Kirsti Knits

Time - such a precious Gift is it; To work, to read, and Yes, to knit. - Minnie Gertz

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Home safe

And thank you to everyone who commented while I was away. The trip went pretty smoothly overall, despite a rocky (ooh, a Colorado pun!) start. I got to the airport at 11am for a 12:30 flight ... only to find that the first leg of my journey, a flight to Chicago, had been cancelled. Ooops. The best they could do was book me on the direct flight to Denver that didn't leave until 5:55pm. I thought about heading back home, but I'd already left the car at the parking structure and taken the shuttle, and there was roadworks .. so I decided it was too much hassle, especially because I had my knitting with me.

So I cast on for, and finished just as we landed in Denver, another Potato Chip scarf from the Trendsetter Dune I bought at Threadbear. This time I cast on 95 stitches, rather than the 90, so ended up with 780 to bind off. But it meant I had less yarn left over. However, I don't think that I could have fitted a single extra stitch on the 32" needles. Here is the scarf artistically draped in my Colorado hotel room:

On the entertainment center
And on the desk lamp.

Here is the view from my hotel room window - and yes, that is snow on the peaks of those mountains. I was staying at Beaver Run resort in Breckenridge, which is a fairly large complex, with condos as well as hotel rooms, and a conference center. And outdoor hottubs and swimming pools. If you want to see more photos, I've uploaded a whole bunch to my flickr account.

The conference itself was intense: a day and a half of pretty much the world experts in the field of mild and unilateral hearing loss getting together, sharing the knowlege-base so far, and then brainstorming all kinds of recommendations for everything from screening for this kind of hearing loss, to diagnosing it in young infants, to the pros and cons of hearing aids and other amplification systems, to early intervention services. I was asked to give a talk on the Tuesday afternoon, and it went OK - I was very nervous, and got a horrible case of dry mouth, so I talked way too fast, but people were kind and said nice things about it afterwards. Tuesday evening I ended up at dinner with the crew from the Center for Disease Control's hearing screening program, who'd organized the conference. Last night, I tagged along with 7 of the other conference attendees.

This was taken as we all were walking in to the downtown area of Breckenridge. As we walked along the river, I was oooh-ing over the pine covered mountains ... and then spied a singer tuning his guitar by the river, with all these old looking town buildings in the background. Just too perfect a composition not to take a photo. It's worth clicking on the larger version so that the guitarist isn't just a blob in the middle of the shot.

Dinner was great fun - we ended up at Bubba Gumps, where I had yummy New Orleans shrimp - just the right amount of spice, and a delicious sauce. And a local wheat beer from a microbrewery nearby, which was the perfect accompaniment.

So the flight home was uneventful: I did a good five inches or more on the Aggressive Beginners scarf and am almost finished with the first skein of yarn, so I'm now a third of the way through it. It's actually becoming close to mindless knitting for me now.

And then I get home ... and as per Suz's comments, there was indeed a box waiting for me. She was only meant to send a check to cover the yarn cost of the Booga Bag ... but, sweetie that she is, she'd mailed me the most yummy smelling "Juicy Ripe Watermelon" candle. I could smell the fragrance even as I was opening the box. An unexpected, but much appreciated, gift. Here's the candle and card:

A very nice gift to come home to. (And yes, for you eagle-eyed observers, that is indeed one of our wedding pictures in the background.) Now I'm off to catch up on everyone else's blog entries, and throw some comments around as I feel inspired. Hopefully Terry's on her way home soon, so we can enjoy dinner together.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Finished Object!

... but no photos. Sorry. Top Secret Project 2 is finally finished, all the ends are woven in, and it just needs blocking (ooh, there's a possible clue!). And yes, this is the very impressive piece that Jodi referred to in her blog a few days ago. I'm certainly impressed with myself. All will be revealed, and photos will be posted here after August 6th.

Terry and I had a wonderful mini-holiday weekend in Windsor: staying in a hotel on the river, walking lots along the waterfront, getting to Jodi's going away party on Saturday night, eating some very good Ethiopian food, and generally relaxing and enjoying ourselves. It was good for both of us, and well needed.

There probably won't be any updates this week, as I leave today for Breckenridge, Colorado, where there's a conference organized by the CDC on mild and unilateral hearing loss in children - my Ph.D. topic. I certainly feel honoured to have been invited, and asked to give a brief presentation on Tuesday. I am taking knitting (the aggressive beginners scarf, and some Cascade Dune and needles to hopefully get at least one of those ruffled scarves done), so should have progress and pictures when I return on Thursday night.

Not sure how much web access I'll have (though I'm taking my laptop), so if I don't stop by your blog, I'll make sure I catch up when I return. Keep this space warm for me, won't you?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Well, that title should get attention from some search engines or something... (For the non-knitters reading this, SEX is, of course, an abbreviation for a Stash Enhancement Expedition. Read on, and all will become clear. Or, at the very least, you'll see pretty pictures of yarn.)

Last Sunday was the Royal Oak Stitch'n'Bitch's grand summer roadtrip to Threadbear in Lansing. Three of us went - Julie was meant to join us but had family commitments at the last minute. Still, we're definitely going to plan an Autumn trip there too. Just as soon as my budget has had time to recover ... from...

This! Here's my Stash Enhancement from a store that I could quite happily spend all day and all my money in. Let's break this down a little.

Starting at the front. This is Kid Seta from Madil. According to Rob at Threadbear, this is the exact same yarn, from the exact same mill as Rowan's Kidsilk Haze ... but in a wider range of colours, and $5 cheaper per skein. It's wonderfully soft and fuzzy, and as you can see, has already found its way onto the needles. It's going to be a rectangular shawl, with a simple lace pattern. Coz I'm working my way up to...

This - 3 skeins of the same yummy stuff in a deep deep green. This is destined (currently) to become the Kiri Shawl from All Tangled Up. I figure that once I've done those two, the Fiddlesticks seacreatures one should be a breeze. Ah, nothing like optimism.

OK, continuing on. I also purchased a bunch of Trendsetter's Dune yarn, to make three more Potato Chip Scarves. These are destined for Christmas presents. From the bottom left working clockwise, the shades are 61, 06 and 84.

Here's the next splurge (and this was a total impulse unlike..well.. the Dune at least). This is Angel, from Lorna's Laces, in Purple Club. It's 70% angora and 30% lambswool. They had a simple 2x2 ribbed scarf on display and I just fell in love with how soft it was and how yummy it felt. And then they happened to have just the right number of skeins in the purple shade for me to make one too. Definitely destiny. Or fate. Or something.

And last but not least ... Cascade Fixation. This is a wonderfully elastic and stretchy yarn that is ideal for ... yep ... socks. I can't let Michelle and Suz and all the other sock-knitting bloggers be the only ones to have fun. So I have the socks, and a pattern ... and I've got to go out and do a needle purchase soon anyway... so keep an eye out for sock-happenings. As they say on the QueerKnit email list, I am indeed crossing over to the dark side.

It was a wonderful afternoon, capped off by a wonderful mexican meal. And then the next day, I got to show it all off at Stitch'n'Bitch. Jodi was there, and Amanda and Julie for a bit - and Terry got off work early so came along to watch this strange phenomenon. I got some good help and advice on TSP 2 - which is now probably about 85% done. I'm so impressed with myself, both because of how it's coming out, and also because I've managed to refrain from posting pictures of it here.

TSP 4 is about 2/3 done, but has stalled because I've somehow managed to lose my 10 1/2 dpns. I usually keep everything together for one project in a bag - and the green envelope containing them is no longer in there. I've looked around the house, but may just have to sigh, and go out and get more.

So that's the knitting updates. Wavy has progressed a bit, as has the aggressive scarf which I'm now really rather fond of. Branching out is starting repeat 2 (of 27!) but I think I'm going to take it with me to Colorado next week, where I should be able to get in some good knitting time inbetween trying to pretend to be a knowledgeable researcher.

Friday, July 15, 2005

I've been RAK'd

I'm slightly late in posting this, but it's been a pretty busy couple of days, and I wanted to include photos to share. Following a discussion in the Knittyboard chat room, Roxy and I discovered a shared interest in origami, and she asked for my address to send me some origami paper she had lying around.

Little did I know what else would be lurking inside the envelope. Here's what it looks like:

Going from right to left we have ... Disney stickers; some very funky Old Navy stickers; origami paper galore in different patterns and colours and sizes (including some "bug" paper at the far left, and some tiny squres behind the yarn to make into cranes or maybe boxes); some origami folding instructions to get me started; a mirror (that's the circular blue open thing - I thought I was being artistic but didn't check my camera angles!), also out of view of the camera (I'm sorry, I'm a bad photographer) is a blue folded shrimp that Roxy made - very inspiring and fits with the sushi theme); a just yummy soft ball of Kid Merino yarn from Crystal Palace Yarns (I think this will maybe make my next Branching Out. Or something yummy and lacy. Any suggestions?); a teeny bottle of tobasco sauce; some snapple lipbalm, and finally at the far left, the coolest sushi stickers I could imagine.

In fact, they're so cool I had to lay them all out and take a picture:

Is it sad that I can recognise most of these sushi types? And also sad that I'm getting hungry just looking at them. Plus there's mugs of tea, and those little dark round circles are soy sauce. It's definitely worth clicking on the thumbnail to see the larger version.

Roxy, you are kind and generous beyond all measure, and I really hope that your Random Act of Kindness comes back to you in spades.

Monday, July 11, 2005

A quick quiz

Well I guess I do use my Addi Turbos pretty much constantly...

turbo charged
You are "turbo" charged.
Fast moving and classy, you get things done with
power and grace. Your expensive tastes can be
deceiving, since what you really value is
quality and efficiency. As you're careening
around those corners in life, finishing a dozen
knitted objects each month, stop and smell the
roses. Don't miss the beauty of process!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Weekend updates

Firstly I want to thank everyone for stopping by and leaving their prayers and good wishes. Knowing that you guys, most of whom I've never met in person, are thinking of me and my family means a lot.

Brief knitting updates .... last night I took TSP 4 to see Carole King live in concert. She was playing at Meadowbrook, which has cheap "lawn tickets", so we sat on the grass, listened to 2 hours of wonderful music, and I knitted until it got too dark to see. I'm planning on taking either TSP 2 or the Wavy scarf to Ann Arbor on Wednesday and Thursday night, when we'll be at the Ark to see Nanci Griffith, Maura O’Connell, John Gorka, and The Chenille Sisters with opening act Matt Watroba on Wednesday and Christine Lavin, Susan Werner, Dar Williams, and Cheryl Wheeler with opening act Jan Krist on Thursday. Christine Lavin also knits, and invites people to bring their knitting for a mini Stitch'n'Bitch the hour before the show.

And, along with the horror of Thursday, there was a ray of good stuff ... this arrived in the mail:

It's the yarn and patterns from Fiddlesticks to knit the Sea Creatures shawl. The Aegean Blue is lighter than it looks in that picture, and should make a wonderful shawl. I don't think I'm quite ready to cast on yet - I'd like to get Branching Out more than 4 rows done first, so I've got more experience in lace knitting - but having it waiting is certainly inspiring.

Hope everyone else is having a good weekend. Tomorrow night is Stitch'n'Bitch, and next Sunday is our Great Summer Road Trip to Threadbear in Lansing.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I don't really have words

It's odd, wishing that I were back in London, when all this is going on. My university departments were split between near Russell Square and near Euston, so I would walk through Tavistock Place, where the bus bomb was, several times a week. Now I see these familiar buildings and places, but with such unfamiliar and unbelievable happenings there.

My family are all safe - my mum rang at 7:30 this morning and told me about the news. I've not been able to turn the TV off since. I've heard from one friend who's out in East London ... there are so many more people I know there, acquantances, friends I've lost touch with, staff and faculty from my old university ... I'm just hoping that the statistical probabilities hold true and that they're all OK.

I'll update on knitting stuff tomorrow. Now, it's just keeping my hands occupied while I watch and pray.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Very quickly...

... before I head off to work and teaching for the day ... here's the finished booga bag.

I took TSP 4 (that's the Top Secret Project series to annoy and eventually delight my sister) to our neighbours' 4th of July party yesterday afternoon, and got it well underway, while avoiding water balloons and sparkler damage. TSP 2 is about 85% done and everyone who sees it is impressed.

On Sunday we went down to the Taste Fest, and stuffed ourselves silly sampling various items from restaurants we either know and love (La Shish, Beans & Cornbread) or want to try out (Indian Masala, a couple of others). Also there was my favourite knitting store, City Knits, so I got to introduce Terry to the staff, and show her the treasure trove where I spend too much time and money. Lisa, who's an artist in addition to being a darn good knitting teacher, had devised a piece of knitting performance art in which 8 people shared a space and needles and different shades of yarn, from pale cream to a rich chocolate brown, to create ... well... by Sunday it was about a 12 inch long tube. I trust Lisa's vision to make it into some kind of sculpture. She'd also build the sturdy octagonal bench for all the knitters to sit round. I'm definitely going to follow the progress of this, knit on it when and where I can, and be a part of the binding off in September. I'm going to work with Lisa to get this project its own blog, so watch out for a link and photos.

OK. Now I've got to run and get dressed and face the day. At least it's a shorter work week. Happy Tuesday to all.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Friday - and Photos!

Yep, at long last, here are some actual photographs of actual objects that I have actually knitted. Of course, most of my work has been on the Top Secret Project that I can't show you yet (though I am emailing out photos to those interested). But.. in the past few days I have:

Added a bunch of length to the Aggressive Beginners Scarf. I figure I'm about a quarter of the way through it, at least. Here's a slightly fuzzy closeup which was meant to show off the lace pattern and the 4 stitch cable in the middle of it.

And also...

Finished the Booga Bag for Suz. Above is its pre-felting stage, next to my first bag for size comparison purposes ... and below is its current status, drying over the same Kashi cereal box. Either towels aren't as efficient for felting as jeans are, or else different colours of Noro Koreyon felt differently, because this took 3 runs through the washing machine to shrink down to size. There's still a little bit of stitch definition, but I figure that Suz can always felt it more if she wants to.

Oh, and I also ordered the kit below in the Aegean Blue. So what if I'm not really a shawl wearing person? So what if I don't think I have any outfits that a person could actually wear a shawl with? So what if Terry wants me to turn it into a tablecloth instead? It's all about the process, right?

So that's my progress so far. Have a great holiday weekend if you're one of those "bloody colonials" celebrating it. Me, I'll take the fireworks as a belated recognition of Trafalgar Day.