The past two months have been nothing short of amazing for me, in everywhere *but* the “actually doing the fiber arts” kind of way.
Back in May, I finally picked up my “congratulations on candidacy” Master of Philosophy in Genetics. I really enjoyed celebrating this milestone. While there is still a long road ahead to completing my PhD, it was good to stop and recognize the hard work that I’ve put in so far (passing the qualifying exam, for starters!). It was much fun. I have a very big soft spot for pomp and circumstance.
Speaking of coming full circle to the qualifying exam, my beloved friend Sarah passed hers, and it was amazing to talk her through it in much the same way I talked about all things undergrad when she was a freshman and I a senior back in our days in Syme at NC State. She has been a friend of “the race that knows Joseph” (great explanation of the phrase here) for a while, and the great thing about that type of friend is that they continue to be.
I mailed off a knitting project to be dyed by Kara (here we are again with the Josephs!), but will save describing that adventure for the moment our mischief finally gets itself sorted out. I had much drama with this project that has now been moved about the country, much of it while sitting on a Metro North train in and out of New York City. Val and I went to see a taping of the Martha Stewart Show, which was a ton of fun.
I very much enjoyed watching Martha work – she’s *amazing*. I think every perfectionist aspires, on some level, to be Martha. She was very professional in her work but absolutely hilarious. We could read the cue cards from the audience, but she only paid them mind for the intro and “outro” to segments. One take for everything, absolutely flawless, absolutely Martha.
I wish I had a photograph of the look on my face when the very nice woman who was doing security screenings coming in pointed to my work-in-progress in my knitting bag and asked, “Are those knitting needles?”
It was the taping of the last show of the season, and even if it wasn’t, this is a taping of the Martha Stewart Show. You can’t honestly expect me to believe that knitting needles never come through this door? What kind of question is “are those knitting needles?”? Of COURSE they’re knitting needles! They’re circular knitpick’s harmony needles with a 3/4 completed shawl on them! What did she think, that they were handing out connected chopsticks with nearly-done wool shawls on them out at the Chinese place down the street? She requested I keep them in my bag in the studio – which was fine, of course – but really, we know that the only place knitters are more dangerous than on jury duty is at a taping of the Martha Stewart Show.
Another highlight of the day out in New York was hunting down the Habu textiles showroom. I mean *hunting* – if you’re interested, take the address and be prepared to be persistent, because it won’t jump out at you. The building is very non-descript, but if you look behind the security guard you can see Habu listed on the directory, which is your clue that it will in fact be okay if you go into this dark building, up the elevator, then wind around corners. There is a room full of great beauty that awaits you.
There is a wall in the showroom where all their yarns and all the colors are artfully displayed. The best part? They wound the A3 I bought straight from the big cone onto a small cone – so instead of three hanks as the put-up, it’s all on one cone. No ends to weave. No winding a ball. Now, all there is to do is knit up Gisela.
Fortunately, knit New Haven had Gisela in stock right before a craft night at the big purple house party, and I cast on that evening. Unfortunately, the yarn slipped off the end overnight, the end stitches were lost, and after 40 minutes on the bus and some less than ladylike language, I gave up. I frogged the whole twelve rows (I had decided to knit it all in one piece initially, so they were six LONG rows) and re-started during a Pride and Prejudice marathon. I re-started working it in pieces; while it won’t be super-fun to seam, it’s less annoying to frog part of a sweater instead of the whole thing.
Speaking of the bus, I haven’t been riding it quite as much recently, which probably accounts for some of the drop in knitting activity. I’ve been biking to work, and I’ve found it very satisfying. New Haven drivers aren’t as terrifying as I had assumed they would be. I haven’t ridden much this week, thanks to giving lab meeting and rainy days. The riding has also taken a bit of a backseat as I’ve taken up running – I know, who is this girl who keeps waking up in my bed to run at 6:30am, and what has she done with the fat chick who would rather do anything other than get up before 8:30? I don’t quite feel comfortable yet biking in when I’ve run in the morning – I’m afraid of my legs just being too tired at the end of the day. Whitney Avenue doesn’t seem like a hill til you’re biking up it.
As for taking up running…I’ve been doing the Couch 2 5k program and it’s going really well. Week 3, day 3 is up in the morning and I’m excited about it. I was surprised (already!) at how easy it was to jog 3 consecutive minutes yesterday. My goal is to do the Labor Day 5k of the New Haven Road Race. I could finish it in less than the max time just walking, but my goal is to be able to jog the whole thing. At the very least, I will be out there running down my street on Labor Day, and not waving to the runners from my balcony.
Sadly, the Sheep Shares visit in early June was a rain out, but I was able to make the rain date in late June. Springdelle Farm is just as beautiful in person as it is in photographs, but I couldn’t resist taking more pictures still. I have shared them on flickr. I’m already excited to head up again in the fall. It’s a beautiful farm, a beautiful flock, and Barb, Mike, and Holly are the nicest people tending the nicest flock in New England. It’s such a delight to know that I will get the Foxfire Fibers yarn in the mail four times this year (below is my first share) that I can hardly wait to sign up again. It may be a sickness.
The other thing I’ve been quite excited about lately is kayaking and playing in or on the water. I spent a lot of time canoeing with Girl Scouts in high school – so much that my instant messenger name when I started college was gscanoegirl – and loved it. Growing up in North Carolina, people regularly asked if you were a “beach person” or a “mountain person”. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m plain, flat-out, a water person…with a slight preference for salt water, but at the end of the day, if it’s water, I’ll take it.
I went camping in verdant Vermont with some vivacious vixens, and spent a rainy Sunday morning kayaking on Lake Champlain and loving every minute of it – laughing as rain pelted my glasses (silly me left my Tilly hat in the tent!) and the waves attempted to toss my kayak around. It was as if I had found a lost part of my soul – I love the water, I love being on the water, why had it been so long since I did this thing that I really do love? Since I started college in August 2001, I had been on the water a whopping *once* that I can remember, and that was last summer. I wish I could find adequate words to describe the exhilaration of paddling on the water – the contented pace that I can set, the feeling as if I can just breathe in the air deeper, getting little splashes of water on myself. Alive, even, falls short of the feeling.
Fortunately, I didn’t have that large of a gap before hitting the water again – less than a month later, I went kayaking around the Thimble Islands on the Connecticut coast. Absolutely amazing, entirely too much fun, and I can’t wait to do it again sometime. Val took some lovely photos…
It was a spectacular day – the only scary part was the jellyfish that were incredibly abundant, and made me feel like I didn’t want to dangle my hands and feet in the water as I am wont to do.
I’m enjoying my active summer – I suppose the challenges are to figure out how to still get my fiber fix, and to figure out how to stay more active when the weather gets cold (at least the fiber fix resolves itself then). Time shall tell. Until then…