Monday, January 09, 2006


A cute bear from a free pattern

I made this bear a while ago, and then gave him to my sister-in-law without taking a picture. But I smuggled him away for some documentation while we were visiting at Christmas.

I used this pattern, but instead of the Berroco Foliage I used GGH Esprit and I used either size 10 or 10 1/2 needles (I can't remember) instead of the 11s in the pattern. His legs and belly and head are all made round by short rows, and I think the shape turns out really cute. If I was to knit another, I would go down to 9s to make it harder for the stuffing to poke out.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


a very nice unexpected present

The undergraduate that works with me left me a present on my desk before she left for winter break.

Such a nice present! And very, very generous. A cute basket and 15 balls of yarns! (click the picture to see them.) Her mom knits, so I'm pretty sure she suggested the idea. The problem with this lovely present is that I had not planned on giving her a gift. So I was forced to go out and buy some Manos del Uruguay (for the first time!) to make her a scarf. I think I'm going to make this one. But the yarn is so pretty I just want to pet it.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


A happy ending

I finished the beaded sweater from Vintage Knits quite a while ago (I posted a picture from the pattern here), but right when I was finished seaming it up I knew that it was too small for my mom. The sweater itself came out the right size according to the pattern, but it is still really small. I should have asked my mom for the measurements of a sweater that she owns that has a fit she likes, but of course I thought I was smart and that large would be fine. No, I was wrong, I am stupid and I have learned a VERY VERY IMPORTANT LESSON ABOUT KNITTING. But I will learn the lesson now since I spent somewhere between 80 and 100 hours knitting a sweater that does not fit. I knit many of those hours in Ireland, here I am by the side of the road during a photography break.

la, la, la, I am a happy oblivious knitter

The main problem is that it is too short. So for anyone wanting to make patterns out of this book, I would tell you to make sure you are comfortable with how short the tops will be (and it tells you what the final length will be RIGHT THERE in the pattern, I was just too lazy to think about what those numbers meant in real life) or add some length before you decrease for the sleeves. I should have been a little clued in to how short it would be since in every picture in the book, gorgeous women are lazing around in their fancy handknit sweaters and their underwear. Really, I'm not kidding. And you can see quite clearly that most of the sweaters are above their belly buttons. But I thought maybe they were just tall models. And in the picture for this particular sweater the model is all hunched over and you can't see how long it is. (It is apparent that I am not getting my PhD in knitting. Now that I have mastered the lost art of the tape measure, I shall never make this mistake again.) But it is also a very small large, so if you would like an average size large and to actually have some drape and not be a fancy beaded sausage casing, you would either have to do some maths to figure out a bigger size or maybe use a thicker yarn and hope the sweater magically comes out the size you want. I am too lazy for the first option and smart enough to realize the second option is insanity. I contemplated picking up the stitches at the bottom and knitting more ribbing downward, but it needs at least 2.5 inches more length and I think that will be too much ribbing and detract from the pretty beads, so I am just going to find a different beautiful sweater to knit for my mom.

my mother's failed Christmas present

I used Frog Tree Alpaca yarn in fingering weight, color number 92. I only ended up using 3.26 balls of the 6 I bought (about 700 yards), and since I bought the yarn during a sale, even with the beads this sweater only cost me about $16 to make. And the alpaca is very soft. It was kind of a pain to push all the beads down as you knit (you have to thread the beads onto each ball of yarn before you start) because the alpaca is a little hairy and the beads would get stuck on the little balls of fluff that collected as they were pushed by.

So, the happy ending is that I asked my labmate Sally if she would take the sweater home and try it on to see if it fit and to see if she liked it. And it did and she did! I am so excited that I get to give it to someone I know, and she likes it so much!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


My last new knitting project for a long time

Since I decided not to cast on for anything new until I finish everything I'm currently working on I have knit exactly zero stitches, which was a week ago today. I guess my fingers are protesting my decision. But luckily today the yarn arrived for the one exception to my resolution: Cynthia's hat and scarf. She wants a plain ribbed cuff hat (this pattern) and an Irish hiking scarf. She bought one of my favorite yarns, Elsbeth Lavold Angora in Misty Blue. I am going to make the hat first so that I can make the scarf as long as possible. I love knitting angora, especially today when my hands are rough and sore from going to the climbing gym.

Don't worry Cynthia, I told Lloyd to keep his cat hair-covered cuteness away from your yarns. (imagine evil cat chuckle here)

I noticed yesterday that I only take pictures of Lloyd, but this is because he jumps into the picture when I'm taking it (well, usually - the Santa suit was not his idea). Apparently I am not interesting enough for the other cats.

Stop making all those noises to make us look at you, you are booooring us.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


A lost art

My dad was very excited to give me this book for Christmas:

Bryan, a towel origami natural, got right to work making the elephant, and he turned out very well.

I don't know if I'll ever use my newfound knowledge of this lost art, but it's always good to add another useless skill for my cv, to go along with western blots and PCR. At least this is entertaining.

The author apparently spends a lot of time thinking about reasons you don't need a man, making candles, folding towels, dressing up dogs in fancy outfits, knitting, making birdhouses, cross-stitching, microwaving dough, and decoupage-ing. And gets paid for that. I need a new job.

Monday, January 02, 2006


Love never goes out of fashion

When I was about 13, my aunt Alison knit me a sweater. I have always kept it in my closet, because even then I knew that she spent a lot of time making it. But now I really know. The colors are a little late-80s (although it was the late-80s) and it is a very hairy and itchy mohair, but there is lots and lots of love knitted into that sweater. So I wore it to work a few weeks ago. I was a vision in green, magenta, and white mohair. Even in Berkeley, I think I scared people. I really have to wear it more often.

When I was in Ireland, Alison picked out a sweater for me to knit for her. She chose the Pinup Queen sweater from Stitch and Bitch in purple. I even bought the yarn the pattern calls for, Classic Elite Lush. It is so so soft! I really wanted to have it done for her birthday on January 17th, but I have only finished a sleeve so far.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Welcoming 2006

I love when a new year starts. So many possibilities, a chance to start everything over. Last year I made my resolution to be a better person. Very vague, but that was on purpose. I started volunteering at Meals on Wheels in April, delivering lunches every Wednesday, and I volunteered for and raised money with the National AIDS Marathon Training Program for the SF AIDS foundation from April to October. So far I have raised $3990! Thank you so much to everyone who sponsored me! So 2005 was the first year ever that I actually kept a resolution. And I didn't write it down anywhere, but I've been trying to stop biting my fingernails pretty much since I had teeth. The day after the marathon (November 1st), I suddenly realized how gross that habit is and didn't want to bite them anymore. So for the first year ever, that doesn't have to be one of my resolutions.

For 2006, then, I'm going to get ambitious and make more than one resolution and make them more specific. I can do it, I'm on a roll! So here is my list.

1. Be a better time manager.
2. Keep my houseplants alive.
3.(a) Clean and organize my house and get rid of all the shit we never use.
(b) Stop buying shit that we'll never use.
4. Bring my lunch to work every day.
5. Finish every single work in progress in my knitting basket before starting anything else. I have no idea how many there are, I stopped counting at 10. Except for Cynthia's hat and scarf out of lovely soft yarn that she bought and is sending me. Poor Cynthia is in Massachusetts and is very cold.
6. Make Lloyd a sweater. He definitely needs a sweater. And maybe a mustache.

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