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July 31, 2005

Happy birthday to me.

Well, I'm 23 today. :-) It's been a great birthday weekend, and I have lots of pictures to show you, but I'm a bit too tired right now. (In addition to being great, the weekend was rather exhausting.) I'll probably get it all set on Tuesday, since I have class tomorrow, but the sock wants to give you a tour of New York, and I have lots of birthday goodies to show you too.

Posted by Kat at 09:21 PM

July 29, 2005

Friday (Hyperactive) News Round-Up

1. Sorry for the lack of posts this week. Between my class ending and my upcoming trips, things have been crazy.
2. I'm about 90% done with my final project for my class (due Monday). Woohooo!
3. This weekend is the aforementioned trip to CT and NYC. I am beyond excited.
4. AND my birthday is Sunday!!!!
5. It seems to be the thing recently for socks to narrate such excursions. At first it was just one sock, but others are doing now too, so I figured I might as well.
6. To facilitate the above, I bought a skein of Reynolds Swizzle in Forest at lunchtime today. Look for the sock's report soon.
7. I've started to think I may be just a wee bit obsessed with knitting. Today I started rather lengthy knitting threads on two non-knit-related e-mail lists.
8. I have also concluded that there should be a 24-hour knitting hotline. I spoke to a long distance friend several times on the phone yesterday trying to help her through her first sock, and do you know how hard phone knitting support is? (Yes, you probably do.) Now, I enjoyed it greatly and am glad she called, but what about all those knitters who don't have a knitting friend sitting at a desk all day and happy to be distracted? An 800 number is in order, clearly.
9. Oh, and I am determined to get to at least one NYC yarn store, probably The Yarn Connection because it's just a few blocks from the hotel.
10. See? I'm doing it already. Whenever we're in New York, my dad (the resident NY expert) tells us that wherever we're headed is "just a couple of blocks that way." (FYI: I have learned from experience that the Metropolitan is not, in fact, just a couple of blocks from Grand Central. In case any other fathers were spreading that particular rumor.) Anyway, I knew I'd start using the same phrasing when describing where we were going to my boyfriend. Oh well.
11. I am now just blathering so I should probably stop torturing you and try to get through my last hour at work.
12. Did I mention that this weekend is my birthday? Just checking.
13. Oh, and did I mention that we're staying at the Library Hotel? So cool.
14. Okay, really going now.

Posted by Kat at 03:36 PM | Comments (3)

July 26, 2005

Flashback bandwagon

As I was reading Stephanie's flashback post about her trip to NYC, I realized I'd never posted pictures of meeting her in Boston. And it's a busy week with little knitting or photography time, so it's a good time for a flashback post. (Thanks to Jessica for the photo.)

It was a lovely evening; I'd love to go back to Circles some time with a few hundred fewer people so I can see more of the yarn. Stephanie was great, as you'd expect. Almost exactly how I expected, at least. (Not less great, just a bit different.) I met Jessica and Kat and lots of other lovely people whose URLs I didn't catch. (We should all get t-shirts with our names and URLs, I think.) Oh, and there was yummy food, too!

Posted by Kat at 04:52 PM

July 23, 2005

Feeling wavy

There's not much to see yet, but here's the Baltic Sea Stole:

I've done the border and half a repeat (although the picture was taken a few rows ago). Yes, my stash/WIPs have finally caught on to the fact that some people's projects get their pictures taken outside, with foliage. I have been threatened with tangles and dropped stitches if I do not do likewise.

I don't mind, though, because . . . this project. I love it. The yarn. Oh my goodness. It's raw silk from Blue Heron Yarns. It is amazing. Lucious, but great stitch definition. The yarn is a wee bit stiff/scratchy on its own, but as soon as it's knit up . . . it's the softest thing ever. Really. And the pattern. Interesting but not so difficult that I have to stare at the chart all the time. And oh, they work together so nicely. Heh. Can you tell that I am loving this? I've already promised myself that I can knit another to keep in an even oceany-er colorway when this is done, because otherwise I don't think there's much chance that this one would actually get to my aunt.

I was feeling a bit melancholy tonight, for no particular reason, but luckily it was nothing that some Gilmore Girls, knitting, and good company couldn't fix. And now I'm blogging and eating leftover pizza. Then I think I'll go map out some places for our New York trip and read some Nick Hornby. Sounds like a good evening, eh?

Posted by Kat at 10:33 PM | Comments (2)

July 22, 2005

The travelling knitter

I'm usually a pretty stay-at-home kind of girl, but more or less on a whim I'm finding myself with a few trips coming up in the next few weeks. (Of course, my "whims" are what other people might call "something they'd thought about for months." I'm trying to be less neurotic, really.) Trip #1 is a weekend in New York City with my boyfriend, celebrating my birthday. Trip #2 is a week at the Jersey Shore with my parents and brother. I'm realizing that there are several things to consider in planning these trips:

1. The obvious: what projects to bring? I'll want a variety: different sizes, difficulty levels, required concentration, etc. For New York, it'll probably be socks for the train/lines/etc. and probably one other thing... Branching Out, maybe? The week at the beach is harder. For concentration-heavy, relaxing in the hotel knitting, I'm thinking the Baltic Sea Stole and Leaf Lace Shawl. Socks for on the go, certainly. Perhaps the Ruffles scarf for the car on the way there and back? (Not too big, interesting but not too hard.) Maybe a baby blanket for mindless TV/reading knitting? Hmmmm. Suggestions? How much is enough? Imagine running out of knitting during the one week I have all the free time I want!

2. Knitting on the beach: the ultimate in relaxation or Just Stupid? I'm picturing sand in my knitting. But it sounds kind of fun, and other people have mentioned doing so, so... let's have a vote. Arguments for and against?

3. Where are the yarn stores? The other obvious one. I have a whole list of stores in NYC, but I'll have to plot everything out on a map and see what's near the hotel or other places we're going. Anyone have shop recommendations in NYC or the Jersey Shore (specifically the Wildwood area)?
3a. Getting to the yarn stores. This is complicated by the fact that we'll all be sharing a car. How best to bribe convince a 15-year-old boy that he wants to spend the afternoon looking at yarn? Maybe it would be easier to send him to the beach and take the car for the afternoon. Hmmm.

4. To blog or not to blog? Should I try to post while away, or just wait? The NYC trip is just overnight so I won't worry about that. But the beach trip is for a week. Perhaps I'll try to find a local cyber cafe. Should I bring my laptop? Hmmm. (Yes, I'm saying "Hmm" a lot. Sorry.)

5. Preparing for every eventuality. What should I put in my knitting kit to be ready for any and all knitting emergencies/new projects to start? Tape measure, stitch markers, needle for weaving in ends, crochet hook for catching stitches... what else?

Posted by Kat at 04:52 PM

July 21, 2005

Harlot alert!

Looklooklook! A new bookbookbook!

(Hmph. There was supposed to be a picture here, but it does not seem to be working.)

I hope this means another tour, Stephanie! Not that it seems you've exactly finished the last one...

Posted by Kat at 04:12 PM | Comments (1)

July 20, 2005

Goodbye, Scotty.

James Doohan dead at 85.

(They never said "Beam me up, Scotty." I wish all the obituaries would stop quoting that.)

Posted by Kat at 12:38 PM | Comments (2)

July 19, 2005

Socks on circs: I don't get it.

These days, it seems like everyone is knitting their socks on circular needles. Some say two; some say one. But still. Circs are definitely in vogue. And I have to say, what is up with that? What am I missing? What's the attraction? DPNs are so small and neat and portable. It seems like circs would be flailing about impaling things. I don't know. I guess I'm missing something. But please note, I don't have anything against circs or those who use them. I'm not trying to start a fight or anything. I'm just . . . confused. What's the advantage?

Posted by Kat at 04:37 PM | Comments (5)

Gee, I'm flattered.

Your Famous Blogger Twin is Wil Wheaton
You're a friendly, funny guy (or girl) next door With more than a touch of geekiness
Posted by Kat at 01:12 PM

July 17, 2005

Say hello to Kismet.

So, umm, something followed me home from Vermont:

Meet Kismet. Isn't she pretty? She's an Ashford Traditional in a lovely shade of cherry. Her last place of residence was a consignment shop in Brattleboro, Vermont called Twice Upon a Time. I was alerted to her presence there by my friend Judy (who should really have a blog). I'd simply asked for wheel-selection advice, but she just happened to have seen this wheel in this shop and just happened to know I was going to Vermont this weekend. The shop was barely out of our way. I was terrified that the wheel would sell before we get there. It didn't. I am now a spinner. See why her name is Kismet?

But let's start at the beginning. This weekend my boyfriend and I headed to SolarFest in Tinmouth, VT. Last year we'd gone for the day; this year we decided to go for the weekend and camp.

On the way, we stopped at our now-traditional going-to-SolarFest breakfast place:

That's The Works Cafe in Keene, NH. Yummy bagels and coffee.

At SolarFest, my boyfriend's gas-electric hybrid Prius, James, was reunited with several of his brothers and sisters. (Lots of hybrids at a renewable energy festival: shocking, no?) Here he is hanging out with two of them. He's the blue one in the back.


Saturday afternoon, we went to a few somewhat-interesting lectures, saw some really interesting displays and vendors, and ate yummy natural food. Then it started raining. The keynote speaker was moved to a tent, but halfway through it started raining so hard that we couldn't hear him at all. But since it was pouring, we were pretty much stuck. When the rain stopped, we put up our tent:

It was hot and wet and gross, and the land was uneven and buggy and it was a generally icky experience. We wandered the fair a bit more, but were both kind of grump and a little "eh, whatever" about the whole thing. Instead of staying there trying to convince ourselves to be interested and probably annoying ourselves and each other in the process, we decided to leave for a while. We got in the (blessedly air conditioned) car and drove to Rutland, the nearest sizable town. When we saw this sign, I knew things would be okay:

No, not the Comfort Inn, although that was the contingency plan... I mean the one showing that Annie's Book Stop and Ben and Jerry's were together, in one building. We bought books and ate ice cream and headed back to SolarFest feeling much better. We decided to skip the nighttime music and bonfire (we could hear the music from the tent anyway) and holed up in our tent to read and sleep. In the morning, we headed back to Rutland for breakfast, and then, refreshed, got back into the SolarFest mood. jaQ did an interview ('cause he's a reporter now!) and we bought stuff. I now have a solar battery charger, a market basket from Kenya, handmade Vermont soap, a "Peace" bumper sticker, and a batik kerchief.

Broadripple was my companion for the weekend:

Not bad for a few days of off-and-on knitting while in the car, listening to lectures, etc. I saw one other knitter but didn't really talk to her. (It was during a lecture.)

This afternoon we headed home. Here's Kismet in the car, lounging against my pillow:

I'm sure I'll have lots of exciting spinning photos for you soon. But for now, I'm really rather busy:

Posted by Kat at 08:28 PM | Comments (5)

July 16, 2005

Well, I got it...

Just got home with my copy of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I painted faces for two and a half hours, then waited around for half an hour, got in line a little after midnight (I was in the second batch called to the line), and left the store by 12:15. Not bad at all.

We are off to SolarFest in the morning. See you Sunday!

Posted by Kat at 01:21 AM

July 14, 2005

My boyfriend is so cool.

Look! It's a cover story! In addition to his normal weekly column! (This is in a local paper newsweekly, the Hippo. They put some of the stories online as well.)

It's his first cover story. I'm so pround of him. :-)

Posted by Kat at 01:23 PM | Comments (1)

July 12, 2005

A remarkable feat of engineering

Look what joined the family today (and please overlook the rest of my messy kitchen):

My very own umbrella swift and ball winder. It's so cool. I'd used them before but never much, and I never really had a chance to see how impressive they are as tools. It just seems like magic. I am beyond excited. It has already become a "how did I ever live without this?" sort of thing. And, as I told my boyfriend, I'm sure it will do wonders for our relationship--no more making him hold yarn, making him wait while I finish winding something, etc. So between that and the interesting construction, he is happy about this too.

I was too excited to find a memory card for the camera before the first ball I wound, but here it is:

I was a little calmer by the second one, so here are some action shots:

ready to go

in the middle

all done

And here's what I did tonight, in about two hours, while doing homework and laundry and cooking dinner:

Seriously. How did I ever manage without this?

Posted by Kat at 11:43 PM | Comments (3)

July 11, 2005

Halfway done!

No, not with a knitting project. But as of tonight, I am halfway through my summer class. Woohoo!

Posted by Kat at 11:35 PM

July 10, 2005

Well, I'll be busy...

So the projects you saw last time are coming along. They're all a little bigger than they were then. I promise. But there's really not enough done on any one of them to really make an interesting picture. So let's look at some new stuff, eh?

Friday night I went to Borders:

You can see I was in a knitting frame of mind. I came home with Scarf Style, Folk Vests, The Knitting Way, and the new issue of Piecework. (See? Everything's all about lace this summer.) And yes, that's Gilmore Girls - The Complete Second Season you see there (something to watch while knitting, of course) as well as Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home because I clearly need more cookbooks.

Then on Saturday I went to the yarn store. Scarf Style inspired me, so we have some Classic Elite Attitude for Ruffles, because Lauren's was just so cute. Not the yarn called for, but I liked the colors of this one better, plus it was on sale!

And also some Berroco Glace for Blue Collar (although, obviously, mine will be Purple Collar).

And I saw Cascade Fixation for the first time, so of course I had to pick some up for Broadripple Socks.

But the big exciting find of the day was this handpainted raw silk from Blue Heron Yarns, destined to become a Baltic Sea Stole for my aunt for Christmas.

Gorgeous, no?

Posted by Kat at 07:48 PM | Comments (2)

July 08, 2005


I was thinking about this anyway, and then Lauren asked about the Berkshires, so...

What I Miss Most Right Now About My Freaky Little College in the Berkshires:

- The gorgeous campus.

- The Community Garden. I was working on campus the summer it got started, and it was great... they'd put whatever happened to be ready out on a table, and members of the community could take what they wanted and leave what they thought appropriate. And it was organic. I'm planning on making extensive use of farmers' markets and farmstands this summer, but still, it's not the same.

- The library. Great place to work, marvelous group of people.

- The area restaurants... breakfast at Martin's, pizza at Baba Louie's, ice cream at Bev's, burritos at La Choza, cheesecake at Cheesecake Charlie's, etc.

- Fabulous downtowns with nifty independent stores in Great Barrington and Stockbridge. Just drive up Route 7... it's great. Including, of course, Wonderful Things, my then-LYS.

- The faculty. On the whole, a fascinating, fun group of people. I'm so spoiled for any other higher ed places.

- Same with the classes, classmates, and discussions. The few times I've tried to start a Simon's Rock-like discussion in grad school, I've been immediately shot down or just looked at like I'm insane.

- The freedom to do really interesting academic projects and design my own course of study.

- The liberal atmosphere, although I'd like that more now than I did then.

To keep some perspective, some things I do not miss:
- The tourist traffic
- The intellectual elitism
- The dining hall food (although I do miss dining hall conversations)

Posted by Kat at 03:58 PM

July 07, 2005

A gnat, I tell you.

So recently I seem to have about the attention span of a gnat. This has been happening in most areas of my life, but the results seem to be most pronounced in my knitting. (Because at work, say, I just get less work done when I can't focus.) Startitis barely begins to describe it.

Let's ignore for the moment the fact that I have at least a dozen UFOs around. I've been sucked into the Summer of Lace, and I'm planning to start a Leaf Lace Shawl ASAP, but the yarn is taking forever to wind into a ball. (I'm really bad at that. I always end up with tangles.) So in the meantime, as I'd mentioned earlier, I had an extra hank of Silky Wool, so I started Branching Out:

Fun pattern, although I'm not memorizing it quite as quickly as I'd expected. It's great to see how quickly it shapes up, though.

But apparently working on one scarf in the middle of summer wasn't enough. I was reading various archives, and mamacate mentioned (and, more importantly, pictured) the Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf. The idea seemed so intriguing that I had to find stash yarn and start it immediately:

But by today I was getting into a more socklike mood, and Lauren mentioned (again, in archives) the Blueberry Waffle Socks. I thought they'd make great slipper sock sort of things to wear around the house in the winter. So of course I had to cast on as soon as I got home:

Mine are more grape than blueberry, though, and made out of Sirdar Snuggly. Not sure how it'll hold up, but it's been sitting in the stash for years so even if they don't last forever, it's all good.

And then, of course, there's the Clove Stitch Shawl that's been languishing half-done for a while. I am under the delusion that I'll finish this to wear to SolarFest next weekend. Here's how it is so far:

And we won't even discuss the baby blanket or the placemats or...

Posted by Kat at 09:58 PM | Comments (2)


Real post later, but I just wanted to say that my thoughts are with those in London and all affected. See Stephanie for some great quotes. And see Northern Sun (which I just discovered today) for some great bumper stickers and other peace-promoting items.

Posted by Kat at 10:30 AM

July 06, 2005

Christmas in July

(I know, I know, I should stop with the weird holiday subject lines. Sorry.)

So I've been catching up on the archives of some new-to-me knitblogs (mamacate is a new favorite), and seeing all the lovely things they made for the holidays last year, and of course it's starting. I'm thinking, "Hmm, maybe this can be the year when I give everyone handmade gifts." Argh. We all know where this road leads. I guess it's better than the alternative, though: for the past few years I've told myself "No Christmas deadlines!" and then been powerless to resist later on, waaay too late to actually get things done. So. This year, I will plan.

Note: If you are expecting a holiday gift from me, you might not want to read any further.

1. Immediate family: Mom's the easiest (as she, you know, actually wears things made out of wool on a regular basis). Last year, I started the Orenburg-style Scarf from the Interweave Staff Scarves Fall 2004 feature (found here--scroll down for a link to the PDF). It's the pink lacy one, although I'm doing it in a dark red as that's more my mom's color. If I remember correctly, I did the start/border and one pattern repeat. I'll have to pull it out and check.

For my brother, I'm planning a hat and scarf in his school football colors. Hopefully it won't be too embarrassing and he'll actually be able to wear it. (He's 15, so this sort of thing seems rather hit-or-miss.) Dad is the hardest of this group. He doesn't really wear sweaters or scarves, nothing but plain cotton socks, and would rather have insulated L.L. Bean type gloves. He does like those warm headband things that go over the ears, so maybe I'll try that, but it seems small. Hmm. Maybe fingerless mitts to match; they could even go under regular gloves to keep his wrists warm.

2. Boyfriend: Here we get into dangerous sweater curse territory. Hmm. We usually exchange a few gifts, so I'll probably knit his main gift and also buy a few things. I've already done socks and a few scarves, so I'm thinking a vest. (That's, um, not quite a sweater, right?) He really likes vests, anyway. Next time I'm at the bookstore I'll take a look through Folk Vests and see if I can find something more "him" than the traditional argyle or cables.

3. Less immediate family: grandparents, aunt, godmother and her mother and sister. (There are others, of course, but those are the ones I definitely want things for.) Grandparents live in Florida, which is a bit tough. I'm thinking a light lacy wrap for my grandmother for when air conditioning is too cold, but I have NO ideas for my grandfather. He's in a motorized chair thing (not quite a wheelchair... you know what I mean) so maybe some sort of bag or something for that? Help??

Aunt: maybe a shawl--I love to knit them, and she's one of the few people I know who actually wears them. Godmother: I'm picturing big fuzzy mittens with some sort of snowman motif (she collects snowmen). Hmm. Her mom: I gave her a scarf last year, so hmm, maybe a lap/couch blanket if I have time. (I was thinking slipper socks, but I realized I have no idea how big her feet are.) Her sister: I'm picturing a "fashion" scarf, maybe something silver and shiny, but soft.

4. Other important people. Boyfriend's parents: for Mom I'm thinking maybe a horseshoe (also known as fishtail) lace scarf, because she likes horses. Hmm. She knits a lot but I've never seen her knit lace. Not sure if that's because she doesn't like knitting it or doesn't like wearing it. For Dad... argh. Dads are hard. Probably the same sort of headband/fingerless mitt set as for my dad. For my roommate: some sort of gray cabled hat/scarf set. Have yet to find a pattern.

5. Important non-people: I figure I'll make a bunch of toys for the cats and dogs in the family. Patterns appreciated, especially for dogs. I'd also like to make something for my boyfriend's new car, but... hmm. What do you knit for a car?

6. Others: I'll make up a bunch of hats and scarves of various sorts to be given as necessary (more distant relatives, friends, gift swaps, etc.).

Whew! I think that covers it! Sorry so long. We'll see how much I actually manage to do... At least I'm starting the madness early this year, and confining it to mostly small projects. That's theoretically an improvement.

Posted by Kat at 09:53 AM | Comments (2)

July 04, 2005

Happy . . . Valentine's Day?

Thanks to various July 4th weekend car trips, family gatherings, and drive-in movies, I've finally finished the scarf that was supposed to be my boyfriend's Valentine's Day gift. He kindly volunteered to model it even though it was about eighty degrees in my apartment at the time:


I wanted to get a close up as well, but the camera batteries gave out after that first one. Maybe later. (That's also why it isn't necessarily the most flattering picture in the universe--no opportunity for retakes.) For the curious: two skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in a warm slightly purply brown. I picked it because my boyfriend requested a scarf that would not get little fuzzy hairs in his nose and mouth. This yarn had about the smallest halo I could find in something still somewhat wooly. I love love love this yarn. It's so soft and such a joy to work with. The pattern is a simple farrow rib (multiple of three, k2p1 on each row)--interesting texture but sufficiently "manly."

I bought three skeins to be sure I'd have enough, but the scarf only took two. And guess what happens to call for one skein of Silky Wool? So, um, guess what I'm knitting now?

Posted by Kat at 10:57 PM | Comments (1)

July 01, 2005

Review: Pride and Prescience by Carrie Bebris

First of all, let's get this out of the way: I am a Jane Austen fan. If you don't like Jane Austen, you probably won't like this book. That said, I am not a Jane Austen fanatic. I don't much mind when interpretations stray a bit from the canon. (I don't even mind Keira Knightley as Elizabeth. In fact, I'm rather looking forward to it.) If you are an Austen purist, you probably won't like this much either.

Now that we've established where I stand on such important issues, I can get to the point: Pride and Prescience is easily one of the best Austen pastiches I've read. The best thing was the characterization: it seemed to be spot on, especially that of Darcy. It provides a nice look at Elizabeth and Darcy's relationship in their first few weeks of marriage, but there's nothing graphic that throws the reader out of the Austenlike tone. (There is one point when Darcy asks Elizabeth to leave her hair unbound as she's getting ready for bed, and oh. My. Goodness. Be still, my heart.)

The mystery itself was decent. Not great, as "serious" mysteries go, but certainly not the worst I've read. The one slight problem I had with the book was the paranormal aspect. It was well done, but... I think it just surprised me. I kept thinking there was going to be some "explanation" of the paranormal events, but there wasn't. I mean, the mystery was solved, but there wasn't any "oh, it just seemed like magic because of such-and-such." So if you don't like paranormal mysteries (perhaps in the tradition of the Gothic novels Austen's characters read), you might not like this book. With that caveat, though, I'd definitely recommend it to Austen or Regency fans who like a good sense of humor and some playfulness of plot.

Posted by Kat at 03:24 PM

Back on track

Happy July! July is my birth month, and halfway through the year, so I tend to use it to start things (or start over, as the case may be). My main "things" for this July are keeping track of my reading and knitting (I was really good about this for a few years, at least with the reading, but then just stopped) and resurrecting this blog. So, hopefully, you'll be seeing more from me soon.

A few reasons why I stopped blogging, and how I'm going to fix them:
1. I tend to get very "I'll post such-and-such every so many days.." etc. And when I can't live up to my (too high) expectations, I figure it's just not worth it and stop. Well, no more of that. I'll try to post at least a few times a week, and we'll leave it at that.
2. I feel like every entry needs pictures. And this just isn't practical. It takes much more time, and means I'd never be able to post from work or most other places. So. I will try for pictures at least once a week. Aren't you proud of how un-perfectionisty I'm (trying to) be(ing)?
3. Spam comments. As mentioned below, I'm closing the comments on older entries (anything before May at this point) while I work on a better solution.

All that said... hi! I've missed you! Anyone still out there?

Posted by Kat at 08:48 AM | Comments (2)

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