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Where have Monday and Tuesday gone? I swear they were here a minute ago…

Well, I guess it’s Wednesday. Here’s what I’ve been

Reading: hoards of computational chemistry papers
Watching: my computer screen
Listening to: my computational adviser yelling at me

All in all, not a good week. Bleah.

On a lighter note, here’s the picture of the knitted cupcake:


Made for Sunni on the event of her birthday. Photo also by Sunni. I used the pattern from One Skein, leftover Manos del Uruguay for the bottom, and Lamb’s Pride worsted and Fun Fur for the top, and a red heart button. Don’t you just want to lick it?

Here’s hoping that next week will be better. In the meantime…

Dreaming of: spring knits *sigh*

Just a quick note today–I have had a depressingly small amount of time to knit this week, so there has been very little progress on the Hourglass sweater. I do have a couple of pictures, that I took last weekend.

HG sweater and sleeve

HG sweater stitches

Noro Cash Iroha is very, very nice to work with. I’m almost done with the first sleeve–hopefully I can finish the whole thing in the next two weeks. Especially since I’ve promised myself not to cast on for anything new until this sweater is done, and I have some very nice new goodies that I want to play with. I wanted to show them off today, but the weather has been icky and cloudy and overcast. I need a sunny day! Don’t we all, though?

Until next time…

(P.S. Happy birthday Sunni!)

Look! Just look at what I discovered this morning!

hole in toasty sock

A hole! There’s a hole in the sole of my toasty sock!

(was that a haiku?)

I am very, very upset by this. These were the first socks I ever made, out of Interlacements Toasty Toes. They are a bit big, and I forgot to do the slipped stitch heel on one of them, but I still love them dearly and wear them around the house all the time.

Here’s a better view:

hole in toasty sock 2

It looks like the stitch just came out. I don’t really know how that could have happened. Maybe the yarn caught on something? I guess that’s not important. What IS important is how am I going to fix it? A duplicate stitch? If anybody has any ideas, please let me know.

I’m going to go sit in the corner and cry now.

Chicken butt!


No, of course the guess what is that it’s Wednesday!

Here’s what I’ve been

Listening to…




Speaking of Narnia, I’ve been thinking about what happens to Susan at the end of the book series. It’s just bizarre, and it kind of pisses me off. What a bunch of crap to load on a person, even if they are fictional!

Today is actually Ash Wednesday, so try not to make an ash of yourself.

…did I really just say that?

The Beast has been tamed.

The Beast socks

The Beast socks

Pattern: garter stitch rib pattern from Sensational Knitted Socks, using Wendy’s toe-up sock tutorial and the reverse Dutch heel tutorial
Yarn: Mountain Colors Bearfoot, Ruby River, 1 skein
Needle size: US 3
Begun: January 28–ish
Finished: February 17
Recipient: the blub

I think the knitting time is a bit misleading. When I started these, I only knitted them in the mornings, before I went to work. So that was about 45 minutes a day, 4 times a week. When I gave them to the blub on Valentine’s Day, I was up to the end of the gusset increases on one sock, and right after the heel on the other. I then finished them three days later. So once I really got going, these were quite a speedy knit. In fact, on the second sock I did the heel and the cuff all in one day. Go me.

They were also my first toe-up socks. Do you know what that means? I fulfilled one of my New Year’s resolutions! Hurrah! Toe-up socks are pretty easy, but I think I still prefer cuff down. They were great for socks for the blub, though, cuz I could just knit until I ran out of yarn. I’m always afraid I’ll run out, so his socks in the past have been kind of short. Not these! The cuffs are a full 8 inches long. To those people who worried about getting a full pair of socks out of this stuff? I had yarn left over. Yup. These socks used up 96 grams. I have 19 g of yarn left (I weighed the skein before knitting—it was actually 115 g, not the stated 100. Thanks for being generous, Mountain Colors!).

So, specifics: I used Wendy’s toe-up tutorial, as mentioned above. I chose the figure-eight toe, simply because I was too lazy to find a crochet hook when I cast on (as you may remember, I was under slight duress at the beginning of this project). Also mentioned before, I screwed up the first toe and it looked really funny. To fix it, I just ripped out the cast on, unraveled two rows, and Kitchenered the end back together. It worked wonderfully, as you can see here:

The Beast sock toes

I bet you can’t even tell which toe I fixed! Actually, I can’t either. I think it might be the one on the right, but I’m really not sure.

The heel I used was called the Reverse Dutch heel. It was easy enough to do, but I’m not sure I like it.

The Beast sock heel

I think it looks kind of funny (it doesn’t help that the picture is weird, too. I tried to fix it in Photoshop, but I only made it worse, so there you go). It looks like it might be slightly uncomfortable, no? I need to learn how to do short row heels…

The Beast sock 1

All in all, I’m pleased with the way they came out. The yarn! So soft. But also, apparently, so runny. So after these were done, they got a nice hot bath with some Citric acid and Synthrapol in order to set the dye better. It seemed to work–when I washed them after, the water had only the slightest tinge of pale pink.

The Beast socks bath

And then to block…

The Beast socks drying

The Beast socks became so tame that they even tolerated their socky companions.

Play nice, wee beasties!

I think they will.

hairy beast on hairy feet

…and they lived Happily Ever After. The End.

Chemgrrl: bead bane

glass bead stitch markers 1amethyst stitch markers 1

I made the hell out of some stitch markers, dammit. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, especially after seeing some lovely examples like these. So here is my contribution to the stitch marker world: on top, various glass and African Christmas beads; on bottom, amethyst chips, nickel heishe, and Thai silver beads. The needle shown is a size 4, and I have other jump rings I can switch these out with that will fit up to a size 11. Farewell, ugly plastic stitch markers! I’ve got style now.

These were pretty easy to make. There are several tutorials already out there (linky dinky doo), so I won’t bore you with the gory details. All you really need are some beads (duh), some headpins, some jump or spring rings, and a pair of pliers. I do have quite a bit of jewelry making experience (more on that below), but I haven’t done much wire work. No matter—once I did the first few, it became quite easy. In the beginning, I was accidentally snapping the small glass beads left and right as I accidentally caught them with the pliers. Man, those suckers can fly! The cats were in seventh heaven as the bead pieces ricocheted off the walls and floor. It was like a war zone—leaping cats and flying shrapnel. I got better, though, and I’m quite happy with the finished product. Aren’t they pretty? I made some other ones, too, but those are super-secret and they will be a gift, so no peeking.

It felt really nice to be working with beads again. I used to earn my bread and butter by making and selling jewelry. I even worked at a bead store in Berkeley when I lived there, oh, about 11 years ago. I was a bit bead obsessed, I suppose you could say. I used to have a huge bead stash–two large tackle boxes full (fishing tackle boxes are a great way to organize beads and findings and such). I only have one small tackle box now, and I have given a lot of my beads away. It made me a little sad to see how little I actually have left, especially since there’s not a decent bead store in this town. Oh well.

Maybe at some point I’ll post some pictures of the jewelry I’ve made in the past. Some of it is pretty intricate, and I do still have a lot. Anyway, if there are any budding jewelry makers or stitch marker makers (say that three times fast) out there, I’m morally obliged to suggest you look at Fire Mountain Gems. These people are really, really nice and have a HUGE selection. Their prices are also very good. Be careful if you look though. I think beading is even more addicting than sock knitting (coming from me this is a very serious statement), simply because beads are so cheap. And sparkly. And pretty.


Um, gotta go.

Well, you’re right. It is.

It’s also Valentine’s Day, in case you haven’t noticed. In honor of this, my recommendations today will be of sappy crap that’s all lovey-dovey and that shit.

Do I seem grumpy? Hmm.

So IF I were in the mood, here’s what I would be

Listening to




However, as you may have gleaned, I am not. I am grumpy. I want to stamp my little foot and shout. Why?

hourglass sweater 2-13-07

This is the best shot I could get. Every other single one–and I took about twenty–came out blurry. Aarugh! I’m so fed up with my crappy camera that I want to drop kick it into the creek. Although I guess I can’t complain TOO much. The color is at least accurate.

Anyway, this is my work so far on the Hourglass sweater, from Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I’m doing it in the called for yarn, Noro Cash Iroha in plum. If you’ve ever worked with this stuff, you know that it grows. A lot. The pattern suggests a size 7 needle to get gauge. I’m using a 5. After washing, this puts me spot on gauge. At least, it did in my swatch. I hope that trend will continue.

I’ve gotten as far as dividing for the yoke, and yesterday started the sleeves. This is my first adult-sized sweater. Did I mention that? The yarn is so pretty, I wish I could get better pictures of the stitch definition. I guess you’ll have to take my word for it for the time being.

What would really make me happy? Finding one of these on my dinner plate tonight.

A girl can dream…

All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.
All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.
All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.
All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.
All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.
All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.
All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.
All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.
All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.
All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.
All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.
All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.

Sorry, no time to post today—I’m working on my novel. I have to say, though, that this wintery weather is starting to get to me. I’m feeling a bit, I dunno, cagey.

(Okay, it’s not really a novel. In my desperate yearning to bring general scientific understanding to the masses, I’ve begun writing a science column for the student paper here. Funny thing about editors—they seem to want you to have stuff done by a certain time. Slave drivers! Despite this, I hope to have time this week to show my progress on my Hourglass sweater—that I didn’t say I had started—and the status of the unruly Bearfoot socks. Bear with me, please. I promise I won't always be this boring.)

No knitting content today–it’s all business around here at Chez Chemgrrl. In case you pay attention to the buttons in my sidebar, you’ll know that I joined the Favorite Color Swap 2. These are my answers to the questionnaire. Go ahead and read them if you want, but I suspect you’ve got better things to do.

Favorite Color Swap Questionnaire

1. What are your top three favorite colors?

Purple, red, and green, but not all together. I love purple and red together, and purple and green together, but NOT red and green together. Unless it’s Christmas, that is.

2. What crafts do you really enjoy?

I’m a dyed in the wool knitter. Oh, I also dye.

3. What products do you really covet?

Yarn, yarn, yarn, yarn, and more yarn, especially sock yarn. I also like handmade stitch markers and nice little bags for knitting notions to go in.

4. What other activities do you enjoy besides your favorite crafty things?

Reading, writing, and arithmetic. Okay, not really that last one. Not that I hate math or anything, I just don’t often do it for fun. I also enjoy rock climbing, gardening, and whistling while I work.

5. Is there anything you collect?

Um….my house tends to collect dust. It’s got quite enough of that, though.

6. What is your zodiac sign and/or Chinese zodiac symbol?

I’m a Leo. As far as the Chinese sign, I think I’m a rabbit.

7.What are your favorite…


Lavender, jasmine, fresh tomatoes, basil, wool, dirt (I mean the nice clean dirt-in-the-spring time-when-you’re-hoeing-your-sweet-peas kind of smell), baby’s heads, sheets that have dried in the sunshine, chocolate chip cookies baking, and oranges.

…types of music and/or bands?

I’m not good on type, but some of my favorite performers are Modest Mouse, Tom Waits, Nick Drake, Michelle Shocked, the Pixies, the Clash, the Pogues, Norah Jones, Madeleine Peyroux, and Beck. I think my favorite album of all time is John Denver and the Muppets: a Christmas together.


Oh, boy. There are, in no particular order: Kurt Vonnegut, Neil Gaiman, Diana Wynne-Jones, Barbara Kingsolver, A.A. Milne, J.D. Salinger, John Steinbeck, John Irving, Richard Russo, Elizabeth Peters, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Shel Silverstein, J.K. Rowling, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, Salman Rushdie, Lewis Carroll, Shannon Hale, Sharon Creech, E.B. White, and Robert Newton Peck.

Huh. Over half of those are children’s book authors.


I like all animals. I especially like kitties, though.

…places to shop?, the Loopy Ewe, Astrid’s Dutch Obsessions, Anthropologie, Ikea, thrift stores and flea markets


Do I have to pick one? Well, it’s either in the spring when the trees are blooming and everything’s starting to pop up, or in the late summer when my garden’s in full bloom and all the vegetables are ripe and ready for eating.

…yarn/fabric/paper/other craft supplies?

Lorna’s laces shepherd sock in the semi-solids, Scout’s Swag sock yarn, Fleece Artist sock yarn, Socks that Rock lightweight, Sweet Georgia sock yarn, and any of Sundara’s yarn (especially her somewhat solids).

…candies or goodies?

Dark chocolate—the darker the better.

8. Do you have any wish lists?

I have a wish list at I also have one at Anthropologie, but I think the only thing on there is a $100 pair of shoes. Don’t let me stop you, though!

9. Are you allergic to anything?

No, but I can’t wear mohair. It gives me the itches.

10. Do you have any pets? What are they?

I have four cats. Don’t feed them after midnight.

11. Please include anything else you would like your secret pal to know about you- anything that would be helpful in finding you little gifts that you will really enjoy.

I really like monochromatic things—like something with tons of shades of purple, or all reds, etc. I also like vintage-y type things, things that have character. I like knitting lace, too. Um, what else? I’m known to impersonate Little Orphan Annie from time to time, and I heart the Muppets. I would have married Kermit if I could. I sing in the shower, but only if my husband’s not home. I make my cats do the Macarena sometimes. Is this helping? Maybe I should just shut up while I’m ahead.

Along with a heap of snow, around here. I got a nice carnival ride in my car last night. Wheeee! All of a sudden, I was in the ditch on the other side of the road, facing in the opposite direction. Good thing nobody was coming the other way.


Here’s what I’ve been


Listening to

Watching, although not particularly willingly. This was, totally and completely, a Guy Movie. The blub thought it was great. I thought it deplorable. He has since promised never to subject me to such a thing again. I think he should buy me some yarn to make up for it. Don’t you?

Like maybe some of this. Too bad I can’t find it in stock anywhere.

Contact me

thechemgrrl AT gmail DOT com (you know what to do with the extras)
February 2007