Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy things!

This is Knit had a sale this week, and I got this much yarn

Five skeins of Noro Aya,
six skeins of Louisa Harding Willow Tweed,

three skeins of Louisa Harding Rosetti,
four skeins of miscellanoues (Sublime, Debbie Bliss Rialto and Sirdar chunky bamboo)
 for sixty-one euro.

Some of them I have plans for (the Willow Tweed will one day be a top), and the others are just for the sake of stocking up while it's cheap.



I have finished my Christmas shopping, and only have a few more presents left to make.  I bought slightly fancy wrapping paper (recycled and all) and my presents look like this:

which I think is nice.


I own a colander now!  No more steam-burning my hands when I need to drain rice or pasta using a bowl!

I went to my boyfriend's work Christmas dinner last night, and had this novelty beer.

So novel I stole the bottle.  It was nice initially, but it tasted more like beer and less like ginger ale the more I drank.  Pity.


Term is finished!  Last week I handed in an essay worth 8% of my degree.  The day before it was due I was talking to my PI, who also set that essay title, and when I described what I'd done she said it wasn't quite what she'd had in mind.  Handed in regardless, and the person I believe is my second reader is quite a lenient marker.  So that could go alright.  Plus, today I was in the lab and when I was using the cryostat approximately one in three specimens were undamaged!  I'm on fire.


My class are having a Christmas dinner later.  In the meantime, I'm going to sit in the warm, knitting and emailing neuroscience PIs about research positions for next year.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Free things!

My mum somehow mentioned to a woman in her choir that I knit, and she was very excited.  Every so often my mum will come and and say that she was asking for me, do I still like the knitting, etc.  Last week she came home saying that the woman had come to her saying that she had some knitting books she hadn't any use for, and she didn't want me to feel obliged, but if I'd like them I was welcome to them.

So now I have these!

They have some cute speedy patterns, and one jumper I want to make.  (The 'casual jumper' on the cover of the one on the right.)  Dilemma:  It's a nice jumper, and the patterns recommends a brand of (machine-washable) yarn that I want to use in a project.  ~16 balls for my size though, and about seven euro a ball.  First world problems!

Monday, December 5, 2011

As deadlines loom, I knit in lectures so my hands don't go crazy.

"I'm so jealous of how productive Jen is!  You'll just be sitting in a lecture, taking notes, contributing to the discussion, making insightful points, and, like, producing a hat at the same time."


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas knitting.

My much lamented circle scarf for my brother's girlfriend, over from Boston this weekend:

She hasn't opened it yet and I'm not sure if it's rude to suggest that she does before she leaves.  Seeing people's reactions is the fun of presents!

I think seed stitch is the third bowl of porridge of basic stitches.  Not as plain as garter stitch, not as rolly as stockinette or ribbing.   Just right!

The yarn is leftover Tupa from a shrug I made when a colleague of my mum's was retiring.  It is fifty percent merino and fifty percent silk and just wow.

Owl hat for the sister of a friend of a friend!  (The friend-of-friend was the recipient of the unicorn hat.)  The hat is made with Freedom Purity, which is a mix of wool and alpaca, because it was the most owlish colour scheme in the shop.  The eyes and beak were hanging around from other projects, all acrylic, I think.

I wish the bags under my eyes were filled with TIME.

Seed stitch brim because I'm only mad for it these days.

Yet another brainmonster!  I took quite a lot of pictures, but is too big for my head - it's for a friend's brother-in-law - so they all look silly and make the hat look bad.  I'm not sure if I managed to make the eyes look wacky and googly, rather than just clumsily made, but said friend is happy with it!

This was waiting for me when I came home for the weekend.  Never too old.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The mobius scarf.

I am going to use the phrase "Mobius scarf" about fifty times in this post so that other people in my position might come across it in their Googling and not make the same mistake I did.

A mobius strip, for those who aren't maths geeks, is "a surface with only one side and only one boundary component."

Pretty cool!  So imagine how excited I was when I discovered I could combine my enthusiuasm for maths with an enthusiasm for knitting in the Mobius scarf!  I made one of these Mobius scarves for a friend, and I like how it turned out, but as I found the start of the pattern a little difficult to work, I had to use another pattern for advice.

As mentioned in an earlier post, my brother's girlfriend is coming over for Christmas, and as she's a scientist I thought she would appreciate a Mobius scarf!  Alas, I couldn't find the tutorial that had helped me out the first time.  I did, however, come across a few sources telling me that to make a Mobius scarf, I should twist to join in the round.  How handy!  Alas again!  The finished product wasn't a Mobius scarf, but had a complete twist in it.  I must have over-twisted it.  No matter, start again.  This time it would be a snuggly feat of maths!


I read this (lovely) tutorial yesterday, and something about it seemed strange to me.

"Depending on what you like, you can leave some twists to create a mobius-like effect, or get all the twists out for a more traditional scarf."


Thank you, Morbo.

So it turns out that "Mobius scarf", in the knitting community, refers to any twisted circle scarf rather than a cosy mathematical quirk.  Good to know!  For my own part, I'm surly and have changed my mind about how much she'd like it (Do microbiologists instantly like maths?  Who knows), so it's going to be a plain ol' circle scarf instead.


Mobius scarf.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

FO: Kris Kindle scarf

My class are doing a Kris Kindle, so I made this circle scarf for the girl whose name I drew.

Winter sun and pasty Irish skin make for a lot of glare!

Used up the last skein of this mystery yarn!  I had lots of it for some reason, and I've long since lost the label, but I think it's Rowan and some sort of merino.  Lovely and soft anyway.  Touch touch touch.

I think the hip-young-thing way to wear these is with a bit of length in them, but it's less cosy that way.  Looped around a third time keeps your neck all snuggly.  I may make one for myself, I'm pro-warmth.  When I went outside to take these photos I didn't bother putting on shoes, and it turned out the grass was wet, so when I came back in I had to take off my socks.  Then I realised the shadow of the camera was in a few of the photos, so I went back out barefoot, and HOLY GOD my poor toes.

Also I got most of my hair cut off again.  Long hair never prepared me for the eventuality of my ears being cold.  I tried to dye it red and it turned out purple, but I think it looks okay.

I have a new resolution: to try to take decent photos of my makings.  Difficult in college accommodation where I can't open the blinds, but home has a garden and sunlight!  This is partly because I'm considering opening an Etsy shop, but partly just on principle.  Even though it means waiting until my family aren't around because going into the garden and taking photos of myself feels narcissistic.

Friday, November 25, 2011

FO Friday: Fingerless mittens.

I really like the idea of FO Friday/wip Wednesday posts (regular alliteration!), but the former would be far and few between, and the latter would get quite repetitive.

A friend of a friend requested a pair of bright pink fingerless mittens, so these happened.

I think they turned out well enough, given that I didn't use a pattern.  I just put them on as I was knitting to work out when fingers were long enough, and where the pouch should go.

Last night I also finished a Mobius scarf to be given as a Christmas present, but realised I had put in a full twist instead of a half-twist.  Annoying times.  It's been frogged, and there's weeks yet.

The new cryostat in the lab keeps acting up and damaging my specimens!  It is ever so sad.  And last weekend I cycled out to St. James' to get some books from their library, but got lost on the way, and when I got there it was closed, even though the website told me it would still be open.  First world problems over here.

Came across this on a fashion blog.

When the Blackberry Market in Rathmines used to still exist, there was a old woman who had a stall that was just a room full of wool. It was packed to the ceiling and would spill out the door and you'd have to rummage deep within for whatever colour wool you were looking for. This was before knitting was cool again, though. Now you can get wool in little boutique shops in the Powerscourt Centre and isn't that what it's all about, really.

I could shout "Hipster!" at this a bunch of times, but... I've been knitting since the only places you could get yarn were Hickeys, Woollen Mills and that shop across from the Ilac Centre with sewing machines in the window.  I still love going into any of those shops.  I also love going into This Is Knit, the "little boutique shop in the Powerscourt Centre."  I'll spend twice as long as I need to, out of wanting to make everything out of everything.  This Is Knit is certainly fancier, and more indulgent, but there's no harm in that.  It seems strange that someone who's interested in high fashion, when Dunnes covers your body from the elements just as well, would complain about not-strictly-necessary self-indulgence in another field.

I could really go for a yarn-shopping day.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Nearly broke my two week rule.

I am alive!  Fourth year is hard.  I spilled blood from a chick embryo on my skirt today.  I missed the Knitting and Stitching fair last week to go to SVP intervarsities, came away buzzier than I would have otherwise.  People were impressed by the fact that I was knitting away for the weekend.  I am making gloves!

At this stage they could conceivably be called gloves already, but I'm making an extra pouch to be sewn to the side so that they can serve as mittens if needs be.  They're for a friend of a friend, and a different friend of that friend wants to meet me to commission a hat.  And I have to make another brainmonster for another friend's brother-in-law for Christmas.  And socks for my mammy and maybe a scarf for my brother's girlfriend, and finish a secret thing I started yonks ago.  And the lab got a new cryostat so I can start sectioning my samples from the Summer tomorrow!  And I made chickpea curry as a late dinner, with a view to not eating much and using the rest for lunch tomorrow, but I'm not sure what's left will do for lunch.  And I put in twice as much curry paste as usual in my sleepy state and my mouth kind of burns.  And I may have volunteered to make a rabbit mask for the panto.  And I have to find a pair of size 15 riding boots for Prince Charming.  So!

Does anyone read this, even?  Who knows.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

This weekend's makings

My friend Conor made a cast of my face for a mask on Friday.  Unfortunately I left it setting in my apartment in college, and haven't had a chance to go back in.  But I can finish it off and use it next year!

Fun fact: I find scenes in films where someone gets a bag tied around their head, or has it wrapped in cling-film, incredibly distressing to watch.  Moreso than most torture.  So this was a kind of terrifying experience.

My little brother came over and baked cookies for a VDP bake sale.  (You can also see the mask has a more defined mouth, I forgot the 'after' photo.)

 Speedy hat for a friend from stash yarn.

My mum asked for Amy gloves.  I have tiny child hands.

My wips and projects-to-be are all in college, so I'm contenting myself with knitting squares for the Henry Bear Blanketeers.  This yarn has been in my house for years - my grandmother used it to make a cardigan for my sister as a baby.  (That sister is now twenty-seven.)  I didn't know my grandmother - she died when I was three months old.  By all accounts she sounds like a wonderful person, and I would have liked to have known her, but I really can't agree with her taste in yarn.

The buttons on the cardigan were little yellow rabbits.
 Going to a good use though, finally!

Now to work through a stats podcast and then find a horror film to watch!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dolling myself up.

I went to a party last night and tried to turn myself into a creepy doll for it.  I hadn't done a run-through of the costume or make-up, and ended up as more of a goth kid instead.  Oops.

Anyway, here are photos!

If I straightened and dyed my hair I could have gone as a Beatle!  Too late, too late.

Normal hair...

Hair full of gel.

This is just cheesy, and defeats its own point since the finger hides the stitches, please do not judge me.

And off I go to hang out outside Central Bank!
What are you dressing up as?

Monday, October 24, 2011

These should be mandatory.

There just isn't a word for how useful these are when you forget to put your circs back in the packet straight away.  Plus steel needles are kind of fancy.


I'm probably going to vote for Michael D. Higgins on Thursday.  He seems dacent, and hasn't murdered anyone, which is always... the absolute baseline for giving someone power, not exactly a positive, but anyway.  In no way have I been influenced by this.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Words are tricky, except when they're not.

The internet's crush on Stephen Fry is perfectly understandable.  No-one, hive-minds included, shouldn't have a crush on Stephen Fry.  That said, I rather wish he hadn't said this.

I understand not caring that someone is 'offended' by gay couples existing right there in public, or by schools not being segregated, or by God being removed from the constitution (not that that's a concern in Ireland, ever.  And yet some people are concerned about the lack of Jesus in daily life!).  Like this woman.  This woman is a small person, and if I met her and she made me a cake and let me play with a puppy I wouldn't like her.  The problem is that in these cases, the word is being misappropriated, and thanks to this "I'm offended" has come to mean "I'm whining because the world isn't to my sensibilities, wah."

The word "offended" needs to exist, though, or there needs to be a word to replace it.  I know words change in meaning, but "I'm offended" is a nice, blame-shifting way of calling people out on thoughtless or plain abusive language or behaviour - an attack on their personhood, an offensive act in the "opposite of defence" sense of the word.  Needlessly thoughtful, actually, no-one says "I'm punched" after you give them a bloody nose.

The most bizarro thing is that even with the thoughtful "I" and shift in responsibility and use of a watered-down term, people go on the defensive if you suggest they've caused - performed - offense.  "I didn't mean actually retarded/I'm not racist/My gay friend laughed."  Good for you, knowing or blithely assuming that you're not a bigot.  Not everyone you meet knows that, and it's not their responsibility to give you the benefit of the doubt - you need to show it.  Not using dehumanising terms, or purely descriptive words as insults, is a bang-up start.  Otherwise, however cluelessly or unintentionally, you're attacking them.  Going on the offensive, one might say.  And then, through your actions and yours alone, they're attacked.  Offended, to use a slightly old sense of the word.


My feminism will be intersectional or it will be bullshit.  I read the title of this post and thought "Wow I want to tattoo that on my face put that on some form of clothing," then I read the post itself, and felt sad and squirmy.

I'm not very fussy about labels.  If I find something that describes something I already feel like, I'll adopt that, but only because it sometimes saves on wordy descriptions.  I love learning, guess I'm a nerd.  I have girl parts, guess I'm a girl.  I like making things, guess I'm a craftster.  I believe people of all gender and sexual identities are equal, guess I'm a feminist.

The feminism one has always been a little inconvenient because it's a subset of what I believe about equality.  I also believe people of all skin colours, all physical and mental capabilities, all classes are equal.  Everyone is people, all the time!  These things aren't strictly covered by the term "feminist".  But my first feminist blog was Fugitivus)which discusses feminism, race and class - perhaps more extreme than I am now, but I have a fondness for the blog and author, though sadly it seems to have fallen out of use) which led me to my first anti-racism blog ,Stuff White People Do (mainly race-based but has some elements of feminism, as WoC get it from both directions - again, no longer updated but remembered with fondness), where I came across Womanist Musings (race, gender and sexual identity, class, religion, most aspects of social justice, really).  I don't know if I'm bad at logic and assumed people who used the same label as me felt the same as me, but or if the route I took to this section of the internet led me to believe so, but I always assumed that 'feminist' really meant 'social justice-ist, including feminist'.  You don't have to act on all the issues ever, but how can you care about one and not at least see the rest to be wrong.  Then stuff like this happens:

and some people actually defend it and try to call it a feminist act.  So maybe I need a new word.


My little brother, who has just started studying in the same college as me, texted me today to ask if he could come heat up some food in my microwave.  When he got here, he had milk, tea, biscuits (two packets as he didn't know what kind I like), and two packets of pasta.  It made me feel all fuzzy inside.  Nice things happen too!