Thursday, August 31, 2006

Last day

Today is the my last day at my job. I've enjoyed some aspects of it very much, some aspects of it a bit less, which I guess is normal. But I'm definitely going to miss the people. They haven't met Pesty yet, by the way! Since this is the last opportunity for the cuddly germ to visit all those neat books on contagious diseases, he's going on a trip to the cataloging basement.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hot water bottle cover

One of my co-workers asked me to knit her a hot water bottle cover. She's a librarian, a lawyer, a musician, and one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. So of course I made her one!
She picked the yarn, Muench Tessin (43% superwash wool, 35% acrylic, 22% cotton). It was fun to knit with, though bulky yarn is always very hard on my fingers. The end result is worth it, though. It's the

cabled hot water bottle cover.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


This has got to be the best package ever. Really. I mean, look! My SP, Spazzy Pickles, sent me this pair of socks. Now, that in itself is amazing and worthy of admiration and unending gratitude. Because having socks knit for me is one of the ultimate luxuries in life, IMHO. Having lace socks knit for me... I'm in awe. I'm touched. I'm wearing the socks around the house.

I mean, look at that lace!

The detail... it's amazing! So pretty, so perfect. Spazzy Pickles, I adore you! I mean, look at how well they fit!

And from the side, because it's hard to take pictures of socks from the top:

This doubles as my "feet" post for the blog stalking. Because I want all the world to see my amazing new socks. So beautiful, so purple, so happy-making!

But that isn't all. I was just commenting on the cuteness of those stuffed microbes in a thread on knitty. Yesterday, way after the Pickle mailed out my package. The Pickle reads my mind, I swear, because today, I got my favorite disease: the PLAGUE!!! It's so cute, and I'm taking it to work so all the other catalogers on the Contagion project can see him. Here he is, my new friend Pesty:

Isn't he adorable? I love him, and David Herlihy's book on the black death was one of my favorite reads while I was preparing for my general exams in grad school. Here's a closeup of me cuddling Pesty, because he's so adorable.

I also got some things to facilitate spoilage, just look at this great-smelling moisturizer from Kiss My Face, one of my favorite organic/eco brands, and the scrubby gloves. And isn't this a cute little painted heart thingy? With stars on it. Now it lives on my bookshelf, right next to our Ars Magica books, because the stars remind me of pointy wizard hats.

And, last but not least, YARN! In red and purple, tempting, alluring, whispering in my ear suggestions of what it would like to be...

Ah, Spazzy Pickle, you have truly made my day. Heck, you've made my year. You are the bestest SP ever. I am not worthy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Birthday Haul

Yesterday, my husband gave me the credit card. The instructions were to either go to a spa or a yarn store. I thought about it really hard. A facial at a really good salon is 90+ bucks, and after a couple of weeks at the very latest, I'd just be my old pimply self. So what did I do?

Yes, I went to my friendly neighborhood LYS. I also went to Borders, which is the only book store of any size in our town. Here are some pictures of the haul:

These are: The latest issue of Vogue Knitting. I adore the black knee-highs with the flower embroidery! They're on my must knit list. Next, a back issue of IK that was half-price. I think it's summer of last year. I got a copy of Knit Fix, which is, not surprisingly, about fixing mistakes in one's knitting. Most of the stuff is obvious, and I'm not sure the book really is worth 20 bucks. But I've seen at least a couple of things I didn't know, and which will be worth knowing once I start my experiments with color work!
The Minnow Knits, Too book is full of the cutest, most adorable baby and toddler patterns. Our friends are having kids like you wouldn't believe, and these are not only pretty, but look like they're going to be fun to knit.
There are also Addi Turbos. 40" Addis in sizes 000, 0, and 1. Lace, here I come!

And yes, that's a crochet book. I've taken up the c-word. It's fun, so watch yer language!

Ahem. So, back to the most important thing, the one thing I haven't said anything about: the gorgeous, lustrous, shimmering skein of silky, shiny Cherry Tree Hill goodness. 400+ yards of it. There were other yarns that had a better yardage for the money, but I fell in love with this one. I don't know what it wants to be. Here's a closeup:

Gorgeous, isn't it? I love my sweetie, he gives me a credit card and tells me to buy yarn!

Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm officially middle-aged!

Today, I'm turning 30. The big 3-0. And you know what? It's not a big deal. I don't feel any different than I did yesterday, though I have to admit that I feel a whole lot different than I did when I was 20.
Examples? More self-confidence, thicker skin. Criticism used to reduce me to tears. Now, I shrug it off with a smile and a professional "So what do you think we can do to solve this problem?"
Thank you, Mr. abusive grad school advisor!

I'm still a serial academic, but no longer desperately competitive. I guess I'm mellowing out. Instead of piling major upon major and pulling 16 hour days, I make sure I have time for knitting, baking, family. All the important things that make us happy rather than just successful.
I hope the personal growth continues, maybe without some of the major life crises we've had in the past 5 years or so.

And because this is a knitting blog, I should post a couple of pictures of the WIP I'm working on. Somehow, it seems especially appropriate to be working on something for my friend's baby. Lillian was born about a month ago. As I am entering a new phase in my life, she is beginning hers, and her parents are entering a new phase in theirs.

This is the back of Kate Gilbert's Samantha sweater dress. I'm making the 1 year old size because I haven't seen Lillian yet, and I don't know how big she is.
I have to admit that I got bored with stockinette stitch, but now, interesting things are happening. Note the slip stitch pattern towards the top. It's so pretty, and so much fun!
The bottom edge looks like a stocking stitch roll. It's not, it has YO's that will make a cute scallopy bottom when the seam is folded under (see closeup below).

Here's a closeup of the slip stitch pattern. The pattern between the two lines is actually a different slip stitch pattern, but I couldn't make it look less stockinette-like in this picture. It's quite different, though in a subtle way, and adds to the overall appeal of this otherwise simple piece.

I am particularly excited about the hem of this sweater dress. When it's folded over, it'll form little picot-y thingies. Here's what the edges of the sleeves and the bottom hem of the dress are going to look like when I'm done sewing up the seams:

Pretty, no? The provisional cast-on was a PITA, particularly because I did it with the same color yarn as the rest of the sweater. But this is so pretty, I'm sure the end result will be worth it!

OK, now I'm going for a nice long walk. Then, I'm headed for our friendly LYS! Hubby told me it was OK to hit the yarn store with his credit card! I love him, love him, love him!
Of course, I was planning a grand tour of Rhode Island yarn stores, but it turns out they are all closed on Mondays. Oh, well. Better for his finances, I suppose. And I'll find something I like anyway!

Birthday yarn, here I come!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Yawn... but productive

I'm sleepy, but the stitch markers for the knitty stitch marker swap are finally all done! I was hoping to mail them today, but didn't make it in time before the post office closed. Oh, well. They're going out on Monday.

I'm going to take a nap now.

This has got to be the most boring post ever. More when more interesting things happen!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Lotus Blossom Tank

Well, here it is, the Lotus Blossom Tank. It curves in the front because my shoulders are too narrow. The seam on the left looks like crap because something got twisted in the process. The colors aren't really my cup of tea. It's actually not uneven in the front, though. It just looks uneven because I tugged on it before I put it on.
Other than that, this top actually looks kind of neat. The lace is very pretty, and the colors look interesting. I'll wear it, but it's not my usual style. Maybe with a cute jacket...

And here is my latest WIP, the Samantha baby sweater dress by Kate Gilbert. The part with the YO's is going to get folded under, and then there's going to be this cute picot-like edging on the bottom.
This is a surprise gift for a friend of ours who just recently had a baby. I haven't actually seen the child, so I hope it fits!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Friday Chez Maison Batty

This week's (well, last week's) blog stalking assignment involves dinner at our homes. In this installment, I will be talking about tonight's dinner: Salmon with soy maple syrup glaze, green beans, and bread.

Ever since my husband got really, really sick last summer, I've been fasting on Fridays. This means no animal products -- except fish. This particular dish is commonly referred to as "yummy fish".

You start with a pound (more or less) of fresh salmon fillet with the skin still on, like so:

Then, you make the glaze by boiling down 1/4 cup of natural maple syrup and 1/4 cup of soy sauce. We use less sodium Tamari sauce. It is yummy!
In the background, you can see the green beans. Just boiled beans, nothing special, the perfect addition.

You divide the glaze, about 2/3 and 1/3. The larger amount gets brushed onto the fish in 3 stages: first, generously brush glaze all over fish, let stand 5 minutes. Brush again, then bake at 450 F for about 10 minutes. Take out and brush again, broil for 5 minutes. Here's the salmon fresh from the broiler:

Brush again with 1/3 of glaze you saved in a separate bowl, serve with yummy sides like beans and bread.

By the way, I don't really like fish all that much. The glaze gives it a really nice flavor. It tastes less fishy, smells less fishy, and my husband really loves this dish. I like it too. For fish, it's pretty darn good!

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Yuck, I'm sick. Yesterday, I was too sick to knit, and too sick to play computer games. That's bad, because generally, I'm well enough to do at least one of these. So what I did instead was flop around the bed and read the rules for Shadowrun RPG (4th edition) all day. I think I like what they did with the game, but I digress. This is a knitting blog.

If I'm feeling well enough in the afternoon, I'll finish the stitch markers for the stitch marker swap. In that case, pictures of the finished products will be posted. These are my first stitch markers ever, and after seeing what some other people have done, I know I need to make some more, just to try different things and for practice.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Too hot to blog

It's so hot! Usually, I wouldn't be bothered, but our central AC broke down a couple of weeks ago. I put in a portable unit and it helps, but lugging it from room to room is a PITA. Besides, I'm leery of putting it in our computer room. Why? Because every time it kicks into high gear, the lights flicker!

But here's an advantage to being a cataloger: I'm sitting in the cool, windowless basement of our building. It's downright chilly down here. Can anyone blame me for not wanting to leave?