Sunday, July 30, 2006

And now back to our regularly scheduled program...

So, the weekend is coming to a close. DH is on call in the hospital today so I have a few spare moments to update my blog.

I've had a pretty productive weekend! In terms of knitting and crochet, a friend of mine came over on Friday and we got to knit together - and yesterday I also got in some quality knitting time so I've made some good progress. On the Matilda Jane front, I finished all of the Raglan increases and am currently working on the body. Here's the progress so far:
I've marked where the sleeves will eventually go so that you have a better sense of what you're looking at - otherwise, I feel that it's a little non-descript. Also, know that the light lavender is the neckline. This is definitely the hardest project I've worked on so far. Specifically, this was the first time that I ever worked short rows and also paired lifted increases. Those raglan increases really gave me a hard time...well, I just wasn't sure that they actually looked right...that is, until many rows in where I could see the point of having those raglan increases look the way that they do - and now I really like them. So, a few more skills under my belt! I've got a few more rows of mindless stockinette to go and then onto the bust shaping.

I've also made some more progress with the granny square afghan. I have now sewn up all the squares that I've crocheted. A total of 42 sewn up! Hooray!42 grannies
So, hopefully this picture gives you a sense of how large the afghan is. That's a queen size bed that it's sitting on. So, I still can't decide whether I should stop at 49 squares or go all the way to 56. I really think it's going to come down to how much yarn I have. I know I have enough for 49..but 56? Not so sure!

I haven't provided an update on my professorly duties in a while also. So, I sent over the second paper that I was working on this summer to my graduate advisor (because she's also on the paper). I haven't heard from her yet - but I'm glad that it's off my desk for now...and so I started paper number 3. My goal is to have this finished before school starts on the 22nd. Lofty goal - but I think I can do it. The lab class has also been coming along. The lab part itself is completely done - I'm meeting with the lab TAs this week to go through the experiments with them...and I've also been working on the lectures (this course is a BIG job). So, I don't think I'll have all the lectures written before school starts, but I'm hoping to have a very good head start!

Anyway, I'm going to head back to my knitting - I haven't gotten in any today since I've been busy with work and errands! Have a great start to the week!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

100 Things About Me

I know I'm a little behind the curve on this one, but I thought I'd take the time to tell you 100 things about myself! Here they are:

1. I am an only child.

2. I am left-handed.

3. Growing up, I spent time in 6 different schools.

4. I’ve lived in New York (Long Island & NYC), Connecticut (two different towns), and London(twice)

5. Because I learned how to speak in England, I even had an English accent!

6. It’s long gone now.

7. I have been to England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Israel, and Canada.

8. My next big trip to a new country will be to Spain.

9. I own two British Shorthair cats named Frodo and Sam.

10. Yes, I’m a little obsessed with the Lord of the Rings.

11. I’ve seen the movies so many times that I scare my husband from time to time.

12. It’s always been a dream of mine to go to Australia – and while I’m there I want to go to New Zealand and get the official Lord of the Rings tour.

13. When I was younger, I was very allergic to cats.

14. This really broke my heart because I adored them and wanted to own a cat or two more than anything.

15. Luckily, I outgrew my allergies to animals.

16. But, I’m still allergic to a ton of stuff and will take prescription medicine for it if it gets really bad.

17. I also managed to outgrow the asthma that I had as a child.

18. I have high cholesterol even though I watch my diet and exercise regularly.

19. When I was younger, I used to ride horses.

20. I even competed in horse shows and won a few ribbons.

21. I also went to horseback riding camp for 3 years.

22. I had to stop horseback riding when high school became too demanding.

23. I also stopped because I was at a point where if I wanted to take my riding to the next level, I really needed to own a horse, but my family couldn’t afford it at the time.

24. I also used to play the flute for about 5 years.

25. When I was at my best, I practiced for an hour a day.

26. But, again – I stopped in high school when I didn’t have the time for that.

27. So, instead I sang in the school chorus which I enjoyed very much.

28. If you couldn’t already tell, I went to a very competitive prep school.

29. I attribute a lot of my current success to the high quality education I received in private school.

30. Even more so than college or grad school.

31. However, I do believe that more than anything, a top college opens many doors for you.

32. I also used to do a lot of black and white photography in high school.

33. I haven’t had the time to do that in a while though.

34. When I went to college, I sang in an a cappella group.

35. We would go on tour a lot and performed all over the country and the world.

36. It was an amazing experience but totally took over my life.

37. It left me with very little time left over to do anything but my school work.

38. However, I did make time to meet my husband in college.

39. He swept me off my feet at the very young age of 19

40. Okay, it was about a week before my 20th birthday but I love to tease him that he dated me as a teenager.

41. He was also a young thing of only 23.

42. We met through a dating service at a coffeehouse.

43. It was actually the coffeehouse on which the coffeehouse on Friends was based.

44. I never intended to marry someone from a dating service like this.

45. We got married on August 5, 2001.

46. We had a very traditional orthodox Jewish wedding.

47. My parents became very religious when I was a teenager.

48. I am not very religious though.

49. In fact, I don’t really think that God exists.

50. But, I do believe that there is a universal need to believe in some form of God or higher being.

51. I am very much a liberal democrat.

52. I’m also proud to be a liberal – both socially and fiscally.

53. I managed to complete my Ph.D in four years.

54. It was the hardest four years of my life.

55. However, I managed to land my dream job so it was all worth it.

56. I teach three courses each semester.

57. I also run my own lab with about 8 students.

58. I take great pride in my role as a professor and know that I am a very good teacher.

59. My students love me NOT because I’m an easy grader (because I’m definitely not) but because I really devote every aspect of my self to them.

60. It’s amazing that I can make time for knitting – but I do.

61. I also try to make time for exercise at least four times per week.

62. I learned how to knit in October 2005.

63. I fell in love with knitting immediately and became very obsessed very quickly.

64. I could very easily spend hours in a knitting store – especially one with knitting books and magazines.

65. Because of Debbie Stoller’s Happy Hooker book, I decided I needed to also learn how to crochet in April 2006.

66. I love both knitting and crochet equally – really I do. I can’t pick a favorite because they each have their strengths and weaknesses.

67. My guilty pleasure is watching re-runs of Sex and the City on HBO on demand while knitting and crochet.

68. I don’t care that I’ve seen each episode many times over.

69. I also have a guilty pleasure for playing video games.

70. When I was younger, I used to have sleepover parties where we would play Nintendo all night long.

71. When I was a kid, I used to dream of going to the Nintendo championships.

72. My husband and I play different installments of the Legend of Zelda series together where I will do the gameplay and he will be the navigator using a walkthrough guide.

73. I promise you – we’re not dorks.

74. I prefer playing games by Nintendo because I think that the Playstation and Xbox are a little too “serious” and have taken a lot of the fun out of video game playing.

75. I used to work as a Weight Watchers leader after I lost about 20 pounds with them.

76. I gained some of it back.

77. I have a strong genetic disposition to obesity – both my parents are obese and so were 3 out of 4 grandparents.

78. However, I am strongly committed to NOT following in their footsteps.

79. I was actually very close to being featured in Weight Watchers magazine; however, I figured that it wouldn’t be very “professorly” to be featured in the magazine in a bikini!

80. They were very disappointed because I was their first choice.

81. I was also recently approached to be in a Firm informercial because their videotapes helped me lose my weight.

82. I also declined the invitation.

83. I also worked once as an intern for a very large investment firm after my senior year in high school.

84. I took that as an opportunity to learn that I am not interested in finance – at all.

85. My first job was as a babysitter when I was a teenager.

86. Other than that, I’ve just been a student.

87. I was a tour guide in college for a very short period of time though.

88. Although I have been a tour guide, performed in a singing group, and get in front of large groups of students to lecture everyday, I am actually a very quiet and shy person.

89. My students don’t believe me when I tell them this.

90. I am also very obsessed with being on time.

91. I get very annoyed/nervous/upset when I am running late.

92. I love cooking and going to good restaurants with my husband.

93. We cooked our first Thanksgiving for our family in 2005.

94. It was a huge success – I don’t think our families thought we would be able to do it.

95. We planned the menu for at least one month in advance – and even had a few trial runs.

96. My uncle is a true gourmand, yet we even managed to impress him.

97. We’re planning on hosting Thanksgiving every year now.

98. My favorite food of all time is macaroni and cheese – in all forms – from the cheapy kind in the blue box to the gourmet variety in a restaurant.

99. I also love chocolate in all forms as well – but doesn’t everybody?

100. I can’t believe that I managed to complete 100 different facts about myself!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Oooh! Knitting progess!

As promised last time, I have photographs of the finished Lace Tee to share! I finished all of the crochet edging on Wednesday night, blocked her, and then even wore her out on the town! Well, actually I wore her to work - nothing too glamorous...but you get the idea! So, I have a few shots to share. Here's the requisite "FO on the table" shot:
It's really amazing what a little blocking will do. The stitches look way more even than before. Ok, so how about on a human being...and by human being, I mean me!
So, there she is in all of her glory! Now, it certainly fits in all the areas that it needs to - except it's a little wide in the shoulders and neck. If I'm not paying attention, one of the sides will drop down past my shoulders - think '80s fashion. But, it's not too terrible. The main thing is that it is certainly wearable and looks pretty good, if I do say so! When I wore it out, I didn't have any weird "what is she wearing" type stares - so I guess that's a good sign! So, another object finished!

Since I finished up with that, I started working on Matilda Jane - and I've finished the lace neckband. It actually is pretty long! I could barely get the whole thing on camera:

But, you can't really see what's going on there so here's a closeup of the stitch detail:

Much better! I think it really looks nice - so now I've got to pick up the stitches on the straight end and start working on the body of the sweater! How exciting! This pattern is going to be a bit of a challenge - I can tell already...however, the yarn - Rowan Wool Cotton - is a real treat to work with. As silly as it sounds, it makes me feel special just to work with it!

The afghan is also steadily coming along - 42 squares are in the can - I'll be spending the next few days sewing them up and adding them to the 28 that are already together. After that, I'll get a better sense of whether we're stopping at 49 squares or going all the way to 56!

Briefly, in school news, I've been making steady progress as well. The labs are done! Hooray! I also submitted an abstract to present at a conference in Spring 2007 - and I'm almost finished with some revisions on this 2nd paper - 2 out of 3 for the summer almost through!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sewing is Sew Not Fun...and Surprise, Part 2!

What have I been up to lately? Well, as far as knitting goes, seaming, seaming, and more seaming! I've been seaming up the granny square afghan so that I get a sense of how large it is before I go ahead and crochet 56 squares. So far, 28 squares have been sewn up - and the afghan is pretty big!!! I think that I might be able to get away with 49 squares instead of 56 - especially since I might run out of yarn by then!

I've also been sewing up the lace tee - and all of the seaming is done!! However, you'll have to wait for next time to see a picture because I need to put 2 rows of sc at the neckline and sleeves. I can tell you though that it's looking pretty good!!

I've also started Matilda Jane. No seaming here, thank goodness! I would have started on this one sooner; however, it took me not one, not two, not three, but FOUR needle changes to finally get gauge!! I'm apparently a very loose knitter - at least in comparison with Ysolda!

In other news, as you could tell from my title, I received another glorious surprise yesterday from my One Skein Pal. When I received the package from our doormen, the package was an interesting round shape - that's because when I opened it, look what was inside:
The loveliest little round box! Inside, I was greeted by a number of goodies. Yes, it's true - not just one skein - but many fun things inside!
So, starting at the top and moving downwards:
1. A wonderful note from my one skein pal

2. A package of notecards - so cute and will be so useful to write to all of my future secret pals!

3. A gorgeous fan - so very useful in this terribly hot weather - I think it was over 100 degrees today!

4. An orange thimble - I can't help but think that my one skein pal and I must be on the same wavelength since I've been doing so much sewing!!!

5. A packet of playing cards - so whimsical in bright green!

6. Candy! Candy! You're looking at lemonheads and laffy taffy in grape. So good I've already helped myself to one of the laffy taffies!

7. Beautiful handmade soaps! These smell so good - in brazil nut, honey almond, and verbena scents. Yum!

8. Last, but certainly not least - the skein - you're looking at a skein of Noro Iro (75% wool, 25% silk). I LOVE IT!!! The colors are so bright and whimsical. I don't have anything like it - and I can't wait to make something really fun with it.

So, thank you, one skein pal! I love everything - you've really gone above and beyond the call of duty yet again!! I am really blessed with the BEST secret pals. Thank you so much again!!!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


So, I'm back home! I arrived back home late on Monday and was just too exhausted to write until now (I've had a bit of jetlag).

Anyway, Paris was great! This was our second time in Paris as a couple (I've been 4 times). My husband and I just love the city - so absolutely beautiful! We were only there for a few days - one of which was taken up completely by the we didn't get in too much sightseeing, but we did check out the Centre Pompidou - the largest modern art museum in Paris...which we really enjoyed. We also ate very very well. Saturday evening we had dinner at this AMAZING restaurant - Les Ambassadeurs which was really life changing - ultra-expensive but definitely the best meal of our lives so far. The wedding itself was beautiful. My cousin looked stunning - and it was great seeing all of the family. It had been about 2 years so it was great catching up with everyone.

In the past few days since I arrived back home, I've had a few surprises. For one, I got a lovely little postcard from my One Skein Secret Pal. It was in our mailbox when we just got home so it was a very nice surprise to know that my one skein pal has been thinking about me. Thank you!

Today, I got another big surprise in the mail. A package from my Secret 8 Pal! My pal REALLY outdid herself. I could tell that this was going to be quite the package - so I took pictures all along the way. Check out what I pulled out of the box:
Just the package itself brought such a smile to my face. Will you look at how she wrapped everything??!! Plus, that's another incredible homemade card! I just felt so special just opening the box!

Then, once the wrapping was removed, I was greeted by several smaller separately wrapped goodies!

Each little package was wrapped up with its own little notecard giving a little hint as to what was inside. This only created greater suspense because I knew I had to take a picture of all of these little jewels, but I couldn't wait to tear them all open. Plus, as you can see, the tuile that was wrapped around each package was very intriguing to my cat, Frodo!

So, enough suspense! What was inside? Take a look:
If you couldn't tell already, the package is completely crochet related!! Starting at the top left and going clockwise:
1. A Locker Hook: On one end is a crochet hook and the other is the eye of a needle. I know this will be very useful!

2. A crochet hook case! I can't even tell you how much I need this. As I'm crocheting more and more, I'm accumulating more and more crochet hooks...and they're sort of all over the place..and I've nearly lost probably each of them several times. This way, they can't get lost! Hooray! Plus, notice there's a tootsie roll pop in one of the pouches - I'm embarassed to say that it's already been eaten! I just couldn't help myself - it's been a very long time since I've had one of those!

3. A Circular Crochet Hook: I've never seen one of these before but imagine a circular knitting needle except that instead of knitting needles on each end - there are two crochet hooks. Talk about cool! I can't wait to play with it!

4. The July 2006 Crochet! Magazine - I've been eyeing this at the bookstore, but just haven't gotten around to purchasing it. So, this is great...but that's not all. Get secret pal got me a SUBSCRIPTION to the magazine!!!! I'm so excited! I think it's definitely the best Crochet mag out there - no question - and it's my first subscription to any fiber arts magazine so I'm just thrilled about this.

5. Lastly, the Crochet Answer Book!! This was on my Amazon wishlist - I checked it out of the library and thought it was awesome - so I'm really excited to have it in my library. Such an amazing resource.

Plus, one last unintended part of the package:Yes, a cat toy!! My cats have been absolutely mezmerized by the wrapping! Aren't they so cute?

Well, that's everything! Thank you so much Secret Pal 8!! You really went above and beyond with this package. Such an incredible surprise, and I feel so spoiled! I really love everything - thank you thank you thank you!!

Anyway, it's time for me to go and make some dinner - but just thought I'd give you a little update. I finished the second sleeve on the lace tee - so now there's just seaming ahead!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

I'm leaving on a jet plane

Yes, it's true - I'm leaving on a plane today. For whatever reason, I kept forgetting to mention it on the blog. But, my hubby and I are going to a wedding in Paris for a family member of mine. We'll be coming back late on Monday - so we won't be gone for very long. She's getting married on Sunday so we'll have a few days beforehand to enjoy the city. Paris is one of our favorite places - so we're quite excited. As I type this, I'm reviewing my French by listening to one of those language cassette tapes. They're always so ridiculous, but I guess if I ever need to say, "He is the 22nd fireman", I'll be all set.

In knitting news, it won't be long before the lace tee is done. I'm almost done with the second sleeve - and then I'll just need to sew it up. Although I won't be bringing it with me on the plane because seaming is something I really need to do at home rather than on an airplane. I'm also making good progress on the afghan. 38 squares are now done - and I've sewn up 8. Take a look:
Looking good! This way, it gives you a good sense of what the afghan will look like when it's all done.

Also, my yarn for Matilda Jane came yesterday. I have to give major props to I ordered it on Monday morning, and it arrived yesterday - that's with the post office being closed on Tuesday. I'm just shocked. Plus, my yarn was cheaper than any other place I checked. So, here are the colors:

The yarn is Rowan Wool Cotton in August (the blue color) and Hiss (the lavender color). If you haven't checked out this yarn before, you should. It is heavenly. Soooo soft. I guess that's because it's 50% merino and 50% cotton. So, I can't wait to start on it - I'll be bringing a few balls with me to Paris.

So, I still have some packing to do - so I need to get back to that...but I'll be back soon!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Lookie! Lookie!

Look what came in the mail yesterday!!
Isn't that just the most adorable card ever? Did you check out the inside? It's actually a card for Secret Pals!! I didn't know that they made such a thing! Anyway, thank you, secret pal! It truly brightened my day to receive your card in the mail. So unexpected!

I can't believe the week is over. It was a productive one. I managed to make more progress on my course (almost done with all of the labs) and I've been making progress on this other paper I've been working on forever.

In terms of my knitting progress, that's also been going well. I finished one of the sleeves for the lace tee - I can definitely see that light at the end of the tunnel!! Plus, 35 squares are now done on the afghan! I actually started sewing together some of the squares too for two reasons:

1. I'm really not looking forward to sewing together 56 squares all at once - I'm thinking that will lead to major procrastination
2. I'm a little nervous I might run out of yarn. This way, if I start sewing them together and it looks like I'm going to run out, I can stop at a number of squares that make sense.

Yesterday, I had a great day. I saw the friend who had her bridal shower last week. I'm so happy that we're back in touch again. It was really too long. We got to talk and talk and talk and just catch up on everything. Sooo much fun. Plus, she knits...well, she used to knit. She hadn't knit in about 2 years. So, I had to remind her how to cast on, knit and purl. It's such a strange thing because there are actually a lot of knitters out there - I've met a number of dormant knitters (my friend clearly being one of them) - but most knitters that I've met (aside from the ones that go the stitch n bitch type events) have generally been stuck on scarves. Are the majority of knitters like this? You know, lapsed knitters who stick with pretty "safe" projects? I'm starting to think so. I think that as knitting bloggers we kind of live in a different world than the "average" knitter.

Now a call for pattern suggestions - my husband recently got his first real office as a doctor. In his office, he has an average size bookcase that's probably about 4 or so feet tall. Anyway, the other day, he took a look at the top of the bookcase and said, "Hmmm...I think I'd really like to get something to put on top of this - like a runner or something". Now, you know the minute I heard him say that I jumped in, "I can make you one! It could be really great. I could knit you something - or maybe crochet would work better, etc. etc." He looked at me a little skeptically but later agreed that I could if we picked out a pattern together. So, any ideas? He sees patients in this office so it should be something that looks somewhat conservative - and since he's a man, nothing too frilly. Suggestions?