Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Art-asaurus, Wall 1.

When I'm feeling particularly lonely or stressed I have the urge to nest. This is arguably fruitless since I'll be moving in less than a year, and probably again a year after that. These facts do not stop me.

For months, I'd been displaying some pictures and mementos on my windowsill. I really liked the casual display, but I could only see it when I was changing the channel on the tv. Not super useful. So I tried some different configurations and settled on the above.

Image from 3M.com.

I decided to hang them on the wall opposite my bed, so I can see them all the time! Yay! I also wanted to add a photo from the night we got engaged, I guess I'm just sentimental. They're hung with 3M velcro hooks. These are the best. Really. Skip straight over the picture hanging ones, and forget putting a zillion nails in the wall. Use the velcro stickies. Why, you ask? Because unlike the picture hangers, you're ok as long as you're in the ballpark when you hang them. If things aren't level, you have some wiggle room. Literally. This was totally ideal when I was about to hang 8 frames.

Ta-da. I'm pretty sure they look crooked because of the depth of the frames. Or they're crooked. I'm okay with it either way.

And the close up.

In case you're curious, clockwise from the top left:
1. A found photo from a thrift shop I got for 50 cents.
2. An envelope the fella got for me at a street sale in Germany.
3. A double helix I stenciled on a whim this summer.
4. A postcard of Dali's The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft Which Can Be Used as a Table, I saw it on display when I was at the museum in St. Petersburg and have loved it since.
5. A photo of the kissing trees in the Blue Mountains in Australia. Legend says you will be forever with the person you kiss in front of the trees. When it was our turn, the fella told the tour group he wasn't sure about "forever." Thanks.
6. Us!! Just after getting engaged in Bryant Park.
7. A photo I took in Scotland at Giant's Causeway- the basalt hexagon column things are badass.
8. The restaurant ticket from Otto from the night we got engaged. Thanks to B, for having the foresight to tell me to save this.

Monday, August 30, 2010

So remember the birthday crab?

Probably not. I didn't either. But yesterday I was inspired to finish knitting it. Hooray!

To remind you: this was my makeshift pattern.

This was the finished knitted piece. But it needed blocking, like whoa. The tension in my stranded work is atrocious, and I'm hoping some blocking will go a long way. Or not. We'll see. Now plenty of people, books and websites will detail the right way to block. I'm here to say there isn't one. I frankenstein the whole process and am usually pleased with the results.

My blocking starts with a bowl of room temperature water; too cold or hot can mess with the fibers since I used 100% wool (hand-dyed biotch).

I slowly push the piece into the water, but it's gentle so no major yanks or twisting.

When I get bored, and/or it looks pretty saturated (this is harder than it sounds, wool holds a LOT of water), I oh-so-gently squeeze the excess water. But again, the fibers are vulnerable to stretching at this point.

I'm a fan of blotting in a towel.

Make a crab rollup to get more water out. Again, be gentle. I'm serious.

Then to block the shape, I pin the piece down on a towel. No fancy blocking board. No fancy pins. Just a towel and some straight pins.

Now I know from the lobster pillow, that my kind of crappy stranded knitting leads to an oddly textured fabric. So as with the lobster, I placed a second towel and some textbooks atop to even out my lazy, uneven knitting.

Next: wait a day or two (I told you, wool holds a lot of water), trim the ends up and voila! Birthday present, the sequel. (Coincidentally, her 1/2 birthday is in 2 weeks...)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Troubleshooting the troubleshooting

From here; I'm totally a Frustration Ball.

One of the perks of being in a small research laboratory is being involved in all of the lab projects and sharing the rewards (publications). Of course, one of the drawbacks of being in a small lab is having weird experiments unrelated to my project totally fall into my lap. And then never leave That's all to say that I was given the task of "wrapping up" our past research aide's project after she left for grad school herself. This wasn't a big deal, as it was an experiment I'd recently done for my own project. Super. One week. Name on the paper. Win! Ha. As you can guess, the experiment won't work, and to boot, my experiments to troubleshoot the original experiment aren't working either. Boo.
Frustration ball!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Yet another go around

From here, though I think this is both unrelated and probably crochet.

This blog and I mirror many of my relationships and commitments in life. I predictably go through these stages (that I am making up right now).

Stage 1: Discovery. The OMG how did I live without this?!
Stage 2: Obsession. This is where I google like it's my job, forget to eat and stay up until 2 a.m.
Stage 3: Reality. Okay, so while this is cool, maybe it isn't the coolest thing I've ever done.
Stage 4: Inexplicable resentment.
Stage 5: Boredom/Indifference.
Possible stage 6: Rediscovery. I'll reevaluate my love/hate relationship with project X and either return to Stage 1, or begin a modified, less-scary, toned down, reasonable commitment.

This is true for:
i) most knitting projects (especially those that require more than one skein)
ii) most reality TV shows (hello, Jersey Shore, I hate you)
iii) any single aspect of my new wedding planning
iv) exercise, generally
v) the lofty goal of packing lunch and cooking dinner every day

With that all said, I'm here to give the ol' blog yet another fresh start. You should know that in addition to science and knitting, wedding planning has now crept into the forefront of my mind. So don't be mad if I want/need to talk about things that are neither science, nor knitting-related (though I already have some killer ideas of how to incorporate both of my loves into the wedding).