It is frustrating to be hopelessly behind.

You all, as knitters, know this. That Christmas present for your mom turns into a birthday present (in June) turns into next year’s Christmas present. That baby sweater ends up in the frog pond because by the time you get to the sleeves, the kid’s three. And in this case, a ‘yay, you’re born!’ present turns into a ‘yay, you’re five months old!’ gift.

At least she couldn’t outgrow it. That’s why I like knitting toys.


Little ‘Puter! rav it
Pattern: Error, by by Anna Hrachovec
Yarn: Karabella Aurora 8, two skeins of gray that ended up not matching each other but who the hell cares, a bit of teal
Needle: US 5
Begun: I have no ruddy clue, except it was waaaaay before my niece was born
Finished: August 18th, 2011
For: Baby Bryce

Did I even mention on the blog when Bryce was born? I don’t remember. It was in March, when I was still in NY. She’s the daughter of my little brother, five months old now, and incontestably the cutest baby in the known universe.


Seriously. Try to argue with me.

Both my brother and sister-in-law are computery geek types, so when I saw this pattern I HAD to make it for their first spawn. She really likes it. And who can blame her? It turned out so soft and squishy.



I think the biggest change I made to the pattern was to skip the stupid intarsia and sew a felt heart on the screen instead. Oh I tried it at first. But I made my floats too short and it came out looking like a giant pile of ostrich doody, on a day it ate red yarn and then some quaaludes. So I ripped that out, reknit the screen and tried to put the heart on by duplicate stitch. That, if anything, looked worse (think ostrich + red yarn + crystal meth and too much Jersey Shore). So I gave up and cut a heart out of pink felt.


I did the eyes in felt as well. I don’t think those “safety eyes” are very safe for babies, especially in knitting. It’s pretty easy to pull them out, and Bryce is at the stage where she puts everything in her mouth.

I didn’t knit the mouse, mostly because I ran out of yarn. I also sewed the back of the monitor to the keyboard, even though the directions only say to sew the fronts together. I couldn’t figure out why, since that would make for a very floppy computer. Here’s a side view.


For those of you who are asking in your heads hey, is Aurora 8 machine washable? I say this: I don’t have a clue. It says it is on the label, but people argue with that. I meant to wash a swatch before I started knitting and…I forgot to. And as you can see, I already gave her the thing. So I hope she doesn’t barf on it too much. But hey, I can always make another if the first gets ruined. Such is the power of knitting.

Happy birthday, Brycie! Sorry it was late. But you’d better get used to that, kid. Love and smoochies, Auntie Chemgrrl.


Just a quick update…this blog is now run by DR. CHEMGRRL.

I defended my PhD on Wednesday. YAY x 10^79

Hidee ho there. Did you miss me? I missed you! Tons and tons and tons (and tonnes for the Brits).

So, I’m back home now. And I’m writing my thesis full time again. And going batshit crazy! What’s new with you guys?

I also have a finished thingie. I like it. Here it is.

hi. this is not a very exciting picture

Mara du cashmere!
Pattern: Mara by Madelinetosh (Rav me, baby)
Yarn: Jade Sapphire Angelwing Handspun Mongolian Cashmere, 1 skein, granny smith
Needle: US 8
Started: March 21
Finished: Er, a few days ago? I forgot to update my rav page
Size: I would totally tell you if I remembered to measure it.

I also took all these pictures with my iPhone, so they are awesome! And by awesome, I mean NOT AWESOME IN THE SLIGHTEST. (See what I did there?)

the cashmere, it's so soothing

This yarn is making you veeeery sleeeepy…. It’s also so friggin soft that I considered making underwear out of it, but who wants to handwash underwear?

The knitting details are entirely unremarkable. Mara is supposed to be a bigger shawl, but I could only afford one skein of this lovely lovely expensive cashmere. So I just knit the garter stitch part until I thought, “eh, big enough.” Then I did the edging part.

Was I exaggerating? Unremarkable.

Also once again, I underestimated how much yarn the bindoff would take, and ran out of yarn about 2/3 of the way through. Lucky for me, this yarn is exactly the same color as some Malabrigo lace in lettuce I had laying about. So I finished the bindoff in that.

See? This is why we keep stashes.

gimme all yer...bad pictures

I am pleased.

I haven’t blocked it yet, and I’m not sure I’m going to. It’s kind of knobbly and crap right now, and I don’t want to screw that up. Also, I’m not sure what blocking would do to the ribbing. Also also, I’m being lazy.

But I did manage to take a picture that makes it look like I lost 30 pounds.


Photography can be magic.

I don’t have any good modeled shots because I’ve lost my photographer. And I’ve lost my photographer because the blub FINALLY opened the restaurant and works eleventy billion hours a day now.

Ha! Ha ha! Just kidding, it’s actually closer to 14.

But it’s good. Business is doing okay. People seem to like the soup. It’s a soup place. Here is a picture of some of the soup.


That’s the chicken tortilla. It is tasty.

And I am done talking. Here are pictures of some flowers at my house.

flowers on da porchrosy roses

OH, I am not done talking! I said above that I’m writing my thesis. I have to turn it in at the end of the month. So maybe expect some very weird and disjointed posts here in the next 30 days. Umm, kind of like this one.

But no really. I missed you guys a lot and plan on both writing more again and actually reading other people’s knitting blogs once more. I was in some weird head space when I was in NY, and I think I’m finally coming out of it. So I am really back, even though I got home a month ago.

Really. Really really. For good or for ill. MUAH!

ETA: OH also also again, I have a just for knitting stuff twitter feed now. It’s @thechemgrrl. Please to follow me? Kthx.

So. Hi.

I really hate it when people apologize on their blogs for not blogging. So I think I’ll skip that. But I will tell you what’s been going on.

To refresh: I’m in New York for Big Internship. Aaaaand Big Internship is not going so well. I’m kind of sucking, and it’s been a study in frustration and self-doubt and a whole lot ‘o angry. The hardest part is that my editor, who can be just about the world’s biggest asshole (hence the angry part), actually genuinely thinks I have a lot of potential and really wants me to get better and is trying to work with me even though I’m being stubborn and belligerent (his words, not mine). Plus, when he’s not being a total dick, he’s a great guy and I both like him a lot and respect him immensely. Which is honestly why I took the internship in the first place. It’s a bit outside my realm of expertise/interest, but I thought I could learn a lot. And I am. I’m just not learning what I thought I would. Or maybe I have a lot more to learn than I thought I did. Either. Both.


I haven’t been knitting much. I find that when I get sad/depressed/upset, I just don’t. But I have been buying the shit out of some yarn. I’m in New York, after all. You could shotput a pigeon in just about any direction here and hit a yarn store. I haven’t taken pictures of ALL my purchases (coughSHELTERcoughcough), but two have gotten a photoshoot.

First! Superwash worsted by Sweet Georgia yarns.


I actually bought this in a store. Knitty City, which is about seven blocks from my house. They have TONS of it, but should be grateful I didn’t walk out with the whole pile.


Isn’t it pretty? I’ve been yearning for spring, which is why the next one is green as well.


It’s also c-c-c-cashmere. Handspun. Two-ply. I got it at Purl. On sale (but they don’t have it online, I guess). It’s becoming this.


I took it for a little walk in Central Park today, which is about two blocks from my apartment.


Look, a building in the background!


By the reservoir.


Park bench. And the quintessential Central Park shot.


Imagine all the cashmere…

I did also get a kickass new knitting bag recently.


It’s waterproof! I also got a project bag, but it came separately.


I’m a bit worried about getting all this crap home. My bags were really close to overweight coming here, and I had Nels send me some stuff I forgot, plus some other purchases. (Mostly books. No library card = sadness.)

But I am going home. Soon. In about two and a half weeks. To a (so far) successful restaurant (knock on all things even remotely wood-like around you, please). Yep, Nels opened almost two weeks ago! So far, so good. And I totally can’t wait to see it.

Yay for going home.

Hi everybody. Miss me?

No wait. Don’t answer that. That way I can presume yes.

So you may have noticed that I haven’t been updating in a bit. (Has it really been since July?) I did say last time that I’m writing my thesis. This is still true. But some other things have been going on too, so I’ve been a busy little rodent with large teeth.

Thing one: the blub is finally getting his restaurant started. He’s actually already quit his job. He’s supposed to open in January sometime, probably early January. We are very excited! I am also scared shitless! I think maybe he is too, but he’s pretty good at hiding those things.

Thing two: remember my great adventure to southern California, about two years ago? Well, I’m off on another. This time I’ll be going to New York for another writing internship. In interest of pseudonymity, I won’t say more than this: you’ve heard of them. I am way excited, but also pretty stressed out about it. I start in two weeks. Do I have a place to stay yet? Nope. I’m also kind of nervous about living in close vicinity to so many yarn stores. New York people: how do you do it? Also, which are the best knitting groups?

Okay, so. A lot of stuff going on here. But I expect I’ll actually start updating again soon. Until then, Merry Christmas and see you in Manhattan!

Guess what!

Not chicken butt. But (see what I did there?) this: I AM WRITING MY THESIS.

So the end is near. BUT (again!) that means I have precious little time for knitting these days. So I have been doing some precious little knitting. (Oh, stop!)

lovely kina

Pattern: Kina (child size) by Muriel Agator
Yarn: Knit Picks Shine Sport in green apple, 3 skeins + about 6 yards
Needles: US 5 & 6
Started: June 18
Finished: July 10
For: my niece Alice, who just turned 2 (on July 8. Oops.)

It turned out cute, didn’t it?

Things I changed from the pattern: I knit the garter stitch parts a needle size down because a) the neckline looks gargantuan in a lot of the Raverly projects, and b) garter stitch is wider than stockinette anyway, and I wanted the cute poofing at the top, but not the bottom.

Other things I changed: The size I knit. I initially cast on for the 2 year-old size, then knit approximately 80% of it. Then, while showing it off to my knitting group, someone (I forget who) said, “Is that going to fit her?” I guess it looked. Um. Tiny.

So I trotted off (later) to my source of children’s clothing (aka Target) and found something else in 2T. Yup. The sweater I was knitting was waaay too small. So I ripped the entire thing out and started over.

So caveat knitter with this pattern! I think the sizes are off. I was knitting at a different gauge, but I had done the requisite math (I’m good at math) so I don’t think the whupsie was mine.

Also caveat shopper the little girls’ clothing department and Target: it is a dangerous place to be. I ended up getting this dress to go along with the sweater.

kina plus dress I got to go with it


Well, dangit. The button I had originally picked out for the sweater matched the dress friggin perfectly. But then! After I made the buttonhole nice and er, nice (it was loose and floppy, but then I fixed it) the stupid perfect button didn’t fit anymore! So I had to find a new one.

I like the new one, but it’s not perfectly perfect like the old one. Still matches, though.

kina detail

Kinda hard to tell from the picture, but it’s orange in the center and pink on the outside. And I really hope this fits! It’s late, but she won’t notice, right? Hell, she might–she’s a really smart kid. I had to basically knit the whole thing twice, so maybe she’ll cut me some slack, yes?

Maybe not. Crap, I’m probably going to have to knit her something epic next year to make up for it. Anyone have a good pattern for a pony?

I finished the Haruni shawl for my little brother’s wedding! With time to spare, actually.

shawl in sunshine

My Blue Haruni (rav it!)
Pattern: Haruni, by Emily Ross
Yarn: Ella Rae Lace Merino, 1 skein, 460 yds. I think the colorway had a number, but it was a soft cobalt color Royal Blue, #10!
Needle: US 4
Started: um, I forget
Finished: April 11 with the knitting, April 25 with the blocking
For: me! To wear! In my little brother’s wedding!

Unfortunately, at this point there is scant evidence that I did wear it at the wedding. I found one picture of me in it, kind of in the background. But in most of the pictures I wasn’t wearing it, since I didn’t want to look that different from the other bridesmaids, you know? So you’ll have to take my word for it–it looked faboo with my dress.

Anyway, deets. I shall sum it up poetically: To knit, a dream. To block, a nightmare.

First, the knitting.

shawl detail

LOVE love loved this pattern. It was really well written, and pretty easy to follow. Until that last chart, the lovely edging, which was confusing as all get out. I found myself actually using the written instructions for that part, something I never ever do. But, all was okay. The pattern is pretty intuitive, once you get going on it. Emily put scads and scads of pattern notes on there, which were kind of chatty but in a nice friendly way. And they were helpful. I think the most helpful of all was this line–“Please note that due to the rapid rate of increase in Chart B [that’s the edging part] it will consume roughly half your entire yardage.”

shawl middle

Holy crapola am I glad she put that in there. I was toying with the idea of making the shawl a bit bigger, but I slapped the remaining yarn on my scale after I was done with the main shawl part and whaddya know–I had 46 g left of what I thought was a 100 g skein. (It actually turned out to be only 95 g. Boo! Hiss! Well, not a big deal really, it worked out fine in the end.)
So off to the edging I went.

The edge does increase quite quickly, and gives the shawl a distinctive crescent shape, which was purdy but a pain in the arse-bucket to block. I had 6 g of yarn left after I finished that part.

point-ish of shawl

Then there was the crochet bindoff thing. You work it by knitting 3tog with a crochet hook (please don’t bind me by semantics–it worked, okay?), then chaining 6 and doing a k3tog again. It took awhile, and a lot of yarn (3 g!) but I think it was worf it.

So, to recap yarn usage:
49 g for main part of shawl
40 g for edging
3 g for bindoff
92 g total.

IF we can believe the yarn label and 100 g really is 460 yards, then it’s 4.6 yards per gram and I used 423.2 yards total. (I did not swatch. Dear knitting gods, please do not smite me.)

And so to block.


I had to redo this three effing times. Gaa, it just didn’t look right. First I tried blocking it out as a triangle, since that was the easiest with my blocking wires. Bleh. It just looked wrong. The ends were stretched out all weird. Then I made it into a crescent shape, but I made it too deep and it looked all narrow and gimpy. So then I pulled it out width-wise and monkeyed with it awhile, and then it was just right. Yay! Stupid thing. The tip was especially a PITA.

edge of shawl, blocking

But *I* like it, even though the blub said it looks like a giant lacy Star Trek emblem (but pretty). And you can wear it so many different ways!

The Traditional!

the traditional

The Lobster Bib! (It’s still a bit deep in front.)

adjusting the bib

The Sexy Babushka!

bubushka style

The Coy Peeky Through the Thing, um, way


And the blub’s favorite….To Infinity! And Beyond!

to infinity...and beyond!

Yeah. All that being said, I don’t think I’m going to get much wear out of it. And speaking of not wearing things again, anyone interested in a slightly used David’s Bridal dress in Marine Blue, size 6? I dig the cut, but I don’t see that one coming off the hanger again anytime soon.

*”I did it!” is my niece Hanna’s latest catch phrase. As in, “Did you go to school today, Hanna?” “I did! I did it!”

Look! Projects! Posting! Wow, eh?


I haz finished some socks.

Love cabin socks (rav me, baby)
Pattern: Log cabin socks, from Handknit Holidays
Yarn: STR heavyweight, Lover’s Leap
Needle: US 5
Started: January 20
Finished: February 23
Mods: Nein!

In case you were wondering, the love cabin is where you sit in a lovely chair and knit lovely things with lovely yarn. (I certainly hope you didn’t think it was anything else you pervy people coughcoughweezcough.) So this yarn and these socks were lovely candidates for the love cabin. I got the lovely yarn ages ago, when I visited the lovely Carrie, aka Irishgirlieknits, in her lovely home of lovely wherever the hell that was northern California. (Forgive me, it was a whirlwind trip.) She took me to the infamous (and lovely) Purlescence, and I done got yarn. Lovely.


Bet you didn’t know that feet could do this. Ouch.

I didn’t change a dang thing in this pattern, and knit the women’s size. Which is kind of funny, considering that the called for yarn is Rowan Cork, which is a bulky weight, and I subbed a sport weight. No worries, it worked fine. Lovely.

IzzersCats are so hard to impress, you know?

I did carry the cable pattern down the heel, although I’m not sure it was the bestest idea ever for socks that I’ll be wearing with shoes. It’s a mite uncomfortable. Plus I’m worried that the cables will wear out pretty fast from all the rubbing. Yes, I know that’s why these are supposedly lounging around the socks house, but really, who does that? Anyway, the cable is pretty. Lovely, even.


The omigod hot pink of these was a little hard to get an accurate picture of, but you get the idea. It was such a cheery color, used to get me through the evil hateful dreary month of February that is the patron saint of desperate and sun-hungry knitters around these parts. Worked pretty dang well, even if it did take me another whole month to get around to posting them.

In other news, I’m frantically knitting a shawl to wear to my little brother’s wedding, which is in 25 days. It’s Haruni, which is lovely and beautiful and here on Ravelry, or here on flickr. I only have six rows left, but they have ~ 500 stitches each, so going is of the slow variety. Plus I’m worried about running out of yarn. AND on a deadline. Fun, eh? Stayed tuned for that blog post, which at the rate I’m going will probably be up by sometime mid-November.

TTFN, dearies.

Presenting the felting blockbuster of the year, the French Press Felted Slippers by Melynda Bernardi!



Patons Classic Wool Merino, in charcoal grey, one skein!

more slippies

A small bit of Patons in black, for the sole!

the underbelly

Size 15 needles!

Senor Lefty

Assorted vintage red glass buttons!

Mr. Right

And a cameo by the fabulous Marlene!

Happy feets

You’ll laugh! You’ll cry! You’ll have very warm feet! Knit them today!

Rated SC for seriously cute

‘Tis a sentiment universally expressed in my last blog post’s comments that you guys were kind of worried about me. Okay, maybe not universally, but I did hear it a lot. So I want to say two things to that: Awww, thanks! and Gosh, sorry! I really didn’t mean to make anyone worry. I am fine. Granted, life was giving me the old one-two for a bit there, but I think I’ve slapped it back into submission. Life is now my bitch. Well, sort of. The point is that everything’s okey-dokey. I hope it stays that way.

Buuuuut, I know it probably won’t. Quoi, you ask? Well, I’m in grad school, right? And I’m getting a PhD, right? Right. And the time has come, the adviser said, to talk of many things. Of papers and theses and finishing, and whether my ass has wings. I’m looking down the barrel of my as-of-yet unwritten thesis right now. And I’m smelling gunpowder. It’s about to go off.

So yeah, I don’t have much time for knitting OR blogging these days, cuz I’m rite buzy. Plus I’m also doing a lot of freelancing. (Have another book review in Science coming up here.) Oh and, you know, looking for a job. I’ll be around a bit, but not too much. Sad? Sad.

Okay, enough of that crap. Let’s talk more Christmas knits! Er, I mean, rammin’ speed with ye Christmas knits, ya horn swogglin’ scurvy cur!


Aye. That be more like it.

Slippaaaaaaarrrrrs (rav it!)
Pattern: Ye Oldde Felted Moccasins by that buxom wench Bev Galeskas, from Felted Knits
Yaaaaaaarn: Patons Classic Wool Merino
Needle: US 11
Started: Dec 3
Finished: Dec 20
For: that scurvy scallywag me blub
Mods: I Davy Jonesed em up, like

Yeah so, these were a bit of a pain in the arse to knit. The directions were clear, but it wasn’t clear what the hell you were doing until you did it. Ya know? For example: mine are actually inside out. Heh. Whups!

So they’re supposed to have this little ridgy thing around the toe to make them look like real moccasins, see? And the directions say, and I quote, “Vamp has no RS or WS.” Okay, so mine does, but I thought I was taking that into account. But apparently, I’m an idiot. I guess. Because you attach the vamp, which is the top part where my Jolly Roger is, to the rest of the slipper by knitting it together on a circular needle. And so I did, with it facing the wrong way, because of this next little bit:

Note: you will be working with the inside of the slipper facing.”

To me, that means that the inside of the slipper is facing out, and is hence working inside out. Does it mean that to you? I’m not being totally stupid here, am I? Because you then knit a little ridge after you attach the vamp, which is the ridgy thing around the toe. And I do remember thinking, “why the hell is this knit on the inside? Hm, maybe when you felt it, it all goes right.” Because that sure wasn’t how the picture looked. Anyway, I bravely knit on. Here’s what they looked like when I finished:


And then of course I felted them, and they looked like this:


Yeah, that’s not right.

You know what though? I thought they looked okay anyway. So they got wrapped and presented to the blub.


(Notice my use of yarn for ribbon? Yeah, I am all green and shit.)

He hearts them. And he says they fit better the way they are than turned inside out. (Which would be the right way. Confusing? Yes.) I don’t know if he actually thinks that or is just being sweet and nice. But anyway, yay win!

I ripped the all-weather soles off his old pair of slippers to put on these, because we both wear our slippies outside sometimes. To get the mail and bring in wood and chase cats and crap like that.


I haven’t attached them yet, because a) I haven’t gotten around to it; b) he’s been wearing them and likes them just fine; and c) I’m considering just painting them with that rug-stop stuff like knottygnome did with her very nice slippies. Plus I’m kind of daunted by all that hand-sewing. Urgh.

Oh! I used the pirate chart from hello yarn‘s We Call Them Pirates hat for ye vamp top. I don’t remember why I decided to make Nels pirate slippers. But I did, so um. There you are.

Sorry. I mean, there you aaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Matey.

Contact me

thechemgrrl AT gmail DOT com (you know what to do with the extras)
January 2023