Crochet, knitting, astronomy & life in general.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


A couple of months ago, you might recall (if you keep up to date with this blog) I crocheted a giant granny square baby blanket. At the time, I had no idea who I'd give it to... I couldn't think of anyone I knew who was having a baby of the female persuasion. Fortunately, my friend Stevie just happens to have a sister, who, last time I saw him, was pregnant. They didn't know yet if it was going to be a boy or a girl, but he said that they were all about breaking gender barriers, so a bright pink blanket would still be appreciated, even if it was a boy.

In the end, the baby was a girl! And an awfully cute one at that. Here's little Romy enjoying the bright pinkness of the baby blanket I made. Yay!

I love it when things I make find a good home... and such an adorable owner!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Finished boyfriend socks!

Hurray! My first pair of socks is finished! Well, they were finished about a week ago, but because of the previously-mentioned backlog of stuff to write about, I haven't said anything until now. So there...

Anyway, I'm sort of sad that they're finished... I dunno... It just seemed like the project that would never finish, even though I've had longer things going on that I haven't felt that way about. Maybe because I spent so much quality time with them on the bus. Well, without further ado, here's dem socks!

The boyfriend says they look like Dr. Seuss socks, and I sort of have to agree with him. It's all that ribbing in the leg with no ribbing in the foot. At least they look a lot better when he's wearing them. He was nice enough to model them for me:

Overall, I think they were a good beginner sock project. Not super hard, but with enough details to keep them interesting. And for the second sock I even tried making cables without a cable needle!

By the way, for anyone who was wondering, I passed my summer project defense with flying colours, and my supervisor even wants to write a paper with the results we found! Woot!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A rose is a rose

Hi interwebs! I just finished the defense for my summer project, and I'm totally exhausted, so this post won't be terribly long. In fact, I think I'll just post some pretty pictures. At any rate, posting will be more regular now, since I'm slightly less overwhelmed with work.

So, this is a rose I bought at the grocery store because it was pretty. I spent like 10 minutes trying to find the perfect one.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pie Pops!

Ok, so I'm cheating a little bit. I had told myself that I wouldn't blog about anything until my final report and defense for my summer project were finished, but I have such a backlog of things to blog about, that I figured it wouldn't be too bad to write a little entry now.

Anyway, two weeks ago now (yup... backlog) was a friend's housewarming party. It wasn't a potluck, but I thought I'd take the opportunity to make pie pops, the recipe for which I found on Instructables, possibly one of the coolest places on the interwebs.

I used elderberries for the filling, mostly because that's what the boyfriend brought back from the farmers market when I asked him to pick me up some fruit good for pies. They weren't particularly amazing... kind of bitter, but they worked ok when soaked in sugar. I'll probably use peaches next time (as the recipe recommends), which will be on Pi Day! So, here they are:

Needless to say, they were a great success. Even my friend's roommate's mom like them, and she's a professional pie taster! My friend certainly enjoyed them...

Nom nom nom!

With the leftover elderberries, I made a normal pie, which didn't turn out amazingly either, mostly because the ratio of elderberries to crust was larger, but it was edible. And it sure looked perdy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

School craziness

I'm sorry that I haven't posted anything in a little while. As you may or may not know, school has begun, and with it all the fun little time-sucks. I'm teaching three tutorials a week for the first-year astronomy course, the first of which were this week. I'm also attempting to finish up my summer research project since my defense is next week, while getting together my grant applications, and attempting to help organize a massive astronomy event, which will take place the weekend after next. For some reason, I also volunteered for two jobs for the students' associate (webmaster and public tour director)... Needless to say, I haven't been avoiding the blog because of a lack of things to talk about.

I haven't been idle on the craft front either. I'm almost done the second boyfriend sock, and I've been working on a second granny square blanket, this time with that fluffy green and white yarn that I just can't seem to get rid of. I've also started my Christmas crafting, but I won't talk too much about that until after the holidays when I can show stuff off. You never know who might be watching and I don't want to ruin the surprise! *Looks around all paranoid-like*

At any rate, I have a camera full of pictures just waiting to be uploaded, and after the craziness has slowed down a bit, I'll write lots and lots of entries and post lots of pictures and everything will be wonderful!

And now a random picture of a spider I took in L-ville when I was visiting a month ago!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A few finished things...

I'm not really one for the type of knitting that some would call "the new yoga", that is, knitting simple and repetitive things for relaxation. My favourite type of projects are those where I learn a new technique, or where I have to give a little bit of my attention to it. I also like projects that are out of the ordinary or that incorporate some sort of clever construction. That's why I liked working on the following two projects: because they taught me new techniques and yielded a hilarious result. (The second one might not be appropriate for work. Not that you should ever be looking at blogs at work... you bad bad people.)

First of all, there's Celine (the Diva Squid) who has been know to have her way with Strong Bad. It's the Skylla design by Dale Hwang from the Anticraft book. It was especially interesting because it starts off with a back and forth double-knitting design, which produced a little pouch, and then when the decreases on the head do-hickeys is finished, you put it on double-pointed needles and work it in the round. There's also some interesting i-cord work for the tentacles, and some fairly complicated sewing for the lining (which I had to do twice because I cut the wrong size of fabric the first time). I'm very happy with the result!

Secondly, just for the hell of it, I decided to try out the Knitted Boob pattern by by Marte Fagervik from Shhh! I'm counting! It's pretty damn awesome as well. Besides the fact that it's a boob (teehee!), it also incorporates some previously unknown techniques such as the provisional cast-on and short-row shaping (unless you count the heel of that sock). It turned out pretty well too, except maybe if I were to make it again, I would use wool or acrylic instead of cotton because the fabric wasn't as tight as I'd want.

Thirdly, I cheated a bit and worked on something that was super simple and mindless... Though the real purpose was just to use up some yarn. It's a 1x1 ribbed scarf with alternating colours every two rows. It was really easy, but I added a bit of interest to it because I put fringes on it, which I had never done before.

And finally, since I needed somewhere to keep all my notions, I quickly crocheted myself a little baggie. It's more or less from the Crocheted Notions Bag by Pam Grushkin (Ravelry link), though I started following the pattern and then abandoned it because it was just too simple to need a pattern. I guess it's good for beginners, except for the mistakes... Anyway, I'm happy with the bag, and I got to use up the rest of the yarn from Celine.

Next on the hooks and needles will be Christmas presents! Hurray!

Friday, September 4, 2009

New toys!

The swift has arrived! (And quite swiftly, I might add... har har!) My parents brought it along with them when they drove into town to move my brother in. Thank you, parents! It works beautifully, I might add. Thank you, Stevie! I've already wound one ball with it, and I plan to use it to wind many more. Here it is in all its fantasticalness:

And here are some close-ups:

And just because I'm THAT nerdy, here's a video of the swift in action...

The end product is this beautifully and efficiently wound ball. I thought about getting a ball winder, but I think I'm just as fast doing it by hand...

Since the title of this post is "new toys" (in the plural), I'm not just going to leave it at that. I recently got my first (and definitely not last) package from KnitPicks. The first goodies in the package were two books:

My favourite is the crocheted edgings. It's just so inspiring... I want to figure out how to use as many of the trims and edgings as possible in the next projects I make. The 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders is good too, with tons and tons of projects. There are some really nice lace patterns, and a few baby things that I'd like to make. There are definitely some duds in there too, but when there are that many patterns in one book, I don't really have the right to complain.

I also got this amazing, world-shattering device that will ensure that I will never get stabbed by those tiny little double-pointed needles ever again when reaching into my bag.

So simple, yet so effective! I wish I'd had one of these ages ago.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Knitting vs. Crochet Rant

What's up with that? Why is it a versus thing? Having done both crafts, I wouldn't say that one is better than the other. Both have their pros and cons. I wouldn't want to make a knitted bag if it has to be very sturdy, but I wouldn't want to make a luxurious sweater with crochet (too expensive! Crochet takes up three times as much yarn as knitting). There are claims that crochet is easier than knitting (though some of the knitters in my knitting group would disagree), and others say that crocheted items don't look as nice. I'd have to disagree on both fronts (though I do still find knitting much scarier than crocheting because of the risk of dropping stitches). In some ways knitting is easier because you don't have to worry about where to put your needle to make the next stitch... the loop is right there on the needle. And anyone who claims that the finished product of crochet doesn't look as nice obviously hasn't seen some of the fabulous crocheted lace out there.

Anyway, the point is that neither craft is the better one. Why is it that it bugs me when the uninitiated confuse the two crafts then? When I was just a crocheter, it used to bug me a LOT when someone would say, "What are you knitting?" I mean, obviously I wasn't using two needles, so how could they think I was knitting. I guess most non-yarncrafters see yarn and something pointy in your hand and just assume it's knitting. Then again, I was working on boyfriend sock #2 on the subway the other day and a guy accidentally bumped me and said, "I'm sorry. I don't want to mess up your crochet." I didn't bother correcting him, but it was weird that he would mistake knitting for crocheting when it seems to me that knitting is the more well-known craft. Or maybe it's just that people keep mistaking crochet for knitting, and so people over-compensate... sort of like the I vs me thing (e.g. "Did you see Ashley and I sitting in the back row?"). That really bugs me too...

That being said, I think that knitting and crochet work best when they work together in a hedonistic mind-meld of pure love. Crochet makes for great edgings around knitted items, for example, as well as a way for joining items. Or you can make a knitted ribbed edge for that lacy crocheted sweater. Or you can make a sturdy crocheted base for a bag with floppier knitted sides. The possibilities are endless!!!

And now, because I don't like posting without pictures... here's the first cappuccino I ever made myself!

Yum yum!