Thursday, December 20, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
I left out the details of my calorimetry in my last post. I'd heard from other knitters that it's a challenge to get the sizing right if you don't have the perfect gauge. So, I just started casting on stitches and stretching the cast-on edge as I went to guesstimate the number of stitches needed. I ended up casting on 60 stitches (on a size 9 needle) because I wanted a nice snug fit (no slippage, please) and I didn't know how far 55 meters of yarn was going to go. The fit is good, but I almost wish I'd gone with 64 stitches! Do note that I'm a really loose knitter so anyone using the same yarn/needles will probably need anywhere from 10-20% more stitches.
I gave it a test drive this moring on my walk to work, and I am in love. It still has that heady sheep/acetic acid smell that makes me think of wonderful places (yarn stores, of course). My ears weren't the least bit cold after I got to work and realized I'd left my badge on the coffee table. They were still toastywarm when I got back home to retrieve said badge. And when I finally arrived at work and realized I'd left my lunch at home (when I went to fetch the badge) my ears were still totally cozy. At that point I decided I wasn't walking back home for lunch and just had delicious chilli for dinner instead.
In other news - I have plane tickets to return home for Christmas! I cannot even explain how giddy this makes me!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
I made a little progress on the sleeve of the tangled yolk cardigan. I'm not very inspired by it at the moment. Since the sleeve has seemed more like work than enjoyment, I made good progress on the Raspberry Cane sock. It came to work with me a couple of nights where I spiraled away on it while various assays developed. I like the way the burgundy/red pools on one side of the sock. It makes me think of the red tide.
I made a quick trip to a yarn shop that was having a sale (20% off all yarn!). There, I found a yarn which I've never seen in person before - Marisol's Sulka. It's a lovely Wool/Alpaca/Silk blend that is spun in a loose unplied single. I've been drawn to singles yarns since I learned to spin. They're just so soft! I got home and immediately cast on for Calorimetry. Since I wear my hair in a bun on a daily basis it's not terribly conducive to wearing hats. This garment solves the problem of chilly ears on windy mornings without the bun becoming an issue. I finished in 2 hours - exactly as Karen predicted! Any pattern named after such an explosive technique requires a bold color. I think I chose well. Please excuse the odd picture - it's really hard to photograph one's self. Once I finally got most of my head in the shot I no longer cared that I had a strange smirk on my face!It's a laceweight - Malabrigo laceweight in the "Continental" colorway, to be exact. It was priced very reasonably - especially considering the yardage. Then, it was an extra 20% off! I have a pretty good idea what I'm going to make with it.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
The vendor area was completely overwhelming for all of us as this was our first fiber festival. There were so many beautiful sights like this one. We were kinda in yarn overload.
I was so overwhelmed by all the yarn that I forgot my shopping list: FIBER, Shawl pin, Estonian Garden Shawl pattern. I did find a lovely shawl pin from Knitting Notions. I chose African Padauk because the wood matched my swallowtail shawl so well. The ladies working the booth were incredibly nice and they had the most gorgeous shawl samples on display. It inspired Melinda to make the Icarus shawl (here is a lovely example) from a previous issue of Interweave Knits.
Now, recall how the first thing on my list was fiber? There were just so many fibers to chose from that the fiber-picking part of my brain went on vacation. I came home with none. I'm going to practice my spinning a bit more and brace myself for next year. Instead of fiber I came home with a skein of yarn. I'd show you a picture of the hank, but I'd already wound it in the car on the way home. Instead, some knitted up pictures:
I also found the Estonian Garden Shawl pattern at the Kid Hollow Farm booth. I've been wanting to make this shawl for months after seeing Firefly's (ravelry link). I'm so glad to have finally found the pattern - I already have the perfect yarn for it:
After we got our shop on, the four of us migrated to the Ravelry meetup and met lots of knitters we know from blogland. It's been a few weeks so I'm sure I'll forget some people, but here goes! Aimee, TurtleGirl, ZKnits, Mean Girl, and Trillian. Aimee recently participated in a walk to raise money for Lupus research and asked the knitting community to aide her in raising funds. She raised a total of 4.6k! To help raise the money, she had a number of prizes available that would be distributed to donors. Much to my surprise (and delight) I won one of those prizes. Namely, the prize pack from the Zen Yarn Garden. It consisted of a cute lined drawstring project bag (currently housing the Miss Babs socks) and some ultra-squishy sport-weight sock yarn. The yarn is a merino/seacell blend so it has a lovely shimmer to it. The colorway is named Lilacs, and the hank had a whopping 375 yards! Dood, those socks are gonna be a mile tall!
What a day! I can't wait for next year.
Monday, October 1, 2007
Saturday, September 22, 2007
On seeing Minty's finished swallowtail, I decided to perform 5 extra repeats of the budding lace chart. I was using laceweight and I'd heard other knitters complain that it was a rather small shawl so I really wanted to increase the size. The finished wingspan is 64 inches, and it is 31 inches from the center top to the tip. I'm very pleased with the size.
The thing that appealed to me most about this shawl was the nupps in the Lily of the Valley border. Fortunately, I am such a loose knitter that the p5tog stitches didn't even phase me. I know most people slip 2, purl 3 tog, then pass the 2 slipped stitches over. Honestly I found this far more fiddly than just purling the stitches all at once.
I love the drape of the Jaggerspun Zephyr Wool-Silk (purchased from Sarah's Yarns - this shawl only cost $6.00). It was so shocking when I bound off the last stitch and picked up the shawl to flop it out and admire my (sad and puckered) work. It weighed nothing! The weight of the needles had me thinking I had created this substantial thing, but it really does weigh less than 50 grams (less than 1.7 ounces for all you non-scientists out there).
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Knitting lace is plenty exciting if you're the one doing it (especially if you sneeze and drop 8 stitches!), but it's not exactly fascinating to read about. It's all puckered and sad. Actually, it vaguely resembles a manta ray - it even has a little tail! So here's a little preview of what the swallowtail shawl will look like. I'm nearing the end of the budding lace charts. I will easily finish that this weekend, and begin on the border section. I anticipate that this will be blocking next weekend.
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
I had a dream that you guys visited me last night. I was sad to wake up and realize we weren't actually taking silly photos in the arts district. =(
I don't know if Mom told you about it - but I had that presentation last week. I didn't feel particularly good or bad about my performance but the boss was really pleased with it. It was the second time he's given me praise to my face - so I know it must've been a big deal. See, the boss never compliments someone directly. He will tell the whole world how much butt you kick - the whole world except you. If he actually tells you in person it means you really exceeded his expectations.
A 3-month long experiment flopped and I'm working hard to figure out what went wrong with the virus. I'm having to be a "virologist" and that means coming in at all kinds of crazy hours! It's left me rather sleepy and uninspired, so there hasn't been much knitting. I am getting close to finishing the pair of waving lace socks - probably only 3 hours worth of knitting left on those.
My class has started back up and today will be the first formal meeting. I'm still trying to finish the reading for today. The course director picked a really bad paper for the first meeting - it's complex, poorly written, and the figures are hard to decipher. I feel sorry for all the students who are in their first year of the class. They're going to be so overwhelmed. =( Kay, I really need to get back to that paper before people start coming in and try to talk to me!
Talk to you soon, Li'l Bit!
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Four jobs I have had:
1. Dog Bather/Groomer/Kennel Person - This was a fun job, though it was a little stinky sometimes.
2. Waitress - The management and coworkers treat you with respect. The customers treat you like trash. I don't miss this job (or 13-hour shifts with no chance to eat) one bit.
3. Laboratory Technician - I miss my old biochemistry labmates. I should email them and let them know I passed my quals!
4. Graduate Student - Amazingly, this is somehow my highest-paying job yet. Despite the fact that it can be a bit. . . traumatic at times I love what I do and I'm really happy I chose this school.
Four places I have lived:
1. Florida - This is where I was born. I don't remember much about it
2. Alaska - My middle sister was born here. I was still very young, so all of my memories of Nome are from our summer visits in later years.
3. Kentucky - My family lived here the longest, and the rest of them remain there today. Strangely enough I really have no opinion about the part of Kentucky my parents live in. I'm just completely neutral.
4. North Carolina - I moved here for graduate school in 2005, and I love it. I live in a city that is big enough to be exciting and have an arts district, but it's still small enough that I can drive "downtown" without freaking out from traffic or feeling unsafe.
Four Favorite Foods:
1. Dark Chocolate - seriously
2. Mushroom Quesadillas - there's a place in Wilson, NC that has the perfect mushroom quesadilla. My aunt and uncle know that we have to go there everytime I visit them. It's always followed with a chaser of #3.
3. Peanut Butter Milkshakes - from Sonic
4. Pasta served with an EVOO-based sauce
Four places I would rather be:
1. In Kentucky - one thing about grad school is you don't get to see the family very often.
2. In Canada - one thing about grad school is you don't get to see the significant other very often. 3. In Texas - because I miss Steve & Julie, and Julie could really use a companion right now.
4. Gathered around a board game with my classmates (we're huge dorks that way).
This is the point where I would normally tag 5 (or maybe it should be 4 to keep with the theme) other bloggers to complete this. However, I never was a fan of spreading viral memes, and since I am supposed to be an immunologist I choose
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Finally, every fiber-enthusist's dream - a musk ox in summer. After seeing the beasts close up you can begin to understand why quivit is so expensive. My family saw 4 herds this year - that's a record. There were no moose or bears to report this year - we ususally do see those pretty frequently.
For those of you who have not already heard - I passed my qualifying exams this week. It still really hasn't sunk in for me yet, so it feels kind of. . . hollow to say it. I must have post-traumatic stress disorder about the whole thing! About 3 months ago, when I was really settling into the writing process, I made a promise to myself that when I finished my candidacy exam I would treat myself to my first big lace project. I ordered the yarn in early August from Sarah's Yarns. It is JaggerSpun's Zephyr Laceweight - a 50/50 wool/silk blend. I like the fact that it's a tussah silk (meaning no silkworms were killed in the making of this shawl). The color I chose is copper, and it does almost have a metallic sheen to it, especially in natural light. The light in my apartment however, is far from natural. All that "shine" you see is from the flash. I promise it's not that gaudy in person. :) The yarn slides against itself really well so I expect it will block beautifully!
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
The Alaskan countryside is not just impressive in size. I love this shot of lichen growing in the rocky soil. It's really moving to see life in an environment which can be so harsh.
The landscape is occasionally marked with structures. This particular one is an abandoned gold dredge (This looks a lot like the one that is just outside of Nome, though I can't be certain). It looks as if all of the dredge buckets have been taken. Aside from that this is an incredibly well-preserved structure. It's crazy how you can be out on the ATVs going along a stream and find these dredges rotting and rusted out. It really gives you a sense of history.
I'm particularly fond of this shot because you can see the clouds reflected in the river here. There are rivers and small pools everywhere in Alaska - I think it has the most inland lakes of any state in the US.
The most impressive thing about the water up north is that it is so free of pollutants (even natural ones). You can see here that the water is so clear you can easily see the bottom of the river bed. I remember stopping at this place on our way to camp before. While it's a challenge to actually guess the depth of water (all that annoying bending of light) I would guess this is at least 8 feet deep at the point between the two rocks. There is a little riffle just upstream (next to Hollie's knee) and despite the churning, the water downstream is still completely free of silt. Gorgeous.
This next photograph also demonstrates how clean it is in Alaska. I can think of few areas within the lower 48 where you could see this far into the distance. The only reason you can't see further is that it is obstructed in clouds.
Monday, August 13, 2007
First up is a tender moment shared between my grandparents. I think this photo captures their relationship perfectly. Mom was rarely in photographs, so I don't have any of her to share. Instead, I bring you the beach bums: Hollie (in blue) Hannah (in black) and Dave (boyfriend of Hollie - in shorts). They're on the beach wearing hoodies and eating suckers. Knowing my family those are Tootsie Roll Pops. Are you guys still saving the wrappers with the Native American shooting the star?
Finally, my favorite. I call this one the Moose Montague. Click it to get the full effect of the goofy moose faces.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Your cellulars are either not getting service or they are off. I tried calling the land line, but apparently that is now hooked up to a modem. Boy was it a surprise to hear that on the other end of the line! Very loud things, those modems.
Since Lil' Bit left a comment here I am guessing you arrived safely and have internet access. So, here's an update on life here on the ranch!
I turned in my grant proposal yesterday. It was a really traumatic and stressful experience made all the more stressful & traumatic by my boss. I really don't want to go into details because thinking about it just makes me really angry and nervous. The oral defense is the 14th, so you guys will be back in town by then. But, I'll probably be pretty absorbed in my preparations.
Today the boss gave his famous "passion" speech to us again. He asked E & I what our passions were, and we both answered "family." Bossman indicated that this was a passion that needed to be put on the back burner in order to do the "grad school thing". The question I was dieing to ask (but I refrained, so as not to be labeled "cheeky" twice in one day) was "So, when can family be the most important thing again?" Because from where I stand now, it looks like it "can't" be. Even the post-doc in our lab admitted that he's just had to find a balance. I love science and learning, but it makes me sad when the other things I care about have to be forsaken. Last time I was home Dad told me that all I ever talk about is science - I gave that some thought, and it's true. I've become this totally 2-dimensional personality. I need to do something, I'm just not sure what.
So, how's Alaska been so far? Chase any caribou off the roads this year? I admit that I secretly hope you've been stalking some muskoxen for me (from a safe distance, of course). I expect you to upload your photos on some online album type thingy so I can see them all. I'm not going to wait until Christmas!
I miss you guys tons! Give me a call sometime (or just turn on your cell phones!).
Elke/Kris/Big Bit/Sugar Pie/Honey Bunch/The Abominable Snow Midget
We do favor our nicknames, don't we guys?
P.S. I totally wasn't kidding about the photos!
Sunday, July 29, 2007
So, this post will be short on words.
I started Wicked a while ago, but never blogged about it. I like it. Unfortunately, that's about as eloquent as it gets right now. As you can tell from my blog layout and decor, I am a fan of the color green. So it is no surprise that I am knitting this sweater in the same colorway as the sample. The wool is magical in that it doesn't feel terribly warm when I knit with it, or when it lays in my lap. Yet somehow, when I try this on I get superwarm! It may turn out too hot even for me (the girl who wears sweaters in summer).
To prevent colors from pooling I have been working from different balls on every other row. When I go to carry the yarn from a previous row up to work with it I just give the two strands a little wrap bringing the new yarn underneath the tail from the previous row. You can see the tidy little seam it makes here (it bisects the image diagonally). It's virtually invisible on the right side of the work, so I'm pleased with the result. It's certainly made the project more appealing to the perfectionist in me who likes things to be homogeneous. Using varigated yarns are really a thrill for me because they've got so much character. But, there is that part of me that balks at the idea of an uneven distribution of colors. This is subtle enough that my inner scientist & my inner knitter can be at peace.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
What's this?!? Why, it's a finished waving lace sock! It only took me a month to complete. I've been wearing this one sock all day. The stitch definition is still crisp and clean without any signs of fuzz despite sticking this sock into almost every shoe that I own. I should write a love haiku for Fleece Artist.
Also, I still have not gone to see the new Harry Potter movie. Does anyone feel like going next weekend? I like to go to late morning matinees because I'm cheap like that. :)