family & personal

Whee, creative post titles.  Heh.  Well, I’m still in Vermont, still looking for work, still spending most of the rest of my time on fiber stuff.

I have done a bit more travelling, including the not-so-fun (clearing out the apartment that had been my grandmother’s) and the fun (visiting yarnfriends).  I turned 30 two weeks ago and spent the following weekend back in the NYC metro area, going to museums and generally hanging out with friends (and knitting a lot).

I took a fair number of pictures in the newly-reopened Islamic art galleries at the Met, where we spent a good chunk of that Saturday.  These are a few of my favorites (objects more than photos):



interesting texture


And I mentioned knitting! It looks as though I haven’t posted earlier progress pics of this shawl, but I started a Desdemona just before I left for my trip to Europe. After a few months of feeling like I was close to finishing the center square, I finally did, and I picked up the 400+ stitches for the border. I also learned that picking up stitches is hard when there’s only one stitch between the edge and the first YO–I was a few stitches off count for the other three sides (-2, +5, -2), but I had such trouble figuring out where to pick up stitches for a scant two stitches per three rows that I had 15 stitches too many on that last side. Next time, I’ll make sure I have an extra selvedge stitch.

Here’s what it looks like now:


It’s scrunched up because it’s too small for the needle (I’m doing Magic Loop for now), but it should be plenty big by the time I’m done.

I’ve also started a really simple shawl with some spindle-spun singles. I’d tried this yarn in the Prairie Rose Lace Shawl last spring and thought it was too busy, so the new project is a stockinette shawl with probably a feather-and-fan border. (If not that, some other lace pattern that works well with stripes.) I am quite fond of the way the striping is working so far:



And I’m nearly done spinning my Spring Mix combo lot, so I’ll try to get a group photo of that by this time next week.

It’s been another weird few weeks around here, including a whirlwind trip to NYC and Philly, but it’s genuinely looking like (Vermont) spring now.

Flowers and more flowers! And some leaves!

hazelnut flowers





mini daffodils


skunk cabbage

skunk cabbage

And a very full lake:


In other news, I am planning a trip to Venice, Florence, and the UK, for two weeks in May. I’m planning to do basic touristy art-and-architecture-and-glass stuff in Italy and wandering around in the countryside in England and Scotland, but if any of y’all have recommendations that wouldn’t show up in a basic guidebook, I would appreciate anything you want to share.

The title refers both to the fact that I think I’ll be back to blogging more regularly now that I’ve basically finished school stuff and packing/moving stuff (unpacking is a different question, but it’s less urgent) and to the welcome I got from the weather here in Vermont:


That’s looking out toward the deck and backyard, a few minutes ago.

This next photo is from last Tuesday, in Philly:


Just a little different, there… But I don’t have to go anywhere today, so the snow and wind aren’t a problem.


As far as fiber, I’ve finished a batch of spindle-plying and started a new set of AbbyBatts:

IMG_5739 IMG_5740

And I finally finished knitting my Hedgerows of Screams:


(Photo taken before moving.)


Also, thank you to everyone for congratulations on my defense. (WP had some comment-emailing hiccups, and I got caught up in an extra experiment for my paper as well as moving stuffs, but I do appreciate your comments.)

The last month and a half kinda got swallowed up by work. But I defended my thesis on Tuesday, and it was the best talk I’ve ever given, and I passed. I’ve got a bunch of rewriting to do, but it’s starting to sink in, and things are good.

…And, today, I’m off to Michigan for the weekend, to take Abby Franquemont’s backstrap weaving class.

I’ll be back on Tuesday, but until then, here’s a photo:


It’s a couple of weeks old, but it’s the Haruni shawl I’ve been working on as mindless knitting this month. (It’s great. Simple pattern, no modifications, and it’s for me, so if I screw up, I can just increase or decrease to make up for it.)


Today, I am 29. Things haven’t turned out the way I’d envisioned, but life is mostly good, and y’all are part of that, for which I thank you.

The photo is from Monday morning–my favorite weather plus beautiful foliage, on my way to work.


While I’m posting, here’s an updated photo of my Hedgerows Shawlette, only a day behind its actual size.


I can see the thick-and-thin effects in a few places, at least…

How did it get to be Friday again already? I guess that means it’s time for at least a quick review of Rhinebeck.

Over the whole weekend, but especially on the drive up, I kept noticing how much I was surrounded by my favorite colors and beautiful scenery. The crowds at the festival aside, one of my favorite things about Rhinebeck is getting out of the city. (I love living in a city, but I need not-city at least a few times a year.)

About two miles before the turnoff for the park where I stayed (with friends), I stopped at the parking area/overlook. This view kinda reminds me of all the hedgerow-divided fields in England.

Saturday morning, we took a back route from the park to the festival. Lovely as the Taconic is, the back roads were perhaps even more scenic, and much closer to my favorite kind of driving. (I was passenging, though. My favorite roads for driving do not lend themselves to free hands for even aimless photography.)

It cleared up by the time we left the fairground on Saturday afternoon. This tree is just outside the 4H gate.

And this is the view from the big parking lot just before the road through the campground to the cabin. I really want to go back there, maybe even at some other off-peak time, just to hang out at the park. (And that was quite a nice cabin, as state park cabins go. The electricity even stayed on all weekend!)

As usual at these things, I had a fantastic time despite several things not going precisely as I’d imagined. I got to see a lot of awesome people at least briefly, got to spend longer with a few of them, and got to see scenery that is very, very different from South Philly. Except for the niggling feelings of guilt for not working, I would’ve liked the weekend to have lasted several days longer.

The work is important, though–I’ll probably continue to post infrequently for the next few months, since much of my recent work-stress was building up to my committee meeting last week, at which I received permission to write my dissertation. Unless things go terribly wrong, I’ll be defending in late January.


Here, a fancy day lily from sometime last week.

I’m kinda-sorta-almost back. I’m pretty much all moved, and I’ve unpacked enough of my books that I don’t have to leap over boxes to get through my room. It’ll be great once Mel and Bella (the other cat in the house) get along well enough that I can leave my door open and move Mel’s litter out from under my bed (which is lofted, thank goodness).

Until then, though, I may end up moving some (more) stuff into the basement, because I really want to unpack my Victoria and do some spinning.  I can use all the calming activity I can manage, right now.

Not unpacked yet, but all moved in, and unpacked enough to feel more like being at home than like camping.  There was an issue with a smell of gas, but the gas company people are out front, working on it, and the building’s gas is off now, so I’m content with not being able to use my stove.  (And I’ll just have to wash in cold water in the morning.  Not the end of the world.) All fixed now!  I have a functional stove, and I should have hot water again by now!

This is the living room:

inside wall of living room

The hallway with the door at the end of it is off to the left of the bookcases.  It’s empty, at least for now.  There may eventually be a hook or something in it, but it’s mostly just the way to get past the bedroom.

This is the other side of the living room:

outside wall of living room

It occurs to me now that the couch is pretty much invisible in these pictures.  Pretend you can see the couch between the green-topped cabinet thing in the first photo and the wooden blanket box in the bottom right of the second picture.  It doesn’t have armrests, so I’ve developed equivalents.  (This apartment doesn’t have a handy wall or windowsill.)

And this is a bit more of the living room, which extends to include the plastic chair, the plant shelf, and the tall bookcase, and most of the kitchen.

kitchen and bits of living room

And here’s the rest of the kitchen:


It’s going to take some work to adjust to having less space, but I love that both interior doors (LR to BR, BR to bath) are in a line with each other and with the path between the living room and the kitchen.  Mel likes that, too, since it gives him a good, long, straight run.  And all the stupid little things that were frustrating me about my old apartment are fixed in this one, though it’s got its own set of “why did they do that?”s.  One of the best things about this place is how much light it gets.  I did turn on the living room light, mostly so the first shot wouldn’t be too grainy, but I didn’t open any of the blinds or turn on the lights in the kitchen.  The plants are going to be so much happier!  I think I can even justify getting a couple of new ones to replace the ones that didn’t survive the lack of light in my old apartment.  (I really want a christmas cactus or two and maybe a small hibiscus.)  Plants aside, I’m hoping that the smaller space will help motivate me to get rid of stuff, since I really do have an awful lot of it, and I am intending to move again in the not-too-distant future.  I’m also hoping that the memory of this move will help motivate me to work out more, since I’m still sore from all the box-moving, stair-climbing, and old-apartment-scrubbing.  (If you really want to know, I will rant to you about all the cleaning my previous landlords required, but this post is supposed to be cheerful.)

Okay, I think I’m going to do some more unpacking now, so I can clear enough space in the living room for Amy the Lendrum to come out of the bedroom closet, where she (and Victoria) were hiding from the movers.  (Oh, my goodness, Mambo Movers was especially awesome this time.  They moved all my stuff in less than 2 ½ hours, not counting the things we thought were too awkward for them.  And they remained cheerful even after hearing that I wasn’t going to disassemble my elliptical machine!)

mayday 36

I found this in an old photo album of my grandmother’s.

Happy May, whether as labor day, à JoCo, or by Morris dancing. I’m off to MDSW this afternoon–should be fun, even if it’s wetter than the last couple of years. (Say hi if you see me there!)


I like lights at midwinter.  And, though I occasionally miss going out to my aunt’s farm to cut a smallish Eastern redcedar (juniper), the table-sized fake tree is much, much more convenient.



Christmas Day is one of the few times when I watch the sun rise.  (Even if I’m up that early on other days, I’m usually busy and not watching.  For whatever reason, though, I kept waking up early last week.  I suspect it’s the extreme quiet at my grandmother’s house–it’s unsettling.)


on the bike path

My dad and I only managed one walk along the bike path, but it was a lovely, lovely day.



We did a bit better as far as cookie-baking–we made oatmeal cookies, chocolate crackups, and an improvised nutella cookie, which we served along with gjetost (my new favorite dessert cheese!), some Earl Grey shortbread that I made here for a cookie swap, and neighbors’ banana bread and hermit cake.  (Speaking of which, if you have a recipe for hermit cake that you know and trust, would you send it to me?)


I also did a bit of knitting and spinning, but I forgot to get pictures in daylight, so that’ll show up later.


(The real highlights, of course, were getting to see my parents, grandma, and other family.  And it was also lovely that all of my gifts went over well, including the neckwarmer.)

For the second evening in a row, I came home out of sorts and hungry. (Today’s complaints: the snow turned into freezing rain, the freezing rain meant that I opted to take the shuttle instead of walking, and the fact that no one wanted to walk home meant that we waited half an hour for the shuttle instead of ten minutes.)

And then, as with yesterday, I got home to find some mail that cheered me up.



My friend H. had a Valentine-making party a couple of Saturdays ago, and she sent me this.  The color’s off in these pictures–it’s pink with white and burgundy.

I really like the quotation she picked.

I spent the weekend in New York, with my parents. I had a very good time, despite missing the 7:09am train on Saturday by about two minutes and having to wait an hour for the next one. (The train time turned into a bit of knitting and a bit of napping.)


The scarf, which I’m now thinking of as the Flames Scarf, continues to grow. I am still very happy with it, even though the sides have started curling and I know it’ll need more serious blocking than I’d hoped.

My mom likes her Fetchings, and the Lady Hat has found a happy recipient whom it fits. (Not my mom.)

She also noticed this before I did:


Aside from the amazing detail work throughout the painting, that woman is wearing knitted mitts! (The painting, “Pope Gregory XVI Visiting the Church of San Benedetto at Subiaco” by Montessuy, was one of the many things we saw on our trip to the Met on Saturday. We left after six hours at the museum, because our brains were full and our feet were sore…they do have a lot of wonderful exhibits there.)

One of the other especially fun bits of the weekend was finding my grandmother’s old Scrabble set, complete with a crocheted pouch for the beautiful wooden tiles (two colors of them–we mixed the light and dark sets together, since they were each missing four tiles), and then playing Scrabble with my dad. (If any of you want to play Scrabulous on Facebook, e-mail me. I am somewhat obsessed.)

More later, when I hope to have either a new knitting project or some fresh yarn in a nicely photographable state.

Due to some addressing mixups, I only got my hands on one of my birthday presents this afternoon, one from my college roommate. (My birthday was November 3rd. The package apparently arrived on Halloween but was stuck in the mailroom.)



A skein of Noro Aurora (shiny!)


And a skein of wool from the farm where my friend worked for a couple of years after graduation (better than shiny).

Any suggestions for the Aurora? I’m going to keep both of these around for a little while as pets, and they’re both going to be things for myself, but I haven’t decided exactly what to do with them.


I’ve discovered how to get Mel to curl up in my lap: put the Lion Brand Homespun blanket I knit as my second rectangular project in my lap first. The one problem with this is that it’s awfully hard to make myself make him get up.


I’m off today to visit family, for simple pleasant, holiday socializing. It’s going to be great to be out of the city, and great to have a chance to cook with my dad, but I’m really looking forward to an end to these months of travel. (Note to self: do not apply for any truly travel-intensive jobs.)

Happy Solstice, everyone.  I hope you’re enjoying the lights everywhere.

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