Oct 30, 2005

Contest prizes revealed!

The contest ends tomorrow at midnight, EST. I will be sending 1 yard of this 'Day of the Dead' fabric from ReproDepot and enough locally-spun Mauch Chunky to make some felted slippers to the person who has gone the farthest in order to save a beloved hand-crafted item from certain doom.

Oct 29, 2005

seems about right....

Your Linguistic Profile:

70% General American English

15% Upper Midwestern

5% Dixie

5% Midwestern

5% Yankee

It seems a little schizo, but I grew up in the Midwest, went to ugrad in the south, now live in the mid-Atlantic, and spent a lot of time while I was living in Chicago trying to sound like I fit in there.

Oct 28, 2005

New Ring

I was so sad to learn that there are no stitching Chicago rings on RingSurf.*

So I started one. If you live in the Chicago metro area and knit, sew, crochet, quilt, spin, weave, stitch, or do any other fiber-y thing, please join! I'm trying to get a group of enablers together make new friends before my move...


*Please do not send me hate mail if there are; I did what I thought was a thorough check (10 mins on RingSurf search).

TGIF - and sunny to boot

I need more knitting time each evening than one repeat of Branching Out. So I finally started knitting up some of Dani's Watermelon Yarn. It will become playclothes, not socks:

Sunshine Yarn

In addition to writing, this weekend I will be working on the ultimate WIP in preparation of listing my house:


You may notice Mona Lisa hanging on the wall. You can't tell in the photo, but she's totally smirking at me. I think I'll shove her in my freezing closet during the patching and see if her attitude changes.

Oct 27, 2005

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Dancing Fish! May your days be long and merry, may your nights be warm at home, and may I someday soon be less self-absorbed as to remember to wish you a
B I R T H D A Y when I talk to you on the phone.

Contrary to some opinions, you're so rock-and-roll fun.

Oct 26, 2005

Google Word of the Day

virago: an ill-tempered, overbearing woman; also, a woman of great strength and courage.

Does anyone know of a similar word for a man that means both 'ill-tempered, overbearing' and possessing 'great strength and courage'? Meh.

With love,
Amandamonkey the Virago

Branching Out is 3!

3 repeats, that is. I really like how it's coming together so far and I can definitely see how blocking will make it that much better. I try to do only one repeat a night, because I start making careless mistakes when I'm tired. This is for my FMIL. I think it's safe to say it here because I don't think she reads this blog.

In local stitching news, the contest ends in 5 days. Remember, your story does not have to involve toilets...

In global knitting news, I just wanted to say that I just got a message that afghans for Afghans reached their goal of 5,000 hand-knit items for refugee children! It was apparently touch and go until the end, but you all rallied so they could reach it. Kudos.

In generally exciting news, The Grabs first album comes out November 8. This is the first release I've really looked forward to in a long time. I hope you don't let me down, Eleni. I suspect you won't, and I'll be dancing all the way to my diss defense.

Oct 25, 2005

For those of you who've traveled in foreign countries...

... or those of you who want to.

This website is too. funny.

Disclaimer: I have attempted to learn several languages with varying degrees of success. Native Spanish, French, Italian, and Chinese speakers are especially welcome to tease me about my slaughtering of their languages. This is all in good fun!


Note: This hasn’t been gifted yet, since Rock Star will be visiting in a little over a week. I have warned him not to check here if he doesn’t want the surprise to be ruined. StitchBlogging is the only addiction I have left. I have cut out most carbs for a couple of weeks – this includes alcohol, people! and Ben and Jerry’s! – I don’t smoke, I can’t garden because it’s so cold and rainy, Rock Star isn’t around to hang out with me, and I’m even trying to limit my caffeine consumption to 2 little pots of green tea a day. All while writing my diss and trying to overcome the feeling that I really suck. Oh yes, I am really fun.


So here are the vids on my version of the short-row beanie:
Yarn: Alchemy’s Synchronicity in ‘Empty Sky’ and ‘Ocean Floor.’
Pattern: Tychus from Knitty.
Needles: Vintage US6 aluminums. Not the best choice with a silk blend yarn (see below).
Recipient: Rock Star. He needs a thinner hat to wear under his bike helmet.
Thoughts: I used a single strand of each color instead of two. I didn’t like the look of the thick bound-off edge, so I used an invisible cast-on and then finished it off with a 3-needle bind-off. To account for the smaller needles, I cast on 54 stitches and decreased as described until there were 32 stitches forming the ½ wedge. I had enough yarn to make a large hat, but barely. I had only a 1” diameter ball of each color left at the end, which is perfect for making a little swatch to put in my imaginary stitching portfolio of FOs.

It makes a nice drape-y fabric and is too big for me – but just enough that I think it will fit Rock Star perfectly. If you have a cat like I do who’s really bad and attacks the needle while you’re knitting, it’s easy to lose the silky stitch from alums. You really have to be careful when making this to pick up any stitches you may drop exactly correctly (not impatiently like me) because it really shows up in the contrasting thread.

Tychus detail

Please excuse Tychus' loose ends. They have since been woven in.

Oct 23, 2005

Branching Out update

This is how far I've progressed on Branching Out:

Branching Out progress 1

That's all I have to say about that.

I went to a party at Dancing Fish and her boyfriend's place last night. The food was amazing and their cat was dressed for the party:

Dressed for the Party

V did an excellent job grilling. It was too cold for me to join him so I snapped a photo from inside their newly painted breakfast nook.

On the Inside Looking Out

It really reflects how I feel lately. On the inside looking out. How exciting.

Oct 20, 2005

Stalking Viola Voila

Rock Star's hat is complete! I will tell you that it's a modified Tychus from the Summer 2005 Knitty Man Issue; the final details will be recorded here once it is gifted - probably in a week or two.

So I was just now setting it up on Viola Voila who is pictured to the right. Poor Viola has always been completely misunderstood by my friends and family, described as "creepy" or "disturbing."

I think tonight may unfortunately prove them correct. Teak ran in while I was setting up for the photo shoot, screeched to a halt, then started stalking Viola in a frightened manner. This is something he rarely does, but it was so funny, I took a movie of it.*

Could it be that The Lady Miss Viola Voila could be one of those possessed objects I hear so much about? I never knew...

*Special thanks to UCSF's Center for Instructional Technology for their 'Embedded Media HTML Generator.' I didn't want to use all my bandwidth, though, so it's no longer embedded in the post. Now, my little goofy movie is hosted at Putfile.

Oct 18, 2005

Do you love your knitted object enough to pull it out of a toilet?

The title of this post is a comment Ashley just emailed me. After reading my last post, she had a fantastic idea about me posting a 'dedicated to my knits'-type button on my blog.

I could just make a little button, post it, and have that be the end of it. But our exchange has inspired me to hold a contest. Here are the rules:
* post your best/worst extreme saving-the-knit-or-other-handcrafted-item story on your blog. No, the story doesn't have to involve toilet diving. It does, however, have to involve an item you made or made by someone close to you and the story has to involve you. Third-party postings are encouraged but not eligible for the (::cough::) prize.
* comment on this post or this post with a link to your story.
* do it before midnight EST, 31 October.

* This is my blog and I will choose the winner. Make me laugh! Make me cry! Incite emotion in the blogosphere over your love for your hand-crafted yummy!

Here's what you get:
* a specially-designed certificate/button to post on your blog.
* some fun-knitting thing, yet to be determined because I need to WRITE, y'all!

Saving the Mittens*

First FO

I'm a self-taught knitter and my first project was hard-won; even until last year I wrapped my knit stitches in the wrong direction. I remember going to the local yarn store with my friend Maggie around Thanksgiving to buy yarn because we were stressed with upcoming finals. The owner convinced me that mittens were a perfectly easy first project, and I bought a skein of Lamb's Pride in 'Brite Blue' and went home.

I picked up the project on and off for the next few months, frogging all the way, and just. not. getting it, despite consulting the all-knowing Vogue Knitting book. Bwah. Finally, I looked at a small knitting magazine from the 1950s that I'd bought on eBay and everything fell together. I was knitting. It was June by now and I quickly finished the mittens, even though my seams were not too beautiful. I was so excited to finish that I seriously considered wearing them to Ellen's Fourth of July party.

Fast forward a few years and I'm in Colorado at field camp. We're camping on a ranch for 9 days and mapping. The TAs dug a very luxurious pit toilet behind one of the abandoned buildings (no sarcasm here. There was a real toilet over the hole, a sink with a water jug attached to it, and even a little mirror in which to reflect on your crusty self. Plus the view was outstanding).

Mornings are hard for me. This is nothing new, but it takes on a certain urgency at field camp, because everyone has to be in the vehicles - ready to go - at a certain time. I hate being the rate-limiting factor. So one morning, half-awake, I'm doing my business and appreciating the very brisk desert morning. I was excited to put on my mittens after washing my hands in the f r e e z i n g water and wait! what's that? I only have one?....

I think you can see where this is going. I thought "oh, shit", looked in the toilet, and there it was. My Brite Blue First FO, perched on the side of the hole, not in the most juicy part. I thought it could be saved, but... there was this deadline! and I hadn't had any caffeine yet! This being an abandoned ranch, there was all kinds of metal detritus around and I found a little stick, tried stabbing it, but to no avail.

My friend Jovi was next in line and was sympathetic. We scrambled for bigger and stronger impalers. Nothing worked and the line was growing. I gave up the ghost and returned to camp telling my sad story of the Lost First FO and my now Freezing Hand.

and then... another camper said "well, where are we supposed to go to the bathroom now?!" This indicated to me that she didn't want to further defile the mitten that I'd given up on and that there was hope!, so with renewed vigor I found a hooked and spiky metal thing and finally rescued the mitten by knocking it further into the hole and stabbing it (thanks, fellow UNM field campers for holding it).

I marched proudly across camp, holding the mitten at arm-and-spiky-pole's length, with everyone cheering. And we even made it into the vans on time.

*or, "Why I Am Known as 'Poo Diver' Among a Certain Subset of People West of the Mississippi"

Postscript: Because I am a BIG GIANT germphobe, the mitten underwent several cleansing ceremonies. Every morning of the next week, I took the mitten (still on the pole) to the creek, dunked it, and placed it in the sun outside my tent to dry and hopefully sterilize in the UV. When I got back to a laundromat in Los Alamos, I washed it several times with other outerwear - nothing that touched my skin. They felted a little, but I still wear them to this day. Just not in the field.

So sad, because I do love Target... and other anti-woman news!

From PP Action Alerts:
"Imagine walking into a pharmacy with a prescription and being told by the pharmacist, "I won't fill it. It's my right not to fill it." It's outrageous to think this is possible, but this is exactly what happened to a 26-year-old woman who presented a prescription for emergency contraception at a Target in Fenton, MO, on September 30. Join Planned Parenthood in demanding that every woman's pills be filled -- now!"

Here's the response I got from Target today:

Dear Target Guest,

Target places a high priority on our role as a community pharmacy and our obligation to meet the needs of the patients we serve. We expect all our team members, including our pharmacists, to provide respectful service to our guests, particularly when it comes to their health care needs. Like many other retailers, Target has a policy that ensures a guest’s prescription for emergency contraception is filled, whether at Target or at a different pharmacy, in a timely and respectful manner. This policy meets the health care needs of our guests while respecting the diversity of our team members. Your thoughts help us learn more about what our guests expect, so I’ll be sure to share your feedback with our pharmacy executives. Thanks for taking the time to share your questions, thoughts and comments. I hope we’ll see you again soon at Target.

Jennifer Hanson
Target Executive Offices

Is it just me, or does this seem like a nice way of saying, 'yes, we hear you, but we really don't care what you think'? Here was my response:

Dear Target.Response,

I place a high priority on my role as a person in the community and my obligation to continue to fight for my rights as a woman. I expect all of the businesses that I frequent, including the mega-marts, to act in a socially conscious, respectful manner while providing me with goods on demand. Like many other socially conscious consumers, I have a policy that strives to ensure that my material needs are met while doing the least damage possible, be it environmentally, economically, etc. Your thoughts help me learn that Target does not strive to meet the health care needs of women, so I will not be registering for my wedding with you nor purchasing from your chain of stores during the holidays. I'll be sure to share your feedback with the greater community via my blog and by word of mouth. Thanks for taking the time to send me an automated response indicating that you do not really care what I think about this issue. I hope that Target will soon change its policies to serve the needs of all of its 'guests' so that I can soon again count Target among businesses that I frequent.

Former Target 'Guest'

And, here is some very humiliating news from my home state. Even if the idea has been dropped, it is still vomit-inducing...

Oct 17, 2005

amanda needs...

A meme via Moe

Amanda needs a diaper change
Amanda needs gnutar
amanda shouldn't need X11 (but i do)
Amanda needs to be rebuilt (good thing I'm about to go on South Beach)
Amanda needs to be loved
Amanda needs nonacademic colleagues as a reality check
and it just so happens that Amanda needs a job
Amanda needs to rebuild her life.
Amanda needs a small config change (only small?)
Amanda needs her local food bank to put food on the table for herself and her daughter
Amanda needs to create a file of college work (no shit)
Amanda needs her beloved crystals that give her strength and take away her "negativity," (no shit)
Amanda needs to relax
AMANDA needs to have setup with the correct permissions
Amanda needs to be recompiled on landon
Amanda needs a serious love interest or must get involved in a serious journalistic story
Amanda needs to know the time so that she can schedule activities, know when it’s time to go to bed
Amanda needs to prove her style goes beyond quirky
Amanda needs a mom in her corner with lots of time and attention to give to her
Amanda needs to know "why?" (that's always been a need of mine...
Amanda needs to know some characteristics of the tape media
Amanda needs Vip for support and reassurance
Amanda needs to read Barbara Bush's speech to Wellesley graduates given in 1990 (I really doubt that)
Amanda needs a wise friend to tell her that this too shall pass (or 50)
Amanda needs a family who will provide her with unconditional love, permanence, security, guidance and support

and I also found this:
Detailed description of how to install and use AMANDA

On Being a Graduate Student...

This is not my work, but it's so funny. A graduate student in my department took real images from ready.gov and, uh, tweaked the captions a little:

Thanks for the support, everyone. Unfortunately, I think that this blog will be peppered with little whines and uncertainties for the next few months even if I've discovered PhinsheD since my last post.

Oct 16, 2005

Lying on the back porch with Vitamin D

Lying on the Back Porch with Vitamin D

Oct 15, 2005

Drinking Campfires

I love that Numi 'Smoky Tarry' tea. It tastes like a campfire, and this is the perfect time of year for drinking it. I like it so much it inspired me to change my thumbnail photo to look more tarry and autumnal.

Silk WIPs

Last night was so fun with Dancing Fish and Hamster-grrl! Above is a WIP of Hamster-grrl in a silk blend that is gorgeous. The photos don't capture the depth of color in the yarn, it's like looking at a butterfly wing. The striped WIP on the right is a small peek at Rock Star's surprise (which is becoming less and less a surprise every day!).

Poor Dancing Fish doesn't have a digital camera yet, so she brought over all her FOs for a little photoshoot:

Sum of Dancing Fish's FOs

You'll have to check out her out in a few days to see the details...

Today I'm off to another wedding, this time alone (boo hoo). Before you feel sorry for me, it's not 'alone' at all. Some friends from the institution where I got my MS are getting married and it will be a very fun - albeit short - reunion with lots of very hilarious and clever people.

I should probably take a shower before I go.

Oct 14, 2005

Enough Paparazzi

The worst part about making a surprise gift for Rock Star is that I can't post the in-progress photos, and boy are they good. You're really missing out.

So here's a photo of Tikka Masala helping me knit:


...and here he is about 20 shots later:

Enough Paparazzi

I've been having a really tough week with my disseration. The problems are unfortunately internal, not external, and I continue to doubt every move I make, extending to my outside-grad-school world, what little of it there is.

This helps (a little):

Gold Star

It was given to me this morning by one of my friends here. I highly recommend everyone put a gold star on their computer monitor.

I also recommend having a stitch-and-bitch with the likes of Dancing Fish and Hamster-grrl. Which I am going to do. Tonight. Even though my roof is leaking and I haven't vacuumed the carpet. Maybe I'll even pop in the DVD of Gumbasia that I got for $1 at the Large Mart that I detest because I grew up in an area whose local towns were devastated by it but that I sometimes get sucked into anyway. If only SweetBasil, Dani, and Blogless Miss Molly were here too!

Hope y'uns have a good weekend.

Oct 13, 2005

WIP Spoiler

So last night I was talking to Rock Star on the phone while knitting his gift.

That was such a bad idea.

I was saying, 'oh, you're going to love this, blah, blah, blah, you're going to love it so much that you'll never take it off your crazy head.'

He paused a moment and said, 'so... you're making me socks?'

Damn. I can't keep any secrets from him.

Oct 12, 2005

Weekend Update

Aren't I so blog-a-licious today?

Anyway, just wanted to post about my (too short) visit to see Rock Star in Chicago this weekend. I ended up taking a different flight than I'd earlier planned, which involved a layover in Detroit. So I was in the Allentown 'international' airport at my gate, whose sign stubbornly insisted that a flight to Boston was leaving from there. I was pacing around, anxious to move on from the luxe waiting accommodations when I glanced over and saw a bottle-cap-embellished cowboy hat and I knew that I would be sharing a flight with Mr. Imagination!

If you don't know, he's a self-taught artist who moved from Chicago to Bethlehem, PA about 4 years ago. I've admired his work for a while now, so I told him so. We ended up having a really great conversation on the first leg of my flight, and his favorite friend I, Junior sat next to me for the flight. He's a really interesting, intelligent guy and I'm really glad I had the opportunity to hang out with him. Here's a photo of him with I, Junior:


If you're in the Baltimore area - or planning to be - consider checking out the American Visionary Art Museum's Race Class Gender (doesn't equal) Character. It's open through early September of next year, and some of his work is in the show. I'm hoping to go sometime this fall (SweetBasil, are you in?!).

And here's a glimpse of the domestic bliss I'm missing as I try to finish this dissertation. Rock Star is making pesto in our crap-tastic kitchen and you may notice the dog butt in the lower right corner.


That, combined with all the Amy and half-price mojito bliss from the Mambo Grill, is what awaits me on the other side.


Okay, I'll leave you alone now.


To celebrate the First Wearing of the Scarves* (and because I can't show you my current WIP), I present to you a really old FO:


The colors are a little wacky 'cos I had to use my flash on this gray day. It's stump embroidery from a kit that I bought years ago at a stitching conference. I can't seem to find it on the 'net, but if you're interested, leave a comment and I'll do some more research. It was fun to do, but I'm somewhat blind from reading too many Trixie Belden** books in the semi-dark when I was a child, so I don't think it's my favorite stitching medium. Maybe if there was such a craft as Giant Stump...

Anyway, I'm 'stumped' (hahahahaha) about what to do with it. It's about 4x6", linen. I thought about framing it in some other linen and making a pillow, but you know I have these obsessive pets and once they discovered those tiny beads, it would all be over (along with their lives). I guess I could frame it, but I like to touch the silk satin stitches when I'm stressed out and I think no matter what you lose the sense of texture when you put it behind glass.

*timed very close to the beginning of Jacket Migration Season#
**a much more punk-rock and all-around cooler girl sleuth than that b!tch Nancy Drew
#cold enough in the morning for a jacket, but warm enough in the afternoon to be forgotten in the office until the next morning, which is cold enough for a jacket...


Oh! The pain! The anguish! The package wasn't here when I arrived home yesterday. There was nothing on my front porch.

Could it be that it wasn't actually 'delivered' but that it was instead 'out for delivery'? I mean it was a little weird that it was delivered in the morning when the UPS driver usually comes around 5. I watched some Dr Phil and then checked the website again.

Nope. 'delivered'.

Who should I call? Purl? UPS?

After a few minutes of pacing around and hemming and hawing I decided to open the back door - just in case - even though after three years of living here, UPS has *never* placed a package there and they would've had to navigate past my trash bin...

There it was!


Inside the sweet packaging were two balls of Madil Kid Seta, one in Moss and one in Cotton Candy. They will become Branching Out scarves for Christmas gifts:


And there was also a little something for Rock Star's Christmas gift. I can't post about that now, because he reads my blog. Let's just say I spent the rest of the night knitting.

I have a new housemate who is (otherwise) fabulous. She's from Germany, so I will call her 'Rebecca' here after my favorite German knitting mag. Last night as I was excitedly casting on, Rebecca said, 'poor Rock Star - is he the victim for all your knitting?' ...I'm feeling a little self-conscious now. But comforted by the fact that we have an open and honest relationship and that he should tell me if he doesn't like what I'm knitting him (OK, honey?).

Oct 11, 2005

okay, I give up

I'm leaving. and I'm not going to apologize for it.

I'm not known for patience or for delayed gratification so I'm outta here to go check out my package.


So I just returned from a quick trip to Chi-town to a pretty intense 2-day discussion session with some of our collaborators. They are gone now and I'm in my office.

I'm exhausted, but all I can think of is that my order from Purl is on my front porch right now as I write this (I know it's true 'cos I've been tracking the UPS number for the past few days). It's only 3:30, but I'm dying to take a dive into that box!

::arms crossed, foot tapping::

Oct 3, 2005

so maybe I *can* be a princess one day....

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Rock Star Hiking Socks

I finally finished the Rock Star Hiking Socks:


I tried to make one heel blue and the other foot striped, but because the yarn is really mottled, the effect is pretty subtle:


Here are the essential details:
Yarn: 245 yards 'Citrus' handspun from Spiderweb Specialties and 25 yards of 'Double Spring Storm' for accent
Pattern: Highly modified 'Basic Sock Pattern' from Woolcott & Co, itself highly modified
Needles: #3 bamboo dpns
Recipient: Rock Star, that's why they're Rock Star Socks
Thoughts: The yarn makes a really thick and warm fabric and its natural fibers and handspun-i-ness make it a joy to work with. The cost is a little high for socks (~$27), so if I were using this yarn again, it would probably be for a project that doesn't go on feet! I know Rock Star likes crazy socks, but I hope these aren't too crazy for him....