Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I never know what to title these things.

Oh I love your seamless shoulder. It's beautiful.

I'm hoping to be able to salvage the gloves. The original pattern was actually for fingerless gloves, which is why I thought of going that route. But honestly, what's the point of making something so warm if it's not even going to have fingers on it? It just doesn't make sense. I like your idea about knitting every other row in the newly dyed yarn. But even better, I suppose, is that I'm knitting with two strands of the yarn, so perhaps once I dye a new batch I can combine the new with the old in that way. We'll see. I was already planning to take out the fingers and re-do some of the fair isle to save on blue.

I'm sorry to hear you've been sick. Are you feeling any better? James chose this week to get sick as well, with a fever the last few days and a congested cold. It's not exactly the best time for him to be sick, but the drugs seem to help. Plus having a rabbit. Last evening his fever completely disappeared for a few hours, and I am convinced that this act of fortune coincided with the extended amount of time that he spent with a rabbit snuggled next to him in the chair. I tell you, rabbits solve everything. Well, almost.

Hey, I should do some work.


Monday, January 28, 2008



Can we salvage the gloves? That is every dyer's worst nightmare...running out of yarn that you can't redye perfectly. You could retry dying something near the same color as that blue, and if it's close enough but just a tad off shade-wise, you can knit every other row with every other strand. Yes, this would involve ripping out and reknitting some of the fingers, but they are so very lovely Karen! You know how I love the angora.

You mentioned that you thought you should have dyed the purple darker? Just a thought, you might not have been able to easily. Angora doesn't take up dyes extremely well, especially the cooler colors. There's such a halo around the yarn too that makes it all seem a bit lighter as well.

I've been skipping around through different projects lately. Last week I was terribly sick. On Wednesday my temp was up to 101.4, and I swear, my brain melted. I couldn't study, I could hardly move, I couldn't think. At one point I went upstairs around 5 to eat some soup for dinner, heated it up, ate one spoonful, then lay down on the floor for an hour and fell asleep. It wasn't good.

Kris got done with classes on early Thursday and, sweetness that he is, he drove all the way down to take care of me in my infirmity. I can't even express how much I love and appreciate him. He stayed and made me dinner, helped me study, ignored all the mountains of tissues and mucus scattered across the floor and bed, and took care of me the night before my first test of the semester. It was really frustrating because I just had no time to study...I'd been so sick I couldn't even think until Thursday night. Kris stayed and made me breakfast and lunch on Friday, then dropped me off at the school for my test and drove home through the icy rain to Des Moines to visit his parents.

I really do love that man.

I'd put away the purple socks for awhile, but they've got a bit extra length to them, and I've started the second one. However, I've been saving that for class knitting since it's portable, and I missed most of my classes last week.

So while I was at home, I started working on my Ambrosia sweater! I really love doing the sleeves at the same time as knitting the sweater. I think it looks wonderful. It's one of those things where you've just got to trust for awhile that it's going to work until you can really see the results. I have a hard time doing that, so instead I kept comparing it to the blue sweater I'd already made with set in sleeves, just to see if it was working.

It was! The first picture has the few more inches I've put on it since this picture. The sleeves are put on a yarn holder while I continue working down the front and back to finish up the deep V-neck. I think it's looking really lovely. I'm a bit surprised, actually, that it's going so well!

While I was picking up a ticket for a performance by the Turtle Island String Quartet on Saturday, I stopped by the Yarn Shoppe on the other side of town to check out their yarn selection. Wow. I forgot they had so much yarn. So much more than the other place here. And so much nicer people! I don't think I'm the normal customer they get at the other place. They have such a small selection and just a lot of space for classes. I think mostly they sell to a lot of rich doctor's wives who don't work and have a lot of play money. Which is a surprising number of women in this town.

Plymouth Boku, which kind of looks like a cheaper version of Noro. It's softer because it's spun less tightly, but that also means that it does tend to un-spin itself and will just fall apart. You've got to watch it while you're knitting with it.

I've been working with it and the Lamb's Pride Worsted up above. I sent you the pattern I'm working on, and when the mitten is finished, if it looks alright, I might just post it on the blog here!

I'm back in the housing scramble once again. I hate this so much. I'd like to find a place closer to the hospital, and I was going to start looking in February. However, my landlord, who is the mother of two of the girls I live with, told me yesterday that one of the girls has a friend that would like to live there if I'm not, and thus they'd like to know if I'm going to. However, that girl needs to know by Thursday when she has to resign her contract, and thus they want to know by Thursday. However, it wasn't in my contract, and I don't have housing secured yet! So I called about nine places today (there are only about nine places) and managed to find two places available that I'm going to look into. Since it wasn't in my contract, the girl and I are pretty much in the same place. We both need to know if we've got a place that will take us in, except she needs to sign her renewal by Thursday according to her contract, and it wasn't in mine. The girl who's living with me was pressuring me as if I had to let her know, but in all honesty, it's not my responsibility. I'd really like to help out my landlords and roommates out as much as possible, but I have no obligation to do their job or help them find tenants. I'm doing what I can, though. It's just a frustrating situation. I'm thinking the best I can tell them is that I probably will move, and thus the girl can probably not sign her contract on the probability that I won't re-sign mine. Is this appropriate? I don't know.


I'm going back to knitting and studying.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

(almost) fair isle success


Look at the happy little knitted design! This project is just running along. Tiny stitches but knit up so quickly.

The yarn is from a lambswool/angora blend sweater that I salvaged. So soft. Yes, it's not traditional fair isle yarn, but I don't think it could get any better than this. I was particularly pleased with how the main color yarn turned out. It has flecks of variegated colors in it that add so much depth. Did I mention how soft it was?

Got to this point and realized that I probably shouldn't have let the purple yarn sit in the ink pot for quite so long. It doesn't pop out as much as it should. But still! Happy stitches all along.

Now for something even more amazing. Fingers! Ones that look halfway decent. This has never happened before. I actually enjoyed the process of knitting these two little tubes up. For some reason, the miniature circumference of the fingers did not seem to bother me.

So for a project that is coming along so well . . . why did it have to happen that I'm running out of yarn? I'm racing to finish the second glove without running out of blue. I guess eyeballing doesn't cut it when determining how much yarn to dye. In fact, I'm afraid I'm going to be quite drastically short. I'm thinking these gloves either have to be re-made to be fingerless, or else they're going to need some variegated finger colors. We'll see how this turns out. It's a little disappointing. I will miss the fingers. Especially considering the fact that this is the first time I haven't minded making the little buggers.

Before I start my next batch of dying, I'll have to keep my eyes out for some type of scale. The truth is, I thought I was dying in excess. My visual ability to approximate yardage leaves something to be desired.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

fear no longer


I am pleased. Delighted. My group had its first meeting on Friday. Everyone is extremely friendly. The sort of friendly where after the group meeting is over you sit around and chat and get to know each other. The sort of friendly where you hardly know these people but you're still so happy to be there. Small groups. That's the key I tell you. I do like small group social settings. Besides this, we had our first science education seminar last week. I had a feeling that this was the right environment for me when we were handed our assignments for the hour. We were to role-play different types of faculty responding to a lecture in science education. Role play! Do you know what we do in organic seminar? Probably not because I don't even know what's going on. I might have an inkling of an idea for MAYBE 5 minutes, and the rest is just garbled noise. Oh I do love this education bit.

On a different note regarding something I just recently discovered: I have been living in fear. I have avoided, not even considered the possibility of fair isle knitting for some time. Why this fear? I worried that my yarn would be hopelessly entangled. I worried that my floats would be too loose or uncomfortably tight. I worried that it would feel slow and encumbering to work with two strands of yarn. I was wrong. My sophomore year tinkering was some misfit experiment that never gave me a chance to get to know the real deal. I live in fear no more. I am knitter, hear me roar.


(I need to work on getting my work done before I come home. This place is distracting, even sans husband.)

Monday, January 21, 2008

Without the chill


Love the letter you sent me. The lab report was hilarious. Absolutely hilarious. I've not had time for the movie you sent me yet, but I'm sure it will take me away from whatever hell I shall experience this week.

Where did you get that lab report? At first I thought you'd written it. Though there was quite a bit of swearing in it for you, but I'd be okay with that. Cracked me up.

Delightfully, this past weekend I was visiting Kris, where we don't pay for heat. Thus, for the first time in a long time, I was warm. Definitely a good weekend to visit as well, since the Monday morning low where we were was -23 F without windchill, -31 C.

It's a mass of sweater! I frogged part of the Ambrosia sweater because I was rowing-out too much. My purl rows are larger than my knit rows, and it definitely shows at this gauge in this yarn. I changed it to doing simultaneous sleeves at the same time as the body. What's strange about my decision is that it doesn't make sense. Since I'm doing a deep V-neck, I'm still knitting back and forth instead of in the round. However, there are a lot less strands and needles going on.

I still don't like circular needles.

We studied lots. Kris is peaking out at you from the midst of Topology, during which he tries to prove that lines intersect with each other. It is surprisingly more complicated than one would think.


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cold Cold Cold!


Cold cold cold cold cold.

I swear, something is wrong with me.

Cold cold cold. Most people don't get this cold. So cold. 7 F degrees. How cold is basement? Unknown. -13 C for the Canadians. And really, the freaking rest of the world. Too bad the freaking rest of the world isn't in my basement right now, because then the body heat would warm me up.

So cold. Must put on more sweaters and socks and slippers and pants.

Yes. I shall somehow put on multiple pairs of pants. Just try and stop me.

I'm making a pair of socks right now out of 1824 Mission Falls Superwash Merino. Lovely yarn. Need warm socks now. Should have made them even thicker.

EZ afterthought heel. Idea from Harlot. Will type changes when fingers move dexterity more. Very easy and EZ sock. Love. Could best new way for me to make socks.

Brain freezing.

Now 5 F, -15 C.

Coldly yours,

P.S. I am now wearing two pairs of pants, a fur hat, a scarf, a wool sweater, and wool socks. Am on the hunt for more wool and sweaters.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008



I believe you've met Sombra before. However, I wanted to include him on here, just for kicks.

Literally translated, I believe Sombra means "shadow" in spanish," which is kind of what Sombra is! He's my shadow that travels with Kris and brings him my protection and charms.

Little Sombra was originally created off the inspiration of your stupid sock creatures to travel with Kris on his tour with band, and now he travels all over.

Yarn: Random Blue and White acrylic
Materials: buttons and pine cleaners
If I recall, I knit him from the top up bodywise, splitting him for the horns, and then picked up stitches to knit both legs down. The arms, tail, and spikes were made separately and sewn on. All of it was wired with pipecleaners and stuffed with the seam between the legs still open. The last seam was sewn, ends woven in, and then the buttons stitched on.

In response to your earlier suggestions, well, you know my feelings on circular needles. They just don't feel right to me, but maybe I'll have to start trying them for hats. I really would like to buy a fuel efficient earth-friendly car someday. It is one of my expensive things I'm allowing myself to buy when I actually have money. I mean, I'm work off of "can I afford this cup of coffee" right now, we're not at the point where I'm considering buying any car, really.

Lastly? I lost my entrelac gloves last Friday on the bus, and I truly thought they were gone. I thought someone had picked them up and probably taken them and was not even appreciating the work that went into them. However, I called the busses, and they found them! They have them! Someone returned them!

Thank you, whoever you are! Thanks for giving me back my gloves! I picked them up on the way back from class, and now my hands are toasty warm once again.

Hope you're warmer than I am,

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Le Slouch


Finally, after a long, long wait, I have completed a hat. Now, you may or may not know, but I don't really enjoy making hats. I mean, I love to knit in the round, as we all know, and I love my dpns dearly, which I why I make a whole goat-load of mittens and gloves. However, hats don't fit on typical 7" dpns very well, and when you put three larger-sized 9" dpns, the entire project just gets really bulky. So, even though I really like to have warm ears, and even though a hat is the most obvious knitting piece out there, I don't make them much. Yet, I noticed a year ago while traversing the streets of Wien, or Vienna for all you English-speakers, that everyone had the slouchy hat. The women didn't really wear the tight caps, they wore the over-sized beret-kind. I believe in some circles they are known as a snood, but that always makes me think of the computer game I used to play in the middle of my humanities Paideia class when the professor couldn't see what we were doing. However, I decided I'd try one, as I'm trying to stay moderately fashionable through medical school. I'm sure I'm failing, but I'm trying. By the way, apparently my Russian Mad Bomber hat has come back into style amongst the ladies! I actually bought mine way back when I 1)tried it on and discovered it is the warmest hat available in the world and 2)saw it featured in Vogue magazine.

This was even larger than a typical caps, and hardly fit on my 9" dpsn, but I made it work. At first I finished and put it on, I was horrified, thinking I looked so fugly in it. But now I'm kind of coming to grips with wearing a slouchy hat, and I rather enjoy it. I'm only 1 year behind the rest of the world's fashions!

This is an extremely simple knit, and if you can knit and purl, increase and decrease, and count to 1, you are ready to go. The pattern if free from Knit and Tonic, and called "Le Slouch." I've knit it with four strands of my hand-dyed Henry's Attic Kona Fingering, and probably used about 160 grams or so. I'd originally dyed the yarn single stranded, and while that might have had a ever so slight tendency to pool, when you add four stands together to get accurate gauge, the result is a beautifully added depth to the texture. That's one of the reasons I went with the seed stitch version: it really let's colors pop in the individual purls. The colors that show up are all wrong, and I need to work on figuring out how to make my camera take a picture of the true blue and purple colors, as this is an amalgamation of both: royal blue combined with a deep purple. I'd go so far as to say the entire hat's color is reminiscent of an iris. I followed the pattern exactly up until the decreases at the top, which you can see in the above picture.

I wasn't a huge fan of the way that the all-knit decreases stood out in the seed stitch for other people on Ravelry, so I changed the decreases to "sl1, k2tog, psso" for a knit and "sl1, p2tog, psso" for a purl to give a double decrease. Then I merely added the purl or knit decrease where it naturally would have occurred next in the pattern. An easy way to do this was to get to the decrease site, look at the middle of the three stitches where the decrease would occur, and purl if it was a purl, or knit if it was a knit. The main problem with this is that your stitch marker is constantly moving, and you either have to put it before or after your decreases and continue to move it with your hands in order to line up the decreases correctly.

I threw it in the washing machine to give it a bit of a halo (Kona is superwash) and to even out the stitches, then stuck it on a plate to block. Mine was to large to fit the plate perfectly, but I squished it around to flatten the decreases a bit. Since I did this when Kris was here, he has not taken to calling the hat "Block-head," since I kept calling it a "block-ed hat."

If there was anything I'd change, I think I'd work into the decreases a bit more, like I do with the tops of mittens, so that it's a bit more sloped, and that they don't show up so suddenly in the fabric.

It was a lovely sunset outside the other day. I love Midwest sunsets.


guzzling up

I had my first smart car sighting in the US, just earlier this week. If only they had been legal a few months earlier, I would have forgone the corolla to get a smart. James would have rolled his eyes, but it's not like he drives my car anyway. (He doesn't even know how to to drive it--the stick-shift thing is a bit of a burden to learn, I guess) It made me so happy to see this tiny compact car cruising down the streets of our moderately-sized town in Arizona. It made me feel a tiny twinge of European flair.

Speaking of cars, I've been hearing some buzz about this space-age car (well, I guess technically it's a motorcycle).

This is a 300 mpg electric hybrid Aptera. Doesn't that seem like a prank--300 mpg? Who does that? Well apparently California does. The efficiency of the car is due in large part to the aero-dynamic nature of the beast. The cars can only be pre-ordered in California, but I hear there's a fairly large demand for them, which indicates that they may be up for sale nation-wide sometime soon. Only $30,000 which considering the technology that went into it and the amount of money saved on gas, I wouldn't say it's too terribly pricey. You can even watch a test drive of the thing. It has a solar panel on top and a digital camera instead of side-view mirrors. It's innards are made of recyclables. (Which, by the way, did you know that you can spin yarn out of plastic bags? It seems like a bit of a tacky idea to me, but still I am proud of whoever came up with the idea)

I have two days left before classes start. The break has given me time to accustom myself to general sloth and laziness. I'm not particularly looking forward to having to earn my keep. Good news is that I picked out a reading for my lab students. It has to do with the philosophy of scientific inquiry and explanation. Hmm, I wonder if I'm allowed to assign extra readings.

As a side note, I'm glad that I do not live in New Hampshire. Their state motto is "live free or die." It sounds too much like a threat to me.

Stay healthy and well!


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I need an owl


Imagine, just imagine, what I found yesterday right after I posted to you?

Yarn! Lots of yarn! It's my yarn that I picked out for Christmas from my mother. She's so wonderful. I got it out and I played with it, and did a happy dance, and took pictures!

Hi. My name is Amy. I am a yarnaholic.

But, let me just say, thanks, Webs. I'm glad to see that you aren't using your profits for boxes. I hope your car is running well now with it's new transmission parts. (This is not sarcasm. I'm glad that Webs isn't adding to the pollution and overproduction of boxes [and everything else] on this planet.)

1.3 kg= 2.8 lb=lot of yarn.

Twelve skeins of Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light, a delectable combination of wool and alpaca in the flavour "Ocean Mix." Personally, when I think of ocean mix I think of seafood, but that's just me. Think Salina, from Vintage Knits by Rowan.

Seven Skein of Cascade 220 in "Heather." I hope to make Forecast, with some of the modifications described in Ravelry.

Today, I realized, while surfing the Craft Magazine blog, that I don't have a yarn container in the shape of an owl or a bird. I fully intend to rectify this situation. However, the one thing I don't like about these is that, once the yarn goes through there, you can't take it out until you're done knitting. Snaps? I'm thinking snaps. Then you can snap that yarn in and out, and it would still hold it tightly inside safe.

I don't think I have snaps.

I think I'm going to have to go searching under my bed, and perhaps shopping.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008


This post was going to come a little later, but seeing as womanhood is calling, I've decided not to go to my last class of the day. By the way, I'm a big fan of Howie Mandel right now...not for his comedy, not for his genius work on that TV show of money and phone calls and women, but for what he said on Jay Leno the other evening. I'm not entirely sure what I was doing, but all of a sudden I heard Howie ponder what men would do if they bled for a week once a month. He announced that he wouldn't even leave the house to go golfing, while Jay sat there, looking extremely uncomfortable before he announced he was changing the topic.

Thanks Howie. Sincerely. That was great. I'm glad I have your support in not going to my first Neuroscience class.

However, this is, for once, not about bodily functions. This is about social functions. Social functions, fun, and crafting were the themes of this year's Holiday Break!

We laughed as old friends got back together at the rehearsal dinner.

The bride decided to wear a holiday ornament spiked with rose petals instead of white...

Though then she later reconsidered, to our chagrin. Girl has got a lot of hair.

I ran into an absolutely gorgeous woman as she hopped down her icy driveway on one foot, as the puppy had eaten her other shoe. I, ever the white knight, scooped her up in my arms and carried her as far as I could toward the house, until I almost dropped her. It was beautiful. Too bad it was not captured on film.

And she brought me wool! Not only alpaca, which I've been dying to spin, but (taking a deep breath) Royal Baby Alpaca. From the farm she visited in AZ. Mmmmmm. So soft and a lovely golden light brown. I'm very excited. It is next after I finish the yak I'm spinning now.

Kris wore the new shirt I got him for Christmas. I sucked myself into the dress.

The two ladies who run this here blog looked very lovely, if I may say.

And only got a bit crazy.

Well, only a bit crazy at the actual wedding. More craziness came later, and it involved headbands, fat men, women lying about their red panties, and lovely ladies. We tried to make mulled wine,

but we really didn't need it. We make our own fun.

Kris' monster found some friends at K's parents' house.

And then she was back in Arizona and I was back in Iowa. Miss you, K. Hope everything is going well. However, we had even more partying to do, and it involved a blow torch.

Thankfully, I wasn't handling the blow torch. We brought in the new year with lights and fire and shouting and well wishes.

And then somebody actually did hand me the blow torch and I was glad that all the wool I was wearing was self-extinguishing.

Again, we weren't even drinking. I have no inhibitions with no EtOH in my system, you don't want to see me with it pulsing through my veins. It was dang cold, so we went inside and I made hot cocoa.

I made Kris stand around in his hat for me to catch a picture with this fun new camera I got for Christmas! I am now the proud owner of a PowerShot A570IS, and Kris is the proud owner of a a hat based off of the dashing mitts. I'll give you another post with the details. I've got a lot of catch-up to play, but I'm just starting here with a pictoral over-view. Bear with me while I figure out how to use this camera!

And he also received his very own Paper Monster, who is not yet named. Probably because he doesn't have a face yet. I hope to make one for him this weekend. He's got his own surprises as well.

I got the second of my Hepatitis A vaccine shots, complete with this snazzy Barbie Band-Aid. IfI become a pediatrician or family practice doc, I need to make sure I've got some fun band-aids on hand.

And I started working on The Amorphous Blob, which is a Seamless Sweater with Set-in Sleeves by Barbara G. Walker from the book, "Knitting from the Top." It's in the Knitpicks Ambrosia yarn that Kris got me for our first year anniversary in Dusk. And it is so soft. I think Knitpicks is going to discontinue it soon, but I'll tell you more about that later as well.

So many stories to tell from this break! Especially crafting stories, which are the best kind, but I'm going to go curl up in a ball for awhile with a heating pad, and I'll share all the dirty good bits later.

It was so great seeing you, K. You look beautiful, and I hope to see you again soon.