10 January 2008

3 FOs and a JOB!

How's that for accomplishment? Okay, it helps that I've been waiting huge amounts of time between posts, and yes, of course two of the FOs had been languishers that I just finished up, but...3 FOs and a job! And pictures! (we finally got a few sunny days in a row...we paid the price of -18C temps, but it was worth it)

So - first things first. The sweaters.

No, okay, I'm kidding. As enamored as I am of the sweaters, I want to tell you about the job first!

I got one! That's the most significant, shocking, unbelievably fact at the moment. Now, I know several of you are poised to go comment something really sweet about how I shouldn't be shocked, I worked hard, etc, but the academic job market is really arbitrary and I know many incredibly talented and hard-working people who end up sh@t out of luck year after year, stuck in cycles of incredibly low-paying adjuncting or whatever. I fully expected to put my time in with this, and see whether it would eventually lead to a tenure-track job or to leaving academia after about 5 years or so. But, I've been very, unexpectedly lucky. I'm in a relatively tiny field - though there are many more jobs for Americanists, for example, there's also way more Americanists than there are jobs. Not as many colleges have even one Russianist in their departments, but then again there are only a tiny handful of PhD Programs producing Russianists, and there have been fewer and fewer going through that system since 1992ish. Meanwhile, apparently that magical moment when the professoriate hired in the early 60s retires has finally hit (10-15 years later than expected) and trickled down - there were an unprecedented number of openings in my field this year. Like, several times more than last year, which had been a good year. So I got 5 preliminary interviews, which is awesome, but not completely out of the question since there are probably 25-30 Russianists applying at most (more likely less), as opposed to the 250 who apply for most Europeanist positions.

One of the schools that offered me an interview actually bypasses a large part of the usual process (usual being two levels of interviewing: preliminary conference interviews and intense on-campus visits), and gave me an on-campus interview in mid-December. I just found out that they've offered me a tenure-track job, even before learning whether I even made it as a finalist for the others. Luckily, as it happens, it was a really easy decision to just accept it and be done. This school solves all kinds of practical (geographic) problems for us, since we can stay in NYC where Hubbster is committed for another year, and is a good school that impressed the heck out of me on my visit, with some really lovely people whom I genuinely liked. Again - more tremendous luck.

Oh, but you wanted to hear about the sweaters? Here are the sweaters (all photos, click for slightly bigger):

Hubbster's Dutch Fisherman's Sweater. Here's the Ravelry page on it. (If you're not on Ravelry yet and you care about knitting enough to read this blog at all, you should sign up right now - these days they're moving through the waiting list very quickly and it only takes 1-2 weeks.)

After leaving it untouched through all the crazy traveling and stress of last summer and fall, I finally got back to it in these last couple of weeks while I was suffering from cold/flu plague and had lots of time sitting in a chair because if I had lain down I would have choked to death on my own phlegm.

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This is the only outdoor picture, sadly, because it was -18C.

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The color - KnitPicks WotA Sapphire Heather - never ceases to fascinate me. Gorgeous. Feels sturdy and durable but soft enough for comfort over just a t-shirt (I did it on US5, so it's fairly dense). Hubbster assures me that the color and feel strike an appropriate balance between attractiveness and manliness (Hubbster would also like to hereby be known as "Hubbus" as he thinks this is more manly sounding than Hubbster but I'm not sure I'll remember).

The knitting of it was easily the smoothest and most trouble-free of my sweater career. I did mis-calculate the frequency of increases on the first sleeve (inevitable) but practice at this particular mistake made me catch it quickly. For once the collar came out just right on the first try. The pattern was very easy - it looks more complicated than it is, but each row-pattern is easy to memorize and predictable. I made the first sleeve too short at first, but instead of ripping all of it I snipped one row in the plain stockinette portion at the top, added the necessary 5 extra rows, then grafted it back together. Doesn't show a bit. After blocking I added a few rows to each cuff, also - it was hard to predict how much it would flatten out, but luckily this was as much adjusting as I needed to do. The drop sleeves have surprisingly little extraneous bulk. My favorite detail is the I-cord CO/BO on the hem and cuffs. I saw something like that in the historical pics in the book, though it's not mentioned in the actual pattern (not sure if the original was I-cord or just rolled reverse stockinette, though).

The next sweater is not as much of an unmitigated joy, but I'm sure happy it's done!

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It's the KnitPicks Palette Sample Cardigan, at long, long last. Here's the Ravelry page. It had sat in my knitting bag awaiting the cutting of the front and collar steeks for an embarrassingly long time. Beth had even volunteered to do it for me over the summer, but I stupidly forgot to bring it with me to the Allegan Fiber Festival. The truth is, I was both terrified of cutting (the collar, specifically, since the steek was sloped - the sleeve experience had made me a little more sanguine about straight steeks) and had also lost some of my love for the sweater after realizing that switching needles on the second sleeve had made it slightly larger than the other. And with all those tiny bits of different colored yarns, I wasn't about to frog. No way, Dude. So I pretty much resigned myself to having a very beautiful only-around-the-house sweater and I just wasn't that pumped about it anymore.

But, in the euphoria over finishing the Dutch Fisherman's Sweater, I did it. The cutting wasn't that bad, as advertised - actually kind of fun once I'd decided I wasn't that happy with how the sweater was turning out anyway! And I'm not totally unhappy, either - this project was meant to be a learning experience, and I did learn from it everything I'd intended to learn. And, I have a delicious sweater for wearing at home, which I actually needed. I seldom knit cardigans (have I ever, before? I don't think so, actually), but they're really the only kind of sweaters I want to wear indoors. And the Palette yarn is astonishingly soft and pleasant to the touch. And I have oodles of lovely leftovers to play with.

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Notice how I have cleverly staged these photos to keep you from noticing how severely the sleeve dimensions don't actually match? Actually, after blocking, that's the least of my problems with the sleeves. What I like least is the hugeness of them both at the top - which was strictly according to the pattern. I know it's a drop-sleeve design, but this is out of control. Now I know to always modify this (I think I already knew that, but I ignored the Little Voice). It's also a little too short, which was my fault, but I'm glad that it ended with my favorite motif - the one with the three graduated shades of green - at the top of the body and sleeves, where they're prominent.

While the sweaters blocked, I quickly whipped up a tea cozy to match the Garter Mug Cozies I made from the IK pattern in the holiday special issue that I picked up while I was in NYC for my interview.

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Simply because our tea was getting cold. Problem solved, with modest aesthetic pleasure as pure bonus. I used my own handspun (!!) - it was the roving I bought together with my PeaceFleece spindle from an LYS on Long Island, because the other fiber I had collected at that point was still out of reach in my suitcase in NYC. It's Corriedale/Romney and I love the dye job - absolutely delicious - but I wasn't happy with the condition of the fiber once I actually got into spinning it. It had lots of little pills in it, as if it had been handled too much or badly or something. I don't know enough to say why, but I do know that it led to much bumpier and less fun spinning than other fibers I was spinning at the same time. Compared to the awesome, shiny, blissfully pleasant spinning experience and final product of the Wensleydale that Beth sent me (and which I dyed myself with kool-aid) - well. Let's just say, I vow to always, always listen to Beth about all things fibery and not stray again any time soon no matter what. I also vow to go back to Beth's shop this coming summer and buy myself a fiber stash so that I'm never in such dire straits again - hey, I'll be employed by then! And while I'm there, if I take the opportunity to try out all the spinning wheels...well, who could possibly blame me?

As if this post isn't long enough already, I don't want to leave without sharing some of the pictures I've been assiduously taking.

First there's the pretty:

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(From a monastery located right in the middle of the city, within walking distance from us)

And then there's the more neighborhoody sort of sights:

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(stray dogs)


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(can you guess what year this playground was built?)

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(Sadly, much of our snow melted after I took these pictures, then we hit this cold snap, and all it did was freeze the dog pee on the sidewalks.)

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(I don't really know the purpose of this thing, but there are several of them around the playgrounds in the neighborhood, each one striving to be cuter than the next.)

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("New Years" decorations at the nearby baked goods kiosk)

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(These relief portraits are on a local school. My first thought was that the guy on the far right was Stalin. Which seemed strange, but I thought the guy at middle left could be Marx. Which leaves, of course, Lenin and Engels, but that would mean the artist was singularly untalented. A closer look made it clear - from L to R they're: Pushkin, Tolstoy, Mayakovsky and Gorky. That's more like it!)

I thought I had a picture of the cars triple-parked all over the sidewalks, but I can't find it, so that'll have to end our tour for today. Hope you enjoyed!

25 comments:

hyunjee said...

HOLY SHIT! CONGRATULATIONS! I mean, the FOs are awesome, and everything, but I'm an ABD so HOLY SHIT! Congratulations on totally rocking the job market! :)

Penny said...

Congratulations! Sounds like the job was meant to be, and the sweaters look great! Congrats too on finishing the fair isle!

Chelsey said...

That's so great!!! As someone looking into going into academics, it's awesome to have hope!!! Congratulations!

Specs said...

Congratulaions! I was just talking to a friend who is brilliant and dedicated and got no interviews this year at the MLA. It's so crazy how this stuff works out and shifts from year to year.

(Although, of course, you do deserve it and you really did work hard for it.)

Hooray!

Dame Wendy said...

YAAAY!!! I love big picture posts, and that's SUPER DUPER about the job. I love that saphire heather yarn too! I used it for a hat for Marty but after working with it, a sweater is much more suited. The colors on the cardigan are gorgeous. :)

aija said...

Wow, what an awesome post!! Congratulations on the job, I'm so happy it works out for you :)

Ruth's Place said...

Congratulations on the Job!! Very cool.

Love both sweaters, but the one for yourself is just amazing.

WineGrrl said...

Yay!

Aidan said...

Mazel tov! What a great New Year! How exciting!

And the FOs are both beautiful. I would never attempt the Fair Isle -- not that it is beyond my skill, but because I hate working in ends. Shudder.

ayla said...

It's so great to hear from you again! Congratulations on your job, but more congratulations on making something usable out of your handspun. I can't even spin, yet, but making something out of yarn that you made seems like the pinnacle of knitterly wonder to me. :)

Marianne said...

What a treat to find this post!
HUGE Congratulations on the job! and yes, you are well deserving and you did work hard, heh. I'm really happy it worked out so very well!
'Hubbus'...seriously!
His sweater is Gorgeous! Beautifully knit, yowza!
I'm so glad you finished these two sweaters, I'd been wondering about them... the FI cardi... I think it's beautiful, and amazing!

Love the little tea cozy, I could not get my hands on that Holiday issue of IK! I'm still trying but dang! They're probably ALL gone now... I think they should just send you one if you subscribe, you know?

How in the world do those dogs survive? Are there very many? Is it a big problem? Are the people kind to them?

Great post.

Clumsy Knitter said...

A big congrats on the job! My husband is also a professor, so I know only too well the anxieties of the trade. The sweaters look wonderful too--congrats all around!

K8 said...

Congratulations - that's wonderful news! And the sweaters are great :)

LadyLungDoc said...

That's awesome! Love the sweaters!!

Kim said...

Congratulations on the job! I hope it turns out to be perfect for you!

EnnaVic said...

Congrats on the job!!

Love the jumpers (even the fairisle - the colours are beautiful)and the cosies are cute :)

Also really enjoyed the Russian pics. Russia is the one place I desperately want to visit one day, esp. St Petersburg - but Moscow as well.

Happy New Year!

Sarah said...

Congratulations! And to think just a few days ago we were talking about academia. I assume you can't say outright which University you are at, but something tells me I have a very good idea!

New York's such a great place to be. I'm happy that you and Hubbus will be able to spend more time there. Although, I have to say your pictures of Moscow are quite charming:)

Ava said...

Congratulations! Oh, I'm so jealous! Teaching Russian history in NYC - one of my favorite subjects in my favorite city! do you specialize in a specific period?

great sweaters!

Stef said...

Congratulations on your job!!

Sway Knits said...

Congrats! And dang, that sampler cardigan is impressive!

Juti said...

Congrats on the job, yay for all of the FOs, and happy New Year!

KnitMongrel said...

Holy hell. Your knitting is fabulous, your hubbus (right?) is adorable, your city is fascinating, your new job is INCREDIBLE (a million congrats)... what more is there to say except you owe me a yarn crawl in Chicago? :) So glad things are going well for you... here's to finding the right people to vent to! xo

cookie said...

Oh, congrats on the job!!!!!! Hurrah!!!!

And oh my, all those FOs. The sweater looks great on the hubbster. And I laughed when I went back and looked at the sleeves in your photos. Hahahaha, very sneaky of you to hide them like that.

Hope you are doing well and that Moscow was fabulous!

f. pea said...

a belated but nonetheless heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!

felting-maniac said...

Both sweaters are just amazing but I loved the photos of Moscow :)

BTW these decorated house is called "veranda". This is kind of a play-house. There are usually lots of them on kindergarten playgrounds.