Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Christmas Story

That's what was left of a 25 pound Christmas Ham after our very own version of the Bumpus's dogs, pictured resting post-ham with yours truly below, gorged themselves on porky goodness. While I was at first frightened because Scarlet looked like she had swallowed a barrel after consuming over 10% of her body weight in salted pork, I can now laugh histarically about the whole affair, epsecially since they devoured the ham before the stores closed on Christmas Eve so we didn't have to go out for Chinese food for Christmas.

Friday, December 19, 2008


We're still at home. We finally dug our way out of our driveway, but we're waiting for the roads across north central Illinois to be clear of ice before we head out towards Tulsa. We're planning to stop along the way at a motel 6 (classy, I know, but they are everywhere, cheap, and let pooches stay overnight) and arrive at Tulsa by lunchtime tomorrow.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"ho,ho,ho"... uh oh..."snow, snow, snow"

We are those lucky holiday travelers who are planning to leave tomorrow. "They" say the worst of it should be past Milwaukee by 10 a.m. tomorrow, but only after dumping feet of snow and blankets of ice in our path from Milwaukee to Tulsa. Fortunately, we are driving, not flying so hopefully we can control our own destiny and find a little window in which to safely drive the twelve hours to be with our Oklahoma family for the holidays, because there is yet another storm behind this one, although fortunately for us it seems to be coming from the north.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Winter Knitty

The winter knitty is now available. I realized this when this design (pictured above) caught my eye over on ravelry. I was so excited that the new issue was out I immediately went over to knitty to check it out without looking at any of the details. When I found "Surface" on knitty I realized why I love it so much - it's by Nora Gaughan. Her designs are so unique and beautiful, like wearable art. While this piece doesn't scream practical and I will likely not knit it, I think it's pretty inspirational.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

chicago and old friends

Above: At home with Scott, Sadie, and Gracie. Below: With Susan and Danny at Cafe Iberico
We went down to Chicago to have dinner with our friends from California, Susan and Danny who now live in Normal, IL. On our way to dinner we stopped by to see my friends from college Sadie and Scott and their adorable little girl Gracie. We were able to celebrate Danny's 40th birthday and Sadie's 30th all in one trip! It was so wonderful to see everyone. It makes me want to see all of my old friends more often. I love and miss you all.

Monday, December 8, 2008

can i get an upgrade? upgrade...

Good news: I got a new laptop. Bad news: It wasn't by choice.

My beloved iBook G4 came down with a rapidly progressing terminal illness last Wednesday after showing some signs of  distress the night before. She served me well for over three years, and it was sad to see her go, especially since we weren't really planning a major purchase just now. But, I was able to procure a new MacBook, not the fancy newest, earth friendly MacBook, but an early 2008 white version with the same specs. It is so much faster and nicer than my old one, and it has a built in webcam so now I can use my own computer to skype with my adviser, so that my husband won't have to give up valuable work time every week. Thanks to the geniuses over at the apple store all of my files and programs from my old mac are happily on my new one despite the uncooperative of the mostly dead older laptop.

Uptop is a pic of a MacBook like the new one currently on my lap. Immediately above is a much cleaner and newer looking version of my dead iBook G4, which is currently sitting on the dog's kennel until we decide what to do with it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

wine in wisconsin

Above: Last Sunday; Below: Five years ago (Five years?!)
Last week Matthew and I drove out to the Wollersheim Winery in Prarie du Sac, WI  (just west of Madison) to meet the Vedras (aka Mom and T-Bone) to do some wine tasting. It was our first trip there since January of 2004. Both the winery and we have changed quite a bit. The Wollersheim's have put on a huge new addition and really fancied up the place, and we, well we seem to have gotten older but cuter. The winery actually makes some really nice wines, including several estate wines. Apparently the Sauk river valley creates this perfect environment for certain varietals. It's no Napa or Sanoma or even a Temecula, but it's nice. 

Saturday, November 22, 2008

random and assorted

First, my new IK came in the mail this week. I must say I am very happy with it. There's a feature on Norah Gaughan, and I've decided I just love her, maybe even enough to try set in sleeves. Besides, the yarn shop that is just minutes from my house has a knit clinic of sorts to help with that kind of thing. I was a bit disappointed in the man sweater, it's constructed strangely (i.e. not in the round) and has unfinished edges, making it far less appealing that I originally thought. But, the welt and rib raglan is even more fabulous than I imagined. It too has sort of a strange construction, but one that I'm actually excited to try. I found the yarn over at Jimmy Beans Wool and added it to my wish list in a gorgeous grey color called Pewter (pictured above). It's delicious. I recognize that the yarn will cost $80 - that's why it's a wish list. I also decided I really like the Sweet Honey Beret (pictured below - I will be going sans fleur), and would like to knit it for my winter hat (because Wisconsin is a cold bitch). The yarn for the hat is on sale over at webs and so I added two balls in this pretty grayish blue called "chalky" to my webs wish list. I must say I am a big fan of the wish list.

I've also gotten started on the holiday knitting. With the economy in the crapper and money tight, I'm thankful that I can turn something I love to do into something nice for the people I love. As it is holiday knitting time, that means fewer pictures of WIPs and FOs on the blog, because I don't want to ruin any surprises.

Finally, I had a brain storm this morning. I figured out a logo for my blog and possible future knitwear design stuff. I am envisioning a ball of yarn with two knitting needles sticking straight up and down in it such that it makes the greek letter phi (pictured above, the one on the left is the capital letter, which is what I had in mind), which is the symbol for philosophy. Clever right? Now, I need someone with mad graphic design skills to bring it to life, hmm graphic designer friends? Who wants a nice new knit hat and gloves set?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Francis Phenomenon

When I decided to wing it and make my own cowl neck sweater out of the Frances (Francis) alpaca yarn my mom got me for my birthday a couple of years ago, I could never have guessed what an amazing experience I was in for. Today, thanks to a beautiful green version of Francis by Lolly for National Knit a Sweater Month 2008 (NaNoSweMo), Francis Revisited is now in over 1000 queues over on ravelry, and has been downloaded 139 times and counting today. That's a new one day record by quite a few (like 80 or so). Watching other people knit Francis and love it as much as I do has been an amazing experience. The support and feedback over on ravelry warms my heart. I'm hoping to find the time to add a few more designs this year, but time is limited with teaching, writing my dissertation, and holiday knitting, but the success of Francis inspires me to want to make more sweaters and write more patterns.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Go Pack Go!

I'm off to Lambeau. Hopefully my handknits will keep me warm and the team will win.

Friday, November 14, 2008

IK winter 2008

I have been nervously awaiting the winter 2008 Interweave Knits preview and today I got the call (or email, whatever). I was a bit frightened at first because Sandi over at knitting daily had picked out some real fuggy grandma items to show off in the email, but I hurried over to the website and checked out all of the designs, and I am happy to report at least two items that I really like and an assortment of cute hat patterns! Yay.

The first awesome pattern is this man sweater that is knit with Cascade Ecological Wool, which is so inexpensive! Hana Jason's Woven Bands Pullover is definitely going on "the things I want to knit for my husband" list (along with the "Hana Jason designs" list - gathered pullover I did not forget about you!)

And for myself, how about the Welt and Rib Raglan (yay raglan!) made in Manos del Uraguay silk blend (oh joy of joys! No yarn substituting here)

So Interweave Knits, you redeem yourself, for now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I have been lusting after the Kim Hargreaves' Heartfelt: The Darkhouse Collection pattern book for forever or at least since I saw my friend Anna's Haven. Even the name is sexy. I probably would have gotten it long ago if it weren't so hard to find and spendy. The only way I know of getting it is to order it at the link above, and it is wicked expensive (17 pounds = almost $40! and that's before shipping it all the way from jolly old England). I have another Kim Hargreaves Rowan book that I got for my birthday, and I'm thinking I could maybe figure out how to make some of these on my own without the pattern, so I can make do for now. But the book just looks so inspiring, and a girl can dream....

Wait! I just found it at an american distributor for only $30! Maybe dreams can come true.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Pattern: Eastlake by Norah Gaughan from Berroco: Norah Gaughan Vol. 3
So purty. Knit in a merino/silk blend. Yummy. Of course, I'll probably never knit it because I don't believe in set-in sleeves, but an exception may have to be made.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can... get a puppy

Now that we know that Barack Obama will be our 44th president, only one questions remains, what kind of puppy are Malia and Sasha getting? And what will they name him/her? I only hope their puppy is as sweet as ours and is allowed to sleep on the pillows on the bed in the Lincoln Bedroom.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


but either way
just vote!

Friday, October 31, 2008


These were the FO I had been dreaming of. They were easy, fast and the end result was perfect. There was no ripping, no frogging, no unknitting of any kind, and I never want to take them off (although it is actually very warm here today, almost too warm for these). Unfortunately, they have been a bit camera shy so far, so these are the best photo I have. It's a pretty accurate representation. Here's the facts:
Pattern: Evangeline (ravelry download here)
Yarn: Cascade 220 - slightly less than 1 skein
Colorway: 9454 purple heather (from stash)
Needles: US 5 dpns
Modifications: reversed the cable for left glove, 
did one last repeat of row 3 before finger ribs, 
picked up a couple extra stitches for thumb gusset

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

John McCain hates Milwaukee

Apparently John McCain was quoted in the Washington Post saying he'd hate to live in Milwaukee, and in response someone made this video that quite rightly proclaims all of the greatness that is Milwaukee.


Just so everybody knows, come November 5th - no more political posts - I promise.


At long last - A knitting update!!!

I finished the shruggy surprise for the wedding and I am still debating whether or not to write up the pattern, whether to sell it or give it away, etc. Then I started working on the Mrs. Darcy Cardi, which I am knitting in one piece, because I hate seams. I sarted knitting this and had gotten most of the body done, when I realized it was enormous. I had swatched, but made a stupid mistake, namely my gauge was too big and I thought it was small, silly me. I went down a needle size (two from what the pattern suggests) but still couldn't get gauge, so I cast on fewer stitches. Hopefully, all will go well. The yarn is lamb's pride in aubergine but in this picture it looks reddish and in some light looks brown, but its more of a deep purplish burgandy:And then on Monday when I was wearing my beloved Francis, my arms were cold. I said to myself, you need something to keep your little arms warm when you wear three-quarter length sleaves in winter. After a little pop over to ravelry to puruse my options, I decided to caset on the Evangeline fingless gloves. I finsihed the first one that night and I LOVE it. The pattern is so easy and gorgeous. I am also in love with the billion year old Cascade 220 from deep within the stash that I am using to make them. I am a happy knitter!
Evangeline - I love you.

Terri got married

On Saturday my cousin Terri married Andrew and I served as the maid, ahem, matron of honor. It was an amazingly beautiful wedding and an incredibly good time. Unfortunately many of our pictures didn't turn out but here are a few of the good ones. The couple and their cake:

The cousins not getting married that day: me, the bride's brother brian, and cousin paulie
The newly weds and the old married couple:
Time to go home:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Solid - Solid as Barack

I have many things to post: a wedding, new knits, cute dog pictures, but I want to share this with you because it is so hilarious and we can't get all of the catchy tunes out of our heads and keep singing them, which sort of sucks, but now you can all share in our joy/misery.

Winner 2008: SNL

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

why so fuggy?

Why is Interweave Knits turning into a fugfest? Photos of the projects of this years special ""Gifts" issue are up here and they are fuggerific. I mean for bejeezus' sake look at the cover? Who would put that snowman poop impersonation on their head? Last year I rushed out to buy the issue, because it had some really cute things, but this year you couldn't pay me to put that thing in my house. I seem to recall that last year the winter issue was a little craptastic and I thought it was because they put all the good stuff in the "gifts" issue, so maybe this year they saved all the good stuff for the winter issue, which I get at no cost with my subscription, so I should be happy. Or maybe the problem is that with the dawn of ravelry people are less likely to submit their designs to Interweave, and the really talented designers choose instead to sell their designs on their own. I mean why let someone pick up the pattern in a magazine when if they really want it they will pay $7 directly to you for just that one pattern? Just a thought. Here's some fug for you:

UPDATE (Nov 31, 08): Turns out that when a design is popular and it goes in the Knitting Daily store, the designer gets a big cut of the sales there, so keep sending your fabulous designs to Interweave, because it really works out for everyone. No one really wants to knit necklettes, do they?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

first house guest

This dude is going to be staying with us for the next 8 days:
His name is Max. His family, my cousins Allen and Christy, are going to be out of town, and so the little guy is going to come and play with Scarlet at our house. It will be interesting to see what life is like with two pooches. I figure it's just more barking for barack.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

bark for barack

Next Saturday at noon is the Bark for Barack walk here in Milwaukee. We're planning to take our little Obama supporter down to Bradford Beach next weekend to hang out with other politically like-minded pooches and their owners. Here is the T-Shirt design I came up with for little Scarlet to wear:
Won't she be just adorable? I'll be sure to share pictures of her in the final product.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

knitters for obama

I found this on the webernets:

Isn't it awesome?! That lady has mad skills. I'm thinking about knitting an obama hat and will definitely be ordering this knitters for obama t-shirt, but that sweater is beyond my patience, but I so admire it.

Please - Vote For OBAMA!

Monday, October 6, 2008

the secret is out

Milwaukee is the coolest. Read all about it here. They actually go to places we love, like the Knick for brunch.

my favorite existentialist

No it's not Heidegger; it's Opus. Yes, he's a comic strip character, but he's brilliant. I love that penguin and today it was officially announced that Opus will be no more, although it's been obvious in the strip for weeks. I'll share one of my favorites from a couple of years ago (and hopefully not be sued for copyright violations):
This one from last sunday conveys a similar message (and makes fun of Sarah Palin - bonus!):

Friday, October 3, 2008

I need an FO

I haven't finished a knitting project in months (unless you count two baby hats, and I don't). I need a sweater, a scarf, a beautiful sense of accomplishment. But no, I've been working on shruggy surprise to wear to my cousin's wedding, which still isn't done and is not extremely satisfying. Worse, the wind has a brisk chill and on my way through the park I saw a maple all ablaze in red and orange glory. I want a big, yummy, hand-knit sweater. I wore Francis yesterday. I really love her. I need to knit more perfect sweaters that take no time and come out fitting perfectly. My ears have been sucking in freezing air as I glide about town on my new bike and I so I have been trying to make an ear warmer from my stash, but to no avail. All I have is just lots of frogged yarn and cold ears. People, I need an FO. What should I knit? Please tell me.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

best day ever

Today Matt and I road our bikes the almost 7 miles from our house to Miller Park, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers to tailgate with my mom and her husband before they went to the Brewers final with the Cubs. It was not only the last game of the season, it was do or die for the Brew Crew. They had to win (and the Mets had to loose) for them to cinch their first play-off birth in 26 years.
The ride to Miller Park was super nice, with great bike paths and an easy go of it. By the time we got there we decided we couldn't live with just listening to the game from the parking lot and visited a nice scalper man who sold us two seats in the bleachers for well above face value (it would prove to be worth every penny, and then some). The picture above is of me and my mom before the game. The one below is of Matthew and I after Ryan Braun came through in the clutch to put the Brewers ahead, and shut up the a-hole Cub fans who insist on coming to our stadium and shooting their mouths off. That was the first time the stadium went nuts.

The picture above was taken after the Brewers won and the place went nuts a second time. But, we still had to wait to celebrate because the Mets game hadn't finished. They put up the Mets-Marlins game on the big screen and we all held our breath while the Marlins held onto a 4-2 lead. When the last out was made Miller Park went nuts for the third time. There was screaming, yelling, hugging of total strangers, singing, dancing, in two words: pure joy:
Our hero, CC, on the big screen:
The players come back out with the champagne:
We pretty much moved back to Milwaukee in the most perfect September we could have. To have missed this would have broken our hearts. Now, it's onto Philly! (for the brewers, not us, we're staying in Milwaukee)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Why Sarah Palin is a bitch

It was brought to my attention that in her interview with Katie Couric Sarah Palin insulted every person who ever worked hard to take a vacation abroad, especially college students who work two jobs to study abroad or take internships in other countries.

Quoted from this latimes blog:

In her second "CBS Evening News" interview with Katie Couric, Sarah Palin was asked why she didn't get a passport until 2006. Did it, as some of her viewers wonder, show a lack of curiousity and interest about the world and other cultures?

She told the CBS newsperson that she had to work, sometimes two jobs, and that's why she didn't backpack around Europe like privileged kids do.

"I'm not one of those who maybe come from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduated college and their parents get them a passport and a backpack and say, 'Go off and travel the world.' Noooo. I worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life, until I had kids. ... I was not part of, I guess, that culture."

Look, bitch, I graduated from college in three and a half years so that I could spend four months living at home with my mother, working full time, and saving money so that I could experience other cultures so that I wouldn't become a xenophobic idiot like you! Let's not forget my husband and cousin who participated in study abroad and internship programs in other countries. And what about those who volunteer their time to help those in the developing world? Snobby rich kids, I'm sure. And what about all of my students who work two or three jobs to save money to participate in study abroad programs, all the while going to school full time? I don't judge the average person who's never been out of the country, because many people just don't have that desire, but I just think that if you're going to be next in line to be comander in chief of the united states, you should probably not be that kind of person. Furthermore, I really don't appreciate her passing judgment on those who do enjoy traveling abroad and characterizing anyone with a passport as an elitest.

Okay, that's enough political rant on my otherwise knitting and cute dog focussed blog.


Friday, September 26, 2008

once in a life time

I just witnessed one of twenty six walk-off-grand slams in the history of baseball. I rock and so does my team. Go Brewers!

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I just noticed that on this here blog that purports to be a knitting blog, I have not blogged about knitting since July. For shame.
Right before we left Santa Fe I headed over to the Borders to work on the old dissertation as I did a couple of times a week. On the way out I decided to pick up a copy of the fall issue of Vogue knitting, because I had seen a few patterns over on ravelry that looked intriguing. Now, I'm a devoted Interweave subscriber. It has good articles and elegant and inspiring designs (most of the time). When I first started knitting Matthew bought me a Vogue knitting (the one with the twinkle shopping tunic, before it was the shopping tunic, on the cover) for Christmas, but at the time my lack of skills made me wary of the magazine. Now, I think maybe I'm ready for it. I like that it has some very fashion forward designs and present a way to own afordable designer clothing. However, it is vogue and as such it has some really crazy crap as well, things no real person would ever wear or knit, but with over thirty patterns to choose from there is bound to be stuff I like. So, I am seriously considering getting a subscription to another knitting magazine. Here are the patterns I am planning to knit from the fall vogue (patterns 10,18,23):
The Nordic Traditions sweater above would not be worn with a belt by the philosoknitter.