Monday, August 30, 2010


I finished a knitting project yesterday, and now I'm at loose ends about what to start next.

Actually, let me clarify that. I'm at loose ends about what sweater project to start next. Small bus knitting is decided (and will be started soon), and I'm currently working on the Knitter's Handy Carry-all Kit from Knit Picks (which is moving along nicely), and Percy is on-going (my goal is to have it completed by the start of fall term). However, I like to have a sweater project, and I'm keen to start making a dent in my exponentially increasing stash (despite my not buying yarn, the stash is still growing). So I'm going to lay out my options here and see if typing helps focus my knitting fancy.

First up is the Trellis and Keyhole Tank from Interweave Knits Summer 2009. I've got 5 balls of Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy in royal blue that is just perfect and waiting to be this tank. However, since we're rapidly moving into the season known as "Fall" around here, as soon as I got this done I'd have to pack it away for 8 months until the weather rolled back to warmer. Not very practical.

Next possibility is Margot from Knitty Fall 2009. For this I would use more of the same yarn that I knit my Braided Pullover from last year (I've got 7 balls left over). It would be an easy knit, "mindless" comes to mind in fact, when thinking about it. I like the lines of the sweater and it's a classic, everyday kind of look.

Third is the Tweedy V-Neck Jacket by Stefani Japel (ravelry link). For this I'd use the $1/ball navy blue Peruvian wool that Mom got for me. It would be worn lots in the winter, because I love this kind of jacket and navy blue is a nice neutral color. I do own the book, so pattern acquisition isn't an issue.

I also have the yarn and pattern for the Geodesic Cardigan from the Winter/Spring 2010 Knitscene (third down), but the project I just finished was in the same yarn so I'm going to take a short break from it.

Choices, choices, choices. Maybe I'll start a new spinning project instead.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ode to Buffy

It's Monday, and I'm back in the lab (no, I haven't moved in, and I've only got 2 hours today). I can't watch movies in the lab during the week, so I thought I'd give you all a run down of my favorite things about my favorite TV show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I watched Buffy from the very first episode to the final battle. Sure, there was that period during Season 6 when it had switched to UPN and we didn't really get UPN on our TVs, but I watched it all snowy anyways. I watched in in college, and even got my best friend hooked on the show so we could watch it together (because my roommate didn't want it on her TV). I've read essays written by serious people about the show and it's many messages, I've seen every episode ever made multiple times, and I own all 7 seasons on DVD. I've watched the interviews (but not commentary, I don't like people talking while I'm watching TV) and I've got my favorite episodes that correspond with my many moods. Following is a list of my many favorites about the show.

Favorite character: Xander. A close second is Tara.

Favorite love: Willow and OZ.

Favorite Buffy love: Buffy and Angel.

Favorite season: Three

Favorite episode: "Dopplegangland"

Favorite Halloween episode: "Fear Itself"

Favorite pick-me-up episode: "Prophecy Girl"

Favorite birthday episode: "Helpless"

Favorite scene: in season 2 "School Hard" where Buffy is fighting a vampire outside the Bronze so that Spike can assess her, and she sends Xander in for a stake, and he's going through her bag and pulls out a yo-yo, then a tampon, at which point he kind of freaks and filps it around, then pulls out the stake. The look on his face and his reaction to the tampon are priceless (at least to me).

Favorite rivalry: Angel vs. Spike. In fact, this is what redeemed the show Angel for me in it's fifth season. They play so well off of each other, and their petty bickering is hilarious, like an old married couple, they know how to push each others buttons.

Favorite character growth moment: Season 5, when Buffy puts the stupid Watcher's Council in it's place and tells them what they're going to do for her instead of jumping through their stupid patriarchal hoops.

Favorite supervillan: Caleb, cause I like Nathan Fillion and it was very gratifying to see Buffy split his misogynistic butt in half.

Favorite minor villan: Vampire Willow and Xander

That's all I've got for now. I've got an hour left here in the lab, I'm going to see about knitting another baby blanket square (got three done yesterday).

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In the Lab Again

But this time I have pictures to share.

First, I have pictures of Westley in his improved window spot next to the TV.

Yes, they are basically the same picture, but the second one gives you a better idea of what he gets to look at out of the window, and the first shows the indoors off better.

Westley LOVES his spot now. He's very nearly glued to it. He naps there, watches the world there, bakes in the sun there, and surveys his indoor kingdom (aka my apartment) from there. He still has to share with the alarm clock, but that may change soon. The only down side (for me) is that this shift required that I move the TV antenna 10 inches to the left of where it had been sitting, and this was apparently enough to lose the tenuous connection with the air waves and I can no longer get OPB (PBS to the rest of the world). I miss getting to watch Nature and Antiques Roadshow.

On the other hand, I do find myself with more free time now (not lots more, cause I didn't watch TV that much anyways) but enough to give into the fiber dyeing impulse. This time I dug out the 4 ounces of ecru merino roving that I treated myself to for my birthday back in April. I used Kool-Aid and vinegar (only food safe dyes in my house on account of the Dread Pirate Roberts), but instead of simmering or steaming the roving, I decided to try baking it.

I got a large aluminum roasting pan from the Dollar Store, soaked the roving for an hour as per usual, then I painted the roving.

I made the base dye bath (the blue) using 4 packets of Blue Raspberry something or other and one packet of Grape. This went into the pan and the wet roving went in on top of it. I used my (very dry) hands to squish the dye (gently) into the roving. I had beautiful blue hands at the end of this process. The red is Cherry that was applied with a dropper.

After I took these pictures I sort of squished the red dye in so that it wasn't your face.

I then put the pan into my cold oven and set the temperature for 200 F. My oven, being the piece of junk that it is, got up to 250 (and was still climbing) so I turned it down to 150 for about half and hour, then turned the oven off and just let the pan sit in the hot oven. Right around the time that the pan was cool enough to handle, all of the dye had been exhausted. I then dumped out this water, put in a 1:5 mixture of water and white vinegar, and let it sit for about an hour (it really doesn't need an hour, but it doesn't hurt anything and I was not in a hurry). During this bath, I was sitting on the floor next to the pan when Westley decided to pounce on my toes (I might have been egging him on). He managed to get his back foot into the pan of vinegar water as he pounced, and he was SO SURPRISED!!!! Now he had a WET FOOT!!! I couldn't stop laughing as he step-shook his way over to the rug, where he spent a great deal of time cleaning his toes off (between every toe).

I rinsed and squeezed the water and vinegar out, and spread it on my baking drying racks overnight. I don't have more pictures, because I'm not happy with how the blue turned out. It's much too pale for what I wanted. So I'm going to do another blue dye bath (with more dye) and bake it again (which was a great method!) to see if I can get a better color saturation before I take finished photos.

I'm going to finish off now and go knit some (more) four inch squares for a friend's baby blanket. And work on my sock, which I did a fantastic and death defying cable fix on yesterday, and last night I finished the gusset, turned the heal, and started up the leg. I'm on the home stretch!!!!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I'd forgotten just how mind numbing 4 hours in the computer lab can be. So far I've printed 3 patterns, transcribed a thesis interview, dinked around on the internet, read some of my book, and gotten to a point in my second sock (the only knitting I brought with me today, in a total preparedness fail) where I got to looking at it compared to the first sock and I think something's gone wrong. This is a pattern I'm designing, so I can't just check the pattern or Ravelry. No, I have to go back and count the rows I knit for this section of the first sock, then go count the rows I knit for this section on the second sock, and if they don't add up...well...

I'd transcribe more interviews, but it's not really a practical thing to do when I've got to monitor the lab. I'll be sitting here for ages with no interruptions, and then as soon as I start transcribing 15 people in a row come up to me with questions. It's like how my mom knows just when to call me as I'm handling raw meat or in the bathroom.

I've got two hours left. Anyone feel up to bringing me some new knitting? No? Fine, I'll just have to work with what I've got here (which means I may be ripping the entire thing back if I've done this section wrong, since I have none of my knitting tools and this yarn is kind of splitty).

Monday, August 9, 2010

Less Than One Month...

...since my last update. I meant for it to be less time, but I'm happy that it is less than one month (if only just).

I'm going to start off this update with my most favorite of kitties.

He's been such a bug lately, stealing all sort of places to sleep.

He's stolen my "living room" chair:

He's stolen my pillows:

And his favorite new place to nap the day away is my desk chair!

It is very difficult to work at my computer when my chair has been usurped by a furry body. When he's not napping, he's in full attack mode. He's very fond of a new bag (which has been utterly destroyed since this picture, but remains a favorite even in it's ragged state).

I've been attacked several times out from under this seeming innocuous bag.

His Dread Pirate-ness is currently on top of my "entertainment center" where he surveys both the yard and his personal empire. I'll leave this part of my post with one more picture of my buggy boy.

(He's cuddling with a stuffed shark. He's my boy!!)

In more fibery news, I have the results from the first County Fair that I've ever entered items into (which is news to my blog readers because I've been so bad about posting).

(I just got up for something, and when I came back my chair had been commandeered!!!!!! That's what I get for housing a pirate, I guess. I'll have to get one of the folding chairs out.)

(When I went in the kitchen to get the folding chair, I was followed by my pirate in case I might feed him. I've reclaimed my comfy chair.)

I entered four items into the county fair this year. I will post them here in order of ribbon and proudness, and will include the judge's comments.

My Hot Pink and Vintage cardigan garnered a second place in it's class. The judge wrote:
"Try to bury yarn @ seams not in middle of work--when yarn source is ample - split plys + go in 2 directions to reduce bulk. Left seam sleeve incorrect. Pretty front, pattern even, buttons evenly spaced." It's true that the left sleeve seam is wonky (you can see it in the above pictures) but it doesn't show while wearing so I left it.

My tank top, knit from Moda Dea "Wool Bamboo." The judge had this to say: "Lacing at top thru open hole + both ends coming out same hole could be more attractive. Loose stitch @ lower bind off edge. Lovely yarn feel, great c-front pattern." Sadly, there aren't enough holes at the top for the lacing to do what this judge suggests.

A sundress that I made from free fabric. It currently doesn't fit, but I still love it (it's a cotton poly blend so it doesn't wrinkle or stain). There were no judge comments for this dress. My sewing skills left them speechless. :-D

And finally, my most favorite:

3 ounces of two ply light sport colonial wool top. This is my fourth yarn I ever made and I'm very proud of it. I'm not sure of the yardage, cause I stopped counting at 85 loops on the knitty noddy, which makes 5 ft loops, which makes approx 141 yards and I only counted about 1/3 of the loops on the noddy. It's soft, it's even, it's drapey, and it's a lovely heathered color.

I'm already starting to think of what I'll make for next year's fair. Perhaps the blue ribbon yarn will return as a lovely shawl...among other things, of course.

And finally, a few weeks ago three masked knitting bandits (Tink, Frog and Lifeline), whose true identities are unknown, yarn bombed this fair city. I captured evidence on "film" so that I could share it with you. Enjoy.