Jan 31, 2009

Jan 30, 2009

Design on Less than a Dime!

If I had even the remote semblance of a life, this wouldn't have amused me quite as much.

But I don't, so it did. I know there's some mainframe at Ravelry.com's headquarters that randomly cycles through the designers on display. So, other than serving as a testament to my ability to find, and succesfully operate, the "upload" button, this really means nothing. Nevertheless, I was chuffed to see it.

Jan 26, 2009

10 Things #4: Felt it!

I'm just throwing all caution to the wind with numbers here. Number 2 was completed ahead of number 1, because the original number 1 got scrapped. Number 3 has been my least favourite project - cabling with cotton isn't as much fun as I had hoped when I bought 5 skeins of the stuff - and so number 4 has beaten it out by a fair margin. But, with 3 projects completed in just over 6 months, I'm in pretty good shape for my 10 things in 1000 days target. As long as I I can bring myself to look at number 3 again!

This is a messenger bag from the book Crochet Me: Designs to Fuel the Crochet Revolution. It was my first [intentional] felting project and I am really proud of how it turned out. The felting was a lot of fun, as was the embroidery. I am probably going to put some buttons on it to keep the holes lined up with their respective colour panels. I think it may have a future in holding my knitting supplies!

That's three!

Jan 19, 2009

Invent a Wireless Camera Already!!

I misplaced the cable for my camera about a month ago, but a few things happened in that time. I was looking for my TV remote and stumbled across the camera cable, so I was finally able to get the pictures off my camera.

1. I acid-dyed yarn

After conquering the world of Kool-Aid dying, Kristine and I pooled our 5th Avenue Superwash and some Fisherman's to try out some acid dying. She had some Jacquard acid dyes and we managed to mix them to create some other colours. Between what we saw at the Lorna's Laces tour and Krisine's online research, it actually ended up being fairly easy. Kristine bought a big turkey roaster and we did it in her basement. The dyes, the wet wool and the vinegar (surprisingly not the main culprit) make for quite a pungent smell, much to the dissatisfaction of Kristine's husband. Probably because I had enjoyed the yarn crawl in Chicago so much, I rather enjoyed the smell.

The dying table

"Not for food use"

My attempt at embodying Ireland as a colourway. We didn't have any dreary grey to represent the sky, so it's depicting one of those rare summery days in Ireland.

Yes, I am obsessed with the Neapolitan colorway. I don't even like the ice-cream all that much.

My finished colorways.

and Kristine's.

2. I had a bachelorette party.

Or a hen night as we call it across the puddle. Kristine and Chris very kindly organized my night for me. We started out with high tea at the Chocolate Café, dinner at Carrabas and off to do some chatting and dancing at Oyster bar and the Linebacker. It was a lovely way to spend the evening with my friends before I had to leave for Minnesota.

Yes there's some pixelation going on here. Let's just say we had some glow in the dark objects that we were recharging and leave it at that!

3. I moved to Minnesota

My lab moved thus bring my tenure at Notre Dame to a close. I am now working at the Hormel Institute for a few months until I get married and hopefully get a job on the East Coast somewhere. I made it up in time for a record low for the area but the place is wonderful, my lab is great and I am enjoying the area enough that a little -40C weather isn't going to sour my impression of the place.

My favourite thing so far is the house that I am renting. I was desperate to get accommodation so I accepted it sight unseen, but somehow hit the jackpot. It's so cute and I am yet to come across anything problematic.

Other than the volume of snow!

My car is back there somewhere!

4. I spent Christmas in Kansas.

Between the late December conference in San Francisco and the move to Minnesota, I decided that it wasn't feasible to make it home for Christmas. That proved a wise idea, as without leaving the country, I was exhausted from the amount of travelling I did over that month. I'd been to Emporia several times before, but this was the first time I spent any real time in El Dorado (el duh-ray-duh), Kansas. Nick tried to convince me that the city was tiny. But as we approached El Dorado at night, the skyline was so striking that I was convinced that he was lying, and that it was in fact a reasonably large city.

Nope. That was an oil refinery!

And on the other side of the freeway?

The maximum-security prison.

Environmental hazards and BTK-killers notwithstanding, I had a wonderful Christmas. Nick's Grandmother was so welcoming and took such good care of us that I had a minimal amount of homesickness.

5. I got the best coffee mug ever!

The Fisher rep came to visit us in our new lab. She brought a coffee mug to give to Ted, who in turn gave it to me.

How cool is this?

Jan 17, 2009

A Skein of the Blahs!

My friend and I have a light-hearted back and forth about colour choices. She attributes my love of quiet neutrals to my inner "boring Brit", where I see her love of loud primaries as a reflection of her gaudy Brazilian tastes. Xenophobia aside, we have been reasonably good influences on one another and I have, over time, begun to buy yarn in colours other than " light dusty pink".

I was an especial glutton of the visible spectrum when I decided to buy Noro Kureyon sock yarn while in San Francisco. Noro is known not for the softness or durability of its yarns, but solely for the use of colour. I picked a skein that had bright pink on greens and yellows with light and dark versions of each contrasting against one another. I have found this colour-way on colour cards and also seen how it knitted up in projects by other Ravelry users. In both cases, it is always vibrant and diverse in the appearance of colours.

I picked a pattern that wouldn't compete with a bright, multi-coloured yarn and started knitting my sock. The cuff came out dark green and then became more of a pastel green before turning into a slate colour. But that was okay; the most interesting yarns have some dull colours off which the brighter ones can play. Halfway down the leg a very dull salmon colour and greenish-yellow appeared before reverting to a mucous green at the heel. I am now well into the instep, and the yarn is still predominantly green; no sign of the bright pink that initially convinced me to buy the not-so-cheap yarn. I would never have dreamed such a visually boring sock could come out of such a brightly coloured skein. I couldn't have picked a more boring set of colours on purpose, English blood notwithstanding!

Adding to my woes, I made a major, and deeply stupid, mistake on the heel and so gave myself the chance to knit the sinusitis-fabulous green section twice. This was made more delightful by the fact that the yarn itself has all the tactile qualities of an emery board.

I shouldn't whinge too much. I am promised that once I knit up the yarn and hand wash the sock, it will magically convert from feeling like a fitted loofah into something I would want near my skin. And as for the colours, the socks may come in handy if I ever need to visit an otologist - "My snot was this colour, but now it's more like this one."

Jan 9, 2009


I have just accepted a short term job in Minnesota; the thriving metropolis of Austin to be exact. My pre-doctoral adviser is setting up a new lab there and I am helping him out until I get married in June. I am glad to be getting out of South Bend but I am sorry to be leaving my friends behind. On the bright side, my boss's wife has already found a Sunday knitting group which I will probably check out. That said, nothing will ever replace my beloved Knitwork.

Sometime in early 2008, Carly, Faith and I went to an organized knitting group where we met Kristine and Sandy. We decided to meet up again for coffee and knitting and in seemingly no time, we had a structured knitting club, complete with a webpage (on Ravelry) and email address.

Our group was formed with the mutual desire to have a small group of young professionals who love to knit over coffee, dessert and some light-hearted banter. That said, in a few short months, we have gone through almost every conceivable landmark event that life has to offer. We have seen some relationships begin and others end. We have stood by each other through both the gaining of new family members and through tragic loss. We have helped each other survive traumas, heartbreaks and frustrations. We have cried uncontrollably and we've laughed until we've cried together. We've been each others' support system for dealing with over-bearing parents, unreasonable in-laws and other examples of life's unpleasantness. We gossiped, we've analysed and we've listened. And dare I forget to mention, we've helped each other with knitting too.

From a mere hobby, I have managed to find a group of treasured friends, and two of my bridesmaids for my forthcoming wedding. It has been an privilege to be part of the South Bend Knitwork and it is a chapter of my life I will always cherish.

10 Things in 1000 days

I decided to rationalize my impulse purchasing of knitting books by setting myself a personal challenge.
Here's how long I have left:

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