Sunday, February 26, 2006

done! done! done!

My needles have been a flurry of activity and yesterday I cast off with a completed hat. At the time, there was no way it'd fit on my head and I was fairly certain that I'd just finished a hat for my donation pile.

Then I blocked it.

( 18 degrees F and the wind is blowing...)

.....and it fits. It even fits over the hair "bump."

on the "sun porch" (it's screened in (read: snow blows onto the porch) and cold out there!)

To say that I'm excited is an understatement. The cotton liner has been sewn down and the only things left to do are figure out the "twisty" thing that is made up of the extra yarn AND go back and pull a few of the strands a bit tighter. The stitches evened out with the blocking (I used a peanut butter jar wrapped in some extra fleece fabric and a plastic shopping bag) but there is a looseness/ladder'ness where the needles joined.

If that knocks me down to silver or bronze it's okay.

It's done. And it fits.

(edited to add project specs)
Pattern: The "Kristen" Hat Kit from Bea Ellis Knits
I'd order from them again in a heartbeat and highly reccomend their website!
needles: dpn size us3 for the liner, dpn us5 for the hat
started and finished during the Olympics; I could probably have knit the whole hat during a weekend, but being tied down to a chart pattern meant it took a bit longer.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

An Olympic Decision....

This hat has been nothing short of an adventure (of international proportions?)....

- The dark blue cotton liner took many tries because traveling with the slippery yarn often meant lots of dropped stitches.
- Initially, when I saw the pattern, I liked the idea of light colored snowflakes. (this idea was echoed by others who said that's what they'd do too) My plan was to reverse the colors but the pattern chart used a dark blue and white color and in my tired-after-a-day-at-the-hospital stupor I simply followed the chart (meaning dark colored snowflakes, a light colored background). I noticed what I was doing several rows into the chart, so I ripped it out and vowed to re-start the chart with the reverse yarn colors.

The same thing happened - I found myself blindly following the chart. (The picture is the hat in question, a single repeat away from completion.)

- (already mentioned was the pattern misplacement that almost disqualified me)

- the latest problem? it's too small for me. And the stranded knitting looks like a beginner's attempt. Which is fair because I am, essentially, a beginner, but that's not the look I'm going for. Once I had time to sit down and knit for awhile uninterrupted the stitches became even and the tension was less wonky. Blocking might help even out the tension, but I don't think it can make it big enough to fit my head.

I've mentioned this to a few people and come up with my options for this project. [It is my Olympic project, and right now it meets all of the criteria for personal challenge in the time allotted. I could continue to balance the timing of the Olympics with the finished project....]

1.Continue as I am, with this needle size and yarn and end with a hat that is child-sized and could be donate'able.
2. Rip it out, possibly find a new color of Heilo that will provide more of a contrast (cream? yellow? light green?) and start over with larger needles and a commitment to sit and knit for long stretches at a time. (possibly finishing the whole hat in time for the closing ceremony.)
3. Put the whole project aside and knit socks.

(the hat with an almost finished sock (koigu kpppm color P122; picot edge with a heel flap - it's a mere five rounds from being finished but I had to get the picture when I could (read roommates not seeing me take pictures of not-finished-yet-knitting. They support my "hobby" but don't need another reason to think I'm crazy.) and the hat. The dark blue is the cotton liner that will be flipped up to the inside in the finished hat.)

Whatever I do, I need to decide fast if I think I can get this done by Sunday.

Monday, February 20, 2006

happiness is.....

- the blast of hot air that greets me when I walk into the grocery store
- watching olympic curling
- my new Three Dog Designs Knitting bag (pictures once I can get them to come out)
- this view from my lap on Saturday at SPA

(the people that pair up with the wheels were all enjoying lunch)
- the post holiday candy sales

- one of the cats I sat on this weeked, trying to distract me from my knitting
- having today off and being able to sleep in and take a nap (so far so good at attempting to keep the cold at bay)
- that when my brakes needed replacing this week (grinding = bad, very very bad) I didn't need to be towed (again)

(picture from the last time I was towed)
- Jocele's Knitting on Call blog

My knitting olympics hat (scroll down to the "Kristen" hat) slowly grew this weekend and I was able to work on it while in the midst of other members of Team Boston on Saturday. All was going well until I got home and realized that my pattern hadn't made the return trip with me! Thoughts of disqualification due to pattern misplacement crossed my mind and I briefly considered trying to wing the two stranded design if needed. Jackie saved the day when she emailed me to let me know that she'd found it, and today while at work scanned in the pattern so I could keep working on it. I feel like this hat has been a comedy of errors but I do hope to get it finished within the next six days....(five now that today is almost over, eh?)

My first week of my psych rotation is done. At the end of day #1 I was pretty sure I didn't want to be a psychiatrist when I grow up. After three full days I was 100% certain I didn't want to do pscyh full time. By the close of Friday (day #5) I was just grateful to be able to take a break from the locked hospital unit for the three day holiday weekend. The patients aren't all awful, and I'm lucky that they aren't openly violent (which is what Mia is finding on her psych rotation) but the days are long and the situations are all new to me.

The despair, frustration, dellusions and/or racing thoughts that patients experience are mindboggling for me, and the corrective pharmacology could keep me reading chapters and articles each night for the next several weeks. We aren't sure how some of these drugs work, but the effects they can have on patients and their thoughts is nothing short of amazing - when they work.

Liz was the person who came closest to guessing how many socks I could make with my current sock yarn stash, but no one was actually near the correct number. Digging out all of the yarn was nothing short of a bit embarrassing and it's time for me to go through all of what I have an sort out what I will actually use in the next year or so. I am not yet sure what will happen to the yarn that I'm not in love with anymore, but there's a chance that it'll show up here - either for sale or for free/price of shipping. For now, I'm done buying sock yarn; the theory that it doesn't count anymore doesn't apply to this needs'to'move'again'this summer and just'replaced'very'expensive'brakes student!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

happiness is.....

- brunch with my parents and my mom wearing the pair of socks I made her AND the (one successful) sweater I made
- hot black coffee
- having a driveway, and thus not having to move my car for a parking ban (I’ll leave out that we can’t use the garage, even though it is *rightthere*) and my favorite bestest snow scraper ever (my foot included for scale)

- seeing the first Estonian woman win a gold medal (in the history of the winter olympics; she won in the Woman’s Pursuit Cross Country Ski race…it makes me want to knit Estonian mittens.)
-sock yarns that I dyed earlier cooling in the sink (the pinkish hank is a mish-mash of all of the old dyes I wanted to use up. Now I can mix up new colors and not feel bad about it…)

- having a great last week in my oncology rotation (what I learned will follow this week)
- taking stock in all of my sock yarn
- being almost done with the inner section of my olympic knitting hat

My mom’s birthday was this weekend and I did the best I could to get the pairs of socks I had started for her finished…but no such luck. The striped one is finished, but too small and will need to be reknit. The koigu sock is a current work in progress (and part of why I’ve been on the hunt for shorter size US1/2.5mm). My mom asked if I knew someone who had smaller feet and said that I should finish the pair and pass them along, but I bought the yarn specifically for her, so instead I’ll rip it out and start over. It shouldn’t take too long to get a pair finished, but my needles are busy with other things, so it might be a little while. (her last pair of birthday socks were, ummm, finished in…July? August? I promise it won’t be that long this year…)

one is too small, the other isn't finished....

My sockapalOOOza pal asked for yarn that could be machine washable and she likes greens, possibly mixed with other colors. I think I’ve found some yarn that fits the bill, but first I need to check a few more places. These socks will probably be my first pair of “lace” socks, and I hope to start them by March 1st.

My olympic knitting got off to a good start – working with the cotton for the inside lining has required my complete attention because the yarn is slippery and easy to drop. I hope to finish the last half inch of the lining tonight, and then I can set up the start of the wool fair isle sections so it’s ready to work on when I get home tomorrow. (and once I figure typepad out I'll post a picture over on the group page)

I love watching the Olympics – ski jumping is on, and they make it look easy. In fact, everything I’ve seen today looks easy. Speed skating? I could do that. (nevermind that I’ve never been able to skate, even with hockey skates on.) Ski jumping? Sure! Especially if I get to wear a sleek silver suit. I’ll save luge’ing for the professionals but might consider bobsledding (later this week?). Even the cross country skiing has me wishing I had time and energy (and skis) to go out and enjoy the newly fallen snow. (the ever-chattering announcers are beginning to grate on me though…good thing for the mute button.)

Tomorrow I start my next rotation: six weeks of psychiatry. It has the potential to be another long six weeks, but with any luck time will start to pick up and it’ll be over before I know it. It’s not that I don’t think it will be interesting – I’m sure I’ll see and hear things that I couldn’t possible imagine seeing or hearing; instead I worry that it will drain me dry. Classmates of mine who have completed this rotation warned me that it can be emotionally zapping and exhausting. I’m going into it aware of that, and if they give me an afternoon “off” then I’ll be sure to take it (and then I’ll go somewhere unexpected and get out of my head). There will be a few different cat-sitting opportunies during this rotation and I think time with a cat or two will be good therapy.

I dug out all of my sock yarn and was surprised as it piled onto the kitchen counter in front of me. I have a lot of possible socks in my future. A Lot. I’d love to give some if it away, but I knit two socks out of one ball or skein, and after looking at all of it, there are only a few that I’d pass along to other people because it no longer strikes me. Much of it is bargin bin yarn, and some is from my summer travels and all of it will, someday, be great socks.

That said, how many socks do you think I can knit, including the ones that are “in progress” right now? If you’d like to wager a guess please email me at medstudentwhoknits at yahoo com. (fill in the blanks/obvious) If you are closest, without going over, then I’ll mail you some yarn!

The options include Lorna’s Laces “baby stripe” (see above - blue/pink) or yarn that I’ll dye for you. If there’s a tie then I’ll dye yarn for all who guessed correctly. Note: if you win you will have to promise not to devulge how many socks can come from my sock yarn stash.

The guidelines…please email me the guesses by Saturday Feb 18th at noon, EST. I have skeins that are large enough for two socks (trekking xxl for example) and so that counts as two socks. I also have skeins that are “singles” (think one hank of a colorway of Lorna’s laces or a single Regia hank) but I’ll use for a complete pair so it counts as two socks. I have a few hanks that I have two of, and in that case the pair of hanks counts as a pair of socks. (for instance, there are two of the baby stripe hanks, so that’d be a single pair of socks instead of two pair.) I won’t count the baby stripe yarn, or any of my white-to-be-dyed-later yarn.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Goo? goul? goal?

as a child on the elementary school plaground, I was often caught up in the ages-old game of "Tag." Sometimes it went by the name "chase," but that depended on who was running after you. The teachers standing guard over us often said, in a very solemn and somewhat tired voice, "if you don't run, they can't chase you" when we'd run by them screaming "help us! they're after us!"

I don't remember ever winning the game of "Chase" but I do remember us trying to designate the safe "can't touch us when we're standing here" always-popular "goo." Sometimes it was the "goul(e?)" and at one point a teacher called it the "goal" and we all made fun of her for such a funny name. This sacred piece of the playground was where we'd stand around, waiting for the best time to let go, run around and then race back to put our hand or foot into the safe zone. I think it was fun. (fun when I wasn't the "it" person, that is. I grew tall and gangly well before other kids and that made for awkard running and lots of "c'mon guys, let go of the goo!" demands.)

So which is it? goo? goul(e?) or goal? I don't think I'm remembering it wrong, but I'm curious what you used to call it. I never though the game of Tag would reappear 20 years later, in a new form. (I am choosing to forget the years I spent overseeing lots of variations on the theme of tag: rush hour tag, freeze tag, blob tag, etc.) So yes, I was tagged. Answers are below....

On Sock Knitting Needles:
I love Inox 6in double pointed needles. The size US2's I have are my favorite needles - smooth, pointy enough without hurting my finger, and quick (for me). The six inch length is perfect for knitting under the table during lunch lectures and they are inexpensive enough that I can pick up a set every now and then and always find 4 or 5 needles to start a sock. But they, as some of your mentioned, only come in US 0's and 2's. (2mm and 2.5 mm - I will work on learning them in mm's...)

I have a set of Susan Bates 7" size 2.25, but that extra inch is enough to hit the underside of the table when I knit at lunch - and often I stop knitting because the sound of the metal needle hitting the table is enough to annoy the people around me. They are smooth and okay as far as pointy'ness goes. The price isn't too bad either for 4 needles, but it is nice to get five in a set because then I can use 4 OR 5 and have an extra needle (if needed).

Bamboo/Wood: I love them, but they are much more expensive and not as great for throwing into my medical book bag because they are more apt to break. Just last week Theresa had a Lantern Moon needle break, and I had a moment of silence for the poor thing. (to say that I'm rough on needles is an understatement: my metal needles often poke through the double layer of fabric of my bag. I fear that the wood/bamboo would break or shatter under the pressure.)

I'm going to look into the 5" options, and might have to turn to the internet for some answers. With any luck I'll have some size US 1's/2.25mm needles that won't hit the underside of the table soon....

Thanks to Danielle (and everyone else who shared pictures of their koigu objects - I'm slowly making my way around to your blogs), now I understand how koigu "works." Right now it's striping in a somewhat predictable way, which isn't what I thought would happen.

It used to be that I knit tight and had to increase my needle size; another year of medical school under my belt and now I'm knitting loose and have to decrease my needle size. (this situation is flipped from just last fall, so I don't think it'll last forever...) This means that a koigu sock knit up on size US2/2.5mm feels too loose, and the stitches have too much air between them. Dropping down to a US 1 creates a fabric that is more sock-like, but can almost be too thick and warm for everyday wear. (my defalt sock is 56 on a 2 or 70 on a 1 [which is what the koigu sock is]) I love knitting socks, but perhaps it's time for me to fool around with needles sizes and stitch counts.

Fooling around with yarn weights and patterns and needle sizes is going to come in handy - I have a special sock swap in the works (and will be dyeing yarn this weekend) and I'm still planning out my sockapalOOOza pal's socks. Between those and finishing up a few pairs for me, I'll keep my sock needles (whatever size they are...) busy.

The Knitting Olympics starts tomorrow, but I won't be one of the many casting on at 2pm. It's the last day of my hemeatology/oncology rotation and there is paperwork to do and a long day planned. With any luck I'll be able to get home and work on the cotton hat lining (simple knitting because it's knit in the round) without making any hasty mistakes. I hope to start on the fair isle section on Saturday, but I make no promises...

Pictures: are coming. Setting up the camera and cables isn't practical right now. This weekend.


and now, what I'll call "what happens when three people tag me and I pick and choose the questions I want to answer two memes just smooshed into each other with some other randomness thrown in and this is the result."

what I was doing a year ago?
- thinking about how great this year in the hospitals would be while I made it through the rest of the year of lectures and book studying
- considering starting to study for the boards (had I known how that turned out, would I have put more or less energy into that?)
- knitting socks (I think?)
- living in my now-very-much-missed (favorite) apartment

Four jobs you've had in your life:
- lifeguard and swim instructor (I'm no longer certified, but still have the swimmer shoulders)
- casual carrier for the postal service (I had the best tan lines that summer)
- chemistry and biology lab TA/lab instructor and, later, a year spent as a substitute teacher (grades k-12, but with many, many days spent at the middle school level because I wasn't afraid of them and they did their work and mostly behaved while I was there; it runs in my family.)
- babysitter/cat-dog/house sitter (going on 14+ years and no sign of stopping soon)

Four things that I want in my (eventual) future home:
- lots of windows that line up to let in lots of natural light
- many floors with an attic
- a claw foot tub
- wood floors
(extras would include radiators, kitchen island and more then one bathroom)

Four movies you could watch over and over again (and do):
- anything Cirque Du Soliel
- Sex and the City, Gilmore Girls, Faulty Towers (we have all seasons on DVD) and anything Monty Python (not (yet?) all owned)
- Winnie-the-Pooh
- What the (bleep) Do We Know?

Four places you've been on vacation:
- Las Vegas, NV
- Prince Edward Island, Canada
- Fort Myers Beach, FL
- San Salvador, Bahamas (does that crazy trip I took as a "tropical" biology class count? It wasn't very warm, the food and beds were awful but the trip solidified a few of my best friendships)

Four of your favorite foods:
- tomato soup with a whole wheat bread mozzeralla and fresh tomato grilled cheese sandwhich (bacon optional)
- homebaked english muffins toasted with butter and honey or homemade applebutter
- burgers cooked over a firey charcoal grill with in-season tomatoes and toasted bun
- chocolate malted milkshakes with fried mozzeralla sticks and raspberry sauce eatten with good friends at a local dive/diner

Four teams I was on in high school:
- swim team (not one of my varsity sports but I loved it)
- football cheerleading
- basketball cheerleading (both, I'm afraid, at the varsity level. We were actually quite athletic at the time and my height was handy for throwing people around in the air)
- the math team (I was more of a mascot and did better when I guessed (really - I guessed "4" at one point and it was the right answer. A guess! but again, I loved streching my brain with mindboggling math problems, even if I never got them right.)

Four things I'd do if money were no object:
- travel to Ireland (and never come home again?)
- bid on a Starmore book on Ebay, and then all the yarn it takes to whip up her sweaters
- buy all of the books I read and loved as a child (that are no longer in print)
- take my car in and replace/repair all of the things that need replacing/repairing

no one (I think?) is left to tag, but it goo? goule?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Things I would write about, if I had time.

(Life has gotten very busy. Very, very busy. I'm not sure if I'm excited about all of the busy'ness, but I don't really have a choice in the matter. Trying to get things to line up, even out and knit up is taking longer then I thought it would.)

- does a metal six inch long size US 1.0 sock needle exist? if so, where can I find a set (or two, or three?)

- does all koigu stripe? or is it possible to get some that varigates? if yours varigated, what size needle and how many stitches did you use?

- how much I loved wearing my purple trekking socks today, even though I didn't weave in the last yarn end.

- the things I've seen and learned in this (last week) of my oncology rotation

- two people tagging me in a 24 hour time period, and the result of mixing the two tagged'able memes into one

- how nice it is to have my car (in (knock on wood) good working condition) again and how the decisions I'm trying to make about where I'm going to be next year all revolve around how I'm not sure I can get my car to the west coast (and back again....). Feel free to suggest medical centers (that are visiting med student friendly) in areas with lots of public transportation (or cheap car rentals), near a fairly large and easy to fly into airport AND potential housing (lots of sublets, people who are willing to rent me a room for a month or another random possibility you know of....). Figuring all of this out has been giving me a whole new bunch of grey hairs.

- how my Olympic Knitting will shape up, and the debate I keep having about swatching/not-swatching. I joined Team Boston and will do my darndest to get the "Kristen" hat finished in the 16 days.

- how there are other knitting med student/resident/doctor blogs that I've found but never get around to linking to

- There are many other random things that have crossed my mind, but I haven't had time to put it out there. For now, I've got to put my head down and focus on the myriad of things that keep coming up. Pictures and a more indepth knitting update to happen later this week or weekend.

Stay warm!