Archive for January, 2009

Or two winners. Or three. Many. We have many winners.

First winner: Me! I win because 104 of you delightful blog readers commented on my post. One hundred four comments. This is a new record, people! I’m totally stoked about having more than 100 comments, which means I have more blogs to peruse at my leisure, and I hope I stay semi-interesting enough for you to stick around and enjoy my show. Hooray!

Second winner: Casey (whose Etsy shop you must check out) was randomly chosen by the random number generator. It chose comment #42, which I think shows a lot of intelligence in a piece of software. Casey tells me that she has not one bit of sock yarn in her stash, and that my Fern-colored yarn will be the first. Casey, I dropped the yarn in the post office bin today, and you should get it in about a week. Hooray!

Third winner: The votes definitely trended toward the Tuscany shawl, but I have to say that I heard some really compelling arguments for (and against!) all the patterns. Thank you for taking the time to outline your reasons, and for throwing your opinion into the ring. I suppose the ultimate vote is up to me, seeing as I’ll be the one knitting on the project…
and I chose, predictably…
Tuscany shawl, pattern detail
The Tuscany Shawl.

I mean, I love all the other patterns and I’m going to knit them all up at some point, but I’ve been lusting after this damn thing since 2007. It’s time.

BMFA STR Med in Jade

Yep, it’s time I start working this beautiful yarn into something beautiful.

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I figured out why I haven’t been as warm as usual.
Im on ur heatingvents...
I’m on ur heatingvents, stealing ur heats

Miyagi has found a new favorite lounging spot.

(Don’t forget, the birthday contest is still going through Thursday night, ending at midnight!)

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Project 365: 19-25

Pictures are up late, but I’m giving myself a pass because yesterday was my birthday. (Don’t miss the birthday contest, going on till Thursday night!)

This week’s pictures were taken in much more out-and-about situations than I had been in so far this year, which feels pretty good. Too much home-work-home and you start to go a little nuts.

January 19, 2009
Icicles on the outside of an ivy-covered building (The Hillside in DeKalb on 2nd Street). Seeing ice encase something always fascinates me, and this made me think of amber surrounding and preserving leaves.

January 20, 2009
On Tuesday the public library got cable TV for the day to offer free access to the coverage of the inauguration. We were all so excited, and thanks to my generous boss, I was able to watch all of the inaugural events live with 75 other people. It was the most moving public event I’ve seen ever. People in the library cheered when he was announced, applauded when Biden took his oath, stood to witness Barack Obama, our former senator, take the Presidential oath, cried, whooped, and carried on. Amazing. Near the end of the service I took a picture of Heather and her boys standing to hear the national anthem sung. This day was outstanding.

January 21, 2009
On Wednesday we went to The House restaurant to see the Where’s the Band Tour. NinjaHusband was really into the music, and I was really into hanging out with friends and enjoying the people-watching.

January 22, 2009
My obsession with trees continues. This is the Christian Scientist church on Third Street in DeKalb. I love the classic lines of this church, and the steeple is a nice change from the surrounding buildings. Come to think of it, this section of DeKalb is full of churches. Methodist, Lutheran and Catholic on the next block. Weird. Anyway, this shot seemed like the prettiest and most outward-looking of the pictures I took that day.

January 23, 2009
Miyagi, in black-and-white. Which is funny, because she’s grey and white. One of my needles dropped as I was working on the entrelac tea cozy and she went after it. She’s so funny — definitely not a kitten but she still goes after things with a bouncy-pouncy verve sometimes. I like this picture because she’s a little blurry. On the move.

January 24, 2009
On Saturday my sisters came to town and we went out with a bunch of friends for a birthday bar crawl. It was awesome. I wore boots that looked great and killed my feet and a new top and great jewelry, and I had so much fun. We went to 4 or 5 bars that night (yes, things got a little blurry) and this is me and my friend C. in one of them. Don’t know which one. There are tons of really fun pictures, and lots of blurry pictures, from that night that I haven’t yet put on my Flickr. Hopefully I’ll get those up this week.

January 25, 2009
These are books that I am reading or am going to start reading very soon. Mom recommended The Art of War for Women, so of course I had to pick up the original Art of War as well. Laura got Tales of Beedle the Bard for Christmas and it looked interesting, so I picked that up and have already finished it (it’s very fast and very entertaining). I’m listening to Terry Pratchett’s Making Money at work and while I knit. The Sayers books are a given — it seems I’m always reading a mystery story, preferably English and set in the 20s or 30s. The Road was recommended by a friend, as was In the Night Garden. Both, I hear, have beautiful language and I’m looking forward to picking them up. The Great Wall has been on my nightstand for a while, but keeps getting usurped by the mystery du jour.

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It’s my birthday again, and it’s the last age I’ll ever be that will have a 2 at the beginning of it. Unless I live to be 200, and that seems unlikely.

I finished knitting my sister’s tea cozy last Friday (and dammit, the pictures are on my laptop at home; I’m at work) (pictures tomorrow), and while I feel like I should start one of the other Christmas Gifts That Weren’t Finished (or Started) In Time, I’m really much more inclined to knit for myself, at least for one project. I need to take advantage of all this knitting excitement and energy and put it into something for me. Aside from the t-shirt rag rug I made back in September/October, I haven’t made anything for myself since February.

Because I have a billion knit projects in my Rav Favorites list, and a bunch in my Queue, I’m going to need some help deciding on a project, and I’m hosting a contest to entice you to tell me what you think! Should I make…

… the Emerald Cardigan (Ravelry link) (Knitty link) which will make a perfect over-everything cardigan — something I don’t already have in my wardrobe

… a Hooded Scarf (based on this Ravelry link, but in burgundy & cream alpaca, with a more complicated cable), perfect for keeping my hair nice when I have to go out in the wintery cold. Yarn was purchased on my honeymoon and I’ve been trying to find the best pattern for it

… the Tuscany Shawl from No Sheep For You (Ravelry link) which I’ve been lusting after for probably two years, and which has haunted my dreams

… or the Back-to-School Vest from Fitted Knits (Ravelry link), which would be a cute addition to the work wardrobe?

(I’d like to take this moment to acknowledge that yes, the last time I asked your help in choosing a project, or a yarn for the project, I failed to keep up my end of the bargain by actually completing the project. Let it be known that I won’t let that happen again. If you care.)

Vote on which one you’d like to see me start (and finish!), using the little poll thinger below (I hope… I’ve never used one of these things before), and leave me a comment telling me what you voted for and why, or just hello. I’ll be tracking the votes on the poll thinger, but I’ll use the comments to choose a number for the winner of this amazing prize:

Louet Gems Fern

Two skeins of Louet Gems fingering weight superwash sock yarn in Fern from my stash!

The contest runs from now through Thursday night, the 29th, at midnight Central time. Get your votes and comments (only comments will be entered to win the prize) in by midnight (Central) on Thursday! I’ll choose a winner (or rather, the random number generator will choose a winner for me) and post the results on Friday. Thanks for your help!

Last week’s pictures will be posted later today (probably tonight). I’m having a hard time choosing one from Saturday’s birthday bar crawl. They’re not as hilarious as some pictures from college, but they’re pretty sweet.

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Today was the 36th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, the ruling that made abortion legal and kept many friends of mine from being prosecuted as criminals, from suffering at the hands of back-alley “physicians”, or from tying themselves to a situation for which they were not ready.

Today was also Blog for Choice Day. I’ve spent most of today trying to come up with a blog post about what having this choice means for me. My thoughts have mostly veered off from the issue of terminating (or not) a pregnancy to the ability (or not) of a woman to choose how she wants to birth.

The issue at the heart of both the abortion debate and the less well-known birth debate is the same: bodily autonomy. Who has it? Who gives it up? Who takes it over if it is abandoned? Education, evidence-based policies, and scientific research give us the best information with which to make our decisions and maintain our autonomy, and I’m glad that President Obama’s inaugural address indicated a return to those particular values. Because as a birth doula, my whole reason for working in this field is to help women maintain their autonomy and their ability to choose not only where and with whom they give birth, but also when and if they do at all.

Edited to add:
I just now (Friday 1/23 at 9:15am) found this message from President Obama (seriously, I get such a huge happy every time I type that) regarding the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision:

“On the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we are reminded that this decision not only protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters. I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose.

While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue, no matter what our views, we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make. To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground to expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information, and preventative services.

On this anniversary, we must also recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights and opportunities as our sons: the chance to attain a world-class education; to have fulfilling careers in any industry; to be treated fairly and paid equally for their work; and to have no limits on their dreams. That is what I want for women everywhere.”

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President Obama

President Obama

Best. Day. Ever.

And Happy Birthday to my sister Laura! Lucky you!

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Project 365: 12-18

This week I learned how small my life is at the moment. My pictures tended to be about things I see every day and felt repetitious: home, work, repeat. The weather necessarily keeps my outdoor exploration to a minimum, but I’m going to try to take more pictures outside my usual range.

January 12, 2009
This is a cube-ish weight, made of lead shot encased in acrylic. I use it at work to flatten out CD security film. (Good god my job is so boring.) I thought it looked kind of weird and wanted to include more pictures from work.

January 13, 2009
The tea cozy is being made in entrelac! I’ve never tried this technique before this project, and I’m kind of in love with it. It was totally intimidating at first, but now it’s easy as pie. This is for my sister, whose birthday is on Tuesday (tomorrow), and I hope I can get it done by then (I’m on the second half already).

January 14, 2009
5;00pm on a Wednesday. I was leaving work via the west entrance and the sky + trees looked really neat. Silhouettes catch my eye a lot, and I’m going with it.

January 15, 2009
Ugh. In one of the parking lots available to me when I go to work is this mountain of snow. One day I’ll take a proper picture of the whole thing, if I ever get a nice camera with a wide angle lens. This thing sits on the side of the lot I usually park in, and I’ve taken to parking at the foot of Mount Soulkill. Which is what I call it whenever I see it growing.

January 16, 2009
On Friday the 16th Femiknitter was supposed to come out and visit me, but that happened to be the coldest day ever in the history of everything. There were so many accidents on the highways between her folks’ place, added to the weather service’s warning that “if you venture outside be sure to cover all exposed skin” that we decided neither of us should risk driving. And then we made plans for more visits, which made us feel better. And then I took pictures of Miyagi for most of the morning.

January 17, 2009
This is another kind of copout picture. We were busy all day having a nothing kind of day (except massages, book shopping, and dinner which was awesome) that I didn’t think of taking a picture until the drive home (I wasn’t driving). North/west on Peace Road, before it crosses DeKalb Avenue. I like pretty blurry lights.

January 18, 2009
The DeKalb County courthouse, all lit up for the holidays. My SnB group meets across the street from the courthouse at a really great pub, and I was still looking for the day’s shot when I glanced out the window at the giant green-and-red courthouse. Duh. It’s not the greatest picture but it does kind of capture the whole day, which was focused on the SnB meetup in such a pretty place.

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This is weird.

I have an unfamiliar urge.

An urge to … KNIT. Constantly I’m thinking about knitting. Knitting a tea cozy. Knitting myself mittens. Knitting myself two pairs of mittens. Knitting mittens for a friend and sort of coming up with a new pattern to do it. Knitting a sweater, two sweaters, THREE sweaters! Charting a basic colorwork pattern (my own!) for a truly awesome gift idea! I can do everything!

I think the fierce cold (high today? -6 F. Low tonight? -26 F, before windchill) has frozen my brain into the knit setting. Wool sucks me in with its promise of warmth and cozyness, and the thought of knitting in a cozy recliner with a warm cat draped across my feet or stomach or legs (better than a hot water bottle!) is helping me get up the nerve to leave the warm, knowing I can eventually get out of the arctic freeze to return to knitting bliss.

The tea cozy is being knit in these yarns…
Brown Sheep LP Worsted
Brown Sheep LP Worsted

One of the sweaters wants to be knit in these yarns…
Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool
Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool

My desire for two of the sweaters comes from squares in my Paintbox Blanket
kureyon 128
kureyon 180

One pair of the mittens for myself has got to be these Deep In The Forest mittens, which I love with a passion that scorns all my previous passions for knit patterns. I just thought of the perfect combination of yarn (already in my stash! I so rule!) for this project, and of course it doesn’t match my current hat and scarf set. Doesn’t matter. I’ll make 4 pairs of these mittens.

And, in the middle of all this knitterly inspiration, Femiknitter is coming to my house tomorrow morning. I am having a damn hard time containing my excitement, although I’m sure it’ll lighten up a little when I get back home after the gym and see how much cleanup I have to do.

Because when knitterly inspiration strikes, it leaves a wake of destruction. Or at least massive clutter.

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Project 365: 5-11

Snow is featuring heavily in this week’s pictures.

January 5th, 2009
On Monday we went out for drinks and dinner and drinks with some friends. We started at a pub in Sycamore, went across the street to an amazing Italian restaurant (I had never been there), and finished in DeKalb at the bar where I spent most of my drinking time while in college. I hadn’t been there in a few years, so it felt a little odd (but surprisingly comfortable) to be back there, sitting at the same table my friends and I sat at so many times. This was one of many shots I took that night without the flash, and I liked this image of my friend Beth’s head at the right angle intersection of two lines, and the echo in the small square sticker on the wall. The sticker was advertising Mika. (Click on “Lollipop” only if you want nothing else in your head for the next 48 hours.)

January 6th, 2009
This is a bit of a cop-out shot. Tuesday was kind of hectic; it snowed a lot and I was wearing these shoes (open at the tops, of course) on my walk to and from a restaurant on my lunch break and when I walked out to my car at the end of the day. FAIL. My feet were cold and wet and I was not really in the mood to compose a happy picture when I got home. So I photographed the source of my pain.

January 7th, 2009
To continue with the snow-on-shoes theme… this is the lower part of my library’s “Harry Dumpty” statue. He sits on the wall at the entrance to the children’s department and he’s pretty goofy-looking (he is a bronze anthropomorphic egg, after all). I got this shot on the way into work on Wednesday morning, and I liked the triangles of snow piled up on his shoes.

January 8th, 2009
Thursday morning was my annual exam, and I saved up this package to open as a reward for getting my bits prodded. Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock mediumweight in Jade. Three skeins. I’ve waited for two years to buy this (why? I don’t really know) to make the Tuscany Shawl from No Sheep For You.

January 9th, 2009
As is my wont, I spilled water on my shirt (it’s like I’m five years old). It didn’t soak in right away and I thought the beads of water looked kind of cool on the blue shirt. I took several shots and this one turned out the best. My obsession with tiny things has not cleared up yet, no. This one is without flash (but with a bright lamp as backlight), using the macro feature.

January 10th, 2009
Playing around with the Black&White feature. I had to work on Saturday and it snowed throughout the day. At about noon I stepped out of the children’s entrance and took this picture. There wasn’t a lot of setting up to do — the overcast sky provided perfect glare- and shadow-free light, and the tree branches looked amazing against it. I really like the contrast and will be goofing around with this feature lots more.

January 11th, 2009
This is the tip of a branch of the giant pine tree in our front yard. As I mentioned yesterday, it’s so overloaded with snow that one of the branches is low enough that it’s blocking the front door. Not that we ever use it, but it looks a little bit inhospitable. Anyhow, this little end of the branch looked cute as hell, and might make it to holiday card status later this year. Macro feature again (because yes, I am enthralled with the tiny).

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Ah, January

You are pretty cool most of the time, January. You contain my birthday, and my sister’s birthday. The days are starting to get noticeably longer. This year you hold what I’m sure is the coolest presidential inauguration ever. Your coldness invites lots of stew and soup-making, which is delicious. And January, when you roll around I’m always encouraged to reflect on my life, take stock, be still, and keep to myself.

But this, January, this is taking the “keep to myself” bit a little too far:

The way to my front door
Looking at my front door from the sidewalk, having duck-walked under the branch to get the shot

I mean, seriously.

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