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Tres Chic Veronique


No New Year's Resolutions Yet

It's been great to meet up with the Spiders at the Point these past couple of days. Otherwise, I'd be sitting at home, on this couch:
(This is my clever way of participating in the "show where you knit" meme. My knitting spot is, of course, a couch. I sit surrounded by patterns, yarn and other knitting notions. As you can see, I spread the love so much that only one person can sit on the couch. We have a second futon and a comfy chair, and that's what my roommate sits in!)

One thing I love about meeting up with the Spiders is that we get to see who's working on what, who's planning to work on what and most of all, we get to fondle yarn. We ususally cover the table with our stuff, like this:

Oh, I never added this item to my sidebar: I snatched up some crazy Regia sock yarn (from the "nation" collection, this one is "fun nation") at the Point on dec 23, and I already have a finished sock! BB's husband has dubbed them "Mork & Mindy socks". I have to agree. Sandra immediately bought some too, and started making Jaywalkers. The fun never stops with Jaywalkers: we all know chevrons are going to appear, and yet, we are all mesmerized... (You can see them in the picture above, next to my sock). I think Marie bought a couple of balls too.
Have a Happy New Year, and if I can think of some resolutions, I'll post about it!

By Veronique
On Saturday, December 31, 2005
At 12/31/2005 11:45:00 AM


Christmas knitting

I got into Christmas knitting at the last minute. Actually, that's not really true, since I haven't finished last year's Christmas knitting.... Anyway. I bought 2 skeins of Misti Alpaca Chunky in hunter green at the Point on the 23rd (and finally met Joy!), tried different stitch patterns that evening, then knit the entire scarf on the 24th, blocked it overnight and gifted it to my grandfather on Christmas day! I even took the extra minute to sew on mone of my "tres chic Veronique" tags. See? The stitch pattern is from the 365 knitting stitches a year perpetual calendar, March 11. It is called the mock cable rib. Baby alpaca is sooo soft!
I also packed 2 skeins of Noro Kureyon (color 124, purchased on sale at Little Knits) for the train ride up to the Berkshires along with a photocopy of the Lady Eleanor Stole pattern from Scarf Styles. I made the first "base triangle" then turned the page and the directions didn't make sense anymore. That would be because I forgot to make a copy of the second page of the pattern. Duh. I tried to figure it out on my own, and I got the general shape right, but didn't know how many stitches/rows each square should be. Once I got to my grand-parents', I hijacked my mother's computer and looked up the Danica pattern on Knitty. Wouldn't you know it's extremely similar? I guess entrelac is entrelac! My trials and tribulations weren't over yet though: I guessed that 6 squares per tier would make a nice, wide stole. Wide is right: after knitting up the 2 balls, I realized I was making a blanket. My mother was kind enough to rip for me (you mean I just pull on the yarn?). I started over with 5 squares per tier. Ah, much nicer.

But that's not all! I am dying to start working on Knit and Tonic's Somewhat Cowl. I created a HintBug list (found out about it from Fig and Plum) and I know my aunt bought me something from my list. I hope it's 8 skeins of Alpaca/Silk... I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

(Oh, and no, I haven't forgotten about the 2nd fair isle mitten or the 2nd XO glove. They were just too fiddly. I needed something I could work on and talk at the same time. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it).

By Veronique
On Wednesday, December 28, 2005
At 12/28/2005 02:05:00 PM


One glove down...

... and one more to go.
This might be a problem, as I am severely afflicted with second glove syndrome (as well as second mitten syndrome). I start out with the best of intentions, I even try to combat my illness by casting on *immediately* for the second glove/mitten. Nothing helps. I have a half-finished Vinternatt mitten and the cuff of the second XO tipless glove on my couch as we speak.
But let's be positive, shall we? Look how pretty the first tipless XO glove is!! Ooh, Cashmerino... (For those who asked: this took me 3 evenings. One to slog through the 1:1 ribbing, one for that great XO cable, and one to do the fingers, which are a bit fiddly).
I can't believe the MTA decided to strike! I thought for sure things would get resolved. And it's freezing cold out, too. I feel bad for all those who have had to think creatively to get to work. I suppose I am glad that I live across the street from the lab. (I say "suppose" because I secretly believe I could've had a day off if I lived far away. Like a snow day! Reality is different though, and everybody has to trudge to work). Hell, I didn't even realize there was a strike until I read it on Marie's blog!

By Veronique
On Tuesday, December 20, 2005
At 12/20/2005 12:34:00 PM


We got cable!

Well, look at that. I did not forget the cable! My sil specifically chose this nifty "XO" cable (straight out of the Vogue Knitting book).
I'd like to give a thumbs up to Ann Budd's Handy Book of Patterns. So much easier to follow a pattern than to calculate everything yourself...
(And a thumbs up to everyone's suggestion of having a drink. It helped. I should turn to you for advice more often).

I went to the MoMA this weekend. I took lots of pictures and realized, once I was home, that there is nothing more boring and unoriginal than rectangular pictures of rectangular paintings. And hey, you can buy the poster at the gift shop! Duh. However, I was entertained by all the children in the museum and their reaction to art.
One piece of art was perplexing to us: it is a black acrylic rug (obviously, I'm missing something. Let me know if you can figure it out, ok?). This little girl stared at it for a long time, then made a dash for it. Ah, breaking all the rules, at such a young age...

These 2 little boys had *many* questions in the Jackson Pollock room. (I wish I could've overheard their father's explanations. And the kids' reaction to the concept of "Action painting". Were they dying to go home and try it?)

By Veronique
On Monday, December 19, 2005
At 12/19/2005 06:32:00 PM


knitting after a PhD

I'll tell you one thing a PhD will not help you with: gauge.

I volunteered to make tipless gloves for my sister-in-law's sister. My sil found a pattern that she liked (on the left), from Holiday Knitting, which I do not own. However, I *do* own Handknit Holidays and there's a glove pattern in that. You know what's coming next, do you? I felt that the 2 patterns were so similar that there was no need for me to purchase a new book. Hell, I even told my sil to choose a different cable! The pattern in Handknit Holidays calls for Blue Sky Alpaca's Alpaca & Silk which knits up at 6spi. My sil bought Baby Cashmerino, which knits up at the same exact gauge. What a stroke of luck! I cast on immediately. In fact, I felt so confident that I tried a new (for me) way to do the tubular CO (thank you Montse Stanley).
Let's do a re-cap of the mistakes so far, shall we?
1. no gauge swatching
2. no pattern
3. daring new cast-on technique

Here's a few more mistakes, thrown in for good measure:
4. Did not read the Handknit Holidays pattern through.
You are instructed to CO 96 st, work a few rows in a twisted cable pattern, then you decrease to 64 st. Of course, I cast on 96 st and knit merrily on. Riiiiip!

5. CO the correct number of st, but using yet another CO technique. Looked terrible. Rip.

6. CO using good old reliable tubular CO technique (the one in Nancie Wiseman's book). Ahh. Much better. Felt smug. Showed off knitting to family members.

7. Knit all the way up to the thumb while thinking "this is really wide".

8. Continued knitting up to the pinky, while still thinking "damn, this is really wide". Decided to measure gauge. The gauge in the pattern is 8.5 spi but I have 7 spi. How could this be?! RIP.

9. Realized I forgot to knit the cable.

By Veronique
On Monday, December 12, 2005
At 12/12/2005 03:35:00 PM


PhD part 2: the other party

The best part about a PhD? Drinking one!

  • chilled champagne
  • 1 oz gin
  • 1/2 oz anisette
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • pomegranate seeds
(some pomegranate seeds will sink to the bottom, others will be pushed up by bubbles. Oooh, pretty!)

However, the robot (who now has arms and an antenna) prefers wine.

Hmmm, these pictures do not show that food was served at this party... My friends prepared a 5 course french dinner! We had fennel soup, salade nicoise, tarte a l'oignon (onion tart), fromages from Murray's and tarte a la myrtille (blueberry tart). By some miracle, there was an entire blueberry tart left in my fridge. I've been having blueberry tart for breakfast and after luch and dinner. It makes a good snack too. If only it didn't turn my teeth blue...

Next up: knitting after a PhD. It's not all it's cracked up to be.


PhD part 1: the lab party

Warning: picture heavy post! And not much knitting either. Although I'll point out the handknits various people are wearing, does that count? --Edited to add: all pics taken by Dr. M, our official lab photographer. Thanks Dr. M!--

I defended my thesis on thursday. (No revisions!!). There were parties. First, the lab party:
My mom and her sister came. My mom wore the Classic Slant cardigan from Interweave Knits Fall '04 (knitted with heathered Cascade 220) and I gifted the Mystery Shawl 2 to my aunt. My friend's dog Trixie bonded with them right away.

My brother wore a bias knit scarf, made from hand painted merino wool (oops, lost the label):

Our lab has a tradition for graduation parties: the new graduate is a contestant in a game, and "wins" their gift from the lab. You gotta work hard for your gift, let me tell you. We played a game called Rockefeller Squares. --Edited to add: I forgot to mention that our lab is at Rockefeller University. Get it?-- Just like Hollywood Squares, except our "celebrities" were lab members. (Who are celebs in our world!). All questions were goofy and more or less science related. Well, the rules suddenly changed for me: the game was rigged to make me lose. Yes, my lab mates wanted to see me squirm! I pointed fingers (while wearing Glampyre's Orangina):

They had to give me a bonus question at the very end, which I answered correctly, *phew*. (FYI: I did not get that the game was rigged until after it was over, when someone told me. I felt pretty stupid up there, getting everything wrong). And here's my gift:

This is when I found out that my lab mates read my blog. --Hi guys!-- They posted an anonymous comment a while back, asking what a perfect gift for someone just like me (but not actually me) would be. I still can't believe they got me the coolest knitting bag ever!
When I gave my advisor his gift, he gave it a good squeeze and immediately *knew* that it was hand knitted. He loved the DNA scarf.

Next up: Phd part 2, the other party.

By Veronique
On Sunday, December 11, 2005
At 12/11/2005 09:57:00 PM


proof that robots can be cuddly

Not much knitting going on around here... But I have prepared a 49 slide PowerPoint talk! I'm now in the process of smoothing out all the details: I want each slide to seamlessly lead to the next and not be surprised by what my next slide is ("oh yeah, and here I'm going to show you..."). I also want to make sure that I'm using technical terms, so that "this brain is screwed up" becomes "the CNS presents severe abnormalities in cytoarchitecture". Nice, huh?

However, I have almost completed my Jess Hutch Robot. Hmmm. My robot looks a little drunk. And he has wild eyes. And his stuffing is a little lumpy. I love him nonetheless.
In lieu of another progress shot for the Vinternatt mitten, I'll just show you what my chart looks like. I cross off each row with an orange highlighter. Brilliant trick from Craftster.

By Veronique
On Wednesday, December 07, 2005
At 12/07/2005 02:21:00 PM


necklace knitting

Until yesterday, I was bemoaning the lack of patterns for knitted necklaces. Now of course, there's one up on Knitty! However, pre-Knitty Winter 05 (ie: sunday!), I was determined to make a necklace out of the Lorna's Laces angora that I received at the Spider holiday party. I undrstand why 'Tina bought this: it is the softest, fuzziest yarn ever. I am in love.
Here are my attempts, all culled from Nicky Epstein's "knitting on the edge":

#1: Twin Leaf. Very pretty, but way too wide. This would be good for a scarf, but not a choker.

#2: Angel Wings Scallop Edging. Also pretty but even bigger than attempt #1. Oops, I started frogging before I remembered to snap a pic...

#3: Baby Tears. Ahh. Much better! It's both lacy and not too wide. Perfect for a choker.

PS: Several have commented about Kate. Jess Hutch's designs are adorable and funny. You should buy the pattern book if you haven't already!

By Veronique
On Tuesday, December 06, 2005
At 12/06/2005 11:30:00 AM


new Knitty!

The new Knitty is up! My fave so far: Tubey.

By Veronique
On Monday, December 05, 2005
At 12/05/2005 12:19:00 PM


The Spiders can party!

Amanda (and Katie) hosted a White Elephant gift exchange. Ever heard of those? Everybody brings a gift. One by one, each participant gets to choose between opening a gift or stealing someone else's gift. Clearly, if you are the last to go, you get to steal the best gift. There were 11 of us, and I picked #10! Yes! My plan was to carefully monitor the others' gifts and steal the best one. I mean, come on , the odds of the last 2 gifts being the best ones are pretty low, right? I had statistics on my side. Virginia (#11) and I danced a little dance. We were ready to pounce. Check out the pile of gifts!
But first, we had a few Spiders cocktails. Unfortunately, I snarfed them down without taking a picture, but! later on in the evening, I drank a few Spider Screwdrivers. See?
nature morte avec spider

#1, Sarah, got 2 skeins of Manos, in a Christmas-y colorway. The gift opening started so quickly, I didn't have time to snap a pic. (Either that, or the Spider cocktail was working it's magic).
#2, Lisa, stole it from her. Sarah picked another gift: 2 skeins of Lobster Pot yarn in a yummy baby blue and Vogue Knitting Winter 05. I had my eye on this...
#3, Kaitlyn, got Wrap Style and Jacques Torres hot chocolate (yum!). I already own this, so it was not on my "to steal" list.
#4, Amanda, got bookbookbook2 (she squealed!) AND 4 wine tumblers AND a bottle of wine. I already own bookbookbook2. But I like wine...
#5, Stephanie, opened a gift bag with a japanese-looking flower motif. Not a surprise. It contained a sock pattern book, sock knitting needles, 1 big skein of Marie's hand-dyed sock yarn AND one skein of Marie's handspun worsted. Now, this was on my to steal list.
#6, Sandra, picked a gift 'Tina and I had been eyeing: a big glossy black bag, topped off with tumbling red ribbons. She was not disappointed: it contained a plethora of gifts. Blame the delicious Spider cocktail(s): I can only remember 2 of the gifts; Eucalan wash and one of Kaitlyn's cute handmade ornaments.
#7, Abby, opened my gift: Handknit Holidays and 4 skeins of Knit Picks' sock yarn (to make the book's over-the-knee socks). She did not keep it for long...
#8, Marie, got a LeSportSac and some fancy hand cream.
#9, Katie, stole from Abby! Abby opened a new gift: Weekend Knitting.
#10, me, well, I stole from Sarah. And my bad karma turned around and bit me in the ass: Sarah went on to open the best gift ever: 2 ball of Australian lace yarn in the most beautiful blues. (In fact, I already own one ball of this...) And the cutest stitch markers.
#11, Virginia, had the nerve to steal from me. I understand that the last gift remaining was the one she brought, but still. Fortunately, her gift was perfect for me: the latest Rebecca magazine and one teeny tiny little itty bitty cute-as-a-button skein of Lorna's Laces Angel, 70% angora. I think everybody petted it. Marie has photographic evidence of my drunken glee.

By Veronique
On Sunday, December 04, 2005
At 12/04/2005 12:32:00 PM


no freaking way

When I started knitting Mermaid, I thought the yarn was very fragile: it's loosely spun, loosely plied, wispy-looking 2 ply. So, I was very careful not to knit too tightly. Of course, I was off gauge, and went down to a size 1 needle. But I powed on, undeterred. I was proud of myself this morning; look how close I am to finishing! I just have to finish the last orange/pink stripe and the border pink stripe!!

As I was knitting, my fingers (but not my brain) realized that this yarn is pretty resilient, and without really noticing, my fingers knit tighter. Just a little bit. And then a little bit more. And then... I had a passing thought. Was the newly-knit (right) side slightly smaller than the left side? It couldn't possibly be. Let's fold it together into a sweater shape and see.

I am off by 1.5 inches.

By Veronique
On Thursday, December 01, 2005
At 12/01/2005 03:31:00 PM