Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Several Random things.

My current knitting obsession:

DK-weight hand-dyed self-striping socks. Yarn is from Twisted Fiber Art and is yummy, thick, and beautiful. I started these barely over a week ago. If this week hadn't been insane, they'd be each half finished. As it is, one's there. Stockinette was good sick knitting. And it was incentive knitting over my grading weekend.

Banned Books Week
Julie mentioned Banned Books Week yesterday, which sent me off to the bookstore that afternoon. I didn't know where my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird was, so I got a new one. And an awesome new bag (dollar reuseable bags are hard to resist, especially when they have the First Amendment on them).


I think I may have done a paper on banned books back in Freshman comp. Half the stuff we covered in the rest of my lit classes had been challenged or banned at some time. Most of the time the reasons people have for challenging books are hooey. And they often prove that people don't actually read.

To Kill a Mockingbird is an old favorite. My eighth grade English teacher gave all of her students who read outside of class a copy. I had well surpassed whatever goal she had, mostly because I read about half a million Star Trek: The Next Generation novels that year. I read it every year through high school and college, but have let the practice lapse. I find new stuff in it each time. It's awesome, and to me it's a bit of home. (My Alabama is not really like the one in the book, but there are things about it that resonate for me.)

Another challenged favorite is A Wrinkle in Time. People get cranky about that one because they don't like the way it talks about Jesus. I love the way L'Engle writes about faith, and even though Wrinkle is fairly secular, it's similar to me to the way that people think Lord of the Rings is satanic. Whatever.

Multiple Myeloma
Four years ago my father-in-law was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, which is a weird, scary, fairly rare blood cancer. He has gone through treatment including an autologous bone marrow transplant and several rounds of chemo. Steve's case was caught early - in an eye exam. Currently he's doing well and the cancer is not a threat. His doctor does a fundraiser every year in which he runs or bikes across the state. This year he's biking from Evansville to Indianapolis. The event is Miles for Myeloma. Check it out.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What, this old thing?

Did I mention I finished this?


About a month ago, I guess. I was amazed by how much dye came out:


And blocking was kind of insane -

But it's done, and beautiful. I think I may wash and re-block again before giving it away in a little bit - I've gotten new tips on getting the dye to either stick or go away, so that's a goal. But I am terribly proud of it. I hope its recipient knows how much I love her.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Under the line

According to Ravelry, I started this stole on September 15 of last year. I finished it a touch over two weeks ago.


Somehow it's awesome, and now that I have it I love it so... I almost can't believe I finished it, though. My knit night friends who saw this intermittently with me swearing at it and calling it my "knitting penance" probably understand.

It lives in my new and chilly office on campus, which is what it was cast on for - I had my first leafy green shawl at home, it made sense to have one for work. So now I do.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sock Summit - The Residue

So I've been back a month and still haven't gotten to this last bit that I want to say about the Summit. I was going to call it Knitters and Knitting, but that doesn't seem right. When I went to the local MAA meeting last spring we were asked what we hoped "the residue" was that our classes left in students' minds. In that vein, here's a month-later retrospective.


I finished all my class socks. Picture above is the three class socks and my class spindle. They're on my mantel right now.

In Abby and Denny's Spindle class, Abby said something about needing to be able to do something badly in order to learn to do something well. She was quoting Maggie Casey quoting someone else talking about something Not Spinning, but as I came back to school, that came back with me - if you're so afraid to do it wrong you never start, you'll never get it. It got incorporated into my first-day schtick.

Clara Parkes's class about fiber and yarn construction has been the most fun to find it popping up in my brain. There was a discussion in my house about sheets and fibers and thread counts that ended in a ridiculous display of fiber geekery on my behalf. I still love the term "intimate blend."

I signed up for Sockdown on Ravelry to be in on the Nancy Bush mystery sock. It looks awesome, but too small. I'm going to wait till it's finished and try and size it up a bit. I also bought her Knitting on the Road book, which has some gorgeous techniques.

I'm still very proud of myself for talking to people that whole weekend - starting with Vicki and Carin at the Denver airport.

The thing I want to try that I saw from another student is a pooling stole. That's so seriously cool.

I've been finishing things since I got back. Only started a couple new projects. The full-size socks that went to the summit are still in progress. The handspun ones need more spinning, actually. The giant black one is approaching the first toe at a snail's pace.

But here are my Sock Summit mitts. My hands were cold in Thursday's class, so my first night at the Summit I bought some Socks that Rock heavyweight and cast these on.


They're a simple improvised pattern, but I love them in my office in the mornings. I finished them the first week back to school and they make me happy.

More posts and more pictures coming soon. I've finished a few big things and made progress on others. Sock Summit may be past, but I'm having a good knitting fall so far.