Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Storm Water Shawl

Completed! And it only took me two short years! I started this shawl before my wedding with the intention of wearing it with my wedding dress. Obviously, this did not happen. Too bad because it was really cold on my wedding day and my dress had no sleeves. Pobrecita. I picked the shawl up again last summer to wear at my brother's wedding. Also didn't happen, and I put it down again only to pick it back up last month with the intention of wearing it on an Alaskan cruise this June. And lo and behold, this time I actually FINISHED IT. Joy of joys. It's beautiful, too. Take a look.

Hello. I am a beautiful shawl, basking in my golden glory.

Batwing shot.

Pattern: Stormwater Shawl
Yarn: Handmaiden Seasilk (70% silk, 30% Seacell (seaweed) in color straw
Needles: Size 6 bamboo circulars
Comments: The pattern - well, lace shawls are definitely an exercise in perseverance. This wasn't a quick knit, but I love the pattern. As a friend said, it is both delicate and substantial. Very pleased. I continued knitting until I almost ran out of yarn, and I am very happy with the finished measurements (25" x 80"), but if I had it do to over, I would have made the shawl a little wider. The yarn - LOVE it! Silk and seaweed, who could ask for more? Seriously, it's 3-ply so there was minimal splitting, and the yarn was wonderful to work with. After blocking, there was a definite seaweed/green tea aroma to the yarn, quite pleasing. The needles - so, I can definitely appreciate the benefits of sharp, metal lace needles after working this shawl up on my bamboo circs. I will be using some metal needles for my next lace project (that I will likely start soon and have finished in 2010, but don't hold your breath.) Blocking was really a bit of a pain, but the pattern opened up beautifully. I followed Eunny Jang's tutorial on blocking - a great resource for novice blockers. Next time, forget the pins, I am going to use wires when blocking a rectangular shawl! Now, I am going to have to zealously guard against any sort of moisture touching this yarn - do not want to repeat blocking process.

Now, let's talk about Raul. His (not so) secret dream for the better part of a year has been to get the dog a pack, so Flynn could carry his food and water and other necessities when we take him on hikes. Well, today Raul spotted such a pack at a local pet store, and his brother graciously agreed to purchase said pack as a graduation present for him. Thank you, Ed, for making Raul's dreams come true.

Thanks Uncle Ed. I can't wait to go on a hike and carry my own food and water and all the other stuff my dad decides to throw into these excessively roomy pouches.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wild Animal Kingdom

So, the next two weeks will be weeks of increased productivity. I have a very limited amount of time to get everything done that I want to get done before I move across the country and start residency (when I will begin working 60-80 hours per week, yay!)

Increased productivity started yesterday morning, when I awoke early and dyed some yarn.

The red/orange stuff was undyed superwash sock yarn that I had purchased to make some knee high stockings. I decided that I will not need wool knee-high stockings in LA, so the yarn became a very lovely red-pink-orange variegated yarn that will likely become some socks for me. I am greedy. The blue-green number is more of the undyed Fisherman's Wool from my grandma's stash, and like the previous skeins, this yarn will also likely become a soaker (or two.)

Then Raul made french toast (delicious!) And then the cat brought a bird inside the house. This was not so fun. The bird was still alive, and Greta let it loose inside the house and proceeded to chase it all around. It flew down in the basement, and there it stayed until Raul was finally able to gently coax it back up the basement stairs and out the door. Just as the bird flew out, this dog tried to run in:

He was a good dog and obviously belonged to someone. Raul put a collar and leash on him and fed him and gave him water. What a keeper. The dog turned out to belong to a guy a couple of houses down. It was quite a day.

In other exciting news, I finally finished my storm water shawl! This was my first foray into lace and shawls and blocking. Blocking is a serious endeavor, that involved approximately one million pins and a t-square. We knitters mean business. The shawl is still drying, so I will post pictures tomorrow, but here are some photos of the very tedious blocking process.

I told you a t-square was involved!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


is my last day of my last rotation of medical school. And tomorrow, I will take my last exam on my last day of my last rotation of medical school. Hark, I think I hear angels singing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dirty Dog

Flynn and I had to be out of the house for several hours yesterday while our house was being shown. We went to the dog park, and he found mud.

And we had just bathed him on Sunday. Aye carumba. And then another person called and asked to see the house, so I had to kill several hours with a muddy dog. It's hard to do. Not too many places you can take a dog - let alone a dirty one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


If you want to avoid the baby fever, do not make one of these!

Pattern: Curly Purly Soaker
Size: Newborn
Yarn: Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool, hand-dyed by me
Needles: Size 3s, 5s and 7s
Comments: So cute. Raul and I have some serious baby fever. Must wait one more year.

Here is the photo of the yarn in cake form:

So, I dyed this in my crockpot with some KoolAid and some food coloring. I had a really hard time gettng the dye even - I did lots of stirring and adding of more dye throughout the process. So, it's generally not a good idea to really agitate (i.e. stir) wool while it is hot and wet and being dyed in a crockpot. It tends to like to felt under such conditions. Luckily, the yarn did not felt, but it did get a little sticky. Fine by me - it seems like it will definitely hold together well. I am really happy with how the colors variegated as the yarn knitted up.

Raul did some investigative research on the interweb and found that babies need their soakers changed multiple times during the day. This is a lot of soakers! And only one year and nine months to go! Good thing we're getting started now.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

5 days left!


Perhaps the Most Perfect Ankle Socks Ever

I heart ankle socks. I heart my friend, Hilary. Hilary hearts ankle socks.

She had a birthday recently, so what did I gift her? Yes, ankle socks.

I have knitted myself couple pairs of ankle socks. And though I enjoy them, they have their flaws. With this pair, I attempted to include what I liked and correct what I did not. Here is the end result:

Close-up of heel:

Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill superwash sock yarn in color Life's a Beach
Needles: Size 1 double=pointed needles
Sock construction: First off, I have used this yarn for socks previously. I opted to knit it up on size 1's this time to create a more snugly fitting sock. I love the result - a denser fabric, a snugger (is this a word?) sock, and the yarn actually started to almost stripe. So, I cast on 64 stitches and did a 1x1 rib for four rows. I used the heel as detailed here. I then stockinetted the body of the sock, did a generic decrease for the toe and finished it off with a kitchener graft.
Comments: Very happy with end result. As mentioned previously, I like how this yarn knits up on smaller needles. I really like this heel, and I think it wears very well (Hilary, you'll have to let me know how it goes with this pair.) I just might have to make some for myself!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Button Haul

The thrift store down the street had a big sale today - everything 50% off. I really like this thrift store. Raul thinks it is filled with garbage, but I think it is filled with treasures. I scored handfuls of delightful buttons for bargain prices. Check them out:

I have no idea what I am going to do with all these buttons, but I am excited to have them.

I am actually enjoying my rotation. And in a very un-Shannon-like turn of events, I opted not to call out sick to my rotation today, and I went in and scrubbed into the last surgery of my long and distinguished medical student career. It was a bladder cancer case - they took out the bladder, prostate and did some lymph node dissection, and then they hooked the ureters (tubes that drain urine from the kidneys to the bladder) into a piece of intestine that they'd sectioned off, and then hooked the other end of that segment of bowel up to drain to a bag that hangs on the outside of the stomach.

Yay for the weekend and sleeping in past 4:30am!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Buh-Bye Old Friend

The truck is sold. He was pretty and shiny and new when I bought him 8 years ago, and he transported me faithfully to and from the brewery and then to and from grad school. I felt a bit betrayed when he flipped over while I was driving him on the interstate during an Iowa ice storm. You might say that the accident was my fault given my naïveté re: the treacherous conditions and all, but after that, things just weren't the same between us. I am glad to see him go to a better home. Yay for finding better homes for your vehicles that you no longer share a bond with.

In other news, I have 8 (count them 8!!!) days left of my last medical school rotation. Hallelujah. And they will be a painful eight days, let me assure you. I am on urology. I have seen lots of penises and many a mean thing done to aforementioned penises. And I have to get to the hospital every morning at the CRACK of dawn - like before 6am. For really no good reason. Terrible attitude, yes I know, must remember - 8 days left! And I think I might be ill one of those days.

I have projects to share, but I have been spending all potential blogging time sleeping lately. Is it normal for a 30 year old female to take 1-3 hour naps everyday? I hope so because that's what I'm doing. Being rested is good. Urology is bad. Only 8 more days.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Baby Genius Burp Cloth and Baby Bib O'Love

I found a new outlet for my abundance of cotton worsted weight yarn - burp cloths and bibs!

Exhibit A

Pattern: Baby Genius Burp Cloth from Mason Dixon Knitting
Yarn: Worsted weight cotton from my stash (thanks Grandma!)
Needles: Size 7 circs
Comments: Way cute and way quick. This is excellent meeting knitting - the pattern is very simple, so you can knit without thinking. I wonder if I am developing ADD (likely not given my age and my ability to sit and study for hours on end), but I actually find it much easier to concentrate on lectures/meeting talk if my hands are busy doing mindless knitting. I finished the cream/brown number last week while on Radiology. You know, I really liked Radiology. Had I had the rotation earlier in my med school career, I just might have become a radiologist instead of a psychiatrist. Hmm. There is quite a bit of flexibility in medicine, so I suppose if the psych route does not make me happy, I could always switch to rads. Though right now, the idea of doing just one residency and being done with it is very appealing. Psych and radiology really seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of patient contact at least. With psych, personal interactions with patients are paramount whereas with rads, you spend most of your time in a dark room reading films of patients that you will never meet. The radiologists really know their medicine, though, and they rarely have to deal with the tragedy that comes with patient care.

Exhibit B

Pattern: Baby Bib O'Love from Mason Dixon Knitting
Yarn: Again, worsted weight cotton
Needles: Size 7s
Comments: I modified the stitch pattern (the pattern calls for straight stockinette) - I actually used with stitch pattern given for the Baby Genius burp cloth because it was more visually interesting. It needs a button - there is a thrift shop down the street that has a very impressive collection of buttons. I may wander down there today to see if there is an orange button asking to be partnered with this bib.

Yes, I am in handmade baby stuff mode these days. The day is actually coming when Raul and I can seriously start talking about child-having. And I should be prepared right? Nine months is not nearly enough time to get stocked up on all possible handmade necessities. I figure that if I start a couple years in advance then I should be at least moderately prepared when the time comes.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Hand-dyed yarn (Part two)

Here are some more details re: my attempt at hand-dying yarn. For your enjoyment and to help me remember what I did the next time around.

So, as previously mentioned, I used this tutorial. I soaked all four skeins in 3/4 cup vinegar/skein overnight (with enough water added to completely submerge yarn.) The next morning, I drained off the vinegar water and followed the instructions for the 'cold pour' and 'hot pour' methods to the letter. I used a mix of Koolaid and liquid food coloring for the dye.

Here's a shot of one of the 'hot pours' in a crockpot:

Note - I used my old round crockpot as well as my friend's oval crockpot (pictured.) The dye was much more even using the oval crock.

Shots of the cold pour:

Ready to bake.

Shots of drying yarn:

Hello. I am beautiful yarn, basking in the sun.

A shot of a very enthusiastic helper in this adventure:

And what am I going to make with all this hand-dyed yarn, you ask? Well, I think I am going to make some of these. The pattern is available free at her website, and supposedly non-superwash wool is the best type of fiber for soakers - something about superior moisture-wicking abilities. I may give them to friends that are using cloth diapers instead of disposable, or I may keep them for the child that Raul and I aspire to have (we are waiting for financial independence and normal working hours - we are assured that these will both one day be a reality.) Yay for demanding professional careers.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Last Sunday we had an open house, and I had to occupy myself outside of my residence for 2 hours. I had some grand ambitions for that time away from home - I had decided that I would dye some yarn. One of my grandmas had passed on to me a dozen skeins of undyed Fisherman's Yarn, and I had been reading up on non-toxic dying methods. I went to the grocery store, stocked up on Koolaid and food coloring, and on Sunday, I went to town.

Using this tutorial, I dyed 2 skeins using the hot pour crockpot method and I dyed the other 2 using the cold pour/oven-baked method. It was much more labor intensive than I had imagined, but I was quite impressed with the finished products. Here is a photo of the skeins wound into cakes:

More details to follow.

In other news, Raul and I have found a place to live in LA (thanks again for all the help, Dad.) What an ordeal. Now we can move onto the next item on the list (i.e. selling car, arranging move, packing, etc.) Fun times. I am getting super stressed, people. Today, I had a killer tension headache that was alleviated only by NSAIDS, allergy meds and a nap. I think stress is in the air - even the cat and dog seem a little on edge. For reasons unbeknownst to me, the cat was trapped in the garage the night before last. She was rescued the next morning when I heard her crying. Apparently, that night in the garage caused her to have some sort of acute stress reaction or separation anxiety or something because last night, she insisted in sleeping on my neck - like right on my trachea. Normally, she is the most unaffectionate cat - which is fine by me, given my allergies and difficulty breathing with heavy cat exposure. It is very uncomfortable to have a cat on the neck whilst trying to sleep. When I kicked her out of the room, she flung herself at the door and did some frenzied door-clawing while making some ear-piercing yowls. So, 'cat on neck' was the lesser of two evils. I'm hoping for a better night tonight. If not, Greta might be getting some benzos.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Stardust Baby Shoes

So, things have been a little crazy here at casa E-C. In the next 3 months, we will graduate from med school, make a cross country move and start new jobs. Sounds exciting, huh? Yeah. We are neck-deep in home selling, apartment hunting, cross-country move arranging, car selling, car shopping (anyone have a good used one they want to sell us? I will sew/knit you something as a present.) And all while trying to feign enthusiasm on my remaining rotations. Stress suppression and denial are my current coping mechanisms. Working well so far, but I can't figure out why my neck and shoulders are so tense.

And I am contemplating buying a bike. Admittedly in the past, I have had difficulty navigating my being through space while on two wheels, so I don't know why I think buying a bike might be a good idea now. But it seems like it is an excellent alternative to driving and a faster way to travel than walking (my preferred mode of transportation.) Although the bike I want is fancy and not really appropriate for our budget. Hmmm.

Sewing and knitting are still going strong. I finished a sock and will hopefully have it's mate done and blog-ready soon. I also made another skirt and will post about it later tonight or tomorrow. For now, here are some baby shoes for dear friends (that just had a beautiful baby!)

Pattern - Stardust Cloth Baby Shoes
Size: One size (0-6 months)
Fabric - Scraps of embroidered linen and cotton and double-bonded fleece for the sole
Notions - fusible interfacing and 1/4" elastic
Comments: So Cute!!! And easy to make. I printed up the pdf of the pattern (see link above) cut out the pattern pieces and went to town. The interfacing and fabric I had in my stash, and the elastic and double-bonded fleece I picked up at Joann's for about $4. Have I mentioned how you can find total steals at Joann's? 40% off coupon people. And they have them in the stores for you to pick up before you check out!

Shoes are in the mail along with other goodies off to my friend. I will let you know how they fit!

Speaking of Fit, here is a photo of Raul's dream come true (car + alpaca.)
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