorite thing to knit is.

Favorite Harry Potter Character:

Madame Hooch.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Weapon in Progres

In spite of all the excitement, I'm making some progress on the "Detonator" socks. Sock 1 is finished, so now it's time for me to start Sock 2.

This pattern is proving to be pretty unpopular. After putting down the knitting long enough to read Ravelry, I realized that I probably haven't been doing it right. We've been getting "clarifications" like "substitute 'left' for 'right,'" which seem more like pretty major corrections to me. But it's a sock, and it looks nice enough, and it more or less fits except for being too long, but since it's not supposed to fit me, that part's OK. Now I just have to hope that my assassin is having even more trouble - and that her assassin isn't having any trouble at all!

The real downside to these things is that how fast I knit doesn't really matter - it's all about the other people, and there's nothing I can do to slow them down.

I had another project completely finish today - I received offprints for the article I contributed to Magill's Choice: Holocaust Literature. I submitted the article last summer, and now the book is in print - I'll have my own copy soon! This is my first real publication, so I'm a bit more excited than one might normally be about an offprint for an encyclopedia article. I'm sure I'll get more jaded eventually.

Then again, I love every new sock, so maybe not.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Ft. Meigs

It's been a lively weekend. I've been working on my Sock Wars weapon, but bleusheep will be happy to know that I've been distracted by all sorts of other things.

We spent Saturday at Baron Wars, an SCA event in Perrysburg, Ohio. This is a really fun event, because it's held at Fort Meigs, which was built during the War of 1812. There aren't a lot of modern distractions (other than the ones we bring) inside the fort, and it's a well-equipped site.

It's also a great place for fighting. Some years they even do battles through the gates of the fort, although I didn't see any of those this year. I think they still had fun - and my weapon-sock had the chance to get acquainted with other weapons, so it had fun, too.

I spent most of the day knitting, but I managed to work in a bit of shopping (now I have a fun book on medieval and Renaissance dice games, and a cool Viking hat), and took a class on Persian woven buttons, so I can improve some of my garb.

We also took some time to walk around and enjoy the site. The fort overlooks the Maumee river, with a rather commanding view of the route inland from Lake Erie.

And you can see that the cannon can still be loaded with something dangerous! Pow! Bang!

I haven't made as much progress as I'd like to on the sock - because Thursday night I decided I really needed a new outfit. So I spent Thursday night (when I should have been resting) and Friday night (when I should have been knitting) on my new blue Viking dress. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out, and I'm sure I'll like it even better once I've hemmed it.

The new dress isn't the only reason I'm smiling in this picture. Notice anything else new?

Like this?

It was a very exciting weekend.

Aaron proposed Saturday evening, and of course I said yes! He sneaked out Friday morning, while we were getting ready for the event, to buy the ring - and I never caught on. I didn't even know what was coming when he suggested we take a walk to look at the river - I really thought he just wanted to admire the view. Right now I'm just too happy to find words to describe how happy I am!

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Friday, May 09, 2008

The Detonator

I've barely recovered from Hat Attack, and now it's time for a new knit-to-kill event.

I give you The Detonator, my weapon for Sock Wars III. The objective is to knit two socks and mail them off to my designated victim - bleusheep from North Carolina - before somebody can do me in. I wish I'd lied and said I had really big feet.

The pattern is supposed to be reminiscent of comic book explosions, so I've bypassed the officially-recommended One Foot in the Grave colorway to use this one, which I think looks comic-bookish. This represents knitting my way from Indianapolis to Toledo, OH - I let Aaron drive my brand new car, so I could knit!

I doubt I'll get the socks in the mail tomorrow, but we're doing enough traveling that I hope I'll be ready to send them off on Monday. Prepare to die, bleusheep!

Thursday, May 08, 2008


I'm busy re-reading all of the Harry Potter books, for knitting reasons. I've signed up for the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap, and it looks like it's going to be tons of fun.

This is no ordinary swap. There are all sorts of activities - games, contests, a chat room, and even a chance to find the Golden Snitch. What you send your partner is pretty carefully dictated, too, so there's no danger of getting three half-balls of leftovers from someone's stash. I've always had really good swapping experiences, but it's nice to be able to enter a swap with confidence.

The organizer, Jeneanw, is one of my fellow moderators from Knitters for Barack Obama. She's just amazing at putting things together - she's also one of the people who organized the Obama Afghan Drawing that raised over $8700 for the campaign. I'm really glad Ravelry lead me to her blog, so I could find out about this Hogwarts thing.

I've joined House Hufflepuff, and my "Hogwarts name" is Selena Starfire. All of the sorting quizzes put me in Gryffindor or Ravenclaw, but she needed people to join Hufflepuff, and I really didn't mind. Maybe being easy-going enough to do that makes me a Hufflepuff. The name generators all gave me different options, but I went with this one because I've always wanted a Bethlehem Starfire torch for beadmaking.

There's still time to join! If you'd like to attend Hogwarts with me, just visit the site linked above.


Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I barely noticed the end of the school year this spring. Normally, it's a time of frantic activity - writing, reading, grading - followed by a crash into a few blessed days of nothing to do.

But that wasn't the case this year. Between the election, and the Yarn Harlot coming to town, and somewhat light course-load, all the school stuff happened at a more sedate pace. The biggest frantic time was when I had a paper due on the same day I was giving a talk - and I was paying as much attention to Hat Attack as anything else at the time. I didn't take any finals this time, and buying a new car commanded more excitement than the exams I had to grade.

Last night, though - last night I had that "just took my last final" feeling, with a sense of relief and tension that I haven't felt since I was an undergrad. After starting the day at 5:00, I spent the evening at the county office building watching the election returns roll in, and the night at a coffee house doing the same thing.

Fortunately, I had a handy way to deal with some of the tension. Sometimes it's great to be a knitter.

My "Audacity" sock didn't get much attention over the course of the day. I spent the first few hours standing outside a polling place with an "Obama" sign, and then canvassed door-to-door in the late morning, before going to work through the afternoon. I waved to a lot of people and bade them a cheerful "good morning," and got mostly smiles in return - although there were a few scowls, or people who tried to avoid looking at me. None of them had bumper stickers, so I don't know if they were supporting another candidate, or just thought I was completely crazy. I got in a few hours of knitting while watching the returns, so now it's starting to look like a sock.

Tomorrow I'm going to sleep in. Tomorrow I'm going to clean house. Tomorrow I'm going to wash dishes. Tomorrow, I might not even knit.

Friday, however, is the kickoff to Sock Wars - and soon it's time to gear up for the general election. But I'm not going to think about that tomorrow. Well, not unless I have to go to the yarn store, to stock up on Tofutsies.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

5 am

It's a couple hours after I normally go to sleep, and I'm awake again, ready to head out and volunteer at the Obama office. I offered to come in at 3:00, but they said they didn't need anyone that early. I must really want to see this guy elected.

I cast on a set of "Aquaphobia" socks with my Audacity yarn while watching the last few minutes of Obama's Indianapolis rally last night. It looked like it was pretty rainy there, but no one seemed to mind. I wonder where the socks are going to wind up today?

Sunday, May 04, 2008


So this morning I mentioned that I wanted to make some treats to deliver to the local Obama office, and Aaron said, "why don't you call and see if they'd like us to bring dinner, instead?"

They said yes. So Aaron spent the day making baked pasta, and I put together some pineapple upside-down cakes, and some bread machine bread. We packed the whole lot up and delivered it to the office, somewhat assuaging my guilt for not spending a lot of time knocking on doors.

The volunteers were really happy with the food (and I'm pretty happy with Aaron, for supporting my Obamamania). There was a huge bunch of people there - locals, and people from Iowa, Chicago, and South Carolina. People are coming to Lafayette from all over to help with this election - it's pretty exciting.

One of the volunteers from Chicago gave us these as a thank-you. She'd commissioned the cookies from a friend, and the friend's daughter made the little thank-you notes.

The notes are on our refrigerator. We've put the cookies away until Tuesday. I hope we'll be enjoying them with Champagne!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Not Wool

And to think that I've always thought a $100 trip to the yarn store was kind of extreme.

I'll have to avoid visits to the yarn store for awhile, I think. I just bought this.

It's a 1997 Honda Civic, which makes it 8 years newer than my current car, and 100,000 fewer miles. It also has all four head/taillights, a fully-attached bumper, and a sunroof that doesn't leak. Much as I love the old Accord, I think I have to call this a step up. I've named her Lucy, because she's a little bit feisty, and looks pretty good for an aging redhead.

Shopping for a car wasn't nearly the ordeal I feared - at least not the way it ended. I'd been doing a lot of looking online, to the point of nearly being burned out thinking about cars. But we'd already planned our trip to go shopping. So Thursday we spent the day looking around Lafayette, not finding much. One dealer wanted $3950 for an Accord that was a year younger than mine - and that otherwise looked more or less the same (except for the busted-out light and the dangling bumper). We also spotted a 10-year-old car with no air conditioning for $7000. I don't think they're going to get any takers for that, especially if these sunny days keep up. Another dealer had a reasonable supply of reasonably cheap cars, and briefly tempted me with a PT Cruiser - until I saw the gas mileage.

So then we headed down to Indianapolis, for another round of shopping on Friday. The first place I wanted to visit was in a scary neighborhood, and closed. So I went to check my last reasonable option, Penske Honda. They're in one of Indy's northern suburbs, so I knew they weren't likely to have many cars in my price range, but there was one on the internet that looked perfect.

When we got there, it had been sold. Then there was another car that looked pretty good - but they couldn't find the keys for it. So they offered me a pretty good deal on this one, and I was pretty happy to accept. It's an automatic transmission, but otherwise it's pretty exactly what I was looking for.

This is Larry, who sold the car to me. We accomplished the entire transaction without any of the "let me go 'talk to the manager' while you wait for 30 minutes" nonsense I was dreading. I test drove the car, he made a good offer, and I wrote a check and claimed the keys. They even cleaned up the car for me, and topped off the gas tank before I picked it up.

It has a good-sized trunk, and the back seats fold down to hold more cargo. I can't wait for the car's first Fiber Fair!

Oh, yeah, and Aaron bought a whole bunch of beer today. More beer and beer supplies than the two of us could carry in one trip. So maybe my yarn purchases aren't that extreme.