Wednesday, 23 July 2014

"Bring your knitting to work" day

There are some days at work when parts of my day are just spent waiting. And this waiting can sometimes take up to five hours. Five hours of watching a line of blue dye move through a gel at an excruciatingly slow pace (I shouldn't complain… 5 hours is better than the 45 I had to wait for some experiments to work). These days are deemed "Bring your knitting to work" day.

I usually bring my knitting with me to work everyday so I have something to work on during my commute. But on "Bring your knitting to work" day, my knitting gets to come out and keep me company in the lab. I can usually read while working on a simple project, so knitting is a good way to keep my hands busy while I try to catch up on reading scientific papers. (Okay, full disclosure - the knitting is a way to try to keep my somewhat sane when reading gems like the one above. Just look at that title! Riveting. It was a real page turner. Are you catching all this sarcasm?)

It's on these days that knitting keeps this from happening in the lab. Sometimes. After three hours of reading, the remaining two hours are a perfect time to catch some zzz's when you are the only person in the lab. The lab nap is a scientific rite. You know you've made it when you find yourself sleeping in the lab. Just remember to set a timer or all that waiting will have been for naught when your gel run fails (not that this has ever happened to me).

This week:

Knitting: Keen eyed readers may notice that, yes, that is the sleeve for my Pluie cardigan. It's actually the second sleeve - I'm almost there! If you are suffering from knitted umbrella motif withdrawal after the last few weeks of updates, don't worry, I'll have the cardigan finished soon.

Reading: I'm about half way through Days of Blood and Starlight. I also picked up two new books at the used book store: The Twistrose Key and Sea of Shadows which I look forward to starting soon.

Linking up with yarn along and KCCO.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Knitting magic

This week…

Knitting: Sometimes I'm still amazed by what a difference blocking can make on a knitting project, especially with a project like Pluie with lots of color changes.  It's like a little piece of magic - transforming a manhandled piece of knitting into a smooth and even fabric. Plus it makes me really excited to get this cardigan finished. (Are you tired of looking at it yet, because I'm not tired of working on it) I'm almost done with the two front pieces (the one on the left has been blocked while I'm still chugging away on the piece on the right) …maybe by this time next week it'll be a finished cardigan (but no promises that all those ends will be woven in by then).

Reading: After sitting there and staring at the choices I had picked out to read last week, I knew what I really wanted to read was the sequel to A Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but I had put it off because I was trying not to buy any new books (I have so so many books sitting in my to-read pile already!). But life's all about the little pleasures, right? So I just gave in and bought the Days of Blood and Starlight eBook. And it's just as good as I was hoping it would be. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite series and definitely some of the better books I've read this year.

Watching/Listening: I've been a fan of "Weird Al" Yankovic since I was little. (It's a nerd thing.) This week he's putting out a new album and releasing 8 new music videos, one each day. My favorite so far is for his parody of "Blurred Lines," titled "Word Crimes." If you have ever been annoyed with people's lack of grammatical correctness (that's a grammatically correct statement, right?), this song is for you!

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

Monday, 14 July 2014

That time we hiked in Rouge park

Being in the middle of a big city like Toronto has its perks a lot of the time - walking to the market, good food all around, relatively efficient mass transit - but sometimes you just need to get away from cars and sidewalks and buildings and noise and people. I was feeling a little worn down by the city lately. Instead of just hiding away in my tiny apartment and pretending it all didn't exist (which is hard with sirens blaring down the street several times a day), I decided to find some close-by options for hiking. I knew this option would be very popular with the resident fur-baby, who is small in stature but adventurous at heart.

We ended up at Rouge park, which is a large, gorgeous area of wilderness inside of the city. It's actually very close to where I work each day, but I didn't even know it existed until I did an online search for dog friendly hiking areas around Toronto.

I loved it. It was really what I needed to feel rejuvenated and happy this past weekend - little flowing rivers, tall shady trees, singing birds, and green all around (even a large green frog in the middle of the path who was decidedly not a leaf and did not want to be stepped on). Even though we only spent about an hour exploring one tiny portion of the park (with Rufus happily leading the charge), it was a great way to forget the bustle of the city and start a relaxing weekend.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Progress and choices

This week…

Knitting: The back of my Pluie cardigan is almost finished. Unlike my usual habits, I've been very knitting faithful to this project and have hardly worked on anything else all week. It's a challenging knit, and the challenge is just enough to keep me energized and inspired (unlike challenges that just end up frustrating me and get tossed in the 'to be discovered in the next big stash cleanup years later' unfinished object bin). I have found I also like working on sweaters in pieces because each piece feels like you've accomplished something. It satisfies the cast-on/cast-off fuzzy feeling. But then I look at the back of this thing and see all those ends that have to be woven in and all fuzzy feelings of almost being finished with this piece melt into an overwhelming sense of forth-coming procrastination. I see a long night with a large glass of wine in this cardigan's (and my) future. A million loose yarn ends aside, I'm loving this knit.

Reading: I just finished my book last night, and I haven't decided what I want to tackle next. I've narrowed it down to three choices, a little bit of fantasy, a little bit of history. I really can't go wrong with any of the choices. We'll just see how I feel later on. 

Enjoying: It's one of my favorite times of the year: when nectarines are cheap and you have afternoon thunderstorms every other day. I can't believe it's July already… it feels like summer has just flown by this year. 

Looking forward to: The Toronto International Film Festival! I just bought our TIFF tickets this week. I. Love. TIFF. This year, I went for the package for 20 daytime tickets because Andy and I mostly were seeing afternoon movies the past two years at the festival. That means this year, Andy and I will have 10 movies in two weeks. I can't wait for the lineup of movies to be released soon! 

Linking up with yarn along & KCCO.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Teensy cute things

It is a universally accepted truth that the smaller an object is, the cuter it must be*.

*This truth does not hold for microscopic organisms, which are just mostly bizzaro looking. Very few people in the world would ever describe a bacteria as cute (I may just happen to be married to one of them). The biologist in me just had to acknowledge this caveat for scientific purposes.

Baby sweaters are not an exception to this rule. They are tiny sweaters made for tiny people, and that makes them freakin' adorable. There is just no escaping this fact.

My Ph.D. advisor is having his first child this fall. And because it's also a relatively well accepted fact that fall/winter can be a wee bit chilly here in Toronto, I was left with no choice but to knit adorable, tiny baby sweaters. So I went in search of some patterns on Ravelry, and just could not pass up the Hoot cardigan: 1) It was a free pattern (that is so cute I think I probably aww-ed out loudehen I first saw it), 2) there's something about owls that is perfect for fall, and 3) it recommends the squishy, cloud-like softness that is Malabrigo worsted, which I just happened to have an extra skein of lying around. Look at that. It was fate.

Once I had finished the sweater, I kept holding it up and saying to Andy, "Look at it! It's so tiny! Why is it so tiny?! Isn't it cute?" His response was to nod politely and pretend not to notice me chasing poor Rufus around the apartment trying to get him to hold still long enough for me to put the baby sweater on him. (It is also a universally accepted fact that dogs in human clothing are mostly ridiculous, but pretty cute, too.) But, shh! Don't tell my advisor I tried to put his child's sweater on my wiener dog (who was having none of it). We'll just keep that between you, and me, and the whole internet.

What are your favorite baby knits? I would like to finish a few more things before the baby arrives in September (like I need an excuse to browse knit baby items).

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Color for a rainy day

This week…

Knitting: We had a nice long 4-day weekend due to Canada Day today (happy Canada Day, Canadians!). The extra days gave me plenty of time to get started on my Pluie cardigan. I had some different colored skeins of Knit Picks Palette yarn sitting around for a potential fair-isle project, but then I thought they might be perfect for this cardigan, and I could just alternate colors for the umbrella motifs. This is the first major project I've worked on that uses intarsia, so it's taking me a bit of time untangling all of the strands as I work, but the super cute outcome is keeping me going.

Reading: I'm about halfway through The Girls at the Kingfisher Club which I'm really enjoying. The style takes a little bit to get used to, but once you get going, the world of 1920's New York is easy to get lost in.

Watching: I noticed that Top Chef is now on Hulu Plus, so I've been catching up on that lately. It's good knitting tv because it doesn't require me to pay much attention, but I still can easily follow along for what is happening.

Linking up with KCCO and yarn along.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Organizing my thoughts

Ravelry is a great place for finding knitting inspiration (and getting into some major trouble coveting patterns and yarns). But let's just say I can get a bit carried away adding things to my queue or favorites. And I find that my inspirations can change so quickly, that if I organized things into some sort of order one day, it would probably change completely the next. So here's an attempt at minor organization for some projects I am currently inspired by.

I have some lovely tea green wool that is just begging to be made into the keynote cardigan. I think the little keynote cables will look lovely and floral in green like little curling fern leaves. One of my favorite things about this cardigan: the use of the keynote cables along the raglan increases of the sleeves. Plus, I have yet to complete a classic cardigan for myself, which would be a definite staple in my closet.

My poor Moroccan nights sweater has been sitting in my WIP bucket for ages now. It's so pretty and the silk blend yarn is so drapey, but for some reason I can't get my butt in gear and complete it. I want to get it done before the end of summer so it can get some decent wear this fall. 

Okay, it's a cardigan with little umbrella motifs. And it's called Pluie. Hello, adorable. I want to do mine with a cream base and the umbrellas changing colors with purples, green, and yellow. Happy little pops of color to brighten up the grey days of rain and snow. This will be my first intarsia project + seaming, so I can see this project taking a bit of time. But I do think that changing colors will keep my interest and drive me to complete this great cardigan.

Fully disclosure: I've already got this one cast on and the back is almost complete - the Beverly tee is definitely a quick knit. It doesn't hue that it's a tank top that is missing half the back and is worked in worsted weight yarn. And I kind of love working with cotton now to create these fun summer tops. Projects that come together quickly always keep full of those "good knitting vibes" that push me to keep growing and exploring.

Lots I want to accomplish, but I'm in love with all of the pieces right now, so I hope I can keep that level of excitement up. What are you inspired by right now? What are your summer knitting plans? (Go ahead, be an enabler… I love exploring new projects and inspirations).