Saturday, December 20, 2008

Scarf of Procrastination, and Amber Waves of Grain

So, I finished the scarf of procrastination, which I gave to Daisy in honor of her successful thesis defense last Wednesday. Congratulations Dr. Daisy, although I'm sad that this means you will no longer be obliged to come visit Seattle to finsih your thesis! Here is the scarf: Noro Scarf for Daisy, whiteI also took a photo on a dark background because I couldn't really tell which one showed the colors most accurately. Noro Scarf for Daisy, blackReally neither of them are that great, but such is the lighting in my apartment, especially at night.

Project Stats: Noro Striped Scarf for Daisy
Pattern: Noro Striped Scarf, made popular by Brooklyn Tweed. Raveled here.
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden, colorways 205 (2 skeins), 245, and 249. Yarn purchased at Weaving Works last fall.
Needles: Size 8 Clover bamboo, 37 stitches.
Time on Needles: 12.1.08-12.12.08.
Impressions: I love this! Thankfully Daisy also loved it :) It was really fun to knit, and I've already got the yarn to make another one while I'm home at Christmas. I'm going to use this yarn: Silk Garden for striped scarf #2It's also Silk Garden.

I know I've been slacking, and I have no excuse. I've been a bit busy preparing for the holidays and, once I was finished procrastinating, finishing up the Christmas knitting. Here is my finished Waves of Grain stole, which is for the grandmother who appreciates my knitting: Waves of Grain, blockingThe photo is of it blocking this afternoon (I fly out tomorrow, weather-permitting). I hope to get some good modeled shots after it's gifted. Be assured there will be a project wrap-up when I have more photos. The other things I knit are still absolute secrets but will be revealed in good time...
I really hope I can get out of Seattle tomorrow but I'm not confident. We're having the worst winter weather in a decade, and it's actually winter weather, not just Seattle fearmongering. A lot of flights were canceled today and although things are supposed to taper off tomorrow I'm concerned about getting to the airport. Plus, I'm flying through Chicago, which is also having severe weather, and into Cleveland, where the bad weather that snarled Chicago today should be arriving just in time to greet me. Lovely. I fly every year at Christmas and I've been really lucky for the most part, so fingers-crossed and send good travel vibes if you can spare them!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Apparently it's the right time...

I have a problem. Completely of my own doing. I have fallen prey to the Noro striped scarf phenomenon. Now, I can't really blame the Yarn Harlot for this particular problem, although she did bring the idea back to the forefront of my mind when she went on a striped scarf binge last week. I mean, loads of people have knit this scarf (there are 2378 of them on Ravelry), so it can't be entirely her fault. I've actually had this yarn in the stash since last fall, and every time I started a project I thought about it, and every time I dug through the stash I found it, and every time I stopped myself because it just wasn't the right time. Apparently, the right time is when I'm in a battle with laceweight Christmas knitting. I made a lot of progress on the lace over the Thanksgiving weekend, and as a reward (apparently) I decided to start this scarf of procrastination. I've not touched any other knitting since. I even brought the scarf to work yesterday to work on at lunch. It is pretty though, isn't it?Noro Striped Scarf #1

Monday, December 01, 2008


I think I might have done this before, but I believe this is a different list, and anyway, I love books, and lists, so I'm doing it again. Borrowed from Saffron...

1) Look at the list and bold those you have read (Honestly, I thought I'd have read more of these!)
2) Underline those you intend to read (Apparently there are a lot in this category for me - I am full of good intentions.)
3) I added this - *** for books I own but haven't read yet...
3) Italicise the books you LOVE.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte***
4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible (parts)
7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens***
11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy***
13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18. Catcher in the Rye - J D Salinger
19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20. Middlemarch - George Eliot***
21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy***
25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy***
32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen
36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41. Animal Farm - George Orwell
42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy***
48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50. Atonement - Ian McEwan
51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52. Dune - Frank Herbert
53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60. Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas***
66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding
69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72. Dracula - Bram Stoker
73.The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75. Ulysses - James Joyce***
76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78. Germinal - Emile Zola
79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray***
80. Possession - AS Byatt
81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (and in French!)
93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94. Watership Down - Richard Adams***
95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo***

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'd like to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving! I made pumpkin pie:It's my first attempt, hopefully it will be good...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I made mittens!

Okay, I know I promised a post about the Estes Vest weeks ago, but then I didn't write it, and I have more to say about it than I feel like dealing with today, so instead of just not blogging about anything until I want to blog about that, I'm going to tell you about something else!
Since the last time we talked I've finished three (!) Christmas gifts, only one of which I can show you, the mittens I knit for my cousin Andie. Andie's mittens, front
Project Stats: Andie's Selbuvotter Mittens
Pattern: Annemor #2 from Selbuvotter Mittens by Terri Shea (raveled here).
Yarn: Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift, Peony (dark) and Sand (light), less than one skein of each. Yarn purchased at Weaving Works.
Needles: Size 2 Brittany DPNs.
Time to knit: 9.20.08-10.25.08. I actually don't remember when I finished these, but I think it was around then.
Modifications: None that I remember. I don't even think I made any mistakes (fingers crossed).Andie's Mittens, back
Impressions: These are super cute! My cousin is 9, so I think these should fit, although I don't really have a good sense of how big her hands are. I made a girl's medium, and they're are too small for me so I'm hopeful. Her entire life has been a pink phase, which is why I picked these colors. They were supposed to be a gift last year, but obviously I didn't get them started in time for last Christmas, and then my mother told me that Andie is now in a green phase. Well, I wasn't buying new yarn. And anyway, pink and green look good together. And probably she still likes pink - you don't let go that quickly after being obsessed with something for 9 years. Right? Anyway, about the mittens. They were fun to knit - Terri's patterns are really clear and the Shetland Spindrift is nice to knit with, if a bit scratchy. It gets much softer upon blocking and from my limited experience seems to wear well. Every time I knit fair isle I'm reminded of how much I like it and how I wish I did more of it...Andie's mittens, front and back
What else? I have three gifts left to finish, and five weeks in which to finish them. I'm hopeful that I can do it. One is probably 65% complete, one is only swatched and is of my own design (eek), and the other I can talk about as soon as I get around to taking a photo of it. It's the one that is most likely to not get finished because it's lace. We all know how it goes with lace...

And yes, I am going to see Twilight at midnight tomorrow. Did you really think I could resist? I thought I could, but then I realized I was mistaken and acquired tickets for myself and some of my newborns. We are excited beyond all reason...

Monday, November 03, 2008


It's the most important thing you'll do this year.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Here's our lab entry for this year's FHCRC pumpkin carving contest:
It's a translating ribosome, in case you couldn't figure it out...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tea Swap Package!

While I was in Vermont I received a lovely package from Victoria (raveling here) as part of the most recent Ravelry "Be Excellent" tea swap:Tea Swap Package from Victoria
I know you want a close-up, so here's the yarn, which is Plymouth Happy Feet. Plymouth Happy FeetWhen I opened the package I laughed out loud (lol!) because I bought the same yarn in the same color (on the left) in Vermont.
Victoria did a great job figuring me out - I love the mug (I've used it almost every day in the last two weeks, it's the perfect size), and I've tried (and very much enjoyed) two of the three teas so far, and there are some super cute felted polar bears in the Interweave Felts that I'm excited to make. Thanks, Victoria, I love my package!

Where I've Been

Well. At least this time I have an excuse to explain my absence. Dave and I went to Vermont for a week to visit with his family (Let's not consider that we came home last Saturday.) and I couldn't really blog from there. The other problem is that I have so much to blog about and it's been so long that now it's become overwhelming. I can't even blame the scientific paper I'm writing because I spent last week doing actual science instead of writing, and there are always breaks in the science (and in the writing, to be fair, but blogging is also writing). So, let's have a quick recap of the Vermont trip, and then I'll do separate posts about my recent tea swap package and my finished Estes Vest.
Dave and I spent a week in Burlington and environs, relaxing and doing some touristy things like leaf-peeping. I'd been there before but it was nice to go back. Sunset over Lake ChamplainIt's really a lovely area and we timed things perfectly for maximal foliage viewing. Fall Color!
One of the things we did was hike up Mt. Mansfield, which is the highest peak in Vermont. You can also drive up there on a really sketchy toll road, which we did on Friday when my parents joined us for the day (from western PA - we are a family that travels). There are some nice views from the top, and I have a lot more on my Flickr page (here), but here is a good one looking east across the rest of the Green Mountains:View from Mt. Mansfield
It was significantly colder when we drove up on Friday than when we hiked up on Tuesday - there was frost on the trees! My dad took this photo of Dave, my mother, and I, which I love because we don't look like we should be in the same place. I'm all bundled up and my mother is wearing sandals - in her defense she didn't know we'd be walking around up there, or that it would be 34F! And we're all wearing orange, which was honestly a coincidence...
Dave and I also went to Shelburne Farms, where we saw lovely trees, sheep, and Cow Twister, which was one of the highlights of the trip:Cow Twister
We also spent a day in Montreal visiting Anne-Marie. We saw many old buildings, the Modern Art Museum, and possibly the best sign ever:The Best Sign EverApparently the buildings attack! We also spoke grammatically awful French to each other (but not to the locals) and ate spectacular croissants. It was good to see Anne-Marie - I've been in withdrawl since she left Seattle in September...
We also walked around Burlington, went canoeing, went sailing, and ate a lot of yummy food. And drank a lot of delicious apple cider. And probably other things that I'm not thinking of right now. All in all we had a lovely time, and it was tough to come back and head to work, although at least the Seattle weather has been lovely so we've been easing back in!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bring on the Christmas Knitting!

I realize it's just the end of September, but I have ambitious Christmas knitting plans so I needed to get a headstart. I have seven gifts planned, and a couple of them are pretty big ones. There will be no felted clogs this year (thank god!), but there will be mittens, scarves, and even garments. I've actually finished one of said gifts already (in August - hate me if you must), and several of the others are on the needles. In fact, all but three of the others are on the needles, and they're all planned and waiting, patterns and yarn just raring to go. I had to order some size 4 Harmony needles from Knit Picks to start this scarf for my grandmother (the one who appreciates my knitting, as opposed to the one who asked me this summer if I was going to, and I quote, "waste my whole vacation knitting." I love her, but she's not getting any more knitted gifts.). I'm going to use the leftover gold yarn from my Swallowtail Shawl, and as soon as I decided on this project on Saturday I walked over to the bead store and picked out the perfect shiny dark brown beads. I also ordered some larger circumference cables from Knit Picks so I can continue with the garment I'm knitting for someone, which was started on Saturday but put down once I realized I really couldn't jam all the stitches on the needle I was trying to use.

Of course I can't show you most of these wonderful gifts I'm creating, although I did think about posting them and lying about who they were for and trying to confuse the recipients, but then I just figured it wasn't worth it because they'd figure it out anyway based on color, or size, or shape, or something. Although, if you're on Ravelry you'll be able to see most of them soon, unless they're for you, in which case I won't be posting them up there! But, these are the mittens (Annemor #2 from Selbuvotter) I'm knitting for my little cousin Andie, who I really doubt reads my blog:
My grandmother is also not a blog reader, so I'll be showing her scarf in progress once I get my needles, but otherwise, just trust that if you are closely related to me or a good friend, I'm probably hard at work on something special for you!
I'm hard at work on the i-cord edging for the Estes Vest, so hopefully there will be a finished object soon!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tough working conditions...

Wednesday morning I arrived at work to see this in the hallway: Lab hallway
and this in the storage room where we keep our extra lab supplies:Storage room Good times! Apparently someone overflowed the sink in a room on the other side of these rooms, which flooded through our storage room and out into the hall. The flood happened Monday early evening, and the fans and the drywall cutting began on Tuesday morning - I'm posting photos from Wednesday because that's when the fans really started to multiply. The building has a policy that they overreact in cases of dampness. I'm pretty sure I've now met most of the facilities engineers as they've come by to check on the status of our walls, which they're trying to dry out rapidly to prevent mold. Hence the removed sections of drywall and all the fans. The fans finally left this morning. They were really loud and even with the lab doors closed they were pretty irritating. Plus, as you might imagine it was like a wind tunnel out there - thankfully I didn't happen to wear a flowy skirt this week!
I've been knitting - I've knit a entire Selbuvotter mitten which I'll post as soon as I take a good photo, and I seamed the Estes Vest and did the neckband. I'm waiting to borrow a long circular needle so I can do the attached i-cord border, and I'm crossing my fingers that it will fit. Presently it's pretty tight across the chest, and I'm not sure how much width the i-cord is going to add. Severe blocking may be in order if I want this baby to button without gapping...
Oh, and it's snowing in the mountains! Check out these photos from the Washington DOT...
Can I just say that I love that WSDOT has a Flickr page?

Friday, September 19, 2008

More cables!

Remember how I said I really wanted to knit some Evangeline Mitts? Well, knit them I did! I started these last Wednesday after digging around in the bottomless pit of stash (where I found multiple treasures that I was unaware of possessing - for someone with a good memory it's amazing how much yarn and how many purses I stumble upon that I've forgotten), and finished them on Saturday morning. This post is a bit delayed because I was out of town Monday and Tuesday and then didn't take photos until yesterday (thank you Shibani!). But, without further ado, here are the Evangeline Mitts:Project Stats: Evangeline Mitts
Yarn: Reynolds Andean Alpaca, purchased on Dave and I's trip to Bend in 2006.
Needles: Size 7 Crystal Palace bamboo. These happen to be the first DPNs I purchased (not for this project, obviously).
Time to knit: September 10-14, 2008.
Modifications: I made several to compensate for my small skein of yarn (in the end I had plenty, but probably not enough for another repeat) and to suit my preferences. First, I cast on 36 stitches instead of 40 because I have small hands and I figured these would be stretchy, and that the cables would be shown to their best advantage stretched out a bit. I also only did six rows of ribbing at the cuff instead of 10, and left out the ribbing at the ends because I decided I'd rather have more cabling and less ribbing (frankly I'm not fond of ribbing). I did seven cable repeats total, and these turned out just the length I was going for. See random musing below.
Impressions: They're great! These were quick and fun to knit, and were exactly what I was hoping for. It's not just the photos - the cabling is subtle, and I blame the fuzzy yarn and its slight marl. That's okay - I wasn't really trying for bold here. My only issue is that the yarn is a tad scratchier than I expected from how soft the skein was, and I'm noticing that to be a trend with alpaca. I'm knitting something else with 100% alpaca and it's heavenly in the skein but also a little bit scratchy once knit up. Not enough to be an issue because I don't have sensitive skin, but maybe something to consider if you do.
A random musing: Have any of you made actual elbow length mitts? They seem like they'd be annoying - my thought is that if it's cold enough for mitts one is likely to be wearing a long-sleeved shirt/sweater/etc, and how does one deal with elbow length sleeves with that? Unless you're wearing a t-shirt, but none of mine have sleeves that come down to the elbow, so I would be left with a patch of upper arm showing, which just seems silly. Then again, I did queue some elbow-length mitts from the new Knitty, so apparently I'm at least game to try...

And, what is this?
I've finished the vest pieces and seamed the shoulders - now for the crazy amount of finishing. In the photo the vest looks quite large because I haven't done the side seams. In reality it's going to be quite fitted I think. Annoyingly it's still quite short even though I added 1.5" before the armhole shaping. I haven't done the i-cord along the bottom yet but still. I'm short and if it's this short on me I think there might be some issuese there for the taller set. The vest is blocking now and I hope that it will be dry by tomorrow so I can attack it this weekend...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Cabley goodness

The Estes Vest is growing! I started the left front on Friday and finished it Sunday night, and will probably start the right front tonight. It's nice to be knitting something that moves along this quickly - even with all the cabling it really flies off the needles (size 10.5). One thing I should have noticed earlier, especially since people have been discussing it on Ravelry, is that the pockets are awfully close to the center line of the vest, meaning that they're likely to be too shallow for actual handwarming.You might be able to see that from the photo (on the left) - that cable next to the pocket slit is only 12 stitches wide, and the whole area left of the pocket is probably only 3 inches or so. We'll see. I don't have very big hands and I don't really need functional pockets. I know some people have been moving the pockets out a bit, but since I'm making the smallest size and it's already pretty narrow I'm not sure how that would look. I'm concerned that the pockets would gape at the sides and be unflattering, so I'm going to leave this as it is and hope for the best.
In other news, all this cabling has resulted in me fighting an urge to cast-on for these mitts immediately. Of course (How is this possible?) I don't think I have what I want for them in the stash, but I'm going to at least look and try to find something. The trouble is that I want grey, and I don't have a lot of grey yarn that isn't already destined for something else. Plus, the urge wants me to make them in alpaca, and I know I don't have that. Well, I might, actually, but only one skein and I don't think it's the right weight or enough yardage, so that's probably no good.
This post was brought to you by the control+i function.

Friday, September 05, 2008

By the cat's tongue...

The cat, while cute, is a bit of a trouble maker. Observe what he's done to my So-Called Scarf: See? Perhaps a close-up:He looks all innocent, doesn't he? He would like to say a few words in his defense:

"You know, you've only gotten what's coming to you. You and Dave, you don't make it easy for me around this house. We all three of us know how I love the wool. First I tried to go for the stash, thinking that it would be less traumatic for you if I destroyed something you hadn't yet poured hours of effort into. But then you had to go and cover it up, limiting my access. So I spent some time licking my felted cat bed (which I might point out is way too small for me, hence it now stores my toys), but that just wasn't satisfying enough. I wanted more. And then you left this scarf dangling from a shelf, and what did you expect? Restraint? I am a cat. I do what I want. Plus, it's Manos - lovely flavor, very sheepy. Besides, you never wore this scarf anyway - there was mumbling about it being too stiff, or pooling, or something. So, really I did you a favor by destroying it, right? Right? Oh, and where's my second breakfast? I already finished the one you gave me at 5:00am."

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


It's been awhile, so I'm going to make a chronological list of the things I was going to blog about but didn't, if that's okay.
1) The epic hike up Mount Si on 8.23.08 - Dave and I headed out to Mt. Si because although I've hiked it several times, he has not. It's 8 miles roundtrip, with 3200 feet of elevation gain. We made it up in 1:25 and down in 1:22. This is a new record for me (by 5 minutes) and I think I could've gone faster without Dave holding me back :) There aren't any photos because, well, they all turned out pretty badly, but trust that it was a nice day and there were abundant good vistas.
2) The conclusion of the Olympic knitting on 8.24.08 - Even though I abandoned all hope of finishing Bayu during the Olympics with over a week to go, I still ended up rushing to finish my other projects because the Ravelympics deadline was 9:00am PST on Sunday, about 15 hours earlier than I expected. Thankfully Anne-Marie had alerted me to this fact on Saturday, so I had time to "finish" Anais once and hopefully for all. The secret gift project was actually finished on Thursday, with plenty of time to spare (pat on back). As for Anais, well, let's just say I don't think it'll be getting that much wear. Anais, lace detailThe color is off here - it's actually bright blue (better photo here) but in this one you can see the lace detail better. I haven't taken any photos wearing it yet, but it's not much better now than it was when I modeled it here (although the lace panel is much better now that it's sewn in properly). I did knit the little sleeves, and I tried to attach them, but they looked ridiculous so I took them off and I'm leaving it sleeveless (although my mother has pointed out that I could knit different sleeves, which may not be a bad idea). More about why I don't know about this garment when I have modeled photos so I can really show you what I'm talking about when I mention the problems (mainly that I look like a stubby linebacker).
3) I met Kristen's baby Alex, who is quite cute and does an adorable forehead furrow. He peed all over me, which I have to assume is a sign of affection. I believe she has photos of this (the meeting, not the peeing) but I don't have any to post. Her and Chad are both doing great and seem to be adjusting to life with a little one quite well!
4) Later that same day (8.24.08), fresh off my Olympic victories, I started a new project, the Estes Vest from the newest Interweave Knits. Estes Vest, back to armholesSo far I'm just past the armhole shaping on the back and it's moving along rapidly. Funny thing about bulky yarn and size 10.5 needles!
5) Last Sunday Anne-Marie, Deidre, and I took the ferry to Churchmouse Yarns and Teas over on Bainbridge Island. I was the only Churchmouse virgin, and I was not disappointed. It's a very nice shop, and I got some lovely Misti Alpaca Handpainted laceweight:Misty Alpaca Lace
I'm already turning this into a wide stockinette stole. I also got a Habu kit for the Kusha Kusha scarf, which is merino and stainless steel yarn (yes, stainless steel). I'd been looking for this kit for ages so I was really happy to find it. I also got some PG Tips, which is only slightly less exciting as I love nothing more than sitting around on weekend mornings with my giant London mug of PG Tips with two Splendas and milk. The milk and pseudo-sugar are key - this is some strong tea.
I guess that's really it. Since the vest is moving along quickly, hopefully I'll continue to blog about it. That's been part of the problem with the blogging this summer. I've been knitting a fair bit but there have been a lot of gifts and the things I was knitting for myself were either slow or not progressing at all. So I haven't really had that much to talk about, knitting-wise, and this being a knitting blog I figure that's what I should focus on.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I don't drive much, so it took awhile, but my 2000 Jeep Cherokee just had a big birthday: Here's to the next 40,000, which will, at this rate, probably take even longer!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympic Update

Stop the presses, I'm going to talk about knitting! Yes, folks, I really am. I think I might have bitten off more than I can chew with my Ravelympics goal of finishing three WIPs. I had hoped to finish the Anais top, the Bayu wrap top, and the secret gift project. However, when I made this plan I was under the mistaken impression that the Olympics lasted a week longer than they do, and now that I've realized my error, I'm thinking the odds of me meeting my goal are pretty slim. Regardless, I have been trying. I've made loads of progress on the secret project, and I think I can finish that, and I also think I can finish Anais if I actually get it out, since I only have one lace sleeve cap to go (plus the sewing on of said sleeves). But, the Bayu top might be an issue - I hadn't worked on it at all until Thursday night, when Anne-Marie was over to watch the Olympics. She pointed out that it wasn't going to knit itself and that maybe I should get on with it, so I did. I hadn't worked on it for at least a month because I had finished the straight part of the back and was on the shoulder shaping, and I had decided that I was going to do it with short-rows instead of stairstep decreases, but I got confused. I had done short-rows on Anais and it seemed really obvious to me when I did that, but the Bayu has a lot more decrease rows and more sloping shoulders, so I was concerned that it wouldn't work. So I decided to put a lifeline in before proceeding, just in case I messed it up, but it ended up being unnecessary. I finished the back, and yesterday I cast-on the right front wrap piece. I'm in the seed stitch morass right now, but then it will get exciting. Or at least faster, being stockinette. Here's the back piece - I'm glad I put the lifeline in because it really allows you to see how the short-row shaping works. It's so much tidier than bind-off decreases, and leaves live stitches so that the shoulders can be grafted (or three-needle bound-off, which is my intention) instead of seamed, which is also a lot neater. I tried to impress Dave with it, since he's had to sit through my expositons on the miracle of short-rows before, but he was nonplussed. Although I think he understands the general concept now, which is something. The man is a saint - he has to sit through SO much chatter about knitting, and walk around so much yarn, and get yelled at for sitting on the knitting so often. Then again, I am also a saint, since I have to trip on spare bike tubes, and get tangled in handlebar tape, and accidentally knock over carbon wheels in the night while getting a drink of water.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Is how I'm feeling this week. Now, before you say anything, let me explain. This week:
1) Anne-Marie defended her thesis, making her Dr. Dr. Anne-Marie, MD, PhD! She also has a Masters, which means she has almost a whole alphabet after her name these days...
2) Kristen had her baby, Alexander, who was born yesterday at 7:50pm and weighed in at 8 lb 15 oz!
3) Jennifer gathered the lunch knitters together to tell us that she is pregnant, and due in February. I admit we all saw this one coming, even though I think she was trying to surprise us...
4) Rachel is defending her thesis tomorrow. Surely it will be a great success and a smashing party to follow on Saturday.
5) Craig (my labmate) and his wife bought a house.

Me? I've been watching the Olympics and debating with Dave over whether or not we should go to Victoria for a long weekend in September. Seriously, compared to everyone else I am very ordinary these days. BUT, don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely not complaining, I am SO happy for all of them I feel I could burst!

Oh, and about the vampire "problem" I've been having? I've decided that it's best not to obsess alone, so I've created four newborns here in Seattle. Just call me Victoria...

Ah, and because I wouldn't want to not have any photos, here is the yarn I bought at Stitch & Pitch last week: It's a mitt kit (say that a few times fast) by Ruth Sorensen using the Noro Kureyon sock yarn. Anne-Marie bought one as well (in a different pattern), so we'll be having a knitalong some day soon, although it'll probably be after she moves back to Montreal (which we aren't discussing).

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Someone save me from the vampires...

Title will be explained later.
Last night Anne-Marie and I went to the Mariners Stitch & Pitch. We even won the game (walk-off home run!), which is almost a miracle considering how bad the Mariners have been this year. The game was fun, and there were a lot of vendors this year. I bought a colorwork armwarmer kit that I'll show off as soon as I take a picture of it. It was a beautiful night - I didn't even need my sweatshirt, let alone the scarf/hat/armwarmers that I brought. Here you see the field (obviously). There aren't any photos of me knitting because I was working on a secret project. In fact, the reason you haven't seen any knitting lately is because this secret project is pretty much all I've been working on. And I haven't been knitting much because I've been in a Twilight-induced haze (which I don't even want to begin to get into discussing) since I came back from Chicago. I need to get out of the haze though - my apartment is a mess, I've forgotten how to do science, and my friends probably think I've gone insane (not impossible). Although I have already gotten two of them obsessed with the books as well - it's good to pass around the crazy.
I've signed up for the WIP wrestling event of the Ravelry Olympics. I liked the idea of starting something new and then finishing during the games, but I'm really into the secret project I'm working on, and it's a gift so there are time constraints. So, I'm going to try to finish that, as well as my long-suffering Anais and the Bayu bamboo top (those are Ravelry links). We'll see how it goes - I'll try to keep you posted, if I can keep my mind off the vampires long enough to type something coherent!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A whirlwind trip

So, without mentioning it here, or really even to that many people in Seattle, I ventured off to Chicago for a couple of days last week to meet up with my parents (my dad had a work conference on Thursday). I literally mean a couple of days - I arrived there Wednesday night at 11:00 and was back in Seattle by 7:00 Saturday night. That, my friends, is a short trip. But, it was long enough to do all sorts of things. Thursday, while my dad was at his work event, my mom and I met up with Heidi for some great shopping in the "wholesale" district, which is a mecca of bargain purses and jewelry. A lot of the stores require a wholesale license for purchasing, but some anyone can visit. I can only thank my lucky stars that I didn't know about this place when I lived in Chicago, because the damage would have been tremendous. Thursday night my parents and I saw Wicked, which was really spectacular. I always love a good musical spectacle, and this one didn't disappoint. If you get a chance to see it you really shouldn't miss it! IMG_4063
Friday we walked around Millennium Park and visited the "bean" (Cloud Gate) and then went to the Art Institute. IMG_4072I must say, I love the Art Institute, and I've been there countless times, but I was really upset this time. They're building a massive new wing and a lot of the museum is closed or in storage, including almost all of the Impressionist works, which is what the museum is really known for. I was surprised that they didn't move those paintings into an open area, since they're what people want to see. The museum is always good, although I don't think now is the best time to go. IMG_4076We saw these performance artists outside the museum - they were really fun, bending over and extending.IMG_4077 That's my mom there - note her great purse, which came from the bargain purse mecca on Thursday. Friday night we went to Second City, where we saw No Country for Old White Men, which was great. I've never been to a bad show at Second City - again, you should go there.
Saturday afternoon my parents flew back to PA and I flew back to Seattle - a whirlwind, like I said! I have knitting, I show you next time...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Second Cute Baby Item

In addition to the lovely blanket that I blogged about last week, I also made a little sweater for Kristen's baby: Placket Neck PulloverThis thing was WAY more of an undertaking than I really intended because I neglected to check for errata before getting started. But, the end result is quite cute, and once I had the errata in hand it was really a simple project.

Project Stats: Placket Neck Pullover
Pattern: Child's Placket Neck Pullover from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, size 6-12 months.
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish DK, superwash wool, in asparagus. I used less than two skeins. I ordered four, so there was clearly a math error somewhere...
Needles: Size 8 bamboo circulars and DPNs.
Time to knit: 6.30.08-7.10.08.
Modifications: My row gauge was really off, 6 rows/inch instead of 8 rows/inch, so I had to compensate for that in the raglan shaping. I did this by doing one fewer decrease round and also doing some scattered decreases in the back and arms to get rid of the stitches. And my yoke is a tad longer than it was meant to be, but in the end it's not obvious. I also decided not to put buttons on the placket - I figured it would be easier for Kristen this way - just pull it on and be down with it, without having to secure anything. Plus, no buttons means fewer things for the baby to potentially decide to chew on/swallow/etc!
Impressions: Lord. I was charging along on this, but I was in quite a hurry because we moved Kristen's baby shower up a week or two from when I thought it would be. Regardless, I was doing well until I got to the part where you divide for the placket and start knitting back and forth, which is where you'll really want to check the errata. I knit four rows and thought, wow, this looks really crooked and off-center. Which it was. So, I had to unknit all that, muttering obscenities all the way. I didn't want to just rip it out because the yarn is relatively floppy and I wasn't convinced I'd be able to find all the stitches. Once I had the errata in hand it was smooth sailing, aside from my apprehension about the row gauge issue. Row gauge is my nemesis. I never ever get row gauge spot-on. Thankfully, it's usually pretty easy to compensate for, although I'm going to keep in mind that it's not necessarily that easy to deal with in raglan shaping. Kristen liked the sweater, but I think it'll be awhile before I can show you any "on the baby" photos, since it's fairly large (the sweater, not the still-yet-to-be-born baby). The yarn was nice to work with, although I didn't wash and dry it so I'm not sure how well it will hold up, having not tested it myself.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Best Baby Gift Ever

Well, I don't know if that's really true, and it might be a bit conceited to claim that something I had a part in is the best ever of anything, but, well, I think maybe it is. Group blanket for Kristen's babyMy friend Kristen, one of the lunchtime fiberphiles, is pregnant, and due in mid-August. She's the first of us to have a baby, and thus we have been inordinately excited. Almost as soon as we found out she was expecting the wheels began to turn, and everyone was thinking of what to knit for this, the first fiberphile baby. I wanted to make a blanket and someone else did as well, and then I thought that, instead of making this poor summer baby loads of warm wool blankets we could all make one together, from all of us, which would be truly special and unique. So that's what we did. We all (there were 6 of us, now 7)consulted on the pattern, and Rachel and I picked out the yarn and distributed it to the out-of-towners, those who have left us for bigger and better things in Portland and Lake Tahoe. We each knit 5 squares, and then Katrina, who was new to the group when we started but is now firmly entrenched, did the border and a fair chunk of the seaming (along with Rachel). Here we are at the quasi shower we held for Kristen at Remedy Teas on Saturday (have you been there? You should go.) . I'm sure Pam (in Portland) and Daisy (in Lake Tahoe) were with us in spirit. Group blanket for Kristen's babyFrom the left, we have Shibani, Jennifer, Kristen, me, Katrina, and Rachel. None of us but Katrina had seen the finished blanket when we gifted it, but we were all completely thrilled at how well it turned out! Kristen loved it, and wouldn't even let go of it to put it back in its gift bag when we left. I love that we all came together to make something this special for Kristen, who truly deserves it. Here's hoping that it becomes her baby boy's favorite!
I'm going to skip the usual project write-up for this because I only knit a bit of it and we all did different squares and used different needles sizes and etc. The pattern is the Textured Blocks Throw from Vogue Knitting on the Go: Baby Blankets Two, and we used Cascade 220 Superwash, purchased at the Fiber Gallery in Seattle.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Montego Bay Scarf

I'm thinking that maybe I'll start labeling everything starting with "the" like the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog. Just for kicks. Not to worry, I doubt it'll last long. I mentioned in my last post that I had in fact been knitting, if not writing about it, and here is some of the evidence, the Montego Bay Scarf, which was a gift for my cousin Danielle:Montego Bay scarf

Project Stats: Montego Bay Scarf
Pattern: Montego Bay, by Amy Singer, from Interweave Knits Summer 2007.
Yarn: Knit One Crochet Too Ambrosia, colorway Blue Lime, 3 skeins. Yarn purchased at Weaving Works.Montego Bay, zoom
Needles: Size 7 Clover bamboo straights.
Modifications: None, although my scarf is shorter than the pattern version.
Time on the needles: May 11-June 11, 2008.Montego Bay scarf, on me
Impressions: This was a fun, quick knit. The pattern is deceptive - it's really simple, almost too simple, which is the trouble. The whole thing is k2tog, yo, repeat, with different numbers of plain stitches on the ends, which is all you have to keep track of (I did not want to end this sentence with of, but I couldn't figure out a better way that wasn't really clunky. This is not English class.). There in lies the problem, trying to recall which right side row you're on. I solved this by always knitting in groups of four rows, so that whenever I picked the scarf up I was starting row one. It was a good strategy. The yarn was great - it's baby alpaca, silk, and cashmere, and it feels about as good as it sounds. It's not quite as drapey as the recommended yarn, but I think it worked okay, especially after a good blocking. I was intending to use a more "summery" yarn, but I loved the colors of this and thought it would be perfect for Danielle, so I went with it. It was a bit success, she absolutely loved it and the colors were perfect for her. I have some yarn lined up to make one of these for myself, but we'll see when I actually get around to that!

Last night I finished an adorable baby project that I can blog about after it's gifted tomorrow. I love the baby knits - they go fast and they're cute because they're tiny!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


Hum...I have been missing in action, huh? I don't have a good excuse this time. I haven't been busy at work, I have been knitting, and there are even photos of said knitting. Alas, sometimes the urge to blog just doesn't strike, and once you get out of the habit it seems like way too much work to write anything. So let's make some lists, just for fun...

What I've been doing:
1) Finishing the experiments for my first paper
- this is not going as well as hoped
- it best get better soon
- I'm trying, really I am
- I get to use lots of radioactive stuff
- this is always exciting
2) Going home to visit the family in PA
- it rained
- a lot
- as much as I've ever seen in one weekend
- it was really nice in Seattle while I was gone
- this happens every time I go home in the summer
- I got poison ivy
- this also happens every time I go home in the summer
- it's still spreading, even though I got it over a week ago
- I look a mess because I have calamine lotion all over my left arm and leg
- I lost money at the new casino in Erie
- yesterday my mother won $525 on the same slot machine that took my $$$
- she is always lucky
- the machine also favored her when I was visiting, but not so dramatically
3) Knitting
- finished the Montego Bay Scarf for my cousin
- will get its own post soon
- finished a secret edding present
- you have to wait a bit in case she's reading
4) Miscellaneous
- I had my first summer pilates class yesterday after a three week hiatus and I am sore
- sore enough to skip my planned 1000 yard swim
- this probably has more to do with lifting weights than pilates, to be fair
- Oliver has started begging for food at 4:00 almost every day
- sadly that means I get up and feed him, because otherwise he'll keep meowing
- I'm spending all my spare time watching sports, between baseball and the Tour de France
- and tennis
- 8.8.08 - Olympics!!!
- bring on the swimming (ahem, Michael Phelps)
- and the gymnastics
- made 15 pints of jam on Sunday, 12 strawberry and 3 raspberry

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Kitchen Knits Swap!

My pal in Marisol's Kitchen Knits swap was Jodi, and she sent me a lovely package:

In there we have a market bag that she knitted for me, which is exciting because I've seen several friends make them but haven't taken the plunge myself. There is some lovely yarn from The Plucky Knitter as well as some Cotton-Ease, and she included patterns for both. She suggested the Lace Ribbon Scarf for the blue yarn, and I think I might just do that, as the yarn is very similar in color to that used in the pattern, and the pattern photos are lovely :) There is also honey, which I've tried, and lovely smelling tea, which I haven't gotten to yet. Plus, recipes of course, which Dave and I are both excited about. But, having just used it, I have to say that perhaps the best part of the box was the peeler. It's hiding under the tea, but this thing is great! It's a Swiss Peeler from Kuhn Rikon, and you should probably have one too. I peeled a yam for dinner and it was SO much better than either of our old peelers, which are going straight to Goodwill. Anyway, thank you for the great package Jodi, and thanks also to Marisol for organizing such a fun swap and pairing me with another almost-vegetarian!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

All but the fringe...

After a fairly concerted effort (well, not really, but it sounds good) I've finished the Montego Bay Scarf up to the fringing.Montego Bay scarf, sans fringe
I realize you can't really see the thing in that photo, but it's not an easy item to photograph. Perhaps if I wore it, but it's not finished yet, so it's early for that. The little balls are the fringe waiting to be attached. I did four of them yesterday after I took this photo, and I really think they're a bit short. The fringe is supposed to be braided, which sucks up some of the length, and they're only 12" so the fringe is pretty short. I've seen several on Ravelry with unbraided fringe and I might try some of that for a comparison. I suppose short fringe will be alright, but the scarf is drapey and graceful so stingy fringe seems like a mistake. I don't know. The yarn is cut already so there's nothing to be done but figure out the best solution!
Hope all is well with everyone. Sorry to have not been blogging but I've had little to say. I did finish Anais but I'm not happy with it, so there hasn't been a photo shoot. I tried really hard to find a way to wear it yesterday but frankly it doesn't look good. I didn't knit the sleeves because I didn't really like the way the lace inset worked and doubted the sleeves would be better, but without them I'm looking like a linebacker in the thing because it's too big and too straight up and down. Not enough shaping apparently - I wanted it fitted and I think I'd need to be about 2" bigger everywhere for that. And, yes, I swatched, and I got gauge, and I made the right size. Maybe I'm smaller than I think. Anyway, I'll take some photos of it to show you and we can discuss it. I think I'm going to do the sleeves as a test - it can't take long and perhaps it'll save the whole thing?
Oh, and in case you're curious about my problem with the lace insert? This is the problem. It's the SAME for all the sizes. Now, think about this. I made the 34" size, but the pattern goes up to 54". But, my lace insert is, at least in theory, the same size as the 54" one would be, which means that in my shirt it doesn't need to be stretched at all to fit in its space. So, it looks a bit sloppy. And, I knit it on much smaller needles than were called for, and it's still too big. Granted maybe I should have sewed it further up the neckline to stretch it, but I'm not sure that would have helped much. I just think it's an odd part of the design, to not compensate for the fact that the sizes will be different in inset size and the amount of stretching that will and won't be happening. Then again, looking at the ones on Ravelry it doesn't seem like other people had as much trouble with this, so perhaps it's just me?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Weekend Update

We're having another lovely weekend here in Seattle, which was definitely not what the weather folks predicted. It was supposed to be 65 and raining all weekend - yesterday it was probably 80 and sunny all day, and it's cooler today but still quite nice. Yesterday I did a triathlon worth of athletic endeavors. I biked to the gym, went running, lifted weights, went swimming, then biked to the lab and then home. All told that's about 9 miles of biking, 2 miles of running, and 800 yards of swimming (800 yards = 3.6 skeins of Cascade 220). And, Dave and I walked a mile or so each way to go toss the frisbee at Gas Works Park after dinner, so I was a bit tired by the time I went to bed! I expected to be sore today but I feel alright. So, I walked to work (2.5 miles). I would walk home but my ancient Birkenstocks decided today would be a good day to cause blisters, so I will be walking part of the way and then taking the bus. Why am I telling you this? I have no idea.

What you really want to see is something related to knitting, right? Well, I am here for you! I have a new project, started a couple of weeks ago but not yet blogged, that I can show you. This is the start of a Montego Bay scarf, which I'm making as a gift:Montego Bay, start These aren't really my colors but the scarf is lovely, and has been fun to work on. I'm about 35% finished. Yesterday I hit my first snag when I picked up an errant yarnover (or something) and ended up with an extra stitch, which it took me quite awhile to fix. It would have been easy had I just gone back and fixed it immediately, since I noticed it immediately, but instead of ripping back I tried to fix it by knitting three together (instead of two) when I got to the problem spot, and that seemed okay so I carried on, but then I had too few stitches and in the end I had to unknit six rows instead of one. But, I'm back on track, and although a trained eye could probably notice where the issue occurred, it's not really that noticeable.

I've also finished Anais, although we haven't taken photos yet. Soon I promise. Yesterday would have been a good day, I'm not sure what went wrong there. It took me awhile to decide on my next garment, but I'm going to make Bayu (Ravelry link here). I have loads of black bamboo in the stash that should work well for this. I love the off-white color in the pattern, and I do have enough ivory Hempathy for it, but I think the Hempathy gauge would be a bit too small. The bamboo I have is the old put-up of the SWTC bamboo, so it's a bit rough and slubby, and I think it'll be perfect. Plus, having used it before I know what needles I used and the gauge, so I can proceed recklessly with this one. No one except (apparently) the designer has knit it yet, so I will be a pioneer!

Oh, and I apologize to everyone who might have gotten spam from my Hotmail account yesterday. I have no idea what happened but hopefully it will be a one-off thing. I contacted Hotmail and I'm waiting to hear back from them. I never even received the email I supposedly sent to everyone I've ever known on Hotmail - gotta love the Internets...