February 2005

It’s beautiful and sunny this morning, perfect for photographing knitting. So, here’s what I’ve been working on lately:

the hat I’m knitting with the manos that Chantal sent me in the PKSP2; I’m about to start decreasing

My mittens are done! Well, okay, I still have some ends to weave in, but I wore them yesterday anyway. The right cuff is a bit looser than ideal, but they otherwise fit very nicely (as well they should).
Details: KPPPM, cast on 64 stitches in 2×2 rib, switched to k4p2 rib for the hand, fitted to each hand as I went along; finger part closed by 3-needle bindoff on the inside of the mitten

This is my progress to date on Natalya. I like the two yarn colors together in the skein, but I’m not convinced I like them knitted together in this pattern. What do you think of the colors so far?

And, because it is such a lovely morning, here’s a picture of the plants that live next to the sunny spot where I took my knitting pictures:

(three christmas cactuses, a begonia, a jade plant, and something else)

via Cynthia.

1. Do you knit continental or English?
English. I’ve debated about learning continental (for real), but I like being able to free my left hand for taking notes while knitting. I plan to eventually brush up my continental knitting so I can knit two-handed fair isle.

2. How long ago did you learn to knit?
About three and a half years ago (late August, 2001)

[3. Who taught you to knit?
My friend Emma V., who was one of my housemates at the time.]

5. First FO?
A green hat, entirely in stockinette (in the round). I learned circs and dpns really early.

6. Favorite yarn?
My consistent favorite is Manos del Uruguay. I particularly love the prairie and jungle colorways, (Who, me? Variegated brown and green?) and I like the subtle variegation in the solids.

7. Favorite pattern?
I don’t think I have one, really. I have pretended to follow Knitty‘s fuzzyfeet pattern twice, though, which is more than any other pattern. I tend to either adapt existing patterns or just make up my own, at least for anything simple and fast enough for me to make more than once. That said, I really liked both the Highland Triangle Shawl and the felted turtle from FiberSpace (via Patternworks).

8. Favorite pattern source?
Quite possibly Folk Shawls. I’m also rather fond of Interweave Knits.

9. Favorite needles?
My favorite needles that I own are my Brittany birch 5s. Sometime when I have more money in my knitting budget, I want to get some Lantern Moon dpns and some wooden circulars.

10. Nicest thing you’ve ever knit?
Probably my Highland Triangle Shawl, or maybe the snowflake hat that I designed and made for my dad.

11. Most hated project?
Sophie. Waaaay too much i-cord.

12. Who are you going to pass this on to?
Emma C., and Anne (assuming she ever reads this to find out).

1. AMPA receptors are permeable to both K+ and Na+. This means that, when the synaptic current is reduced, it’s not because the driving force is smaller. It’s because the sodium and potassium currents are closer to being balanced.

2. Length constant and space constant are the same thing.

3. Resistance of the cytoplasm shrinks with increased diameter because there’s a squared area term in the denominator, which grows faster than the plain area term in the numerator. This means that current flows faster in larger axons.

Oh, wait, you wanted to read about knitting, didn’t you.

The second mitten is nearly finished, and I’m debating about color on Natalya. Pictures and a real knitting post on Sunday, because I’m going to New York tomorrow.

This week brought both a new Interweave and a new Patternworks catalog to my porch. The Patternworks catalog didn’t have anything tempting enough for me to break my yarn-buying moratorium, but there’s a nifty-looking pattern for felted flowers on the back cover. My only concern about that is that they’re way bigger than I’d want (3-4″ diameter instead of 1.5-2″), but that could probably be remedied by using finer yarn than the cascade 220 that’s suggested. It was the Lamb’s Pride page, I think, that brought home the shift in my color preferences over the last couple of years–the last column of colors was all the lovely dark greens and reds and browns and greys, with a bright gold and a couple of light natural colors, and I wanted some of nearly all of them. And not really any of the others. Blue really isn’t one of my favorite colors anymore.

The new Interweave was a lot more interesting (which is good, since I actually pay for that one). I’m really excited about the article on two-color brioche stitch, and I want to eventually make the two-color brioche sweater. Ooh, that’d be really nice in, say, a cranberry red and a darker red… Okay, there’s another sweater added to the queue. Let’s see if I actually knit one sweater that I wear outside of lab by the end of the semester, now.

I was also happy to see the paisley lace shawl. I don’t think I’m going to make it, as there are many, many other shawl patterns that I like better, but I think I’m going to use the picot edging from it for the flower-lace shawl. I haven’t worked on that at all lately, since it isn’t precisely lecture knitting. What I really need to do is set myself up with a sweater piece or two that’s simple enough to work during class.

The hand of the second mitten is nearly finished. I’m hoping to have it entirely done (including the thumb) by the end of the week, just in time to not be useful for the snowstorm that we’re supposed to be getting tonight. Ah, well. The odd thing is that I think this second one’s knitted up a bit looser than the first. I guess the material of the needles makes more of a difference than I’d thought. I knew that I knit more loosely on wood than on metal, but the Brittanys that I’ve been using are 2.5s instead of 3s anyway.

Work has been even more than usually busy this week, so I haven’t had much time for knitting–I even spent most of Tuesday’s lecture working out what I wanted to say in lab meeting instead of working on my mitten. I did, however, knit through the orchestra concert I attended on Saturday with Anj. The ladies sitting on our left seemed fascinated by the relative complexity of our knitting (Anj’s cabled scarf, my ribbed mittens on dpns). When, on Tuesday (ye gods, that was yesterday! it’s been a full week!*), I noticed a pair of purls in one of my k4 ribs, I left it, deciding that they would serve to remind me of a lovely evening. Besides, I didn’t have a crochet hook with me, and they’re not painfully obvious. :)

I now know what I’m going to bring to the next SnB after Jackie’s: mandelbrot. I just finished making a batch for the lab party Angela’s hosting tomorrow. The idea was for everyone to bring something traditional from their background, preferably a food that other people wouldn’t be familiar with. Angela’s making something Slovak and maybe something Italian, Thomas is making something German, Arati’s making something Indian, Li and Hong are making Chinese food, Masahiro’s making something Japanese…and I’m bringing mandelbrot. Mmm, almondy eggy cookie-ish-ness. I’m hoping they’ll crisp up a bit as they cool, since they’re supposed to resemble biscotti (and, well, they are cooked twice…), but they taste so good. It’s a sad thing for fellow potluck attendees that I was turned off from making mandelbrot after trying to do so in the French House kitchen five years ago. Miniature ovens are just bad. I’m so glad to have a full-sized kitchen.

*I think part of the fullness of the week is that, in addition to having stayed at work ’til 8 on Monday (and not gotten home ’til midnight, due to chorus rehearsal and an anti-Valentine’s party) and working from 8:30-6:45 yesterday and 9:45-7:45 today, I was at work both days of the weekend. The plan for this weekend: no work on Sunday, just knitting and housework.

But I haven’t had my computer for over a week. I hope to get it back on Tuesday (*crosses fingers*).

A couple of pictures:

This is the bag that Chantal sent me as part of my final gift. It’s the perfect size for my altoids-tin of knitting notions (decorated by Chantal), my smaller pair of yarn scissors, and a little bottle of hand lotion. And, well, it’s got a (plastic) frog pinned onto it, so it’s automatically cool.

The koigu pictured is what I bought for myself at Yarnings last Sunday. Yes, I know, I’m not supposed to buy yarn until MDSW. Fine, I won’t buy anything in the rest of May. But I needed yarn for Jody‘s Natalya gauntlets (for me, pattern by Jody), and I couldn’t decide which color to use. I’ve settled on stranding the green and the cooler yellow together. I don’t know what I’ll do with the warmer yellow, but it’s not being given away…

This is my version of Magknits‘s Sophie. It’s got a flap, and a strap that will hopefully be long enough to go over my shoulder. I have yet to felt it, and I haven’t quite decided how I’m going to secure the flap. I’m thinking snaps.