29 May 2013

Age of Brass and Steam Shawl

Here's another finished project that has been hanging out waiting to be photographed and documented for several weeks now.

The Age of Brass and Steam Shawl was a quick knit when I needed something simple and relaxing to work on around final exam period. 


The pattern is The Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief by Orange Flower.  It was exactly what I needed at the time, not complicated and soothing.  Now you can tell that I haven't gotten around to blocking this, one of these days I'll get my act together and have a blocking party. 


I dyed the yarn myself sometime last year.  From what I can remember, it is 100% superwash merino dyed using Jacquard.  I'm glad I had just enough for a small shawl!  Too bad it is too warm to get any use out of it for a while.

What do you find yourself knitting/crocheting as a soothing project?

27 May 2013

Long, lazy weekend

Last week was my first week at my new lab and it was utterly exhausting due to the highly impractical orientation process where you have to go through several steps before getting badge access to the building (which means after going to the restroom you are locked out until someone comes by).  I'm hoping to have free reign to the bathroom and beyond sometime tomorrow.

Having a long weekend was definitely appreciated and I had serious plans for this weekend too.  But I ended up doing almost nothing at all, I cannot remember the last time I was this lazy and lax on my goals.

I did manage to do some homework for an online class I've been taking, because I have something highly embarrassing to admit...

I've never taken a formal physics class before.  I've read books about physics, I've met physicists (including Neil Degrasse Tyson, the "sexiest astrophysicist"), but never actually took a class.

A few months ago I came across Coursera, which is a website offering full, free courses from top universities from around the world.  They are really well done too, you have assignments and lectures, and even receive a grade at the end.  It is an amazing resource allowing me to take a physics course from Georgia Tech!

While I was learning the secrets of the universe, kitty stared at me wondering when I'll ever get around to planting an herb garden, and then she ate some bugs.

I have gotten a little bit of knitting done, but I just have too many projects to focus on right now!  You may recall that I've been knitting Skew, but that plan has changed somewhat.  I finished the first sock and absolutely hated it, so I ripped it all out and started with a different pattern Charybdis.

Isn't the yarn so pretty and colorful?

So, that's some of my lazy weekend, what have you been up to?

23 May 2013

Effortless Cardigan

I finished this project about a month ago, but it was during the period of time when I was overwhelmed with work so I'm only now posting about it.  I have worn it often though, it is a great springtime cardigan.


The pattern is Effortless Cardigan by Hannah Fettig.  I was a very quick knit and involved absolutely no seaming due to the top down construction.  I enjoyed the process of knitting it and definitely find it comfortable to wear around the chilly lab.  However, it is difficult to photograph in a way that doesn't look awkward.  I have no complaints about the way that the pattern was written, it was very straightforward.

It is designed to wrap around for ultimate snuggliness too:  


It is knit in Berroco Vintage dk, I decision that I actually regret for this pattern.  It doesn't make for a very substantial fabric with the gauge and also really stretches.  I think that the version shown with the pattern was knit with a yarn that has a lot less of a stretch.  But even with those minor annoyances I still really like how the project turned out!

This was on my list of Fiber Goals for 2013: Effortless Cardigan.  Another goal complete!

Also, I really enjoyed hearing about other strange house mysteries and encounters with fellow knitters/crocheters.  I love meeting other knitters by chance, I feel like we instantly have a connection, where otherwise we probably never would have met.

20 May 2013

Mysteries and a super secret crafter handshake

I'm back in North Carolina ready to get back to work!  I enjoyed my vacation up to New England with my family.  We spent some time working on the new house which had several surprises for us (it is 113 years old).

The night we arrived the floors were littered with dead bugs (I had a carpenter bee in my room) and I woke up the first morning to the sound of my parents trying to catch the resident bat.  Later that week, my brother was in the process of gutting a room when he discovered something that completely puzzled him.  It appeared as if there was a room above that one that was not visible.

My father found evidence of stairs hidden in a wall and then uncovered this in the basement stairwell:

A secret staircase leading to two secret rooms.  There was even a window up there!  We didn't find anything interesting, although I firmly believe that if you are going to go to all the trouble to make a secret room, you should leave something mysterious up there.

In other news, a few weeks ago I saw this jacket in the Ravelry store and just couldn't get over how adorable it was!  Needless to say I needed to have it and justified buying it because of all that Ravelry has done for me.  I'm not sure I would have gone beyond knitting distorted squares without the community and collection of great patterns.


Please ignore the flour on the front, I was baking cookies for a friend and didn't notice it until after I took the photos.  

The front has a cute little bunny snoozing and the back features what I would consider a jamboree of animals.  

I wore it during my recent Webs visit and obviously fit right in.  But I fantasize about moments where I'm casually wandering down the sidewalk when I meet a fellow crafter and we exchange secretive nods before continuing on.

Also, ever since I got my beloved Namaste bag I've definitely noticed that I've had less experiences where the yarn store owner follows me around being openly rude.  I've actually had several experiences like that in the past, I assume the owners think that the only reason a young person would be there is if they wanted to shoplift, needless to say they don't get any of my business. 

Have you had any fun surprises in your life lately?

14 May 2013

Well, how about that?

This time last year I was sadly leaving Massachusetts having graduated from college.  Then a few months ago my parents bought their retirement home 30 minutes away from my college town.  The really funny thing is that I almost decided to go to graduate school at UMASS Amherst, only minutes away!

Massachusetts is a pretty wonderful state and I definitely miss being an easy walk away from Webs.  Getting to come back and visit Northampton was like coming home.  I don't miss the winters here though!

I knew the dangers of going on a yarn spending spree having been deprived of yarn stores for so long, so I limited myself to a few special yarns.

I bought one of my old favorites Plymouth Yarn Worsted Merino Superwash, a yarn I have written about before.  I picked out enough dark red merino goodness for a super special knit-a-long with a dear friend I consider my sister.


I've been wanting to try Socks That Rock for a while now, but Webs is the only yarn store I've been to that carries it.  Oh the colors and the texture!


I couldn't resist getting some madelinetosh merino light either because I have a difficult time finding it and everyone is always knitting the most gorgeous projects out of it.


Anyways, as of yesterday the house now has internet (even though the cable company did not seem to want me succeed) and I'll try and get some knitting accomplished when I'm not engaged in one of my family's favorite activities, gutting and then restoring old houses.

09 May 2013

Returning to life - wait, I have a life?

I've successfully survived my second semester of graduate school, although I've never been this busy before.  Needless to say I've missed you all!

I ended up finding funding to continue my studies, I'm very excited to report that I'll be working with a group of researchers that are printing functional human organs.  Pretty much my dream come true!

These last few weeks I've been gradually working on one project, quite possibly the most horrifically ugly project ever.


The story behind it is that one morning I woke up, put my feet on the floor, and decided that I really wanted a soft mat to step onto to start the day right.  Isn't it wonderful that as crafters, we can make just about anything we can imagine?

Knit just didn't seem sturdy enough for floor mat material, especially with the force of destruction that is my kitty around (she will see a kitty-sized sled).  So I decided to attempt crocheting again, and after some initial confusion about moving on to the next row, I got the hang of it.


This is all scrap yarn (where does it all come from?!), but I think I'll have to buy yarn for the edging.

And now I bring you creepy kitty...who suddenly gets interested in something, I have no idea what.


I've begged her to never make that expression again, it is just too disturbing, like she is plotting a truly horrible death for me.