Friday, January 5, 2018

PSA: Stay warm

Are you affected by the giant cold front / blizzard that hit the US east coast this week? I am. We didn't get nearly as much snow out of this thing as I would have expected, but man, is it cold! Here's the view from my kitchen the morning of the storm:


So what is this thing? Livescience.com describes "bombogenesis" as "when [a storm's] central low pressure drops at least 24 millibars in 24 hours." The FEMA website also has a great explanation of what a "bomb cyclone" is.  If that's TLDR, it's basically a severe storm that intensifies very, very rapidly.

So, how do we stay warm? If you follow @FEMA on Twitter, they have some very practical suggestions, even infographics. From a knitter's point of view, here's the best advice I can offer you:
  • Stay inside if possible. If you can't, be sure to dress warmly.
  • Cover your head. Though it's not technically true that we lose more heat through our head than the rest of our body, we do lose heat where we are not covered. If we have a coat, scarf, gloves, etc. but not a hat, that means the heat is escaping through our head. So wear a hat or 2. I like to layer an earband under a warm hat, or a thin hat under a thicker one.
  • Layer. Several thin layers are more effective than one thick layer, since warm air gets trapped between them. Don't feel silly if you want to layer multiple hats, pairs of socks, or gloves. Do what it takes.
  • Keep your core warm with a tank top or vest.
  • Cover pulse points where the veins are extra close to the skin at the wrists and throat. Wristwarmers and cowls are especially good for this.
  • Natural fibers, particularly wool, will keep you warmer than synthetics. Unlike many fibers, wool keeps its thermal properties even when wet. This means wearing wool or wool-blend socks rather than cotton.
Stay warm, everyone. Knit something for yourself or a loved one. :)

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2018, Cities of Gold, and a sale

Hello readers! I hope 2018 is treating you well so far. I spent yesterday with family, knitting and watching a Mysterious Cities of Gold marathon. It was a very pleasant day. As a child of the 1980s, I grew up with classic Nickelodeon, and we can blame credit The Mysterious Cities of Gold for my lifelong love of South America, the Incas, and Machu Picchu. Sure it's fiction, sure it's a cartoon (anime actually), but there's plenty of history and factual tidbits in it too. There's also a bit of science fiction - something for everyone.

It may be a little intense for younger children, so be aware of that before watching it with very little ones. I understand there's a sequel, but it isn't yet available where I live. Maybe I'll get to see it one of these days. I'm in no hurry, though. The original series is just as good as I remembered it, and there's no way the new one is the same.


On a related entertainment note, I just learned that today, January 2, is Science Fiction Day. To celebrate, get 20% off any pattern in my Science Bundle with the coupon code scifi20 through midnight on Saturday, January 6, 2018.

These are the patterns included in the sale:
Cuddly Chem Lab- $6.95
buy now | add to cart | show cart
View details at Ravelry | Patternfish
"Diagonally Parked In A Parallel Universe" Socks - $5.95
buy now | add to cart | show cart
View details at Ravelry | Patternfish
Dorsal Graviton Cowl - $5.95
buy now | add to cart | show cart
View details at Ravelry | Patternfish
Miss Sakamoto Sash / Headwrap / Belt - $4.99
Coordinates with "She Blinded Me With Science" Bag
buy now | add to cart | show cart
View details at Ravelry | Patternfish | KnitPicks
Summer Comes Early to Downton Selenite Shawl - $5.95
buy now | add to cart | show cart
View details at Ravelry | Patternfish
"She Blinded Me With Science" Bag- $6.99
Coordinates with Miss Sakamoto Sash / Headwrap / Belt
buy now | add to cart | show cart
View details at Ravelry | Patternfish | KnitPicks
Temporal Wingnut Hat - $6.95
buy now | add to cart | show cart
View details at Ravelry | Patternfish
Tesla's Lightning - $5.95
buy now | add to cart | show cart
View details at Ravelry | Patternfish
The Technobabble Collection - $12.95
buy now | add to cart | show cart
View details at Ravelry

Of course, there's also Dongle, a small sock to hold your USB drive. This pattern is free every day.

"Dongle" Mini-Sock Keychain - free!
download PDF
View details at Ravelry

Make something science-y today!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

I have a weird job


Computer History Museum, Periodic Table, Pi, NASA, Satellite
I love being an indie knitting pattern designer. But it can be a very strange job at times.

How many other jobs require you to go ransacking the house for mugs with science-y things on them? Digging out your 31-year-old Einstein T-shirt? Finding your laser-cut wooden cat with the gears? And then using them all in a photoshoot?


Also, I searched "geek hairstyles" and "nerd hairstyles" to prepare for my part of the modeling, and it turns out most of my default hairstyles fall into those categories. Oops. :)

But despite its strange aspects, being a designer can be lots of fun. Naming new patterns is a special joy. My newest pattern, released today, is a quick, worsted weight hat called "Temporal Wingnut." Since science-y inclinations know no age or gender, I graded it for 5 sizes from baby to large adult.

It's the first of 3 patterns in The Technobabble Collection. There's a special price for early purchasers of the ebook. Since there's only one pattern in it now, you can get it for the same price as the hat: $6.95. But you'll automatically get the next 2 patterns when they're added, effectively for free. The ebook price will increase to $10.00 when the cowl pattern is added and to its final price of $12.95 when the fingerless gloves are added. Buy it now and get a great deal!

I will tell you, knitting these patterns was addictive and went very quickly. In the space of a couple weeks, I made 4 adult hats, two sets of fingerless gloves, and two cowls. My pink set is made from a cashmere-merino-silk blend that's thoroughly luxurious.

Gotta go now, there are photos that need editing. The sooner they're finished, the sooner you get some new patterns!

Happy knitting,
~ Caroline 

Temporal Wingnut:
Ravelry | Patternfish

The Technobabble Collection:
Ravelry

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Solar Eclipse

I know it's the "cool" thing to act like an eclipse is no big deal. But I 'm in the camp that still thinks it's awe-inspiring. To quote theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku, "In the beginning, God said, 'Let the four dimensional divergence of an anti-symmetric second rank tensor equal zero.' And there was light."

And of course our old favorite Galileo Galilei said "Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe." The laws that govern the universe are consistent and mind-boggling. As a non-math person myself, I can't quite wrap my head around how they work, but I don't have to. They always do, and that is very impressive.

We weren't in the path of totality for the August 21 eclipse, but  we did see a partial. For your enjoyment, here's a composite of the eclipse as seen from my backyard. I think the progressive cloud cover only added to the interest.

There's no knitting in this post, because the eclipse is more than enough. But rest assured that I am working on some new patterns, so you should have more yarny news in the near future.

Happy knitting and science,
Caroline

Friday, April 21, 2017

Yarn Kits!

I ♥ yarn. Do you ♥ yarn? Do you sometimes wonder if a specific yarn will work for a particular design? Then I have some exciting news for you. Ellen at Earthfaire.com offers yarn packs for many, many patterns. Some of them are incredibly gorgeous - I mean, have you seen the Scottish Thistle shawl and the Aquitaine beaded cuffs?

As of today, I'm excited to announce that her kit offerings include one of my designs: The Tree of Life in Summer! Her kit has two yarn options: Crystal Palace Mini Mochi in "Leaves & Sprouts" or Universal Yarns Poems Sock in "Sky & Earth." Aren't they pretty?



The kit doesn't include a copy of the pattern, so if you need one, you can buy it right now or head over to Ravelry or Patternfish and buy it from there.

More pattern kits will be available in the future. Keep an eye out for the rest of the Tree of Life series. If you want to be ready when they become available, you can get an e-book containing all 5 patterns: The Tree of Life Through the Seasons.

Happy knitting!
~ Caroline

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Cool beans

If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. Here in Pennsylvania, we've been having an extreme heat wave for a couple weeks now. We hope it will break in a day or two, but you know things are messed up when 88°F (31°C) sounds cool.

Does this stop us knitting?

No it does not.

That's what air conditioning is for.

I've been making a sweater (Tempting II from Knitty, Winter 2005). Which goes to show that even 11 years later, a good pattern is a good pattern. Overall ribbing is flattering, and the yarn is a beautiful one-off colorway from Potlock Yarns called "Pools." My only change so far is that I'm making the sleeves long, figuring I'll get a lot more use out of it that way. If it's cold enough for a worsted weight sweater, short sleeves won't provide enough warmth.

Here's the "cool beans" part of the post. Remember Dewdrop Paths? I learned today that it was featured in the KnitPicks Blog as #1 in their list of "9 Things We're Loving for August." Go have a look - their other selections are summery items in shades of blue. I'm particularly fond of the stacking mug (#2) and the dark-blue semi-solid yarn (#4).


Happy knitting,
Caroline

Friday, July 1, 2016

A foray into crochet

glissando {ɡlisˈsando, plural: glissandi, abbreviated gliss}: A musical term referring to either a continuous sliding one pitch to another (a “true” glissando), or an incidental scale played while moving from one melodic note to another. Italian, from French glissant, present participle of glisser, ‘to slip, slide.’
It’s the sound many people think of when they think of a harp. “Perpetual Gliss” is a small soft-sculpture crocheted harp that can be used to decorate any area. Due to the fragile nature of an open harp frame, it’s more appropriate as a decoration than as a toy. Make it for yourself or for your favorite musician. Note: Does not actually play music.
 
I've been crocheting since long before I learned to knit. To be honest, most of my early crochet revolved around oddly-hued granny squares that didn't necessarily get used for anything after they were finished, and once I learned how to knit, crochet didn't figure in my crafting for a long time. At times, it still calls to mind salmon tinted or pale blue acrylic purchased on sale from the local discount store.

However, because crochet fabric can be thicker and sturdier than knitted cloth, there are some items for which it is far more suitable. Case in point: my newest pattern, Perpetual Gliss.

Concert harps have such a delicate silhouette that to make an open crochet harp that would stand up, the fabric needed to be dense and sturdy. My solution? Single crochet, and lots of it, stabilized with plastic.
So what do you need to know to make one of these sweet little harps?
  1. Use any yarn weight you want with the appropriate hook. All the harps shown in the photo have the same number of stitches; only the yarn and hook changed.
  2. It's not necessarily hard, there are just a number of steps to follow. Most stitches are single crochet with a few half-double or double crochet for shaping. All the pieces are both written out and charted.
  3. You can use plastic canvas or sheets from the craft store for the stabilizing pieces, but it's not necessary. I used straws in the pillar and pieces cut from leftover food containers for the flat pieces. Just be sure the plastic you choose is clean, dry, and not too brittle - the kind with a little flexibility.
  4. The smaller the harp, the more stable the finished item. All three sizes are free-standing, but the larger size is a little wobbly. Because of the delicate nature of the open frame, they are more suitable as decoration than as toys.
  5. Each harp shown is strung with a single long length of jewelry elastic. Strings were colored with permanent marker. 

So are you ready to try making your own?
Perpetual Gliss, $5.95
View details at Ravelry | Patternfish  | Sylvia Woods Harp Center