Monday, February 27, 2012


Since I started this blog, I have been climbing once, until this weekend.

And it stands that there is likely a minimum level of climbing, which after months of not climbing, one can accomplish. 6 months ago, I could climb 5.8, and fall on 5.9, and it appears nothing has changed on that front. I kept trying and trying this 5.9 problem, but my feet weren't right and I kept falling at the same spot. Maybe next time.The next time should be in a week or so, and not 6 months from now.

Ouch. It has been a long time since I have been this sore.All I have wanted to do is sleep until it stops hurting, unfortunately this is looking to be a crazy week, so I have to work.There is a fellowship application due, and a midterm to study for, and a wireless system to spec out, and that is just today.

I have not been feeling very creative lately., I don't know if it is a function of not enough sleep, or sickness, or lots of work, or the fact that I am thinking of life in terms of functions. It is dangerous when you try to model life, there are far more variables than you think, and there is nothing single valued about the functions. The thing is that I have several creative endeavors which I want to do right now.

There is the pattern I want to write up in PDF form for the Estonian Heel Socks.

The sock pattern in my head, that needs to be made, written, and tested.

I am at a really juicy portion of my story, so I need to figure out how my character reacts.

I finally got around to making an expression turnaround chart so I can get better at drawing faces intentionally.

And I still need to figure out if it that I cook when happy, or I am happy when I get to cook.

But Saturday, when I had all of this time, I didn't lift a finger to do any of it. Well, I downloaded MikTex so I could typeset more effectively than word, but that was just a small step.I just sat at the table with my laptop, knitting row after row of Diantha #2. Obviously it is deadline knitting, but it will take 2 weeks to make, and there is plenty of time in that case. There is 4 months until it and 3 others need to be done. I have no pictures, because I am a slacker.

I haven't been really busy on the fractal front. I made this one on a whim.

I am still waiting on a new work computer, which means my poor laptop can't handle the load. I am excited about the next challenge. We have to recreate a joelfaber fractal, and I have a couple of ideas.

I think that is all for now

Take care guys,

Molly : )

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A fantasic finished object parade!

In an effort to make me less stressed out, I finished 2 projects this weekend.

I don't like my fun to become work, and too many projects or too much yarn makes me feel obligated to use it up or finish it, which was never the point. It also stresses me out to have yarn that sits around for too long. I really liked the yarn, I just never got around to using it. I definitely did not want to give it away.

What I really liked about this yarn was that it did not really pool, the colors are randomly dispersed, and it does not take away from the pattern itself. I ended up using more than every scrap of yarn I had. I ran out on the bind off, so I used some navy blue lace weight for last few inches. It is reasonably subtle, and it was the closest match to the yarn.

When I blocked I opted for points instead of following the curves with the picot edge, mostly because I had nearly run out of pins since I blocked 3 things simultaneously. I think the points look pretty cool, if I block again I might try the curves. Since points opened up the holes, I'd consider it a blocking success.

Now the navy blue lace weight was actually a part of my second FO this weekend, the Diantha shawlette.

It was a milestone for me, because it is the first project I ever finished in lace weight yarn. That is not to say it is the first project I started in lace weight.

Sorry Rhodion, I finished everything so I would stop ignoring you.

Diantha was a part of the Susanna IC January Mystery KAL, and I believe I will be knitting 4 more, with pearl beads as bridesmaid gifts. I did some back of the envelope calculations, and based on the yarn usage for mine, I should have enough for 4 mediums, and not 4 medium/larges. It is super duper exciting that my skein was 20 grams overweight (320 g!) because it would have been hopeless otherwise.

I have been illegally blogging about the project, because I didn't realize mystery KALs needed to be so secretive. Who cares if the surprise is ruined? If you are Speedy Gonzales that means you don't find out about the awesome modifications people make.

I am actually re-knitting the end, because I had some strange lace loop in the 2nd to last shortrow. You can't tell in the pictures, but it made for a tight, stiff spot, and I really didn't want to weave it in. It took an hour of ripping and tinking to get back to it though. The shawl will be much better for it though.

It gives me another chance to block this. I ran wires through the points, and pinned the centers, however, it looks sloppy. I need to individually pin out the points and centers to get the look I had in my clue stages. There is still much I need to learn about blocking, and these projects are my guinea pigs. It is only with pins that I can get the sideways component. The wires make the points stick straight down, which I think looks a little funny.

Earlier this week I wrote I really maudlin blog post, that I didn't get around to publishing. I blame the winter. I'm sick, tired, and frustrated, but that's no reason to complain to the internet. I had a nice chat with my advisor, and it really helped take a lot of the pressure off. I was trying to make him happy, when really my problem is making my project work. Making my project work will make him happy, and get me funding, and let me continue. Since I couldn't figure out how to make him happy anyways, this reframing of my problem was the perspective I needed to keep motivated. It is my thing to lose, not his thing to give. I thought it was a lesson I learned earlier, the only way my project will move forward is if I work on it. Making a PhD work is all about the trees (or rare subspecies of shrub living under the trees), but finishing a PhD is all about the forest. The big picture has to keep you motivated.

In fractal news . . .
The weekly theme challenge was lava, and mine probably wasn't the coolest, but I like how it turned out. Orange is a hard color to use as a background. Dark orange is brown according to the computer.

The second one is a fractal in real life! My first daily deviation, and the cover of my undergrad's art/poetry magazine my senior year. It was so freaking awesome to see a print. I don't know if I would fill my home with fractal prints when I am all grown up and own a home, but it is pretty cool. I can't fill my apartment with fractal prints, because well, if you look at pictures inside my apartment, there is no wall space to hang fractal prints.

That's all for now, take care guys,
Molly : )

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A loss of perspective

Getting a PhD seldom ever expands your world view.

I was talking with one of the ladies I knit with on Wednesdays at lunch, and I mentioned something about calculus, and she told me she knew nothing about it.

Which got me thinking that probably 80% of Americans know nothing about calculus, and 80% of math professors have forgotten more about math than most people ever knew in the first place.

And I knew that calculus was easy, differential equations were more challenging, and partial differential equations could be a world of pain in the wrong basis, but regardless of any of that, I have surrounded myself with brilliant people. When you are hanging around brilliant people all the time, you forget that you are smart. Everyone is smart, smart is how you joined the club, hard work is how you stay in the club. It is expected that you leave the club and do big important things, in a reasonable amount of time. No one would want to join the club if you couldn't leave it.

I was talking to one of my office mates, and the club is divided into several tribes. There are Americans, Chinese, Europeans, Latinos, and Indians. If you don't speak the language you can't switch tribes, and even though everyone speaks English, you speak your own language in your tribe. The only way to break tribal barriers is you share an office with someone in another tribe, or have group mates in another tribe. In the hierarchy of relationships, group mates are the most sacred. You would throw anyone else in front of the bus, if you offed your labmates that would just mean more work for you. Who else would you complain about your advisor with?

It is grad student recruitment time again. You come in feeling so special and so amazing. How can you tell them the truth.

You love and hate your advisor?

It has been 2, 3, 4, 5 . . . years now, you don't feel the same about what you are doing.

Your life is very small, but you will be able to do so much once you get out.

You feel stupid, clubfooted, near heart attack, and awkward most of the time.

Just imagine how great you will be at procrastinating soon.

I have to admit that weeks like these make me rue the choice I made to see it to the end. One person's perspective on hardworking is another's idea of lazy. What is the number one priority? Getting mind fucked in class, producing data, or helping your loved one through a tough time? If you work 84 hours a week, will you make it there sooner, or will you burn out and take twice as long?

I guess I have been walking the line between humor and pain. And the short answer is I have a goal, and I have worked damned hard to make the stars line up my way. I am smart, and hardworking, and I want to be Doctor Molly, not Master Molly. Grad school has not been what I expected, but that doesn't mean it isn't what I want.

Take care guys,

Molly : )

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ice Fog, Coffee and Knee Socks

Please excuse the cell phone photos, I thought this was pretty cool.

Unfortunately ice fog is not as cool as thundersnow, but it certainly is prettier. The drive in was interesting because the closer I got to the river the more fog and frost covered everything. Even past lunch time it hadn't all melted. I took pictures as I went to get coffee.

I'm blogging again today because work needs to get done, and I can't do it when I am wandering the internet. It is much easier to write a sentence of blog, or story and get back to work.

Since I started grad school, I have started to drink a ridiculous amount of coffee. I joke and say that I drink 5 times more than undergrad, which is true, coffee every work day is much more than coffee once a week. However, I realized that buying that much coffee was a lot of money. 2 bucks a cup is 10 bucks a week in coffee. So I bought a coffee maker at the beginning of the year.

I realized that a normal coffee maker was a bad choice, because I didn't want to start drinking 10 cups a day, and besides my brewed coffee is the single most foul tasting liquid in the world. Whenever I tried to make coffee, something would go wrong, and it would be too strong or too weak, and in either case completely undrinkable. So I bought a single serve machine.

The single serve is a revelation. No coffee half-life while in the pot being warmed, no too strong or too weak coffee due to user error, no cold coffee because you took too long to drink. Coffee, in a cup, brewed perfectly, every time. I made coffee, and it actually tastes good, with SKIM milk and sugar. Normally I am a half and half girl.

It has been living at home, because I moved offices, and I sorta like having coffee on the weekends, and it would be a pain to move. But this stupid thing only pays for itself if I don't buy coffee for a semester, and sometimes I want a cup of coffee in the afternoon.
I have been playing with epispiral flames some more. The challenge this week is to make a flame with a yellow background, so that is pegging my laptop processor now.

I'm excited because I finally finished the knee socks. Hurrah for the finished object picture parade!

It was a lot of sock knitting. I think it may have convinced me that I should buy 9 inch circular needles. Since I got my start knitting hats in the round with a single circular, I'm fond of just running around in circles until there are too few stitches on the needles. The legs of these socks were so big that I could do that with the 16 inch ones for a majority of the leg. Maybe I will get 0's and 1's, after I stop getting paid the really small bucks. I haven't weighed my balls yet, but I think I went through at least 1.25 skeins of Wollmeise, and maybe more : ) Only 10.75 skeins to go.

I'm sorry that I still don't have a photo of my Holden shawlette. It is now my carry around project, and the colors are so completely me I'm amazed. It is navy and sky blue and bear and light brown. It is pooling randomly, and I am still in the stockinette section, so the jury is out on if you can even seen the lace with this yarn.

I am still making progress on the mystery shawl.

I apologize for the lower picture being a bit blurry. It is the only one where the yarn color and bead color are true to life. In the top picture all the beads look like a dark navy, which is so untrue, they are blue and green and purple and magenta.

I bet the shawl will be finished early next week, and this clue, which is shortrows + nupps + (my optional beads in the decreases) will be done tonight or tomorrow night.

That's all for now : )
take care guys,
Molly : )

Friday, February 3, 2012

No Sense

I was frustrated yesterday because I had to whip my laptop into research shape. I grabbed the last files from my old work computer, and the new work computer hasn't been ordered yet. This means I need to use my  6 1/2 year laptop as a research machine.

The good news is that I am not trying to run Matlab on a netbook. The bad news is that around 3pm I had 127 MB of free space since I apparently didn't have 3 GB to spare for using Dropbox to transfer my last useful files.

I have managed to free up 12GB, but it was boring, and slow, and I couldn't use my computer because the processor was pegged.Things are running much faster, though I would really prefer to use this for browsing the internet and rendering fractals.

And this brings up my second point, I've reached an end of an era. My old desktop had some serious processor power, and a fractal that would take 4 hours on that machine, takes 20 on my laptop. I predict that there won't be as many fractals until the new computer comes in. One, because the laptop has a single processor, and two, I need my laptop to work during the day.

In retrospective:
My first render on the work desktop
And my last render:
Goodbye workputer,
On the knitting front, you would think spring was in the air. I have more ideas than sense.

I have one word of advice. Don't think that you aren't a designer until you buy a stitch dictionary. I thought I wanted to design socks, but I couldn't wait to start once I had a stitch dictionary in my grubby little hands.

And before I knew it, I cast on a sock.
However, this yarn was not meant to be the sock that is currently living in my mind.Shortly after the picture was taken I ripped it all out and started a Holden Shawlette. I need to use a semisoild yarn to actually show the pattern, and this one, while being quintessentially Molly, is too variegated. Maybe stripes would work too.

So, now I need to figure out what yarn I am actually going to use. Maybe Fritzi Frizzante.

I finished a knee sock! I only have a foot left to knit (where a Molly foot is actually 9 inches)

I guess that's all for now : )

Take care
Molly : )