Wednesday, July 25, 2012

One sock down, one to go ...

The first sock is finished! I bound off in the car on the way back from a trip to Philadelphia to celebrate my grandfather's 85th birthday (and to introduce Michael to my side of the family), and promptly tried it on--only to find it was too tight to slide up my calf! My bind off was too tight, which I had suspected while doing it. But as usual, I was too impatient and excited to get to the end to listen to my instincts. And of course, I had broken the yarn off too, so in addition to undoing the bind off I also had to frog a row of the final ribbing in order to have enough to work a looser bind off.

But now it fits.

I meant to have my husband take some pictures for me before he left this morning, but I forgot, so instead you get extremely awkward pictures that I took of my own lower leg.

For whatever reason, the leaf pattern on the front isn't as clear as the "wind" pattern on the sides ... maybe because the yarn isn't a high contrast color against my skin? But I'm pretty pleased. I don't think I'll suffer from "second sock syndrome" with these, because they work up so quickly.

Still reading Theology of the Body for Beginners, and I have started The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell on my Kindle. I am not very far in yet, but I have to say that so far it is amazing. The writing is excellent, the characters are compelling. and it is about Jesuits in space. It's one of those books that makes me itch to write. That is always a good sign.

Linking up with Ginny's yarn along.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Tendon Socks

Still working on my first Wind and Willow sock and Wish You Were Here. Still enjoying both--although I'd hoped to have finished the sock by now. Almost there, but not quite.

Usually I prefer to knit socks cuff-down, but with a pattern like this it's very useful to be able to try on the sock as you go along. I demonstrated it to Keith the other day and he approved of my progress. "It looks like tendons," he said.

Hmm. Not what the designer had in mind, I imagine; I think he was referring to the color, also.

I need to have the charts close at hand to knit this (which is part of why it's not finished--I have to spend time going back and finding my place whenever I put it down to pick up the baby or answer to some other interruption), but it's not a difficult pattern, I had my doubts as to whether one skein of sock yarn would be enough since it's a pair of knee socks, but they are knit on size 6 needles (!), which means the yarn goes a long way.

If I could change one thing about the pattern, I think I wouldn't have any lace on the sole of the foot. Not something I can change now that I've knit the first sock, which is just as well--I try to modify socks all the time, but it never ends up going quite as I envision. :-P

Joining up with Ginny's Yarn Along.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Seven Quick Takes (1)

1. As of yesterday, Keith is an official PhD Candidate! Before, he was simply a PhD student. But now he has proposed his thesis, withstood intense grilling from his committee, and passed their deliberations about whether or not he's ready to advance to the next stage of his degree. I am so proud of him! Since it was a big deal, and since we never got around to celebrating my graduation (what with having a newborn around and all), we went out to dinner last night to celebrate.

2. I also thought I'd bake something to celebrate. I've had a recipe on Pinterest for some time that I thought Keith might like--honey chamomile muffins. The recipe calls for almond flour, which the little grocery store on the block didn't have. I was tired and had a tired baby on my hands, so instead of going out in search of almond flour I decided to substitute wheat flour and hope for the best.

They are ... interesting. Edible, but interesting. In a way I don't think the original recipe intended to be interesting. They're pretty dense, for one thing ... I'd really like to try the recipe as written, because I think it would be pretty delicious. (Keith has eaten three muffins so far, so I think they taste alright, but the texture's just odd, and they look a little bit like dog food. :-/)

3. Keith has adoration at 9am on Thursdays, and since his proposal presentation started at 9:30, Michael and I took his hour. It was the first time I'd gone to adoration since before Michael was born. What a blessing! I know that Christ has been inviting me back to adoration for a long time, and for various reasons I haven't responded. But he keeps calling, gently. (Often through Father David, who I swear always looks RIGHT AT me when he promotes adoration from the altar, and who, a week or two after Michael was born, said that each parent should make sure the other is able to make it to private adoration.)

4. Our first anniversary is on Monday. We are going to enlist grandparents to babysit and go on a date ... we're still deciding whether we should go someplace with special meaning from our dating relationship (mostly up North where my parents live), or to a nice restaurant down here in the city.

5. And Michael's three month birthday is the day before that. (His due date was the day after our nine month anniversary. My cousin got married three months before us and was also due the day after her nine month anniversary ... we found it pretty funny.) He is so much more aware of the world than he used to be! He gets frustrated easily because he knows what he wants to do with his hands (which he finds fascinating), but isn't able to grab things or reach them very well yet. He's been smiling and "talking" for a long time, but last weekend I actually got these big belly laughs out of him, not once but twice. No laughing since then, though.

6. Like I said, Michael gets easily frustrated ... and easily bored. He also resists napping. Right now he's dozing in the swing (prime blogging time). This morning Keith discovered another way to keep him entertained. (Sorry, you'll have to tilt your head sideways!)

(Please note that I am fully aware of the dangers of leaving children alone to play with plastic bags. I was sitting there the whole time. :) )

7.  The other day someone came to the door trying to get us to join a group for local activism. (I feel like this happens a lot in our neighborhood? Maybe it's just living in the city.) Keith answered the door, but I thought her voice sounded familiar, and concluded from his description that it was someone I knew from school. 

Keith didn't sign anything, but asked for some literature about the organization, which she gave him before returning to talking to our downstairs neighbor. Which is normally the end of that kind of thing, right? Except that five minutes later she rang the doorbell again to ask what he thought of what he'd read. I joined him at the door this time to say hi and, I admit it, to show off Michael. 

We chatted a bit--Keith doing most of the talking. In the end we joined the mailing list but not the organization. We agreed with most of the issues that the group addressed, but we weren't sure we'd always support the ways they chose to address them, and so weren't comfortable with giving our money. I'm not sure how well the woman understood our point, so she might have left with the feeling that we don't care about local issues. But it was friendly conversation, at least. 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Socks, puffs, and elephants

When I started taking pictures for the post, the baby was sleeping in the swing. Now he is no longer asleep, but it seems that for the moment he's fairly content to watch the toucan and sea turtle swaying above his head. No idea how long that will last, so I'll try to type fast!

Now that I've gather these things together for a post, I'm realizing that there's a trend lately in both my knitting and my reading: namely, I have a lot of things going on at once! The book is Theology of the Body for Beginners by Christopher West, which I am reading for a book group. The Kindle (which hasn't gotten broken yet!) represents not one but two books--The Dubliners by James Joyce and Wish You Were Here: Travels Through Loss and Hope by Amy Welborn. The latter I discovered through an interview in Dappled Things, and am very much enjoying it, although sometimes I have to put it down because it is emotionally overwhelming. It is a memoir about a trip she took to Sicily with her children several months after her husband's death. She writes about it so well that I find myself caught up in that loss--it becomes my loss--and I have to take a break, because imagining life with my husband is too much. 

The sock is Wind and Willow. I cast it on for a knitalong. Perhaps you recognize the yarn--I'm glad it seems to have finally found a good home.

I recently participated in a mini-skein swap, and these hexipuffs are the result. I was pretty happy to find some Chickadee from Quince and Co in the package, since I've really wanted to try out their yarns. The rainbow puffs were knit from Koigu--another yarn I've been wanting to try. So that was quite fun. :)

And last but not least, I finally got around to grafting Elijah's first ear shut, picking up stitches for his second ear, and embroidering on his eyes (which are a little too beady for my liking, so he may get new ones at some point.) Hurray for finishing long-unfinished projects! (It really is ridiculous how long this little elephant sat on top of the shelf waiting for his ear to be grafted shut. Sigh. I blame the cotton/bamboo yarn I knit him with--very soft and lovely, but not at all flexible, making it a royal PAIN to pick up stitches on the side of the head.) I have learned that cotton is probably not the best fiber for knitting softies ... but I'm glad I used this particular yarn for this little guy.

And just because I can ... and I know you want it ... here is a gratuitous baby picture: 

Linking up with Ginny's yarn along!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Love Song Link Up

When I saw that there was a love song link-up over at Betty Beguiles, I just had to participate. :) 

I first discovered Brooke Fraser--and her song, "The Thief"--when I was falling in love with my husband. I listened to this song over, and over, and over ... and one day I sent it to him. It was very meaningful to me and captured something about our relationship at that time, and when we got married it was the song for  our first waltz as a married couple. (The dance where my shoes kept almost falling off and clacking horribly on the floor ... oy. My bridesmaids were laughing at me. It meant I was smiling real big in the pictures, though. And our dance was quite beautifully choreographed, nonetheless. Beautiful moment in my life.)

This piece from the soundtrack of Amelie is also a waltz. Here is a very short version of the story: One day, Keith and I were walking in the woods at a place called Todd Sanctuary. In the middle of the woods was a cabin. We were the only people around, and we went up the cabin steps onto the porch and started dancing, just the two of us, without music. But suddenly there was music. This music. And we kept dancing.

And then, after we had finished dancing and a cascade of balloons had fallen ... he asked me a question. Can you guess what it was? :)

There are other songs, too; but these two are at the top of my list. :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Even if it takes a lifetime

I have always wanted to be a saint. Unfortunately when I have compared myself with the saints, I have always found that there is the same difference between the saints and me as there is between a mountain whose summit is lost in the clouds and a humble grain of sand trodden underfoot by passersby. Instead of being discouraged, I told myself: God would not make me wish for something impossible and so, in spite of my littleness, I can aim at being a saint. 
--St. Therese of Lisieux 

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Since we're halfway through the year (yikes), I thought I'd check in with the goals I set for 2012.

  1. Graduate with my Master of Fine Arts. Check.
  2. Have a baby. (Hopefully in that order!) Check. Except NOT in that order. :)
  3. Sign up for a regular adoration hour. Not yet. I really need to get on this. 
  4. Read 50 books. Just finished #32. Woot. 

And then there are my crafty resolutions. 

-Knit baby sweaters (check), a baby blanket (check), a sweater for myself, a shawl for Nicole (hibernating), hexipuffs, and an afghan (hibernating). 

-Learn brioche and entrelac. Not yet. 

-Learn to crochet. Getting there. I learned the basic stitches and some increases and decreases, although I could do with a refresher since it was a few months ago. Next up is learning to crochet in the round and make granny squares (yay!). 

-I haven't yet touched my sewing machine, but I'm hoping that will change this month.