Monday, January 30, 2006

Boxing and a Meme

Yup, you read it right. I started boxing lessons today. Reverend Chris Jones, a poet in the UNM MFA program is giving lessons to me and another school pal. We jumped rope. We shadowboxed. We embarrassed ourselves with bad punches. But there were a few good ones in there. And damn, did they feel good. Million Dollar Baby, I ain't, but I'm still serious about it!

We Abq SnB'ers get a hold of something fun and it spreads like wild fire. Take this, for instance, on Strange Little Mama's blog. Or Mama-E's Show Me Your Stash Monday. And this meme, which has been changing hands like a bad penny. But good. So, here goes.

Instructions: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot.
Woman Obsessed
Scout's Knitted Swag
Wearing Black in New Mexico

I'm tagging Mama-E, Adam Knits, Cari, and Erin.

What were you doing 10 years ago? Living with my ex-husband in a moldy basement apartment, working for Teatown Lake Reservation and finishing up my BA at Mercy College. Despite the mold, it was a very happy time.

What were you doing 1 year ago? Starting my second semester in UNM’s MFA program. Closing on my townhouse.

What were you doing 1 hour ago? Finishing up “Silence,” my first Creative Non-Fiction piece to submit to workshop on Wednesday.

List five creative things you want to achieve this year:
1. Write a full draft of my dissertation novel, “Queen of the Tobacco Field”
2. Become an adept spinner
3. Keep a watercolor journal
4. Start my Etsy shop
5. Learn Cat Bordhi’s mobeius cast on method

List five snacks you enjoy:
1. ginger cookies
2. Milk crackers crumbled in hot tea with milk and sugar
3. hummus and carrots
4. ice cubes
5. whoopie pies

List five things you would do if money were no object:
1. Ride my bike across the country
2. Buy a villa in Tuscany and live there part of every year
3. Buy a beach or lake house for my family
4. Set up a foundation to support young artists
5. Go to the Globe every season for every play

List five bad habits:
1. Distracted from homework by the Internet
2. Don't hold my tongue when I really disagree about something
3. Forget to moisturize my skin (no biggie in CT, but BAD in NM)
4. Don't drink near enough water
5. Never listen to driving directions. If they're not written down, I'm not following them.

List five things you like doing:
1. Knitting
2. Reading
3. Chasing the dogs around the woods
4. Watching plays (especially Shakespeare. Especially outside)
5. Kyaking with Neal

List five favorite gadgets:
1. Pink i-pod mini
2. My laptop, which I use to play dvd’s, too!
3. The frother that makes my hot chocolate so yummy
4. Swift and ball winder
5. Knitting needlesN

ame one thing you like about yourself: I’m really forgiving.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Short Story Sunday 3: "Letter to a Young Lady in Paris" by Julio Cortazar

Today I decided to read a story from a collection recommended by my workshop professor from last semester. There were two she recommended from Blow Up and Other Stories by Julio Cortazar, and I chose "Letter to a Young Lady in Paris."

I'm not convinced entirely by this story. I always wonder when I read translated texts what I'm missing, and I just won't know unless I learn Spanish. The tone of the story is a bit formal, but the content is crazy fun, albeit disturbing.

You see, our narrator, the fellow writing the letters to the lady from whom he's subletting the apartment pukes bunnies. Yup, you heard me right. Walking up the stairs, there's a little fuzziness in his throat, and blechh, up comes a bunny. For some reason that I don't get, he's doing a lot of puking after he moves into the apartment. Ten bunnies, and a housekeeper named Sara from whom he's trying to hide the bunnies. Then tragedy strikes.

I'm not one to give away plots, so I won't reveal said tragedy. I will reveal that despite some problems with the plot--mainly concerned around my never feeling convinced about the odd upchuck--I did enjoy the language. Cortazar writes with a high level of particularity. The details and images are on the spot. That's worth spending half an hour with a short story, isn't it?

Tell me what stories you've been reading.

Happy Chinese New Year!

To celebrate, I've searched out my horoscope. Can you guess what I am? My compatibility with Dog is pretty high, which means that I will have a good year. Don't I always? I'm a Monkey, after all!

By the way, the contest to guess what I'm making on Sewing Sunday (aka Superbowl Sunday) is still open. I'll keep it open until Friday at 5 p.m. Then the closest guess wins!

In knitting news, I felted the swatches from my gauge experiment to use to finish up my fancy green felted bag. I'll have pictures by the end of the week.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Getting Ready for Sewing Sunday

Ok, I created this post here, copied it here, then here, but none of the pictures showed up on blogger. So go to one of my trial sites to see them, ok? By the way...what do you think, should I stay Wearing Black in New Mexico when I move? Or become Wearing Black in New England?

Last night I taught two women how to knit at Crafty Friday. Thanks to everyone who came over, including Trevor, Liz's dear hubby, who knits and tends the fire to keep us all warm. And carries chairs. Trevor rocks.
At Tuesday's SnB, Scout gave me this for winning her "two days to knit" contest. Nifty tool holder, don'tchya think?

I met Ramona at Village Wools, where I bought yarn for my Secret Pal. So although it was a purchase, it was not for me. I can't give my SP stash yarn, can I? Doesn't seem right to me. On my way home, I stopped and bought this 100% cashmere sweater:
I have two thoughts on how to use this. One is as a part of Sewing Sunday next week in which I will create products for the Etsy store I plan to open (stay tuned). The other is to frog it and use the yarn to knit something else. I guess a third is to try on the darn thing and see how it fits. Maybe it's going to be cute on.
I also purchased this fabric, which I think you'll see better if you click on it. There's a sweet green plaidish type of stuff, a plain muslin, a silky Oriental-ish fabric, and best of all, a fabu purple fake fur. See how my hand likes to pet it? First person to guess what I'm making next week on Sewing Sunday will get a prize. Ramona can't play!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Pros and Cons

I'm playing around with a new blog. Scout set this up for me over coffee this morning (well, I had coffee in my jammies...don't know if she was doing the same): Wearing Black in New England. Sad, but true. Someday, that's where I'll be sporting it like Johnny Cash. I've also been messing around with the free trial at Typepad: Wearing Black in New Mexico. That site looks a little ugly right now as I was trying to load the banner Carole made me, but got tired before I succeeded. Anyway, I welcome your ideas re: pros and cons of each platform.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

So I'm a Joiner. What of It?

Yeah, in a fit of avoidance, I've become a real joiner. I'm avoiding school. I have a bad attitude right now, but I'm sure that will get straightened up by the weekend. In the meantime, I've decided that hell, yeah, even I, Albuquerque's slowest knitter, can get through a pair of socks between 2/1 and 5/1. So, I joined Sockapalooza. Sign ups are on through midnight.

I also joined Mama-E's call for public displays of yarn porn. That sexy button did me in. And didya notice, I have a boatload of buttons? And they all link, now, thanks to a tip from my pal Scout. Ok, so it was more like she made it happen than a tip, but I'm learning!

Back to work, now, missy. SnB tonight, and don't forget to boycott SF/SE. Me, I bought the A-line skirt pattern from Sew Betsy Ross. Now that my machine's fixed, I'm gonna sew me a spring wardrobe. Right after I knit those socks.

Monday, January 23, 2006

My SP, My Haiku, My New Book, My Closet

My East Coast (hey, I can't help but see that Buzzard Bay postmark! A Cape girl!) SP7 sent me a package, which I got yesterday. Sunday? you ask. Are you special, Beverly, that the mail comes to you on Sunday? Special, sure, but not quite that special. I forgot to check the mail on Saturday after my quest to find a book for school that lasted until 11:00 p.m. In this delightful package was a selection of tea bags (I'm boiling water right now), two bundles of mohair roving, a big bundle of merino/silk roving, a dainty spindle, and a hank of chocolate brown alpaca that she spun--I can't wait to knit something with it, and it smells delicious. There were also two little cards with meditations--one called "The Rainbow" and the other, "Artist Zen" as well as a cheerful note!

Thank you SP! I can't wait to try spinning. Your yarn smells lovely, btw. What do you set it with? I'm off for a cup of special

Ramona posted about this haiku contest, and I'm such a joiner, I had to send one in, too. Remember, kids, I write fiction, not poetry. Check out Jessie's sock yarn. I'm gonna get me some come May!

Ruminations on My Time

I crochet, knit, spin
When I should grade, read, or write.
Don't tell my secret.

Noelle is a good listener and a generous friend. She saw this, remembered I had talked about how much Jenny liked it, and picked it up for me. What a sweetie, huh?

A glimpse into my closet. There are files with all my teaching/school/grantwriting archives; notecards for the letter writing I like to do; a few special papers for making books; my newly mended sewing machine, an almost finished felted purse, my old quilting bag, stuff for embroidery; some of the gajillion journals and notebooks I have (everyone loves to give writers journals. And we like them!); some linens; a few boxes of misc. junk I can't throw out; and of course, yarn. Real Simple suggests using yarn to decorate. Group it together and it will look pretty. Ha! As if we didn't know that already.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Treats in the Mail

My SP6, Brianne, sent me this, along with a great book mark that she and her little guy Owen made together, and some adorable knitting notecards. MWAH! Thanks, Brianne!

Short Story Sunday 2: “A Stone Woman” by A.S. Byatt

Hot dog, you can read the story for yourself.

I’ve read this story a number of times, and every time I do, it seems more richly crafted to me. I like Byatt a lot. Possession and Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye both sit on my bookshelf, and I read one or the other every year or so.

What is so appealing about this story, then? Byatt, who doesn’t hesitate to lead her reader into the world of magical realism, makes me believe in Ines’s transformation from woman to…well, I gave you the link, go read it.

More than anything I love Byatt’s images. Her descriptive language is precise, and her settings are real to me. “In September they had several days of driving rain, frost was thick on the turf roof, the glacial rivers swelled and boiled, and ice came down then in clumps and blocks, forming where the spray lay on the vegetation.” Can’t you see it? I love that Byatt moves me to Iceland in the second half of the story. I flew through Iceland once, and I cannot wait to go back. The little glimpse of the country that I had was enough to make me believe that her magical story could have happened there.

I taught this to my students last fall, and they did not seem to like it, citing more than anything, the magical realism elements. How about you? Did you like the story? Do you like magical realism? I also wrote about this in terms of Italo Calvino’s Six Memos for the Next Millinneum (if you’re a writer and haven’t read it, go right now and pick it up). If you like Byatt’s story and want to read more about what I thought about it, let me know, and I’ll send you the article.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

How I Spent My Saturday Morning and Happy Birthday Dad!

I bought this. I should get it by mid-February.

I spent my Friday afternoon with Scout, who taught me about the pleasures and dangers of html. Dangers include ditching writing time to play with my blog. Must. Stay. Focussed.

Carole's been working on a new banner for me.

Things may be a little creaky as I learn my way around, but wbnm's gonna be a good looking site before we're through.

Best of all. Today is my dad's birthday...he's turning 68. My dad is the most gentle, kindhearted, fair person I know. He knows right from wrong, and he's good at giving the gentle reminder about that when needed. He believes in his kids with so much faith that I, for one, feel obligated to make something of myself so his faith is rewarded. But I know when he holds my first book in his hand, he'll have the same amount of love for me that he does when he opens his b'day package. Which contains these. He claims they're almost as good as his mother made. If you make them, they have to be sissy thin cookies here.

I'm off to spend the day with Noelle and the Knitters not Quitters gang

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Eddie Along for the Olympics

Stitch and Bitch!!!

I'm going to join the Eddie Along. Maybe for Clappie, maybe for Jaywalkers. I'll let you know.

Lendrum vs. Kromski

Stitch and Bitch

Now that's out of the way... I'm in the process of buying my first spinning wheels. Although I have a chance at an Ashford Elizabeth (not the II) at a really good price, it's a single treadle, which I don't like. Also, it's big. And I'm moving in May. My choices right now, then, are an Original Lendrum, which I've used at Village Wools and like. Plus, that's what my girly Noelle spins her fabu stuff on. She's vouched for it being a great wheel. The other option is a Kromski Minstrel. My spinning guru, Kay, has discussed it with me, and my personal preference aside, she thinks this is a good wheel, a good deal. The double drive attracts me, and I also tried a different Kromski and felt like I was a pro. I haven't tried a Minstrel, though, and I don't know anyone who has one.

Any feedback? I'd like to order something in the next few days. I may be agonizing too much over this, but it's a big purchase for me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Knit Bloggers, Unite!

Stitch and Bitch
Stitch and Bitch
Stitch and Bitch
Stitch and Bitch

Chant it with me, sisters and brothers. Learn more here.

I propose that any knit bloggers who think this whole case stinks like last month's garbage start every blog entry for the next week with the forbidden words, just like Scout: Stitch and Bitch.
If you want to see what Stitching and Bitching is all about, visit Scout and Carole to see pictures of eight of us casting on for Jaywalker at the same time, and two of us paying tribute to Johnny Cash. We walk the line, baby, but not if you're getting our yarn in a knot!

Day 1: Yarn Diet

That's it, the last yarn purchase until the end of the semester. I plan to make the Loop-d-Loop Paisley Carpet Bag with this. Aren't Noelle's yarns yummy? I may add some pink to the mix.

I like Jenny's check in method for her resolutions. I think I'll follow her lead, there. BTW, she's the inspiration for my semester-long yarn embargo.

I'm going to start cataloguing my yarn, too. I have another blog, which I don't use for much other than keeping track of my projects (ok, already, I don't know much about sidebar stuff, but strange little mama's going to help me! ). Anyway, I'm going to take pictures of each set of yarn, along with my plans for it. Any I don't have plans for, I'll probably sell or trade. I'm moving in May, remember? And I don't think there's enough room at N's for my entire stash!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Jaywalkers OTN...

Maddie: Mama, what you been doing?
Mama: Knitting, baby.
Maddie: Mama, what you been knitting?
Mama: Jaywalker socks, baby.
Maddie: Let me see.
Mama: Shows tonight's knitting
Maddie: Mama, that don't look like a sock.
Mama: It will be, baby, it will be.

So, I cast on, and I got one complete round done and a second almost done. I'm a big slow knitter now, but I'm gonna get gauge, dammit.

A Lesson in Gauge

Remember the booty back in October? My gauge was a running joke with my AbqSnB girls, as well as my knitting pals back East. Now that I'm more interested in making things that need to fit (socks, sweaters), gauge needs to stop being a joke to me. Scout and Carole showed me English knitting, and although it felt awkward, I decided to give it a try.

Skip this if you already know the difference between English and Continental knitting. If not, the most basic difference is that in the English method you hold the yarn in your right hand--the left does no work other than holding the left needle--and you throw the yarn. In Continental knitting you hold the yarn in your left hand and "pick" it with the right needle. When I was first learning, this was the method that felt more comfortable to me. Very comfortable apparently, as I'm a crazy loose knitter (my stitches, folks, my stitches). One of the reasons, I've discovered, is that I wasn't wrapping the working yarn enough; I wasn't creating enough tension.

The first picture, in which my gauge is 4 sts/inch, was knit the way I normally knit. The bottom was also knit Continental, but I knit mindful of my tension, as suggested by Ramona, and it came in at 5 sts/inch. The picture on the right is of my first attempt at English. Sit down. Six sts/inch. That's right, my gauge changed a full two stitches per inch. I like having both methods in my toolbox now, and I may end up working in Mindful Continental.

Tonight I cast on for Jaywalkers for our AbqSnB KAL. I'm going to use 1's. Not 0000's. Mission Accomplished.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Swatching Away

I finished the Stitch and Bitch Nation Basic Cable hat on Saturday at Knitters Not Quitters. Byler Bear is modeling it in the back yard. He's from Pennsylvania Amish country. Doesn't he look dashing?

Cable Close up. Cables are fun.

Today I worked the Continental swatch as my sewing machine was being repaired (she's all better, thanks for asking) and started in on the English swatch. I'm starting to get the hang of this style, but it's still slow going. I took Ramona's advice on the Continental knitting--I pulled each stitch, and I was mindful of what I was doing. I also took the advice I got at Village Wools, which was to hold the working yarn wrapped around another finger.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Talking at the Vortex and a Plea for Help

If you're in Albuquerque, be sure to give yourself a treat and go see Talking With by Jane Martin at the Vortex Theater near UNM. My girly Martine has a role in it that will have you falling out of your chair, and the other actresses are pretty strong, too. I promise, it's better than Dancing with the Stars. And you know I love that show.

Here's my plea. I want to pretty up my blog. I'd like to add sidebars where I can list my "on the needles" as well as the projects I'm hoping to do. I'd also like the button area to be neater looking. The other thing I can't figure out is how to post pictures and have text under them, as a caption sometimes, other times just a little paragraph. Be honest with me. Am I gonna have to migrate from blogger to really get a more sophisticated look? And if so, what do you recommend, dear reader?

As an aside, my SP6 giftor, the sweet Brianne continues her sweetness...she's planning to pass on a good book to if she hasn't already defined generosity!

My final knitting news for the day. I met up with Carole, Ramona, and Scout today for an impromptu breakfast knit. I was swatching for the Jaywalker-along that we're starting on Tuesday. I, as we all know and are getting tired of hearing about, have gauge issues. I knit Continental style. I'm no snob...I don't think one way of knitting is better than the other, this is just what felt more natural lo those many years ago when I was a new knitter. So I was swatching on 0's, which I find super uncomfortable. Scout took a look at my growing swatch and told me, as she so often has to do, that my gauge is way off. She and Carole both agreed that I should learn English style knitting and taught me. Ramona, on the other hand, felt that I might be able to stay with Continental if I knit more mindfully, tightening my stitches more than I do. One of the girls said I must be the most relaxed knitter of all time! Ha!

Anyway, one of my knitting goals for 2006 is to master the Norweigan purl (which includes learning how to spell it), and I'm going to add to that a goal of getting my gauge to be closer to "on". To that end, I'm going to make two swatches, using larger needles than 0's, one Continental and one English. It may teach me a thing or two. When I have it done, I'll post pictures. Any other gauge tips are appreciated. I'm gonna win this battle!

Short Story Sunday 1: "Last Night" by James Salter

Dan Mueller and Julie Shigekuni, two of my workshop teachers, recommended James Salter to me after reading one of my stories, "Splinter." Dan thought his newest collection was the best purchase for me, so I sent away for Last Night. The title story is the last in the collection. In it Walter and his wife, Marit have agreed to assisted suicide rather than have her suffer a prolonged illness. Their friend, Susanna joins them as support for Walter.

This is one of the most startling stories I've read, and frankly, along with next week's entry, it's in my top five favorites.

Dan often reminds his students that stories should have plots that are surprising and inevitable--both are necessary for a satisfying reading experience. I sometimes struggle with that, unsure if what I consider surprising will also seem inevitable. Salter achieves that combination. His writing is uber confident, and while the story does not lack in richness of detail, it is a spare story, told with a cool distance...but I don't feel distant from the characters or the story.

That spareness is why Dan and Julie sent me to Salter. I'm trying to get to that in my own writing. I don't want to underwrite, but I'm intrigued by seeing how little do I need? How much is there without piling it on?

Here's a line describing Marit:

"She was almost a different woman from the one to whom he had made a solemn promise to help when the time came" (123).

And another one, from close to Marit's pov:

"The rest was a long nove so like your life; you were going through it without thinking and then one morning it ended: there were bloodstains" (122).

The dipping in and out of characters is another thing to admire about the story. We're close to all three of the characters at different times. And this is a story in which that's beneficial.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Gonna Treat Myself Right

As you probably know if you're reading this, I've been worried about this upcoming semester. I'm taking 13 credits instead of the recommended 9...I took 12 last semester and it about wiped me out. Luckily I have a few good cheerleaders and some great knitting friends, all of whom kept me positive and excited about what I'm doing. So why the push? Sharon, my dissertation chair, agreed that I could work long-distance, which means that I can move back East in May. Why do I want to do that? Neal, the dogs, my parents. Trees. Green. Water. Sarey and Cae. Proximity to NYC, Cher, Boscobel, my Mercy pals, my NY bookgroup. Pizza. Fluff. Whoopie Pies. The ocean. No particular order there, just the people and things I miss.

In order to do that, though, I need to have all of my coursework done, only dissertation hours left. And, as you may have guessed, that is the reason for the impending insanity. I will have one more course to do in the fall, but one of my professors has agreed to do a long-distance independent study with me.

To top this off, I will need to sell my townhouse (it's super cute, great location in the North Valley, let me know if you're interested...) and get packed to move by mid-May. Neal will tell you what bad shape I was in for the move out here. Oh, he'll regale you with details about that, but he does exaggerate a little (such as when he's telling me how naughty my Maddie girl has been). I want to do a better job with the move this time. There's less emotional baggage to carry in this move...the last time around, I was leaving the first place I'd owned (ok, so the bank owned most of it), the place in which my marriage came apart, but where I still managed to find peace of sorts. The place where Neal and I first fell in love. Odd, that, to have a relationship crumble, and a new one grow, all in the same place, in the same year, but now I'm rambling.

I'm pretty certain that the only way I can make it through until mid-May without hysterical meltdowns that result in Rachel offering to pray for me and Randall offering the advice to go have a drink is to be disciplined and to take care of myself.

To that end...I've created a little chart on which I've filled in the hours of my week (there are 168, which I discovered last semester mid-breakdown) that are obligated in a firm way. Next I started plugging in things that I want to do to take care of myself--daily yoga in the morning, jumproping at night, morning pages, Knitters not Quitters and ABQSnB every week, zone out to Sex and the City. But I also need to do a good job with things like keeping the house orderly (chaos begets chaos, I truly believe) and eating healthy food. I existed on pasta with olive oil, salt and pepper a lot last semester, and that's not good in so many ways. My poor deprived taste buds! Anyone have good vegetarian make-ahead recipes? I'll be getting home late three days a week and will need quick heat-up meals...but part of my 168 will be spent cooking on Sundays.

Speaking of Sundays, another way I'm going to treat myself right is to commit to a little project, what I'm going to call "Short Story Sundays". I came to this from reading (haven't finished yet) Jane Smiley's Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel and from writing my morning pages, which by the way, changed my life a few years ago (the morning pages, not Smiley's book. C'mon, it was just published!). So here's what I'm going to do: each Sunday I will read a short story--either one recommended to me, one I'm reading with my students, a New Yorker story, whatever strikes me. I will spend time thinking about what I think works or doesn't work in the story, and I will try to figure out how the writer wielded craft in order to make me envious or disgusted, or whatever I am after reading the story. Then I will write a blog entry that will provide a link to the story or the collection in which it's found, a synopsis of the story, and my thoughts on it.

We need to read more short stories is one of the reasons I want to do this project. There are so many out there, though, so maybe this will help someone to figure out what story to read. I want to understand writing better is another reason. I'm curious is the final reason.

So, stay tuned for Short Story Sundays. And if you have story suggestions, let me know. And if I seem to have gone over the cliff, at least you'll understand that it is the damn 13 credits, that's all. I'll be ok come June!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

National DeLurking Week

I like to think more folks than, say, me and my SnB read this. Alyce, for one. You 'fessed up, yet I don't see Knoxville on my Frappr Map. MB, there's no TN there, now is there? Well, folksies, you hordes reading my every word, let me know you're there. It's national DeLurking week. Comment and go over to the Frappr Map. Let me feel that more than just three others exist in my posse, ok?

MWAH. A big kiss for being brave.

Hello Out There! I Know You're Watching Me!

I live in an adobe-style townhouse with a flat roof. There's something skittering around, and it's creeping me out. It's an animal, and its little claws are scratching above me. I'm sure it's not a monster. It's not a monster, right?

I'm sorely lacking pictures. I couldn't fit my camera into any of my bags, and I didn't have time before my trip to take pictures...but here's what I gave away as gifts this year, with links to patterns where and when available. Doesn't that sound formal?

--ipod mini cozy with Noelle's adaptations.
--mini felted tote (sorry, can't find the pattern or link).
--Kate Gilbert's Gifted mittens (sorry about that one freakishly long thumb, Brian).
--Another pair of mittens, knit in the round. I like knitting in the round better. I don't like seaming. But I have a little crush on K.G. Her patterns are so lovely.
--Garter stitch scarf.
--OSW for a 12-year-old. It fit. She loved it.
--Chunky garter stitch scarf for her sister. I don't think she loved it.
--Two spiderweb capelets. Both well received.
--Three airy scarves. Two well received. One lukewarm.
--Convertible shruglet in Noro Silk Garden. Quite well recieved.
--Promises for two pairs of socks. Happily anticipated. Neal wants silver stars on his, though, which worries me. I'll give him gray ribbing.
--Annah's easy neckwarmer, still to be gifted (pattern to be posted).
--A purse of my own random design. Not worth replicating. To be gifted.
--Black cabled hat, to be finished, um, tonight.
--Pink legwarmers. Not sure if recipient has picked them up yet.

As far as I can remember, that's my list. I have a cabled neckwarmer that I failed to send to the intended recipient. I still may. If I think I'll really make it to the post office. Otherwise, next year. I'm trying to think of what else I knit last year, and here's what I can come up with:

--brown and black legwarmers (also from the Sally Melville book. I used Cascade 220, and I only cast on 46 stitches for the pink ones. I felted mine as they were WAY too big. We don't have to mention my gauge issues).
--3-hour capelet for me in crazy pink and yellow superbulky. Still need closure. Like, ribbon or a brooch.
--Prayer shawl for my mom's birthday (pictures posted earlier).
--Convertible shrug for MB (hey, take a picture wearing it and e-mail me already, ok?)
--Gargantion hat for Neal. Gauge, gauge, gauge.

ETA: I also made two pairs of the Weekend Knitting fingerless mitts--a fast, easy pattern that taught me short rows; and the kerchief in Last Minute Knitted Gifts. Although it took a hell of a lot longer for me to knit than the book suggests. I'll add whatever else I remember!

Can't think of anything else. I'm gonna keep better track this year. I'll tell you about my other resolutions tomorrow. 'night.

I'm Baaaaaccccck & SP7 Questionnaire

After some airplane snafus, I'm back in the Burque. I have lots to update, lots and lots of knitting thoughts. Since I'm not so slick with my computer skills, I'm gonna make a few differnt posts. Starting with my SP7 Questionnaire! Alot of the answers will be the same as SP6, but I'm gonna do it from scratch and see if any have changed in the last few months.

1. Are you a yarn snob (do you prefer higher quality and/or natural fibers)? Do you avoid Red Heart and Lion Brand? Yes, I'm a snob. A big snob. Well, not so big, but I love those natural fibers, and I'm nuts for handspun right now.

2. Do you spin? Crochet? Yup, both. I am saving up for a spinning wheel, which I hope to give myself for my birthday. Love spinning. More than just about anything. I do crochet, not that often, and for no good reason. I like some of the freeform stuff that I've seen...maybe I'll give that a shot.

3. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? I have a cute blue and white plant holder that the straights are in, and absolute chaos for the circs and dpns. I want to make a felted needle holder like Ramona did.

4. How long have you been knitting? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I started knitting in 1997 after wanting to learn for years. Martha Stewart Living had an article about it, and I "taught" myself from that. Classes in '98 helped. I think I'm intermediate. I'm not scared to try new things, but I haven't made a lot of bigger or more complicated projects.

5. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? Yup.

6. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products etc.) Clean cotton, lavender.

7. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I love cookies. Period. They are my friend, they are my foe. Oh, I like candied ginger a bunch, too.

8. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? I love spinning, and I'm interested in paper-related crafts; I'd like to learn bookmaking and I have fun with my "ephemeral journals". I'm not great at it, but I enjoy sketching and watercolor painting.

9. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) My stereo right now is the cd drive on my computer and my ipod mini. I love mixed cd's. LOVE them. One of my students made me one, and he got an A+. Well, true, he earned it, but bribery never hurts. I like a lot of music, right now I'm listening to a lot of Johnny Cash, Lucinda Williams, Bjork.

10. What's your favorite color? Or--do you have a color family/season/palette you prefer? Any colors you just can't stand? Black's my favorite color. I also like chocolate brown and pink. I like muted greens and blues, just starting to have a relationship with orange.

11. What is your family situation? Single, but I'll be moving in with my bf in May. No human children. Do you have any pets? Two dogs...well, technically one, but Neal has a dog too, and she may as well be mine. They're all (Neal and the dogs) living in CT now.

12. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? I love mittens, scarves, and hats. Don't know about ponchos.

13. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? Manos. Right now I'm nuts for Manos. But I like wool in general, cashmere is a-ok in my book, too!

14. What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? Some of the fun fur things get on my nerves if they're too plastic-y feeling.

15. What is/are your current knitting obsession/s? I've just finished a grueling semester of Christmas knitting. I'm about to embark on a fun semester of sock knitting, starting with Jaywalker with my ABQ girls.

16. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? I did some mittens over break, and those were lots of fun...I like knitting stuff to felt, too.

17. What are you knitting right now? Here's the list, which will appear in a post of its own, too:
--Christmas socks for Neal and MB
--Stripes are Stars Sweater for me
--Cabled hat for Mike
--Clapotis for me

18. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? LOVE them best.

19. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Circulars, although straights have their uses.

20. Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? Bamboo

21. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? Yes. Thanks to Noelle, I have a winder to match my swift. MWAH, N!

22. How did you learn to knit? Martha Stewart, Janet at my Peekskill, NY, LYS, and Sue, also in Peekskill. I'm learning a lot from my SnB groups, too.

23. How old is your oldest UFO? Um, about seven or eight years old.

24. What is your favorite animated character or a favorite animal/bird? I love the dog on Family Guy (yup, did a lot of tv watching on my break. I know what shows are on tv now!), and the "Get Fuzzy" gang always make me happy. My name means "Meadow where the beaver dwells" and despite the oft-naughty connotations, I adore, well, beavers.

25. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas, when I get to be with my family. Easter, ditto. My birthday, ditto. So, I guess, anytime I get to be with the clan.

26. Is there anything that you collect? Yarn. Beavers.

27. What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? None, although I may break down and order Interweave since I lust after every issue.

28. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? Blue Sky alpaca; cashmere to make Best Friend.

29. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? Cat Bordhi's mobeius cast on. I have the book but need to see it in person.

30. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? I'm starting to obsess about socks. I have a fantasy of wearing my own cashmere socks. My feet are cold here in NM, and I long to make them warm again. I wear a 7-7.5 shoe.

31. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) It's coming up, baby! February 9th! Me and Mia Farrow.