You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2008.


…all I want is you.

GretelI haz a hat.

Pattern: Gretel, by Ysolda
Yarn: Bartlett Yarns, 2-ply fisherman, 1 skein of oxford; also a bit of Sublime cashmere merino silk for lining (left over from Odessa).
Needles: KP 8 (5 mm) and 3 (3.25 mm)
Begun: January 4
Finished: Many dates, but ultimately January 22
Por: moi
Mods: Didn’t do tubular cast on, lined ribbing with soft stuff

is this what I really look likeI like mah hat.

Okay, so. I’ve been down a long knitting road with this hat. It was dark and twisty, and littered with many snags, thorns, and bushy undergrowth. (Hee! I said bushy!) Yet, we have emerged from the woods successfully. Woo-freakin-hoo. And it’s kinda cute too, eh?

Well, first things first. I initially wanted the slouchy version. According to the pattern, it takes 230 yards for the slouchy version. I had 210 yards. So I technically didn’t have enough yarn for the slouchy. But since when have I let technicalities stop me before? “Pshaw!” I said, and I went for it. And then…I ran out of yarn. No worries, I ripped back to where the pattern diverged for the slouchy and regular versions, and then knit the regular. It’s still pretty slouchy, though, isn’t it?

Gretel backSee dee back of mah hat?

So after I finished knitting and pulling the top closed, I had to go back to the beginning. This is because I’m a silly person. You see, the pattern says to knit the ribbing on needles two sizes smaller than the ones you use for the body of the hat. Did I do this? Of course not. I figured since I was lining the ribbing with a nice, soft yarn that it would be thicker and therefore fit me. Somehow. I guess I thought maybe those fat little stitches could suck in their guts or something. Well, they didn’t, the little bastards. So I had to rip out my cast on edge, unravel back to were the ribbing ended, and reknit on 6s. Does it go without saying that this was a huge pain in the ass? Okay, good. I won’t say it then.

Gretel topI haz an azteticallee pleezen top.

So I finished reknitting the ribbing in the Bartlett yarn. I switched to the Sublime yarn. I did a k2p2 row. I purled a turning row. Then I continued with the k2p2 ribbing, but in reverse. That is, I knit where I should have purled and purled where I should have knit. So it would fit all nicely inside the Bartlett yarn ribbing see? Like a little glove. So to speak. Then I sewed down the live stitches on the inside, then washed it and blocked it. It was very pretty.

Gretel cables
I haz pretty cables.

But pretty didn’t save it. It was still too big.


I actually wore it for a couple of days like that. By like that I mean falling off of my head every time I turned it too fast. It took a particularly cold day and a stiff wind to smack me out of my denial. Unfortunately, it just blew me into another form of denial: I decided to put some elastic on the inside.

Gretel blockingI haz a softeee inside.

“What a great idea!” I thought. “Since I have two layers, I can just slip the elastic in between them! It will be fabulous! It will be beautiful! It will be successful!”


Have you ever worn a hat with elastic on the inside? It’s not very comfortable. I mean it worked, technically. But technical is not often pretty. Very, very far from pretty. The elastic smooshed the hell out of my forehead. By ‘smooshed’ I mean pushed all my skin forward in a wrinkly, foldy mass. I looked like a friggin Shar Pei. So I made the elastic bigger. Then it fell off. So I made it smaller. Then it smooshed my forehead again. So I made it bigger. Repeat ad nauseum until frustration compels you to open the front door and chuck it onto the porch.

After I retrieved it from the porch, I ripped out the ribbing again. Then I reknitted all of the ribbing and lining on 3s. Yup. 3s. It fits now. I iz happee.


Well, mostly.

I do think it’s a little too slouchy. So I guess I’m glad I knit the regular version. But I do find myself thinking that I’d like to knit another. A fitted one. In green, for spring.

Um. Yeah. Maybe I should go knit some mittens instead…

Hi-ho, hello all. I’m feeling pretty chipper today. No, I haven’t done anymore revenge pooping (although that does do wonders for perking up one’s day). Just received a few awards and benefits lately.

But before we get into that, let’s do that Friday thingie. Here’s what I’ve been

Watching (good, but seeing Tobey Maguire as a redhead was highly disturbing. It just seemed so…wrong. I wanted to leap from the couch and shriek, “God! HEY GOD! Smite him! Smite him now, dammit!” Alas, this did not come to pass.)

Listening to


Reading. Yup, read that cover to cover. What a fantasmic book! I kind of feel like a super fiber spy now–I’m highly tempted to take a magnifying glass into my LYS and do some yarn sleuthing. “Elementary, my dear Watson!” I’d say, “This woolen spun 4-ply would be most excellent for fair-isle mittens. They would hold warmth in most spiffingly! Plus the plied construction would really make the colorwork crisp!”

Speaking of fair-isle mittens, I do really love the Norwegian Snail Mittens from the book. I’m thinking of maybe switching over to those, as my own Bird in Hand Mittens have NOT been going well. I’ve ripped them out…three times now. Urgh. It’s my own bloody fault, as I’ve been effing them up in dumb and silly ways. I dunno, I’m just not feeling the love there (unlike Nicole, who apparently wants to marry hers–I think she might be bogarting the love). I’m giving them one more chance before chucking the whole thing and starting on the Snails. One!

Awards and honors!

A couple of days ago, Huan-Hua was nice enough to give me the “You Make My Day” award.



So now I have to name 10 people in blogland that make my day. In a nice way. Not a Clint Eastwood way. Anyway, here they are, in alphabeticalish order:

1. Annie Knits
2. Coloursknits
3. Craft Pirate
4. The Knit Mongrel
5. Knitspot
6. Knittywhipped
7. The Panopticon
8.The Science Creative Quarterly (not knitting, but hilarious)
9. Bitch, PhD (again not knitting, but hilarious AND thought-provoking)
10. Turtlegirl’s bloggy thing

Thanks for making my day(s). You punks.

The other offical-ness is slightly dorky, on my part. I’ve been writing a science column for my school paper for a little while now, and I was awarded yesterday with my first letter to the editor about something I had written. The guy was disagreeing with me, and had seemingly missed the point, but I’m still so excited! A letter! About me! I guess I just feel like a Real Writer now, since someone paid enough attention to get pissed off at what I was saying. This happened on the same day that I got my member packet for the National Association of Science Writers. WITH a card. So I can flash it and say, “Back off, man! I’m a science…writer.”

*contented sigh* It’s the little things.

So I work in a public building of a large university. As such, we only have public restrooms. I also work on a floor that contains a very big lecture hall, so there are usually undergrads around. Well, this morning, I went into the closest bathroom, because I had to poop. As I opened the door and walked in, I nearly tripped over this undergrad’s backpack, which was lying right in the middle of the floor. She was a smarmy looking one, too–you know the type. Long curly hair pulled up in a ponytail, school t-shirt, sweat pants, Uggs (Ugh!) and of course, full makeup. So she gives me this look, like “How dare you almost step on my stuff, that I’ve left right in the middle of the floor of this tiny bathroom? Don’t you know that this is my personal space?” But I ignore it, and go into a stall.

Okay, so most of you are women. So you know what happens if you have to poop in a public bathroom–you generally wait for the other person (if there is one) to leave, right? I don’t know why we do this, but those are the rules so there you go. But in this particular case, I was a bit cheesed off at this stupid girl, so I really let it rip. I was grunting! I was plopping! I let out this huuuuge spectacular fart–really, my brothers would be so proud. Needless to say, that girl got the hell out of there. I think she might have even tripped over her own backpack in her haste to leave.

Heh heh heh. That made me very happy. I think it will be a Good Day.


I guess I’m feeling a bit sad today. Yesterday, one of my fellow grad students defended for his PhD. He passed with flying colors, of course, but the whole thing left me feeling a bit blue. He’s in my lab, and we both started at about the same time (I was an undergrad, he was an exchange student–we both decided to stay). We worked on similar projects, so we’d talk about our research a lot, and often go to each other when we were stuck and have bitch sessions about our boss and things like that. Anyway, I’m going to miss him. He’s going off to a Real Job now. So I’m sad both because he’s leaving and also because he’s leaving me behind. I wish I were done, too. But not yet. I still have a while to go.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been doing to distract myself from such things.




Listening to

You might notice that I listed Stardust up there. Yup, I finally saw it. I saw it twice, actually. Now, I must state for the record that Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite writers (I may have mentioned this before, um, a few hundred times). Normally, I DO NOT like it when my fav books are made into movies and they change them. It’s blasphemy, as far as I’m concerned. This movie is…not like the book. Many, many things are different. But you know what? I still loved it. It definitely is a different animal than the book, but I like both animals. I have surprised myself. Does this mean that I’m maturing? Bloody hell. I sure hope not.

Speaking of things that are blue, I thought the General Viewing Pubic might be interested in the state of the Log Cabin Baby Blanket that I made over a year ago. Remember that? Probably not. I think most of you weren’t around then. :) No worries. I’ll refresh your memories. (Pssst…and if you want to see the blankie with its wee receipent, that’s here.)

Caught up? Okay good. So the whole fam was up in Chicago for Christmas, and I managed to sneak a peek at the blanket again.

log cabin baby blanket after 1 yr

The Swish Superwash hasn’t worn so badly, really. It’s a bit pilly, but it has been very, very well loved. Apparently, Baby J won’t go to sleep without this blankie. In fact, when I first went and grabbed it out of his crib, I was carrying him around with me. (This is something I could hardly resist doing—he’s the sweetest kid ever.) He snatched it out of my hands and and just buried his face in it. That’s what he does with things he really likes. He did that with Elijah, too, by the way. Talk about warming the cockles of my heart! I see many, many handknits in this kid’s future.

Okay, enough mushy stuff about kids and cuteness and love. I’ll just leave you with the rest of the pictures. Enjoy.


Life is funny sometimes.

Remember how I was whining and bitching and generally throwing a tantrum only one week ago about my inability to pick a friggin pattern? Well now I have a finished scarf. Fancy that.

runchy scarf 2

I do fancy it!

The squishy runchy scarf
Pattern: Gathered scarf for you Mother-in-law (or not) by bag ‘n’ trash
Yarn: Sarah’s Yarns 4-py Mongolian Cashmere, 3 skeins (200 yds/skein), held double stranded. I bought white, I made it purple. Details of the dye job can be found here.
Needle(s): KnitPicks Nickel Options, US 10 and US 7
Begun: January 7
Finished: January 12
Finished size: 4.5″ wide (the garter stitch parts) by 82″ long (that’s 6’10” for you lazy ones). Highly wrappable.
Mods: none particularly worth mentioning…but I will mention them. Go me.

runchy scarf

I really love how this turned out. It’s so soft and fabulous, but that’s pretty much to be expected. It *is* cashmere. Plus, this is going to be the warmest scarf ever. The runchy bits make these little pockets that will trap warm air close to my skin. I really can’t wait to wear it. It’s blocking now, and I really really hope it’s done by tomorrow morning! *jump jump scamper*

runchy scarf close up

I found it quite interesting how this scarf was put together. You cast on an even number of stitches, then *knit in stockinette for six rows. Then you switch to smaller needles and k2tog all the way across. So then you have half your original stitch count. Then you knit in garter stitch for four or five rows (I forget), and then switch back to the bigger needles and kfb all the way across. Repeat from *. Isn’t that nifty? That’s how the runching gets formed. I used bigger needles and double stranded my DK weight yarn, so I cast on fewer stitches (30 instead of 48). My scarf was skinnier and longer than that of the pattern, which I didn’t really mean for. I was just digging knitting this so much that I kept going until I ran out of yarn. I mean really. I had to unravel my gauge swatch to bind off. Hey–you guys know me. I like to use up every little bit.

Hopefully, I washed all of the excess dye out of this thing. It was turning my fingers purple as I knit it, but the rinse water ran clear so I’m hoping I’ve seen the end of that. I *don’t* fancy having a purple neck, as much as I like purple. It’s just not so attractive in skin tones, ya know? (Note to purple-skinned people of the world: I’m sure you are all very lovely, each in your own way. You rock that purple skin! Me, I just can’t pull it off. It doesn’t go with my eyes.)

Oh! I have finally gotten a picture of the nice socks that Weezie sent me. Go back and look at them here. I have gorgeous socks and a fabulous scarf. Aren’t you so very jealous of me? I am.

Guess what I got! No really, guess.
Give up? I gots sockies. Sockies I didn’t knit! Cuz Weezie knit some and they didn’t fit her. And then she sent them to me! Can you believe that? And they are SO pretty. When I got them, the blub said, “I think those are the prettiest socks I’ve ever seen!” which almost made me say, “Whadda ’bout all of the socks I’ve made you, you bloody jackass?” but then I looked at the socks again and kept my mouth shut. Cuz they ARE the prettiest socks ever. See?

river rapids socks

The sockies love to bask by the creek. My picture doesn’t show how beautiful these socks are, unfortunately. But you can look at Weezie’s post here to see how very pretty they are. I want to say BIG thank you to Weezalana! You are super marvvy keen! And a very talented knitter.

It’s been so grey and ucky here. We had a hella big nasty storm on Tuesday, with heap big rains and blowingness and more rain. Out by my house, that means flooding. LOTS of flooding. Fortunately, I was able to get home Tuesday night, but honesty would compel me to state that I drove through a couple of flooded creeks that I probably shouldn’t have. As luck would have it, one of these flooded creeks had a water main at the bottom. A water main that was broken. A water main that was broken and attached to my house. So that means that I had no water. For three days. And I had no water because…there was too much water. Chalk up two points to the Irony Fairy for that one.

The flooding went down yesterday and the Water People were able to fix the broken pipe, so now I have water again. Yay. I took much delight last night in being able to flush the toilet. (Which takes me off on a tangent. Does anybody else think it’s really weird that we have clean, drinkable water in our toilets? It just strikes me as odd, seeing that fresh water is such a precious commodity in some places. It’s like somebody thought, “Hey! Clean water! Let’s pee in it!” And thus an invention was born.)

Anyway. Yeah. Enough rambling. It’s Friday, so here’s what I’ve been

Listening to




That movie was really good. That book was really good. That album IS really good. Read, watch, or listen to all three. They will make your life happier and your teeth whiter. Maybe.

And please have a happy Friday.

runchy scarf

Color in photo is totally not accurate, but yay! I heart it! The only problem is that I seem to not have rinsed off all the dye before. It’s turning my fingers purple.

Oh yeah, pattern is here. :)

Seriously. If you want to avoid whining and bitching and general tantrum-like foot stamping, I suggest you go read someone else’s blog. Really. Do yourself a favor.

Still here? Wow, you guys are a bunch of masochists. Anyway, bitching starts…now.

I think I’m suffering from post-knitting wars syndrome. Before the 31st, it was knitknitknitknit, and now my brain is all turned around. I need to knit for me! I am without a cold weather scarf, and the mittens I have just suck.

But this is the way I’m feeling about knitting right now: apply desk to head. Repeat if necessary.

I canNOT make up my mind about anything. I have this beautiful cashmere that I want to use for my scarf. It’s dk weight, I dyed it awhile back. But I can’t decide on a pattern! It needs to be thick and cozy and wrappable, as well as quick to knit (I need it NOW). I’ve considered Shifting sands (my purple yarn is probably too dark for cables), the Irish Hiking scarf (again, cables), Backyard leaves (not cozy enough), the Scholar Collar (want it to wrap!), and Clapotis (don’t want holes). Someone slap me, please. I actually cast on for My So Called Scarf last night (yarn held double), then ripped it out. I may go back to this. I didn’t make it wide enough. But I’m also thinking that I’d like that scarf to be in a variegated yarn, which I don’t have. Bleah.

And then the mittens! I want to make the Bird in Hand mittens, but I don’t have any yarn that makes me happy. I need dk weight. I have some leftover Telemark from my Christmas in Tallinn stocking, but I only have red and white. Yes, I know those are the colors that the sample is knit in. The problem is, I don’t want red and white mittens! Maybe black and white would be nice. I am getting a ball of black sometime soon, but that was supposed to be for my other Christmas stocking. (Short aside: do you think black in a Christmas stocking is too morbid? It’s just going to be the background color in the fair-isle part. Discuss.) Besides, one skein of black is not going to be enough, and I think it might be too late to change my KnitPicks order. I think it’s supposed to ship out tomorrow. I placed it Friday. I also tried swatching for these mittens with the nice silk/merino yarn that I just got in my Winter Knitty swap, but I don’t think that’ll work. I think the yarn will pill, and I don’t want pilly mittens.

So what have I done about all of this? I cast on for a hat.

Gretel in progress

It’s Gretel, from ysolda. Did I mention that I don’t need a hat? I have two right now. And yet, I’m knitting a hat. I actually can’t really stop knitting this hat. I’m using the Bartlett Yarn that I got(ish) for Christmas. It’s pretty scratchy, and has been hard on my hands, and I still can’t put this down. I really, really like the pattern. It’s only the second ysolda pattern I’ve knit (the first was Elijah) and I’m pretty convinced that the girl is a genius. It’s just so well put together! Love it.

Gretel cables

Here’s a close up of some cables. Pretty! I’ve slipped it onto some waste yarn here cuz I wanted to try it on. Because the yarn is so scratchy, I lined the ribbing with some soft nice yarn, the merino/silk/cashmere I had left over from Odessa. As such, I didn’t go down two needle sizes to knit the brim. I should have. It’s huge! It stays on my head, but just barely. So I’ll have to go back later and re-knit the brim. Great. I just love ripping out cast ons.

Gretel edge

I’m also trying to decide if I want the “regular” or the “slouchy” version. In my heart of hearts I want the slouchy, but I’m a bit afraid I’ll run out of yarn. You see, the pattern states that 230 yds of yarn are required for the slouchy version. The label on my yarn says 210 yds. Hmm. I’m at the point now where you start the decreases if you want the regular version, or keep cabling away if you desire el slouchy. I have 28 g of yarn left. I had 100 g when I started. Oh, what to do, what to do? I kind of want to keep knitting, just to see what happens. I can always unravel the gauge swatch (I made sure to keep it close at hand). Hmm, I think I will keep going. Wahoo–knitting on the edge! Don’t miss out on any of the excitement–stay tuned. :)

Oh! Speaking of excitement, I also went and organized all of my loose knitting patterns. I put them in a binder! With sections! It’s fabulous!

my new notebook

They had all been sitting loose on my knitting shelf. There were a lot. But now they’re all in one place!

Like I said. Excitement. I also bought a couple more yarn bins and put away all the loose yarn that had been sitting on my desk. I can actually see the surface of the desk now. Crazy.

Oh yeah, that brings me to another thing. I’m going on a yarn diet. Really. Sigh–there I said it. I’m totally running out of space to store yarn in my tiny house. Plus I recently realized I have enough yarn to knit *32* pairs of socks. Crikey. So I’d better get knitting. Yeah.

See ya.

P.S! I just found this scarf while poking about on Ravelry. I like it! It’s kinda cabley but so what? It’s pretty! And cozy! And wrappable! I think I’ll cast on for that one. And then maybe rip it out…

paper snowflakes

And we got some actual snow to go with the paper variety. Pretty, no?

Okay, you’re thinking. Cut the crap, chemgrrl, so did you finish this big project or what?

Damn straight, I did.

cobblestone pullover

Señor Cobblestone!

Pattern: The Cobblestone pullover by Jared Flood (Interweave Knits, Fall 2007)
Yarn: Rowanspun Aran, caviar, 5.5 skeins (this yarn has been discontinued. sniff.)
Needle: US 10
Started: September 10, 2007
Finished: December 31st, 2007, 5:05 pm EST. Bloody hell, I had loads of time to spare.
Recipient: el blubbo. He likes it.
Mods: knit at a larger gauge than the pattern called for. I knit the smallest size, and it turned out to be the medium size (out of five sizes–the blub falls squarely in the “large” division in store-bought clothing).

It looks a little wonky in the above picture, but that is pre-blocking. It’s drying nicely on our bed now. Most of the weirdness was due to the transition from stockinette stitch to garter stitch, but it seems to have blocked out. So do you know what this means? This means I am RID of the ubiquitous sweater guilt. You see, I promised the blub a sweater for Christmas two years ago. He chose a pattern that made me want to drink oxalic acid and jump off of something tall, so I never finished it. Then, back in September, I surreptitiously began this sweater as a replacement. He’s happy with it, so I’m FREE! And I get to unravel the old monstrosity. Woot and wahoo! I am a happy chemgrrl.

So. As far as the Knitting Wars are concerned, I still got my ass kicked. Laurie finished 16 projects. I only finished 14. Ah well, such is life. I hope that some people will still give to the American Cancer Society, but no one is under any obligation. I’m still going to give. Too bad they don’t take yarn donations. I cleaned up my stash today and found some stuff I don’t really remember buying. Maybe I was blocking it? Anyway charity is good no matter what form it takes. I’m grateful for ANYthing anyone wants to donate. If you do, let me know and I’ll send you some really special yarn from my stash. Yeah, that’s it! Special.

So here’s where I was going to talk about all the projects I finished this year, and my resolutions from last year, and what I hoped to change in the coming year, blah blah blah. Quite frankly, I’m getting kind of sick of that crap so I think I’ll skip it. Instead I’ll leave you with some pictures of Izzy playing with his catnip hearts that Jesh made. You just can’t beat cute kitties. Not even if you have a stick!

Izzy and heart 1Izzy and heart 2
Izzy and heart 3Izzy and heart 4

Sorry for some of the blurriness. He was moving really fast. :)

Have a good one, everybody!

Contact me

thechemgrrl AT gmail DOT com (you know what to do with the extras)
January 2008