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So, I spent a recent Monday evening dyeing yarn. I needed the jolt of color because this whole New England winter thing is getting old. Every time I go outside, I brace myself for the chill that is coming. I would say that I miss DC and its much earlier spring, but I think DC has had more snow this winter. So, umm….maybe not.

But onto the fun stuff – the yarn! It’s more sock yarn than I could use in a year (I’m a slow knitter), so I’m offering it for sale. These are smaller than the 100g skeins that sock yarn usually comes in, but I just finished a pair of monkeys for my size 9 gunboat feet and they were only 68 grams, so these might actually be a good size. Prices include shipping anywhere in the U.S.

First up – Orbit GONE!
Orbit
62 grams of Louet Gems fingering weight merino yarn hand dyed (by me) in blues, teal, and a splash of reddish orange for a little punch. At least 240 yards. 11 dollars, shipped; 9 dollars, local.

Peacock GONE!
Peacock
82 grams of Louet Gems fingering weight merino yarn that I dyed in green, blues and purples. At least 315 yards. 14 dollars, shipped, 12 dollars local.

Tidepool GONE!
Tidepools
83 grams of Louet Gems fingering weight merino yarn that I dyed in blues and a brown with a smidgen of light purple. At least 320 yards. 14 dollars, shipped; 12 dollars local.

Prep schoolGONE!
Prep school
98 grams of 3-Ply 75% Superwash Wool/25% Nylon that I dyed in shades of burgundy, navy, brown and green. This sock yarn has at least 375 yards. 13 dollars, shipped; 11 dollars local.

Berries and mint
Berries and mint
82 grams of 3-Ply 75% Superwash Wool 25% Nylon dyed in purple, magenta and greens. This sock yarn has at least 310 yards. 11 dollars, shipped; 9 dollars local.

Chivalry
Chivalry
98 grams of 3-Ply 75% Superwash Wool 25% Nylon hand dyed (by me) in neutrals – browns, black, grey and natural. This sock yarn has at least 375 yards. 12 dollars, shipped. (I think this one has one knot in it.) 10 dollars local.

That’s it for now. If you’re interested, leave me a comment.

An excellent question. Well, I’m still here…in Boston. I did move apartments, and now Smidgen can’t try to attack pigeons on the ledge anymore. Oh, you mean – why have I not updated this blog in oh – 7 and a half months….well, 7 and three quarters? Well, I got busy. Yes, despite being unemployed, I somehow got very very busy. So, it is time for a series of updates and to get back on the blogging bandwagon. It’s not a new year’s resolution, because it’s not the new year, and I hate those things, but it is a handy way of letting you all know what I’ve been up to.

So…the first installment – let’s see. Well, shortly after my last post, I started a little summer program at a certain Ivy League institution in the Boston area. No, not real classes or a degree program of any kind, but a career exploration series for people thinking about architecture, landscape architecture and planning…landscape architecture in my case. Didn’t even know I was considering this stuff? – wow – you are out of touch. Give me a call sometime.

So, I spent about 6 weeks doing what I liked to call adult arts and crafts. Seriously – do you know the difference between cardboard and chipboard? Actually, it was an interesting, and rather intense experience. Basically, you had a seminar in the mornings, and afternoons spent in the studio working on whatever your current project was. And nights also spent in the studio working on whatever your current project was. Well – for some people. The ages ranged from 18 to mid-40s, and as you might imagine, the dedication was somewhat proportional to age. I think the folks who were working jobs they were not thrilled with, or out of work, like myself, were feeling the pressure to decide if this was our life’s calling, while the college-aged folks were more casual about it. It was supposed to mimic a real graduate level studio experience. Only in real-life grad school, you have even more classes and get even less sleep.

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So, what did I learn? Well, I learned that to be a landscape architect, at least one coming out of this institution’s program, you need to have quite an ego. Not only for the critiques that you go through repeatedly for every project, but because you have to eventually ‘sell’ these ideas to a client, and you have to walk in there thinking your project is the most awesome thing ever thought up by any human being on this planet. I think this is why landscape architecture has a very high percentage of practitioners that are in solo practice. They simply can’t have someone else with power over their design. Of course – the client always has that power.

I think I am far too humble and practical for that mindset, though I’m not sure that that way of thinking is promoted and fostered everywhere. For people with a fine arts background, this whole notion of defending your idea to the death was nothing new. But I have a science background for heaven’s sake! So if I’m going to plunk down a big mound of earth in the middle of a field, it better be for a darn good reason. Not just because it is a statement on the industrialization of the natural form by evil corporate gnomes..or something. And i worry about things like ADA accessibility and whether a tree will actually tolerate the water conditions you’re asking it to live in. The philosophy of this program seemed to be that if you have a good design, then all other issues that come up can be accommodated. I just prefer to think about the constraints first…and to be more concrete and practical.

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I don’t think it means that landscape architecture is out of the running for me, but maybe that this particular landscape architecture program is not for me. Unfortunately, this is the only program within an hour’s drive, and the next closest one is also design-oriented, and the next closest one after that doesn’t have a particularly good reputation. So – where does that leave me – I’m not exactly sure. I took the GRE last weekend – just to have all my bases covered, and I kicked some major GRE butt. I beat my target scores on both math and verbal by at least 50 points, so I was super happy with that. I needed a bit of success considering my track record lately. I won’t get my essay scores for another week or so, and I have a hunch those won’t be as fabulous, but the essay scores aren’t the main focus for most schools.

But applying to programs (which remember – actually attending said programs would require a move) also requires a portfolio, which is sadly – currently not in existent and which i would have trouble filling. More on my drawing efforts in the past few months in an upcoming post….plus knitting, sewing, law ruminations, and much much more! I think you’ve had enough info, and I’ve done enough babbling for now.

Along the marathon route, I learned a bunch about proper marathon etiquette. Didn’t know there was any? Oh yes – just like the ‘rule’ where you aren’t supposed to bowl at the same time as the person next to you, there are marathon etiquette rules, too. Some are kinda obvious – don’t yell, “You’re almost there” when they still have 10 miles to go. But – also frowned upon – “Hang in there” and “You’ll make it” because you’re sort of insinuating that they look like crap.

So, what do you say? acceptable choices include “Looking strong” and “Good job.” I’m not sure about “There’s beer at the finish” because there might not be. At my particular spot, some guys were grilling….which smelled tasty to me, but I thought it might make the runners feel a little ill. At 25 miles, can they stomach the smell of a greasy hamburger?

So….all this talk of marathon etiquette made me think about my current situation of unemployment and how some people just sort of avoid talking to you about it because they aren’t sure what to say. So, they don’t address it, but then you (okay, I) feel kinda like that huge gaping hole in my existence and my bank account are being forgotten. And the thing I want most (after a job or winning the lottery) is just a little sympathy and compassion.

So, what is the unemployment etiquette? Well – off the table are phrases like: “You’ll be fine” (have you been listening to me?) “At least you have unemployment” (I don’t….and neither do most of the people currently unemployed either ). “I wish I was unemployed. I need a vacation.” (no – you most certainly do not) or “Maybe you should update your resume” (Yeah – I thought of that – 8 months ago).

So…what do you say? Well, ask how we’re doing….and actually be open to the answer we’re going to give – which isn’t going to be all puppies and rainbows. Ask if there are areas or companies we’re targeting. Offer your contacts in those fields if you’ve got them. Offer to buy us a drink….a strong one. 🙂 Tell us about cool free stuff going on. We need to get out of the house. And realize that you can’t really understand how we feel unless you’ve been there. And let’s hope you never have to be.

So, last Monday was the Boston Marathon.When people descend on Boston to run 26.2 miles in completely unpredictable weather. In 2007, there was torrential rain 40-degree weather. In 2005, 80 degree temps. And so, this year – 60 degree temps and a 20+ mph headwind wasn’t all that bad. I went out to Kenmore, just less than a mile from the finish to watch the runners – especially the two American elites (Kara Goucher and Ryan Hall) who actually had chance of winning…..which hadn’t happened since 83 for the men and 85 for the women. They both came in third, by the way, which I totally applaud. I was so emotionally moved that I almost cried. And I thought – I want to run a marathon. I want to accomplish something that big. And then, on my way from Kenmore to the finish line, I pulled a muscle in my foot….while walking….on a flat surface…..with no particular speed….and in sneakers. Okay, maybe the marathon is aiming too high.

Hall!!!
Kara!

So…first off, I did eventually pick a yarn for my gathered pullover. And yes, it took me two weeks. And no – I did not make a spreadsheet, though I certainly considered it…more than once. I went with Knitpicks Cotlin in sprout – a spring grassy green. I’m not sure it’s actually a good color for me, but to hell with that. I usually avoid Knitpicks yarn because I have heard it isn’t exactly the sturdiest stuff – I suppose something that cheap never is. but it got decent reviews on Ravelry and gets softer with washing….and I’m a sucker for soft. Plus, with spring being a pretty limited season, even up here in Boston, I figured it won’t get as much wear as a winter sweater would.

In other yarn news – well…it’s a secret….and that’s the news. I can’t post anything about my projects because they have not yet made their way to the recipients and therefore, I can’t spoil all the fun by posting here, or on Ravelry, or even on Flickr. So….umm, just imagine something blue and some other stuff in pink and some purple stuff. Isn’t it lovely?

So, I’m looking for a good yarn for a spring sweater. I’m thinking of doing the Gathered Pullover from Interweave Knits Winter 2007. You can see it on Ravelry here. Maybe a nice spring green, or a medium pink. (did I just suggest pink for myself?…something must be wrong.) I’m trying to branch out from my blue, black, grey, brown wardrobe. I wish I looked good in yellow.

Anyway – I don’t want to do it in wool because I think it will be too warm, but all cotton doesn’t keep its shape and hangs terribly on my tiny frame. Can anyone recommend a cotton blend or anything really that isn’t too warm and has a bit of give. The pattern calls for sport weight, but because I am such a tight knitter, dk would probably work too. A link to a project of yours in that yarn earns you bonus points!

So far, I’m considering Rowan’s wool cotton, KnitPicks Shine (heard it doesn’t hold up well), and Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece (knit with it before – don’t remember being all that pleased).

Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

I’ve uncovered a problem in my job search. I have no title. If I was a civil engineer or a veterinarian or a nurse or an accountant, I’d go to a job search website or company website and type in civil engineer or nurse and all the potential jobs would magically pop up.

But not for me. I worked one of those wacky job where you have a manufactured title – like analyst or specialist or coordinator or project manager, which if used in a keyword search, would bring up a whole bunch of unrelated jobs.

For me, anytime, I use “environment” or “planner/planning” I get event planners, supervisory jobs, and stuff about the work environment or even better, software environments, whatever that means.

This is really slowing me down. I should have been a civil engineer. Seriously kids – this is something to consider if you’re heading back to school – get a degree that comes with a title!

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