Archives for posts with tag: bloomington

We moved into our new place in Madison on Saturday!

After saying goodbye to my knitting friends in Bloomington, we packed up our apartment… here are some photos of the goodbye knit night, at our regular venue (the Pour House) and a nearby bar called the Root Cellar:

Elli + Korknisse:

Kalani + Korknisse:

The gang at the Pour House… from left to right, back to front: Sara, Kalani, Norma, Katie, me, Nicole, Elli

Knitting with raspberry beer at the Root Cellar, which is located in the basement of a fancy restaurant named FARM:

Elli and the wall of bedpans at FARM. Apparently these bedpans really freaked out her husband, who didn’t realize that they were meant to designate the area where the bathrooms were located and were not just there on a wall in a restaurant for the hell of it. So I had to take a picture of her with the scary decor:

In the first half of the move (from Bloomington to Rahul’s aunt and uncle’s house in Illinois), our car was packed to the brim:

I had to huddle cross-legged on the blanket nest in the passenger seat, clutching a bag on my lap, for the entire 4-hour drive–and this was already after getting rid of a ton of stuff that we just had to buy again as soon as we got here (like paper towels, a microwave, a coffee pot, etc.) sending a van-and-U-Haul trailer load with Rahul’s parents, and leaving a van-load of stuff with a friend in Bloomington for later pickup. We made kind of a strategy error by packing the less important stuff with Rahul’s parents in their van and leaving just the most important stuff to take with us in our car. They left, and we were wrapping up and packing when we realized we wouldn’t have enough room–but we really needed to keep everything else we had with us. Hence the clown car full of blankets, clothing, computers, and guitars.

We stayed in rural Illinois for a week and had some long and pleasant bike rides through cornfields and tiny towns–the longest ride we did was about 30 miles and I had a great time because we rode on a nice, flat dedicated bike path instead of along the side of the road with cars. Here are a few of the sights along the way…

The two stores in downtown Owaneco, Illinois (a meat store and a wine shop):

A log cabin in Pana:

A pause along the bike path:

The second half of the move went smoothly. We were able to redistribute our stuff into the van when we met up with his parents in Illinois, so we could actually see out of the back when we drove the next 5 hours of the trip. We were able to get our stuff moved in within a few hours on Saturday morning, and had some nice Thai food and unpacked for the rest of the day. We only put things together backwards a few times while assembling furniture. A success overall.

So the new place is cute, though we have no driveway or garage–something we didn’t realize would be a problem initially, since we knew we could get a residential parking permit, but we found out today that Madison requires you to change your residential street parking spot every other day, or every single day in the winter, between November and March (park on the even-numbered sides on even-numbered days, and vice versa). Since neither of us is going to be driving on a regular basis, this is a colossal pain in the butt. Also, I won’t have internet access at home until Friday, which feels odd and crippling in a place where we don’t know our way around yet–all this calling 411 and consulting paper maps feels very strange and archaic now.

But these things aside, our new place is cozy and cute (read: kind of small!), and in a great neighborhood, quiet and residential, full of huge old trees, close to Trader Joe’s and a record store and a branch of the public library. After a hellish afternoon shopping at big box stores yesterday, we took a nice long bike ride in the evening around the park (we spotted bison at the zoo through the fence), along the shores of Lake Wingra, and through the beautiful Arboretum. Today I’ve been sucking down lattes at a local cafe and working, and I stopped in at the record store at lunchtime and bought this album on an impulse. This band totally cracks me up.

In the meantime, I’ll continue slowly working through my backlog of blog fodder. Next up, my most recent finished object (I have been less than prolific in the past month or so).

Pattern: Branching Out, by Susan Lawrence, from Knitty’s Spring 2005 issue

Size made: n/a

Finished dimensions: long and scarfy? I thought I’d written this down, but I can’t seem to find it. I’d guess about 60 inches long by 7 inches wide.

Yarn used: Farmhouse Fibers/Yellowwood Llamas Super Silky 100% Llama in Lily, 1 skein (200 yards, sport weight yarn)

Needles used: US size 6/4.0 Addi Turbos

Date started: July 10, 2008

Date finished: July 16, 2008

Mods: None

Notes: As I explained in my post about the visit to the llama farm, my friend Molly and I have a deep affection for llamas dating back to junior high school days or thereabouts. We wrote a parody of a romance novel called The Mark of the Llama… I remember very little about the plot except that it featured a protagonist named Coriander who floated about misty manor lawns in a diaphanous white gown, and a villain who, at one point, threateningly pulled a shotgun from his sock and waved it around.

Anyway, Molly has a wool allergy and always complains about being unable to find nice coats or dress pants for a reasonable price–they’re either cheap polyester or incredibly expensive cashmere. I’ve been encouraging her to learn to knit, and have been telling her all about No Sheep for You ever since it came out–it hasn’t quite taken yet, but she’s definitely intrigued.

More so, I think, after I gave her this scarf. I originally went to the llama farm with the intention of getting some 100% llama yarn to make a woolly, llama-y present for Molly. I could have gone with alpaca or cashmere or silk, but llama just seemed like the perfect fiber for a present for her. So I made this while I was in California, and presented it to her.

She was pleased and said it didn’t feel like burning. Her mom laughed and explained that this was what wool felt like to the rest of the world.

Anyway, now that we’ve moved, I hope I’ll be able to settle in quickly, find some new friends here, and get some more mittens made before the bitter Wisconsin winter comes. The Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival is coming up soon and I’m hoping I can make it… Lord knows I don’t need any more yarn or fiber right now, but Briar Rose and Handspun by Stefania will both be there for the ogling, and of course lots of cute sheep and other critters. Maybe even llamas.

Our house is empty, our car is stuffed to the brim, and people from Craigslist keep emailing me about my ad for “free stuff.” OH BOY, HALF A BOTTLE OF FANTASTIK! FREEEEEE! What all this means is that we’re moving today! Well, between today and the following Friday–we’ll be homeless and in limbo all next week.

Hopefully I’ll get a lot done next week while we’re staying with Rahul’s relatives–I haven’t done any address changes except with the PO, haven’t signed up for Internet service yet… in short, haven’t done any of various fairly important things that really need doing. However, I did see How is babby formed? (warning, direct link to Flash animation) for the first time and laughed my ass off. That’s productive, right? Anyway, if I can find my camera cable from wherever it’s been packed, and if I can get internet access from my laptop next week, perhaps I’ll be also able to put up some photos soon of more of my vacation knitting, and our farewell knit-n-drink night at the Pour House and the Root Cellar.

Goodbye, Bloomington! I’ve had a great time here. I am especially going to miss my knitting friends here. I hope I can find as great a group of people to knit with in our new hometown.

Warning: this post is going to be totally uninteresting to anyone except present or former Bloomingtonians… oh, or if you want to see pictures of me wearing my finished Rusted Root and being totally sweaty and gross from running around town.

A while ago, I blogged about the Bloomington scavenger hunt I did with my friends Steve and Jeanne, the same day as World Wide Knit in Public Day. (We won the scavenger hunt, yay!) Well, Steve recovered most of the pictures he had accidentally deleted and I finally got the pictures up on my Flickr. Here’s a list of (slightly paraphrased) questions from the scavenger hunt, and explanations of any obscure/tricky ones (listed in white, in case you want to play along and guess for yourself–to see the answers, highlight the text). Click through the links to see the photos we used to score points. We had to stick together–no splitting up–and a team member had to be in each photo. Using the internet to find answers was allowed, but we didn’t have an iPhone so we ended up just grabbing random people on the street and asking them questions. Or calling them with desperate, weird chemistry questions (thanks, Leigh!) Too bad we didn’t have an iPhone, since Bloomingpedia would have made a great resource for figuring all this out.

The back door of the Upstairs Bar (this is right on Kirkwood, across from the Jungle Room)

Get a glass of water from someone over the age of 35 (taken outside Nick’s English Hut on Kirkwood)

You and six of your best buds (bonus points if they’re all empty; extra bonus points for bringing the beers to the judges, which we did after a bit of debate about whether it was worth hauling the six-pack around town). Taken in the Big Red across from the Copper Cup.

Beefeaters at Nick’s (This is a photo of bartenders at Nick’s English Hut, holding up a bottle of Beefeaters gin. The one we actually used for scoring had Steve in it, but it got deleted.)

Which way to the gun show?

Bonus points for having a team name, extra bonus points for being in a team uniform by the end of the night (we put sticks in our hair and called ourselves Team Brown and Sticky, after my favorite joke: Q: What’s brown and sticky? A: A stick!)

Swap shirts with a stranger. Bonus points if you swap shirts with someone of the opposite sex. Extra bonus points for a permanent swap. (I was not willing to swap my Rusted Root permanently or have a guy put it on and stretch it out, same with Jeanne and her NORML T-shirt, so Steve had to be the intrepid swapper.)

An IU Valentine’s day tradition at the Rosewell House (sic). Bonus points for something creative. (The Rose Well house is that pretty round gazebo thing in the meadow near the statue of Herman B. Wells. This is not actually a V-day tradition, and it’s spelled the Rose Well House; the IU website says “Tradition holds that a female student is not officially a co-ed until she has been kissed beneath its dome at midnight.” As for the kink, we went for the good ol’ threesome.)

The NYSE stock ticker (Steve just got his MBA, and Jeanne and I are “Kelley partners,” i.e. significant others of business school students, so of course we all knew this was in the atrium of the Kelley School of Business at 10th and Fee!)

The old entrance to the Little 500 stadium (now the Arboretum–just across from the business school)

That fucking light pillar (right outside the IU Art Museum, of course)

A freshman with a backpack, bonus points if they’re with their parents (we found a fresh-faced youngster in a car on campus with her parents, outside Woodburn. Check out the dad’s face.)

IU’s United Colors of Benton (Thomas Hart Benton painted a series of murals about Indiana history in 1933, and it includes an image of a KKK rally, leading people to protest and demand its removal. The mural can be found in Woodburn Hall, and I’m told a special lecturer has to come in and explain its historical context every semester to the students who have classes in this hall. More information here.)

A proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem (we stopped in a computer lab to take this photo)

A union member card (we used Jeanne’s credit union membership card)

The bridge that Roosevelt built (I knew this one right away because I’d taken the photos of The Water is Wide there! It’s behind the little chapel beside the Union. If you’re wondering what we’re doing in this photo, we’re pretending to build it.)

A Little 500 bike; and bonus points for photos of the judges (this latter clue was printed in tiny gray type and we didn’t even see it. Fortunately, we saw one of the judges riding around campus on her Little 500 bike and took a picture of her, after which she told us we’d get bonus points for that. Apparently there’s also a Little 500 bike hanging from the ceiling upstairs at Nick’s.)
In the Jordan River (this is the little stream running through Dunn Meadow)

Burritos as big as your head; also, the old Den (it’s gone now, but there was a burrito place upstairs from what was the old Den and was Trulli Flatbreads and is now Finch’s Brasserie–visible across the street)

Two men in a sex position

A full moon (it was 3 days before full moon when the scavenger hunt took place. The judge was relieved when she saw this photo, of the label of a hippie candle at Bloomingfoods. She said she had never seen so many bare, hairy, ugly man-butts in her life, because most people had taken a picture of someone mooning. We tried to get random people on the street to help us out with this, but nobody obliged. Even a crazy punk guy lying on a bench on the street seemed embarrassed and said his butt was too hairy to show us.)

Lloyd Dobler’s iconic moment (Lloyd Dobler sounded so familiar, but we couldn’t pin down who he was. I knew he must be from some movie, so we ran into Plan 9 Film Emporium and asked the clerk. Turns out he’s John Cusack’s character from Say Anything, so instead of finding a boom box for the photo, we took a recursive sort of photo of Steve doing the pose holding the DVD case for Say Anything, depicting Lloyd Dobler holding up a boom box.)

The porch of the old Uncle E’s (Uncle Elizabeth’s was a gay bar that used to be at Morton and 9th. I really liked it–too bad it’s gone now. It had a patio with Christmas lights and outside tables, and fun music on the jukebox, and a laid-back vibe)

We lost photos for some of the clues we got…

– A sample resume from Career Services

– Your own resume

– Bring us the LD50 of 1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6(3H,7H)-dione (I left the chemgrrl a message asking for help and she called back to explain what LD50 means. We ran into the Chemistry Building to try and find someone to help us out on what 1,3,7-trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6(3H,7H)-dione was, but ended up getting the answer from another team. To get partial points for this clue, we took a picture of me in front of Starbucks… the actual LD50 is pretty high, corresponding to about 96 pounds of milk chocolate or 173 cups of coffee.)

– Hoagy Carmichael’s graduation hangout (now BuffaLouie’s/the Gables on Indiana and Kirkwood)

Here are some of the clues we didn’t get:

– A photo from the archive where Stacy worked last summer (we were fuming about how unfair this question was for a while, but it turned out the judges didn’t expect anyone to show up to the scavenger hunt except their friends, hence in-jokes like this)

– The top floor of the main library

– A Greek goddess, bonus if she’s holding her shoes (all the sorority girls were out of town, it seemed!)

– The old Pit Stop (the current location of Player’s Pub, but we didn’t have time to go down there)

– Items from the U of C scavenger hunt

– Bonus points for money for the judges–one point per dollar

– A photo in a dorm bathroom; bonus points if you’re showering, minus points if you’re using the toilet

– The second floor of McCalla (the art school at 9th and Indiana)

– A Roly Poly sub

– A picture containing both the ghetto Kroger and the Square in a single photo (the ghetto Kroger is the one across from Seminary Square; we went up some fire escapes trying to get this shot, but apparently you need to go up onto the roof of a parking structure to get this photo)

You do this to forget my name while you collect your fame (wear your sunglasses at night! I was kicking myself for not getting this, I knew it sounded so familiar)

Saturday was the most exciting day I’ve had in a long time! It was World Wide Knit In Public Day, and I did that in the morning–more about that later–followed by:

  • a bike ride with Jeanne to tour a local cob-built house,
  • my first visit to a new Ukrainian deli a few doors down from the new yarn store, where I bought lactose-free cultured sour cream and poppyseed lebkuchen and we shared some strange sodas (Duchesse pear and “bouratino”-flavored sodas: Pinocchio, un burattino, turns out to be the Eastern European symbol for cream soda. Who knew?)
  • a Bloomington scavenger hunt (more on this on another day, it merits its own post). We won, amazingly! This scarf played a pivotal role…
  • Starting to read a very interesting new book, The Fruit Hunters, by (oddly enough, though I should have known from the reference to fisting within the first chapter) the editor of VICE Magazine (link probably not safe for work)

So–WWKIPD. The Bloomington group was on the top row, very center of the WWKIP Day photo mosaic yesterday! I didn’t finish writing this blog post before the end of the day, so we’ve been replaced in the meantime…

I prepared the night before by going through my stash and pulling out all the yarn I wanted to destash, realizing I couldn’t possibly carry everything on my bike (Rahul was out of town and had the car), and sorting it into potentially saleable items and things I just wanted to get out of my house and into good hands. A skein of Shetland cobweb-weight yarn, piles and piles of recycled sweater yarn from thrift store sweaters (some not quite out of sweater form yet, but all of it pretty nice, if I do say so myself), a few skeins of leftover Lopi, random skeins of handspun, various leftover partial skeins of nice yarns like Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece and Malabrigo… I had to leave most of my saleable yarn at home, to sell later on Ravelry, but wound up packing my entire bike basket, a backpack, and a messenger bag with yarn and biking (in a very wobbly and overloaded way) to the market.

In attendance:

  • Nicole
  • Kalani (go see her writeup!)
  • Katie (I’m stealing the photos her husband took to use on my blog, with her permission, because I couldn’t fit my camera into any of my bags, so I have no photos of my own). Her photo is the one featured in the Flickr photo mosaic.
  • Anna
  • Fee (go see her writeup! I suspect that might be my destashed handspun in the first photo)
  • Sylvia
  • Mari
  • April
  • (Am I forgetting anyone? If so, please let me know. Also, undoubtedly there will be more writeups coming along soon.)

Nicole and Katie had made flyers with LYS, “learn to knit” books, and S’n’B information to hand out; Katie made Ravelry business cards with the name of the local Bloomington group; Fee potato-stamped patches with yarn ball-and-needles motifs to hand out; Nicole brought her pile of “Hello, my name is” Ravelry buttons. We talked to various knitters and crocheters and handed out lots of flyers, cards, and yarn. (I contributed lots of free yarn, as did various other attendees, but Fee’s “FREE YARN” sign and basket was the most instrumental in actually getting it into people’s hands and attracting knitters to our group.)

I did some fairly mindless knitting (Sarah’s lace wedding shawl is in slow progress/swatching stages, but didn’t seem appropriate to bring to a public, group knitting event with my laptop and all), bought chard, honey, and garlic scapes from the market, and ate a tamale from my favorite stall.

I wore my Rusted Root, as you can see in the top photo. (Also, a new haircut):

L-R: April, me, Mari, Sylvia, Nicole, Fee’s husband Bryan, Fee, Kalani, Katie

This is the photo that was on the WWKIP website, though a few people were cropped out of it, I think. You can also see one of the plastic bags of yarn I brought to destash, right by Katie’s brown knitting bag: white Berroco Plush, the end of a skein of Malabrigo, recycled cream-colored Irish lambswool, a partial skein of navy blue acrylic, a small skein of handspun singles.

A good time was had by all, and best of all, I left the market minus what felt like about ten pounds of yarn, feeling very light and free–my backpack, bike basket, and messenger bag now empty. Kalani, Nicole, and I had lunch at Esan Thai, a Northern Thai restaurant across from the library, where I had a Thai iced coffee for the first time in ages… yum. I’ll definitely post more about the scavenger hunt at a later date–it was lots of fun, and I think other current or former Bloomingtonians might enjoy seeing how they would have done. Unfortunately, Steve accidentally deleted some of the earlier photos, and we’re hoping he can recover them from the memory card using a free recovery utility.

On the sewing front, I saw this infinity dress Cosmicpluto made and I am now obsessed with making one myself. The tutorial is here, and you should also page through the Craftster thread–it looks like an extremely versatile, comfortable, and flattering dress–not to mention extremely easy to sew, with just one seam as long as you use a stretch knit and don’t hem it. If I make it, if I can find thinner jersey fabrics to use, I was thinking I might line the strap parts with contrasting fabric. It would look cool, would provide a finished edge, and would also provide extra thickness and coverage. I hope I can find a nice stretchy knit fabric locally, because I just love love love this dress.

The Berroco Fall 2008/2009 previews are up! As I predicted, I totally love the Woodland Gothic story in Norah Gaughan Vol. 3… no surprises there. The cover cardigan, Violette-le-Duc, looks interesting, but I’d like to see it worn upside down, as “a more traditional cocoon cardigan,” as they mention in the pattern description.

There are some cute patterns in the other books; I really like the Chapa pillows and the Paley cardigan. Some of the designs in the new Ultra Alpaca collection, like Unity or Ursa, look like they would be really nice to wear, but not very interesting to knit.

They have some new yarns up, too–I’m especially interested in the wool/silk blends, Inca Gold and Palace, but whether I end up using them will depend on the price point–Inca Gold is “at an honest price,” but I don’t know what that means.

There has been some crazy flooding here in the last week, but living in the middle of town, on the second floor, I thankfully haven’t seen any of it in person… just some wild electrical storms and rain. Nearby towns are almost totally underwater, the governor has declared a state of emergency, and they closed off the interstate freeways I-65 and I-70 going through Indianapolis, “the Crossroads of America,” and 37 North out of Bloomington. Pretty wild. Lots of pictures of the flooding in Bloomington in this slideshow.

Right now, though, it’s 95 degrees out and I’m going to go eat some Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts and make some pasta alla Norma out of Paula Wolfert’s Mostly Mediterranean–a really fun cookbook I have out from the library right now. (The first picture of the pasta in that link is singularly unappealing, like pasta alla garden slugs, but it’s really a very tasty dish. Kroger didn’t have ricotta salata, so I’m substituting smoked mozzarella… not very traditional, but I bet it will taste good.)

Graduation came and went; the keynote speaker was Steve Bellamy, we met various parents and had a buffet lunch, and it was all strangely anticlimactic.

We spent the weekend at parties and lakeside picnics and dumpster diving–that last a particularly depressing lesson in the American Way, as we stared into a dumpster outside a frat house full of lovely solid wood furniture, smashed into pieces and wasted just for the hell of it. Rahul got some scrap wood for arts and crafts projects, and I salvaged a large jug of laundry detergent and almost an entire case of Cup O’ Noodles, the cardboard sleeves damp from the rain or other unspecified dumpster grossness, but the noodles still sealed tight and clean in their styrofoam cups and plastic wrap.

I got a bit of sewing done–no pictures yet, but I do have a lovely new top made of a Japanese bunny print cotton, with little pearly buttons on the yoke, and 4 yards of fabric from the new quilt store in town, Shiisa Quilts. The store is small but welcoming, with a wide selection of pretty, pretty fabrics. Amy Butler, Kaffe Fassett, various other bright, super-modern prints that made Rahul cringe (he strongly prefers the subtle 1800’s-style florals and calicos).

They have a whole section of really nice clearance fabrics, all $4 a yard–I have 2 yards of a Martha Negley Rowan/Westminster print, burgundy striped with tree trunks, and 2 yards of an eggplant and white Japanese print of dragonflies. Both were intended for skirts, but I saw this tutorial for a smocked dress and just might try it. There’s this one, too, using elastic thread on the bobbin. I am not sure this will be a particularly flattering look on me, but it seems like a nice, easy way to make a comfy summer sundress.

On the same theme, here are some photos of the quilt exhibit I went to recently at the Monroe County History Museum. The theme was the juxtaposition of stained glass and quilting (stained glass quilts and cathedral window quilts, specifically).

Stained glass is apparently commonly taught in high school art classes in Southern Indiana. Some of these windows were made by high school kids.

This one is a historic window taken from a farmhouse. I like the simplicity of this piece, the fact that the curators felt that simple rectangular panes of faintly colored glass were worthy of display in a museum alongside saturated, rococo glass pictures of birds and flowers.

The first category of quilts in the display was stained glass quilts, which are basically applique based on stained glass window designs, and finished with black binding around the edges to simulate the leading in stained glass windows.

The second category was cathedral window quilts, which I wasn’t familiar with before. They’re not made like traditional quilts, with a backing, batt, quilting through the layers, and binding around the edges. Instead, they’re hand-sewn, square by square, and due to the way they’re assembled, they’re lightweight, with a naturally presentable wrong side that does not need to be covered with a backing. The background is traditionally made from multiple muslin squares that form a frame for bright little scraps of calico. Most of the quilts in the exhibit fell into this category, and I loved the way they looked.

This photo shows a cathedral window square in progress, and explains the process.

Some quilts had squared-off edges, and others left one side of the squares open to form a pointed edge.

More photos of quilts (mostly blurry) can be found in this Flickr set, in addition to buttons, pewter Vikings, and vintage cars, all of which will be blogged later.

In knitting news, I caved into the allure of summer knitting and have cast on for Rusted Root in bright red Cotlin as my new mindless knitting project. The pattern was a gift, a random act of kindness from the fabulous knottygnome, and the yarn was from a swap for some denim yarn with the fabulous chemgrrl. I’m about halfway through the raglan now, and the fabric is looking kind of floppy and uneven, but I’m hoping that a nice wash and block will sort everything out.

Last but not least, do you live in Indiana? Have you voted? The deadline is 6 PM today!

1) Hand-felted teddy bear skulls and other amazing sculptures

2) Upcoming woolly events in Southern Indiana I wanted to make a note of:

– Open farm day at Schacht Fleece Farm, Sunday, May 18, noon to 4. More info at (Non wool-related, but there is also an open farm day at Harvest Moon Flower Farm every Sunday and Monday in May from noon to 5 PM. Email chapdale at blue marble dot net or call 812-829-3517 for more information or directions.)

– 5th Annual Wool Fiber Arts Fair 2008, May 17, 2008, Daviess County 4-H building, Eastside Park, 9 AM-4 PM, Washington, Indiana, free admission. Sponsored by the Hoosier Hills Rug Hooking Guild and the Daviess County Extension Office. I stumbled onto this last year when my parents were visiting. It was so much fun–we went out there to find the house my stepmom’s dad grew up in, and just happened to drive by signs that said “Fiber Arts Fair” on the way out of town. My dad and Rahul were very forbearing and patient and so we got to go look at yarn and roving and fluffy bunnies. It’s sort of far, and very small compared to The Fiber Event, so I don’t know if I want to go this year, but maybe.

3) I did it! Thanks to a wonderful surprise birthday present subsidy from my dad and stepmom, I signed up for Sundara’s Seasons Club, Autumn. It was tough to choose between Summer and Autumn, but ultimately I felt like the Summer colors were closer to what’s available in her permanent collection, and of the colors from last year, I would have been more disappointed to have missed out on the Autumn colors than the Summer ones. I can’t wait for my first shipment!

4) I went to the Habu trunk show at Yarns Unlimited yesterday! I tried on a bunch of garments, and took pictures of some of them. Some of them were completely the wrong size and style for me. I put on one giant, floaty, white tunic–I think it was pineapple yarn?–looked in the mirror and felt like I was in a mental asylum, circa 1895. I should have taken a picture, but the humor value didn’t occur to me until after I was out of there. With these Habu garments, I feel like there’s a fine line that’s easy to cross. You start out trying to look modern, spare, elegant, artistic, like you throw expensive, avant-garde parties in pure white studios in Tokyo; and with the wrong fit, setting, or accessories, you wind up looking homeless, or possibly like an actor in a performance art exhibit, one with Noh-masked people being birthed from a giant womb made of driftwood and unbleached linen. Perhaps that’s not that bad, aesthetically, in the grand scheme of things, but it looks a bit odd when you’re in the stands at your kid’s Little League game or ordering an Orange Julius at the mall.

Some photos of the garments on racks:

This was hands-down my favorite piece. Most of the garments were airy and weightless, but this had a dense, plush, soft texture. It’s Habu Kit 115, and is knit with 2 strands of ramie and 1 strand of wool.

It had a really cool construction. The back shirtyoke piece was knit sideways, in one piece with the fronts, and the front selvages were folded under asymmetrically and sewn down, so you could turn out the top like a shawl collar. They wouldn’t sell the pattern separately, unfortunately, and I didn’t want to spend $95 on the kit at this point. If you know of any patterns out there that use this construction, please let me know what they are… I’m totally fascinated.

I also loved the Kusha Kusha stainless steel scarf, of course,

and I thought the pineapple top was kind of nice

I tried on a paper jacket and didn’t like it. It was bright red, and had long, trailing jesterish things on the sleeves–shippo tails?–and rustled loudly the way you’d think paper would. But I did love the way the paper knit up when combined with mohair.

This thingy was sort of cute.

I liked the button detail on this sweater–buttons all around the hems, along the shoulder and up the side:

Speaking of buttons, look at this great little wickerwork button, and the texture of the yarns:

(I was surprised at how much I liked some of the novelty yarns, like this eyelash fishnet stuff mixed with boucle.)

This sweater convinced me that at some point I need to make myself an airy laceweight mohair sweater. It was so soft and light:

The shape of this was totally bizarre in combination with my shape (see that droopy draping in the front?), and I got stuck in the cardigan for a while because I couldn’t get it unbuttoned, but I liked the button detail at the neck, and the light texture of the raw silk:

This is another one of those garments with a sort of worryingly crazy look, but I liked the texture a lot. It’s cotton on top on size 3 needles, stainless steel and silk on the bottom on size 4 needles:

This yoked garter stitch cardigan was odd; somehow, the back piece fit, but the front pieces could have fit two of me. The tweedy color changes in the double-stranded yarn were fabulous, though:

5) I love Spring, even when there’s gloomy weather.

I picked out some ladybug buttons for my little baby sweater and got them sewn on. SO CUTE! Look!

I’m going to see an opera tonight! I won free tickets on WFIU. It’s Tales of Hoffmann. I love this opera, what little I know of it, at least. The story is so weird and lovely! He falls in love with a robot in the first act! And I get to sit in the orchestra area instead of getting nosebleed seats like I would have otherwise.

Giftable has been doing some cool posts on double knitting lately. The latest one is a tutorial for doing DK with different front and back sides, including how to make a chart so it reads the same on front and back.

I’m going to the Fiber Event in Greencastle tomorrow with Leigh, Nicole, Kalani, and blogless Norma! Elli and Wendie will be there too! And other Ravelers, too, I hear. I need to find another project to work on in the car, though! Since I ran out of yarn on my cabled scarf, I was working on a black laceweight mohair shawl at knitting night last night. Not a great idea, since I couldn’t concentrate on both conversation and lace and had to keep tinking.

I heard rumors that Barack Obama will be in town today at the Women’s Little 500, but nothing is confirmed.

I found the most fascinating wikipedia article today, about a Channel island called Sark which is finally dismantling its feudal system. Now I really want to visit the island. Among the highlights of this article:

  • “Sark consists of two main parts, Little Sark and Greater Sark. They are connected by a narrow isthmus called La Coupée which is just nine feet wide with a drop of 300 feet (91 m) either side. Protective railings were erected in 1900; before then, children would crawl across on their hands and knees to avoid being blown over the edge.”
  • “In 1991, an unemployed French nuclear physicist named André Gardes attempted a singlehanded invasion of Sark, armed with a semi-automatic weapon. He was arrested by the Island’s police officer (who at the time was Little Sark farmer Philip Perrée Jnr) while sitting on a bench, changing the gun’s magazine.”
  • “Among the old laws of the Channel Islands is the old Norman custom of the Clameur de Haro, a legal device which also still exists in the other Channel Islands.[clarify] A person can obtain immediate cessation of any action he considers to be an infringement of his rights. At the scene, he must, in front of witnesses, recite the Lord’s Prayer in French and cry out “Haro, Haro, Haro! À mon aide mon Prince, on me fait tort!”[2] (“Haro, Haro, Haro! To my aid, my Prince! One does me wrong!”) It should then be registered with the Greffe Office within 24 hours. All actions against the person must then cease until the matter is heard by the Court. It is not frequently used; the last recorded Clameur was raised in June 1970 to prevent the construction of a garden wall.”


My old poetry professor, Bob Hass, won the Pulitzer Prize! I was in his poetry workshop in 2000 or 2001 and it was probably the best class I took at Cal.

To celebrate the coming of Spring, I lost my coat last week 😦 If you see a black wool Merona (I think) winter coat with a blue and white lining somewhere around town, please tell me! I’ve looked all over for it.

I’m hungry! Time to go eat! And drink MORE COFFEE!!!

I’ve been tagged for two memes–I’ll do Kristen’s first, because I’ve been thinking about it for a bit.

Both these memes are meant to be about me. I find it much more difficult to write about myself than to write about external things like books or knitting… perhaps because I find it stressful to be the center of attention, or perhaps for the same reason I’ve found it hard to answer when people say “what’s X person like?” or “what was it like to live in X place?” For complex subjects I know well, I don’t construct a simple narrative about them the same way I do for simple subjects or people/places I know only in passing. I should practice coming up with “elevator speeches” if I think I’ll be asked about something, but honestly, I never think about it until the question drops and I’m left stymied and stammering and going into far more detail than the person asking really wanted.

Anyway, here’s the six-word memoir I decided to write.

Searching for happiness. Is happiness enough?

Growing up, whenever I blew out the candles on my birthday cake, or blew dandelion fluff clean away, I always closed my eyes and simply wished to be happy. I didn’t ask for particular things to happen or for particular items. I wished for a state of mind. Mostly, as an adult, I’ve been successful in that. But–the essence of my quarterlife crisis–

Is happiness enough?

I went to Quaker church last Sunday with Rahul. The church is non-hierarchical, so you sit in silence in the meeting of Friends, and when someone feels moved to speak by the Holy Spirit, they stand up and say their piece. Best church I’ve ever been to, though being more spiritual than religious, I don’t know that I really believe in the Holy Spirit or a personified God. Anyway, someone stood up at church and talked about a successful lawyer who had been moved to drop his career and move down to Nicaragua to live in a shack.

“What would the world be like,” the speaker said, “if all Christians felt like it was their Christian duty to be poor?”

Now, I don’t think that has to mean moving to Nicaragua and living in a shack. Studies have shown that money does buy happiness, up to a certain point, once your basic needs are met and you don’t feel afraid about where your next meal will come from. But what if we actively aspired to stop wanting at that point? Not passively, with the “camel through the eye of a needle” proverb in the back of the mind, or with alms or tithing as a sort of duty separate from ourselves, but actively, as a pillar of faith. What if we tried, like Buddhists (and not the kind of consumerist Buddhism that comes from buying prayer flags and wearing yoga pants) to let our desires fall away and ignore the I want mindset? If we stopped asking for more money, promotions, power, stopped buying stuff except when we needed it? What if we focused on love and simplicity and the things that please us?

What if we didn’t need more? Could it be enough to be happy?

I think we tend to give lip service to this idea, but in practice, without thinking about it, we value money, objects, status, and achievement more. We secretly look down on people who reach a certain point in their careers, not too high up the ladder, and then stop advancing, calling these “dead-end careers.” But is it always better to be at the top? You get more money and more status, but (depending on your particular position) you may trade off free time and your level of stress may skyrocket. There was some movie about this a few years back, where a very happy temp worker got hired full-time and his life went to hell.

I don’t mean to advocate selfishness, of course, or hedonism to the detriment of the greater good, and I’m all in favor of making enough money to take care of yourself both now and in the future. And it makes life so much easier to have lots of money, no question. But there’s a feeling in personal lives analogous to our ideas about the economy that more is better, growth is necessary, but what if it’s not only unnecessary but harmful? I read this interesting story in the Atlantic Monthly called Fear of fallowing: the specter of a no-growth world (abstract here) that goes into these ideas a bit, on an economic/societal scale rather than a strictly personal one–Collapse, by Jared Diamond, does as well, but then Diamond is a successful author and professor and doesn’t really need to worry about his place in the world.

So, without going too far into the details, and without addressing consumerism (I have a wee problem with loving and acquiring stuff, though I’ve gotten much better about it in recent years) my current crisis is that despite sometimes feeling like I’ve never been happier, I get this vague itchy feeling like I ought to be doing more, achieving more, or making more money. But what if I already have enough? What if I could, but I don’t want to, and what if that’s enough? (Maybe I should move to Bhutan, where they measure and deeply value their Gross National Happiness.)

I’m feeling this crisis particularly right now because, well, I just filed my taxes and am feeling extremely poor and angry and grudgingly, selfishly in favor of this idiotic economic stimulus plan, because it will mean another $600 in my pocket. But on the other hand, I don’t really need it, I just hate having to pay the government a big chunk of money, and I know I could be making more. I can pay my rent and my bills and sock away money every month for retirement. And I have lots of free time and mental balance right now. But I can’t help thinking, sort of longingly, of the days when I had a lot more money and a lot less free time and general happiness.

I mean, springtime is finally here in Bloomington, and just look at it! Magnolias, sunshine, rainbow scarves, forsythia… would I really rather be stuck in a cubicle or in meetings in an office park until 10 PM, making a bit more money? (Um… maybe? Check back in with me in a year…)


A star magnolia outside the public library:

Pink trees on 3rd Street:

A reversible scarf pattern I’ve been working on, called “The Water is Wide”–it will have 3 variations, and I’m working on the 3rd right now. Here are variations 1 and 2.

The main version shows wave cables on one side and a quilted “gull stitch” ribbing on the other side. It’s knit in Malabrigo Silky Merino in Indiecita, 2 skeins. I have lots of nice pictures of this that I took this weekend around the IU campus. I’ll share more later, but here are some of the outtakes I don’t plan to use in the final pattern:
Too nipply:

Shows construction in the background:

And here are some photos of version 2, a version showing quilted rib on both sides, knit with 2 skeins of Noro Kureyon and 1 skein of Plymouth Boku, all striped together. I might use some of these photos for the final pattern–I’m pleased with how they came out, but then I have a real weakness for rainbow-striped scarves, so how could I have gone wrong?
In the star magnolia:

Floating in forsythia:


Close up

Far off

(Version 3 will show wave cables on both sides, but I ran out of yarn and have to wait for more to come in the mail. I hope the dyelots are similar. I love it so far–it’s luscious–but it eats yarn like crazy.)

This NPR story inspired the meme, and here are the guidelines:

Here are the guidelines, should you choose to participate in this yourself:

  • Write your own six word memoir.
  • Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.
  • Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere.
  • Tag five more blogs with links.

I hereby tag:

  1. Goldtop, in revenge exchange for tagging me with the “seven things” meme
  2. gleek
  3. Emilee
  4. Kate
  5. Big Sister

(Apologies if you’ve been tagged before… I didn’t do a search to check. And no obligations here. It was definitely hard to figure out what to write in my 6-word bio, so totally I’ll understand if you don’t want to.)

And anyone else who wants to be tagged, please do participate and let me know!

Add this to today’s list of Things I Love:

Earlier today, around 2 PM, I was sitting at the kitchen table, working, when out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw a horse galloping through our suburban subdivision. I looked up, startled, and saw this:

A herd of deer! About seven of them. I grabbed my camera just before they ran out of sight, and snapped these pictures from the dining room window. I ran downstairs and caught the deer standing in the yard beside someone’s house:

They ran off, but I was too slow this time to see where they went.

(I’d probably love it a lot less if I had a yard of my own. Can you imagine the damage those guys could do to a vegetable garden?)