Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ada Lovelace Day

Today is the day to commemorate women in science. The women I want to write about are not famous. Their names are Eleanor Brown and Rae Greenberg. I met them in my first job ever, at the United States Department of Agriculture, Eastern Regional Research Center (USDA, ERRC). They were biochemists in the Dairy Lab. I spent time working alongside them and admired their competent examples. Rae, in particular was working on the amino acid sequence of milk proteins. I worked along the same hallway, with Thomas Kumosinski. The Dairy Lab group worked together on a day to day basis for years. It was a good start for me, as a student. It's probably been one of the best places I've ever worked. Not everyone makes the big discoveries. I think there is a lot to be said for the people who do basic research. They lay the foundation for everyone else. A link to one of their papers is given below.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lace Lesson

That's 100 rows of garter stitch lace there. In fingering yarn, KnitPicks Palette, Fairy Tale color. I have to knit the OTHER point, then knit 5 feet of "middle lace". Finally I get to graft the two together. I'd better be massively serene by the time I finish this. The pattern came from Ravelry, Rav Day Lace Workshop Scarves. The color is best described as "beets". After 2 days of looking at this yarn I now have beets roasting in the oven and beet greens simmering on the stove. Making vinaigrette (balsamic) to go with that.
Back to knitting. Originally, I started this project (on St. Patrick's Day no less) in a beautiful green handpainted laceweight yarn. Fifty rows of that weren't looking right or doing right. I tried several sizes of needles, bamboo and aluminum and hated it. Frogged. Laceweight yarn is so fine that I need to have exactly the right needles to control it and I don't have them yet. I switched to the fingering yarn shown above and the difference is amazing. Fingering yarn now feels thick and squishy. Overall, I'm pleased. The lace is coming along nicely and the holes are placed correctly. After blocking, it should look nice.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bored and soforth

I'm am feeling distinctly uncreative at the moment. The Virgin Tiger Moth Shawl is sitting in a bag making me feel guilty. Finishing it will be akin to embroidering a football field. Of COURSE I'm not sure I have enough yarn. That just adds something. I am also working on some babies' things. Gender to be determined. My friend has blessedly told me that she is not due until next Autumn, so I have TIME. Learning to do lace, which is the current obsession. Finally, I have done gift items for something like 10 people since the school year began. It'll do. I'm just.....way outta whack.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cables & Seeds, 2 Hats, 2 Scarves, Too Much

Done. Originally I set out to make a triangular shawl...for myself. The yarn was so pretty that I decided to give it to my best friend as a birthday gift. (no photo because her birthday is in 2 weeks) My boss has a birthday shortly after that. I started the pink scarf for her. When the scarf was 2/3 done my boss mentioned that she lost her black beret and hadn't been able to replace it. I cast a black scarf onto the same needles and knit pink and black scarves concurrently. As the pink was finished, it was bound off and I got caught up with the black. I found a beret pattern that coordinates with the scarf pattern (original). Made that in black. As I finished the beret....I found a last bit of the pink yarn and eked out a matching cap. I knit until my hands were sore on these. The photo at left shows the finished "sets" and nicely illustrates why it is so much easier to knit texture patterns in light color yarn. Shadows and contrast are everything.

Monday, March 8, 2010


The photos above are a study in value/contrast, dark vs. light...chiarascuro. the two scarves are knit identically. Both are knit on the same needles, same pattern, same 100% wool worsted yarn. The on,y difference between them is color. This is a great illustration of the principle that patterns show to best advantage in light colored yarn. I did not set out to illustrate this. originally, I was furiously working on a gift for someone. I chose a color that I thought would look good on her and that she probably had in her wardrobe. The scarf was 2/3 complete when I heard her say that she had lost her black beret and really wanted to replace it. I immediately started on the black scarf and will make a black beret to match. I'm on a tight schedule with this. Lots of birthdays coming up. I've done gifts for EIGHT people lately.......I hope to do some work on the insect stuff soon.