Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Plans (surprised?) for 2015

Well I was just sitting around, planning out the work I need to do before I leave in ~1 week, and around that planning the knitting I need to do before seeing my relatives in ~1 week (there's far too much of both) and decided I wanted to plan some goals for next year as well.

my plans always get blown out of the water because Other Things to Knit always crop up, and those are always in the form of Stuff for Others. So I am going to try to limit myself to 6 Things for Others in 2015. Yes, including holiday knitting. woosh, this is gonna be tough.

1) Gene Tierney the Divine in that special yarn (laceweight, too. oosh!)
2) fingerless mitts with fingery stubs OR a poncho/capelet thing for mom, with her input on colors
3) socks for twin that I have not already cast on this year
4) socks for twin that I have not already cast on this year
5) somebody is gonna make a baby. I will make that baby a hat AND I want to make it booties. for the first time ever. they look... fun.
6) undetermined/free

this... yes, this should include shop samples. so #6 might be a shop sample, or a commission scarf, or something for the holidays.

Other than that, I want to knit up some of my (ridiculously huge) sock yarn collection into shawls. I've been waiting a while to make these shawls, and it's time to do so

1) purple malabrigo --> wine in summer replacement shawl or sugared violets
2) other mal sock + black sparkly stuff --> nymphilidae
3) morgana --> trillian or brickless or other sideways shawl

Other than that, I want socks. I should continue to draw sock yarn at random from the sock club. I think I've only done one pair of socks for myself this year and I haven't even finished them yet. Of course I finished a bunch of shawls, so that's probably it :D

3 shawls for me. 3 pairs of socks for me. 6 things for other people. that's plenty. oh, but there's also the stuff I have on my needles:

2x pairs of socks for twin
shawl for me
2x sweaters for me
blanket for me
poncho for me
weird mitten things for me.

that I guess will continue to get worked on.

oh I should make myself some cowls too.

1) red cowl
2) fish bowl cowl
3) van gogh cowl

busybusy


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Shawls

You know what, for how much I love shawls and how much shawl yarn I have planned out--I really don't have a lot of shawls on the needles or completed.

I had a goal this year to knit six shawls. SIX. mostly for myself. I wanted to finish my Shipwreck Shawl, re-knit Maluka and Summer Flies, finally start a color affection and an estonian lace shawl, and do something simple with some deep stash to send to some friends.

How is this one going? By the numbers, I've worked on five shawls. But as to specifics, well, it's been utter crap. I started estonian lace in January. I finished Shipwreck over the summer.  Everything else got ignored. I did knit myself a shawl that I hadn't planned to work on until next year (Quaker Ridge Shawlette) and finished it also over the summer, and I finished a stripey Zappow shawl of my own design to gift to a friend of mine. I also cast on a hitchhiker out of my own handspun, but I haven't touched it in a while (I don't know if a shawl is the right choice for this handspun).

Anyway,  it seems that I set my goals too high--6 really complex shawls did not get completed. But 1 complicated one got finished and 3 easy ones got worked on. So I think next year I need some easier plans. That's not super surprising--I am, as always, crazy busy.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cowls

I really like cowls. They're like scarves that can't slip off or get lopsided or start to dangle too far over one shoulder and then stuck in the door of the subway without you noticing until you try to walk away and you get yanked back (this can still happen. it's just noticeable because the cowl stays on the front of you). A good cowl, in my opinion, can double as a hood-and-cowl if you've forgotten your hat. It also provides a layer of fabric right where I need it the most--over my chest and down to my belly. This is just about where all coats fail me (yes, I can get bigger coats. but then they're 4 feet too long. it's a matter of compromise), and I used to revert to wearing two shirts and a sweatshirt when I lived in Wisconsin, so the cold didn't bite as much (I would also wear a scarf. The scarf covers a similar vital area but has the aforementioned slippage problems). But that many layers is bulky and it makes the sleeves too tight... etc.

Anyway, I didn't really do cowls before I started knitting. I had (and still have) a half dozen scarves of various types that I employed. But now that I'm a knitter I've learned to love the cowl.

Despite this, I only have one cowl.

 That's my friend L modelling it, because I am large and round and it's hard to take pictures of yourself. It is the Honey Cowl from ravelry, knit in Madelinetosh DK yarn in the logwood colorway. The pattern is a free one, and relatively easy. I think it took 2.5 skeins of yarn to make it its current width, about a foot and then some, and the length...  which is... um... goes to about there on L and just past the boobs on me. It can be doubled up and it doesn't choke me. I think I knit the medium length that the pattern calls for.

I like purple, but I don't usually like light purple. Still, Madelinetosh does incredible colors and this has subtlety, tonality, depth, shades of dark and light... it's phenomenal stuff. Here's a close up that might do a better job of capturing it:
Anyway, this is my only cowl, and it gets a lot of wear once it gets cold here in the downsouth bits of the USA (it almost hit the 40s this weekend and for the first time I put on some hand knit socks and a sweater when I got up in the morning. downsouth sure is weird).

So, I've decided I need more cowls, since I wear this one so much. I've had this plan for over a year now, actually, and had some yarn balled up just waiting for the right time to cast on. In fact I balled it up back in December. Those of you who are astute will notice that it is November, so it's been nearly a year. I've got plans for doing some orange and blue colorwork that will look like a fishbowl when it's done (fun cowl, right? fishbowl? I love it), and some gorgeous stuff that stripes on itself in a Van Gogh colorway based on his Starry Night (which is so far my favorite... depth, texture, color, vibrancy.... unf) that I think I can make into a simple double knit tube. And when I was at the yarn store last month during their sale I picked up some Fibre Company Acadia to make myself another honey cowl (can't wait to knit and review this stuff). It's dark red, and I really need to get myself out of my color rut (I own way too much blue yarn. I don't look that good in blue, and I don't like blue knitted things that much--it's just that blue yarn calls to me. Like a siren.)

Casting on has been "on hold" for a while now while I finish up some gift knitting for a wedding and for the coming holidays. But I'm done with two of my three blankets and half the socks I need to knit, so I knew it would be soon that I would get to cast on, and I knew a cowl would be next.

As a matter of fact, it was. Did I do the double-knitted van-gogh inspired simple and perfect thing? No. Did I get creative and colorwork myself a fishbowl? Nope. Did I cast on the dark red Acadia, break my color rut, and do another Honey Cowl? No.

Instead I got cheap $4 yarn at Joann's with a friend and immediately cast on a garter stitch cowl that night.

weird impulse-buy yarn:














weird impulse-cast-on cowl:














Yep, it's almost two feet long in that photo and that's only one evening's worth of work. Yep, it's a boucle yarn in a gradient. Yes, it is once again blue and green, like so many other yarns I own. I am a fickle, fickle knitter.

but at least it's a cowl.

Monday, October 27, 2014

I can't fucking believe we still have something named the Eskimo Nebula

seriously how fuckin racist is that?



why, my fellow astronomers asked me, why is that racist? it's just that it looks like, you know, the fluffy hood of a jacket or a parka, and the Eskimo live in cold areas and wear clothes like that. And Eskimo itself isn't a bad word, and might be the only proper way to discuss some of the northern Native tribes. So why is this racist?

Well, I went spelunking on the internets, knowing that someone in NotAstronomy had already looked into this as an expert in one fashion or another, and I found (among plenty of other things) this: http://posterromance.com/2013/12/30/ice-cream-air-conditioners-and-anti-freeze/

which features a collection of stereotypical images used in marketing and advertising






At the very least, you can recognize how the use of a furred hood and a simple face is done as a stereotype. It has as much or as little to do with the actual Eskimo people as, for example, Mrs. Butterworth has to do with African Americans. The stereotype is used (in both cases) to sell a product; it reinforces simplistic ideas that white people have about "others" and then profits off of that. In this Eskimo case, the stereotypical image sells the idea of cold and hardiness--the implication that this ice cream is the best and this antigel is the best comes from the simplistic idea that all Eskimos do is survive in cold climates. In the case of Mrs. Buttersworth, the product reinforces the idea of "simple" or "down-home" country cooking, selling deliciousness and ease--implied from the stereotypical image of the comforting, food-serving mammy.



Anyway, the Eskimo nebula was probably named in the 1920s or 30s and I'm hoping we can maybe update it so we don't have to reinforce the same tired stupid stereotypes.


Thursday, October 23, 2014

plots within plots

I need more time to commit to knitting because progress is slow, and therefore boring for you guys.

Of course the real-life thing is getting in the way.

0) prep public night talk!!
1) finish edits to Reber
2) finish edits to LIRG
3) edit K2.0
4) make bgq plots
5) make list of things to fix for more accurate bgq
6) make list of things to fix for more accurate agq
7) email about my office hours on friday
8) read up on steve's lectures pre office hours (um friday is TOMORROW)
9) figure out if I can help CVGS at all
10) spend weekend fixing/filling out TPT stuff
11) update calendar with new slew of deadlines/fellowships etc
12) read Mark's emails about SERVs
13) prep public night talk eeeek that's tomorrow!

knitting to do:

1) green socks
2) bright sport socks
3) witchy mitts
4) skyp socks
5) hot water bottle cover
6) figure out gift for Louise and start
7) figure out gift for Patrick and start
8) after 3 or 4 of the former things have been crossed off, start van gogh cowl

Monday, October 13, 2014

just ... keep.. knitting

deadline knitting for November is coming up. I have calculated that I need 10 rows a day to finish on time, but gosh do I want to start something else. Or at least work on something like my sweater or socks.

I sneakily picked up some old spinning. It's a bunch of green pencil roving of mysterious fiber source that I was gifted by an LSG friend some time ago. I've been spinning it pretty thin and I think this might end up as my first true laceweight, even if it fluctuates between light and heavy laceweight.

The spindle I am using is really too heavy for it which is part of why it is taking me so long--with how thin I'm drafting it, the staple length of the mystery fiber, the partially felted status of the fiber, and the medium/heavy spindle (I think it's 1-1.5 oz?), I draft only about an inch or two of fiber at a time. I put lots of twist in it, drafting carefully (I think... I'm doing a short backwards draw? long draw works as well but doesn't seem to hold the twist and I'm not as consistent in thickness with long draw), until I've got a foot or so and then I usually put it down (on the bed), prop my foot on it gently, and finish drafting until I've got the amount of twist I want in it. So, park-and-draft, essentially. It's been a while since I've done that but it works well with this stuff. I also didn't do much prep at all with it. Normally I divide the fiber, then open it up a bit, then usually I open it up again before I spin it. This time I divided the fiber and I may have done just a wee bit of adjusting. Mostly I am drafting from the dense, partially felted fiber. Which is useful because the short staple means that the felting helps keep it from breaking.

every once and a while I get distracted, don't put in enough twist, try to make it too thin (especially now as the spindle is getting heavier), and the whole thing snaps and rolls off under the bed, shaking off twist as it goes. and the cats get interested.

holiday gifts planned: 7
holiday gifts finished: 1
holiday gifts started: 3
holiday gifts unplanned: 2

um. eep.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

and life goes on

I've wrestled down some work stuff and some other stuff. Still on top, and it doesn't *quite* feel like I'm riding a wave that'll kill me as soon as I fall. I still have a lot of work to do on various topics.

and some secret knitting: 25/60. woot.