Knitting, Botany, Mycology, Nature, Adventure, and Life... in no particular order.

29th June 2014


Misadventures with Nature

This past week I was away at what I lovingly refer to as nerd camp. A whole week studying mosses! I’ll write more on that later. On my last night there I had quite the misadventure.

First, after cleaning everything up, I went and sat in the dirt parking lot to look up at the stars. Everyone else was probably asleep and I sat there marveling at how many stars I could see while talking quietly on the phone with Husband. In a quiet moment I heard a sound coming from what could have been the far end of the parking lot. A low quiet “Grrrrrrr” sound. I decided that perhaps it was a good time to go to bed since squirrels do not make a growling sound and the dog that is on the property during the day was home for the evening. I’m not sure what was growling at me in the Maine woods and that is just fine.

Back at my little cabin there were moths flying all around the light. Lots of them, including a big Luna moth! It was acting a bit like a crazy moth though slamming itself into the wall and light over and over moving at high speeds. I managed to get inside without letting the giant, beautiful, manic moth in.

I climbed into bed and was finally drifting off when I started hearing a frantic thwacking sound over my head. I was confused and had no glasses on but opening my eyes I could make out what appeared to be a moth frantically smacking into the tiny light on my smoke detector. I thought to myself, maybe it will get bored and stop. I’m sure I can sleep through it. Next thing I know “BEEEP! BEEEP!” of the smoke detector. “You’ve got to be fu king kidding me!” Now wide awake I put on my glasses and turn on the light. At least the moth startled itself as well as me and had settled on the wall.

With small feelings of guilt and the knowledge it was the moth or me I swatted it. Feeling totally awake and a bit off I called Husband to tell the tale of crazy moth who hit the test button of the smoke detector (I thought).

With the light on inside and floor to ceiling windows outside my friend the manic luna moth showed up and started smashing against the window. Loudly and repeatedly. Like a crazy person knocking to come in.

We decided it was time for me to try to sleep and I did. Nature let up for a bit and decided that was enough.

Epilogue: I told my smoke detector story to the fellow who runs the field station. He calmly and unsurprisedly explained that moths have scales on their wings that flake off and because smoke detectors really detect particulate matter as smoke it was the wing scales of the moth that set off the detector not it smashing into the button. He said it with such confidence that I am certain this is not the first time it has happened to a student of the field station. Good grief!

Tags naturenerdcamp


4th May 2014


Let Me Finish This Row First

I have come to a recent realization that is a bit surprising to me. Playing a video game for my husband can be a lot like knitting for me.

Whenever I am knitting there is a good chance that I cannot just drop what I am doing. Sometimes I am knitting something simple enough I can stop wherever and be fine to pick it up later. Many times I am knitting something with very precise instructions or charts and if I just stop I may be able to figure out where I was but it could take quite a bit of work. Most of the time with these I really prefer to just finish the row. It is not uncommon for knitters to say “as soon as I finish this row” in response to many things.

Occasionally, when knitting really tricky or exciting things, we even call for a bit more time to finish up. I use the phrase, “let me get to a spot where I remember what I was doing” in these cases. I try never to do this if there is an actual reason I should stop quickly. Needing to catch a bus, dealing with a spill, someone needing more immediate help, needing to get off public transit, dinner cooking questions, etc. However, when it is a situation where we are going to transition from lazy coffee shop relaxing time to the next thing then I am more likely to indulge in knitting a bit more and getting into a good spot to pick up from.

My husband is infinitely patient and understanding of this.

As someone who has never knit, but loves to benefit from knit things and has seen his partner quite upset when stitches have dropped or other bad knitting things have happened, he still has surprising patience. He is quite a patient man in general and is not very big on hurrying, which generally works in my favor. (It does not work in his favor as much since I pretty much always want to hurry, except when I am knitting or looking at things through hand lenses.) Still, it is a bit surprising how he understands completely that I need a bit more time to finish something.

I was sitting at the kitchen table this morning and reminded him his breakfast was getting cold. He explained that he was just getting to a place where he would remember what he was doing and what he needed to do next. Suddenly it clicked. Sometimes how video games work is how knitting works. Sometimes you can just put it down, sometimes you need to “finish the row” by completing the task you are in the middle of (like a boss fight or a skill test or whatever), and sometimes you really need to make sure you know what the heck is going on when you come back to the thing. In knitting this might be if you’re in the middle of a big cable or lace repair job and in a video game it might be because you’re in a big open world with a million things to do and you don’t want to forget your plans.

After living together with knitting and video games for almost 6 years this only just clicked. Suddenly I feel as if my patience for him needing more time to finish up has expanded greatly. Knitting and playing video games are almost the same!

It still means we both need to keep an eye on each other to make sure we’re actually just finishing up and not excitedly starting the next chart instead of going to bed.

Tags knittingvideo gameslifepatience


21st May 2013


The Final Countdown

dodo doo do

do do do do

We are into single digit days till I marry my fella and start calling him my hubby. So low in the single digits that we are almost at the prime number run. I think this explains why perhaps I have been so quiet.

Other than that things are pretty good and normal. To alleviate planning stresses I picked up some amazing yarn dyed by the lovely Jill Daper. Splendor Sock Yarn (Superwash Merino, Cashmere & Nylon) in the North Atlantic colorway. I have plenty of yarn for knitting, even for sock knitting. But I turned to the fella while out at my favorite LYS and explained that I needed simple stress relief knitting. That I needed to be able to just knit, whenever and wherever, despite whatever was going on around me. And, that I needed to be able to do this NOW without pulling out the swift and ball winder (which involves clearing surfaces to put the swift on). He agreed immediately, wholeheartedly, and encouraged me to pick whatever yarn would be the most stress relieving to knit with.

How could I not want to marry that man.

That was April 7th. I now have 1 sock done (after tearing back from above the ankle to before the heel) and am mostly done with the heel of the second sock. EMERGENCY STRESS RELIEF SOCKS ARE SAVING MY SANITY! (And if they are done before the wedding I am bringing them, just in case.


I have also been working on something to have knitted for the wedding. I figure it should be small, so as not to make me crazier than I already am. I also like to think of it as lucky… Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Knitted, Something Blue, and a Silver Thruppence in Your Shoe. (Note: I only added 1 phrase there. I don’t think I’ll get a three pence, but  considered it.)

For my something knitted I decided that making a wrap to go around the bouquet was an excellent idea. It is small and I get to hold it. I picked up some Manos Silky Wool also at my favorite LYS. (If you haven’t been to Gather Here yet you really need to go.) I picked up the Natural and then swatched a bunch. The end result is now blocking and waiting for me to sew on hooks.

Blocking Bouquet Wrap

I used the Shifting Sands pattern by Grumperina and it turned out just how I wanted. Texture and cables without seeming celtic or too cabley. Now I have to decide if I want to find a way to attach my Grandmother’s wedding ring to the piece, perhaps with a clasp so I can put it on that morning, or wether to just wear the ring. My Grandma taught me to knit when I was pretty wee, maybe 4 or 5, so having the ring be with the knitting seems right. I don’t want to hand that off to the florist though. So, we’ll see. No matter what she’ll be with me, as will all the matriarchs from the other side of the family. I’ve got something from them that will either be my old or borrowed and totally floored me. You’ll have to wait to see what it is.

I’ll try to be back soon, maybe even with some wedding pictures.

(reference for those who wonder what all the do do’s are at the top)

Tags knittinglifelovefellawedding


13th March 2013




So I’m knitting matching hats for the fiancé and me. Both are Habitat by Jared Flood. Both are knit in Swans Island worsted with natural dyes. Mine is in Vintage Lilac and is cruising along. His is in charcoal and the progress is slow. Why? Crocking.

Turns out with indigo (a pigment and not a dye) you can get something called crocking when you knit with the yarn. (Same thing if you wear dark jeans and the color runs off on things.) In this situation it rubs off on the needles and my hands. A lot.

So this is after maybe 4-5 rounds of knitting, which is not a lot of knitting and a lot of crocking. While I love natural dyes and Swans Island I think that I’ll avoid indigo in the future. What a crock…

Tags knittingcrockingswans island


11th February 2013


To Read or Not to Read

I have a book out of the library and I can’t decide if I want to finish reading it.

The book is Girlchild: A Novel by Tupelo Hassman. I saw it at the library and it looked interesting and the plot summary sounded interesting. I took it home. I started it.

It was a bit shocking and not what I expected. It is excellent. It is raw. It is heartbreaking. I am only 73 pages in.

It is not fun, light, or at this point a feel good story. That is ok. I even like this sort of thing sometimes. I am not sure if now is the time.

Normally I finish novels (non-fiction I often start off strong with and then peter out). Even if they are not what I expected I finish them. (I do not finish them if I dislike them. Fuck you Wuthering Heights.) This book I do not dislike. I might even like it; however I feel like I might not be emotionally prepared to handle it right now.

I have been using books as a way to escape, kill time, relax, destress, etc. I have not been using them for rigid intellectual stimulation. I have not been reading anything that is hard to read due to content. The questions is, should I?

I know there is no should. It is whatever I want. I just feel uncomfortable that this story makes me uncomfortable and squamish and feel bad. That I want to just have places to escape to and this is not that place and the character need a place to escape to as well.

So, yeah. I don’t know.


10th February 2013



Deco Update!

I am on row 14 of my 3rd repeat of chart 2. Once this row is done I will have 120 rows left before binding off.

The yarn is lovely and squishy (classic elite silky alpaca lace) and the addi turbo lace make knitting easy.

Chart is straightforward thus far though sometimes the way the pattern progresses is unintuitive. So far the result is lovely!

Back to it!

Tags knittinglacedecoshawl


8th February 2013



So I’ve been quiet but happy. Here’s some new exciting things in my life. A new engagement ring we picked out. Every time I look at it I think about how much my fella loves me and how much I love him. (Hint: a LOT!)

While slowly adjusting to my new life as a fancy lady (in jeans and a hoodie) we are also attempting to plan this wedding thing. So far we have a date for immediate family. Until we have more set I can’t say more.

I swear I’ll blog about knitting soon!!

Tags engagementlovelifeshiny


22nd January 2013



DSCF2114 by Jacob Barss-Bailey on Flickr.

I hung out with a bunch of nerds over the weekend. We tried to solve puzzles. I love these guys! #GrandUnifiedTheoryofLove

Tags mitmysteryhunt2013mysteryhuntGUToL


1st January 2013


Rhinebeck 2011

As promised, some pictures. Very late.

Encountered some enthusiasts pregaming in the parking area. With tea. In china teacups. (I must do this sometime! The collapsible tables are excellent!)

I can’t remember who did this shawl, but it was there in 2012 too and it just knocks me out.

Acting like a real grownup I ate apple crisp for lunch (or earlier) and avoided the lines.

The Ravelry meetup was well attended

The animals were cute and silly!

The artichokes french were the best things I have ever eaten. (And if you wait till late afternoon the line is fine. Just don’t wait too long or they might run out!)

I competed in chopstick speed knitting (poorly)!

And I walked away with very reasonable goodies. (No yarn at all, but just what I was looking for!)

Thanks for being so patient. I’ll try and catch up and be better this year!

Tags Rhinebeck2011NY sheep & wool


31st December 2012


And so it ends

Well, the countdown on 2012 is here and we can all gear up for 2013.

I haven’t managed to get better at blogging regularly. I haven’t figured out what planning a wedding means. I certainly haven’t managed to keep my hope spotless, free of laundry, and with a tidy office/knitting room. Also, still no monogamous knitting or only stash knitting.

I am working on giving myself a break. Apparently I have Puritanical grief. I am looking forward to figuring out how to plan a wedding. I am glad friends have new jobs they love, even if they are farther away. I am looking forward to more runs and exercise as my leg improves.

I think 2013 is going to bring us good things. Not necessarily more blogging, but good things. I am going to ring it in with my fella, some friends, good cheese, boardgames, and a variety of single malt scotch.

Happy New Year to you!

Tags looking backnew yearhope


10th November 2012



Deco At Last

I finally stumbled upon the perfect deco shawl pattern on Ravelry that I also think is a reasonable size project to tackle. It is not a wedding shawl since I think one should have a better idea of what they are doing for their wedding before picking a shawl to knit. It will be perfect for dressing up and drinking cocktails and dancing. Guess I should learn how to dance better!

Pattern: Glenallen Shawl by Design By Dee

Tags knittingplanning


29th October 2012


Here Comes Sandy

Well I hope all of those along the Eastern Seaboard are well battened down. Here in MA they have closed almost everything! (Even major Universities that are known to never close have closed for the day.) It is likely some of the farther out suburbs and also people along the coast are in for some trouble, but nothing like what NJ, Virginia, DC, and the NYC area are about to get. They are the ones I am worried about.

Anyways, here that means that perhaps I will actually write a Rhinebeck roundup post, because man was it super fun.

In the meantime I better shower and then fill the tub. I assume everyone learned from their parents to fill the tub if a big storm is expected. (Drinking water is not tub water though, however if you loose power for a while the ability to have water to flush a toilet can be pretty excellent.)

Stay safe!

Tags Sandystormlife


20th October 2012


Mobile Testing

I am testing to see how blogging from my fancy-schmancy mobile device works. Tomorrow is Rhinebeck and I am hoping to post pictures here sine I never did last year.

Also, I need to figure out a better way to do posts with pictures since Flickr isn’t keen on imbedding theirs.

Next up: YARNVENTURE! (I really need to not purchase a spinning wheel, a cuddly animal, or a whole fleece.)

Tags bloggingyarnRhinebeckadventure


11th August 2012


A slight disparity

I am cranking away on Color Affection and will show you soon. I have about 35 hours before the games are over and I have to be done and I have to do things that are not knitting between now and then!

So, my disparity is with my wonky leg, which is actually getting much better and less wonky. It a strange tale of my puzzling and surprising doctors, but that is not what I am here to tell you now.

So, my healthy leg has a circumference of 39cm (or about 15.35 inches). I can just squeeze this into most knee high boots. Lovely. However my wonky leg is now a whopping 43cm (16.91) at its largest point which always refuses to fit into the matching member of any pair of knee high boots I find.

Fall is coming. (Winter too but I won’t give you the satisfaction of using the phrase directly.) I could really use some black boots (probably without or with very low heels) for work/dressing up.

Who knows where to get boots for legs not shaped like toothpicks?!

Tags legshoesknitting


15th July 2012


Ravellenic Games Approach

So this year’s Summer 2012 Ravelympic Ravellenic Games are quickly approaching! The opening ceremonies start at 7:30 pm in London (that’s London time) and that is when anyone crazy enough can “compete” in knitting/crochet/spinning events from their homes (or a pub or wherever) while watching the games.

I love the Olympics more than any other sporting event, though I cannot chose which 1 event is my favorite (or even which season). The best of the best in the whole world (well, of the allowed countries) coming together to compete in pure athletic ability. Want to see amazing human ability, watch the 100m or 200m sprints. It is almost inconceivable how fast those people run. My jaw hangs slack the whole time.

So, in the spirit of the games, I chose to participate in knitting events to challenge myself while watching those who define the levels of human ability and self challenge. I hope to watch the games this summer with friends, colleagues, knitting strangers, at home, in pubs and public places, and even streaming during lunch breaks.

So, how will I compete while cheering on the best of the best? That is an excellent question!

1. I will knit a pair of simple socks in one of my most coveted yarns. Toe up, and hopefully matching!

2. I will knit a shawl. (here comes the hard part.)

For the shawl I will either knit a lace half-circle shawl called Vostok in Classic Elite Silly Alpaca Lace (silver) that I am considering as a wedding shawl (no, I have no actual wedding details yet). (Photo from pattern page and from Webs page. Seems to be from flickr and copyright of user DisgruntledOwl. It is an amazing photo and certainly not mine.)

Or I will knit the currently super popular shawl Color Affection (that has been dubbed the Color Affliction by the Yarn Harlot) (This photo from pattern and copyright veera. It is being used from the blog 100% Rain where you can also buy the pattern.)

So, the question becomes, which one to knit?! I think the lace would be a huge challenge but lots of fun. It would be hard to do while in transit or while actually watching tv. (Socks would be fine in these situations.) The striped shawl is beautiful, looks like fun, and seems like it would actually be quite useful as the temperature drops. It also seems like something I could finish in the allotted time along with a pair of socks. (Note: allotted time: 16 days (really 16.5 or so) during which I have work and other commitments. Yes, I do plan on taking some vacation days in there for Olympics/Knitting/Relaxing.)

It has been mentioned by me and my betrothed that perhaps rushing through a lace project of that complexity that I hope to use for a wedding might be stressful. I also feel very excited by the garter stitch stripes. Very excited.


Tags knittingknitting olympicsRavelryRavellenic Gamesshawlengagement


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