Monday, March 27, 2006

Yarn Frenzy

Okay, this crochet thing is really starting to take a hold of me. Turns out, doing it right is actually faster, and looks better too. I'm doing a project a day or so. The only trouble is finishing, which takes me a while to get to. So I promise, eventually, I will sew on buttons, zippers, snaps, etc and weave in ends and ribbons eventually and show you pictures of my latest obsession.
But one of my guildies alerted me to a sale of CottonTots at Hobby Lobby, and I think I'm going to be in trouble. It's pretty much my go-to yarn for baby and generic projects, and at $2 something a skein, it's nearly half price. I'm not really sure whether I should be grateful for that or not. I'm going to have to go buy a ton of it.
One scary thing I found out yesterday is that I'm frighteningly consistent in my idiosyncracies. I picked up a little notebook I'd used for yarn data before and scribbled down my yarn requirements for a few projects I'm interested in. They tend to frown on you pulling out entire books to look for that sort of thing, and it keeps it all in one place. After I was done, I looked back and found that I had written all my previous entries in exactly the same way. They had messy and cursive writing, though I rarely do either, the exact same bits of information in the exact same order, and the same defiant check mark and "done!" written in the margins.
I'm inclined to believe that different types of handwriting from the same person imply using different sides of the brain dominantly. So you all know, because you're smart like that, that the left side of the brain does the analytical thinking and the right side does the creative thinking. I find when I'm doing physics or math, or even writing about physics, I tend to print. But when I'm doing something like a language class, or writing about knitting, I write cursive. Has anyone else ever noticed something like that? I'm sure it varies quite a bit, but I'm curious about that. It seems true for me at any rate.
Right. Off to buy lots of yarn.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Have you ever noticed....

Have you ever noticed that when you leave the house without knitting (or something), you always regret it? Today, I thought, oh, I'll be busy, I won't bother carrying anything with me. Then I had to wait for half an hour. I should just know better, and keep knitting on me at all times.
Several relatively exciting things have happened in my little knitting world, although none of them actually involve finishing a project (except for a few charity hats), but I have a couple of "almosts". I'm nearly done with the baby sweater I started ages ago. The child it was originally intended for has probably totally outgrown it by now. But it's almost done.
Secondly, the happy guild meeting was yesterday. One of my friends found a pattern I wanted for the Sunburst Sling Bag on eBay for $3 (including shipping) and bought it for me, so I procured that and the delicious recycled sari silk for it. I really can't justify spending the money on that yarn, so I'm not even going to try. But it's on the same plane as chocolate in my mind. Really.
I bought more of that same fantastic yarn to finish the modular scarf I'm working on. Again, can't justify it, but it's really really cool. So that should be done before too long.
Finally, something I can justify. I used a Christmas gift card to Barnes and Noble to get The Happy Hooker, which is Stitch and Bitch for crochet. If you don't know about Stitch and Bitch, you're missing out on the best knitting book ever. (The sequel is a little weird, but fun.) Well it looks the crochet book is the equivalent. These are great learn-to books with great references for every basic stitch, and cool, wearable patterns. Seriously, check both these books out. I knit my way through most of the first Stitch and Bitch, and the crochet bug has bitten me lately.
In theory, I knew how to crochet, but after 30 seconds of reading this book, I figured out I've been doing it "wrong" my whole life. Not that the things looked bad before, it's just good to know. And I'm a lot happier doing it right. I'm working on a one skein little handbag that is incredibly cute. Unfortunately, I still have to do it the wrong way to finish they crochet baby blanket I'm in the middle of.
Also arrived, the Yarn Harlot's Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much. The things she does and says related to knitting are completely insane. I totally relate. Aparently she's got a new book coming out before too long. I'm hooked, despite my previous reservations.
The yarn finally arrived for a knitted baby blanket I'm supposed to be working on. It's just so hard to work on something I know I have to do before I can cast on all these fun things. Now with crochet in the ring too, there's just going to be trouble. I think I'm going to have to drop out of school so I have time to do this all.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

St. Patty's Day

Okay, this actually has nothing to do with knitting. I'm going to complain about it anyway.
Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, and I went to Chicago. I turned 21 not too long ago, so this was my first legal St. Patrick's Day, and I was looking forward to green beer.
I couldn't find it. Anywhere.
Chicago has a very large Irish population, and Chicagoans like their beer. There was plenty of beer, but none of it was green.
How much food coloring can that really cost? Hmm? $0.03 maybe?
So after a long day wandering around Chicago, I came home, bought some Harp, and dyed it green myself. My hands may now be quite stained, but it was so worth it.
And yes, it really does taste better when it's green. That's the taste of satisfaction.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

German Yarn

Now, every knitter with a blog has to pay homage to the Yarn Harlot. For a while, I resented her. Why should she get to be popular for writing about knitting when I don't? Other than the fact that she is clearly more talented than I am at both writing and knitting. But then I caved and read her book. And it's funny, and is possessed by the same yarn demon I am that makes me stash, take on bigger projects than I can handle and be emotionally connected to my yarn. I was seduced by the Yarn Harlot.
Today's post is something that I can totally relate to. She picked up a pattern in Finnish and decided to try to knit it. Not two months ago, I did the exact same thing with German.
Now, I speak a little German. I'm of German decent, I have German relatives (though none that are both German and knit). I was pretty sure that if I sat down with a dictionary and the German knititng pattern I would be able to knit anything in this pattern book of cute, traditional German clothes. Boy was I wrong.
It's not the words. Even if I couldn't figure out the words from the real dictionary, there are online knitting dictionaries. The trouble is that the entire pattern is constructed differently. Numbers and symbols appear in no apparent order. Clearly, this is the famed German efficiency and I'm just too slow to understand.
So if anyone thinks they can explain to me how to read a German knitting pattern, please, please do. Because did I mention I bought the yarn for several projects in it? And I want to knit them. Desperately. And it wants to be knit. The yarn is sitting in my closet, sobbing softly.
Someone save that poor, innocent yarn that just wants to be made into German clothing. Hilfe!

And Tonight's Feature Film is.......

She Gods of Shark Reef!
Oh yes. It's bad and it's beautiful. It's also part of my 50 SciFi classic movie pack that I bought a while for $20. I think it's a good deal, possibly one of my best investments. Think about that, only 40 cents per bad science movie. That's less than a penny per minute of bad scienceness. Really, what's the point of Mystery Science Theater when it's so much more fun to do it yourself?
Also, I now own knitted shoes. Sadly, I did not think of these, nor did I even copy them and knit them myself. Nor was I the first person I know to own them (my cousin had them at Thanksgiving). However, I now own them, and cheaply. Marshall Field's is going out of business, which is a terrible thing. That won't stop me from taking advantage of the sale.
More knitting things will appear someday, I promise. I made a Shaker Rib hat that's a little iffy, but kind of cute. It would have been cuter if I had a) paid better attention to gauge (this one always gets me) and b) not run out of yarn. You'd think I'd learn. But you'd be wrong.
I made one of my baby hats with little fair isle hearts. It came out incredibly cute, and entirely by accident. Once again, I started a project and nearly ran out of yarn. So I switched colors and popped in some hearts, and made something that may be too cute too look at. It leaves me itching for more fair isle.
And yet I should so be working on one of my big projects, or perhaps, real work. Spring Break has in theory already started, but I've still got some work to do before I can relax. Then there will be much knitting.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Dangers of Knitting in Public

I like to knit baby-sized projects. They go very quickly, so you get that sense of instant gratification. I can make my favorite baby hat pattern (the Umbilical Cord Hat from Stitch n Bitch) in 2-3 hours. If you don't think that's instant, clearly you knit entirely by machine/not at all. Also, my knitting guild does a lot for charity, and one of our projects is hats and things for the YWCA women's shelter.

However, one of the dangers of knitting in public is always having to explain yourself when making baby things. I don't have children, nor do I want any in the near future, so whenever I'm caught knitting baby items in public, it's immediately followed with an explanation.
It goes like this.

Someone: What are you knitting?
Me: A baby hat, it'sforcharity/it'sforoneofmymom'sfriends/myfriendsbrother, etc.

(I endured a decent amount of teasing before I figured this out.)
However, at least 25% of the time, when I answer "It'sforcharity," someone inevitably wonders, "Who's charity?"
Don't believe me? Ask my dad.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Nerd Knits

So here's the thing. Once a week, my department has a physics colloquium, where someone comes in from another department or another school and gives a physics-y lecture. Naturally, I use this time to further my physics education by exposing myself to a broad range of research, by which I mean knit. Besides being fun, it also keeps me awake. I'm one of very few women, and, I thought, the only knitter. Until a week or two ago, one of my professors came up and asked me about my knitting. She looks like your typical knitter, but also happens to be a professor of physics. I was working on my double knit scarf, which looks exactly the same only marginally longer, so I'm not going to post another picture. She was fascinated, and started talking about the topology of knitting. This goes way beyond a mobius scarf, but I'll get to that in a moment. I confessed to here that I want to knit the chart of the nuclides every time I see it. Actually, these days it's fairly often, as I'm taking my nuclear physics elective.
I let her borrow the double knitting pattern; it's really simple and I'm sure she'll have no trouble with it. In return, she sent me these links, part of the beauty of nerdy knitting.
First, she told me about this DNA scarf, which she adapted into an afghan for one of her sons. The cable pattern really looks like the DNA chain. It may be biology, but it's still nerdy enough to interest me.
She also found this DNA baby toy, which actually has the correct base pairs. (If you don't care at all about DNA, just translate "base pairs" into "pretty colors," but if you don't care that much, you probably won't knit DNA.)
But it turns out there are many, many nerds out there, which you can easily see thanks to Google. You can crochet a Lorentz manifold. And there are a bunch of other mathematical functions you can knit/crochet here. You can also quilt math things, but I'm not so good at that. In fact, the only quilt I ever tried was assembled completely backwards, and is sitting in my parents garage. Not only was I totally bad at it, I also broke up with the guy I was making it for. This was before I knew about the sweater curse. Aparently there's a quilt curse too.
The moral of the story is, I'm not the only nerdy knitter out there. People have designed these things. And I'm so going knit them.