knitting

a little addiction

I think I have a problem. Not a big one – actually, it is very small. Teeny tiny, in fact. What is it, you ask? Teeny-tiny MochiMochi!! I had been following the MochiMochiLand blog for a while and then on a whim I decided to buy the Teeny-Tiny book. (Secret: I really want to make the giant squid from the Huge and Huggable book, but I think that would be the finished object to break the camel’s (aka David’s) back in terms of apartment real estate that is devoted to knitting. Also it would scare CeeCee and Bess too much. Alas/alack – in the meantime, it’s just me and the Tinys.) Shortly after getting the book, I had the privilege of meting Anna Hrachovec at Sifu! Needless to say I was an awful shy fangirl and it was hugely embarrassing and David had to start up the conversation because I was too nervous. I am the worst person. However, she was awesome and so was Sifu.

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ANYWAY. Behold some of my Tinys! Why do I have them? No clue. What will I do with them? Probably make them into Christmas ornaments. Or construct elaborate and ridiculous dioramas and stories (living with a TV editor does have its perks – free animation services!). Or slowly amass such a collection that we’re wading through stacks of tiny gnomes and mermaids to get to the kitchen. In the end, it’ll probably be the final option.

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(Cats, which look more like mice – these were my first efforts and are admittedly a bit rough)

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One really fun way I found to make “use” of these little nuggets of cuteness is to make them into customizable tableaus and give them as gifts. My Feinberg big sib Phoebe celebrated a birthday recently, so I made her one. I knitted some gnomes (see above), flattened out some Sculpey (before I baked it, I poked holes where toothpicks could go) and glued toothpicks down onto the surface. The gnomes got impaled (sorry gnomies) and ta-da!

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Given the fact that Phoebe and I share the same passion for a) things that are a bit weird and b) signs, I thought I’d make this the gift that keeps on giving by including some blank signs. She can write on them as she chooses and put them into the gnomes’ arms. This is obviously the best way to convey any important message.

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Ultimately, someday, you know with all my copious free time and whatnot, my big dream would be to design medical knitted stuff. Obviously not as a big money-maker, because there are only so many lovely weirdos that want to knit that stuff on Ravelry, but more of as a hobby. At first I was thinking normal stuff like scarves or mitts with cool anatomical designs on them, but maybe doing knitted toys would be fun too. Welp. I’ve just bared my deepest darkest wish to the Internet! Time to make it come true?

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no glove, no love

Excuse me while I take a moment to come to grips with the fact that I actually just made that a title to a blog post. Hem. Okay.

Given the overall terribleness of my schedule over the past few months, the Christmas knitting had to be scaled back a bit this year. However, I constantly feel the need to over-tax myself so of course I took on a new knitting challenge: gloves! And fingerless mitts with half-fingers.  As I downloaded my chosen patterns from Ravelry (Juris Mitts and Modified Army Gloves), I couldn’t help but wonder if I was biting off more than I could chew, technique-wise. Fingers seemed very terrible. I am very happy to report that I was wrong: knitting ten fingers is nowhere near as miserable as I (or others) had made it out to seem, and I have pictorial evidence of it also not being exceptionally difficult!

First up: my dad’s pair of regular gloves. These were knitted with the Modified Army Gloves pattern, and the only mod that I made to the pattern was to move up to 3.25 mm needles when I got to the fingers (I was knitting with the 3.0’s and trying them on as I went, and the fingers were like sausage casings on my tiny hands. This problem was immediately solved with the 3.25’s). Here are the gloves, modeled alongside my dad’s other Christmas gift from David and me: the Bug-A-Salt gun.

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Next is David’s gift, a pair of the Juris Mitts. I knitted them in DK held double (according to the internets, this is a substitution for aran weight yarn – seemed a little too thick to me). The mittens, while appearing comically large, actually fit David’s hands decently well and are crazy warm. warm. I am considering sewing bits of fleece into the mitten tops and the palms of the hands to snug up the fit and also make them even warmer.

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Next, and the last finished project (for now) was another pair of Juris Mitts, this time in a worsted superwash in the smallest size. I knitted these for a friend but I like them so much that I feel like they will be in my future!

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bitter knitter

Ugh. Just UGH, you guys *melodrama*. I am so glad to be putting this project behind me (but also so guilty to be putting this project on my sister). I’ve been working on a Christmas present for my sister over the past few months: Ginny’s Cardigan, found in Interweave’s Unofficial Harry Potter Knits magazine. This endeavour has already been fraught with frustrations and roadblocks, so it wasn’t too surprising when I ran into some more.

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One element of the sweater (about which I initially felt very enthusiastic) was the bust shaping. As I was knitting for my sister, who has a tiny rib cage and a large bust, I was pretty sure this was going to be necessary to achieve a good sweater fit. So I did it. And then I trucked along and finished the rest of the sweater. I had tried it on once or twice, and optimistically assumed that the fit would look less weird when the sweater was on someone whose cups literally runneth over.  Then those cups (and the person attached to them) put on the sweater and…nope. Not at all. The bust shaping landed somewhere south of the xiphoid process (aka not anywhere near the bust).  I wanted to cry. I may have actually cried. It was bad. After hemming and hawing and crying a bit more, I intentionally puckered the bust shaping inward on both sides a bit.  It still is kind of bad, but for lack of having anything else to give my sister on Christmas, this thing is what I handed over. Alas, alack. Okay. 3…2…1…attitude adjustment!! Here are some photos and I’m off to do other knitting projects without weird boobs.

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Pictorial evidence of my shame and anger.

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Silver lining: I really like the buttons. And the back. Let’s focus on those two elements. And the fact that Annie loves me enough to like it and wear it.

hey hi hello hola

One of my least favorite things about blogging is reading a post in which the content is only a half-assed apology about not posting more/explanation for the blogger’s radio silence, and a promise to do write more frequently. Yawn. But after two months I’ve gotta start somewhere.

So since we’ve last talked (or I talked at you, to be more correct), lots has happened on the personal and academic fronts. I finished the surgery, primary care and psychiatry clerkships. A few shocking things have happened: I loved surgery* **, and I did not love psychiatry. When second year ended, I was pretty sure that psych would be my destination, career-wise. I love talking to patients and spending time understanding them, but psychiatry involves so many medicines, and talking about mechanisms and side effects of different drugs is basically a fast-track to my brain entering an alternate orbit.
Speaking of my brain being in alternate orbit, another thing that happened has been…
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Yup. Almost a month ago, actually. I totally did not see it coming (even though David and I have been dating for over five and a half years), but of course I said yes (: Focusing has been difficult lately. I alternate between daydreaming about sewing my own wedding dress and freaking the eff out over the idea of having to plan a wedding.
Crafting-wise, I’ve been in a bit of a dry spell. I have finished (or almost finished) quite a few knitting projects, but because they’re ***seekrit*** Christmas gifts I don’t want to post about them here (just yet). Spoiler alert, though: I am obsessed with gloves. So tedious and nitpicky!! My favorite kind of project.
Oh! Also. I finally joined the world of modern technology and left my trusty 4.5 year old “dumb phone” by the wayside. This means that I now have an Instagram account, which is 50% crafts and 50% my cat. So check it out and we can ogle each other’s yarnstagrams.
* Definitely not going into surgery, though. I love to eat, urinate, and occasionally sit: these are luxuries not often afforded to surgeons. Also, waking up at 4:15 AM for the indefinite future is not a sustainable habit conducive to happiness of any kind.
** The last case of my surgery clerkship brought with it probably my most favorite memory of medical school thus far, and possibly one of the high points of my life. as I brought the patient into the OR for their hemithyroidectomy, my attending, who had mocked me so much for the whole month, turned to me and said “Ellie, I chose the music for this case especially for you.” He then proceeded to play the entirety of the soundtrack from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. He also called me Hermione for the duration of the case. Needless to say, I was floating about four inches off the ground the entire time.

sweater frenzy

Yup. I finished ANOTHER one. This is the Clarity Cardigan, which I’ve been working on for about 4-ish months now. I started this project after the boards and really just tore through the majority of the body in 3 weeks, then got bored and stopped (of course).  After I finished David’s sweater I pulled this bad boy out and saw that the body was just like an inch from being done – no more excuses! I made short work of the sweater once I picked it up again. The collar is a bit difficult to style, but I’m getting the hang of it. While the color isn’t quite right for fall, I think it will make a really great sweater for those terrible days in March (and April…) when I desperately want it to be spring, but it’s still only 35 degrees outside. It’s terribly sad that those days happen so frequently that I specifically made a sweater for them, but eh – it’s Chicago, what else was I expecting?

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When my dad saw the finished product on me he immediately broke into a rendition of “Rainbow Connection.” (Thanks Dad.) While I do acknowledge that this sweater is particularly Kermity, I won’t be sad because I have a deep affection for the Muppets. If you want more project notes check out my Ravelry page.

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PS – this is a scheduled post – as you’re reading this, I’m on trauma call at the hospital. Eeep!

harry potter and the obviously different dye lots

Why do so many of my blog posts involve me writing the word “TRAGEDY” in all caps? Um, maybe it’s because I eff up my projects so much, but this is getting ridiculous. This one is definitely 100% my own stupid fault. Read on to join my pity party.

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I decided to knit my sister a sweater for Christmas, and chose Ginny’s Cardigan from the Interweave Harry Potter Knits magazine.  I had 5 balls of superwash DK in a purplish red color in my stash, so I just bought a couple more from KnitPicks to have enough to knit the sweater. I was almost done with the sweater body today when I realized that there was a stripe where no stripe should be.  It turns out that the dye lot for the KnitPicks Swish DK Bordeaux colorway has shifted slightly to be just a little more purple. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a lecture hall so I couldn’t fully express my frustrations, which would have involved much gnashing of teeth and loud sobbing.

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See? Very obvious stripe. Ironically, there was a post on Fringe Association yesterday about the same exact thing! I read it and thought, “Wow. I would be so sad if that happened to me.” THEN IT DID. Murphy’s law of knitting, I suppose. In the end, I decided to frog everything that I had done (and by that, I mean I decided to make David frog everything I had done, because there would be no way I could do that to myself) and buy more of the newer Bordeaux.  So much for making headway on Christmas gifts before the surgery clerkship. Luckily, this hasn’t represented TOO much time spent knitting (thank goodness for DK weight, size 6 needles and a loose gauge). Time to see how quickly I can catch back up.

famous last words

Hello there everyone. Can y’all guess which incredibly inaccurate and foolish sentence came out of my mouth not even a month ago?

“I’m totally not doing any knitting for Christmas gifts this year.”  “I’m in the middle of destashing and not buying any yarn, and it’s going really well.”

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If you were the shrewd, cynical consumer of Internet information like I know y’all are, and you guessed that I actually said BOTH of those things, then well shucks, you’re right. Ugh. Just ugh, you guys.  Up until the beginning of August, I had only purchased two skeins of yarn for all of 2014. Just two!! I was feeling very smug about my 3 out, 1 in challenge/promise/thing. And then that fricking Knitpicks sale came along and ruined everything.

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In this gorgeous pile of shame I have enough yarn for gifts for David, my mom, dad and sister, a friend or two, and maybe even a lil’ sumpin sumpin for myself. I’m terribly torn between excitement and shame about this most recent yarn acquisition. Alas, alack.

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