Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
I have two spot tests after Christmas (which count for 50% of their respective modules, so I think it's a misnomer). Before Reading Week we had Invertebrate Form and Function, and after we had Vertebrates. Every week in the museum room there'd be a demo set up of specimens relevant to that week's lectures, porifera right up to mammalia. (Everyone in the class has griped a bit about the fact that we spent so long on jellyfish and sped through mammals in less than a week. I know invertebrates are terribly important, but I have a pretty strong bias towards things which have a proper vertebral column.) For the test, we'll be shown a sample of pictures of the specimens and have to identify them. Depending on how complicated and order a given phylum is, this can require giving Phylum - Subphylum - Class - Sub-class - Order - Sub-order - Genus - Species. And there were over a hundred specimens out in the final week of term. Sometimes I am confident, sometimes I am not. I've been flip-flopping on the value of it as well.I like the notion of being able to be all "oh yeah, that's X and it's related to Y and possesses these properties which enabled this other thing to evolve or stem from this ancestor!" but in a broader way than "You can see that the gill slits are much reduced and the eyes are lidless but have a thin membrane covering them and only the forelimbs are developed which is atypical of the Order." For such a simple and obvious concept, I do find evolution to be wonderfully beautiful and elegant, but it can be hard to transfer that into a motivation to learn that THIS dead thing in a jar has three toes in it's forelimb but THIS one has four. Or maybe I'm making excuses.
I didn't make many Christmas presents this year. For the most part I couldn't think of ideas, and a present the person has no use for isn't any more considerate just because I made it myself. I am finding it hard to think of projects lately, which is a minor problem to the point of not counting, but it makes me uncomfortable. Usually my issue is lack of time rather than lack of ideas, so I worry I'm getting boring, and it's a shame to lose a hobby. But I want to make myself socks and a jumper and turn some old t-shirts into different things, so maybe I'm not doing too badly. Going to go wool-shopping sometime this week.
Whenever people gripe about Christmas I feel childish for liking it to the extent that I do. Yes, it is materialistic, it is manipulative, it is hard on people. Yes, people shouldn't have to have twinkly lights up to remember to call loved ones. But if it does remind them, what harm? For my own part, I like having everyone together. I like that all my family come home, and I like that there's a set time where friends will make the extra effort to meet up. I don't think it's a reminder to show you care, just of the very fact that you do. I like cheesy cracker jokes. And I like thinking of a present I think someone will like, a token of appreciation of friendship or affection or something. I like giving presents, and it's odd to do so for most of the year. Also, the twinkly lights are awfully pretty.
I can get myself very angry, and the world is very beautiful, and I need to find a balance on how much store I set by these things. I don't have much patience for people sitting around discussing grand political ideas and what kind of world would suit best, and then when they get into the finer points of such a world, oh do I wear out. Because I'm sure it would be lovely, but people are hungry and lonely and falling by the wayside in the real broken world in which you're having this conversation. I like discussing Concepts, but more ones like racism or sexism or blah which are real things towards which I can change my attitude -> my interactions -> the world a teeny-tiny bit. Sometimes I get so frustrated with abstract ideals I could cry because you could be doing something, organising something, changing something, but it's not my place to tell people what to discuss. But maybe it's rude to have a conversation one person can't join in on. And then when it comes to the doing, organising, changing, there's so little I can do. So much is wrong. And if I forget it I can become complacent, and if I only focus on the bad it's easy to become overwhelmed and stop trying for the same reason and just be an unproductive little ball of ANGRY. But the world is also achingly beautiful, and the point of getting angry and then doing stuff is to try and make it beautiful for everyone. But I also don't want to focus on the good alone and see the ugly through rose-tinted glasses. And good things don't negate the bad, or vice-versa - some people were mean to me in secondary school but people are nice in college! Unrelated! - but when there's more of the bad it's easier to feel a little helpless. "Today I helped an eight-year-old kid with their homework and we told each other stories and played chasing in the yard, five years later they ran away from home because it wasn't safe for them." "I bought a sandwich for a homeless man a month ago and we had a chat and he froze to death one night during the snow." I'm not sure where I'm going from this, because there's nothing I can conclude. Nothing to be done but keep going. Making on person day brighter for an hour or two a week is so much more than nothing, even if it feels so tiny. The world is so huge and wonderful and tragic.
I don't know what I would like to do when I'm all grown up. I think I would be happy to work in a lab, there is a wonderful joy in finding things out and how amazing would it be to be the first person finding them out? At the same time, so much time that I could be helping people directly, just so I can feel a thrill of discovery? I don't mean to imply the latter option would be a sacrifice, I like working with people and I like feeling useful. But if my job is trying to fix things, it might burn me out to doing outside volunteering, in which case it makes more sense to go into research and keep up the auld volunteer work. Who knows.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Every year when our heating breaks, my dad expresses his envy of my big cosy socks. they don't seem to make men's socks in a cosy form other than.. socks, but thicker, so I knitted these for him.
I ran out of wool, but not by nearly enough for it to be worth buying another ball. So there's a blue stripe on the bottom of one. Shows it's made with love.
I have stubby little feet, they'll be snugger on my dad.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
I still have to give him tentacles and build tiny fleeing snowmen.
Also the angle is funny because it's at the front of my garden so people walking by can see it, but I didn't want the fence to be in the photo so had to lift the camera up higher than most people will be viewing it.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
I finally got around to making it! A yarn shop in town was selling giant (200g) balls of chunky wool for €6, and I was already having a wool-shopping day, so I picked it up. I used the Skully Stitch 'n' Bitch book, minus the intarsia. I started it at the end of August, and finished it last weekend. I didn't realise how stripy the wool would turn out, and it's bigger than I intended (though I had deliberately made it longer than the pattern said to), but I'm happy with it, and now I can still make the other jumper I had in my head another time.
My best friend is a theoretical physicist (in the making) so I made her a Mobius scarf for her twenty-first birthday. I'm told it has been much appreciated by the maths society in college.
I used this pattern, though I had to look elsewhere to clarify some of the instructions, and the wool is Louisa Harding Grace, which is only gorgeous.
My little brother turned eighteen at the beginning of this month. He's liked pigs since he was a wee little thing, and goes through phases of liking various forms of juggling, so I made him a set of juggling pigs.
The pattern is great, it's simple and takes no time to make. that said, I did have to fudge it a little. It requires felting for the snout and ears, which I don't know how to do and hadn't allowed time to learn. My improvised ears look passable though. I also stuffed them with intact juggling balls rather than beans, for fear they'd leak.
My boyfriend gave me a voucher to a specialist yarn shop for our anniversary last year, so I thought I should be a bit self-indulgent and make myself something biggish. I had seen someone else post a picture of a top they made using this pattern, which looked lovely. I started it in February, but between birthdays, college, travelling, and general being busy I didn't finish it until August. It's bigger than I wanted it to be (I cannot gauge to save my life, it seems), but I was able to fix that a bit with blocking, and I think it still looks alright.
The yarn used is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino, which is absolutely lovely.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
I made this for my aunt's sixtieth birthday at the start of the summer. Between exams, travelling, and miscellaneous, it ended up being a bit late, but she loved it. The colour doesn't show up very well in the photos, it looks a little more purple in real life. Pattern is the Meandering Vines Shawl, very easy to knit and it looks quite lovely!
Monday, May 24, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
I made this scarf for my little brother for Christmas. The pattern is Kimberley Kwon's Musical Illusion Knit, from Ravelry. This is the first time I've done any illusion knitting - I got a fair way into it, convinced myself I was following the pattern wrongly, ripped it out, realised the same thing was happening again, realised I'd been right the first time. And I wonder where my time goes. It also took me some time to convince my family that there was a treble clef there (to be fair, it's not the easiest angle to see). The photo was a help!
The yarn is Debbie Bliss Como, which is very soft and cosy. It'd be nice to make a jumper out of were it not kind of expensive. I am currently (read: in between making other presents and studying for/sitting exams) making this top, which is kind of a jumper, but I want to make a big snuggly jumper sometime. As soon as I find some cheap, chunky wool.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
I made this skirt last summer, with help from my aunt (mostly instructions on how to use my grandmother's sewing machine). I bought the material the Christmas before because it was pretty and on sale, but it took me a while to find a pattern I liked. I used a Burda pattern (which my aunt tells me was a bit ambitious for a first project, and I don't think they'd be my first port of call again until I get a bit better), though I can't find the envelope with the number just now.
It's a bit fancy so I haven't had too many occasions to wear it, but I still like it very much!
It's a bit fancy so I haven't had too many occasions to wear it, but I still like it very much!
Saturday, April 24, 2010
I made a passport cover for my dad's birthday. Kind of. I finished it at three in the morning the day before his birthday, then realised it was too small. So my options were to stay up all night or give him that part of the present late. I opted for the latter, and then took nearly a month to get around to making it... I'm a terrible daughter. More of this was handsewn than I had intended, as it took me a while to work out the tension settings on the new sewing machine, but I got it in the end!
The outer cover is a fairly light cotton, but it's lined with curtain lining (left over from a bag I made for a friend), so that makes it a bit sturdier. The clouds and airplane are felt.
Fun fact: it is hard to make a cute cartoon airplane not look like a shark.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I made this for my mum for her birthday last weekend, using this very lovely tutorial. I've thrown out the package the wire came in, so I can't remember what gauge it is... It's very light, even though it looks quite bulky, and I'm very happy with how it turned out. I have a lot of wire over so I'll see what else I can work them into.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
The dark green one was the first toy I knitted, a Christmas present for my boyfriend. (He's allergic to wool, which meant the usual presents weren't really an option.)
My brother then requested the light green one, and when his girlfriend saw it she said she'd befriend me just so she could ask me to make one, so there'll be another one on its way soon. I also have to knit a lab coat for my brother's one.
The pattern is the very wonderful Grumpasaurus by Kat Knits.
I have a habit of staying up late to finish whatever I'm working on and taking photos straight away. This leads to some pretty poor photos, as my digital camera is a contrary beast.