Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Life of a Grad Student...

It's 10:00 pm. On a Saturday. I've been at school for just over 8 hours now. I have almost nothing to show for it. I hate MatLab. Or at least, it hates me. I have three projects in three different classes that require MatLab, all due either Tuesday or Wednesday this week. One of them is almost all done, I just don't know if I need to convert the initial formula to state-space or if I'm supposed to be able to enter the differential equation along with its initial conditions directly into MatLab as is, with or without going through Simulink. Another one, for some reason, is printing out "ans = 9" in two very random places. Why is the answer nine? And why does MatLab feel the need to tell me that the answer is nine? I'd like to be able to print out the lovely output and code, but it tells me that the answer is nine in a place where I am not asking it for an answer, and so that project is not done. Also because I have to do a huge painful derivation showing why I can use a formula that I use for the MatLab portion of the homework. The third project just won't cooperate in any way, shape, or form yet. I have not yet gotten it to bend to my will. This is a problem.

Something that is not a problem is Thelonius. I love my sock. I wore it all last night when a bunch of us FIRST people got together to watch movies and help me use my stash of Jack Daniels. I finished it during the beginning of the movie. I was very happy. Snakes on a Plane is not a good movie, though not nearly as bad as I was expecting.

The best thing I've found about most of Cookie A.'s sock patterns is that you're so happy with the first sock that you just want to cast on for its mate right away and wear them forever. Her patterns are not generally tedious like some others that make you want to go do something else and leave the lone first sock to hang out in your UFO pile (with all those other first socks) for awhile. I didn't like B...B....what is that sock.... I don't remember. It got shrunk in the wash anyway, so it doesn't really matter. Oh yeah, Baudelaire! I loved Monkey (made 2 pairs for people!) and I thoroughly enjoyed Hedera, my first socks, and Thelonius is great too. I've already fished out some of my black yarn so I can make a work friendly version. I don't particularly like all of her patterns, but Stricken, Millicent, The Sock With No Name, and depending on my mood, Twisted Flower and Rhiannon are some that I will be buying the pattern for at some later date.

My goal when going to Rochester for the last six months of school was to use up as much of the yarn that I've brought as possible. I'm nearly even at this point, since I've made mostly laceweight and sock-type items, and I got that shipment for my mom's sweater and other yarn. But if I can just tear myself away from socks for a bit and finish a couple of the three sweaters I have started, I'll be well below what I brought with me. The goal is to get my mom's sweater done along with one or two of mine before I leave.

I'm frogging a sock that is currently one of my open projects. I never liked that one, which is why it's languished so long. That'll bring me down to 11 open projects with me. If I were to complete all of those (won't happen, too many large cross stitches) I'd be able to start six more. Were I able to complete all those, I'd be able to start three more, and then only one. I can only technically start ten more projects, if I stay on track. Only ten. This may seem like a lot, but it's really not. I have one Christmas present done so far, and that leaves at least eleven more to do. Yeah, eleven. At least! That's not even counting my mom's sweater, the grocery bags I still haven't gotten around to making, and the five-ish pairs of socks I'm thinking of making for myself. I also have the yarn for like ten stoles and other assorted small projects.

Luckily (or not as the case may be...) I will be reunited with all of my other languishing projects in a couple of months. Also, it's really more like wishful thinking that I'll even get to ten new projects in the two months I have left here. With the FE exam, trying to finish out my college career strong (I got a 4.0 last quarter, go me!!!) and finding a job, along with everything that will entail once one is found, I have more than enough on my plate.

Pictures of Rogue to come soon. Sorry for the rambling, but it's almost 10:30 at night on a Saturday and I'm still AT THE LABS ON CAMPUS DOING HOMEWORK!!!

Friday, March 28, 2008

We All Knew It Wouldn't Last...

The monogamy that is. Though it is productive polygamy. I got somewhat bored with Rogue, and have been somewhat enamored of Thelonius since I got the pattern and yarn. So, I cast on for the first Thelonius. I figure I can knit one sock, finish the sweater, then knit the second sock. That way the second sock doesn't languish forever waiting to be knit up, and I have just enough of a break in between to want to finish it.

Yes I have other older projects I could have broken up the monogamy with. I almost went with the Art of Disney Cinderella Castle cross stitch, as it's the closest to complete. Yes, that probably would have been a better choice. But come on, new socks? New shiny purpley socks, all spring-like just in time for spring? Who could resist that? Not me, my friends, not me.

I LOVED this yarn in the skein. Knit up, not so much. I don't not like it, but I am not nearly as thrilled as I was. More brown and orange than I was expecting. It's still very nice and I know I'll wear these socks all the time, but I was somewhat saddened. I do thoroughly enjoy this pattern and I'll be making another pair in Knit Picks Essential Black sock yarn. For work purposes, since I hope (fingers crossed!) I'll be needing such things rather shortly. And I hate boring socks, so I only own two pairs of black socks. Both hand knit. It was three pairs, but the washer/dryer and Nancy's Knit Knacks Digit fingering weight yarn don't like each other. At all. Which means I'm sure that I'll eventually be down to one of my current two pairs, since one is knit in Digit as well. Oh well.

Here's a picture of my lovely Thelonius! If I weren't still at school at 5 pm on a Friday (and I'll be here until at least 7...) I would have it either on my leg or on my blockers. As I'm the only girl in a lab with a bunch of guys (why are they still here on a Friday?!?!?!), I'm not going to whip off my socks and shoes to take a picture. Though, I am sitting here taking pictures of socks I've knit anyway...nope, still not willing to take the shoes off. But there's another picture of the sock, this time with a circuit! I should finish the toe tonight, and then I'll be back on the Rogue, hardcore.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Path of Flowers Stole

Blocked Stole
Originally uploaded by UnFrogged
I was crunched for time with this one, but I got it done in time to give to the recipient. I blocked it the morning of, but that's okay, it was still all dry and ready to go by the time I wrapped it. This is the Path of Flowers Stole by Chrissy Gardiner of Gardiner Yarn Works. It is a really lovely lacey stole. Not something I'd wear for myself, but my grandmother loves it. It's Knit Picks Alpaca Cloud in Peppermint, so a very pink warm stole. It has pattern bits on both right side and wrong side rows, so takes a bit to get used to. I had to refer to the chart for almost all the repeats of the center pattern. I used US4s, though the pattern calls for US6s. The Alpaca Cloud is a thinner yarn, and so 6s were just too large for it. As it is, it is only slightly smaller than the specs call for, something like 32 x 63 " as opposed to 35 x 65.5". Very quick knit by necessity, and it only took just under two skeins instead of the called-for four. Which means I have enough for another if I want, or just some other random shawl eventually. I love how light and airy this thing is, and my grandmother loves how warm it is. I was using it as a blanket when I got close to the end as I was knitting it - it was heavenly to sit and watch a movie with the lovely alpaca keeping my legs warm and growing by the minute.

Dropped Stitch
Originally uploaded by UnFrogged
The only problem I had with it was after blocking. Can you see the hole in the red circle? That's where a dropped stitch decided to hide itself until after blocking. I grabbed my itty bitty crochet hook and brought the stitches back up, then ran a 2" piece of yarn through the stitch the way it should have been to tack it down in place. I then wove the ends through the stitches on either side of the errant one to keep it all in place. I was very proud of that; you couldn't even tell where the stitch was dropped in the first place when I was done. Didn't think to photograph the loveliness though, just realized later that I did get a shot of the dropped stitch without even realizing it.

I gifted this with a washing guarantee. I told my grandmother that if she ever feels that it needs washing to not do it herself but give me a call. I can just see this being improperly blocked or tossed in the wash machine and ruined. Improperly blocked would not ruin it, but this thing definitely requires a good bit of tugging to let the design really shine through. Take a look at the thumbnails for even more pictures of this lovely pink stole.

Unblocked Stole Blocked Roses Blocked Flowers Nat Light

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


So, how am I doing with The List, knitting, etc? Pretty well. I've read two books from my lists, but I haven't seen any movies. We have quite a few in the collection that I could watch, and just got On the Waterfront from Netflix today, but we've been more interested in watching other movies. Like 30 Days of Night, which is an "Eh" vampire movie. It does have an interesting twist in it that makes it worthwhile, but not a must-see by any means. Kinda like Seraphim Falls. Best ambush scene in a long time, but again, not a great movie overall. What really annoys me is that main character A is after B because B accidentally killed A's family. A's wife ran into the burning house to save her infant. If A was an officer in the Confederate army (and he was), and the civil war ended within the past year (which can be inferred since B is threatening A for letting his men leave early, and why would the Union army still be hunting down Confederates years after the war?) then he could not have an infant. The math just doesn't work. So the whole premise for the movie is flawed in my mind, which made the rest of the weird, convoluted thing just plain useless.

So, progress in knitting. I have been 100% monogamous recently. I cast on for the Blue Cabled Baglet, and completed it almost without anything else involved. I did the final finishing (weaving the end, making the handles) after casting on for Rogue, but the knitting was monogamous. Since starting Rogue, I have not knit another thing. It hasn't been actually portable for a bit, but since I've only been porting it to class, I don't need a portable project. Yarn is wound and waiting to be cast on for a pair of Thelonious though...

So I just tried to take a picture of Rogue. And my camera batteries are about dead. The charger is not currently with me. @#^@$#%@#%$#%. Search for "Rogue Sweater" and find a green one. Made with KnitPicks Wool of the Andes in Fern, preferably. Mine looks like that, but with no sleeves and only a partial hood. I'll discuss the specs when I actually get the camera to take pictures...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Old FOs

I finished a needlefelted dog (made out of his own fur) and an Intricate Stag Bag Pillow for Christmas. But I never took pictures of them. I was in Buffalo again visiting for Spring Break, so here are pictures! Yay pictures!

Stag Pillow Front
Originally uploaded by UnFrogged

Stag Pillow Back
Originally uploaded by UnFrogged

I love the Pillow. The difference between an unblocked and a blocked Fair Isle project is amazing!

I changed quite a few things on this one. The back is an entirely different pattern. For the actual bag, the front picture panel and the four outer panels are all knit separately and then seamed, and then seamed to the back. I did not need the sturdiness all the extra seams would give, so I re-charted the whole thing and just knit it all in the round for ease of knitting. If I were to make a bag, all those seams would come in handy to keep the shape of the design while carrying items. I also can't count, and realized that I incorrectly cast on four less stitches than I needed when I got to the center panel. Why did I not realize this before? The chevron pattern is over multiples of four. So when I realized that the pattern was not correctly lining up, I just deleted the first and last two rows of it. And it looks great!

Joey Needlefelt
Originally uploaded by UnFrogged
This is the needle felted dog I made for my uncle. It's made out of his fur, and so is not an impressive piece. Also it is not impressive because I'm not that great at needle felting yet. This is their first dog together. It's a good thing they never had kids and waited 30 years to get a dog cuz man, they are neurotic! But Joey is in a very loving home and gets as much good food, toys, exercise, and love as a dog could ever want, so it's all good. He's a Belgian Tervuren. He looks a lot like a German Shepard with long fur, and is a very scary animal when he first comes out of the house barking at you. Here's a couple more photos of Joey.

Joey 2 3-3
Originally uploaded by UnFrogged

Joey 3-3
Originally uploaded by UnFrogged
I've also taught someone to knit. She was able to knit and purl her first time, and it looked better than some people's tenth try! She was fixing her mistakes and understanding the structure right away. I'm going to put that down to my amazing prowess as a teacher. Nobody burst my bubble, please. I should have taken pictures, but my camera was within arm's reach, so of course I didn't. She used some of the leftovers from the blue cabled baglet. It was just a small scrap of knitting, but it was knitting and she hadn't done it before, so I taught her to knit, yay!

That was item #62 on my list, and I did it without even trying!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Wow, it's been almost a month. I had finals, then break, and now I'm back at school. During break, I visited family and announced at a robotics competition. And I keep forgetting to take pictures. Or uploading the ones I do take. But I have been knitting!

Did you ever have one of those days where you were just supposed to stay out of the kitchen? I tried to make popcorn, and it burnt (I was even listening for it to slow down!), I tried to make scones and it was still all goey in the center(the toothpick came out clean!), so I put it back in and the edges got all dried out. I didn't cook for the rest of the day. I was going to try to make some fondant, but figured that it would be waaaaay too much of a problem. Don't try to substitute butter and milk for heavy cream when making candy.

I had the same issue with knitting over the weekend. I always knit at the robotics competition while announcing. I started Rogue. There were many problems. Problem #1? No swatch. I didn't swatch, and started with needles two sizes too small. Problem #2? I didn't realize this was a problem until over six inches were knit. Well, I realized it was a problem, but didn't accept it. This wasn't just six inches, this was six inches in the round of the body including a twisted knit hem (which took forever) that I folded over and knit up with a higher row so as to minimize later seaming. Painful to frog. Problem #3? I somehow added two stitches between the cast on and the body rows. Problem #4? I didn't knit the hem in correctly, so the front side hem inch was obviously twisted. Problem #5? I crossed a cable incorrectly, but this really turned into not much of a problem. I also didn't start the pocket (good thing too, I would have killed myself for screwing up that much!).

I didn't take pictures. I kind of wish I did, but I did not. I was fooling myself into thinking that it would still fit anyway, but when I tried it on and the 5" of body knitting became 4" on me, that was that. Gone.

I now have a wonderful body with pocket (though I messed that up again...) up to the armpit.

Anyway, I did start and finish something (4 things really) and will show the nice little cabled baglet I made while announcing at last weekend's robotics competition.

I absolutely love this pattern to death!