making an elle melle!

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I appear to have contracted a powerful case of start-itis (and, um, also a nasty respiratory bug, alas) since defending my dissertation. First up, an Elle Melle for M:

Elle Melle

I cast on for this on Wednesday while M was at her Montessori morning-camp, and even at the fairly small gauge (6sts/inch) I feel like I’m flying! Stripes do that to me. I’m knitting this in size 4, which will be big on M, but that way it will fit her for a long time. She’s been asking repeatedly for a “purple cardigan” (and yes, she’s VERY particular about the distinction between “cardigan” and “pullover”!) and I’m hoping this fits the bill! She saw me knitting it yesterday and told me she wanted it to be done “RIGHT NOW!” so that she could wear it, so I’ll take that as a good sign. (And sorry, sweetie, but a sport-weight sweater’s gonna take some time to finish!)

Elle Melle

The yarn is Beaverslide’s 2 ply Sport/Sock weight, in Mountain Lupine (the darker blue/purple) and Wild Geranium. I adore this yarn! It’s working SO well in this pattern, too…it’s so perfectly wooly. And the colors are lovely together.

Elle Melle

I can’t get enough of this two-color ridged texture! So great. Right now I’m in the middle of ridge number 7 (I did some more knitting after snapping these photos)…11 more of these to go before I separate fronts and back!

I kinda want to knit myself one of these after I finish this one, in blues or greens or something. I’d actually fit in the largest size of the pattern (which is a 35″ chest measurement – I’m more like 34″), but raglan sleeves are kind of the worst for me (I’m broad-shouldered for my size). So if I did make myself a grown-up Elle Melle, I’d modify it to have set-in sleeves, and probably a scoopier neckline, but the handy thing about being a sometimes-designer is that I actually have the skills to do that. So…who knows!

squares number five and six

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I’ve actually got TWO new Mitered Crosses Squares to share with y’all! I bound off and then wove in the ends of Square Number Five in the car on the way to Ohio a couple of weeks ago and finally took a photo of it this morning:

square number 5

Love those little pops of hot pink! M saw me weaving in the ends (I was her backseat companion for the trip, which meant being scrunched up next to her carseat since that’s in the center seat – not the most comfy spot in the world for 7+ hours of driving!), and she asked what I was knitting. I told her it was part of a blanket. She asked, “A blanket for Maddy?” and I said, “Would you like it to be?”, and she said “Oh, YES!”. So…I think I know who the recipient of the Mitered Crosses Blanket will be :) (I’d always been open to giving it to her but would’ve been fine with her not wanting it, too.)

I cast on for and knit most of square number 6 in the car and around and about in Columbus during our visit, finishing it this past weekend. M is learning to use scissors, and she thought it was the BEST THING EVER that I let her use the little scissors from my Knit Kit to cut the yarn at each color change. She did a really good job! It drove her crazy once I got to the log cabin section, though, since you don’t break the yarn at all there. She kept asking “Maddy’s turn to cut?”. Aw. Nope.

square number 6

Square Number Six is probably the most subdued square so far. And with it, I’m now halfway done knitting squares for the blanket! I already cast on for Square Number Seven:

knitting!

Maybe the blanket can be one of M’s birthday presents :)

strawberry-picking!

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My parents came to visit for my defense, and on Sunday, we all went strawberry-picking at Burch Farms.

Strawberry picking!

It was a rainy day, so we got a little wet, but the berries were very good, as our official Taster could attest :)

Yum!

M *loves* strawberries! And she’s fascinated by eating food she picked herself.

Strawberry-face.

We picked a little over 4 pints (my parents took some with them) and despite the rain, had a great time.

Strawberries on a rainy day.

It was great to get out and do something fun (and productive) like this now that the pressure of dissertating/defending is off!

Me and my strawberries. #latergram

Now, to figure out what to do with our strawberries. We may pick more with some friends next week, too :)

oh, hey, I have a Ph.D now!

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I defended this Thursday, and it was great.

I did it!! #phd

For the first part of my introduction before my talk, my advisor read the opening paragraph of my personal statement from when I applied to grad school here, which was embarrassing but in a good way – I was such an earnest little language-dork! Then he proceeded to damn near make me cry, in telling everyone that he’d never been prouder of or more impressed by a student than he was of me, and saying a little bit about some of the health difficulties and other obstacles I’d had to overcome to get where I was. It was just huge to me to hear him say that in front of the whole department, to have my very hard (but not always visible) work acknowledged in that way.

Then I gave my talk. It went well – my “I’ve given a million lectures/workshops/etc” experience kicked in and I was very comfortable. And then, with 7 slides to go, Keynote crashed. HARD. Like, “forcibly restarted my computer and then wouldn’t come back” hard. So I gave the last bit of my talk sans slides and notes, which was actually kind of fun! I think I actually did really well. Even pantomimed a graph. Ha!

The oral exam was also pretty fun, if a little nervewracking. I buttered them up with homemade apple cake (my great-grandma Alice’s recipe, which my advisor loves), and then they each took turns asking me 10 minutes worth of questions (which weren’t exactly easy, but also not “gotcha” questions – they were interesting to think about and it was more like, “hey, we’d like to hear what you think about this”, not “hey, we’re making sure you’re not actually stupid”), and then we chatted a bit, and then I was DONE! Every single one of them told me how beautiful my dissertation was, how much they appreciated the clear and engaging writing, and I don’t actually have to do any revisions except fixing a handful of typos, and then I can submit it to ProQuest and be truly finished.

My advisor had a party for me at his house in the afternoon/early evening, and it was just a really mellow event, which is what I wanted (sometimes post-defense parties in my department can get a bit raucous and that just doesn’t suit me at all). Such a good day.

another new project

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I registered my dissertation last week! Here’s my final “page count” photo:

June 6 page count: 248. Just abstract and acknowledgements left to go!

I took advantage of having a day where I didn’t need to be writing to cast on for a new project – my Lopi Affection cardigan!

Cast on for Lopi Affection this weekend.

(Holy moly, you can tell I’m tired in that photo!) The pattern asks you to start with sleeves, which I think is pretty smart (less to rip if your swatch turns out to be lying), and I’m actually almost to the elbow at this point (thanks to some knitting time with my Guild friends last night – it was so great to get together with them!). My knitting bliss has been interrupted these last few days, though, by the beast known as Hand Foot and Mouth Disease. A major outbreak (as in, literally every single kid at the baby and toddler level) at M’s Montessori school led them to shut down the Nido and Toddler rooms to disinfect them and let the kids recover, which meant those uninterrupted days of knitting and rest I thought I’d bought myself by working so hard and finishing a few days before my actual registration deadline? Not so much. But I have gotten lots of dozey snuggle time with my girl:

Tired ladies.

Poor thing had a TERRIBLE case – she couldn’t sleep at all on Saturday night because of how itchy and painful her feet were. I actually had some symptoms, too (fever and a few spots, nothing as bad as her), because apparently I’m not one of the majority of adults who can be infected without symptoms (at least A is!)

But she’s feeling a lot better now (but still can’t go back to school, since they closed the rooms), thank goodness!

She's so snuggly.

Gotta figure out what to do with my snugglemuffin these next couple of weeks – she’s basically missing the last week of school (this week), and then they have a couple of weeks off before summer session starts, so no rest for mama in the near future, alas. I’m pretty upset about losing those few days to myself for resting (y’all, I am TIRED), but it is what it is. And what it is will involve less knitting than it would have otherwise, but that’s life!

a new project

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Dissertation-wise, I’m in that weird place where I can’t do anything more until I get feedback, so while I’m not “done”, I can’t actually DO anything right now. Perfect time to cast on for a new project, right?

a new project...

This probably looks familiar, seeing as it’s the third of these I’ve knit. But this one actually isn’t for M. Oh, I still have plans to knit her a bigger one (4T-ish size, probably), and to knit myself a cardiganized Stripes! to match, but this one is actually the smallest babyStripes! I’ve knit. My dear friend K, who took such good care of me and M in those early months as the closest thing to an alloparent we had, is expecting her first baby, and like us, they’re not finding out the sex ahead of time. I told her that if there was anything she’d seen me knit for M that she’d like for her own baby, to just tell me, and she said she loved babyStripes!, so her kiddo is DEFINITELY getting a babyStripes!!

The bonus, for me, is that I’m getting a chance to run through my pattern and test-knit it in the smallest size. If I knit M a bigger one, I’ll have knit 4 different sizes of my own pattern. I hope to publish it later this summer, after I’ve defended the dissertation. Another kinda-sorta bonus is that I think I’ll finally install a zipper on this one. I keep not doing it, but if I’m making this as a gift for someone who is not my own kid, I don’t want to cut corners! I’d like to try the Tech Knitter’s no-sew zipper process; maybe I can figure out how to incorporate that into the applied i-cord edge at the front?

vikkel braid!

I knit the vikkel braid last night. I love it! I actually find vikkel braids easier to do via purling (that is, on the WS), which sets you up to start each stripe on the RS, so that’s what I did (I actually did it the opposite way on the other two babyStripes! I’ve knit, but I suspect most knitters would prefer starting stripes on the RS and also avoiding 3 rows in a row of purling when the garter ridges show up in the yoke). But that means that the braid at the neckline will have to be done from the RS if I want to avoid breaking the yarn. I think it’s good to be able to do them from either side of the work (and I’ve only ever seen directions for creating them from the RS, in Nancy Bush’s Folk Knitting of Estonia book), so I’m including directions for executing braids from both the RS and the WS in the pattern, along with some helpful hints.

It’s amazing how quickly little baby sweaters go, especially knit at 5sts/inch!

still writing…

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Just checking in. My most recent page count:

may 20 page count: 192 (and a finished draft of Ch. 4!)

Inching ever closer to 200. I’m kinda wordy :)

I now have finished drafts of the first 4 Chapters. Hope to have a draft of Chapter 5 by the end of the week, but I’ve got to work out some data/stats issues before I can do that. If I can do that, I’ll definitely hit my goal of a completed full draft (all 6 chapters) by the end of May. I know I can write Chapter 6 (the conclusions and future directions chapter) in less than a week.

Then, I have until June 16th to do whatever revisions my committee asks me to do before officially submitting my dissertation. Then I defend on July 10th. That should be plenty of time to put together a good talk. I’m not super worried about that; you can’t put together over 60 presentations (between the two lecture-based classes I taught this year and the workshops I gave for the writing program) in a year without developing some confidence in your ability to put together and deliver a talk. But ask me again when I’m actually putting it together :)

I actually *am* still knitting, just a little bit (on the Mitered Crosses Blanket):

Square number six #WIPSunday

But really, I’m pretty single-mindedly focused on the dissertation for now. I’ll be a more interesting person again in August. I hope.