Monday, 31 December 2007

New year's even for now

Sad. Maybe even depressed.
I only do social drinking and I've only had two pints, but maybe I should stop drinking altogether.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Knitting badges

I have decided I am a member of the Cast On Knitting Scout.

Wherein it is acknowledged that members are:

* Not opposed to alcohol.
* Into badges.
* Mostly in agreement that there is no right way to knit.
* Committed to diligent positive and accurate presentation of knitting and knitters, to editors, producers, directors, and those generally presumed to be part of “The Media” in an effort to close the gap of Public Knitting Literacy.

The “Proselytize Knitting” Badge
A requirement for all Knitting Scouts, the recipient must do his or her bit to present knitting in a positive light, whilst at the same time avoiding all references to “hipness”, grandmothers, and yoga.
Text to follow.

The “MacGyver” Badge (Level One)
The recipient must demonstrate clever use of a non-knitting tool in a knitting-related scenario. For instance, recipient has used paper clips as stitch markers, or successfully whittled and then utilized bamboo skewers as dpns.
Paper clips as stitch-markers are very very common in my knitting. And I keep losing all my embroidery needles, so I always use knives, nail-clippers or, in that one ocassion when I had to travel in a plane and I didn't have anything else, my teeth. I think in that ocasion I must have looked very strange, sitting on the floor of the airport, gawning at the bright green yarn, with a brain slug on my lap.

The “Knitting Whilst Under the Influence” Badge
This applies to both actual knitting under the influence, as well as achieving moments of stunning intellectual clarity about one's knitting under the influence. Presumes talking about knitting whilst under the influence a given.
Text to follow

The “I Will Impress You With My Math Prowess” Badge
The recipient is a whiz at substituting yarns and calculating gauge, can space increases and decreases evenly and is fully comfortable with the basic math encountered in all knitting projects.
I have never believed in using the yarn recommended by the pattern, although that might be mainly due to the fact that I can't handle animal fibers, and most projects deal with wool. So I go, pick up a nice non-scratchy yarn and buy it, and more often than not rewrite the entire pattern because of course I don't always check the gauge. And I have succesfully rewritten Thuja from the size 9 they are (which I knitted for my boyfriend) to a size 5-6 (for my mum and my boyfriend's mum1).

The “I Will Crush You With My Math Prowess” Badge
The recipient has applied the principles of higher mathematics to knitting including, but not limited to hyperbolic planes, Fibonacci sequences, Klein bottles, Moebius strips, fractals and Flying Spaghetti Monster hats.
I will blind you with my real rocket science! I am an aeronautical engineering programming satellites, and I kept sane through the end of my degree and how much it burnt me by knitting. Fibonacci sequences, binary patterns, brain slugs. Jayne hat coming up soon, as well as a FMS (all hail his noodly appendage) to pay the brain slug some company. You said you wanted a launch algorithm? Sure, I'll bring it on as I get these cables done!

The “Knitting Got Me Through My Divorce” Badge
Better for you than wine, easier to care for than a houseful of cats, knitting probably kept you busy, and definitely kept you sane, while you navigated your way back to single life. You’re better off without him/her, honey.
I have never been married, so I cannot have a divorce. But I did have a divorce from my sanity. One day, I woke up and my sanity was gone, and I was broken, depressed, and crying incontrollably. So, as I started to look for my sanity, I started knitting a scarf for my boyfriend. And then a pretty top. And then a toy. And then socks. And then, at some point in between a yarn over, a purl and a k2tog, my sanity started coming back more and more often for visits. And I think it might have liked my knitting, because it kept staying for longer visits. At the moment, it stays over most of the time, and only goes away ocasionally, but it's a much better arrangement. I don't think I would have been bearable during the worst part of my depression if, when I was panicking or down, I wouldn't have been able to pick up the needles and get lost in a world in which I could make pretty things happen out of the chaos, and had to pay attention to the stitches rather than the clouds around me. Given that I'm not at the point of slowly getting of meds, I think I have earned this badge, marriage or not.

With grateful thanks to Zabet Stewart and the Science Scouts at Science Creative Quarterly, whose badges I will do one of these days.

1 How do you recon she should be called? mother-in-leaving-together, mother-in-sharing? or shall I just go for mother-in-not-law? I like that, mother-in-not-law. I'll have to pass it by Alex.

Friday, 14 December 2007

And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those pesky kids

Get Knitted didn't have chunky yarn of the non-wool variety for my Jayne hat *is upset*
I managed to find yarn for my Clapotis, but all the non-wooly yarns in grey are just so dull and flat, I had trouble finding one that would look a bit pretty. I settled for Debbie Bliss Cathay, and I'm knitting now a swatch. It will include a dropped stitch like in the shawl to check how it will look. There were much prettier yarns around, but I didn't think that dropped stitch would look good on a non-smooth yarn.

In other news, my mum's socks are done, although I'm not terribly excited by then, and I'm nearly done with the hat. Hopefully this weekend I'll be able to get camera-happy and post some pictures!

Thursday, 13 December 2007


I am feeling very ambitious1 today, so I have been drafting up some knitting plans.

I have, at the moment, two2 WIP: my mum's purple magic socks and my peasant cap. My mum's socks are nearly done: I only have left 5 normal rows, 14 decrease toe rows and then the grafting. My cap is a bit more behind. It has about 1.5 inches of plain stockinette left, the decreases (for the love of me I can't remember how many) and then the band. For the band I am planning to interchange the blue and the black for a while, possibly using the Fibonacci generator. I should have mixed the colours for the rim, but I really thought I was not going to have enough yarn, which I do (took the last balls of yarn from the shop!).

The sock should be finished within one or two days (this evening and saturday), and the cap shouldn't take too long either, so I am ready to cast on for two new projects! (never mind the socks, I like following other's patterns first and for now).

The first thing I'm going to start is a Jayne hat. A cunning hat. A hat that, when I walk down the street with it, tells people I'm not afraid of anything. And the lost people really should go watch Firefly. All of it. It's less than 14 hours, so no excuses. Drop that mouse and go watch.
If I'm really lucky, I'll have yarn to spare to knit two, and I can graciously donate one to the ICSF library, and earn their love forever (even more). And, if I'm doubly lucky, I can tell them ahead of time and use it as a hat for the house game.
Come to Picocon, 23rd February. You know you don't have anything better do to on that day. I certainly don't.

The second thing is a Clapotis. I don't have a warm grey or black scarf, so I think I need to make myself one. I am thinking on using some more of the South West trading company, either soy or bamboo, because they are nice, soft and pretty, and, just as important, Get Knitted has it on sale. The pattern has a colour changing yarn, which makes it look very pretty, so I might have to look for something similar to spice it up. I might start with grey, because it will look better with my black coat. Thinking of scarves, my red scarf is looking orangey now, so maybe I can start thinking about knitting a red one. If I do it in a light yarn, I'll keep using it during the rest of the year. I like scarves. I wear them year round, hot or cold, which it is precisely the spirit of Clapotis. Shouldn't do it red, hon, remember you wanted a gery/black one, remember.

So, these are my knitting plans for now. I also received today Last Minute Knitted Gifts, as well as three self-therapy books to help me on my med-free, get-well life. So I might have to list on some project from that. I have liked so far what I have seen, and they are conveniently grouped by hours on a time estimate, so I can use them as fast knits in between big projects.

1 I also don't have a lot of work to do. At all. Can you tell?

2 The rest of the started projects are currently sleeping quite placidly, so I'm not even going to wake them up to take them into account.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

And today something kicks.

Well, I think it is more panic than depression. Lately I have been very scared of things. I have been dealing with the depression side of my problems, and that had gotten better, but I have left the anxiety unchecked and I think that is now coming back to bite me. It has sharp teeth.
I have finally booked a doctor's appointment for next week, Tuesday, to check how my decreasing of meds is going, so I can talk to him/her about it.
I think I'd like to go steady on the decrease for a bit, because I'm feeling more fragile (even if the sleepy part has subsided), but I don't want to start decreasing the propanolol. And I want some therapy again.
I stopped therapy when I moved to the Netherlands for my final year project. Not because I moved: I still tried to go to therapy there. But the only person I had access to that didn't require me to sell a kidney was not very nice at all. He made me cry, but not the good, relieving, I'm-getting-things-out kind of cry, but the hurtful kind of cry, so I stopped seeing him. I did stabilise and improved on my own, which I now realise was probably very lucky, and I got better.
But I don't think I have got better for a while, just been stuck in 'well', without being normal. Last week I had to give a presentation at work about said final year project. Now this is a topic I had been working with for 4 years, can talk about it a great length, and it was a presentation I had already done and passed very successfully. But I panic and froze ahead. I refused to think about it, try to cancel it the working day before, didn't look at whether I still had the presentation until the day before, and only looked at the actual presentation a couple hours before. Spend the day before (Sunday) knitting franticaly just to control the fear that came every time I sat on the computer.
I think that is is. Fear. For some reason, my panic has evolved into fear, and I'm not terribly sure why or how.
So I really should get on with things, open my therapy book (Mind over mood), and get some actual therapy. But it is difficult.

I'll try this Sunday. I'll go to the pool and paddle about for a bit, and then I'll come back home and sit with a nice non-alcoholic drink and some food and have a look at it. I'll get Dragon and Monkey with me, and they'll protect me.
It's going to be ok, I promise.

Oh, but I have finished Fetchings!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Half a fetching and a late bus

Wheeeee! Finished one mitten! Although only thanks to spending nearly 45 minutes waiting for the bloody bus. I had time to knit the thumb and unravel the fingers to add more rounds, as well as casting on for the next one.
I nearly ran out of yarn for the top, and it might be a bit tricky to bind that end off, but I will make it bend to my will.
The mitten is sitting next to me in the office, and I really want to knit!!!! But, although I can get away with looking at patterns while my code compiles, I probably can't really get away with knitting.

I made some modifications to the patter, to fit my linking and because my vertical gauge is smaller than the pattern calls for (my horizontal gauge is also a teeny bit smaller, but that presents less problems).
* knitted 5 rows before 1st cable
* 4 cables in wrist section
* 24 rows in hand section
* 2 cables for fingers
* 10 rows after the last cable
* normal bind-off
* 10 rows for thumb

Sunday, 2 December 2007

I has a jumper. Nobody be stealing my jumper.

I has a jumper. Nobody be stealing my jumper.
I have finished (in less than a month, go me!), my first real wearable jumper. The first one was several sizes bigger for me...

Pattern: Tomato, although I originally got it from the book "No sheep for you".
Yarn: Rowan RYC Cotton Jeans, 9 skeins in "Blue jeans" and a bit of Rowan All Seasons Cotton in cream.
Needles: Knitted with the recommended circulars in 4.5 and dpns in 4.0 for the neck.
Trivia: I initially liked the blue yarn, and bought two skeins just because, and then thought of something to do with them. And the blue tomato was conceived! (had to buy more yarn, of course).
It knitted incredibly fast, and it was very satisfying to finish, especially when I could finally try it on. I was a bit afraid it wouldn't fir, but it did! And now I am very proud of myself.
It is not as comfy as a bowl of tomato soup, but it is as comfy as jeans, which is what I was going for!

Smaller front view

Tomato resting

More pictures and info in ravelry.

Friday, 30 November 2007


Yesterday night I got my invite! Wheee! I'm pocketsize

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Fetching illnesses

Ill. Horrible horrible migraine that woke me up at 4.30. There were no painkillers in the house. Better now, but it still hurts.

But I actually just wanted to post this:

Monday, 26 November 2007


Yesterday was a S'n'B Sunday.
Once more, I barely didn't make it, but I got myself out of the house, and went. I arrived a while earlier, as I always do. I just like being able to be the first person and have other people approach me, rather than me having to go up to a group. I was starting to lose hope, but two girls turned up at quarter past, about 2 minutes from each other. Johanna turned up a while later, and then one more girl. 120 (5!)
I don't think I can remember everybody's names, though, which is a pity. So we knitted (a balaklava, two fetchings, a jumper and my top), and talked, and had nice tea and coffee. It was really pleasant. One of the women told us about her son's accident, and we talked about flats and homes, and knitting techniques, and spinning. I felt this strange bond throught the knitting to these completely random women, and they were suddenly not stranger, but comrades in needles. I enjoyed that.
To top it all off, I managed to finish the body of Tomato.
I finally got to try it on, and discovered it fits. They said it looked really nice. I started the neck ribbing when I got home, and that's almost done as well. It shouldn't take too long, although that will clearly depend on how much time I have to knit this week.

Today, due to a weekend of not good sleep and horrible headaches, Cristina is really sleepy, so she'd like to share her sleepy kitten with everybody:

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Wish me luck

Because I have apparenly nothing better to do, I have decided to start my first own pattern: socks. I have a mostly clear concept of what I want, so I can post a sketch when I have scanned it (I tried in Paint, and you could barely tell it was a sock).
Here are some things to watch out in the creation of my socks:


  • As said earlier, it can't be wool. I'm going for cotton, and hopefully I can find something with a bit of synthetic stretch on it.
  • They have to be warm sock to slip my feet in when I come back from work
  • Chunky yarn, so they are warm socks and knit up fas
  • To make them fit without the stretch, I'm going to make the leg open, kind of with a cut in the outside, and hold together with buttons.
  • In the outside, possibly starting with the leg and continuing down the side of the foot, a cable
  • Some thick stitch for the sole, might have to ask knitting for help on this one
Things to know
  • Never done cables before! You take some stitches out to a cable needle, and then knit the next n stitches, and then the cable needle. The cable slans to one side or the other depending if you take the cable stitches back or front. Then you knit as many plain rows as stitches you cabled, and start again. At least the stitches right before and right after the cable are purls.
  • You will finish Tomato, but you ought to finish some of your UFOs too.
This is all.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

I are teh strong

Not only knitting happens in my life, although sometimes "the knit, the geek and the therapy" sums it up pretty well. Today, for now, there is geek and therapy.

I can program in Python. I have made a Hello World, and that for me means that I can program on it. Increasing up to 5 the languages I can program in.

I overcame my depression this morning and, rather than phone in sick, I got up and got to work (albeit really late), and managed to cheer myself up on the way. I saw the picture of the cutest duckling on the way in, and the weather, sunny but frosty, made everything look beautiful. Today, I won.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Also you have to wind it

Woohoo! Finished my boyfriend socks!

They are made in my modified version of Knitty's Thuja pattern. I didn't really do the modification on purpose, I think I just misread the pattern, and only noticed a lot later on. It is not that much of a dramatic change, I just simply used a 3x1 rib throughout the sock rather than the seed stitch that the pattern calls for. I also suspect that, had I tried to do the proper seed stitch, I would have had to undo lots of rows as I forgot and just knitted on.

The socks are knitted in Inca Cloud Artesano Alpaca in charcoal. They are plain but warm socks, and they do fit my boyfriend nicely. To match his feet and the yarn, they are knitted with 3.5mm bamboo dpns. Since the first time I tried bamboo (because they didn't have metal in the size I wanted) I fell in love with it, and now that is what I wish to knit with.

The 1x1 rib has 10 rows, and there are 42 rows until the heel starts. The 42 is not an arbitrary number. After all, I am knitting socks for my boyfriend.
When I knitted other socks I found the pattern very tight around the bridge of the foot, so I picked up and knitted 12 stitches rather than 11, doing the decrease once more. After the decrease is done, I knitted 43 extra rows for the foot (I wanted to do 42 again, but the sock proved too small). The toe decreases also have 3 extra knitted rows, after decrease knits 7, 5 and 3.

The socks were, as the pattern promised, incredibly fast to knit. This was the 3rd pair I did, and I think I will keep it in store for when I want to knit more socks as presents. I would like to knit some for me, but I don't know yet how the pattern would react to non-wool yarns.

In the meantime, I am several rows into my blue Tomato. And it's coming along really nice.

[Pics of the sock will happen once I get my boyfriend to wear the socks, when he comes back from his week away. I would try them on myself, if I wanted the skin of my feet to fall off. Which I don't.]

Edit, 06/01/08: Pictures!
Boyfriend socks

Boyfriend socks

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Planes and needles

I went to Madrid on a business trip, and knitted knitted knitted. One of the evenings, when I was really tired, I stayed in the hotel and read, ordered a pizza and knitted while watching some TV. It was so lazy, but so nice, and just what I needed. Now the second of my boyfriend's socks is well under way (possibly about 2/3 of the way there). I started the first couple of rounds of Tomato as well, as I decided that I had earned it.
I need to finish the socks by this weekend, when he leaves for the mountains. The socks will keep him warm, because they are knitted with love. Also you have to wind it*.

I made some elderly Spanish ladies in the plane jealous, because I was knitting and, had they know, they would have bought their crochet.

* If you don't get this reference, go now and watch Futurama. All of it.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Lickety split

Lickety split is a toe sock designed to be worn with Japanese slippers. I don't have Japanese slippers, so I am resigned to wear them as a stand-alone piece (especially to be home) or with flip-flop. Regardless of the whole "socks with sandals", they are very comfy, and they allowed me to wear my flip-flops without pain while I was breaking them in. And I want to think that, because of the type of sock, they didn't look that bad. At any rate, nobody said anything, although I did wear them mostly in a country whose language I didn't speak, so they could have been talking behind my back and I wouldn't have notice. I was happy with my feet warm and dry, and that's all that matters.

These socks were the first complicated piece that I finished, and I was very proud of them. I send pictures of them to everybody! My mother could not believe that I had made them, and demanded to know who had taught me to knit. No matter how many times I say "the internet", she still doesn't believe me.

Here be pictures!:
Lickety split
Lickety split

The socks are made in cotton. I know cotton does not make great sock yarn, but I am allergic to wool, so that is all I can use. Besides, I did not know about elasticity and things like that, I just got some comfy cotton and dived in. It didn't turn out very bad, and the socks have enough sturdiness to hold up even without the stretch. I think I was very lucky here (they are modelled after cloth socks).

Techniques needed that I learn on the go:

  • crochet and temporary cast on: I had to find a "How to crochet" guide for this, and then fight with the temporary cast-on. I think I started the for toe about 4 times before I managed to get it right, so I'm not entirely sure how I didn't give up.
  • 3-needle bind-off: not terribly difficult, but I hadn't used until then.
  • intarsia: the proper way, with the back neatly done. I had done what I will loosely describe as "intarsia" before, but this is when I learned to do it properly.

And so, these are my toe-socks. They are great. The squiggly on the side is the Japanese for rat, my Chinese horoscope. I like seeing my toes. One day, I should make socks with all toes, although I fear when I finish them I will just sit and wiggle my toes, and stare at them saying "toesis", and that would be the end of my day :)

Monday, 29 October 2007

List of completed knits to the date

List of completed patters to the date. Currently the link points to the pattern, although at some point I will make it link to pictures as well!

  • Ravenclaw scarf
  • Nautie (from knitty, link will follow)
  • Toe socks
  • Brain slug
  • Socks for my boyfriend's mum
  • Clanger (goth)
  • Sunday, 28 October 2007

    And so the knitting begins

    I have been, for a while, thinking about knitting online. The grand scheme of things is to one day be able to post my own designs here, but that is probably quite a bit away. I can barely follow patterns as it is sometimes...

    So, Cristina and knitting. I think I was taught the basics of knitting when I was little, but it never stuck. But my actual knitting has two origins. The thought origin goes back to maybe 2005, when my boyfriend wanted a Ravenclaw scarf but couldn't find any, and I offered to make him one. However, life and possibly a degree got in the way, and I didn't think about it for a while.
    Then, I fell really ill with depression during the summer of 2006. I took up knitting related to that, I think I had heard it was good for it, althought I can't remember at the moment the exact reasoning. It all was very confusing. So I bought in the street market some really crap yarn and some needles, and the internet taught me to knit. I knitted his Ravenclaw scarf (with much nicer yarn), and felt a lot better while doing so. Knitting takes up your attention without being draining, and most other things don't really matter when you are trying not to lose stitches. And, after his scarf, I continued knitting.

    I might talk one day on the benefits of knitting. Knitting has helped me overcome depression, althougth I hold no illusions about being completely well yet (I should have been meeting my knitting group at the moment, but I felt to sad and cold to go out).

    So, for now, I will ramble about knitting here (so as not to inflict it in the readers of my normal blog), and one day I shall post those patterns.