Saturday, November 10, 2012

Sick

Well, I'm sick. So, while I can't run around, read papers, or do much that requires more than half an hour of attention (because that's about when I fall asleep again), I have been sitting here plotting and planning. Real surprise, right? Since all I do is plot and plan, especially here in the blog.

Current plots and plans are:
I've got a draft of a thesis proposal due in less than a week and I'm too sick to work on it. whee. That's going to end well. But even if I have to push it back by a few days, I've got about a month until the presentation. I don't know if I'm ready but.... it feels like getting there is feasible. No mouth-parched-with-fear, breath-caught-in-throat moment whenever I think about it. That's good. that's... new. Sure, there's lots of other stuff lurking around that I should do, that I should have done, but for now--one thing at a time, one thing before me. Just gotta act. I've got to plot and plan my holiday season traveling. Always fun. Always complicated. Knitting. knitting knitting knitting. When I was in the worst of my fever, I couldn't even manage k2p2 ribbing, but over the past few days I've gotten a bit better. I sit in my chair by the window, swathed in blankets, poking away at easy projects. I finished up the cuff of a sock, wove the ends in on a pair of mitts, did 4 rows of stockinette for my sweater... The problem is, the holidays are coming. And according to my last calculation, I have 2 pairs of stranded colorwork mittens, one pair of tufted/thrummed mittens, all 500 ends to weave in from the intarsia blanket, 2 manly pairs of fingerless mitts, one scarf (mostly done) and one pair of heavily cabled, detailed fingerless mitts. Oh, and a baby hat, though that's a more general gift. And I'm involved in some end of year KALs, which involve 2 other fingerless mitts (to make pairs), 6 more thumbs (I frickin hate thumbs), buttons for a fourth pair of mitts, and a partridge in a pear tree. Jeez. I like how fast mitts go compared to socks, but seriously--thumbs suck. Meanwhile, my eyes, ears, and nose are all oozing, so knitting is slow. Oh well. Time for more sleep. I hope your plans for the holidays are not hampered by illness.

Friday, July 6, 2012

V-A-C-A- tee eye oh en

This vacation would be a lot better for knitting if we weren't having record high heat indices and a chance at death every time we drive somewhere in the black, humid, un-air-conditioned car. *sigh*. But I've done some great stuff while I've been here--went swimming in a lake, saw lots of family members, caught the movie Brave, ate delicious foods, did a boat ride on the river, etc. Tomorrow I go to my favorite farmer's market with my mum and get a little bit of peaceful time to myself. 

The problem (aside from the crazy heat) is that this is supposed to be a working vacation, and getting myself riled up to do work when I have the chance to see people I love whom I only encounter twice a year.... well, let's just say it can be challenging.

But today I am writing. Writing about the type of science I'd like to do, and hopefully making calculations to go with it. Busy, busy.

If I weren't writing I'd be working on my Summer Solstice Mystery Shawl KAL, though I only have three rows of the latest clue remaining. I'm working it up in Mountain Colors Bearfoot in the Thunderstorm colorway. I only have one ball, and it is vacation yarn from my trip to New Mexico, so I am hoping it will last through the KAL, since I can't precisely get more with ease.


My LYS has Bearfoot, but not in the right colorway. (Theirs is on sale, though. now that I've knitted with this and it turns out to be so delightful, perhaps I should go stock up). Thunderstorm is--well that picture certainly does it no justice. It's a dark purply grey shot through with bright sky blue and spring green, an occasional snippet of grey or dark purple in there as well. Normally I would consider this to be highly variegated and not appropriate for a shawl at all (unless you like variegated shawls. I don't. Not usually. Hitchhker/sideways garter stitch shawls aside). I chose it for this KAL because 1) it had 400 yards and I needed 420 but it was possible to scale the pattern down and removing one repeat dropped the yarn requirements to 400 yards, so, perfect. and 2) because I figured Wendy has been on a sideways knit shawl kick, so this would probably be a garter stitch sideways shawl with a little bit of lace on the edge. When I saw that it was supposed to be crescent shaped I jumped to the conclusion that the KAL would definitely be a sideways shawl.

well, I was wrong. It's bottom up, with a ~250 st cast on (bleh) and I won't know if I have enough yarn until I finish (as opposed to halfway). Good thing it's such a cute pattern and I'm liking the nupps that much. I started with 5 stitch nupps but began to worry about running out of yarn so I dropped to the 3 stitch nupps a few rows in. They look pretty cute nestled among the YOs and double decreases. Also 3 stitch nupps appear to be significantly easier to make (though further experimentation needed to verify this result; it's possible 5 stitch nupps are perfectly easy to make once a threshold of practice has been reached).

But I must abandon this shawl, three two and a half rows from its current conclusion, and get back to explaining why CO 3-2 is the perfect line to do the science I want.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Travel Yarn

This post might be a bit fractured because the kitten  two-year-old cat, Sunshine, is being incredibly hyper and skittering across the floor after bits of paper. I've stopped buying her toys except for the occasional crinkly ball because her favorite things remain the rings off of milk bottles and scrunched up bits of receipts and yarn band balls that she can carry in her mouth (and catch).

Sunshine, looking much more adult-like and innocent than she truly is

Anyway, I wanted to talk a bit about travel yarn, vacation yarn, or souvenir yarn.

I wouldn't use those terms interchangeably. I'd save "travel yarn" for something you could take with you on the road easily and "vacation/souvenir yarn" for something you picked up at an LYS to which you normally wouldn't be able to travel.

For me, travel yarn has two important characteristics.
Firstly, it has to be ready for use. I don't have a swift or ball winder, so it's either got to be already balled up by hand or I had to have put it into a cake at the store. I have to have a project in mind for it and want to actually be working on that project (baby items in particular are likely to be half-finished but relegated to the bottom of the interest heap); I have to have the needles to go with it and the pattern printed out or available in some fashion, and, preferably, have the whole thing already cast-on. I usually take socks-in-progress with me because even if I finish the one I have an easy toe-up cast on memorized. Starting a shawl mid-airplane is no fun at all, and if I find myself just freakin' done with that pair of fingerless mitts, they won't be coming with me.
Firstly, it needs to be as unfrustrating as possible. If I'm using it while actively traveling, I'm already in frustrating situations (traffic jams, the passenger seat, a very long train ride, or on a damned airplane). Now my definition of "unfrustrating" also varies given the situation (and my mood). I definitely want the yarn to be as smooth and non-splitty as possible. Splitty yarn just doesn't give me any of the soothing properties that I need from knitting while traveling. But I also want a yarn that is satisfying, and that is highly dependent on my mood. Often all I need is some soothing stockinette in the round for travel (since anything else requires more attention than I have to spare) but occasionally some easily memorized 8 row lace does the trick. If I find my current project unsatisfying, or inaccessible for some reason, I'm likely to scrap the whole thing and just improvise.

This happened with a pair of mitts I knit for a friend. I followed the pattern instructions for the cast-on and got into pattern just before I left on a 7 hour bus trip, but forgot to bring the pattern with me. The resultant mitts are a horribly bastardized version of what I thought the pattern might call for (and the thumbs.... my first thumbs. I shudder to think of them). In cases like that I am overwhelmingly unlikely to undo what I've done, and I'm just lucky my friend didn't care that they'd the worst implementation of the concept of picot edging ever.

WTF even happened here? I can't really remember.
So, to summarize: for me I want accessible simple knits that give me joy while traveling but don't drive me to numbness. Often this is why I do socks. They're so easy to improvise, they're so easy to carry around, and they make such quick progress, they're satisfying and hard to resist.

(this did, however, lead to my first pair of socks having to have the cuffs redone three times because I'd "improvised" mid travel. *sigh*. On the other hand, they got to do this:

Sandhamn, on the Baltic Sea

So they can't really complain, and neither can I.)

edited to add: I can't resist analyzing my current WIPs. I've joined the Knit Girllls stash dash 2012, which is basically about using up stash and making FOs. My primary goals are, as always, to finish a lot of my WIPs. I just finished a baby sweater today (barring some blocking and a ribbon), so that is off the list. I need to put a thumb on two separate fingerless mitts, and knit another one to match one of them; a third set needs only an inch or so of knitting and a thumb as well to be complete. I've started the second sock of a pair of lacework socks that I'm greatly enjoying, and I suspect I'll finish that quite soon, since socks are so fun and portable. I also finally busted out that HUGE blanket I've been working on for over a year now. If I can put three or four more balls of yarn in it I will consider myself done and bind that sucker off. That might take me the rest of the summer, though. I got the beads for my Shipwreck shawl from Knitty Spring 2009--I've already knitted the middle portion, and I get the sense that the netting will be a simple and easy project once I figure out how to get all the beads on and once I finally find my appropriately-sized needles.

So what to work on next? there are things that I consider obligation knitting--some rewards for the Spatterdash KAL (easy; done in a weekend); some toys for my last Knit It Forward 2011 project and for a few friends; a hat for a friend's mum who has cancer; a baby or toddler jacket for my coworkers who have produced offspring. Then there are the fun knitting things I am planning: I want to re-write the pattern for Knitty's Hex shawl for dk/worsted weight instead of fingering/lace, since that's what I have. I want to participate in the mystery shawl KAL starting on the solstice. I have the yarn and patterns in mind for at least three pairs of socks, two pairs of fingerless mitts, and a frickin partridge in a pear tree at this rate. Then there are the sweaters that I've wanted to knit for a while but have never started. Sweaters take foresight, planning, swatching, calculating, and understanding--I prefer to plunge headlong into my knitting when the whim at last seizes me, which is tough to do and still get a fitted garment. Oh, and then there's the spinning--I have probably 20 oz of fiber I'd like to spin up into pretty yarn, but since I can only seem to produce a bulky weight I don't want to waste any of it.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

All the difference

So, when you're a yarn afficionado, when do you know when to draw the line at *too much* yarn?

Is it when you run out of storage space?

When you reach SABLE (stash acquired beyond life expectancy)?

When someone else in the household starts to complain that you could be featured on hoarders?

When someone else in the family thinks you have too much?

When you can't carry it home?

When you can't knit it all in a year?

For me it isn't any of these things. I am not uncomfortable having a lot of yarn. Yarn is light and doesn't take up too much space and is decorative and gives me a hobby to fill my snerk free time and produces a useful product. It is a post-apocalyptic survival skill and an expensive way to expand your sock collection. It can be like admiring art, a way to appreciate textures and colors. One of my favorite artists is Van Gogh and the first time I saw a real Van Gogh in person I was struck--not only by the style of his work, the swirls and semi-fantastica interpretation of position, landscape, sky--but by the chewy slathered texture of the paint, like someone had slapped frosting on the canvas, and by the drenched colors. I like both of those things together. I can't make art and I can't own a Van Gogh, but I can buy yarn, and use it, and appreciate it.

So for me, the point at which I have too much yarn is when I cease to appreciate it. Not that it just becomes about acquisition or anything like that, no--it's just that I am easily distracted and when something new comes along it's all I think about. I forget the charms of this sock yarn

(Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Fingering in Mardi Gras)
which I made my sister turn around and drive back to the LYS for because I couldn't get it out of my head, and which comforted us through the miserable gray expanse of Indiana and Ohio by being bright and cheerful and non-monotonous on our dashboard

as soon as this one came into my life

(Green Dragon Yarns Sock(tm) in Somerset)

I love it and squish and want to call it George. It's a huge 490 yd hank--big enough for a pair of socks and something else, or a shawl of some sort, but I really want to turn it into a pair of Leyburns and then some sort of mitts.

So I am not interested in stashing down, in losing the weight of my yarn. I love the lot of them. I just want some way to make myself go back and regain that optimism that I had when I first picked these balls up. I spend time trolling on ravelry, searching for patterns to match old yarns, but inevitably, unless that yarn is already balled up and I am feeling particularly antsy, I cast on for something else, something fresher in my mind.

I think I'll try that Yarn Harlot's sock club idea--putting pattern + yarn in an opaque bag of some sort and then when one needs to cast on something new (or at least once a month) one goes and plucks something out, and is surprised. I think that would be fun. The only problem is that 1) not everything I'd put in bags is in a ball--a lot is still hanked, since I don't have a swift yet.  Oh, and 2) I also don't have enough needles to cast on everything. I really need more stitch holders or a bigger collection of needlesthataren'tcrap if I want to pull this off.

Case in point, it took me forever to cast on my Shipwreck because I had no size 4 DPNs. Eventually I used size 3s and that worked fine--the middle section is actually a bit looser looking than when I switched to my size 4 circular.

I want to invest in a set of Hiya Hiya Sharp Interchangeables, but it's tough to justify the money in my head. I think it is a wise investment, but my brain keeps going, "$80?? for needles? holy crap! are you serious??" To which I can only sigh, because the size 4s cost me at least 6 bucks and these would give me a range of 10 needles, PLUS three different cables, the equivalent of 30 sets of needles, and it's such a better deal and they're such good needles, I really should suck it up and just get them.

While we're on the topic of sucking it up I should order beads for my Shipwreck and buttons for my Spatterdash. I am running a bit behind on that sort of thing.

While we're on the topic of getting things, I slipped and ordered a new sock yarn on etsy, and three braids of fiber to spin. Odds on me getting distracted halfway through my next sock once this arrives, and ripping it off carelessly to never be touched again while I ruthlessly cast on a new one? Oh wait, no swift! I win!

(This reminds me that I have no project for airplane knitting in a few days. Hm... this is problematic. Shipwreck is at the beads, but no beads. Baby sweater is short on yarn. Spatterdash only needs buttons. The sock is about to be hemmed and needs to be tried on 45 billion times while I find a good hem that is stretchy enough. Guess I have to start something new. I wonder what it shall be. I'd better go play with stash.)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Flail

equally busy. Today is packed, and doesn't include time for things like blogging or cleaning the house, which is all I really want to do. Clean house, play video games, knit. Instead I have

First, in the morning, I will find my passport and bring it in with my box of envelopes to make a copy and mail in my voter registration.
Then I will arrange that meeting later this week
Then I will set up a car appointment to get the former problem fixed
Then I will email L+P
Then I will set up an appt with caps bobdammit
Then I will look into the proposal deadline for APO and its requirements, and see how much I can write up in 1 hour
Then I will work for 1 hour on the TPT essays
Then I will work for 1 hour on an abstract of the paper + a draft of the email to the BH conference
Then I will look into how much $ remains and if I should be arranging any other travel
Then I will contact: 1) T@London about VLT proposal 2) M@DARK about visiting talk 3) C@Arecibo about visiting talk? (but access data first somehow)
Then I have a 2 hour or less meeting with Dr. D
Then I should work on R's research for 2 hours

Today is going to be a kickass day. Though I wish I'd gotten laundry done over the weekend :P

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Proposals and Abstracts and Papers and Plots and...

Things are running the busy end of the circle here. I have a telescope observing proposal due in 4 days and my advisors want a draft by tomorrow (which is totally reasonable to have it ahead of time but I am so not near done yet that it's driving me a bit mad); I fixed a lot of my master's work stuff from the last blog post and just need to do some serious curve fitting and then I should be able to finish that up--but the problem is that if I want to finish either of those I'll need to put all my energy into it and I can't put all my energy into two things, I can only put at most half into each. So one of those is probably going to fall by the side of the road and it will probably be the master's work again. Also the paper I should have finished. But there's an abstract due for my second conference this week so I can't ignore that either--and the TPT application, and I have to get the rental car and hotel arranged for my conference coming up at the end of May.

I can't ignore it all and I can't do it all. I guess the only thing to do is to drink a lot of soda and knit on a sock and get ready for my doctor's appointment tomorrow and plan my date.

Wait, that's not a plan at all. That's procrastinating. AGH!

For some reason I don't feel terrified about all of this. Maybe it all still feels feasible. Maybe I just haven't made a good enough list yet. Or maybe this super squishy merino yarn is just that soothing. Who knows!

for the proposal:
-construct sample population: finish calculating limiting declination range; figure out what RA range is reasonable for fall; use the resolution of the telescope to calculate the maximum redshift I can go out to and still resolve down to ~500 pc; and then try and figure out how to find objects that are probably agn-ish, cover the span of agn luminosity (well I can probably use total galaxy luminosity because if it's over 10^44 erg/s it's probably at least a LIRG. right?); and also get a cross over with possible radio feedback sources. And things that can be studied with ALMA if we're lucky enough to get time. Oh, I am so doomed, this is the easiest step

-get the required .cls version of the proposal form and download it and make sure it all compiles and then fill them out, or at least the local-TAC required parts; let's see, that means:




  • All cover page sections, namely:


      • proposal term info
      • PI
      • abstract
      • Observing run
      • scheduling restraints
      • target list
      • PI approval

  • Experimental design: include how a brightness translates into an estimated required time and any constraints or instructions not included in schedulingconstraints{}.

  • -email it to my advisors before 10am tomorrow morning
    -Spend a significant amount of time laughing ridiculously and maybe do one of those 5 hour caffeine things even though that will mean I will be insane tomorrow and possibly fall asleep during my possible date

    Life/organizing:
    -feed cats
    -set up hotel at the conference
    -set up rental car at the conference (priceline?)
    -mail lease to landlord for next year with requested fixes (hedge, new window screens, repainting of back door so the paint doesn't flake off and get eaten by cats, new kitchen floor tile as it is currently scarred and puckering, removal of vines that are rather quickly eating the house, chopping down the dead pine tree in back)
    -mail voter registration
    -mail gift + letter to my aunt
    -do laundry so I don't smell like I rolled in something dead
    -arrange to have car fixed before I leave town
    -find place to park car for Twin to pick it up.

    Paper:
    -make a collection of MIPS overlaid with my VLT images
    -recalculate 2 numbers
    -make lots of plots and put them in the paper
    -add background section
    -redo references
    -add analysis section

    Masters work:
    -look into fitting with gnuplot (from .txt, which I can construct from tempcompare.pro)
    -read C.'s thesis for comparison/fitting ideas


    So. I'm a bit busy.  Everything italicized needs to be done ASAP, preferably today. Shit. No wonder I am knitting a sock.

    EDIT: Magically, the travel company that got the flight set up for me also set up my rental car. Woot!
    EDIT2: And I'll share a room with someone who has already arranged a hotel. Sweet! Now I just need to feed the cats and do... the entire.... proposal....... dammit.

    Sunday, May 6, 2012

    Still plottin'

    I'm still in a plottin' and plannin' mood.

    currently just trying to focus on these questions:
    figure out how to extract GBT temp data-- mrdfits? fxposit? other mechanisms? each .fits should just be one temperature or something like that. mrdfits it is; just need to get it to recognize the extension index of 1 instead of the default 0.
    plot GBT data and compare it to plots of gainometer data
    write one program that calls on tempextract and whatever program I write for the gbt data and plots/compares them both (??)
    figure out how to compare them
    write first draft of essays for TPT
    fill out voter registration form
    mail lease to landlord
    write first draft of abstract for competitive conference at the end of July
    figure out what I would need to observe for my thesis and which telescopes to use.

    most of my plotting and planning about knitting has died down a bit, possibly because I'm so close to the end on several projects. My Spatterdash mitts need only buttons and a blocking (though I've given up trying to finish them by the end of the day tomorrow--I've got too much work to do); my Wee Pumpkin Hat needs only a quick blocking; my gift mitts still only need 3 buttons and button loops (aaaaaaaaaaagh fine I will try and do that tonight before I sleep--oh, it's already 11. another time); and I am on the infinitely long bindoff of the Tiny Green Leaves that I am making (took just over 2 skeins; I had to join the third in after a quarter of the bindoff had been completed). Even though startitis is still pretty strong, and I want to cast on about 42 colorwork projects and eight shawls and three sweaters, I seem to be focusing on finishing. I even took out, oh, the second or third thing I ever knit--a cotton dishcloth--and looked into seaming it shut and stuffing it with fluff and catnip to make a kick pillow. I didn't have any other cotton to seam it with so I abandoned that right away, but my point is that I picked up a 4 year old hibernating project to finish it and gave it serious consideration, and it's back on my radar.

    we'll see what wins. For once, it might be work--I've spent hours programming and plotting today, and have made a fancy couple of pictures (though not fancy enough; only half the data, and I need the other half from the completely different source before it means anything. See list of questions above).

    With that in mind, I'd better get back to the work before this and knit-plannin' become too distracting. But I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of something I finished recently:



    Susie's Reading Mitts (formerly retired, now returned to existence on ravelry) in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. One ball of the yarn produced a (slightly shortened) pair of mitts, which I love to pieces--and which were sent off to my LSG swap partner. *sigh* I miss them. But I got something really neat in return


    gorgeous and starry, a lace shawl with beads. <3!

    Friday, May 4, 2012

    Wollmeise

    I've wanted to talk about Wollmeise for a long time now.



    Wollmeise is sort of a mythological beast in the knitting world--rumor gets out and then people start wondering, "why does everyone talk about that yarn? I've never seen it." The more rumors you hear, the more you become entranced by it, and decide you must have some. This is definitely a yarn worth experiencing in real life.

    The most luscious thing about wollmeise is the color. This yarn makes me want to knit things that I'd never dreamed I'd like--teal and yellow. Blue and orange. Brown and orange and a strange shade in between. Combinations of pink and blue, brighter than I would ever normally consider. The secret is the saturation of the colors--so deep and rich--paired with someone who is really really good at naming things evocatively. These skeins are positively drenched in color. The camera does not do them justice.


    Some of them are stripier yarns, wildly variegated and undoubtedly gorgeous; but some of them are full of lovely and subtle tones, nearly solid, just enough to give shadow and depth to the cloth.

    Wollmeise is in general fairly sturdy--it has a unique base, made of, oh, at least 6 plies. Your standard sock yarn is a 2 or 3 ply. The numerous plies undoubtedly help with the color saturation. They do make the yarn a bit splitty--or rather, it takes a few rows to get used to knitting with it and to not stick the needle through a strand every other stitch. It gives the yarn a different hand, too--it feels very solid to knit with, without much yield like you would normally expect from wool. Some people don't like this, claim it's like cotton--but it does keep your FO from stretching too much once washed, and once knitted up and given a soak the fabric softens and blooms (but doesn't fuzz nearly as badly as most merinos would--that's the multi-ply doing its work again).

    These are my favorite socks--warm, well fitted, soft, and in colors that just bring me joy every time I see them. (they look slouchy here because they're being borrowed by a friend who was cold. I took advantage of her to take pictures of them in situ). Personally I was amazed at how they softened after I gave them a bath.

    The challenge with acquire Wollmeise is that it is only sold in Germany, from the Wollmeise's website (and there's steep competition during shop updates, let me tell you), or from the Loopy Ewe's website (again, steep competition). My (fairly hefty) stash comes direct from the brick-and-mortar store that I visited in December, my last trip while I was working in Europe. A day trip, from Munich (beautiful city, great open air markets in winter, delicious food, fantastic gluhwein) with a few ravelers I managed to round up, who split the ticket with me (very kind of them!) though they did not want their pictures taken.

    The store itself is magical:



    So I wound my yarn up





    and took it with me

    started a sock :)

    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    When in doubt, organize

    If you haven't noticed by now, I don't deal well with stress. Or, more likely, I have a hard time handling a wide variety of things that require my attention. Give me one thing to work on and I'll-------well all right, I will try my best to weasel out of it, get distracted by the internet, or read a book. But give me two or three things and I'll focus pretty damned hard on one of them, taking deep breaths as I tell myself, "just get X to the finished stage, then worry about other things". However, if there are more than two or three things, my brain keeps popping back to the other stuff.

    What's on my mind now? A lot. a lot of swirling things that keep cycling--they keep coming up, I keep worrying about them, then trying to stuff them down so I can get some work done, then that repeats. Currently worried and thinking about:

    Work:
    I have so much work to do it's mind boggling. Today my goal is to answer the question, "how do people measure feedback in the circumnuclear region" so that I can see if there's anything I can say about feedback in my short thesis-level timescale. But I also need to look at MIPS images vs my images because my second advisor is back and wants to meet with me and that's one thing he wanted to take a look at. Plus there are two numbers I have to recalculate because I screwed up, and I wrote a program to calculate and graph most of my things but I need to follow through on that and save the graphs in an image format and then put them into my paper draft and also reorganize the table formats in the paper draft. And while we are at it the paper draft needs a new introduction and background section and a complete overhaul of the references, which are not at all accurate. And I have SO MANY PAPERS TO READ AAAAH. But I really need to stay focused on the question for today. But I really need to make those plots, and fix the paper. around and around we go.

    On top of that, I also have temperature data for my master's work and I need to figure out how to get it out of its files, into a processable format, then figure out a way to compare it to the other temperature data and make sure that it tracks pretty well, so I can excuse using it to analyze my other data. If I can get through that by Monday I will be in OK shape (not perfect shape). Oh and I should edit that shit first draft of my master's thesis that I threw together in 30 seconds last time. And I was supposed to be working on this for three months and instead I have ignored it. BAD ASTRONOMER. NO SLEEP FOR YOU.

    Then I have to access my really old data and poke it a bit because I know my advisor is going to ask about it and it would be nice to get it out of the way but I keep forgetting how to even log in and get at it and I think my password keeps changing AAGH. And I should email my old advisor down there but I don't want to talk to him until I have some work done for him and that's embarrassing. And I should call/contact the guy I am collaborating with at the end of the month so at least he doesn't think I am a slacker.

    That's just research. that's not counting all the other shit--I need to organize meetings with my advisor and the admin assistant who does finances, so I can find out which grants are active and which ones I am currently on and if I have travel money and how much. I need to organize an end of the semester meeting for my fellow grad students to have a chance to talk to the department chair, except he's not going to be around much longer so we also need to wait. *sigh*. And there's the whole "adjusting the TA positions to better reflect what needs to be done in the department," even though that's not QUITE my responsibility. And I should email the incoming grads again and make sure they remember to get back to me about stuff. And I have public night on Friday and a doctor's appointment next week and one the week after. *sigh* and I need to go to the gym and exercise too, my health is terrible right now.

    And that's not including household--print and sign the new lease, sweep before the dust bunnies eat the cats, do more &(#*&$(*&@)%**)#%*)@*% dishes, try to get rid of the ants--get ant glue I suppose, that might help--organize and clean my room so I can maybe find some of my shit, maybe, do laundry because I am desperately short on pants and maybe go buy some more pants because two out of my three pairs are too tight and I hate wearing too tight pants, they hurt and they suck. Spend time with cats. arrange a date for next week (glee!). Clean out car. call family and see how they are doing. hang out with friends, and call the ones who were having a hard time to make sure they're okay. finish knitting that christmas gift for my aunt and mail it. Knit secret surprises for my sisters and mail them.

    and all the while I am fighting a continual battle between needing more time to work, needing more money to budget better and pay off my loans, and needing more personal time to cook healthy meals and go for a long walk. These things cycle--and inevitably work wins, because it applies the most guilt, or money wins because it's easier to spend cheap money on fast food and save time as well than it is to take the time to get out of the car to get a salad and soup or an apple or some fish or something that isn't hamburger or fried. *sigh*. But too lazy to do any cooking, even though I have the makings for chili and soup in the fridge, ready and waiting for me to throw them in a pot or something.

    I hate juggling all this. I hate the way my mind flits from one thing to another, and I hate the way nothing ever gets crossed off my to-do list. I hate how I try to save time to get work done and then a week or two later I feel horribly ridiculously stupidly fat, even though I know the primary thing that has changed has been my perspective and that I should (and sometimes do) love my body the way it is, and understand that the world is a fucked up place for not recognizing how atrociously it treats fat women. But then I just fall into the "how do we fix the world" cycle of thoughts, and I try to educate myself and  organize my webpage and... it all falls apart. It all gets messed up. Nothing is easy to fix and I won't drop my life to go fix it all so then I just bury my head in the sand for days reading books or watching DVDs and knitting and playing on the internet and when I come up, nothing is BETTER. It's all worse because I've ignored it, and I have no good sense of priorities or how to set reasonable goals because mine are never ever met. I feel like I've been late or incomplete to every deadline in my entire life. And this all only contributes to my crushingly low self-esteem, which makes me see this all as my fault, starts calling me names--until I beat it back down and plunge into work again, taking deep deep breaths and telling myself, "just concentrate on this one thing, just this one thing. Everything else can wait."

    and it all starts over all again.

    I like to plan knitting. it is part of the procrastinating cycle--it makes me feel successful to come up with plans for my knitting, because they can and frequently are accomplished in a reasonable period of time (unlike work or the house or family and friends or LIFE; I wouldn't blame it on knitting, I sucked at all those things even before I started knitting). I think this is why I like it--because I *can* feel successful at it, and it's a tangible success--unlike reading books, which I also enjoy but which is much more, "oh, I finished this book, so I can check this off my to-do list (that shelf of novels over there), but I can't share it with anyone." Maybe if reading had a website like ravelry where I could organize what I've read, what I have, and what I am going to read next, I would spend more time on it. But anyway, knitting--I like being able to plan it, then do it, and have it done.

    So, my accomplishments for April are: Harvest Dew Socks; most of a pumpkin hat; the damned secret gift that took forever; another gift, smaller, three owls; and finishing ONE of my two mitts for my aunt. Also I've knit a lot of my Tiny Green Leaves--only 10 rows from the ending! huzzah!-- and about 70% of a pair of Spatterdash for a KAL on LSG. I am really glad I did the KAL because that's the only thing that's gotten me through such a fiddly pattern. There are a lot of tiny details and I am sure they make the thing all that much more kickass but they require a LOT of attention and frankly the thing is driving me nuts. I threw it on the bed last Friday and yelled, "fuck it I am DONE with you." I still have an edging, a feather-and-fan repeat or two, and two thumbs and two sets of I think 14 buttons which I haven't even picked out yet, and I just don't think they're going to happen by Monday, the deadline I set for the KAL. I'm not too regretful--they are cute and they got a lot further with a KAL than they would've if I'd done it on my own, and perhaps I can come back to them when I am less stressed out some time.


    I have plans, though (as always) for May. I'm very much in a finishing mood. I want these Tiny Green Leaves done, and I want the second sock for my sister to be done (if she would get me those measurements I wrote down. GAH why did I mail them to her?), and I want the last buttons for the mitts to be done and I want my size 7 needles so I can finish this baby cardigan that's hibernating, and I want to finish a surprise for my oldest friend (though at this rate I'd best hand onto it for her birthday); and there's a pumpkin hat I knit that only needs a leaf or two added and its ends woven in, which would be nice. It's pleasant to be in a finishing mood; perhaps I will even put a skein or two into the giant blanket I thought I'd finish in December, or finish the second-to-last Knit It Forward 2011 project, or cast on the last one (gah. I should do that. Gah. I really should do that. It would be easy, I'm sure. I'm sure I can manage. Gah. I already have the yarn. I haven't picked a project though. Gah). But I want these things DONE so I can feel like I've accomplished SOMETHING--even if that something isn't in life but in knitting.


    (and then of course I want to cast on 85 billion things for myself. But two or three of these things are things that I've personally desired for a very long time--a Shipwreck in my sea silk (no beads yet, but I've got time) and a pair of fingerless mitts in stranded colorwork using some black yarn and some black-and-blue-with-sparkles yarn for myself. They're going to be lovely and subtle once I pick out a pattern. Endpapers, perhaps?)


    EDIT: now I know this isn't going to end well but I have so many plans about knitting and they keep running in circles in my head.... first finish the haruni, then the damned mitts for my aunt, then the spatterdash, then the pumpkin hat... then my sister's sock, then the baby cardigan--it's so close to done!--then the other gift mitts. simultaneously I want to cast on everything, everything--the shipwreck, endpapers for me, endpapers for my twin, another baby cardigan, a steeked throw that looks fantastic, robot mittens, a laceweight shawl, another laceweight shawl, a spiral circular shawl in scrap sock yarn, a plaid floaty clingy shawl in that uberfine mohair, a frost flowers shawl for a friend, a hex shawl that I have to reconfigure for much thicker gauge and much less yarn, I want to knit one hundred billion owls for everyone I know, I want to do a 198-yards-of-heaven in that copper colored linen, I want MORE stranded color mitts for me in chocolate cherry and black; I want to figure out a cardigan/wrap for me in my laceweight thunderstorm colored madelinetosh (have I shown you that? it's lovely), and do something lovely and textured with my madtosh dk, and did I mention I got madtosh vintage the other day? I didn't? I think it's going to be another pair of mitts for me, I'm not sure, I had so much in mind when I got it and now they're all gone, not sure what to turn it into. Oh and I need to figure out what to do with all this thick-n-thin yarn, the Trabajos Del Peru and the Di'Ve stuff from L.  Do you think it's a bad plan to do a highly-ribbed pullover in bamboo? is it going to stretch like no tomorrow and not hold the crimp of the ribbing? probably. I wonder if I could reinforce that in anyway. Ooo, more sock yarn on webs--what unique colors. And there's a sale on eco wool--that could match my local handspun brown wool that I got at the winter Madison Farmer's Market. Wasn't I going to make a striped and lace shawl out of that queensland rustic tweed that I picked up? and something laceweight with that brand new reddish sock yarn, and another pair of spatterdash (heaven help me) in my regia hand-dye effect. I bet a pair of Nutkins would look great with my solid sky blue yarn. I should rip back the half a sock I currently have and change it.

    ....
    I can't believe how many of these things I want RIGHT NOW. doom.

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

    Another short to-do list

    A busy week. a lot to do

    Cook a fantastic breakfast
    sew on buttons
    mail things to the UK and Aunty Judy
    Get guinea pig bedding and cat food. drop it all on the floor when entering the house.
    call rick: ask about security deposit, getting house checked out when lauren moves out, vines + paint + new screens + concrete/cement the damned front steps and rip out the incoming trees would be nice, and did he get our letter/is he okay with it?
    shower
    put things for trade on ravelry
    read on pahfit output more and see how to extract data from that for 1 hour
    work on NSF report for 1 hour
    access Temperature data and try to work with it for 1 hour
    recompile to do lists for 1 hour; focus on keeping one on computer updated
    read papers for 1 hour
    Cook dinner with Lauren
    cast on spatterdash mitt #2 and work on it for 1 hour
    go for a half an hour walk for fun no matter the weather
    talk to grad students about an end of semester, speak with grad advisor + dept chair meetin
    have 7pm meeting with Amanda

    Not very productive today, honestly, but it was so wet and miserable out that I took a two hour nap instead of doing a bunch of my work. I did, however, set up three important goals for tomorrow:

    1) make 2 more pt src/extended emission ratio numbers for the paper
    2) figure out the pahfit output annnd how to change the continuum temperature of the input (and if that is necessary)
    3) find MIPs 24 micron images on hazel and compare with my images and make pretty pictures for the paper

    I'd still like to work on the NSF report and read a few papers  and update my todo lists (agh there are so many of them) and fix up my program to contain all my info as well, but we'll stick with feasible things for tomorrow.

    When, oh when am I going to get to the "other" category of my research? I have a small backlog that really needs to be addressed! I'm really going to have to start sacrificing sleep at some point, it is rather important for me to finish all this.

    But first, to cast on that second spatterdash. the Spatterdashalong is ending in two weeks! I've a lot to get done before then :)

    Saturday, April 21, 2012

    Finishing

    I am spending the weekend on finishing. A lot of the WIPs I've been taking a stab at are just waiting to have their ends woven in or the buttons sewed on. Ironically this will probably take all the free time I have this weekend, as one of the WIPs (the secretive one) is quite large and has many many ends. But hey! I can finish it, get it off my plate, and send it out to its giftee.

    I have a plan this weekend. Let's see if it happens.

    feed cats
    check the strawberries in the back yard to see if they are ripe yet NO THEY ARE NOT :(
    order pizza
    check mailbox for mail
    clean up living room table
    prepare to do laundry by sorting everything
    pay online phone bill
    order tabs for my car
    pizza arrives: consume pizza while watching some TV
    clean out fridge a bit to get pizza box to fit in there
    weave in ends and watch TV until I pass out or finish something. Try not to go crazy from all the ends. OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE IT IS DONE.
    create button loops; sew on buttons. I only finished this for one mitt and it took me nearly an hour and I still sucked at it. The yarn is too blasted slippery to do this well. I will try to do the second one tomorrow. Also the palm of the mitt is too floppy and loose--might have to crochet it tighter somehow...
    Sleep.
    take pictures in the light of day.
    shower and eat breakfast
    finish sewing on buttons
    clean guinea pig cage! then take out trash
    put various doctor appointments in google calendar
    sweep bedroom
    Sweep hall and kitchen and bathroom
    call rick, ask about: dead tree in backyard; front steps; ivy coming in the window; new screens; what to do with Lauren's security deposit/new person's security deposit?
    play with yarn until almost noon; organize and realize how damned much I have
    meet Ravelry Buddy crunchygranola for yarn shopping + knitting + coffee; plan to be rained upon.
    go grocery shopping
    do laundry and cook food for the week--chili perhaps? bean+ham soup? also make jam thumbprint cookies
    realize that it is 8pm and the odds of me getting any work done are slim; cast on the second mitt for my second KAL and post pictures on Ravelry
    decorate my room a bit and try to organize the greatly unorganized mess; make it worse by getting bored or distracted in the midst of it
    remember my Fellow Report is due for the GRFP; panic, and work on it.

    Alternatively I might feel like getting work done. Odds are not good, but it might happen :) Oh and I have a report to work on as well that I might as well deal with this weekend rather than the next.

    What about you? what are your  weekend plans?

    Wednesday, April 11, 2012

    sock yarn galore



    I like socks. I find them quick and easy knits; the cost/product ratio is low, and sock yarn doesn't take up much space. I am also much more likely to wear bold socks in new exciting color combinations than I am to wear a strangely-colored sweater. This holds for style as well--I'm always willing to try new patterns and new methods for socks, because they're so easy to adapt to fit my feet--merely try them on! Shawls and lacework are more tough to combine appropriately, and sweaters are so hard to fit that I am reluctant to ever improvise them.

    For example, I'm not very likely to ever wear a sweater in this combination of colors:



    But as a pair of socks I find it to be ridiculously charming. I'm greatly bothered by the camouflage-like pooling potential of this:


    But I wouldn't mind it in some textured socks. There's something a bit cloying about a sweater in rainbow colored yarn:


    But I'm in the process of the Knitting in Circles Sock KAL for April 2012 (Harvest Dew) and I am not only in love with the first sock, I'm moving through them at a fantastic pace.

    I was so enchanted with this stuff

    that even though the second skein had an inexplicable illness where it would randomly separate for no visible reason, I already finished knitting it up AND WOVE IN ALL THE ENDS, and I would order more of it at any time.

    I don't like drama, and I don't like bullshit. I prefer clear communication, and my advice to people who ask for it is usually, "have you talked to ___ about it, yet? open and honest communication is the key to a good relationship", the blank being a significant other, a boss, a co-worker, or a friend. But despite this attitude... it turns out that I'm willing to put up with a lot of crap...

    if it comes from some sock yarn anyway.

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    hold on

    Hold on there. Remember all those WIPs? Remember all my plots and plans to finish?



    Let me just throw everything aside and cast on something new.



    Harvest Dew socks (ravelry has the pattern and it's free) for the Knitting in Circles Podcast KAL, using my rainbowy Trekking XXL. I don't often do cuff-down socks--I like the fitting opportunities afforded by knitting toe-up. True to form, though I measured my foot and chose the appropriate size, this sucker was too big for my ankle. Okay, I figured, I can deal with that, and did decreases as in pattern as I could until I felt better. Which actually put me an entire size smaller. So much for accurate measurements! still, they fit so far, and the pattern is very easy. It's a tempting, "just one more row" sort of pattern, and the joy of it is helped along by Trekking's fantastic colors and pleasant yarn. I've already knitted something with this, but I ripped it all out because I was not satisfied. The yarn then sat in a squashy hand wrapped ball for about 6 months before I started working again. No problems. It's knititng up very nicely, with consistent stitch definition. Trekking XXL is definitely a workhorse yarn for me and I think I might pick some more up in the future. The balls are quite large enough for a pair of socks or a small shawl or half a big one. Downsides? Hmm, it's not alpaca or cashmere or merino, and the base is different so it's not quite as squooshy as something as Aslan Trends or Claudia Handpainted Fingering. Still, I can't say it isn't soft and I would be comfortable wearing it everywhere except maybe the back of my neck which is a bit delicate.

    Wednesday, March 28, 2012

    WIPpedy doo dah, wippedy day...

    On the topic of WIPs, almost all of my current WIPs are gift WIPs. I just need to weave in the ends, knit a loop for a button or two, and add buttons to my aunt's gloves (and block them too, I suppose, but I'd almost rather not--what if the sizing changes dramatically? I didn't swatch, not with this yarn):





    The real color of these gloves is somewhere between these two--quite peachy. It's a pleasant enough color and the yarn was a cotton-tencel blend that had a lovely sheen--but I won't tell you its name and it won't be featured here because it was so splitty it made me want to tear my hair out as I knit it.

    I have a sneaky blanket I am working on for a friend across the waves--this involve sewing a bunch of squares together. It's 75% done, and I really need to step up and finish it--maybe this weekend. Girl needs some love, and people are counting on me. Also I have to figure out if it needs a knitted border or not. I don't have much in the appropriate color in stash so it will probably be borderless. Or maybe something small and simple--attached garter border, only a few stitches wide, perhaps? No pics of this one as it is a secret.

    Another friend, more local, is getting a collection of fat purply Owl Puffs for her kiddo, who is going through some tough times. I'm almost done with these--they only take, oh, half an hour to knit, tops, but then an additional half hour for piecing together the eyeballs and sewing them and the beak on. I should make a few more of these for the Twin as well, she seemed to like them.



    aren't they freakin adorable?


    Look at the squashy belly on this guy. Love it. These are a ridiculously simple pattern off of Ravelry; bonus as it is free. I love a good free pattern.

    I finished my LSG swap and mailed it off last week, so that is out of the way, BUT I still have two Knit It Forward 2011 objects to send off. (Yes, I know it's 2012. Haven't we learned by now that I'm dreadfully disorganize?). One of the things is 95% knitted; I stalled at making the final touches because it needs to be felted; but I am thinking perhaps it can be sent off without felting. It's pretty cute as it is, and I think it would look okay when stuffed and sewn up. The other thing has not yet been started because I'm trying to come up with a good idea for it, but with a little luck I'll pick out a nice wristwarmer pattern that will work with the one ball of yarn I have.

    I've a couple of baby knits on my radar--hats for my co-worker's wife, who likes vegetables and especially pumpkin--and a baby surprise jacket for the other co-worker's wife who is a good friend of mine. I might make another baby surprise jacket if I like the pattern--it looks really neat and I have a fair bit of yarn.

    Finally, I'm still working on socks that are designated for other people, and a blanket that's intended for my brother this coming (or past, whatever) holiday season.

    Now, I'm not 100% selfless in my knitting of late. I do have two shawls on the needles for myself. One is my tiny green leaves Haruni, still. I made fantastic progress, hit the halfway point, and started Chart B; I even got 7 rows through Chart B while watching Law and Order SVU this past weekend. BUT I screwed up! I dropped a stitch. No life lines, of course, and it didn't ruin the whole shawl as it sank into one of the yarn overs from the beginning of Chart B (thank BOB) but I couldn't fix it. I mean, I could sort of fix it--I could get the right number of stitches back on the needle, and even have them be the right sort of stitches--YO or knits, depending. Of course I dropped another 6 trying to fix it (on purpose--they all stem from one initial YO--nothing to fear). So, it's irreparable, and I've been tinking back, one agonizingly tiny lace stitch at a time. I daren't rip--far too much hassle--but tinking back k3tog and k2tog is NOT easy. So this shawl is hibernating.

    The other shawl is a plain triangle in a lovely yarn, and I poke at it when I'm at work taking a break or somesuch. No big deal, it is at 50% at least--in terms of yarn, anyway.

    What's on your needles? who is it for? I've noticed in my podcasts and video podcasts, people do a lot of charity knitting. I'm not much for charity knitting. If I knit a gift for a person, mostly I want to do it for someone I know and care about. Probably because I'm so easily distracted and able to forget about things (see notes on Knit It Forward 2011, eh?) a lot easier when I don't see that person every day. I only knit what I like, too, which is not always compatible with charity knitting.

    A few new things have popped up--I'm doing a couple of KALs in April. There's a pair of socks for the April Kal for the Knitting in Circles podcast, and, I think, a generic mitt-along for the Hippie Penguin podcast. LSG is having an Afternoon Tea Shawl-along (from Spring 2012 Knitty) which I'd like to participate in--I just need a good yarn for it. So maybe a few more me-based things will hit the needles in a week or so.

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    another UFO

    Another way to not get a FO from a WIP.

    Start with this:



    Go to this over a week or so:



    Decide that doing a slip stitch on the edge (slipping the first stitch of every row) is a horrible idea because it creates an edging similar to razor wire and end up with this:



    *sigh*

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    WIP to FO

    How do you move from a WIP to a FO? I've been working on my Tiny Green Leaves Haruni, my swap project, and gifts for my sisters and aunt. I've brought out all the things in my list last time and looked at them and played with them and moved them around, but I haven't FO'd the old stuff, nor the new stuff. Why not? What's keeping me from getting from WIP to FO?

    Mostly in order to do that, you have to actually knit on the WIP.

    Getting distracted by something else and casting that on does not lead to a FO.



    And in the back of my mind I'm planning about 8 other shawls... sigh so easily distracted.

    Meanwhile I have started listening to my first knitting podcast while I'm at work: Stash and Burn. I've watched a fair number of video podcasts (see my sidebar--I think I've gotten all the ones with two 'casters interacting, which I find the most amusing), but I didn't think it would be worth it to listen to one--yarn and knitting are such visual processes, I didn't think I would get much from just listening. But it's fun. In an amusing, background noise sort of way. Of course according to my standards I must listen through all the archives, in order. I'm a bit neurotic that way.

    Speaking of work, I'm quite busy this week--I have to make lovely images for my Friday talk and paper, which require me doing some odd (but easy) calculations and playing with IRAC images from the GOALS survey. In addition, I'm reducing some spectra from the Spitzer Heritage Archive--this is a bit tricky (lots of details), but also there're 50/50 odds that it will be completely unnecessary. Someone else has this data and has been reducing it and is willing to share it with me--but might not get it to me in time to incorporate it into my Friday talk. Oh well; doing this myself is good training and practice. Finally, I am reading 1 paper a day, trying to take a few notes on each of them; I am working on making my paper neater and more organized; I have three new objects to add to my tiny sample, which is a straight forward reduction but time consuming; and I have to start incorporating about 1000 tiny changes into the paper, which is incredibly tedious and time consuming and enormously vital. Changing the introduction to be more tailored; incorporating papers; fixing the reference section; changing the paper code to refer to figures with links; getting rid of and improving images; condensing tables to be most efficient--it is all in the details.

    Oh, and did I mention I have data for 2 completely different other projects sitting on my computer that I haven't touched in a while? O____o doomed.

    Thursday, March 8, 2012

    UFOs and WIPs

    Back when I did my stash toss about a month ago, I stuffed all my works in progress/unfinished objects in a giant canvas bag and put it in the corner. The stash was organized and the room cleaned around this bag, and for about 2 weeks I thorougly ignored it.

    But there's something rather convenient about having them all right there--I've been working on them. This is the difference between a WIP and an UFO--without any progress, something becomes relegated to the UFO stack. Now, usually, when something gets ignored by me for a while, it either gets picked up in a week when I have more free time, or it gets very thoroughly ignored by me. The stuff in this bag encompasses both, but since I've taken them out and put them right there, some UFOs have become WIPs (and a few have become FOs!)

    By the end of 2011 I had 11 UFOs:

    1) Snail. The snail is fiddly and challenging and requires paying detailed attention to directions in a book. It has been abandoned for about 10 months because of all that detail. I have shown no sign of picking it up again, but it currently holds all of my size 5 needles (ALL of them) and I want them back for about 50 other projects. UFO

    2) Mason-Dixon Knitting's Per Orla dishcloth. Mine is apple shaped instead of pear shaped. It had been abandoned for about 8 months but when I got back and pulled it out and looked at it, the next thing I knew, I had finished it (within 24 hours). I don't know what I'll ever use it for but hey! it's done. DONE

    3) My aunt's christmas gloves. These were in the Sourwood Mountain pattern, and it's a bit fiddly, but that's not what has had them abandoned for 6 months. No, what caused me to drop them like a hot pan was the horrible wretched awful terrible yarn. It was a viscose and cotton blend and I have never encountered anything more splitty in my entire life. While it was shiny and a nice color, it seemed to be made of thousands of tiny little fraying strands and even using my bluntest needles I split or frayed 50% of every row. Then I'd have to carefully pick at it until it seemed neat again and move on. I finally picked them up again yesterday and took them to my local knitting night, where by the mighty power of LKN I was distracted enough to finish them. I haven't woven the ends in yet. DONE

    4) a linen Haruni. I love the Haruni pattern and this is a souvenir yarn from Spain--crisp brown linen in at least dk or sport weight. I abandoned it 5 months ago not because I disliked it, but because the holidays were coming and I had family things to knit. I haven't picked it up again yet because I started another Haruni in January and have been working on that--the motivation to knit TWO Harunis is pretty low, though I want both of them. UFO

    5) Knit It Forward project 4. I agreed to knit and send things out to 5 people, and I've done 3 of them, and this one is almost done as well but it's been on hiatus for 5 months because--get this--it needs to be felted, and I don't know how/haven't taken the time/can't be BOTHERED. stupid felted thingy. I am thinking about how to stuff it and seam it and felt it and what order each of those things goes in. I suppose it's felt, stuff, then seam, rather than stuff and seam, then felt... hmmm... Anyway, this one is scarcely on my radar but it's important, so I suppose I shall take a stab at it this week. WIP

    6) Knit It Forward project 5. This has been ignored since Knit it Forward started, so that makes at least 7 months. I haven't even cast it on yet--heck, I haven't selected a pattern yet. At least I have the yarn. I am trying to get this back on the radar but I'll actually have to stash dive to find the yarn and match a pattern to it. Maybe this weekend. UFO

    7) My brother's blanket. This was intended for the holidays but I messed up my wrist two weeks before, so I didn't finish it. Also it's huge. Also he didn't ask for it and probably won't like it. Also it has intarsia in the center and I haven't woven in any ends yet. Also I have 2.5 balls of the main color left, and 2.5 of the secondary color, and 1 of the third, and I want to do a striped edge and for some insane reason my brain is saying "knitted on i-cord edging". Ugh. no. That's a recipe for disaster. I'm sure it will be a stiff edging and then there will be a jellyfish of blanket left in the middle. Maybe I can do a knitted on garter border or double knit border or something. anything. Meanwhile, this is a WIP again as I slowly work infinite rounds of stockinette. WIP

    8) Delicate purple lace. I'm attempting a Print O The Wave stole in this cobweb weight cotton I got from Habu Textiles about a year ago. I abandoned this last October for holiday knitting, and I never bothered to pick it up again. First of all, it is finicky. I am not good with lace--it takes a lot of concentration and I am easily distracted. Secondly, the tiny thread makes it really challenging. I have to be careful with how much tension I put it under, otherwise it will snap; it's tough to manipulate even with the size 1 needles; and it gathers a little ball of tiny loose threads around it that grows as I knit. I'm not sure if I'll pick this up again as I am less enchanted with the prospect of the final product--it's certainly going to be a scarf rather than a stole--than I thought I would be. Definitely still a UFO.

    9) A christmas hat for my older sister. This one is almost done, but I ran out of the secondary color yarn. Now, I was able to bind off and it looks pretty good and is actually reasonably sized, but it's surprisingly kind of pointy on top. I am going to try and fix it up this weekend. WIP

    10) I started a striped knitting bag about 10 months ago and left it to be felted. Unfortunately, stuffing it in a bag in the closet for that period of time has not resulted in it felting for me. I need to get around to sticking this in the washing machine. UFO

    11) I promised my twin something for the holidays, but she's become more specific about what she wants. I was going to make her a circular shawl/lap blanket, but she said specifically that if it doesn't cover her toes she wouldn't use it. I don't have enough yarn to produce a blanket of that size (yet), so this is still an UFO--in fact, an unstarted UFO, doomed before it began. UFO

    Those were all things I had at the beginning of the year, but since I returned home to my stash I have acquired or cast on 9 new projects and have plans for about 5 more. Oops, I think the ADD is showing:

    1) another blanket, sewn. I am sewing squares together and have most of them done, but I am short two squares and since I discovered that I've abandoned it. Unfortunately it's about 6 months overdue, but I'm only responsible for about 2 weeks of that. WIP

    2) slippers--I got the French Press Slippers pattern for the holidays and cast them on as soon as I got home to my yarn. I finished knitting them in a day (very quick! you hold worsted yarn doubled or tripled), and I sewed them up that week, but they are waiting on (surprise, surprise) felting. I really need to find someone with a top loader washing machine to bug. WIP

    3) I started a second baby cardigan during the first and only case of start-baby-clothes-itis I had about a month ago. I finished the body but couldn't find needles for the sleeves or the shawl collar. I really want to finish it because baby clothes are so fast, so this might pop up on the radar again over the next few weeks; meanwhile, it is an UFO

    4) Over the holidays I insisted that my sisters learn to knit socks. We bought the yarn together and I helped them cast on. They both got through the toes and to the bulk of the foot (toe up is easier. Don't give me that look. It totally is), and then I had to leave and neither of them have touched them since. Meanwhile, I finished the first sock so I could experiment with easy heels (short row? no, too tight for us. Afterthought? No, they both thoroughly rejected afterthought. I could do heel flap and gusset, but that either involves tiny seams, or more likely having to teach someone how to pick up stitches over the internet. doom. I went with the fleegle heel and I like it a lot--it's very simple.) I haven't knit the second sock yet but I thought I would save that for our next gathering, whenever that is, so I can demonstrate things. UFO

    5) I started something special for my twin for our birthday. Unfortunately I started them on our birthday, so they're not done yet. Also, I have no idea how long or wide they should be. I am optimistically proceeding anyway. I will probably send her one when it is done and have her tell me if it fits. WIP

    6) Swap knitting. I am participating in my first swap via LSG and enjoying it. I have a little toy to knit for the package and then one other, larger object to start. WIP

    7) For some unconscionable reason I have decided that rather than sitting down, taking measurements, and doing some math, I will merely improvise myself a tunic of some sort out of my gorgeous madelinetosh dk. This is not likely to go over very well but for some reason I don't appear to care. I've started the back and have gone a couple of inches in simple stockinette. It will have a little split at the bottom since I am large and my hips are larger than I thought. WIP

    8) giant green lacey Haruni. This is the one I featured two entries ago, with three balls of lace to go into it, and only one done. It goes slowly and surely, growing into an infinity of tiny leaves. I hope it still fits on the needle after I'm done putting two more balls into it. WIP

    Meanwhile, in my head, I have a pair of endpapers using my gorgeous dream in color starry and a solid black; a pair of bird and vine mitts using my sunset colors and the black (might not have enough black at this rate. shoot); a little kercheif using my blue aslan trends; a baby surprise jacket using some of my wool-ease; a poet's pullover using my ridiculous stash of bamboo spa yarn from michael's; a pamuya using the turquoise madelinetosh lace; a pair of spatterdash with some leftover wollmeise; and a loose drapey green cardigan of some sort with my stockpile of wollmeise in grashupfer. And that's only what I'm thinking about now, and for knitting.

    the rest of my head is whirling, too--lots of research to be done, people to email, meetings to organize, data to poke at. Busy, busy. Tell me, what is keeping you busy? what are you anticipating making? what are your knitting, or life, plans?

    Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    Beautiful things

    What's awesome this week?

    Well, how about a fantastic full moon, with Jupiter and Venus near by? The night sky is lovely this time of year, and I'm pleased to live in warmer climates where I can pause at night to appreciate it without freezing my throat. Orion is still up early, and Sirius too; hard to spot them (or the Pleiades, or Andromeda) in the full moon's glow. It tends to opaque the sky. We live in a very dark city which is astronomically useful but makes it challenging to get around at night during the dark of the moon. Still, going half an hour out of town means seeing the night sky like a splash of fresh water, all the stars splayed out and glittering in the darkness.

    On that note, I've acquired the best astronomer's yarn, ever: Dream in Color Starry, in the Wicked Royale colorway. It's impossible to capture it, but here are a few attempts:






    It's dark blue and black, a lovely fingering weight yarn. Not as buttery as Handmaiden Casbah, not as plush as the three-ply sock yarns that have that lovely beaded texture (Shibui, Koigu, Claudia Handpainted, Aslan Trends). Still, it is 98% merino and has a lovely softness to it.

    What makes it the best astronomer's yarn ever?

    2% silver.
    sparkles.



    stars. More than you can see in the pictures, just like taking a real pic of the sky. More than you can count. winking and shining...




    beautiful.

    Now, what am I going to do with it? If I had a plain black yarn with a similar base, I know exactly what it would become: endpaper mitts, or something similar--taking advantage of the very subtle color changes to make a muted pattern that still had enough contrast to look like the skyline at twilight.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace

    True to form, I have dropped off the face of the planet as I endeavour to keep up with all the crazies. However, I've surfaced briefly, and per tradition have been intensely organizing my yarn and knitting in order to keep some level of sanity.

    What this means is that I cleaned and organized my yarn stash. I have quite a bit of it--the pictures from last time really do not do it justice.

    Pardon the lighting: here is all my sock yarn:



    and all my laceweight:



    and all my nice worsted:





    Then I have 5000 yards of chenille cotton o_0 not really sure why, I think I was planning on making a blanket, but it's such a pain to knit with. Also, I have almost 3000 yards of generic wool and acrylic, which I'm saving to make toys, which seems to be pretty highly demanded.

    Still, it does a stash good to be tossed a couple times a year. It allows me to check for critters, to see and appreciate all I have, and to resurrect some UFO. I crammed all my UFO in a bag that is now more easily accessible than the stash, so hopefully a few of them will get worked on. I even found one of my oldest ones, a Per Orla Apple Dishcloth, in the ballband style, a 'la Mason-Dixon Knitting, and put some serious work into it yesterday--I finished the core of it (hah! apple core) and did about half of the i-cord edging before I collapsed in a puddle of sleep and cleanliness.

    It also allowed me to resurrect some old needles that I didn't know I have. I now officially have 9 pairs of size 6/4.0 mm needles. 6-7 pairs of them are currently in use, so that's not a horrible proportion, but when I finish that blanket, well, maybe I'll give a few away with some of the yarn I don't think I'll ever use.

    I've a yarn to review today, since I decided that in honor of it being my Year Of Lace I had to cast on a laceweight project.

    I picked up three skeins of Cascade Yarns Alpaca Lace at the LYS when I was visiting my sister in Rochester



    it's a gorgeously subtle toned spring green, with hints of blue and yellow winking throughout. The color grabbed me first, but when I picked it up, I simply was unable to put it down. I kept telling myself, "I don't need more laceweight--I never knit with it, I have 5000 yards of it at home, I don't need it..." but it stayed in my hand, and that's because it's ridiculously soft. It feels like a cloud and weighs almost nothing--in fact the cat carried off one ball that was as big as his head, just because he could (no damage done). I immediately cast it on as a Pamuya, a pattern I got for the holidays, but after about 10 rows I knew 2 things. Firstly, I was using needles that were too large--size 2s--and secondly, that I wanted it more than anything to be made into tiny green leaves of soft utter buttery perfection.

    So, even though I'd made 1.5 Harunis, and still had that half one on the needles (in a gorgeous brown linen--I'll show you another day), I cast this one on. And for a while it was perfection. The wee leaves developed, one enchanting crisp shape after another. The tonal yarn flickered unvaryingly, without pooling or flashing. The softest halo developed around the product--another characteristic of alpaca--and the whole thing weighed almost nothing, felt like a dream.



    Now I have 500 tiny green stitches on the needles and I'm not even done with the first of the three balls. It takes 10 minutes or more to purl across the back, and I'm supposed to use half of my yardage on tiny green leaves before I begin to develop the scalloped flowery large leaf edging of the Haruni. A thousand curses upon deceptively seductive laceweights. So much work! I hope it's worth the effort.

    This yarn is worth putting in a lot of time, but me being me, I have the attention span of a gnat. It's not going anywhere. It's the black hole deep gravitational well of knitting--I knit and knit and knit for hours and the first ball of laceweight is no smaller than it was before. It will never be finished.

    Of course maybe that's because I got distracted and knitted 1.5 baby cardigans, 1.25 socks, and .75 of a dishcloth, a pair of slippers, 3 mittens, and an owl puff. Oops?

    Sunday, January 29, 2012

    sock yarn

    I think I've found my favorite base ever. At least for sock yarn. Springy, bouncy, scrunchy, and so fluffy--and when knitted up, almost velvety on the purl side. Shibui Sock has this base, and Aslan Trends Santa Fe (as far as I can tell), and Claudia Handpainted Sock and Koigu KPPPM (don't ask me what that stands for). A lovely base that looks like a little spring.

    Here it is in the hank as Claudia Handpaints:





    and here as Santa Fe.



    It almost looks beaded. Of course, all the colors it comes in are delicious, but there's just a little something special about this base...

    Oh, I'm back from my trip. I acquired a little yarn...



    that's about a third of it.