Wednesday, December 20, 2006


I'm packed. I'm ready. I'm stressed. Somehow I am taking TOO MUCH stuff home with me. I'm pretty sure I never take two suitcases home with me, but this year I am. The big one will be checked, and the small one will be carried on along with my purse. This will also be checked:

The fish, not the cat. Assuming of course that Oliver hasn't gotten into the box and stolen the salmon before we head to the airport...In the box is 2 pounds of wild King salmon and 3.5 pounds of Dungeness crab, fresh off the boat. Packed to stay frozen for 36 hours. We'll see about that. The fish was requested by my mother and her friend Marlene, who both visited me last August. They took some fish home and have been raving about it ever since, so I'm taking a shipment to them. This is why I'm carrying on a suitcase - normally I would just check both but I have to check the fish - there is no way in hell I'm trekking around O'Hare for 3.5 hours with a box of frozen fish. Speaking of O'Hare...I have to be there for 3.5 hours. This isn't horrible, but when I bought my tickets (from Travelocity), I was supposed to have an 1.5 hour layover before flying onto Cleveland, arriving there around 8:30, at a decent hour for my parents to pick me up and drive home to PA while still getting a good nights sleep for work on Friday. Two weeks post-purchase I got an email that my flight had been changed, and I now arrive at 10:30. Same flight, later arrival. I'm irritated. That's 2 HOURS. Not 10 minutes, not 1 hour, but 2 hours! What if I had to be somewhere at 9:00? Eh...and my poor Dad will be up really late retrieving me :( But I will have a lot of knitting time, right? There is always a positive!

Speaking of the knitting, I am bringing lots of it. I acquired some grey and medium blue Cascade 220 for more felted clogs, so that is coming, and my grandmother's second sock. That is the plane knitting. In the (non-checked, just in case) suitcase is the so-close-to-being-done So-Called Scarf and several skeins of armwarmer yarn, in the hopes that I can knit a few pairs whilst at home for my mother to sell at school. We'll see.

Oh, look what Dave got me for Christmas! An iPod Femto!

Really it's an iPod Shuffle, but iPod Femto (10E-15) sounds much cooler, no? I'm SO excited about this, it was one of the things I really really really really wanted for Christmas! Sadly I can't play with it since all my music is on my laptop at work, but I'll be getting it going first thing after Christmas break! Thank you Dave, I love it!!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Wow, I have been busy! The Christmas rush is upon me, and I am not ready. I'm leaving to go home on Thursday, and I'll be in PA for 9 days, which will be great (aside from the lack of high-speed internet). I am kind of sort of almost done with the Christmas knitting. By that I mean that all of it is done aside from the second one of these, my grandmother's Embossed Leaves socks. It took me longer than was strictly necessary to knit the first one, so I'm more than a bit concerned about finishing the second one by Monday. I am done with the rest of the Christmas knitting. Well, I think I am. I'm thinking about making someone else a pair of felted clogs, which of course I don't have the yarn for, but we'll see. I might go get some yarn for those tomorrow - I know they could be done in time and would be appreciated. They would make for good plane knitting, which there will be a lot of, since I have a long flight and a long layover at O'Hare. Jennifer is setting me up with a quart-sized Ziploc bag (thank you very much!) so I can bring my lipgloss and hand lotion on the plane (tell me how ridiculous this is. No, don't, I don't want to get into it again). I'm thinking about the plane knitting, and I'll try to figure it out and post about it and whatever other knitting I intend to take home to work on to keep you all occupied when I don't post for 9 days.
Dave got to choose one of his gifts to open a day early, and he chose the box containing these:

Wasn't it so sweet of me to knit him a ridiculous hat? Actually I made two!
Man, my eyebrows look unruly. And I wonder what my mother is going to think of my goth trendy black nail polish. Anyway, you probably guessed this, but these aren't hats, they are actually unfelted felted slippers. I was going to felt then pregifting, but decided that it would be way more fun to see Dave's expression when he unwrapped them and tried to figure out what they were. And it was worth it. For anyone who is curious, I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes for these (and the other pair I made, which are yet to be gifted), and will post a full project report on them after we felt them.

Right, I'm off. It's late, but I need to make some serious headway into the second sock for my grandmother if I have any hope of finishing! I'm knitting them on the super sharp/pointy metal Knit Picks DPNs, but I'm thinking about moving them to wooden needles for my flight. Even though you are allowed to bring knitting needles, even metal, these babies are sharp and do look a bit dangerous, so I don't want to take any chances. I can use the wooden ones and check the metal and switch when I get home. I can't see my gauge doing anything dramatic during the transition. I think I started the first sock on wood needles and switched without incident so I am not concerned. I am annoyed I can't bring my Nalgene on the plane. Eh.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Exhibit A:

This evening I was merrily plugging along on my grandmother's socks when, bam, there was some nausea and then an acute attack of yarn vomit on my lap. See the ball on the left above the sock? That came from inside the wound ball on the right. And it got worse. I tried to rewind it, from the outside of the original ball, and I was making good progress until the ball popped off the winder (bottom center), while making a mess on the winder (center right). It took me almost 45 minutes and several snips with the scissors to sort this mess out...I'm going to knit the rest of the sock from the outside of the new ball. This, my friends, is why I don't like center pull balls. Vomit is always a risk, and vomit is NEVER pleasant!

We had a lovely time at Rachel's on Friday night, and saw many well-decorated vessels. I didn't get any knitting done because a) it was dark, and b) I was unsure about the needle size on the woven scarf. Jennifer wisely suggested going up a few sizes, and on her recommendation I reswatched on size 13s (not big enough) and finally settled on size 15s. From 10.5s. That's huge. But the progress? SO much faster, and for a Christmas project, speed is of the essence! Oh, and the fabric is nicer too, and you can actually see the stitch pattern. Photos soon. It was nice to be somewhere in the Christmas spirit, as Rachel and Paul (I'm guessing mostly Rachel) had put up loads of lights and a lovely tree. Chez Emily and Dave we're more in the how-much-random-stuff-can-we-leave-in-the-living-room-to-step-over/on/around spirit these days. We haven't put up any decorations, and we probably won't bother. When we moved in together we threw out my ugly fake tree, after determining that we didn't really have a place to store it and that the cat couldn't be trusted with it anyway. Last year he removed most of the lights and several of the branches, and forced us to hang all the ornaments on the top 2 feet of the tree, which looked, as you might imagine, utterly ridiculous. Although he is older now, he's still insane, so it's best not to take any chances. So, it was nice to be somewhere festive - thanks again Rachel!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Short attention span...

I couldn't help myself:

Now I know I still have Christmas presents to knit/sweaters to finish/other WiPs, so I shouldn't be casting on anything new, but I couldn't resist this. Plus, it's going to be a Christmas present, so I had to start it now, right? I was going to knit 6 presents, 4 of which are already finished, with the 5th very close to completion. That left me with just my grandmother's socks, which are quite an undertaking and really no good for lunchtime/party/Columbo knitting (I love Columbo. I remember watching it with my grandmother when I was growing up, and I've recently rediscovered it. I'm VERY excited to have discovered that the first few seasons are on DVD. Thank you Netflix!). This scarf will be a gift for someone who I wasn't going to knit anything for, having done so several times in the past, but I really had no other ideas and this great 'woven' scarf pattern from Knit Scarves popped into my head. I really wanted to get the Colinette Prism the pattern calls for but they only had one skein of the color I wanted at Weaving Works, so I got this instead (don't ask what it is, the ball bands are at home. I'll get back to you.). The pattern is very simple - the woven look comes from slipping every other stitch on both sides, and it's super easy. The yarn I got, while having the same structure as Prism, is a bit more multicolored per strand, as opposed to changing colors as the strand moves vertically. I guess what I mean there is that the yarn is several thick/thin plies, and they're all different colors, so the pattern is getting a bit lost, but I like it anyway. Here's a close-up where you can see what I mean about the plies and a bit of the pattern:
The fabric is pretty thick, and I keep debating about whether larger needles would be advised. I'm going to consult with the Fiberphiles before getting too far along. Tonight we're all heading out on Rachel's boat (she lives on a boat - how cool is that?) for a nighttime cruise to see the Parade of Boats. I'm sure there is a snappier name for this parade (ah, Christmas Boat Parade), but essentially it is a parade of boats lit up and decorated for Christmas that cruise around the lakes in Seattle. I hope to get some good photos to share with you all!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Catchin' Up

Well, once again it's been awhile, and although I compose posts in my head every few hours, they never seem to make it that final step onto the internets. I have a finished object for you, which was actually finished weeks ago and was awaiting its photo shoot. I present a finished Multidirectional Scarf, which is a Christmas present for an undisclosed recipient.

Project Stats: Multidirectional Scarf
Pattern: From here.
Yarn: 3.25 skeins of Noro Silk Garden, colorway 206. The colors are a bit more accurate in the photos in this post.
Needles: Clover bamboo, size 8 straights
Time to knit: I don't really remember. Not that long, by my standards. Less than a month, surely.
Modifications: None. The pattern was very clear and well-written.
Impressions: I needed more yarn than expected/called for, but that might have been my fault for erring on the small side with the needles on top of being a tight knitter. I'm not overly thrilled with this colorway, which turned out to have much more black and brown than advertised. This is what happens when you get the yarn from Ebay, especially if it's Noro, as I'm discussed previously. This was one of those projects that seems to be taking forever to get anywhere, and then you look at it and realize it's 4 feet long. The whole scarf is short-rows, hence the multidirectional triangles, but it's super easy once you get going. I'd recommend it as a good project for any sort of self-striping yarn. As for the yarn, I do like Silk Garden. It's softer than Kureyon and thus better (I'd say) for close-to-the-body knits, like scarfs. We'll see how the recipient feels about that...

I've also made significant progress on my grandmother's Christmas socks, which I realize I haven't shown at all. These are the Embossed Leave socks from Interweave Knits, Winter 2005, knit with Socks that Rock mediumweight in Beryl. I'm in the middle of the gusset decreases and then I'll just be cruising down the foot. It took me awhile to really get going on these because I had some trouble adjusting to the super heavy sharp Knit Picks DPNs. I've discovered that I have to be wearing something thick, like a fleece sweatshirt to knit with these babies. I prop my working needle (right hand) on my stomach when I knit, so if I wear anything thin I get little poke marks all over myself, which is both uncomfortable and unattractive. Plus these needles are heavy. I had read that on several people's blogs, so I was expecting it (especially compared to my standard short (5") birch DPNs), but it still took some getting used to. I've tried this sock on, and I think it should fit. It's a bit larger than ideal perhaps, but going down a needle size would've been murder on the hands and I suspect it'll be just fine.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

You're never going to believe this...

But I finally got on with this:
Any guesses? Come on now, you can do it. Especially Pam. She knows, I know she does. That, my friends, is A SEAM. Of a SWEATER. In case you remain unconvinced that I've actually gotten around to breaking out the Chibi and finishing this sucker, I present Exhibit B, the horribly Are my arms really that big? Something must be done. unflattering "vest-in-bathroom-mirror-self-portrait" shot. At about 10:00 Thursday night I was reading Lolly's blog and realizing that she's completed not one but TWO sweaters in less than a month, and that I therefore have no excuse for why this sweater (my first) has been lanquishing so forlornly. So, I charged into the living room and dug out the sweater, and got on with it. My excuse, such as it was, had to do with poor lighting and dark stitches, but it wasn't that bad, really, and I'm pretty happy with my side seams. The shoulders are a bit lacking and might need to be done over. They'll be mostly hidden under the collar, but there's really no point in spending so much time on something only to slack at the end (ahem). I was all excited and thinking about sewing in the sleeves but I figured I should get some advice on my shoulder seams (and the sewing in of sleeves) before attempting that, and anyway it's getting a bit late. The long things hanging in the front are the pockets, in case you were thinking this is a really freaky looking sweater. And I'm happy to report that it appears it will fit, although the stockinette front pieces are rolling so much it's really difficult to see what they're going to look like in the chest region. I have to say that my procrastination on this was ridiculous and now that I'm back on it I hope to finish it up quickly. It took me only an hour or so to do the side seams and the shoulders. What have I been waiting for?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


To Jennifer, who successfully defended her thesis this afternoon, and who we must all now address as DR.!

Jennifer is the first Fiberphile to graduate (of those of us who are currently graduate students), and we are very proud. Plus, she gave us permission to knit during her defense - can't beat that! Rachel and I took her at her word and sat in the back knitting away while we listened to Jennifer's talk; the rest of the Fiberphiles were more well-behaved :) I'm disinclined to post this photo as it's not my our most flattering, but such is life, right? Here we are celebrating with cheesecake (already consumed) and champagne (still in Rachel's hand):

For orientation, from the left: Rachel (nice handknitted sweater, no?), Daisy, Jennifer, me (please ignore bad hair/glasses slid down on nose/double chin/tendency to be own worst critic), and Shibani. Congrats again, Jennifer, you give us all hope that there is an end to the tunnel!

In other news, you may be aware that we are having a "weather event" here in Seattle. What does that mean? That means it snowed. A little. And got cold. Quite. And the roads froze and everything is in disarray and you really don't want to get me going on how quickly this city shuts down in what I would consider to be minor leaque winter conditions. In our neighborhood (one of the least-badly hit because we're on the water and at the bottom of the hill), we only got a tad of snow, but enough for Dave to make this wee snowman while we were walking to a coffee shop to study last night.

Aren't they cute? Dave and I both grew up in regions with serious, proper, worthy-of-the-name winter, so we get all excited about the snow. However, we have agreed that we're rapidly losing the ability to cope with the cold living here in Seattle, where it rarely gets below freezing. I guess we're disacclimatizing, if that's a word. Unacclimatizing? You know what I mean.

I have been knitting SO MUCH, and none of it is bloggable, and I'm really sorry about that, since all you get to hear about now is the weather, and that is truly dull blogging if there ever was such a thing. After Christmas there will be a solid week of Christmas gift posts! I did start a new project (for myself) this evening, using some lovely Malabrigo I bought a few weeks back. Here's the yarn. Project photos to follow when I get a bit further into it! The ivory mass is one of my first knitting projects, a very long scarf using fuzzy yarn (for coziness) and sequins (for bling). I still wear it all the time!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Fresh Powder!

Instead of eating turkey for Thanksgiving, Dave and I woke up well before the crack of dawn and went skiing. There was a LOT of snow. We had to break out the chains for the first time (an experience I wisely observed from inside the car). Whether we needed them or not is debatable, but they can't hurt when the road looks like this:

Can you see the road? Exactly.

Mt Baker has over 7 feet of base already (pause to think about that for a minute - that's a LOT of snow). They had gotten 14 inches in the last 24 hours and we figure about 8 more while we were there today. It was snowing so hard that the visibility was pretty much nonexistent. I didn't ski with the camera because I knew there wouldn't be good photos to be taken, but I took this as we were leaving, and you can get the gist of it.

That's the base, and you can probably see how hard it was snowing, and it was much worse at the top of the mountain. Dave had a lovely time with the fresh powder, and by the middle of the afternoon I was making a game stab at dealing with it adequately. I say that because, while I was making it down everything I skied without incident or even falling, panache was lacking. Maybe next time. The powder is new to me, I need time to adapt!Big smile for the camera! Don't you just love my oversized googles? A friend of mine gave them to me last winter when he got new ones, and they're probably a bit big for me but they work and having them is a lifesaver (probably literally, really) in conditions like those we encountered today. My jacket is also too big, never mind about that either...I can fit many layers under there...

Dave wants to go back on Saturday (they're predicting a lot MORE snow). We'll see. The legs may be sore and not up for much for a few days. The first skiing episode always entails a painful recovery process!

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you all had a good one!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Setting the mood ;)

Just kidding...

This was the scene in our apartment last night. We got home and discovered that the power was out, so out came many candles (I knew they would come in handy some day!) and our bike lights/headlamps. It was a very localized power outage - as far as I could see it was just our block. Driving into the parking garage (I park 2 levels in the basement) was a real experience - being down there in the dark was really disorienting. The power had been out since mid-afternoon, and most of the emergency lights in the stairwells were already burnt out, so I used my cell phone to guide me up the stairs! Dave came with me to my knitting club meeting (and sat elsewhere) to get into some light, and then we went to Barnes and Noble to kill some more time. The power didn't come back on until 4:00am, so it was out for about 14 hours. We did have quite a lightning/hail storm yesterday, I assume that did the damage. Apparently our problem was that the transformer that needed to be repaired for us is underground and was flooded, so it took them a long time to pump out the water and then get us back up and running. Anyway, it was kind of fun. While it rains a lot in Seattle we don't really get much of what I would consider severe weather (thunderstorms, blizzards, etc), so I was excited to have the power out! Yes, I'm weird.

My Knit Picks order finally showed up yesterday, but I had already gotten impatient and cast on for my grandmother's socks:

It's just ribbing so far, and I'll transfer it to my new pointy-as-all-get-out needles tonight, but it's been nice to have a sock going. The folded up scarf is the finished (still unblocked) mulitdirectional scarf. The sock is going to be the ubiquitous Embossed Leave sock from Interweave. I'm sure there will loads of progress soon, once I get really into it, since I'll be using my snazzy new needles!

The weather is getting colder, and I decided to break out my green North Face fleece today. Now, I don't wear this fleece often because it has a bad attitude. Namely, it doesn't get on with my grey Marmot fleece, and gives it attitude in the closet, such that they have to be separated by the mediator fleece, an ivory number from Eastern Mountain Sports. I'm not sure what the problem with this North Face fleece is. Apparently it feels that since it was the first fleece of the current closet crop, it is the best. However, I think even it should realize that it's slightly ill-fitting and a bit roomy, whereas the Marmot fleece is much sleeker, and the peace-loving EMS fleece is much softer. When I got this evil fleece I loved it, but the relationship has soured, and while it might be time to just let it go, I hate to think of the carnage even suggesting that might cause - it'll probably rip the beloved Marmot fleece to sheds! (Yes, I have three expensive fleece jackets. No, I do not see this as a problem, and would love to have a snazzy windstopper fleece, preferably from yet another expensive outdoors company (Arc'Teryx?) to create more interfleece snobbery in the closet. Nor do I think it's odd that I've personified my fleece jackets. If you knew them you would understand).

Dave and I plan to go skiing tomorrow. It's been raining like crazy and that means it's snowing somewhere, so we'll be getting up early and heading for the fresh powder at Mt. Baker. Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Lead with cute shoes...

Since there are no knitting photos to discuss, I've decided to distract you all with cute shoes:

This is a funny photo in that my feet look really tiny in relation to my calves, due to the angle of the legs and the camera (although as I've mentioned before I do have fairly sizable calves, and I also have small feet). I love my new teal and brown shoes, as well as the brown tweed cabled socks I'm wearing with them. The shoes are made by Palladium and are from Zappos. I also got a pair of brown flats (it's VERY hard to find cute brown shoes that aren't dowdy), which I'm not sure about keeping. They look great with socks but without, well, there is some toe cleavage, and I'm not sure I can deal with that. Zappos has free shipping and free returns, so there was no harm in trying! What I'd really like to have (aside from the brown shoes) is good red shoes...I have great red boots, but some shoes would be good for those non-boot days, you know? Anyway...

I finished the multidirectional scarf last night! I didn't take any photos because they'd look like what I posted a couple of days ago. It's not quite done in that its not blocked or fringed yet, so I figured the photoshoot could wait. I think blocking pre-fringe is the way to go, right? Let me know if I'm horribly mistaken on this.

I was sitting in a seminar yesterday thinking about what knitting I have going, and making a list (I do this a lot, make knitting lists during scientific seminars. Don't judge. If you went to as many talks as I do you'd do the same). I realized that I don't have that many projects on the needles. No wonder I've been itching to start something new...

Current Projects

1. Hike sweater - 90% done. Needs sewing up and finishing

2. Bamboo tank - 95% done. Needs finishing around the neckline. Seriously, that's it. No excuses.

3. So-called scarf - 45% done. This is killing me, as I mentioned a few days ago.

4. Elfine's socks - 10% done? I'm in the middle of the first foot. I haven't touched these since early summer, and while I like them, they're getting pushed aside from simpler things and gift projects.

5. Red armwarmers - 50% done. These were going to be to sell, but I've decided to keep them since they look really skinny (although they're very stretchy, I feel people might be afraid of them) and I love the color. So there. They will be for me (which lowers their chances of completion significantly).

6-9. Gifts for Christmas - One of these is about 40% done, another is swatched (Gram's socks), and the other is not started (same as gift one, so they must be done in succession). I'm half done with my Christmas knitting and it's only mid-November so I'm pretty confident that it'll get done without too much stress. Aren't you all just itching to see the Christmas knitting? I know I can't wait to post about the gifts after the holidays!

Things I WANT to Start

1. A lace scarf. I have one on the needles, started back in July (1 inch done?), but I'm not happy with it. Mainly I'm not happy with the way the pattern makes me move my stitch markers around (my fault, not its, of course). And it's a huge undertaking, with very fine yarn, and I think what I want is to knit something less ambitious for my first real lace project. To that end I bought Victorian Lace Today, which many other bloggers have raved about (although I bought it pre-raving, and thus was finally ahead of a blogosphere trend). Click that link if you want to see some scanned photos from the book. Kathy has done a very nice review and included many project pictures. I love this book. The photographs are amazing, the patterns appear to be relatively straightforward, and, most importantly, there are many rectangular stoles/scarves/etc. I'm not a circular shawl person. The concept is fine but it's not me, or my wardrobe, and in fact I'm not even really sure I can pull off a lace scarf, but I intend to knit one and find out. I have some appropriate yarn for said scarf, but of course not enough of any one thing that isn't multicolored, so I might have to make a quick trip to the LYS for some Misti Alpaca laceweight. I have nice pointy needles on the way from Knit Picks and I'll be all ready to go!

2. Something tweedy and cabled. I really want to knit myself a tweed cabled sweater. I have several patterns and yarns ready to go, but I keep stopping myself from starting, because there are too many other things I should knit that are more likely to be completed in my lifetime smaller and more managable. We'll see. I'm keeping those cabled armwarmers as a teaser for myself...

3. Many small projects. Orange alpaca armwarmers (waiting to be designed), Malabrigo scarves, felted bag (by Christmas), my turquoise mohair/Lamb's Pride ribbed scarf, stockinette socks with pretty yarn (for me), Dave's sweater (not small, and could be cursed so should probably be avoided), a red scarf for me, another cabled hat (will start soon, using Kristen's attempt at making one with my guidance as an excuse. Thank you Kristen), more armwarmers to sell, knee socks (I'm obsessed with knee socks at the moment), the Lizard Ridge afghan (not small, but at least modular), too many things...

Have a good weekend! Dave and I are headed down to Tacoma for a cyclocross race on Saturday and then down to Portland Saturday night to see Pam and for Dave's race on Sunday. These are big races, the last two in a national series that brings out all the big shots. It's been raining and it will be muddy!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sometimes I show actual knitting content...

As usual I have more UFOs/WIPs/WTFs than I can keep track of, but the WIP getting the most attention at the moment is this one, the multidirectional Silk Garden scarf (pattern here).
I'm using Noro Silk Garden and size 8 needles. The whole scarf is done in short rows, hence the multidirectional pattern. It's a fun pattern (very easy) and deceptive, because each triangle seems to take forever and not be getting you anywhere, and all of a sudden you notice the scarf is getting quite long. I initially ordered (from Ebay) three skeins of yarn, based on this statement from the pattern: "It takes approximately 200 yds. of yarn to make a 4’ scarf, 300 yds. to make a 6’ scarf." Later on they mention something about 5" being a good width, so I assumed those measurements were for a 5" wide scarf. Assuming 100m/skein, I thought three skeins should be sufficient for my 6' long scarf. Well, after about half the first skein I realized there was NO WAY it would be enough (perhaps I should've used larger needles, but I like the density of my fabric, and I don't start over, in case you hadn't realized that already). So I ordered another skein. Of course now I will probably have too much, but I want fringe so all is good.I do have a pet peeve/rant about Noro in general though, and it concerns the inconsistencies between skeins of yarn in the same dye lot. Now, I understand how they dye their yarn, in very long hanks that are then reskeined, so some differences between skeins are to be expected. That said, it seems to me that each skein should at least have the same colors! This may not be apparent from the photos because of my artful scarf folding, but there was NO green in the first skein of yarn, and there has been in the next two. The second skein had hardly any red, and all three have had much more brown/black than advertised. I'm not sure I'm happy with the colors I've ended up with (having chosen a colorway that appeared to be, and was advertised as, blue, purple, and green, with some brown), but I'll take it. It's also a bit odd that all the purple keeps ending up on one side of the scarf, making it look a bit unbalanced. However, these are problems that it's likely no one else will care about notice, and like I said, I don't rip things out and start over!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mud and mistakes

Guess what? It's SNOWING in the mountains! I'm very excited about this. I keep eyeing the pass cameras on the Washington Dept. of Transportation webpage, and I tried to save one and upload it but apparently blogger doesn't approve of the file type. You can take my word for it that it's pretty snowy! Several of our local ski areas are opening this week, so if I'm not at work on Thursday that's where I'll be...all that precipitation has resulted in some muddy bike racing, which is always exciting. This man was the picture of futility:

Look what he's doing. He's sweeping water off the course. What I ask is the point of that? It might help for a couple of minutes, assuming you sweep the water into the grass and it stays there, but what was really happening was that he was pushing it to the left and it was just heading right back where it came from as soon as he turned his back. I found it hilarious.

Here's Dave after his race yesterday, looking very muddy and very happy about it. He is happy because he loves mud (and does better the worse the conditions are) and because he came in 12th, his best place this season (there are 50+ people, so that's pretty good!).
As you recall, I borrowed Daisy's ball winder and swift last week, and this is what I've accomplished thus far. The red cakes are Cascade 220, destined for a very cool felted bag with grommets around the top that I hope to knit before I go home at Christmas so that I can use my parent's grommet maker to finish it off. The purple is the second skein of Manos for my so-called scarf, which is killing me. I really wanted to finish the first skein last night (you might recall I've been working on this thing off and on since about June) but my hands couldn't do it. I'm really wishing I'd have gone up a needle size, but I didn't think of that until far enough into the project that there was no way I was going back to square one. So, I'm suffering through it. It's beautiful but so hard on my hands. Eh. The brown in the middle is also Cascade 220. I was thinking armwarmers but now I'm not sure, and really I just wound it because I had the equipment and I Oliver loves watching the swift spinning. The green stuff on the top there is mediumweight Socks that Rock, in Beryl, and is going to become my grandmother's Christmas socks. I don't recall if I mentioned it, but I've ripped out the socks I was making her. I wasn't happy with the yarn/pattern combo, and there were a couple of problems that multiplied when I tried to correct them (many thanks to Rachel for making a valiant effort at salvaging them, but to no avail as I screwed them right back up). The straw that broke the camel's back was what you see here on the right. Look closely. Observe the top right needle - the one with stitches very close to the tip. Perhaps you can also see the stitches that are NO LONGER ON THE NEEDLE? That did it for me (although it did sit on the table for a few more days before I put it to rest). How did this happen? Well, I am an idiot. Basically I was looking for a size 1.5 DPN to do the heel on the RPM socks, hoping that going down a needle size would increase sturdiness, and I grabbed the wrong needle. Instead of the extra needle, I pulled on one that was (apparently) in use. No wonder the needle didn't slide towards me easily, eh? So last night I swatched with the STR (why? I've made three pairs of socks with this. Swatching shouldn't be necessary, really). I swatched because drew a blank on what weight STR it was (never mind about the folded up tag in the cake o'yarn). I got all excited to try my new Knit Picks metal DPNs (size 1), and off I went. Amazingly I got gauge on my swatch (7.5 st/in), but as soon as I started the stitches were WAY TOO TIGHT, which shouldn't have been shocking to me since I'VE MADE THIS MISTAKE BEFORE. But the needles are great (so slick and pointy!), so I promptly went and ordered me some size 2s. So you'll not hear anymore about this sock until three weeks from now, when Knit Picks gets around to shipping them to me. I love Knit Picks, but they really do take their 'your free shipping will take 5-14 days' thing seriously, in that they really err on the side of 14 rather than 5 days. Why can't they be like Amazon? Their free shipping is slower than what you pay for, but your stuff generally arrives faster than you could drive yourself across the country and back to pick it up, which is more than I can say for Knit Picks. Right - rant over. Tomorrow I'll have a new project to show you!

Friday, November 10, 2006

What is my problem?

Seriously, why I haven't been blogging is a mystery even to me. It's not that I haven't been knitting, it's more that I haven't been knitting anything overly photogenic. I've also been really busy in lab, and since I usually do my blog writing there (oops) I've been slacking. At least it's the blog that's suffering and not the science, right? Anyway...
On Sunday night the Fiberphiles descended on Daisy's house for a book/pattern swap. Daisy made excellent soup and scones, and in exchange we created a mess of books, patterns, and yarn all over her dining room, like so:

You'll have to excuse the face Rachel's making there in the background - this was a candid shot and I think she was in mid-sentence. The hands belong to Daisy, as does the lovely knitting project (Manos!). I believe Daisy was discussing lace patterns with Shibani. In case you're really curious, the other hands (on the right, in Fair Isle) belong to Kristen, who decided at the pattern exchange that she really wants to get her hands on some sock yarn! Another sock-knitting convert!!! Jennifer was also present and accounted for, but managed to avoid the photo by being in the kitchen at the time. Smart girl, as all the excellent food was in there.
If you're wondering why there haven't been any knitting photos to speak of the last few days, this is one reason:

You might have read that here in the Pacific Northwest we have been getting some rain. And by some, I mean it's rained pretty much straight through since last Thursday, with some brief respites to get our hopes up. The first few days of rain were a result of the Pineapple Express, which includes warm air coming up from Hawaii (hence the name), and with the rain comes very warm (60s) temperatures and rain, all the way through the mountains. However, it has now cooled off in the last couple of days and it's snowing in the mountains, so perhaps we can go snowshoeing soon. Now, don't get me wrong about this neverending torrent rain. It rains in Seattle, the rumor is true. But it doesn't usually rain this hard, for this long, and it's getting a bit old. It can stop anytime now.

The rain was so epic last weekend that Dave and I took a trip to the outlet mall north of Seattle (this is what my parents do when the weather is suitably bad in Erie, PA - I guess it's running in the family). The outlet mall may not interest you, but on the way we stopped at a nice little yarn shop in Everett called Great Yarns, where I bought (and here's a shocker) some yarn. I've been coveting Malabrigo merino ever since Jennifer went to Great Yarns (apparently the only shop in the Seattle area that carries it, and Everett is 30+ miles away) and brought some back for show-and-tell. It's SO soft and lovely, and I had to have some, so off we went. I bought two skeins of a rich dark blue, and, due to a severe bout of indecision, some dark green as well. One skein is probably sufficient for a scarf, as Jennifer has shown, but I like long scarves so I opted for two skeins of each. The other yarns you see here (in the ever popular bathroom rug with Oliver parts shot) are Tatamy Tweed, which is a very inexpensive ($5.45 for 250 yards!) cotton/acrylic blend (very soft - dark turquoise), and some beautiful Monarch sock yarn from Fly Dyed. It's (superwash 100% merino), and I love the colors, although I'm not sure which colorway this is (maybe Shades of Teal?). I can dye some lovely yarn myself but I haven't gotten very good at getting dark colors, hence this purchase. This photo really doesn't do justice to any of this yarn, but it's the best I can do, lighting-wise, at least until the sun makes an appearance.

And I've been knitting. I'll not show you the evidence because the photos are awful and frankly useless because the knitted items are dark and tweedy, which frankly doesn't photograph well in any light, not even on my bathroom rug. I've been knitting armwarmers to send to my mother, which she is going to peddle to her fellow teachers. I've made 2.5 pairs so far and will finish the third this weekend. I'll try to get photos before I send them. The first two pairs were simple traveling rib, one in black Rowan Yorkshire Tweed (yeah, you try getting a good photo of that yarn. I dare you.), and the other in dark green/blue Plymouth Tweed. The third pair (one down!) is Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, in Hollyberry (dark red), and I got bored with the ribbing so this one has cables down the hand. This is my first experience actually knitting with WotA and I have to say I'm really enjoying it so far. To me it's very similar to Cascade 220 but with perhaps a bit more loft. The jury is still out on it's durability, but I'm about to start knitting a secret gift project with it as well and I'm sure I'll hear about that one if it doesn't hold up!

Daisy lent me her ball winder and swift last night and I've been winding yarn like a mad woman. There will be photos. The yarn looks so lovely there on the side table by the couch. I might leave it there, like an art piece, instead of actually knitting with it...

Friday, November 03, 2006

FO Alert!

I finished my RPM socks! They were completed last night, just 2 days past the end of Socktoberfest...I'm really happy with the way they turned out, and I'm wishing they were for me! Yes, it's true, these are actually a gift, but the recipient shall remain nameless so she is surprised when they're opened. I should've taken a photo of them not on my feet because they look hilarious. The ankle/leg part is very wide because of the stitch pattern, and the recipient has small feet (hence they fit me as well, and will be difficult to part with) so the foot is very short, and the overall appearance is very amusing.

Project Stats: RPM Socks

Pattern: RPM, from Knitty, summer 2006

Yarn: Socks that Rock mediumweight, colorway County Clare. I had A LOT left over, probably could have made them twice as high...

Needles: Clover bamboo, size 2 DPNs

Time to knit: About a month. The first sock took less than a week but then there was the whole wisdom teeth incident and I didn't work on them at all. The second sock probably took less than a week once I got to it, and I've been working on other things as well. So about two weeks I guess.

Modifications: I used DPNs instead of magic loop or whatever circular needle mumbo-jumbo the pattern was written for. I think I did what it said, but really I just did things as they made sense to me on my DPNs, and my socks look like the model socks so I must have gotten it at least mostly correct. I did a flap heel and grafted toe, and used plain stockinette for the sole of the foot, although the pattern also provides instructions for a short row heel and pointed toe, as well as an option for continuing the pattern on the sole, which seemed like it might be uncomfortable.

Impressions: I adore STR. The colors are beautiful, the weight is nice, the yarn flows smoothly through the fingers and doesn't bind on the needles. My previous experience with STR that contained a similar number of colors resulted in much more flashing than is evident in these socks, which I'm happy to see. The pattern was very easy to memorize since the stitch pattern is really just P3,K6, moving over one stitch each round. I'd recommend this as a first sock project since it uses slightly heavier than fingering weight yarn (and thus goes by quickly) and is a simple stitch pattern that's easy to remember, easy to read, and results in a stretchy sock (such that gauge issues are slightly forgiven). I want some for myself.

It's raining. It's been raining for several days, pretty much constantly. It's also snowing in the mountains, which is exciting. But in the city it's just raining. I don't mind the rain persay, but it's preventing me from wearing the suede boots I just picked up from being stretched. See, I have big calves. Let's call them athletic. And I have an affinity for knee-high boots. This can be a problem, but I've discovered that you can take boots (leather or suede) to the cobbler and they can stretch them! So I had these stretched. I bought them last year but only wore them once because my feet fell asleep. Now they are much better. I shameless stole this photo - those are not my legs (even stretched the boots don't gap on me, nor do I have leopard-print rugs). They're Campers - are they not adorable?!? I want to wear them!!! Stop raining!!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

We're winners!

Remember I told you yesterday that my lab was participating in a pumpkin carving contest? Well, we won! We won the award for Most Scientific, and came in 2nd in the Most Artistic category. Our pumpkin was "Cytomegalovirus," and here it is, with its many awards.
It's a bit difficult to tell what's going on from this photo, but we carved a small green gourd to represent the viral capsid, and suspended it inside a carved pumpkin, representing the outer part of the virion. It's simple but clever, and apparently everyone agreed :) The pumpkin that won Most Artistic was amazing:

I'm so impressed with this. I'm not even sure how I would begin such a carving project. No question that they deserved Most Artistic!

It has been SO cold here the last few days - a girl needs a cat and a hat to stay warm! I knit that hat, by the way. It was the first thing I knit that wasn't a scarf, so it was quite an accomplishment. I've made two more since (as gifts), but it's been awhile and the urge to cable is making me want to make myself another one...That's the knitting content for today - a hat I made two years ago. Sorry to be so lame! I'm almost done with the second RPM sock, so I'll be close to finishing a pair of socks for Socktoberfest, but not quite successful. Had I not had to create an elaborate Powerpoint presentation last weekend I definitely would've been finished!

Oh, you should all go see The Prestige. Dave and I saw it on Saturday and it's terrific. One of the best movies I've seen in a long time. Great acting, great story, and you'll come out of the theater analyzing the movie and talking about it for hours (well, we did anyway). We're eagerly awaiting the release of Borat this Friday...I'll report on that as soon as I've seen it!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!!!

Hello! No, I'm not dead. I've been busy, and although I've been composing blog entries in my head, none of them have made it onto the internets. I also haven't knit a stitch since Friday, so really there's been nothing to report on, knitting-wise. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, although the lead-up was a bit overwhelmed this year by my having to give a talk this morning. However, I did find time to go to a Halloween party on Sunday, as seen here:

In case you don't recognize me (Not that this is really much of a costume for me, I'm pretty sure I've worn this to work, with boots instead of socks and without the vest. So you know the skirt isn't that short when I'm standing up properly instead of sitting precariously on the edge of a couch), that's me on the left. In the middle is Rosalind, another microbiology graduate student, and that's Dave on the right, as a ski bum (also not much of a costume, but hey). The dog head belongs to Beeker the bassett hound, who belongs to one of Dave's classmates. She's a real cutie, I wish she'd have been in one of the photos!

Since I like to be in the spirit, I also dressed up for work (and thus for my talk. Good costume=distraction from lack of data):

This is my voodoo doll costume, which I made a few years back. It's modeled on the little gag voodoo dolls you can buy, which come with ailments written on them and a pin you stick where you want it. I got the idea from a doll my friend Heidi brought me back from a cruise a few years back, and although I think it's completely obvious, I'm forever having to explain this costume to people. The coolest part about it is that it glows in the dark, but our attempts at photographing that ended in utter failure. There is also writting on the back but I thought I'd show off my better side. I wore this last year as well, and I don't like to be repetitive, so I considered the schoolgirl ensemble, but I decided that much leg might distract people during my talk so this won out. And, let's be frank, this is a kick-ass costume, no?

Halloween at the Hutch is great - we have a pumpkin carving contest (photos tomorrow I hope), and a potluck candy/cake/fat/etc party in the afternoon. Such fun!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Instant Gratification

Hello! Sorry I didn't post at all post-wisdom-teeth-yanking. It's not that I was feeling too sick, after the first day. It was more the pervasive laziness that comes from laying on the couch all day watching Columbo and Maury Povich that kept me from posting. Thanks to everyone who has been worrying about me, it was very nice to read your comments and know that people were thinking about me! The operation went really well (far as I can tell). The whole thing took less than 10 minutes (seriously - 1.5 songs on the iPod and I was sitting there with gauze in my mouth). I won't bore you with the gory details, but it really wasn't that bad. I came home and did a lot of this. This isn't the most flattering photo, but Dave thought "Oliver looked cute and sympathetic" and took the photo, and I'm sharing it with you. Here I am in the pose that lasted all night Thursday and then most of Friday. Note convenient remote control, orange beast (I think he knew something was wrong, because he didn't try to eat my hair for several days, and was very cuddly), bag of organic peas (ice pack of champions, also good for sore knees. Organic because we live above an organic/natural grocery store, not because the pesticides interfere with the healing process.), and stuffed owl. Now there will be no laughing about Opal (the owl). I've had Opal since I was in 5th grade and he is in tatters but very well-loved, and so he came to the couch. I'm talking to my parents, well, more like slurring to my parents, because I couldn't really open my mouth very far until Sunday. You can tell my cheeks are puffy, and they stayed like that until Monday or so, but they're pretty normal now. I wasn't in much pain but the drugs made me lightheaded if I moved around much, so I stayed put in the apartment and watched a lot of crap TV. I have to give a big public thank you to Dave, who is a saint, and made many trips to the store to get me slippery things like chocolate milk and tomato soup, and ice cream, and, cottage cheese, and, well, you get the idea. And he only sort of made fun of my cheeks, which is admirable, because I would've been much tougher on him :)
I have to admit I didn't do any knitting until Friday night, but between Friday night and Monday night there was a flurry of knittin' going on. And I finished (yes, me, I finished some things - plural) two objects, only one of which will be seen on this blog since the other is a gift. But, I present the:
Instant Gratification Scarf
This baby was knit with about 2.25 skeins of Trendsetter Yosemite (Peacock colorway), a very thick/thin wool/acrylic blend. I was trying to replicate my blue and white ribbed scarf from H&M that I waxed on about a few posts back, and I think I've succeeded nicely. This scarf is a bit narrower but also slightly longer, and I love it. Planned my whole outfit around it in fact. The scarf is a 1x1 rib, 16 stitches on size 15s, and very long. I love this yarn - it's so chunky! Nice break from socks and lacy things...I think it took me about 4.5 hours total to knit this scarf - hence the name, Instant Gratification! In fact I was so enamored by this that I completely forgot to work on the mate to the RPM sock, but I got on that last night. I also started knitting another Christmas gift, which I'll maybe talk about tomorrow, since I forgot to take any pictures last night, shame on me!
Gratuitous scarf shot - note subtle fall foliage on our apartment building deck...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Anybody for some ice cream?

I'm getting my wisdom teeth taken out tomorrow. All four. Eh...
Those would be the outermost teeth on this lovely x-ray, top and bottom, kindly snatched from here. By the way this is not MY mouth - sadly I have many more fillings than this person and I'm already missing a tooth. I'm not overly excited about this little procedure (who would be?) but I'm not that worried about it either, and I'm looking forward to the nitrous oxide, which is always an experience. I've opted against the IV sedative, since I'd rather not deal with any potential complications from that, and, frankly, I've had so much dental work that I can't imagine needing it. That and my natural curiousity means I'd like to be aware of what's going on. Knowing myself, I'll probably start asking questions in the middle, like, "why are you chopping that up?" and "what is that look of horror on your face?" Of course the quadruple extraction means that I'll be taking a couple of days off from the lab, so there will be lots of television watching and knitting. Probably simple knitting, depending on the level of painkillers I get/need...I've been excited about the days off, since I rarely get sick enough to not go to lab, and now I have a proper excuse! I'll keep you posted...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Yes, Virginia, there has been knitting...

Stop the presses, I finished something!

This here is a finished RPM sock, in Socks that Rock (mediumweight) colorway County Clare. Started on Wednesday, finished the following Tuesday. Sweet. Now to make the other one...What I've learned from this speedy sock knitting is that slightly thicker yarn and an easy pattern are my friends.

Oliver approves:

Or perhaps not:See the teeth? He's about to attack my perfectly grafted toe. The sock looks very good with his coloring though, doesn't it? Sorry about the lovely bathroom rug/floor shots, but it's the only room with decent lighting...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Funky Scarf!!!

I've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of my Funky Scarf Swap scarf, and it arrived today! I'm SO happy with it - it was actually one of the ones that was posted on the swap blog, and I had really liked it there and was keeping my fingers crossed that I might be it's lucky recipient! And so I was :) Hillary knitted this lovely multidirectional scarf and matching hat (!) for me, and also included two bars of yummy dark chocolate and some very pretty stitch markers. As usual this isn't the best photo, but you get the idea of how cool the scarf is, right? I love the colors, and it's knit with Knit Picks Andean Silk so it's very soft, and she also carried along something shiny so it's got a bit of a sparkle as well, but isn't overwhelming. I'm so excited about this swap, as it was my first swap that involved knitting something for someone and receiving something knit by someone else (aside from Sock Wars, which was quite a different type of operation), and I'm really happy with how it turned out. I knit a funky scarf for Marisol, who reports that she is quite happy with it, despite it's brightness (last part of that sentence was me - she didn't mention the brightness, but the scarf was practically glow-in-the-dark). So, it was a great success, and a big thank you to the hostesses - you gals did a great job! Perhaps a funky hat swap next? Actually, that could get ugly quickly, so maybe not...
In other news, there has been stash enhancement. Shibani and I went on a minor yarn crawl on Saturday, and while she was well-behaved (well, having just bought a bunch of yarn in NYC, perhaps she was just being reasonable?), there was no way I would let you down by not improving the stash!

The Yosemite is for another giant ribbed scarf like the one I'm wearing here. Thank you, Nora, for thinking it looked like a knitting magazine photo! Too bad I didn't knit that scarf! I've been asked about that by several people so I should fess up that I bought it a couple of years ago at H&M, for about the price of ONE skein of the Yosemite, which looks to me to be quite similar yarn (there is also a similar Rowan yarn, I forget which one, but you'd need to sell a kidney to buy enough to make a scarf with it). Anyway, that scarf is long and thick and ribbed for my pleasure I love it, so I'm going to make another one. The Trekking, well, it was pretty, and sock yarn doesn't count, right? I also bought this a couple of weeks ago, but it's not for me, so it doesn't count either! This is apparently the official yarn-photo-shoot bowl now...

Oh, and I've been knitting, see? This is the RPM sock from Knitty, in mediumweight Socks that Rock. I love this yarn. I had forgotten how much. It's spectacular. If you've never used it, you really should sell your firstborn and get your hands on some!