Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tree topper

This is our Flying Spaghetti Monster tree topper. My husband asked me to make it for our multiple-belief holiday tree. You can read about the FSM here and the pattern (for a smaller ornament is here. His eyes are Oobi eyes, which are used for hand puppets.
Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

ready to felt


Here is the progress I've made on the KAL that oogyknitter and I are doing. My version of Tequila Sunrise is more like Tequila Noonday. Lots of YELLOW. I like working this pattern because I can do a full pattern repeat (14 rows) in one sitting. Oogyknitter chose the pattern and I dyed the yarn. The pattern is at

Monday, December 22, 2008

A mammothy wool

Winter break is here, and there's time to blog! Well, not really, but the alternative is grading, so I'll blog for a distraction from that.

This great wheel of wool was recently bestowed upon me. Woo hoo! Long story, but one of my colleagues is neighbors with a sheep herder (herd of 2, I believe), who gave him this wool for helping care for the sheep. My colleague is not interested in learning to knit, so instead handed over the wool to me.

Raw wool, spun with the oils intact, is not always an impressive sight, but once it gets washed, and dyed (!) it really comes to life.
I've wasted no time in starting a project--a bag (or 2?) to be felted. I think I'll make a hat for the sheep herder as a thank you. The wool is not itchy at all.

More later...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Camel Beach Knitters

So now you know I hang out with beautiful people.

The pink tube

Here is oogyknitter's tube-making machine with the first inch of pink alpaca yarn on its way to tube-ville. This is yarn that I purchased in bulk from Webs, when I thought I liked the color and before I discovered that it is not exactly soft. It's great for felting, though!
4 skeins later...I weaved in a nylon clothesline cord to make some holes in the felted fabric for later.

ready for the dye.
Dyed and can see the notches where the nylon cord was removed.

happy felines

This post has nothing to do with either knitting or brain function...

Barney likes his new window perch.

And "Saddle bags" likes the catnip. He/she visits our yard occasionally to sample it. I grew it for Barney though he seems insensitive to it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

This summer's FOs

The projects this summer have mostly been multi-step ones: dyeing, felting and knitting, not necessarily in that order.

Here is a pair of socks made from Knit Picks sock flats, dyed with 2 blues and a green. I made concentric circles of green and the 2 blues on the flat, but they didn't really translate that way on the actual socks. It was great fun anyway, and a great way to make hand-dyed matching socks.

Another dyeing project eventually became a shawl.
Oogyknitter gave me a machine-knitted tube of shetland wool meant to be dyed and then made into something. It took me several months to decide what to do with it. I dyed the tube with 2 reds and black, then chose to use the Syrian shawl pattern from Victorian Lace to make best use of the colors.

I got so intrigued by the tube possibilities that I asked dear oogyknitter to lend me her machine. I have lots of wool in the stash that I have discovered isn't what I hoped it would be when I bought it. It's perfect fodder for the machine. I made this purse by first making a tube of alpaca/wool blend pink yarn, then dyeing it blue, purple and black. I felted the dyed tube and then cut it up and pieced together the purse. I'm now in the process of making another tube and hope to make a larger bag with it.
This last project did not involve dyeing, but I did design it myself. It's a simple poncho made with 2 equal-sized rectangles and some edging. My friend Heather was swatching the linen stitch and reminded me how much I like that stitch.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Here is a pair of socks that I made for Dad. He likes other socks I've made for him, but I discovered that he's not into the random stripe style. "They don't match" says he. These may look boring, but they feel nice and they definitely match!
Happy Father's Day!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Poor neglected blog. I always promise to be more attentive, and then 2+ months goes by...
My excuse this time is that I decided to buy a house and move in to it during a busy semester. The boys and I are happy in our new home and we have vowed never to move again.

Meanwhile, the knitting has continued. Here is the latest community knitting project that the Camel Knitters have begun. It will be a blanket that we hope will be given to a family that is starting over. Each of us is making some rectangles, any dimension and any pattern, using any of a selection of colors in the same yarn. I periodically lay it out to see how it's looking. Mr. Rubble thinks of this as an invitation to test drive the blanket-in-progress.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Following another pattern?

Here's another project made from a pattern. I have been ogling the sweaters in Knitting out of Africa, by Marianne Isager for a few years now. I finally decided to make one, called Asante. The little square design at the top of the back captured my interest. So I followed the pattern, for the most part. Even with different yarn and a slight variation of the instructions for making multiple squares on the front (uh, a few other things were done differently...), it was looking just like pictures in the book. That was until husband suggested that another little square on one sleeve would be cool. I believe he was totally right.
I can't wait to wear it--as you can see I couldn't wait to take a picture of it, either.

Small Shawl 2

Here is another shadow knitting shawl, worked as instructed in the pattern, but with a slight variation, a stripe along the top edge. I find that I have been drawn to using other people's patterns of late. But, I can't seem to leave the patterns intact. I guess that's what is cool about knitting--you can go along with most of what someone else believes to be ideal, but there is always room to add your own elements.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Matching socks

Enough neuroscience for one day--it's back to knitting for this post. Here are the socks, which you can see are fairly well-matched for ones that are made from hand-dyed yarn.

Neuroscience of blogging?

It’s common knowledge that each side of the brain has some unique functions. For example, it is well-established that language functions are housed in the left hemisphere in most people. There is some evidence that the left side processes positive emotions. In a book about depression Andrew Solomon1 describes the idea that the pleasure of communicating is diminished by depression. He points out that depressed people avoid communication and that the opposite pattern occurs in mania, when a person can’t seem to stop talking.

The literature on brain symmetry and depression is not one I am particularly familiar with, but my initial glance suggests that people who respond to antidepressants have stronger left hemisphere processing in a perceptual task compared to non-responders.2,3 This observation is consistent with the idea that using language, stimulating the left hemisphere in the act of communicating, can counteract the forces of negative mood. Perhaps this is why people find journal or letter writing to be therapeutic. Could blogging be considered therapeutic, or a beneficial coping mechanism to reduce stress?

Now that the personal and social impact of new media is being explored, it will be interesting to learn more about how various forms of communication relate to mood. In the meantime, I will add blogging to knitting as a form of stress management. This might increase the frequency of posting!


1. Andrew Solomon. (2001). The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression. Scribner, New York. In the chapter on evolution, Solomon is focused on communication on pages 414-419.

2. Bruder, G.E., Stewart, J.W., McGrath, P.D., Deliyannides, D. and Quitkin, F.M. (2004). Dichotic listening tests of functional brain asymmetry predict response to fluoxetine in depressed women and men. Neuropsychopharmacology, 29 (9): 1752-61.

3. Bruder, G.E., Sedoruk, J.P., Stewart, J.W., McGrath, R.J., Quitkin, F.M., and Tenke, C.E. (2007). Electroencephalic alpha measures predict therapeutic response to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant: pre- and post-treatment findings. Biological Psychiatry, Epub Nov 29, 2007.