Sunday, September 26, 2010

Destroyed Cowl: Part II

For those interested, the Destroyed Cowl, aka my first fall knit, is just a big rectangle of stockinette stitch. Boring to knit, but good for TV watching. Fairly mindless. But, oh yay for dropping stitches on purpose!!

As always, the Kitchener stitch was way more annoying than expected. It's supposed to make the cowl a continuous loop of knitting. Blocking will even this out some.

But as you can see, I made some mistakes.

Okay, a LOT of mistakes here at the end... Fortunately, I think these won't be noticeable unless someone is studying it.

Next up: dyeing.

Friday, September 24, 2010

First fall knit

Apparently, I inspired myself. After I showed the Destroyed Cowl a few days ago, I started to really want one. So whilst at the airport Friday, (and on and off since then) I've been working on my own cowl. It doesn't look like much yet, but I have high hopes for this. I think I want to dye it too, after I was so happy with how this wool took color.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wedding knits: Part II

I don't want to go over the top with knitted nick knacks at the wedding. I also don't want to drive myself insane to finish a bunch of labor-intensive projects that I can never finish. But I DO want to have something knitted to add a little touch of me and my interests. Enter bouquet wrap, stage left:

(Source unknown, some wedding magazine. Sorry!)

Seriously, how cute is this? It's barely noticeable, but really personal. It could be understated, like hear in the cream, but it could be more of a statement by contrasting with the flowers.

From a practical standpoint, it's a rectangle. This one looks like it was cut from a larger knitted piece and appears unfinished at the edges. But I couldn't stand for that.

Knitting this in the round would require fitting it to the bouquet, and thus knowing how big it would be. Too much work.

I imagine this look would be easiest to achieve by having fake buttons and using velcro. The buttons could be a way to further personalize if I got my hands on some garment from a family member (Mom's wedding dress buttons? Buttons from any shirt of any grandparent?)

About the velcro: normally velcro would ruin the yarn, but I don't exactly think I'd ever use it again.

Fun with science

So I'd read about extracting DNA from veggies in a blender a few years ago.

But extracting your own DNA as a bar trick? Totally blew my mind.

*Images from respective links.

P.S. As an aside, can anyone explain to me why the contact solution is needed? Doesn't saliva already have a bunch of proteases? Maybe I'm wrong, I'm not exactly a eukaryotic expert.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Traveling fool

I've been off gallivanting again. This time? The big apple.

Oh hello there Brooklyn Philharmonic in Bryant Park!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's fall!

It rained today, and when I left from work, hello, it was fall. The breeze was chilly and I wanted scarves, sweaters and mittens (ok, maybe not mittens). Oh, let the fall knitting commence!

Maybe a chunky shawl collared cardigan like this (from Fall '09 Knitscene)?

Or this destroyed cowl (by Martha Merzig)?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Science sucks/NYC here I come!


The past couple weeks have not been good science weeks. One word: optimization. That's a nice way of saying 'I have no idea what I'm doing, but it needs to magically work.' This happens often in science, but right now it's holding up a paper.

So I'm bailing! I'm going to the city that never sleeps. Friday can't come fast enough.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Work trip to St. Louis!

One of the things I quite like about my job as a lowly grad student is the free travel. I'm sure I'd feel differently if I had kids, or complicated business forecasts to present, or didn't like to fly. But fortunately for me, none of those are the case.

This weekend I was lucky enough to go to St. Louis for the Midwest Microbial Pathogenesis Conference (I know, dork city). It was a great meeting and great sightseeing!

I'd never seen the arch. So of course we visited and rode up to the top.

Um, wasn't crazy about this rickety space-pod.

We were in a cloud. Literally.

Only regret: couldn't enjoy it with my family or friends.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Crabby update

Blocked crab panel.

Pretty close to my original idea.

Will make fast friends with lobster pillow?

Monday, September 6, 2010


I was away for the weekend while my mystery knitting blocked/dried. Imagine my surprise when what started like this:

ended up looking like this:

Here it is serving its intended purpose of holding my straight needles:Knitted ombre-style plastic tub cover thingy? Success.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


Between favorite blogs, Martha Stewart craft-a-day, magazines and my own wacky mind, I have started to fill my brain with wedding/life ideas. This resulted in some crafty alchemy yesterday. I'd found and flagged this idea in the early throes of wedding planning. The color, the flowers and the basketweave stitch didn't really sing to me, but the idea of a vase cozie seemed workable. The idea had sort of slipped away until I saw the below:

From the lovely, indelible Martha Stewart.

Hello, Martha, I want this. Now, I'm the first to admit that Martha's craft of the day is normally insane or complicated, but I love this. I'm kind of picturing do invites, or thank yous in a butcher paper color dipped in burgundy (actually I have the sudden urge to dip-dye everything I own).

But wait, these two pieces of inspiration have nothing in common- yet.

See, my brain wanted to combine both ideas. Immediately. So fast that I only have a couple of pictures, clearly taken after the fact.

I started with some Lion Fisherman Wool. Have I told you how much I love this? It is cheap ($4-5 with 40% off coupon at Jo-ann's) and there's enough yardage to play around with without feeling badly. This was the "Oatmeal" color, which worked because I've been on a taupe kick this week.

I knitted a swatch (hello!) but didn't block it, so no real help. But basically, I knit a plain stockinette rectangle. I knit the first and last row through the back loop (k tbl), because I used a loose cast on; the end effect gave a little twist at the bottom that I liked. From here, I knit a bigger stockinette rectangle to fit around a plastic jar that was lying around. Then I seamed it, because it seemed faster than knitting the whole thing on double pointed needles.

On to dyeing!! Also no pictures. But I was shooting for an ombre effect. I used part of one grape Kool-Aid pack in a drinking glass. I kind of roll-smushed the knitted tube into the cup for the microwaving - but guess what, a cup full of water heats up really quickly. It only took about 3 zaps of 30 seconds to get pretty darn hot! So I just left it on the counter to cool and soak up color. I added a little more color and water to get a little color higher up. I'm sort of worried this just made an ugly stripe, but we'll see.

Anyway (thanks for bearing with me) when the color seemed good, I wrung it out a bit and fitted it back over the vase. Remember how I didn't block the swatch? Well the vase cozie obviously stretched while it was wet, so was then a loose fit. My solution? As you see, I wrapped a towel around it and taped it shut. Literally. Eek!

I promise more pictures once it's dry. But for now you'll have to be satisfied with a tiny peak of burgundy.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Art-asaurus. Wall 1, part 2.

So after some confusion, I realized the fella left a surprise gift for me just days after I hung my photo collage thingy. Sadly, he thought it would look nice on the very wall that I'd just covered. Oh no!

But I'm all for making lemonade, and turned to the same wall. It occurred to me that the artwork would balance the wall. It's smaller than the collage thingy, but the same black framing. Since it's over a bookshelf and the tv, the small scale kind of works for me.

And if you're wondering the strange black and white abstract art is actually blurry and fuzzy photos my sneaky friends took as the fella proposed to me. I realize this is a lot of engagement-themed art for one wall, but I'm sure I'll change some of these out eventually. For now, I just think they're funny!

Here's the wall in it's current glory (and Emmy Award winning Top Chef on tv).