Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The new year approacheth

On little tip-tapping feet.

Or at least, that's how it seems to me. Where did this last year go? It's hard to believe that at this time last year, I was looking forward to my sabbatical, and now it feels like it's been eons since then, except that I can't really figure out how those eons all fit into one year. The same year that my daughters insist took forEVER (somehow the time between Christmases seems to them to be always too long). Physicists ought to study this phenomenon, it might lead to something interesting.

In any case, I don't know that I'm particularly ready for the new year. Or maybe it's that I feel like I already had my celebration of letting go of the old and planning for the new at solstice this year, when we all handed over those things that weren't working for us, and took up something new to work for this year. I'll admit to all of you that I chose to give up fear, and to work on cultivating hope instead. I don't know that it'll change anything about the world out there, but if it changes how I walk through that world, then it's worth the effort.

The girls and I have had a lovely start to our week; we've been trying to get out of the house so Rick can get work done (now that he works from a home office, these weeks when everyone is in the house at once all day every day can be a bit trying for him). The girls spent all last week begging to go to SeaWorld, and I kept saying that I was absolutely, 100% sure that the passes we got last spring surely would have the week between Christmas and New Year's blacked out. Alas, I was wrong in my assessment of corporate greed, and we were free to use those passes to go, which we did yesterday, along with fully half of San Diego county plus members of assorted other states and countries.

We decided to forgo the rides and to not sit in the splash zones of the various shows (I can tell you here and now that when a 5,000 pound orca decides to splash you, you get wet), as it was rather chilly. But we did get to feed the dolphins and the bat rays, which is always a huge hit with the girls (and I freely admit that getting to stroke a dolphin is high on my own list of Very Cool Things). (Feeding rays is a really weird experience, though, as they act a lot like vacuum cleaners and suck the fish right out of your hand, not to mention the fact that they are covered in a mucus membrane -- who knew? -- so touching them feels like petting a snotty piece of rubber.)(In a good way, though.)

Today we went to the bookstore, where Older Daughter had a gift certificate from Christmas (she's been asking every. single. day. since Christmas when we were going to go), then I took the girls to Q'ero for lunch (such a treat!), and to Common Threads to find buttons for Sprossling. I did find some that I think will work well, but got home too late to take pictures, so I'll have to do that tomorrow to share.

At the same time, I'll take some pictures of the two Sprossling sleeves (both in progress) to get your opinion on colors. All of the yarn for the sweater comes from the same dye lot, but when I started a new ball on the first sleeve last night, it seemed to me that the new ball is significantly lighter than the others. So, I ripped back the new yarn and a little way into the part of the sleeve knit from the other yarn, thinking that I'd start the new ball by alternating rows with the old ball. But then, just to be really sure, I decided to put the first sleeve on waste yarn, and to start another sleeve with the new yarn; I'll knit the whole thing and see if it seems different enough to warrant knitting both sleeves out of the new yarn (at least there'll be some purposeful-seeming consistency, because I'm not ripping out the two fronts and the back in order to knit the whole thing with alternating balls), as well as the collar and button bands. However, if it was just that little part of the ball that seemed particularly light relative to the little part of the other ball I had already been working with, then I'll continue that first sleeve by alternating between balls to start.

I'm not sure if that made sense, but it seems like a plan in my head. I'm halfway through the increases on the second sleeve (which puts me almost to where I was on the first sleeve before I stopped), so I have high hopes of getting through it pretty quickly. Which is what I'm going to go do now.

I was going to share pictures of the girls feeding the dolphins, but the camera ate them (this is what happens when I use the old camera, grrr...), so you can see this picture of Tilly instead.
I think she needs a walk.

Monday, December 28, 2009


It has been a very good week. In spite of my desire to slow down, and in spite of the fact that I developed some weird kind of head cold thing (first time I've been sick in a long time, which seemed a hint of sorts with regard to the whole slowing down thing), I didn't quite manage it until Saturday. Before that, I spent a lot of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday cooking, which was fun (and delicious), but not so much restful. In that time I made: pickled red cabbage, pickled cucumber salad, pork pie, rod grod, two loaves of cardamom braided bread, a duck, sausage, and celery root stew, three baguettes, and the most stunningly delicious chocolate cake EVER (I didn't make the marshmallows). (I have finally found the buttercream frosting of my dreams, and I am content.)

I also received a ton of knitting Christmas presents. I'll show them off a few at a time over the next little while; there was a lot of yarn, plus a few nifty gadgets and bags. For example, Rick and the girls got me this:
It's a Lantern Moon knitting box, and I love it. When they came in at Yarning For You I got a call to let me know (they remembered I'd been lusting over them but missed grabbing one from the first shipment; they are so good to me), so I took a picture of one and texted it to Rick, who very wisely went over that afternoon to pick it up. Good man. I particularly love the inside, which is a beautiful cheerful orange; I'll have to take a picture of that.

My really big present from Rick came as a complete surprise. I'd sent him my Loopy Ewe wish list, on which there were, apparently, a few things that I'd added without ever really thinking I'd get them (am I the only person who does that? It's a sort of vicarious pleasure -- I either dog-ear lots of pages in a catalogue and then throw the catalogue away, or put things on a wish list even though I know I'll never get them). But he completely surprised me, and ordered these stunning beauties:
Those are size two silver Celtic Swan dpns (there's a fifth in the set, as well). I love them. I have a set of size ones in bronze, one of the first really nice knitting tools I ever got (also from Rick), but these are truly a work of art. Of course, I couldn't not use these things, so I immediately put yarn into the box, grabbed the dpns, and cast on for the the Churchmouse Turkish socks (the third of the Churchmouse patterns I got at Yarning For You a few weeks ago), and knit a pair for Older Daughter, who loves short socks like this.
Aren't they cute? They're knit out of Sockotta yarn, which is a bit rough when knitting, but which seems to fit and wear well (it's a cotton/wool/nylon blend); it's nice to find a cotton blend yarn that's fun to knit with, living here in San Diego. I also love the colors.
I think she'll wear these a lot, and they were fun to knit (and the needles were a dream; what I love most about them is the folded part in the middle, which holds stitches on the needles like nobody's business, but the smooth tips make for quick knitting). And I'm pretty sure that I have enough of the Sockotta left to knit a pair for either myself or for Younger Daughter.

That probably won't happen for a little while, though, as I'm completely engrossed in Sprossling right now. I don't have any pictures, but I have finished the back and the left front, and am well along with the right front. I am really hoping to finish it up by the end of the week, but we'll see. I do have some plans to take the girls to do some shopping with their little bit of Christmas money, and to SeaWorld and the zoo during the week, none of which are particularly knitting-friendly, but that's OK.

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying a leisurely morning at home, wearing my other most-favorite Christmas present (from my sister-in-law and her family). Check these out:
Are those not the absolute best slippers in the world? They even have little tassels that hang down on the sides! (I am unreasonably pleased by those tassels.) They have soles, too, so they don't slip and they can go outside. I have been living in them ever since I got them; the moment I get into the house, the shoes come off and the slippers go on. And they're knitted! How cool is that? And I didn't even have to knit them myself.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Stick a fork in it

'Cause this semester is done.

Yesterday, I got up, filed my grades, went by the post office (still one more package to mail, but that might have to wait until after Christmas, we'll see), dropped a batch of granola off at Yarning For You, went to campus to put out a final that a student wanted to pick up, went to my last two meetings, and it was all over. Technically, grades were due today by 3:00, but since I'd filed, I called it done. What a relief. I survived the first semester of furloughs and all of the craziness that entails. There's a lot more to get through this year, and every projection I've heard says that next academic year will be worse, but for now there's nothing I can do about it, and I can live with that.

I spent much of Monday cooking.
That's the makings for my usual manymany batches of holiday granola, as well as two pots of lentil soup (one for Monday night's Solstice celebration, and one for last night's cookie-decorating party at a friend's house). This lentil soup is my all-time absolute favorite, and the go-to recipe for this kind of thing. I've yet to meet a person who doesn't like it (assuming they eat sausage), including kids and people who don't like lentils. In case you need a recipe like that, I've included it at the end.

Monday night's Solstice celebration (held every year at at the UU fellowship of a friend of mine) was truly wonderful. There is something about this waning time of year, the time of silent growth in the dark places, that resonates for me. It's a time to set intentions, to gather inward all of the energy that usually gets spent outward, and to use that energy to grow the new things that the next cycle needs. Celebrating Solstice reminds me to set those intentions, to be mindful of them, and to give them what they need to grow. It's a time to look back and to internalize what I've learned, use it to move forward. And it's a good time to remember that to the darkest times, light will return.

I've also been knitting. On Sunday, I knitted up that little beaded tam I mentioned in my last post, and I love it so much that I wore it both Monday and Tuesday (I decided that wearing it today would constitute some kind of weird obsession, so I desisted, but it was a close call).
It actually looks all right, even with my short hair.
And I absolutely love the colors. Love them. This goes with just about everything I own, no kidding. I could wear it a LOT.
And the best bit is, this was 100% a stash hat. I had a skein of Koigu tucked away that I'd bought ages ago and hadn't used yet, and these beads are left over from a project I did a while ago. So, this is the Koigu Beaded Tam (my Rav page), made out of a skein of Koigu (with a titch left over, as I did the small size, and the medium size is still one skein) and 90 beads, on size two needles (with size zeros for the band), plus an itty-bitty crochet hook for the beads. I like this so much that I might knit another one to go with my Spiraluscious mitts and neckwarmer (a matching set! imagine!); I'm just not sure if I have enough of the yarn left over, and I can't seem to figure out how to buy more online. Weird... In any case, I need to knit tams for the girls, first, and for that I need to go find more beads somewhere. Maybe early next week I'll take them to pick beads out to go with the yarn for their hats (I think I posted a picture of that last time?).

I also realized that I never showed finished pictures of the socks I finished for Rick while I was in Philadelphia. He's worn them several times since and says they're very comfortable, which is good, as I fiddled a bit with my usual sock pattern.
I knitted these toe-up so I could use up all of this wonderful yarn (March Hare), which I absolutely adored; I bought this at Sock Summit, and I am so glad that I got some for myself, too, because otherwise I don't think I could have used this on socks for anyone but me. I really love this particular colorway, too. Anyway, I ended up with about two yards of yarn left, if that, so I think I made the right choice.

The two main modifications for these was to adjust the toe increases on each foot to more closely match the shape of Rick's foot; first I did half of the increases evenly paired on each side of the toe, then I did all of the rest of the increases only on the outside of the foot. I don't think I have a good picture of that. The other thing I did was to put the heel flap on the bottom of the heel and then make the gusset decreases paired along the middle of the back of the heel. This makes them look as if they aren't gussetted socks (since Rick doesn't like that look), while still getting to put in a heel flap (which I think wears better); it also puts the eye-of-partridge heel on the bottom of the foot, where a little extra padding is, I think, rather nice.
I don't know if you can see there that the eye-of-partridge is on the bottom of the foot, and the decreases are going up the back of the leg.
I'll have to see how these wear as he uses them more. I may make my pair the same way, so I can try it. I made a pair for Older Daughter like this, about a year ago, and they've certainly worn well, so maybe it's a good one. We'll see.

Meanwhile, it's time to work on that next batch of granola, and to start some of the cooking for tomorrow; with luck, I can get the red cabbage cooked, and the cucumber salad made, and maybe even the filling for the pork pie. And the rod grod? We'll see... I probably won't post again until after Christmas, so I wish each and every one of you peace and happiness.

Lentil Soup Recipe:
You'll need: an onions, some carrots, some celery, red wine that you would drink (the best way to test this is to pour yourself a glass as you start cooking), lentils (I use the regular old brown kind), a big can of V-8 (or your favorite tomato juice with herbs et al in it), a big can of crushed tomatoes, and three or four hot Italian sausages.

Put the sausages in a skillet to cook.

Cut up the onion and start sauteeing it in some olive oil. Drink some of your wine to get over the onion tears. Cut up the carrots (as many as you like, I usually use three or so), and toss those in with the onions. You can throw a couple of cloves of garlic in there, too, if you like; dealer's choice. Cut up the celery (I like to include some of the leaves from the heart of the bunch, too, but go with what you like), and chuck that on in there. Let it all saute together for a bit until the onion is tender. If you've put in garlic cloves, mash them up. Turn the sausages over and have a little more wine. Now, put somewhere between two and three cups of lentils into the pot with the veggies and stir them in. Then add the can of tomato juice, the can of crushed tomatoes, and a very generous slug of the red wine. You can also put in some water, depending on whether you want it to be more soupy or more stewy (you can add more water at any point in the cooking process, as you wish). Bring it to a boil, then lower to a simmer and let cook with the lid on until the lentils are tender. Meanwhile, whenever the sausages are mostly cooked, cut them up and throw them in the pot to finish cooking with the lentils. Serve with bread and maybe some parmesan cheese and more of the wine.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Home is where the coffee is

Guess what I did this morning? I sat, in my house, in my pjs, drinking coffee out of an actual, ceramic, mug.

I don't think I can even begin to tell you how much pleasure that gave me. Especially the bit where I did that after sleeping until I woke up all on my own, not at 4:30 in the morning.


Yesterday went very well. I got up at yeurgh o'clock, and was on the road before 5. I got to see the sun rising over the Mojave, which is a sight to see, actually, in spite of my usual resistance to that time of the morning. (Although the sunrise time of morning is later than usual, these last few days before the winter solstice.) We had an incredibly productive day, and have decided on a working orthography for writing the language (this is a new group whom I have the privilege of working with; they've been very successful with some of the basic language learning programs, and the learners want to take it to the next level, both grammatically and in terms of documentation; for that, a regularized writing system becomes much more important). Although I was prepared and packed to stay the night and work today, I think we were all feeling the pre-holiday-ness of the weekend, so I headed home last night, and made it back in time to kiss the girls goodnight.

Today has been lovely. After that wonderful cup (OK, two cups) of coffee, I sat reading Clara Parkes' The Knitter's Book of Wool (that woman is an absolute genius; I want to be her when I grow up)(more on that book in another post), and finishing the scarf that I decided, in a fit of inspiration once I'd finished my niece's socks, to knit up, very belatedly, for a friend's birthday. I'll be seeing her on Tuesday, so I can give it to her then. Meanwhile, Younger Daughter has modelled it for me. First seriously:
And then not so seriously:
This scarf is from a Churchmouse Classics pattern which I bought last week after walking into my beloved LYS only to have Deb throw one of these scarves around my neck. Usually I run from ruffles, but somehow this one just jumped up and down and begged me to knit it. I bought yarn to knit one for myself, but then decided that this was also the perfect pattern for my friend. I knitted it for her out of the Briar Rose Grandma's Blessing that was left after I knitted Ondule last spring; my friend has commented several times on the color, and it's right up her alley. The pattern is Barb's Koigu Ruffle, and the only change I made was to stick with the size six needles all the way through the pattern, instead of switching to size fours in the middle. I have wound up the yarn I got to knit one of these for myself (which I'll show off next time), but meanwhile, I've become distracted by another Churchmouse classics pattern for this beaded tam. Which I'll be knitting with this Koigu.
I've had that yarn sitting in stash for ages and ages, ever since I bought it at Common Threads. I'd thought to knit a pair of socks for Younger Daughter in it, but hadn't done it. This tam was also first conceived as a hat for Younger Daughter, but it may not work out that way; if it doesn't look utterly stupid on me (with very very short hair, hats can make one look quite bald), I may have to keep it. However, I do have plans to knit one for each of the girls, and yarn to go with.
I just need beads, so I may take them out adventuring tomorrow to a bead store, we'll see. Meanwhile, the plan for this afternoon is to knit the tam while reading a book. I may even do some spinning (I've been missing my wheels something awful). Tomorrow will be spent baking granola for gifts, and making soup for tomorrow night's Solstice celebration.

It's good to be home.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


That, my friends, is a sock. The second one is on its heel flap. Bwahahaha! I have triumphed!

Although I suppose that rather than using the present perfect indicative on that verb, I really ought to make it a progressive, given that I have not yet achieved the perfective state. Let me try that again:

I am triumphing!


I know, it's just a sock. But at this time of the semester, I've got to savor the small victories, because the big ones so often aren't forthcoming. I am not dwelling on that, though, because I am a successful knitter of socks once more, and if I continue to successfully knit socks, my niece will have warm toasty sock-clad feet on Christmas morning. (Having put that out into the Universe, though, you just know the Knitting Fates are going to snip my little knitting thread while cackling at my pride.)

I have finished grading and have calculated scores for two of my classes. I am not quite halfway through with the last (their papers are due at 5:00 tonight, so I'll finish the rest tomorrow). It would be so nice to go to this working weekend knowing that this big job is behind me; we'll see how much I can get done tomorrow. I do, after all, still need to prep and pack for the weekend's work, and go to Younger Daughter's school's holiday play tomorrow night (at 8 pm, which is, in my book, just cruel and unusual punishment, especially given that I have to be up at 4:30 the next morning to drive four hours to my 9 o'clock meeting).

But, I have achieved sockage! Life is good.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sock thwartage

That's what I'm dealing with here. Sock thwartage. I look at that sock, and it looks back and me, and what it's saying in its little woolly brain amounts to, "Thwart, thwart, thwart." Plus an evil chuckle or two.

Seriously, though, I'm on iteration number (if I'm keeping count correctly) four. Heel flap version two. I can't tell you how many times I've cast on for this thing. I took it in the car on Saturday, since we had all the long drive up to Indian Wells for me to knit. But I really didn't want to knit it. In fact, I so didn't want to knit it that I also took along Sprossling which, by contrast, is proceeding swimmingly. (Of course, now that I've said that, Sprossling will turn out to be three sizes too large or too small, and I won't figure that out until it's all put together.)

So I sat there in the front seat, looking at my two knitting bags, one full of lightness and joy in sweater form, the other full of a dark and brooding ball of yarn plus four needles. And I told Rick that maybe this wasn't my year. That this year just might have to be the one that goes by without any knitted presents. Because honestly, if I'm knitting stockinette socks (which I love), with yarn that I thought I'd love, for a person whom I really really love, how could that be going so very wrong? And since it is going so very wrong, it's probably A Sign from the Universe, telling me to move right along and do something else. And Rick said, "Come on, it's socks! I mean, you can knit a pair of socks in a day, if you really want to, right?"

And people, it was like a red flag to a bull.

Even as I wanted to poke him in the eye with my dpns (but since he was driving, I refrained)(also, they were my Signature dpns, and I didn't want eye goop on them), I also knew that he was right. It's socks. Stockinette socks. This is not (as the lovely sign that Fuzzarelly sent me a picture of said) rocket surgery. So I cast on again, right there in the car. And then swore, because this yarn hasn't liked all the ripping out to which I have subjected it, took out the cast on, wound off the first bunch of yards of yarn (the bunch of yards that have been an incipient sock three times already), tore that off, and then cast on again for what I sincerely hope is the last time, because if I don't bust a serious move, there will be no niecelet socks for Christmas this year.
They are not going to be long socks, because I have to be realistic. And they are not going to have an eye-of-partridge heel, ditto. Slip stitch heel, yes, but I just know that trying to keep track of alternating slip stitches is asking for trouble. So, I'm halfway done with this heel flap, and yes, that is still sock number one. But I'm stubborn, even if I have the self-discipline and attention span of a hopped-up newt, and I'll finish these socks if it kills me. Hmph.

In better knitting news:
That is the back of Sprossling. I have completed the waist shaping (which entertained me no end: look! disappearing lace motifs, and look! they're reappearing; I am apparently easily entertained), and am less than an inch from the armhole shaping. Oh frabjous day!

I actually got a lot less knitting done on Saturday than I'd thought I would. That day was devoted to taking Younger Daughter to her very first feis (pronounced: fesh, which I didn't know until we got into this whole Irish dancing thing), which is an Irish dance competition; this one is hosted annually by her dance school, so it seemed like a good first one to go to. We headed out early on Saturday so that we could get to Indian Wells (near Palm Springs, about 130 miles away) in plenty of time to suss out the whole situation before it was time for her dances. I felt (and I'm sure I looked) just like all of the muggles who got dragged to Sock Summit. Shellshocked. A little freaked. A little in awe. I had no idea that this whole world of people existed, or, quite frankly, that there were so many very curly wigs on all the planet. I felt a little bit like I do when I first go to a field site, like my job is to watch and absorb and watch some more. But can I tell you how surprised I was to find myself gluing my daughter's dance socks to her legs with body glue? I had no idea I had it in me (and I'm still not sure how I feel about it, but dang, her socks stayed up!).

I think even Younger Daughter was feeling a little overwhelmed sometimes.
It was a lot for her to take in, too.
But she was bound and determined to do this thing, and to be as cheerful about it as nerves would let her.
She told me she was really nervous for her first dance,
but that once she got through that, it was really fun.
She danced in five dances: reel, slip jig, single jig, and then two first feis specials. And she even won second place in one of her first feis specials (the slip jig one), and got to stand on a podium and receive a sash. Most importantly, she had fun, and she wants to do it again. I call that a success. Even if it does mean that I'm going to have to buy her one of those curly wigs.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

And one to go

So close. So very, very close. I have one more class left to teach. One more.

This doesn't mean that I'm on break yet. Far from it. I'll still have grading galore to get done, not to mention all of the various other writings and reports that I've been avoiding all semester. (Thank goodness a multi-hour marathon got all of my letters of recommendation out the door yesterday; one less thing to worry about.) But no more classes. No more worrying about whether I'm adequately prepped. Or about whether I've got something to wear that's clean, hasn't been worn too often, and that is unlikely to brand me as hopelessly inadequate in the clothing department.

I've been knitting, although I still have very little to show for it. The one and only Christmas gift that I'm really making an honest attempt to finish in time to ship off for Christmas is moving along. I've turned the heel and am working my way down the foot. Since the socks are for my niece, the foot part of things isn't nearly as long as it might be. Now that I've knitted the leg three times, I'm hoping that I'll have everything straight for the second sock, which ought to fly off the needles. The only question remaining is the date by which something absolutely MUST be sent in order to have any hope of arriving in Ohio prior to the big day. Don't tell me, though. I'd like it to be a surprise.

I'm also working on Sprossling. I'm about three inches in and starting the shaping decreases, which is fun. The best bit is that the lace for this pattern is completely, 100%, memorizable. For me, that's a miracle. So I can knit this during meetings, even. This is a treat, since I'm looking forward to wearing this sweater, but perhaps not the best thing in terms of finishing the niecelet socks, as they were meant to be meeting knitting. This is what happens when knitting purposes collide.

It's finally getting cooler here, which means I get to break out the knit wear. By "cooler", I mean that it's in the mid-forties when I leave the house in the morning. To be fair, it's gotten a lot cooler in the inland valleys and hills, and there's even been snow in some unexpected places. Practically speaking, it means that I'm getting a lot more of this:
That would be Gwilim, impersonating a lap cat. I always know that winter has arrived when he starts jumping up into my lap of his own volition. Tilly is taking her cue from Gwilim and attempting to recreate herself as a lap cat, too. She takes up a lot more room.

And, in other very random news, I've gotten a new phone. We had to switch plans so that Rick could get under his company's data and cell phone plan (it makes sense for us all to be on the same network), so I also upgraded my phone (after three years, it seemed not entirely irresponsible, just marginally so). And all I can say is that I'm getting old. I found myself this morning at the breakfast table, poring over the instruction manual. I am clearly not of the generation that finds upgrading technology to be intuitive. At least not cell phone technology. I should probably let Older Daughter loose with it; she'd have it figured out in an hour, and could share all the ins and outs with me, but I'm afraid of the data charges she might rack up while she figures it out. The fun bit, though, is that Rick treated me to the ring tone I've been wanting every since there were ring tones to want. Now I've just got to be sure to remember to turn the ringer off in class. Heh.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Well, that's done. The short story:

Wednesday: Got up early. Flew all day. Ate really good Vietnamese food, went to bed late.

Thursday: Got up early. Presented paper. Was comforted by the presence of a knitter in the audience who knitted all the way through presentation. Wore Elektra. Was entertained by sudden looks of realization on people's faces afterward when people stopped and said, "Wait a minute. Did you knit that?" Yup.

Friday: Got up early (are we seeing a theme here?). Went to some panels before being rescued by Rachael, who came and got me, took me for a lovely walk through Philadelphia, then to coffee, and fabulous local yarn store (where I bought a small goodie, not yarn, which I'll show off once I dust the camera off and take pictures; I'll link to it then, too -- great place), and then to a wonderful Italian deli for lunch. Mmm... I had no camera, so I took no pictures, but it was a perfect outing, full of good yarn (not only was the yarn store full of many good things, but we both had to laugh when we realized that we're knitting socks out of the exact same colorway of Zauberball), good food, and excellent company. Thank you, Rachael!

Saturday: Got up marginally less early (hooray!). Went to more panels, then walked through the rain to the Liberty Bell ("It's cracked, you know", said Rick), sent cell phone pictures in a text message to the family ("You're right. Cracked."), walked back through the harder rain. Attended more panels. Went to a wonderful Thai lunch at the market there in the center of town. (Note to self: Inexpensive food is FAR better in Philly than expensive food.) Took train to airport through increasing rain. Took off in plane through serious snow.

And now I'm home, and so very very glad to be here. I knitted my way through the conference, and was not the only person to do so. As I ate dinner alone on Friday night (I knew I'd had enough of people when I started giving serious stink-eye to the person behind me at a business meeting who kept leaning on my chair and making me crazy; I realized that she was a big famous person just in time to keep from saying something snarky -- not like me, and clearly a sign that I'd been around too many people for too long), the woman next to me, also eating dinner alone, introduced herself as a knitter (I was wearing Elektra) and took me off to her room to show me her absolutely stunning double knitting. I'm inspired. I might have to try that trick my ownself. I had very little to show off reciprocally, as I'd only brought boring knitting, plus the unbloggable project for the plane. But I finished that, and I finished Rick's socks (I'll post pictures later; they turned out well), and I started the socks for my niece, so I did all right.

I came home to find the pattern for my next project waiting for me. I'll be knitting this, out of this yarn, in a robin's egg blue colorway that doesn't appear to be up on the site anymore (glad I got it when I did!), and I am absolutely, 100%, dying to cast on, but my swatch on size five needles last night was way off gauge, and I cannot, for the life of me, find my size fours. Poop. Looks like I'll need to go buy some today, because I feel an overwhelming need to cast on. This is the sweater, folks, that is going to fit the way it should. The first time. Hear me say it now. I have consulted with Anne on the size, and I am bound and determined that this sweater will not be too big. It will be curve-skimming if it kills me. (Which it may, and you have my permission to pre-laugh; we all know how well I do on this size thing...)

It's pouring outside right now, perfect weather to stay indoors and catch up on everything I've let slide over the past two weeks. (You may also pre-laugh about that now.) And if I am really fast, maybe I'll even get to knit a little.