Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Still alive

Just a quickie to let you all know that I am still alive, but my foot has sapped all my energy and, while I've been knitting, taking pictures of stuff and typing something coherent was a lot more than I can handled. Videogames were another matter :)

Anyway, I'm at my not-in-laws at the moment, I can walk with one crutch, and tomorrow I will get pressies. I still dislike the crap surrounding Xmas, but this particular instance of it has not been too dreadful for now.

I hope you are all well.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

On the nature of sef-identification

As I was coming back from work today by taxi, my taxi driver had a "black" radio station on. This is not my judgement, the little radio jingle specifically said that it was black radio, made by black people, for black people.
This got me thinking about the way I identify myself. I never do it based on things that I was given, but things that I made for myself. That way, I am an engineer before I am a woman, and even now that I am in a foreign country, I am a geek before an expat, or a knitter before a Spanish-speaker. Maybe it's because I don't really belong to any minority (although being a woman in engineering might come close), but the labels I put on myself are those that I acquired, rather than the ones that came given at birth.
Just a though.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Non-stretch fetings (FO)

Hurrah, I finally managed to get around taking pictures of my new pair of fetching! This should also come with a brief apology for the lack of content, but you have no idea (actually, you might) how tiring several hours of heavy weight-lifting (at least 65 kg) are.

Fetching cable detail


Technical details
Ravelry project page
Pattern: Fetching, by Cheryl Niamath
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton in red
Needles: 3.75mm dpns, plus a cable needle
Notes: This fetchings are, so far, resisting much better the stretching (which was the hope) and the crutches. I also like how they match my nail polish. I very rarely wear it, but I was house-bound yesterday, and wanted something to do. It was either bright red or pale, so I went for striking. And then I paired it with my fetchings, and was happy.
Incidentally, I love the first shot. The colour is more true in the second one, but I love the crispiness of the first one.

Fetching action shot
Look, an action shot!


PSA: Winter Knitty is up! At time of posting, the site is slow and ocasionally down due to the entire knitting world trying to access it, but hopefully the craze will subdue in a couple of hours.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Robo-Cristina

Yesterday I went to the hospital and got my cast replaced for an orthop├Ždic boot. I have an exoskeleton! My leg looks like a Terminator! This makes me happy.
I can also take it off to wash and can put a bit of weight on it, although not enough to walk yet. As time progresses, I'll be able to put weight on it, take it off to do ankle exercises and then, slowly, start walking without it. I can't wear work trousers with it, not easily, but at least I can put on tights without cutting them up. And standing up is so much easier!



Now time for a public service announcement.
Are you stressed about Xmas knitting? Wondering what to make for everybody?
Wonder no more! Embrace the selfish and check out this wonderful holiday knitting post by the Lumpy Sweater.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Toes cozy

Toe cast cover


Very quick project to keep my toes warm. It's knitted with Rowan Cotton Jeans, the left overs from my Healing Jacket 2 (I've blocked it! I just need to sew on the button) and my Blue Tomato. I held the yarn doubled, which made it super quick, and now my toes are warm!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

I broke my foot!

Well, that was crap. As I left work today my heel gave away, and I landed all my weight on the side of my foot. Some hopping and pain later, I am finally home with a broken metatarsus, the one belonging to my pinky, near the ankle. Clean fracture, at least, so I just have to wait of it to heal (4 to 5 weeks). Let me tell you, a third floor flat with no lift and no help is not fun in crutches.
People were very nice to me. I had someone from work help me onto the bus (I broke it very near my bus stop) and then a random person stopped on the street and helped me from the bus to the taxi. I was nearly in tears of pain and gratitude. One in hospital I had a wheelchair, and that was very welcomed. I also managed to knit about 80% of my second Fetching, which was quite nice.
Alex will be back tomorrow from his course, so at least I can have a bit of help. After the evil cold from hell, and the throat-ear infection, and now this, November has not been my best month ever. Is it can be Dezember nao?

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Hurrah!

Hurrah! I've finished weaving in all the ends of my healing cardigan! It did take, however, most of Stardust to do so. But now it's done.
Now I need to block it and add the button, and I'll be ready to take pictures and share it with the world.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Still alive

So, I spent most of last week ill with the plague. Two plagues, actually: I had both a very bad cold (viral) and a throat infection (bacterial). Not fun. It did, however, result into a lot of knitting, so my healing cardigan is just missing weaving in ends (this might take a while) and blocking.

As well as knitting, I did some web surfing while I was ill, and I got this.

IMG_5892

This is an awesome dpn roll, bought from knitonebeadtwo at Etsy. The service was very good, the quality of the roll is good, and it only took a week to get here from the US (it arrived today!).
IMG_5894



The first day I was well enough to go out, I went yarn shopping. I ordered yarn to make a Wisteria, and I got this lovely mini project bag from Get Knitted.
IMG_5895


It's at the moment holding my second pair of fetchings. Some of you might recall I made some last year, although I made the mistake of making them out of bamboo. While lovely, it stretches. More. No, more than that. And a bit more. Ok, maybe not so much. I'm making this out of cotton, matching both gauge and yarn weight this time, so hopefully they will work out better!
IMG_5898-2



Yesterday I went to Forbidden Planet, and bought this cute dead kitty mints box, to use as a pill box or stitch marker box (or both!).
IMG_5900

I opened it today at work to have some of the mints, and I squeed. I mean, look at it. The mints are shaped like teeny bones!
IMG_5901-2



I am less plague-ridden now, although still with my bacterial infection. Not likely to die any time soon, though! Normal service may or may not resume!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

It's cold

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
Albert Camus

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Little robot

Cute critter cute critter cute critter!
IMG_5882

Look at my little robot! As promised, it's the first one I've made from Creepy Cute Crochet, and I like it.
It was a rather easy crochet, but only after asking for help in ravelry and being pointed to the head help from the author. I was having trouble with the slip stitch, which I guess comes from learning crochet to do amigurumi, rather than make more "normal" stuff where I would have encountered it more often.

Rav little robot
Pattern: Robot (rav), from Creepy Cute Crochet, by Needle Noodles.
Yarn :Peaches and Cream, in Williamsburg Blue and White
Hook: Good ol' 3.5mm

IMG_5885
I like my robot and my robot likes me!
Also, it makes me feel like I'm four.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Links of the week, 09/11/08, with bonus yarn

Octopus ancestor
Things should not be called Setebos. Incidentally, my copy of Olympos had some pages repeated. I went to the bookshop to get a replacement copy, but all the ones they had in stock had the same problem. They are ordering me a new copy.
Knitting a song
Via TECHknitter. Quite amazing stock motion, and I can't even imagine the time it must have taken, even machine-knitting it.
Amigurumi tutorials
The tutorials I have been using this week when putting together my little robot. Which is only missing the eyes, so it will be finished soon!
Knitting as therapy
An article about the medical benefits of knitting, how it helps people with illnesses, and how it connects with meditation and channels pain and obsession. I often try to write down why knitting has helped me overcome depression, but invariably someone has written it better than me. Maybe it's still to recent to write properly about it.
High speed photography
I've always been a bit fascinating by it.
Woolly Wormhead needs your head!
The designer Woolly Wormhead (I've met her!) needs your head measurements for her statistical analysis of heads for hat patterns.
London from above
Occasionally when I fly into London, depending on the winds and were I'm coming from, I get to fly over the city of London, so I've seen similar sights if I do it late in the day or in winter. It's truly wonderful, and London is huge.
Yarn monsters
It's things like this post that I like to show to people when they mention that knitting is just for grannies knitting shawls.


And that is all for today. My last yarn purchase has arrived, Crystal Palace Panda Soy, a specific sock yarn without any animal content. I got it from The Woolly Workshop and, like my previous online purchases, it arrived safe and without any problems. These yarn is planned for the Wonderland Socks, which I think are one of the most awesome patterns ever.

Monday, 3 November 2008

More yarn!

As I said yesterday, I had more yarn coming my way, and here it is!

IMG_5875


This time I got yarn from First4yarns. I was originally going to buy the green cotton, as Create and Knit didn't have that colour, but then I gave in to the silk (and seacell) when I saw. The lace yarn is Zen Yarn Garden's Sea Silk, in the lovely Espresso colourway, although the colour is closer to milky coffee. The service from First4Yarns was very good as well, and the yarn arrived well protected in extra plastic and exactly within the timeframe (the also shipped the day after I ordered, but the 2nd class mail -free!- meant it took longer). I will make some beautiful shawl with this yarn, only not just yet, especially as I don't even know which pattern (but have a short list).

In other news, I upped my meds while I wait for my appointment (next monday), because I was tired of feeling crap.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Brief exahustion interlude

This lack of energy is so crap. Another weekend feeling rotten, and I'm pretty sure is because of the meds decrease. My body just can't understand that I'm not forgetting them, this is on purpose, and it's really annoying. I have an appointment with my doctor next Monday (not tomorrow), but I don't know whether to continue with the 25-25-0, or go back to have 25mg of sertraline everyday in between.

This evening I finally managed to pick up a bit, after a whole weekend of not wanting to do anything, and not finding joy on anything (not playing video games, or the Wii, or knitting, or reading, everything was bland). However, I phoned my grandma yesterday, and I made her the happiest woman on Earth, and that made me feel better.

As a result of picking up, I want to share my most recent yarn purchase with you:

IMG_5860

Several skeins of Peaches & Cream (rav link) worsted cotton for amigurumi, bought from Create and Knit. I would totally recommend them. I found the shop via a thread in Ravelry asking for cheap cotton in the UK, and the shop was highly recommended. My yarn arrived 2 days after I ordered, in perfect conditions, and wrapped in extra plastic bags, so it wouldn't get wet. I was thrilled by the speed. And the cotton is nice and perfect for the task. I've just started a little robot, so you will be able to see it in action soon.

I have two more yarn purchases on the way, so expect more yarn pr0n soon.


My Healing Cardigan is progressing slowly, but I have finally finished the 1st sleeve. Pix because it did happen:
IMG_5871

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Slightly mad

I think I'm going slightly mad(der).

Decreasing the meds is giving me brain zaps. It seems that my brain just wants the damn serotonin, but I don't know what else I can do: even with the lowest possible dose, if I don't take it one day, it complains!
Possibly related, I had such a bad night of sleep Sunday night that I didn't make it to work on Monday. Spent most of the day like a zombie (braaaains), knitting plain stockinette (and now my Healing Cardi has nearly 1 sleeve!).

I've also stopped wanting to go to Tai Chi, although that is from before I started the med reduction. It's fine once I'm there, but at the moment it's cold and grim and dark outside, and I just don't have the energy to go there (although I would love it if I could teleport there).

On the good side, I've just ordered way too many pounds of yarn, some worsted weight in bright colours to make amigurumi and some beautiful light chocolate laceweight silk for a shawl. I've only made basic lace before, so of course the right thing to do is get very lovely, very think silk and dive to the deep end, right?

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Links of the week, 26/10/08

... or links of the whenever Cristina has enough time, bother, energy and health, which apparently seems to be only every two weeks.

Animal testing (no time of hysteria)
I'm not just plugging this because I went to uni with the writer. I found it was a very good article on animal testing. I think I just dislike people preaching to me, which is what a lot of the activist against animal testing seem to do when they are out on the street campaigning.
Bibliography for American Gods
If you haven't read American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, I highly recommend it, especially if you like contemporary fantasy and/or mythology. This is part of Gaiman's bibliography for the book, and I would love to have the time to read it. Alas, knitting, the web, and work take up a lot of it!
The best views from a toilet
Pee with style!
Death Star pumpkin
That's no pumpkin.
Cute pictures of animals
I like the cute!
Is there a God?
As said earlier, I don't like preaching, but it's not the first time I have been ambushes by christians trying to tell me that god loves me and I should love him back. I have read the Bible, and it's not for me. I find this ads a bit of a refreshing change, and I like that they still have room for doubt. After all, we might be wrong!
Mind erasing
There are some things from my past I appear not to be able to let go. Nothing major, just little things that bug me, and end up spiralling out of control and making me down. So yes, no matter if those bad moments also made me who I am, I might want to get rid of those memories.
Naked martian robot
Might be not safe for work if your work doesn't like naked robots!
Zeppelins!
The surest sign that you are in an alternate reality is if there are zeppelins about.
Baby pandas
Today's overdose of cute is brought to you by south west China.

I also bought the book Creepy Cute Crochet yesterday, so expect some totally adorably eeeevil creatures popping up soon!

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

No meds

Today, I took no meds. I'm weaning down my last medication, taking it two days and resting one, and today it's the first of those days. If all goes well and my brain doesn't fry while doing so, I shall be med-free in about 4 or so weeks. I guess this is the pure and unadulterated Cristina.

Of course, today the pure and unadulterated Cristina is suffering from sleep deprivation and leftover sadness, so this is not a good indicator of how things are or should be going. I just need a couple of nights of better sleep.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Holy Long John Silver, Batman! She's still knitting!

Unbelievable, I know! My migraines seems to have quiet down a little bit, so I can feel better, knit, read and play more, and then come and post about it here.
Ok, so my knitting time has been severely reduced by Olympos (book) and Lego Batman (for the Wii).

This is my foot modelling Alex's sock. You might remember I had trouble starting up this pattern. I ended up settling for a modified version of the Glob Trotter Socks. I adapted them for my gauge, and made the ribbing over a 4 stitches pattern, instead of 5. They are looking simple, as Alex's wanted them, but the seed stitch ribbing is keeping me entertained.

IMG_5851


As well as the sock, I've been working on my Healing Jacket Take 2. I think I will have to frog the first one, but for now I don't need to worry about that. I've been working on this one during the worst of the migraines, which I thought was quite fitting. I've finished the waist decreases already, and I'm about to start the waist increases. The pattern, Knitty's Emerald, has also been modified to take my gauge, so I'm knitting and exciting combination of the sizes M and 2X.
IMG_5853


I am quite happy with how it's turning out, especially with the tubular cast-on edge. It does look quite professional!
Ribbing

Ok, that might not be the bestest picture of the cast-on edge ever, but hopefully you will get the idea.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Migraines seem to mean reading

Except for Saturday, I have had migraines every day for the last week. I've had better weeks, and, although I know that they are partly related to the stressful week at work I had, they are starting to worry me. I think part of it is also that my brain is getting used to the decrease of meds: I just recently decreased my anti-anxiety medication, which is of the same family of meds as the medication I took a while back for migraine prevention.
I have an appointment with my doctor on Monday, so I will discuss this with her (ideally I'd like to find my copy of the neurologist report, just in case the one the NHS is meant to have has gotten lost in all my moves, but I don't think it's going to happen).


As a result, I've had lots of naps, lots of knitting and lots of reading, but not that much computer time, except for the 7.5 hours a day I have to put at work and brief email checks at home. The combination of sleep and painkillers is absolutely great, but I can't sleep all day. While the compute screen hurts my eyes, I can still read without extra pain, so that and knitting have kept me entertained when I have been awake.
I've started Olympos, and I have made quite a dent on Alex's socks and my Healing Jacket 2, so I'm quite pleased with that. I like reading, the problem is that there is not enough time in the day to do everything, so it's nice to just do it every once in a whle, even if for this reason.


There is no need for alarm, by the way: it's a fairly standard migraine, albeit a bit long than normal. One of my coworkers keeps looking at me and asking me how I feel as if I had the plague or was about to die, and it got annoying really quick.



I think my brain needs a reboot.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Links of the week, 12/10/08

I've been working extra the last two weeks, due to a work deadline (this includes coming back home at 9 pm, which does not make me happy). That and migraines (related, I'm sure) haven't left me super happy. On the plus side, Alex's socks are the right size and I have worked enough extra to earn an extra free day.

Nerbots
Give a new life to old electronics and make them cute!
I didn't knit that sweater for you
If you are in Ravelry, you must have just not logged on for the last couple of weeks to miss this, but just in case
Baby tigers!
Baby tigers!
Weaved geeky scarf
I want to learn how to weave just for this. I would love this scarf
Images of Mercury
Mercury rotates soooo slow, that one side is completely boiling and the other frozen off.
Baby orangutans!
Baby orangutans!
Two Lumps
I discovered this comic thanks to Fluzz (hi Fluzz!), about the life of two cuts. Comics like this make me laugh out loud.
Baby lambs!
Baby lambs!

Sorry for missing them last week, blame it on the migraines too!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Memo to self

Never never never try to start a project when you are feeling down, unless you had selected pattern, yarn and needles when you were feeling well; even then, be weary.

I spent several hours yesterday obsessing over sock patterns, and gauge, and starting several times different socks, both casting on and just marking them as projects in Ravelry. It wasn’t working.
Today, a brief web check and a simple math calculation afterwards, I know I have to unravel the 3 rows of ribbing I managed yesterday and start again, but I know exactly the sock I want, the pattern and needles, and can work on it straight away. Cristina, let this be a lesson to yourself.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Tachikoma and light lamp!

IMG_5839


Alex got me a Tachikoma! On the same day, my full spectrum light arrived (yesterday). Was best day.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Aero Pr0n Monday

While not all of it has happened today, the news are full of aero pr0n today!
So, in the last bunch of days, China have successfully launched a manned capsule, the Falcon 1 has successfully reached orbital flight and two different research teams seem to have solved the unsteady 3D boundary layer problem, and can now predict the separation point.

Isn't this all full of awesome?

(Also, Alex and I now have a Wii.)

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Links of the week, 28/09/08

What do you know, it's that time of the week again!

Tubular Cast-On for 2x2 rib
After the Sizzle fiasco, I got a fit fed up and cast on for something else: Emerald, solving all my dilemmas about starting Emerald or Wisteria (I'm still working on Sizzle, though). Wanting to do it properly, I decided to do a tubular cast on to make the edges nice, and this is the one I followed (the second method).
Yarn fibres (jpg)
Ever wondered how yarn looks amplified? Wonder no more! This picture compares how different yarn fibres look under the microscope, which in turn sheds some light about, say, why some fibres are slippery while others aren't.
Real Jayne Hat for auction
Adam Baldwin is auctioning on eBay the real Jayne Hat, with all proceeding going to charity (the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation). I don't have enough shiny pennies, certainly not for what it's going, but it is an awesome idea.
Oooh, the little dragon
I have a kitten named Dragon. Once I was reading a book, which featured a dragon named Kitten. I might have squeed.
Container homes
Hiro Protagonist, the main character of Snow Crash (which you should totally go and read, although beware that Neal Stephenson, while an amazing writer, does not believe in endings per se), lives in a shipping container, as do his entire neighbourhood. This company would make that possible. A small place, sure, but it doesn't look too horrible.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

The attack of the unwanted frog

Yesterday I finished the neck decreases of Sizzle, and was very happy and proud. I only needed to continue until shoulders, and then I could seam it!
This is a rendition (super high-tech, as you can see), of how much I had knitted.

sizzle_how_much_I_had



I counted the shoulder stitches, and noticed I had one extra per side. Thinking it was odd, I picked up the back and checked the stitches. Then I noticed the problem.
The back has seven darts from hip to waist. Guess how many mine has.

Six.

This six darts render my front quite a lot shorter and completely mismatched with respect to the back. I couldn't even cut through the middle, knit a strip and graft it to both ends, as the extra dart meant one less stitch throughout the rest of the top.

The following picture is a rendition of how much knitting I have now, with the darts marked for clarity.
sizzle_how_much_I_have



I am not a happy kitten.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Links of the week, 21/09/08

Soooo much Spore progress, all lost! Stupid computer :(

Talking of Spore...
A blog I read as a good post about its silly DRM, and about consumer ethics. Worth a read!
Baby tigers!
What more do you expect? Baby tigers!
Lost in translation
I find that online translators are ok to get the idea of, say, blog posts in a foreign language. They are not good, and they do sound funny, but they get the point across. However, when you put something back and forth through babel fish... well, funny things happen.
The family trunk project
The creator of the Family Trunk project is designing one knitting pattern in honour of each of her ancestors (to great-grandparents). It is a beautiful project. You can buy some of the patterns with real money, or by sending her certain number of pages with your own family story!
Blog tools
A list of different blog tools. I haven't checked them all, by far, but it has some, in case someone wants stuff for their blog.
Icon Buffet
Icon Buffet is a site to get free icons. It has a "catch", though! You have to trade them! You get certain tokens a month, and then trade your sets of icons with other users. It's quite fun, and the little icons are cute (note that this is the site where a bunch of the ravelry pretty icons come from!). If you join, I'm pocketsize there, so friend me! (if you are super nice, let me know and I can send you an invite, to get me some points!)
Architectural photoshop
Sadly, this structures are not real, but were that we could bend the laws of physics!

Back to Spore, hopefully it won't crash and loose my progress this time.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Not passing out!

Today, I have finally manage to:
1) not pass out of exhaustion on the sofa for over an hour as soon as I get home
2) take pictures of my knitting
2 is very strongly related to 1, and they are both an achievement.

I am making socks for Alex, using the pattern An American in China, although in my case they are An Englishman in England. I like making things for him, but socks is what he wants, so I'll just keep making socks! (I have another ball of sock yarn to make him another pair, and plenty of man-socks queued up!).

IMG_5832       IMG_5833


Inspired by this comic (and the next one!), I am making myself a Worry Hat, using a generic hat pattern from Last minute knitted gifts. I am worrying quite a lot about how it's turning out, so hopefully it will be finished soon and I can activate it.
IMG_5829


Finally, I have been working on Sizzle, because I want to have it ready before it's too cold to wear, although I guess I could also wear it as a vest. I have already split the neckline, although I think I will have to go to the back again and make the armpits a bit longer. I was surprised when I took the picture of how squat it looked, but it's even longer than my Green Tea, so it must be an illusion created by the fact that it's not yet finished.
IMG_5835


I also can't start any new big project until I finish Sizzle. I have a bit of a dilemma on that, as now I want to make Wisteria (for which I have the pattern but not the yarn, although I know which one I want to use) instead of Emerald (for which I do have the yarn). But, if I get the yarn and make Wisteria first, I will feel guilty for not making Emerald. But I want the pretty cables. Etcetera. At least I still have some days to decide!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Coffee

Tired.
Liquid gold in my cup,
sweet and warm.
Not enough.
Sleep now.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Links of the week, 14/09/08

Better later than never, I would like to say to all of you a bit THANK YOU for all the lovely comments in my wedding accessories post. They were so nice!

I have been trying to catch up with the internet from the days I was away, as I did not check my email at all while on holidays. This clearly proves that I am not an addict!


ATLAS (LHC) assembly montage
As you are probably aware, the Large Hadron Collider was turned on on the 10th September. The world, of course, didn't end (teeny black hole would have been teeny). Here is a video of the assembly of the ATLAS experiment.
Nanoships in medicine
One of the problems with tumors is that some of them are very difficult to access, and medication cannot be delivered to them directly, arriving in very dilute quantities. This nano-ships, coated in chocolate (well, a compatible lipid) so that the inmune system doesn't notice them, can travel in your blood stream and deliver the drugs straight to where they are needed! For now, this has only been tested in mice. We are, however, one step closer to the nanogenes from The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. You know the ones I mean.
Road safety, Mars style
Like good drivers, the Mars Rovers can't talk to Earth and drive at the same time!
National Geographic Photography Contest
The images from the contest have been turned into walpapers. Like a lot of "extreme" pictures of the Earth, they look alien and beautiful, and I will totally use one of them when I get tired of my current yarn walpaper.
Bears like chocolate too!
The oldest known polar bear is ill, and has lost lots of weight. At the moment, she is on a diet of chocolate and cupcakes, because it's one of the few things she can eat and is helping her put some fat on for the winter ahead. Mmm, chocolate.
Invisible skyscraper
is invisible!

Friday, 12 September 2008

Italy'08

We were really here!


I am finally back from my holidays in Italy. Well, I have been back for a couple of days now, although I wish I wasn't! I have been trying to write up something coherent about my trip, but I am really not managing, and that is making me a bit sad. It was a great holiday, and nothing I write seems to be able to covey the awesomeness of it. I'm afraid you are just going to have to imagine that. I do have, however, some pictures, and I am hoping they will help pass the message across.



We were in the Tuscany, based in Pisa. We did the obligatory visit to the Piazza dei Miracoli, checking that the tower was, in fact, leaning, and then we went to the two lesser-trodden sights there: the Museo dell'Opera and the Museo della Sinopie. The sinopie are the preliminary drawings/sketches for the frescoes, only discovered after WW2, when everything got bombed and they had to take away the frescoes. They are now housed in their own museum and are amazing, capturing the art of the painters without all the colourful distraction. The Museo dell'Opera is a museum of cool old stuff. I would certainly recommend a visit to both of them (they are also a lot emptier!).Pisa



Most of our time of holidays, however, was spent ambling around the little streets, seeing pretty things and looking for small local restaurants. Life in Italy goes slightly slower than here in England, and it was very nice to slow down to that speed and see the sights. In our quest for tasty food to bring back, we found one of the most awesomestest shops evar, run by a little old lady. We bought some saffron from her.Awesome little shop



Florence is only a train ride away from Pisa (about 1 hour), so we went there a couple of days. In our tourist mode, we saw Santa Maria del Fiore, Il Duomo. It was very pretty, inside and outside, and it featured a 24 hour counter-clockwise clock. I have one in my living room, but only 12 hours.24-hr counter-clockwise clock



We went up to the top, which gave us a beautiful view of the city and of the construction of the cathedral. The top does have, however, some very narrow passages, to the point that several people had to be turned back because they were too fat to fit through (and we are not talking about horribly fat, either). It was a rather narrow passage!Construction detail Il duomo



As we ambled through the city (our feet ended the holiday very tired, including blisters), We also saw a football ball, a random street argument and a pedestal held by four turtles! It wasn't quite four elephants atop a turtle, but it was fun nonetheless.
Football ball Random street argument On turtles!



We visited the town of Lucca, surrounded by a full wall. We happened to be there on the day of the 64th anniversary of the liberation of the city by the Americans, so we saw an army parade of the time, and on the day of the Wall Market, so we saw Prize Pumpkins. The Wall Market also had hand-dyed yarn, but it was made of sheep, so I had to let it go.
Lucca US army truck Price pumpkin



On our last full day, we decided to go to the beach for a couple of hours, to dip our toesis in the water, so we headed out to the town of Viareggio. We showed off our light tan on the beach (I've haven't had this much colour for a while!), while lots of other people were ugly shades of red. We then found huge park in the middle of town, and we strolled with the locals in the shade, cooling down from our escapade to the beach.Viareggio



Now, as I said, I am back. It is, of course, pouring down here, and many degrees lower (Italy was soo hot). I do wish I could still be away, but it was nice coming back home and, after all, I still had the rest of the week off.

I like holidays. Is it can be holidayz tiemz again nao, plees?

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Absence - Italy

Don't begrudge me the links! I am, at the moment, in Italy, enjoying my first holiday in a very long time. The excitement and the stress prior to the trip is too much!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Wedding accessories (FOs)

You might remember that I had to attend my cousin's wedding, and I decided to knit my accessories (as well as use an old dress, which annoyed my mother no end).
The wedding was this past Saturday and, barring some disagreements about what time to come back, it wasn't so bad, given that it was an affair that involved my family. I came out with a clear thought: I'm not getting married. If I do, I will elope.

Click here for the full picture!

Hair Flower

Hair flower


Ravelry hair flower
Pattern: Main flower (rav) and Small flower (rav)
Yarn: Rowan Cotton Glace in black and maritime (discontinued)
Needles: 2.75 mm for main flower and 3.0 mm hook for small flower
Notes: I like how my hair turned up! I didn't know what do to with it, so I asked Ravelry for help. I loved the Chinese bun tutorial, so that's what I did. 10 minutes, 20 hairpins, 1 dpn and plenty of holding-spray later, I was the proud wearer of that bun, and mocked the people that had spent at least 2 hours that morning at the hairdressers. As the evening wore on, some of the hairs started to uncoil, but still remain in nice curls, so they looked on purpose. If you have long hair, I would certainly recommend this hair style!


Lace evening gloves

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Ravelry project page
Pattern: Afternoon tea fingerless gloves (rav)
Yarn: Patons 100% cotton 4 ply, in black
Hook: 2.5 mm
Notes: My brother commented on the gloves, and said he thought they were very elegant.
I had a bit of trouble when I started making them, first having to check many sticthes (tr3tog explanation here), and then getting overconfident and doing it wrong. Worth it, though. They do stretch a lot when you block them, so don't be afraid if they look too small: I certainly thought I was going to have to redo them in a 2.75/3.0 hook (although continued with the first one to practice), and in the end it stretched plenty.

Gloves in action!
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Sorry for the poor quality of this picture. There were actually very few pictures of me in my family's digital camera, so that was the best I could get.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Links of the week, 31/08/2008

At the moment of publication, I am in Spain, visiting my family for a wedding I really didn't care about (although it gave me some cool knitted and crocheted items, which I made in my attempt to be eccentric). At the time of writing, however, I am stuck in the office, waiting for the license to use the testing harness to become free, so I can run my tests.

Special Olympics Scarves
For the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games, Coats and Clark are doing a sort of campaign, getting knitters and crocheters to make blue and white scarves to give to every Special Olympic athlete. While you can only use a specific yarn and colours, I thought it was a good idea and, while I might not do it, maybe somebody else will. I have to say, after watching House (Babies & Bathwater) yesterday, I have a strange need to knit hats for premature babies, so I might just do that instead.
Migrain Expressions (book) extracts
While I get bad migraines, they are mostly under control, and now they only visit me every couple of months or so. None-the-less, the extracts from this book touched me deeply, even if I have a toned down version of the migraines. I am very tempted to get this book (found via a review in But you don't look sick!)
Recicled yarn out of newspaper
How to spin (with a drop spindle) yarn out of a newspaper. I'm not sure how the yarn would be, but it has to be alright. Maybe for a couple of drop bowls to just put stuff on?
The Omnivore's Hundred
100 foodstuffs every omnivore should eat. I have done fairly well (will post at some point a detailed list, if I get bored), but I clearly need to keep trying. I didn't have a clue about a whole load of those food, so thank goodness for Wikipedia!
Project Euler
Want to learn a (new) computer language? Project Euler offers a series of exercises to solve, with increasing difficulty. While they might take you some time to complete, all solutions should appear within one minute of program time. As the complexity of the programs increases, so will your knowledge of your chosen language!
Exoskeleton!
This exoskeleton helps peoole paralysed from waist down walk again. The new breed of cyborgs is nearing. Plus, it's really cool and helpful for people.
Cones to the rescue!
My grand plan, which clearly won't happen because I'm lazy, involves making several of these and placing them around Alex's model army, mainly around the models on the floor.


Ok, so this were mostly links collected the previous week, when I blatantly missed my links. I've done better this week!

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Where were the links, you may ask

I hope nobody worried about the lack of links of the week this Sunday. I spent the weekend, including Monday (Bank Holiday), visiting Alex's parents. The days before going, when I could have typed them up, were spent battling (and eventually defeating) a nasty migraine, so I really didn't have the energy.

I had a very nice weekend with Alex's family, involving nice food and nice drink, although it also involved working in the fields and getting algae off a pond. Which, although tiring and messy, was remarkably satisfying. As the algae was picked off the pond, it kept reminding me of fleece, and I really need to check whether algae can be spun. The colours we were getting were incredibly vibrant, and spun would make for the best camo fabric ever.

I like Alex's family. Soon after arriving back home yesterday, I run into yet more problems with my family (about my visit soon). But then Alex said that I could share his family! I can't take it all, because they are his family and he wants them too, but I can share his nice family! Hurrah! He makes me so happy.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Hopes for better sleep

On Sunday, when I was mostly hibernating because my energy levels were so low, I discovered that I can knit and read at the same time!
Granted, it was only a swatch (for Emerald) and a book that I've already read twice (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), and both went pretty slow, but both went. I am the Queen of Multitasking!


My (new but equally nice) doctor was very puzzled yesterday that reducing my propanolol had made me more tired, because it was really not meant to do that! Yesterday I was so exhausted that I nearly couldn't be bothered to go to Tai Chi, and you know how much I like it and how good it does to me.

As a result of her confusion, we are running a bit of an experiment. I'm decreasing my propanolol a bit more, and alternating taking it and not. On the days that I take it, I will also take some sleeping pills (zopiclone), to help us determine whether my exhaustion is due to poor sleep or if there are other causes (despite my recent blood tests being impeccable). In the days that I do not take the propanolol, I won't take anything to sleep, to see how my sleep acts when it's not chemically affected by the propanolol. We'll only be running this experiment for two weeks, partly because the sleeping pills she gave me are highly addictive, and I'm also incredibly reactive to changes in medication, so it should be plenty of time to tell.

I took yesterday my first sleeping pill. ~Funny enough, it took me a bit longer to fall asleep than normal, as I was a bit anxious as to what effects it was going to have on me. I think my dreams were slightly less vivid than normal, more subdued, less bright colours, although they were still there most of the night. I think I slept a bit better, though, although Tai Chi always helps with that.

I'll guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Links of the week, 17/08/08

Sleeeeeeeepy.

The miracle of blocking
The only reason the lace glove fit around my hand was due to some heavy blocking. I thought I was going to have to redo it with a bigger hook!
Telephonic sheep
Cool phones, looking disturbingly like sheep. I bet you can use them to confuse city kids that have never seen one in real life.
Knitting app for iPhone users
Free app to help you keep track of repeats and progress.
Where no flag has gone before
Contractor report on the design and implementation of bringing a flag to the Moon.
Artificially created biological brain controls a robot
I, for one, bow to our new cyborg overlords. Scientists from Reading university have managed to control a robot (a Frankenbot) using organic tissue, which is quite cool. They are using it in their research to study how memories are stored. No word on their world domination plans.
Sir Nils Olav, penguin
In a really cute move, the King of Norway has knighted the penguin, mascot of the Royal Guards.
Hubble archives
This is the latest image released from the Hubble, to celebrate its 100,000th orbit of the Earth. The site is full of amazing images and breathtaking colours.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Change of plans

Today, I wanted to mention that it's been two years since I had my major breakdown, and how far I've come from then. Instead, I'm going to complain about sleep.

As I've mentioned before, a side effect of one of my meds is incredibly vivid dreams, which leave me tired all the time. I am decreasing my meds, partly because I don't need them now, and partly to help me sleep better.
However, it's not working! The propanolol is what makes me sleepy. Since decreasing it even further (from 80-40-40 mg to 40 mg all), I'm more sleepy than ever. This past night I slept 10 hours, and had to go back to bed after 2 hours awake, because I was just too tired. I had noticed I had been more sleepy recently but, when I check my records, I noticed that this latest phase started when I decreased them. They were meant to have the opposite effect!


However, in good news, I have finished the first of my lace gloves. And 2.5mm is alright, so I don't have to redo it. This is quite quite convenient, because Get Knitted, my LYS, didn't have a 2.75mm hook!

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Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Half lace gloves and half tachikoma, all crochet

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I'm very happy with how my lacy gloves are coming out. They are only a bit difficult, but I need to pay lots of attention and not crochet too tight, or they don't fit. As it is, I don't know if they will fit me done with a 2.5 mm hook, but I'm continuing anyway, for practice. If, when I finish this glove it doesn't fit, I guess I'll go look for a 2.75 mm hook.


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Similarly, my tachikoma is looking remarkably like a tachikoma. I'm super proud of this because I'm making the pattern as I go along. The head and the eyes are done, and now I'm working on the pod, which you can see in the second picture below. The most difficult thing are going to be the legs, but I have a couple of ideas already...

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Sunday, 10 August 2008

Links of the week, 09/08/08

It is that time of the week again! I think this week is a good one, too.

Wooden SF sculptures
Awesome wood sculptures of several geeky gadgets. I particularly like the Ark of Covenant (close your eyes!) and the mechanical suit of Stephen Hawking.
Keyring crochet hook tutorial
Small tutorial on how to make transform a crochet hook (metal, cheap) to carry always in your keyring. I personally like to carry around many crochet hooks, so I can then spread them on the table wherever I am, and pick the best one for the job. I like having the appropriate tools, but I also love the looks I get!
Sculptural elements of crochet
I'm a bit into my made-up Tachikoma pattern, and I've been looking at crochet and amigurumi resources to help me out. I found this one particularly interesting, and I intent to use some of their form explanation on my toy.
Classic Doctor Who in 3 easy steps
Playing my foreigner card here, I only discovered Doctor Who after I moved to the UK, and I only watched any when it started again. I have been meaning to watch some of the classic Who, but there is just so much of it! This article gives an introduction to classic Who, and a selection of episodes to get a feeling for the old series. I have yet to take them up on it, though, so I can't vouch for how good it is. I should probably ask someone who knows *giggles to herself at the pun*
The Fermi Paradox
The Fermi paradox basically states that, if the universe is big and old, and there is some intelligent life that has gotten off its planet (note: the article explains it better), how come we haven't met any yet. The article explores the answers to this question that science fiction has presented throughout time. I really like the Meat one.
Wordpress themes
For those of you using Wordpress, here is a selection of custom themes that I found very nice. I plan, in my copious spare time, to contact the designer and ask her if it's ok for me to try to transform some of those into blogger themes, so I'll keep you posted on that.
Is cancer evolving?
This is an extremely interesting article looking at the evolution of cancer (and by evolution, we mean Darwinian evolution, not how it changes within one individual as it progresses). Some cancers, like a form found in Tasmanian Devils, can transfer from one individual to another, a process that has also been noted in accidental experiments in humans. Please don't panic, you still can't get cancer by sneezing, but it makes for a fascinating read.
Britain from above
This is not just plain satellite images of Britain, but they have been superimposed with information about life here. So some show the flight paths, and the phone connections, London taxis. The images are part of a new BBC documentary/series/not sure what, that starts today at 9 pm. I don't normally watch broadcast TV, but this might be worth a watch.
History of Internet Memes
If you've spent any amount of time on the internet, you'll get a bunch of these. I'm not sure what else to say, but it will certainly enlighten all of us in the knowledge and history of the Internet. Or at least the more viral sites.


In other news, my phone, which is only 1 1/2 years old, has become stupid and the battery only lasts one day. I am not impressed.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Alone == knitting

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Alex left on Thursday for a week for work, so I'm alone until next Thursday. With the weather we are having, I really don't envy him, as he has to be outdoors most of the time.
Being alone is an interesting experience. I like being away from him occasionally, but it's really odd to not have him here at all. I miss him, especially when I go to bed.
On the plus side, I have got lots and lots of knitting done.

My sizzle is coming out well. I am past the beginning of the armholes in the back, and it's looking decidedly red.

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I have also swatched for the Capelet I'm going to wear at my cousin's wedding. Just in case I haven't said it enough times, I really don't care about this wedding, but going is better than the alternatives, so at least I'm knitting all my accessories. The swatch is really not very interesting, but hopefully it will look more exciting when I have started the actual capelet.

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