Tuesday, May 30, 2006

It's been a few days

Sorry it's been more than a few days since my last post. With the holiday weekend, I was out gallivanting with my husband. The weather is finally getting nice around here - so we took the opportunity to go for a bit of a drive and go hiking. I should have brought my camera to take a few pictures - it was just so incredibly beautiful.

Since my last post, I also participated in the undergraduate graduation. That was quite an experience! As a faculty member, I actually got to sit on the stage! I must say though that it was a little overrated because it was very hot from all of the lights and just exhausting. It's a good thing that the faculty had special ceremonial garb though - that way I wasn't mistaken for a student. A little funny thing happened - on our way marching to the stage, I was next to this other new faculty member who is also young - definitely under 30...and as we walked up, one of the parents said out loud, "It's so nice to see young faculty!". It just kind of made us laugh!

In knitting news, I picked up the stitches for my lace tee and am now working on the back. I've done about 25 rows but it's taking a while to make any kind of progress as I am on size 3 needles. Also, the grannies are coming along - I have 8 finished and hope to have 9 after today. Slow and steady.

I also received a package in the mail. I thought that the package was from my secret pal, but after some detective work, it turns out that it was from my secret sister. The secret sister swap ended about a month ago so I totally forgot about it, so thank you secret sister. So, check out what was inside:
A variety of lovely stitch markers and...

Four skeins of wool yarn from Dale of Norway - I think they're navy - although it's probably a little hard to tell from the picture. But, they're a very dark navy almost black. Regardless, very useful - I know I'll be able to use them in the not so distant future. So, thanks again!

I also received a postcard with this image from my one skein secret pal with a heads up about my skein on its way. It should be very interesting to see what arrives.

It's just been so fun checking the mail each day. Thanks to all of my pals!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I have 3 grannies!

3 granny squares that is! Yes, my yarn from knitpicks arrived on Monday, and I've started working on the granny square blanket. Here's a sample of 3 of the squares:

Aren't they just adorable? I love them and can't wait to see them all finished. Although that will be a while..the whole afghan is supposed to be 56 of these little (ok, not so little) granny squares. So, 3 down 53 to go! As I finished my first square, my husband was kind enough to remind me that if I do one a day, I'll be done in 2 months! Argh. He's probably right - but it was something else to hear it out loud. But, it'll be so cute when it finally is finished.

In case you're interested, the afghan is made using Wool of the Andes. Hyacinth is the main corner (on all outer borders). The other colors are: blueberry, hush, mulled wine, chambray, asparagus, violet, and tulip.

I also finished the lower border of the lacy tee:
It's blocking right now before I go ahead and pick up stitches and start the back. I can't wait. I'm really happy with how it's coming so far. The lace pattern is just so lovely.

Also, the second half of the ribbon purse is finished - I just need to put the two together.

In other news, my classes are finished! My exams are graded and the grades are in! I'm going to my first graduation as a faculty member tomorrow so that should be kind of a kick. Now with the semester behind me, I can get back to writing again and planning my courses for the fall.

My secret pals have also been hard at work. Yesterday, I received a little package in the mail from my sp8 pal. Here's what was in it:

That's a handmade card that you're looking at - with the prettiest little stitch markers. Unfortunately, one of the stitch markers did not fair well in the mail and broke - but I just love them! Thank you secret pal - I am just overwelmed!

Speaking of secret pals, a package for my secret pal will go out today - and I can't wait to hear how she likes it!

Friday, May 19, 2006

I have the best secret pals!

I just want to start my post off today with a big thanks to both of my awesome secret pals. Thanks so much for your comments (and also to the rest of you who have also left comments in the past few days). It makes me feel so loved! In fact, you wouldn't believe what arrived in the mail yesterday:

Yes, I got the most darling card from my sp8 secret pal just saying that she was thinking of me. It totally brightened my day. So, thank you secret pal!

Thank you also to my one skein secret pal for your detailed info on Charleston. I have been there once before - my parents actually recently bought a house down there to escape the bad winters. But, there's plenty that I still haven't seen - and I definitely plan on checking out the festival - even if I will only be there for a few days.

In knitting news, I'm making good progress on the lacy tee - as of now, I have about 10 pattern repeats down - 8 more to go..and then the hardest part of the project is over (at least it seems that way from briefly glancing over the instructions). I've really been enjoying working on it - the lace pattern is really beautiful.

I'm still waiting on my knitpicks order so that I can start my crocheted afghan...but I've been going into a little crochet withdrawl...so I couldn't help myself. After looking through Crochet Bags! by Candi Jensen which I have been fortunate enough to have been able to borrow from the library (I know I mentioned this before - but I love love love the library for knitting and crochet books - the public library is just the greatest invention for us knitters and crocheters because otherwise, I'd be so in debt from all the books I would have bought). Anyway, there are a number of really cute bags in the book - and I spotted this quick one skeined project for a little change purse made with ribbon yarn of all things:
So, I couldn't help myself...I popped into a lys and bought a skein of ribbon yarn..and so far have finished one side of the little purse.
The good news is that the purse uses so little yarn that I'll probably have enough for at least 1 or 2 more...so I'm thinking one might end up going to one of my secret pals. We shall see!!

In non-knitting news, I've been grading papers and exams like crazy. One of my classes had their final yesterday - the grades are posted...and no complaints which is always a good thing. I'll tell you - I'll be so happy when my first year teaching is actually over. I have so much writing to do - and actually prep for one of my classes in the fall!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

My bag is complete!

Very exciting news today! I finished the fat bottom bag. Here's the finished product:
What do you think? I'm personally thrilled with the outcome. Notice the flower??!! Yes, I crocheted that myself too!! I really really love the purse - I can't wait to take it for a walk in the real world! Plus, the whole thing was rather painless and fun to make.

By the way, no need to be alarmed...that black and white blob in the top right corner is just my other cat, Sam. They are both very nosy when it comes to my knitting.

So, now that that's finished...I ordered some yarn from knitpicks because I want to do a crocheted afghan...something very retro - I'm thinking granny squares. It should be fun. I just can't wait for my yarn to get here. Plus, I wanted something super portable because I'll be going on a little road trip in a few weeks with my parents to Charleston so I want to bring projects that will be easy to bring - and squares are just the thing.

In terms of knitting news (yes, I still do knit, silly) - I've been making decent progress on the lacy tee. So far, I've gotten through 3 pattern repeats of the lace pattern for the bottom edge:

I'm definitely enjoying this project more than the vintage short-sleeved. For one thing, every other row is a purl row which makes things a little easier. Anyway, I'm pleased with it so far. I think it'll really be beautiful when it's done.

In other news, I'm going to my graduation tomorrow!! Well, I officially defended my Ph.D. in July and got my degree in October - but I didn't get to participate in any formal ceremony...so tomorrow is the formal commencement. I may already be a professor but nothing was about to keep me away from commencement. I worked very hard to march and get hooded!!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A new camera!

I had intended to post sooner, but there were a few things that got in my way this week. For one, classes were wrapping up. As of now, my classes are over for the semester - I still have exams though and tons of papers to grade! But, at least no more lecturing for me until the fall! So, anyway, I had a variety of loose ends to tie up this week.

Also, my husband has been on vacation which has left little time for blogging. Oh - and we had the great misfortune of both coming down with a cold this week. We definitely caught the same bug - we had the same exact symptoms at the same time.

I do have good news though - we actually bought a digital camera! After doing a lot of research on the matter, we finally made our decision. This is great news because my photos should be a lot better than before! For example, look at this great picture of my cat, Frodo (hint: sarcasm)!

Doesn't he look possessed??!! I honestly don't know quite what happened here. He looks good but his eyes look so strange - which is such a shame because he's such a beauty. Next time maybe I'll try taking the picture during the day time.

But, seriously, the camera has already been taking some much improved pictures of my projects, and that's the important thing! The crocheted fat-bottom bag is almost finished - I just need to work on the handle flaps..and then get myself a handle! But, I took 2 different pictures so that you can get a sense of what it looks like:

It's coming along quite nicely I must say! I took a picture of the bag folded up to appromixate what it will actually look like when it's finished.

I also started working on a guage swatch for the lacy tee. I'm excited to get to work on that one - the mercerized cotton is just so lovely.

So, I should really run - but I thought I'd give a shout out to my two secret pals! It was great getting emails from you this week, and I'm looking forward to getting to know you over the next couple of months.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

More adventures in crochet

So, I finished the striped scarf that I mentioned previously. Here it is:
It only took me a few days - everything goes so much faster in crochet. I really like the color pattern - although it was a little different than the color pattern pictured in the book. I'm thinking I might send it over eventually as a gift for my secret pal..but we shall see.

That reminds me, I got the contact information for me secret pal. It's going to be a fun-filled next few months.

So, with the scarf finished, I started working on the fat bottom bag from the Happy Hooker. Here's the picture from the book:

I'm doing mine in blue though, and I think I'll crochet a little flower rather than get a fake plastic flower pin. So far, it's going well - once I figured out that I needed to download the errata because there was an error in the first row!

I also got a new crochet book from amazon while I was picking up a little something as the last gift for my secret sister (hey, I wanted to get free shipping - ok, poor excuse). Here's the book:

They have some really cute patterns listed that I'm really excited to make. But, that won't happen until I finish a few things first.

In other news, classes are almost over and I'll really looking forward to having a slightly slower pace. I can't believe that my first year as a professor is almost over. It's been quite an adventure...but a successful adventure at that so far.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Secret Pal Questionnaire

So, I should really be focusing on grading papers right now, but I thought I'd procrastinate instead especially since there happens to be construction and lots of loud drilling right by my window! No, instead I thought I'd post my SP8 questionnaire. Here it is:

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
I've been having some traumatic experiences lately with cheaper fibers. Specifically, I'm using Paton yarn that my striped scarf pattern called for and while it is soft due to the acrylic - it keeps splitting!! So, I really do prefer natural fibers overall: wool, mohair, cashmere, cotton, etc. I really don't like the look of novelty yarns - anything furry or sparkely turns me off.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
The packaging it came with - if it came with packaging and in a Ziploc bag. So sad! I'd actually like to get a case for my crochet hooks soon because not having a holder for them has become an increasing problem.

3. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
I've been knitting for about 6 months so I'm a relatively new knitter, but given the projects I've been working on, I think I'm intermediate...I'm also adventurous..so if a pattern uses a new technique, I'm happy to learn and give it a try. I just learned (literally - as in, last week) to crochet so I'm still a beginner with that. But, I love it and am also up for any challenges.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
Yes! My amazon wish list is: here. It's just books though - there are plenty of other knitting related items that I want but that amazon doesn't sell.

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.)
I like Vanilla a lot - but the weather is getting a little warm for that. So, in the summer months I prefer fruit scents and also green tea scented items.

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?
Chocolate of any kind is good - very good but also very bad! I especially love white chocolate.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I don't spin - the only other fiber craft is crochet..although I used to embroider when I was much younger. I also love to cook (that's DIY, right??!!).

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 mostly Indie type rock - Belle and Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand, and Beck have been some of my recent favorites..but I also like a little Classic 80s pop - reminds me of my childhood!!

9. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand?
I really like blues and purples and pinks - but am really open to anything.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I'm very happily married - in August it will be five years! I can't believe it. I have 2 cats: Frodo and Sam (can you tell that we like The Lord of the Rings?) that I love very much. No kids - probably not until tenure or around then.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?
I do wear scarves with my coats and jackets - although I don't know how much longer with the warmer weather coming. Hats and mittens I also wear - but not any longer. I have a few ponchos that I will sometimes wear - but I feel that they don't always look so good on me.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I love knitting sweaters - even if they take a while...it's very gratifying to wear something you've made.

13. What are you knitting right now?
Well, I'm working on the Airy scarf for Mother's Day. After that, I bought this pattern from Patternworks:
Pretty right? So, I'll be working on that. I'm also working on my crocheted striped scarf and will probably pick a crocheted bag to do next before moving onto something more challenging.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
Circular needles - I'm currently hooked on Addis. For crochet, I prefer metal/aluminum hooks

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?
Nope - I wind my own with a lot of "help" from my two cats

17. How did you learn to knit?
I took some private lessons that we being offerred (very cheaply) at this craft store near my apartment. Anything more advanced has come from books or www.knittinghelp.com

18. How old is your oldest UFO?
Not so old because I haven't been knitting that long..but both my vintage sweater and socks are on the backburner. I think they've been there since March or so.

19. What is your favorite holiday?
I don't celebrate Christmas - but I love the Christmas season. Everyone is generally so happy and everything looks so beautiful with the decorations. But, I love Thanksgiving - my husband and I hosted our first Thanksgiving and it was so fun because we love cooking.

20. Is there anything that you collect?
Hmmm - I don't think so.

21. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?
Well, you can see my Amazon list for the books. I love Rowan designs - but since Kim Hargreaves left (I love her designs), I haven't liked their more recent things as much. I am planning on subscribing to Interweave Knits though - after knitting the shrug from the spring issue, I think it'll be worth it to have a subscription. I just haven't gotten around to it.

22. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?
Eventually, I want to get to Intarsia.

23. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?
My first socks are on the backburner for now...but I'm a size 6 1/2 or 7.

24. When is your birthday? (mm/dd)
August 24th (08/24)

Phew! That's it for now - I've really got to get back to that grading!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Am I now thrown out of the club?

First, I apologize that it's been a few days since I've posted. With the end of the semester upon me, Prof. Knitwit has been up to her eyeballs. I'm hoping that I'll have more time for blogging once classes finally finish - May 9th. Counting the days! That's not to say that I won't be busy during the summer. For those of you not involved in academia, no classes does not mean vacation. All it means is exactly that - no classes...but I will still be working on research, writing papers and grants and preparing my courses for Fall. But, not having classes is one less thing to deal with.

So, as promised, I have some pictures to show you of the Streakers Shrug.

Here's a front view of the shrug. Note the kitty in the upper left corner

Here's a side view - again curious kitty on the side.

Did I mention how much I love this shrug? I loved knitting it and I love wearing it even more. When I'm not wearing work clothes and not dying of heat in my apartment that still doesn't have A/C, I'm wearing the shrug. It's absolutely my favorite piece that I've knitted so far.

I also have something else to report. I love crocheting. I had my second and final crochet class last Friday, and I love it. It's just so much easier and faster than knitting. So, I've recently been crocheting more than knitting. Hence the title of my entry - does this mean that I'm thrown out of the knitting club? Of course I'm still knitting - I'm actually working on a scarf for my mom for Mother's Day (The Airy Scarf from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts) - but I've been having so much fun with crochet. So much fun in fact, that I've finished my first scarf. I finished my first scarf in only a few hours - compared to about a week that it took me to complete my first knitted scarf. So, here's my first crochet project...it's the One Skein Scarf from Stoller's Happy Hooker Crochet Book .

So cute right? It's bright blue - I don't know if you can tell. I'm also in the process of working on another crochet scarf from Hooked on Crochet by Candi Jensen. I recently picked up the book and just love it.

So, why the shame? Why should I need to feel as if I'm need to explain away my love for crochet? What is it about this knitting vs. crochet rivalry? Why can't we all just get along?

In other news, I was contacted again about SP8 - so excited!!