Sunday, December 27, 2009

remember these?

S1050784, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

Yeah, I barely do either. I started them in JULY. Crazy. Of course I've done a bunch of other things since then, including Christmas presents and that giant blanket for my friend's housewarming. Still, it seems like an awfully long time for a pair of socks to be on the needles.

Here's a picture of the first one, so you can get a better idea of the pattern:

sparkly goodness!

Pattern is Kai Mei (rav link) from Cookie A's Sock Innovation.
Yarn is Crash Into Ewe'sJewel Collection in Garnet (less than 1 skein).
Needles: US 1 dpns.
Mods: none.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas - or whatever else you choose to celebrate this time of year!

I had a lovely Christmas morning with the family, everyone came over to mum and dad's for brunch and later we will join everyone at my brother and SIL's house for dinner. And of course, after brunch came presents!

I gave a few hand knit gifts this year, all of which have been shown already here. But I also got some knitting related gifts, including yarn and a book I hadn't heard of yet.


The yarn is Mirasol's Tupa, 2 skeins, in a beautiful bright pink. My favorite! It's 50% Merino and 50% silk and has a great feel to it. I'm thinking mittens or gloves.

The book is called "Yarn Bombing" and is about crocheters and knitters who use yarn to put up "graffiti". We do this at the yarn store every once in a while and it's a fun read. It also has a couple of cute patterns, including the hoodie vest and switcheroo sweater. (I looked, only a couple of the actual knit-graffiti patterns are on ravelry so far.) The hoodie vest is actually crocheted (and I'm not normally big on crochet) but I might have to give it a go anyway!

Hope you're all having a wonderful, relaxing holiday with your family as well!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

on person

S1050770, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

I promised pics of this on a person, so here you are... and they're fuzzy and out of focus. I blame lighting. If I can get one on Christmas Day I'll try to get one of my nana wearing it. No promises though. And hopefully the lighting will be decent enough.

Hope everyone is having a happy and lovely holiday season with friends and family!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas, check!

pretty thing, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

Yay! I was getting a little worried that I wouldn't be ready in time for Christmas, but I just finished binding off this Pretty Thing for my grandmother and that is the LAST of the presents. Ok, it's the last of the presents that has to be done before the 25th. I have one more that has a bit more leeway.

I'll try to get a picture of it on a person once it's dry (yes, it is actually currently damp and blocking in that picture...).

Yarn: Malabrigo sock in Natural, less than 1/2 a skein
Needles: US 6 circs (16")
Mods: None, it is the yarn harlot afterall. Oh wait, that's a lie. I accidentally put in a purl row after the last mid-section repeat and was a ways along before I realized it. I decided that ripping back was not in the cards and left it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Off to the post office!

Is there anything worse than following up a post with a picture of one mitten with a post of a picture of two mittens?

finished army mitts

Yes. But only if that picture was taken by my mac cam. Because I think my real camera is downstairs and I'm feeling that lazy. These are done, commissioned by a friend for a friend currently stationed in Afghanistan. Off to the post office!

I promise, I have a more interesting post floating around in my head. Ok, I, at the very least, think it will be interesting...

Thursday, December 17, 2009


S1050756, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

I don't normally knit-for-profit, 'cause let's face it, to actually get paid even minimum wage for the number of hours (let alone the materials, or the fact that this is SKILLED labour) it would take to knit something would mean that these gloves, for instance, should be worth over 100$.

BUT, I was asked by a very special friend if I would knit some special mittens for a friend of hers currently stationed in Afghanistan. They had to be the right-ish colours to match BDUs, and flip tops so he could use his fingers when necessary.

So this is mitten 1, designed with all the necessary requirements in mind. Flip top, with button to keep it out of the way, individual fingers to keep them extra warm, a shorter index (trigger) finger, and a thumb flip, in case he needs to type, etc.

I hope they help keep his hands a little warmer, it sounds like it's ghastly cold over there, and that they're still functional for all the things he needs to do. I also hope they fit.. I'm going on a large-ish size but not totally sure, especially since we've never actually met!

Monday, December 14, 2009

knitted science

Go check out knitted science on discover magazine. So cool. As a side note, Freud was interested in knitting and the crafty arts and it's psychological effect on women... I went to a talk a while back on the influence of the arts on Freud and it was very interesting. His granddaughter, Sophie Freud, discusses some of this in My Three Mothers and Other Passions I believe.

Friday, December 11, 2009

et voila!

S1050750, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

"Socks for a Winter's Night" pattern is posted on ravelry!

Rav link (for queuing and the like)
PDF link (for direct downloads)


US size 1 (2.25mm) DPNs
1 skein J. Knits Superwash - Light Sock in Pueblo, 550 yards (I used way less than 550, any normal 400 + yard sock yarn should suffice)
stitch markers, if desired


Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Pattern!

S1050749, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

Coming soon!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

christmas gloves

christmas gloves, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

These gloves are one of the few presents I'm knitting this year. It's just going to be my immediate family at home (as far as I know) this year, as opposed to last year when we had cousins, and cousins' fiances, and an uncle... you get the picture.

So, the gloves. I love mittens, and had never attempted full gloves before, because fingers seem fiddly. But I know not a lot of guys wear mittens, unless they're dogsled racers in the frozen tundra who have seen the light of having your fingers all together. But I digress...

The details:
Pattern: Drops 85-20 Gloves size L/XL (about 1/2 way down the page... the sweater pattern is first), and rav link.
Yarn: Cascade heritage, held doubled, one skein + a little tiny bit of Davidson Domy Heather from the stash to finish up the second thumb. (That's why the thumb at the bottom of the picture looks slightly different). The Heritage *should* have been enough, according to the pattern, but for the L/XL size, apparently not.
Needles: US 3s for the cuff and 6s for the hand.

Mods: I only knit 5" cuffs, instead of 6". (Pattern calls for 15cms, which in inches is 6.) That alone should have afforded me TONS of extra yardage.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

socks for teaching

S1050745, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

A new student at my fave LYS asked for private tutoring in how to make toe-up socks. I haven't made a pair toe-up in ages, but thought it might be fun to do a pair along with her. So these are toe-up with a heel-flap, and then I decided to add some lace to the cuff.

I'm a confirmed top-down sock knitter after these... I way overshot the heel placement the first time around and it was about 2 inches too long. I understand where to place a toe (especially on my own foot) but the heel was harder to gauge since I wasn't sure exactly how big it would be.

But I'll make the second one anyway, since I've decided that these will be someone's Christmas gift this year (someone with a very similar to my foot size, that is).

Yarn: J Knits Superwash Sock Light in colour Pueblo
Needles: Size 1
Pattern: in my head... possibly to be written up at some point.
For: Christmas gift / teaching

Friday, November 20, 2009

a cautionary tale of woe...

Wednesday morning I taught class, closed my macbook with word still open to my lesson plan, went to lunch with a friend and then headed down to the library to work. I got to my desk, took my computer out and opened it back up. I hit firefox to open it up and quit Word. And then the world STOPPED. My computer froze, trying to quit Word and I had to manually restart it. Only it didn't restart. It made funny clicky noises and a big question mark showed up in the middle of the screen. I might not be a big science / math / programmer type, but I know enough about computers (and macs in particular) to know that that is BAD. SUPER BAD. I ran to my friend's office and told her what had happened and she (being an amazing, awesome person and friend) dropped everything and drove me to the nearest apple store.

I spent 4.5 hours in the apple store, waiting for someone to see me. They are appointment-only so I had to wait to see if they could either get ahead of schedule or if someone would miss their appointment. By the time I saw someone I had befriended most of the people in the store and knew (ok, I was about 85% sure before I even walked in there that it was probably worst case scenario) that it was dead and gone. Sure enough the harddrive is dead, and the likelyhood that data will be recovered is practically zilch. (Although a friend's husband, who does that sort of thing for a living is looking at it... he's my last hope, and I have little of that left.)

So, here's the really bad part. The sheer-idiocy that a relatively bright person, working on their PhD can display is sometimes mind-boggling: I have NO back ups. 3 years of graduate school, poof. Fortunately I have some things, but not the most recent things, because of emails that I sent either myself or professors on occasion. But it's definitely NOT everything and NOT the article I've been revamping for the past month. And of course, photos, music, etc. Most of the photos of knitting related stuff is on flickr, and a lot of photos with friends are on facebook. But it's the ridiculous amount of work lost that absolutely kills me. If it had been another year or two, and I were 1/2 way through my dissertation or something, that would have pretty much ended my career I think.

Oh, and did I mention it was 9 days past warranty? Back up, people, learn from my mistakes! I did end up with a shiny new computer (mostly thanks to my amazingly generous parents) and I decided that investing in "mobileme" which automatically backs up to an online server so that I can access my harddrive from pretty much anywhere in the world was well worth the extra $$. 'Cause you can be SURE that I won't lose that much info ever again.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I want it!

10 stitch blanket, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

Can I just say that this is one of those projects that I've put so much time and effort into that I sort of just want it for myself? Is that SO WRONG? Also, it doesn't hurt that I think it's super pretty too. But alas, the goal was to make this for someone close to me who recently purchased their first house. And I care enough about them to give them something that I'd really rather pretend was for me all along!

Pattern: Ten Stitch Blanket (rav link) by Frankie Brown
Yarn: Several skeins in several colours of several yarns (Paintbox, Mochi Plus, Jojoland Rhythm)
Needles: US9
Mods: Added a single stitch crochet border to make it look more "finished" along the edges as seen in this picture:

10 stitch blanket

Friday, November 13, 2009

turn a spiral

WARNING: Worst FO pictures ever. I think my camera might be dead. Or the new batteries are duds. Let's hope for scenario #2. So I used the maccam, to the best of it's abilities.

I decided Wednesday night to make a hat for a friend whose birthday is today. This knit up so quickly and (trust me, it's better in person) so beautifully. It's sort of Jared Flood's Turn a Square but sans square and with a bunch of mods.

Here you can (sort of) see the spiraling decreases (as opposed to the original raglan decreases):

Mods: only cast on 88, did not increase, kept same needles throughout. Decided to do spiral / regular decreases, 8 times across a round.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

one more etsy post

I almost forgot about the awesome present I got for my brother (at least, I think it's awesome, I hope he did too...)

Periodic table cuff links! My brother is a high school science teacher (which is, still, to me, the oddest thing ever. He's my little brother, shouldn't he be pestering me and blowing things up as a high school student in a science classroom still?!) so I thought these were awesome. And they're customizable, so I got him PM (his first and middle initials) and CO (the first 2 letters to our last name).


A periodic table NERD birthday card. Both were from ShopGibberish on etsy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

more etsy love

I FINALLY got the tunic I purchased from emilyryan on etsy. I purchased it late Sept but she makes everything to order and apparently got sick in Oct, so it took a while to get here. But I don't care because I LOVE IT. Like, seriously, love. I'm wearing it to sit in the library today / teach / go to meetings. None of which is worthy of this tunic but still, much tunic love.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Totally un-knit-related, but I took a trip to Gettysburg on Saturday with my friend Loralee and her family. Sadly I got NO pictures of the two of us together, and apparently I suck at the picture taking thing (although my camera has been acting weird since the DC trip and sometimes it just refuses to work. Ugh.) and only got a few pictures of Gettysburg itself.

There were 5 of us, so it was cheaper to get a guide to come along in the car with us than to pay individually for the bus tour, so we ended up going with the personal car guide. He was... enthusiastic, to say the least, and clearly loved his Gettysburg history. Which is great, but it ended up being a bit longer (and we hadn't eaten lunch...) than anticipated. He was also way too into the overtly emotional / gory details than I needed... but I also have an active enough imagination.

OK, onto the pictures! (Which, for whatever reason, blogger has opted to place in the opposite order they were taken / inputted....)

Monument dedicated by State of Pennsylvania to all Pennsylvanians who served at Gettysburg.

Hmmm... monument to... (god my memory is bad these days).

Field on which one of the deciding battles was fought. Also where our guide demonstrated on me how they fought hand to hand, which included descriptions of gouging out the eye and then ripping arteries out of the neck with their teeth. Yum.

Loralee's husband, me, Loralee's sister and brother in law. Suspiciously absent, Loralee... long story, but since it was her birthday people were calling, of course, to say Happy Birthday. She got one such call when we stepped out to see this monument and stayed in the van to talk to her friend. We thought we saw her getting out of the van as we were posing for this picture (which she was) but then she never arrived... apparently she had spilled water on my coat on her way out and was blotting it. I would have preferred the picture with her to the dry coat though!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Loralee!

Loralee's mittens, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

Yesterday I got to spend time with someone that I've known for a really long time - she was one of the first blogs I discovered, and one that I most admire - but had never met in person before, Loralee. She spent the day before at the Whitehouse, meeting with Valerie Jarrett and playing the with President's puppy, but I was really excited that she and her family let me spend her birthday with them! We went to Gettysburg and went on a car tour of the battlefields (during which those mittens were finished... all the while Loralee saying things like "I love that colour... those are so pretty..." and I was thinking "PHEW!" since you never know (especially when you DON'T KNOW the person in person) if people will appreciate your work). I have a couple pictures - I'm not a huge picture taker, and sadly the above one is the ONLY ONE I have with Loralee in it - but I'll save those to post those another day since I have very little knitting-related stuff to talk about of interest right now.

Except for the mittens on Loralee's hands up there! Those are Grove by Jared Flood (aka Brooklyn Tweed).
Yarn is Malabrigo Worsted in Azul Profundo
Needles were size US 6 (4mm).

Mods... a few: added an extra repeat for length; used a k2tog instead of k2togtbl to make the decreases lean the right way; and grafted the tops instead of 3needle bindoff. ALSO: they forget to tell you to move the BOR marker at the top of the mitten (and thumb) for the decreases to line up properly. I moved the first stitch of the round to the last stitch of the round and it worked out fine. Not sure if this makes sense but I'd be happy to explain in detail if necessary.

Future potential mods ('cause these are SO PRETTY I want some for myself and maybe for other family members...): Not twisting the stitches... I really liked the insides of these mitts when I turned them inside out to weave in the ends and I'm thinking its more or less what they'd look like if the knits weren't twisted. And some kind of change to the decreases at the tops... I don't love the way they are.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

And they're off!

Everyone that won wanted the yarn, which means less knitting for me in this time of pre-holiday knitting crunch, and so it is off, in the mail as of this afternoon! Hope you guys enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2009


DC was great, the conference was both intimidating and motivating... and I got sick. A head-cold, or so it appears thus far. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's not the flu.

But what do you guys care? You want to know who won, right?! I used a random number generator ( and came up with the following 3 numbers:


There were a total of 67 entries, including those who were re-entered for posting on their blogs and / or directing people my way.

11 - Susan
53 - Kristin
35 - Sylvia (who I don't have contact info for... if you're out there Sylvia, please email me!

Susan will get the Crashintoewe Jewel Edition in Garnet, Kristin the Malabrigo Sock Yarn in Natural and Sylvia the Cascade Heritage in Blue. It's up to them if they want it in yarn form or mittens!

prettiest mitts in the world

I started these yesterday and I LOVE them. LOVE. I'm going to have to make another pair for myself 'cause these are already a designated present.

Even the palm is pretty:

prettiest mitts in the world (palm)

Pattern is Grove by Jared Flood from "Made in Brooklyn". (Why yes, I do want to make EVERYTHING in this book...)
Yarn is Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Azul Profundo (same as the sweater that I'm currently having test-knit)
Needles: US 6.
Mods: using a k2tog instead of k2togtbl on left side of pattern so that they lean in towards the center. Going to add an extra repeat of pattern before decreasing top of mitt. As is I think they'd barely be long enough for me and I have small hands.

Oh, and yeah, this is post #299... so look for contest winners to be announced in the very near future!

Friday, October 30, 2009

cables in DC

cables in DC, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

I'm really enjoying the conference I'm attending, AND the metro ride that affords me time to knit guilt-free. I took this picture this afternoon in the park while waiting for my friend Kate, whom I'm staying with, to get out of work. And it was sort of just luck that I could get even one picture as my camera has been acting up as of late. I tried to get a picture of the park and the trees with all their leaves changing colours... but it was a no go.

This is the beginnings of Jared Flood's Seneca from his new-ish book "Made in Brooklyn". Yarn is Crystal Palace's Aran in a pretty lilac colour (1018 I think).

I'm sort of loving DC in a way I never did before and would almost consider moving here for the rest of my time in the area. Just think of all the time I could knit while commuting!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

getting there

This is post # 297, so if you haven't entered the contest do it! Do it now!! Don't forget that it is open to both knitters AND non-knitters. Knitters get yarn, non-knitters get a pair of mittens knit by moi.

HOWEVER... there may be a bit of a lag in the next couple of posts. Things are about to get hectic for the next couple of weeks around here. I'm going to DC tomorrow through Saturday for a conference. I'm not presenting, but I am attending and it's a lot of the big names working in my field... it'll be interesting to see what other takes are being looked at currently. So I don't know how much knitting / blogging I will get done during that time.

Then the following weekend one of my favorite bloggy-people, and, truth be told, the person that got me interested in blogging in the first place, Loralee, is coming to the area to meet with the whitehouse!! and discuss health care options (go, read her blog, seriously) and we're going to meet up for the first time ever. I've been reading her for almost five years. She got me through some serious homesickness / loneliness my first time 'round in Spain. We've been email/internet friends since and she is an all-round awesome, supportive person and I really can't wait to meet her in "Real Life".

So yeah, it'll be a little hectic around here for the next couple weeks, but I'll try to get some posts in here and there AND soon announce the contest winners!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pattern is ready and waiting!

cowl, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

Pattern is ready and available for free download through ravelry:
download now

Monday, October 26, 2009

much better

cowl, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

Pattern coming soon!

quicky cowl

quicky cowl, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

So, not the best picture, but this is a quick cowl I came up with for the class I'm going to teach at Lovelyarns in November and December. The class is designed to teach people how to read charts, how to use a provisional cast-on and grafting/kitchener stitch.

I'm also going to a) take better pictures and b) write the pattern up for sale on ravelry later. So expect to see this again soon. (Hey, the point is to get to 300 posts sooner rather than later, right?! This is post 294. Which means the contest is still open so click here to enter and here if you want to check out potential prizes.)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

etsy binge

As a grad student I tend to go through a "summer drought"... we don't get paid from end of May to mid-September, so that first paycheque is like a god-send. And it tends to come with a bit of a release... a permission to shop, so to speak.

So I went a little etsy-crazy over the last month and have had several wonderful things come home to me. Since I haven't produced anything interesting enough to share knitting-wise, I thought I'd share a few of my new fav etsy shops and purchases. (All pics are the ones from the sellers... I'm feeling lazy and their pics are probably better than the ones I'd take anyway...)

An Audrey Hepburn inspired dress... I'm probably going to be Breakfast at Tiffany's Audrey for Halloween, but I also kind of adore and idolize her and would love to style myself more in the fashion of... (From Dinwiddies)

A hot-pink skirt. And we're talking HOT pink... the pictures don't do the colour justice. (From Silly Rabbit Vintage)

A tweedy brown-ish with flecks of gold skirt. Again, pictures just don't do it justice. (From 13bees)

A pair of vintage rooster mugs. I've loved rooster stuff since going to Portugal as a young child. These are adorable and the perfect size for coffee for me - slightly smaller than your normal mug. (From Simply Suzula)

Finally 3 extra large (2.25") embossed polymer buttons. I have no idea what I'm going to use these for but they are even more beautiful up close and personal. (From crochet18purple)

There are a few more things, but one is a present for my brother that I'm not sure he's received yet and the other is something that I'm still waiting to receive... so once those things reach their final destinations, I'll fill you all in!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pattern testing

suéter profundo

I'm really excited to announce that the pattern for my 3/4 jacket has been sent out to some test knitters and will hopefully be available for purchase in a couple of weeks!! I'll keep you all posted!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Thank goodness for flickr and ravelry... I totally forgot that I lost the usb cord to my camera and can't get pictures onto my computer. So for now I'll be using stock photos (my own when I can, and others when I can't).


(Photo is mine.)

The above photo is of prize #1: Crash into Ewe's Jewel Collection with Real Silver in "Garnet", 420 yds. (Only one skein, of course... the other skein I'm using to make myself the Kai-Mei socks from Cookie A's book.) This has been subsequently wound into a ball, however.

Prize #2:

(Photo by: Coolmoonyogaknits)

One skein of Malabrigo Sock in Natural, 440 yds. I used this to make my Twisted Flower Socks, just in green instead of natural. I LOVE this sock yarn. (Ok I love all malabrigo yarns...) This is still in the skein (like in the picture) but I would be happy to wind it if someone would prefer that.

And finally, Prize #3:

(Photo by: llgreens40.)

One skein Cascade Yarns Heritage Solid in blue, 437 yds. I haven't used this sock yarn yet but I've seen it knit up and it is gorgeous and super soft. This has been wound into a cake already.

And, of course, any and all of these can be made into mitts by moi.

There is still LOTS and LOTS of time to enter the contest, so click here to check out the previous post and enter!

Monday, October 19, 2009

300th post contest

So this is actually post 290... the winners of the contest will be posted in the 300th post itself. ALSO: for the NON-KNITTERS: this contest will be open to you too, and you can even win your own prize, which, while knitting related, will not require you to knit for yourself!! So read on...

I had hoped to have the pattern for this:

suéter profundo

ready before posting this, but due to some math-SNAFUs (i.e. I decided in grade 11 that I wouldn't really need math to be a linguist/historian so I stopped caring...) and the fact that my pattern notes weren't as great as I remembered them to be, it'll be another day or two before it's ready. I'm going to have to just sit down with the actual sweater and "read" the pattern back from it. (If that makes sense to anyone else...)

OK, so, the contest is this:
FOR THE KNITTERS: Leave a comment on this post telling me about a pattern you would like to knit for yourself when the holiday rush is over.

FOR THE NON-KNITTERS: Leave a comment on this post telling me one thing you would like to do for yourself (can be anything - a spa day, a girl's night out, etc etc) that you don't normally take the time to do.

FOR EXTRA ENTRIES FOR ANYONE: Let people know through your blog / fb / twitter / etc (as long as I can see it) about the contest and then come back and leave me a comment directing me to your post.

DOUBLE EXTRA ENTRIES: Get people to let me know in THEIR comment that you linked them.

OK, so how is this going to work so that people who DON'T knit get a prize? Well, the prizes are this:

I have several skeins of sock yarn at home and probably will never get around to using all of them. Most of them are already wound into cakes / balls so you have to be ok with that. I'm going to pick 3 and post them in the next day or two. The 3 will go to 3 people randomly drawn. (You can have multiple entries, but NOT multiple wins. The 3 prizes will go to 3 people.)

What about the non-knitters? The non-knitters will get (eventually, don't expect it to go in the mail the next day!) a pair of mittens - either fingerless, regular or flip-top depending on your preference - knit out of one of the 3 skeins by me, to your specific measurements. Yes, I'm totally serious.

OK, that's it... prize yarns will be up in a couple days!

*An addendum: contest will be open until I post #300 with the winners. Winners will be chosen using a random number generator (with each comment being assigned a number in order of posting).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Hope all my Canadian friends and relations had a great Thanksgiving yesterday! I know I did. I've been feeling übber homesick as of late and decided that it would be nice to host my very first Thanksgiving dinner. This is the 5th year I've been living out of country during Canadian Thanksgiving and I've never been able to get home for it. So I did Thanksgiving "Lite" with a whole bunch of close friends here. Turkey burgers, sweet potato fries and lots of lovely salads courtesy of guests. AND PIE:

Actually that would be an apple crisp on the right and apple pie on the left. Made from scratch on Sunday, from apples I picked Saturday.

I am so thankful for my friends here, who are a fabulous support system, who make me laugh when I need to, and let me cry on their shoulders when I need that too. I don't know what I would do without them. I probably would not be a graduate student anymore if it weren't for them.

Monday, October 12, 2009


S1050714, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

OK, once again, I'm playing catch-up. I couldn't find the cord to download pics from my camera to my comp though, so I had to clandestinely use the comp at the yarnstore yesterday that has a memory card slot. I still haven't found the cord, despite looking in all the usual "safe" hiding places, so I may have to bite the bullet and buy a replacement on ebay.

And now back to knitting related things...

Above is a picture of some "art" I'm working on for a local artist. He has these plants that are free-floating and was looking for interesting vehicles to showcase them in. He came to the store a week or so ago and asked the owner, Sue, and I to knit little baskets for them. Sue made some extras so she could display them in store and they look like this:


Pretty cool, eh?

Aside from that I haven't been finding a lot of time for knitting, but the time I have been finding has been going into this:


It's for a friend, for a very special reason, but she sometimes reads this and I want it to be a total surprise. So hush hush on the details for now.

That's pretty much it now, but this is post 288 of gradschoolknitter, so look for a 300th post contest in a couple of posts. I'm thinking I'll post the contest on entry 290, and by the time I get to 300 I'll draw the winner. Which could take a while with the way I've been posting lately, so there will be lots of time for entries! HA.

Monday, September 21, 2009

watch out for this woman...

angora spinning, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

she'll practically pay you to take her angora home with you. Stash-enhancement is inevitable in her presence.

I went to Mount Vernon yesterday, with my friend Kate, and we wandered around the 18th Century Craft Fair. We missed her on the first round through, but saw her after a spin on the Potomac River cruise (Which, btw, I cannot pronounce the name of for the life of me). She was spinning the fiber of one of her angora rabbits (she owns 30, which, she informed me, is exactly the amount she can take care of...any more would be too much.) and had several skeins of dyed nubbly wool for sale, as well as some knitted items, made from the angora.

And then I saw this:

angora silk

A lone skein of angora / silk, maybe 60 - 80 yards. I won't even tell you how much it cost, 'cause it'll make you sick. (cough*4$*ahem) Ridiculous. Unfortunately I can't find her on the interwebs, which is probably good because you'd all be breaking down her door to carry her off to the looneybin. Although I really got the impression that she does it for the love of the rabbits rather than any kind of personal gain. It's not a ton of yardage, but I'm thinking a nice lacey cowl kind of a thing might work. But for now I just want to pet it and love it and call it George.

P.S. I'm not even going to try and make excuses for the ridiculous amount of time that has passed since I've blogged. I present my dissertation proposal this thursday and then maybe I'll have a normal life again?! Pretty please??

Monday, August 24, 2009

accountability, or "in which I do NOT talk about knitting"

So I've been writing this blog for over 2.5 years, and for a total of almost 300 posts. (I can't believe it's that many, I'll have to have some sort of 300th post contest!) But I don't say much about myself. I figure that many people who bother to check out my little corner of the internet either know me a) from "real" life, or b) from previous internet encounters. I used to have a blog that was connected to my real name and an identifiable email address, but I quickly discovered that that is a very good way to have everyone know what's going on in my life, whether we know each other or not... and I'm sort of a private person, for the most part. And yet a lot of the comments I get are from people I've never met IRL or online before... and there are some things I feel like putting down into words, and putting out there, so here goes.

Most of you who have read any of this blog know a few certain things about me. I'm Canadian, but living in the States, I'm a graduate student (in Spanish Literature, which might have been a little more obscure), I've also lived in Spain and done a lot of other traveling. I started doing hot yoga on a regular basis this past January, which I will talk about shortly. I also used to talk a bit about "Dr. BF", but some may have noticed he's been absent for, oh, just under a year... with good reason.

So, just under a year ago my long-distance, on-again, off-again bf of 4 years and I decided it was finally time to call it quits. And not in the "maybe we'll get back together again at Christmas" kind of quits like we had done over and over again in the past, but this time, I believe we both knew it was permanent. It wasn't an easy decision in some respects - I still loved him very much, and I will probably always have a bit of a soft spot for him - but he also made some decisions over the course of last summer, decisions that I wasn't really involved in, consulted about or even really fully informed of, that made it easier in some respects. We were also just not good for each other. We loved each other, but we were making each other miserable. I won't go into too many details, for his sake and the fact that some one may read this someday who may know him, personally or professionally, and I still respect him and don't wish him ill in any regard - it just takes too much energy.

I wouldn't say it was "his decision" or "mine" fully, for us to finally break it off... I sort of started the conversation rolling, but in the end it was a mutual decision that both of us had been contemplating for some time. It still saddens me, to some degree, because we did love each other very much, just maybe not in the right ways. I felt, and sometimes still do feel, that I lost a best friend.

All that said, it was really and truly the right thing for me. I've had some ups and downs in the last year, and at first did a lot of dating. Mostly online dates, most of which didn't last longer than one date, maybe two. I know it's sort of cliche and pathetic, but I'd never been "alone" longer than maybe a couple of months in my adult life, and it was really scary. REALLY scary. So I dated. A lot. And made some bad choices, some bad decisions in terms of judging character, but nothing so bad that I felt truly in danger or anything like that. And in the end, all of those experiences, both the good ones and the bad ones have taught me something. Being "alone" in the true sense of the word - as in, not a friend or family member to hold dear - would be scary. But I am so. not. alone. I might be single, but I have some of the best friends and family a girl could ask for. They have been supportive and caring in all of the ups and downs I have experienced so far, and I can't imagine they won't be in the future. And... I LOVE MY LIFE HERE. I can't say that enough. I have a GREAT life, that I have built for myself (in some ways it is fortunate that the ex and I lived so far apart because I was forced to have my own life here BEFORE we broke up and that life was waiting to hold me up with or without him) here and can't imagine it any differently.

It took me almost this full year to feel really, truly comfortable in my own skin. But now I wouldn't change me, my life, my friends and my family for ANYTHING. Or anyone. I decided to stop online dating about a month - 2 months ago for the time being... it was taking up way too much time / effort and I wasn't getting anything out of it. Most of the people I was meeting were either rude to me once we actually met, or alternatively we would have a great time and then I'd never hear from them again. It was not only time-consuming but also emotionally draining.

That's not to say I wouldn't want to meet someone to share my life with... but it would have to be a very specific type of person. They would have to fit my life in a way that was both unobtrusive but also supportive and "there". I know that sounds... weird? oximoronic? but what I mean to say is that I would want to spend time with them, talk to them, be with them, but I'd want us to continue having our own lives too... there has to be some kind of middle-ground / compromise possible, right? I'm holding out hope that there is, anyway.

As for the rest of my life, I've made some very positive changes in the last year. I mentioned earlier that I started attending hot yoga on a regular basis (generally 2 - 4 times per week, depending on my schedule... sometimes more, sometimes a little less). I also did a complete overhaul of my "diet" (and by "diet" I don't mean that I decided to eat differently / do one of those crazy purges for a few weeks to achieve instant weightloss, but rather a full overhaul of my nutritional mind. I eat differently, and conscientiously, and hope to continue to do so for the rest of my life. I believe this to be the only way to successfully lose AND keep off weight... / end digression) around mid-April. I had lost some weight before then, I'd say from the time we broke up (I had gained quite a bit of weight during our relationship due to stress and just general laziness / bad habits that we encouraged in each other) until April I think I lost 5 - 10 lbs. It's hard to say because I wasn't weighing myself consistently prior to April. In April I started weighing myself consistently (approx. once a week) for two reasons. 1) It kept me accountable. 2) It was great motivation to see those pounds shed off. Since April I've lost about 20 lbs. I've held relatively steady (within a 5 lbs range depending on the time of the month, etc) for about a month to a month and a half. I would like to lose another few lbs, but I have to say that I am happier with myself and my body than I have been in a very long time. I don't think I've weighed anywhere close to this in 2 or 3 years.

I wouldn't say it's all hot yoga, the weight really didn't start coming off consistently until I changed my diet. But the yoga has DEFINITELY helped in several areas, including helping me lose the weight faster, toning my muscles, increasing my flexibility, improving my digestive tract, reducing stress / anxiety and just making me feel better about myself in general. I'm not trying to "promote" any particular method or recommend it for anyone and everyone (because it definitely is NOT for everyone in my opinion) but just putting out there what has worked for me. I also remember someone asking me MONTHS ago when I casually mentioned trying it out if I could let them know how it's worked for me.

I'm not sure why I had such a strong urge to write about this today... I should be working on my dissertation proposal that is FAST approaching a deadline. But it was one of those almost uncontrollable urges, and maybe it's just to help me sort through some things in my head (which was necessary) or maybe it's the universe telling me to put this out there for someone else who might be in need of it (I've decided nothing is impossible and coincidences aren't always cigars). I might delete this 20 mins from now, if I decide I can't have this much of myself out there for the world to see... or I might leave it up there for all eternity, in the hopes that someone will find it when they least expect it and need it most.

In any case, thanks for listening (ok, reading) and please, if you want to comment and know who the other players are in this story, please leave names out of it! Thanks, and namaste.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

calling all test knitters

suéter profundo, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

argh... I hate when I accidentally close the page I'm writing a blog entry on and it isn't saved... soooo here we go AGAIN.

OK, before you email / comment saying YES I want to test knit, I have some stipulations. I am looking for a few people to test knit the sweater above (see more photos here on ravlery or here on the blog) but I need the following from any potential test knitters:

1. I knit this in about a 36/37" bust. I need people (bigger and smaller) of a variety of sizes to try this out. In your email / comment please send me your measurements so I don't get all one size of knitters!

2. This is going to be a plug and play style pattern, i.e. you must have a happy, healthy relationship with your calculator and / or personal math skills. ALSO: you must check gauge. I don't care what gauge you get (i.e. you can use the yarn / needle combo of your preference, although I would prefer to see it knit in worsted weight yarn...) you just have to check it in order for the pattern to work, ever.

3. You must provide your own yarn for this pattern.** You are making this sweater for yourself, to keep and use, like any other sweater you would make. Thus you should only volunteer if you REALLY like the sweater and think it is one you would make for yourself even if you weren't getting the pattern first, and for free. That said, I might be able to find some small prizes for those who do follow through and make a nice sweater for themselves!

4. You must have a blog and / or ravelry page that you update regularly enough for me to see how the sweater is progressing. Please provide your blog url or ravelry name in your email.

OK, I think that's everything... all that said, though, I'll have to take a look for my notes and / or measure the sweater when I get home, if there is enough interest from test knitters...

** If you are wondering how much yarn you will approximately need (and could then stash dive / run out to your LYS!) check out the chart here. You want to go to the bottom, where it says "Sweaters" and look at the Adult sizes for worsted weight yarn. Keep in mind that these are approximate and that this sweater is probably longer than the avg sweater. ALWAYS BUY A LITTLE EXTRA TO BE ON THE SAFE SIDE!!!! Please DON'T buy for this project, however, until you have heard back from me positively!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

the difficulties of photographing one's own foot

sparkly goodness!, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

I'm sure I've written before about how difficult it can be to take pictures of one's own foot. And I'm sure I'm not the first knitter to gripe about it either. This one is pretty decent, although it was only achieved through great contortion.

Here's a shot from above:

kai mine!

that makes me look like I have no ankle. Not my best angle... I pride myself on having fairly nice feet... which include ankles!

So the right Kai-mei sock is done, obviously, although I have yet to cast on for the left one yet. I'm sure that will happen today or tomorrow as tomorrow is going to be a long travel day.

I really like this sock, although I have to say the pictures don't do it justice. It's dark and rainy here this morning so the colour is totally off.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Something Fishy this way comes...

fish scarf, originally uploaded by gradschoolknitter.

I came up with this fish scarf for my lys to display a new yarn, Knit1 Crochet too's Geologee.

Here's another photo:
fish scarf

The pattern is available on ravelry and on etsy.