Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Butterfly Bush Shawl

The Butterfly Bush shawl was the first shawl that I charted from my design notebook.  (The others had thus far been designed using stitch dictionaries.)  The design notebook goes everywhere with me (except to the lab today which meant that I had to design my Mother In Law's Christmas shawl on the back of another pattern. Oops!)

Originally knit in Malabrigo Silky Merino in Pollen, I sent pictures to Knit Picks and requested yarn support.  Much to my joy, they said yes and sent me yarn.  (I love yarn! Sorry, got distracted for a minute.)
The DK shawl is worked in Knit Picks Gloss DK in Jade on size 8 needles.

The fingering weight shawlette is worked in Stroll Sock Tonal in Golden Glow on size 5 needles.

The pattern for Butterfly Bush is available through Knit Picks or by clicking on the button below.

GiGi laid claim to the Jade version before it was even finished, but that's only because she wanted the Malabrigo version.  But... I had to put my foot down and say no.  I know, shocking, isn't it?

It's a pity I don't really look good in yellow,

Monday, October 25, 2010

Apple review - Granny Smith #1

I was all set to review the Granny Smith apple today.  The variety has long been one of my favorites.  Unlike the Red Delicious which is known for its sweetness, the Granny Smith is known for its tartness. Unfortunately, the apple that I had today was so old that the seeds inside were sprouting.  Ick!  So the actual Granny Smith review will have to wait. 
It was a pretty apple, though.  Boo hoo.

At least it didn't have a worm,

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Transcending the material

As a biologist and a knitter I find the latest installation by Ben Cuevas amazing.

Although I don't think a knit skeleton would offer much support,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Letters from Hubbie

Hubbie and I have been playing hangman with washable crayons on the bathroom wall.  As of yesterday he had one letter left to win our current game.  I woke up this morning to find this on the bathroom wall. 
I think I have a new favorite letter,

Monday, October 18, 2010

Apple review- Honey Crisp

OMJ!!! You have GOT to try this apple. It is truly delicious.
It's very sweet and crisp (which I'm sure had nothing to do with the name ;-D ).  The flesh is very firm with only a hint of graininess (1.5 out of 5).  The skin is thin and firmly attached to the flesh. 
Like the Red Delicious, the Honey Crisp also tastes like candy, especially when combined with lemon juice.  It may have permanently damaged my love for the Red Delicious because it doesn't have any of the negatives of the Red Delicious (thick skin and unpleasant aftertaste if not quite ripe.)
I would eat lots and lots of these apples, the only problem is that they aren't widely available in my area.  I haven't seen them at any of them in the stores in my neighborhood.  Hubbie got the one I had from the Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center.

I wonder if they're still open,

Thursday, October 14, 2010


I have recently been reintroduced to my love of  yoga.  My love for yoga started when I was 18 and a freshman in college.  My orientation class went to yoga one week.  I walked into that room on three hours of sleep and when I left I felt more awake and energized than I do on 8-9 hours. 

Oddly, I didn't take another class until TK invited me to go to a class with her last week.  It was amazing.  It's been a while since I did yoga regularly (cough cough... years... cough cough) and my practice has always been a home practice.

But the class I took (all levels Vinyasa) was eye opening.  At 75 minutes, it was gentle yet strenuous.  And I was sore for the next two days.  It was totally worth it!  TK, who has been doing yoga regularly for the past six months, claims it was easy.  Oh....

So I took myself to a beginner vinyasa class.  I figured that while my mind is not a beginner, it's been so long since I've done yoga, that the body is back in beginner mode.  I really enjoyed this one too.  The instructor was funny and really quite good at teaching the beginning yoga student.  The class was 60 minutes and strenuous enough that my muscles felt like jelly afterwards.  Still, I'm happy to report that I wasn't sore afterwards. 

I've been practicing knitting as yoga for years now, but I don't think it really counts as exercise (unless you're trying to p3tbl).  Happily, the garter stitch version of Montague's Muffler doesn't have any of those. 

Classic Elite Fresco in Rumba Red.  I love this yarn.  The touch of angora gives it a wonderful halo and warmth.  Yummy!

I wonder if I could knit in Child's pose,

Monday, October 11, 2010

Apple review- Golden delicious

The Golden delicious has pale green skin, usually without any red.  It is more tart than sweet with a firm, but not crisp flesh.  It's skin is medium in thickness and well attached to the flesh of the apple.  I would rate the graininess at about 2, some graininess, but not too much. 

I would eat this variety again.  I found that the flavor was overwhelmed by the flavor of the lemon juice, so I would use the ginger ale methods of keeping the apple from turning brown.

Ginger ale method: Soak for 10 minutes in Ginger Ale.  It works great and keeps the apple from turning brown overnight.  This method is good for subtly flavored or tart apples that would be made nearly inedible by the addition of lemon juice.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Test knitting

Having taught for what sometimes feels like forever (college biology, it's my bag, baby!) I've discovered that test days are the worst.  For the students (because they're taking the test) and for me (because I have to wait for them to finish taking the test.)

Hi, my name is Joyce and I'm a fidgeter.  I've been a fidgeter for 30-mumble-mumble years now.  If I'm waiting and I have something to do, I'm ok.  But, oddly enough, it turns out that staring at students for two hours isn't quite interesting enough to keep me from getting restless.  (Surprising, huh?)

This is yet another reason why I particularly like knitting.  Especially simple knitting that I don't really have to look at while working on it.  I generally call this movie knitting.  (Because it can also be pretty hard to see in a dark movie theater, and I even get restless watching movies.  I know, I'm crazy.) 

It turns out that movie knitting also makes great test day knitting!  It's perfect!  I can sit there and stare at my students, but fidget in a productive way.  (Thanks Panopticon's friend Joe for your brilliant observation: knitting = productive fidgeting.  Genius!)

So I can fidget, get some knitting done, watch for cheaters, and because the project is so simple (read: stockinette) I can set it down in the middle of a row to answer questions.  (Students for some inexplicable reason, don't appreciate it when you talk to them while knitting.  It's like they don't know the joys of yarn or something!)  It's the perfect solution to the long day of waiting that is the test day.

For today's test, I was knitting on Montague's Muffler.  It will be my next free pattern and comes in both a stockinette and garter stitch version.  It calls for 400 yards of fingering weight.

Knit one crochet too. Crock O' Dye. Colorway 250- Tomato.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Apple review- Red Delicious

The Red Delicious apple, when taken at the peak of ripeness tastes like candy, especially when coated in lemon juice to keep it from turning brown.  It has been my favorite apple since childhood (back in the days when I used to refuse to eat apples because they had that icky skin stuff on them.)

The Red Delicious has firm, crisp flesh and a minimum of tartness.  They are very sweet, but can have an unpleasant after flavor if not ripe enough.  The skin is somewhat thick, but is well attached to the flesh so it can be easily bitten.  I would give it a graininess rating of about 1 out of 5 (almost no graininess unless it's overripe).
I would definitely eat this apple variety again.

(And again, and again),

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Mercia is up on Knit Picks

Mercia is up on Knit Picks. 

Knit in 800 yards of Knit Picks Stroll Sock Tonal in Gypsy (the pattern also includes a shawlette version that takes 400 yards).  I'm not ashamed to say that I love her. 

I've knit her twice.  The first time it wasn't love, but then I did that thing that designers sometimes do.  I tweaked her a little bit.  If she were a human, she probably would have slapped me (plus I'm sure that Hubbie would have had a lot of questions too).

The first version was in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool which is a lovely DK weight.

But I went I finished it, I realized that she needed to be in a finer weight. So when I contacted Knit Picks about the pattern I requested a sock weight.  (It didn't hurt that the Stroll is very soft and knits up great!)
But as I was knitting the second version, I realized that I wasn't incredibly fond of parts of the edging.
The original:

The remake:

I liked the remake much better.  It finally looked like I wanted it to look.  So Yay!  Designing score!

Mercia is named, indirectly, after TK.  Mercia is an ancient region in England, the region where her name originates.  So this dedication goes out to you, TK!

Am I the only one with Casey Kasem in her head now,

Friday, October 1, 2010

Dude! I'm in Knitty!

Yes, I've known for about a month now that one of my patterns was going to be in the Deep Fall Knitty, but I'm still ridiculously excited about it.
Meet Pretty Maids.

Knit in 550 yards of Manos Serena in Zinnia. 
The yarn is a really soft cotton/alpaca blend.  I really enjoyed working with it.  My only problem is that the skeins were a bit short on yardage. 

I designed and knit Pretty Maids over April and May of this year.  When I finished her, I decided that she would be my first Knitty submission.  Unfortunately, (given that I am sometimes an impatient woman) it was two months until the submission deadline for the next issue of Knitty.  ARGH!!!!  How was I supposed to wait that long?!?!?!?  Luckily, I had TK on hand to encourage me to hold the course and not publish her prematurely on Ravelry. (Kisses, Ravelry, I love you!) 
So I waited patiently for the deadline to arrive, and then, as per usual, life got crazy.  I started back to school which meant a research trip to Panama at the end of July.  Plus I was teaching and trying to do research.  The next thing I knew the deadline was here!  Yay, except my pictures were pretty bad. 
Happily, with the help of TK, her twin KT, and some other friends, the shawl was rephotographed and the pictures ROCKED!!!  I am comfortable saying this because I wasn't the photographer (Thanks Mike!) or the model (Thanks Kimberly!).

And thank you Knitty for publishing Pretty Maids.

Time to work on my next submission,