WIP Wednesday: In Flight

Today's WIP Wednesday (Handy link to Tami's blog) is a little different.  As I type this I'm in my office looking at my boarding passes for my flight tonight.  I'm going to Texas for a conference (my first solo trip and my first national/international conference).  Since I have still knitted nothing but the Featherweight we're going to mix it up again.  Today's WIP?  Travel.

Tonight I will be spending many hours in airports and even more hours hundreds of feet above ground crowded into airplanes.  One thing every good knitter should have when they travel is an emergency kit.  Since I'll be going through security I wanted to make sure it would have what I need without containing anything that will get me into trouble (I'm also not checking baggage, so I don't have a place to store other supplies).  It also needs to be compact enough to fit in my computer bag.

Enter this little gem.  My mom gave it to me over the summer and it makes the perfect small kit.   Inside we have buttons, thread, safety pins, stitch markers and holders, measuring tape, and earing backs (when I travel  I wear one set of small diamonds Chris gave to me, but sometimes I get fidgety and the backs fall off).  I also have a "Will Knit for Coffee" yarn dot just for fun and spice.

Oh, and a small piece of Malabrigo.  Because one should always carry buttery softness at all times.


Sandy Treats

Today summer officially ended.  Yes, I know the official first day of fall was last week, and it's still 90 something degrees outside, but today's the day.  Because today the local donut shop, Britts, closed up for the season.

You all know that I live by the beach, so the idea that our critically acclaimed food is donuts might come as a bit of a surprise.  I know, the concept of eating a hot donut and sipping whole milk while standing in the sand on a hot summer morning does not sound all that appealing.  But trust me.  It is.  People come from all over to have these donuts.  They're seriously like nothing you've ever tasted before.  They only make one kind, glazed.  But they literally melt in your mouth and the sweetness is just short of overwhelming.  I can only buy a half dozen at a time because I've been known to eat more than 4 in a day.  They're just that good.  And only about 15 minutes down the road (Yes, I live about 15 minutes from the beach and I never go.  I'm a bad person and will try to work on that).

Three generations enjoying a donut over Easter
So, as a last hurrah I broke my 6 donut rule and bought a dozen yesterday.  I still have 6 left as I sit here typing, but I'm not so sure how long that will last.  They're just so good!


Sometimes It's Better to Receive

I love getting mail.  There's something about the mystery of checking the mailbox.  It's like finding out you have a comment on a blog post.  Super exciting.  So you can imagine how excited I was when my package from Mom contained this.

I'm not sure the technical fashion term for this item, but I'm going to call it a "caplet" cause it's not a poncho, but it's not a shawl either.  It's a handknit from my Aunt and it's made out of Noro (I know. You can stop drooling now), which I have never knit with, but am now even more determined to purchase.  I've only received a few hand knits in my time, and this is the first one I've been given since I started knitting myself.  I can only hope that everything I make for someone else makes them feel as special as I felt when I put on this caplet.  And I'm going to try harder to handknit gifts for people I know who knit rather than buy them something (unless it's something knitting related), because I truly appreciate the amount of time and effort that went in to making this.

It is still obscenely hot here in North Carolina, but we had the vaguest hint of a breeze on Friday, so I changed my outfit in the last 10 minutes before I headed out the door.

A little warm, but I love it.  Plus, I got tons of compliments from people who were shocked that it was handmade.  Ah, the joys of knitting.


WIP Wednesday: Where did Napoleon keep his armies?

It's yet another WIP Wednesday and I am still working on the featherweight cardi. I know it's slow going and such, but I've been monogamous to it for a while, which is highly unusual for me. I do have other projects on the needles, I promise, they just have not interested me as much lately. So yet another featherweight update it is.

I made a lot of progress this past week. Because Chris and I went back home, I knit the entire 4 hour drive from his apartment to my parents' house, which got me through a huge section of the body. On Sunday I put the body onto waste yarn because we were going to the football game and I did not want to be pulling out my measuring tape every 30 minutes to see how far I had left to go. So instead I started working on this:

That's right. I started a sleeve! My first ever. Isn't it cool? There's something really satisfying about working on the sleeve. I picked up the stitches in the car on the way to the game and it has been smooth sailing ever since. I've heard rumors of second sleeve syndrome, a vicious cousin of second sock syndrome, but I'm hoping my enthusiasm will keep me safe.

So where did Napoleon keep his armies? In his sleevies! (probably not knitted by Josephine)


Panthers Forever

Yesterday Chris, my parents, and I went to the Carolina Panthers' first home game of the season.  I've mentioned this before, but I am a huge fan.  My parents live about an hour from Charlotte, so we were almost inevitable fans.

We engaged in many of the rituals of football obsession.


Walking a mile to the stadium because we wanted cheap parking:

And sitting in the upper deck of the stadium (this is where true fans sit, after all):

Unfortunately, Chris was not raised as well as I was, so he's a . . . *shudder* . . . Tampa Bay fan.

We had a great time.  We yelled until we were hoarse, tried not to throw things, and jumped out of our seats so much that I may have re-aggravated my knee (injured, if you'll remember, when I took that celebratory leap into the kitchen wall).  Mostly we just had a good time spending the afternoon together.

And I continued to prove that I will take knitting anywhere, though not much was accomplished.

Who won the game?  You don't want to know.


A Wicked Repurposing

Greetings from Western North Carolina!  Where we watch banjo rock bands during football commercials (I'm serious. And they weren't all that bad, either).  I'm HOOOOOME!  Only for about twelve more hours, but it is still so nice.  Chris and I came down last night and are going to the Panther / Bucs game (NFL) tomorrow with my parents.  It's gonna rock!

Today I hung out with my family for most of the day.  Mom and I hit a yard sale, discount groceries, and I got a hair cut (Finally!  I'm really bad about only wanting the woman who cuts my hair here to do anything with it).  And then this evening my sister came up from college and we all had a cookout on the porch (no pictures, sorry, we ate it too fast).

I don't think I mentioned it here, but back in April I sent my Wicked Vest to my sister for her birthday.  It didn't really fit me and she loved it.  Only problem was that the buttons had fallen off before I sent it to her (oops!)  I picked up some at Knit One while I was in Pittsburgh, but she never got around to sewing them on.  So today we decided to fix that.  However, when she tried it on buttoned it still didn't look right.

Then Eva got this genius idea -- sew the fronts of the vest down to the outside so that it stayed open.  Then I put the buttons on as a sort of "design element".

Isn't it pretty?  Eva can make anything look gorgeous, so I credit most of the coolness to her.  But I'm still pretty excited about how it turned out.  I've decided I need to make her model for me more often.  She's so photogenic.

Yes, she tried to steal my hat. Didn't happen.

Mr. Irish Bear is here too. He says hi!


Very Un-American Football

In case you were wondering what grad school is like when we're not spending five million hours in the library surrounded by a fort of dusty old books:

See all those tiny people?  That's our history department intramural soccer team.  I played on the softball team last semester (which was a funny sight, let me tell you), but I do not play soccer.  I don't even like soccer.  But it was a lot of fun sitting and watching my fellow grad students run around.  And the girls kept me entertained.

Our team is the Red Scare, because we are, obviously, a bunch of history geeks.  And yes, I had some hand in the name.  That's what they get for putting together everything and asking the two Soviet students for their input.  So those of us not on the team show up in our obnoxious jerseys and, if you're me, yell unrelated Russian words at the players. Though mostly I focused on taking goofy pictures with someone else's camera (never leave a camera in our possession unless you want "foot + ball = soccer" pictures).  

And the featherweight cardi made another appearance.  Sadly, no one commented on the appropriateness of the color.  I felt very themed.


Runaway knitting

We had a bit of a scare yesterday.  Seems the Featherweight Cardi decided it wanted to see more of life than it was meant to at this stage and jumped ship.  After several hours of panic and agitation my scared little bag of yarn finally returned to me while I was in class.

"Dearest Faith- I have returned safe & sound. Love, Your knitting"
It has promised to behave and wait until it is finished before it attempts to go exploring again.


WIP Wednesday: We Have Shoulders!

I'm still working away on the Featherweight.  I put the "sleeves" on holders on Saturday and they're all ready to start.  I know that the Knitmore Girls recommend knitting your sleeves before the rest of the sweater, but I'm not sure I'm going to do that.  See, I've never knit sleeves before.  I know, I know, but I've stuck to vests when it comes to sweater knitting, or turning sweater patterns into vest patterns (like the Runaways Sweater).

It's not that I'm afraid of knitting sleeves, it's that I live on the North Carolina coast and 8 months out of the year long sleeves are just not needed outside (Inside, however, is a different story. We love our air conditioning).  You would think that I would want to knit them the easiest way possible, but since I've never knit sleeves I want to make sure they are a proper length. To my brain this means finishing the body of the sweater so that I can try it on as I knit the sleeves.  Maybe this is silly.  Maybe not.  I do know that when I wear long sleeves I like them to be a little on the long side so that they cover part of my palm.  Fortunately I have a ton of this yarn, so I should have plenty for longer sleeves and a generous collar.

Mr. Irish Bear  is very excited to see this project come along.  The increases for the shoulders look great and he thinks I should just bind it off here so that he can steal it.  Silly bear.



Did you miss us?

We took a short break because my friend Taryn came to town to meet with her thesis committee and slept on my couch for the past few days.  There was also a surprise birthday party thrown into the mix.

And Sunday was the start of . . . football season!  In case you haven't figured it out by now I am a rabid fan of the Carolina Panthers (so is Luke, just look at what he's wearing these days).  We may have lost our first game in outstanding fashion, but I was not able to watch so it doesn't count.  Right?  All I care right now is that we win our next one.  Chris and I are going with my parents, so expect a full report soon.

More exciting life news (how does it get more exciting than football?), I passed my language exam!  In my grad program you have to pass a translation proficiency test in a foreign language at least semester before you plan to defend your thesis.  Basically they give you a photocopy of a primary text, a few pieces of paper, tell you to bring your own dictionary, and give you an hour and a half to translate the entire document.  This is why I spent the summer in Pittsburgh, because if I did not pass this semester I would not be able to defend my thesis and graduate in May.

My dictionary, purchased in 2005 when I decided I wanted to study Soviet history

The only problem with passing?  Now I have no excuse not to finish!

PS: Did you enjoy the last post?  Her Universe actually linked it in their twitter feed!  Talk about something exciting and encouraging to see before I went to my language exam.


Meeting Ahsoka (or Faith is a Star Wars Spazz)

If you've ever been to Dragon*Con, you know the wonders of the dealers' room. It's stuffed to the roof with geeky vendors and people and anything you could possibly want to buy (with the notable exception this year of a flask, which is all I really intended to purchase). So of course, we spent a considerable amount of time wandering, not really buying, and seeing what we could find. On Saturday night we were getting ready to leave when I saw a booth of Star Wars clothing. And who was in the booth, but Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano herself (Anakin's padawan in Star Wars: The Clone Wars), promoting her clothing line Her Universe I cannot rave enough about how nice she was. Not only did she take an interest in talking to me, but she also signed one of her cards for me. And that is before I bought anything.

The next day I went back and bought one of the more expensive items-- the Star Wars zip-up hoodie. Have you seen this thing? Let me tell you about it.

First off, check out that Darth Vader on the front. So cool! All of the artwork on the surface is really nice and well done (the back says "May the Force be with You" along the bottom). I love the fact that the front only has one small image. So many girls' tops have giant pictures on the front that really throw off the balance of the look. It's also super soft. I mean seriously. I rave about cashmere, but, lets just say I've been thinking about turning up the air conditioning so that I can wear it more. And the right front pocket? Yeah, it has a hidden ipod pocket with headphones opening. Brilliant. The hoodie is priced at $50, but if you buy it at an event you don't pay tax and you get a lovely [new knitting] bag. I'm adding different shirts to my wishlist for birthdays and Christmas because I love the idea of having Star Wars shirts that did not come from the boy's section in Wal-Mart (i.e. they actually fit properly!)

Even if you're not a Star Wars fanatic like me or have no desire to spend $30 on a tshirt (I understand. But trust me, from what I've seen these are really well made), you should still go check out Ashley's blog. Star Wars is something that connects every generation and appeals to every age level. It's something that young girls can latch on to, as I did, and find comfort in the stories of strong female characters. However, as much as I love Carrie Fisher, there has not ever been anyone I would consider to be a good female role model for these girls. Until now. I really think Ashley is changing this and I hope that even after her character's story ends (I hope she dies in some tragic way that has me bawling over a cartoon) she continues to be a strong force in the geek verse to help change the perception of girls who would rather play Star Wars in the backyard then dress barbies. Being a geek is a desirable characteristic.


WIP Wednesday: Knitting in Line

I signed on to do a WIP [works in progress for all you non-crafters] Wednesday meme for the Blog Hub group on Ravelry, only to realize that I really don't have much to talk about (Yes, I finally got up the guts to call myself a blogger and take this craziness to the next level).  The only thing I've been working on lately is my Featherweight Cardigan, which I took with me to Dragon*Con.

I actually (surprise!) don't have any pictures of myself knitting in any of the lines in which I stood, but I was knitting.  I promise.  I actually conned friends into carrying my knitting bag for me at some times so that I would not have to carry a bag (Frank carried it for a while clipped to the outside of his bag. He looked so manly).

I think I overestimated how fast laceweight knits up.  I'm still knitting away on the initial increases.  And then it's just stockinette for the sleeves and body of the sweater (followed by a giant collar, but we won't think about that right now).  I'm looking forward to knitting the body because I can just sit and read on the porch and work my way along.

I really should be calling this WIP [Weight in Progress] Wednesday.  I just bought my first bag of the candy corn season!  (Though it feels really weird to buy candy corn in 90 degree weather)


How Many T's to Atlanta?

Once again, Dragon*Con was amazing. We had so much fun.

On Friday we drove down to Atlanta, which is quite the drive from Raleigh, NC.  But we made it!  Of course, once we got there and started changing into costume the zipper on my super cheap, super awesome leather skirt broke.  Andrea and I actually sewed the zipper shut so that I would not have to abandon my Faith Lehane costume.  Fortunately it worked!

Me and my BFF Andrea - our Merlot's girl for the night

We even managed to get through the registration line in a reasonable amount of time and went to the Buffy Horror Picture Show and Doctor Horrible Live.  Epic does not describe how much fun they were.

On Saturday we met Summer Glau.  She is so nice!  She treated us with such consideration and friendliness, even after she had been signing autographs all morning.  The only panels I attended were with the Firefly cast, so we saw Summer several more times.  And she loves Chuck! (the cast of which we cosplayed that day)

Yes, we all know that I should never be blond.

I also met three of my favorite Star Wars authors -- Kevin J. Anderson, A. C. Crispin, and Michael Stackpole, all of whom were nice enough to sign my books.  A. C. Crispin is one of my all-time favorite authors.  Her books are the reason I got into genre sci-fi and her Han Solo trilogy is my favorite set of Star Wars novels.  She has a new novel that will be released next semester.  A prequel novel about Jack Sparrow for Pirates of the Caribbean.  You can bet I will be preordering it.

Who else did I discover on my wandering?  I met Georges Jeanty, who was very nice and signed my Buffy Season 8 issue one.  I'm working on finding a frame for it.  I know it's not currently available for purchase, but I don't want to risk anything happening to it.  We'll see what I come up with.  I also met Ashley Eckstein (the voice of Ahsoka Tano in the Clone Wars) who was at the con promoting her new clothing line Her Universe.  I bought a hoodie from her which I will be reviewing in a later post.  She was also super nice and chatted with me for a while.  She also gave me an autograph for free, and this was before I went back to buy something from her.  

My overall impression of everyone I met was very positive.  Everyone seemed so excited to meet the fans and interact with them.  And all con attendees were having so much fun cosplaying and meeting people whom we look up to.  I loved it!  If you want to hear more about our trip and all the fun we had, you can check out Echo Alert in the next few days.  I took my handheld recorder, which we made quite entertaining use of (or at least we found it entertaining.  We were rather tired).

Oh, and I tried to do some knitting, but I was having so much fun I was not very successful.  I am still working on the initial shoulder increases of my Featherweight, but it was a nice light weight project to cart around with me for standing in extreme lines and keeping my hands busy during panels. 

PS: The Indiana Jones costume was a hit.  People actually stopped me to ask to take a picture!



Mr. Irish Bear was up early this morning, helping me pack.  Unfortunately he seems to have the mistaken idea that he's going to Dragon*Con with me.

I had to explain to him that no, the Indiana Jones costume is mine and he has to stay home and watch the stuff just in case we get a hurricane.  This is the reaction I got:

Poor Mr. Irish Bear.  We just can't risk getting him lost in an Atlanta hotel.  I think he'll understand eventually.

Then again, maybe not.



Tomorrow I leave for Dragon*Con! We actually won't get to Atlanta until Friday, but tomorrow I'll be driving to Raleigh to meet up with the rest of the gang and then set out for the best weekend of the year. I'm taking three costumes this year. Currently everything is sitting on top of my suitcase because I haven't figured out how to make three pairs of boots fit in my bag. Plus I have to take some school work.

Of course I'm taking knitting (uh, hello, 7 hour drive, lots of time spent in lines). While I was knitting the Blue Marigold Vest I discovered the Featherweight Cardigan. I have three skeins of Cascade Alpaca Lace in this gorgeous dark red colorway that my mom gave to me. She accidentally bought it when she first started knitting but has no desire as of yet to knit lace. So what does a girl who lives at the beach do with over 1000 yards of laceweight do? Knit a cardigan! And yes, I bought it specifically to knit at the con. I have already swatched and done my setup rows. I also picked up a small circular so that I can knit sleeves without worrying about double-pointed needles.

If you haven't been paying attention to the weather, or are fortunate enough to not live on the East Coast, you might not have heard that we're bracing for a hurricane here in North Carolina. It's not supposed to hit until after I leave town, and actually the full force is supposed to go north of us, but I'm still making a few preparations. I have two rubbermaid tubs sitting in my kitchen just in case the windows break or the roof leaks or something. Thanks to the flood last summer, the amount of items I cannot live without has shrunk drastically. In moments of crisis I'm down to one box of a few irreplaceable sentimental items, recording equipment, external hard drive and another box of dvds (my tv box set collection is getting a little too big to replace). The fact that I can compress my life into these two boxes is a little scary, but it makes hurricane precautions a snap. Hopefully these will all be unnecessary preparations, but since I'll be gone for the duration of the storm, I want to be ready.

Now, I must get back to packing. And reading.