Crochet, knitting, astronomy & life in general.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Buffy/Zero Punctuation Pot Holders

One of my primary reasons for visiting the Townships last month was to attend a good friend's wedding party. They got married in early July, but didn't have the reception until later for logistical reasons. At any rate, it was incredibly fun, and I got to see a lot of people I hadn't seen in ages.

As has apparently become a tradition for me, I made them double-knit pot holders. She is a big Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan and he's really into video games, so for one pot holder, I used the chart from this scarf pattern to make a Buffy B, and for the other, I decided to make my own chart for the demon from Zero Punctuation, a hilarious video game review site that I know he enjoys. Both turned out as well as I could have hoped for.

I have never seen any Zero Punctuation knitting patterns on the interwebs, and so, here is my ground-breaking foray into this neglected area of geeky crafting. If you want to make your own double-knit ZP pot holders, follow the basic instructions for my Star Trek Pot holders, but instead of using the Star Trek chart, use this one:

You'll also have to cast on 29 stitches instead of 30, and knit for 44 rows instead of 46. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I was looking through old photos on my computer, searching for images I might have taken of astronomy public tours for our new image gallery. I didn't find many, but I did this little gem:

This was taken on April 11th, 2009, and it's my grandmother, Savta, as seen in the rearview mirror from the back seat of my parents' car. It was her birthday, and she's wearing the beret that I crocheted for her. I don't think I was satisfied with the picture when I took it, which is probably why I didn't post it back then, but I did some judicious cropping, and now I can't stop looking at it. Savta looks like a ghost... Maybe more so because I feel so guilty for not visiting her in such a long time... I should get around to that.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Pinnacle

About a month ago (how time flies when school gets started!), I spent almost two weeks in the Townships visiting my parents. I had a really nice time visiting old profs, seeing old friends, partying down at a wedding reception, and most importantly, relaxing. One highlight of the trip was hiking up the Pinnacle in Baldwin Mills. It's a fairly easy hike (we were able to do it with a 7-month pregnant lady in our party), and the scenery pay-off is pretty fantastic.

Without further ado, here are some of my favourite pictures from the hike. I hope you all become envious of the beautiful place I grew up in.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A beautiful cabled sweater

My last couple of posts have been real downers, so I think I'll have to write about something super awesome and happy. How's about a new sweater that I absolutely LOVE. Way back in March, I started the Cable Luxe Tunic from Lion Brand, and I just finished knitting it, weaving in the ends and blocking it about a week ago. And it turned out wonderfully... really, I couldn't be more happy with it!

Before I get into the long technical details of how I made this sweater, I'll just say that it was knit with 3.75 skeins of Araucania Nature Wools Solid in the smoky purple colourway. It's a very nice yarn to knit with and the finished product isn't too itchy, even though it's 100% wool. One complaint would that even skeins in the same dye lot didn't have the same range of light to dark, some having very saturated dye and others with a smaller gradient. Not a big deal, I guess... it certainly felt organic and unpredictable.

Now, I made a LOT of changes from the original pattern. The thing is worked more or less in one piece, starting with the cabled yoke which is worked flat with the two short ends sewn together. Then, stitches are picked up for the body and arms, which are knit downwards, and then more stitches are picked up from the other side of the yoke to knit up a collar. The first change I made was to knit these picked-up pieces in the round instead of flat.

For the body, I knit the back up to where the armhole shaping ended, put it on waste yarn and then knit the front to the same spot and simply joined them together on a circular needle. This meant I didn't have to pay as much attention to keeping my gauge even or pay as much attention to the waist shaping. The fact that the pattern says to knit the front and the back flat and then seam them together actually seems pretty retarded to me. I also did the sleeves in the round, using the magic loop technique for the first time. All this meant was that the only seam I had to sew was under the arms. Woohoo!

I also added a considerable amount of shaping. The original pattern actually calls for increases to make it look more like a dress or something, and I wanted it to look form-flattering. I decreased 16 stitches for the waist, and then increased 12 stitches for the hips, skipping three rows between each decrease round. I did this in the reverse stockinette section under the arms, and decreases barely show. I also decreased 20 stitches for each arm to have a fitted sleeve, and did 2x2 ribbing at the end of the sleeves and at the hips. The original pattern just has a rolled hem. Finally, instead of the garter stitch collar, I did a k2 p3 ribbing, decreased every other p3 section every 6 rows until it was 2x2 ribbing.

In conclusion, my sweater is way more awesome and pretty than the original pattern!

Monday, September 13, 2010

RIP Purple Lacy Hat...

Today started out a little chilly, in the 15 degrees Celsius range, and so I decided to wear my pretty purple lacy hat because it was warm enough to keep my ears toasty without being too heavy. A good transition piece, as they say. Then, as I was leaving the office this evening, I noticed that my hat was no longer in my jacket sleeve... I had gone to dinner, completely forgetting I had stuffed it in there, and my hat must have slipped out of my sleeve either on the way to or at the restaurant.

On my way home from school this evening, I completely retraced the path I took to the restaurant, searched the patio where we had been sitting, and asked the restaurant staff if they had seen it, but no luck. My hat is gone forever, and I'm sad. It's not like it was my favourite hat, but it was the first really complicated lace project I had made and it was knit from a lovely soft angora cotton blend in my favourite colour. It's probably not going to be the last creation that gets lost or destroyed, but the first one probably hurts the most. I hope that someone found it, and that whoever that might be will get some good use out of it.

I'll miss you pretty purple lacy hat...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

At loose ends...

Hey internet! I honestly have all sorts of awesome travel-related and craft-related stuff to talk about, but I'm feeling rather lackluster about writing blog entries right now. (Is that why I'm writing a blog entry about it?) I'm sure I'll get back into it now that school is starting up again, and I'll have a more set schedule. Summer is lazy time.

The other thing that's been bugging me is that I don't seem to know where I'm going with my craft. I made baby stuff for a while, then I more or less got sick of that (though I'm thinking baby legwarmers would be fun), then I was making a bunch of stuff for me, like a new sweater and a silky skinny lacy scarf (which I'll write about on their own someday). And now, it's almost time to get into Christmas knitting, but not quite...

Mostly I want to knit crazy cables (I've started these) and beautiful lace, but now that school's starting, I need to work on things that I don't need to pay attention to... Like simple stockinette sweaters or whatever. *sigh*

Anyway, you'll hear more from me soon, hopefully about something interesting.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Last weekend, I experienced my very first Fan Expo (also known as Nerdfest among my friends), a convention for fans of comics, anime, horror, science fiction and video games. A lot of people complained about the line-ups, and they were indeed pretty bad (especially for getting in, even if you had a Deluxe pass), but I did have a lot of fun.

The first day, after spending almost 2 hours in line (and getting in a little over an hour after the expo started), I mostly just looked around the different booths. I was hoping to see the Q & A with Leslie Nielsen, who is arguably one of the coolest people to have ever lived, but he was absent due to illness... I was really disappointed, and given that he's in his 80s, there might not be another chance to see him.

I did get to see my friends Ben Rivers, and Zen Rankin, both independent comic book artists here in Toronto, and a lot of other really cool independent artists, including Lara Aiken, Uyugomiak (try saying that ten times fast), My Ghoul Friday, and Richard A. Kirk. I actually bought something from almost all of them...

A cute little eyeball plant from My Ghoul Friday:

A zombie and a schoolgirl from Lara Aiken:

A print of Richard A. Kirk's Triplets (picture from Richard's facebook page):

I also spent a lot of time at the Ubisoft booth since a very good friend of the friend I went with was working there. The most awesome thing there was the Scott Pilgrim video game (pretty good preview here), which I might have played way too much. If I had an Xbox 360, I would totally have bought this in a second. It was also right across from the Batmobile... which was pretty awesome.

Besides that, I also got to see Stan Lee, William Shatner and Summer Glau (my crappy videos of some of their Q & As here, here and here). It was really neat to see all the celebrities. Adam West and Burt Ward were also there, but we were too exhausted to go see them. There were also autograph sessions for a lot of famous stars, but at $30 and up for an autograph and a picture, it didn't seem entirely worth it. Here are some more highlights:


Playing the Torontotron version of Mondrian Provoked:

Boob mousepads:

Full-sized LEGO models of Darth Vader and Jango Fett: