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!

Friday, October 13, 2006

On a Bender, part deux

So, we went to Bend, although I have no photos of Bend itself, which does seem strange, especially since I carried my camera around the whole time. During this trip I sniffed out three (yes, three!) yarn shops, but you'll have to wait until the end of the post to see the haul. Dave and I have this tendency to go to outdoorsy places on our mini-vacations, and then to do outdoorsy things whilst there. Last year we went to Squamish, BC, which is the (self-proclaimed) outdoor capital of BC, and this year we went to Bend, the (self-proclaimed) outdoor capital of Oregon (or the Pacific Northwest, depending on who you ask). Overall this was a much better trip, for several reasons. For one, the weather was great. It was a bit chilly, but it was sunny and we stayed in a hotel so the cold wasn't really an issue. In Squamish we camped, and it was cold, and drizzly, and we had loud neighbors, and so on. Plus there really isn't much to do there, unless one is participating in the myriad of outdoors activities (the capital of outdoorsy stuff title is fairly accurate, I'd say) or going to Whistler (which we did, but it was September, so no skiing for us), especially when the weather is uncooperative. Bend is a bigger town and therefore one can browse the shops, sit in coffeeshops, eat at good local restaurants, and buy yarn (as well as go hiking), which always makes for a happy Emily. So, what did we do?
We went to Shevlin Park, which is a state park just outside of town. The scenery was very different from what we're used to in Western Washington. Bend is essentially in a high desert environment, so the air is very dry, it's sandy, and the flora is completely different. Lots of scrubby plants and dustiness. There are signs everywhere warning people not to start forest firest, and they all say "Keep Oregon Green," which I found ironic since there wasn't a whole lot of green to be found...there was, however, some fall foliage. By the way, to all my East Coast readers, this is what we consider impressive fall color in the Northwest. While it's nothing like the Northeast, it's what we have and we will be happy with it. Or we'll try anyway...Instead of red and orange, we get yellow and brown. Lack of maple trees you know. Ahem...
Shevlin Park is lovely. We did about a 5.5 mile loop along the Shevlin River (note additional fall color on the lower left!). I was fascinated by the trees, which we determined were Ponderosa pines. These trees make HUGE pine cones, some of which came home with me to be put in a big bowl with my cool seed pods. I'm pretty sure we don't have these trees around Seattle, but they're quite lovely with long, soft needles. After Shevlin Park we got more ambitious, and hiked up Tumalo Mountain, which is right next to (literally, the parking lot is across the road) Mount Bachelor. This was a pretty easy hike, only 3 miles roundtrip with 1350 ft elevation gain, but looks are decieving. The base elevation is 6350 ft, and the top is 7700 ft, and that is altitude you can feel. So we huffed and puffed our way up there, and were rewarded with spectacular views of Mount Bachelor (I love looking at ski resorts in the summer, I find them fascinating) and some of the Three Sisters. This is, from the left, South Sister, Middle Sister (in the back), and Broken Top. They're all volcanos, which is fairly obvious in the case of Broken Top. For scale, the Sisters are all just over 10,000 ft. South Sister can be climbed without any technical skill, so think that might have be accomplished if we go back to Bend. You probably gathered this from the name, but there is a third Sister hiding behind Broken Top, which is the one on the left in the photos from my last post. On our way home the next day we stopped at Smith Rock State Park, which is a famous rock-climbing area.

It was really neat - so different from anything around it, and more like Southern Utah than the Pacific Northwest. There were indeed many rock-climbers (who are all insane, just sayin'), and many big rocks.

All in all we had a great trip, and I'd definitely recommend Bend as a destination should be in the vicinity. Of course what you really want to see is the yarn, so here you go:
The skeins on the left are from Juniper Fiberworks, in Bend, and the others are from the Stitchin' Post in Sisters. The orange on the left is for armwarmers (for me), and the sock yarn was too lovely to pass up. The grey alpaca at the bottom was on sale for almost nothing, and amazingly soft. Dave had his eye on it but I'm not sure what I would knit from it for him. At the bottom are some short size 1.5 DPNs, which NO ONE in Seattle sells, and which I was very happy to find. I probably should have bought several sets and sold them up here! The other yarns are a skein of Noro Kureyon, for the Lizard Ridge blanket I hope to start sometime moderately soon. I'm thinking it would be fun to get a skein in different places I visit, so the blanket becomes a souvenir. The ugly blue skein is Atacama 100% alpaca. I will admit I think it looks awful in the skein, but the swatch was lovely, and the colors are so me, and I had to have it. We went to another yarn shop in Bend, which I think had just opened, but I didn't buy anything and I have nothing good to say about the shop (except that they had a cute cat) so I'm not going to tell you what it was called. I could give them the benefit of the doubt, since I think they just opened, but if you can't put prices on your products, or at least on the shelves, and you stand around looking snotty and talking to your coworker, I'm not going to bother interupting and asking how much your lovely Trekking XXL is going to set me back. I'll take my money elsewhere. Thanks. As for Juniper Fiberworks, now that is a great shop. First off, it's huge. Secondly, they had my little 1.5 needles. Third, the shop was organized in an interesting fashion. In retrospect this is good and bad. They have their yarn organized by color, for the most part, although some things like Manos (ah, Manos) and sock yarn are in their own sections. So, this was great when I decided all of a sudden that I needed to have pumpkin orange armwarmers, and I could go to the orange section and find the perfect yarn. Not so good if you were trying to match five colors of Cascade 220 for a project and had to keep finding it in each section. From a visual standpoint this organization scheme is very appealing, at least to me, but it could make finding things a bit difficult.

So, there you go, that is the Bend trip, all wrapped up! I've been knitting a ton and maybe I'll show some things off over the weekend, but for now I'm out. Happy Friday the 13th! Hope nothing bad happens to you - me I've been dropping things all day, but thankfully none of them have been fragile (or stitches!)...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

On a Bender

Hello! Sorry it's been so long since I've posted, but I promise to make up for it with a long post with many pictures. Assuming of course that Blogger allows me to upload all these photos. I tell you, that is the most frustrating thing about blogging, the photo uploading. For some reason, only about half the photos I try to upload work the first time. Sometimes I have to try 4-5 times, and sometimes even then I get nothing. If I rename the picture and then try sometimes that works (why? seriously, I don't get the internet), but not always. There are stubborn photos that I would love to show you all but that blogger just can't get along with, alas. Anyway, here we go!
Dave and I went to Bend, OR for a long weekend last week, and we stopped in Portland on the way to break up the drive and visit Pam, our sadly exiled Fiberphile. The stop allowed me to hand-deliver the fruits of the last Fiberphile dye fest to Pam.

What is she pulling out of that box? This! The Fiberphiles got together a few weeks back at my place and we dyed all this yarn, in coordinating colors, just for Pam as a "housewarming/we miss you" present since she just moved to Portland. It was initially my idea to dye Pam some yarn myself, but I couldn't think of what to dye, since she doesn't knit socks and anything else would be too large quantity for me to handle. So, I mentioned the idea to Rachel and Daisy and it took off, and soon there were 6 of us dyeing away in my kitchen! Daisy also dyed some roving and spun it for Pam, but it missed the photo shoot. We intended this yarn to be used to make an afghan, but something tells me Pam has other ideas for it. Whatever she wants, it is indeed her yarn now!

Friday morning I woke up to discover this:

That, my friends, is Rowan DK Tweed, kindly tangled (without breaking) by Pam's cat Occum. Sorry if the photo is blurry. It was dark, and I was in shock. Thankfully the armwarmer I was knitting was undamaged by the spree of destruction, and the yarn was kindly reballed by Pam and Dave while I was in the shower. No harm done, except for possibly to my blood-pressure. Those armwarmers are now finished, and I'll try to post a picture soon but it's very hard yarn to photograph, being black and a bit fuzzy.

We left Pam's at practically the break of dawn (this is a woman who gets moving very early in the day. We left hours before Dave and I would usually drag our lazy selves out of bed) and started the drive to Bend. We took a nice scenic route over McKenzie Pass and stopped at the Dee Wright Observatory, where we were astounded to find this. I believe this is Black Crater, and although my memory fails me I'm pretty sure all the lava (yes, all that black rock is LAVA) came from there. The drive up to McKenzie pass was really slow (think 10 mph twisty turns on a narrow road and you're on the right track) but worth it when we encountered all this volcanic destruction, which we had no idea existed. Of course we have our pet volcanos, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, etc, here in Washington, but the sheer number of volcanic 'stuff' concentrated in Central Oregon blows the mind. Here's another photo, for the full effect of the lava. There were miles of this, just complete destruction. I'm not sure how old this lava bed is, but I'm guessing pretty old. It's very thick, hence there isn't really anything growing up through it. The islands of trees were interesting - we assume those were missed during the initial flowing, but I admit Dave and I aren't exactly volcano experts...It was also quite cold up there on the pass, and windy. That is, yes, more lava behind me, on the other side of the road from the other photos. The mountains in the background are The Sisters (also volcanos). There will be better photos of them tomorrow, when we discuss part 2 of the Bend adventure (when we're actually in Bend). I would continue now, but Blogger is being a pest. I'll leave you with my model shot of the trip!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Well, October is upon us, and it's time for Socktoberfest, put together by the lovely Lauren at Lolly Knitting Around!

In honor of Socktoberfest, I thought I'd answer the sock meme from Lauren's blog. Here you go!

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class? I started making socks last winter, for the Knitting Olympics, although I had been itching to try for a few months before that (by this I mean I had been acquiring loads of sock yarn, and hoping that I would like knitting socks when I got up the gumption to try it). I taught myself although I did have some advice from the Fiberphiles and the blogosphere.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time? My first pair was Friday Harbor, from Knitting on the Road, knit with Socks that Rock mediumweight yarn in Fire on the Mountain. They've held up well but I've honestly only worn them a few times.
What would you have done differently? I would have made the cuff larger as it's not very stretchy and so the socks must be slightly scrunched (which isn't really a problem but the cuff is pretty and now it's hidden)
What yarns have you particularly enjoyed? I've actually only used 2 yarns for socks. Socks that Rock (twice) and Regia 6-ply (for Sock Wars). Both were actually okay although I prefer the feel of the 100% wool STR. I've swatched with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, and it felt lovely but my gauge was so small!
Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method? I knit. On DPNS. I believe in the porcupine style of knitting!
Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?) Flap, but again, I haven't knit that many socks and that's all I've tried. However, I like the flap so I see no reason to change.
How many pairs have you made? Three. One for me, one for my mom (below), and one for Sock Wars. I have one pair on the needles that I started back in May and have abandoned for other things (although I love them, the yarn is yarn I handpainted and the pattern is great). I have three pairs planned for Christmas but we'll see how that goes.

I'll have to be a bit quiet about the socks I'm knitting for Christmas to protect the innocent. However, I will share the progress I make on my grandmother's socks, since I'm fairly certain she won't be reading the blog. I'm making her some lovely silk/merino socks with a simple lace pattern down the leg (the Vine Lace Socks from Socks Socks Socks). Recently I discovered a frame-shift mutation in the lace that has put me off working on them, as I'm racked with indecision about whether to fix it, ignore it, or call it a design element and repeat it on the second sock. Comments welcome. I'll try to post a photo of it later if I can...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Lotus Blossom Tank

Just a tease...full report to follow when I'm really finished :)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Red, glorious red!

A big thank you to Erin, who sent me this HUGE September colorswap package!

I had quite a bit of trouble opening it (in fact I had to recruit a nice man who happened to be sitting next to me to help me fight with the paper and packing tape). This box was chock full of goodies, as you can see. There was a tote bag with room for photos on the outside, plus two skeins of luscious red angora (which I must admit to having three skeins of already, in this color. I'm hoping they're the same dye lot, because think of the trouble I can get into with 5 skeins of yarn this soft!!!). The box also contained treats (Bubble Tape!) and a selection of nice Burt's Bees products. Plus stickers, red Duck Tape, a crochet hook, beads, a pink/mauve gel pen, several bobbins of ribbon, and phew...anyway, what a great surprise! Thanks again Erin, I love it! September was the final month of Project: Colorswap, although there is talk of it happening again at the New Year, and I look forward to participating again if that's the case!

In other news, the Lotus Blossom tank is finished! Well, except for the finishing around the armholes. Basically it's all put together and fits great (except for being a bit short, I'm hoping blocking might take care of that, or I'll have to get myself to the gym a lot or stop eating). I figure I could wear it out the way it is now, so that means it's done. Except for the circular needle hanging off the active stitches on the back...that might cause a stir if I walked down the street with it flopping around, huh?