Sunday, January 30, 2011

It'll do

The cleaning of the office continues and though it's not perfectly spotless and efficiently organized, I was actually able to vacuum. The office is quite perilous for the likes of vacuum cleaners, even young whipper-snappers like my new bagless Dirt Devil. The Hoover kicked the proverbial bucket, threads and wool still stuck in the brush that, though I pulled many a string from its rotating bristles, eventually spelled the demise of Old Yeller's poor overworked motor last September. The vacuum is dead. Long live the vacuum.

I also put up a picture I've been wanting to have framed since forever. I still haven't gotten it framed, but it's just too cool to leave in limbo. There were some old illustrations of liver fluke anatomy that I found while doing work study as an undergrad and I took this one home because I thought it was pretty. There's a warmth to the older biological illustrations that you just don't see in late 20th, early 21st century work. While it's important to create accurate representations of the object of your study, that doesn't mean they should be deliberately devoid of soul. Sure, it's just a liver fluke drawing, but the level of patience and care that went into the illustration could only have come from a love of the subject matter. Ask me about radial veins and I will tell you about patience.

Speaking of patience, happy Theogamia and may those who are married or who want to be married be blessed by Zeus and Hera in their matrimony.

This is all that's left of the cake. The icing consisted of about a stick of butter, two cups of 10x, a splash of half and half, a bit of vanilla, and yea so much cream cheese - just a little for consistency. I don't know if that's proper buttercream icing, but it was darn tasty. Tip for the wise: when making baked goods, make sure you look at the label of the bottle so that you do not put Balsamic vinegar in the mix instead of vanilla.

This finally came back to me and is some of my earlier work. There's something about an ugly crocheted afghan that makes me think of home. Even though it's Red Heart, even though I'm pretty sure this is what homemade sin looks like, it's just cuddly. It's not a delicately crafted heirloom, but perhaps someone a long time from now will see this and remember "Oh, golly, what was Granny ever thinking!? Was she crazy?" and someone will say, "Well, yes, but that's why we loved her." Perhaps not, but I see it and remember my friend that I loved because it had been in her possession for so long. Anyway, I make stuff to be used and loved and this certainly will be.

So will this. This is my new knitting fling and what I believe to be rather a good use of handspun sari silk yarn. I might just be keeping this little gem for myself to wrap around my neck on days that are just a little chilly, but not cold. The open work makes for a nice fabric that drapes beautifully and I just love the colors. O drop-stitch scarf, you have won my heart. Be not jealous, sock.

Does it look jealous to you? I made it past the heel to the top ribbing, so I don't know why it would be.

In other news, the third hat I cast on last week was a bust and the yarn wasn't good enough to try to recover. Consider it flung in the spirit of February is for Finishing.

I've also managed to do quite a bit of plying and so much so that I've had to take a few days off, lest my calves explode. Here also, you will see some yarns that were sitting about like the lazy bits of wool they are, waiting for me to measure them and put them up in the shop (Etsy link) - which is in dire need of updating. I still haven't done so, but I've moved these yarns on to the next stage. One of them is the lost 13th colony or, rather, the 4th skein of Eye of Jupiter (Etsy link) that never got put up. The green one hasn't got a name yet, but I'm thinking "Other Side of the Hill." There's a two-ply and a three-ply in the same wool. The grey is the Lincoln Longwool from Peaceful Pastures that I've been working on and it's turning out to be a fantastic worsted. I'm quite pleased with it.

I can't wait for spring. This nice weather won't last and it's going to get cold again soon, but I'll enjoy it while I can. I'll leave you with this moment of Zen:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Could be aliens

I might be a little hat-obsessed right now. I'm not sure if the aliens have finally got through to my brain and implanted a compulsion to knit hats in order to take over the earth by way sending subliminal messages in the stitching, thus pacifying the human race or if I'm just on a hat-knitting kick. In fact, I just started another one a few minutes ago. I'm not using a pattern, just a basic top-down hat recipe wherein I cast-on yea so many stitches and increase by 6 every row for a bit 'til I have enough fabric to measure gauge. I'll increase every row until I have half the stitches needed for the circumference I'm going for and then every other row until I have all the stitches I need. I go for a bit, do some ribbing, and voilá, hat.

As soon as I'd finished this one, I started this one:

and knit it in the same manner as described above, only with a fair-isle pattern lifted from an issue of Stranded. I'm sending this one to a friend in Poland because I can think of no one in the world that could use a hat that is as warm as this. One is leftovers from my last Olympic Cardigan (Ravelry Link) and the other was a gift from Kade's eldest offspring. Both are alpaca, making this a rather warm little hat. Clearly, it needs to go to Poland.

It turns out I may not need February is for Finishing 6th Annual Finish-a-palooza and the only reason that I can think of as to why, exactly, I won't need it is because I'm a freak of nature. Or, it could be aliens.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Still hanging around

We have had the most snow that I have seen in a Tennessee winter in... probably ever. I'm a bit disturbed by this really because this is whatchacall not what I'm used to.

This is what it looked like from my balcony a week ago (photo courtesy my old man) and there are still patches of snow hanging about, waiting for it to get above freezing for more than ten minutes. It is meant to be a little warmer and even rain early this week, so the chances are slim that it's going to stick around much longer, but I won't be sad to see it go. I'm ready for spring now.

I've been doing some cleaning up today in my office and I am very glad to report that the closet is looking pretty well-organized and neat these days. My fabric had been in plastic bins and it was literally a pain to go through it when I wanted to look for something. I ended up tossing quite a bit of trash, doing a bit more recycling, and moving a fair bit of fabric I didn't love to the giveaway pile.

These are now empty (plus one box more):

And this is what my closet looks like now:

Muuuuch better.
It turns out I actually don't have very much fabric. It shouldn't be a surprise since I've been working from stash for a couple years without buying or acquiring new, but it's different to see it all in one place like this. My cottons are on another shelf, so I do have more fabric than this, but I'm going to go through that at some point and toss the stuff that I don't love. It's a work in progress. I'm thinking we might use the plastic bins for purposes of holiday ornament storage instead of the file boxes like they've been in since the dawn of time.

I spiffed up my yarn stash last weekend and while I don't have much of that, either, its shelf is full. The next to the last shelf just so happens to be the one that the cat pulls stuff out of, so rather than putting the sock yarn there, for example, I went ahead and just put the little bits and ends and leftovers on that shelf. I don't rightly care if they get messed up. I'll just toss them back on the shelf and that's that. Occasionally, I'll find one of these in the kitchen or living room where the thieving little chubby fluffball has stolen it, but it doesn't bother me terribly much.

Note the Ohio State Phylogenetics workshop totebag in the corner. It makes a good sturdy project bag and I have an idea of what is going in there next, but I cannot tell you what that may be, lest curious eyes be watching. It's a super secret surprise.

I haven't got a whole lot on the needles right now, but seem to be making progress. I started a plain hat in handspun from one of Meredith's batts I got during the Black Friday sale at the Knaughty Knitter. I love how they spin, how the colors blend together, and I'm loving how it's knitting up. It is a batt of love, is what it is. I don't know who is going to end up with this hat just yet, but I hope they feel the love in every stitch.

That there is my new nøstepinne. I'll tell you more about it later. (Also, I love the international keyboard. It's fun. I don't get much chance to use the ø. In fact, I might do a whole post on the nøstepinne, just so I can use the ø. Nøstepinne! Gazebo. Bulbous bouffant! Nøstepinne! Galoshes.)

And here is the sock, creeping along in a steady fashion:

And here is a gratuitous picture of my offspring, who just started learning cross-stitch this evening. She's done eight entire stitches already and quite well, I might add. Once she started making the little X's, she told me, "This is kinda fun!" Music to my ears.

Another weekend done, another week begins. Tomorrow is MLK day and we're planning on some family time to take the tree down. My goal this next week is not to hang around the house so much and get into the lab, if for no other reason than to remind my professor that I exist.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

I wouldn't have minded

I've just finished "Rebecca's Awesome Sweater"(ravelry link) and... I don't think I'll be knitting this one again. I found it to be much fussier than necessary and I don't know if it's me or the way the pattern is written, but I had a terrible time with it and it did not come out lookin' like the picture.

There's a fold-over button band, which I wouldn't have minded but for the fact that picking up stitches at the top of the button band was a pain in the arse. There's a lace design, very like a mock-cable sort of thing, which I thought was lovely and I wouldn't have minded but for the fact that it just stops at the top. This means that when you're picking up stitches for the neck, you're picking up where there are holes and you have to finagle it a bit. I wouldn't have minded picking up the neckband at all, but for the above two concerns.

And then there were the set-in sleeves, which I wouldn't have minded, but for the fact that they didn't actually fit the armscye. The whole thing was a bit of a seaming disaster that, unfortunately, involved the sewing machine. I'm not showing you my seams. It's too horrific. I'm not really sure what happened here and I'm not sure whether if it was the pattern or me, but this pattern and I have decided to see other people. It's really just better this way.

All in all, it's still a success as a knitting project. It fits the intended recipient and the offspring likes it. If you don't look at it too closely, it's a pretty cute sweater and looks alright.

I've also finished "The Four Elements" (Ravelry link) and it seems to have blocked beautifully. It might be a bit shorter than is ideal, but I think it will do. I took these pictures during the blocking process and hope to get some more photographs of it in its full glory in the future. I'm quite happy with it and I love how the colors balance each other.

At this rate, I'm not going to have anything to finish during the month of February.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

I do knit

In fact, there are projects currently underway that I've even worked on in the last week! I shall start with the cure for 2nd sock syndrome.


The cure, as it turns out, happens to be my niece, Madeline. She's my brother's eldest, wears a size 6 shoe, and happens to like mismatched socks. I seem to be resentful of knitting socks for anyone who has a foot bigger than this (how dare they!), so it's really nice for me that her feet are sized thusly. I am told, in fact, that her school dress code requires matching socks in boring colors. In order to encourage her subversion of this restrictive and unreasonable rule and to further establish my place as "the cool aunt," I'll be knitting her mismatched socks from leftovers. The side benefit to all of this is that it will help use up the odds and ends of sock yarn that are insufficient for making a pair. This is the ultimate win-win-win-and more win situation.


I've also been working on a sweater for the offspring's American Girl doll. Whatever possessed me to knit such a thing, I'll never know, but I'm certain that it has to do with the fact that said offspring is charming, adorable, and that a sweater for her dolly will make her happy. ::sigh:: The things we do for love. Also, this was an opportunity to use a handspun that would have otherwise gone unused (though still appreciated in yarn form). My only fear is that I'll run out of the plain red before I run out of sweater pattern. It gives me mild heart palpitations to think of how little actual yarn there is off-camera, but I suppose the worst thing that will happen is that there isn't enough yarn and I decide that a short-sleeved cardigan is sufficient for Rebecca, find something that will work, or otherwise punt. All will be well.


This project started out as me just using up leftovers, but I've decided that this thing that is very like a knitted scarf could actually be vestments in disguise. Why can't liturgical garments be knitted? There's no rule. Once, I used my DNA scarf (Ravelry link) during a ritual because it seemed like the thing to do at the time. I then realized that there is no more perfect way to celebrate the balance and unity between the masculine and feminine than with the image of DNA. No matter who you are, if you are a human person, you get half of your DNA from a male human, half of it from a female human and WHAMMO! Life happens! It's an awesome thing in the original meaning of the word. The above scarf/liturgical garment thingamy is more of a warm/cool, winter/summer, four elements kind of concept that grew out of the particular handspun yarns that were in the stash. I picked the main pattern from my 365 Knitting Stitches a Year (Amazon link) calendar and I believe it's Polperro northcott. I like to think of it as having a very "columns of the temple" thing going on.

Right very now, I'm working on some long-overdue data entry that I've been putting off. Since the offspring doesn't go back to school 'til Monday and I'm past ready to start doing science again, this is what is getting done. Well, I should be doing it anyway. Actually, I'm making quite good progress. One of my goals for 2011 is to make considerable progress toward a thesis and graduation. I know I can do this. I've started it and I can finish it.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Año Nuevo, Vida Nueva

So... yeah, it's been a year and a half since I posted here. A lot has happened since and I'm not really sure how to sum it up. In 2010, I visited a state I'd never been to before (though I'd already seen that particular ocean) and visited the surface of Vulcan while we were there. I knitted in two countries I'd never seen before on a continent I'd never been to and had the opportunity to learn new cultures, new words, and to touch something that had been in the collection of Charles Darwin. I nearly cried. Husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary and the offspring celebrated her 9th year of existence. I won at NaNoWriMo and I finished my graduate coursework with a GPA of no less than 4.0. Now I've just got to finish up collecting data and writing something that looks like a thesis. Add in the ecumenical... stuff that I've been doing and all the fic I've written and one might say that I've been busy.

Now that I think of it, all of this is probably related to the year and a half of silence on this here blog.

Holy beans.

Well, give me a minute to process all of that and I'll come back with some yarn-related content. I've had a strong urge to finish things and then start more things. I've also discovered the cure to 2nd sock syndrome.