Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stash Appreciation Wednesday: Total Indulgence Edition

In the spirit of Stash Appreciation Wednesday, I have another yarn purchase to confess. It's not huge for some people, and I would love to say that I had a whole stash full of this wonderful stuff... but the truth is that I can't afford to buy sweater amounts of much of anything. Cute little tank amounts? Sure! Sock amounts? Sign me up! But when it comes to full sweater commitments, I fail pretty hardcore. Cascade 220 is my limit.

Occasionally I will go insane and get an entire Autumn Rose's worth of Jamieson Shetland... but that's an investment, you know? My meager student bank account can't afford for me to buy 23 balls of Debbie Bliss anything, unfortunately. So I stick with laceweight and sock yarn (because really, a whole project for $8-$20? Lots of bang for your knitting buck) and my friends all laugh at me because I own about 4 pairs of socks that aren't hand-knit. That, and I have a sock yarn stash the size of Pluto.

Actually, that's sort of a lie. At the beginning of the summer, I was down to 11 pairs worth of yarn. Considering that I was at about 25 last fall, that's pretty tiny. But then the summer happened, and, oh, you know.


Want to know what I bought an entire sweater's worth of?

If you hadn't guessed already... mmmhmmmmm. Malabrigo. And what can I say about this yarn that hasn't been said before? That it's an incredibly soft single ply merino wool kettle-dyed in luminous colors? That it feels like butter (in a good way!) and has amazing, squooshy stitch definition? Because it has definitely been described in all of these ways at one point or another.

It's destined to become Amanda, from the beautifully designed and photographed A Fine Fleece. Although I don't spin my own yarn, this book is incredibly inspiring - full of aran sweaters in wonderful, tweedy, earthy yarns. I'm planning to do some waist shaping to make it more flattering to my body type. In the meantime, I've already cast on for Halcyon in one of my few sweater-amounts of yarn, Ella Rae Classic in a burgundy color that is a pretty close approximation to Oberlin red. (Our school colors are red and gold; our mascot, the Yeoman. Yeoperson? Either way, I know: awesome.)

Now, if only there was a less conspicuous way to fiddle with a cable needle in class...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stash Appreciation Wednesday: Grey Edition

Grey grey grey. I know that there's two different ways to spell it. I think that both are technically correct. But which is more aesthetically pleasing: grey, or gray? Grey with an "e" because it looks sleeker, more refined? Or gray with an "a" because it looks humble, just the kind of gray you could get a cup of coffee with? The conundrums of the English language, I tell you. Speaking of language conundrums: lately I've been thinking more in Japanese, which is weird. I'll be about to say something, and then realize that it's in another language that the people I'm talking to don't actually understand. Sort of mind-boggling.

Onto yarn! This yarn is called Yummy, by Fibranatura. I'm not totally sold on the dyejob of the more variegated colors of this yarn, but I'm totally ok with shades of grey. This yarn hasn't told me what it wants to be yet, but I have a feeling that it will make for some hard-wearing socks. It has a relatively tight twist, which makes me like it despite its somewhat rough hand - then again, I always find that rougher sock yarns soften up pretty quickly after washing and wearing.

Another weird note: a few weeks ago in Art Conservation, we talked a little bit about egg tempera and its various qualities. Apparently it has very saturated color due to the cross-linking of the proteins in the egg as it dries, whereupon it creates a pretty strong polymer.

I observed this phenomenon today in my apartment, in an omelette pan. My dish-washing experience was heightened by the knowledge that this same property has kept thousand-year-old paintings in their same basic form for all of that time. And now my kitchen's clean, so that's a plus too.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I had a really interesting day.

As you know from my previous posts, I was pretty sick with a cold for a day or two earlier this week. It was an especially hard time to be sick because of a physics problem set that was due this Wednesday, and my crazy schedule on Tuesdays that puts me in class from 11 am until 8 pm. But I pulled through, just barely, and managed to finished the problem set while still napping 4 hours in one day, going to all of my classes, and keeping up with the readings. Score!

Unfortunately, two of my other housemates were also sick. We ran into each other in the bathroom in the wee hours of the morning: me grasping an empty mug of tea and looking terribly put-upon and snot-filled; Bailee looking surprisingly chipper for someone with a terrible stomach ache brought on my seemingly nothing. She recovered pretty quickly, but we're all so busy that I'm afraid I didn't keep a close eye on how everybody was doing.

Well, apparently the stress of the cold and the problem set and everything else just kinda compounded, because this morning I woke up around 6 with a sharp pain in my abdomen that announced the arrival of the Stomach Rats. (As in, "it feels like about a thousand rodents are trying to chew their way through my viscera".) Not super fun. But I got up, called Student Health, made some tea for breakfast (they recommended clear fluids) and got off to class feeling relatively good.

By mid-afternoon, relatively good had suddenly skydived into not good at all. I went to Student Health, who told me to head over to the local hospital, which is conveniently located right across the street. I called my friend Hannah to meet me, and she actually got to the hospital before I did.

It's funny; I've had a variety of health problems throughout the years, most somewhat minor, others somewhat major but easily dealt with once detected. This was the first time that I actually really, really did want to go to the hospital. The pain itself wasn't that bad, but it was just unrelenting. I have had my share of mono, MRSA, bad antibiotic reactions, and flu - but man. Today, I was beaten and downtrodden after a mere 9 hours of illness. Luckily, the staff at the hospital were extremely kind and diligent. Within an hour of my admittance, they had pain medication in me that made sitting up seem like a feasible option. And, after about an hour of Hannah talking with me and cheering me up, my friend Ondrea also dropped by. What ensued was probably the best use of 4 hours of hospital wait time that has ever occurred. (Besides knitting, of course.) We chatted and laughed a whole lot, and made friendly jokes at the various personnel that poked me, put blankets on me, and filled me full of saline.

Right before I was discharged, the Curmudgeon made an appearance as well, and he took over getting me the proper drugs and saltines and tucking me into bed.

The whole point of that, I guess, is that I sometimes forget in the midst of all of the craziness and stress of school is how much I love and appreciate those people who stick by me in tough times, who come by my room even when I tell them that I'm okay now, who listen to my worries and feed me Fig Newtons (when I'm not just eating Gatorade, tea, and chicken broth, that is!) and make me laugh those awesome belly laughs.

A couple of years ago, there was a time in my life when I really needed those things and they just weren't available, which made me scared and lonely and terribly, terribly guilty on top of all of the things that were happening. Realizing how full and incredible my life is today, I feel thankful that I am through that time, and even more than that, I am so, so thankful for the people I have chosen, who have chosen me, to be my friends.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Stash Appreciation Wednesday: Ella Rae Lace Merino Edition

Okay, so I have a confession:

I'm addicted to this stuff.

Well. Maybe not addicted, because it's become general knowledge that Cory's yarn problem is not so much an "addiction" or "difficulty abstaining" than a "wonderful yarn sense that leads to pretty finished objects and sometimes random gifts to people she adores". Which sounds much nicer, doesn't it?

But onto the yarn. This is Ella Rae Lace Merino. My third skein. Gulp. I made a very pretty pair of Hederas with a pink skein, and I have a blue skein lying in wait until it can be used for a design project whenever I have enough brain cells to devote to the process. Which might be a while.

The wonderful thing about this yarn: the color, which is delightfully tie-dye-esque until one casts on... at which point each stitch becomes a different, slightly more magical color as you knit. Also, have I mentioned that it's incredibly soft? Because, um, it's incredibly soft.

I'll have to apologize for my absence the last few days. I came down with a cold over the weekend that threatened to eat any chance at a good grade on my Physics homework, so I spent most of the last two nights snuffling, wheezing, and poring over my damn textbooks. Because although at the time, I really could give a flying rat fanny about the velocity of the airplane as it drops a projectile into the ocean, I do want to understand physics. I do I do I do!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

lace and other forms of awesome

I did not, in fact, cast on with Sundara yesterday. I did, however, start going nuts on Miralda. I had cast on very loosely the other day, and wasn't sure how it would look once I got going. Sort of disappointed in myself, I kept on trucking: knit the two rows, and started the lace chart.

Now, bearing in mind YarnHarlot's post earlier this year on the Saga of Miralda... I have been a little concerned. I did not have to cast on more than once. I have not made any dreadful errors yet. But I'm sorta waiting for the other shoe to drop, because since the initial apprehension over the loose cast-on edge (which actually worked out just fine!), this project has been perfect. Like... knitting cashmere on Addi Turbo Lace Needles while alternating snorting kittens and drinking the world's most awesome cappuccino awesome.

I knit on it this morning while driving from Oberlin to the Intermuseum Conservation Association Lab so that about a dozen students, including me, got to frolic (well, as one can frolic around a bunch of priceless paintings and [!!!!!!] Civil-War era pure silk American flag [!!!!!]) around a professional art conservator's laboratory. Seriously, when she started stripping off gunk from an oil painting with triammonium citrate, I just about died with happiness.

After which, we all got back into the van and I knit all the way home. And, in about two hours, I'm going to go see Ed Helms (that's Andy from the office, and a correspondent from the Daily Show) at a Convocation lecture.

Talk about a great day.

Friday, September 11, 2009


A couple of months ago, I was puttering around Ravelry when I saw a rare "for sale" tag on a skein of Sundara Sock, and immediately messaged its owner (thanks, nlarson!) with a request to buy it. The first time I saw it was way back in 2007, on Brookylntweed's blog. This was shortly after my obsession with socks began, and I filed away the name of the yarn under "must find eventually, when I has monie!" section of my yarny brain. So it's quite a treat to have a real live skein in my stash. Actually, shortly after taking this picture, I wound it into a center-pull ball, but you get the idea.

Just to be original, I think this is going to end up as a triangular scarf as well. I have an idea that I might cast on this afternoon, perhaps on my off time at work. I've had so little time to knit lately that my knitting fantasy life is starting to overtake my actual knitting life.

Also: today Amai is off to her rightful owner! Marcee of Criation Station Alpaca Farm commissioned me to make a summery top out of alpaca, and so, although I'll probably be making another for myself pretty soon, the original is going to hang out at the farmer's market to help sell yarn until late fall.

Amusing story of the week:

The other day, one of my housemates was out doing laundry when she found out that our row of houses was having systematic fire drills. At that point, it was about 10:30 pm, and although I kept on hearing fire alarms going off down the street, I didn't think much of it. When she got back upstairs, she told all of us that there was probably going to be a fire drill, so we probably shouldn't get too comfortable. Thus, comfortable I did not get. I took some cashmere from my stash and started casting on for Miralda's Triangular Shawl, for which the cast-on is about 330 stitches.

About an hour passed, and nothing happened. One of my housemates went to bed. Another went off for a long walk. I sat on my bed and cast on and counted and re-counted 330-odd stitches. I'm using some pink Jade Sapphire cashmere that my mom sent me last year, and it's pretty delicate, so I was trying to be careful. At one point, I came upon a knot in one of the strands I was using to cast on (it has a doubled cast-on edge) and started mumbling obscenities under my breath. Then I carefully picked the knot apart. Right as I was beginning to spit-splice the two ends together... the fire alarm went off. Cashmere was thrown to the side, shoes were applied to feet, and stairs were tromped down, all while yelling "Freaking seriously!?" to my housemates, all of whom were in various states of dress because it was 11:45 on a Wednesday night.

Best part? When I got back, I casually spit-spliced the cashmere together and knit on happily. Good to know that our safety is in good hands! (Actually, seriously. They were very diligent and nice about rousing us up at 11:45 pm.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Not forgotten: Stash Appreciation Wednesday!

Wednesday is for blue Colinette mohair this week! I got this little skein of Colinette Parisienne in colorway Salty Dog (so cute) at a yarn shop called The Scarlett Skein in San Luis Obispo, California, while on my delightful yarn crawl with my mother. We were on the freeway probably two or three miles out from San Luis when I frantically called the store to ask about directions and parking. When we got there about five minutes later, the lady grinned at us and said, "Did you just call?"

Pretty awesome.

As for the yarn, I think it's destined to be a lacy triangular scarflet, nice and kicky. And, is it terrible that I think of this color as Gonzo Blue?

She's done.

And hallelujah for that.

Pattern: Her name's Amai. She don't need no stinkin' pattern.
Yarn: Local alpaca, about 600 yards (less than 2 skeins)
Needles: Size 5 US for the lace; size 3 US for twisted ribbing

My first design, called Amai, the Japanese word for sweet. ('Cause I'm a dork like that.)

Now, if I could remember what I did... that would be awesome.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

perfectly imperfect

Bought a necklace today. It's been a long, weird week so far, and I've been itching to cast on something wooly... but with very little time and patience, it hasn't happened yet.

I've been thinking about getting one of these necklaces for a while. I love the weight of it, and the simplicity. We've been reading about the Japanese aesthetic of the "perfectly imperfect" in the 7th century, and for some reason the wood combined with the stone and slightly oxidized metal (pewter, maybe?) makes me remember that imperfect is not only realistic, it's usually quite beautiful.

Monday, September 7, 2009


It's labor day weekend, and raining outside. Our apartment is still sort of gloomy and college-student-esque, and the peals of thunder from outside really aren't helping. There's plenty of Nutella in the cabinets and the bathroom is clean, though, so I can't complain.

I've been studying and watching movies all afternoon, although I was reading Japanese history around 11:30, closed my eyes for a quick nap, and woke again at 1:30 to the sound of my housemate and her family unpacking groceries. Schoolwork never seems to be finished - don't be fooled by the hula hoop; my butt has been planted on the couch reading physics and accounts of the Nara period for the last two hours.

Knitting-wise: Unst needs to be re-knit on slightly larger needles. It's seriously gorgeous, but just barely tugs on over my heel, and I know that my US 1.5s would fix that in a jiffy. Only problem? Somewhere between Seattle and Ohio, my 1.5s have gone missing. So, I cast on for Meida's Socks in a cheery sherbet color of Lorna's Laces. Hopefully the weather will take a cue from my yarn and brighten up soon.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


For some reason, on weekends I really like to get dressed up. Maybe it's force of habit from the summer; since I worked in a lab with a lot of carbonized compounds, I had to wear a lab coat during the week, and wearing heels while working with solvents and assorted breakable and hot things is a total no-no. So it's fun to throw on a pair of heels and a skirt on the weekend and pretend like I'm not a student who eats the same kind of sandwich for lunch every day and dribbles coffee down the front of her shirt while rushing to work.

The skirt is from a vintage shop in Santa Cruz; the belt is a costume necklace of unknown origin mailed to me by my grandmother; the top is another find from Indonesia.

I also bought it at the market in Ubud, from a stall that seemed completely separate from whole crazy Bali market experience. At most stalls, the shopkeeper would come rushing up to you and start throwing scarves around your neck, or take your arm to show you a dress that they really wanted you to buy, all while insisting that they have it at a very special price. This shop was quiet; a woman sat at a sewing machine while her two young daughters played on the floor behind her, and her husband would tell you the price only if you asked about a certain item. There was no haggling down the price, which was strange considering that most things at the market are marked up by 100-300% and should be haggled down to about 50% of the original price at most. When I told the woman that I loved this shirt but the snaps in front would not quite close, she told me to come back in ten minutes. She let out a seam and made the shirt fit me for no extra charge. I think it ended up being about 20,000 rupiah, or $20, which was more expensive than most clothing in the market, but it was worth it.

Happy weekend!

Friday, September 4, 2009


In a fit of frustration with all of my knitting projects, I cast on a new pair of socks this morning. The yarn is some Jitterbug that I got in Santa Barbara, in the colorway Oyster Blush. For some reason I really love grey and neutral yarns lately. Perhaps because there are so many shades of grey: taupe, coffee, charcoal, cloud. Each has its own subtle undertones, and each complements a different range of colors. For instance: I have this beautiful vintage dress in an amazing shade of brown-grey, and it has a pink underslip.

I'd love to knit a dark green shawl to go with it. If it were a richer shade of brown, I would gravitate towards teal. If it were more grey, I would use magenta. So it makes sense to me that Unst, a relatively simple lace pattern, would show off this yarn so beautifully.

Hooray socks!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Stash Appreciation Wednesday

So, this may perhaps be a vain pursuit as the semester goes on, but I realized recently that I don't have very many pictures of my yarn stash. Which is too bad, because my stash is pretty awesome and deserves to be drooled upon more regularly.

So here goes: the first installation of Stash Appreciation Wednesday, in which I take pictures of my yarn and talk about how great it is.

Yarn: Madelinetosh Tosh Sock
Colorway: Rhubarb
Specs: 395 yards, fingering weight
Bought at: The Weaving Works in Seattle, Washington

I had heard a lot about Madelinetosh, and remembered having seen it at The Weaving Works one of the last times I was home. Overall impressions: yarn has a similar twist to Claudia Handpainted, which is one of my favorite sock yarns ever in terms of both knitting and wearability. I love the saturated colors and the yarn itself is insanely soft. This is probably one of the prettiest skeins in my stash - so pretty, in fact, that I almost don't want to knit it up.

.... key word being "almost".

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Occasionally, I finish things. And post more than once a month!

Winter Wheat mitts in Fibre Company Road to China. Beautiful, amazing, soft yarn. 20 bucks for 70 yards, and dammit, I made 'em last. This yarn told me what it wanted to be, so I did its bidding.

Also pretty (&) new: grey trenchcoat from Martin & Osa. Love love love love. Plus, they gave me a student discount. Win!

And last but not least, a pair of shoes that came into my life not too long ago:

Noo brown shoes, hyacinth socks (cookie a summer sox in Araucania Ranco)

This last weekend I went to the first swing dance of the year. I got to catch up with some friends, do a little dancing, and generally socialize with the first years. (They are so cute. Seriously.) But the best part? Somebody came over, plunked these shoes down in front of me, and said, "Here. If these fit, take them." They were a men's size 8: too big for many women, too small for many men. I'm like freakin' Goldilocks, because they fit me juuuuust right. Can't argue with fabulous and free.