Tuesday, September 12, 2017

electricity is back

the power is back! so I went home, with the cats.

water is still restricted to tank water, which should refill as it rains. hopefully the mains will come back at some point (since I really haven't the faintest idea what to do if they don't).

my house is a disaster. not from the storm, but from me moving lots of things around to make space for the furniture I dragged in from the balcony and garage, and from trying to get things away from windows in case of leaks. there was only a small damp spot by one window (the northeast-iest window), so no problem there. But it comes to my attention that I haven't swept or dusted in quite some time, and the house very much feels grubby.

If I could I would take a day off to try to get my life back together, but I've got a proposal for telescope time to finish writing, soooo I'm at work. trying to write, to fix things, to make my time requests seem reasonable.

it feels a bit like trying to hammer in a nail using only my skull.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Hurricane Irma Socks

Irma grazed us and we escaped mostly unscathed, though Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, and the various Virgin Islands and other islands and countries are all in some pretty terrible shape. I'm boxing up the mojo and love I was sent and sending it back their way; and on to Florida, now that Irma's heading that way.

I started socks when the power first went out on Wednesday. Managed to get fairly far despite the dark yarn. The challenge was that it got damn hot, and humid, and without even a fan to blow on me, I got so sweaty. SO. SWEATY. my hands were even sweaty, great beads of sweat just rolling down me all the time. Couldn't even dream of touching wool, so the socks are lingering.

Currently up at work in the AC (since there is no power or water yet at home), so perhaps I will be able to knit again tonight.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Late to the party

Did I mention that I cast on a Find Your Fade shawl? I know this was everyone's big thing for the past year but I was resisting its allure, mostly cuz... welll... stubbornness. But I threw together some skeins from stash and realized I had plenty for a fall-colored fade, if I didn't mind getting a bit creative with the yardage requirements. Fortunately it's a pattern that lends itself well to modifications. I'm on the second-to-last color now and it's becoming a bit of a slog but still very satisfying. Especially satisfying because I'm making it from stash and didn't fall down hard at the Madelinetosh entry on WEBS.
Not that I didn't spend several hours playing with color combinations in my cart.
But overall it's been a good year for me, purchase wise. I don't think I'll join the fiber club again; I like buying more specific things more than I enjoy being surprised, and I have too much fiber on my hands right now anyway. I bought a couple of skeins in january but have used them up already, and the other things coming into my stash have all been gifts. So yay for saving!
A hurricane may be coming upon us soon down here in Puerto Rico. It is the right season. I feel like I should pack some epic knitting in case I need something to distract me in the absence of electricity. Perhaps the poncho I was working on, or the tunic--something big. But those long rows work best with a distraction--maybe instead I should just pack three or four skeins of stripey sock yarn and see how many socks I can plow through. yeah, that might be the ticket.

Monday, August 7, 2017

summer was fast

My summer has flown by, probably because I've been so busy. Teaching a summer student, doing research/trying to finish a paper, and a series of presentations kept me busy around travel at the beginning and middle of May and the middle of July. I'm home again, and thoroughly unsettled still. The house is a disaster, I need to go grocery shopping, the cats need to be brushed and won't stop snuggling me (3 weeks away is apparently too much time for them, even if it's too hot to snuggle. I don't mind the love).

So the days passed, and now August is here, and frankly I haven't crafted much at all. I'll barely scrape up 3km for stash dash, and it's all from finishing stuff that I'd started earlier in the year. The bulk of my travel/vacation crafting was this:

A cute cross stitch pattern from Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery. The rest of my time was spent relaxing or writing or both, and very pleasantly.

I just need a couple of days to get my head screwed back down. Right now I'm off floating in the ether between worlds, unbalanced.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Stash Dash Glee

I do so love the Stash Dash event. So far I've finished a shawl, a cowl, a pair of socks, and a baby sweater. I'm on the verge of polishing off another pair of socks and a hat as well, and I cast on a new pair of socks to keep my WIP quota high enough to keep my attention. I also need to hunt up some spinning time.

My laptop seems to have bitten it for good--last time I logged on it had decided the date was Jan 1 2000 which is usually a motherboard sort of error, and then it decided that my password no longer worked. Which, I mean, I would expect to have been hacked, except I've had the wireless turned off for months because there's no internet at home. I'm debating getting another macbook of the same type--pricey, but it will make the transfer of my data and programs pretty easy, and it would mean I could still use the power cord I just purchased, which was 80 bucks--or getting some different sort of machine--cheaper, but more effort in terms of figuring out what I need for work and if I can dual load an OS that will allow me to play some games as well. And overall, both options suck, cuz I wanted to pay down some bills, not add to them. But I really need a remote work machine, and the phone does not cut it.

Meanwhile, this afternoon's plans involved going swimming at the pool but there's a thunderstorm here pissing on my day, so blehhhhh.

Friday, May 26, 2017

busybee again

Making graphs. Graphs are nice. IDL is behaving itself for once (maybe I've tamed it? I suspect only this little corner of it. and it'll probably bite me for saying that).

I had my graduation ceremony for last year's Ph.D. completion. It was delightful and I got to see some of the best people. Also had hangings out with my friends who have produced a smaller version of themselves. This visit means I ripped out half the baby sweater as it needs to be both wider and longer. No problem, I've got the yarn. I also almost finished the shawl, made it even a couple rows longer to try and use up more yarn.

All in all, things are pretty good here. And Stash Dash is coming!

Stash Dash is an event hosted by The Knit Girls podcast, my absolute favorite knitting video podcast to watch. They talk a lot about yarn and projects and spinning and crafts, and a little about books and life, and they are funny and delightful. Every year as Lala gets the summer off (she works in the US school system), they have this event where you try to meet certain goals for yourself and if you do you can enter to win a few prizes. The point is to use up stash, and you get to count the yardage from any project you complete between May 27 and August 13 (or something like that, whatever Lala's summer vacation is).

The reason I love this event so much? It's very much open to interpretation. You can aim for a slew of different, achievable goals; you can knit what you want; you can use free patterns or paid for patterns, patterns from stash or new patterns, any sort of pattern you desire; and WIPs you get to count the whole yardage if you make them into a FO, even if 90% of the knitting was done three years ago. This motivates me to polish off lingering UFOs and to tackle at least one big WIP that I would normally ignore for tiny things like socks. I don't always meet my own goal (usually I aim for 5km worth of finished-up yarn) but I always like trying.

This year, I have a whole pile of WIPs from the past 6 months that have sort of been malingering and that I intend to finish:

1. Ashburn shawl, which is 2.5 skeins of different colors of yarn in a fun pattern. Right now I'm maybe 10, 20 rows from the bindoff, so it's quite feasible, even though they are long
2. Yellow-gray striped socks. These just need an afterthought heel, but I've been avoiding that last one like the plague
3. The little socks for mom. I blew through the 50g ball of yarn and these both just need toes in an alternative color
4. Night Sky stripey cowl. I started this two or three years ago; got the yarn in 2014 at Maryland Sheep and Wool. It's a tube cowl that I'm going to graft so it'll be a long skinny stripey thing that I can wrap around my neck twice, but I've bogged down on it occasionally because it's not eating up the colored yarn as fast as I thought it would. I think, though, that I've figured out the last two combinations of stripes I want to do before I finish with the gray and do the fancy kitchener in the round
5. Orange baby sweater. I want weePatrick to have this for fall, so I had better work on it, but both the body and the sleeves need to be lengthened so it's a bit of a slog. Not too hard, though, a good weekend should do it
6. Flowers in Her Hair hat. Started this for fun and Robin likes the colors so she's getting a hat and maybe mitts if I have enough leftovers (maybe I can make mittens with an alternative color for the cuff and use the whole ball up. That would be nice). The hat is nearing its decreases (slightly slouchy, extra long so you can fold it up over your ears) but the mittens are a twinkle in my eye
7. Vibrant purple mitts. I got this incredibly violet yarn a long time ago, a single 50g skein. Not enough for socks or anything, and it's 100% merino so it's soft but wouldn't hold up well anyway. I finally cast it on into a pair of little mitts with, perhaps, a lace pattern over the knuckles if I feel like it. These are both started but not anywhere near finished
8. Myliu Lino--the linen tunic. I've mentioned this one before because I've really fallen for it and think I would wear it a lot. It's been ripped out twice since I started it and I don't know if I can handle it if I have to rip it a third time, but hopefully the measurements are correct now. We'll see how it goes. This is the big project for the summer and I have no idea if I'll be able to finish it or now, but if I do I'll be very happy
9. Handspun: 2ply falkland combo spin. I have 2 braids of Falkland seconds from Three Waters Farm, one of my very favorite indie fiber dyers. I decided to spin them up into singles, each braid, and then ply them together as a 2ply and use that to make a baby sweater for weePatrick if there's enough yardage. First ply is 2/3 done but I haven't touched the wheel in quite some time
10. Handspun: Snake Agate. This'll be, like the one above, a 2ply from 2 separate braids from TWF, one merino and one BFL (hopefully they play nicely together; the colors certainly do). I am hoping this will be a nice tonal gray-brown when I'm done with it that I can use for a contrast color with any other handspun to make a bigger shawl, but we'll see, it might be its own thing
11. Handspun: Lingering Light. I have 2 skeins of this colorway on Targhee from TWF. Not sure yet how I should spin this. I would like a 3 ply but I want to maximize yardage, too. hmm.


That's all I'm sure I want to work on and would love to finish, though I have no idea of the yardage this would produce. But I certainly have an exciting summer planned!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

Reading:
I started (again) The Shadow of the Wind. We'll see if it catches me this time. I also still have Blood and Iron by Elizabeth Bear half read, and I did a few chapters of Garth Nix's Ragwitch. I also have an inch tall stack of papers I want to go through.

Working:
Still making graphs for the short paper. Meanwhile, I got surprise!telescope time so I've put some decent time into preparing for that and I get to screw up my schedule by observing at 8pm  and 1am for several consecutive days. ah, well, a learning experience. Then I need to reduce that data, as well as the data from the observations in fall, but only after finishing the data for the shortpaper. and then I need to get back into the data from the lirgpaper and the data from the clusteringpaper. AAAGH DATA EVERYWHERE. Wait, that's a good thing, I suppose.

Spinning: I finished 2/3 of the first 4oz braid for my falkland combo spin (where I ply together two different colorways). changed my mind, I no longer want a three ply. Instead I'll do a 2ply, 1 ply all the first braid, 1 ply all the second, and see how nicely they play. It won't be as round/bouncy but it'll also be thinner, and there'll be more yardage.

Knitting: I cast on a hat, too. so much for plans. *shakes head*. Next week I am travelling again so I need some good travel knitting. I think I will definitely take the Ashburn that's in progress; before I leave I'll probably be all the way through the second section and into the third section. And I finished knitting the baby sweater but I have no good understanding of sizing so I should probably bring the needles and yarn with in case it needs adjustment, even though I have absolutely zero desire to work on it any more. My instinct says that that is a bad project and therefore doesn't count, so I need another second project (ie, a third project). Maybe I'll get some sock yarn and 1.5s and start a new pair of twinsocks in slightly looser stretchier fabric (the newer stiffer fabric is less forgiving and I don't know how necessary it is). That's not a bad idea.

Also I started a tunic (the Myliu Lino) and had to rip it out because sizing and gauge and messing up the math. redid the math, recast it on, still screwed up (this time in terms of inches instead of stitches, thus proving that while I can learn from my mistakes, that doesn't prevent further mistakes), and I need to rip it out and recast it on again cuz it's my big summer project. except I'm still mad at it, of course.

Other things:
politics are fucked up, my brain is fucked up, my sleep schedule is fucked up, and the house is a fucking mess. Oh well.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

xD

so I just cast on November's socks and gave serious consideration to starting the August project too.

*shrug* apparently I'm not even the boss of me.

Monday, April 17, 2017

What should I knit next?

I finished a large epic shawl. I even won at yarn chicken with it, although there are a few rows of hasty extra decreases.

It is stockinette. it curls. I am going to block it, and then I am going to come to terms with it continuing to curl, because I'm not ripping back 1000 yards of fingering to do the whole thing in garter stitch.

I am moving along on my grellow sock.

so the question, then, is what to knit next? I feel like my 2017plan is not nearly as clear as my 2016plan was. which, I mean... it isn't. so perhaps I shall clarify it, then.

My 2016plan involved using up specific yarns to make socks and other particular patterns, but especially hinged around starting a pair of socks every month. Aside from the two or three months where I made shawls instead, it was a really great plan

My 2017plan is just a list of yarns I wanted to use, or use up, or get to. Unfortunately it was really freaking long:

1) Madelinetosh Twist Light in nassau
2) Swannanoa Sock in slate 2
3) Afton Mountain Sock in slate 4
4) Ella Rae lace merino fingering in chartreuse
5) Hedgehog Fibers sock in hurricane
6) Deb Norville Serenity Sock in aquamarine
7) Opal Vincent Van Gogh in starry night
8) Rowan Felted Tweed DK in brown, green, and purple
9) Plucky Knitter Trusty in lonely heart
10) Regia Design Line Jazz in 6453 and 4ply Galaxy in 1556
11) Handspun #7: Purple Calvados
12) Handspun #39: Cheerful Play
13) Pagewood Farm sock yarn in prism and meadow
14) Koigu sock in blue jean
15) Claudia Hand Painted Fingering in thistle
16) Three Irish Girls Adorn sock in fresh earth
17) Knit Picks Imagination in treasure
18) Karabella Softig in gold and lavender
19) Lily Sugar and Cream in speckled cream
20) Malabrigo Sock in blue-purple
21) Shibui Knits Staccato in red and gold
22) Colinette Jitterbug in oyster blush
23) Three Waters Farm Sock in foliage
24) Frolicking Feet sock in canary yellow
25) Puff the Magic Rabbit sock in gray
26) String Theory Colorworks sport in Galactic Ghoul and Sock in latarious projecte heavy bombardment
27) Sweet Georgia gradient set in gray
28) Suzi sock yarn in red

I mean.. what the hell was I thinking? I could barely finish 12 skeins of yarn last year for the plan (ok I just went and counted and I finished maybe 22 skeins all told, not counting the plan). What made me think that a total of 34 skeins (some of the entry up there has more than 1 skein, cuz colors, and typing) would be a good year 2017 plan?

so. I need something a bit more concrete. Concrete plans worked really nicely last year. let's try them again.

Things I want to knit in 2017:

1) January: **done** Hedgehog Fibers sock yarn into some sort of shawl
2) February: **done** Yellow Geilsk into some sort of shawl (but I recently found a third skein. wTF?)
3) March: **done** Nassau + gradient kit into shawl
4) April: *started* Swannanoa, Afton Mountain, and Ella Rae into a shawl
5) May: Opal in Starry Night into socks
6) June: Koigu blue jeans into mitts
7) July: handspun (either #7 or #49) into a shawl
8) August: Sugar and Cream OR softig into cute washcloths
9) September: string theory sport into socks
10) October: string theory sock into socks
11) November: Regia Design Line into socks (for mom)
12) December: Suzi sock yarn into shawl (sunwalker)

There. that's a thing every month that I should at the least start, and a good mix of socks and shawls. If I get extra time around there I can also start:
Rowan Felted Tweed DK mitts
Pagewood Farm Meadow hat (and maybe mitts? printer mishap?)
Plucky mitts
Deb Norville socks for twin
Knit Picks Imagination into CAT

and of course come october I'll be knitting more bats and pumpkins and eyeballs for the garland I'm making.

...and I'll be spinning all along as well. whew. I need more time to craft.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Weekly checking in

Except I'm not much good at checking in every week.

Science is happening, slowly and steadily. I hit one of my mileposts last night so that was exciting; now I just need to take the Number I made and turn it into a bunch of other things

Knitting is going nicely. It's been very knitty around here for the past two weeks. I cast on the quaker lines/celadon shawl mashup and I'm plowing through it, am already in the decreasing section. The stockinette curls, but since neither pattern calls for stockinette and that was all my choice, it's my own fault. I don't mind it too much. I am getting the littlest bit bored with the purl back rows, but now it's decreased enough that it's not that big of a deal any more, so I will survive it. I also finished my first yellow-and-gray striped sock and am an inch or two into the second one. The second one is always tricky, because I never write anything down so I am trying to "match" the sock to the first one. So far it's going well but I have to stop and check every few rounds, which annoys me and slows progress. I didn't cast on my Myliu Lino yet (I need to wash and block my swatch because cotton stretches a lot), but I did do some work on my mom's poncho. I am abandoning it again--I need to do some thinking about yarn and size and frankly I think it's too wide which is going to make it very difficult to make it long enough with only 1000 yards of worsted. so I might have to rip out both of the things I started as fronts, which is just annoying because this is the second full-rip out I'll need to do. And I went ahead and cast on my Ashburn out of the yarn I'd prepared and selected for it. We're staring with light blue, then chartreuse, then the darker blue. I only did an inch or two of work on it but it was delightfully garter stitch. Maybe this will be my travel knitting for May. I also found a pair of mitts I'd started out of my precious skein of Claudia Fingering in the most violet-violetty color ever, and I went ahead and cast on the second one from the inside of the cake because it's only a 50g ball and the color is un-replicable. so I'll get a pair of something out of it, even if they're mere wristwarmers.

I also had some quality stash time this morning, where I got to dig through everything and take a look at it (at least, the indeterminate stash. the sweater bin I didn't touch). My sock yarn feels like a hoard, to me--none of the skeins are calling me to knit them, I just feel so happy to have them. Once I get the yellow-and-gray socks done I'll have to maybe do some random selecting just to get something else on the needles. And I realized I have a lot of worsted/dk yarn that isn't getting the least amount of attention right now. Here in Casa DrAstroknot it's sock yarn 24/7. I probably need to go ahead and make some DK weight plans because I've got a lot of it still. It'd be nice to do a hat, maybe.

Spinning is mostly at a standstill, but I did pull a braid of merino-silk from stash and do a little bit of it onto two bobbins. I'll ply them up, and then chain ply the leftovers, and we'll see what I like better, 2 or 3 ply.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Quick Thursday update

I almost wrote "Wednesday" up there before I realized what day it was. Yesterday was a Puerto Rican holiday so unexpectedly I did not have to work. I read some papers and then spent the rest of the day playing with yarn. I plied some more lovelies and my wheel is all cleared off and ready for more fresh spinning but I'm not sure what to do next.

Knitting has caught my attention again anyway, so I pulled out the yarn I'm planning to use in my next project. I was going to do either a Stripe Study Shawl or a Celadon Shawl with this gray gradient and the glorious Madtosh Twist in Nassau. The more I think about it, the more likely I am to just take a stab at Quaker Lines using this instead, since it's a pattern I already own, but perhaps I should buy Celadon. We'll see what I feel like when the moment comes. I started hand winding the little mini skeins in the gradient kit and then I gave the madtosh twist a wash. It was already in a ball so that was probably a mistake, doing it without reskeining. I've left it in front of a fan and I hope it'll be recoverable and dry in a day or two. I also swatched for Myliu Lino which is what I'm turning my silver dk cotton into soon, but I think I should probably wash it before I measure the gauge, so it's waiting for that.

I'm deep into a slew of novels. I wanted to be a bit careful after my holiday and not lose myself for a week like I sometimes do. Before the family arrived for their vacation with me, I read a bunch of books, most notably finishing The Silent Tower, the first in one of Barbara Hambly's trilogies. Fortunately I was careful not to get into the next two otherwise I probably wouldn't have talked to the family at all while they were here! I did read The Last One, a short novel by Alexandra Oliva that my sister brought with her. It's a good read, and an interesting and human take on the end-of-the-world/epidemic sort of story; I liked it far more than I did Stephen King's the Stand, for example. But since then I've been sort of grazing through books. I re-read Chalice by Robin McKinley in an evening (it's a delight); picked up Tangled Up In Blue by Joan Vinge that I half read in late November and went through another chunk of it before putting it down again; read Terry Pratchett's Witches Abroad and then started Lords and Ladies and promptly put it down to try Robin McKinley's Pegasus; then had to put that down before I got too lost in the interesting story. I finally seem to have settled on Pratchett's The Last Continent so maybe I'll finish that, but this morning I found the two other books in the Silent Tower trilogy and they are calling to me.

The problem is if I read too many books I stop paying attention to the real world and live only on whatever food I can scrounge from the fridge and don't go to work. so I have to balance things carefully.

I've made excellent progress on my current paper. All I need now is to churn through some IDL programming to get some numbers out of my data--particularly, absorption depth. this, theoretically, isn't too hard, but I have to sit down and really tune into it to get the program working because IDL has a tendency to stop running and quit if you walk away from it. Maybe I'll piece together a script to get me as far as I normally get before I get distracted, so I can run that all in one go whenever it quits and I don't have to start over from scratch. Yes, that's a good plan.

Oh and I spontaneously bought some seeds. I guess I'll take a stab at a windowbox of catnip, rosemary, and lemon balm again, though my perennial Thumb Of Doom is notorious in the plant underworld.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Spinnin'

I had a lovely vacation with my family recently and then I promptly had to lock myself in a room for four days and be by myself. with cats. and yarn.

As a result, spinning happened. Lots of it.




okay. it doesn't look like a lot. but it was. I do love me some spinning


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Short n Sweet

Lots of knitting to keep me sane. Intersperse it with the calling of representatives and huddling under blankets to fight off the feelings of misery and doom.

It impresses me how quickly I can swing from All's Fine and Dandy to Wow This is the End Times.

Work proceeds, rather neatly. I continue on a paper on a SPACEOBJECT I won't name because, well, details. It's a short paper; I hope to finish it by my birthday next month.

As for knitting--the plan to start one long-awaited project a month last year was a good one, and I'm repeating it this year. Except mostly for shawls instead of socks (I am very much feeling like shawls lately). This month's pattern is Brickless (a gift from an internet friend!) out of my only skein of Hedgehog Fibres (a gift from my advisor for defending my dissertation!)

Check that out, isn't it lovely? It's quite well suite to the Martina Behm pattern as well.

I also greatly enjoyed spinning last year for the Spin the Bin 2016 sal. I'm participating again, with more devious fibery plans.


a pile of pretties! one of them got cut off on the end, though. that's six braids of Three Waters Farm and 5 balls of various other long-term fiber stash that I want to put a dent in.

Oh, and I signed up for the Three Waters Farm top of the month colorway. I've already got my first shipment but no pictures of it yet--it's really lovely. I like having surprises in the mailbox every month.

Finally, my current boss gave me a guitar that was taking up space in his office. I might try to learn. Maybe. at the very least it's fun for strumming on for a while.