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emmy [AT] curious-notions {dot} net
November 2007
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proper attitudes

I have 9 first order theorems (I think that’s what they are. This class has me so lost. So so lost.) to prove (Why am I proving mathematical theorems in a computer science class? Why do I have to take a stinky computer science class and why is computer science really about applied mathematics?) before 3:25 pm tomorrow. I have no pretty or interesting or even boring knitting to show.

The mittens have stalled out at the thumb gusset for the second mitten because the last two days have been warm and I keep forgetting to shove some waste yarn in my purse or backpack so that I can move the thumb stitches to the side. This means no knitting has been has been happening in those odd moments while I’m waiting for Bear to be ready to go or while my brain is untangling some thought or proof. (Usually my hands are busy churning out homework or code or reviews or something until my brain hits a stall and at this point I can (1) either go play on the computer, (2) I can knit and stare at the homework or code or paper or whatever, or (3) I can shove that to another spot on the pile and pull out the next thing on my to-do list. Option 1 sometimes turns into a time suck; Option 3 happens a lot, but sometimes switching topics like that will only make things worse.)

All I’ve got is a cinnamon scented candle (I may be doing really bizarre-o proofs, but I wanted some holiday spirit), some rapidly burning coffee in the pot, my pencil, my eraser, 2 notebooks, one textbook and about 3 webpages on theorem provers and first order logics.

And seriously, as a grad student are we supposed to be so excited about what we are doing that we are happy to spend all the time in the world working on this stuff? I had a class (same class where I’m doing this proofs) where the prof was out (at a conference) and we didn’t have a proctor, we were just supposed to meet and talk about some stuff. Now, we are in grad school, so it is completely reasonable to expect us to meet and actually talk about what he said to talk about, but our normal class is 95 mins. I thought we’d be out of there in 30-40. Enough to satisfy the requirements, get what we needed to, and go back to doing the mountain of work we all have to do. We were there for 120 minutes+. Why? Why????? It was late. I wanted to go home. Sometimes I’m not sure I have the proper attitude to be a grad student…

to ply or not to ply?

The trouble I go through for this blog. Thursday while I was Grey’s was on I futzed with the camera trying to take pictures. Good God Almighty, lemme tell you, some days it just isn’t worth the trouble. But I got into that obstinate mood where I was hide bound I was going to take pictures of this thing I’ve been working on and post about it. But it’s been getting dark so early (I hate DST, I’ve been an hour off twice now and I miss my sunlight) that I knew if I wanted to take pictures I’d have to go to this trouble anyways. Of course, now it’s Saturday, so I could have stopped and snapped the shots this morning since it was so sunny.

So this is it. Wanna see the fruits of my efforts?

I started off with that first picture. See how the lace is all crumbled and looks terrible? I wanted to show y’all what I see in my head, but to do that I needed to stretch out the lace. So I finally found my size 0 dpns and I looped the side stitches on them and pulled the lace apart. But that made it want to scrunch down. And I couldn’t hold the lace spread and snap the picture. I had the tripod, but 10 seconds wasn’t enough to pull everything back apart and make sure it was in position. I can’t tell you how many shots I deleted. Bear was ready to pin me down and pour water on my head by the time I found something dense and small enough to hold down the top and bottom of the lace. When I get really obstinate like this, I lose my vocab and I just start storming and gesturing.

But I finally got the above shot and I almost cried. The flash reflected of the wood and makes it kinda hard to see the lace. Ahh, but I didn’t give up.

That my friends is lace pinned out on a black fleece sweater. And even better is that the sweater itself held the thin metal sticks (you just shove the bottom ends into the fleece and then bunch the top and shove the top bits in) so I didn’t need my hands, especially with the weight on the lace fabric. So you guys can see the pattern. Realize that it’s really not aggressively blocked out, so it’s not nearly as pretty as it will be, but at least you can see it now.

So now we come to the other question. I started knitting this out of singles of the rambouillet fiber I have. But then I started spinning up a new batch on the spindle and I got better and the singles got thinner and I realized I could ply this new batch and still have yarn that’s thinner than the singles I’m using now. And I no longer know what to do. Because the original plan had been to knit this until it’s long enough for a scarf, then knit the wedding ring shawl edging on it. I still won’t be gaining familiarity with the border charts, but I’m already pretty sure I could knit this shawl. And that was the point of this exercise. And I have cashmere and silk in a gunmetal gray all ready to go for the real thing…

Well. Just to show the difference in my spinning

This isn’t terribly scientific, but that pictures is the single I’m currently knitting with. Notice the size against a US penny.

Same penny. Diff single. I realize that it’s really not fair when in one picture the single is pulled taut and in the other it’s curling all over the place. Did I mention I’d already spent 2 hours playing with these photos?

I meant to show how thick the plied yarn would be… *sighs* So probably I need to figure out if I want to continue with my little scarf idea or just call that a swatch and knit the scarf idea with the plied variety or… ya know, I’m still spinning the Celebration Shetland laceweight on the wheel… And I’m kinda dying for a hat knit with some cozy thick singles… I knit a hat for Bear and my brother and my ears are getting cold in the winter weather that’s been slowly descending on the Northeast. Of course, there’s still the alpaca experiment and Bear said we could try to figure out a contraption so that I can comb inside in the winter… Oh… and did I tell you about the ~4lbs of scoured Romney locks I scored? I’ll find the website later if someone cares. It’s gorgeous.

I have way too many things I want to do. Might have something to do with avoiding the homework I have to get done. *sighs* Back to work for me.

more mittens

So I survived hell week. Midterm and presentation plus homeworks for both classes and research in one week was rather crazy making. Maybe for some people presentations aren’t a big deal. I’m shy and have stage fright. It’s not a fun combination.

I kept knitting though.

I know. This looks like nothing. There was more knitting. But I’ve spent the last two hours trying to take pictures of the other thing. It isn’t freaking happening. I’ll post again tomorrow. I actually had something to say about the other thing. *sighs* Stupid thing.

lesson learned: follow directions

So this week I’m kinda swamped, so I’m sharing a little catastrophe from last week. It was still eaten and tasted ok, but what should have taken maybe 15 minutes, took over an hour.

I decided to make puppy chow (people version. google it. there’s like a million recipes on the internet, but it’s all the same thing). We had a girl in HS who gave big tubs of it as birthday presents, but I hadn’t had it since then.

The idea is you take chocolate, peanut butter, butter and you melt it, then take chex and put it in a big bowl, pour the chocolate over the chex, mix. Then dump in a large bag with powdered sugar and shake until all the little pieces are well coated. I was having a shitty day (last week was rough too. I’m hoping that after Monday I’ll feel much better.) and when I realized I’d forgotten to ask for a paper bag or to buy very large plastic bags despite having gone to the grocery store twice that day I thought I’d make due. I mean, I have a large pot and that should work, right?

Ummm… no. First bad idea was to skip the pouring of chocolate over the chex in a clean bowl… Then adding to that (I could have recovered at this point probably) I dumped in powdered sugar… which meant I had a glommy ugly mess and my arms were falling off from shaking a pot.

So I dumped the contents in a large flat tupperware container I have.

This is what was on the bottom of the pot. Sometimes my determination and impatience bites me on the ass.

This is the contents of the tupperware when I finally realized nothing was going to save this and I took it to school and let the guys eat it.

The end.