Friday, February 29, 2008

new shoots

So I'm branching out here and discussing other *gasp* things besides knitting....Namely, music. I have just "discovered" the coolest group. They're called "Chambao" and are from Malaga, Spain. Their new album, called "Con Otro Aire" is fantastic. I especially like "Papeles Mojados" and "Capricios de Colores." Check them out, they're worth it. Three women singing trance flamenco with Moorish and other world flavors. Very very cool. I adore them. I've also been listening to a great deal of cumbia, especially Fanny Lu, Fonseca, and Erika Ender. I adore fusion sounds, so the group Salsa Celtica also holds enormous appeal for me...a mixture of Salsa sounds with traditional Celtic music. Fabuloso! And for those of you living under rocks who haven't heard of Rodrigo y Gabriela yet....listen to "Diablo Rojo" and tell me you could keep your feet and bum from moving! Do yourself a major favor and invest in the whole album. From Mexico City but living in Dublin, Rod y Gab create intensely layered acoustic guitar duets. They are not, as they will tell you, flamenco. But their sound has a hint of that flavor. Their deep inspiration is metal music...Metallica's "Orion" anyone? I can't stop listening to them.
Can you tell I'm gearing up for the possibility of going to Spain this summer? Keep your needles crossed for me kittens!
Oh, because I can't help it, I have picked up the gf's Weasley sleeve half done. And I'm waiting desperately for my wool to get here so I can start spinning the yarn for my Sock Pentathlon challenge...we get the pattern at midnight tonight, so I have to accept that there's no way I can win with my own yarn on this one I suppose. sigh. Keep 'em clicking!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Green leaves of evil-with apologies to my favorite poet

A Landscape
"I would, when I compose my solemn verse,
Sleep near the heaven as do astrologers,
Near the high bells, and with a dreaming mind
Hear their calm hymns blown upon the wind.
I'll watch the singing, babbling human bands;
And see the clock-towers like spars against the sky,
And heavens that bring thoughts of eternity;
And softly, through the mist, will watch the birth
Of stars in heaven and lamplight on the earth;
the threads of smoke that rise above the town;
The moon that pours her pale enchantment down.
Seasons will pass till Autumn fades the rose;
And when comes Winter with his weary snows,
I'll shut the doors and window-casements tight,
And build my faery palace in the night.
Then will I dream of blue horizons deep,
Of gardens where the marble fountains weep,
Of kisses, and of ever-singing birds--
A sinless Idyll built of innocent words.
And Trouble, knocking at my window-pane
And at my closet door, shall knock in vain;
I will not heed him with his stealthy tread,
Nor from my reverie uplift my head;
For I will plunge deep in the pleasure still
Of summoning the spring-time with my will,
Drawing the sun out of my heart, and there
With burning thougts making a summer air."

-Baudelaire, translation by F.P. Sturm in The Flowers of Evil, edited by Marthiel and Jackson Mathews (New York: New Directions, 1955 ed), 75-77


Two weeks! Sorry about that, but I've been a tad busy. I know, I know. Don't look at me like that. Will this make it a wee bit better? There, I thought so. I've been working on this for about 1.5 weeks, off and on (booooring stockinette and my crappy intarsia skills made for a knit I wanted but didn't want to knit...does that make sense?) Here's the story: I hate most felted bag patterns I see. They're either bland, poorly designed, or something I would never ever carry. Enter my nonexistent pattern-making skills. I knew I wanted something that would let me use my leftovers from the cosmicpluto 2.0. I knew it had to have leaves on it. I've been very inspired by the stitch designs in Haiku bags, but I didn't want one of those. Too sporty for me. So I give you the Bag of Holding(tm). It's the right size, the right depth, the right color and it has leaves. I even worked in some nifty "folksy cool (tm)" stitches as "drop patterns" for the falling/spinning leaves. get it? I only wish I could have done a leather handle instead of a felted one...but the gf didn't have the right kind of leather in her stash (she makes things too..not those kinds of things. ART, people, ART). So here she is and I'm almost perfectly happy with her. I'm almost done with the Baudelaires too, just the last little bit of ribbing and the sewn bind off. I've just signed up for the sock pentathalon...5 pairs of socks in 6 months, she who finishes first wins. I've decided (stupidly) to spin and dye my own sock yarn for this competition, thereby making me totally ineligble for the whole "winning" thing. But I'll have fun damnit. And it means cooking with bugs and roots. That's always good, right? I've got cochineal ( a little red bug that lives on prickly pear cacti and dyes things brilliant colors), cutch root (I kid you not)-which dyes shades of warm brown, and henna (brown to yellow) on order. Fun with the drum carder will soon ensue! Meanwhile, enjoy this image of my fav feline doing her best Bill the cat impression.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

ice trumps knitting and please pat the bunny

It was just a little bit of ice really. I managed to drive into the museum just fine. It was SnB day, after all. You see, my dear ones, I somehow did not get the message that we were closed. So there I was, pulling into the ghosttown of a parking lot, wondering why I snagged such a prime parking spot, since we were supposed to open at 11. But the ice won, keeping all my new knitting buddies snuggled at home with their needles. And so I walked in, focused on turning the second heel of my Baudelaires, heedless to the imminent danger of falling icicles, sleet, and potential felting. I actually made it all the way to my desk, turned on my computer and only then realized that no. one. was. coming. For a brief, shining moment I considered doing the right thing...staying and actually getting some work done. But then the golden glow of my addi turbos shone forth from the depths of my purse and broke the computer's spell. I could be home knitting after all! I packed up, shoved my feet back into boots, slapped my fuzzy hat on and tredged all the way back to my car. Hey, at least I got a sweet parking spot!
I may actually get some work done this afternoon...on the diss...not the socks. Since the sock progress is rather boring, I give you something I picked up in an antique store while visiting my family over the holidays. It's a child's hankie with just about the cutest bunny ever appliqued on one corner. For a dollar, my friends, one smackaroo. So worth it. I am completely infatuated with this bunny. I want to wear it everywhere. It may become my new ravelry avatar. He's that cute. So enjoy, pat the bunny, snuggle with your kitties and other loved ones, pick up those needles and knit a little for me. I'm plunging neck-deep into grant applications.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

knitting faster than I can blog

So I finally have a new camera and it is relatively foolproof. I don't get bright green or magenta backgrounds all the time any more. This is good. The good also includes images of the many new knits that I've finished, started, or still have in progress. First, because I loves them, my precious, I loves them I do. Ahem. First, I have mittens. Lovely mittens made from start to finish by me. The wool was a gift from a friend. The donor sheep, Elmer, is no longer with us due to his rather aggressive personality. *sniff* So Elmer lives on through these mittens. This was the first fleece to go through the new carder! Wooo hoooo! Part of the reason I hadn't done anything with the fleece for more than a year (other than scouring it. I'm lazy but I'm not THAT lazy) was the horrid thought of handcarding it all. But with the Strauch, done in minutes. Minutes! Fluffy batts of goodness. The yarn is a Corriedale mix, spun very loosely with a woolen draw, 2 ply. I dyed it with food coloring in my crockpot. The stranded pattern is German in origin, from an antique knitting book. I made up the mitten pattern on my own and I'm not sure I'm entirely happy with it, but they're done, they're warm and I actually have at least a month of wear left in them before Spring hits.
I have finally finished my "special socks" with the back gusset for my ginormous calves. The second sock was months later in coming and I'm afraid I didn't quite match gauge, but they're done. The yarn was Auracania but I've lost the ball band, so I have no idea what the colorway was. I've been wearing them around the house to keep my feet warm. Mom would be proud, especially since she spent most of the holiday quite distraught that I wasn't wearing anything on my feet. See Mom, I've got 'em on now!
I have cast on and half-finished the Baudelaire socks by Cookie A. Since I saw this pattern about 6 months ago I have been dying to try it but was a bit too scared of the lace. Not to mention the whole toe-up thing. But no more fear! I'm using the AMAZING Koigu my darling sister bought me over the holidays. It's so yummy and these photos don't do it justice. It's a fantastic mix of acid yellow and green, with flecks of brown, deep green and blue. I lurves it, I do. One sock done, with the toe of the second well on its way. I had to add some stitches in the purl section on the sides to accomodate my calves so the pattern looks a little wonky, but I couldn't help it. I also added a reinforced heel since I tend to blow those out fairly easily. The one advantage of toe-up is that you don't waste any of that scrummy yarn. I had about 8" left from the first skein. 8"!!! LOVE IT.
I've also finished the Cosmic Pluto top down cardi in Cascade 220 Heathers. I'm overall pretty happy with it, but it's a bit snug. Also it still needs some buttons. I NEEDED to wear it so it got the buttons that were absolutely necessary. The others will come in time. I swear. In order to take advantage of the new intel on overly snug sweaters(ie that sitting around home writing while eating huge slabs of homemade bread and not exercising doesn't exactly make the pounds melt away), I've frogged my handspun Cosmic and will re-do it with an asymmetrical front and a shawl collar. Notice that fab necklace? My sister made it for me as a holiday present. She's so talented! It has two other charms she cut, fired and then glazed in lovely shades of blue. This one (my favorite) is called "frog pond." I ask you, how could I not adore that? Also, how did she know it would match almost everything in my wardrobe? *blinking innocently*
I'm also slowly working on the Weasley for the gf. I'm not happy with the intarsia but I'm tired of re-doing it. Twice is enough.
My next cast-on, much as I want it to be for the other Cosmic or the Vinland socks by Anti-Craft, will be for the Plimoth plantation stockings I should have started months ago. So there's my picture-heavy update. In the future I'll try to do more regular posts than this semi-incoherent brain dump. I'm also working on grant apps, will teach this summer (hopefully) and have to present a chapter to my diss group this month, so knitting may slow down a bit. Hah, who am I fooling?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

funny pictures
moar funny pictures