Sunday, September 13, 2009

Babies are not food, but can look like it.

My friend's sister is having a baby. Now normally, this is too far removed to warrant a gift, but I know I will be in town the weekend of her shower and, what the heck, baby stuff is freaking *small.* I started thinking of the very popular Saartje's booties. Totally cute and dainty and won't require hardly any yarn.

But then I remember that her sister was the oh-so-lucky recipient of my totally awesome corn and turkey legs last year around this time as the Fakesgiving hostess gift. So maybe that's how I got food on the mind...
Anyway, now I'm totally smitten on making this baby look delicious. I've narrowed it down to the Cupcake Hat and the Tomato Baby Beanie (though, I'm leaning towards eggplant, myself). Current yarn stash will probably determine which will come to be, and if time allows, perhaps some matching booties too.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

So I might have a problem*

*Or, nobody understands the need for a big stash.

I was out with my housemates last evening, discussing an upcoming soiree, when suddenly I was looked upon with utter disgust. Horror, even. I was told that they were in the basement and saw my yarn. I was confused until they explained that they didn't understand why I had so much yarn. Frankly, I didn't understand them not understanding...

Having a yarn stash is part of the fun of knitting. It's composed of my leftovers, my never-got-starteds, sale yarns and my had-to-haves. And at one bookshelf's worth, I thought my stash was pretty modest.

I don't collect shot glasses, or DVDs, or vintage wine. I collect yarn. And it makes me happy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Starting and Finnish-ing

To plan for some upcoming travel (coupled with Knitter's Mercantile summer sale) I decided I needed a hipster-jet-set-bandana-scarf-shawl-thingy. I wanted lace, but not frilly. I settled on a pretty simple, geometric pattern called Fifi.

The only catch was that the pattern was written in Finnish. Because the pattern was charted, I really only needed to know what each symbol represented, plus any unique finishing details. Thank goodness for Ravelry, I found someone who'd knit this pattern and seemed to know English. I was able to email her and sort things out. She is my Terhi-godmother.
Nonetheless, I am the proud owner of two skeins of Twisted Sisters Zazu merino in monochromatic variegated gold. I looooooove it. It is precisely the color of marigolds. Or more appropriately mums, I suppose, since it's fall.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Three cheers for genetecists

This month, the NIH swore in Dr. Francis Collins as it's 16th director. Just giving a shout-out to the mind behind positional cloning, and who identified genes responsible for cystic fibrosis and Huntington disease, amongst others.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dishrag rampage.

Yesterday I was trying to figure out how to knit a nice squarish-square. It seemed unlikely that knitting and measuring in garter stitch would yield a perfect square, even with my best intentions. It then occured to me that the basic "granny" dishcloth, since knit on the diagonal, would necessarily yield a perfect square. So on I cast!!
The idea: knit a dishcloth-sized square of 100% wool and then felt to get a coaster. To try and get even fancier, I'm going to attempt to weave acrylic or cotton yarn through the yarn overs. I'm hoping that the wool will felt around the non-feltable fibers and give me a coaster with teeny tiny holes around it. I have NO IDEA whether or not this will work or whether I will get a mottled yarny tangle mess.

Anyway, if my test coaster (in primary yellow and red) works, I think it would be cool to knit and felt a whole set with undyed yarn and then dye the set together with some unifying treatment or color. I've never been a huge fan of hand-dyed yarn colors pooling (this is when multicolored yarn produces 'pools' of color in the finished knit fabric) so why not dye them at the end and go for a dip-dyed effect?

In the meantime, while I'm waiting for the patience to do the felting (I feel like my real laundry should take precedence, right?) I've gone on a dishrag rampage. They're addictive!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekend Cardigan and FALL!

Today was the first day with bona fide fall weather in my neck of the woods. This worked out quite nicely, because I happened to start AND FINISH a cropped cardigan this weekend. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

On Friday, in a rare fit of organization, I began stacking and stuffing skeins in a hope to make the basement shelves look like a pretty yarn store display. It sort of worked, but now I'm supremely worried about dust. Anyway, I also happened to flip through Fitted Knits (by Stefanie Japel)while eating a fairly awesome dinner I made (but that's for another time). As I mentally flagged patterns, I happened to notice that the "Bold and Bulky Mini Cardigan" called for three skeins of yarn that I had just stuffed into a shelving unit. Well, clearly the only remedy was to cast on immediately.

So I did- and I was lucky enough to find myself two days later, on the first truly fallish day mind you, with a masterfully handknit cardigan! I felt it only appropriate then to model it unbuttoned and bolero-style and walk to the delightful North Market where I bought my first locally-grown apples.

It's fall, baby.

(Note: proper photos to follow. I just wanted to share! Can you blame me?)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Taking pictures of yarn in my yard

or: what I would do for free yarn.

Astute knitters will recall that Knitty's Calendar Contest competition is again upon us. The deadline was Friday the 14th and this year I managed to enter (unlike last year.) Like last year, though, I forgot until the last second and had chosen 3 pictures I'd used elsewhere. The fella disliked my entries and offered to help. In the end, only one of his made the cut. Can you guess which one was his?

Friday, August 14, 2009

In anticipation for a stressed out pre-candidacy fall season, I've made some mid-year resolutions:

1. Learn to knit and finish socks, in earnest.
To help achieve this - Three classes in September at Wonderknit in Clintonville.

2. To exercise twice a week, so as not to feel fat/implode from stress.
To help achieve this - Gym class membership with once-gym buddy Carie.

3. To organize my clothes and yarn.
To help achieve this - I'm really on my own here...

4. To study a little bit every day until candidacy.
To help achieve this - At the beginning of each week, I'll print and organize 7-10 papers and carry them with me everywhere. I'm a firm believer that the physical weight and burden from carrying unfinished work around motivates me.

Hopefully in a month's time, I can update with my stellar progress.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bicycles, too.

As you may or may not know (or care), I'm in the market for a new bicycle. I want to be able to ride roads, gravel trails and occasionally tour (at least have the option to tour/ride very far without dying... nevermind the Ohiopyle incident).
I had the good fortune to ride the Jamis Satellite Femme this weekend, and I can honestly say it is so much better in person than whatever you're thinking now. It rides beautifully and looks all shiny and wow (and was on sale!). I think I felt the way grown men feel about new cars. What a classy ride.
I also test rode an '08 Surly Cross-Check. Not nearly as dainty as the Jamis, but also a fun ride. Very functional- akin to a Subaru in my mind. Solid and handsome. A really nice bike with unfortunate color options and an equally unfortunate and sloppy brand typeface. The look of the bike suggests the rider doesn't always use a napkin when eating.
Lastly, I had a look at the Trek 7.3 FX WSD. Designed for women, decorated for small girls. I didn't even ride it, I was so turned off by the pixelated flower decals. Gag. Major disappointment. However the District (below) is rocking, but totally not right for me.
I had hoped to check out some other options, especially Bianchi (since I'm told Italian cyclists are a bit more petite) and Fuji, but as it turns out no one really stocks cross bikes for small people.

Bottom line, still no bike.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fall symposia season

With summer in full swing (depending upon whom you ask), it's hard for me to be seriously concerned about fall. I'm not quite ready to knit scarves and hats (save a lacy beret I feel like I need) and I'm definitely not ready for football or classes. Whether I like it or not, however, deadlines for abstract submissions are rapidly approaching.
Expect to see me at the following:
Midwest Carbohydrate and Glycoscience Symposium at University of Cincinnati October 2-3

Science and sugars and bugs, oh my.
*Photo taken during the winter. On the other side of the world.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


This is my beautiful data from Monday. I'm very proud of it. If you're lucky, I'll tell you what it means.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Best. Wedding gift. Ever.*

(*in my opinion.)

Summer means weddings. And to an amateur knitter this means the potential for panic. As it were, dear friends of the Fella got hitched about a month ago. C and S are fun and special people to the Fella, and the standard kitchenwares seemed to not be special enough to celebrate the occasion. With no fear, I undertook the challenge to finish an afghan in about five weeks.
I referred to one of my favorite (and ridiculously-titled) books, "The Big Book of Quick-Knit Afghans," and chose an equally-silly titled pattern, "Delightful." Fortunately, the result was not nearly as silly, and in fact, I'm quite pleased with it. The picture leaves a little to be desired and the fan-like or paisley-like pattern is faint. Also, it probably needs a napping cat and a pipe resting on it.

And if that wasn't good enough, the Fella brewed a special Nuptial Lager for the happy couple.
See? Best wedding gift ever.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My next most favorite WIP

As you may or may not know, I get really excited about new projects. Studying a pattern, picking the yarn, BUYING the yarn, (watching the yarn gather dust in my closet). Nonetheless, I have been stuck on the Gigi since it came out last summer.

But finally, I'm through with gifts for awhile and want to focus on moi again with my knitting. So now I just have to choose on a color! I briefly toyed with the idea of knitting it bare and dip dyeing it after it's finished, kind of like this one from Gap, only not in neon. However, I fear two things. 1. not getting a nice gradation in the dyeing, although the banding of the sweater would provide a nice border. 2. getting the whole think knit and seamed and beautiful, and then mucking it up in some unforeseen way at the last second.Below are the current front runners, all KnitPicks Stroll Kettle-Dyed Sock Yarn. Since it's sock yarn (and KnitPicks) it is relatively inexpensive. I think the kettle-dying makes it look more interesting and more expensive. It looks the way I wish my hand-dyed would look.

Assuming it will be done for fall... do one of these colors say "fall"? Unsure.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Summer hiatus is over, and a toothbrush

After my long and certainly woe-inducing absence, I once again return to share my tales of knitting, science and everything else. To catch you up:

1. The countdown to candidacy has officially begun (date is set!) and therefore the requisite freaking out will commence shortly.

2. Science has had some recent ups and downs, most recently an up. Therefore, all is well at work.3. I love my new toothbrush. It has a little bend backwards, which makes all of your teeth so easy to clean. I like how simple the design is, too. It is from Preserve, which recycles #5 plastics and turns them into pretty things.

Apparently most community recycling programs can't handle these dense #5 plastics, so they end up in landfills. Now, I'm not trying to get on a hippie-high-horse, but this seems pretty cool to me. Plus they also recycle Brita filters.
I want these next. 100% recycled materials, dishwasher safe, and if I totally muck them up, re-recyclable, natch.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring cleaning (part 2: the niddy noddy)

Oh boy, was I excited Sunday morning at the prospect of a project that combined knitting and a home improvement store! I recalled from a ravelry forum that a niddy noddy could be constructed cheaply from PVC pipe and fittings. I was referred to the following directions on the doctor dirt blog, which I only now see are accessible from Wikipedia as well.

Armed with no more than an idea of what I wanted, I headed off for the ridiculously hard to get to home improvement store that hides behind the Crew Stadium and Ohio State Fairgrounds. (Sidenote: Kenny Rogers and Blue Oyster Cult will both make appearances at this year's fair - not to be missed.)

I procured 5' of 1" PVC piping and two T-connector-thingies for a grand total of $2.93. Not bad, I thought.
...until I got home and realized I had no way to cut the pipe to the desired lengths. So back to the drawing board, and ultimately back to the home improvement store to get more help which came in the embarrasingly simple form of an employee with a hacksaw. Then- assembly.
Finally, winding a sweater's worth of yarn into skeins.Next weekend: part 3 - washing and dyeing.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Spring cleaning (part 1: Saturday)

The weather this weekend was sunny and lovely. A perfect weekend for a project. Saturday, I chose to peruse two local thrift stores looking for sweaters to frog, dye and recycle. I settled on two men's sweaters, both 100% wool and moderately ugly. Perfect. One sweater I chose was a medium oatmeal men's pullover (originally from J. Crew during a mid-90's lapse in style, I gather). This sweater met my goals for the weekend project best.
I started by ripping the seams and dismantling into the sleeves, front and back. I wound these pieces into odd-sized balls as I ripped, to avoid massive tangling. Below are represented the largest and smallest.The tiny off-colored one is from an unfortunate stripe detail from the chest. I saved it because I think it could be used for color testing when I dye, or stripes (fancy that) for some future project. In fact, dyeing the oatmeal and the off-white with the same dye mix might result in two tones of the same color, which could look really nice.

To dye these balls, I would need to skein them and to properly do this, I felt I needed (yes, needed) a niddy noddy. Hold your breath for part 2: Sunday - niddy noddy day.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bon voyage!

To prepare for the departure of the fella, I thought a little Aussie motif was in order.

I'll have a lot of time on my hands to knit some dandy little dishclothes or the like.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

You need this.

Here are instructions to make a hanging circular needle organizer out of jeans. U2 poster optional.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

My throat hurts

I've had a sore throat for about a day. Any time this happens, I tend to wonder if the cause is bad lab practice... How embarrassing to make myself sick (and a good thing I don't work on anthrax (shout out: Bacillus anthracis). Of course, this is a ridiculous train of thought, as we all know the primary cause of a sore throat is viral infection.

"Ah, but what about strep throat!?" says you, (and rightly so) as I work on a streptococcal species. However, strep throat is not caused by my favorite bacteria, Streptococcus pneumoniae, but instead by Group A Strep (GAS), Streptococcus pyogenes.

Go ahead, have a read, get sore-throat-smarter. I'll have a tea.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thrummed Odyssey - cast on!

I noticed as I was consulting my resources that Knitting Daily and the Yarn Harlot introduce the thrums differently. KD knits the thrum in place of the stitch while YH knits the thrum with the stitch. I chose the YH method arbitrarily. I chose not to do a gusseted thumb because frankly, this is much easier.

So as you can guess, I cast on earlier this week and am about ready to decrease.

Next: the thumb.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Thrummed Odyssey - The yarn

Yarn and roving purchased from Knitters Mercantile. I only bought one extra thing, so that was pretty good!Yarn: 3.3 oz. (220 yd) Cascade 200 Heathers (colorway: 8012 mushroomy color)
Roving: 4oz. Tuscan Grove Australian wool (colorway: Fresco)
I've begun making thrums, based on what I imagine they are supposed to look like.Next: cast on.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Things I learned abot Adobe pdf today

1. It hates me.

2. It is indifferent to the figure legends I've written and will randomly "enhance" them.

3. It doesn't really understand what it means to be transparent. Crosshatch is not the same as transparency.

4. It did not want me to submit the grant today.

5. I need more resolution.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Back from the dead, and celebrating with thrums.

To preface, every aspect of my life has been painfully neglected over the last month. To my credit (and the only redeeming grace of this hellish month), I've submitted my first grant. My friends, my life and my knitting have all been put on hold, and I'm ready to have them back. So I'm celebrating with THRUMS!What are thrums, you say? Aside from 'awesome,' they are little fuzzy bits of love inside of a knitted piece to keep you super warm and toasty. Roving (unspun wool fibers), is knitted into with the piece and adds a bulky fleecy layer.To keep myself on track, I will chronicle my Thrummed Odyssey. Fortunately for me, Knitting Daily and the Yarn Harlot, have nice tutorials. This will com in handy, as I have no idea what I'm doing.

I've tentatively chosen some combination of Yarn Forward and the Yarn Harlot's patterns, as they seem popular enough.

Step one: choose yarn...