Sunday, 28 June 2009

Knit Goggles

Google has a feature, Mail Goggles, which allows you to set times of the week when you need to test your sobriety/wakefulness before sending an email, by answering some maths problems.


I wish my knitting came with something similar. After knitting the all the waist deceases of Demeter, I decided I wasn't using the right needles, so ripped it all off and started with new needles. What would you know, two attempts later, I went back to the initial needles. The first cast on ended up twisted, the second progress only to discover all my decreases were wrong.
So I'm about to cast on again (it's not too late), starting a new ball of yarn, I think the current one needs a rest.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

FO: Code Monkey

Code Monkey get up get coffee
Code Monkey go to job

Code Monkey at work

I am a code monkey. My co-workers are code monkeys (though the term became a lot more popular after I joined the company). We love Jonathan Coulton's Code Monkey song.

Crocheted Code Monkey came to work :)
Code Monkey at work

He sit down pretend to work
Code Monkey at work

Code Monkey has GIR background
Code Monkey at work

Code monkey not alone (2!)
Code Monkey at work

Code monkey is an amalgamation of the Monkey and the Corporate Zombie from Creepy Cute Crochet (amazon|ravelry), done with my trusty 3.5mm hook and some peaches and creme.

Code Monkey turns and leaves. Has tail.
Code Monkey at work

Seriously, Code Monkey recommends Code Monkey song. Go watch.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

FO: Book cover

Book cover

Occasionally my books get a bit damaged in my bag, as they have to share space with plenty of things, like knitting, pen knives, the occasional screwdriver set, tape, planner, phone, iPod... you name it, it's there. I am hopping that this will protect them a little bit, because I'm not about to start reading not carry enough stuff for an expedition to the Himalayas.

Technical details
Ravelry project page
Pattern: Improvised, based on the stitch Aran Rib 2 from The Knitter's Bible (amazon|ravelry)
Yarn: Rowan All Seasons Cotton, in Tornado (leftover from Wisteria)
Needles: 4.5mm, dpns

Book cover

Notes: It felt quite good to improvise a pattern based on a stitch. I mean, it's not very complicated, but I had attempted about a year ago to do something similar and I just couldn't get it to work. A bit of thinking and measuring books got me the right size, and then I alternated the cables with a bit of a rib, so that it could tailor all sorts of paperback sizes (there seem to be about 3 common front dimensions, but obviously an enormous array of widths).

Book cover

I have just finished Tau Zero, by Poul Anderson. If you like hard science fiction, I strongly recommend this book. Not only is very well written, but how many books you find with suddenly a couple of pages on general and special relativity, and what happens as you get faster and faster?

Book cover

Now I'm reading Valis. It is quite an "old" copy, from the first paperback edition in the UK. I really like K Dick, his books always make me think, and that is never a bad thing. Plus, I get to play the "guess how many drugs he was on when he wrote this chapter" game. Seriously :)

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

L is for Light

Sun light reflected on the curtains, on the skirt that is waiting to be fixed.

Reflected sunlight       Sunlight on a skirt

Full spectrum daylight bulb, for winter, when it is dark and there isn't enough light. To light the fine lace clearly when counting stitches.
Full spectrum lightbulb

Last sunlight of the day, outlining the St Mary Redcliff, Wells Tower.
Last light of the day

And and the end of the day, there is always candle light.
Candle light

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Links of the week, 14/06/2009

On Friday evening, I found myself in the company of friends. As the dinner conversation turned onto Star Wars, we retreated to a computer, and indulged on some videos. What started as a harmless video, quickly ended in a very fun game of I see your X and raise you a Y, with awesome results. I thought that sequence of videos would make a great Links of the week.

The session started with the Robot Chicken Star Wars special. The link only goes to selected clips, but it should give you an idea of how the rest develops.

From this parody, it was minor side-step to the Total Eclipse of the Heart Literal Version. There are plenty of Literal Videos around, but I think this is one of the best. It is also a fantastic earworm, and this is coming from someone who once had the Llama song stuck in her head for a week.

On the parody song theme, we arrived to Title of the Song, a template for pretty much every boy band song ever. I think the laughs on the track simply add to its greatness.

The mention of Tetris took us neatly to the Nintendo A Cappella. That wasn't what the original person had in mind, but was indeed a human Tetris.

From here on the links get tenuous; we probably stopped linking things, and just went for the cool/awesome factor. I believe the John Williams A Cappella followed the previous videos.

This was then topped up with the Evolution of Dance, which is currently the second most watched video on YouTube.

Then we saw the XXXtreme!! Shepherding, which Ravelry fans might already be familiar with. Pong should have lasted for longer.

And, despite the reluctance to rickroll friends, the last videos watched were the Literal Rickroll (not to be confused with how Rick Astly rolls), and the BigButtRoll - Sir Mixalot vs Rick Astley, which works disturbingly well.

It was a great evening. I only hope all the links are correct, and that they can capture the awesomeness of the evening. I really had to share it.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

FO: Sizzle

Finished Sizzle - best picture

Project: Sizzle (related blog posts)
Pattern: Sizzle, by Wendy Bernard
Yarn: Rowan Luxury Cotton, in Brick Red
Needles: 3.75mm

Woohoo! I finished Sizzle!

This has been a very long process, as Ravelry tells me I started it on the 29th July 2008. It hasn't quite taken me a whole year, but close.

I knitted the back first. Half-way through the front, I realised I had messed up the shaping, and had to rip half of what I had knitted. Sizzle was then put in the I'm -annoyed-at-you corner, and left to sleep for a couple of months.
Then I picked it up again and finished knitting it. But it was winter and cold, so it was put in the weather-isn't-nice-for-this corner (which is located in the same place as the annoyed corner).
I took out of hibernation once more in March/April, and I managed to block it and started seaming it. Then I discovered my mistake: the front and back were different lengths! (more on this later).
So I unseamed one of the sides, and left it in the if-you-are-around-I-might-work-on-you corner, which is located on the living room table, as opposed to a drawer.
Some time later I tugged and pulled at the sides and weaved in the top half of the shell (from the start of the bust increases up), and the shoulders. Which I then unpicked to add some rows at the shoulders and make the top slightly longer. I then tried to do a 3 needle bind of at the top instead of the grafting, which prompted another unpicking and adding extra rows, as a 3 needle BO does eat some of the rows.
At this stage, I finally liked how it looked when I tried it on.
Finished Sizzle

Seaming the rest of the sides proved interesting, although thankfully there was no more ripping to be done. When I put the front and back together, the front was longer (hence the pulling etc). So I seamed to try to incorporate that into the seam. The first seam ended up having the front a couple of rows longer than the back, but because the end is open, it looked fine. However, along the second seam the back was longer than the front. Thankfully, trying it on showed that the fit was still fine, so there was no need to rip again.

Adding the neck and sleeve borders was trivial, and was done this weekend, finishing it off at S'n'B. A quick go with the iron later, and I finally have my ordeal-filled Sizzle. I must confess, that at several points during the trying-to-make-it-work-seam process, I was very tempted to just rip it all off, and start again from scratch, this time knitting it in the round. I guess I'm lucky I didn't have a very down day, although ripping it would have been quite cathartic.

Finished Sizzle - shoulder detail
Finished Sizzle - edging   Finished Sizzle - darts

Were I to do this again (which I could, it's a nice project), I would certainly do it in the round, and if you are thinking on trying it, I would recommend it!

I might go to a party next Friday, and that might be a good time to wear it.
Finished Sizzle - action shot!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

K is for Knitting

Because it is my first go at the ABC-along, I figured is was game to do K for knitting. Next year I will actually have to think (kilo? kansas? potassium?).

I learned to knit about 2 and a half years ago. "Hang on", I hear you say, "I remember that number! It's exactly how long you were on your meds!"
It was indeed. I had thought about taking up knitting before, because I needed a hobby and Alex wanted a particular scarf, but it was only in the beginning of the Big Breakdown that I, surprisingly, got needles, yarn and instructions all together, and started. That time is all a blur now, and I am not sure how I managed such feat of organisation, or if I got everything just before the Big Breakdown. My journals from the time don't give any clue.
From that, my first real Knitted item was, as promised, Alex's Ravenclaw scarf1. It was a long and hard time for him too, and I hope the scarf showed something. I finished just in time to be one of his Christmas presents.

Ravenclaw scarf, 1st ever project

I'm actually a bit embarrassed now by the scarf. All the "weaved-in" edges showing.

I could make him much better scarves now, of course, but this is my first real knitted item, which he still wears (in winter). The love keeps him warm. Also, it's made of wool2.

Knitting stuck surprisingly well, because it kept my brain from wandering too far, and because it's fun. Today, I have move on from simple scarfs (although, having no sense of fear, my second ever project was a stuffed toy in the round, Nautie).

My two current projects on the needles are some socks for Alex, and a stole for me. There are technically others, as you can see to your right, but these two are the ones that I actually work on.
Socks in progress
Hanami stole

My knitting has come a long way!

1. In the books, Ravenclaw is bronze and blue, while it's light grey and blue in the movies. Alex wanted the movie version, but there wasn't a nice grey colour, so white and blue it is.
2. The Futurama fans in the audience will recognise this as Kif's comments in Three Hundred Big Boys (It's powered by love. Also, you have to wind it).

Monday, 1 June 2009

It's the small things in life

The best thing about quitting your main antidepressant is that you can drink black coffee again without triggering a migraine! This is so much better.

Being out of the (nasty) withdrawal period, and not having had any mood changes due to the stopping are also nice, but I missed my black coffee! :)