January 2008


I saw a hawk or hawk-like bird on my walk to work yesterday morning.

Much as I love living in a city and not having to drive much, I also love driving.  I got a car last night to go buy cat litter, and, though the actual shopping wasn’t particularly fun, I had good driving/parking/getting out of the driveway luck, and there just wasn’t much traffic.  It’s not exactly driving through beautiful countryside, but I’ll take what I can get.

A colleague of mine asked me the other day if I was working on any exciting projects.  We had just been talking about science, so it took until she reciprocated with “I just don’t have time” for me to realize that she meant knitting and not labwork.

I have not, however, made any photo-worthy progress on anything this week.  I’m nearly done spinning the Icelandic lamb/angora roving, though…

I spent the weekend in New York, with my parents. I had a very good time, despite missing the 7:09am train on Saturday by about two minutes and having to wait an hour for the next one. (The train time turned into a bit of knitting and a bit of napping.)


The scarf, which I’m now thinking of as the Flames Scarf, continues to grow. I am still very happy with it, even though the sides have started curling and I know it’ll need more serious blocking than I’d hoped.

My mom likes her Fetchings, and the Lady Hat has found a happy recipient whom it fits. (Not my mom.)

She also noticed this before I did:


Aside from the amazing detail work throughout the painting, that woman is wearing knitted mitts! (The painting, “Pope Gregory XVI Visiting the Church of San Benedetto at Subiaco” by Montessuy, was one of the many things we saw on our trip to the Met on Saturday. We left after six hours at the museum, because our brains were full and our feet were sore…they do have a lot of wonderful exhibits there.)

One of the other especially fun bits of the weekend was finding my grandmother’s old Scrabble set, complete with a crocheted pouch for the beautiful wooden tiles (two colors of them–we mixed the light and dark sets together, since they were each missing four tiles), and then playing Scrabble with my dad. (If any of you want to play Scrabulous on Facebook, e-mail me. I am somewhat obsessed.)

More later, when I hope to have either a new knitting project or some fresh yarn in a nicely photographable state.


Over the weekend, I finished plying this green-and-yellow wool blend that I dyed last summer.  It’s approximately 150 yards of sport-weight, with some fingering bits.  It’s a lovely springy colorway, perfect for the coldest weather yet this year.

I’m thinking maybe I’ll dye up another batch and knit socks…but other suggestions (including trades, perhaps) would be welcome.

I’ve now started spinning the dark grey Icelandic lamb/angora blend I picked up from Frelsi Farm at the Vermont Sheep & Wool.  Oh, how I love spinning laceweight.  The only problem is that I don’t knit it up very quickly…


Whee!  Since I finished two projects last week, I let myself put the third almost-finished thing on other needles so I could use this one for my ROY BFL handspun.

I love knitting with handspun.  Especially since this is gradually striping…mmm.  I’m enjoying this pattern, too–it’s the Stork’s Nest Scarf from the new Piecework*.  It’s  quite simple, and I’ve got it memorized already,  but I like the rhythm.

(I’ll grant that this is better than having him sit on my arms or walk on the keyboard, but Mel has decided that he’s going to sit between me and my computer, making it awfully difficult for me to see the screen.  I’m glad I can touch–type.)

Okay, okay, I think it’s time to play with the cat.

*If you can find it, it’s worth at least a look–it’s the 2nd annual historical knitting issue, and it’s got an article on and directions for Rovaniemi mittens, which I saw a while ago on Stephanie‘s blog and thought were awesome.


It’s also for autumn, which goes nicely with apple season. The beginning of apple season, for me, marks the approach of cooler and generally more pleasant weather, plus the availability of one of my favorite snack foods. (Apples are also a major component of my fallback dinner plan of apples-and-peanut-butter.) Since my discovery of farmers’ market apples and the wider selection of varieties available, I’ve grown especially fond of Ginger Gold, Honeycrisp, Royalty, and Suncrisp apples. Mmmm. (*Crunch*.)


Of course, A is also for axon guidance, to which I devote far more of my time and energy than I do toward apples, but this isn’t a science blog. Briefly, axon guidance is the study of one aspect of neural development, in which neurons send branches to the cells with which they’re supposed to communicate in the developed nervous system; we’re working on figuring out how the cells match themselves up. (If you have questions, I’m happy to talk science over e-mail.)



(Hmf. I can’t get the picture to link to the Ravelry group, but I don’t have time to mess with it now.)


Since today’s supposed to be cold and rainy, I present the lovely blue sky from last Sunday.  (This includes a speck of a plane in the middle, even.)

Two FOs in one week!


Quick specs, ’cause it’s late (also here):

Pattern: Fetching

Needles: my new 5″ 4mm bamboo dpns, which have made all this mitt-knitting much more pleasant

Yarn: Elann Peruvian Highland Wool, dyed with some leftover dyestock that broke.

Mods: Other than changing the gauge, all I did was add a couple of rounds to each thumb.

I really like the way Fetching and Dashing insert the thumbs–I found the directions really clear, and the thumbs fit better than some of the other ways I’ve seen. These are the second component of my mom’s birthday present, which I’m going to give her several weeks early, when I see her next weekend.

• What is the big deal with 30-minute meals?  It’s a 5-minute meal that’s actually a challenge.  If I’m okay with spending half an hour making dinner, it’s not that hard to wash, chop, & sauté some veggies and make some rice or some rice noodles (or whatever).  (If I’m not, it’s time to break out the frozen veggies, and maybe an egg.)

• The snow this afternoon was lovely, until it turned to rain.  The sidewalks had just better be easily walkable in the morning, if there’s not going to be pretty snow.

Mirah‘s new album, with Spectratone International, is awesome.  Go listen to it, especially if you’re a bio geek.  I especially love “Community”, the song about ants.

• Y’know where I forget to look, when I’m digging through my needle roll and the pile of circs on the bookshelf, trying to find a 4mm bamboo needle?  In my existing projects.  (*eye-roll*)

• I joined the Runagogo group on Ravelry.  I haven’t been following the forum much, but I’ve been tracking my walking (no actual running yet) on weendure.com…and I’m not doing too badly.  I think 40 miles is pretty good for a little under two weeks…

This morning, I read Julia‘s post on JenLa’s Mission:Possible project. I am not feeling committed enough to officially sign up, but I do have a list of goals:

  1. finish Peacock Feather Shawl
  2. finish Salt Peanuts
  3. finish spinning the mohair blend for the Feather and Fan Triangle Shawl
  4. make visible progress on the green freeform blanket
  5. finish merino-mohair socks
  6. finish the dark green felted bag
  7. spin the local shetland from last spring and the icelandic lamb blends from VT S&W
  8. spin a bunch of yarn for a sweater
  9. knit something with the ROY bfl
  10. make at least a decent start on the Mountain Peaks shawl with the zephyr from Colorado

I’m not really interested in punishing myself if my attention wanders and I wind up doing other fibery things, or if I get caught up in such things as work and housework, but I think it’ll be useful to have this list for reference.

And here’s a picture, just because.


This is one of the azaleas in my grandmother’s backyard, shot over the midwinter holidays.


I finished the purple alpaca Lady Hat yesterday, and managed to get a picture of it on Sarah, whom it actually fits. (It goes on my head, but it’s not supposed to fit me.)

I liked the yarn a lot, and it’s made me decide that I want to knit with alpaca more often. Fortunately for me, this hat took only one of the three balls of alpaca that my mom gave me in September, so I’ve got more on hand. I also really liked the pattern, which was wonderfully memorizable without being boring. (Okay, if I tried knitting several more of these, I’d probably get bored, but it was good for semi-mindless knitting. My only problem was remembering to move the yarn forward twice for all those YOs before purls.)


Yarn: Frog Tree Alpaca, sportweight, in a periwinkley purple; just shy of one ball

Needles: bamboo 3.75mm circ, then birch 3.5mm dpns (because the 3.75mm dpns were occupied)

Pattern: Lady from Boogie’s Hat Trifecta

Mods: I added a couple of repeats (both sideways and vertically) to compensate for the difference in gauge. I also decreased more slowly.

Over all, I’m pretty happy with it.


Another sunset out the windows of the lab next door.


Quite a while ago,  Nicole posted a recipe for a bulgar salad with chickpeas, shredded carrots, almonds, and dried cranberries. I’ve made several different versions of similar bulgar salads since then, along with other grain-salad things, but I think this week’s was the first one in which the only non-local ingredients were the grain and the spices.  The local ingredients are onion, garlic, spinach, crimini mushrooms, crunchy mixed sprouts, and herbed chevre.  Mmm, real food.


I finally finished this felted bowl. It didn’t turn out the way I’d hoped–the brim/rim curled over instead of fanning out, and it looks a little wonkier than I’d wanted. Still, it’ll work as a bowl, even if it’s not nice enough to be a gift, and it only took me a little more than an afternoon of knitting and maybe half a ball of Manos.

I spent a bunch of time this weekend spinning the blue-green-yellow on grey and the green-and-yellow rovings I dyed over the summer. I also picked up the green blanket for the first time since it got too hot to work on it last summer. And I knit a couple of rows on the purple alpaca Lady Hat.

I’ve been feeling a bit antsy in terms of my knitting over the last week. I’m past the deadlines, I have more than enough time to finish the green Fetchings… I’d kind of like to find a good scarf or shawl pattern (probably lacy) for the ROY BFL that I finished spinning last week, but I also rather like the idea of actually finishing things I’ve already started. (Ravelry is quite the motivator in that respect–I find I want to keep the number of WIPs under 10.) Oh, the decisions.

Also, Michelle posted an excellent, excellent sign.

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