Part of the beauty of the Knit Picks IDP program is that it functions solely as an outlet for designers. There are no exclusivity contracts, fees, and, most importantly, no oaths of secrecy. I am free to display patterns-in-progress as much as I please.

Now, I've had a couple designs in the back of my head for a few years. This is not one of them:

This one popped into my head one day about a month and a half ago, when I realized just how poor I'm going to be as a grad student (more on that later), and needed to supplement my income. Luckily, it was a slow day at work, so I spent an hour sketching out designs and looking up stitch patterns. This was followed by obsessive swatch-knitting, and the whole idea-to-proposal process was done in record time.

Knit Picks loved it, sent me the requested yarn, and I got to work. This is where the process slowed. I thought, "I'll bang out this knee sock in two weeks!". Well, life happened, and a month later there is still no sock. I'm close to done - I'm in the perpetual plateau where all long projects end up. When the day started, I was a half inch away from the ribbing. I knit for two hours. I'm still a half inch away from the ribbing. Alas, there is nothing I can do but keep knitting, until suddenly the thing is two inches too long and I have to rip back. Any knitter can attest that this is how these things work.

P.S. For anyone who reads this blog that isn't a family member or a close friend (in which case you already know this), I'm moving to Atlanta, GA to start grad school in two weeks. I'm doing a MS/PhD combo in neuroscience, working Chuck Derby's lab at GSU. I'll be studying cephalopod chemical defenses and their effects on the neurosensory systems of associated predators. The email I got today also suggests that I'll be working with the olfactory systems of various crustaceans as well.

P.P.S. Hopefully, I'll get (and keep) this blog up and running again. It's one of those things that I don't realize how much I enjoy doing it until I do it again after a long dry spell. Plus I actually have ~things~ going on in my life of general interest, which is an excellent literary motivator.
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A Couple of Socks

I had every intention of taking pictures of our semi-annual UMAC tie-dying session on Tuesday and then blogging about it. I even brought my camera. But people came waaaaaaay early, which made us not ready for them, and instead of being a planned, orderly meeting, it was more fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants meeting. It did go well, but no pictures. Instead have a couple pairs of recently-finished socks:

Green Tomatoes
Pattern: The Universal Toe-Up Sock Formula, by Amy Swenson
(using Cat Bordhi's Sweet Tomato Heel)
Yarn: Conjoined Creations Flat Feet, color #63

Pattern: Kai-Mei, by Cookie A
Yarn: The Yarn Yard Toddy, in Vibrant

The green ones are leftovers from the tail end of my summer internship; the reason they took so long is the heel. I really don't like it. It's not hard to execute by any means, but the fit's wonky, and it took me three times to get the proper placement for it on the foot (first the sock ended up far too long, then too short, then OK, rather than just right - at that point I just went with it because I was tired of knitting the thing). Let's just say that after I finished the first sock, I kind of ignored the second one for a while, hoping it would go away. It didn't, so I knit it, and it'll probably be one of the lesser-worn pairs in my drawer. 

Kai-Mei was lovely, and intriguing. While the loose gauge I had to knit at to get these things to fit makes me nervous, they knit up exceptionally quickly (interesting stitch patterns make you knit into the wee hours of the night wanting to see how they turn out) and came out beautiful. They're probably going to be house socks, or emergency footies, because of the looser gauge, but that works just fine for me. 
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Returning to Status Quo

First off, in case you were wondering, Isaac was a bust. We didn't even lose power - the most that happened was the TV satellite signal went out periodically. Luckily we still didn't have class Monday, as a nasty flash cold/cough hit me when Isaac did. I'm fine now, but Sunday and Monday were spent alternative sleeping, drinking fluids, and trying to get as much homework and knitting in as I was capable.

This semester I'm taking four classes: Physics III (the kind with calculus), Calculus III, Physical Oceanography, and... American Literature II (aka post-Civil War). So basically lots of math with a random gen. ed. Physics is more of the same - this semester is the last one, and it's electricity and magnetism, which should be fun. It's seems like Dr. Huerta's been teaching this forever, and really enjoys it, which means he has a good, entertaining narrative down pat. Not really sure how well that transfers to knowing how to do the homework yet, but we'll see. Calc teacher is pretty quiet, kind of speeds through things rather than elaborating, but whatever; the book is good and clear, problems not too difficult, so this should be fine. Physical Oceanography is basically Story-Time with Dr. Olson. A little bit of actual physical oceanography, a LOT of semi-relevant yet amusing tangents and stories (and jabs at Dr. Millero, much to Jen and I's delight). The English class, is, well... and English class. Today we analyzed some Walt Whitman, looking at how this word is an unusual choice and oh! look at the juxtaposition of the passive and aggressive voice in this phrase and what does he mean when he's talking about being cared for by dinosaurs? Yeah.

The most striking difference between "normal" classes and Galápagos classes is the aggressiveness of the students. In the Galápagos, we all sort of wandered towards the classroom five minutes after class was supposed to start, stopping for tea and coffee along the way. In "normal" classes, half the class is mobbed around the door five minutes before the previous class ends, pouncing the minute the outgoing stream falls to a trickle. I don't know if this is a new behaviour brought on by more and more competitive incoming classes, or a long-standing phenomenon I am only now noticing because of my absence. In any case, it is terribly frightening.

This semester looks to be semi-promising on the knitting front. This is what I have after two days of class:

When I was at my highest for knitting productivity, this would have been maybe one class. Lowest, probably a week. So right in the middle. And in case you're wondering, these are going to be footies. 

Plot Twist

Mention Miami to anyone outside South Florida (or really anyone outside Miami-Dade), and they instantly think of one thing: South Beach. South Beach, the drinking, the partying, best time of your life, etc. etc. etc. Now, anyone who actually lives in Miami knows that South Beach is highly over-rated, and really, really expensive. The best place to go if you want a drink and a little clubbing is Coconut Grove. The Grove is pretty much the place for a night out if you're a student at the University of Miami; me, being an introverted, largely party-hating, not-into-getting-plastered person, had never been. Until last night.

I know what you're thinking: "Sarah, it's a THURSDAY NIGHT. Don't you have class in the morning or something?" Well, not exactly. The way Miami schedules a lot of their classes (mostly business and communications classes...), a large portion of the student body does not have class on Fridays. This has given rise to the tradition of "Thirsty Thursday" among students. In my prior three years at Miami, I've always had a class of some sort pretty much first thing Friday morning, so even if I had the desire to go out, it was out of the question. This time was different: I have one class on Fridays, at 1:30PM (plus work after). The reason for this is so I can devote my mornings to research out at RSMAS, but I'm currently labless, and therefore have the whole morning free (hence the blog post). Plus, we've only had two days of classes so far, so there's not much in the way of homework yet. Thus while I initially refused when Hannah walked in last night and invited me to The Grove with Julie and Lindsay, I though about it, and figured I've never been, I don't have class until 1:30 tomorrow, I don't have heaps and heaps of work like I will later in the semester, and I'll be going with three people I really like and am completely comfortable with, so why not? And so I went.

Both Lindsay and I were "Grove Virgins," so Hannah and Julie were determined to give us a good time (luckily they both know us well enough to know that our definition of a "good time" is very different from most Miami students). First we hit up Moe's - a bar styled like Pub 199 back home but with only one animal head rather than using them instead of wallpaper. We decided to split two Moose Juice's - the house specialty - between the four of us. Hannah and Lindsay were more focused on drinking the thing, while Julie and I too small, careful sips, trying to figure out the flavor combination in the "top secret" recipe (we decided there's definitely pink grapefruit, coconut milk, a dash of pineapple, and vodka).

Then we went to Sandbar, which I could tell at a glance was the main club of The Grove. While getting in had a little hiccup (the people checking IDs suspected Lindsay had a fake, even though she's the oldest of all of us and has been 21 for almost a year), once we were in, it was packed. I ran into a bunch of people I hadn't seen in a while (Bree, Shannon, Colleen), and had a mini Galapagos reunion with a bunch of group pictures (Megan, Abby, Sara G, Christy, Alex). The music was way too loud, but still nothing compared to Carnival, so it wasn't terrible. The early music was questionable, but then the DJ started playing things like Living on a Prayer and the dance remix of Don't Stop Believing, to which Julie, Lindsay, and I badly sang along to and danced like dorks (chicken dance, anyone?). At one point in the night, we pretended to be rednecks, which evolved into replacing some part of each song's chorus with a rendition of "Vote Mitt Romney" as a massive inside joke (we got some really funny looks, but it was too loud for most people outside of our little dorky dancing circle to hear what we were actually saying). 

In all, I had a great time, though I don't think I go again. I feel like last night was one of those magical nights that can never quite be matched. It was a unique mix of circumstances: the people whom I went with, the fact that it was both Lindsay and I's first time, the musical taste of the DJ, and seeing a lot of people again for the first time in months. Anything else is just going to be disappointment. It was a great night, and I want to savor the memory.