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!
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


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


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.


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


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.


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.


Wednesday, 6 August 2008

No painkillers, and some Tai Chi

Yesterday, after a comment from Alex that maybe I was taking too many painkillers, I tried to tackle my migraine via natural remedies. So I drank lots of water, had some caffeine because I know I am addicted and my brain needs it, had herbal teas, used my migraine stick and played with the skull pressure points. What I normally do, but I did more of it, and without the help of painkillers to actually take the pain away.

Was I successful? It certainly dimmed the pain, but it was always there. I found that noises bothered me more than lights and the computer screen (which was good, because I still needed to work). I also felt fairly sad during most of the day. I know that the main reason for that was being told off when I was just trying to help, but being in pain couldn't have helped that.

I ended up just curling up in the sofa with knitting and a movie, Enchanted, and that cheered me up a little bit. And I am now half-way up the back of Sizzle, which is coming on very well, and very red.

Going to Tai Chi did make me feel a lot better. It lifted me, and it also made me the good kind of tired. I have noticed that I better at my Tai Chi classes the more depressed I am when I go. Being down makes me concentrate on the movements, and it makes me push through the pain (ok, to enjoy the pain, fine), and reach a bit further, hold my back a bit straighter, hold the positions a bit longer.
However, half way through concentrating on the pain because I am down, I change to concentrating to hold the position, and then I forget that I am low, and just feel the Tai Chi. And the water; I see water everywhere when I'm in class.

So I think this Tai Chi is helping. If only, it lifted my mood yesterday. It also helped to make me tired, and then I had the first half-decent night of sleep in several weeks. Sure, I am still tired, but not as much. It feels niiiiiiiiiice.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Links of the week, 03/08/2008

Oh noes, I', some minutes behind my arbitrarily decided schedule!
I normally write this up on Saturdays, but I went out yesterday, and had a lovely day, with private fireworks display included, so I forgot. And by private fireworks, I mean I had a lovely view from my balcony.

Twist Collective magazine
First issue of the twist collective magazine is up. I fell in love (and subsequently bought) with Wisteria, and plan to make it at some point, honest. I also really like their Houdini socks (yet another way to make sock heels) and their colour work, which I think I'm going to use soon in a capelet I'm going to make.
Lego Knitting Machine
Do I need to say more? Lego is awesome! I have no idea how knitting machines work, but I know this one is made out of Lego, and that makes it great.
Palette Generator
You can upload a picture to this little generator. It will pick up the colours of the picture, and generate a palette to use. You can pick the colours for a garment to use it as a memory of a particularly nice photo, and I thought it was a great way to immortalise a moment.
Because I'm so mature, I still blow bubbles and chase them around. While I'm not sure bubbles are meant to be preserved, these pictures are beautiful, and capture the bubbleness that makes me so happy while I chase them.
A Galaxy Einstein Ring
The gravity of a galaxy is deforming the light we get from the galaxy behind it. Pure awesome.
Pictures from the sun eclipse
On Friday there was a sun eclipse. It was total only in Siberia and parts of China, so most people only got a bit of darkness. Here are some pictures of it. Notice that, when you see all black and the partial sun, that's not actually how it looks! Unless you get a total eclipse, a partial eclipse simply makes everything dark, as if it was getting cloudy, but getting colder. Still cool, though!

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Lace camisole and Möbius (FOs)


Technical details
Ravelry project page
Pattern: Lace nightie (rav), by Carrie Bostick Hoge
Yarn: Rowan Luxury Cotton DK, in Marble
Needles: 4.00 circulars, 3.5 straights for the straps.
Notes: I wanted a summery lace camisole, and this fits the bill. I wasn't too sure until I saw someone else's in ravelry in which they had knit the back much higher, and it convinced me.
I knitted the straps with 3.5 mm straights (so as to have a tighter fabric that would stretch left) in a RS: p1, k2, p1; WS: k1, p2, k1.

I have, in fact, worn this out today, and it's been a great t-shirt! I might need to make the straps be a bit shorter, but I have really enjoyed it.

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Technical details
Ravelry project page
Pattern: Prickle (rav), by Huan-Hua Chye
Yarn: Rowan Calmer, in Slosh (blue)
Needles: 6.0 mm circulars
Notes: Used Cat Bhordi's mobius cast-on, thanks to the power of Youtube: part 1 and part 2. Nonetheless, I still had to do it three times! Once I got the hang of it, though, the pattern worked very well. It was easy to memorise each row, so I didn't need to look at the charts for 160 stitches, which is quite a lot.

I have been wearing this to work, because my throat has been a bit funny, and it's been great to have. A good twist (hehe) on a neck warmer!

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Look, it also dubs as a headband!
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