swatches, or: Thanksgiving-Break-Eve Mitraillette with knitting and other pics mixed in

Why oh why did I, not having had a bagel in ages, get a yucky dry one at the library coffee shop instead of walking the extra 5 minutes to Einstein's in the union? The more lamentable since this is my first gluteny food in a while (altho this week of course I'll be tossing various dietary habits out the window, yummy Thanksgiving food is worth a few days of Templeton-the-Rat Syndrome).

 Blocking my old stitch-sampl-y scarf that I made in Cleveland winter of 2001 (I think?)

After 202 this a.m. my other two Tuesday classes are just labs and I told them attendance was optional today. We're watching Holy Grail, ostensibly for the French châteaufort scene, mostly because it keeps coming up in the 003 section for some reason and two of them had never seen it. The other section (the one person who attended) opted to watch it, too... even tho I gave him the choice of leaving early instead (I think he didn't realize today was optional anyway). Says something about the Pythons' lasting popularity, I think.

I get more compliments on this thing and really I think of it as kind of a crap piece that happens to be fun colors and warm. It was just a series of stitch samples with self-striping yarn - maybe one evening's work?

I really am going to work today, too. Am almost done grading the latest 202 test, then will just see what else I can get done before 4 or so, which is my mental quitting time. Ha ha of course I meant the time I had in mind for heading home but it probably really will be my mental quitting time in many ways.

 My favorite stitch sampling/practice thing now is the same as most people's: dishcloths. Get your Christmas stockings ready!

Love having the office to myself (Susie Antisocial) altho someone must have been here working during my first lab. I came back to find the thermostat set on SEVENTY-FIVE.This happens regularly actually, I just hadn't shared my flabbergastedness about it here yet. Also I know for a fact that it's more than one officemate who puts it there. I'm glad I don't have their electric bill if they keep their homes that hot; possibly they keep them cooler and so want to soak up heat here at school. Energy saving, schmenergy saving!

As usual my photography lighting skills are outdone by knitpics but you still get the idea.

Will take the turkey breast out of the freezer tonight; since it's just for home it doesn't have to be cooked a certain day. Tomorrow I'll focus on the cranberry sauce and whatever else I take, which I have yet to decide. The problem with lots of UU stuff is even tho we're all easy going about whatever people want to believe religion-wise, we are pretty picky in other ways, so I was - shall we say - strongly encouraged last night to bring an appetizer, "perhaps something cheese-oriented." Um... OK... I know they're thinking something like a cheeseball which I simply cannot bring myself to make, mostly because I really don't like them and whatever I make I want to be happy about its being a part of the dinner... Then I was thinking about my favorite entrées in France (we use that word for the main dish now in American but it really is what it says, the door into the meal). My absolute favorite is cantaloupe and prosciutto, but (a) I'm still feeling iffy about canteloupe consumption and (b) prosciutto is way more expensive here. Runners-up are grated carrots and raisins in vinaigrette, or possibly a cucumber and onion salad with crême fraîche... I love these but others will not see them as "appetizers." Hmmm. I'm seriously considering ignoring the whole appetizer "suggestion" and just bringing something else... which takes me back to the original question... 

Last day of wet clay tonight at the studio (in the current class calendar). I kind of want to do either a big slab-work oven dish or possibly a coil bowl, since I haven't done one in so long. On the other hand I should probably throw since I probably won't be back on the wheel for a while. (It's the end of our class in another few sessions and I doubt I'll be very regular at Open Studio until after finals.) I have quite a few very decent pieces this time that are waiting on either trimming/bisque fire or glazing; of course can't count on anything until after the glaze-firing so cross your fingers...

I am bound and determined to get the long-dreamt-of couch cover made over winter break. Extra motivation is the fact that I'm hosting our circle dinner in January, plus I'm Sick To Death of how it looks now. Cover it as I may, some of the black original cover always shows somewhere and since it's both black and super-cat-hair-attract-y, it is guaranteed whatever bit of it that's visible will look awful. If the couch cover turns out as I'm planning it will cover all the black no problem and I think I'm going to include a few inches on each side that would go down to the floor, with strategically (for the cats) and aesthetically (for me) placed slits... The fabric is a glorious medium sheen-y green with some gold and some sea-green threads in the pattern. Doubtless HOV will be hosting some pics.

Jessica made me a washcloth of this stitch ages ago and I had been itching to try it, so above is my first ballband dishcloth, and below is my second. I do not know why that is its name. Someone else will have to google it.

Wondrously long email from Tracy-chan today - I might scare her mailbox and reply in kind via snail... Stranger things have happened...

So four of us are working on this solstice piece that we had been planning to do with the whole women's ensemble but we decided there wasn't time to polish it - at least not with our once-a-week practices and people's different learning curves as to music notation and/or just plain paying attention to dynamics and cutoffs, etc. Anyway we practiced it at my house last Friday and are going to do some more to it this Friday - we sang it for Elaine (our director) last night and it is sounding Really Good. There is a danger of offending other ensemble members tho if we actually sing it for a service so that is up in the air for the moment. Either way we are rocking it. I was going to link an online example of the piece but all the YouTube recordings of it are waaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy too slow.

 And then we have... ENTRELAC! Above is the start of the second row of a piece. 

I wish I could just sing and knit and cook and watch movies and play with the cats and write letters and read books and paddle and quilt and collage and hike and play piano and ride horses and travel and cycle and rescue strays and drink wine or margaritas all the time. Anyone have any ideas yet of how to do any or all of these things and make a living, too?

End of the second row. This stuff is so addicting - you just keep talking yourself into one more swatch. Knitting is like that anyway, you always want to "just do one more row." But entrelac is built on these little patches, so it's especially hard to make yourself quit mid-swatch, and at the end of each one the compulsion to do another is almost always much stronger than I.

I am already starting to stress about the summer cat/housecare situation. At this point I don't even know if the program is a go - 6 of the last 10 students to talk to me about it have since decided to do the Belgium program. It used to be Paris was the default for minors or students who just wanted to take some more French (short summer term as you know and only 6 credits), and majors did Belgium (spring semester-long program, way more FR credits). But now they are offering more non-FR courses in the Belgium program so there are even minors doing it. Whatever students I do end up with will likely be a majority of people just finishing their FR requirements with the program -  more interest in FR and France than the average student but the group will not have as high a French level overall - something I've found is pretty detrimental at times. So there.

All this notwithstanding the fact that even tho I wouldn't be able to visit friends, etc., a big piece of me would not be very disappointed to stay here in the summer. More broke but at least somewhat rested doesn't sound half bad. And no need for the cat/housesitter...

I REALLY hate working ends of yarn into a piece. Anytime I'm doing something with more than one color I far prefer it if I can just work the new color in along with the old but I decided it would make the edges of the patches look too muddy. Consequently this particular dishcloth still has all its tails.

The 003s have talked me into making crêpes for them for next Monday. I have no idea how they did this.

All creations must have the feline stamp of approval - the yarn itself is almost always subjected to numerous strength tests by Miss Lucy. Not sure what Sammers is testing here.

I might take the rest of the grading to Moe Joe's. Blogging aside (since it's tantamount to the prime directive or something) I am way too distracted here at the office today. Plus unless I have busy work to do like this morning, it's too distracting to be here by myself. When there are others here I'm better at sticking to work; a worker bee vibe of sorts gets in the air when we're all sitting around being industrious. Used to be I could work best in here alone, but no more. I really don't want to have all that crap home with me over break tho even if it's all completed and sitting in a corner... Also there is a chance MJ's is closed since they often forget they have non-student customers and so frequently are closed during school breaks. Someday maybe I'll live somewhere again that is more than just a college town.

I like it in a single color just as much (more if you factor in that it entails only one yarn). I need to figure out why my edge row stitches are so big and loose, but otherwise it isn't bad. You can't zone out as much on this as you can on other stitch patterns, but with practice you don't have to concentrate quite so hard or keep checking your directions. I started a really pretty self-striping scarf for myself in entrelac as a practice piece so it can become a little more automatic. I'll have to post it later; it's on hiatus while I work on Christmas stuff.

I told the students as I was cuing the video about how Sammers used to be really interested in the menu of this particular DVD. Otherwise he has never paid attention to the TV (altho many times was drawn in by things on the computer monitor, strangely). Anyway here is 2/3-grown Sam from Fall '04 trying to catch Grail menu graphics. This is probably on the blog somewhere else but whatever.

Dang it, as I look I see my old Skyflakes cracker tin and realize I haven't seen it in ages. It might have been a victim of the moving/packing purge. I really hope not. Guess we know what I'm going to be looking for when I get home...

Composition grading is the bane of my existence. Truly.

 Fun comparison... full grown Sam sometime later with the same TV.

Once in a while my jadedness goes away long enough to come up with a good idea in the classroom. Although whether or not the students run with it and fulfill its potential is out of my control. Of course it helps when Real Life gives you inspiration. This time it was because of the 1400-year-old fallen sequoia out west that is crossing a park trail. I had heard a news report about it and supposedly the park service was taking online suggestions as to what to do (tunnel through it for the visitor path, cut it up and sell it, slice out a piece so the path could continue that way, etc.) Our current 202 chapter is about the environment. The students had watched a film about someone planting trees in France and were supposed to discuss it. As a followup I had them split into groups and pretend they were the committee in charge of deciding about the redwood. One group out of 8 (i.e. all the groups in all three classes) actually had good ideas and backed them up. The others phoned it in as usual. I surprised myself by remaining steadfast in my opinion of its being a good idea.

So as not to neglect the Boo. I'm too lazy to undo the eye reflections but isn't this a beautiful picture of her? From last week. Not to mention the fact that she's actually holding still. Sparklebug extraordinaire.

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