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Don’t you just feel so sproingy and hop-skip-jumpy today? Don’t you just want to bounce off of the walls? I do, but that may have more to do with the latte I just chugged than the date. According to the blub, today is the day when all of humanity is required to use ballet leaps as a form of locomotion. No walking allowed. We’ll see how he does. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been…

Reading (although technically I am listening to this, as it is the audiobook read by Jeremy Irons)



Listening to…water flowing up your butt!

I can’t listen to “Once in a Lifetime” without thinking that. My little brother insisted that’s what the lyrics said when he was about four or so. My family has since referred to it as “The Bidet Song.”

And you may ask yourself…God! How did I get so clean?

Hey look! Knitting!

top down HG

Yup, that’s my progress on the newly christened “Top-down, making it up as I go, it better fraking fit this time Hourglass Sweater.” Catchy, isn’t it? As you can see, I’m really chugging along! I just cast on last week, and I’m already three rows in! Hopefully the sonic booms coming from my needles won’t hurt your ears, wherever you are.

Regardless, have a good weekend.

I am such a dope.

Did I go to the new yarn store? Yes. Did I have my camera with me? Yes. Did I actually take any pictures? Nope.


Well, I can still give a full report. It is a nice yarn store. It is smallish, but really packed full. Seriously. It was a bit overwhelming. They have every color of Cascade 220. Every. Single. Color. In fact, I think they carry the entire Cascade line. They had Cloud 9. They had this angora/cotton blend. They had a wool/silk blend! Stuff I’d never seen or heard of before! They also have the entire Blue Sky Alpacas line, which is nice but excites me less, as I’m not an alpaca person. The cottons are nice, though, and they do have the new Skinny Dyed cottons. Brown Sheep was also very well represented. It was nice to see all those colors of Lamb’s Pride. Plus they had this stuff that was like my beloved Cotton Fleece, but twisty. Serendipity Tweed, it’s called. They didn’t have Cotton Fleece or Cotton Fine, but they might have in the back. I heard speak on Ravelry that said all the yarn wasn’t actually out on the showroom, and they had tons more in the back. Good to know.

The sock yarn, though. Meh. That stuff I was excited about before? It turned out to be Plymouth Happy Feet. I was pretty bummed. Mostly they had Sockotta and Maizy and Cascade Fixation. Not my cup of tea. I hope they’ll get some other stuff in, or maybe they have more stuff in back. We’ll see.

So I ended up not spending much money after all. I gave myself an allowance of $50, but only spent $12. Here’s what I got.

Wildfoote sock yarn

Hardly drool worthy, but pretty nonetheless. It’s two skeins of Brown Sheep Wildfoote, in REALLY FREAKING GREEN. I’ve been looking for this color for awhile, so I snatched it up. The blub said it looked like Kermit’s butt, but I think the actual color name is Deco Lime. It makes me happy.

And speaking of things that make me happy, my mum made me a new knitting bag!

my new knitting bag

My mommy loves me, how do I know?

Isn’t it rock-licious? It’s an Amy Butler pattern. This one. I sent her a link saying that it was cute a bit ago, and she made it for me! Isn’t she the best mum ever? She said she did make a few changes to the pattern, one of which was dividing the inner pockets into two. She said that they just hung open otherwise. She said she changed something in the top too, but I forget what it was. She also made the straps longer. They probably could stand to be a bit longer than she made them, but she used up all of the fabric that she had. It’s okay with a sweater or a jean jacket, but it won’t fit over my shoulder when I have my winter coat on. Oh well. It’s still fabulous! Thanks, Mom! :)

And speaking of MORE things that make me happy, look what I got in a swap!

orange sock yarn

Some delightfully orange sock yarn, and

green laceweight silk

Oh. My. God.

some orgasmically gorgeous green laceweight! Ooooh greeeeeeen, you are the color of my dreams. 1400 yards. All silk. All luscious. All mine.

Both of these yarns were custom dyed for my by gracielou. Doesn’t she do fabulous work? I don’t know if she sells her yarn, but she should. I swapped her for a pair of shoes and a pair of boots. She asked me what color silk I wanted, and I said “Spring green.” And then she gives me that! I mean, dang! Spring green morphed into subtle kellies and wasabis and grass! Beautiful, beautiful. Now I just have to find a pattern that lives up to it! Not an easy task.

Well, that’s about all I have to say for today. Oh wait, knitting? Did you want knitting?

Maybe next time…

Hoo-wee-bob did I have a fun morning! The weather is complete crap here today, as it is in most of the Midwest/East Coast. Sleet followed by freezing rain followed by snow followed by more freezing rain. Ick. So many schools were closed that the guy on the radio this morning said, “Why don’t I just read the schools that AREN’T closed?” Then he read one name.

Anyway, so I was stuck at home for a bit today. Since I live out in the sticks, our roads are the very last to be plowed. I drove out to the main road at 8, and there was an inch of solid ice on top. So I went back home and tried to make myself some tea. Then the blub told me we were actually out of propane (oops! he said) so I couldn’t use the oven. So I popped some water in the microwave, dug the Thin Mints out of the freezer, and sat down to knit. All-in-all, not really a bad morning.

The blub drove me into town at 11 in our nice AWD car. The plow still hadn’t come by that point, but we had gotten tired of waiting. Plus, I was getting hungry. Cookies are all well and good, but sometimes they just don’t hit bottom, ya know? Anyway, that’s my very exciting tale for today. Somebody call the New Yorker–I’m sure they’ll be itching to publish this crap.

So yeah. It’s Friday. Here’s what I’ve been

Reading (hey look! it’s on sale!)

Listening to


Watching. I do love them so.

But today’s REALLY exciting news is that there’s a new yarn store in town! That’s opening today! Now we will have TWO! Hey, I know for you high-falutin types in big cities, that’s chump change. But us country-type gals get all twitter-pated over this. I’m taking off early to go over there. And don’t you worry about the yarn diet! I suspended it for today. Besides, I managed to sell some stuff at Ravelry, so I have a little room and some cash to spare. Yay.

Here’s the website for the place. Look at the store photos! Did you see the sock yarn? I’m very interested in those end cap bins. I have a feeling they will be somewhat less full by the time I’m done with them. :) I guess they’ll be doing online orders too, at some point, so keep them in mind. I very much want them to stay open.

So yay, that’s all for today. I’m taking my camera with me later, so do expect a full Yarn Store Report. Until then…

CPnsH front model

I totally have the dorkiest smile.

The Central Park not-so-Hoodie!
Pattern: Central Park Hoodie, by Heather Lodinsky, size 32, mostly.
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed, red, 10 skeins
Needle: US 8 for body, collar, and pockets, US 6 for ribbing.
Started: November 3rd-ish
Finished: February 16th, with zippers and pockets and ribbon (oh my!)
For: me me me!
Mods: a plethora

So done! Hooray! It took me pretty much all of my free time on Saturday to finish the finishing. Um…yeah.

CPnsH back

See? Dorky.

I do heart it.

So mods! Heavens, where to start? At the top, I guess.

Mod#1: collar instead of hood.

CPnsH collar up

Gimmie all yer sock yarn!

Instead of picking up the stitches for a collar, as per pattern, I picked up the same amount of stitches and knit a 2×2 ribbing instead. On the larger needles. Then I just knitted until I had the right length for my zipper, which was 21 inches plus 5 inches of collar = 26 inches. It was supposed to be the right length for my zipper to fit in, but we all know how that turned out. Hmph. I actually think the collar’s a leetle bit long, and it doesn’t stand up so well when zipped. Oh well. I wasn’t planning on wearing it up anyway. I like it better down.

CPnsH open collar

Mod #2! I did short row shaping and a three-needle bindoff at the shoulders. This was the first time I tried this technique (thanks for the idea, Weez!) and I have only one thing to say about it.

Kick. Ass.

It was really easy. Plus, no stupid seaming of stupid stepped bindoffs at the top! And very much less bulky at the joins. I highly recommend.

CPnsH sleeve

This is the best picture I have of the shoulders. It sucks, I know. Sorry.

Mod #3! Did the sleeves in the round instead of flat. I hate seaming sleeves. This worked much better. I also knitted the second size up on the sleeves cuz I have Amazon arms. Stupid rock climbing. One thing about the sleeve sizing, though. I have pretty skinny forearms and wrists. But the sleeves are actually pretty tight down there. Not uncomfortably so, but still. If I were any bigger, I wouldn’t like it. And all the sizes start out the same at the wrist. Seems a bit odd to me. Anyway…

Mod #4! Pockets! I love having pockets in sweaters. So I decided to put some in mine.

Here’s what I did. I thought the easiest way to do it would be to put in the pockets along the side seams. I knit the front and back pieces flat. Then I tacked it together and put it on, to see where I wanted the pockets to go, height-wise. On this sweater, I put them just above hip height, where the bottom ribbing stopped.

CPnsH left pocket outside

See? Right above the ribbing.

I then just knit two little bags, 5 by 5 inches, in the round. I grafted the tops shut, and was ready to go. I actually knit these out of some black Karabella Aurora 8 that I had lingering in my stash. It makes fabulous pockets. So squishy! Besides, I didn’t have any of the Debbie Bliss left. Not enough for pockets, anyway.

So then I tacked them into the side seams and sewed all the way around. I took a couple of pictures, but they turned out really craptastic. They’re here and here, if you’re so curious. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I had pockets! Yay! But they looked kind of crappy from the outside. Boo. So then I picked up some stitches along the outside edge and knit a teeny ribbing flap to cover up the gaping maw. Really, it was kind of indecent. But now they look better.

CPnsH pocket outside

Kind of hard to see, even.

Then, to keep them from being all floppy, I loosely sewed down each corner to the inside. Fortunately, a rib sat right there, so I was able to do it invisibly. From the outside, I mean. I wasn’t invisible when I sewed them in, or anything. Just in case you were confused about that.

CPnsH pocket inside


Last and mostest coolest mod. Mod #5! Zipper!

Sewing in the zipper wasn’t really that bad, actually. I did end up shortening it by 1.5 inches. I just cut off the top. Easy peasy. Then, taking my lead from this this and this tutorial, I put that sucker in.

First I basted the opening shut, so everything would line up all pretty.

CPnsH outside basted shut

Then I turned it inside out and basted the zipper in.

CPnsH zipper basted in

After checking that it looked okay, and zipped up and down and everything, I sewed it in. By hand. I think it took me about 30 minutes or so. Then to stabilize the zipper (and make it look pretty!) I lined the zipper back with grosgrain ribbon.

CPnsH inside collar

I like polka dots.

And the yarn left over? Well, when I put that little bit of ribbing on, to cover up the pockets? I had to unravel my gauge swatch. Ha! I do so love cutting it close.


And that’s all she wrote, kids.

Like it? I do. I think this is my favorite sweater yet. The yarn is just the slightest bit itchy where it hits my pulse points, but that’s bearable. And it’s warm! So, so warm. In fact, wearing this sweater, I could almost endure two more months of winter!

Um. Not.

But…almost. :)

That title has nothing to do with anything, except that I do, in fact, like tea. It’s nummers!

Other things are nice, too. Like being able to fix a certain niece’s princess hat so it fits.

fixed princess hat

All I did was cut up the back with my nice sharp fabric scissors, then lace some ribbon across the cut, shoelace style. I didn’t even have to make the holes for the ribbon–I just poked through with my tapestry needle. Pretty slick, huh? So now it’s a “Grow With You” princess hat.

More things that are nice:


Watching (not as nice as the first one, but still nice)


Listening to.

The last thing is very, very nice. Seriously. I linked to the Amazon page there that has bits of the songs you can listen to. Go do it. You might think I’m nuts for liking it, but you have to agree that Mary Schneider has some serious talent.

Other things aren’t so nice. Like when I went to sew the zipper into my CPnsH last night, and the stoopid zipper didn’t fit! Arrugh! I purposely knitted the collar to a certain height, even! So the zipper would be perfect! Alas, it’s not perfect. It’s about 1.5 inches too long. I suppose I could re-block the sweater a bit longer and skinner, but I really don’t want to do that. For one, it took forever for the pockets to dry, and I’m not feeling particularly patient of late. For two, the fit is perfect the way it is. I don’t want anything to change. So back to Joann’s I go, hoping they have the same zipper in 24″ instead of 26″. If not, no biggie–I can shorten the zipper. It won’t look as nice at the top if I do that, though. Yes, I’m being picky. So sue me.

Anyway, have a great weekend. I, for one, will be in zipper-sewing hell. But at least I’ll have tea!

Happy VD, everybody. For your amusement on this fine day of lovers, here’s an article I found about the science of love.

Here’s wishing you a great day! I hope you all get chocolate. It’s good for you–antioxidants. So eat lots.

Sigh. Don’t you just love science?

The Central Park not-so-hoodie, that is.

It’s all sewn together, and it fits fabulously! Seaming took me about 2-3 hours yesterday morning. The pockets were the biggest PITA. I took pictures of the pocket insertion in a tutorial-like way, but they all turned out like sheee-ite. I guess that’s why I don’t do tutorials.

Anyway, now I just have to sew in the zipper. (‘Just’ she says. Ha!)

But, since that sweater’s pretty much done, do you know what that means?

guess what I'm winding

Heh heh heh.

For those who didn’t guess correctly, I’m making another Hourglass Pullover. Except, not. I’m going to modify it to be top-down (to make sure it bloody well FITS this time), plus add a couple of design elements. Oh yeah, and my gauge isn’t the same (although I am holding the yarn double. I’m not insane, no matter what you may have heard). Hell, I don’t even know if I’m going to use the HG pattern. So it might be a Something Else Pullover.

But the yarn, the yaaaaaaaaaaaaarn!

Shibui yarn

*contented sigh*

Hey speaking of yarn, I’ve got a bunch I’m looking to swap or sell. If you are so inclined, check out my flickr set or my Ravelry trade page. I can be reached by email (thechemgrrl AT gmail DOT com).


So I had this really long, bitchy post about how much my week sucked all ready to go up. Then I read it again and thought, “Now why on earth would I want to subject my nice readers to that shit?” So I deleted it. Gone, gone! It was kind of therapeutic to get rid of it, actually. I did have a most crappy week. It involved approximately 10,000 whiny and demanding students, a procrastinating and demanding boss, the grading of 130 exams (all long answer), a huge storm, a flooded garage, 3 nights where I didn’t get home before 10 pm, defending myself against my neighbors @#&%($&# dogs with a plastic snow shovel, and missing my knitting group.

Needless to say, I’m Very Glad it’s Friday.

So here’s what I’ve been


(it never gets old)


Listening to.

Barely time for these things, but I did manage to squeeze them in. Oy! I’m tired. And I got almost no knitting done. Feh. But that’s what weekends are for, right?

Have a good one, everybody!

Before Christmas. It seems like such a long time ago, doesn’t it? I hearken back to the time when I was knitting…the Central Park Hoodie.

Remember that? Ha! Probably not. When I last posted about it, I was here:

cph back

The date on that blog entry? November 5th. Hmm. Many moons have passed since then. Many.

So I have picked it up again. Ummm…about two weeks ago. Behind the bloggy scenes, I’ve been knitting away happily, tra la la. I’ve been meaning to post about it for kind of a bit now, but other things kept coming up. But all along I kept knitting, so I’m slightly ashamed to say that I’m almost done. Now I’m here:

CPH front and back

That’s the two finished fronts, laying on the back. They’re all attached and everything. (Three needle bind off, I love you!) I even have the sleeves done.

CPH sleeve

But not yet attached. I actually knit those before I did the fronts, since I knitting sleeves pisses me off like sumo wrestlers on a celery diet. Actually, that’s not true. Knitting sleeves pisses me off if I do them last. In the middle was a-okay with me.

So I picked up the collar stitches this morning. (I’m hoodie-ing sans hood, remember?) I have to knit that, then pick up and knit the button bands. Then knit the pockets (yes, I’m adding pockets!) and sew the side seams. Then, done! Oh, and I have to sew in the zipper. Can you believe that I found such a close color match on the zipper?

CPH front with zipper

. I walked in looking for elastic (oy) and practically tripped over the zipper display. I just happened to have a half-finished sleeve in my purse, so I was able to whip it out for color matching. Is it not perfect? Crap! I probably couldn’t have found a better match, um. Ever. By the way, the yarn color in my pics? Dead spot on, at least on my monitor. Have I finally learned how to photograph reds? Probably not; that was most likely a fluke. I did monkey a bit with the pics on my computer, but not much.

So, yes, zipper! Sewing it in will be a bitch, but I have hope. I also have the most perfect little finishing touch that has me quite excited. I’m not blabbing on that one! You’ll just have to wait.

And speaking of waiting, I have this lovely waiting for me when I finish the CPH.

bag o sock yarn

Yup. That is what it looks like. A whole bag ‘o sock yarn. It’s Shibuiknits sock, in peacock. Ten skeins. I haven’t allowed myself to open up that bag yet, because I know that once I do…well. There will be much squeezing and fondling and rolling around on the floor going “Agagagagag!” No room for other knits once I pop open that puppy. So I need to finish the CPH. Soon.

Whatever will I do with it? Why, another sweater of course. You get three guesses on which one. And the first two don’t count.



So that last post. Let me ‘splain…

My SIL is pregnant again! Yay, more babies. I found this out, ummmm around Christmas I think. So I’ve been plotting and planning since then, trying to figure out what to make for the new baby. Originally, I thought of a Christening shawl. My family’s pretty Catholic. Well, my mom and my older brother are. Plus, my brother’s wife is Filipino, and they typically are really Catholic. (At their house resides a Virgin Mary snow globe. Enough said.) So I thought that a Christening shawl would be a Nice Thing. Yes? Wrap up the little babe in lace and dunk it in a pot of water. Much screaming and crying and picture taking. Everybody happy.

BUT do I want to knit something that will only be used, well once? In all likelihood, this will be big brother and SIL’s last baby (it’s #3). The pretty shawl would then probably be packed away in tissue and saved for the next baby, which again in all likelihood would be…mine. I’m not planning (mom, avert your eyes) to have my kids baptized. I’m not a religious person, even though I was raised as such; and the blub wasn’t brought up with any religion at all. So it would seem really silly to baptize my kids, ya know?

Heavens, I’m rambling. ANYway, I decided to make another baby blanket instead. And I DON’t want to do another log cabin. Baby J’s turned out great, but I’m ready to move onto other things. So I was perusing blanket patterns in Ravelry, and of course my eyes fell on Babette.

And I fell in love.

Can you blame me? There are some really beautiful Babettes out there! Like this one. And THIS one. And THIS one! I think that last is my favorite, but bloody hell they’re all gorgeous.

(ETA: I forgot the most important one, being made by the super-uber-swankiest frau on the whole planet!!! Here. Please excuse my horrible omission. :))

So I will make this blanket. Baby-sized.

The trouble? I don’t crochet. But it can’t be that hard! Besides, I have an in-house helper. One of the other grad students in my lab is an extensive crocheter. She dabbles in knitting, and I help her out sometimes. She said she’d be happy to help me if I get stuck. So crap, what am I waiting for?

I’m waiting to find out the sex of the baby. Yes, I’d be happy to make a brightly colored unisex one, but for reasons quite unclear to me I desperately want to put pink in it. My SIL is about four months pregnant now, and she said they can find out the baby’s gender during their next ultrasound, which will be in mid to late February. So I have to wait a little bit. Grrr. I guess that’s okay (she’s not due until July) but I’m champing at the bit, here! I want to pick out yarn! I want to make granny squares! I WANT TO…CROCHET! Holy crap, I never thought I’d say that. Live and learn, I suppose.

So *am* I crazy? Maybe. But it doesn’t matter because I AM going to make this thing. Even if it kills me. Which it might–I heard that crochet is dangerous. It starts with one innocent little blanket, then before you know it you’re making stuff like this. Oh gawd, isn’t that so cute? Baby J would love it.


So. Oh yeah, it’s Friday. I suppose you want the regular Friday stuff? Okay, here it is.

Here’s what I’ve been:




Listening to

*One thing led to another there. In the second Bridget Jones book, she does this ridiculous interview with Colin Firth, where she keeps asking about the scene in P&P where he dives into the lake. So then I had to see it again. It was a bit ruined for me, because I watched it with the blub, who kept saying that it looked like the men had “ten pounds of baloney” in their pants. Then I couldn’t stop giggling.

P&P wedding shot

Baloney? Um. Maybe ten pounds of something else.

**NOT ME. We have a new postdoc in our lab. He’s a middle aged Chinese guy who apparently loves 1980s American music. Yesterday, I walked into the lab to see him getting down with his bad self. LOUDLY. He was pretty embarrassed, but I thought it was funny so he’s been keeping up with it. Today is a mix of Chinese folk music and vintage George Michael. Rock on!

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Contact me

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