Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Is there anything on this earth superior to learning new things? I say no; however, watching someone else develop new skills that you yourself treasure is a close second.

My brother was initially confused when he ripped open a package of yarn under the tree and handed it over to me, assuming that Santa had mixed up the gifts. Nope. It was a learn to knit hat and scarf kit from the holy KnitPicks. I showed him a few things and he was off! Surprising to me, he has turned out to be a British knitter, whereas I am Continental. Talk about throwing a whole new level of complexity into the eons old nature vs nurture debate. You may not be able to tell from the picture, but these are the most consistent stitches a beginner has ever produced.

You know what really made my day though? We were going to see a movie and when I told him it was time to leave, he said, "OK, just let me finish this row." Awesome.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Yarn Pile!

005, originally uploaded by trifarina.

Santa brought me a kit from Knitpicks, the East Meets West Satchel. Along with the weighty tome they refer to as a pattern, comes a veritable Mount Everest of yarn. I am at once thrilled, concerned, and inspired...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Emergency Knitting!

002, originally uploaded by trifarina.

This year I self-gifted a marginal necessity, the Amazon Kindle. (OK, it was mostly the result of peer pressure from my Mom and brother...)

I realized last night that my inaugural Kindle flight would be risky without something to keep away the scratches. I have it on good authority that an official kindle cover will be waiting under the tree, but obviously, I had to fly to get TO the tree. What a conundrum.
The result is a surprisingly satisfying, quickly knitted tube sweater (with a hole in the bottom for the charging cord). Yea!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Yellow Three Ways

001, originally uploaded by trifarina.

What you see in front of you is the octopus from last week, felted fail hat, and passable baby hat with felted starburst ornamentation. The fail doesn't look quite as ridiculous in this photo, but I assure you it's still too itchy for baby head applications. Now I have an x-mas present for my Mom's cat.

The passable hat is made of a new yarn I found at Yarns 2 Ewe, Plymouth Yarn Baby Boutique. It's very soft and touchable, but unfortunately, like almost every other microfiber yarn I've worked with it is splitty beyond imagination.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Good Morning!

006, originally uploaded by trifarina.

Or whatever time it happens to be where you are! Based on my ravelry statistics, this guy makes octopus number 9. I finally perfected the mantle to tentacle grafting, and I think this might be the best one yet. The yarn is Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool that I colored with Jaquard acid dye. He's going to a baby and I made a matching hat that did not turn out so well. I need to do some thinking about that one... maybe socks instead?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Family Jewels

ammonite, originally uploaded by trifarina.

I recently received a surprise gift in the mail from a friend who made me a necklace. It was quite nice and reminded me of a time when I made jewelry myself...

Fast forward to last night, the madness has begun. Sitting on my sofa surrounded by beads flying in the air and wee tiny pliers crimping everything in sight. The first few attempts were awful. I will be "frogging" them and using the beads for decidedly more tasteful objects in the future.

But this one, this one I like. It has an ammonite pendant I purchased for cheap on the ebay, and is strung with chips of smokey quartz and beads. (The strand is curled up here, it's actually about 52 cm in length.)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Something in the Water...

003, originally uploaded by trifarina.

Really, there is almost certainly something in the water out here. My baby knitting continues with this simple crocheted blanket in Lion Brand Recycled Cotton. It turned out almost too heavy, I guess they could use it as a rug...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gnome baby

004, originally uploaded by trifarina.

This is a rather successful attempt at felting the infamous Crystal Palace baby pixie hat. Yes, I do think I'm special.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


001, originally uploaded by trifarina.

I have a weird relationship with swatching. I will swatch for something small like a hat, but then when it comes to a sweater, I really have to force myself. I am starting the Cambridge Jacket by Ann Budd in hopes that I can finish in time for x-mas. If not, my brother shall remain huddled and chilly. Since he lives in Cambridge, I think there is good potential for some geographically specific and mystical hyperwarm action.

I swatched once with the exact specifications of the pattern, #9 needles with Cascade 220 superwash. What should have been 19.5 x 27 came out to be 18 x 22.

OK, my gauge is off.

Crap! Does that mean I have to re-swatch? Yes, yes it does. I got closer with #7 needles, so the knitting has commenced. Only time will tell if the fruits of my labor are ripe.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Full Metal Blanket

001, originally uploaded by trifarina.

I found that knitting a pink baby blanket was just a touch too saccharine for me, so I finished it up while watching Full Metal Jacket.

"These are my needles, there are many others like them, but these are mine..."

The blanket making continues as I appear to have befriended a growing crowd of fertile Myrtles. These larger scale projects contribute to the infrequent posting. The other main culprit is a full time job that I enjoy and don't feel compelled to escape in my off hours with copious yarn-work.

The Christmas knitting plans are limited, but still I have feasibility concerns. I only have to knit some knee-warmers for my Uncle Sonny, and a sweater for my brother. I have never actually knit either item, so I am unsure of the time involved.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Diatom Experiment #1

I want to knit some fun diatom themed hats for an upcoming cruise some friends will be on. I hate colorwork and am not good at it, but that would be way easier. Here is the swatch of my first concept, a pennate diatom, worked horizontally.


The pattern looks quite suggestive and isn't really recognizable as a friendly marine autotroph. Attempt number two will involve a centric form with a honeycomb network of cables inside the circle.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Yarn Pr0n

It's so much faster to stash than to knit... I found these oddballs at FIT yesterday and just grabbed a couple. The labels look old and yellowed, and state " Cotton Crepe: Made in Holland: A Fashionable Dress Yarn". Very interesting. I had no idea what to make so I reached for the conservative brown over hot pink. Now, I'm thinking I'll make some more string bags for Christmas and what not. It would be a nice project to stick in every now and then to break the blanket monotony.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Progress Report

Here is the baby blanket progress since last I posted. It is pretty boring work, but hard to mess up when I'm already brain dead from work. I didn't post last weekend, having done nothing exciting enough to post...

But this weekend marks the beginning of a brand new knitting group, made especially for all of us geologists in Houston! (and anybody else that wants to come...) It will be held on a recurring basis, every Sunday at high noon at Waldo's coffee shop in the Heights. (1030 Heights Blvd., Houston, TX 77246) Check out Waldo's on Yelp.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My New Favorite Store

I love love love Japanese crafts and I'm also triple amorous when it comes to a good 100 yen store (that's a Japanese dollar store to the uninitiated). Ichiban Kan in San Francisco was my previous favorite, and I thought there was no way I would find one in Houston. But luckily enough, we have a ginormous FIT Japanese Store. They have everything I expected, like aisles of tupperware, bento accessories, dishes, and stationary (sweet!). They also have a decent craft section with cheap knitting needles (plastic or bamboo) and some little kits which I could not resist. See above for a sampling of my purchases including the FIT bag you purchase for 2$ and get 5% off every purchase after that with the bag!

Find it at 9889 Bellaire Blvd.
Suite 251

Houston, TX 77036
(281) 201-1360

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Knitting by my Lonesome

I am a lonely knitter. I really had a great time meeting new people in Santa Cruz through the good old craftiness and figured I could do the same in the Lone Star State. Alas, the schedule of a miserable grad student is far more flexible than that of a content corporate shill. I love my new job to pieces, but I get tired by the end of the day. When I get up and hit the road at 6AM, I don't have enough steam left to find and enjoy a 6pm knitting group. All of the ones I have found so far in Houston are on weeknights. Perhaps when I get more settled I could start my own weekend group, but for now, I knit alone. This current project is a blanket with a very simple lace pattern that I can chip away at for an hour or so a night.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Charity Case

I just finished the wreath to turn in for the United Way auction. The deadline is tomorrow and I had to really hustle. This was the single most annoying project I've ever worked on. Getting the wires in the flowers after felting was sheer torture. Trying to get the damn things arranged nicely on the wire wreath frame was nigh on impossible.
I think it's ugly and am frankly embarrassed to turn it in, but it would look worse to flake. I should have crocheted a baby blanket as per my first instinct. Oh well, at least my official performance reviews will be based on the geology, not the extracurricular knitting.

On a completely unrelated note, I have decided I need to work on devising a new pattern over the weekend. This time we're going siliceous and let's just say it is bound to be totally rad.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Yeah, that's right, I'm going to do some more felting. I have my own washer and dryer IN my APARTMENT. NO QUARTERS NEEDED. These will be added to a project I'm making for the United Way Silent Auction at work. I originally said I could make a baby blanket, but had to scale back a bit as the deadline is next week.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Felted GPS Cozy

Front and back view respectively. I made this out of hand dyed fisherman's wool and I quite like how the color striping turned out. I hope my Garmin doesn't get too hot in his little sweater.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Little bubbles baby set, the finale

I swear this is the last post about this, but I thought people might get a kick out seeing the whole ensemble.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Pirate King Skinny Scarf

Ahoy mateys! I finally decided on a good project for the knit picks Imagination hand paint sock yarn, pirate king colorway... Argh, these chevron seas be mighty wavy, but oh so boring to knit.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Baby Booties or Anatomically Correct Spider?

Well that's pretty much a no-brainer. I chose to make this spider from Hansigurumi instead of the pattern booties to finish up the knit picks little bubbles baby set.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Where in the world?

I haven't posted any updates lately, here's why. I moved to Houston last Wednesday after much preparation and ado. I was going to rent my very own house, have a yard where I could garden and plant flowers, as well as have a washer and dryer. The house had been selected on a scouting trip and I was all leased up and ready to go.

I get there, no utilities are connected. OK, that one was partially my fault. I've never moved into a house or apartment where they had been completely disconnected and thought the accounts would just be transferred to my name. As it turns out, the electric companies in Houston don't want to turn your power on unless you have a TX driver's license. I had to spend a few nights in a motel, it being waaaay too uncomfortable without AC. Bev helped me deal with them and within a few days I had electricity and moved in.

I got furniture, tons of crap at IKEA, and set out to begin remedying all of the shortcomings of the house that were only made apparent after the previous tenants moved out. Yes, they apparently had a fancy toilet seat and took that with them, along with one of the bedroom AC window units. They left me several things though, including fleas, garbage, yard waste, laundry in the dryer, and the lovely little mosquito colony pictured below that also contains dog waste, rotting plant material and what was either a dead animal or a highly degraded stuffed toy. Sweet.

I was dismayed, but charging ahead, getting cable/internet/phone set up, buying groceries, a lawnmower, garden tools, and a britta filter for the tap because what came out was orange and chunky. (think Goonies here people.) Finally the gas company showed up Tuesday, and I was totally stoked because the cold showers were becoming increasingly unpleasant. Well, the water heater and gas range were so unsafe they were "red tagged" and the gas could not be legally connected. That was the last straw, and the stress and anxiety due to the fixer-upper were becoming too much. It's not like I bought the stupid place, why should I be responsible for fixing all this stuff?

I have now moved to a fancy apartment building in the Montrose district. The lawnmower was returned and the furniture moved again for me by the very nice folks at The CORT furniture outlet. I now have a refrigerator with ice and water on the door that doesn't smell like spoiled baby formula for monkeys. I have a full sized, clean washer dryer pair IN the apartment, and a DISHWASHER! There is valet trash pickup every night at your door, and I love my stained concrete floors. I don't have a spare bedroom anymore, but I still encourage you to visit. I think I could get a twin bed in the closet.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dye Pot Antics

They continue... This is a big hank of Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Little Bubbles Baby Set

I'm currently plugging away at the Little Bubbles Baby Set by KnitPicks. It's wicked cute, and was quite a bargain at 13.99$. I picked the "neutral" colorway, which appears to be sold out now. After I was almost finished working the yoke of the sweater, I realized a huge error allowing cumbersome snaggy floats to fly free on the wrong side. Much soul searching eventually led to ripping it all out and starting over.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Knitted Microfossil #1

I know, I know, what the heck took me so long? I've started out with a bisaccate palynomorph at the suggestion of palygirl on Ravelry. I modeled this one after Abies pollen but, in general, most conifers take this form. The two spongiform bladders make for a lightweight grain that is easily dispersed by wind.

Edited to add: The free pattern is now available for download at
d\ Download now!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Trilobite Hat!!!!

The new Knitty is up, and take a look at the coolest hat ever devised.... Trilobite!
I'm going to cast on this evening for sure.
photo and hat by Hannah Ingalls

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Dyeing Empire

I am in the process of establishing my very own personal dyeing empire. OK, that might be a slight overstatement of the situation, but I have been getting my colour on. (British spelling an obvious nod to Acloui...)
I'm making a Lizard Ridge blanket for an expected baby girl and wanted it to be washable. Noro isn't washable, but I wanted long colour changes. So here's what I did:

1) Acquire superwash merino worsted from KnitPicks.
2)Transform hanks into balls
3) Knit yarn into flats using my good old knitting machine
4) Dye yarn with Jaquard Acid dyes
5) Knit!

I'll post more pictures as I progress.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Yard Work

Being home is nice. And I have a chance to futz around outside a little. We actually have a yard. This concept has become slightly abstract after too many years of living in an apartment hole. As a result of playing outdoors a tiny bit more, less knitting gets done to post. I've enlisted this fellow to help me kill two birds with one stone. The yarn is Patons Merino Wool Classic, overdyed with paste food coloring. The pattern is of course Hansi Singh's octopus. This one is made using the book pattern, which is substantially different from the one I purchased long ago from her Etsy site. The legs are ganglier, the head and mantle are longer. Interesting.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Epic Fail

I just finished my version of October is for Spinners.
Then I had several bad ideas.

Bad Idea #1: I would try my hand at painting with dye. This wasn't the fatal error, I had decided I would overdye with red or something and the black would just be for accent.

Bad Idea #2: Microwave for same time and power level as a whole skein of wet yarn. There is now a hole burned through my spider. Poop. What to do?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Juno Regina

I finished my Juno this past week and dyed it with food coloring to match a request for red. This was my first "big" lace project and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Possum Yarn!

Ever since I learned about yarn spun from New Zealand possum fur, I knew I had to have some. Luckily I have a nice friend, currently finishing up a sentence in the land of the kiwi, who was kind enough to be my latest enabler. Thanks Katie!

Edited to add:
This yarn is a possum/merino blend. Supposedly the possums are "hand plucked" which I assume is some sort of non harmful brushing process. The possums are way cuter than the N. American variety, but are an invasive species introduced ~150 years ago.

Edited again:
After more snooping, it looks like they kill the possums before plucking. I'm not a vegetarian though and have leather shoes, so I'm OK with it. I just didn't want to mislead anybody.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Yarn Tourism: Columbus

I went to WonderKnit this afternoon. It's on High Street in Columbus, about a block away from my favorite old apartment on Como Ave. The storefront is a bit tricky to spot, so I have posted a picture of their next door neighbors Wholly Craft (a pretty cool place in its own right).

They had some interesting yarns I had never seen before including a large range of products from the Neighborhood Fiber Co, and Aslan Trends. This bright blue silk and some Filatura di Crosa Mohair Kid Extra somehow made it into my bag, so I suppose I'll have to make a scarf.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Slogging Along

I'm working on Juno Regina from Knitty and it has been an adventure. The charts for the lacy bits were very difficult to follow. I had to rely heavily on assistance from the Ravelry knit-a-long group and after a few painful rips, finally bothered to add lifelines. I'm about 1/4 way through the long bit in the middle, it's a lovely zen exercise.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Grape Fizz

I've always wanted to take a picture of the surfer statue wearing a scarf. I decided to give it a shot yesterday with this scarf I just finished for myself. It's Cherry Fizz from the spring edition of Twist Collective. As it turns out, the statue is waaaaay taller than I thought. I attribute this to the fact that I usually drive by it rather than walk by, because I am an inferior Santa Cruzian. Anyway, The best I could do is wrap it around his feet.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Delta Force: Gavialis gangeticus

This little guy is made for the crocodilian lover of the Koch lab who uses stable isotopes to learn about the life habits of said reptiles, both living and fossilized. This fine fibre specimen of Gavialis gangeticus sports the trademark narrow and elongated snout that makes the gharial so easy to spot.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spring has Sprung

Bad for the allergies, but it makes for good blog titles I suppose. I dyed ~1800 yards of lace weight yarn the other night. It's going to be a nightmare to wind it.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Delta Force: Caliche Nodule

Not every member of the delta force works with animals... perhaps they thought they were immune. Not bloody likely. This friendly little soil carbonate nodule is waiting to be crushed and analyzed. Wearing the latest in specimen collection bag chic, he has been working out feverishly to rid himself of those pesky clumpy isotopes. Wouldn't want Katie to find detectable levels... cheeky monkey.