Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Bone, bone, bone

Yesterday I finished Harry Potter. It was sufficiently engrossing and complete. That is all I will say for now.

I'm actually doing work for my research block now. I've been reading articles and articles on how depot medoxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera) causes decreased bone mineral density in women. And now that I've "conquered" that area of the literature (my PI's word, not mine), I'm moving on to how progesterones and glucocorticoids interact with bone cells. Monday I actually get to go into the lab and start playing with said bone cells, but until then it's reading and reading and reading.

I don't really know how I feel about bench research. It's been a while since I've done it, and I really care more about people than cells. Still, it means I get to wear jeans on my non-clinic days, which counts for something. And one of my Ph.D. lab heads is an Italian from Australia which means he has an awesome accent.

Anyway, until the article reading stops, I'm probably not "finishing" any more projects. I am continuing to work on Iris, slowly slowly. I do love the yarn, but I'm done with the fronts and back, which means I'm stuck on the sleeves now. I do sleeves two at a time, so that I don't end up with mismatched sleeves, or, worse, one sleeve and no motivation to do the second. This is a better system, but it goes soooooo slowly. I'm probably 4-6" further than the picture, but still...no real end in sight.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

He loves boxes...I don't understand

The kitty pis are felted. However, I'm not sure that my kitty is a kitty pi sort of kitty. He seems to be more the stubborn, consciously ignore the kitty pi sort of kitty. See evidence below (pay no attention to the kitchen table mess consisting of articles I should be reading).

Kitty pi sitting all alone.

Cat sitting on top of (rather than in) the pi, cleaning himself before moving back to the window.

My attempt to get the cat interested by putting kitty treats (Pounces crunchy catnip flavor) in the kitty pi. Needless to say, he ate the treats and then moved on.

Maybe the other kitty will like kitty pis. This one is reserved for her.

Perhaps when it gets cold, the prospect of curling up in a bed will be more enticing. If no one learns to like kitty pis, I may have knit some floppy fruit bowls.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Making progress

First of the UFOs done! This one was a really, really long time coming. The yarn was a gift from my mother, Christmas of...'02? It's hand dyed and soft and beautiful, and I wanted to do it justice. My first attempt was a cardigan I knit junior year of college. It was a pattern meant for mohair, and although I got gauge with this, the final result was huge. I tried converting it to a wrap sweater, but that didn't really work. It was cozy, but I only wore it twice and never out of the house.

Finally, I admitted defeat and ripped it all. Most of the yarn was salvageable, and I still had two balls that hadn't been touched. First year of med school, I tried again. This time, the pattern was Drop-Stitch Cardigan by Amy King in the Fall 2005 Interweave. I think I knit the size 35", because even though that is not exactly my bust size (ha!), I now knew that this yarn stretches something fierce. Also, I add short rows at the bust of almost everything, including this.

From the beginning, I knew I didn't want to include the little collar, because I find tailored collars on chunky knits bizarre. When I went to do the I-cord edging around the neck, I found that I really didn't like that either. After trying a few different edgings and finding that none of them worked with the softness of the yarn, I bought a velvet ribbon, folded it in half, and encased the edges in velvet. It's a little unconventional, and definitely screams homemade. But I like it.

However, there was still the problem of fasteners. I didn't think a zipper was really in order, and buttons weren't going to happen without button holes. Thus, snaps. At first I tried hand sewing snaps onto the velvet. After the second, I realized that snap tape and my Janome was the only way I was going to get this thing done. I did end up hand sewing a hook and eye at the top to hold things together.

So, to summarize, first sweater finished 3.5 years ago, second sweater knit 1.5 years ago, snaps and hook and eye added last night. I'm happy with this one. I might actually wear it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Our "garden"

Since we rent, we don't really have a garden. As much as we'd like to dig up plots and start an asparagus bed and maybe plant a fruit tree or two, we'll have to wait. For now, we have pots of plants all along the front of our porch. Since we moved in late June, there wasn't time to do much from seeds besides a few herbs. Overwhelmingly, this has been B's project. I went with him to the nursery, and I've watered the little growing ones, but the planting and the initiative has been his. As they start to grow and produce baby fruit I'm getting more excited, and I fully intend to do some of the picking and eating.

We have zucchini, jalapenos, pepporincini, basil (from seed), tomatoes, cucumbers, dill, rosemary, oregano, radicchio, and a tiny, baby catnip that just might yet make it.

The basil is thriving. It started out small and now needs to be thinned. I keep suggesting that we should eat some of the tiny basils with mozzarella and tomatoes, but B keeps having things like "forethought" and "patience" and tells me that for every tiny basil we eat now, that's a whole bunch of big basil we can't eat later. Sigh...

This is the tiny, tiny catnip. It may or may not make it, but right now it's really cute. This might be why I'm not a good gardener. I like the cute things: the tiny seedlings, the baby tomatoes, the small flowers just about to open. Gardening is not really about cute. It's about dirt and work and remembering to water and fertilize. I'm working on it.

First of things knitty

When I first started knitting, I scoffed at those people who had multiple projects going at once, who didn't finish their projects before buying new yarn. I understood the need for variety, which is why I'd follow a hat with a sweater, a shawl with mittens, cables with lace. But they would always follow, never intermingle.

Now my stash fills a dresser in my living room. I understand that this is a small amount of space compared to many more famous stashes, but keep in mind that I live on a student's budget. If I had a bigger house and the ability to buy to my heart's content, we'd be in more trouble.

More troubling to me, is that I'm piling up UFOs. Way, way too many. Some that I finished knitting over a year ago. So, I'm making a new rule. I'm only allowed to knit on my new projects if a) I'm watching tv/movies that I would want to watch even if I did not have knitting to preoccupy me (i.e. no more Rachael Ray) or b) I am somewhere other than my home. If I am home and want to work on fiber, I have to work to finish something.

So what is there on my "to finish" list?
Kitty pis, designed by WendyKnits. The bigger, green one is for my cat, Ganymede, a three year old male who is very, very long from nose to tail. The smaller, purpley-blue one is for the kitten we plan on getting in a couple of weeks. I assume she'll be small, at least initially. Green is Cascade 220 something or other. Purple is Plymouth Yarns Outback wool.

To do: Felt. That's all. These babies just need a tumble in the washer and a blocking. Should be simple...

Eunny Jang Deep V Argyle Vest. I love anything and everything Eunny. But not enough to finish it apparently. Yarn is Merino Style by KnitPicks.

To do: block, tack down steeks, weave in ends.

This little guy is the Trellis baby cardi from Knitty.com. Better pictures when I actually finish it; the cables are worth some attention. I think I knit it in Rowan All Seasons Cotton, but that's not a promise. I "finished" it in 11/05. Needless to say, the baby it was intended for will never get it.

To do: Buttons. 3. That's all. I'm pathetic.

Icarus from Interweave Knits in Misti Alpaca. I finished the knitting part the same afternoon I took Step I of the USMLE (medicine boards). It was a big day. It deserves finishing.

To do: Block. I hate blocking lace. Sigh.

This is a cardigan from...Interweave? I think? I'll look it up when I finish it. I remember that I had a lot of trouble with the neck edging, didn't like how it looked, and ended up sewing velvet ribbon over the edge instead. The result is kind of home-made, but I think I like it. The yarn is this hand-dyed from Italy Tencel stuff that my mom got for me from some LYS in San Francisco.

To do: Sew on snaps. Another thing I hate.

So, there's a lot to do. We'll see how it goes. Maybe since it's listed somewhere public (albeit not very public, considering the absence of readers at this stage), I'll be more inclined to stick with it.

Of course, I do have a big box of oh-so-tempting CotLin due on my porch any day now....

Monday, July 23, 2007

Low expectations

We have hot water again! I shouldn't be excited about something like this, but we have not had hot water since we got back from the Outer Banks Saturday night. After a 15 hour drive, no hot water. I was too tired to care then, but I cared the next morning.

We called the landlord and determined that the water heater was not working due to the lack of gas reaching the house. A call to the gas company taught us that the upstairs neighbors had not so much been paying their gas bill. Thus, while we were out of town, the gas company turned off the gas to the entire house, not just the upstairs. They agreed to come out on a Sunday and turn our gas back on. I was happy, until they found a gas leak. Better that the gas company find a small gas than the house blow up or B and I suffer CO poisoning, but it meant that they wouldn't turn our gas on until the leak was fixed.

Finally, today, the landlord fixed the leak enough to convince the gas company to turn on the gas to the water heater. We still can't use the stove, but I'm willing to accept that for now. Although the lack of hot water did convince me to go to the gym this morning (they have showers...and treadmills), I am thrilled to have shower access in my house again.

Also, I have new brakes. Another basic necessity that I'm thankful for. I am not thankful for the $355 fewer dollars I now have, but lack of future crashing is good.