About Me

My photo
We are Familia FIG. We are a bi- lingual, blended family. Belalu was diagnosed at 9 months with hypochondroplasia.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I'm Knitting Blue

I'm actually almost out of my "blue" period, but I haven't posted my knitting in a while, so I'm a little behind. All this yarn has since been knit or is in the process of being knit.

First, after knitting Meridith her Eskimo jacket, (named for the yarn the pattern calls for), I had to start mine. After much debate about the type of yarn and color I wanted to use, I settled on a tweedy Worsted Peace Fleece in Kamchatka Seamoss- it's the yarn in the lower right-hand corner (a sea green named after a peninsula on the Bering Strait). I had also considered a black or eggplant jacket in a wool/silk combo, which would have given it a whole different feel, but in the end settled for more casual and bright. I love Peace Fleece because it is yarn with a cause. Here's a blurb from their webpage about the company and its mission:
"The Peace Fleece office is a barn on a sheep farm in Maine. Peter Hagerty and his wife Marty Tracy started buying wool from the Soviet Union back in 1985 in hopes that through trade they could help diffuse the threat of nuclear war. Since then they have worked with shepherds in Russia, Kyrgyzia, Israel and the West Bank, as well as in Montana, Ohio, Texas and Maine. By working with people who tend livestock every day, they hope to find a common ground that slowly leads to mutual understanding and economic interdependence. After twenty-one years, their goals remain the same."

And I love the yarn because it is tweedy and of solid construction, and just what I would expect yarn should be. The buttons are sliced and dyed nuts- I bought them at Purl Diva in Brunswick, ME.

The middle yarn was also purchased at Purl Diva, and is Lorna's Laces Shepard Sport. I had wanted to make socks for my cowgirl boots, and blue seemed like a good color. I had really hoped this yarn wouldn't pool, but it did and I didn't like the effect, so I ended up knitting the Jaywalker pattern which is turning out nicely. I've combined it with a toe-up custom-fit pattern. Problem is, I'm not a fan of knitting socks on tiny needles, so this project has been languishing in my basket since January. And it's only the first one. But I'll be taking it on my trip, and will either force myself to knit them both, or frog this one and make a chevron scarf instead. You can see a ton of these scarves on Flickr.

The front left and back skein were knit up to make this:It's from Stephanie Jepel's Fitted Knits book. The navy is Ultra Alpaca purchased last summer at Central Yarn Shop in Portland, ME. I was going to use it for Julian's sweater until I found something closer to his favorite color in a washable wool. The blue/green yarn is from another Maine company, The Fiber Company, purchased at Knit Wit in the Old Port. I fell in love with this yarn when I saw it, and even more so when I touched it. Never before have I felt such yarn lust. I had to have it. But I don't just buy yarn, without a project in mind, how would I know how much I needed? So, I thought of my navy yarn and the shrug pattern and promptly purchased two skeins. I'm happy to say I used up all of the Ultra Alpaca skein and both of the Terra skeins in this project. No leftovers!

I have since moved on to other colors. After the yarn binging in Maine over the holidays, all my current projects involve using up stash yarn. I will share these soon.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sigma Delta Pi

One of our students started up a chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the Spanish National Honor Society, on campus last year. Juan and I are the co-advisors to the group. They took over running the Spanish and Latin American Film Series and do a lot of community service in Winona and the surrounding area. They are the best and the brightest of our Spanish majors and a really great group of young people. To celebrate the end of a great first year as a chapter, we headed to the best Mexican restaurant in town, Tequilas.Ian and Carrie didn't fit into the other picture. These are our graduates with their honor cords.
The red and white shirt is our official club shirt for this year. We look like a soccer team ready to play when we go out as a group wearing them.This is Carrie, the one who made the club possible and served as President our first year. I had her in my classes since way back in beginning Spanish, and it's been amazing to watch her grow and become this confident, world-savvy young woman. She was in one of the groups I accompanied to Spain, and she then went on to spend a summer in Argentina. She'll be starting a Masters program this fall in New Mexico in Intercultural communication and even though we'll miss her here, I can't wait to see where life takes her and what she does with it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Winding Down and Winding Up

It's the last week of classes! And my finals are all on Monday and Tuesday of next week. So, while I'm winding down on that front, I am busy planning three classes I will be teaching in May-June. These will be more like independent studies, as we're going on the road. In a few weeks I'll be leaving for South America. We're doing a 40-day trip with 11 students, 1 teacher (me), and two guides. Here's our itinerary, more or less:
One week in Buenos Aires, Argentina
A few days each at Iguazu Falls and Salta (where we'll be white water rafting)
A jeep tour and sand boarding in the Atacama desert in Chile
Visiting the salt flats in Uyuni, Bolivia
Hiking around Lake Titicaca
A 5-day hike on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
A three-day hike through the rainforest
Surfing off the coast of Peru
A few days in Lima before heading home
(These pics are from Jen's trip last year- she's one of our guides.)

Meanwhile, I've been trying to complete another dissertation chapter and get in shape for this adventure. I'm also trying to figure out when Juan and I are actually going to see each other this summer- we both have a lot of things going on on different continents, and our schedules don't seem to coincide much! :( :( :(

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I'm one in a 1,000

Knitters, that is. Franklin Habit, of The Panopticon blog has been working on a project to photograph 1,000 knitters. He started it as simply a way to combine two of his favorite loves (photography and knitting, of course). It's looking now like it may end up being a book once completed. After having missed the opportunity several different times to participate, I was happy to see he would be present at the Yarnover event in Minneapolis this past weekend, and quickly signed up myself and my travel companions, Sue and Kate, for a sitting.

I was star struck. Franklin's blog is hilarious, especially with the escapades of Dolores, the sheep that lives with him and wrecks havoc on his yarn and alcohol supply. So, after he got my photo, I had to get one with him. Then the three of us hit the vendor stalls. I have to say, I am very proud of myself and managed to not go overboard nor lose sight of my very low budget I had set for myself. I have so many projects already queued, I didn't need any yarn at all. But I had hoped for a little token souvenir from a local company. Well, I couldn't find anything that fit all my criteria on the local front, but I did get a head start on Christmas. Though that unfortunately means you can't see what I got until, oh, December 25th at the earliest. But it's cool. Really cool.

Here are Sue and Kate checking out these gorgeous baby sweater kits that we all drooled over. And then decided $60 and up was a bit much to spend on someone who would only be able to wear the item for a matter of months.Since we were all so well-behaved, we didn't have to drive around Minneapolis sitting on piles of yarn or fighting over who had to ride the roof. But then we got to Crafty Planet. (You know, since we were in town and all...) And the resolve melted a little. But who can blame us, with such a dearth of funky, good quality fabric purveyors in our area? I bought a needle felting kit which I will post about in a separate entry, and these fabrics: But I'm not telling what they're for, yet.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Waiting Patiently for Spring

We've had some more snowfall since it turned officially Spring here in north of the northern hemisphere. We are on our penultimate week of the semester, so I've been swamped with grading, advising, and more grading. I've also given myself to to end of the semester to finish another chapter, (this will be #2), so I've been working on that.

These flowers were a gift from my Aunt Diane and Uncle John for my birthday. They came as bulbs in a beautiful Nantucket basket and they grow and bloom when you add water. I wanted to wait until it was spring-ish weather to make sure they had lots of light and also to make it feel more spring-like in the house. It worked. They grew a couple of feet in a week and have been filling the house with their beautiful scent.

It's been nice enough to bike to work, which has been great and Mobi and I have been able to frequent the lake path quite a bit, too. I hope you are having a wonderful spring, as well!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Eskimo Jacket

Well, it's only April. Seems like a good time to finally show you Meridith's Eskimo Jacket. In all fairness, I didn't get the pictures until about a month ago. And there hasn't been much blogging time, if you hadn't noticed. I think I will be able to catch up a bit this week, though, so stay tuned! And once again my computer or blogger doesn't let me post this facing the right way.
So, Meridith's jacket was knit with the bulky version in Knit Picks Cadena, if I recall correctly. It's a 50% merino 50% llama blend. I liked the dark buttons because they make it match with both brown and black. Since it was in bulky, I didn't make button holes because there was enough space between the stitches and this way she could adjust to her tastes.
For a good time, check out her new blog, Fur, Food, and Foolishness.
I don't have a full-length shot of my Eskimo Jacket. I did mine in the Aran-weight version with Peace Fleece, my new favorite yarn because it's tweedy wool in gorgeous colors and the company is from Maine and trades with international cooperatives to promote world peace. These buttons are made from dyed nuts, I'm told.