Archive for May, 2007

And the winner is…

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

Liz K!!

Whose address I already know, and whom I shall see next week.  Liz, I’m going to require that you come out to breakfast with me.  Fair enough?
I’m behind the times on both posting and homework.  Guess which must come first…I suppose I’ll try to finish everything for my classes before I give you pictures.

Thanks for the comments!!  I’ll let you know some of my favorite words in the next post.

One year (and a bit)

Monday, May 28th, 2007

Wednesay the 23rd was my first “blogiversary”!! I did not forget, and in fact I almost posted about it. I started to write, but as I did so I thought about my purposes for creating a “nest” in the first place. I still maintain that my primary reason for keeping this blog is for my own unreasonable entertainment. However, there has to be more to it.

If it’s solely for my own enjoyment, why do I get so excited when people comment? And why do I check my blog stats every day to see how people find me, and how many people are reading?

I know that I’m not always great at communication. I am fairly shy, and I sometimes forget to respond to comments. It also comes with being a student; sometimes I don’t have time to keep up with all my blogs (even my own).

Okay, fine, everyone is right. Half of blogging is about the feedback and communication.

I suppose that means I have all the time in the world to improve. I hope this is not a pretentious attempt that overestimates my own popularity, resulting in a five-person inter-family response…

I have decided to hold a one-year blogiversary “contest”, as I have seen many others do. This will probably be more exciting to the knitters than the non-knitters, but all are eligible. It is very simple. Here is what you do:

1) Leave me a comment telling me your favorite word/words. Make sure that your e-mail address is included, so that I can contact you if you win!!

2) You have until Thursday at five to participate.

3) I shall choose a number at random, and the person whose comment matches up with that number is the winner. I’ll then e-mail that person to let them know that they’ve won, and ask for their mailing address (You must be within the continental US, because I am a poor college student. Sorry!).

That’s it! I am quite interested to see how many people participate, as I often forget that people might actually read what I am writing.

Oh, and by the way…here is the prize!!

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Chocolate, and

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Yarn! Kept in a smoke-free, pet-free, m~th free environment. It is Baby Twist, from the Alpaca With A Twist company. The color is pretty accurate. I love this yarn very very much, but it has been sitting around without a project idea for a very long time. I should not neglect it, so instead I’ll pass it on!!
Here is a close-up:

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Each skein has 110 yarns yards. If a non-knitter happens to win, please let me know so that I can preserve yarn.

Alright!! Comment away…

Shoreline Dreams

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

It’s getting to be that time of year, again.

I don’t really remember where the dream started out. The first thing I remember was walking through the *entire* grocery store for food, only to discover that all I had in my basket was bread. Loaves and loaves of bread. That was pretty strange, so I went back and put some bread away. I walked through again intending to get some real food, but everything I put into the basket (surprise surprise) turned into more bread!!

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Somehow I managed to escape the endless cycle of baguettes and rustic italian, only to find myself on the familiar shores of Lake Superior. This is a good change, right?

It’s been a while. It was a warm day, and although the water was low swimming seemed like an excellent idea.

(Just to set the stage…Lake Superior is currently resting at about two feet below the average water level. It is near a record low, as Moom has stated. I do not know that much about it, but I am concerned about the reasons for why the water is so low this year, and the possible environmental issues that may result from this change. Our little ponds haven’t run for years, but two feel below average? Something is up.)

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I walked out into the water, when suddenly, I just knew that there was a problem. An urgent one. Was it the water level? Was it global warming? Was it a conspiracy? Sea water was coming into Lake Superior, rather quickly, and no one had noticed it until now. So maybe that’s why there was a–

SHAAAAARK!!

Little Mouse and cousins RUN for the shore, but this time it’s not a wave that’s chasing us. A big black shark was patrolling the shallow shoreline. I don’t know how it could fit under the water, which was very shallow after the recent seiche. Maybe he was a hollogram shark? Hmm.

It was a terrifying day at the beach. Everyone tried to think of how to get rid of him. Alfie thought he could do it, but being the size of my head he almost got eaten!! Suddenly a great sand-coloured streak came tearing down through the trees and into the water. Sam (dog, not archaeologist ;D ) tore the shark apart. Maybe Sharky really was a hollogram, because he couldn’t get his great teeth around Sam. (Or maybe he was the shark kite I had when I was little?)

Well, after Sharky was obliterated, we all scurried up to the cabin. The dream ended when it was starting to get dark, and all of us were in Kathakali makeup.

Alright beach bums, interpret THAT one!!

Ninth Week

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

Eighth week is something that should never be discussed. By ninth week, however, I have usually settled into the mindset of inevitable sleep deprivation and overwork. Ninth week is routine.

Last week after I finished M~th, I did something amazing.

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I resurrected Sarcelle. I had tossed it aside because my Addi Turbos were not sharp enough for the yarn. I twist my backwards loop cast-on stitches in the direction that is more difficult to knit, so I was going absolutely crazy trying to get across row six of the pattern. I am on Knitpicks needles now, and it’s quite a relief. Some projects improve with age, and I think this is one of them. The pattern gets more and more beautiful as you go along.

It’s is fairly simple and easy to memorize, with just six rows to keep track of. The whole thing moves over by one repeat every thirty-six rows, or every six pattern repeats. Accordingly, I am nearly 4/9 of the way through the body section. On Thursday when I started, I was only 2/9 through. I am hoping that I have enough time to finish it by the end of the quarter, but I’m sure that my hopes and dreams will be unceremoniously shattered by the stress and sleeplessness of finals.

I have also started Monkey with the yarn from Cait!

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The yarn has decided to pool almost perfectly in this pattern. It’s kind of strange, but I’ve decided to keep it. It will be interesting to see if the other skein matches…

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The colors in both projects are a little washed out from a combination of sunlight and flash.

For some reason, I’ve been getting very painful headaches in the last week. I think the last time I’ve had one this bad was in high school. It’s not enough to incapacitate me, although I did skip out on my work study today in pursuit of a half hour hour hour and a half two hour two hour and fifteen minute nap. To simplify that statement, I was sleeping pretty deeply and literally could not wake myself up.

I did have an interesting half-waking dream about the coffee shop going out of business, and falling down a really really steep sand dune. I slipped off and was holding on to the very top, but it was crumbling. There was no dry sand for some reason, so it was easier to get a grip on it. I managed to climb back up, but it was worse than a falling dream. Here, I had the anticipation that it could *turn into* a falling dream, and only my mental capacity to hold onto the theoretical sand dune was keeping me alive. The most frustrating part? My sister then showed up at the top, jumped off, slid down the side of the dune, and landed safely in the water.

What a showoff.

Ravelry

Saturday, May 19th, 2007

I am excitedly waiting until Ravelry opens up to the general public!! I signed up for the waiting list a few days ago, but I have no idea how long it will be until they work out the kinks and let us all in. I can only imagine how overwhelmed they must be with all knitters out there.

(Amanda–Go look at the About Ravelry site. You’ll think it’s adorable.)

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The Sneak’s socks, sent out on Tuesday. I made them with a shorter cuff, and a little bit of feather and fan at the very top to help keep them up. I guess she’ll let me know how that works out. =D (She got them. I’ve been sitting on this entry for days, and I’m really not sure why.)
At the moment, there is nothing that could make me more jealous than this. Why do I have to stay in school until June? Whhyy? I would much rather be in the Great White North. So, there. I can’t believe how far out the water is this year. Usually most of that is under water.

I know that I’ll manage to get up there for a few weeks. I always do, but every year I end up spending less time there and it gets harder to feel like it’s enough.

Thanks for the comments about Africa–usually when people say something about it in a negative way, I respond by saying “yeah isn’t that exciting?” and proceed to talk about how great it’s going to be. Everything cancels out in the end, right?

Last Wednesday night, I finally finished the Wing of the M~th shawl!!

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As you can probably tell, I have not had the time to block it yet. Once I do, the top edge will be straight and the whole thing will open up more.

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I knit the last four rows during the performance I saw Wednesday night, then finished the bind off in the library. It was a fun pattern to knit, although it always takes some momentum through the last section once you get to a certain number of stitches per row.
I’ll let you know what else I’ve been working on soon.

One more thing for today. Emma* has tagged me in a même! The idea is to give seven random facts about yourself, then to tag seven others to do the same. I am not going to tag anyone in particular; if you are reading this and you have a blog, consider yourself tagged!! (There are only about five of you anyway, right?)

Okay, here it goes:

Thing One: I love crystallized ginger. I think I got it from my grandmother. I like ginger in other dishes as well, but I usually stumble across it by chance so I can’t say what. The other strange one is vinegar.

Thing Two: I chose my name at the age of one-and-a-half. It is my name to family, friends, employers, professors, and anyone else you can list. Some people think that is strange, and even go so far as to tell me that I should not use it. I reserve the right to refer to anyone who’s got a problem with my chosen name as “Tallulah”. To their faces. In public. Thank you.

Thing Three: I prefer Indian food to everything else. Channa masala, samosas, naan, vegetable kurma…*modestly wipes up a drool spot*. I wish that Kalamazoo had affordable Indian restaurants.

Thing Four: Ebony is my favorite needle material. I like my Addi Turbo circulars and my all-purpose bamboo sock DPNs, but give me a set of five size one ebony double-points and I’ll be happy forever. It’s all about the texture.

Thing Five: I knit while I walk, in the dark, lying down, while I read (I hold the book open with my feet), in class, and while I watch movies. I’m sure I’m missing *something*.

Thing Six: I spend more time in the coffee shop than I do in my dorm.

Thing Seven: I have no idea what I’m going to do with my life, and no intentions of figuring it out yet.

Tadaa!! Passez un bon week-end. Au revoir!

*I just realized that I’d tagged Emma as “Sue”!!  Sorry Emma!!

We all know how I feel about eighth week, so I won’t even bother to say it.

Monday, May 14th, 2007

I just thought I’d pass on a link sent to me by my father a while back. It’s an amusing little progression, although I can’t help feeling sorry for the poor little mouse.

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Just what you wanted, another giant yellow blob sprawling next to a duck. I have eight edging rows left, so hopefully I’ll finish soon. They’re really long rows, though so don’t hold your breath with my current workload.

Moom asked an excellent question the other day…

“What’s the tilde for? M~th.”

It’s…uh…well…it’s a precaution. It’s something I’ve stolen from Elizabeth Zimmerman, after my m~th scare last summer. Once you smash enough m~ths, you start to get really nervous about the health of the stash. (You really should have seen the freezer last summer.)

I do try to keep everything protected in plastic bags, but sometimes I get a little lazy and just toss things into the basket. It’s going to be no one’s fault but my own when I *do* get an infestation of some kind.

I was in Ann Arbor last weekend, hanging around the theatre. My old Young Actor’s Guild was performing Hamlet, and I came home to see it.

It’s always nice to go back and see all the people involved. I never really did get to watch the show, but what I saw was excellent. I could definitely see and hear tons of improvement in everyone’s work, and I wish I could have hung around more seriously. I got to see everyone for a few minutes, and that’s what really counts in the end.

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One of four gifts that I undeservingly received this weekend. This one is from Kati. Unfortunately, the other three are in Ann Arbor and I can’t show them to you. It didn’t seem like good sense to bring them back. I can’t tempt myself, and I can’t stuff anything else into this disaster area!! Just know, people who gave me things, that I appreciate it!!

One thing that I never anticipated but have started to notice is the obvious cultural fear that people express when I tell them I am going to Africa. At this point, I’ve realized that it’s an opportunity I perhaps have even come to take for granted.

How often do you have the chance to pick up your life (and, unfortunately, not much stash…), and move it to Sénégal for a stretch? I’m going to be living with a family and eating their food. I’ll be taking classes in French, speaking French, and pretty much striving to drop every subconscious American stereotype and prejudice that I have assimilated over the last twenty years.

Knowing this, it still surprised me when people respond with a crazy “why are you going there??”

None of them seem to realize that they are responding this way, and it is not meant to be negative. It’s just interesting.

The other question is “why didn’t you decide to go to London? Isn’t that better for theatre?” It would be amazing to study theatre in London. Amazing. Then again, define theatre and why we choose to do it.

Theatre is a cultural reflection, an embodiment of human psychology, a political statement, a visceral response to something we encounter, a need, whatever you want to say. It’s all about people and commenting on what the world is or can be. They way I see it, I would be making a sorry mistake by passing up an opportunity to study a culture that is vastly different than the one I am used to. Maybe someday I’ll make it to London.

The best part of Africa…

Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

Last week was more stressful than most. I had a lot of work to do, not a lot of time during which to complete it, and I was generally sleepy and useless for the majority of the time.

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One of my favorite K College occurrences. Ducks on the quad!!
I was getting ready to post Wednesday evening, when I opened my e-mail to find an e-mail from Sam. She sent me an article on the house mouse (which I plan to read this weekend =) ), and asked if I had started receiving my vaccinations for study abroad in Africa.*

It’s a funny story…I had received all six vaccinations on Wednesday morning. Three in each arm. I don’t do very well around needles or blood (or medical things in general), so it was quite the experience. I was doing fairly well through the first three, although I was feeling a little sick.

The fourth shot put me under. I passed out most of the way, then had to lie down on the couch for the rest. I am now resistant to Hep A, Hep B, Typhoid Fever, Yellow Fever, Polio, and the Tdap diseases. Impressive, no?

That also explains why I didn’t post last Wednesday. I was quite woozy and feverish from the vaccinations, on top of which I neglected to nap afterward. I know it’s best to sleep it off a little, but there was so much to do that I didn’t feel that I could take the time. Ironic, really, because I got nothing done. My arms were sore until Monday.

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A hilarious birthday present from The Sneak, received yesterday.

The next step of the adventure of last week took place when I stayed up all night on Thursday, trying to finish my work. I watched the sun rise from the Crow’s Nest, came home at 7:40 in the morning for a shower, then left again to try and find something productive to do.

I was pretty loopy, but I passed the quiz I took on Friday with full credit. I must have done something right.

This week has been comparatively tame. I’ve managed a fair amount of knitting, including more on M~th.

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I am now about a fifth of the way through the Twin Leaf pattern, at which point I’ll start the edging. I am just about the join the rhird ball of Kidsilk Haze.

My favorite Kalamazoo coffee shop (Rocketstar) is just a short walk away from my dorm. I have revised my walking path to get there a few times, and the latest one takes me by a normal looking house with a slightly surreal occurence that takes place in the lawn.

I have been noticing–and mentally questioning–this for a few weeks now, but they have a plastic kid pool in the front lawn. For these last few weeks it has contained nothing but two brick-sized rocks, partially submerged in murky water.

Yesterday when I walked by I examined it as usual, only to find that there were a bunch of little orange fish swimming around and hiding in the rocks. I stopped and stared for a minute, somewhat dumbstruck (I simply never considered this option) before continuing on my way.) I giggled about it for a while as I drank my coffee and nibbled at a muffin, then forgot about it.

Several hours later I walked back only to find that there was a turtle in there, sitting on a rock and staring at me. (Sound familiar, Sneak?) What on earth? I can’t help but feel that the next time I walk by I’ll be eaten by a crocodile or something equally ridiculous.

My sock progress is slow lately, mainly due to the simplicity of the M~th pattern. It is easy to carry it around with me, and I’ve been quite neglectful. I am still finishing The Sneak’s second bee-stripe sock.

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Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock, in the bee-stripe colourway.

Once I get these off the needles, I’m going to restart these.

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I am using a two at the moment, but I would prefer a denser fabric. Two really match up better with a sport weight sock, in my opinion.

There was a beautiful storm last night at about 3:30 in the morning, and Kalamazoo is quite green today. I am enjoying the existence of my window fan, and I suggest that you do the same!!

Weather permitting, of course…

*Go look at Sam’s Sock Exploit!! I haven’t been reading blogs very regularly in the last month-or-so, so I had completely overlooked it.

Look at this!

Tuesday, May 8th, 2007

Dana has compiled a list of the knitting bloggers who showed up to the last Yarn Harlot event in Ann Arbor. I haven’t made my way through all of them yet, but I’m working on it just about as slowly as I’ve been managing to post these days.

Fortunately, the end is in sight.  I have three-and-a-half weeks left of classes, then one week for finals.  The weather has been pretty, so we’ve been walking around a fair amount and sitting in the sun.  My classes pile up sometimes, but usually the workload isn’t a problem.

Today I am sitting in Rocketstar, doing french homework knitting and reading plays.  It is sunny, and warm enough to go without my shawl.  The only thing I have to go to today is French lab at four.  On my way out the door, I checked the mail and found my birthday present from The Sneak.  (Hilarious…)  My camera is back at school, or I’d have something to show.  I guess I’ll go back to work.
I love coffee shops because:

“Is cheesecake a cake or a pie??”
*Long pause of startled silence, while all think intently*
“Eh.  Feels like a pie.”

Wing of the M~th

Monday, May 7th, 2007
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The M~th shawl has grown. I have one or two more pattern repeats to complete, before the next step of the pattern.

And a close-up:

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It is quite an enjoyable knit. The pattern is fairly simple and makes for excellent multi-tasking, yet somehow I am still motivated enough to spend decent quantities of time on it while I have little else to do.

I highly recommend the pattern. So far it seems quite suitable for a beginning to intermediate level.

The only modification I have made to the pattern is that it calls for a size six needle, and I am using a size five. The finished wingspan measurement is listed as 84″ and I am pretty short-side-of-average, so it should end up being just about right. Maybe I’ll even have an extra skein of yarn…

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Unrelatedly, I reblocked snowdrop on Saturday. It was, in part, an excuse to use my new blocking wires. It really did need a good wash, though. I’ve been folding it up and wearing it around my neck all winter. I am planning to systematically go through and reblock all my shawls by the end of the quarter.

I intend to do this outside in the sun, where I can lay them out on a blanket and stab my T-pins directly into the ground.

Brilliant, no?

While I was at it, I also blocked this:

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Just in time for spring, I have blocked my scarf.  This is so like me.  So much that I almost don’t even recognize it.

Finally, I should contribute pictures from my weekend.  Kalamazoo College has a dance in the spring called Crystal Ball, where the entire (attending) student population cross-dresses.  I don’t go to dances as a general rule, but I figured that I might as well go to this one once.  A lot of girls end up going in their underwear, because somehow they think that counts.  We have waaay more class.

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Mouse and Cait.  Pretend that we’re convincing, alright?

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Also, Rob and a few others almost didn’t recognize me.  It was grand.