Monday, November 30, 2009

mystery socks!

I am so proud of myself -- I finished the mystery socks in time to submit them on the Ravelry thread to possibly win a prize!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

knitting encounter in the cashier's office

I stopped in at the cashier's office this afternoon to get reimbursed for some paint brushes I bought for the lab last March. (We use really thin paint brushes for mounting 30-micron-thin slices of tissue on slides.) Stupid bureaucracy. I was ready with my knitting, just in case I had a long wait, but I did not, which I guess was nice, though it meant I didn't get any extra knitting done. Still, the woman at the counter noticed my knitting and commented "that's a new one." We launched into happy fiber-related conversation (she had tried crocheting, but could only work in one direction), and even to the woman standing at the window to my right chimed in (she took up knitting as a means to stop smoking. So cool.). And at the end, I walked away with my long-lost $9.96 in my pocket.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Swine Flu?

I had Something last week, and it was a doozie. It came on over the entire course of Sunday the 8th, starting as a sore throat. For several hours I dismissed it as nothing significant: just a dumb sore throat from taking an overnight train. In the late afternoon, however, this pesky sore throat blossomed, knocked me out around 6:00 pm, and kept me in bed for a Full Three Days! Yowch. I'm finally feeling pretty much like myself, now, except that I have a semi-productive cough that acts up when I'm out in the cold, or going up stairs. I was hoping to go to KardioFusion tonight, but I don't think I can, for the coughing. Maybe I'll just use one of the eliptical machines, and burn my calories more gently tonight.

So, mysterious diagnosis:
1. This bug took a whole day to come on. Hence: a cold, not the flu.
2. This bug laid me out flat for 72 hours. Hence: the flu, not a cold.
I am dumbstruck.

The really sad part about the bug was that I was too sick even to knit. I could be awake for maybe half an hour at a time before plunging back into unconsciousness, and while I was awake, my hands felt too weak to manipulate the needles. It was a truly desperate and tragic situation.

But now I'm better, and I'm zipping along with the knitting. First priority still goes to that marathon of a sweater. I'm 9 inches into the right sleeve, and I really want to finish it by this weekend, so I can work the left sleeve, seam the sleeves, pick up and knit the collar, and finally call this thing finished. At some point I'm going to actually calculate how many stitches are in this thing. It will be a very large number.

I am one of those ADD knitters with several projects going at once, though, and I finished and mailed off the gray hat for Laurie (I really hope her project works out!), and cast on for the baby sweater my mom requested. The difference between the baby sweater and the marathon sweater is nearly laughable. Marathon sweater: size 3 needles, fingering weight yarn, 6.5 stitches to the inch, men's size large. Baby sweater: size 8 needles, worsted weight yarn, 4 stitches to the inch, 6-month-old size. The baby sweater is zooming, which is wildly satisfying.

For myself, I really want to knit a coif, because I sometimes wear my hair in a bun, which makes a standard hat not fit, and my ears get really cold outside in this maturing Rochester autumn. The coif should also zoom, since it is a small thingy and uses size 9 needles! 3 stitches to the inch, baby!

I even bough yarn specifically for the coif this weekend during the Rochester Yarn Crawl, which was awesome. At my first stop, my LYS of choice the Yarn Boutique, I bought my first skein of Malabrigo yarn. Chunky. Colorful. Soft. And presumably warm. From there I proceded to the other three yarn shops in Rochester, which I had never visited. I find I really like the Village Yarn and Fiber Shop. I was especially impressed with their book selection, which even included a book on spinning and knitting dog hair! I thought about getting it, but refrained, and instead purchased Knitter's Gift and America Knits. I've actually been looking for a book like America Knits for a long time: something not just technique- and pattern-based, but something, well, inspirational. About knitters and designers and fiber artists and their lives and ideas. With gorgeous pictures. America Knits totally caters to that.

Another bit of reading I've especially enjoyed is this series about working on a sheep farm all year-round. I love the specific, vivid, and humorously related anecdotes, supplemented with beautiful photographs. Barbara Parry's writing really encourages me to luxuriate in my fantasy of having a fiber farm. I kind of want to be her. Especially when I'm sick and tired of counting microglia in the substantia nigra, and there are no windows in my lab, and I just want to get home and knit and read books about knitting and spinning and really work with my hands to create something soft and beautiful and useful.

Then again, today I do have a sense of accomplishment, because one of my advisors approved my abstract, so I can submit it today for the 1st D-CFAR World AIDS Day Scientific Symposium on December 1. Then I need to make the poster... blech, formatting data.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dead Dog Parable

Yesterday I was reminded of one of my favorite stories of all time, and I felt compelled to share it here.

Once upon a time there was a girl. We'll call her Samantha, because I honestly don't remember her real name. The family nextdoor was going on an extended vacation and asked Samantha to babysit their dog. Naturally, Samantha accepted. This dog was very old, however, and passed away during the family's vacation. Samantha called the family with the sad news, and the family requested that she bring the dog's body to the vet for disposal. So then there was the problem of transportation. Samantha didn't want to be seen struggling with the carcass of a sizable dog, and decided to put the body in a suitcase. As she eased the suitcase down the steps of the porch, a man walked by and offered to carry it for her. "Jeez," said the man, "What do you have in here?" Samantha didn't want to admit the true contents of the suitcase, and answered "Computer stuff." The man then took the suitcase and ran away.
The End.

Karma in action.

Monday, November 2, 2009


This looks like one of the coolest dorky things I've seen in a long time:

Star Wars Lightsaber Laser Pointer! I covet this, but cannot yet bring myself to actually spend money on it. I love for creating things like this. I actually subscribe to their newsletter for entertainment value.

Knucks are done! Only problem is that the ends of the finger bits roll over. I think this happens because I cast on too loosely, and the more generous length around the edge allows enough leeway to give in to the tendency of the stockinette stitch, which is to curl. My counter strategy is to weave a length of matching thread (not yarn: too bulky) through the edge stitches to cinch them a bit and prevent their expansion and hopefully combat the rolling.