Archive | January 2012

Quick little cap

I was experimenting with putting some texture in the hat. I was rather surprised at how it changes the shape. This is made with Vanna’s Choice red and I Love This Yarn White Tweed.

 

Close up of the texture

The Chicago Blackhawks scarf

I made this scarf for a good friend who is a huge fan of the Chicago Blackhawks.

I used a stitch called a “Mistake Stitch” which forms a really nice deep rib. I wish I had take more pictures of it – I’ll ask my friend to get a few pics for me, and if he does, I’ll edit them in.

I used Cascade 220 wool, in red, white and black, and used a size 10 needle.

I designed the pattern myself. It involved using the red until I had about six inches, then a two inch stripe of white, then two inches of black, another two of white, then knitting until I ran out of yarn (two skeins of the red). It ended up about 100″ long.

Here is an image of the design process.

Some of the designs I considered for this scarf.

The first design with the narrow white stripes was what I originally intended. Then I spent some time looking at images of the uniform, and realized that while the colors were right, the design didn’t convey the blackhawks. I then created the other two designs and showed it to my friends. The votes were pretty evenly split between the one black stripe and the two black stripe. I intended to use the two black stripe stripe design right up until I finished the second white stripe. Then… it just seemed right to go back to the red.

I was really gratified when my friend received the scarf and immediately identified it as the jersey sleeve. Made me know I did good!

Here is a picture that shows a close up of the stitch pattern. I was actually photographing the thread, since the last TG&Y store closed in Oklahoma in 1986 – making this a pretty old spool of thread! But, I did manage to get a good shot of the stich. I really liked this scarf, and enjoyed working on it tremendously.

Goals, update

I’ve had no problems at all giving up diet soda. It’s been over two weeks, I haven’t had a soda, and I haven’t even particularly wanted one.

I’m drinking tons of water instead.

In the interest of full disclosure – I am still drinking sweetener in my coffee. I have two – three cups of coffee a day. I have cut back – a little – on the amount of sweetener I’m using, but I don’t see me ever giving up coffee, and I don’t see me ever drinking it black.

The rest of the goals…. I’ve been getting to the gym much more regularly. Pool and Tai Chi on Mondays and Fridays, just the pool on Wednesday. I’d like to find something on Tues and Thursdays at the fitness center, but so far… no go. But.. three times a week is way better than NO times a week, right?

The eating better… I’ve made some progress, but I’m not where I’d hoped to be on that one.

I have lost a couple pounds. I wish I’d weighed at the new year, but I didn’t. So, I know ABOUT what I weighed before, and I’m a few pounds less than that. If forced to give a number… I’d say five or six pounds.

Jayne Cobb Hat – updated

I made this by request, in fact I have two requests, so I’m making another right after this.

This hat is based on the hat worn by Adam Baldwin’s character Jayne Cobb in the wonderful but tragically short lived science fiction TV show, Firefly. Here’s a picture of the original hat:

Jayne Cobb in his cunning little hat

There are a huge number of patterns available, google away if you want to make one yourself, but here’s a link to the pattern I used.

The first problem in making this hat is figuring out what the colors actually are for the darn thing. We’re all pretty much in agreement on the orange and dull yellow of the crown, but the ear flaps… to me they’re a dark reddish orange, but a lot of knitters seem to go with a full on red for the ear flaps.

Once I decided I wanted a dullish orange, yellow, and red-orange, the trick became finding an appropriate yarn in those colors. I wanted to use wool, but between cost and color problems, I eventually decided on Berroco Comfort Yarn which I had worked with before.

Colors: Pumpkin, Goldenrod, Iron Oxide

Needles: Circular 10, DPN 10 (the pattern calls for 10.5 needles, but I made gauge on 10)

I learned several things on this project I hadn’t learned before: how to join in the round, using two strands of yarn together (because I couldn’t get all my colors in the chunky weight, I used two strands of worsted together – worked wonderfully), using double pointed needles, picking up stitches, and making a pompom.

Getting Started

Getting started

I actually  don’t normally take this many pics as I’m working, but since I was making this for a friend, I thought it would be fun to include pics showing my progress.

This photo shows that I’ve just gotten started, but I included the other balls of yarn so that my friend could see what the colors would be.

Halfway!

Color change!Changed color to the yellow, and really pleased with how it’s turning out.

The scary Double Pointed Needles

Double pointed needles in play.... but I'm using them wrong in this pic, there should be four.

I’d seen people using DPNs (double pointed needles) but never used them myself. I was really intimidated by them, but once I got going, it made more sense. And, by the way, the pic above is an example of using them wrong. 🙂  I worked it out on the next go round.

The reason to use a set of double pointed needles is when you’re working “in the round,” but the circumference becomes too small to use a pair of circular needles.

The basic hat is finished

Basic hat is finished, now for the fun stuff.

This is the very top of the hat, I really loved the shapes it formed as it closed up.

I love the star shape this formed

The ear flaps

This was another new technique I’d never done before: picking up stitches. In order to add on the earflap, I had to go back, and start knitting on stiches at the edge of the hat. Turns out, not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Also, when it comes to knitting, the internet really is your friend. Tons of helpful videos out there.

The first ear flap is done

However, if you look at the place where the earflap joins the hat, you can see the color of the earflap ABOVE the edge of the hat. Which basically means I started on the wrong side. Since the Jayne Hat is not really supposed to be an example of great knitting, I decided to leave it that way. I haven’t decided which I’ll do on the second one.

Close up of the earflap seam.

The pompom

I kinda love this pompom – I had to make up a design myself, but it worked great. I think this pom is thicker than the one on the Jayne hat, but I like it, so it’s there.

The pompom

And the finished hat!

Finished!

Big floofy pompom, curly earflaps with dangly strings….

…. I’d say it’s a cunning little hat!

UPDATE:

For the second hat, I made a couple changes. I made it a little longer… the pattern called for 3.5 inches of orange and 3.5 inches of yellow. This makes it fit very close to the head. The second one I made 4″ and 4″ and I like the way it fits a little better.

Closeup of earflap seam

I put the earflap seam on the inside of the hat, and, by request of the recipient, I made the pompom smaller.

Here’s my adorable model Sammy showing the second hat. He just loves modelling for me.

Side view

Front view

So, I knit now.

I wanted to make special, handmade gifts for people this year for Christmas. Sadly, I underestimated how long it would take me, and only one person got their Christmas present BEFORE Christmas.

I’m pretty well hooked.

As of this moment, I’ve completed four scarves and a hat.

I enjoy it because I’ve ALWAYS been frustrated by my lack of artistic ability. I want to make pretty things, but I just can’t.

So far, I’ve been pretty successful at making pretty things – not perfect – but pretty. And that makes me happy.

So, I’ll add some photos and stories about the things I’ve knitted.

 

I know.. most boring stuff ever… but I want to record it, so there.

New Years Resolutions, Cee Lo Green, John Lennon, and my blogging habits

Here I am again!

My Blogging Habits

I think I pushed myself too hard on my blogging goal. I wanted a well written, well reasoned, informative, and entertaining blog post for BOTH my personal blog and my professional blog every week. I started having trouble with that goal almost immediately, and after just a few posts, gave it up.

However, I really enjoyed blogging, and don’t want to abandon it. So, I’m going to set myself a hopefully more attainable goal of a blog post once a month, with the understanding that, of course, I can post more often. Also, I don’t require that every post be a masterpiece. For my personal blog, I only insist that it be honest, for my professional one, that it be informative (and, ya… well.. honest, too.)

Which brings me to…

New Years Resolutions

Like a lot of us, I have, in the past, tended to make a lot of grandiose plans which then fizzle pretty quick. So, in recent years, I’ve worked toward making more reasonable goals. Not so much “I will go to the gym every single damn day at 5 am and sweat for three hours every time!!!” and more “I will be more active.”

Also, I want to make sure I have a plan to make these goals happen.

And also… making goals to improve yourself doesn’t have to be something that only happens once a year. So… my goals will be a work in progress, and I will set up a new blog category just to address these goals.

After I typed all these out, it turned out to be a really boring read. So if you’re interested, they’re posted here:  New Year Goals

Cee Lo Green and John Lennon

Apparently, the interwebs are all astir over Cee Lo Green’s changing the lyrics of John Lennon’s Imagine. Instead of “and no religion, too,” he sang, “and all religion is true.”

And then the internet exploded.

A lot of people seemed to be outraged that anyone was changing the lyrics at all (and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m outraged, I admit to being a bit irked by it. It’s a beautiful song with a beautiful message. If you can’t sing it as intended… find another song.)

However, many comments seem to revolve about the idea that Imagine is an attack on religion – an ode to atheism. I’ve always hated that interpretation. Now, I certainly can’t claim to have ever discussed it with Mr. Lennon before his murder, but I believe, knowing what John Lennon stood for, I can say with confidence that Imagine is not an anti-religion song. It is an anti-war song.

In the course of this song he discusses imagining a world with no religion, no countries, and no possessions, three things over which bitter wars have been fought as long as there have been people around to fight them. John Lennon was a vocal advocate for peace. He is imagining a world where there is no reason to go to war.

Cee lo defended his version by saying: “Yo I meant no disrespect by changing the lyric guys! I was trying to say a world were u could believe what u wanted that’s all.” Personally, I think John Lennon would have supported that intent. Unfortunately, the changed lyric, as he sang it “All religion is true,” is nonsense. They CAN’T all be true.

Personally, I think if Cee lo couldn’t sing the song as written, he should’ve picked a different song, but if he intended the change to mean what he said – a world where people can believe what they want to believe, it is still in keeping with Lennon’s intent. A world where there is no reason to go to war.

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

—John Lennon

The New Year Goals – a plan in progress

So.. here’s what I have so far:

  1. No more diet soda (or sugared soda either, for that matter).
    1. This one’s not really that hard, I’m actually pretty good at “cold-turkey.”
    2. On the shelf where my diet Dr. Pepper used to sit, there’s several bottles of water.
    3. More and more studies are showing that people who drink diet soda are more likely to be obese. As I’ve said elsewhere, I question whether there’s an actual causal relationship. I suspect the populations are “pre-selected” since only people who are worried about their calorie intake are likely to choose diet soda, the population of people who drink diet soda are already more likely to be obese… but, nonetheless, I can’t argue the relationship. Also, there’s no nutritional value at all to soda, so… BOOM! No more soda for me.
  2. Make at least one post each month to both personal and professional blogs. And take it easy on yourself, they don’t have to be perfect.
    1. As mentioned above, I think this one will be best achieved just by taking the pressure off myself. These posts don’t have to be perfect. And there’s nothing that says I can’t post MORE often if the mood strikes.
  3. Find a way to be more socially active.
    1. It seems that since graduating vet school I have become more and more socially isolated. At this time, my main social contact is online. Which isn’t so much bad in and of itself, I have several REALLY good friends online. But, ya know what… that good friend in Florida can’t give me a hug on a bad day, that guy in Canada can’t go out to lunch with me, and that chick in Califonia will probably never go see a movie with me.
    2. While I’ve had some romantic flirtations, I haven’t had anything like a serious romantic relationship in over five years. Ok… I want a boyfriend. I want a date. Dammit. By the way, if you’ve read this far… I would WELCOME matchmaking. Bring it on!
      1. I know there are several “self-imposed” obstacles to my meeting this goal. All I can say is… I’m working on them.
  4. Eating more healthy.
    1. Reducing carbs (not classic low carb, but reduced carbs).
      1. Avoid “white starches” such as white bread, potatoes, pasta, rice
      2. use the glycemic index as a guide
    2. Eat those fruits and veggies, dammit.
    3. A protein source at every meal.
    4. Salad with lunch and dinner.
    5. Avoid heavily processed food.
      1. This one may be a challenge, because I’m not alone in the house, and this family seems to really like those processed foods. But I can only do the best I can do, right?
  5. Be more consistent with workout time.
    1. Just in the last week or so, I’ve been plagued with horrible headaches on waking up, which has been the barrier to my getting out and about. I think, if this is going to continue, I’m just going to have to power through it and get out. It might be that exercise will help the headaches.
    2. Given that my knees are a HUGE barrier to physical activity, it might be worth the expense to schedule time with a personal trainer to find a workout plan that lets me exercise without causing me pain and furthering injury to my knees. And, of course, losing some weight would go a long way towards helping my knees.
  6. To be continued.