Friday, November 30, 2007

Update: Best Friend Cardigan

Leslie at L&B Yarn Co. took a photo of my Best Friend Cardigan (from Twinkle's Big City Knits) for their blog. Click here to look at it. I look really pale and the shoulder seam is all funky because I forgot to pull it up, but that's pretty much the sweater, which was quick to knit, but the instructions were terrible. I don't recommend it unless you are pretty confident at fixing your own knitting mistakes, because, believe me, there was lotsa fixin'.

The Demise of a Sweater

Above: Evening Shell in Twinkle Handknit Soft Chunky (Sapphire)
It's really such a shame that I have to pull this sweater apart, again. The first time I knitted it, I knitted a large, because that's supposed to be the size that fits me, but it was HUGE. Too big for Paul, in fact. So, I pulled it all out and re-knit, this time I knit the smallest size. Well, it fits, but it looks like a Kevlar vest--seriously ugly. And it looks so cute when it's not being worn! I originally made it because (1) I liked it and (2) it called for 3 skeins, which I had left over from making my Best Friend Cardigan (pics coming soon). I've decided to just make another Diamond Scarf (see below). I've already made one for Erika in Raspberry, but this one will be for me. I really really like the yarn. It's 100% merino and is the softest thing ever. I just hate the instructions in Twinkle's Big City Knits. They are just crap, crap, crap. Thankfully, there are no mistakes in the scarf pattern.
I'm so glad it's Friday. Yay, weekend! I still have to grade term papers (yuck!) and write my Directed Readings paper, so I won't get to have fun all weekend. How disappointing!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Having Fun with Eighteenth-Century France

Madame du Bois by Nicholas de Largillière (copy)
Granted, "Having Fun with Eighteenth-Century France" could probably have been the title of yesterday's post, but I saved it for today. I watched a bit of The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982) while I was eating my lunch. I just love that movie. The day it was released on DVD was, no kidding, among the most exciting moments of my life. Anthony Andrews is perfect as Sir Percival Blakeney and Jane Seymour is just so beautiful and Ian McKellen is always great. I wanted to name the rat Chauvelin after Ian McKellen's character, but Paul said that was cruel, so we named him after the emperor Maximilian instead (I don't see how that's any better). Anyway, if you haven't seen this version, get thee to a Blockbuster! You should also read the book. It rocks.

Favorite Movie, Favorite Chocolate


Erika and I went to Dr. Abramson's lecture "Food, Finance, and Social Ascension in Eighteenth-Century France." It was about Marivaux's Le paysan parvenu, which I have not yet read. The questions led to a discussion of another of my favorite books/movies Tom Jones and how its scenes on dining are more about how the characters eat rather than what they eat. Some of the themes brought up really reminded me of "Taste" from In Our Time with Melvyn Bragg.

Good news! Dr. Winston said I was welcome to sit in on his Eighteenth-century Philosophes class. See? Today was really loaded with France in the Eighteenth Century. Too bad Erika and I had burgers (or a grilled cheese in my case) and fries for dinner from the restaurant in the student union. I guess we should have eaten pheasant.

[Edited 12/18/08: "Taste" is available online here.]

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Finished: Socks

Yay! Now both my feet can be warm! I finally just got to the point where it was senseless to stop without finishing. I actually did a better job on the first sock...

Also found out today that the song I didn't know but really really liked from Marie Antoinette is "Kings of the Wild Frontier" by Adam and the Ants. Go figure. I remember dancing around to my mom's cassette single of "Room at the Top" (solo Adam Ant) when I was 3 or 4. Oh, it brings back childhood memories! Maybe the fact that "Room at the Top" was one of my first favorite real songs (I mean not Raffi or Wee Sing) explains some things about my personality...

Marie Antoinette "Kings of the Wild Frontier" Clip (click directly on one of the "play" symbols and the video will play on this page):

"Room at the Top" clip (edited 3/15/08: YouTube clip no longer active; this video is from yahoo):

I love love love embedded video and YouTube!!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Errol Flynn Therapy

Well, it's starting to look more like a sock. It was time for an Errol Flynn-therapy session. Always makes me feel better to watch an Errol Flynn movie, especially if Olivia de Havilland is in it, too. I want to be a cool old lady like Olivia. I love watching interviews with her--she tells some great stories about her experiences as an actress. The interview with her is part of the reason I want the 4-disc special edition Gone with the Wind. Anyway, I think Errol movies are therapeutic for numerous reasons (his characters, for the most part, are paragons of manly virtue and there are a few people I'd like him to punch in the nose) and I still think that Paul ought to keep his mustache trimmed like E.F.'s.

Why did I need therapy, you ask? It's just that time in the semester.

In case you were wondering how I decide how many rounds to knit for a sock:
Last, but not least, an alternate shot of Claude with my books:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Finished: Methods Paper

Above: 48cm of books and Monet for scale; click if you'd like to read the titles

The best thing about this whole experience was discovering that there was an MP named Sir Harbottle Grimston. Seriously, just check Grey's Debates. Sounds very Dickensian, doesn't it? I wonder what Sir Harbottle was like. Was he round and bald and jolly or tall, skinny, hunched, and crooked? There are no other options. I do have a feeling, however, that Dickens would have made someone named Sir Harbottle Grimston into a comic character.

Back to the paper: only 23 pages, but there was no more to write. It's very hard for me to do work for a class I hate!

Tomorrow Dr. Lewis is giving a lecture entitled "Revisiting Brideshead: The English Country House in World War II" and on Thursday Erika and I are going to Dr. Abramson's lecture on food in 18th-century France. That should make my week better. Plus, Rebecca and I are going to lunch after Dr. Lewis's lecture. Fun!

After tonight, there is only one more class period for Methods and I could not be happier. I am so glad to have the paper finished, which means that all I have to do this week and next week is write my paper for Directed Readings and grade term papers for Tudor England.

Today while perusing the internet, I found this flickr group: Gourmet Crochet and Knitting. It's entirely devoted to crochet and knit food and I couldn't help thinking that some of the objects would be great for a foreign language class learning food vocab. I also found out yesterday that I don't need a teaching license to teach French in Kansas at the secondary level.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Thanksgiving Wrap-up

Above: Fruit Tarts

We just got back from Arkansas this afternoon and I have to work on my Methods paper after this. (No, I'm still not done and I don't want to do it.) I really want to randomly burst into song in that class and see if he'll melt because he can't take the happiness. Anyway, these fruit tart pics are from Thanksgiving Eve dinner at my parents' house. My dad made the tart shell and the cream cheese-and-lemon filling and cut up the fruit and I arranged the fruit as I was told. These are always a hit. They're sooo yummy!

Grandma Jessie sent me home with my proof-of-ancestry so I can join the Daughters of the American Revolution, her recipe for Ozark Pudding, a newspaper clipping for Oreo Bonbons, and a pretty, glass, autumny candy dish. So, needless to say, there will be a few recipes for me to try out for myself over winter break. (I need something to put in the candy dish!)

I enjoy Thanksgiving lunch, but my favorite part is Friday lunch with the turkey and dressing all mixed together and covered with giblet gravy with sides of peas and sweet potatoes and leftover pecan pie for dessert. I also enjoyed going up to Rogers with Mom and Grandma and walking around the brand-new outdoor mall, Promenade at Pinnacle Hills. There was a nip in the air and lots of people (it was Black Friday, after all) and fun stores and a slightly Disney-fied feeling of downtown shopping. Oh well, better Disney-fied than not at all! Seriously, it was fun.

Below: Close-up of strawberry that was really tasty, even though it's almost December.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Break from Methods Paper

I've been working on my final paper for Historical Methods most of the morning and since my brain started to freeze up, I thought I'd put up a few pics of my current work-in-progress. I had some leftover yarn and had never made socks, so I thought now would be as good a time as any to try to knit a pair. I already have one finished (the pattern is from The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd) and that tube on those pointy things is the beginning of the second sock. This is the first thing I've ever made that Paul has bugged me to make for him! Socks!

Above: toe shaping, below: heel shaping

Ann Budd's book was recommended to me by Leslie at L&B Yarn Co.
I like that the patterns are based on my own gauge, since I always have a terrible time matching the gauge on a pattern!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Books for Winter Break

Erika and I went shopping yesterday and not only did I buy 4 (!) dresses for Las Vegas, I also went to Barnes and Noble and bought The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett and Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Márquez, which I need to read so Erika, Ariana and I can go see the movie. Stella Tillyard's Aristocrats I picked up a while ago at Dickson Street Books in Fayetteville, AR. I'm looking forward to reading what I want to read when I want to read it! I'm also looking forward to an afternoon of watching Gone with the Wind with Erika once she finishes the book!

Also on the to-do list for this winter break: lotsa lotsa knitting, cooking at home again, and improving my français