I have returned from my great midwestern excursion. Technically, we returned Sunday night, but I’ve been too busy getting back into the swing of things to fit in any blog time. Jason and I had a great trip: my presentation went well, I had dinner with some really fun medievalists (stop laughing), and successfully hunted and procured an apartment. We really love our new place, and can’t wait to get out to Michigan in August. The campus is really pretty, and I tried to take lots of pics of the trip, but somehow ended up with photos strictly relating to feathered friends. Here are some shots of the campus pond, some crazy fowl, and the baby ducks I wanted to ducknap.
Because of the rushed nature of our trip, I only got to attend my panel and another (on the portrayal of the female body in medieval lit which was way cool) and spent any time not running around looking for apartments squealing at the various winged creatures. The baby ducks in particular were a huge distraction, as their nest was outside the window of a panel I attended. Afterward we all spent plenty of time just giggling at the cute.
After the congress, Jason and I drove out to Illinois and visited with my fam out there. We got to see my aunt, uncle, and cousins that I haven’t seen in years, as well as meet the cousins’ significant others. Everyone was so great, and Jason felt right at home immediately. We had a wonderful visit, and though we were sad it was so short, we’re both so excited that they’ll all be so much closer next year. All in all, it was a wonderful visit, and I really liked the small bit of Kalamazoo I got to see. The people at the university as well as in town itself were kind, warm, and helpful, and the town looks really adorable. I didn’t get to scope out any yarn stores, but I believe there are four. Also, I spied several fiber festivals in Michigan in August, and I’m really hoping to check one out before the insanity of pursuing a PhD begins. Yippee, fibery goodness!
In knitting news, I didn’t get much done while traveling. I started a new swatch in the round for honeymoon, but didn’t get much done as I’m a really really nervous flier. I find sweaty hands plus pretty yarn generally equal bad news. I returned home and got an email from A Good Yarn announcing a big sale, so I stopped today on the way home from class. I prepared a list beforehand, and promised myself not to go overboard, only buying yarn that was on sale. I returned with this:
Patches was intrigued, so I promised to let her model. She’s so cute, oh mow. But I digress. I got an entire bag of Jamieson’s Soft Shetland in color 1020 (Nighthawk), which I plan to use for the Notre Dame de Grace pullover. The color is this really intriguing deep tealish blue, with slight heathering up close. It’s such a pretty jewel tone, and though it’s 100% Shetland wool(which usually cranks up the itch factor for me), I think it will be perfect for such a slouchy, layerific sweater. Plus, you can’t go wrong at ten skeins for about 44 bucks. I can’t wait to get started! The other two are KPPPM in colors P126 and P116. They’re pretty different, but both possess a muted look which I’m hoping will work well when paired in the Chevron Scarf. I’ve been dying to try that pattern, and KPPPM, and so I’m hoping these two work out. If not, I can always frog them and make some pretty socks (which I still have yet to learn to make).
I also brought in my newly recast Argosy progress, which was basically a tiny square with a lifeline in it. I tried it again last night after the break for the weekend, and decided to damn it all and just turn the row before casting on. I asked for help at the store, and Vicky was willing to explain to me the pattern over and over. Eventually we both understood each other, as I’m not the best student when just coming from teaching mode, and it finally clicked. She assured me that, having knit the scarf herself, I was correct in turning the row before casting on even though the pattern calls for the stitches at the end of a row. I’m sure this would have been obvious to a more advanced knitter, but I’m still getting the hang of things, and I’m not quite at the stage where I can intuit patterns. I need them to give me every mundane direction (knit, purl, blink, breathe, repeat). She offered to bring her scarf in Thursday and that I should stop by to go over it. However, I’ve followed her directions and been working on it tonight, and it’s coming along swimmingly. After getting over that little bump of confusion, I’m really enjoying this pattern. It keeps me interested but not stressed, and I really love the diagonal appearance of the colors. It’s so much fun to watch them appear, which I think is why I love Noro yarns so much. I’ll post a progress shot later this week, as it’s dark now and my lighting is crap. And now it’s off to read my new book, The Time Traveler’s Wife. I picked it up on a whim at the airport, wanting something that would absorb my attention and be non-medieval related to stave off an air-travel related case of the freak outs. It has surprised me by being really amazing, and I’m totally absorbed in this story. I am off to read more about it and wish I could time travel to see Jason being a spazzy little kid, tormenting his poor brother and setting up Christmas massacres in his mother’s window display with skeleton action figures. He’s an odd duck, but I love him so.