Monday, April 19, 2010

Week 14: All Things Iceland

Has anyone else been watching the saga of Eyjafjallajökull? I set NPR as my new homepage, and so for better or worse, I have been avidly tracking the news of the eruption and the resultant meteorological/transportation phenomena.

Although the geology of the event is pretty cool in and of itself, I think the thing that's really got me hooked is consequences for humans. Businesses, schools, Coachella (the Cribs couldn't make it)--the effects have hit all sorts of places beyond the first, most visible one--travelers stuck at the airport. There's no shocking loss of life, thank goodness, but the event has effectively peeled the lid off the world of transportation as we know it, and it's crazy all the stuff you get to see under there.

Since you're probably wondering right now whether this is a knitblog or not, yes, this does relate back to knitting. Amongst the furor over Iceland, Icelandic wool got an unlikely spotlight in this article, ranking 5 out of 10 on the list of good things about the island (sidebar on the left, 1/2 way down). In an unintentionally timely quirk of fate, I'm using the Järbo Garn that I turned from pre-yarn into yarn during my spinning stint this January in my Flower Basket Shawl. I am thrilled by the color (green at first glance shot with strands of blue and gold) and by the bobbly texture of the wrong side of the work (pictured above). Between homework and checking for the latest on the volcano, I've been adding just one more row--and another--and another.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Week 13: The Universe, Simplified

That little message when I opened up the packet containing the instructions for my new MacBook Pro. I love it--your set-up booklet is not thrown in among packing peanuts, it comes in its own little sleeve tucked in a recessed section of the tray holding the computer in its box. And when you open it--a little assessment of the universe. That is what I love about Apple.

So yes, my computer did arrive, Mum and Hermanita did have to wrest the frothing Stella away from the door to retrieve it, and although I am not yet over my beloved PowerBook, I have to admit that Snow Leopard is pretty spiffy.

In other news, the profusion of blooming things has shifted: the wildflowers are all but done for, the oranges blossoms have faded, and the puff-balls are disintegrating, falling off the mesquites to drift in dirty golden clumps in the gutters. Just getting started are the hesperaloes, aloes, and cacti.

In keeping with the season, my knitting has been all leaves and flowers. Above is the left sleeve to my Lace Leaf Cardigan, just a few inches short of being ready to join with the body. I still love that leaf motif.

And there is my coveted Flower Basket Shawl. Both projects have been traveling around with me in my bag, and I've been bouncing back and forth between each one as the situation dictates. Last week had a spate of trips to the car mechanic's, so I had a lot of time to peg away at the shawl. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the flower basket pattern is very simple. And addictive. That's my favorite part of these top-down lace shawls: adding just one more row. And another. And then finishing the repeat. And then holding it up and seeing all that crumply lace on the needles, knowing how it will block out into amazingness--!!!

But this week looks like it'd going to be heavy on final semester projects, so it will be back to the sleeve, which is excellent company while staring at a computer screen and racking your brains for what to write next.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


1. No pictures (mis apologias). I don't want to attempt rigging a 2nd camera to this computer, esp. just for another few days. And the iSight camera captures a most unappealing panorama of the most cluttered part of my room.

2. According to the Fed Ex oder tracker, my new computer is on the delivery truck. Ohhh.... the guilt.

3. I hope it comes after las hermanitas get back. Stella is absolutely incensed by package delivery trucks and their drivers. It's bad enough when they drive down the street, but the scene she causes when they come to the door is pretty mortifying. Peeling a 16-pound mutt that thinks she's Pinkerton away from the front window and retrieving the package being delivered can be achieved by one person, but it's easier (and less mortifying) with two.

4. Thank goodness for Daytrotter. While having my little world of school files, organized perfectly by my own admittedly scatty organization schema, jettisoned into the ether hasn't sent me over the edge, it's still a bit unsettling. Layering that with Pandora's similarly unsettling tendency to throw things like Incubus on my Death Cab station (Incubus--I ask you!) is not always a good thing. On Daytrotter, you get to pick what you hear. And a little Port O'Brien will start anyone's day right.

5. I am making record time on my Flower Basket Shawl.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Week 12: Eventful

For such an eventful weekend, all I have to show you guys is one picture:

That is also Event 1: I finished the Little Boy Cardigan, a.k.a. the Garter Ridge Cardigan from Little Badger Knitwear. That was my off-record project, which I finally finished last week, thank goodness. It's adorable, and the yarn I used (Sublime Extra Fine Merino Superwash) is beautifully crisp, but it was just one of those projects where things kept going wrong.

Event 2: Speaking of going wrong, my computer's hard drive died. You'd think I would have totally flipped out, especially since it had 11 weeks of schoolwork on it and a year's worth of un-backed-up pictures (hence the nigh-pictureless post), but I have not as of yet.

(You may ask how I'm blogging without a computer: Mum very kindly lent me hers. It's an iMac--Hermanita y yo converted her to Macdom--and it's so big, I'm afraid it's going to eat me. Or my desk.)

Event 3: I ordered a new computer. Would you know, I suffer intense buyer's remorse on all purchases over $50, sometimes even with yarn, so I feel quite literally ill every time I think of that Apple box speeding towards my house. Augh....

Event 4: The only all-good event--Easter! Baskets and potica and jelly beans and a tiny owl vase! (You will recall my fondness for jelly beans. Especially when presented in pretty little cups.)

Event 5: The final month of the semester is officially here. This is usually the tipping point, where I go from Ack to Now Panic and Freak Out, but that one hasn't happened either.

Maybe this is all the 10-page phenomenon. When I first started grad school, a ten page paper was at the upper limit of possibility, a feat requiring weeks of preparation and editing. Now? Give me a week and crank the iTunes. (Wince. My iTunes went with my hard drive) Ten-page papers are to SIRLS what multiple-choice exams are to 101 courses, and article reviews are mere jelly beans. Maybe computer calamities work the same way--you have enough laptops die, and the calamity ceases to be a calamity.

Or maybe we're looking at another phenomena. The When-Under-Duress-Start-Knitting-Lace-Shawls phenomena.