Friday, August 24, 2007

John Nolan Drive has become the amazon

I'm wet.

Everything in the apartment is wet, and nothing will dry. I am convinced that everything in my life is becoming a huge, mildewy mess because Madison has inexplicably become the first rainforest in the midwest. Soon there will be snakes hanging in the trees and awesome frogs everywhere and maybe I will finally find that plant that you were supposed to get in the Amazon Trail.

If you can't tell, I'm getting tired of the rain.

I am also tired of the drain in the bathroon not draining, making things even wetter, the fact that I am too lazy to do what needs to be done, and that this paper needs to be written up so that Dr. Mentor can say that it is too late to be published because I am a dumbass.

So since it is so very gray and wet outside, this will be a very special limulus edition of things that I like right now:

1.Trader Joe's Buffalo Jerky

Now, I am not a backpacker, wannabe cowboy, or any other jerky stereotype out there, but I like this stuff. Maybe a backstory is in order. I have hippie tendencies and would love to be a vegetarian or vegan sometimes. However, I was raised in a household where a meal was not a meal without meat, and sometimes I just crave it. When I had a little sit-down with myself I realized that I have little problem with eating meat. I have studied evolutionary biology long enough to be able to tell, through many different signs, that humans have evolved to have part of their diet come from animal protein, and that since evolution has been good to me, I don't necessarily need to fight the meat cravings, since many other members of the fine animals kingdom do the same. I know many say that we need to rise above our primal instincts and stop eating meat, but for me putting morality in my eating is making sure the animal has a good life. However, this does lead to interesting eating for a graduate student. Cruelty-free chicken is easy to find, and as long as a fish is caught wild its natural instincts haven't really been infringed upon. However, beef is an entirely different story. After many biology classes and reading The Omnivore's Dilemma (which I recommend wholeheartedly) I gave up corn-fed beef. However, grass-fed beef is hard to find and at wonderful places where you can find it (such as the Willy St. Co-Op it is MAD expensive. A maybe once every three weeks, or I've sold a kidney, or gave up yarn for 3 months kind or thing. So there is a hamburger every once in a while, but for other red meat cravings, there is the jerky. It is free-range, and damn, this is good stuff.

2.Yes to Carrots

My hair is dry (unlike the apartment) and I only buy cruelty-free beauty products. This has been a problem in the past, and the roomie said last year that we should have been paid to test all of the stuff we tried to find the best one. Well sweet holy hand grenade, I finally found it. Yes to Carrots is an Israeli company which is only sold in Walgreens here (yeah, I don't know why either), and while I have only tried the shampoo, conditioner, and body butter, they are all fab-u-licious (thats right, they're so good I've veered off the english beaten path here). I have never had a conditioner work this well before since I stopped using Pantene. And best of all they help to support sustainable agriculture!

3.The Orton Park Festival

It is the only happy thing outside. If you're in the area, stop by! I hear there is a beer garden (that might be tomorrow...) in any case, I get live music in my living room! The boy and I are going to check it out in a bit.

4.My new sock.

OK, so we all know I have the attention span of a fruitfly, but that is not what this is about. Right now I am working with exactly three colours, and I needed more than that. Many more. So I pawed through the stash and came up with this. Have I mentioned how much I love socks that rock? It is so... substantial. Even in the lightweight. Love, love love. This project made me feel better almost immediately.

5. The boy.

Here he is, trying to fix the internet for me and setting up the printer. Apparently we have IPV4 and 6, and appletalk, which means that we have a multi-something network. I have learned that he needs more techie friends. I appreciate him in his entirety. They will appreciate his computer genius-ness more. Of course, the local internet provider should send him a card, since if he didn't exist, my closet would most likely be filled with the pleading voices of the technicians that were sent over to fix the internet and eventually got snippy with me about my internet incompetence. That will show them. Where is their precious internet now?

I love him, and he still thinks that the fact that I can cook is amazing when he routinely makes machines do his bidding. I would be even more grumpy without him. He even said that one day I will be allowed to make him a sweater.

Peace out to all. The boy and I are going to explore the possibilities of beer across the street...

Grump grump

I would really like an invite to ravelry. I used to think that oh, maybe I didn't need to spend any more time on the internet, but now you can't spit without getting to a picture you can't see without ravelry, or people in your knitting group asking why you aren't on ravelry, and I just need to have a four-year old moment and say *whine*.

OK, now that is out of my system, I get to say that the boy and I were just accepted as adopters for Wisconsin guinea pig rescue! We're going to get a pair, and I am excited. They are wonderful animals.

In an effort to grump a little less, I give you one of the cutest inhabitants of Copenhagen:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The rain, it never stops

There is a flash flood warning for Dane county from today to Saturday. And it was sunny for a bit this morning too. Le sigh. Well, at least this is bright:

I have some major love for this hat. The cables aren't perfect, and no hat looks fabulous on me (I have a HUGE head), but I love the yarn, love the pattern, love, love, love.
Anyway, here are the specs:
Pattern: Gretel by Ysolda, size medium.
Yarn: 2 balls Rowan Felted tweed in "rage", held double
Mods: mistakes, no mods.

Verdict: I love it. I have been looking for a cable-y hat pattern that I liked for awhile, and this fits the bill. And my gargantuan head. (Zim? anyone?)

Next on our tour:

Pattern: Cactus Blossom, by Kate Jackson, from the latest knitscene (also, you know you've been spending too much time looking for knitting stuff on the internet when you google search nothing but "cactus blossom" and fully expect a knitting pattern to be the first result), 40" chest.
Yarn: 4 skeins beige plymouth galway worsted, 2 skeins Patons SWS in natural earth.

Verdict: I think my shoulders are built in wuch a way that maybe yoked sweaters are not the best option. However, blocking helped a lot, and if I decide that I just can't deal with it, it will fit someone. I do like the colorwork though. This was by far my quickest sweater ever (about 6 days) due to a cold in July that made me want to do nothing more than watch Bones and knit all day. The colorwork with self-striping yarn is a faux-isler's dream.


It is gray outside, and has been for awhile. While I'm sure the rain is good for something, it wasn't for our groceries while the boy and I walked back from the Co-Op yesterday.

In drier news, I went to my first SnB Madison group meetingy-thingy yesterday at a coffee shop near my apartment, and had a wonderful time. The SnB ladies are fantabulous, and I found out about the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool festival (Sheep? Wool? Festival? I'm totally there. And I will be wearing dorky socks.) which I am very excited about.

This morning, however, I had a little sit-down with the internet about how it and my computer should play nice, and how the internet should man up and just apologize, since my computer owns me and so gets to do whatever it wants. After my clear and cogent argument, the internet said this:

Now, nothing was compromised. The wireless antenna is approximately 5 feet from my computer. I can actually pick up signal without the antenna attached. My computer obviously just hates the internet for some reason unknown to me. Something about packets? The boy woke up and fixed it, but said that it was only a temporary fix, since it was my operating system's fault. So apparently my OS hates the internet, and REALLY hates iTunes. I <3 electronics

Yarn: Austermann Step Color 21 (petrol), 1 skein
Pattern: Jaywalker, my Grumperina for magknits, largest size (of course)
Needles: size 1.5 from knitpicks (love these things!)
Changes: They're a bit shorter than the patter, but otherwise the same.
Verdict: I. love. this. yarn. It is durable, super-soft, and only gets softer after a bath or two. The only thing I would hve changed would have been to make them longer. I tend to be a little on the conservative side when making socks since my feet are large (10N), and yet always end up with extra yarn. I guess I don't need to worry as much in the future, eh?

I like not having the stripes match. Not only is it easier, but it makes them feel unique to me, at least.

Watch today or tomorrow for an honest-to-goodness recently finished object (I finished it last night!). I just need batteries for my camera. (What is it about electronics today?)

Monday, August 20, 2007

New Apartment!

Hello from Madison!

As always, it has been awhile, but moving is always annoying, especially when a particularly annoying thief steals all of your clothing out of your car and throws it in a gigantic puddle of ...something... in the basement of the parking structure (none stolen though - I guess he/she was looking for cash or jewelry. In my suitcase? Not likely.) The biggest achievement so far, is this:

A couch! One of our fabulous new neighbours (we have many! - the boy and I now live in a mansion full of grad students, as far as I can tell) discovered that it could not fit in their apartment, and so we got to buy it! (for much less than we were going to pay at ikea for a crap-tastic couch) And what is sitting on the couch?

Why yes, it is a half-finished Norwegian Stocking, from Folk Socks. (love this book) I am in love with this project. The yarn is nice and wooly (Knitpicks Telemark), and it knits up quickly. This is my first large-scale stranded project, and I am continually entranced by the grid-like nature of the pattern. My first crafty activity (if you don't count my initial disastrous foray into crocheting - I think one of my elementary school teachers is still trying to figure out what to do with an abstract looking acrylic scarf) was cross stitching, and the same patterning still appeals to me.

In any case, I am very excited about being here. I joined the Madison Stitch and Bitch web-thing, and there is also a knit night at The Sow's Ear on friday (I think) which is great, since the Sow's Ear is one of the happiest places I know of. I also went to Lakeside Fibers yesterday, which is probably the only place I know of where the rules of time and space do not apply (I once spent 2 1/2 hours in there and thought it was 30 minutes. Oops.) They also make the best chai around in the coffee shop. Try it out. Knitting, yoga, couch, it was a very restful Sunday.

Must run, Chipotle is calling, FOs from the summer to come. Peace Out.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Hello all, it has been awhile.
A couple of weeks ago I got back from a two-week trip to Amsterdam and Copenhagen, which was wonderful. I could spend all day writing about it and showing you my pictures (mostly of snails) but since the name of my blog has knits in it, this post will be yarn-heavy.

First there was Amsterdam.

Ok, ok, you caught me. This isn't in Amsterdam. This wonderful shop of breien is in Leiden, a beautiful university town not far from Amsterdam, where the boy and I went to have some time away from my family and to go to one of the nerdiest and best museums ever. I got to go there first, since the boy (for some reason) figured that he would get no peace until I got to go in, since I already knew it was there. I procured two skeins of Colinette Parisienne mohair in the "jay" colourway, and one skein of kidsilk haze in "trance" to go with it for a pattern that the wonderful ladies in the store gave to me with the yarn. The only catch is that I do not, in fact, know any dutch, the language that the pattern is written in. However, it is a lace stole, so hopefully as long as I can get the chart straight everything will be fine. Right? Ahem, moving on...

The museum I spoke of before was the Boerhaave museum, which is chock full of items of wonderment for those more scientifically inclined. First up on our agenda:

These may look humble, but they were alll built by the hands of Antony van Leeuwenhoek, the first man to ever build one. Blew my mind, to be sure. Next up:

Some of you may not recognize what this is. I sure didn't. But the boy nearly fainted (well, not really, but I wouldn't have been suprised, with his reaction to it). This is the electromagnet which was used by Peter Zeeman to discover the Zeeman effect while he was a grad student under Lorentz. See those letters on the display case? Those are his letters from the nobel committee. While he was a grad student. Sigh.

Back to Amsterdam:

This is a giant porcupine at the Amsterdam zoo. While it is extremely cute, that was not the most notable aspect of the exhibit at first. Instead, when we got there, it was the 14-year old boy jumping into the cage in order to get a look at the animal. I don't know why he couldn't understand that it = pointy. It isn't even covertly pointy. All the pointy bits are right out there. Whatever. tourists are stupid.

This is a coati. They like apples. They are also extremely cute and when they get mad, they emit a high-piched "mimimimimimimimi!" noise. I like them.

Now off to Denmark:
Now, Copenhagen is a wonderful city. It is full of very nice people and tourist traps up the wazoo. However, I was not looking for them. I was looking for this:

Those are two skeins of Drops Alpaca, resting on my lap out in the sunshine. I have eight skeins of the grey and two of the red to make the Union Square Market Pullover a la the fabulous Ms. Jang. I couldn't leave it there, it was on sale. On Sale, people. In Copenhagen. I am excited about it.

So I am tired, and so I will gloss over the rest of the trip, but there was knitting. I started a vog on! in STR, and it started as this on the train:

And has turned into this:

The lighting is un-good, but the sock is wonderful. Peace out to all.