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Posts from April 2007


The weather in Toronto has finally turned gorgeous meaning it was time to start some summer knitting.  I'm still working on Sherbie (which I'll save for another post) but knitting lovely thick warm Iro doesn't seem right for this time of year. 

So I took my gorgeous Sea Silk and started a Diamond Fantasy


It's really fun and I love the addition of the beads.  My only concern is that the orangey/pink beads don't show too well. 


Since the colour is not subtle, that should be okay.  But I will consider more contrast in future beaded knitting.  Yes, there will be more--it's fun!

New shoes! New shoes!

Lookie, I got my Keen Calistoga's


They are perfect.  The fit is just right for my super-wide feet.  No blisters or rubs even without socks.  If all the styles are like this, I found my shoe company.  Next will be a brown pair.  But we're into prime Birkie/Naot wearing season so I can wait until fall.

Pimlico Shrug

I finished, the night before we started a Spring heat wave.  I love it and it's too hot to wear it. 

So here's a shot of it lying flat. 


It ain't much that way eh?  It's a rectangle with sleeves and a whole lotta ribbing.

But once it's on.  Check it out.




It's schlumpy-comfortable and elegant all at the same time.  It was very boring to knit, but totally worth the effort.  I used Art Fibers Sherlock--a wool/silk crepe with subtle colour variations.  It is a perfect sub for Koigu Kersti, but not any less pricey.  In the end, I ran out of yarn 5/6 of the way through the bind off, so I'm thankful I swatched since I could use that for the rest of the bind off and the sewing.  Setting in the sleeves was the only challenge; it just took a few tries to get it right.

Buckles and bling

Check out my new belt:


It has knitting instructions on it! 

The nicer thing about it was that it was made with me in mind by a lovely local jewelry maker (Eliza Perry) that I bought a piece from before Christmas.  She remembered I was a knitter and when she saw this ribbon she bought it and cleverly asked me if I would like this nifty belt she made with it.  It's a one of a kind (though I suspect this ribbon is floating around somewhere).  I don't have it on right now because Andrea was also generous enough to customize the length for me.  Or else I would be showing it off at Drunken Knitters tonight.

Of course, since I was buying, I had to get this necklace which I've had my eye on (mine doesn't have the green stone--I'll probably get that later).


Taming the craft

I'm a fairly organized person.  I dislike chaos.  I dislike that I have to pay a big whack of taxes because I didn't take the time to be sure I had a deduction I thought I had.  I'm actually not against paying the taxes (since it's not that much a month), I dislike the surprise of having to pay them.  I want to know what's going on and where stuff is.  Always.

Lately my knitting craftiness is turning into that kind of disorganized chaos.  I'm a bit over my usual WIP tolerance of 3 big projects plus something little like socks and I'm finding it's taking me forever to find things that I know I have.  Really the yarn and supplies haven't completely found their homes in my house (because I don't have room to keep it all together) and I also had a bad case of startitis where I pulled out a bunch of yarn and books and went crazy.  I hate when I do an inch or two of a sweater and then move on.

Here's a very small sampling:


Now it's time to pull back and get organized.

  1. Assess all current WIPs.  Do they stay or do they go?  There's some not in that album, which shows I'm probably not all that committed to them.
  2. Find bags and homes for WIPs.  Store extra balls of yarn in easy to reach location, but not right on the floor beside my ass groove on the couch.
  3. Clean up all discarded WIPs, finished project leftovers.  Rip and rewind when needed.  Put oddballs in downstairs stash storage etc.
  4. Find all unused needles and put them in your tres fantastique needle binder that Amy gave you just for that purpose.  This way you won't spend all day looking for needles.
  5. File away all not-in-use patterns so you don't spend so much f-ing time looking for them all over the house.  (notice the developing pattern?).
  6. Destash things you *know* you'll never use.  And yes, there are some of those things.
  7. Wind new sea silk and start Diamond Fantasy scarf (with beads) to celebrate.



Like Cari, I'm in the midst of asking some big questions about what I want from my life, particularly my work and what the hell I'm going to do when my contracts run out this summer. 

For most of my Ph.D. and this post-doc I have been extremely ambivalent about pursuing an academic career.  I love research and thinking about ideas, I've discovered that for the most part I like teaching and I've been around universities my whole life (my dad was a Prof) and it feels like the right place to be. 

The freedoms for tenure-stream faculty are great--flexible hours, no dress code, the freedom to pursue your interests with minimal interference, working in a place filled with dialogue and ideas.  The pay if you're tenure-stream is quite good too.

But those freedoms come with the pressure to produce those ideas: getting grants, doing the research, writing and publishing articles and books--combined with creating courses, managing students, administrative duties etc.  The work can be hard.  It's about you and your ideas, your thoughts and passions.  They are judged by your peers and you advance based on your ability to produce.   Sometimes it feels like the work never ends.  I could always be writing more, reading more, publishing more.  My lectures could improve, I could be on more committees or attend more events that allow me to network and discuss ideas with others.  more. more. more.

For those reasons, I decided to not be "on the market" for academic work this year.  I didn't put in any applications, none.  I thought I made the decision to get out, work somewhere else, figure out my transferable skills and find work that would be fulfilling in the academic sphere (I HATE the term real world, so don't use it okay?).  All winter I've been trying to figure out what that work would be.  What skills do I have that I can transfer elsewhere?  How can I convey my abilities to research, write, work independently, manage projects, be analytical to those who don't know this world?  Is my Ph.D. an asset or a liability?  How can I explain being 36 and not having any employment experience for the last decade (and even that was full time work as VP in my student union in 1995--I *really* like universities). 

So, I haven't really been applying for work outside the university much either.  I'm starting to do some networking to see what there is out there.  Ph.D.'s don't all go into academic work and I've been combing resources to see what people do when they sell-out.  It's a tough transition to make.  It's like being trained to be a physician and then deciding not to practice medicine.  A sociology Ph.D. is trained to be a university professor, but that doesn't mean that's all she can do...but what else is there?

And, will I like what I find?  Articles like this one give me pause.

There are some possibilties bubbling that may be interesting to pursue and I have spoken with people like Jo, Em and Sara about this at length, they have made interesting journeys post-Ph.D. to interesting and fulfilling work.  The funny thing is that I'm suddenly re-evaluating my getting-out strategy.  Maybe I can't find this other work because I really do want to be a Prof. but I'm chicken.  I'm scared of the workload and the commitment and the probability of having to leave my city and uproot my family for a job.  I'm also scared of the rejection.  Much of academic work is about having a very thick skin.  And looking for work in a competitive market is probably the worst part--so much rejection.  It's easier to not want it than to be in it and fail to land a job.

The big question boils down to this: am I out or am I in?  Do I go through a round of applications this Fall or not?  Eventually you can't go back.  I need to keep on finding ways to publish and stay current or I won't have what it takes to get hired.  So do I take more contract adjunct work to pay the bills or cut the cord and venture forth...

Ribbed for her annoyance

Pimlico is still on the needles.  I've been putting in some solid time with it but it's taking forever.  The big rectangle is complete and I'm working on the collar.  348 sts in 2X2 rib for 2.5 inches then 3 inches with 504 inches sts in 3X3 rib.  Not for her pleasure.


I know it will look great when it's done (hopefully on me) however I haven't been this annoyed/bored to tears with a knit for quite awhile.  Here's the photo for inspiration:



Finishing Friday

We're at the cottage for the Easter weekend and while the weather completely SUCKS (it's been snowing), there's lots of time for relaxing and knitting.  My plan was to get some things finished and I started the long weekend on a good foot, er, sock:


Uncle Ken's socks are done.  I love them.  The yarn is Regia Patch Antik (I don't know the colour because I lost the band).  Manly, but interesting.

Unfortunately we have the same size feet and they look great on me:


Tough to give them away, but Uncle Ken totally deserves them.  I'll just knit the next ones for me.  Tonight's plan is to finish the body of Pimlico--only 16 rows to go.


Seanna Lea asked me an interesting question today and since I'm a bit light in the knitting content (ie I haven't touched yarn in 2 whole days and it isn't looking good for today) I thought I'd answer it here and ask you chime in as well:

What shoes do you wear your pretty socks in, or do you just wear them around the house?
I'm looking for something I can wear my pretty socks in ideally at work.

Well, until last week I was working in the free-dressing world of academia so I wore what I liked (I still can 3 days a week).   I'm always cold so I wore my socks in my various pairs of winter boots and they didn't show.  But that's okay because I knew I was wearing them.

If I want to shoe them off I like my Birks (several pairs) or I wear them in my Mag t-strap Mary Janes so they peek out the top.  I find my socks don't fit into every pair of shoes and I have handknit sock shoes and other sock shoes which are mostly work and warm-weather shoes (I find my socks too warm after about April).

I think Mary Janes and Clogs are good for sock-flashing.  Something a bit chunky to go with the slightly heavier texture of hand-knit socks.

What do you think?