Thursday, September 27, 2007

Blogstalking, knitting, and birthday present

This post should make up for the lack of pictures the past few posts! It's been a busy week. I had a big test on Monday, which I didn't quite tank, exactly.

Anyways, on to the good stuff! This week's blogstalking theme is Purse Guts!

Clockwise from top left: my purse, beginnings of purse guts, actual purse guts, knitting-related purse guts, and my keys.
See the yarn keychain? That's a tiny hank of Malabrigo (!!!!!), a gift from a swap partner. The whistle is a "self-defense whistle" from college, and considering where I work, it's a good thing I have it. (It also comes in handy when I'm working with kindergarteners.)
Notables: I have way too many pens/pencils, but you never know when you'll need one (or when someone will borrow one and not give it back). The pink circle thing is a very clever little screwdriver set.

I've been working on a couple of knitting projects lately. First of all, the same swap partner who sent me the Malabrigo keychain also sent me some laceweight Malabrigo. It's been waiting patiently in my stash for a project, but no longer!

This is the Swallowtail Shawl from Interweave Knits, Fall 2006. I cast on September 16th, and I've done 11 of 14 repeats of the first lace pattern. It's really easy! This will be for my grandmother for Christmas. The colorway is called Tuareg, and it's a variegated blue that reminds me of the sky in spring to winter. You can see a bit of the color changes in this picture. The laceweight Malabrigo is soooo soft! I did have to frog it once, though, when I only had a few stitches, and it had almost felted itself together.

Here's a significantly less subtle project.

This is my VERY BRIGHTLY COLORED CHEVRON SOCK. The pattern is from Sensational Knitted Socks, and the yarn is Plymouth Sockotta. I'm calling these my clown socks. They'll be a good pick-me-up this winter when it gets dark early. This is the third skein of Sockotta that my mom and grandmother got me for Christmas last year.

Speaking of my grandmother, look what she gave me for my birthday!

Clockwise from upper left:
1. A picture from the instruction book of my great-great-grandmother's sewing machine.
2. A drawer from the sewing cabinet with some neat wooden spools. There's also a couple of tubes of tiny beads and a drawer full of crocheted lace edgings.
3. My great-great-grandmother's button drawer. My aunt and I spent almost an hour going through this drawer. There are some very cool buttons from the 1920's. Apparentely she liked green too!
4. Some wooden needle holders and a packet of the tiniest needles I've ever seen. I don't think I could draw a line with a pencil that would be as narrow as these needles! My grandmother told me that she couldn't even get a needle threader through them.
5. "The Army and Navy Needle Book," a packet of sewing needles.

I don't have the actual sewing machine yet. It's still being worked on. But I'm very excited to have a working treadle sewing machine! I may have to brush up on my sewing skills before long!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thoughts of the day

(Yes, I'm updating at work. What else am I going to do at almost 7:00 PM during a 10-minute centrifugation?)

1. Any experiment that involves:
a) nuclear protein extraction
b) rat liver
c) dry ice
d) a mortar & pestle that must be kept at -80 degrees Celsius (and used at -80 degrees Celsius)

is likely to be neither fast nor easy, no matter what the protocol booklet says.

2. The more you like your T-shirt, the more likely you'll get gunk on it, even if you're wearing a lab coat.

3. When they say "cold room," they're not kidding.

4. No matter where you stand and how much covering you're wearing, when you load a centrifuge in the cold room, you'll end up with a vent blowing directly down the back of your neck.

5. For some reason hitherto unknown, when you get bleach or even water on a lab countertop, the black countertop will get all over your clothes and WILL NOT WASH OUT (hence the lab coat).

6. When you see scientists on TV, movies, or advertisements, if their lab coats are white, they're faking it.

7. If you try to put two gloves on the same hand, it's time to go home.

8. If you feel naked when you take off your nitrile gloves, you're probably a molecular biology geek.

9. The more you want to go home, the longer it'll take to thaw the vial of standard that was in the -80 freezer.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wednesday update

No pictures today, but I will have some neat ones before long. My grandmother gave me my great-great-grandmother's sewing machine for my birthday, so there will be loads of pictures of that when it gets to my house! There'll also be some pictures of my Swallowtail Shawl, which I started Sunday night with the Malabrigo laceweight (!!!!). I haven't worked on Green Gable in a while - I'm having serious doubts about the yarn I chose to make it with. It's so thin that I'm afraid it'll be see-through. (And I'm not the transparent blouse type - not by a long shot.)

Oh, and Mystery on PBS is quickly becoming my favorite TV show. No commercials!

Friday, September 14, 2007

I guess I'm a blog stalker now

I joined the Knittyhead Blog Stalkers web ring. Basically, every week you post pictures of that week's theme.

And this week's theme is "Who are you?"

This is me. (It looks nothing like me, but oh well.)

This is a view from my back door. I live "in" the city, but we nearly border a wildlife park. (And we do get wildlife - as in turkeys, coyotes, bobcats, deer, owls, rabbits, and quail.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thrift store finds

When you say that you went shopping on your birthday, thrift stores are not usually what come to the minds of most people!

Here we have an ickle ball of someone's first handspun. I think this would be a fun edging for gloves or something. It's a very '70's avocado green and gold. (But hey, it was 40 cents. And it needed a home.)

At the same store, I also found two crochet books. I do crochet every now and then...less now, more then.

And boy, are there some interesting patterns in the binder. For your viewing enjoyment, here are some selections!
The diamond-square doily, I thought, was kind of neat. The turtle is cute, too.

Although I'm not sure why a doll without knees needs a jogging outfit.

Teddy bear garlands should definitely not look like they're planning the best way to rip out your innards while you sleep.

"Sleep well" is fine to crochet on your sheets. "Vote for Joe" or "The bedbugs here are terrible" might be a bit intimidating for your guests. (This, of course, could be used to your advantage.)

On a less scary note, this is a wool, acrylic, and cotton blend sweater with good seams. It'll be a demonstration for a Guild presentation about recycling yarn.
And I also found some fun yarn!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sunday afternoon update

Well, I wore my finished Jaywalkers to my Biochemistry test. I guess the procrasti-knitting worked, because I got an 97% on the test! It really wasn't very hard. Oh well. (And I did get almost all of the amino acid R groups memorized.)

Progress on other stuff:

Green Gable: I've separated the arms, but when I tried it on, the bust line looked like it would be a bit snug for my taste, so I did some short-row shaping. A few more rows, and I'll be ready to decrease for waist shaping.

Malabrigo scarf: It's about 4 feet long now. I may cast off soon and make a pair of Fetching or Dashing. The Malabrigo is incredible. If I ever have kids (and a significantly larger paycheck!), I might make them teddy bears out of this stuff. I've petted puppies that are rougher than this yarn.

umm...other stuff: I have this thing about always having at least one pair of socks on the needles. As soon as I cast off for the Jaywalkers, I cast on some basic socks in my last ball of Lion Brand Magic Stripes (Purple Stripe colorway). As of Friday, I was nearly ready to start the heel flap. I love that those socks can go so quickly. My personal record is a finished sock in 24 hours with that yarn. Magic Stripes is the only Lion Brand yarn that I really like. It's super-cheap (especially when you get it on sale for $0.76!), machine washable, and cozy-soft once it's washed. And of course, it's being discontinued. Thanks a lot, Lion Brand.

That pesky scarf in the Marble yarn will probably be frogged soon - if I'm getting tired of a Malabrigo scarf, I don't know how I can handle a whole scarf out of acrylic. (Granted, it's good quality acrylic in a lovely color scheme, but still!) I bet it would make pretty wristwarmers. Can you tell I have a love affair with wee projects?

I must confess - I did buy two balls of Lion Brand Incredible (their ribbon yarn) at Michaels a few months ago. It's the Copper Penny colorway (a warm, muted rainbow), and it's oh-so-beautiful until you knit it. The edges of this ribbon feel like edges of cardboard. But it knitted up into a beautiful drop-stitch scarf, and I also made a crocheted headband-type thing that will go great with my hair.

My goal is to use up the less-nice yarns in my stash so when I get to use the lovely ones (Silky Wool - yummy!), I won't have to go back to icky acrylics, etc. And I'm only one stamp away from getting my $20 (?) off at GYC! (Not going to think about how much I've spent there. Most of it was for swaps anyway, right? Can I justify it that way?)

Monday, September 03, 2007

More procrastinating

This isn't just knitting - this is "procrasti-knitting!" But at least I have a finished object to show for it!

Pattern: Jaywalkers
Yarn: Zwerger Garn Opal Seide (70% wool, 30% silk, from Becka!)
Cast on: July 31, 2007
Cast off: September 3, 2007
Needles: US size 1 (2.25) bamboo DPNs (until one broke), Addi Turbo Lace size 1 (2.5 mm) 47" circular

I've heard rave reviews of Addi Turbos, and I have to say, I get it. These are the most amazing needles I've ever used. Also, I have about another sock's worth of yarn! That'll either be baby socks or wristwarmers.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I am studying all weekend.

Seriously. I have a Biochemistry exam on Wednesday morning, an exam for which I'm expected to know all the amino acid R groups (still not sure why I'm taking this class).

So where did this come from?
Here we go again!
Pattern: Green Gable, from Zephyrstyle (via the lovely Becka in the Summer Swap!)
Yarn: Omega Sinfonia, a sportweight cotton, in royal blue
Needles: US 7
Cast on: 8

I'm surprised that I have to use size 7 needles to get gauge. After all, this is sportweight cotton, and my CDR was knit with worsted wool on size 4's.

PS. Thanks to all who commented on the finished CDR! It really wasn't a difficult project. If you're thinking about starting a sweater, GO FOR IT! I could have finished the CDR a lot sooner if I'd worked on it every day. (I only worked on it on weekends for a while, and then I took a several-week break. I'm easily distracted like that.)