Monday, July 30, 2007

Shaking the dust off my feet


I'm leaving tomorrow for AZ and our new home, and I'm not sure what length of time it will take to set up internet, so this might be it for a while. Hopefully not too long though. I don't know if it's a problem on my part or yours, but I was unable to view the pictures from your last post, which was sorely disappointing. You have been busy! And knowing your work, and from your lovely descriptions, it sounds like you crafted some delicious knits. I would give you lots of ribbons if I were in charge of the fair.

So you figured out how to read the Norwegian pattern for the mittens? Well, I guess the most important part was the pattern chart, and that's not in any language. I don't know what to tell you about the color combo. I'm assuming the child's pair you made were traditional black and white? Which may mean you'd be interested in some fancy color mixing for a change of taste. I might agree. White and black are classic, but if you put in colors, you own it more. Not that I feel qualified to say which colors to choose. I'm insecure in my color sampling. But obviously something with high contrast. A dramatic pattern like that deserves a dramatic color contrast. Sorry I can't be more help.

I have a question for you. I was pondering felting. What would happen if a cabled item was felted? Would it retain any of its cabled qualities, or would the design just sort of melt into the background of the felting? Hmmm.

I was surprised to hear that you went camping as well last weekend. Isn't it wonderful to smell like campfire smoke? We learned a cheater method, which was that soggy wood lights better with lighter fluid. Oh, this lovely spot where we went, I could live there. I could move to this town. It's charming and cultural and has an art co-op and rows of family-owned small businesses with quality products. Not to mention trees. It's only draw-back is its extraordinarily tiny grocery store, well, that and the severe lack of chemistry jobs in the area. But still. Lovely place. Went back there last weekend. Lovely.

Sleepy. Going to fall into bed. Goodnight. When do you start learning activities? How long until you're a doctor?


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Adult Questions

One more thing...

What colors should I make the adult Selbu Mittens?

White and black like traditional?

Or White and what colors?

Help help.

The ones I'm making are the first pair shown.


Bon Voyage!


Wow. I have been a very busy knitter. And embroiderer. And you would think it would make me possibly want to take a short break.

This is not true. The almost finishing of things (but not the actual finishing) makes me want to start new things even more.

However, I present you with the items that are now winging their way to the Iowa State Fair!

My handspun, handmade Monet's Waterlillies mittens. A bit grumbly on the surface, but always a delight. I believe you have the specs on these already. Rambouillet, handyed, handspun, handknit...I like my hands. Handwarmers.

Again, sorry for the picture quality. I need to steal a camera like you need air conditioning. The color is so washed out and weird.

Kris's Gloves! Knitpicks Swish Superwash in Jade.

One of my favourites, Baby Selbu Mittens from a Norwegian Selbu book, which were so delightful to knit that I can hardly wait to start my my larger and smaller gauged adult selbu mittens. These ones are in Henry's Attic Kona with dyed blue and natural cream. A superwash merino. Because it's for a baby. They are messy and fussy.

This came together in the last week before it had to be done, my blue reversible cabled scarf out of Knitpicks Panache in dusk. Let me just say that if I could choose a fiber to knit with the rest of my life, it might very well be this one. It was absolute delight. 40% baby alpaca, 20% fine merino, 20% silk, 20% cashmere all comes together for the softest most beautiful yarn ever. If it wasn't chunky it'd be even better. And in more colors. I mean, what they've done with it doesn't make me happy. But the blend...I could just collapse into that and be happy.

Maybe I'll post the pattern I came up with for it on here sometime. Super easy with just a spark here and there to keep it exciting. This would be a great thing to knit for somebody as a gift who you like enough to spend a normal chunk of money as well as knitting time on them.

And the grand finale are these beauties.

If only you could comprehend how much I love them. I really, really forgot how long embroidery takes me. Especially the leaves. Leaves take so long.

This is more color friendly, but really doesn't capture it at all.

The leaves are a beautiful mix of pink with hints of purple, the flowers are bright bold pink, and the stems and stamens (or french knots) are purple. All on black stockings. The stockings are made with knitpicks gloss which is 70% merino, 30% silk, and the embroidery thread is my own from my silk thread that I dyed and put six strands together for floss. It really hits the spot on the beauty factor in my life that I always like. I'll get more awesome pictures when I can. Here's a little depth perspective.

Those, my dear, have left and are out to the fair. Rereading the directions, I think I was only supposed to include patterns for what I made up, but that was 4 out of the 5, and so I included a pattern for all. Well, for the ones I made up, beyond the scarf, which is simple enough to remember, I wrote what I thought I did. Which is probably not exactly what I did, but I'm a bit of an organic knitter.

I'll have to tell you soon about the Doctor Who Scarf Yarn. The thread that will become yarn, at least. It shall be interesting.

However, I have a migraine, and I'm tired as I woke up at 5:30 today and just got back from work at 5:30, and I'm hot, and thus I'll leave that for another day.

However, a few more things. First, I agree. I have always had major problems with the Martha story. In fact, I have problems with a lot of the Church's interpretations of many of the classic Bible stories. I'll get into that more sometime...but that's really a whole other thing that you don't want to get me going on when I've got a migraine.

Second, Kris and I also went camping last weekend! Cattle stampeded and tried to maul us, rare cattle, but we survived. More on that as well.

Thirdly, I finished the Ultraviolet yarn. I had to adjust the color of it so that you could view it. Because we all know that normally this would be invisible to the human eye.

I hope it doesn't burn your retina's too much.

Off to lots of find pain relievers,

Mary vs. Martha

My mom sent me this book, "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World." You know the story where Martha is all busy preparing for Jesus while Mary hangs out at his feet? And then at the end of it Jesus says that Mary did the better thing. It's in large print, and I'm a little wary of it, because I'm not sure how the author was able to make an entire book out of this story. It's for women, and I think the premise is to slow us down, encourage us take on less, become more intimate with God. That sort of thing.

I can see some of this wisdom. We are the type of people who take on a lot, you and I. Lots of knitting, lots of learning, lots of all that stuff. Sometimes we need a reminder to stop and make time for God. However, I don't know about you, but I've never liked the story about Mary and Martha. I never liked that Jesus seemed to reprove Martha. Because I align with her. I feel for her. And so I have my own theories. Maybe Martha was fine. She was, after all, serving her lord in the way that she knew how. Maybe Martha wasn't the problem. Maybe the problem was Jesus. Okay that sounds blasphemous. But maybe the difficulty lay in the fact that Martha wasn't speaking in his love language, and so he didn't recognize that what she was doing was serving him. It could have been a lack of communication. Because I think what Martha did was fine. She was all about being a good hostess and serving her guest.

I began to suspect this book when I came to the realization that this was a book for women. As far as I can tell, it is solely for women, with apparently no mention made of the man. And I began to wonder what the reason was for this. Are men less likely to take on more work? Or are they less likely to be distracted by their work? Are men inherently closer to God that they don't need this reminder to slow their lives down? NO!! Of course not! So why is the focus on women? Why?

I don't like where this book seems to want to go. Isn't it possible to find God within the busyness of life? Or should we give up the prospect of doctorates and listen meekly? Mary was a wimp. Long live Martha.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My Thread and Butter


The Iowa State Fair is the awesomest state fair in the world. Going on for over 150 years, the Iowa State Fair is listed only second to Las Vegas as a super duper summer destination travel spot in America. From good old Wikipedia,

"Additionally, the fair is home to several traditional contests and tournaments, including rooster crowing, sheep shearing, pigeon racing, turkey, duck, and chicken calling, wood chopping, pie eating, arm wrestling, banjo, fiddle, accordion, harmonica, mandolin and piano playing, and backgammon, chess, cribbage, and checkers tournaments."

And knitting. While perhaps not a contest or tournament, one can enter knitted objects (I've seed a very poor knitted clock...more so a swatch with a clock inserted) into the fair. You can enter as many as you like. And you can win ribbons! Ribbons! The blue is not even the best one. The best ones are purple. This year, I'm just aiming to enter. Start small, you know? Next year, I'll maybe pop out something specific for the fair that is completely awesome, just like the fair!

I have been to the fair every year of my life since I was just 3 months old. I love the Iowa State Fair. There's even a cow made out of butter! Full size! And don't think I haven't considered the fiddling competition. But I haven't found a banjo or guitar accompaniment nearby, yet.

I'm entering some of this.

The blue lace is not going to be finished in time, but you see the handspun handknit Monet's Waterlillies Mittens, my Man's Green Gloves, and a teensy bit of baby Selbu Mittens peeking in at the lower left-hand corner. What you don't see are the stockings I'm embroidering right now. K, I forgot how long embroidery takes. It takes a long time.

I got kinda sad, because I got a letter when I got a letter from Baylor College of Medicine that said that I wasn't selected. So, as usual, I violently tore up the reject letter and threw it away. I think I would have burned it, but the stove is electric, and hard to get a flame out of. I'm not too disappointed for two reasons, however.

1) I wasn't going to go there anyway. I'm happy where I've chosen and I'm really excited to start school in a month.

2) This arrived in the mail!

It is 9.9 pounds of fine merino wool yarn/thread from Crystal Creek Fibers! 14,000 yards per pounds, baby, but 19.5 microns, so good for next to the neck wear. Which is what you want when you're making a Doctor Who Scarf! This stuff is thin.

But I can put 12+ strands together to get something resembling dk weight.

And dye it! I like dying!

Oh man, this thing is going to kill me, isn't it? Well, test dying tonight. Hold your breath!

I'm holding mine,

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What? There are trees here?


This is basically what New Mexico looks like. Scruffy. Pretty much all over. Not a preponderance of trees, though there are some in the cities. A little dusty, a little dry. So imagine our surprise when we found that there exists a place in the state such as this:

Can you believe that this is the same state? It's up in the higher altitude, so it's cooler, tree-studded and smells like Christmas. This is where James and I spent our weekend, camping and enjoying fresh air, though smelling ourselves predominantly of campfire smoke. Just looking at the picture makes me want to breathe in deeply and put on some warmer clothes. I've got two weekends left in this state, and if possible we're going to spend at least one of those back here in the beautiful wilderness.

This, by the way, is me poking at glowing coals. Despite the fact that it rained two afternoons in a row (with the likelihood of rain every day nearing 100%), we were able to start two roaring fires. James has that wilderness thing under control. He knew how to scavenge to find all of our dry wood.

That said, holy crap Amy you posted a lot while I was gone. I'm sorry I wasn't available to help you with your yarn crisis. But it looks like you got things under control. I'm pretty sure if I were in your shoes (which would of course be stylish and too big for me), I would go insane. How many projects do you have going on? Oh, that's right. Too many for you to even count. So many that you lose track of the projects you're working on! Ahh!! This would disable me. This would drive me insane. I would forget where I was or how a pattern went or what row I was on or, like you, how many projects I was even working on. I have respect for you, that you are able to juggle so many yarns at the same time, but still, I wouldn't want to join you.

I am a one-track mind. A one-track project person (well, I've got sewing projects going on, but only one knitting project right now). I'm all, get that one thing done before you even look at buying yarn, or think of starting another project. Not that I have to even sensor myself. That's just the way I am. Which lends itself into other aspects of my life as well. I'll sit down and finish one homework assignment until it's done before starting another. One book at a time. One goal at a time (helped me finish the sock creatures, since I couldn't afford to be distracted by other ideas). It will probably make me a poor researcher, because I'm pretty sure to be good at that, you've got to be thinking all the time of what comes next, with what other venues one might experiment. I think we have drastically different approaches.

By the way, I wanted to mention with the quilt thing, I have no need as of yet for a sewing machine. My estimations predict that it may take an extraordinary amount of time to build up reserves of fabric and to cut each piece into miniature squares and then arrange all of these squares into some type of watercolor goodness before I am anywhere near ready to sew. The nice thing I like about this watercolor business is that I can be on the constant lookout for proper types of fabric. I need so many types of fabric that I can just buy willy nilly with some basic idea of what I'm looking for but with no specifics necessary (at least as of yet). It's quite different than any of my yarn-buying tactics, and so I am enjoying the diversity. Someday, somewhere, I will purchase a sewing machine, but probably not until I'm nearer to needing it.

Speaking of machines, you made mention of a spinning machine. Wow, that's exciting! Less portable (I don't think you'll be bringing that on the bus for your commute each day), but definitely fabulous. I want a picture. Most of the spinning wheels I've seen in person have been antique things that are generally obsolete except for some rustic asthetic value that is affirmed while sitting in the corner of a room, looking dusty. And rustic. I imagine yours is slightly more practical. How exciting. Be careful not to prick your finger. Wait! Can you prick your finger on it? Or was that something else? Maybe I'm getting my stories mixed up.

I'm going to prepare a sandwich and not worry about the logistics of spinning.

Happy fibering!


PS. What's up with the Iowa fair thing? I mean, are these up for judging? Is a blue ribbon coming your way? Or are they going to sell your masterpieces? My favorite part of the state fair was always the baby bunnies. And the baby ducks.

Yup, I'm insane.


Look at this.

What is this? you ask. Why, it's two pieces of the front lace cardigan that match up with each other pretty well! I don't have to rip it out and re-consider my life stance on knitting!

Sorry for the panic, if it was unduly caused. At least, I had it for awhile.

I'm buy trying to finish up the Iowa State Fair items and pondering what to do next. You see, I could either start a new project for the fair and finish it, hopefully before the fair, or keep working on the lovely piece of sweater you see before you. Probably the second. Though the first is really tempting, you should know.



Monday, July 16, 2007


Crappo, K,

13) Hot pink short mid-sleeved baby cables sweater (which I've decided has no holes, just baby cables up the bottom, I'll send you a new sketch sometime)
14) Selbu Mittens

I'm sure a 15 will pop up eventually, too.




I had to re-read my last post. Because I was planning for a shawl. A knitted shawl. An intricate, knitted lace shawl.

I have the yarn, a gorgeous white alpaca ready for the dye.

We all know that if I dye that yarn, that all is lost, no?

In any case, I'm so freaked out. I realized I was off by two rows (which is really not that bad, all considering) in the right front half of my cardigan, and so I was pondering whether to rip when I put the right half and the left half together. I'll get to pics later today. However, I must far, if we look at about the same points on each, the right half is about 2-3 inches longer. What the heck?

This is in no way good. I'm going to have to get you some pics tonight, as well as try and dissect this problem somehow. They're the same width! But the length is screwed up. Seriously. Which is why I wanted to stop and make a lace shawl instead. Because gauge doesn't screw with you as much on shawls.

I must keep reading my last post. Doctor Who, Doctor Who, over 12 feet long, must dye loads of yarn, still must embroider stockings for fair, must finish baby Norwegian Selbu mittens...must finish...


Friday, July 13, 2007

Trying not to stray


Blocking is not hard. Throw the thing in water for a bit. Warm water. Take it out. Put it in a towel and roll up the towel to take most of the water out. Put a dry towel on the carpet of the floor, and then shove a bunch of pins around the peice while stretching it to the correct size.

You wimp. Come on! You've done this with much larger and more intricate projects before. This is easy peasy for you. You could do this concurrently with boiling water for supper.

I love the idea of a quilt. But, honey, shouldn't you have a sewing machine before you start quilting? I mean, some people quilt by hand. The artists who charge thousands for their quilts. And the Amish. You are neither of those. I think. Are you borrowing your mom's machine, or what here? I'm sure it'll be great, anyhow. I love that you are sewing a dress by hand and it goes faster than knitting. You also have an extraordinary amount of experience in sewing hand. One sleeps in bed with me at night. I'd love to see it when it's done.

I had to make a list of reasons not to buy tencel yarn. Because I was about to whip out my debit card:

1) Turquoise Lace Cardigan
2) Blue Merino U-neck Pullover
3)Handspun Rambouillet Handknit gloves in Pomegrante
4) New Blue Chunky Scarf and hat for fall
5) Chunky Blue Mittens and Hat for mom for Christmas
6) Lilac Cashmere mittens or gloves for sister for Christmas
7) Black Hat for Aaron for Christmas
8) Cotton Washrags
9) Log Cabin Cotton Bathrug from Mason Dixon
10)Ginormous Doctor Who Scarf
11) Gloves and Mittens for Kris's Parents for Christmas

Not in any particular order, but a bit frightening. I mean...


These aren't small projects. Well, some are. Some might take a month each. Plus spinning is happening, too.

YARN DIET! Let's see if we can do it. If the tencel goes on super sale, I'll buy it. If not, maybe I can try and control my desires. Because the more money I don't spend on yarn, the more I have for the spinning wheel fund. I really think I can do this.

Oh crap.

12) Super nice alpaca and cashmere blue yarn for pretty sweater that Kris bought me for my Birthday. Really want to knit with it. Man, I forgot about that. It's just sitting there, and I haven't even given it a design yet. I'd love to do that. Work on a design.

Even one a month and I'm set for the next year...

Oh my word. The Dr. Who scarf could take a year in itself.

Unless it's a super sale, I really don't need any more yarn right now...I have medical school, too. Which means no thinking projects for about the next 4 years...except for riding the bus.

Perhaps the bus will save me. Half an hour of knitting time a day. That is really a lot. We'll see. Keep reminding me of all these things when I want to go buy new yarn. Really. Because these are only the things most upcoming on the docket or already being worked on that need finishing. They don't include the various UFOs (Un-Finished Objects, not the kind in Roswell) that are mucking about, taking up my needles and such. There are a myriad of socks and mittens and gloves I could knit...and a baby sweater I really want to but just haven't dyed the yarn yet. I'm trying not to. But it's so hard.

Did you know that some part of addiction is genetic? Epigenetic, actually. Which means that even though it's not going to come out in that wonderful gene sequence that we finished of all 23,000 genes, it's still heritable. There are environmental factors that are passed both in the womb and outside of it in a growing-up environment that cause certain psychiatric and other medical conditions, like schizophrenia, panic attacks, depression, and the like. They rest in the DNA, even though they aren't the little letters that make up the wonderful sequence. Methylations and histone proteins and such. Epigenetics is likely a great part of the reason why we can't clone large animals that live very long or healthily. It's might be responsible for a great deal of diseases that are heritable but that we can't find in the DNA sequence, like Alzheimer's and psychiatric diseases, many cancers, and such. I listened to the guy who patented a test for looking for the markers of epigenetics. He told us that if we could choose between smart and lucky, go for lucky, because he's met a lot of smart people, but he was the lucky one who got this project and was able to get ways to make it go his way. But, oh my word, the man is smart, too. It's like Watson and Crick, who, when they talked about discovering the structure of DNA, said, "It's true that by blundering about we stumbled on gold, but the fact remains that we were looking for gold.''

Anyway, I was just thinking, what do you think my yarn addiction is doing to my DNA? Are there markers that knitters have that weavers don't? That yarn horders have? That One-project-at-a-time people like you have? That Knitting-attention-deficit-disordered people like me have?

And are we going to pass this on?


Thursday, July 12, 2007

I have strayed


I have been unfaithful to my knitting. Do you remember when I said I was going to make a crazy quilt this summer? Well, it hasn't happened. I don't think it's going to happen. At least for a while. Instead, I started a different quilting project.

Yeah, I decided to tackle something kind of oversized for me and my limited prowess. I've started a watercolor quilt. Not that I'm very far. I have a few tens of fabric choices that I've cut up but I'm nowhere near even being ready to piece anything together. Which is fine with me, since I don't have a sewing machine. Yet.

Here's my other project.

Well, it's just fabric right now, but it will be a dress. This I am attempting completely sans machine. I used one of my other dresses to make the pattern and am almost finished with my mock-up. Looking kind of good so far. I have to say I'm impressed with the speed at which one can (hypothetically) finish a dress by sewing as opposed to knitting. It's not enough to turn me, but I am enjoying it.

Here is the project put on hold that is thoroughly knitted yet not quite done. You know how I hate to sew in the ends. Well, I've decided it's a pain to block as well. I'm going to get this shrug done some day, but for now, it's going to hang around as a nice swatch of lacy goodness.

I never fell for 1984. It didn't convince me. It's strange, I remember liking Fahrenheit 451 much more, yet I remember far less about it. Sometimes when you disagree with something it sticks in your head all the more. Isn't that peculiar? One thing in particular I didn't buy about 1984 was the, well, I guess the main premise of the book: Big Brother. How is it conceivable for every single action a person takes to be monitored? I mean, I remember vaguely toward the beginning of the novel the main character trying to hide from the cameras in his home even before he was linked to suspicious activity. I'm foggy on the details. I'd try to remember them, but I'm too afraid to get them wrong. Basically, what I mean to say is, I don't think it's possible for the government to watch every move that every person makes. I mean, who is watching the people who are watching the people? Where does it end? The book was too unbelievable for me.

The truth is that the government doesn't need to watch every move that every person makes. It's like practicing an entire symphony when all you really need to rehearse is a few measures. Why use a giant wallup to wipe out a tiny blight? Now the government listens only for key words. They don't listen to all the words, just a few. Or maybe all of them, if you're a suspicious character.

I'm not saying that it is okay. Actually, what I was thinking, was how listening in on the phone is any different than opening up a person's mail. As far as I know, that's still illegal and a federal offense. They seem like fairly synonymous crimes to me.

This weekend James and I are going camping in a little corner of New Mexico that actually reminds us of the Midwest. This time I'll take my camera. It's funny how this place looks and feels like up north, and even the people seem like they're from back home. It makes me wonder how climate affects the way people behave. This place actually has some local artists, and even some culture. I wouldn't be surprised if there were knitters up there.

Thank you for your lovely words. Keep on being informed.


Beautiful Women I Have Met

I ran into some lovely and gorgeous ladies at the museum, and let me tell you, they were some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. They have curves.

Maillol Mediterrane

They seduce.

Canova Reclining Naiad

They are regal.

Pajou Calliope

They are the very epitome of beauty.

Pablo Picasso Nude Woman

All pictures from the National Gallery of Art. I wish that every time I start seeing too many Victoria Secret catalogues and commercials, when I and too inundated with clothes that don’t fit, that I feel like all the world feels that I’m too much, too big, not beautiful and seductive and enthralling, that I could visit these ladies. They make a woman feel very well and comfortable in her body. One might almost say proud. Yes, it was a wonderful thing to visit women with curves who are classic beautiful, so much so that they don’t merely rest in catalogues and magazines but in buildings entirely devoted to art and beauty. I really needed that.

On the other hand, K, DC was a bit disillusioning for me. I mean, you wander around impeded by security at every point, every turn. You can’t even bring water into the National Aquarium. Which is not a good place to visit, trust me on that one. It’s an embarrassment to this country. You’ll see only slightly more there than you do at your local pet store. But really, what I mean to say is that it’s no wonder our politicians are freaking out about national security, because the mall and DC are just generally paranoid about everything. But once in the buildings, like visiting the capitol or the air and space museum, such wonderful history abounded. There is such dedication to freedom, responsibility, work, liberty, and justice; it makes you love the country. It makes you think, “Maybe we really are doing something good somewhere. How can people who work here not realize what has gone on before them, such hard battles fought for civil liberties of all sorts, and not be inclined to make the best choices for our nation?”

And then, on the way home, I caught a glimpse of a news headline in the Chicago Tribune. A district court said it’s okay for the government to wire-tap any of the public, anywhere, anytime, whenever it deems it necessary. Perfectly legal. Perfectly fine for them to sneak into my apartment and do it right now. The ACLU is fighting this and trying to take it to the supreme court. They seem like good people to me.

I’m all for safety. I like to drive safely, to fly safely, and, yes, it’s very true, I’m not on the forefront fighting the good fight to keep our country safe. Well, actually, I am, I’m just doing it in a much more public manner without all the violence. In any case, I’m very disturbed that I have no guarantee of my privacy. None whatsoever. Do I think the government wants to wire-tap me? No! Why would they? I knit. And spin. The inherent qualities within these two arts, while perhaps inviting scathing language and provoking thought, render violence completely unnecessary. However, I’m guaranteed in the Bill o’ Rights that I’ve got privacy. I remember sitting in class in 7th grade, pondering why I needed privacy. Who cared? I mean, yeah, the press, right to gather, freedom of religion, that all makes sense. Freedom of speech, everyone loves that one. But privacy? It wasn’t an issue back then. And now, as I gather my thoughts, as I view my life…I want privacy. I want to know that there are still secrets, still hidden things in this world beyond the mysteries of science and love. I want things that I can hide. I want espionage to be an art form, not a technological business. I want to be alone, when I am alone. I don’t want people to hear me sing in the shower. But most of all, I want to know beyond a doubt that, sometimes when I have a conversation with Kris, that only he and I are the ones who have heard it. That it is ours, and no one else’s. Yet, every time we converse, as much as we are likely fine, there is the possibility, that horrible possibility, that there are others. People, networks, worlds of others. Listening in. Evaluating. Picking apart. Knowing. I don’t like it. I like my freedoms. I feel like we’re entering 1984, where as the characters go anywhere Big Brother may be watching at any time, even in the forest as they go for a walk, even where they think they are alone. Or entering into Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. I mean, the book was a great commentary and warned about religious fanaticism and fundamentalism sneaking into the government, probably based on her experiences in the Near East. But I truly think there was a lot more lurking there. Taking away the religious overtones, there lurks the quiet acknowledgement of what fear can do. That people can be sculpted, molded, and coerced by fear into not only taking away the freedoms and rights of others, but also of themselves. That they can change from “freedom to” into the dangerous “freedom from.” I feel like this, and many other aspects of the Patriot Act, are an obvious barrage against reason and logic and faith in this country to be able to protect itself. I mean, the Patriot act’s name, in my view, is one of the most bitterly sarcastic I’ve ever heard, since the actual patriots, our founding fathers, would probably have vomited if they learned of all this being done in their name.

Anyway. I’m done with that. We’ll let that rest and stew for awhile while I try and get off of this high horse. So tall. And I’m so not used to riding horses.

There is one more big piece of information that I did not include yesterday that needs to be known. K, I found some ladies. Some wonderful, amazing, fun, talkative ladies. And I’m just enamored with them. And one rented me a spinning wheel. I went to a local organic farm that sells free range chickens, eggs, and beautifully blended wool which unfortunately all has mohair in it. Which I can’t wear. The ladies don’t believe I can’t wear mohair. I don’t think they understand the true nature of how it makes me about to have seizures when it touches any sensitive part of my skin. In any case, the woman who runs the farm invites ladies over to knit around on Saturdays from 11-5, and as soon as I hopped off the plane from DC, I went over to her farm. I had such a good time being amongst knitters again. They liked my yarn. They liked my knitting. They liked my skirt. I hope they liked me, too. And one of them rented spinning wheels, too! So I’m learning how to spin on a wheel, which an entirely different animal that spinning on a drop spindle. I mean, similar, but you really have to work with the machine on a wheel, which my spindle works with me and does whatever I tell it. Usually. I’ll get you some pictures soon! It’s an Ashford Kiwi, which is difficult if only because I like to spin thin yarn, and it doesn’t have a very high ratio, which one would usually like for spinning thin yarn.

I might go see Harry Potter tonight. I hope it’s good. Stay out of the heat!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Deadline Approaches


Every once in a while it’s a good thing to try something completely outrageous, unheard of, and delightfully new. It quickens the senses, it makes you feel alive, it makes you question your fundamental philosophies.

I did not do this yesterday. I did, however, knit in a public bathroom stall in the medical research building while sitting on the toilet.

We had a long meeting/class yesterday on research ethics, about 3 hours. The first half was fine, exciting even, as we discussed public views on research and scientists, a general malaise in the public sector because of research gone amok, of cloning and stem cells and animal ethics, falsifying data, and financial trickeries. We drew no conclusions, which is the best way to go about discussions like these. Why don’t people trust scientists anymore? What has happened in the past 50 years that we are treated with wariness rather than respect? Are there religious overtones or undertones here? Good questions. I knit and thought about these for a long while. It was delightful.

The second man was the head of the IRB, and let me tell you, there is reason those people aren’t well liked or understood. It’s because no body can stay awake to listen to him speak. He turned off the lights, turned on a dark powerpoint, and we were out. Probably about 100 people or more, just out. Asleep. I mean, these are people who can stay awake through lectures about the tuberosities of the femur. More than half of the class was asleep, I among them. I just couldn’t make it. And you now that when I sacrifice knitting time for sleeping, there have got to be issues there.

Anyhow, I got a bunch of work done during the first half on the right front half of my lace cardigan. I’d so love to get this done in time for the Iowa State Fair, but I know it’s not going to happen. I really need to put it down and finish the other projects for the fair. It’s just so hard to accept. The fair items are due there on the 27th, and I still have 2 sleeves, half of a front, and finishing to do on a piece I’ve worked on (and off) for a year. (More off than on, yes, but still.) I’m entering embroidered stockings that don’t have the embroidery handspun handknit mittens that aren’t knit completely, Kris’s birthday gloves, and maybe the pair of baby Norwegian mittens? If I finish them? Nothing is completely done but Kris’s gloves. I really need to get working. Because there is shipping time as well!

Anyhow, the restroom knitting? I had ripped out two rows and was reinserting the needles in my work when the class ended. I thought it would look best if I ran out too, but my stitches were not on anything! So I ran into the restroom and put it all back on a did a row to get everything straightened out before I jostled through the hospital to catch my bus. At one point I think I was walking behind a convict/patient. At least, there was someone being pushed in a wheelchair, and there was a corrections officer traveling with them with handcuffs and chains hanging out of her hands. Truthfully, every day I wander through the hospital I see something new. It’s a wonderful change from the mundane of life elsewhere.

Anyway! To bad pictures of my knitting. I need to get a good digital camera back…these are from the web cam. One front half of my cardigan done.

One half of my cardigan to go!

One half of a pair of handspun and handknit mittens done.

One half to go!
Much knitting got done in D.C. And K? I don't think the spelling bee was actually occurring as you watched it. I think that was a few months earlier. It might have been a re-run, darling. Sorry to disappoint. I was not in town, however, for the bee. You know I'm afraid of bees. I was in town for the fireworks! And festivities! My mother was at a teachers conference the first half of the week with my father tagging along, and so I flew out the second half to meet them and run around to the museums and watch the fireworks and Little Richard.

Oh yeah, I said Little Richard. That man is awesome. Everyone loved him! I went to A Capital Fourth, in which everybody goes through security to watch a show and then the fireworks on the capitol lawn. There's something about Little Richard's music that makes you get up and dance. You realize this when no one gets crazy for any other song than his, but then the entire crowd gets up simultaneously and proves to the world that our national dance is not salsa, waltz, foxtrot, or even the macarena. No, it's shaking your booty. There was some other people, the barmaid from Cheers (she played Rita?) who sang show tunes, Tony Danza who tap danced, some country singer, Dierks Bentley, who had a wonderful voice if not wonderful music, Elliot Yamin, who apparently did not win American Idol, but had a great voice, loved him. Still needs to work on his stage performance a bit. Hayden Panettierra, the cheerleader from the TV show Heroes, who really should stick to acting, or else stop singing things flat, and Yolanda Adams, who just bewitched the audience with her amazing voice. And then there were fireworks! Lots of explosions! And the National Symphony Orchestra, who are very good (if not ill-motivated, since they had to play while the display went on). They actually played West Side Story, the same arrangement we played a few years back! I was about to run down and join them, but I didn't have my violin. Their version of Stars and Stripes wasn't the same as our Concert Band. I was definitely missing some cymbal crashes.

I'll tell you more about the weekend later when I get some pictures to go along with it, but let's just say it was fun, exciting, and about killed off my feet. It was great fun, I got a bit disillusioned, which I'll tell you more about later, and I'm back at work and sending out more mailing!

When do you start classes? I'm so glad you found a nice apartment! That's wonderful. Apartments aren't cheap in the rest of the world beyond Iowa, I think. You really have to pay to have a roof over your head. Do you have an orientation or anything? Is James moving with you right away, or does he have more work to do in New Mexico? I'm so excited!

Excited and knitting quickly,


Monday, July 9, 2007

K, You Little...

Hosebeast. And Liar.


Apartment and a Mountain


I lied. I didn't go to meet aliens and teach them how to knit. I missed several exciting events like an alien costume contest, 1947 era street dance, as well as a workshop lecture entitled "Ufology's Occult Fringe Realms: Reptilian Overlords, Military Abductions, Masonry, Mind Control, and the New World Order." There were actually quite a lot of events that I missed. Oh, and I heard at the concert they were holding on Friday, they were going to have actual abductions from the audience with possible prizes to win. I missed out with the aliens. Instead of visiting the aliens, I went apartment shopping in Arizona.

And I have an apartment!!! It is so beautiful!

We decided to go apartment shopping on the weekend so that James could come with. Unfortunately, I left my camera behind, so I can't show you the beautiful mountainy view from our new apartment window. Or the mountainy view that I have driving to work (which will hopefully lessen the dullness of an hour and a half commute to and from every day).

But I am so excited about our apartment!! It's really lovely. Overpriced, but less than the apartment we're in now. And it's actually clean and doesn't have cigarette burns on the carpet or an air conditioning unit that spits water at you whenever you walk underneath it. What it does have is all new appliances and a nice neighborhood.

We stayed overnight at my friend Elisa's house. We were friends from highschool. She was at the wedding, you might remember her--the one who died her hair bright pink. Oh, it was so nice to see her again. Unfortunately, since we didn't know her boyfriend very well and they didn't know James, it was kind of like a Karen-Elisa fest with some extra people. I mean, it wasn't that bad, it's just that the majority of the time we had more things to say.

This is a picture of the mitten cuff that I brought along but didn't work on. I get nervous knitting in the car unless it's on circular needles. I feel like if I get in an accident I'm likely to impale myself. So I didn't much work on any knitting. But I couldn't resist starting a mitten. I was in a mitteny mood. It'll likely end up being a gift, since there's little need for excess warmth in the desert, but maybe it will make Christmas time easier. I like the
warm pinkness of the whole thing.

I hope DC went well for you. I'm sure it was patriotic if nothing else. You really missed out on the spelling bee. The boy who won was a little genius with social problems who didn't even like spelling. Is it bad that the time I spent watching the bee was mostly spent laughing?

Until later,

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Evil Window

I'm not sure what the window thing was all about. Sorry to leave you so abruptly. I did make it safely away from the desk and am still alive, so whatever was making the noise was lenient and let me keep my life. It was probably just a bug. Or the wind. Or an alien!!! Roswell is having its 60th anniversary party of the alien sightings this weekend. I think we're going to go. It could be entertaining. I know you're jealous. Too bad you decided to go to the D.C. You get to teach the government how to knit. But I'm teaching the aliens.

cheerio darling,

Intro and a Horror Movie


I feel like you left me in a horror flick with your window buzzing. Was it a bear? Was it a large bee? Was it somebody...or something...else? I don't know!

I'm going to Washington because I'm trying to effect knitterly change. And because my mom had a teaching conference there through today, and now I'm heading out to vacation and sight see with my parents a bit. It should be lots of fun! I'm not going by myself. That would be weird.

I'm packed and ready to go, and even heading out of work a bit early today to do it. I finally narrowed down my selection to three knitting projects to bring that should keep me going:

1) the yarn I spun and the mittens I'm beginning to make with it

2) a large dishcloth

3) the lace sweater. I had to rip back a few repeats in the front right hand side I was working on, since I had messed up my mathematical calculations. Actually, my calculations were perfect, merely the thinking behind them was off...I was decreasing less than I though because I though that I should, even though that's wrong. You see, I increased less on the body, but I wanted the same amount of decreases at the end, and I did that on the back, but was forgetting to do that on the front, which doesn't work mathematically.

I think that should get me through a range of activities for 5 days and 2 fairly short flights.

Anyhow, I'm inspired by your meta analysis of this site to just throw out a quick introduction to the two of us if anybody else ends up here. I'm Amy, you're Karen, and we are knitters. Karen taught me how to knit when I began college, as well as got me through chemistry class, which is one of the reasons why I am able to attend medical school today, as that is slightly required. Karen and I are crazy. Especially when we study for chemistry tests together. We recently graduated from our common undergraduate institution, a lovely place with many rocks, a river, much earth, and a big sky, and are heading to higher levels of education that do not necessarily contain all such things. We are sciency people, and we are knitters. We began to write to each other on here, à la Mason-Dixon, which I'm a fan of. And now we are here, we knit, we have extramundane relationships with other worlds such as spinning, sock creature making, sewing, social issues, health issues, and we talk to each other.

Wish me luck! I'll bring Bush extra needles, and eventually we'll change the world!

Monday, July 2, 2007


Thank you for the dietary information. James thanks you too. Considering he ate a loaf of bread last Friday, I think he's getting a fair share of carbs, though it's always good to be aware of what to eat. And your advice was actually quite helpful. As to the biochem reference--I don't process information in the same way that you do. I guess I don't think very much of what the purpose of things are. Reasons and proofs live in a fuzzy little hut on the outer rim of my brain.

Speaking of being confused, I'm still confused as to why you're going to D.C. I mean, I guess you don't need more of a reason than you're visiting for the fourth festivities. It's just . . . that's a long way to go. I knew this girl from highschool who carried a copy of the constitution with her wherever she went. She wanted to be reminded of her rights. I thought that was a little obsessive, though I appreciated the gesture. Do you listen to NPR? Watch West Wing? Engage in political activities? Personally, I do those activities rather infrequently, though everyone I know who does has an aura of political opinion, and I tend to enjoy their company. I can't believe that I missed Canada Day. I even went to Canada last year for the holiday, and I completely forgot about it this year.

I was lying in bed tonight (before I got up and started making soup and then decided to go online while it simmered). I was thinking about camp and about how I sort of cut myself off from all relationships with people there. And then I did some poking around online in a few places, just enough to get an idea of what was going on in the world of lost camp counselors. I was struck by the fact that many of my past friends still keep in touch with one another. Perhaps it is only in a superficial way, but now that I think of it, it takes time and effort to keep up with people. And to call that superficial is most likely not an accurate description.

I think it can get to a point, though, where if you try to keep up with too many people, it stops working properly. The return lessens after a certain point. (like a parabolic curve) Not that I shouldn't have kept up with the camp folk. I was just musing. If I tried to stay in contact with all of them and then with all of my highschool friends and now keep in contact with college friends, as well as the family back home, don't you think it would be too much? Perhaps not. But I haven't proven myself entirely successful up to this point with staying in contact with people. It helps when you see them once in a while.

I'm really glad we're doing this blog thing. I value your friendship. And your opinions, sense of humor, not to mention your fiber expertise. I haven't been this dedicated at keeping in touch with anyone in a long time. (Well, besides with James. But that was different.) I suppose we're just getting started in that department, but you can't get very far without starting. I also enjoy the idea that the more you talk to someone, the more you have to say. It no longer becomes an obligation to mention only the significant news in your life. You can start talking about the little things, get beyond the superficial news and continue to know a person. So thanks for this. I enjoy it.

I've made a short list. Two short lists.

Good things about NM:
  • Pecans (the #1 producer in the nation)
  • Aliens (it's always good to have some mystery, and maybe they really did land in Roswell)
  • They sell cacti in the grocery store, both canned and fresh
  • There are still trees here!! Vegetation is not completely inexistent, nor foreign.
  • Indiana Jones. New movie totally being filmed here. We were thinking of going to watch them film it one weekend, only it ended up being in a far away corner of the state.

Sad things about NM:
  • They only sell one brand of cookie dough ice cream (as far as I can tell, I mean, I haven't searched the whole state or anything)
  • There's limited recycling and most people tend to drive giant white trucks
  • I don't understand the TV system. You know how they say, 5/6c? Well, they still do that here, only it's neither eastern nor central time, so I am always confused about what time a show is supposed to start. Does the five mean for all time zones except central? Or should I be looking for this show at 7? So confusing.
  • It's too hot to wear wool. I don't know about their winters, but when 91 starts to feel cool to you, you have to wonder how cold it ever gets here.
  • Oh, and the thunderstorms are not at all comforting in the sort of way that rain could be soothing back home. Oh no! It's windy and freaky outside.
  • And the cheese tastes really weird.
My soup is done. It's cooling a little, but I think I'm going to put it in the fridge now and let it soak up some flavors so that I can gobble it down tomorrow, tasty and delicious.

I agree with you about the diva cup. I couldn't really end this post without mentioning it. (This has kind of become a conglomerate of many different topics, few of which seem to be related.) I am a big fan of mine and I don't understand how it's possible that more people don't know about it. I mean, I barely heard about it before I bought it. Apparently they've been around since the seventies or so. That's complete hearsay by the way, I'm not sure if that's true or not. But you brought up an interesting point about the periods I thought, and our quest to end them. Are we just trying to leave our individuality behind and join the world of men? AHHH!! My window is buzzing. Sorry, I can't handle it, I'm going to leave my desk now (which is adjacent to the window) since it's freaking me out. Sorry for the abrupt ending.