Saturday, December 08, 2007

Eliza's finally finished birthday sweater

Yes, Eliza's birthday is in October, but it took a lot of bus rides to and from UMass to finish this sucker. Fortunately, she seems quite fond of it. In fact, about the only time she took it off since I finished it two days ago was to fry latkes (and only then because I insisted). The pattern is Notre Dame de Grace from Interweave Knits. I used Berrocco Peruvia, which is 100% wool and also 100% feltable, but she promises to wash it lovingly by hand. Note: I made her everything in these photos!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

a (temporary) friend for Ms. Peron

I finished a Knitty Sheldon for one of Sally's twins! Still working on an elephant for the other. Sheldon was a pretty easy knit. One comment: I didn't read the pattern all the way through, so I put the eyes on the wrong end! You knit his body from tail to nose. Also, my childhood advice specialist (thanks mom!) suggested not using anything plastic, even the 'safety eyes' recommended in the pattern. I just used embroidery thread to stitch some on to mine. He looks kind of silly in the photo where you can only see one, but from the front he looks very cute! Ms. Eva Peron doesn't look all that interested, which is good, because he gets shipped off soon.

In other news, I finally got around to signing up for ravelry a few months ago, and I've just been added this week. Ravelry is like facebook for knitters and crocheters, except it includes forms that make it really easy for you to enter information about your projects and yarn. Very useful for me, since I have a tendency to, say, knit one sock with a slight modification, put it down for a few weeks and have no idea what I did. You can also see what other people are knitting, and when you enter a pattern, you can see all their comments. Any ravelers in the (admittedly small) readership? Unsurprisingly, I'm knitandperl.

Monday, November 12, 2007

spinning and midterms

A five-day midterm had me in the house for the whole weekend! I needed a few breaks, though, and I finally finished spinning some wool I started working on in Maryland but haven't devoted much time to recently. It's very thin and slubby, but I love the colors. Perhaps a bumpy blue and green scarf is in my future!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

soft, purple and on sale!

This Debbie Bliss alpaca/silk is unbelievably soft and was on clearance at Webs! I suspect they discontinued the color. I bought it unsure of what to do with it, and it turned into this narrow scarf for my college roommate's birthday. I knit it side to side (the long way) using an alternating seed stitch/ garter stitch pattern, which gave the scarf a nice bumpy effect that you can't really see in the picture.

I haven't been knitting or posting quite as much as I'd like because graduate school bears a reasonably strong resemblance to Hobbes' description of life - except for the short part. But I'm slowly chipping away at a big knitting project, so stay tuned!

Monday, October 01, 2007

warm arms and dissertations

I haven't been doing much finishing recently (I acquired a pile of mostly-knit donatables from a friend whose sister used to knit, adding to my finishing woes!) but Eliza says she needs this year's wristies before it starts to get cold, so I finished them up! The pattern is from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, although 1) the chart contains major errors (click here and scroll down), and the wristies look awful if you knit according to the pattern in the book and 2) I missed the direction that said that the cabling is supposed to be symmetrical, not identical, on the second one, so they're identical. At least I got the thumbs on the correct sides, though! I knit them slightly smaller than gauge, becuase they looked big enough. The only problem is that the thumbs seemed a bit narrow, so I picked up a few stitches when I got back to them. Also, I managed to get both of these out of one skein of noro, but I had a total of about two feet of yarn left over.

For those of you dying for information about grad school, my lab went on a retreat last weekend, and we each had to give a dissertation proposal (or in the case of us first years, a "dissertation proposal"). Eliza photoshopped this image for my title page. (For those of you who don't know, my research this year is on topic models, which has to do with extracting groups of words that occur in similar places, and part of which you can read about here if you're feeling interested and mathy).

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Knitting in Northampton!

I've moved, which means it's time for a new knitting group. I was sad to leave the Takoma Park/Silver Spring knitters behind, but the Northampton club seems friendly. One of them was knitting a mathematical object far more complicated than the now common variations on the mobius strip or kleinbottle. (K7 on a torus, for the topological graph theorists in the audience). They meet from around 6-9 at the cafe La Fiorentina (that information was a bit difficult to find online, so hopefully I've put enough google keywords in here to make this page findable by anyone searching for it!) I've popped my head in to Northampton Wools, a smallish local yarn shop, but I haven't yet had a chance to explore the infamous Webs yet.

We now meet at Sam's Pizza on Main Street right in the middle of downtown Northampton. People usually start to show up around 7:30 and stay until around 10 when Sam's closes, but if you come at 7:30 and no one is there, take out your knitting so we'll recognize you and stick around for a little while. The pizza is tasty, they serve salads, pasta, desserts, and booze, they have free wifi, and Sam, the owner, and his staff are all wicked friendly. Sam's is next to Broadside Books and across from Pulaski park.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Recycled T-Shirt rug

I also finished this T-shirt rug today. It was inspired by a pattern in some knitting book (Alterknits, I think). It took about 12 shirts. I cut them in a spiral from the bottom to the start of the sleeves to make one continuous piece of yarn per shirt. I wish I had been a bit more careful about color changes at the beginning, but I didn't want to have to go out and buy more shirts. I'm reasonably pleased with it, though.


I spent some time between bouts of packing today doing a bit of end weaving. I finished up these booties for one of these babies. Sadly, I lost the pattern about a third of the way through the second one. I tried to find it online (where I originally found it a few years ago) but it seems to be gone! So the second one is a very close approximation to the first. I clearly knit a couple of stitches I should have purled along the side of the foot, but I can't figure out quite what I should do to fix it, and it's not all that noticeable, anyway.

boring seed stitch scarf

My parents brought this yarn back from Italy several years ago, and I've only now gotten around to knitting it up. The pattern is just a simple seed stitch. The yarn has a lot of color and texture, so you can barely see the stitch pattern anyway! The yarn is called Magico and I think the company is Filatura Di Crosa, and it's 90% wool, given what I could glean from the Italian on the label.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

on the perl side

Some readers (and by that I mean Eliza) have complained that this blog is tending more towards the 'knit' (knitting, cooking, general play) and less towards the perl (CS, linguistics). I spent much of the day at work reading the works of the founding fathers of Optimality Theory, and was reminded of one of my favorite online OT commentaries (click here!). So, dear reader, check it out, then go forth and draw up tableaus. Er, tableaux.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Intermezzo: A cooking magazine you shouldn't subscribe to

I really like to read cooking magazines, and I've been getting some very enjoyable ones. Intermezzo is not one of them, I had my third go-round with their customer service today. Two years ago my sister subscribed me to CHOW, a fun cooking magazine that sort of focused on younger people than, say, Gourmet. Intermezzo bought CHOW or something, CHOW stopped printing (Aside: their website, is still around, and is reasonably good, but I liked the magazine better) and Intermezzo converted my subscription to their magazine. They did not offer my money back or anything like that. In the YEAR since the subscription conversion, I have received exactly two issues of this so called 6-a-year magazine. Several e-mails to customer service have assured me that issues are in print (although no such assurance in the most recent exchange of e-mails). Furthermore, the magazines were full of mediocre essays about other people taking cooking classes in foreign destinations and things like that, with few recipes or tips. I kept the whole issue of CHOW, which I occasionally look through (and use) for recipes, but I couldn't even find one recipe I wanted to cut out of the most recent (and by most recent, I mean something like February) Intermezzo. It's too bad they had to kill CHOW, but Intermezzo doesn't cut it as a substitute.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Baby things

A friend of mine is having twins! So I've gotten started making baby things. These socks come from leftover washcloth yarn (thaki cotton). I found that most baby sock patterns make a really wide gusset. Mine knit up a bit narrower, and they look a little more like adult socks. They're long enough to fold the cuff over. Here's the pattern:

These knit up into teeny, tiny, newborn size socks.
On size 3 double point needles, cast on 24.
Join to work in the round.
K1P1 every row until work measures 2.5 inches.
Divide for heel: Put 12 sts on one needle (this is now Needle 1). Heel flap is knit back and forth on these 12 stitches.
for 12 rows:
Odd rows: slip 1, knit across
Even rows: slip 1, purl across

Next row: slip 1, knit 7, k2 together, k1 turn work
Next row: slip 1, p5, p2tog, p1
Next row: slip 1, k5, k2tog, k1
Next row: slip 1, p5, p2tog, p1
Next row: knit

Pick up and knit 6 slipped stitches along the side of the heel flap, putting the first 2 on Needle 1.

Knit across needles 2 and 3.

Pick up and knit 6 slipped stitches along the other side of the heel flap, putting the last 2 on Needle 1.

Next 4 rounds:
Needle 1: K across
Needle 2: K1, K2tog, Knit across
Needle 3: K to last 3, SSK, K1
(after repeating 4 times, 24 sts remain)

Continue knitting in the round until foot measures 2.5 inches from heel.

(I changed colors a few rows before reaching 2.5 inches)

Next row: K1, K2tog, K6, SSK, K1 twice
Next row: K around
Next row: K1 K2tog, K4, SSK, K1 twice
Next row: Knit around

Graft toe together using Kitchener stitch!

I got the hat pattern out of a baby hat book , but I can't currently remember which!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Stash Vomit

So I've had this ball of yarn that I've been tying the really tiny odds and ends I have sitting around to for years. I thought maybe someday I'd turn it into a rug, but, to be entirely honest, the whole thing is ugly. The colors don't go. There are lots of big knots. Everything is a different size. In preparation for the move, I decided to say goodbye. But first I unraveled it all, to make sure I hadn't like left myself a note in the middle or anything. I didn't. And sadly, I forgot to take a picture before the Great Unravel. For about the first time ever, the cat was helpful in a knitting related project.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The chickens get into the to-ma-toes

no chickens, actually. maybe next year, when we'll have access to a chicken coop as well as a full acre of gardening space! but here is our first container-grown tomato of the year (it's hiding a bit), just before we picked and ate it.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Worry doll

Debbie from my knitting group loaned me this little worry doll pattern. I acquired enough recycled silk yarn from e-bay to knit an army of these guys. It's hard to see from the picture, but he has copper bells in his hair. I had heard very bad things about recycled silk from e-bay (dirty, breaks a lot, etc). There were a few little twigs and pieces of grass in the yarn, but no dirt, really, and it didn't smell or anything. It isn't super soft, but it's just fine for the doll. As for breaking, it does come untwisted sort of easily and if you work it too much lots of strings sort of start sticking out. But for this project, I found the e-bay yarn to be just fine. But I've never worked with the nicer, more expensive stuff, so I guess I can't really compare.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Felted sweater extravaganza! Three sweaters turned into a set of coasters, a cute knitting bag, and two oven mitts (no picture yet, I'll put one up someday).

Thursday, June 28, 2007

miso tofu

dinner with out of town friends!

This served 3 small eaters for dinner with enough leftovers for one lunch tomorrow.

2 tbsp red miso paste
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 c water
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp rice wine
2 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1 tsp chopped ginger
sprinkle of red pepper flakes
several leaves Thai basil, chopped

1 package firm/extra firm tofu

1 red pepper
2 large carrots
1 zucchini
1 long broccoli stem
1 small clove garlic
sprinkle of chopped ginger

Combine marinade ingredients in a square baking pan and stir to combine. Cut the tofu into 12 squares. Place them in the marinade and turn to coat. Let sit (maybe for half an hour?), turn, and let sit again. Julienne the vegetables. Heat a wok or cast iron pan with a small amount of canola or sesame oil. Cook tofu over medium heat, turning after about 5 minutes (or when the bottom is brown). Cook until the other side is brown. Remove from pan and set aside. Add chopped garlic and ginger. Then add broccoli stem and carrots. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add red peppers and zucchini. Cook a few more minutes, then drizzle with remaining marinade to taste. Cook until vegetables are tender. Spoon vegetables over rice or noodles, and top with several squares of tofu. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

adventures in a cave

For a cute photo of today's caving adventures in a drainage pipe, click here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

wedding washcloths

Several people I know had weddings recently. I made this set for Eliza's freshman year roommate and her new husband. I also made a set in fall colors for some other friends. This pattern comes from the book A Knitter's Stash. The recommended yarn is a linen, but this cotton was easier and faster to knit, and cheaper. The yarn is Cotton Classic Thaki, and these cloths are the garter ridge (light purple), lacy vine (magenta) and horseshoe lace (light pink). For the other set, I did horseshoe lace, tile and seed stitch stripe. For each I took out around 10 stitches in width, since I was using thicker yarn and size 6 needles.

A great Value Village find

Value Village is a thrift store chain in the DC area (I'm not sure how many there are, but there's one in Hyattsville and one in Hillendale). They sell these baggies of junk, and some of them have great things in them. I got this exciting button collection, along with some pipecleaners, two circular needles, and a few ribbons for about $5.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


I knit Norberta from the knitty pattern with exactly the yarn recommended. She is Eliza's, and they sleep together every night. I knit her a while ago, but Eliza took her to Miami to show off to her family and left her there for a several weeks until someone got around to mailing her. I hope that she had a good time hanging out with the iguanas and alligators.

A hat for Ming

This is a Louisa Harding pattern, with exactly the yarn they recommended. I knit it because one of the postdocs in my program had a hat just like it, and was lamenting the fact that she didn't buy two of them in case she lost one. When I saw the pattern, I thought it would be fun to knit her the hat she didn't buy! It looks better on the head than on the table. And the flowers are knit, not crocheted.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A new title!

Since I'll be moving in the fall and switching fields (goodbye linguistics, hello computer science), it seemed as good a time as any for a blog name change. It seems especially fitting that I learned a new way to purl yesterday, and I'm starting to get used to it. It's faster, but it makes the stitches backwards in the next row. I haven't decided whether that slows my knit rows down a bit, but I think in general it will make things faster once I've got it down. I've gotten things backwards nearly every time I've had to slip a stitch and had to take a moment to think about it and do repairs, but I suspect I'll figure that one out soon, too.

On the perl side of things (full disclosure: perl is not my language of choice, but knit and python didn't quite have the same ring to it), I registered for classes today, another step towards my new computer scientist self.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Bar Mitzvah

My second cousin had a Bar Mitzvah recently, and I thought I'd knit him something nice, since I couldn't make it up to MA to be there (the fact that it was the same weekend as the Maryland sheep and wool festival is coincidence! Pure coincidence. But really, I did have some other things to do). I doubt most 13 year old boys are wishing and hoping for knit yarmulkes from their cousins, so I graciously included a gift certificate to an ice cream store as well. I even carefully wrote down exactly what I did, and lost the piece of paper. I'll knit another one soon to clear it up and post the recipe. Thanks very much to my gentile model, Eriq of Go-Adventure Sports (check out his website if you're ever in the DC area with a hankering to go climbing or caving).

*Note: There are some kosher rules governing the types of fabric one may wear, so be a bit careful. As far as I can tell, the only actual prohibition is on wool-linen blends. I had never heard of this, but I suspect some people might be unwilling to wear a yarmulke containing a wool-linen blend.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

one-skein(?) scarf

This scarf pattern came out of the book one-skein wonders. The book got the cast-on number wrong (try casting on 20 and you can't even get one cycle of the stitch pattern in! it should be 40). I was using a ball of mohair that I had sitting around, and my gauge was off, so I cast on 28. (The pattern requires y stitches where y=12x+16 for integers x . . . now solve for x when y=20. Yeah.)

The scarf came out a bit short. I blocked it and it's somewhat better, but I don't love it, and I think, in the end, the mohair might be a bit too itchy for right next to my face. So I think I'll donate this one to food and friends or something.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

knitting clubs

For those of you keeping score, I now go to 2 knitting clubs! One at the Savory Cafe in Takoma Park, and one at Adega Wine Cellar in Silver Spring, on various Tuesday nights. If you are a knitting friend planning to visit and you'll be here on a Tuesday, you'll probably get dragged along!


This knitty hat is made of soy silk. Eliza really wanted the boings (although there is some contention in our household about whether they should be called boings or dweedles). It's knit out of a soy silk-wool blend. The yarn was much thinner that recommended, which required a lot of math and produced a thinner and slightly less warm hat.

Kale Scarf

This spiral scarf looks a lot like kale. Except it's purple. The model is my mother, but she looked so unhappy in the picture that I had to take her head off. Here's the pattern, which was printed in the Washington Post. I even got my yarn at the place advertized in the article. (It was alpaca. Expensive.)