Sunday, November 28, 2010


Everything that I am knitting right now is purple. I took a look at my ravelry projects and noticed a similar theme. This is something I did not know about myself, that I was drawn to the red and purple hues.

Now that I finished these gloves, I may move on to something less purple . . . or not, since it's such a fine color.

Can I just say that these look horrible? The fingers are all floppy-like. It's not until they are slipped onto the hand that they look worthwhile. Maybe it's just my poor photography skills, but I'm glad they don't look as wretched while being worn. Here's my artsy hand-model shot that looks much better:

In case you were wondering, this is my ballerina hand. It took years of practice to cultivate. I hope you appreciate.

These are not for me, although I do enjoy the grape smell. I shipped these out a couple weeks ago to LaKeisha in Ohio. I am hoping that they fit.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans' Day

Today I honor the veterans in my life, my two grandfathers and my grandmother. Veterans' Day was originally known as armistice day, a day when fighting stopped, a day of peace.

Today, one year and one day ago, my grandfather died and found his peace.

Twenty-six years ago my other grandfather found his peace.

My grandmother was a nurse in France during WWII, and has lived a beautiful life after.

May we all find peace and end war.


the search for the perfect squash

Before this week, my primary indication that the seasons were changing was the change of produce available at the grocery store. And of course, the fall produce of greatest significance to me was the vast array of squashes available for consumption. This is a selection of some of the different types of squash that I decided to sample:

I would say that I am the primary (sole) squash eater in this household, so I embarked on a solitary culinary escapade in order to determine my squash preferences. This week, I sampled from the turban squash (top right), a rather large specimen with plump seeds. I was really rooting for the turban squash, because it was ridiculously easy to slice into prior to being cooked. If I had found it delicious, it would have sealed the deal. Being easy to cut into would make my squash habit more self-sufficient (as in, I wouldn't need to require the services of a more muscular husband).

Here's the bad news. I have a huge bowl of turban squash sitting in the refrigerator right now, languishing in watery stringyness because I found it sub-par to more desirable squash species. Ahh, well, at least I am learning.

This week was the first week that felt like fall to me. Most of October was spent in the mid-nineties, but it's starting to cool. James said it felt like winter, but he was out at night, when the temperatures drop a bit more dramatically. Anyway, I am home today, and I decided to break out the knitted sweaterly items.

In any case, this is my creation, and it's finally cool enough to wear it in person, so I thought I would take a photo to commemorate. Plus, climbing in trees is fun. This was made from local alpaca, and it felt like I was wrapping myself in my own personal blanket when I put it on today.


PS. Do you remember the yarn turbans that we sported while trying on makeup and watching naked soccer?

PPS. I support potato intolerance. Squash over potatoes forever!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


This last winter was pretty cold for Arizona's standards. I believe this was due to the fact that it was an El Nino year, which made it a bit more soggy and cool than normal. National guard was even called out for Flagstaff area because of all the snow (although snow wasn't really an issue where I live).

This abnormally cool season led me to believe that it would be appropriate to make some winter knits, and I started a few projects. I started blogging about them too, but then I never actually posted pictures of the finished products.

The truth is that, save for a couple days a year, these projects are probably inappropriate past late morning--even in the winter months. I think I was being overly optimistic that these projects would get any real use out here. I guess we'll see what happens. It's still fun to create.

Part of me was being rational, and told myself to at least leave off the sleeves. I think this was a good choice.

Hooray for vests!


PS. When it's cold enough to wear (and when I have someone to take pictures for me) I will post a photo of these sweaters in action (aka being worn).

lace break

I know that I alarmed you with my latest post, but please do not worry. I am actually motivated at this very moment. So motivated, that after I finish this post, I will be doing work! Real work! But first, I wanted to show you:

I enjoy knitting lace. It is intricate and delicate and repetitious and billowy. Thank you for the yarn.

Alright, that's the end of my break.


Monday, July 12, 2010


How is your summer? As I write this, Hazel is exploring and nudging things with her face. What a wonderfully tactile way to explore the world.

I have something to share. Secretly, I think about quitting my program all the time. I'm doing well, and I think I'm on schedule to graduate in about a year, but I seem to lose all motivation when left to myself. I will start the week with great intentions and then slowly lose momentum as I realize how much of a drag it is to transcribe, etc. Recently, I've been thinking about this a lot more, and have been making some poor choices as a result. I'm sort of hoping that I come to my senses before I do something I will regret, but I'm also sort of hoping that my poor choices will pan out.

While I was avoiding responsibility last week, I put some buttons on this little sweater:

The buttons are not evenly spaced, but I think it's okay. I don't think the baby will notice.

Also, I started work on a modified adult version of this. I can't decide if it's garish or not. In the meantime, I'll keep working on it until I make up my mind. Which is pretty much how I feel about my graduate studies as well. Time to work.


Saturday, July 3, 2010


It's good to hear from you! I have heard of morels before, but I have never seen one. They look like pieces of coral to me.

This is what I have been working on recently:

Back when I was living in New Mexico I decided to start collecting fabric and cutting it into itsy bitsy squares. I may have even blogged about it, back when we were both better about documenting our crafting escapades. And as of recently, I decided I had enough fabric squares to start my watercolor quilt. Plus, I acquired a sewing machine, which was somewhat necessary for this phase of the quilting process. So this is what I have been doing:

This is so much fun. After beginning this three years ago, I started to think that it would never come to fruition, but look! It's starting to work itself into a real product!

Your wool looks wet and pungent and wonderful. I like the rainwater. I was at biosphere 2 this past week, and it started to drizzle outside (the monsoons are coming!) This elicited an announcement: "Everyone! It's starting to rain outside!" And then there was cheerful applause, and a few people ran to the window to take a look. It was really a big deal. I smiled to myself.

I want to call this my biosphere sweater, because all but one of the sleeves was knit while I was on the biosphere 2 campus.

It's a little bit washed out in the picture, but I am so pleased with how the color turned out. I hand-painted the yarn ages ago and finally found a project to use it. It also reminds me of a watercolor, because the colors blend together so nicely. This is my first baby sweater, and my first yoke sweater. I really enjoy how quick it is to knit for babies.

Hope you are doing well, take care!


PS. Happy independence day.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Spinning


I've been busy. So busy, I've lost in the world of medicine for the last year or so. My deepest, heartfelt apologies. Let's just not talk about that.

However, this summer I did buy Morels at the farmers market. If you've never had them, buy them fresh, and then saute them in just butter and a bit of fresh cracked pepper.

Kris and I went to the Iowa Sheep and Wool Festival in Adel, Iowa, as I was living in Des Moines this last few weeks. This is a great adventure, and worthy of the $5 admission. I think it is, in fact, perhaps, worthy of it's own post. Let's leave it to say that I came away with more fleeces from the silent auction to add to my already growing collection of 1 that I obtained from Firefly Fields. Firefly fields has beautiful finnsheep fleeces. I love you Emmi!

I picked up 4 more fleeces, a Rambouillet, a Shetland, a Jacob, and a Cormo. You really can see all five, though in the above picture. Yes they are taking over the apartment, along with the plants. I've started cleaning the Rambouillet with the fermented Suint Method, which you can read more about here and here with pictures, but if you want a very good description, check it out here!

My Rambouillet is sitting the rainwater that I've been (im)patiently collecting over the last day or so with my bins. This will be a long and stinky seven days.


P.S. Kris has a new blog documenting all the plants and gardening we do in our apartments. Go check it out!

Friday, May 28, 2010

summer knittin'

I haven't heard from you in so long! How are things with you?

It is for sure summer in AZ, and I am still picking away at this sweater, which seems wholly inappropriate for summer knitting and has therefore been sitting by itself on the couch for the last few weeks. If I get the motivation to finish it up, I have big plans for my next thoughtful project. These plans involve soft gorgeous alpaca.

The one summer-appropriate project that I was working on was this baby blanket. This was a project for my friend Dawn--who just had her baby a couple of days ago! Congrats Dawn!

Do you see that lighter-colored yarn? The one that looks sort of light pink? Well, it used to be white. I actually like this look better, but the dye ran so badly that it completely dyed the yarn pink. I gave it a good vinegar bath and hopefully those colors will be done running. (oops!) I learned from this project to always check for color-fastness when knitting with high-contrast colors.

In other non-knitting related news, I thought I would tell you about James' "Mini-Me" . . . I mean Dutch. Do you see this picture? Dutch is wrapped up in a snuggie. On the bed. I don't think this dog could get any more spoiled. A while back, I came home and found all this soggy dog food in the trash. It turns out that James was having a bowl of cereal and naturally thought that whatever he was doing, Dutch should do too. (I suspect that Dutch was holding out for the people cereal, and that's why he left his dog food untouched. James has trained him to eat from a spoon)

Now that he's not the only dog in the family, Dutch is learning (begrudgingly) to share. And he now eats his dog kibble about ten times faster.


PS. I was out running with Dutch last week and this guy in a car leans out and calls my name. I didn't recognize him at all, but then I thought that maybe it was someone that James works with. In the end, it turned out that he had confused me for someone else. But yet . . . someone with the same name. Huh.

PPS. I feel like I'm starting to accrue a number of hippie products, but I have to at least recommend this deodorant. It actually works, and it doesn't have any aluminum in it. I like the fact that it is unscented.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


About five years back I read a book by Barbara Kingsolver called The Poisonwood Bible (per your recommendation, I believe). This book was huge. It made me think, it made me question, and it led to several long conversations. Ultimately, there aren't too many details that I remember anymore from this novel, but there is one piece of it that made an impression and has stuck with me. There's a character who stays in Africa, is raising a family here, and is struggling to find enough protein for her child. Malnutrition is rampant, and it is difficult to find the necessary nutrients to keep her family strong and healthy. Later, she comes back to visit her parents in the United States, and there is a scene in which she walks through an American supermarket, marveling at the abundance and immediacy of food options here. It is in such contrast to the world that she came from. (In retrospect, this also reminds me of the ending for the movie Cast Away)

And here's the thing. We have infinite food choices in the states. We have the ability to make almost any nutritionary and dietary choices that we want! The food is available. But we make bad choices. We choose processed and packaged over whole foods. And this is the thing that stuck with me: I have the opportunity to make any dietary choices that I want--why not make the healthy decision? This book is one of the reasons why I try to make healthy food choices and to do it from scratch as much as possible.

The reason why I am posting about this is because I just found out that Barbara Kingsolver wrote another book about her family's year of living off the land. She spent a year only eating food that her family raised or grew themselves, or that they bought from local farmers' markets. I guess it wasn't coincidental that the part of her novel that I took to heart was an issue that meant something to her as well. I'm not in a position to do what she did, but I was excited to make this find and I look forward to reading what she has to say.


PS. Barbara Kingsolver used to live in AZ. I guess she had to move to Virginia to pick up gardening and start a farm. I wish I could be successful at growing plants here, but maybe in a year or two we will find ourselves in a more growing-hospitible climate. Even if I had enough shade and nutrient-rich soil, the amount of water required to plant a garden would be unsustainable.

PPS. Apparently the adhesive that is used to attach non-stick coatings to pans will break down at high temperatures. Fumes that are released from this process have been known to kill household birds. I did not know this. And I have a whole lot of non-stick pans. But I wanted you to know, that in the interim between switching out my pans, I have been doing a lot of cast-iron cooking. I highly recommend. Cast iron rocks.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"What am I supposed to do, knit a sweater?"

I listen to a lot of radio. One of my favorite radio programs has a segment where concerned parents call in to see what their son/daughter is up to during spring break. The radio hosts call them up, and the parents listen in with horror as they find out what their kids are really up to. It's the type of low-level entertainment that just brightens your morning, you know? In one particular episode, the mom confronts her daughter, who is spending her break in Las Vegas, to which the girl replies, "What am I supposed to do, knit a sweater during spring break?" And I thought to myself, what a great idea.

I, myself, am on spring break (for one more day at least) and I have been doing as much knitting as puppy will allow (in fact, I am knitting even as I write this entry). I was hoping to finish the sweater that I was working on (we made amends, a few alterations, and kept going), but it didn't quite happen. This is as far as I am now. Looks are deceiving. You might think, from looking at this, that I am on the verge of finishing this project, but I think it would take at least another full week of spring break knitting to finish this up.

So I started a few more projects instead.

And can I just say that bulky yarn is my salvation? How long did this take to knit up? I don't know, but it felt like minutes. I've been doing everything all wrong. I must knit with this sweet, fragrant yarn from now on. I know it's not true, but it makes me feel like I could finish a sweater in a day.

I hope it looks like Spring where you are and that it sounds like melting snow outside your apartment. Take care,


PS. There's a chance that our new puppy is part husky. I'm afraid this may be true. She likes to pull. A lot.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

rough science

What if a group of real-world scientists banded together to solve challenges around the world? What if these superheroes were filmed and documented as they brought science to real-world situations? What if these scientists combined chemistry with wool?

That's right. Amazing. That's what it would be. Or otherwise known as Rough Science. Check it out. I think the chemist on this show is a closet knitter, otherwise how would he know that the lanolin in wool could be extracted to create a hand cream?

We are going to use this show in my class tomorrow. Not the episode about lanolin, but the episode about removing carbon dioxide from the air. So many fun things to learn. So much chemistry. Do you get this excited when you see medical situations portrayed in the media?


PS. Happy birthday!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

not freaking out

I had a helpful meeting with my adviser yesterday in which he told me not to freak out. This was good advice. This was good. I do not like to freak out. Sometimes it helps to be assured that you are, indeed, making progress on a project that seems infinite.

On the other hand, I have a knitting issue that is unresolved and no knitting adviser to counsel me. I am working on this sweater project:

Isn't it pretty? I'm trying new techniques. Right- AND left-handed knitting! Both at once! My tension's a bit beginner, but nothing some good blocking shouldn't fix. Plus there will be steeks. So right now I am going to focus on the positive and be proud of my accomplishments. I am trying new things. This is not a mindless project. I am not a bad knitter.

But here's the thing. I think it will be a little snug. Not too-small-to-wear-snug, but still snug. I think I need to rip back. There were too many decreases. I think it's necessary. I just need some time--I'm not emotionally ready yet. In the meantime, I'm afraid that if I start a new project, I will never return to this one. So . . . I haven't been knitting. This is awful.

The truth it is an ill-suited project to work on with a puppy in the house who needs close supervision. I should rip it back, set up my stitches, and start another puppy-appropriate project. Especially considering it's already too warm outside to wear sweaters this season.

I'm hitting the pause button on my knitting. Hope yours is moving forward.


PS. Knitting Olympics didn't work for me, but maybe next time I'll set up a project and plan ahead of time. James and I decided that we are going to try to go to the winter olympics in eight years (we're partial to Germany or France, and hoping that one of them will win the bid).

PPS. My student told me yesterday that American candy is made from corn syrup instead of sugar, and this is why it is inferior to other country's candy bars. Is this true? I'm so sad.

PPPS. My calendar tells me that Monday is International Women's Day. Maybe you can use this as an excuse to celebrate two holidays next week.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Hi K,

Today is Hari-kuyo, the Japanese festival of broken needles. Once a year, in the Hari-kuyo ceremony women gather at Buddhist temples or Shinto shrines to honor the service of their worn out pins and needles.

They lay the needles to rest in beds of konnyaku, a jelly-like substance, or tofu. Laying the needles into something soft is showing appreciation for all the times that the implements have been stuck in and used for hard work.

The day has deeper significance, however. They believe that women have secret sorrows in life that are often passed to the needles during stitching. The needles take some of the burden of these sorrows, and are now given rest.

Of course, continuing with tradition, I had to rest my needles. Or at least, one of the size 2 1/2 bamboo needles that has been broken in the last year. However, I did not have any tofu, or any konnyaku. So I used the closest thing: half-eaten cherry jello.

Of course, I think this might melt if I just left this out, so I put it in the fridge afterward.

Thank you little needle. Rest well deep in the jiggly jello.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Demon Sheep


Please, please enjoy. Make sure you watch to the end. You don't really have to listen to the words. I didn't.


Demon Sheep Man!

Notice that this is "men" we admire, aspire to be. Ahem, I'd prefer to remain a woman, thank you.

Who will you vote for, Demon Sheep Man (FCISLIENFOVK) or THE OUTSIDER.

We will let the regular sheep decide! Does else anybody wonder what breed of sheep these are?

By the way, are you preparing for the Knitting Olympics or Ravelympics 2010? Get yer projects swatched and ready to cast on at opening ceremonies!

This post is full of really, really short paragraphs.

Love you!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


A hat's pretty simple. It was the fourth thing I learned how to knit. The very first thing I knit were scraps of stockinette doll blankets which allowed me an easy project with which to learn on. I can remember my first doll blanket as being purple wool, and about two by three inches large. Then the first real pattern I ever followed was to make a pair of mittens. Then a pair of slippers. And finally, a hat. It should be a fairly basic project by now. After all, the only shaping that you do is at the very end. But when do you actually start to decrease? This is troublesome to me.

Below is the baby hat I knit last week while in Florida. Aren't those colors gorgeous? I have no idea if it will fit a baby's head. I had some help from my mother-in-law, who told me I needed to make it larger--which I did. I have no sense for these things.

Then, on Thursday, I was fiddling around, and I found an all-but-finished hat that I had made two years ago. I put it on, and couldn't figure out why I never wove in the ends. But five minutes later, it was half an inch too long, and then if I shortened it, I thought it would be too tight and it would slip up over my ears. I have no sense for these things.

I do have one hat that worked out. And maybe it's the way to go from now on, just to make slouchy hats and oversize everything. Or maybe I should just follow patterns. I sort of followed a pattern for this hat, only everything was different because I had the perfect yarn and refused to substitute.

But then again, this is the only way I can wear the hat without it falling off my head.

Here's my yarn source: little Valentino. This is before the shave.

And this is his fleece early last summer.

And this is a majestic bald eagle.

Anyway, I'm not going to make any hats for a while. Too complicated. I finished the sweater I was working on, and now I'm on a sweater kick. Sweater designs are dancing in my head.


PS. Happy new year.
PPS. I just realized I forgot Dutch and he's been outside the whole time I've been working on this post.