Fiber destash

Sunday, April 14, 2013 0 comments
I'm in a de-acquisitionary mood (as we call it 'round here), and am going through my stuff to see what can go to new homes.  The knitting group and my friend R were very happy to take quite a lot of yarn off my hands, but none of them spin.  SO. I've posted a bunch of interesting and lovely batts, braids, and bumps of fiber from at least six different species (plant, mammal, and insect!) on my Ravelry "will trade or sell" page - please feel free to go there, see if you like something, and send me a private message via Ravelry.  All payments via PayPal, and remember that we do have a dog.

Here's a photo of everything laid out on the dining room table:

I'll likely be adding spindles and books sometime in the next few days too - stay posted!

Picking out a Ravelry feature

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 0 comments
I've just gotten a last-minute ad in the Featured Knitting Pattern spot on Ravelry.  This is the first time in over a year that I've even tried for one of those ads, so I'm a little nervous about it.  I need your help!  Which of these three would you click on?

Poll is up in my Ravelry group - or leave me a comment here!  (And THANK YOU!)

Science Fair Project: Germinating Apple Seeds

Sunday, February 10, 2013 0 comments
Thursday was the DD's school science fair, and I am pleased to report that she placed 3rd in the 3rd grade class!  Her BFF placed first for a quite fun project in which she microwaved soap to see which brand expanded the most when heated (very dramatic!), so the girls were happy all around.  Here's her project:

I wanted to test whether the seeds needed water, or not. I also wanted to know if temperature mattered. I picked a handful of conditions to try.

My hypothesis is that fridge dry-moist (see Conditions) is going to be the best condition.

  • 2/5 websites say you should dry the seeds first.
    • 1 says you should dry them at room temperature.
    • 1 says you should dry them in the fridge.
  • 4/5 websites say you should germinate them to the sprouting point in the fridge. 
    • 1 of the videos says this is like re-creating nature because the fridge is cold and so is winter!
    • 1 of the websites says you should put them in the fridge for about 2 weeks and then put them in a hot place where you plant seedlings.
  • Macintosh apples
  • Peeler & corer
  • Knife
  • Paper towels
  • Permanent marker   
  • Room temperature dry-wet
  • Fridge dry-wet
  • Freezer dry-wet
  • Room temperature wet
  • Fridge wet
  • Freezer wet
  • Paired and cored apples to get 15 seeds.
  • Laid seeds on paper towels, 5 seeds per condition.
  • Put seeds in 3 different groups, fridge, freezer, and room temperature.
  • Left alone for 25 days.
  •  Paired and cored apples to get 15 more seeds.
  • Laid seeds on paper towels (moistened) 5 seeds per condition.
  • Put seeds in 3 different groups, fridge, freezer, and room temperature.
  • Checked seeds every day to see if any had germinated.
  • Recorded when seeds germinated.
  • On day 11, first seed germinated! 
    • Fridge wet had a seed germinate before any other seed germinated. 
  • Freezer seeds were lighter than any other seeds. 
    • The room temperature seeds were the darkest.
  • In this experiment, I’ve learned that seeds don’t need to be dried in order to germinate.
  • I also learned that seeds in the fridge germinate faster.
  • Most of the seeds did not germinate. I think this is because they needed more time.
    • One of the videos said that you’d be lucky to get one out of every three seeds to sprout.  It could just be hard to get apples to sprout.
Further Research:
  • I want to do it again, but stick them straight in wet. 
  • I also will change the way we arranged our paper towels, instead of folding them, I’d scrunch them up and lay the seeds on top instead of folded inside. 
  • Also, I’d put 10  put 10 seeds in  seeds in each condition instead  each condition instead of 5.   
  • I would also use different kinds of apples, instead of just one.
  • I do think I’d keep the same temperature conditions though.

My own scientific knitting

Friday, February 08, 2013 1 comments
In all that thinking about intersection of craft and science, I forgot to look at my own designs to see if I could identify ones specifically inspired by science & nature.  Apparently I like mathematical and natural hats - which is unsurprising because imho the knit hat is an amazing feat of mathematics, physics, engineering, and art all rolled into one. You take a line and create a 3-dimensional irregular half-sphere that fits a head!?! And a rank knitting beginner can do it without much effort? To me the sock is just showing off, whereas the hat is a pure joy.  Also, bulky hats work up fast and are warm and awesome.

Lo and behold (links go to Ravelry):

Euphorbia Hat: Inspired by a spurge cactus at Longwood Gardens

I Love Pi hat: Knit top down based on C=PiD, ridges are in the pattern 3.14159...

Punica Hat: inspired by the pomegranate family

Scientific Knitting: Thinking about Science Online 2014

Thursday, February 07, 2013 0 comments
This past week I got to attend the #SciO13 (Science Online 2013) conference, conveniently held locally to me on an annual basis.  I've been attending this conference for many years, off and on, since it started as the North Carolina Science Blogging Conference and was held (free!) in one classroom building at UNC.

Brain Hat, copyright Alana Noritake, ganked from Ravelry
The conference is great, and someday I'll post some summaries of what I went to (science hip hop! Google Hangouts for starwatching! what "crap" writing can teach science writers! open science! open notebooks! altmetrics!), but for now the piece that's stewing in my brain is the intersection of science and craft.  Of course, in my brain that craft is knitting with a side of spinning and dyeing, but there are lots of examples other places.  Several of this year's attendees and I are brainstorming ideas for an unconference session next year (or event?) on this idea.  Your thoughts are more than welcome.

Soma Cube, copyright Woolly Thoughts, ganked from Ravelry
There are ideas like, representations of scientific concepts in craft, like the mathematical games of WoollyThoughts or the dissections by aKNITomy (Ooh! she has a new one for an alien!).  Computer code is represented through things like the Binary scarf on Knitty.  Morse code is also popular, which I suppose is not surprising, as are tricks of perspective like illusion knitting.  There are a slew of patterns that use DNA as a motif, both cabled and in illusion knits.  There's the Brain Hat, various hearts (this one is from Knitty), and of course, the uterus (aka "Womb" - also from Knitty).

I've started a Pinterest board for scientific knits - it's pretty sparse so far - please feel free to suggest additional pics for it.

The question, of course, is what part of what knitters love about scientific knitting also translates to non-knitters?  How can we create a discussion about science and craft that is interesting not just to the (probably small) subset of us who are both, but also to those who are just one?  In this case, "just" scientists?  Because the conference is held at NCSU there's an off chance that we could include someone from the School of Textiles, but that's by no means a sure thing.  Thoughts?

What is "rich"?

Wednesday, February 06, 2013 0 comments
The DD and I are reading Harry Potter 2 (well, she's reading it out loud to me at night, one chapter at a time).  Last night was a chapter in which Lucius and Draco Malfoy are really obnoxious and the Weasleys are really wonderful.  This led to a discussion of how people who think they are better than other people (in this case because of wealth and aristocratic standing) sometimes treat other people very badly.  Which led, then, to this serious-as-only-children-can-be exchange:

DD: Mom, are we rich?

Me: Well, we're not really rich in money, but we're rich in other ways.

DD: Like LOVE.

Me: Yes, sweetie, we are rich in love.

And then she wandered off to brush her teeth, leaving me behind to feel like somewhere, sometime, the DH and I must have done something right after all.

The weeks fly by...

Wednesday, May 02, 2012 0 comments
And I continue to forget to report on what I've been up to.  It's been a busy six weeks.  Let's see:

Vanilla Socks in YKL
  • The DD and I went to Washington, DC for her spring break.  We stayed in a hotel (exciting) near Chinatown (thrilling!) ate food from four different continents (Ethiopian, Chinese, Thai, Spanish tapas, and American - with shrimp each night), and packed in as many touristy things as we could every day.  I got a blister on the underside of my middle toe from all the walking!
  • I finished up and sent two secret projects for Your Knitting Life.  That was a lot of work, and I'm seriously considering hiring sample knitters.  If you are one and would like to talk about potential projects, leave me a comment.
  • I finished up the Akeso Mitts for the April Phatfiber box.  I love them!  Sadly I can't find a photo right now... I started a coordinating shawl but had to put it aside temporarily for another secret project (this one for one of the many Cooperative Press books that are under way).
  • The Vanilla Socks are in this month's Your Knitting LifeLink to the preview (these are only in print until next year)!
  • I got off my butt and actually submitted some ideas for publication - three proposals in all to two book projects that are being run by friends of mine from my Designer Mastermind group.  I've gotten a bit complacent about YKL and need to break out of my rut.
  • My tech editing work has really skyrocketed this year.  In March I did about 24 hours worth of work (about double my previous record) and in April I was at about 22 hours, even with the vacation in the middle of it.  I'm finding that in the evenings I often don't knit any more because I'm busy editing - and yet I really enjoy that so I don't mind. 
  • I've gotten completely hooked on the TV show MI-5, also Downton Abbey.  Thanks, Mom. Luckily, both are available for streaming via Netflix (not the current season, of course).
  • My garden looks great, but my maple trees are infested with scale and one of my dogwoods has something. The DH spread a pesticide/fungicide that should permeate the trees via the roots, but I'm worried about them nonetheless.  It's been so warm and dry that the trees are stressed already and the bugs didn't get killed off in the winter.  Ack!

Copyright Notice

All content in this blog, including patterns and photos, is the intellectual property of Katherine Vaughan. All rights under US Copyright Law are reserved. Teachers, please direct your students to download/print out their own copies of patterns used in class. You are, of course, welcome to use items knit from any pattern for charity or sale, with the statement "design by Katherine Vaughan" appreciated.