Friday, December 21, 2007

Yay! I'm so proud of you!!!


Passed Biochemistry


I passed by 2 points. 106/150.


At first, I had done the math wrong. And I thought I'd gotten 104/150. Which would have been a fail, and I'd have to take the class again.

And then I cried. And I emailed the professor. And cried some more. And freaked out. And double checked that I had actually failed, and added up the numbers.

Turns out that my spreadsheet was innaccurate. We'd gotten two points back on a test that hadn't been saved into my spreadsheet.


I passed biochemistry. I never have to take biochemistry again.

Wait for it....

I never have to take chemistry again. Ever.

I'm so freaked out my entire body is shaking and I feel as if I'm about to vomit.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Running Post


Said I wasn't going to, but a quick update. Passed anatomy. 4 down, 1 left...biochemistry.

Yup. It's like Nintendo, where the levels get harder and harder, and then all of sudden you're at that last monster who is crazy hard, and impossible, and you just want to throw the controller across the room in anger.

It is now 1:30. The test is at 8:30 tomorrow morning. 19 hours.

19 hours and 194 pages of my personal hell. Make it bigger, I dare you. I didn't even flip the image. Upside down, right-side up, I still can't understand this.

Karen, in all sincerity, all honesty? It's good to fail the students at the level they are at if that is how they are. Because if they don't have the skills, they need to learn how to get them if they even want want to get close to the tarring and feathering that is Medicinal Biochemistry.

Send me some smart chemistry waves.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Monster Hats

First of all, my subscription to this blog must not be working properly, because I was in no way notified that there was so much activity going on here without me. Second of all, your knitting (or spinning or whatever) jargon is going above my head. Picks? Ditz? You're leaving me in the dust here. It would be nice to be neighbors again so that I could spy on you and see everything that you're really up to. Not that I could ever keep track of your copious amounts of projects.

I'm whiling away the hours with these Wine and Roses Mitts from Interweave while I wait for my yarn to come by mail. It was delayed momentarily, as my bank somehow thought that yarn was a suspicious purchase. I've decided (again) that bamboo is frustrating and clearly not pointy enough.

Classes are done for the semester now. I failed three students. That's not particularly cool. They were good kids.

Hazel-rah is getting her balls snipped on Tuesday. She was running around my feet on Friday and then suddenly started peeing on me. I called the vet the next morning. Peeing on my feet is not acceptable behavior.

Your bird looks amazing. Shaping has a tendency to confuse and frustrate me. You should publish that pattern. I have a desire to make you some potpourri after reading your entry--I do own a lovely dehydrator. It wishes that it could fulfill more of a destiny than simply making beef jerky and fruit leather repeatedly. I could experiment if you like, although considering the directions say to "age in a tightly sealed jar for 2-6 weeks," I'm guessing that this isn't any potpourri that would be ready in time for Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas: Christmas Monster Hats!

Inspired by (and also pattern taken from) Ravelry, these obnoxiously bright pieces of headgear will find their way come Christmas morn onto the heads of little Matthias and Christoph (think ring bearer and his toddler brother). The lime was so brilliant under fluorescent lights that there were times that I had to avert my eyes while knitting this bugger up.

From the same dye lot of kool-aid fruit punch comes bamboozled, which was a quick knit once I got the chart down. This is for Kate. I wore it around the house for a day after making it. It was too much fun to give up right away.

And this is the best.

For my Mutti. The softest thing I've ever felt.

Royal baby alpaca from the local alpaca farm.

Warm and brown and sweet. Cozy cabled mitts. So soft that you almost can't feel them.

I took a break from knitting during exams. That is, I tried to spend more time studying and less time knitting. It's good to come back to the needles and yarn. I now realize that knitting has far more worth than exams. Student temporarily, knitter for life.

By the way, great job on passing your classes! Looking forward to seeing you soon.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

I look rather good today


Just thought you should know. I'm sure by the end it will all go downhill, but for now? I started the day off well.

So we all know that I wander the internet, and now Ravelry, regularly for knitting and spinning inspriation. Little did I know that I would wander across quilting inspiration. I am absolutely in love with the little bird ornaments on the cover of Last Minute Quilted Gifts. I think they are adorable. I love birds in general, and for some reason, these made me think of potpourri sachets. Now, this in general is kind of strange, because it's not like I go around pondering potpourri sachets often. Basically if I open a drawer or a closet that stinks, I ponder sachets. That's about it. However, I saw these and thought, "I could knit that bird and stuff it with potpourri! Christmas gift!"

Yes, I know, I said I wasn't going to knit people things for Christmas this year. That isn't happening. Sure, some people aren't getting hand made things. Many still are. It turns out I had time after all! Why? Well, for one, the thrummed mittens are done. I think I'll donate them to Shelter House, in town, which basically runs most of the services for the homeless here. I've got to have something to do while I'm studying biochemistry, and those Latvian mittens aren't going to cut it.

I present you with my mother's new Blue Bird of Happy-smells. I started each of the pieces over at least two-three times. It's actually a bit difficult to knit something with so much shaping.

I knit the top body part in one piece and added a white belly, all of it out of washable wool. The blue is my dyed Henry's attic kona, and the white is Yarn Treehouse Classic Merino. They were knit on size 0 needles, for a tight fabric.

The head required rather delicate shaping, and I'm still not entirely pleased. I did three groups of short rows, one even short rows within short rows. If I made it again, I'd try it a bit differently, but the short rows came out surprisingly well, considering I had no idea what the heck I was doing. I then sewed the belly on from the tail to the top, doing both sides at once with two different needles and yarn for even sewing. At the tail I only did a few stitches and then sewed in the end tight and slightly visible on the white belly. I then began about an inch later and tightly sewed in with a visible notch in the belly. This is my hole for stuffing with potpourri, and I made the notches visible so that I could know where to cut my stitches later to refill it and sew him back up. From here on it was a cinch.

I finished sewing my little birdie together, stuffed the head with regular stuffing, stuffed two cinnamon sticks inside as support between the neck and body, and filled the rest with cloves, nutmeg, allspice, dried orange peel, and juniper berries. I'd really like some actual potpourri that will hold it's scent better, however. I just feel that this might be impossible to find here excepting the massive and decorative potpourri you can find in the stores for the holidays right now. When I asked at every store I was shown the massive dried and scented bags of pine cones, oranges, and small juniper branches.

I don't think I can fit an entire tree inside this guy. I'll wait until I get back home for Christmas to restuff with something smaller than a pinecone.

Guess who passed the three of her easiest classes? Amy!

Oh, and I managed to catch a little random "I love New York 2" while eating dinner last night.

I now present you with my favorite "I love New York 2" quotes from the show I watched last night.

"Immediately when we arrived at the parrot jungle I got scared because I knew there was going to be parrots there."

"I'm afraid of parrots because they don't know how to speak English diction."

(Talking about monkeys) "I feel like they already have something to prove because they don't speak English."



Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stay warm!


This is what we in Iowa like to call "Wintery mix." That translates to ice, sleet, snow, rain, and cold all mixed up into something you definitely don't send your grandmother out in.

They canceled classes today, of course, after we'd already had all our classes. Oh well. However, some people were supposed to dissect this afternoon. That is a big part of our time, these dissection days, and they try very hard to make it fair for everyone. However, as classes are canceled, they don't have to dissect. We have to dissect with them on Thursday.

Bitterness. However, not as bitter as this tree, who took too long to drop it's leaves and now is stuck with them. They're frozen on.

It's raining outside, and the rain from early this morning already froze on all the trees and all the snow.

It's now dipped below freezing and is still dropping, which is why they sent us home at noon. To get here before the roads freeze.

However, it really is beautiful. I've been finishing up the thrummed mittens, and just need one more thumb. However, it still was raining outside when I took pictures, and thus I didn't want to soak them. I didn't mind getting these wet, however. Swatches of fun! I decided that the wool in the yellow and orange didn't work with the pink of the yarn for my thrummed mittens. However, I've got bigger plans in the works that involve a massive amount of entrelac, handspun, and colorful fibers. Thus, I began experimenting just a little bit. I tried putting the orange and yellow rambouillet (merino?) on picks, and then pulling it through a ditz to create a combed yarn. Does that seem crazy? That's what I thought, but it wasn't even my idea!

So it didn't work perfectly, but I was holding the pick between my feet. What better can you expect?

This is a swatch of...swatchiness. I spun up the yarn by randomly trying different color combinations, and how they might work. I just messed around with the wool with my hands a bit. I really need a pair of wool cards and a comb. And an actual ditz.

I got bored knitting a strip and decided to do just a tad of experimentation with short rows. My favorite of the swatch? That little bit of pink in there. Love it.

I hope you enjoy my world of ice, down there in the land of not worrying that the ice will make your power go out and your house will slowly run out of heat.

Send warm thoughts,

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Oh, Chocolate!


Last Thursday was a little chilly. In fact, it was snowing pretty heavily, and the roads were icing up. I had missed the 4:21 bus that delightfully decided to come at 4:19, when I watched it pull away from the wrong side of the road. I had to wait the next 15 minutes until the 4:35 bus came.( Don't let this schedule fool you, when I usually leave after 6 pm, the bus only comes once an hour, making it slightly annoying if I finish work 3 minutes after it's already come.) Anyhow, it was cold, and the bus hovel (is there a proper name for those?) was full of people, and I didn't have long to wait. Or so I thought. Unfortunately, the roads were still bad from the sleet last Saturday that melted and refroze, covering everywhere with a thick layer of ice. The roads were mostly melted, but pile on some extra snow and it gets awfully slick again. The bus was running late. When I finally got on fifteen minutes after it was supposed to arrive, it was almost a half hour trip home in what usually takes fifteen. However, in my time waiting for the bus I grabbed a newspaper, and read the cover story about our city's homeless.

It was cold, waiting for that bus, and I hadn't worn my warmest mittens, and my hands started to get chilly. And when I hopped on the bus and shook my body a couple times to rid myself of the snow-woman look, I decided to knit some mittens. A man died under the bridge a few weeks ago because of hypothermia, and it's a lot colder now.  I can at least make one person's hands a bit warmer with a pair of thrummed mittens. I've put away the rest of the Christmas knitting for my immediate family to do a little something for my extended family. Those on the streets, in broken homes. They're my family too, and I'd be amiss if I didn't get them something for Christmas.

Though somebody thinks that this is a turtleneck for him for Christmas.

Oh, Chocolate, the thrummed mittens aren't for you! You can snuggle in bed for warmth. It's no time for knitted moose fashion. The wool is 4 strands of Harrisville Shetland singles held together with merino thrums.

I also picked up a skein of Cascade 220 for a pair for myself as well, and a couple packets of kool-aid in purple, pink, red, orange, and yellow.

The roving is dying as well speak, but that's going to be waaay after Christmas. I just got over-excited about dying and wanted to throw it all together.

Love always,

Ball Winder?


You said you loved my ball winder. I just got you a ball winder/baking accessory combo for your matrimony. I'm like that. I like to mix it up....literally.

I cleaned today. Gotta love it. Took me all day to clean one room. That's pretty bad. However, now you can see the floor.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007



Good days! I, for the first time in a long time, somewhat enjoyed biochemistry class. It was absolutely delightful. Not the class, but understanding it.

I worked on these the week before thanksgiving and never got too excited about them. The pattern is Dashing from Knitty, and it's a great pattern and cable, the yarn just doesn't fit. It's too thin and not thick and cushy. It's some old Kona that I dyed for the Baby Surprise Jacket. I think I might frog it and try them with something else. I'm still pondering.

I really haven't worked on the Latvian Mittens very much, but I'm in love with them so far. This is the chart I'm doing, with the blue and gold yarn from Syvilla Tweed-Bolson from above.

The tag reads Spælsaugarn Brodergarn, Røros-Tweed Møllsikkert.

I know that spælsau is the type of Norwegian sheep it comes from. (Here's for the bio nerds.)

I really love this wool. It's got the roughness of the spælsau's double coat, but I think it will felt really well. It also gives me the perfect gauge I wanted with US 000 needles.

Ignoring the wall, the colors are most accurate in this picture.

I also did a little dying of some Kona fingering in "Campfire Embers" for Kris's mom for Christmas, and also found a CD for Kris's dad! I am so with it right now, it's amazing. Kris's mom has been knitting lately, and I think she enjoys it. Maybe I should enclose some needles? Hmmmmm. It's a bit more variegated and a deeper than I could capture or fix back to it's original. Kris's mom used to be a pretty hardcore hiker (like in actual mountains and sleeping in bear cages), hence the name.

Lastly, a bit of spinning. I want a hat. This is some chunky fun stuff. I rather enjoy it so far! I don't think it will take wear worth anything, but it's decent for now.

Back to the grindstone,

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Some days


It's sort of rare in one's life that one gets to do something for the first time. I mean, yes, we've all got our first knitting stitch, our first word, our first scarf (most of us), our first everything. We're pretty fresh on this earth when we arrive. However, by the time you get even to my ripe age of 22, there are some days where you don't do something entirely new.

Today is not that day. Earlier today I disarticulated a cadaver's head. I don't know if I should tell you this, but it's in Grant's dissector, and if you know I'm dissecting a cadaver out of there, it's not like you can't figure it out.

Usually I'm completely fine with everything we do in anatomy. It makes sense to me, we're learning, and even though it's rough, it's all for the best. However, today disturbed me for some reason more than any other day. I'm not going to go into really gory details, but we had to take a chisel and hammer to our body donor's spine and break his top vertebra to be able to essentially remove his head. It was still attached by muscles and ligaments at the front, but it was loose, to say the least.

I think what disturbs me most is that when I had to completely disarticulate the leg earlier in the year, I was completely fine with it, even though it was much harder to do and much more physical. However, by doing that we saw a portion of the body that we never could have gotten into without doing it, and I learned a great deal. Today, while I studied how the cranial nerves exit the skull, I just don't feel that the level of new concepts within my brain justified doing what we did.

I'm not even going to stand here and say I wouldn't do it again if asked. It's just that I didn't feel as if I came away from lab today more prepared to heal people because of what we did. I think juxtaposed on top of that lies my dissatisfaction with our anatomy lab in general. While there certainly is respect in the lab for the body donors, most students wouldn't do it themselves, and aren't attached to their donors. I miss my dissection class from undergrad, where everyone was truly thankful for what these people had given us at their last, and where I was truly sad to say goodbye. I still care for my donor, and appreciate what he did for me and the rest of us, but I don't know that everyone feels the same way.

In any case, I just wanted to try and put that into words. If that grosses people out, I'm sorry, I really tried to be good about it. It's just on my mind.

In knitting news, I have a deep, deep desire to knit these and fill them with potpourri and give them out for the Christmas.
Unfortunately, this looks easier to sew than to knit. I think knitting them in two pieces would be the best, one for the belly and one for the top two pieces, knit together. I think with delicate shaping and making sure that I did the correct directions of increases and decreases paired directly next to each other I could do it. What do you think? Cute for Christmas? Little birdie potpourri sachets? I was planning on making my own orange clove potpourri with it from whole cloves and dried orange peel, but I don't know that I can handle that. I need to find some orris root, apparently, and not everywhere carries it. I'll head over to the Co-op and see what I can find, but it might be store-bought potpourri for me. Providing I can knit the bird.

I really wanted to go to the Obama rally tonight and bring my current sock in progress and try to get him to hold it, a la both Yarnharlot and Stringativity style. However, I unfortunately made the poor choice to stay at home, study, and try and pass my classes. Sometimes I very much dislike trying to feign responsibility.


pre-study post


I am on ravelry now! And I have a cute haircut. Those are unrelated subjects. I am on ravelry, but I have no account. That needs to be worked on . . . Hey, you know what? Now that I don't have an overwhelming amount of sock creatures to stitch together, I'm actually speeding through some knitting projects. This is delightful. This feels novel. I'm finishing things before I have time to buy more yarn and I still have so many projects in mind. I'm inspired by your random island fair isle. I was actually coveting the endpaper mitts, but I think I need a smaller project to jump into fair isle.

Do you name all of your projects? That's a lovely name, random island. I think I'm too indecisive with my naming to think of names for my projects. You must tell me your method for fair isle. My attempts at continental knitting have been slow, and I don't know how my fingers would appreciate having to handle two sets of yarn.

You have a future in knitting modeling. I think your hat helped to set the proper vogue knitting mood.

This is the last day I will have to study biochemistry, isn't that exciting? The test is tomorrow, and after that I am free! Is it not interesting that we both despise the intersection between our two majors?

I need to do some studying now. I would upload pretty pictures, but it's funny how the camera being on the other side of the room is enough to keep me from going through the effort.

Keep warm and snug in your new sweater. Dream of straw bale houses.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

A little lamb told me...


I have heard through the grapevine, and by this I mean checking your email in the checker, that you have been sent an invite to Ravelry! Now, I've not been talking much about it, because you both have my name and password to slink about it yourself, and I didn't want to make you jealous. are not on Ravelry. From what I have heard, you are carefully pondering your name, diligently waiting until it is perfect.

Get on Ravelry already! I need some more friends. I'm too shy to friend anyone I don't really know on there but you and my cousin.

I had a great time this weekend visiting Kris and watching Christmas at Luther with his family. We watched a bit of the republican debates, and I realized something. Spinning fascinates men. Especially spinning on a spindle. I think if there were a wheel they would feel it was a bit too Sleeping Beauty, but the spindle drew all their eyes. Not that I was trying to attract attention, I was just spinning my yak, but they were entranced, I tell you. I should say we listened to the debates rather than watched.

Kris and I went to a rather enjoyable party with some Mudslide Martinis, which I could seriously drink forever. I could get pretty sliquored up on those, let me tell you. Especially with a dash of mint, they were just beautiful. We also had some mulled wine, which I am going to get the recipe for. I think they just threw it together, but it was delish. I'm a big fan. And Brenna and decided we want to visit you at some point and go to Vegas! Or the beach. Somewhere warm and delightful.

Before the parties and fun, however, I decided to get serious with my life. Perhaps you are not aware, K, but I have a bit of a guilty pleasure, and it is called "America's Next Top Model." I really can't stop watching that show once I've started. So, since we all know that I secretly want to be a knitting model, I decided to do photo shoot for you with my new Merino Blue Sweater. Now, of course, since this is a competition, it can't just be any regular old photo shoot. Oh no. While it may look like it is snowing, it is not. Nope. That's ice pellets, ma'am. Something resembling sleet, but not quite. Little ice razors hitting your skin, cutting you off from anything resembling warmth. But, of course, I'm a model. I have to do shots in all kinds of inclement weather. Even when the National Weather Service issues a Severe Weather Alert.


This is one of my tried and true poses.

Maybe I'm not ready for the show yet...I need to learn how to find my angles.

Wardrobe malfunction! Bottom cuff flip!

Even with the wardrobe malfunction, I'm dreamy.

Look at those seductress eyes.

Fierce. I'll keep practicing.
Pattern:Fair-Isle U-neck Pullover, by Mari Lynn Patrick, in Vogue Knitting, Fall 2006. This included no Fair-Isle, and a decent amount of modifications. I started both the body and sleeves shorter than they were, and later snipped them, picked up stitches, and lengthened them. I shortened the room in the body between the armpit sleeve shaping and shoulder shaping by about 2 inches so that I didn't have baggy armpits. I also changed around the shaping of the body just a bit to fit me a bit more. If I could go back, I would add some better bust shaping with short rows. I'd also probably use a different yarn, as this was already pilling by the time I finished even knitting it.
Yarn: Knitpicks Merino Style, Dusk about 14 skeins
Needles: US 4
Gauge: 6 stitches/inch

The cabled sangria gloves I made over J-term for Vienna travels finally were around for a photo shot!

I even completed the outside for the entrelac gloves and merely have the cashmere liner to go.

However, I've gotten distracted by working on other things as well. Do you remember way, way back when there was that tapestry wool yarn on sale at Vanberia in those little boxes, with 10 little 4.5 gram skeins per box for a buck each? I really adore Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts. But I really don't have the time to follow a pattern and look at what I'm knitting. Thus, the Random Island Mitts are born. I'm modeling the idea of Eunny's, but I'm not following her pattern or the chart. I'm actually just knitting whatever stitch comes to my mind whenever it does, keeping in mind not to have too long of floats inside. So far, I really love it, and it's working out well. Plus the wool is fairly soft, especially for random tapestry wool!

Lastly, I'm working on fixing my favorite fair isle floral gloves that I love wearing every winter. They are the perfect pop of color. I noticed the thumb was wearing thin on Monday. On Tuesday it was worse. By Wednesday some strands had popped. It needed some darning. However, the teal has since faded since I first Kool-aid dyed it. You can really see the color difference here. Strangely enough, the other colors have stayed pretty consistent.

Status: currently passing biochemistry. Keep sending your chemistry smartness my way.