Sunday, April 30, 2006

Bit o' Sunshine

"Sunshine. . . on my shoulders. . .
makes me happy. . ."
--John Denver (or Kermit the Frog)

You'll understand by the end of this post.

When last we left our heroine. . .

I was singing the praises of yarn substitution. I've decided in the meantime that substituting the recommended yarn is indicative of a latent social deviance, despite the knitter's attempts to hide or disavow it. Anyone who substitutes must have a touch of antisocial personality disorder to them, including myself.

At any rate, Tuesday's weather was positively
heinous, all rainy and cold, both of which worsened as the day progressed. And I wore little sandals to work, which made it all the worse. I came home and threw myself into knitting a warm, winter-ish sweater with (still more) leftover yarn from the Knitting Olympics project that never was, and decided I was sick to death of blue. Scrounging through the stash of patterns I've acquired, I found the perfect sweater. And I know just the color it needs! What inspiration! Off to the LYS we go. . .

And Simply Marilyn is born.

And then the batteries in my camera died. But I was a Woman Possessed, and kept on knitting, only to buy batteries yesterday at the grocery. I almost missed it--

I was nearly finished with the thing before I got another shot. I didn't think I would progress this quickly; I did my homework and saw quite a few bloggers who loved the pattern, but it never stayed on their shoulders. I read how the masses of knitters knit, frogged, re-knit (take this in a few cases to the nth power), and then said, %^#* it all, I'm making my own neckline!! And I admit, I was a little scared. So, for perhaps the first time ever, I adhered to every stitch in that pattern. . . just to see if it really was that bad. . .

(A close-up of progress on the neckline.)

And guess what? It wasn't!

As usual, the sleeves are a bit short, but, well, what can ya do. . .?

The only modification I made to the pattern was not seaming the neck all the way--I did about half, maybe a little less, to give it a slightly asymmetrical look.

So here it is, the perfect sweater for sucky weather when you can't wait for pretty spring, in the color of sunshine. So even when it's blustery and rainy, you are warm (with this collar, trust me) and happy (with sunshine on your shoulders!).

Monday, April 24, 2006

What I learned

I made a pleasant discovery this weekend!

This, from Vogue's knitsimple, can be substituted with Omega Sinfonia, which costs over 50% less!

And this, from Vogueknitting, can be substituted with Red Heart Lustre Sheen! (I used this yarn for No. 4, which I just finished, too.) The gauges are identical, stitch for stitch, and row for row.

I realize this is bordering on sacrilege, substituting yarn that is recommended by Queen Vogue for cheaper yarn.....but I'm not going to pay that much. I think you can have beautiful handknitted garments, even with less expensive yarn. I'm not ruling out the "real" stuff altogether, because after all, you can't substitute every kind of yarn.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Here she is!

After ripping out the picot edge and carefully steam blocking, it's long enough.

And modest enough. I was a little scared about that one, too, after seeing the picture in the mag.

And, no, that's not a sunburn on my neck. My entire skin has been itching like a fiend today.

Yaaaay! Wooo-hoooo!!

So I was making a quick dinner earlier tonight when I discovered this:

Yarn. In the silverware drawer. I don't know what the implications of this are, but I don't think they're good.

Next up: ORANGINA! (The Sexy Knitter's Club choice this month, by the way.)

The Home Stretch

Last night I thought I reached the knitter's equivalent of the runner's wall. And then I rallied! I completed the back and one side of the neck in the front! Yaaaaaaay!

I was on a roll at this point and considered finishing it yet last night, but given that it was nearly 11 pm and the remainder consisted of mindless stockinette and counting decreases and rows, I decided against it. This is a dangerous combination for me. It's so easy to go on auto-pilot while knitting stockinette, which is a disaster if you also need to count things.

She was just as I left her this morning, and I got the other side of the neck done, and then realized I had to tink a little on the back. This is what happens when you substitute yarn and then forget to re-calculate how many stitches to bind off at the shoulders. I'm not too upset, this is no masterpiece. What started as an experiment with variegated (is this the right word?) yarn ends up as a salvageable garment. But I WON'T be wearing it to Morbidity & Mortality conference.

I became concerned that she wasn't quite long enough for me. After all, I'm 5'10" with a small but relatively long torso. So while I generally take a smaller size shirt, it tends to be a little short. So I threw on a crochet picot edge to buy a little length, only to discover over halfway through that the yarn did not match! Argh! (I'm a little worried that it took me THAT LONG to notice this.) Much weeping and gnashing of teeth! But I plowed through it, hoping that since it was at least similar in color, it might be OK once it was all done. . .


And now I've forgotten I need to eat supper. Hopefully I'll finish it tonight!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dear Glampyre

Dear Glampyre,

I tried to post on your blog but realized that you are having some issues with that. Unfortunately, I don't have your email, so I'm hoping somehow this letter reaches you through cyberspace.

I'm glad that you are finding relief with the acupunture and herbs. As an MD, cancer researcher, and surgeon-in-training, I will have to say that allopathic medicine has neglected other methods of healing such as these, disservicing many patients in the process. However, please be careful! Many people feel that herbals or "natural" therapies are completely safe, that there are no side effects or consequences for over-using. That is not the case. Herbs have a lot of different chemicals and compounds in them, many of w hich we haven't documented or characterized, and you CAN overdose or have "drug" interactions. For example, you can acutally KILL (yourself or others) with the spice nutmeg in large quantities. First, though, you have hallucinations and psychosis, then you die. It's fairly well-documented in the scientific literature.

So, carry on, but do be conscious that "natural" does not equal "foolproof" (not that I am implying you are a get the drift, yes?). Read up, consult with pharmacists or other equally trained individuals, use prudence.


P.S. I highly recommend a book called "The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods" by Michael Murray, ND. It goes through things by food groups and has a section on spices and herbs. It has some neat features, such as history and old wives' tales for various foods, plus a bonafide safety section for each food. Cheers!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

No. 4

So this is my latest project. It's from the new knitting mag by Vogue, knitsimple, pattern number 4. I switched yarns (of course, do I ever use the yarn called for?) and it's knitting up with a self-striping effect. I love it. I can stay entertained for hours with the ever-changing colors! It's a good foil to all the mindless stockinette in this pattern.

With all the stripes, of course, the flowers and leaves don't mix. They will remain un-knit. A picot edge might be a good addition--if I knew how to knit such a thing. And as mind-numbing as this pattern is, I may just knit it again in a solid so I can put on the frills.

The yarn colors aren't photographing very well, but here, I'll give it another shot (he he)---

It's a bit crooked, I know--that's what happens when you pose it on your laptop.

Other than that, there isn't much going on in my knitting world. I'm preparing a manuscript of the research I presented in Washington, DC to submit to a high-calibre scientific journal, hopefully by the end of the week. I've never written up my research before. I've always been a visiting researcher (in France, when I made fluorescent glass, and at Duke, when I worked on developmental mice models of diabetes and glucose metabolism) so it was written up by other people in the labs. I've found that writing a scientific paper for journal publication is no easy task. So the stress level is relatively high, having never written one of these before, and hoping to have it accepted by this particular journal.

Plus there is a push to get it out. At the meeting, I was approached by another researcher who advised me to get this info published asap. Why? "Did the Japanese come around and take a lot of photos of your poster?" No. "Well, yesterday, they were taking a lot of pictures, as if they planned to copy the research, and someone complained to the coordinator, so maybe they were advised not to take photos. But you need to get this out before they do." Point taken. My sincere apologies if you took lots of photos, or are Japanese, no offense is meant, but with this kind of word on the streets, I'm going to get the research published asap. I'm not taking any chances.

Here's a photo of what the poster section looked like. This is only about 1/5 the size of the room. It was ginormous!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wear Thy Knitting

In an effort to take this maxim to heart, I frogged the project I mentioned yesterday. I just couldn't feel proud about wearing it. I kind of felt like the three-year-old child who thinks he created a masterpiece, when he did was scribble on the wall with crayons.

Photos when there is actually something worth photographing.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

So. I'm here and well. Apparently my posts aren't interesting enough to get people asking where/how I am when I don't post, like they do for Eunny. Maybe it's because I blog while I drink my morning coffee. My humor isn't as dry and my cynicism isn't as acidic when I'm only half (quarter?)-caffeinated. Maybe this will add some punch:

He he.

Washington DC was great-- here are a few choice photos for you. I think they speak for themselves.

Trying to release my inner photographer.

I'm thinking about enlarging and framing this one for my room--it sort of has the same Asian theme as the print of orchids already there.

Bud (not her real name) and I found the neatest flea marketat the Eastern Market metro stop. On the way there, we stumbled across this odd store. This one's for you, Schmidtty!

What the flea market yielded.

My cracked and bleeding heels--a byproduct of winter--necessitated a Born shoe purchase, but alas, the trek from the Capitol building to the Washington Monument became my personal Via Dolorosa. And at the end of the day, fairskinned Jaws was fried like a pork chop. I had no IDEA this was coming.

I've been knitting, too. I'm a little bashful to show a photo yet. I can't decide if I like it or not, but I've knitted quite a bit and feel too committed to frog.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Baby Pic