Friday, February 29, 2008

Dear Mother Nature,

Please make it stop snowing in Chicago so I can get on a plane to take me to see my husband tonight. Thanks.




I'm heading for California this evening (hopefully). Last night, the undergrad in the lab pronounced me "lucky." To which I said:

"Yes, I'm incredibly lucky that my husband lives in California while I live in Chicago."

He hadn't really considered it like that before. Still, it's better than my husband living in Nova Scotia while I live in Chicago, I suppose.

I've gotten so used to these trips, they barely phase me anymore. I haven't even packed yet because I know I can do so in about 15 to 20 minutes. It helps that I don't have to pack toiletries.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Words fail me

From an article about a toy rental company:

Pope also keeps a close eye on the merchandise, yanking toys that are broken or more than "gently worn" and donating them to needy families nominated by her customers.

"If it has a little scratch on it, we're not going to take it out of the program," she said. But, "we're not going to ever send anybody anything that they're going to feel like is junk."

But apparently it's okay to give "needy" families broken toys. They have to take what they can get after all. I mean, it's practically a waste to give poor people something that's fully functional. Especially poor children. Might as well start them out crap since that's all they're likely to get in their lives anyway. Wouldn't want to raise their hopes and expectations or anything like that.

Okay, maybe words don't fail me.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I finally succumbed

I'm now on Ravelry. My name is E-beth (Elisabeth was taken and it was too late at night when I signed up for me to be more creative). I've managed to put up my two works in progress and entered a few of my books and some of my needles. Nothing listed in the stash or queue, though. And I've joined one group--Scientific Knitters.

I can see how this site could become extremely addictive, so I'm going to try to restrict the amount of time I spend on it. We'll see how well that works!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Mittens Accomplished

I finished the mittens for R:


Pattern: Flap-top Mittens, designed by Kim Hamlin, found in Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick.

Yarn: Lamb's Pride Bulk in Blue Flannel, and Manos del Uruguay #103

Needles: Bamboo dpns size 6 and 7

Total project time: 15 hours and 30 min.

Modifications: There was no way I was going to get gauge with the yarns I had chosen, so I knit a nice gauge swatch, then calculated the number of stitches I would need based on that. Since this is the first time I have ever manipulated a pattern that way, it took me awhile to do the calculations and some test knitting when I got to the flap part. This is reflected in the total project time (as is the fact that I had to rip them out a couple of times!). Also, I put a couple of decreases in the fingerless mitten part that goes under the flap so it would fit more snugly. Otherwise, I knit them more or less according to the pattern.

Next time: Well, I would probably use different yarn. The Manos and the Lamb's Pride, while supposedly knitting up at the same number of stitches per inch did not behave in the same way. Mostly, I think this is because the Manos is a "thick and thin" yarn and that made the fabric it created a bit more loose than the Lamb's Pride which was dense. At the gauge I knit the Lamb's Pride, I got a fairly stiff fabric. While this produced a very warm and more wind-proof fabric, it made it somewhat challenging to incorporate the flap in a way that looked nice. As it is, I'm still not particularly pleased with the way the flap is attached. The pattern calls for double-wrapping your stitches then, on the next round, setting aside every other stitch onto a stitch holder. Those are then live stitches that you use to start the flap. But, those stitches ended up looking very loose compared to everything else. If I make flap top mittens again, I'll have to work on finding a different way to make a flap.

I really do like the Lamb's Pride, though. This is the first time I've worked with it and it's a very nice yarn to work with. It feels good while knitting it and it gives really great stitch definition (which can be good and bad depending on how even your stitches are!). I grossly overestimated how much yarn I would neeed for the project and I have an entire skein of the Lamb's Pride left just begging for me to make something for myself. I really liked the Manos, too. The colors are wonderful and I think that used alone or coupled with a more complementary yarn, it would be great for any sort of warm, winter project. I've got quite a bit of that leftover, too. I haven't decided what I'll do with it yet. I'd love to make a hat for my nephew with it, but it's not machine washable and I really don't like giving babies things that have to be handwashed.

R loved the mittens and put them on right away. I was a little worried they would be drafty where the flap edge meets the rest of the mitten, but she says not.

So, now Christmas is finally over!

Just in time for Lent.