Saturday, May 17, 2008

Long-overdue May posting

the fair isle yoke sweater, progressing at a glacial pace

It's been too long since my last post, I know -- I've been busy with schoolwork and end-of-semester anxieties and joys. The students are variously adorable and irritating, depending, mostly, on how sunny it is outside; to my surprise and pleasure, most of them have really enjoyed reading The Remains of the Day, despite their initial complaints about its moving quite slowly (as it does, but the slow pace becomes incrementally more tragic as the book goes on).

Saint Margaret and the dragon

My own studies have been wearing down a bit too gradually for my taste. After presenting a paper on the passion of St. Margaret almost two weeks ago, I've been feeling like the semester was already over -- and therefore have been irritated every time I have to go to another class. It turns out that all three of my final papers are on medieval saints' lives this semester -- and I am coming to the somewhat alarming conclusion that I want to write my dissertation on hagiography -- alarming because hagiography is a pretty fuzzy field and the research involved is about 4 times as complex and time-consuming as just focusing on good old Geoffrey C., whose books are readily available and in English... But saints' lives are just so fascinating! Case in point: one of the postmortem miracles of St. Aethelthryth of Ely is a story of the saint's appearing next to the bed of a sleeping girl and slapping her really hard for no particular reason -- hard enough to damage her sight and mangle her face -- then when the girl prayed to St. Aethelthryth (that's right, the same saint who slapped her), her sight was restored and her face was healed. It's like the Mommy Dearest of the Middle Ages.

Saint Aethelthryth

On to the knitting news. First, my contributions to the silent auction were both hits -- I think that each sweater set brought in something like $85. That success leaves me wanting to knit more baby things for nobody in particular. I'm working on a new design, but it's taken a lot of ripping-out already; in the meantime, I've been working on some versions of my old designs in new colors. The brown Chronicles of Narnia sweater I've already posted about, but here it is all finished, and looking quite classy, if I do say so myself:

That's in four colors of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and size 5 needles. I have to say that Baby Cashmerino seems to have changed its fiber content or something; it was much more plasticky and less luxurious than I remember its being the last time I knit with it. Next up there is another Peach Blossom jacket, in spring green Shine Sport:

This is an attempt to ascertain if the Peach Blossom jacket could ever look boyish enough for a boy. I'm not totally convinced, but I do think the color combination is sweet, if still a little girly. It's also very nicely coordinated with the other project I've got going chez Looking Glass:

My mom bought me some little pots to plant herb seeds in. I've been absurdly delighted to watch them grow; I feel like a kindergartener checking their progress every day. They are, clockwise from the top left, marigolds, basil (I think), zinnias (I think), oregano, and chives. The oregano may be dead after going a bit too long without watering; I keep cheering on the few leaves that still seem to be green, but they have not changed much in size over the past week.


Rachel said...

So nice to hear you're doing well. I'm glad your sweaters were such a hit - no surprises there!

Interesting idea about studying the saints. Hey, I always figured if the topic interests you, go for it!

Liz said...

Does it have buttons? I just knit a cardi in the same colour for my friend's bump and used red buttons to make it look potentially more boyish.

Jodi said...

Lovely little Narnia cardi! In my experience with grad school, going with what's easier to do usually isn't nearly as interesting or as productive. Hurray, hagiography!

Batty said...

Beautiful knitting! You can take your time with the yoke sweater, my guess is you won't be needing it in the next few months.

Medieval literature can be a bit on the weird side, and saints' lives in particular are... odd. The saints don't always behave rationally, but once you figure out that there's a whole culture of threatening the saint in order to get what you want... yeah, I'd be pissed too.

Anonymous said...

I have to tell you that I love your knits. Just learned how to do fair isle and when I complete my Debbie Bliss Fair Isle Yoke Baby Cardigan, I'm making your Sheep Yoke Cardigan and the Blossom Baby Jacket. Have a grandson, a nephew and a niece all being born this summer so I'm busy thinking baby.

Thanks for the great patterns.

Stefaneener said...

Not to mention that saint's lives gives you an entire bank of baby names to suggest along with tiny baby things. . . hee.

The Narnia still looks great. Grad school seemed to require some quirky passion to get through with any of you intact, so go for it.