Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Shhhh - It's a secret

or -lots of secrets.

I have relatively ambitious Christmas Knitting plans this year; so far all plans are for family. So, while I have, and will be doing lots of knitting in the coming weeks, I won't necessarily have a lot to show until after the gifts are given. I am not exactly sure which of my family reads this blog - I don't think many of them do, but you never know.

I have cast on, and been working on the first round of knitted gifts. So I am offering a sneak peak of the projects that are part of the first round. Some have been featured here before, others have not. This rather colorful pile of yarn represents four pairs of socks, one hat, and one scarf.

Will there be a round two? Only time will tell. Though - it will be likely if I quit making stupid mistakes in my knitting and don't have to redo my work.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Gingerbread House Mid-Century Style

For the last few years, a friend of mine in Lawrence has hosted a gingerbread decorating day at her house. Her mom, who is really into gingerbread houses, drives in from Colorado with her candy stash, construction knowledge, and expertise in frosting making. We are to bake our gingerbread house pieces ahead of time and bring them baked, cooled, and ready for construction and decorating.

My idea was to make a mid-century style gingerbread house. I had a good plan, but
as usual, I baked my pieces at the last minute (it is best to make the pieces a few days in advance so they get stale and hard, and of course the dough has to chill for several hours). So the pieces were burnt and uneven. I am so jealous of the others who had nice, pretty, even pieces.
Anyway - the house turned out fine and it was great fun to decorate.

Notice the pink flamingos (thanks to my friend D) and the War of the Worlds Style Alien (thanks to E) attacking the house. We blame the alien for the hole between the roof and the side of the house you cannot see.

It was a sticky, sugary mess - but a lot of fun to create.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Denmarks Finished

Yesterday afternoon, while watching the KU/Iowa State Game, I finished the Denmark Socks. Now they are on the line drying with leaves floating down around them.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Quick Update

A few posts back, I mentioned some spinning. It is a blue, but not quite as pale as in the picture. The roving is mostly blue, but with subtle vertical stripes of yellow, red, and deeper blue. I feel in love with the roving and I am really enjoying spinning it. I bought the roving at Yarn Barn in Lawrence, but it did not indicate what type of wool. Originally, this was going to be part of the stalled skyline project (which is still in the planning stages), but now I don't know what I will make of it. I am spinning the singles now, with a 3-ply yarn in mind.

I have also been knitting a Denmark Socks from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the road. Just have to finish the last toe and weave in ends.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A tale of two socks

Way back in July, I started two pairs of socks. The swimming pool socks and the Blazing Sky Hiking Socks. Since then, I have not really provided much of an update.
So what has happened to these projects? Both have, for different reasons, been sent to the frog pond.

Let's start with the Blazing Sky Socks
I was not happy with the combination of pattern and yarn. I think the yarn (handspun by me) needs a simpler pattern and the pattern needs a solid color yarn. I have some new ideas, and I may cast on later today.

Now for Swimming Pool - I finished the first sock. I am very happy with the results. I did not cast on right away for the second sock. Actually, it was a couple of months before I started the second sock. I made great progress on the second sock. I finished it on Friday night. I put the two socks side by side and . . . the second sock was HUGE. I was wondering why I ran out of yarn before finishing the second sock, but not the first. Then I realized, I must have grabbed the wrong sized needles when I started the second sock. I checked the pattern - it calls for size 1 needles. I was using size 2. ARGGGHHHHH. I had even sewn in all the ends.

You think I might have noticed the difference a few weeks ago when I took this picture - but no.

So I have restarted the second swimming pool sock, on the correct sized needles. I am so sick of knitting this pattern. It's for a Christmas gift though, so I must carry on.


Sunday, November 11, 2007


This morning on the "news" they had a piece about multi-tasking (this was one of the national morning news shows). And it got me thinking. Do I multi-task? Should I multi-task?

To me multi-tasking means doing two things (or more) at the same time. In thinking through my day, I realize . . I don't really multi-task. There are lots of times when I am doing one thing (writing my lecture) and I get interrupted by something else (a student needing help or an e-mail I remembered I need to send). But rarely do I ever actually do two things simultaneously. I cant write a blog post while I am waiting for something to print (as I am doing now . . . I had better check on my printing). But now that my paper's are done printing (it's an exam for tomorrow), I can't proof the exam while I am writing.

It turns out, that I can't do two things at once. If I attempt it (ie surf the web while talking to someone on the phone), neither task is done well. The only time I can multi-task is if one of the two things I am doing requires no thinking. I can talk on the phone while doing the dishes. I can knit while watching TV. I do very simple knitting while reading, but even then I find myself drifting towards one or the other task. And I cannot even imagine that it is physically possible to do more than two things at once. Even when I knit while watching TV, I find that my focus inevitably ends up either on my knitting or on the TV program.

So I wonder - do people really do more than two things simultaneously? If not, what is considered multi-tasking? And the bigger question - why is multi-tasking so valued in our culture?

I think we need to slow down. Focus on one thing at a time and do that thing well.