Monday, July 25, 2011


Some friends of the family, more dearly loved by our dog than we were, gave me some money for my 21st, and since the wife is a big knitter this seemed a fitting way to spend it.

I do like sale items! This will probably get turned into a hat or mobius scarf.

I bought five balls of this and it is going to be a cardigan!  Purple and turquoise are the best colours.  I probably prefer the colourway of the Tivoli, but this is machine-washable.

Doctor Who scarf!  It's a mish-mash of yarns based on what was cheapest and looked sort of right.  I got some colours quite wrong - I didn't print off a picture, so was going from memory, and apparently my memory changes colours.  So if it were intended to be a replica it'd be a bit cutesy and cartoony, but I like how it's turning out.  Unfortunately I can't bring it anywhere as it's just not very efficient.  I'm only half-way through it and it's already very long on me...

Cut off all my hair again!

I'm leaving for a month in the Amazon rainforest on Wednesday (my life is a pretty great life), and I didn't want my hair to be on my neck or in my eyes or generally annoying.

I hold my hands up as a nervous thing without realising, but this was the best photo.
The fringe is silly-looking, so that it will have grown back in by the time I'm home but not be annoying while I'm there.  I think I'll like it better once the fringe has grown in, though I'm happy enough with it now.  I'm moderately confident I could pull off drag.  It's short enough to make it spiky, too!  Though not for very long, my hair is very thick and gravity is a potent force.  Also, when I was looking for hair gel, all the products in the "Hair" aisle where for taming frizz and maximising volume (I already have giant hair, and it will take more than some puny spray to not have it go everywhere), but no hair gel.  There wasn't a "Men's hair" aisle, so I went on a hunt, and eventually found it in the "Men's toiletries" section.  I guess this says something about gender roles, but mostly it's a little baffling.  Toiletries are shower products and soap and bathroom things.  Hair gel is for hair that is already dry because you've already showered.  Also it is not a necessity for polite society.  This could just be me being "HOW DO I HAIR" but there was an aisle for hair products, and I don't understand why you'd hide in in a different aisle!

My poor scaffold got caught by the comb a lot though.  Not ideal.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


So I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 for the very first time this weekend (I am a rubbish fan-girl, again), and this is just the sweetest scene.

Bonus: Nick Cave's voice!

This weekend, I will hopefully get to see Deathly Hallows Part 2.  Will be so disappointed if I don't get to see the last film in the cinema, since I missed the last two.

Monday, July 18, 2011


The other week, a friend and I were talking about polyamory (which I think is the most reasonable relationship system - if a friend told me I couldn't have other friends now that I had them I'd run for the hills, and, since it's occurred to me to think about it, I've never fully understood why romantic love is different.  But I'm not jealous in romance, and some people are, and it's nice to put things on a pedestal I guess, so different strokes.) Her take on it is that different partners fulfil different needs.  My working definition of romance is "like friendship, but fuzzier", so I keep drawing different conclusions.

I have some baseline level of friendship that I require in my life to feel functional.  I need to be reasonably confident that I can walk into a room and be able to talk to at least some people reasonable easily, and not have to sit by myself or feel I'm intruding or unwanted.  It's not a high bar, and once achieved I get to feel not too neurotic.  Once that threshold is crossed, the friendship becomes increasingly fuzzy, and then things get fantastic.

What is lovely in friendship is that, past my "yay people can stand me" threshold, people are creating niches, rather than filling them.  I don't strictly need someone with whom I can talk about feminism and funny things dogs do and food (hey, alliteration!), or Doctor Who and David Tennant and who would die first if this were a horror film?, or crafts and lecturers and this job, amirite?  I could go out and find people who would be happy to talk about at least one of those topics - I don't need the people who are there already.  I want them.  And I think that's wonderful, it makes people more than the sum of their parts in your interactions with them.

Being needed makes me feel useful - being optional and still wanted makes me feel fuzzy.

This does also make it hurt when people leave, or change - you still have a Sally-shaped space in your life, but Sally doesn't fit it any more, or you've both changed to a degree where you don't fit each other anymore.  And that hurts the most I think, when you haven't quite grown apart, when you still want the person's friendship but it just won't benefit either of you.  But that's okay too, it mattered enough in the first place to hurt.

"How lucky I am to have something that makes it so hard to say goodbye!"
In conclusion: friendship is nice.  Revelatory stuff.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The boy who lived, come to die...

Slytherin scarf!  (Request was for something like this.)  Pretty rubbish photos - I finished this at one in the morning on the day it was due (for an evening Harry Potter premiere), so have crummy better-take-photos-in-case-I-don't-get-another-chance photos in my room's light, and had a meeting in work the next morning so didn't get that chance.  I'm psychic!

One photo in decent natural light...

I need a haircut and would make a good indie boy.
My mirror has stuff all over it, so it's not  great for photos, but here's the length of it (it's for someone a little shorter than I am), and also my PJs!
From when I was eleven to eighteen I knit hardly anything but plain garter stitch scarves.  There's something a little comforting and friendly about going back to it.

Now I'm going to watch Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for the first time.  I am a terrible fan-girl.  And soon I will be all caught up and then I can go to the cinema for the last one.  I am excited!

"How many of the things you're wearing right now did you make yourself?"

The above is a pretty great way to be greeted.

(The answer was "One."  But still.)

Related: serendipitous meetings with people you haven't seen in nearly two years when you both have time to go for hot chocolate are lovely things!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

wip/ forced project hibernation: Conor gloves

Oh for this to be a FO post.   I have an inch of hand and one thumb left, but the shop was out of the yarn I was using, so it goes in the 'on hold' bag.  ( I have a system.  It is fluid and complex.)  Grr.

So, most of some gloves!  In exchange for these, I am getting an art.  Excira.

One glove...
Two glo-! Aww.  Also, creepy spider fingers.

I like the pattern quite a lot.  It puts me in mind of scars or welts (in a non-creepy way I am a real person).*  Skin is cool and hands are cool and gloves go on hands!

*(When I was little I was always disappointed when a cut didn't scar.  I still have never seen them as ugly things.  My body can heal itself!  I have regenerative properties!)

Now back to speed-knitting a Slytherin scarf for a friend before Thursday.

Monday, July 4, 2011

TV creature.

More from Knitting Mochimochi!

I have no mouth, and I must scream.
This pattern is TV Guy, made with James C. Brett merino (I have reams of this, origin unknown), some leftover yarn from my jumper, and some Debbie Bliss Willow Tweed that I got at a yarn sampling, on 2.75mm needles.

Here he is standing proud on our TV.
A perk of making toys is that the end of my giant bag of stuffing is in sight.

I like his little feet because they look like trotters.
I have to read some papers tonight in preparation for a meeting with my mod project supervisor tomorrow, but if I finish in time I'm going to do some sewing!  I want to make a start on turning

into a skirt!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Reconstructed Beatles t-shirt

T-shirt is now a different t-shirt!  I'm happy with it - I like scoop-necks a lot (best neck), and the cinching at the side makes it a bit more than a plain t-shirt.  I should maybe have bought a size smaller for aesthetics (it's a men's medium), as it makes me look a bit blocky, but it is very very comfy.  The style also might be better suited to a shirt with something other than a big central logo.  Things to keep in mind next time, but I still like this one!

Related: I never understood why people say "Oh, I can't draw a straight line" when disparaging their artistic abilities.  Straight lines are hard.

Please don't judge me.

This t-shirt is It's A Cinch from

I don't like throwing things out, so it's a good book for me!

I spent today sitting in the (glorious) sunshine, knitting and reading sewing books.  It just isn't Summer until I have strangely geometric sunburn on one side of my body.  (My back was to the fence how did it even get sunburned I do not understand.)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Probably omelettes

My boyfriend and I had a Cooking Adventure this week!  We had intended on making frittatas, but neither of us read the recipe until we went to make it.  "There's a sauce?  You have to bake it?  What is this?  Do you want to try and make omelettes?"  Neither of us knew exactly how omelettes work either, but they're probably something like this.

We mixed paprika and some sort of generic spice mixture in with the eggs. 
Now it is full of potatoes and cream cheese and peppers!

Om nom nommelette.
It tasted pretty good, so calling it a success even if it's not an omelette!

Friday, July 1, 2011

You know your god is man-made when he hates the same people you do.

I like this quote because it holds true whatever you hold 'god' to be.  I can remember reading somewhere (maybe one of Feynman's autobiographies?  Who knows.) that god tends to be replaced by science - when we can't explain something, it is attributed to magic or God.  When we can explain it, it can still be rejigged to that a god made it so if that's what you want to believe, but it doesn't become so mysterious.  I'm a scientist, and not religious, so I could be biased, but I think that science is beautiful and that there is more wonder in knowing how something works than in letting it be a mystery.  The crashing of waves against the shore isn't any less beautiful because I understand tides and currents, or because I know how sand forms.  

Any belief system is exploitable though.  A great many indigenous races have had their way of life destroyed for being filthy heathen savages who would not hearken unto God's Word.  Whatever about the Troubles, they were honest - they didn't pretend it was about anything other than people, not acting on God's Holy Word.  I do take it more personally when people turn real science into nonsense though.  A field study showing female meadow voles to be more aggressive at certain times of the year gets turned into "BITCHES BE CRAZY, SCIENTISTS FIND."  Or a sample group of five people that proves some stereotype is SCIENCE SCIENCE SCIENCE SAID IT SO I'M NOT A BIGOT.  "Science says women are just stupider" is as misguided as "The Bible says women should be obedient."

What got me thinking about this is the ridiculous, but surprisingly pervasive "Men are X, women are Y" trope. How, wonders pretend bigotry science, can men and women ever understand each other when they are just fundamentally different?  (Never mind that this erases transgendered people - science!)  I'll certainly grant you that the average man and the average woman are different - and yes, some women do harp on, and some men do just want to watch sportsball all the time..  Here are some equally pertinent questions:
How can I ever understand my mother?  How can I ever understand my aunt's two-year-old grand-daughter?  How can I ever understand my female friends?  The waitress at the place I went to for lunch today?  My brother's girlfriend?  The girl in my class I don't really get on with?  The other three billion people on the planet with whom I share a chromosome but not a body or mind?
By employing basic empathy and treating them all as humans, SCIENCE BEING A REAL PERSON ACCOMPLISHED!

This isn't a very good post, it's poorly written and I haven't said what I meant to, but it has been a long week (of real science, in a real lab!).  I guess it is just a little disheartening that some people are determined to declare that the available information proves them right, and that whatever mysteries of the universe we uncover, there will always be people determined to ignore the evidence of their own eyes and decide the only worthwhile information is that which dehumanises some group.  Even if that information doesn't actually exist.

Isn't it enough that it's amazing, even if you're wrong?